The Shadow Guard is also the White Moonlight [Rebirth] Chapter 79

Chapter 79

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“Don’t look!” Fu Nian, seeing Chu Zhaoyi’s strange expression, hurriedly whispered. He didn’t even mind that half his body was lying on Chu Zhaoyi’s lap as he tried to snatch back the prohibited book.

Chu Zhaoyi had long arms and naturally wouldn’t allow him to take the book back. He moved it farther away and continued to browse.

The further he flipped, the more distorted Chu Zhaoyi’s already icy expression became. He continued to look down in silence. “Your Majesty…” Fu Nian wanted to explain something.

After a long silence, Chu Zhaoyi’s face finally froze on a certain page in the book, and it was hard to tell whether he was disgusted or simply overwhelmed.

Following Chu Zhaoyi’s gaze, Fu Nian looked at the page and immediately furrowed his brow.

——On the pages of the book, there was an illustration featuring a clearly male protagonist with a full-term pregnant belly. His posture was excessively lewd, and the artwork was exquisitely detailed, capturing the facial expressions of the character with great precision.

Chu Zhaoyi was stunned for a moment but didn’t continue to look further. He wordlessly closed the book he had snatched from Fu Nian’s hands.

Fu Nian: “…”

During the silence, Fu Nian realized that he had unconsciously ended up lying on Chu Zhaoyi’s lap while trying to snatch the book. He hurriedly climbed back up and sat upright, avoiding eye contact with Chu Zhaoyi.

His face was burning, and Fu Nian didn’t dare to meet Chu Zhaoyi’s gaze.

It’s over.

“Ah-Nian… do you usually like reading these kinds of things?” After a long while, Chu Zhaoyi finally asked hesitantly.

Fu Nian: “…”

He couldn’t respond to that. Despite Chu Zhaoyi’s unconventional nature, he had still been raised under the rules of royal etiquette. In fact, even an average street thug might not have seen something as bizarre as this.

“No, I naturally don’t like this kind of thing,” Fu Nian denied, “I happened to get it from a colleague and thought it might be a way to pass the time when I’m bored. I didn’t expect the content inside to be so indecent. When I saw you suddenly return, I instinctively hid it.”

After explaining, Fu Nian noticed that Chu Zhaoyi didn’t say anything further. He couldn’t help but add in a somewhat guilty tone, “It’s really strange, though. How could a man possibly become pregnant?”

“Yeah, it’s definitely vulgar,” Chu Zhaoyi, seeing that Fu Nian had obtained the book from a colleague and didn’t like it, expressed boldly, “Calling it vulgar would be an understatement; it’s downright obscene.”

Fu Nian didn’t respond.

It turned out that Chu Zhaoyi considered a man’s pregnancy to be obscene.

Well, even Fu Nian himself felt like a freak, and he still couldn’t be sure if he was truly pregnant.

With these thoughts in mind, Fu Nian unconsciously hunched his back, trying not to let Chu Zhaoyi notice anything unusual about his body.

He didn’t want to be seen as obscene.

Towards the end of December, in the middle of the night, news arrived that Fu Nineteen had awakened in Chengyuan Hall.

“Is he really awake?” Fu Nian, in his bedroom, was sharpening his blade while Chu Zhaoyi was reading scrolls nearby. Upon hearing the palace attendant’s report, Fu Nian immediately put down his blade.

“Indeed, my lord. It’s confirmed. He didn’t just show some signs of breathing as before; he can actually sit up and communicate with people now,” the palace attendant replied.

Fu Nian was about to stand up.

He hadn’t even put on his outer robe yet when he heard a soft voice from behind the desk, “Originally, Zhen was wondering why you were staying up past the Hai hour, even pushing aside matters of state until tomorrow. What kind of imperial edict could make you stay up half the night and get up so early? It turns out, it’s because your former senior brother woke up.”

Hearing these words, Fu Nian’s movements in putting on his outer robe paused.

