Chapter 57 – My Fate

As soon as Su Yi entered the courtyard, the red-clad Qing Wan floated out of his room.

“Mystic Master, while you were out of the house, a large group of people hid outside the courtyard, all of them armed and ready for battle.
They all radiated dense bloodlust; it was terrifying!” Her fair features revealed lingering shock and terror.
She looked tense as could be; she’d clearly been scared senseless. 

“Where are they?” Su Yi narrowed his eyes.

Qing Wan stuck out her tongue, then said with an air of celebration, “Uh….
I don’t know why, but they left already.” 

Su Yi furrowed his brow.
“Come inside, then tell me what happened in more detail.” He then walked in ahead of her.

“Oh! Okay.” Qing Wan hurried after him.

Who knew why, but after Su Yi returned to the courtyard, she felt much calmer, as if she’d found her rock.

Although she was still meek, timid, and reverent whenever she faced Su Yi, having him around was still better than being scared on her own.

Soon, a lamp illuminated the room, dispelling the darkness and bringing them warmth.

Qing Wan hovered not far from Su Yi, wincing.
Her snowy white feet were bare, and her delicate little toes clenched and unclenched repeatedly.

“Why are you so nervous?” When he saw her acting like this, Su Yi couldn’t help but furrow his brow.

Qing Wan hurriedly shook her head.
“Mystic Master, I’m not nervous.”

“You’re lying.” Su Yi took a seat.
His gaze traveled from her jade-like legs and up to her picturesquely beautiful face.
“When you’re nervous, you clench your toes, your eyelashes quiver, your hands clench and unclench in front of you, and you subconsciously fidget with your clothes.”

Qing Wan froze.
Her rosy cheeks burned bright red; she felt as if he’d seen through her completely and revealed all of her secrets, as if there was nowhere left to hide.

This only made her even more nervous.
Hidden beneath her long hair, the tips of her perfectly-formed little ears turned bright red.

“Cowardly, bashful, nervous….
Where did Wu Ruoqiu found a yin soul like this?” Su Yi couldn’t help but rub his forehead. Then, he changed tacks completely.
“Tell me about the people lying in ambush here.”

Qing Wan instantly sighed in relief.
She pondered a moment, then said, “I was hiding in the old locust tree, and I heard part of their conversation.”

In her soft, sticky voice, she recounted the night’s events from beginning to end. When she finished her tale, Su Yi’s brow shot up, and he gently drummed his fingers against the table.
He stared intently at the candlelight, lost in thought.

According to Qing Wan, the group laying in ambush were from the Li Family!

Furthermore, they’d come at Li Moyun’s orders, and they were waiting for him to return from the Dragon’s Gate Banquet.
Then, they’d charge into the Apricot Cottage and kill him.

Except, something unexpected had disrupted their plans.

An elderly attendant scampered over, told the group laying in ambush that the plan had changed, and all of them retreated.

What Su Yi didn’t understand was why they’d do this.
He had no grudge with Li Moyun. Why does he want to kill me?

Could this have something to do with Wen Lingzhao? Su Yi recalled the incident at the Wen Family matriarch’s birthday banquet. 

That’s probably the case.
According to Huang Qianjun, Li Moyun has been infatuated with her for a long time.
He even announced, repeatedly, that he’d marry her or no one.

From this, I can infer that he plans to kill me, create an opening, and take my place.

Su Yi couldn’t help but sigh. This nominal wife of mine sure is trouble.

First it was Wei Zhengyang.
Now it’s Li Moyun.

Now that she’s at Heaven’s Origin Academy, and a Grandmaster’s disciple at that, I’m afraid she’s already attracted a whole new batch of lascivious, swaggering young men.

“Mystic Master, you… what do you plan to do?” Qing Wan asked weakly. 

“Even if I kill all her admirers, I’ll only be treating the symptoms of the problem, not the root cause,” said Su Yi casually.
“After this incident, I’m increasingly set on dissolving this marriage.
Only then can I rid myself of this problem once and for all.”

“Mystic Master, you want to repudiate your wife?” Qing Wan said blankly.

