In the garden, the empress was dazedly looking at a white flower. She remembered someone told her this flower was extraordinary. When she thought of the serious look on that person’s face, she suddenly chuckled. Then, she turned around and asked Hong Luan, “What’s Deputy Prefect Ren doing?”
“Deputy Prefect Ren has gone to the Ministry of Works,” Hong Luan replied.
The empress nodded her head. Following which, she thought of something and said to Qing Yuan and Hong Luan, “Send a yiniao to General-in-Chief who Supports the Nation and ask him to find Lu Pinghai and bring the thing back. As long as he is willing to exchange it for something, give him anything he wants.”
“Yes,” Hong Luan replied and left in a hurry.
Tong Zhenye, Feng Hou, and the rest were looking at the crystal bits that they obtained from cement under the sun. The crystal bits were giving off colorful dazzling glow. These crystal bits looked like gemstones, but they had already confirmed that they were not.
“Mix the gypsum powder and these stone materials in the ratio of 3 to 97,” Ren Baqian taught a craftsman how to mix the worked materials. If nothing went wrong, this would be the cement they were looking for.
They would only know how well the cement would work after mixing water and grit to it and letting it set overnight.
Then, they bought the cement and grit back to the Ministry of Works. The moment they reached their destination, they impatiently found a spot in the backyard and mixed the cement and grit together with some water.
Ren Baqian found two rocks to be used as bricks and smeared them with the cement. By tomorrow morning, they would know how well the cement worked.
“Alright, we come back tomorrow morning. By then, we will know the outcome,” Ren Baqian said as he looked the color of the sky. Nowadays, the weather of Dayao was extremely hot, having a temperature of up to 33 degrees Celsius. The cement should be ready by tomorrow morning.
After returning to the palace, Ren Baqian headed straight to Qingxin Palace Hall to learn how to read. When the sky darkened, he stood up and prepared to leave.
“Eh!” Lin Qiaole yelled when she saw Ren Baqian standing up.
“What?” Ren Baqian lowered his head and looked at her.
Lin Qiaole cast a glance at him and asked, “I heard that Her Majesty has chosen you to be her husband?”
Ren Baqian thought about her question. It’s true that she has chosen me to be her husband. If that’s the case, am I going to adopt her surname?
“Why?” Lin Qiaole widened her eyes and asked.
Ren Baqian spread his hands with resignation.
You’re really slow. It has been so many months and you only know of it now? How ill-informed are you exactly?
And how would I know the answer to your question?
Everything happened too abruptly, and the wheel of fate kept on spinning. Ren Baqian himself was overwhelmed with shock for a very long period of time as well.
“You’re so ugly and weak, I can even kill you with one finger,” Lin Qiaole said with disgust, “Why did Her Majesty choose you?”
Ren Baqian’s face darkened.
I really don’t feel like talking to you now…
Ren Baqian pointed two of his fingertips in the air at Lin Qiaole’s head. If he knew [Six Arteries Divine Sword], he would have shot her to death. ([Six Arteries Divine Sword] is a martial art from Demigods and Semi-Devils, a wuxia novel.)
“No wonder you have no friends, it has been so many months and you only know of it now,” Ren Baqian said with disdain.
“What is ‘friends’?” Lin Qiaole suddenly asked, “I have seen this term on many books but what does it mean?”
When Ren Baqian saw the innocent look on Lin Qiaole’s face, he suddenly couldn’t bear to chide her. After all, she grew up in this place alone. Every day, other than eating and sleeping, she spent all her time stuck in this place.
Her probability of meeting and befriending people was smaller than winning a lottery ticket. The probability of her having friends was probably the same as the probability of her getting hit by an asteroid.
“Wives are like limbs, friends are like clothing. Having no friends is equivalent to running naked on the street,” Ren Baqian replied sincerely after thinking about Lin Qiaole’s question.
Lin Qiaole looked blankly at Ren Baqian. After a long while, she somewhat figured out what he was implying and replied with contempt, “Pervert.”
