For an instant, the influential officials who had always been at odds with each other, harbored the same question in their hearts tacitly:
What are these two people kidding about?
However, looking at Qi Qing’s expression, he really didn’t seem to be joking.
Everyone pondered in their heart. In doubt, they first looked at Ji Xingjue, who was forcing himself to smile, his eyes were dark and looked very unhealthy, and then looked at the indifferent, energetic Lord Marshal with his eyebrow raising upward. Suddenly they were blessed with a thought.
Could this be Lord Marshal’s revenge?
Bind Ji Xingjue to his side, tortured him wantonly, wait until enough venting, and then kick him away?
One must know that the Imperial Marriage law was biased towards the stronger side. When dealing with family conflicts, the empire had also inherited the very fine tradition of “Even an honest and upright official will have difficulty resolving a family dispute“. However, as long as the person wasn’t dead, they all would turn blind eyes, and turn big problems into small ones, and small problems into no problems at all.
In this way, it was indeed terrible.
It would be useless even if Ji Xingjue wanted to call the police!
This way of thinking, no matter how experienced they were, all became mostly the same. The more they thought about it, the more they felt that this was the case. The more they pondered about it, the more they felt that it was supposed to be so, and then they turned towards Ji Xingjue with a little pity expression on their faces.
Who told you to offend Qi Qing, the man with great power within his grasp. No one can save you now.
Even His Majesty the Emperor couldn’t help but cough lightly, feeling that Qi Qing using this move was to harm others without benefit to himself.
However, having Ji Xingjue as the marriage partner was not impossible.
As long as it wasn’t anyone from the anti-imperial forces among the noble officials.
His Majesty the Emperor shook the glass and cast a loving sight towards Ji Xingjue with a smile. “So, that’s how it is. It seems that the ladies of the Imperial Capital are not blessed enough. Ladies and Gentlemen, let us cheers and toast to our newlywed couple!”
Everyone reacted and raised their glasses to say, “Cheers to the Marshal and Mrs. Marshal!”
Ji Xingjue: “……”
This could simply be included in the top ten mystical scenes of the Imperial Capital.
The lights in the banquet hall began to dim, and the symphony orchestra played melodiously.
Ji Xingjue moved to the side quietly, pretending that he was a piece of thin paper, trying to get out of the crowd without letting anyone notice. When he just moved two steps, a sudden force came from his waist, and pulled him back.
Ji Xingjue exhaled, “Lord Marshal, what can I do for you?”
Qi Qing pursed his lips, his expression unclear under the dimmed light. “The dance party has begun.”
The people around all found their dancing partners and danced in pairs to the sound of intertwined music.
But both of them stood still, looking indeed not very gregarious.
Ji Xingjue understood.”…but I can only dance the male steps.”
Can’t let the noble Lord Marshal take the woman’s steps, right?
Unexpectedly, Qi Qing put a hand on his arm, lowering his eyes to look at him and raised his eyebrows. “Then dance in the male step.”
Having not seen each other for many years, and now less than three days after reunion, Ji Xingjue sighed for the third time in his heart: Qi Qing has really grown.
In this kind of situation where he would immediately swing off and leave before the exchanges like all the previous, he could actually force himself to dance into the female steps in order to blend into the atmosphere of the banquet!
Since Qi Qing had made such a sacrifice, Ji Xingjue naturally wouldn’t back down. He reached out his hand out of courtesy to Qi Qing’s thin waist where a bit of burning feeling drifted to his hand. He hesitated, but Qi Xing took him a step ahead and started dancing with the music.
The air was filled with fragrant wine, mixed with heavy cosmetics perfume.
Being surrounded by such heavy perfume, Ji Xingjue was so dizzy, his head spinning. Only Qi Qing’s breath was clean and clear, like a handful of spring snow. He couldn’t help getting closer to Qi Qing, his limbs inevitably rubbed and collided between his movements. It was obvious that he was dancing the male steps, but his whole person was almost enveloped in Qi Qing’s embrace.
He wasn’t careful and missed his step, leaving another footprint on Qi Qing’s army boots.
Having sense Qi Qing’s sense of existence from top to bottom strongly shrouded in his line of sight, Ji Xingjue laughed dryly and timely explained for the safety of his life, “I’m sorry for being no skills in business.”
