Sha Po Lang

Chapter 13: Apology

This man surnamed Gu might think that he was coming to apologize, but unfortunately, no matter how one would look at it, it appeared as if he came especially to pick a fight.

Gu Yun actually stayed right next door to Chang Geng, but unlike Chang Geng’s place, the place where he settled seemed quite cold.

If Chang Geng said ‘No need to serve’, Governor Guo would surely and shamelessly praise ‘His Royal Highness’ heart goes out to the people’, then proceed to send over dozens of servants.

However, even if he acquired an enormous sack of courage, Master Guo would still not dare to speak of a single flattering word in front of Marshal Gu.

Gu Yun casually sent out an order of ‘Don’t come to bother’ where he lived. Except for the scary Black Iron Camp soldiers, no one dared to come in for even half a step.

In situations where he could not see well and could not hear, Gu Yun would become extremely agitated and tense, and would especially hate having unfamiliar people hovering about.

Shen Yi had not seen him so rigid in a very long time, as if every tree and bush was an enemy soldier. He had thought that perhaps by hiding away in the small town of Yanhui for two years, Gu Yun had learned how to peacefully coexist with this vague concept of common life. But it seemed to be impossible after all.

The one who learned to live in peace was just ‘Shen Shiliu’ alone, not Gu Yun.

In fact, Gu Yun, this person, although he usually bore the demeanor of confidence and calmness, truth was, eight to nine parts of it were false, but his acting was simply too real that no one could see through them.

At the same time, although his blindness and deafness were all real, they seemed like just an act.

From this point of view, Marshal Gu had set an example upon himself to embody the saying ‘true could be false, false could be true’. Shen Yi did not know whether he was really missing something inside, or if it was intentional.

Ah yes, his heart was also sincere and genuine, but it seemed that not many people were convinced either.

Near the evening, when the night had just started to fall and the twilight stars had not yet revealed themselves, the first thing Gu Yun did after returning to his chamber was to turn on all the lights.

Then he took off the Liuli Glass, rubbed his eyes hard, and said to Shen Yi: “Get me my medicine.”

Shen Yi was a refined and mannered broken mouth. Apart from fighting in battles, his side job was to ramble; he went on with practiced ease: “Grand Marshal, thirty percent of the medicine was still poison. When in no extreme emergency, I believe you should drink as little as possible…”

Gu Yun stood under the lamp with his expression remaining unchanged, his gaze was a bit dazed and he did not respond.

Shen Yi closed his mouth — he remembered, at this distance, Gu Yun cannot hear him.

Gu Yun’s deafness was a trick to restrain all the broken mouths. One hit was sure to kill, all these years it had never failed once. Shen Yi had to silently turn around, and go to the kitchen to brew the medicine.

The Liuli Glass was very flimsy, pressed onto either side of the bridge of the nose. With just a slight change in temperature, it would condense a layer of white fog and completely block the line of sight. It was also quite fragile and could easily damage the eyes when it breaks. Overall, it was very inconvenient for military officers. But if it’s just in one’s own home, it’s still alright to put on in case of urgent matters.

After Shen Yi came out again, Gu Yun has re-framed the glass on the bridge of his nose, whetted the ink, and began to write his report.

Although Governor Guo was only a small official out in the border, his living condition was not at all poor. The lamp on the table was not just an ordinary oil lamp, but it was a steam lamp which brightness could be adjusted. Judging from the complicated lace design, it might have been bought from the hands of the people from the East.

There was also a Western clock next to the steam lamp, and although it was a fake product, it seemed as good as real. If inspected carefully, there were fine marks on the top to indicate the 12 earthly branches, the 10 heavenly stems, and the 12-hour period of the day. The upper left corner also had a small window with the 24 solar terms alternating. This object seemed to be neither fish nor fowl. The lower part of the clock was transparent, gears with sizes of large and small pushed forward. Gu Yun hated this thing as the gears were very noisy when turning; he had considered telling people to take it out.

But it didn’t matter at the moment, he could not hear it either way.

When Shen Yi came back with a bowl of medicinal soup, Gu Yun had just finished writing and placed his brush down.

Gu Yun: “Look over it for me to see if there is anything wrong.”

The steam lamp was dazzling, there was a row of Western women showing their chests on the lampshade, all of them were posing in a way that revealed each and every detail, Shen Yi used his hand to shield the light and whispered: “How vulgar.”

Then he quickly read through Gu Yun’s report and sighed: “If there is anything wrong? Marshal, please pardon this Shen’s humble skills and shallow knowledge, I don’t see a single thing that is right in this.”

Gu Yun: “Huh? What?”

Shen Yi: “…”

He picked up Gu Yun’s report by the corner, stuffed it back into Gu Yun’s arms, gently held his elbow, and pointed to the small couch next to him, indicating that he should just go hang out over there. Then Shen Yi spread his own paper, dipped his brush in ink, and tried to start writing a new one.

Gu Yun took the medicine bowl and downed it in one go with enthusiasm. He leaned on the delicately carved couch, did not even take off his shoes, then crossed his two legs up high and quietly waited for the medicine to take effect. At the same time, his hands did not stay idle — Gu Yun’s ten fingers swiftly folded the previous report into a paper bird, then took aim at the back of Shen Yi’s head.

How much of a bastard can this man be!

Shen Yi heard the sound of the wind and caught the paper bird with his hand. Truly admitting defeat this time, he asked Gu Yun: “Can you hear me like this?”

“It’s alright, still a little fuzzy,” Gu Yun said. “Either way you could rephrase what I have written down before accordingly and make it sound nicer for me.”