“I just need to ask him something important. The bonds of our sect relationship… have long been severed. Please forgive me for making you laugh, Your Majesty.”

Before he could fully grasp the multiple layers of meaning in Chu Zhaoyi’s words, Chu Zhaoyi placed the book aside and had the eunuch bring a splendid fur robe, insisting that Fu Nian put it on.

Fu Nian didn’t understand.

Chu Zhaoyi had tailored many luxurious outfits for him in the past, but he had never worn them. Chu Zhaoyi had never forced him to either.

However, tonight was different. Chu Zhaoyi was adamant that he wear it.

Looking at the deep purple satin robe he was wearing, with oversized sleeves that could practically hide a person, Fu Nian felt a tinge of annoyance. The intricate embroidered patterns on the robe carried auspicious meanings, and the embroidery work was so finely done that you could hardly feel the raised threads. The tassels at the waist were made of pure gold, emitting a faint sound with every step. Coupled with the sable fur outer garment, it exuded an opulent aura. Given Fu Nian’s already tall and handsome figure, he didn’t look like a Shadow Guard. In fact, he appeared to have some of the Empress’s presence.

Fu Nian adjusted the cumbersome sleeves, trying to gather them for easier movement.

“Just go like this. See your senior brother, and then come back,” Chu Zhaoyi said, eyeing Fu Nian’s attire.

Indeed, this outfit was much better fitted than his usual plain clothes, but Fu Nian couldn’t help but feel that it made his waist look slightly bulky, or maybe it was just his imagination.

Fu Nian didn’t respond to Chu Zhaoyi’s teasing comment and prepared to take his leave.

As he climbed into the sedan chair, Fu Nian finally managed to fold the sleeves up, making his movements more convenient.

In his previous life, no matter when he went to see anyone, Chu Zhaoyi never cared in the slightest, and he couldn’t be bothered to ask questions. He just told him not to interfere with important matters. This time, he was going to see his senior brother, just to meet him once… Fu Nian looked at the silk outfit he was wearing.

“So even Chu Zhaoyi can be possessive,” Fu Nian murmured to himself.

Afterward, he wore a faintly twisted smile on his otherwise calm face.

Now Chu Zhaoyi  understood how he felt in the previous life.

In that previous life, Fu Nian had watched Chu Zhaoyi interact with various men and women about non-political matters, and he had also considered trying to assert his dominance over this confident man. Although it had been only a fleeting thought on many occasions, Fu Nian quickly realized that he wasn’t worthy.

Arriving at the Ministry of Punishment, it was so dark that you couldn’t see your own hand in front of your face.

Guided by the jailers, Fu Nian was led to a room in a corner of the courtyard.

Although it was part of the Ministry of Punishments, there was no hint of a prison atmosphere. While the building lacked the grandeur of the palace, the interior was clean and comfortable.

“Lord, Fu Nineteen and Fu Bie are both inside. Fu Nineteen has just undergone interrogation, and it will continue tomorrow. I’m afraid we’ll have to trouble you to wait a while,” one of the attendants said.

“I understand.” Fu Nian responded coldly, left his fur robe and weapons outside the door, and strode in.

His senior brother, whom he hadn’t seen in many years…

Fu Nian’s memories of him were still frozen at the moment he was pierced by a sword.

And there was also what their master had said, that his senior brother had always been filled with regret and guilt since his death…

In the inner room, the scent of herbs hung heavily in the air. Passing through a folding screen, Fu Nian saw Fu Bie sitting by the table, absentmindedly trimming a candle, his mind somewhat clearer but still not quite sharp.

On the bed, the young man was still dressed in his pale moon-white robes.

However, compared to the last time Fu Nian had seen him, these light-colored robes now had traces of bloodstains and dust, the coronet was disheveled, his face was pale, and his eyes remained tightly shut.

Fu Nian quickly approached and knelt by the bedside, whispering with uncertainty, “Senior, Senior brother?”

