Title: Infinite Power Over The World
Original title: 权倾天下[重生]
Author: 叶默凉(Ye Moliang)
Translated by: ~PurpleLy~
Murong Heng was thoroughly sceptical. Who exactly wanted to meet him? Admittedly, there weren’t many people who were able to recognise him, but this person had asked to see him by name—did he actually know him?
As he harboured these uncertainties, Murong Heng followed the owner of the teahouse to the exterior of the private room. He instructed a few guards to remain outside before knocking on the door himself. He pushed open the door and entered. An exquisite screen divider filled his view. Upon walking around it, he saw the person sitting at the table raise his head.
When he laid eyes on the man’s face, Murong Heng became transfixed for an instant. Wasn’t this the man who’d obstructed his carriage that day? Vigilance triggered, Murong Heng narrowed his eyes to observe him and scrutinised his eyes carefully. He noticed that his pupils were vacant, his gaze couldn’t land on a fixed spot, and he became even more suspicious.
Shen Ci sipped the tea in his cup and slowly rose to his feet. “This humble one is so bold as to invite this gentleman to come over. I have no other intentions. It’s just that sir assisted me the other day, and I merely wanted to show my gratitude.”
“Indeed?” Murong Heng’s gaze was fixed on him, but he didn’t walk over.
Shen Ci smoothed his lips a little and smiled. “Since you’re here, please sit down. Waiter, serve the tea.” He angled his head and raised his voice, then gestured with his hand to the seat in front of him. All his behaviours were no different from a normal person’s. If those eyes of his didn’t appear so hollow, Murong Heng would surely wonder if he was pretending to be blind.
When he thought of this, Murong Heng became even more apprehensive. Why did this person invite him into the private room to offer thanks? He didn’t fall for this ruse, so he stared fixedly into his eyes, intent on putting him to the test.
Once the tea had been brought, Murong Heng didn’t drink it. He remained motionless at the same spot but discreetly placed a chair between the two of them before calling Shen Ci to come over.
“Is there anything, sir?” Shen Ci didn’t understand, so he stood up and made his way towards him. Before he could manage a few steps, his knee knocked onto something. Suddenly, his whole person tipped over and fell to the side.
“Ah!” A bang sounded as Shen Ci tumbled to the ground, and his forehead happened to hit the chair in front of him. The forceful impact made him lightheaded, and a huge bruise developed on his forehead.
“Young Master!” Feng Nan, who’d been waiting outside, heard the shout and rushed in. When he entered, he saw that his young master had fallen to the ground. But the man before him was still standing there and appeared to be still scrutinising him.
As he supported the fallen Shen Ci to stand up, Feng Nan eyed the nasty, purple bruise on his fair forehead with a heavy heart. He wanted to touch him, but feared hurting him. He wanted to rage but had qualms about the status of the person in front of him, so he could only utter resentfully: “Let’s leave, Young Master.”
“It’s fine, you go outside first.” After remaining stationary for some time, the dizziness dissipated. Shen Ci gently pushed away Feng Nan who was in front of him and tolerated the pain at his forehead. He said softly: “Apologies, I’ve made a fool of myself before this gentleman. I suffered some accident in my youth, and my eyes can’t see anything.”
Having made some observations, Murong Heng, who’d been standing at one side, eventually concluded that this person wasn’t intentionally feigning blindness, but truly couldn’t see. He internally released a soft sigh, musing that he was overly anxious.
After sitting down at the table, Murong Heng picked up the tea and took a sip. The green tea tasted slightly sweet when it entered his mouth, but it took on a faintly bitter taste upon reaching his throat, leaving behind a fragrant aftertaste.
“Sir assisted me that day. This tea is to thank you for your help.” Shen Ci picked up the cup and downed the remaining tea. His forehead ached terribly. It would be better for him to go back soon.
The moment he turned, Murong Heng stared at his side profile and abruptly realised that these features were rather familiar. He narrowed his eyes, deliberately blurring his vision. All of a sudden, his whole body felt like it had been struck by lightning, and a voice echoed in the depths of his mind.
“This bro, are you still able to hold on? I’ll bring you to search for a doctor right away.”
It explains why he sensed that his voice sounded familiar that day. This side profile also resembled the person who saved him in his previous life! Then, could it be him?
