The Scum Shou’s Survival Guide Chapter 43 Part2

CH 43 (2) – I can only let you go~

Recap : LZC (ML) brought Ye Ming (MC) to a smaller abode out of the imperial palace, presumably for some work affair. Ye Ming met LZY (ML's scheming brother) at night and plotted to escape from ML by giving ML sleeping powder (which was poison). YM felt ‘guilty' and did not use the sleeping powder (aka poison) but ML pretended to have been poisoned anyway, because he firmly believed that YM had slipped poison into his tea. When LZY burst in to kill ML (thinking ML was truly poisoned by YM), YM ‘heroically' jumped infront of ML and nearly got his arm hacked off. ML (who was never poisoned) stuffed LZY (who had been critically injured by arrows) into the dungeon and took the unconscious YM back. ML also tested the tea which he had believed to be poisoned by YM, and realized that the tea was fine. Thus, self-blame ensues. After 5 days in a coma, YM tells the system to wake him up. 

Li ZeChen was supporting Ye Ming in his arms, carefully, and with much difficulty, feeding him a bowlful of medicinal soup. He heard someone arrive outside, announcing their presence and requesting to see him for important issues. He paused for a moment, then placed the bowl of medicine down before going out.

The leader of his secret guard reported, “Li ZeYuan is dead. How should we proceed from here?”

{T/N: It's not clear in English, but the terms used in Chinese means that LZY was not killed, but most likely succ.u.mbed to his injuries.}

Li ZeChen's eyes were filled with venomous hate. If it wasn't because he had been too preoccupied to spare Li ZeYuan any attention, he would have definitely made him regret having ever been born! He answered coldly, “Send the body over to the Court of Judicature and Revision. Investigate all those who have a.s.sisted Li ZeYuan, let no one escape!”

The leader of his secret guard has rarely seen Li ZeChen in such a murderous state. He knew that what had happened had really touched Li ZeChen's reverse scale. Wary of making any mistakes, the guard left after receiving his orders. It would seem that a reign of terror would soon take the capital city by storm.

{T/N: Reverse scale – In Chinese culture, dragons have one scale at the throat that grows in the opposite direction of all their other scales. Touching this reverse scale is a big no no. Somewhat similar to the English equivalent of berserk b.u.t.ton.}

What will happen will happen.

Li ZeChen closed his eyes, his heart filled with helplessness and desperation.

What use is Li ZeYuan's death, even if he kills everyone, what of it? It would not bring back the one he loves. He had been wrong, and there is nothing he could do to compensate for it.

If he had trusted Ye Ming, Ye Ming would not have been hurt……

If he had not forced Ye Ming into the palace from the very beginning, Ye Ming would not have been involved in this matter at all. He was the true culprit in all of this.

[Ding, Li ZeChen's blackening value -10, current blackening value is 10]

Li ZeChen slowly turned around and went back into the room. He gently lifted Ye Ming into his arms. With his eyelids lowered, his expression was gentle and melancholy. His voice was raspy as he murmured, “I am sorry, won't you please wake up……”

As he said this, his lips twitched into an expression of self-mockery. Suddenly, he saw Ye Ming's eyelashes start to tremble.

Li ZeChen went rigid in shock. He watched Ye Ming anxiously, fearing that what he had just seen was merely a trick of the mind and that he was merely getting his hopes up.

After a long while, Ye Ming's eyelashes fluttered again, and finally opened. Awareness seemed to slowly filter back into him. When his sight finally focused on the person in front of him, he immediately began struggling to get up, but was pulled into a tight embrace by Li ZeChen!

This aloof and untouchable man who had always seemed so high above everyone else, was now choking with emotion. “You're awake……”

Ye Ming blanked out for a moment. Infected by the sorrow of the man before him, he found himself unable to maintain his cold indifference.

This fragile side of Li ZeChen vividly reminded Ye Ming of the youth who had once always hidden himself beneath a mask of cold indifference, who had never shed a tear nor uttered a word of complaint, had never ever revealed his weaknesses, but nonetheless had a gentle side to him that he had never shown anyone else……

As for the current Li ZeChen, he should be even more powerful and formidable, even less likely to fear anything or anyone, and yet because of Ye Ming, he has shown this weak and vulnerable side of him.

Ye Ming could not help saying, “Chén is fine, Your Majesty need not be concerned……”

{T/N: I, your servant.}

Li ZeChen looked at him unwaveringly, his dark eyes br.i.m.m.i.n.g with endless fear. How could he not be concerned? He had watched over Ye Ming everyday, always facing the possibility that he would see Ye Ming die. He had been like a man drowning in despair, dragging himself towards the edge of a cliff, not knowing when the end will come.