“Ankara University has graduation party every year, teachers and students will be invited to come together.” Qi Qing led Ji Xingjue in a semi-circle, when he returned, he got a little closer, spraying warmth breath in his ears. “I heard that you are very popular in school, didn’t you practice more?”
Feeling a little numb in his ear, Ji Xingjue couldn’t help but raise his head to avoid him while telling the truth, “I’m not interested in that. Speaking of which, Lord Marshal, you are still the first ‘lady’ to dance this dance with me.”
He deliberately ridiculed, and wanted to tease Qi Qing while glancing at him with eyes full of unspeakable meaning. However, in the misty illumination, he found that Qi Qing did not have a long dark face as he expected.
On the contrary, Lord Marshal seemed to be in a good mood for some reason. The corners of his lips were hooked up, and his cold face showed signs of spring breeze melting away the freezing ice.
It was indeed getting more and more unpredictable.
When Ji Xingjue couldn’t find the indicator of Qi Qing’s good and bad mood, he decided to let go of Qi Qing’s poor foot, bowed his head and danced the next step seriously.
The rhythm of this dance step was basically controlled by Qi Qing, but fortunately, he was not wicked in this aspect, so it could be regarded as he was considerate.
At the end of the music, Ji Xingjue felt it more troublesome than reading a student’s paper. He breathed a sigh of relief, and was just about to find a reason to sneak out, a familiar voice came from behind him. “Teacher.”
Qi Qing let go of Ji Xingjue, but did not remove the hand on his shoulder, and his eyes turned sharp.
Ji Xingjue turned around and smiled politely: “Your Royal Highness Third Prince, good evening.”
His Majesty the Emperor had three princes at his knee. In front of him was the youngest 3rd prince, who had once gone to study in Ankara University in disguise, and Ji Xingjue took him on projects.
The 3rd prince was always smiling, approachable, leaving people with a good impression. “Although I have graduated and not been able to continue my research under your hands, you are still my respected teacher. Please call me Harlem directly.”
After speaking, Harlem politely nodded to Qi Qing. “Marshal Qi Qing, His Majesty invites you to meet him in the reception room.”
Qi Qing frowned and glanced at Ji Xingjue.
Ji Xingjue was very self-conscious, “Lord Marshal, don’t worry, I won’t run around.”
Qi Qing still wrinkled his eyebrows, his gaze wandered back and forth between the two of them. Without saying a word, he turned his head and gave Damel a look before leaving with the attendant.
Ji Xingjue apologized slightly, “Sorry, Your Highness, he may be drunk and a bit rude.”
Harlem didn’t care about Qi Qing’s lack of courtesy. Seeing Qi Qing left, he immediately pulled up Ji Xingjue and quickly said, “Teacher, I have something to tell you.”
His Royal Highness’s hand strength was so strong it made people surprised. “Hey” was what Xingjue cried, but before he could refuse, he was dragged out of the banquet hall.
Although His Majesty liked winter, he did not like the intrusion of severe cold. Thus, the entire palace was covered by a temperature regulation system. The temperature inside and outside the hall was constant. There was a cool breeze in the back garden, and the roses, gardenias and iris carefully maintained by the court gardener were in full bloom in all seasons. When the breeze carried the fragrance of flowers on one’s face, it felt a bit cool and comfortable.
There were a lot of people hiding in the backyard from the ball. Harlem found a corner with a small number of people, and let go of Ji Xingjue’s hand. He wanted to say something but then hesitated. “Teacher, you and Marshal Qi Qing are really…”
Ji Xingjue faintly showed his left hand.
His fingers were very beautiful, white and thin, with distinct bone joints, and the black ring was particularly conspicuous by the skin tone.
Harlem suddenly became speechless.
Ji Xingjue didn’t mind. He waited for a few seconds for the poor prince to digest the news, then smiled and said, “To especially pull me out, is there something wrong?”
Harlem opened his mouth then swallowed back hesitantly. After a few moments of hesitation, he chose to give up the questioning and replied, “It’s about Yser.”
At the mention of this name, Ji Xingjue’s relaxed smile disappeared, and the fingers hidden behind him unconsciously tightened.
That familiar, strange and beautiful face came to mind again.
The other party looked at him with eyes bent, and said with a smile, “Teacher, you are wrong.”
Ji Xingjue had brought up some students in these years, but only Yser was a true unique genius.
And this genius was kidnapped by a star thief on a starship half a year ago, and had since disappeared without a trace.
Ji Xingjue raised his eyes, “Is there any news?”
