Chapter Nineteen Where to go from here
The medicine that Dr. Lin prescribed to Li Yi was mixed with a few soothing medicinal materials. Therefore, Li Yi, who used to wake up easily, was sleeping deeply these days.
If it weren’t for the wooden house filling with smoke so quickly, Li Yi would have been unable to wake up even if the fire had reached the edge of his bed.
He was awakened by choking.
Li Yi opened his eyes and realized what was happening. He immediately rolled out of bed and rushed over to shout for Ping An. Pulling him, he found that Ping An was awake but could neither make a sound nor move at all.
The scorching heat had already surged towards the two of them, the smoke billowing. With everything burning around, Li Yi had no time to think about what was wrong with Ping An.
He glanced around and made a quick decision to wrap Ping An tightly in a quilt, with nothing exposed. He grabbed the bed hooks and straps to tie the quilt tightly, turned his head and picked up the stool to smash the window lattice that had been burnt to a crisp, then used all his strength to roll Ping An out of the window.
Fortunately, Ping An was born thin and wasn’t fully grown up yet. If he were an adult man, with Li Yi’s strength, it would not be really possible to hold him.
The thick smoke made it impossible to keep his eyes open. Li Yi bent over, turned back and pulled the bedding off. He originally wanted to go through the door but heard the noise outside and the voices of people and dogs barking.
The light of fire and the thick smoke finally alarmed the neighbors. The gong was ringing continuously and pots were clanging against each other, frightening everyone in the night
Li Yi only heard someone outside shouting, “The people inside! Jump the window! Jump the window! ”
He couldn’t see what was going on outside of the house. He didn’t dare to go through the door again when he heard the words, so he turned around and stepped on the stool first, then on the table.
Li Yi crossed his heart, wrapped his whole upper body tightly and leaped into the fire window. As soon as he rolled on the ground, he tried to pull off the bedding.
People immediately surrounded him, carrying a few buckets of cold water, and poured it on Li Yi. White smoke immediately rose from his clothes and the bedding that had accidentally caught a spark.
Li Yi was picked up with his wet clothes and hair, the neighbors who had come to put out the fire in the house were busy asking the owner if anything was wrong.
Li Yi shook his head again, thanked them, panted for breath, and said that everything was fine.
After this night of surviving from the threat of death, Li Yi had to find an inn to stay temporarily.
The palace of Su Wang had already received the news about such a big incident. Nowadays, the new Chang Shi of the regent’s household was Sun Xiangyu. The man was explicitly appointed by the emperor, but in reality, Zhao Yuan’s own man for a long time.
Naturally, Sun Chang Shi knew that this matter was very important and the next day quickly sent a letter to Jizhou.
Jizhou, outside the Cliff Pass.
On a desolate wild night, an occasional soul-seeking owl trailed its long, mournful cry, breaking the silence and fluttering up to the dead branches of the treetops.
Zhao Yuan stood in the desert wind, staring at the blackness of the cold mountains in the distance and the frost-covered ground around him. He felt the sand swirling in the wind, trying to bury him in this eternal desolation.
He had become accustomed to the coldness of the armor, the howling of the horns, too much fierce fighting and killing and the impermanence of life and death. It should have cooled his blood long ago, but despite his weariness, Zhao Yuan could still feel the beating of his heart.
It was the country he held in his heart when he was still a reckless youth. It was the family that he had to carry on his shoulders, not to be abandoned lightly. It was the oath he was willing to make that he had never forgotten for a day.
The great events of the country laid in sacrifices and wars. During that time, the Son of Heaven asked them how to use the army.
The young Li Yi, dressed in an imperial dragon robe, answered loudly in Wenhua Hall in front of all the academics clothed in brocade…
The abomination of war is that it cannot be stopped, and the value of martial arts is to stop the war. (1)
When the Son of Heaven heard this, he praised his grandson for having the virtue of an ancient sage.
In the hills behind the palace, where the grass was lush, Zhao Yuan asked Li Yi how he would stop the war as a ruler if the world was already in chaos.
The young man’s eyebrows were clear and long, and his eyes were like rippling waves as he looked straight at Zhao Yuan and said, “Qiyuan, will you be my great general? If you and I work together as one, we will be able to pacify the four directions of the world, eliminate evil, and put an end to war forever!”
Only then did Zhao Yuan realize that Li Yi was never joking, but he was really like the Crown Prince, carrying the world in his heart and full of benevolence but more courageous and less pedantic than his father.
The vows they made then were still fresh in his ears.
“The body of this subject will die only to repay the monarch.”
However, if the monarch’s death was caused by the subject’s hand, how could death be enough to repay?
Zhao Yuan crushed the letter sent by Sun Chang Shi and the paper fluttered down. He returned to his horse with a whip and shouted, “Pass the order! Attack Arughtai at night! ” (2)
The bright moon was rising, its glow as cold as snow, and tens of thousands of light cavalry surged like the sea, the military camp rising and heading towards the barbarians.
On this frosty and cold night in autumn, there were a few others who couldn’t sleep.
Zhou Yi followed Zhao Yuan to fight in the army, but the guard division still had a deputy, and Li Yi’s incident was secretly and thoroughly investigated.
