The Wu family was not favored by the Emperor and the Liu family whom she married from, was also not much better than the Wu family. Also, daughters who married out were like spilled water. A woman who does not win the favor of her husband and even after so many years of marriage was still a virgin, would only bring shame to her maternal family.
The next day, Wu Liu personally went to the Jiang residence to see Jiang Kangchen. Jiang Kangchen was not in the house, so she reluctantly asked her servants to ask Jiang Kangchen’s servants where he was and when he would return to the house. But the reply was that Jiang Kangchen had left the capital.
Jiang Zhuang very nonchalantly told Wu Liu to not come to disturb his youngest master in the future. His young master was no longer related to the Duke Ning Mansion. The Duke Ning Mansion also forced his young master to death once, so what was she doing inviting him to drink tea now? Was it something interesting to do?
Jiang Zhuang asked Wu Liu to go back and tell the people in the Duke Ning Mansion that since the day his young master left the Duke Ning mansion, the bridges between the two sides had already burned, and his young master would never set foot in the door of the Duke Ning Mansion again.
Wu Liu was mad as she went back to her house with an ugly expression. Soon, this incident spread all over the capital. There was not a single person who did not laugh at the Duke Ning Mansion. Why the Duke Ning Mansion would only now go to look for Jiang Kangchen, no one needed any explanation. The Duke Ning Mansion has degenerated to the point that it has the cheek to invite home the daughter-in-law they once kicked out, which was really a joke.
This incident also reached the ears of the Empress and made him smile faintly. Zhuo Jin whispered beside him, “Your Majesty, I just got the news that Wu Jian also left the capital today.” The Empress took a sip of tea and said indifferently, “The two of them were originally in love, but they were separated from each other.” Zhuo Jin said with some concern, “I’m afraid that Jiang Kangchen will eventually return to the Duke Ning mansion for Wu Jian.”
The Empress said without any worry. “Elder Weng has reminded him. As long as he is not stupid, he will not go back. I will keep the people from the Duke Ning Mansion on the side and ask him to be the secretary of the inner palace just to see how he will choose.” No longer mentioning this matter, the Empress turned to ask, “Have you chosen the person Eunuch An wanted?”
“This servant has chosen them. They are married. They are old people who have been in the palace for many years. They know the rules. Both of them are also willing.” The Empress nodded and said, “There is no need for me to meet them then. They can go to Xiushui Village with the status of former Emperor’s servants. But I don’t want to hear anything in the future about two servants bullying their master. The deeds of the two of them will be given to Eunuch An. He will know what to do.”
At Baiyan Temple on the outskirts of the capital, early-blooming plum blossoms brought a different kind of life and vitality to the peaceful temple. A man with disheveled hair in a monk’s robe was sweeping the plum forest. He was dressed thinly for the cold temperatures of early spring, so his cheeks and hands were red from the cold, but he didn’t seem to be aware of it.
Jiang Kangchen, who was ordered to leave the capital on an errand, quietly went up Baiyan Mountain alone and entered Baiyan Temple. This temple was very small, so small that there were only three or four monks there. This was in stark contrast to Yulin Temple, which was just ten miles away and full of life. However, this deserted Baiyan Temple carries Jiang Kangchen’s most beautiful memories.
Walking into Baiyan Temple, Jiang Kangchen walked towards the plum blossom forest behind the temple. From a distance, he saw the man who was sweeping with his back to him, and in that instant, his eyes got wet. He stopped in his tracks and looked at the man in silence, his tears falling down uncontrollably. The long-haired man seemed to feel something, got up and turned around. When he saw Jiang Kangchen in the distance, the broom in his hand fell to the ground, followed by his stride toward Jiang Kangchen. But just after taking a few steps, he began to run.
There was eagerness on his pale and thin face, and his mouth opened, as if he wanted to shout something, but in the end, it was just gasping for air. Soon, he arrived in front of Jiang Kangchen, his eyes gazing at the other person greedily. He slowly lifted his hand, wanting to wipe Jiang Kangchen’s tears, but did not dare. Fingers advanced and retreated as his eyes just became even more red.
Jiang Kangchen lowered his head and the man also lowered his hand. The soil under his feet was soaked with water droplets and after a helpless and distressed sigh, Jiang Kangchan’s already cold body was vigorously and tightly embraced by a body even colder than his own.
“Kangchen…” A hoarse, dry, low cry filled with guilt, self-recrimination, and pain blasted in Jiang Kangchen’s ears. He lifted his arms and hugged the other side just as tightly.
“Wu Jian…” The whimpering in his ears was almost like a tearing pain. Jiang Kangchen closed his eyes tightly, tears wetting the other man’s clothes. The man stroked his back lightly, his fingers trembling.