“Please teacher, don’t be too sad,” Harlem sighed, but still had to tell the cruel news. “A few days ago, the star salvage fleet of the Sixth Galaxy recovered some fragments of a starship.”
The empire had control over seven major galaxies. The Seventh galaxy had troops stationed all year round to guard the border of the empire, and the Sixth galaxy as a transition zone was almost a deserted and uninhabited fringe of a galaxy.
Harlem considered his words while speaking, “Due to the large degree of fragmentation, there are not many clues left, but there is faint biological data remaining on it. After comparing the biobank, it can be basically confirmed…when the starship exploded, Yser was on it.”
A normal person staying on the exploding starship would end up having only one result.
That was, even a piece of bone remains couldn’t be found.
Ji Xingjue’s face turned pale.
He pursed his lips with all his strength, his voice hoarse, “Thank you, Your Highness Harlem.”
“I remember Yser has no family. You used to take him home for dinner,” Harlem sighed again. “After the fragments are sent back to the Imperial Capital… I will help you to set up a tombstone for him.”
Ji Xingjue lowered his eyes, having the long eyelashes concealed the expression deep within, while the corners of his mouth pulled to a straight line.
When he wasn’t smiling, his handsome facial features seemed to be overlaid with cold colors, which looked even colder and more inhuman than Qi Qing.
After a few moments, he raised his face again and smiled reluctantly. “Good, Yser will be grateful to you.”
Harlem blinked and was at a loss. He felt that this sentence sounded a bit strange.
Without waiting for him to think more about it, Qi Qing came over.
His thin lips were pressed into a line, showing that he was in an extremely foul mood as he scanned the distance between the two. “Professor Ji, this is your ‘will not run around’?”
After Ji Xingjue saying thanks to Harlem, he walked over and calmly replied, “Didn’t Lord Master find me? If you can find me, it proves that I didn’t run around, didn’t it?”
Qi Qing frowned, “It’s nonsense.”
“What did he need you for?”
The two returned to the banquet hall. Qi Qing glanced at Damel, who had been following Ji Xingjue, still somewhat vigilant.
“Talking about people you don’t know,” Ji Xingjue spread his hands innocently, “I shouldn’t be able to plot to assassinate you, please rest assured, you don’t have to be so vigilant about everything.”
Qi Qing hummed softly, and did not comment on these remarks.
It was getting late now. Ji Xingjue, who spent his time all night, and only slept for a while at noon, was so tired that he secretly yawned.
Fortunately, Qi Qing also didn’t want to stay at this boring banquet anymore, so after glancing at him, he prepared to leave.
Seeing that the two were about to leave, the nobles who had been shocked all night finally reacted and hurriedly stepped forward to block the people. “Both of you can indeed keep a secret tightly. Leaving early is not a gentleman’s behavior… Professor Ji, you have to be punished for drinking alcohol.”
A glass of wine was handed in front of his eyes, one by one smiling with bad intentions.
They most likely wanted to deliberately get him drunk while getting a good impression in front of Qi Qing.
Ji Xingjue quite understood the housefly and temperament of these nobles, like a flock of working bees, without forgetting to buzz whenever they gather. They would be more ferocious if they were given some sweets. On the contrary, if you didn’t give them any, you wouldn’t be able to wave them away.
Looking at Qi Qing’s increasing level of impatience, Ji Xingjue decided to send these people away as soon as possible, lest the Lord Marshal’s suppressed violent temper all night tonight would flare up in the main hall.
He casually took a glass of strong wine, and was about to drink it, when Qi Qing suddenly leaned forward and seized the glass.
“Madam is lightweight.”
Ji Xingjue raised his eyes in amazement. Qi Qing did not look at him, but looked directly at the group of people who wanted to get him drunk and watch good shows. His handsome profile looked extremely cold. “I’ll drink in his stead.”
The group of people dared not speak anymore, with foolish expressions, they turned like a wooden chicken.
Qi Qing raised his head slightly, his Adam’s apple rolled as he drank it. Holding the wine glass, he placed it heavily on the tray held by the waiter next to him, making a round gaze. His light-colored eyes looked both icy-cold and unfeeling. “Who else wants to punish alcohol?”
Adjutant Damel continued to pretend to be a transparent person and followed behind, silently reinterpreting the commander’s words in his heart:
—Who else would dare to punish alcohol?
Salted Fish – Drifting Wanderer
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