Li ZeChen felt a lump in his throat, he could not speak. He could only hug this person in his arms tightly. After a long while, he suddenly recalled that Ye Ming had only just woken up, and ought to be hungry. This man who had always been poised and decisive, was now like a muddle-headed child as he asked, “Are you hungry? I'll get some food for you.”

{T/N: LZC used the normal ‘I' instead of the imperial ‘zhèn'.}

Ye Ming looked at Li ZeChen, and a rare gentleness showed in his eyes. “My thanks to Your Majesty.”

Li ZeChen brightened up at the tenderness in Ye Ming's expression, as happy as a child receiving praise from his teacher. His heart brimmed with joy, and warmth coursed through him. He hastily stepped out to give his instructions, and a short while later, came back with a bowl of warmed congee in his hands.

{T/N: Congee is rice porridge. Pic}

Li ZeChen carefully scooped up a spoonful of the congee, blew on it lightly to cool it, then moved the spoon to Ye Ming's mouth.

Ye Ming felt somewhat discomfited, but to refuse Li ZeChen now would be too unkind. He parted his lips and accepted the mouthful of congee.

Seeing that Ye Ming was able to eat, Li ZeChen also fed him some medicine. His expression finally relaxed a little in relief.

The physician had said that as long as Ye Ming wakes and is able to take his medicine, his life would no longer be in danger.

Ye Ming gazed silently at Li ZeChen's haggard face and sunken eyes which were ringed with dark circles from fatigue. “Chén is fine. Your Majesty should rest. The nation's affairs should not be neglected because of chén,” he advised.

Li ZeChen had never liked it when Ye Ming tried to persuade him in these things. He had felt that Ye Ming's true intention was to avoid him, and were but attempts to push him away. However, having faced the terror of losing Ye Ming, even the nagging that he had once perceived to be tiresome were now treasured memories that had nearly become lost luxuries.

And now that Li ZeChen thought about it, it would seem that all those words had really been for the sake of the nation……

Although Li ZeChen was deeply reluctant to leave, he did not want to disappoint Ye Ming either. He stood up, but could not help asking, “Back then….. why did you choose me?”

Even after I have treated you in such an unforgivable way. 

After a moment's pause, Ye Ming understood what he meant. Li ZeChen wanted to know why Ye Ming had helped him instead of choosing Li ZeYuan. He hesitated, then said slowly, “There's no why to it. Chén cannot commit an act of disloyalty and injustice. That is all.”

These are the same reasons he refused to be the Empress.

“Disloyalty and injustice……” Li ZeChen gave a hollow laugh. Sorrow welled in his eyes.

I finally understand how determined you are. For you, loyalty and righteousness is everything…… I have dragged you through such difficult circ.u.mstances which challenged your beliefs,  but I am still not able to sway the dedication in your heart. 

Whatever your reasons, you still chose me. For that, I should be grateful and not ask for more. 

And I was not wrong about you. You will always be the one I love the most……

{T/N: ML previously thought YM had a change of heart and colluded with LZY, but he did not, and remains the same person ML had loved.}

Li ZeChen looked at him tenderly. “Zhèn understands. You have a good rest, zhèn will visit you another day.”

{T/N: I, imperial use.}

Evening fell, and Li ZeChen kept his word. He did not show up.

Ever since Ye Ming woke, Li ZeChen's visits became less frequent. He listened to the constant reports on Ye Ming's condition by his subordinates, but he did not always go over.

Since Ye Ming does not wish to see him, he will grant him some distance.

The precious herbs stored within the Imperial Palace all flowed to Ye Ming's residence like running water. The imperial physicians worked tirelessly to treat him, and after several months, Ye Ming's health was restored. Asides from his injured arm lacking in strength and control, where even lifting it was an exercise in effort, one would not notice any anomalies if one did not pay close attention.

Li ZeChen would drop by to visit Ye Ming every few days, but he never stayed the night, and no longer forced himself on Ye Ming. Their relations now closely resembled one of mutual respect between friends instead.

Today, Li ZeChen paid him a call again. When he arrived, Ye Ming was practicing his calligraphy. Li ZeChen watched him fixedly.

It was only when Ye Ming turned his head that he realised Li ZeChen was present. He gave a faint smile. “Your Majesty is here.”

For a moment, Li ZeChen was distracted by Ye Ming's smile. This was the smile he had been infatuated with. He loved this man so much, that he had been willing to use any and all means in order to possess him.

But once he had him, this smile was lost.

Because of all his wrongs and misdeeds, the person he had longed for had been changed beyond recognition. Li ZeChen was like a man facing a wall at the end of a road, and despite knowing that there was no path ahead, refused to turn around.