Murong Heng’s gaze fell upon the jade pendant on the waist of the person before him. He recalled that the man also had a jade pendant hanging on his waist with his words engraved on it. If he could get hold of that jade pendant, he could confirm his identity.
With this in mind, Murong Heng stood up and moved closer in front of Shen Ci. He placed his hand on his shoulder. When his warm breath sprayed on Shen Ci’s fair neck, he clearly felt Shen Ci’s body stiffen.
After some time, Shen Ci found his voice. “Sir…… what’s the meaning of this?” He gave a light cough to diminish the awkwardness and took a backward step in order to increase the distance between the two of them.
“Be careful!” Murong Heng seized the chance to encircle his arms around Shen Ci’s waist, swiftly removed the jade pendant, and hid it away within his robes before releasing his hands and acting as if nothing had occurred. He said, “You were on the verge of falling earlier. It’s all right now.”
“Indeed.” Shen Ci took a step back, sensing that his face was a little red-hot. He slowly sat down and drank tea to mask his discomfort.
Needless to say, since Murong Heng had obtained the jade pendant, he wanted to leave quickly. So he came up with an excuse, turned around, and went off. Once he returned to his mansion, he closed the doors and frantically retrieved the jade pendant from inside his robes before examining it several times.
Sure enough, there were two exquisitely elegant characters inscribed on the back of the jade pendant: Wan Ting.
It’s actually him!
Murong Heng was over the moon when he saw this. When he’d been reborn in this life, he made a vow that he would find the person who saved him in the previous life and repay his goodwill. He’d never expected that person who was seemingly far away was actually within arm’s reach. It was indeed Shen Ci!
He truly couldn’t believe that the person he’d been searching for had been right before his very eyes. Moreover, the words “Wan Ting” also carried a substantially influential background. After he was reborn in this life, Murong Heng had flipped through mountains of books. He’d gleaned that Gentleman Wan Ting was as fine as jade, exceptionally talented, but exceedingly low-key, and few had glimpsed his real face.
Murong Heng stood up excitedly and paced back and forth as he grasped the jade pendant in his hand. It seemed as if he could still sense that person’s body heat when he stroked the “Wan Ting” words with his callused fingertips. Murong Heng resolved to go look for him.
In the meantime, Feng Nan brought Shen Ci back to the residence. He hurried into the house and located the salve for dispersing bruising. He pushed on his master’s shoulder to make him sit on the bed. Then he took the salve and dipped his fingertip into it before applying it to Shen Ci’s forehead.
“Hiss…” Shen Ci couldn’t help letting out a noise when the bruise was brushed against. He grimaced and endured the pain.
“Young Master, why did you do it? You wanted to thank him, but instead he regards you as an enemy. Good intentions were deemed to be ill intentions!” Feng Nan said indignantly, but he didn’t reduce the pressure beneath his fingertips and continued to daub his forehead.
“It’s normal for him to be sceptical of me.” Shen Ci said softly after a moment’s silence.
“I know that you, Young Master, are the most kindhearted of all.” Feng Nan packed up the salve. He helped Shen Ci lie down on the bed and helped him tuck in the corners of the quilt before heading out the door. He paused in the centre of the courtyard and released a soft sigh.
Inside the house, Shen Ci was lying on the bed. When his hand suddenly touched his waist, he discovered that the jade pendant he always carried with him had disappeared without a trace. He sat upright and rummaged up, down, and all over his body but couldn’t locate it. Today’s minor accident at the teahouse inadvertently came to mind.
Could it be possible that he’d made off with it?
A few more days passed imperceptibly. On this day, Murong Heng was loitering outside his residence. In the eyes of commoners, he gave the impression that he was idling his time away, so of course he was deserving of this perception.
As he walked around, he reached the place Shen Ci had mentioned previously. Didn’t he say that this was where he lived? After feeling the jade pendant on his chest, Murong Heng leapt up and made his way onto the only rooftop in the residence where the lamps were still lit. He gently lifted a tile fragment and hunched down to eavesdrop.
The inside of the room was very tranquil. After sometime, he began to hear the melodious sound of a guqin*. Murong Heng lowered his head and peered down. He saw Shen Ci sitting in the centre of the room before an unadorned guqin, playing slowly. Slender fingers stroked across the body of the guqin, evoking an unusual sense of beauty.
