Both Jun Hua and Yi Yin had been to Shanglin Park countless times, and the so-called wandering around naturally didn’t mean to be near the main palace. If that were the case, it would be no different from taking a walk, and Jun Hua wouldn’t need Yi Yin to accompany him.
What Jun Hua wanted to do was to go to the vast hunting area outside, because with his rudimentary hunting skills, he could never go to those places by himself. Not only would he get nothing out of it, but he would also have to make a bunch of guards work to protect him. It was better not to go.
Yi Yin was different. He spent his childhood in Fuyu. It was not an exaggeration to say that he grew up on horseback. Since he returned to Yujing, the first place in the spring hunt every year was out of anyone’s reach, and no matter how dissatisfied others were, they could only compete for second place.
If it had been in the past, Jun Hua would definitely be embarrassed to trouble Yi Yin. Yi Yin didn’t like him, and if he burdened him with something, he would probably avoid him altogether.
But with that magical experience, Jun Hua changed his mind. He found that Yi Yin’s attitude towards him didn’t seem to be as bad as he thought. Otherwise, what reason did he have to be so good to Little Monkey since he was a child? The source was actually in himself.
Later facts proved Jun Hua’s guess. Yi Yin didn’t refuse the requests he made. He said he wanted to raise a little white tiger, and Yi Yin promised him to catch it. He said he wanted to go outside, and Yi Yin took him directly on horseback.
The tame prey in the hunting ground was docile by nature and couldn’t withstand Yi Yin’s destructive power. In a short time, the two returned with a full load.
The only regret was that Jun Hua overestimated his physical condition, and when he came back, he had a severe fever and lay in bed for three days and three nights.
Of course, there were benefits to being sick. It apparently struck a nerve, and Yi Yin came to visit every day, making Jun Hua almost wish he could stay feverish for a few more days. Yi Yin’s attitude change came too suddenly, making Jun Hua feel incredulous.
In fact, after Jun Hua’s condition improved, the relationship between the two didn’t become estranged.
They say that people’s hearts are the most difficult to satisfy. The more you get, the more you want. Jun Hua hadn’t believed this before, but now he did.
Originally, he only wanted to get closer to Yi Yin. He didn’t like that Wei Yang was the only one in Yi Yin’s eyes, especially since Wei Yang was using him.
Later, the two became more and more familiar, and Jun Hua began to be dissatisfied with the relationship of pure friendship. But he hadn’t figured out how to confess to Yi Yin, and Yi Yin was about to go to Fuyu on a mission with General Huo Dongjun.
The outcome of that war was known to Jun Hua, with the Great Yan winning a resounding victory, but the worry in his heart wasn’t diminished in the slightest.
He was afraid that his casual actions would affect the overall situation, and he was even more afraid that the smoothness of the war would deepen Wei Yang’s jealousy of Yi Yin.
No, he couldn’t sit still, he had to do something.
Fortunately, Jun Hua knew the future. It wasn’t easy to trip up Wei Yang, but it wasn’t difficult to plan a retreat for himself and Yi Yin. Besides, Wei Su refused to acknowledge Yi Yin as a member of the Wei family. Even if he really brought Wei Yang down, he might not be able to benefit from it.
In the previous life, he and Wei Ruo were able to cooperate happily, because both sides had their own needs, but now there was no such opportunity.
Since Jun Hua accompanied Wei Yang, the battle reports could be seen by him as soon as they were sent to the palace. Jun Hua knew the result, so he didn’t care about the battle reports themselves. What he focused on observing was Wei Yang’s expression and behaviour after seeing these battle reports.
Fortunately, the leader of the army was Huo Dongjun. The smooth progress of the war was due to his good command. Yi Yin was just a general under his command and was not too eye-catching. Wei Yang was currently short of men and was pleased to see the war reports, so he wouldn’t be dissatisfied for the time being.
Seeing that Wei Yang hadn’t developed too much fear of Yi Yin at the moment, Jun Hua breathed a sigh of relief. While trying to manoeuvre with Wei Yang unnoticeably, he secretly used the trick he had learned from Little Monkey and took advantage of the right age to take Suyun Pill.
This time, the relationship between Jun Hua and Yi Yin was much better than in the previous life, but only to the extent of being good friends. Jun Hua himself wasn’t sure when he could go further; he was afraid that if he delayed too long, he wouldn’t have the chance to see Tuantuan and Yuanyuan again.
