Extra Part 3: Let’s Gather Again, 10 Years Later
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Onionpi
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“Old Madam, Elder Madam, Madam Min, First Madam, Branch Lady. The Master and Great General Su have reached the second gate. They should be here in a quarter of an hour.”
The House Manager enthusiastically reported the joyful news, Old Lady Fang nodded and ordered someone to reward the House Manager. Once the man left, she began craning her neck hopefully to catch sight of their guest and sighed at Su Nuan Nuan, “It’s been so long. Xuan’er’s aunt had always been a stubborn one, despite being a shu daughter. She never changes her mind once it’s all made up, that wretched girl would refuse to turn back even after she hits a wall. When the entire family refused to consent to her marriage, she actually eloped.
Who knows what she sees in that man. Well, I must admit, though he’s an uncultivated man of Jianghu, he seemed to have some talent in leadership. After having a son, their family have become more stable and managed to establish a good foundation for the future generation. Looks like she had good eyes. If I were to meet your grandfather later in the underworld, I should at least be able to give him a reasonable explanation.”
The General Su in question was, of course, Su Dong Lou. Ever since the previous emperor had abdicated due to poor health, the crown prince had taken over as the current emperor. A few years later, King Xiangyang was suddenly found guilty of slavery and murder and was subsequently demoted to commoner status. For a man who once harboured an ambition to conquer the world, living like this was worse than death. However, he was still reluctant to let go of life and basically spent the rest of his days in a drunken stupor.
Not long after the fall of King Xiangyang, threats of war intensified north of Xin Jing. Su Dong Lou took the initiative to lead the original Mingyu House and joined the battle. Mingyu House became involved in the three armed services  right away. Because his initial contribution was so great, he came into the field as a Third Rank General. Four years later, the war was over and the defeated Northern Huns crawled back into their nests in the mountains. From then on, the Dayin Dynasty regained the prairie grounds of the north.
Without the grasslands, the Northern Huns would have difficulty just keeping themselves alive, and won’t time to entertaining ideas of invading the south. This way, Great Dayin Dynasty ushered in an era of stability and prosperity that had not been seen in thousands of years. Because of his outstanding contributions, Su Dong Lou was given the title of Great General. Not only that, but he was also part of the crucial investigation team against King Xiangyang’s treachery along with Duan Tingxuan. The emperor meant to grant a noble title for Su Dong Lou in two years time. The bestowment of a title was delayed because Su Dong Lou’s rise in ranks went too fast. Giving him a title now would only draw criticism from all sides.
Su Nuan Nuan had always presumed that Su Dong Lou’s mother was a princess, and assumed that was why Duan Tingxuan had called him the Crown Prince’s cousin. However, it turned out that Su Dong Lou’s mother was actually a shu daughter from the An Ping Estate.
This story was certainly a very dog blood covered romance with the hero going out to save the world after rescuing the maiden. When their romance was cut short by disapproving family, maiden and hero resolutely eloped. What was unexpected was the happy ending of such a typical dog blood story. It turned out that Su Dong Lou’s father was a deeply paranoid and foresighted man who disappeared with the daughter of a marquis into the mountains. Not a single person within the An Ping Estate even knew of the fruit of their union until Su Dong Lou was ten years old.
As to his claims towards being the Crown Prince’s cousin. It was the original empress who attempted to forge this connection. When they found out about Su Dong Lou, the emperor and empress pitied poor, lonely Su Dong Lou living alone in Jiang Nan and tried to summon him many times to the Capital and groom him up for court life. Time and again, this request was rejected. First by his parents, then by the man himself. It could be said that today was the day this long time wish was finally realized. Classmate Su had finally escaped the shadow of shame that had followed him since his birth. His war contributions against the Northern Huns have washed all his dirty laundry white.
As expected, Duan Tingxuan and Su Dong Lou soon came through the gates of the North Court. When Su Nuan Nuan caught sight of that familiar figure, she felt as though she had been transported to the past. At least, until Su Dong Long came over to greet her with crisp, but warm, ‘Cousin-in-law.’ She sighed, then smiled and said, “It’s been ten years, I thought of you and your friend now and then. Now that I’ve seen you, I must say you haven’t changed much. How are you? And how is Teacher Lu?”
Su Dong Lou hesitated. Then, he said, “Still fine. He also misses cousin and cousin-in-law very much. Perhaps, if you don’t mind, I might bring you to see him?”
Under the eyes of everyone, Su Nuan Nuan could not speak freely and could only lightly agree before changing the subject.
However, once the elders began conversing and eventually warmed up to this newest member of the family, they all settled down comfortably to chat. After a while, it was time for Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan to bid their farewells. They took Su Dong Lou with them, promising to return with him for the family reunion dinner.
Back at Spring Breeze Court, with all the senior family members’ eyes gone, the polite children suddenly shed their manners and began to badger Su Dong Lou for details of his four years fighting the Northern Huns. The most enthusiastic of them was 9-year-old Duan Maozheng.
