Futile Calculations aka White Calculation - 75
Chapter 75 – Side Story (3) – Regret
In the inner palace, Concubine Yun was the most obtrusive and unremarkable concubine in the harem. However, her son* and two daughters were the most prominent among all the princes and princesses, especially Princess Yanyang and Princess Jiaoyang. The Emperor’s love for them was similar to loving his pair of eyes.
(T/N: The son mentioned here is Emperor Murong, father of Murong Lei.)
But ever since they were children, the relationship between the two princesses was worst than that of half-sisters. If Yanyang learns a dance today, Jiaoyang would immediately learn a complicated set of swordplay. The two would perform in front of their Father and would compete with each other neither giving up. On the other hand, if Jiaoyang is to get a rare horse, the next day, Yanyang would buy herself a piece of valuable jewelry to make everyone feel more envious of her.
Many years later, when Yanyang recalled the past of her youth, other than sighing over those matters that happened so long ago, nevertheless there were some feelings of regret.
What is so good about fighting over them?
It’s a pity that time never allows one to look back, even though she is the Eldest Princess of the Great Ye Kingdom.
One day, she squabbled with Jiaoyang who flew into a rage after losing to her, and Jiaoyang personally led a whole team of trusted guards to arrest her. Relying on her good qinggong skills, Yanyang played hide-and-seek with that team of guards and as the encirclement began to shrink smaller and smaller, she hurriedly hid in a carriage that was parked on the road leading into the palace.
After hearing the voices had drifted far away, Yanyang jumped down from the carriage proudly.
Maybe it was because she felt too proud of herself and jumped a bit too far off, so when she landed on the ground, she fell into a person’s arms.
That was the first meeting between Yanyang and Ji Ting.
At that time, Ji Ting had just reached his carriage after receiving a reward from the Emperor. Suddenly, a little girl jumped out from thin air and he, who was used to dodging from weapons, did not know why he reached out his hands without hesitation. When the soft and sweet-smelling girl fell into his arms, her smooth and tender forehead hit his hard chest and there was a low and delicate cry. “Aiyo!”
The lotus pond half-filled with lotus flowers behind her served as a background that complemented Yanyang and when Ji Ting lowered his head to look down at the girl in his arms, her unparalleled appearance was even more tender than the newly sprouted lotus buds in the pond. The girl’s lovely body scent drifted from the hair on her temples and clothes and mischievously assailed his nostrils. Suddenly, Ji Ting felt a burst of heat in his head.
After Yanyang hit her forehead, the next moment, she raised her hands to touch it but her arms were clamped down by two hands that were like iron pincers. She lifted her head in anger and said in a crisp voice. “Audacious! Release Benggong!”
(Benggong – Princess Yanyang is referring to herself.)
That was the last time she ever referred to herself as ‘Benggong’ in front of Ji Ting and the following decades, even in their fiercest quarrels or even when they fought, she only referred to herself as ‘I’ in front of him.
That tall boy clad in a suit of armor looked at her without any expression. He was facing the setting sun and the rays of light formed a golden halo of light around the edges of his cold handsome face. His dark eyebrows cast a black shadow on his face and his pair of dark eyes were shining brightly like stars in the sky.
The Eldest Princess of the Great Ye Kingdom blushed.
“You……” He did not move for a long time and was unaware of the strength of his hands. Yanyang felt so painful that tears had rolled down from her eyes and her voice had softened. “My arms…….you’re about to break my arms.”
It was only then Ji Ting woke up as if from a dream. He quickly released her and feeling apologetic, he gently rubbed her arms a few times. The beautiful princess bit on her rosy lips, looked at him with her bright eyes and when Ji Ting realized it was inappropriate he withdrew his hands stiffly.
“I am Yanyang.” She rubbed on the spot that he had just touched and said softly. “Who are you?”
Yanyang’s beautiful eyes flashed very brightly and curved beautifully. “It’s you…….”
The bravest and the most reticent young General in the imperial city turned out to be so young and so……handsome.
Originally, Ji Ting’s world was monotonous consisting of only armor and frozen rivers but ever since then, with her every laugh and every word, the splendid sun in his life never set.
When he learned that she was the Emperor’s beloved Princess Yanyang, Ji Ting felt both joyful and gloomy ~ ~ She has the best name in the world and also the most prominent status. The current him is not worthy of her right now.