Compared with the unfamiliar family and the unfamiliar Wei Chongrong, the biggest tie left to Jun Hua by the unrecognisable world of the reborn Wei Chongrong was the twins, and he hoped that he still had a chance to see them again.
It was not that Jun Hua had no attachment to his parents and younger brother, but they already had Little Monkey and it didn’t matter if he was there or not.
Of course, Tuantuan and Yuanyuan were not his either, they were the babies of Little Monkey and Wei Chongrong. It was just that Jun Hua and Little Monkey had shared the body for nearly a year. Although he was just a spectator most of the time, Jun Hua had empathised with Little Monkey’s experience. Otherwise, when Little Monkey was in trouble in Nanyue, he would have no way to wake him up. In this way, Jun Hua’s feelings for Tuantuan and Yuanyuan had become very complicated.
Jun Hua once heard Little Monkey say that he hadn’t been with Wei Chongrong yet when he started taking Suyun Pill, he was just planning ahead.
Now that he thought about it, Little Monkey’s words made sense. Suyun Pill had an age limit for taking it, and once you were overage, its efficacy would be greatly reduced or even useless.
Jun Hua didn’t want to make himself regret it one day in the future, so as soon as Yi Yin left, he started taking Suyun Pill.
According to Jun Hua’s original idea, he didn’t plan to tell Yi Yin about taking Suyun Pill, so as not to cause him to misunderstand. He just wanted to give himself a chance. If it really came to that day, he didn’t think Yi Yin would mind his little concealment.
Unexpectedly, the plan couldn’t keep up with the changes. After less than half of Jun Hua’s medicine was taken, the army of the expedition to Fuyu triumphed. At this point, the Great Yan had recovered all the lost territory in the north, and Wei Yang was overjoyed and rewarded Huo Dongjun and many of his generals.
Yi Yin came to Hou Zhaoyang’s mansion within two days of returning to Yujing. He didn’t come by himself, but also brought a tender little white tiger.
Jun Hua was stunned, and it took a long time before he stammered, “You, how come you’re bringing it?”
Yi Yin was taken aback when he heard it and said, “Didn’t you want a little white tiger?” Otherwise, he wouldn’t have made a special trip to the Arslan Mountains.
Seeing that Yi Yin misunderstood him, Jun Hua hurriedly said: “I didn’t mean that, I mean… The war is busy, where did you have time…” Jun Hua couldn’t go on in the middle of the sentence. He felt that he might as well not explain, the more he said, the more wrong it sounded.
Fortunately, Yi Yin understood Jun Hua’s meaning and explained: “My task of capturing Qingjia City was completed. Instead of waiting in the city, it was better to go out for a walk.” Qingjia City was really a place full of unpleasant memories for Yi Yin, and he couldn’t stay there.
Jun Hua remembered that Yi Yin had left Fuyu after Wei Zhao killed himself, and suddenly didn’t know what to say.
Fortunately, Yi Yin didn’t pause for too long. He sighed, handed over the little tiger cub that was much bigger than the previous little kitten, and said, “The little cub is less than a month old. Except for me, it hasn’t seen any outsiders. You can raise it since it’s little and train it well.”
Jun Hua smiled slightly and stretched out his hand towards the little tiger cub curled up in Yi Yin’s arms. But the little guy was familiar with Yi Yin’s smell and was very resistant to others. Before Jun Hua’s hand touched its back, it suddenly arched its body and let out a roar.
Although the little tiger cub was small, its roar was quite loud, and its temperament of the king of beasts could be seen from an early age. Yi Yin was afraid that it would bite Jun Hua, so he hurriedly held it down, and then explained embarrassedly: “Huaixi, the little boy needs to get used a bit, should I…” At this point, Yi Yin was a bit stuck; what should he do? White tigers were very spiritual and needed to be raised since they were little, but the little tiger cub had been with him for more than half a month, and now it didn’t recognise outsiders. If he gave it to Jun Hua, he was afraid that Jun Hua couldn’t control it. But if he didn’t give it now, he would have no chance at all in the future.
“Why don’t you stay with me for a while?” Seeing that Yi Yin wanted to say something but stopped, Jun Hua hurriedly offered his idea.
