C93 – How Can You be so Tired
Once more, Tang Yue fled in a state of panic, leaving onlookers baffled. They couldn’t fathom how Wang Zizhao had offended this young master, or how he managed to evade him with the agility of a snake or scorpion.
Back in his room, Tang Yue reclined on the bed. He idly traced his upper lip with his fingers, discovering a few minor wounds there. He licked them and felt a twinge of pain.
“These seem more suited for dogs, don’t they?” He muttered, then turned to fix Hu Jinpeng with a wide-eyed gaze.
“Ah…” Tang Yue was taken aback. “Brother Hu, don’t startle me like that. Why is it so eerily quiet?”
Hu Jinpeng regarded him with an innocent expression. “Young Dandy entered and hasn’t looked at me once. He called for you twice, but you didn’t respond. You just laughed and chatted with yourself. I thought you were possessed.”
“How could that be?” Tang Yue couldn’t fathom why he would be laughing senselessly. It defied all reason.
Hu Jinpeng shrugged. “I suspect Young Dandy may be involved with some other young master. My guess is it’s either Zhao Sanlang or the Noble Heir of State Duke Heng.”
“Why?” Tang Yue widened his eyes, curious about how Hu Jinpeng could draw such conclusions.
Hadn’t he merely experienced a sudden burst of elation, like a parched land welcoming rain? It wasn’t as if he was agitated to the point of euphoria, was it?
“Zhao Sanlang may have a handsome face, but his intellect is equivalent to a bale of hay. As for the Noble Heir of State Duke Heng, he’s a mediocrity both inside and out. It’s highly unlikely that either could incite the same excitement in Young Dandy.”
A wry smile tugged at the corner of Tang Yue’s lips. “Why do you automatically assume it’s because I’ve made a connection with someone? Perhaps I stumbled upon a windfall or encountered a beautiful woman.”
“Does Young Dandy have an interest in women?” Hu Jinpeng was incredulous. “Young Dandy has never displayed any interest in the fairer sex. I doubt he’s ever laid a hand on a woman’s body at the age of sixteen.”
“As for gold, hehe…” Hu Jinpeng used just two words to perfectly encapsulate Tang Yue’s emotions when he stumbled upon the gold.
Tang Yue mused to himself. In his past life, if he had come across five million, he would have hidden away and laughed uncontrollably. But in this life, even if he found gold, he wouldn’t be as ecstatic.
It seemed that when people had more money, their physical satisfaction waned.
Tang Yue cast a few glances at Hu Jinpeng. “Brother Hu, are you married?”
His companion gave him a cautious look. “Of course, I’m married. I already have one wife, thirteen concubines, and four children.”
Tang Yue couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the detailed explanation. Was he worried Tang Yue might miss a detail?
Unfortunately for him, Tang Yue had a penchant for handsome men rather than muscular ones. While his ex-boyfriends weren’t effeminate, they had all been handsome.
“You’re always on the go. How do you manage so many wives and concubines at home?” Tang Yue sneakily examined Hu Jinpeng’s lower body. “Do you want me to prescribe some tonics for your virility?”
Hu Jinpeng hurriedly shook his head. “No need…” With his physical prowess, he didn’t require any tonics to satisfy Ye Yu and the other ladies.
Tang Yue skillfully shifted the conversation and began chatting with Hu Jinpeng, avoiding prying into the family’s private affairs. He stuck to personal topics and occasionally adopted a slightly risqué tone, all in good spirits.
The following day, the team regrouped and headed back to Ye City. Tang Yue asked Wang Zizhao to stay an extra day and used it to gather local insights on dealing with medicinal herbs.
Truth be told, he didn’t possess comprehensive knowledge in this field. He could only impart some fundamental wisdom. When his herbal medicine shop was established, he’d undoubtedly require a consistent supply of medicinal herbs. They were the lifeblood of the medicine trade in this era.
After a long day, Tang Yue took a shower and settled into bed, swiftly drifting into slumber. Wang Zizhao made an evening visit, tucking him in tenderly and sitting by his bedside, gazing at him in silence for a considerable while.
This peculiar sight unsettled Hu Jinpeng, who concealed himself in his own bed, pretending to be asleep.
“Why didn’t you inquire, cousin?” Wang Zizhao inquired softly.
Hu Jinpeng feigned a smile as he opened his eyes and nodded towards Tang Yue, who was peacefully asleep. “Are you…?”
“It’s precisely what you suspect. I wish to marry him.”
… Hu Jinpeng felt as though he’d been struck by lightning, the shock rendering him momentarily speechless.
Had Wang Zizhao only expressed a desire for a romantic involvement with Tang Yue, even proceeding with a premarital relationship, Hu Jinpeng would likely have been supportive. But the prospect of marriage? Wasn’t that a bit too unconventional?
“Have you truly thought this through, Your Highness?” Hu Jinpeng sat up, his countenance growing earnest.
Wang Zizhao replied, “Have you ever known me to act impulsively?”