“That’s why you have to make a few friends when you have the opportunity,” Ren Baqian continued.
After Ren Baqian left, Lin Qiaole was still in a daze. Even though she had seen the term “friends” many times, she still did not know what it meant.
Ren Baqian headed for Yangxin Palace Hall. When he reached there, dinner had already been served. The empress did not touch the food at all, appearing to be in a daze thinking about something.
“Greetings, Your Majesty!” Ren Baqian greeted the empress.
“Oh,” the empress returned to her senses and asked, “How’s the progress at the Ministry of Works?”
The tasks that Ren Baqian had for the Ministry of Works were very important to the future of Dayao. Therefore, she wanted to know about their progress.
Actually, she could simply instruct the Ministry of Works to report to her. However, she wanted to hear from Ren Baqian as he knew more about these things.
“We still don’t know the outcome yet, we will only find out about it tomorrow,” Ren Baqian replied, “If we succeed, Dayao can build taller buildings in the future. Furthermore, if we want to build walls, we will not need to dig out stones, cut them, and transport them here from distant places anymore. This way, we can save a lot of manpower.”
“Inform me of the outcome tomorrow then.” The empress nodded her head.
“Let’s have dinner together,” the empress continued. Then, she straightened her body. Ren Baqian had a hunch that she had been waiting for him. With a smile on his face, Ren Baqian poured some wine for the empress.
After finishing their dinner, Ren Baqian asked curiously, “Your Majesty, don’t you need to train?”
He had been curious about this for a very long period of time.
Every aboriginal that he came across was training every day. However, he had never seen the empress train before.
Given her powerful strength at this young age, other than being gifted, shouldn’t she be training one hundred times harder than other people?
However, Ren Baqian had never seen her train before, let alone training one hundred times harder than other people.
The empress shook her head and replied, “I am training at all times.”
Ren Baqian did not quite understand what she meant. Following which, he said, half understandingly, “So walking is considered training, eating is considered training, sleeping is considered training, and sitting is considered training, right?”
The empress shook her head and gave a rough explanation, “No, it means training at every single moment, be it you’re sleeping, eating, sitting or walking. The aboriginals that you have come across are mainly on the level of Four-way Heaven or Kismet Heaven. These people treat their bodies as Heaven and Earth and they train their bodies on the grind. For someone who has attained the level of Cardinal Heaven, he or she naturally does not need to train as hard as those people.”
Ren Baqian somewhat understood these words.
As for the exact details, he wouldn’t understand even if the empress explained it to him. Therefore, he did not ask her any more questions.
“Your Majesty, do you want to play Five in a Row?” Ren Baqian suddenly thought of it and asked.
Upon hearing this question, the empress did not bother to even look at him. Ever since that day she lost the game against him, she had zero interest in it.
Suddenly, she raised her head and looked at Ren Baqian. “Since you’re so free, sing the song that you mentioned to me that day.”
Ren Baqian almost spat out a mouthful of blood. Why did she remember it? At a complete loss, he replied, “Your Majesty, I will bring an erhu back and play you the song ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ in the future.”
“Alright, but you must remember what you have said. If you forget about it, it’s considered lying to me and that’s a punishable crime by law.”
When Ren Baqian heard these words, he almost kneeled down on the ground. Did she learn these words from “Empresses in the Palace”? Ren Baqian felt that he shouldn’t have let her watch this kind of nonsensical show.
[Empresses in the Palace is a 2011 Chinese television series based on the Internet novel of the same name by Liu Lianzi.]
“Your Majesty…” Ren Baqian raised his head and looked at the empress’s face and replied, “How can I forget what I promised you?”
After Ren Baqian left, a smile appeared on the empress’s face. As she picked up the wine cup and sipped from it, she suddenly thought of a line in the movie she watched that day. “The more wine I drink, the warmer I feel. The more water I drink, the colder I feel.”
Right now, her heart was feeling warm.
She finally understood what this line meant.