Yi Yin’s eyes lit up, he smiled and nodded, “Yes, this method is good. The little boy needs to get used. I will accompany you while you get acquainted with it first, and wait until it recognises its master.” There was only this way, otherwise the little white tiger that had been caught would be his own and not given to Jun Hua.
After speaking, he glared at the little white tiger that was lying comfortably in his arms and threatened: “Behave yourself and don’t roar at Huaixi anymore, or I’ll stew you.”
The little white tiger looked up at Yi Yin blankly; one could only guess whether it understood him or not.
Jun Hua couldn’t help laughing when he heard this. The more he looked at the furry little guy, the more he liked it, but he didn’t dare to stretch out his hand again.
Yi Yin saw what he was thinking, so he hugged the little white tiger tighter and smiled, “Huaixi, it’s okay, I’ll make sure the little cub doesn’t dare to move again…” Only when the little white tiger was familiar with Jun Hua’s scent could they talk about the two of them raising it together.
Jun Hua blinked and tried to reach out his hand. This time he just touched the fur on the little white tiger’s back and didn’t try to take it away. The little one also appeared to be well behaved and only grunted twice comfortably, neither crying out nor moving around.
In order to give Jun Hua and the little white tiger a chance to spend time together, Yi Yin stayed at Hou Zhaoyang’s residence for most of the month. As a result, he accidentally found out the fact that Jun Hua was taking Suyun Pill, mainly because the reaction to that thing was really too great.
Yi Yin was a bit confused at the time. Why was Jun Hua doing this? He was Hou Zhaoyang, who could force him to marry someone and have children? Even Wei Yang didn’t have the guts to do so, unless…
He did it voluntarily.
Yi Yin thought about it for a while, and finally came up with this possibility, but he still couldn’t figure out who Jun Hua was doing it for.
Jun Hua had no relatives and didn’t usually like to deal with people. Except for Wei Yang, the only person who had the most contact with Jun Hua was Yi Yin himself.
Jun Hua and Wei Yang had always been at odds. Although they both hid it well, Yi Yin had already seen it even when Wei Su was still there. Wei Yang didn’t like Jun Hua, didn’t like him very much.
On the other hand, Jun Hua didn’t have much affection for Wei Yang either.
The reason why the two of them were still able to maintain a situation where the monarch and the subject got along was basically due to the legacy of Wei Su.
As for himself…
Yi Yin was frightened by his own thoughts, and his mind went blank.
Jun Hua… maybe… could possibly… like him…
The 17th of the eight month of the 1st year of Zhenghe.
The first Mid-Autumn Festival of the new emperor’s reign almost coincided with the first birthday banquet of the emperor’s grandsons, and the Crown Prince’s Lord Consort, who was in charge of the overall arrangement, was busy enough.
According to Jun Hua’s character, he was the most impatient with palace affairs. Unfortunately, the emperor didn’t have an empress, and he, the Crown Prince’s Lord Consort, couldn’t shirk his responsibilities. Luckily, as a rule he divided the palace affairs between eunuchs and palace ladies in charge while he played a supervisory role.
The Mid-Autumn Festival Banquet was not much of a problem. There was a precedent, just follow the usual procedure. The trouble was the twins’ one-year-old birthday banquet. His Majesty the Emperor said that his baby grandsons would be over the age of one, so it had to be grand and magnificent, and there could be no negligence.
As a result, Jun Hua was so busy that he didn’t sleep well for half a month, but at least he managed to finish the job successfully.
It was because he was too busy that Jun Hua didn’t even have the strength to be depressed when during the Zhuazhou ceremony Tuantuan and Yuanyuan refused to pick up anything and finally picked up each other.
The next day, Jun Hua had a free day and stayed in bed comfortably to catch up on his sleep, refusing to get up until after noon.
Wei Chongrong went to the court session early in the morning. He knew that Jun Hua had been busy for so long, so not only did he not wake him up, he also specifically ordered people not to disturb him. However, His Imperial Highness’s words were the golden rule for others, but to his precious sons, they were somewhat ineffective.
“Daddy, wake up…”
“Daddy, play with us…”
Tuantuan and Yuanyuan sat on the bed, shaking Jun Hua vigorously from left to right, vowing not to stop until they woke him up.
“Tuantuan, Yuanyuan, be good, don’t make a noise…” Jun Hua said, pulling up the quilt and continuing to sleep with his head covered.