“No, but…” Hu Jinpeng hesitated. “While it’s common for men to cohabit, you’re not an ordinary individual. Without a legitimate spouse, it may be challenging to secure your position as the future Crown Prince.”
“Such matters lie in the future; it’s too soon to make predictions now.”
“Wouldn’t the King and Queen object to this?”
Wang Zizhao wore a knowing smile. “Mother would consent,” he remarked. “As for Father, he’s indebted to me at the moment. If someone informs him about our relationship, he’ll likely agree as well.”
“What kind of relationship?” Hu Jinpeng, though a formidable general, wasn’t particularly astute when it came to political intricacies.
Wang Zizhao elucidated, “Mother hails from the Hu clan of Duke Ann’s State. If I’m designated as the Crown Prince, we’ll enjoy support from Duke Ann Prefecture. When it comes to marriage, my first choice would be a daughter of a prominent State Duke’s family or a duke’s daughter. With both factions supporting me, can you fathom Father opposing the presence of such a influential Crown Prince?”
This was probably a problem that every emperor would be conflicted about.
His son’s exceptional abilities were a cause for concern, but so was his son’s lack of distinction. If his son became too remarkable, garnering a substantial following, it would only heighten his anxiety.
Hu Jinpeng nodded, saying, “So, Your Highness, if you marry Tang Yue, and the Crown Princess hails from the Marquis’s Mansion with a status neither too high nor too low, it would alleviate the King’s apprehensions?”
“Exactly,” Wang Zizhao replied, casting a glance at Tang Yue. He wouldn’t marry someone without careful consideration. His decision was well-thought-out.
Of course, the condition was that he had to hold no aversion towards this individual. Tang Yue had already brought him some delight.
Recollecting their earlier verbal exchange, Wang Zizhao grew even more convinced of this person’s suitability as his spouse. Who else could be a more fitting match than him?
Hu Jinpeng pondered for a moment and realized this arrangement held merit. Finding a man more outstanding than Wang Zizhao in all of South Jin was nearly impossible, and Tang Yue only held affection for men. Such a pairing would undoubtedly be mutually beneficial.
However, they overlooked one important factor: Tang Yue’s aversion to trouble. Would he be willing to partake in the tumultuous affairs of the royal family?
If Tang Yue wed Wang Zizhao, it would inevitably draw the entire Yueyang Marquis’s Mansion into the fray—a scenario Tang Yue wished to avoid.
On the second day of the Heavenly Stellar Union’s departure, the returning group had swelled in numbers compared to their initial journey. In addition to their entourage, they brought back hundreds of captives and a few prison carriages.
Tang Yue still rode his colt, a companion he had cared for, growing quite attached. The lively colt frolicked around within the convoy, immune to rebukes due to its master’s esteemed position.
Yet, no one dared to admonish the spirited colt, given its owner’s standing.
Zhao Sanlang had been preoccupied since he assumed the role of a minor official. It was only after their departure that he found an opportunity to engage Tang Yue in conversation.
“I never imagined that managing the grain supply for a troop of over a thousand would be so intricate,” Zhao Sanlang remarked as he and Tang Yue walked side by side.
“How do you feel?”
“How tiring!” Zhao Sanlang sighed.
Tang Yue understood the importance of moderation in their rations, so he would have advised them to proceed cautiously.
Scanning the crowd, he couldn’t spot Ping Shun. He grabbed a passerby and inquired, “Have you seen Noble Heir? Did he get left behind?”
The soldier responded deferentially, “Sir, Noble Heir is playing with someone at the rear of the convoy, near the prison wagon. They’re throwing stones.”
“What? The prison wagon?” Tang Yue and Zhao Sanlang were taken aback. Their recent preoccupations had caused them to forget about Ping Shun. Why would he be near the prison carriage?
To be treated like a prison wagon, one had to be part of the deputy city lord’s family from Qinyang City. Wang Zizhao had not only apprehended the deputy city lord but also his family, and they were all being transported to Ye City together.
Tang Yue had inquired with these family members about their potential punishments. Wang Zizhao had informed him that according to South Jin’s laws, direct family members would be held accountable. If the deputy city lord met his demise, they would share his fate. Exile was also on the table.
In any case, the deputy city lord’s fate determined their own.
Tang Yue refrained from passing judgment on the fairness of this system. Every era had its own set of laws, and South Jin placed a strong emphasis on legal governance, prioritizing the rule of law over Confucianism.
Nonetheless, in Tang Yue’s view, stringent laws mainly restricted a portion of the population. The aristocracy typically operated outside the boundaries of the law.
There were numerous forms of torture and death sentences in South Jin that Tang Yue couldn’t fathom. He did his best to avoid them.
The two of them turned their horses around and hurried toward the prison wagon at the rear.
They were curious to see what antics this youngster had been up to and how he had gotten involved with the convicts.
Tang Yue also harbored a slight concern: Could it be that this lad had taken a liking to one of the beautiful young women among the prisoners?