Important note: The beginning of the chapter starts will a non-consensual scene, then proceeds to a short section that the previous translator did. If you want to skip all this just scroll a little bit or ctrl+f 'Zhuang Kang'.
If you are planning on skipping just note: Fu Yanlin is a massive d-ck.
“Wife, are you blaming this husband for staying in the concubine’s room? Is that why you’re asking this husband if he’s gone into the wrong room? That sounds a lot like jealousy.”
The hell?! She was definitely not jealous. Instead, she was sincerely wishing that he had the wrong room. It’s a pity it wasn’t true. She thought that this man would forever treat her like air or at least ignore her for a few years. Who knew that he changed his mind after only a short time?
To give in or not? She hesitated but at this time, perhaps because he couldn’t tolerate her rejection, he quickly reached out and stripped her down. The moment their skin touched, the scalding sensation immediately caused her to heat up.
Fine. What will be will be! They were husband and wife and would stay together for their whole life. Since he was willing, she would not be unreasonable. She was the Marquess, his wife. She had an obligation to share the marital bed.
After thinking it through, she closed her eyes and tried to relax her body.
Fu Yanlin’s heart was cold. He was only following the Emperor’s decree and wanted to quickly fulfil the order and report back. So there were no kisses and no foreplay. No need to mention whether he was treating her gently or with feeling.
Fortunately, Mu Huanqing was someone who had learnt martial arts. Her body was stronger than the average girl and was able to stand the torment. But the process was extremely uncomfortable. She had to hold herself back several times with all her might or she wouldn’t hesitate to kick Fu Yanlin out of the bed.
It probably lasted only a quarter of an hour. He finished quickly and didn’t stay the night. Not a word was said and he didn’t give her an extra glance before clothing himself and leaving with big steps.
Mu Huanqing lay on the bed and calmed herself. She stared at the roof, her heart empty.
She endured the discomfort between her legs and called the servant girls in for a bath. Afterwards, she had them leave, not wanting them to serve her. She cleaned herself up and placed the blood-stained sheets in a box. She had the water carried out and turned off the lights to lie down.
In the end, nothing had changed. She would spend her days like before. She would regain her spirits after resting for a night.
The next day, everyone in the Marquis household knew what had happened. Many people thought that the Marquis’s heart had softened for his wife. After all, she was the legal wife. Mu Huanqing also thought this but in the end, she found that she had thought wrong.
Fu Yanlin continued to treat her coldly and spend each night at concubine Lin’s place. He did not enter her rooms again.
Mu Huanqing made several discrete inquiries and finally discovered that Fu Yanlin wasn’t actually willing that day, but had been helplessly forced. He had also had wine before entering, only willing to touch her after he had drunk himself to numbness.
Mu Huanqing became angry. She clenched her fists but did not flare up in front of the servants. Instead, she had all of them retreat and locked herself up in her room, refusing to see anyone.
That night, she waited until everyone had fallen asleep before taking a bottle of wine and quietly walking out the door. She used her qinggong (t/n: literally 'light arts', think walking on air kind of thing) to arrive on the roof of the library and sat there looking at the moon and drinking alone.
She was very angry. But she had to hold back because she was very clear that her every word and action was being monitored. If she showed her anger in front of others, she would attract attention and would give rise to all kinds of rumours. Moreover, she had investigated this in private and couldn’t let people question how she knew what happened on the outside. So, she could only endure silently and wait till everyone had fallen asleep before running out to sit on the roof and drown her sorrow with alcohol.
“A group of bastards!” She cursed the Zhenyuan Marquis, Lord Mu, and the Emperor. If she had known earlier, she would have randomly found a man in the north to marry. At the very least she would not need to return to the capital and suffer these petty annoyances.
She also scolded herself for letting him on her bed. If she had been a bit more cautious, a bit more attentive, she would have discovered that the other party was acting slightly odd and would not have needed to suffer in silence.
What kind of situation was this?! Not only getting married on imperial orders but even ordered to have sex? She now had two people to dislike, the matchmaking Emperor, and the Zhenyuan Marquis Fu Yanlin.
She was finally provoked into hatred, and this hatred gnawed at her heart.
Mu Huanqing chuckled grimly. So this was the hatred of a woman in the harem. Full of resentment and bitterness, humiliated, neglected, hating the fact that they should not be treated so, hating the people who wronged her. So much hatred that it brought out the demon in her heart. She wanted revenge. She wanted to fight for her own place.
Mu Huanqing closed her eyes. She was still able to stay calm but was very clear that she needed to vent out this resentment.
The roof of this library was the tallest one in the entire Marquis courtyard, thus it was the closest to the sky. She was able to forget about the vastness of the earth while sitting here and avoid being overwhelmed by narrow-minded people and their hatred.
She opened her eyes, took a look at the moon covered by dark clouds, and laughed.
Hatred was more terrifying than the passing of time. Not only will it wear down a woman’s youth, but it would also erode a woman’s appearance causing their face to reflect what was in their hearts.
After thinking through it, she decided to control her heart well. She wouldn’t learn to let the hatred in her heart recklessly devour her body. But she was still very angry. She wanted to drink wine and vent out the unhappiness in her heart.
She brought the wine to her lips and realised it was completely empty. She involuntarily let out a quiet curse. She should have grabbed a few more bottles.