Unwilling to be reconciled, Tuantuan stretched out his hand to pull down the quilt, but unfortunately his strength was not enough.
Yuanyuan turned his head and glanced at Tuantuan, suddenly flattened his mouth and let out a wail.
“Daddy, woo woo…” The way Yuanyuan cried was a typical “dry thunder and no rain”; the sound was loud but there was not a drop of tears on his face.
Tuantuan blinked blankly, completely unable to understand why his younger brother was crying.
The sound of Yuanyuan crying was so powerful that it quickly woke up Jun Hua who was trying to catch the tail end of a beautiful dream. No longer able to sleep soundly, he had to roll over and sit up, looking less than pleased at his two sons crawling onto his lap.
In fact, although Jun Hua was usually a little angry when being woken up, he wouldn’t be so angry that he would bother with two little children who didn’t know any better. There was a reason why he was really angry today, but that reason was, to put it mildly, perhaps a bit bizarre.
Just now, Jun Hua had a dream, and he dreamed of the long-lost Huaixi. This was the first time since Huaixi had said goodbye to him back then.
What surprised Jun Hua even more was that he didn’t just see Huaixi alone. Huaixi was holding two little identical-looking dumplings. Opposite them stood a man with a back that resembled his Brother Rong. He heard Huaixi call him Ah Yin.
And at Jun Hua’s feet, there was a majestic big white tiger lying on the ground, tall and with smooth fur. The two little dumplings seemed to like the big white tiger very much and stretched out their hands towards it desperately, causing Huaixi to be so busy that he could barely hold them.
The big white tiger also seemed to like the two little dumplings very much. He raised his eyes and looked at them but remained motionless obediently.
Seeing that the two little dumplings were about to cry because their little short hands couldn’t touch the big white tiger, Jun Hua laughed happily. He was about to get closer and see the scene in front of him more clearly, but he was awakened by Tuantuan and Yuanyuan. Naturally, he was quite upset.
Not long after, Wei Chongrong came back from the court and saw that the adult one and the little ones were both angry, so he asked curiously what happened.
Jun Hua curled his lips and briefly explained the whole story. After speaking, he sighed regretfully: “It’s all the fault of Tuantuan and Yuanyuan. If they hadn’t made so much noise, I would have been able to see more clearly. I don’t know when the next time I dream of them will be.”
Tuantuan and Yuanyuan were too young to understand Jun Hua’s words, but they could instinctively feel that their daddy was complaining about them to their father, so they both stretched out their hands towards Wei Chongrong and kept calling “Father”, trying to tell him of their grievances.
Wei Chongrong was taken aback, and then laughed loudly. He picked up one son with one arm and the other with the other, kissed them on both cheeks and then smiled: “Little Monkey, Tuantuan, Yuanyuan and I are in front of you, what else do you want to see…”
“Little Monkey…” Tuantuan murmured, repeating Wei Chongrong’s words, and poked Jun Hua’s face with his finger.
Jun Hua was startled, not caring about his son’s actions. After a moment, he suddenly snapped out of it, “Brother Rong, let’s take Tuantuan and Yuanyuan to play with Jiaojiao.” Jiaojiao was the name of the big white tiger raised in the imperial garden.
In the imperial garden, Jiaojiao, who had rarely been out of the cage lately, happily rolled on the grass a few times and then obediently sat down in place.
Immediately afterwards, Tuantuan and Yuanyuan rushed over with a scream and had a lot of fun playing with the obedient big white tiger.
Wei Chongrong put his arms around Jun Hua and asked with a smile: “Is the scene you saw in your dream like this?”
Jun Hua smiled without saying a word, feeling that it couldn’t be more perfect.
Translator’s note: Oh my, I can’t believe it is the last chapter of this incredible story I’m posting. I feel so nostalgic. Living in the company of Wei Zhao, Wei Chongrong, Little Monkey and the others for months was an incredible experience. Thank you, Luo Binghe, for accompanying me on this journey! It meant really a lot to me.
I actually suspect that 99% of people who will start reading this story will never reach the end. But I liked it so much, and I hope there will be those who will find it equally fascinating, with all its quirky, intricate world and its huge cast of awesome characters. Wei Zhao, Wei Zhao, you will forever stay in my heart!