(The name Yanyang means splendid sun.)
The next day he made up his mind to enter the palace and planned to ask the Emperor to send him to war in the Western Region.
A far distance away from the palace hall, a girl’s shouts and the sounds of falling items could be heard. The palace servant who was leading Ji Ting to the palace hall wanted to curry favor from the favored young General and quietly told him. “It’s Princess Yanyang……. The little General of the Li Family had received a medallion from the Dark Night Valley and holding the medallion, a marriage proposal was presented to the Emperor. Originally, the proposal was for Princess Yanyang but unexpectedly, Princess Jiaoyang…….. This has been going on for the whole morning and the Emperor doesn’t know what to do. It’s a real headache……..”
When Ji Ting heard, his thoughts were that the Emperor was normally firm and decisive, how could the Emperor be unable to deal with a princess?
But when he thought deeper, since it was Princess Yanyang…….who would…….bear to deal with her?
When Ji Ting entered the hall, a paperweight flew directly at him.
Tilting his head, he deftly and firmly caught it in his hand.
Yanyang was filled with rage but when she saw Ji Ting coming in, she did not know why her heart seemed to lighten. Suddenly, she felt the matter of Jiaoyang snatching away the little General of the Li Family was not something bad at all, except it was only a matter of losing face.
When the Emperor saw that his normally bossy eldest daughter had actually calmed down in front of his favored General, he was overjoyed and repeatedly call out for Ji Ting to enter. Holding the faintly scented and warm paperweight in his hand, he bowed slightly to Princess Yanyang and walked in.
“Yanyang, Yanyang.” The Emperor called out affectionately to his beloved daughter in a gentle voice. “Come and look at my beloved General ~ ~ Ji Ting just came back from the Southern battlefield. He had made great contributions and Zhen is planning to make him a great General!”
The hair on Yanyang’s temple was slightly messy after the ruckus and her hairpin was trembling as it sat askew in her hair. She did not look very dignified but she still had a vivid and stunning appearance. As she walked over step by step dragging her gorgeous long skirt, she was so beautiful that Ji Ting did not dare to look at her directly.
“General Ji, it’s heard that all the generations of the Ji Residence were heroes. The White Tiger Order of Dark Night Valley was passed down from generation to generation, is this true?” She asked boldly and confidently, and her voice was crisp like a jade bead hitting on the brick floor.
Ji Ting’s heart skipped and he muttered. “It’s true.”
The Emperor took in everything and knew that his eldest daughter was still mad at Jiaoyang. Since Jiaoyang is promised to one of the commanders in Dark Night Valley, thus Yanyang also wants Ji Ting to get hold of the White Tiger Medallion.
“Ji Ting, why are you here to see me?”
Ji Ting paused then raised his head to speak each word with strength. “In reply to Your Highness, my Father…….ordered me to enter and train in the Dark Night Valley.”
The Emperor burst into loud laughter.
Sure enough, it’s difficult for a hero to stay immune to a beauty’s charm. The usually silent young General with an expressionless iron-clad face now shows understanding and tact in front of his beautiful eldest daughter.
Yanyang looked at her Imperial Father and then looked at Ji Ting and then she began to smile slightly.
Dark Night Valley……. Ji Ting stayed for two years there.
Every night he would look out from the peak of Yelan Mountain. Even the tiniest outline of the imperial in the distance could not be seen but whenever he closed his eyes, he could clearly see the bright young girl, Yanyang.
Wait for me……..he said softly with a slight smile.
One night, in the third year, a thief seized the chance while the Valley was hectic and entered to take revenge. The Chief of the South Butterfly Gate blocked off poison arrows for Ji Ting with his body and the Chief’s only daughter was also shot in her belly.
The two clans, Xuanfeng Gate who excelled in poison and Baizui Gate who excelled in medicine, did their best and personally treated the injured while Ji Ting who was soaked in blood and sweat stood in the courtyard in the South Butterfly Gate to wait for news.
The Chief of Baizui Gate had a good relationship with Ji Ting and when he came out, he said softly. “It looks like the old man won’t last long. It’s a pity that Little Butterfly…….it’s afraid she will never be able to give birth in this life.”
Ji Ting felt as if he was struck by lightning.
