After Becoming the Hero's Ex-fiancée - Chapter 25
The Transient Realm (1.1)
When Zheng Wan regained consciousness, she found herself lying on a red bed.
A red dragon and phoenix quilt, red dragon and phoenix drapes, and even the buckwheat pillow was entirely red and inevitably embroidered with a pair of mandarin ducks playing in the water.
She lifted the quilt and sat up. To the right, there was a pair of dragon and phoenix candles as thick as an arm. The candles were half-burned and engraved with the words “A harmonious union of a hundred years” and “Early birth of a precious child”. In front of the candles were a pair of agate copper cups, two pairs of chopsticks, and a few dishes of fruits and pastries.
A voice came from the corner; it was without any pretence, like the tinkling of a gurgling stream, clear and pleasant to the ear. Zheng Wan looked reflexively to the left—Cui Wang was standing beside an eight-eared, four-legged incense burner in the corner, picking at a bit of incense ash and examining it carefully.
His face really looked like a majestic mountain range. From the ears to the eyebrows, and then from the eyebrows to the bridge of the nose, everything seemed cold and sharp.
The hands under the red robes toyed with incense ash; the finger bones were like jade carvings. There was not a single part that wasn’t beautiful or moving, and the beauty was not feminine in the least.
……He is really handsome.
Zheng Wan thought sourly to herself. She remembered in the nick of time that she was still in the middle of a performance, and opened her mouth; her voice was low and dazed:
“State– State Preceptor, where… is this? Why are we… Co-Could it be that you– you and I are… m-married?”
She stammered haltingly as she looked at Cui Wang with timidity, longing, and a hint of incomprehension. Zheng Wan reached out to pull the quilt higher, revealing only a pair of eyes.
Cui Wang looked up at her; there was no trace of emotion in his eyes:
“The transient realm. We didn’t get married.”
Zheng Wan, “…Oh.”
Of course she knew that this was the transient realm. In the evanescence, outside of the great world, countless smaller words were hidden. They could have been created for a variety of reasons—perhaps because of a drop of mermaid’s tears, or because of a grain of heavenly earth.
Some were good, and some were bad; some were superior, and some were inferior.
The one meant for the young Sword Sovereign to train in was naturally excellent.
This was also the reason why Zheng Wan had stalled for so long on the marble boat, and also why she threw herself shamelessly into his arms at the last moment—she wanted to come to this transient realm to get a share of the good fortune. And even if she couldn’t get anything, it would be good to have time alone with Cui Wang to deepen their relationship.
But Zheng Wan clearly remembered from the book that Cui Wang’s entry point was a vast forest, why did this place look…. like a newlyweds’ room?
Could the entry point have changed because the two of them had entered this realm together?
Zheng Wan seemed to have mustered up her courage. She lifted the quilt to reveal a pair of snow-white feet; all ten nails were painted red1. In a flash, they disappeared into the red silk embroidered shoes on the footstool. “How are we going to get out of this– this transient realm?
“Weren’t we on the marble boat?
“Will–will I die?
“I don’t want to die.
“State– State Preceptor, can I still see my parents?”
As she spoke, her eyes started tearing a little.
“Why– why have we both changed into red garments? The wedding gown I’m wearing… did– did the State Preceptor change them for me?”
Cui Wang had no intentions of paying any attention to her. It was only after her last question did he straighten up and frowned at her for a while before saying:
Who knew that this would cause Zheng Wan to hiccup; she covered her mouth, not daring to make a sound, but the tears she had been holding back rolled down.
“I, I can’t help it.”
Cui Wang emphasized blankly:
“When my mother was alive, she never shed a tear.”
“Your– your mother is your mother, I– I am my…”
Zheng Wan’s small stream of tears became a big river.
She remembered that the Peony Trope’s star had said that it was the biggest taboo to allow oneself to be interrupted in the middle of a performance. Even if one was being heckled by the audience, they had to tough it out and finish the performance, otherwise, others might make mistakes too.
Cui Wang finally sighed and said:
“What will it take for you to stop crying?”
Zheng Wan looked at his sleeve carefully, as if addicted to it. She stretched out a small white hand and squeezed it tentatively. Seeing that he did not break free, she immediately tightened her grip, and her tear-stained face broke into a smile:
“This will do.”
1 Fun fact: Nail polish originated in China and dates back to 3000 BC. Around 600 BC, during the Zhou dynasty, the royal house preferred the colours gold and silver. However, red and black eventually replaced these metallic colours as royal favourites.