Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 19: Eventually Leaving
“Even the way is my departure?”
Chu Jin Yao lowered her head and spoke softly after a moment, “Yes.”
The room suddenly became terribly silent. Chu Jin Yao stared at the candlelight and dared not look at Qin Yi’s face. At the end, she blinked and forced the tears back to her eyes as she smiled forcefully, “Let’s look for another jade and try to see if we can transfer you over to it. It is better than being trapped to death in a place! What’s more, even if you had to leave me like this, what does it matter? You are after all a formidable jade spirit. It would be alright if you come to visit me in the future.”
Qin Yi was silent for a long time before slowly speaking, “I have already instructed people to search for this kind of jade.”
Chu Jin Yao was startled and the tears in her eyes glistened, “Ah?”
“When it is found, I will instruct them to buy it, regardless of the price.”
Chu Jin Yao understood. She felt somewhat difficult to bear as she spoke, “After it happens, you will return with them right?”
Qin Yi felt that he was heartless but still said, “Yes.”
Chu Jin Yao felt dazzled. Not long ago she was still arranging Qin Yi’s and her future life, but now he told her that he would be leaving soon. Chu Jin Yao’s mind was somewhat blank. After returning home, he had always been accompanying her and she was long accustomed to asking him when she had any questions and would speak to him about everything. Soon, she would be alone again, facing this beautiful, deep and cold residence by herself.
Chu Jin Yao felt depressed and Qin Yi did not speak. They were silent for a long time. This was the most unpleasant chat since they met.
It would be a lie if Chu Jin Yao said that she was not upset but Qin Yi would be leaving soon thus the time they had together was getting shorter. In such a situation, how could one waste time with a cold war? In the end, it was Chu Jin Yao who spoke first, “It is a good thing that you are able to leave and return to where you really belong. Since you have instructed others to search for the jade, there should be news soon. I do not know how long we can still interact, but a day is still a day so we must live these days happily. I used to show a bad attitude towards you but don’t take it into consideration. After you leave, I will set up a tablet for you and pray that you will become an immortal soon.”
Qin Yi’s heart ached initially at her words, but when he heard her words at the end, he immediately woke up.
“You must not do it.” Qin Yi’s voice revealed a sense of helplessness. These days what worried him the most was not being able to return to his body or that something was wrong with his body but Chu Jin Yao said that she will erect a tablet to pray daily… He said, “I appreciate your sincere heart but as for the tablet, you must not erect it. It is enough for you not to do anything and live well here.”
“Alright,” Chu Jin Yao replied softly, “I will definitely do it. And so will you.”
After both of them brought the topic up, the atmosphere had become very solemn. Seeing the distracted and sad look on her face, he was unable to bear it anymore. “It is late into the night. Don’t write anymore and go to sleep.”
She shook her head, “No. I have written halfway and must finish it.”
Noticing her trembling wrist, he was filled with so much pity in his heart that he materialised. “The way you hold the brush is incorrect. It is supposed to be like this.” As he spoke, he placed his hand on her and wrote on the paper.
With his help, she could immediately save a lot of effort. Qin Yi was still in spirit form and his hand was on the back of Chu Jin Yao’s hand. It was slightly cool and somewhat opaque. She tilted her head slightly and was able to see her fingers clearly through his hand.
Qin Yi suddenly squeezed her fingers and glared at her coolly, “Dare to be distracted?”
Chu Jin Yao retracted her gaze obediently and concentrated on writing. After a while, she could not help but ask, “Qi Ze, are all the spirits this good-looking and intelligent after becoming spirits?”
“Not to mention that you are good looking, you have knowledge of calligraphy, poetry and even all those schemes and intrigue in the inner courtyard would not stumble you. Are you all like this? I suddenly want to become a spirit.”
Qin Yi laughed before he spoke plainly, “You think too much. Not everyone is like this, it is only me. So, you should practice your calligraphy.”
Chu Jin Yao was silent for a long time but could not hold back at all, “You… Sure have high self-esteem.”
“This is a fact.”
Chu Jin Yai rolled her eyes secretly. Qin Yi felt her disapproval and asked her calmly, “Why? Do you think it is wrong?”
This again. His tone of voice was normal and it seemed that he was truly questioning calmly but at the end his pitch was slightly higher. Coupled with his calm and cool tone, there was a sense of threat. Chu Jin Yao snorted secretly but on the surface she said, “Yes. You are not wrong.”
Qin Yi could not be bothered with her and after helping her write the remaining half page of characters, he chased her to sleep.
After Chu Jin Yao put down the drapes of the canopy, she lay on the bed but was unable to sleep for a long time. She was afraid Qin Yi would hear the sound of her turning and kept lying in one posture. As long as she closed her eyes, she would be able to see a young man with an upright posture and equate feature standing in front of the study desk under the sunlight, slightly turning around when hearing a sound, with eyes of arrogance and alienation. When this expression was on others, it would be hateful, but when it appeared on Qin Yi, it was as if it was natural, like he should be high up above and prouder than anyone else.
This was Chu Jin Yao’s first time seeing Qin Yi’s detailed appearance. She had thought that Qin Yi’s voice was very good but discovered now that his face was the real masterpiece from the Heavens. The Heavens’ love was nothing more than this.
