After Becoming the Hero's Ex-fiancée - Chapter 4
Zheng Wan was dreaming.
In the long and vague dream, she was Zheng Wan for a moment, then Cui Wang the next. By the time she awoke, the sun was already shining brightly outside; the green parrot in the corridor sang from its cage:
“Wanwan is well, Wanwan is well”
“What time is it?”
Zheng Wan turned over; there was a figure sitting darkly by her bed.
Her father, who had resumed kneeling outside the Anju Gate yesterday, had already returned home. He had changed into a fresh set of casual robes, and was staring dejectedly at the glazed lamp, lost in thought.
She glanced at the hourglass atop the chest of drawers; it was already noon.
Zheng Wan sat up.
Only then did Zheng Zhai realize that his daughter had woken up; he hurriedly thrust a large cushion behind her for her to lean on. “Wanwan, are you feeling better?”
“I’m fine now. Where’s Mother?”
“My Wanwan has suffered.”
He patted her head.
Zheng Wan did not feel any suffering; the long, endless dream was still replaying in her mind.
She had never had this kind of dream before; dreams were usually composed of disconnected fragments—but not this one. It was continuous and logical, and relayed the course of Cui Wang’s entire life.
She dreamt that she was living in a book titled 《Sword Sovereign》. However, the protagonist wasn’t her, but the son of the Cui clan of Boling1, Cui Wang.
Cui Wang had to blaze his way through all manner of obstacles; through these, his skills became unparalleled, and in the end, he became the legendary immortal Sword Sovereign.
The Sword Sovereign led a vibrant and magnificent life and was admired by many, while she, Zheng Wan, was simply his unremarkable mortal ex-fiancée.
According to the book, in a month’s time, her father would be convicted and stripped of his rank, and exiled for 3,000 li2. During the journey, her mother became depressed and fell ill, and was never able to recover thereafter.
As for her—the esteemed noble lady and the capital’s foremost beauty—upon losing the blessing of power and privilege, she fell quickly from grace and was ground into the mud; even the lowliest soldier could trample upon and humiliate her as they wished. She waited to reunite with her father at the penal colony so they could join forces and kill the soldiers. However, because of the unbearable and brutal cold, she climbed into the guard’s bed and finally died after being humiliated.
Her enraged father killed the guards and gathered his old supporters to revolt under the banner of “Punish the evil; Purge the imperial court”. But before he could even decamp, he was killed by Cui Wang in one stroke of his sword.
This portion was barely more than a dozen pages long, but it contained a complete account of her absurd and humiliating life.
Zheng Zhai looked at his daughter with concern—he saw that her eyes, which were always clear as autumn water, were rippling; she seemed like a bewildered young deer who had encountered a wild beast in the forest. He couldn’t help but lower his voice, “Wanwan? What’s the matter?”
He thought his daughter was still feeling scared because of his punishment at Anju Gate yesterday.
“Father, I had a dream.”
Zheng Wan rubbed her forehead, “I dreamt that——”
She opened her mouth, but found that nothing came out, as if there was an unknown force that prevented her from revealing the contents of her dream. If Zheng Wan was only half-convinced before, she was now almost 95% convinced.
As for the last 5%, it remained to be verified.
“Father, do you trust me?”
Zheng Zhai looked at his daughter’s suddenly stern face, nodded repeatedly, and said coaxingly, “Yes, Father trusts you. Whatever Wanwan says, Father will believe.”
“Father!” Zheng Wan puffed out her cheeks. “I’m being serious.”
“Yes yes yes, go ahead, Wanwan, tell me. Father is listening.”
In front of his daughter, Zheng Zhai was completely unable to rouse up any of his usual authoritative dignity as the country’s Senior Grand Secretary.
Zheng Wan smiled at him, but her eyes were watery. In her dream, the spring flowers were in full bloom, but her father was in a faraway place, buried in a barren slope. What was he thinking about before his eyes closed for the last time?
As he laid there, was it cold?
Did he think about Mother, about Wanwan?
Zheng Wan blinked away the teary look in her eyes. She lifted the blanket and got out of bed, slipped on her felt shoes, and went to the window.
She pushed the window open; the midday sun blazed, melting the snow.
Zheng Zhai looked at his daughter disapprovingly. “It’s chilly, be careful of catching a cold.”
Zheng Wan tucked her hands into her sleeves and gazed at the snow gathered upon the eaves.