Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Huan Yuan came up with two poems in the nick of time. Chu Yu went through them and thought they were not too shabby, but she did not have full confidence in them. She then passed them to the servant boy who was standing aside to hand them over to Pei Shu. The crowd passed their praises around after Pei Shu read the poems out loud. That was when Chu Yu really believed that the poems were excellent.
The wine vessel spun with the water again when the second song began, and Chu Yu chanted in her heart once more. However, the wine vessel coincidentally arrived before her when the music stopped.
It was there just like before. Nothing seemed to have changed.
Chu Yu glanced at the young man in blue who was playing the music instinctively. She almost asked out loud if he had done it on purpose. However, he was staring at his guqin from the beginning until the end. There was an icy expression on his handsome and intimidating face, making him unfathomable.
After glancing at the young man in blue quietly once again, Chu Yu smiled at Pei Shu as she raised her glass. She finished the glass of wine with her head up high and brought the low table with the nib and paper to Huan Yuan once again.
Chu Yu patted Huan Yuan's shoulder while smiling. "It's all yours now."
All she hoped now was that Rong Zhi was not exaggerating and that Huan Yuan really had the talent to create poems that were like flowing water.
She had doubts at that moment. The wine vessel had arrived before her twice when the music stopped. Was it coincidental or intentional? If it was the latter, why did the young man in blue do that?
The flowing spring water on the mountain top, listening to music, drinking wine, and writing poems were elegant. However, to Yue Jiefei who was standing aside, it was insane torture to him. As he listened to the relaxing music and the beautiful poems, he ripped two shreds of cloth from his clothes underneath and stuck them into his ears after rolling them into balls.
Two poems were produced like they were on an assembly line. When Chu Yu handed over the poems to Pei Shu, he was looking at Huan Yuan like he was looking at a monster.
The wine vessel rolled around once again when the third song was played. Chu Yu did not chant secretly this time. Instead, she turned to look at the young man in blue attentively while a faint smile appeared at the edge of her lips.
She wanted to see if the coincidence would happen again this time.
Rong Zhi walked out of the East Court slowly, wearing an enigmatic smile on his face. Mo Xiang happened to walk out of the West Court at the same moment. Looking at his smile, Mo Xiang hesitated for a moment but decided to step forward anyway.
Rong Zhi nodded lightly at him and drawled as he grinned, "Come play chess with me." Apart from reading, another hobby of Rong Zhi would be playing chess. It was common knowledge that he would get the other male companions to play with him occasionally.
The duo then went to the Snow Garden. There was a chessboard on the limestone platform between the green bamboo shades. Black and white pieces were placed on the intersections of the board with irregular spaces between each other. It was an endgame.
It was not Mo Xiang's first time playing chess with Rong Zhi. He sat aside and picked up a white piece. Then, he asked softly while putting the piece down, "Did you go to the East Court, Young Master?"
Rong Zhi put a black piece down subsequently and said while smiling faintly, "I went there to prove something. Don't worry about me. I know what I'm doing."
Mo Xiang responded with a grin, "I shouldn't have pried. Young Master, you've always been thorough in your planning before you do something, so anything you do should be safe." He placed another piece down and lifted his head like he just recalled something. "Young Master, I heard Princess brought Huan Yuan out today."
Rong Zhi said, "That's right. I advised her to do that."
"Why?" Mo Xiang could not help but frown. "Until now, I still don't understand why you value Huan Yuan so much. He's just a scholar who has an insignificant talent in literature. What consequential things can he do?"
Rong Zhi was picking up a black piece when he heard that. He lifted his head and drawled slowly, "Do you know who Huan Yuan is?"
Mo Xiang shared what he knew about Huan Yuan honestly, "I heard that Huan Yuan is a descendant of the rebel Huan Clan."
"Rebel?" Rong Zhi thought while tilting his head and smiled as he responded, "I guess so. To the Liu Clan, the Huan Clan is a rebel indeed. However, if that's the case, the ancestor Liu Yu of the Southern region was a rebel too. In times of trouble, loyalty was as fragile as a bamboo paper. Ji Fa ended the Shang Dynasty and built the Zhou Dynasty. Liu Bang overthrew the Qin Dynasty and founded the Han Dynasty, and Sima seized the Wei Dynasty to start the Jin Dynasty. Almost every generation would have to overthrow the last dynasty to be the Emperor, so is there anyone who isn't a rebel?"
"The winner becomes the emperor while the loser becomes the bandit. If it was Liu Yu who had lost back then, the Huan Clan would've ruled the world today while the Liu Clan would've been killed." Although his tone was gentle, he showed no respect to those emperors who founded the dynasties, even calling their names out directly.
Mo Xiang was not shocked to hear that. He did not even reveal any surprise on his face and just listened to Rong Zhi speak.
Rong Zhi smiled lightly and set the game piece down. "The reason why I'm talking so much today is that I hope you don't limit your perspective about what has happened in the history of the clans. Look at things like you're looking at the world, then you'll have a better understanding.
"The Huan Clan and the Xie Clan were the only top nobilities that started from scratch during the Jin Dynasty back then. However, the rise of the Xie Clan came true with the effort of generations, but there was only one notable person from the Huan Clan. It was Huan Yuan's ancestor, Huan Wen. The clan rose to one of the top nobilities in the short ten years or so with his effort alone. Huan Wen was a peerless hero, but he died at a young age due to illness. He did not obtain any achievement while his son Huan Xuan was a dirtbag who had no ambition and talent. He became Liu Yu's stepping stone leading to his achievement just like that.
"The story of Huan Clan should've ended there, but when I saw Huan Yuan, I knew he's the last sliver of hope for the clan." Rong Zhi proceeded to speak after a moment of silence, "I heard the reason the Princess knew about Huan Yuan's existence came from the news that the Huan Clan insisted on sending through. The Princess's father was still the emperor back then and he was going to send assassins to the Huan Clan. He wanted to kill the last blood of the clan. Without any other options, the clan got the Princess to see Huan Yuan so that he would be safe entering the Princess's Imperial Residence."
That was how Huan Yuan managed to keep his life. Apart from him, there was no one left in the Huan Clan.
It was Mo Xiang's first time hearing that, so he could not help but asked in shock, "Does Huan Yuan know about this?"
Rong Zhi smiled lightly. "Of course, he doesn't. I wouldn't have revealed that to him at that time."
"Why's that so?"
"The reason why you don't see what Huan Yuan's capable of doing is that his talent's been restricted. He was placed under house arrest since young. Although he was wronged and restricted, he's never seen any of those real and complicated human behaviors or things that are happening in the world. Whatever he has learned came from books and his family who was arrested just like he was. However, look at the plot to rebel that he came up with earlier. Did it sound like it was planned by a person who has zero experience?"
If geniuses really existed in this world, Huan Yuan would be one of them. He, who had no experience in society and plotting against one another, managed to come up with such a thorough plan that was cleverly linked together. Although there were flaws in his plan, in Rong Zhi's opinion, it was just that Rong Zhi had seen more of the world than Huan Yuan ever had.
Perhaps the Huan Clan ancestor, Huan Wen's political talent was resurrected in the blood of this generation. Although the generation lived in such a restricted environment, it could not take all of their glory away.
As the last note came to Chu Yu's ears and the music stopped, once again, the wine vessel arrived before her.
It was not an inch more or an inch less as it arrived right before Chu Yu just like the last two times.
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