“Who’s there? State your name!” A deep command suddenly came from behind, disturbing her peace and quiet.
Mu Huanqing turned her face and saw a guard standing ten steps away and pointing a sword at her. She coldly gave him a glance before turning her head, ignoring it.
The guard, Zhuang Kang, didn’t think that there would be such a bold thief. A thief who did not run away after being seen and continued to sit in a daze. He immediately went forward, the shining blade was rudely placed on her shoulder, pressing on the side of her neck.
“Stand up!” Zhuang Kang loudly commanded.
Mu Huanqing lowered her head, slipping underneath the sword. Her arm turned as fast as lightning as she seized the opportunity to simultaneously take away the sword and punch the other directly in the face.
“F-ck!” Zhuang Kang touched his nose and felt heating flowing from his nostrils.
“Great timing. I just so happened to want to exercise!” Mu Huanqing threw away the sword in her hand. She took out a piece of black cloth from her waist and covered the bottom half of her face. Without any further ado, she launched her attack.
Zhuang Kang hurriedly countered and the two began to fight on the roof. Although the other party was a woman, her martial arts were not weak. She was very skilled with her hands and feet and caused the blood in his body to boil.
After a while, the two figures were full of sweat. They were jumping and leaping all over the library roof. Nothing was out of range of their forceful kicks and punches. Inevitably some tiles would fall to the ground and the sound of them shattering pierced through the depth of the night.
Suddenly a torch was lit underneath them and they heard a jumbled mass of voices. Perhaps the sound of the fighting alerted others and it attracted the guards.
“Tsk. People have come. Let’s stop now.” Mu Huanqing spun around and kicked the opposing party. Zhuang Kang rolled off the roof and with the tip of her toes, she jumped off the roof and disappeared into the night like a bird.
The negative feelings had largely been reduced after the fight and Mu Huanqing felt much more comfortable. She took off her outerwear when she returned to her room and immediately fell into a deep sleep after laying down. At this moment, the rest of the Marquis household was busy running around trying to catch a thief but unable to find any tracks at all. They only found an empty wine jug on the library roof.
The empty wine jug was quickly sent to Fu Yanlin’s study. He stared at the wine jug. The mark on the wine jug was the mark of the Marquis house.
“So you’re saying that a thief stole this jug of wine, sat on the roof to finish it off and did not steal anything else?”
Zhuang Kang knelt on one knee and lowered his head to respond to his Master. “That’s correct, my Lord.”
“What did the thief look like? Their age?”
“Her face was covered by a black cloth and it wasn’t clear. Except that she was a young woman.”
“Lift your head.”
Zhuang Kang obeyed. Yuan Ji and Meng Huai who were standing beside him were stunned. Then their shoulders began to shake as they restrained their laughter.
Zhuang Kang’s face was swollen, and the places of the swelling were particularly hilarious. He had two big bruises on his cheeks, one on each side. Having a swollen nose was normal, but his lips were also puffy. He looked just like the actors in traditional Chinese opera but uglier.
Zhuang Kang’s gaze drifted to the side and glared at his two brothers. But when he faced the bright gaze of his Lord, he became solemn, not daring to glance again.
Fu Yanlin examined Zhuang Kang’s face with a scorching gaze. Then asked, “You lost?”
Zhuang Kang was ashamed and his voice was very small when he answered. Not only did he let the thief escape but he was also beaten until his nose faced the sky. The bruises on his face would most likely take half a month to heal.
Fu Yanlin furrowed his brows. Zhuang Kang was fairly skilled so the female thief’s martial arts were not weak… Since nothing was stolen it signified that she was not here to steal things. Maybe it was to scout out information.
He stared at Zhuang Kang for a good while and then passed down his order. “Fine. Go get treated first! Don’t go out with this face for the next few days, to avoid others thinking that my Marquis house’s guards cannot even beat a female thief.”
Zhuang Kang looked like he had wilted. He hung his head dispiritedly and replied, “Yes, my Lord.”
After they withdrew from the study, Yuan Ji and Meng Huai each held onto one of Zhuang Kang’s shoulders and no longer held back their laughter. But they were also afraid to laugh too loudly so they could only suppress the sounds, but they did not restrain the shaking of their bodies.
“Brother Kang, this elder brother feels that your face is particularly handsome today!” Yuan Ji held his chin and could not stop trembling from laughter.
“Let’s just say that you are good with women. Even having a date with a female thief in the middle of the night. Us elder brothers don’t have your kind of luck.” Meng Huai teased, rejoicing in Zhuang Kang’s misfortune.
The relationship between the three was very good. They were all children of official’s, had close temperaments, and were subordinates of the Marquis. Out of the three, Zhuang Kang was the most handsome and popular among women. Since that handsome face was beaten black and blue by a woman they practically laughed themselves to death.
Zhuang Kang hissed. His face hurt even more now that it was bumped with their rough hands.
“Laughing at me? Hmph! You guys better not look down on that girl. She might come again and next time it will be your guys who meet her. At that time you’ll be like me and get beaten until you look like a pig head. Then I’ll be the one laughing to death!”
Naz's interesting tidbits: Though I translated it as ‘female thief’ the characters in the raws would literally be ‘female flying thief’. The characters ‘flying’ and ‘thief’ when put together just mean cat burglar or a thief who scales walls.
Qinggong: Literally 'light arts', think flying over rooftops and running like naruto.