Chu Jin Yao whispered, “Qi Ze?”
Qin Yi did not reply and Chu Jin Yao sighed softly, “He is probably asleep. That’s right, considering the time.”
Chu Jin Yao continued whispering, “In the future when we are separated, you must live well. Like that, when I think of you, I will feel relieved.”
She continued to talk to herself, “Eldest Sister will be marrying soon and I will too, most likely. One does not know in the future, how I would be spending my life. I initially thought that with you accompanying me, I would not be afraid even if my in-law’s family makes things difficult. However, thinking about it now, I am truly too naïve. How would you be able to always stay by my side? Humans indeed should not be too greedy. I am already thankful to Heaven’s love for letting you accompany me as I adapt to the life in the Marquis residence. After all, I am all alone.”
Chu Jin Yao let things take their course and she did not know what she was rambling about. She just laid on the bed and let her mind wander, one moment seeing herself being engaged to an unfamiliar male, at another seeing herself performing the customary practices in front of her mother-in-law (aka standing behind mother-in-law and serving her), and yet another seeing Qin Yi standing in front of the study table as he flipped through the copybooks indifferently. Slowly, she fell asleep.
When Chu Jin Yao’s breathing became prolonged, a figure gradually appeared from the jade pendant. The figure was very faint, almost as if it was melting in the moonlight. Qin Yi looked at the canopy bed for a while and spoke softly, “You will also live well.”
Qin Yi had long sent a secret letter to his subordinates when he had started to materialise. As such, the people of the Eastern Palace had been looking for the type of jade that was on Chu Jin Yao’s neck. When it was found, he would think of ways to have his subordinates secretly enter Marquis Chang Xin residence, whereon he would transfer to the new jade and return to Great Tong with them.
With this farewell, he was the Crown Prince that was sent to the frontier and she was the pampered and spoiled lady of a Marquis lineage. They would be separated by the roles of a monarch and official and the differences between male and woman. One feared that it would be difficult to meet again.
So, even if Chu Jin Yao was very upset today and Qin Yi unable to bear it at all, things had to be made clear. He had to leave sooner or later and should not give her unrealistic expectations. When he returned to Great Tong, he would secretly send people to take care of Chu Jin Yao and if in the future he were to encounter her husband in court, as long as conditions permit, he would also keep an eye on him.
In Qin Yi’s seventeen years, he witnessed time and again the hypocrisy of the court and the darkness of officialdom. He lost his mother at the age of five and his Youngest Maternal Aunt and Father were together, occupying everything his mother had with grandiose. He was only five when everything happened and watched it all happen with his own eyes. He grew up in the cold palace alone, surrounded by Imperial concubines with ulterior motives and servants that deliberately pleased him. He had initially thought that this was how the world was, that human nature was evil, without an exception. However, in a freak combination of factors, he came to know Chu Jin Yao. She was originally a noble young lady but was treated harshly by farmers. She was originally an upright Di daughter but suffered from discrimination from her family. She was let down by fate but would always wipe her tears after crying and say that there were people in the family that sided with her and that as long as she treated others sincerely, everyone would accept her sooner or later.
Qin Yi felt that it was incomprehensible. How could here be such stupid person? She had already been treated like this by others, so how could she still be able to smile? At first, he thought that something was wrong with this female’s brain but upon interacting for some time, when he saw her smile, he could not help but hook his lips while his mind slowly relaxed.
Qin Yi looked at Chu Jin Yao again but still walked out firmly. She liked Yun brocade, wanted to take care of her Elder Sister and wanted to let her loved ones live well. All these would be realised.
On the second day, Chu Jin Yao went to learn etiquette from Hua MoMo the entire day. When she returned to her courtyard, she was tired and her back was so sore and aching that she did not even have the strength to stand.
Today, it was Jie Geng that accompanied her out and when they reached the doors, they heard a loud scream from the courtyard. Jie Geng was following Chu Jin Yao and muttered dissatisfiedly, “Who is making such a noise in the courtyard? Do they not see that Young Lady has returned? Is there still any regulation?”
However, Chu Jin Yao felt that something was not right… Upon listening to this voice, it seemed to be an unfamiliar one.
As soon as she stepped into the courtyard, she saw an old maid in the middle of it. Her hair was shiny and tied up tightly in a bun with a metal netting. She was dressed in dark blue clothes and stood in the courtyard with her arms akimbo, scolding the servants individually.
Chu Jin Yao frowned and before she could speak, the quick-tongued Jie Geng had already stepped forward. “Who are you? Why are you showing off your authority in our Young Lady’s courtyard?”
When that old maid saw Chu Jin Yao, she did not go over like other servants to greet but held her neck up high as she slightly bent her knees and spoke to Chu Jin Yao with her back straight, “This old servant greets Fifth Young Lady. I am sent over by TaiTai. TaiTai instructed me to manage Fifth Young Lady’s courtyard and educate these young maids in passing.”
Chu Jin Yao frowned in astonishment and surprise. Madam Zhao sent over? This old maid looked very domineering so to send this kind of old maid over, would her courtyard be peaceful? Chu Jin Yao sighed in her heart. This matter was most likely caused by Chu Jin Miao.