It wasn't until he was knocked bruised and b.l.o.o.d.y and left with no choice but to turn back, that he discovered that what he had lost had been behind him all along.

He had blamed Ye Ming for meeting up with Li ZeYuan, blamed him for keeping it a secret, but it had not occurred to him that he was the one who had driven Ye Ming to desperation. He had hurt Ye Ming first…… what right did he have to condemn Ye Ming for betraying him?

Even if Ye Ming had really betrayed him, he would only have himself to blame for it.

Li ZeChen walked over. He wanted to reach out and hold Ye Ming in his arms, but then considered that Ye Ming may not welcome his touch, and held himself back.

“Wen Qing, would you accompany me for a meal.” Li ZeChen looked at him yearningly, his voice hoa.r.s.e.

{Reminder: Wen Qing, aka Qi MingYan, is Ye Ming's character in this arc.}

Ye Ming looked faintly startled. Haven't they been taking their meals together frequently? What need was there to make this request? But since Li ZeChen requested it, he nodded obediently. “As Your Majesty wishes.”

Li ZeChen looked somewhat unhappy. “We used to dine together frequently, but you were never this distant and deferential.”

“Back then, you were not the Emperor. Things are no longer the same. The proper etiquette should be observed,” Ye Ming replied.

Li ZeChen gave a helpless sigh. There was a hint of a plea in his eyes. “Wen Qing, could you not treat me as your Emperor today? Let us be how we were back then.”

Ye Ming hesitated. He ought not agree, but Li ZeChen had never shown him such a vulnerable side of him before. He could not bring himself to be hard-hearted.

Li ZeChen's eyes dimmed in disappointment. “If you're not willing……”

Ye Ming was silent for a moment, then suddenly said, “Alright.”

Li ZeChen's eyes lit up as he asked somewhat apprehensively, “You are willing? Truly?”

At the sight of Li ZeChen who was br.i.m.m.i.n.g with joy like a child, Ye Ming could not help the lift of his lips. He smiled. “Yes.”

He was not oblivious to the recent changes in Li ZeChen. Since Li ZeChen no longer forced himself on Ye Ming, what need was there to be deliberately difficult?

Li ZeChen was overjoyed. Ever since he brought Ye Ming into the palace, although they were together nearly everyday, there had never been a moment as relaxed and pleasant between them as now. Back then, they had been locked in a cold war, mutually destroying each other.

In fact, he should have realized this earlier. Love cannot be forced. By attempting to manipulate and exert control over what he loved most dearly, just like the flowers blooming beautifully on a tree, once it has been plucked, it will immediately begin to wither. Such a simple truth has taken him so long to comprehend.

After dinner, Li ZeChen left as usual.

But this time, he did not truly leave. He stood outside the palace doors, all the way till nightfall. Until the moon shone bright in the sky, and the servants within the palace silently came out to report to him that Ye Ming was asleep. Then, Li ZeChen slowly stepped inside.

He gazed at the person on the bed, slowly committing the sight to memory. He reached out and lightly caressed Ye Ming's face, then lowered his head and gently kissed those soft lips. It was but a feather light touch, pure and gentle, with no other intent…….

If this is to be the last time I touch you, I hope to forever remember this feeling. 

I want to remember your face, your scent, your taste, your warmth, everything…… to accompany me for the rest of my lonely life. 

“I will release you, alright?” Li ZeChen whispered. His eyes blinked hard against the forming tears.

These words that were softly spoken, were like yanking out roots that had been deeply embedded in his heart. It was tearing him apart.

He had been selfish once. He had not wanted to experience this sort of pain. He did not want to only gaze form the sidelines, and had recklessly caged this person by his side.

He had been wrong.

If my love can only bring you pain, then it is time to let you go. 

{T/N: Remember the Author's note in Chapter 40? Ye Ming: 叶洺. Ye Luo : 叶洛}

The Author has something to say :

Ye Ming: There are still many readers who persist in calling me Ye Luo. Author, what do you have to say about this?

The Author gave a happy ‘hehe': Since the readers like it, it probably means that Ye Luo sounds more catchy. How about we give you a nickname, let's just call you Luo Luo okay? Do you like it? I think it sounds really cute.

Ye Ming: I concede defeat at your level of shamelessness.

In 888's heart: This spicy chicken has finally met his match. Truly worthy of celebration.

{T/N: Spicy chicken = Slang for trash}

Note : Here's the long delayed second half of the chapter! Hope you guys have not forgotten the plot yet, lol. For those still unaware, I will not be continuing this novel after completing this arc. Interested translators are welcomed to pick it up (if you wish to continue with this arc instead of waiting till the end, that's fine by me as well, just let me know in advance so that I won't waste my time).

Thanks for reading.

-Syeki

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