“You’ve lost weight. You’ve lost a lot of weight.” Jiang Kangchen just shook his head, speechless. He hasn’t seen this person for nearly a year and when they meet again, how could this person be like this?”
The corner of the man’s mouth raised slightly, with satisfaction. “I thought, you wouldn’t want to see me. Jiang Kangchen’s nose was blocked as he tried to speak. “I have things. I was busy… after I am done, I can… come see you.”
“I know, I know. I know my Kangchen is very, very powerful now.” Wu Jian tightened his arms, but the words that came out made Jiang Kangchen almost unsteady. “Kangchen in the future, I will not come to see you.”
Jiang Kangchen struggled out of Wu Jian’s arms and looked up at him, his face white. Wu Jian touched Jiang Kangchen’s face and wiped his tears, his eyes filled with happiness due to seeing him. Wu Jian smiled and said, “The Duke Mansion wants you back. If they find out that I am still meeting you in private, you will never be able to escape them. They will seize every opportunity to force you to go back to the Duke Mansion.”
Jiang Kangchen’s eyes filled with panic. Wu Jian fished out a pile of silver bills from his arms and tugged Jiang Kangchen’s hand and stuffed them in. “This is the money I saved for Moxi for the next few years. You take it for him.” Jiang Kangchen looked down, raised his head, and asked anxiously, “Where did you get so much money?”
Wu Jian smiled, with a bit of let-go-cut determination. “They forced you to hand back the store and land, so I sold both the store and the land. They haven’t found out yet.” Jiang Kangchen’s eyes widened.
Wu Jian smiled as bright as a child. “What’s mine will only be yours and Moxi’s and no one can take it away.” His thumb rubbed over Jiang Kangchen’s moist eyes. “Kangchen no matter who from the Wu family goes to you, you should not meet them. Sooner or later, the Emperor will move against the Wu family, so you don’t even know how glad I am that you and Moxi have already left the Wu family.”
Covering Jiang Kangchen’s mouth, Wu Jian said, “Listen to me. When the Wu family failed to support the Emperor’s ascension to the throne, it was already destined to be the end of the Wu family. The only reason the Empress used you is because you left the Wu family and you hate the Wu family. If you return to the Wu family, you and Moxi will also be in danger.”
“Grandfather ordered my father and my mother to get you back no matter what means were used. Wu Liu will go to you today, but since you are not in the capital, it’s likely that my mother will come out herself. They will also definitely make an issue of me. Kangchen you must bear in mind that no matter what they say or do, you absolutely, absolutely, must not waver. With the Emperor and Empress around, the Wu family won’t dare to touch you and if you can, you’d better leave the capital.”
Jiang Kangchen pulled off Wu Jian’s hand and asked, “What about you?” His voice was rising. “I do hate the Wu family and what they did to me and Moxi, but what about you? Do you want me to never see you again? You are Moxi’s father!”
Wu Jian held Jiang Kangchen’s hand, while he wiped his tears with his other hand. “I haven’t had the face to see you since a long time ago, but I still always wanted to meet with you in private. It was also my selfishness. I was afraid you would fall in love with someone else.”
“But Kangchen, now it’s different. I am destined to die in the Wu family, but for you, the farther away from the Wu family, the better. Before, I couldn’t protect you and Moxi, but I can’t hold you back anymore.” As he said that, Wu Jian laughed again, “It’s good that Moxi is not in the capital now, so that he won’t be disturbed by the Wu family’s troubles. Moxi is with Kangning right?”
“You know, I sent Moxi to Kangning’s place?” Wu Jian smiled, but there was bitterness in that smile. “Moxi is my only son.” His only one; he could let him go, but never ignore him. It’s just that he lost the right to love his son a long time ago.
Jiang Kangchen’s tears were about to come out again, as Wu Jian hugged him again. “Kangchen, promise me.” Jiang Kangchen choked. “I will not go back to the Wu family… But I, I, can’t do it either. I won’t see you in the future, I can’t…” This person is the only one in his life, his only love in this life!
Wu Jian’s adams apple rose and fell several times, as he spoke in a hoarse voice. “Fool. You are not yet stable, do not invite unnecessary trouble for yourself.” After a pause, he pretended to be relaxed and said, “When you hold solid power in the future, I will go to your house and become a housekeeper for you.”
Jiang Kangchen’s body shook, and suddenly a bold thought struck his brain, as he struggled out once again, raised his head, looked at Wu Jian, whose eyes were moist at the corners, and grabbed him. “When I hold real power I will marry you! Wu Jian! Will you marry me?”
Wu Jian froze and after a long time, he threw back his head and laughed. “Hahaha”, laughing like crazy. Then, he took Jiang Kangchen in his arms with force and solemnly promised in his ear. “I’m waiting for you to marry me, Kangchen!”
Edited by: Jaisland