It was only after a few more retelling of his war stories and scattering some rare objects as souvenirs that the children finally deigned to leave him alone. With the children gone and the servants dismissed, the three original partners who had stirred up trouble at Jiang Nan, and pulled out King Xiangyang’s trump card, was finally able to sit down and talk properly.
Su Nuan Nuan began by smiling and asking, “So, how many children do you have now? Do you have as many as us? I’m not one to boast, but our Fan’er participated in a scholarly talent contest this year and won first place you know? Next autumn, we plan to let him take the imperial exams.”
Su Dong Lou was astonished, “That Fan’er is only 15 years old, right? He’ll be taking the imperial exams next year? How impressive, really worthy of being cousin’s son. Here I thought cousin’s scholarly performance was already too outrageous. If Fan’er could rank number one in the imperial exams, he’d be even more incredible than his father.”
“Pei! Dogs don’t grow ivory.” Duan Tingxuan spat.
At this, Su Nuan Nuan grew even more enthusiastic. She happily boasted, “Fan’er is one thing, after all, he’s already 15. Our little Chuan’er also managed to excel in that talent contest with Fan’er. In fact, he only ranked second to his brother. So, he’ll be joining Fan’er at the imperial exams. That boy is only 14, ah.”
Su Dong Lou, “… oh, ah, cousin-in-law, 14 is only one year younger than 15. Surely… he’ll be fine too?” he glanced at Duan Tingxuan for guidance, unsure what his reaction should be.
“What are you looking at me for? Your cousin-in-law is rarely this happy. After all, the ears of all the people within and around the Capital had already been talked off by her. It’s rare for her to get a new audience, so please just pay attention.”
When the little marquis sternly reprimanded this cousin of his. Black lines appeared on Su Dong Lou’s head: Just what is going on with this couple?
“Though Ming’er is not very good at studying, he’s particularly good at martial arts. Ah, if you don’t mind my saying so, ah, Dong Lou. You’re too lucky, ah. The war came at just the right time for you to gain great merit. If the war had happened a few years later, you might not have such luck, ah.”
Su Dong Lou: … Wei! Wei! If you want to boast about your children, go right ahead. But can you please not suppress other people’s achievements? This is too unfair, ah.
“And then there’s Sen’er. That child has no interest in fame or glory, but from a young age, his ability for poetry and calligraphy is unmatched. Everyone in the Capital knows this. Our Estate’s fourth son gained his fame almost without effort. In the future, he will be the greatest scholar of our time. A grandmaster, you understand?”
Su Dong Lou nodded reluctantly, thinking: Yes, yes, so there is no bad or plain child in your estate, is that what you’re saying?”
“Our two girls are also very incredible. However, your cousin said that there’s no need for girls to have any reputation outside the family, otherwise… Humph, humph! Otherwise, an entire generation of female scholars would appear.” Su Nuan Nuan turned to glare at her husband at this.
“What about Zheng’er?” Su Dong Lou was curious. “Since cousin-in-law treats all these children as treasures, it makes sense that your own son would also be quite incredible, right?”
“Didn’t I tell you that you’re too lucky? Our Brother Zheng is the most similar to his father. He’s good at both martial arts and literature. However, what he loves best is the art of war. He spent nearly every day playing battle against his second brother. You tell me now, if you had not snatched up this opportunity to gain great merit, if the war happens just a few years later, where would that leave you?”
Su Dong Lou: … “Cousin-in-law… I don’t think you should say this, ah. The warzone is fierce and bloody, and swords have no eyes. You should thank me for ending the war when I did. Otherwise, if anything were to happen to your two precious sons. Who would you cry to?”
At this, Su Nuan Nuan tilted her head. She seemed to be thinking. After some time, she said, “En, you’re right. That sounds reasonable. In other words, I should thank you.”
Su Dong Lou really had not expected Su Nuan Nuan to acknowledge his ‘contribution’ so quickly. The feelings he had built up within him had nowhere to go and for a moment, he could only stand there in a daze when Su Nuan Nuan suddenly threw him a curveball. “Come now, tell us. How many children do you have? As for that Lu Feng Yu… you said that he’s still… well? That pitiful man, is he still… alive?”
Su Dong Lou gave a bitter smile before spreading his hands and said, “Cousin-in-law, I have no children.”
This time, it was Su Nuan Nuan’s turn to be shocked. Even Duan Tingxuan was shocked. Eventually, he hissed, “Nonsense, what are you saying? Didn’t you write to say that you got married to a heroic Jianghu girl and had two children with her? You even told me that children of Jianghu don’t bother themselves with rules and went off together to the North and got married there. You specifically told me not to interfere and… just how did it turn out this way? Wait… did they… passed away?”
“No,” Su Dong Lou’s smile was bitter. “I was afraid that you and the emperor would force an engagement on me and made up this story to trick you. That is… when I say the emperor, I meant the crown prince before he was the emperor. So, it shouldn’t count as a crime for deceiving the ruler, right?”