Even though he had long severed ties with his sect, the term “senior brother” involuntarily slipped from his lips upon seeing Fu Nineteen.

Hearing the words “senior brother,” the young man on the bed showed some signs of life. His eyelids trembled, and eventually, he weakly opened his eyes.

Clear, unbelieving eyes blinked several times before they dared to confirm that the person before him was indeed Fu Nian.

“Senior brother, Senior Brother Nineteen!” Fu Nian reached out to check his pulse, which was indeed beating.

He was alive, genuinely alive!

“Little Nian…” The young man’s voice was light and faint, as if it could dissipate with the wind. “I’m sorry, that sword must have hurt terribly.”

Fu Nian didn’t expect that, upon their reunion, the first thing his senior brother would do was apologize.

“But fortunately, what Master said was true. He said that if I listened to him and did as he instructed, you could come back from the brink of death. When the time comes, we will reunite, just like in the days at the Distant Moon Sect, supporting each other in life.”

Fu Nian listened in astonishment.

He had noticed that his senior brother’s appearance still resembled that of his youth, not quite matching his actual age. Fu Nian had originally guessed it was due to medications and spending years without seeing the sun. “What did that old coot… No, our Master ask you to do?”

“…” Fu Nineteen fell into thought.

Fu Nian didn’t rush him.

It seemed that his senior brother’s temperament had also changed, retaining only a part of his gentleness, while the ruthless and arrogant traits had vanished without a trace.

“Ever since I helped you deal with the poison, and planted the Life-Link heart-connecting gu in your body, I returned to the sect to beg for forgiveness…” At this point, Fu Nineteen fell into contemplation once more. He massaged his temples, furrowing his brows as if trying to recall something.

“Wait, you just said you planted the gu for me?” Fu Nian seized upon this point, asking eagerly.

“Yes. Back then, I saw how determined you were to avoid returning to the sect… So I concealed my identity and entered the palace, planting the gu to alleviate the poison in your body.”

Fu Nian was taken aback.

Could it be that the person he had been searching for all these years was actually his senior brother….?

For so many years, he had never considered this possibility.

Fu Nian hadn’t yet figured out how to express his intention of repaying the favor this time around or how to make amends for his senior brother’s suffering from bearing the gu. He hadn’t even considered what path to take in the future. But before he could contemplate further, Fu Nineteen spoke again.

“Why are you so surprised? Didn’t His Majesty tell you that the poison in your body is the Parent-Child Gu, and you have the mother gu in your body? Someone planted the child gu to save you. Back then, His Majesty selflessly bore the gu for you, so I planted it on his behalf. It’s just that the events that followed will take some time for me to recall.”

Fu Nineteen looked at him, puzzled by his astonishment.

“His, His Majesty bore the gu for me? It wasn’t you who planted it?”

Fu Nineteen nodded and said, “Yes, it was me who planted it. Back then, I was afraid you would die outside, so I secretly learned Master’s secret technique and brought the gu into the palace. I thought I wouldn’t be able to find someone to bear the gu for you, but then His Majesty… His Majesty didn’t hesitate and accepted to bear it for you.”

Fu Nian finally understood. The person he had been searching for all these years, the “reclusive expert” skilled in dealing with gu poisons, was none other than his concerned senior brother.

As he grasped this revelation, he suddenly felt something was amiss. Wait a moment, did his senior brother just say that it was Chu Zhaoyi who bore the gu for him? The Life-Linked heart-connecting gu was peculiar; the person bearing the gu would share the majority of the pain and had no room for regrets. Fu Nian knew firsthand how excruciating the poison could be, and he had always assumed that an unwitting victim had borne the gu for him.

Fu Nian was unsure if he had misheard and, in his haste, his voice trembled as he asked, “Wait, does that mean it was Chu Zhaoyi who had the Life-Linked heart-connecting gu and bore it for me all this time?”

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