“Why shouldn’t I?” asked Su Yi right back.
“You don’t think I'm overly heartless, do you?” 

“No, I don’t.” Qing Wan immediately shook his head.

Su Yi slumped back into his chair.
Suddenly, he laughed, “Forget it.
It’s my birthday; let’s not discuss such unpleasant matters.”

He picked the flask off the table and poured himself a drink.

Qing Wan said tentatively, “Mystic Master, did no one do anything to celebrate your birthday?”

Su Yi shook his head.
“I’ve never liked that sort of thing.”

Qing Wan suddenly seemed more courageous.
“Then….
Might I ask how old you are now?”

“If you add it all up, I’m 108,017 years old,” said Su Yi offhandedly.
“Oh, but you can just think of me as seventeen.” 

Qing Wan was dazed, and she felt a bit lost, but she didn’t ask any questions.
After a moment’s silence, she worked up enough courage to say, “Mystic Master, how about… how about I sing a birthday song for you?”

“If you like,” said Su Yi, but his thoughts were elsewhere.

Beneath the lamplight, Qing Wan took a deep breath, gently squeezed her red dress, and parted her pink lips.
A voice like heavenly song or an ethereal chant soon echoed throughout the room.

“The Mystic Master, long-lived as the moon, rising like the sun, towering like the southern mountains, never to fall or crumble, flourishing like the pines….”

Her voice was soft, like water bubbling from a spring or a stream flowing through a valley.

Su Yi was briefly stunned, but soon, a faint smile spread across his face. This is an ancient birthday song.
The girl’s actually pretty thoughtful.

He listened and drank, leisurely and at ease.

Outside the window, the night sky gradually darkened, and the stars lit up.

Qing Wan’s beautiful, ethereal melody was the perfect complement to a night like this. 

……

Beneath the same night sky.

The Li Family.

Li Moyun’s hands clenched his sword, and his handsome face was dark and contorted beyond recognition.

He fought back his fury and bitterness, gnashing his teeth so hard, they seemed they might break.

Tonight was supposed to be the perfect chance to strike.
He’d already arranged everything.
As soon as Su Yi was dead, he’d leave for Heaven’s Origin Academy and visit Wen Lingzhao.

He’d even prepared the present he was going to give her.

But who would have guessed that all of his plans would fall apart at the last minute, and that everything would go to waste?

The elderly attendant at his side whispered, “Young Master, the Family Head has spoken.
You’re to leave tonight, and you’re not to enter Guangling City in the near future without his orders.”

Li Moyun could no longer repress his fury.
He growled, “So what if that waste has recovered his cultivation? So what if he defeated Mo Tianling? Is Father really going to kick me out just because of that?”

His chest heaved violently.

He’d already heard about what happened at the banquet tonight.
This was why he’d had to abort his plans. 

The elderly attendant whispered, “Young Master, the family head isn’t worried about Su Yi, nor is he concerned about Fu Shan, Huang Yunchong, or Nie Beihu.
He’s concerned that your rage will lead you to make an irrevocable mistake.”

He paused, then continued, “Regarding killing Su Yi, we can wait and see.
The family head said that Su Yi has other secrets too.
We don’t know what they are, but they’re the only explanation for why Fu Shan treats him with such importance.

“If we attack without first uncovering these secrets, we might invite unforeseeable disaster upon the entire Li Family.”

Li Moyuan froze.
Quite some time passed before he exhaled and said, “I understand.
Tell my father I’m leaving for the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital right now!”

With that, he turned to leave.

“Escort the young master.
Allow nothing to delay your journey.
You are to reach the prefectural capital as soon as possible.
Understood?” The attendant dashed after him, then ordered the guards waiting outside.

“Understood!” The guards’ shouted their acknowledgement.

Watching this, Li Moyun sighed to himself.
He knew that despite agreeing to his father’s arrangements, Li Tianhan didn’t trust him not to sneak back into the city and ambush Su Yi anyway.

Once his horse had carried him far beyond the city walls, Li Moyun turned to look back at the tall, imposing main gate.
His eyes flashed with cold, murderous intent.
“Su Yi, just you wait!”