(*TN : A Chinese zither-type musical instrument consisting of a flat sounding box with numerous strings placed on a horizontal surface and played with a plectrum or fingertips.)
Just as he was listening, Feng Nan entered from the outside, carrying some bamboo slips* in his hands. He said discontentedly: “Young Master, I’ve told you not to write these things. Why do you still want to write them?”
(*TN : Bamboo slips were used for writing prior to the invention of paper. These slips were joined together to create whole scrolls.)
Shen Ci’s eyes had been blinded due to an accident when he was a child. When he usually felt like writing something, he could only count on his senses to etch the words onto the bamboo slips. In the beginning, his hands often hurt. After many years of practise, he was able to carve out words perfectly onto the bamboo slips without relying on his eyesight. Aside from worrying that these bamboo slips would be discovered, Feng Nan was distressed as well.
“There should be a start and a finish when doing things. Since you’ve written it, don’t give up halfway.” Upon hearing the words, Shen Ci stopped playing the guqin. He let out a low sigh and replied: “Moreover, the ways of the world are now erratic. I merely wish to write down the thoughts in my heart.”
“The thoughts in your heart?” Feng Nan lowered his voice all of a sudden, his eyes filled with anxiety and concern, “Young Master, don’t you know? If these things fall into the hands of the imperial family, you’ll surely die!”
Murong Heng was sprawled on the rooftop. When he heard what the two had said, his inquisitiveness was abruptly triggered. Precisely what was it that made this attendant so perturbed.
“No matter.” Shen Ci smiled. Suddenly, he lifted his head and said, “The friend who’s up there. Since you’re here, why not come down and have a seat?”
Feng Nan was stunned. He swiftly stowed away the things he was holding within his robes and cast his gaze to the roof.
Murong Heng was alarmed. He never made a sound. Unexpectedly, this person’s sense of awareness was so strong that he could detect him above. If he wasn’t cognisant of the blindness in his eyes, he would also harbour suspicions about his skill in martial arts!
Since he’d been found out, Murong Heng didn’t put on an act. He gave a loud laugh and came down from the roof. He swept past the attendant and stood before Shen Ci. He asked, “How were you able to discover me?”
“Feeling.” Shen Ci insipidly. He gestured with his hand, inviting him to sit, and saying, “Feng Nan, make tea.”
Once Feng Nan had finished making the tea and departed, Murong Heng spoke in a low voice: “I regard my martial arts as not lacking, but was discovered by you so quickly. Truly commendable.” After he’d spoken, he fished out the jade pendant from his person and placed it in the hands of the Shen Ci in front of him, saying, “I’m returning this to you.” He neither admitted that he’d taken it nor refuted it.
“If Your Highness has something you wish to ask, just ask.” Shen Ci didn’t conceal the fact that he knew his identity and spoke frankly. He knew that this person must have many questions he wanted to ask him.
Seeing him speak like this, Murong Heng wasn’t recalcitrant and directly asked: “Aren’t you worried if This Prince learns of those things you’ve written, you’ll be killed in the future?” He didn’t need to see the things to know that they were surely dissenting matters. Even if he was an imperial prince in name only, as long as the information was transmitted into Emperor Chongde’s ears, there would be people who’d come to arrest Shen Ci and kill him.
“Replying Your Highness, I’m not afraid.” Shen Ci gave a light laugh as his fingers strummed gently over the strings, indifference emanating from his entire being. “This subordinate trusts that Your Highness is certainly unafraid, right?” Having interacted with Murong Heng these few times, Shen Ci realised that he was completely different from what the rumours said. He wasn’t cowardly. At least for the sake of his interest in these matters, he could discern that Murong Heng was not the type who lacked initiative, per the rumours. On the contrary, he was most likely an ambitious person.
Moreover, the conversation that followed also verified that notion of his. Murong Heng probed him incessantly, and conversely, he probed on Murong Heng’s character. Both of them acquired what they wanted to know and kept secrets.
Two hours later, Murong Heng left the residence. The corners of his mouth unwittingly curled up into a smile. It’s true what they say: Gentleman Wan Ting was brimming with talent, and his reputation was well-deserved.
If he was able to recruit him for his own use, he would be able to achieve great feats!