Chapter 40: The Esteemed General’s Shamelessness (3)
Yan Shuo was interrupted by a knock at the door. His hand shook slightly, the cigarette butt leaving a dark red flicker in the silent night. Every so often, the ashes would drift downwards, blown about by the breeze, separating before they landed—like the fluttering affairs of the past.
The person outside heard no answer, so he tried again.
Yan Shuo was somewhat surprised. He’d thought it’d be Gu Qiu, still unwilling to give up, but he didn’t expect Gu Changyin.
All those years ago, when Gu Qiu had set her heart on being someone’s lover, she had cut ties with her family. Luckily, her older brother had been sympathetic, and they’d always been in contact. Later on, after Gu Qiu openly became Lady Yan, she naturally looked after her brother more.
Gu Changyin was the precious only son of Gu Qiu’s older brother. He was quite social and very smart, but didn’t linger around powerful people, and he was an amateur painter.
Yan Shuo thought for a moment, then reached out to open the door. Gu Changyin and Gu Qiu were very different—the former wouldn’t bother him for nothing.
Gu Changyin always wore a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He was very fair and also gentle; his appearance was somewhat similar to Gu Qiu, and therefore also held some resemblance to Yan Shuo, but they were mostly different. Compared to Yan Shuo’s sharp, frosty eyebrows, his own brow and eyes were soaked with impressionistic, poetic strokes, like the sentimental softness of the hazy, early-morning clouds. 1 do you ever read something and think, ‘wow, what is this author saying’ orz
Generally speaking, he was an artist, so his appearance was also very artistic.
Yan Shuo’s impression of Gu Changyin was quite good, which was rather rare.
On one hand, Gu Changyin had treated him the same way ever since he was little. He’d never fawned over the powerful and stepped on the weak, and didn’t curry favour now either. On another hand, he was very clever—although Gu Changyin was only an amateur painter, he had different perspectives and understandings of many different affairs.
He was a well-read, clever young talent with many connections, but he actually liked being a painter, moreover, an amateur one—he was quite interesting.
Yan Shuo saw that his expression today was somewhat worried. He was a soft, good-looking person, so when his eyebrows were lowered, one would feel that he was extremely wronged.
“Nothing really. You haven’t come out at all,” Gu Changyin lowered his head slightly, somewhat hesitant, “I just wanted to chat.”
Yan Shuo nodded.
“Why didn’t you turn on the lights?”
Just as Yan Shuo went to turn on the lights, Gu Changyin’s fingers had brushed past his own to press the switch.
He frowned ever-so-slightly, and retracted his hand.
“Have you been drinking?”
Gu Changyin shook his head, then nodded. He swished the faintly golden liquid in its glass, and pointed it at Yan Shuo.
“I’m alright, en…You know, you can’t get too drunk from this weak alcohol.”
Looking at him, Yan Shuo felt something was a little off but couldn’t be sure, so he only retreated silently.
“Tell me, you must’ve tried to find me for something.”
Gu Changyin pursed his lips, and suddenly laughed bitterly, “How come there has to be something going on for me to look for you? It’s been a while, I’ve missed you.”
“Don’t make me sick, just speak.”
Yan Shuo frowned slightly, carefully examining him.
“Alright,” Gu Changyin shook his head, fingers pushing up his gold-rimmed glasses. His gentle eyes steeped in verse suddenly sharpened, “I heard about something——and wanted to confirm with you.”
Yan Shuo already had an understanding, and asked easily, “About Ferdinand?”
He’d already leaked Ferdinand’s appetite for rebellion a bit, but it was vague and ambiguous. Taking advantage of the time before Ferdinand’s return, he planned to closely observe every faction’s position within the Empire.
The Central Committee was at the centre of power, and although those five geezers2 I know it said six before, guessing the author made a typo only knew how to blabber on and get angry, their connections were vast. He knew that two of them were of Ferdinand’s maternal clan, and would definitely take his side. Another two were sure to stand on their own side, but he wasn’t sure about the last one.
The direction of the other powerful families were also ambiguous; it was only after letting out the news that they could get a clearer picture.
In truth, to Ferdinand, rebellion wasn’t the most important thing. The old emperor didn’t have much time left, and he was the heir; it was just that currently, the imperial power was too heavily suppressed. Even after ascending the throne, he wouldn’t have complete freedom.
The more important thing was Olivia’s evidence that he had sold out his country—to their archenemy, the Ayers Federation, no less.
What on earth was Ferdinand actually doing, and what did he want?
He really had no idea.
“Yes,” Gu Changyin admitted it simply. He looked straight at Yan Shuo, his voice dropping, “His Highness Ferdinand is unpredictable, with his rebellion. I really wanted to ask you a question about him.”
“What question?” Yan Shuo wasn’t irked, in fact, his eyes glinted.
Gu Changyin was very clever. He was clearly an artist, but his eye for politics was exceptional. His network of connections was unexpectedly wide and sprawling, back during the days of “The Conquest”, he’d even provided support.
Gu Changyin lowered his voice slightly. Outside, there were sounds of drinking and merrymaking, but he was very cautious.
“Cousin, you should know the answer to my biggest question,” Gu Changyin’s expression didn’t look too good, “Shen Zhifan ah.”
Yan Shuo suddenly fell silent, as if his lethal point had been hit.