Ping An’s inability to move during the fire was clearly a sign of poisoning.
The cook died of an acute illness within two days of Li Yi’s incident. Dingguo Gong’s residence was busy destroying witnesses and traces, but the guard division followed the evidence and found the clues.
Zhou Yi looked at the information that he received and couldn’t help but wonder why Li Yi who had eaten the same food was alive and kicking that night and could save Ping An.
The Shen family and the Empress Dowager were equally puzzled. Li Yi’s fate must have been helped by heaven, saving him from a certain death.
Everyone found it difficult to sleep and eat.
Only Zhao Xi looked at his prince and said in his heart, the Li family and the Zhao family are really deeply related. In the end, the Qing Dynasty began when the ancestors of the Zhao family saved the Li family. At the end of the day, it was the same fate.
Everyone knew the story of the imperial ancestors, but no one had ever thought it could be the same with Li Yi. Really, it was too far off.
Moreover, Zhao Heng was the only one in the Zhao family who knew that Zhao Yuan had awakened his bloodline power, and even he hadn’t thought too much about it.
With so many things in the world, if it weren’t for Wei Che’s mention, the emperor would never have known that there was another house on fire.
“The people are okay?”
“It’s okay, the master and servant have been just frightened.”
Wei Che came to ask the emperor, “Does Your Majesty need a thorough investigation?”
Zhao Heng thought for a while; he had already done what he had to do, and the rest depended on Li Yi’s own fate.
The emperor shook his head and missed Li Yi’s abnormality.
As for Li Yi himself, he didn’t know what happened that night. Because of the news of his cook’s death, he and Ping An mostly guessed that it might be a problem with the food.
But as to why Li Yi alone was fine, maybe it was because Li Yi was taking medicine and the decoction collided with the medicinal effect of the drug.
Since moving to the inn, Li Yi still took the decoction at night, sleeping soundly.
A body was the capital of a revolution. (3) He didn’t want a revolution, but when he saw that someone was coming to kill him, he had to drink his medicine in order not to be killed so easily.
So Li Yi had to stop painting during the day and began to seriously think about his situation.
This time he was careless. When he came out of prison, he was indeed surprised by the emperor’s decree. Since then he had been sheltered by Su Wang constantly. He was no longer in fear, and the extra thoughts he had were spent on dealing with the discomfort brought on by Zhao Yuan.
This matter was also a tangled mess, a real mess.
Li Yi thought about these bits and pieces just for a day, and after thinking about many things, he came up with a bold idea. He only felt that he was not sure if it could solve the current crisis and break the regent’s intention.
Thinking that it would be difficult for Ping An to accept his idea right away and it would be quite a headache to argue with him, Li Yi decided to take it slowly.
The inn was not a place to stay for a long time. Ping An saw that Li Yi had been thinking a lot in the past two days, and it was not that he himself wasn’t thinking.
The room was only booked for three days. When considering whether to renew the room, Ping An asked Li Yi: “Young master, you said you won’t renew the room. But you haven’t asked this slave to look for another place for you.”
Li Yi teased him with a smile: “Then why didn’t you remind me?”
Ping An said solemnly: “I thought, probably ‘that one’ arranged a place and the young master never told me.”
Li Yi didn’t want to hear such an answer, so he was silent for a while.
In just a few days, was Ping An about to fall to the blessings of that person?
Ping An felt that Li Yi’s silence was not right and immediately knelt down to admit his mistake.
Li Yi sighed, let him get up and said, “I know you are afraid after everything that happened. According to the previous situation, it is excusable for you to think so.”
It was just that Ping An didn’t understand. It was one thing to be forced by the situation, but it was another thing to take the initiative to seek shelter.
All his life, Li Yi was the eldest grandson of the Li family and was treated very well by his imperial ancestors and his father and mother.
The country had been broken and his family had been destroyed. As a man from the modern times, even he was able to figure out that the dynasty had come to an end, that his crown prince father and his wise grandfather couldn’t manage it. There was nothing he could think of in his situation at the time, when he had no army and no real power.
But just like this, he felt very uncomfortable and guilty.
Was there a need to live on, hypocritically, willing to be a slave at the mercy of the other people.
Li Yi and Ping An were really in different positions; Li Yi was not ready to tell him in detail, he only wanted to dispel the little hope that Ping An had for Zhao Yuan.
“In this world, rulers and subjects, husbands and wives, masters and servants may have a status, or some benefits, or children, or both between them. But what is there between me and Su Wang? It might be fresh for a while, yet how will it end in the future? You are thinking for my sake, I know. It’s just that I don’t want to live off the backs of others and end up in a bad place in the end.”
Li Yi spoke calmly, his tone even a little playful.
After hearing this, Ping An knew that he had made a mistake, so he knelt down again and didn’t dare to get up.
Only then did Li Yi stand up and say what he really planned, “From tomorrow, let’s go to live in the temple.”
Ping An was dumbfounded when he heard this, how could he think of such an idea as going to live in the temple?
Oh, since coming out of the prison and encountering the fire, young master and he should go to the temple to eliminate the disaster.
(1) Quote from Fang Xuanling
(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arughtai(3) Mao Zedong’s famous saying