“You shameless thing! Is that the important point here?” Duan Tingxuan was nearly dizzy with anger. He roared at Su Dong Lou, “The lack of sons is the most unfilial of sins, you… just why did you…”
Before he could complete the sentence, the little marquis’ suddenly reared back in shock. His chest heaved once, twice, and then he stood up to glare down at Su Dong Lou with increasingly disbelieving eyes. Finally, he was able to catch his breath and said, “You… don’t tell me it’s all for that… that Lu Feng Yu? You rascal, didn’t you say you were just playing with him? Don’t tell me you’ve actually fallen for him? Can’t you grow up a little?”
“Tingxuan, breathe, breathe, I already told you this a long time ago. That idiot Dong Lou had fallen for Lu Feng Yu for real, you’re the one who refuses to believe me. Well? Who’s in the right now? Ah, it can’t be helped. You men are just too clueless. How could you understand that ‘Love comes like a tornado’? There’s no reasoning with love, you know?”
For once, Duan Tingxuan turned a deaf ear to his wife’s consolation. Still heaving with anger, he glared at Su Dong Lou and snapped, “I don’t care. Now that you’re a Great General, who knows how many official families will want to attach themselves with you through marriage? You had better just buckle down and find a wife among them. Otherwise, I’ll have that scourge Lu Feng Yu slaughtered and be rid of him for good.”
Suddenly, Su Dong Lou also stood up, anger was visible in the lines of his shoulder and aura. However, his gaze was eerily calm as he said evenly, “Cousin if someone wants you to divorce cousin-in-law and marry someone else. If they threaten to kill her if you don’t obey them. What would you do?”
“You… absolute disgrace! How could that Lu Feng Yu be compared with your cousin-in-law, huh? Just what kind of person do you think she is? This is too outrageous!”
It was rare for the little marquis to truly lose his temper and fly into a rage. However, Su Dong Lou’s will was like forged iron, “Cousin-in-law is the only person in your heart. It is the same for me. My heart could only hold one person and that person is him. Moreover, my heart is too small to contain another. If anyone dares to force you to divorce cousin-in-law and marry another, you will kill him, won’t you? You will fight till your last breath to preserve your relationship with that person, won’t you? It is the same for me.”
“Why… why are you so stubborn? Why won’t you listen to reason?” Duan Tingxuan stamped his foot in anger.
Su Dong Lou merely laughed and said, “Have you forgotten whose son I am? If not for my stubborn parents, I would not have existed.”
At this, the little marquis had nothing else to say. Finally, he sat down and turned his face away. Determined to not even look at Su Dong Lou. In contrast, Su Nuan Nuan was filled with curiosity about the fate of these pair of lovebirds and asked a lot of questions about what had happened to them. Su Dong Lou, who had been more prickly than a hedgehog just now eventually settled down and warmed up to the topic.
It turned out that Lu Feng Yu had gotten thinner and more listless in recent years.
Curiosity practically eating her, Su Nuan Nuan said, “It’s been ten years but you still haven’t bent  him? Then you really shouldn’t force it, ah. That guy never even had a woman before, but I guess he’s the type to make the best of a situation. Even if he can’t bring himself to like you, now that King Xiangyang had been taken down, you’re the only lifeline he has. Moreover, with your reputation and prospects, you’re basically a giant golden tortoise that could guarantee him a worry-free life. There’s no reason for him not to hold on to you.”
Su Dong Lou’s smile was bitter, “It is as cousin-in-law said. I can feel it as well. However, I can also tell that he did not really hate me. When we first got together, he… he was like a dead fish, but eventually, he began to… slowly develop an interest when we…” before he could continue, the little marquis’ eyes flashed over like twin swords. Su Dong Lou held up his hands in surrender and continued weakly, “Well… well, I suppose cousin-in-law should understand?”
“En! I understand,” Su Nuan Nuan nodded. She thought: If Lu Feng Yu was not repulsed by bedroom activities, might he like Su Dong Lou back? Even if he did not really enjoy being bedded, that man is slippery and opportunistic enough to manufacture some interest, right? After all, King Xiangyang did not die, so there’s no need for him to re-enact the scenario where ‘If the Rabbit Dies, the Fox Grieves ’?
Moreover, was Lu Feng Yu capable of such loyalty?
[Gumihou: Ahahaha, I had been wondering what happened to these two. Also, Duan Tingxuan you party pooper, I want to hear the juicy details!]
 Three armed services: Basically getting himself involved in all layers of the army, foot soldiers, cavalry etc or if the army is split into groups of left, right, centre, he’s involved in all three.  bent him – turned him gay  If the Rabbit Dies, the Fox Grieves – grieving for a lost alliance. It came from a story where a fox and a rabbit formed an alliance against the hunter. When the rabbit died the fox was sad, because the alliance was lost.
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