Then, he and his guards galloped off into the distance.

……

Heaven’s Origin Academy.

A natural hot spring in a pavilion built atop a verdant mountain peak,

It was late and night, and the stars were sparse and faint.

Two slender figures soaked in the steaming waters of the hot spring.
Only their long white necks and stunningly beautiful faces were visible.

The air was misty, and the water rippled.

Wen Lingxue sat on a boulder within the spring, only dimly discernible within the mists.
She comfortably stretched her long white legs beneath the surface of the water and gently kicked her feet, stirring up warm currents, and her pretty face utterly relaxed and at ease.

She raised a hand to wipe the beads of sweat from her brow, then asked in her crisp voice, “Big Sister, what exactly did Brother-in-law write in his letter?” 

Wen Lingzhao was nearby, her hair up in a bun, her skin like jade.
Within the mist, she was an ethereal beauty, like an illusion or a dream.

“Why do you ask?” Her brow furrowed slightly.
Even when she was with her little sister, her features, expression, and temperament were as cold and aloof as ice.

Despite her words, she couldn’t help but recall the letter her younger sister had delivered her just a few days ago.

It only included one sentence: “I hope you can annul our marriage sooner rather than later.
That way, everyone will be happy.”

When she first saw it, Wen Lingzhao was stunned.
Even after extensive pondering, she couldn’t tell whether he meant what he said, or whether this was some roundabout way of poking fun at her. 

It was just as Su Yi said: she cultivated so bitterly precisely because she felt stifled.
She wanted to grow strong through her own hard work, and once she became sufficiently powerful, seize control over her own fate.
She didn’t want this sham of a marriage to fetter her any longer!

Wen Lingzhao would never have guessed that the Su Yi she ignored, the man she saw as nothing but a stranger, would see right through her.

If that were all it was, it’d be one thing, but there was something strange about the tone of his letter.

What did he mean, “Everyone will be happy”? 

No matter how she looked at it, it sounded like he was mocking her!

As a result, every time Wen Lingzhao recalled that letter, she felt a discomfort she couldn’t quite put into words. 

Taking a moment to calm herself, Wen Lingzhao’s icy gaze turned toward her little sister.
“I’ve already told our parents that there’s no need for you to follow them back to Guangling City.
Going forward, you’ll remain in the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital and continue your cultivation at Blueriver Sword Manor.”

She paused, then said contemplatively, “Once I’ve officially become Master’s live-in disciple, I’ll come up with some way to get you into Heaven’s Origin Academy.
That way, we can be together long-term, and I can take care of you at all times.” As she said this, a barely discernible hint of gentleness entered her voice.

“Big Sister, can… Can I refuse?” Wen LIngxue blinked and said meekly. She certainly didn’t want to get stuck here like this.

“No.” Wen Lingxue looked up and gazed at the night sky.
“I was unfortunate enough to be forced into marriage with a complete stranger.
Lingxue, there’s no way I’ll let you suffer the same fate!”

That cold, clear voice of hers revealed a hint of bitterness and hatred.

Seth's Thoughts

The word Qing Wan uses here, “repudiate”, is different from an ordinary divorce.
It’s used specifically for when a man renounces his wife. 

As a live-in son-in-law, Su Yi is not legally entitled to do this to Wen Lingzhao.
He cannot “send her back home” or “kick her out” or otherwise “retire her” because he’s currently living in her family’s home. 

He may or may not be legally entitled to some other form of divorce.
Nothing in the text thus far has specified whether or not he can.

But assuming divorce in this world works like in ancient China? Odds are he can't.
At least, he can't just by going through the legal system.

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but in general, divorce in ancient China could happen by court order, mutual agreement, or when a man one-sidedly divorced his wife for one of seven pre-approved reasons. 

Su Yi is male, but he’s married into another family the way women usually did, so the typical roles are inverted, and women were not historically entitled to unilateral divorces.
To the best of my knowledge, that went for live-in husbands too.

But this isn’t ancient China, and Su Yi is no ordinary live-in son-in-law.
We’ll just have to wait and see what, if anything, happens between him and Wen Lingzhao.
😉 

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