“Shen Zhifan and Ferdinand were close, this isn’t a secret,” Gu Changyin took off his glasses, taking a silk cloth from his breast pocket to carefully wipe them clean, “Cousin, with you having Shen Zhifan enter the mech division, are you sure this isn’t asking for trouble?”3 lit. to nurture a tiger invites calamity
“No,” Yan Shuo replied bluntly, “Naturally, I have my own thoughts.”
Gu Changyin quietly looked at him for a while, the eyes under those gold-rimmed glasses exceptionally dark, bothering Yan Shuo somewhat.
“Seven years ago,” Gu Changyin suddenly sighed, “Seven years ago, you had me help you find a young man. I remember—it was Shen Zhifan, wasn’t it?”
Yan Shuo, “It was, and?”
Gu Changyin’s expression wasn’t very good, “You really don’t have any feelings4 can also be translated as ‘personal considerations’ or ‘affairs’ for him?”
Yan Shuo turned his head slightly, and again bluntly said, “Of course I have feelings for him.”
With him admitting it so straightforwardly, Gu Changyin actually didn’t know what to say.
“What is your actual relationship with him,” Gu Changyin frowned, “that you’re protecting him like this?”
“He saved my life.” Yan Shuo knit his brows, feeling that Gu Changyin really had a lot to say today.
Gu Changyin immediately retorted, “Simply because he saved your life? Even if he had a relationship with Ferdinand, you would still take him into the mech division?”
“I already said,” Yan Shuo’s voice deepened slightly, “I have my own thoughts about putting him in the mech division.”
Gu Changyin didn’t let up, “What thoughts?”
Yan Shuo turned, patting Gu Changyin’s head, neither soft nor heavy.
“Children don’t need to think about adult things.”
Gu Changyin, “…”
Holding in a mouthful of blood, Gu Changyin was actually put down with this kind of reason—he was extremely indignant.
He was only younger than Yan Shuo by two years.
“No, think about it carefully,” Gu Changyin, no matter how gentle and refined he was, wanted to explode, “Do you really think that putting him in the mech division is appropriate? I’ve seen his videos, his level is so high and he’s incredibly brilliant; if he obtains the standing of this division, he’ll become an extremely formidable right hand for Ferdinand…”
“You’re also saying that he’s incredibly talented,” Yan Shuo sighed, glancing at him somewhat contemptuously, “He shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Hearing this, Gu Changyin wanted to hit someone, “Just because he’s talented?”
“No,” Yan Shuo pressed the cigarette butt into an ashtray, “Keeping him next to me, I can look after him.”
“How can you guarantee that you’ll watch over him properly?” Gu Changyin was angered to the point of laughing, “If you don’t, and it brings about damages or even loss of life, who will take responsibility? Will you?”
“En, I will.”
Yan Shuo nodded extremely seriously.
Gu Changyin was speechless. The other man’s earnest-to-the-point-of-being-a-scoundrel attitude really rubbed the artist the wrong way. After restraining himself for half a day, he said, “You really do have feelings for him.”
Yan Shuo glanced at him strangely, “Didn’t I already admit a long time ago that we were involved?”
Gu Changyin, “…”
“Cousin, after all these years,” Gu Changyin fell silent for a while, before finally calming down a bit, “You’re not such an impulsive person—this is quite inappropriate.”
“En,” Yan Shuo frowned, “There are a lot of reasons. Even though I believe I can guard him properly, there’s one thing that I will admit; I really like him.”
Gu Changyin, gaping, crashed for half a day, “…You, you…”
He went on with ‘you’ for a while but still couldn’t say anything else.
“Before, I’d already considered the things that you just said,” Yan Shuo wanted to take out another cigarette, but his self-control forced him to stick to the plan of three a day, max, “I’ll tell you directly, I have a lot of ways to deal with this situation.”
“Really?” Gu Changyin’s fair face was brimming with doubt, “You’re fine with it, even if he can turn traitor at any time?”
Yan Shuo paused, “Whether or not he will turn traitor is another question. Even though I’m not too clear on what happened all those years ago, I did look into it a little more and have a better outline now. His close contact with Ferdinand may have just been because he’d been deceived by Ferdinand…”
“Then, what if he kills someone?” Gu Changyin’s words were like blades, “If he kills someone in the mech division and turns renegade, you won’t be lenient?”
“No, it’s not about being lenient,” Not waiting for an answer, Gu Changyin continued, “This is your duty.”
Late at night.
In the silent room, the young man slept serenely.
Probably because he had been in a good mood, he looked as if he was having a good dream—even his lips were curled into a smile.
A white shadow slinked into the room, soft paw pads making it noiseless.
Today, the kitty was very beautiful. Its fur shone in the moonlight like a finely-woven brocade, and with its finely-shaped, delicate face, it looked like a stuffed animal.
It crouched by the youth’s bedside, quietly looking at him.
But its gaze seemed to be too weighty, as the dreaming youth actually wrinkled his brow a little.
Its fluffy tail swayed about, soft and cute, making anyone who saw it want to touch it. Its movements paused slightly, then, it slowly…slowly stepped onto the young man’s bed.
As the youth’s face inched closer, it bowed its head slightly, its eyes like beautiful trinitite.
Then, it rubbed its face against the youth’s head, as if giving him a light kiss.
Death: Wishing you all a happy, prosperous, and healthy new year!! Thanks for sticking with General’s Cat!! <3
- 1do you ever read something and think, ‘wow, what is this author saying’ orz
- 2I know it said six before, guessing the author made a typo
- 3lit. to nurture a tiger invites calamity
- 4can also be translated as ‘personal considerations’ or ‘affairs’