“Ji Ting!” The Chief of Xuanfeng Gate called out loudly from the inner courtyard. “The old man wants you to come over!”
Ji Ting strode over and knew in his heart what the old man wanted to entrust him.
As expected, Ji Ting had guessed right.
“Ji Ting……can I entrust Little Butterfly to you?” The Chief of South Butterfly Gate did not know about his daughter’s situation at that time. “I know you’re from a prominent family. Little Butterfly is a good child, you…….must not let her down!”
Before the Chief of Baizui Gate could say anything, Ji Ting had promised in a muffled voice. “You can rest assured.”
Chief of Xuanfeng Gate also often talked to Ji Ting over wine and knew he had a girl he loved in the imperial city. He was shocked and silently exchanged glances with the Chief of Baizui Gate and both felt distressed.
The old man was breathing out more than breathing in and clutched Ji Ting’s hand tightly as though he was clutching his daughter’s happiness in his hands. Ji Ting’s eyes were blood-shot and his heart felt even worse.
The children of the Ji Family never break a promise.
It’s just that……..there will never be a splendid sun in his sky.
That night, under the moon, he met Little Butterfly who was trained in eyesight skills on the Yelan Mountain and both of them went down the mountain together.
The husband and wife of Zhennan Wang Residence were understanding people. When they heard that their son had brought a girl home and she was the daughter of his benefactor who saved his life, they agreed to the marriage without asking any questions.
The next day, after they returned to the imperial city, the Emperor anxiously summoned Ji Ting into the palace.
When he entered the hall, it was not the Emperor who was waiting for him but Princess Yanyang who he had not seen for three years.
Her eyes and eyebrows had grown wider and her figure had grown more graceful. She looked even more beautiful than she was three years ago. It was just that both her cheeks were red at this moment and she was fuming with anger.
“It’s heard that you brought a woman back from the Dark Night Valley.” She fiercely suppressed her rising anger and said coldly.
Ji Ting nodded.
Yanyang waited for a long time but he just stood there silently without offering an explanation and he did not even glance at her. Yanyang felt aggrieved and suddenly tears surged out as she stubbornly glared at him, crying in silence.
Ji Ting raised his head and found it difficult to speak when he was greeted by her tears. “Princess must take care.”
As she cried, Yanyang said. “I’ll not take it to heart. I’ll pretend I don’t know anything. Ji Ting, you have to send her away.”
“It’s hard to obey.” He said slowly in a low voice. “The marriage preparations are in progress ~ ~ I want to marry her.”
“You dare?!” Yanyang gritted her teeth. She hated him so much that she wanted to pounce on him and tear him apart. At the same time, she wanted to throw herself into his arms and hug him tightly. She was tormented by two kinds of intense emotions and she was shaking violently. “Ji Ting, if you dare to marry her, I will make you regret for the rest of your life!”
Ji Ting remained silent.
Regret for a lifetime……..what is so great about that? He was silently thinking……compared to never having the splendid sun in his life, what is so great about that?
He would never say all these words to her and preferred that she hates him for a lifetime rather than having her understand his heart and regrets for the rest of her life.
The feelings of hate and love are similarly strong as they come and go vigorously. But regret is light and misty smoke that can never be grasped, never dissipates, and it will torture one with pain for the rest of his life.
Since in this life, they were not destined to live together as a couple, he only hopes that she will fly high, forget about him, forget the promises that he had never spoken, live without regret, and lead a life without worries.
And just let him be the only one to feel regretful.
A word from the Author:
Ji Ting is the most sensitive and emotional character I’ve ever written. He had loved Yanyang all his life but he could not give her all of himself and he was unwilling to explain to her.
I didn’t write the part about Yanyang begging the Emperor to bestow a marriage. It is an extremely tragic blow for a girl’s self-esteem. I couldn’t bear it and couldn’t write it.
Someone asked me why Ji Ting treated Yanyang so coldly since she has always been in his heart. That is probably because he understands Yanyang. If she knew just a little of what lies in his heart, she would not have felt guilty towards Wangfei and according to Yanyang’s character, she would show zero tolerance to Wangfei. Moreover, it was also due to the guilt deep down in Ji Ting’s heart. He knew he did not love Wangfei, therefore, he subconsciously compensated her with more.
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