Shen Yi sighed: “Marshal, you want to tell the Emperor that it is the Fourth Prince himself who had seen through the conspiracy of the Barbarians, and had set aside familial love, thus providing us with the opportunity to exterminate them in one fell swoop? Would you believe something like this?”

No one knew what type of panacea Gu Yun had taken, the two small beauty marks under his eye and on his earlobe seemed to have come back to life, shining bright red once again.

“And if not?” Gu Yun asked: “Otherwise are we going to tell His Majesty that I have wanted to dominate Great Liang’s military forces for a long time now, that the Western Regions’ situation had just settled yet I’m already plotting to take over military control of the Northern Frontier, and I have soon taken advantage of his order to protect the little Prince to run off to trap the Barbarians?

“Or should we say that I have secretly dipped my hands into the prohibited Ziliujin black markets which have been repeatedly banned, and accidentally discovered that the amount of Ziliujin that flowed into these markets in the recent years is abnormal?”

Shen Yi: “…”

Gu Yun proudly spoke: “You can round it up and make it sound more believable, otherwise what would I need you for? Moreover, having that unfortunate mother, Chang Geng, that kid, after we return to the capital, he will likely be harassed by those old bastards. You need to dress it up nicely for me, say that the Fourth Prince had led a dreadful life but despite going through many trials and hardships, his heart of sincere loyalty to the country had not been diminished. You must make it heart-wrenchingly sad, as long as His Majesty breaks down crying as he reads it, let me see who would dare to talk.”

Shen Yi: “… ”

Gu Yun had just made him coax the Prince. Now he wanted him to make the Emperor cry.

Shen Yi sneered and put down the brush: “Pardon this Shen for not having enough ink inside for this, Marshal should go and inquire another expert then.”

Gu Yun: “Ah!”

Shen Yi tilted his head and saw Gu Yun playing victim with not even a hint of shame whatsoever:

“My head hurts. It hurts, hurts, hurts, hurts enough to explode — Brother Ji Ping, besides you, there is no one else who will help and support me, how can you have the heart to abandon me like this? This lonesome and desolated mortal world is truly heartless, what else should I live for?”

Then he clutched his chest and fell over on the small couch in a coffin position and played dead.

… saying your head hurt, then what were you clutching your chest for?

Rows of blue veins popped up on the back of Shen Yi’s hand.

However, after a while Shen Yi still reluctantly sat down again, spread the paper, carefully considered every word and sentence, and modified Gu Yun’s report.

After Gu Yun ‘the corpse’ had lied down, he did not come back to life again, because his head actually did hurt. Shen Yi also knew that this was the medicine’s side effect.

After drinking this medicinal soup, there was a period as long as an incense burning time wherein his eyes could see crystal clear and his hearing was extremely sharp. When this time period was over, the headache would start to kick in, and even just opening his eyes would feel as if his surroundings were spinning. The sounds all around him echoed both near and far.

This symptom would slowly be relieved after about half an hour. Afterwards, his eyes and ears could temporarily function like normal people.

How long could he stay normal? That would be hard to say.

When Gu Yun took this medicine for the first time, the ache was painful enough for him to beat his head against the bedpost. Afterwards, as he was able to see and hear clearly for more than three months, it almost made him forget that he still had two nonfunctional body parts.

And as he used it more and more frequently, on one hand, he had acquired the skill to fall asleep no matter how painful his head would become, but at the same time, its effectiveness seemed to be slowly wearing out.

As of right now, a single dose could only be effective for about three to five days.

It might become completely useless in a few years…,” Shen Yi thought.

The two – one sitting, one lying – did not speak a single word. It was only up until the night was dark and the sound of night patrol could be heard in the distance that Shen Yi had finally put his brush down. He turned around to pick up a blanket and covered Gu Yun.

Gu Yun still kept the same sleeping position as before when he fell over, completely motionless. Only his brows were slightly crunched together, his lips and cheeks were pale white as if there was not a trace of blood. Still, his two beauty marks continued to shine.

Shen Yi looked at him, then carefully walked out.

The next day, as Marshal Gu woke up, he had reverted back to the Marquis of Order bursting with energy once again.

The day was still not bright yet Shen Yi was already stirred awake by Gu Yun. He answered the door with still drowsy eyes, only to see a very enthusiastic Gu Yun: “The stuff I commissioned had finally arrived. Just you watch, when I bring this to apologize, I guarantee it can completely soothe the anger of that little brat!”

Shen Yi blinked hard, suddenly there was an ominous premonition rising up in his heart.

The Marquis ordered four Black Iron Camp soldiers to move a large box the size as big as a house post, then marched over to Chang Geng’s place with vigor. When passing by the patch of mints that he had wrecked the night before, Gu Yun picked another leaf and put it in his mouth, not caring that its sharp edge was digging into his lips, he blew a melody that he invented himself, as if to declare from afar that he had descended for a visit.

As a result, one of his foot had just entered Chang Geng’s courtyard door when he was immediately greeted with a murderous long sword flying towards him. The servant nearby carrying a tea tray screamed out in fright, the tray and everything on it shattered to pieces as it dropped onto the ground.

Gu Yun’s wrist fired a blade the size of a palm in an instant. Suppressing the sword Chang Geng was holding, its whole body slipped out like a fish. The two sharp edges came in contact, creating a sound. However, after Gu Yun flexed his fingers, Chang Geng’s wrist suddenly went numb and he nearly had to let go of the long sword, forcing him to retreat.

Gu Yun retracted the blade back to the wristband, and with both hands behind his back, he smiled and said: “What had irritated Your Highness so early in the morning? No matter, you can put all of your anger on your subject.”

Chang Geng: “…”

This man surnamed Gu might think that he was coming to apologize, but unfortunately, no matter how one would look at it, it appeared as if he came especially to pick a fight.

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