Li Feng has always let the young Crown Prince interact with him. On one hand, it was to improve their relationship, and on the other hand, it was to pave the way for his son!

The thoughts of these people…

Shen Yi: “Do you think there’s a possibility that the Emperor will pass the throne to Yan Wang?”

“Hush… Don’t bring it up again,” Gu Yun said. “Don’t meddle in that. Remember what we’re here for.”

Shen Yi hurriedly responded, “Actually, I have one more thing… Uh, it’s a personal matter.”

Gu Yun looked at Shen Yi in surprise. “What is it?”

Shen Yi scratched his head for a moment. “Are you familiar with Miss Chen?”

Gu Yun was still absorbed in thoughts about the barbarian envoy and Li Feng’s broken leg, so he didn’t quite catch on. He inexplicably replied, “Miss Chen? Can’t say I’m very familiar with her. She doesn’t seem to pay much attention to others. Why?”

Shen Yi responded indignantly, “She tirelessly served as a military doctor in that godforsaken place in the northwest for so long, and you say you’re not very familiar with her?”

The words “ungrateful and heartless” were already written all over Shen Yi’s face.

Gu Yun: “Ah?”

Shen Yi stared at him with anger.

Both of them were out of sync. They stared at each other for a while, Gu Yun finally realized, and let out an “Ah.” He looked at Shen Yi with a strange gaze and asked, “What do you mean?”

The usually talkative Shen Yi suddenly closed his mouth. His cheeks tightened, and he forcefully maintained the appearance of a martyr who refused to speak, bravely facing Gu Yun’s malicious gaze, becoming a mute.

Gu Yun innocently raised an eyebrow and poked Shen Yi’s chest with a finger, saying, “Sir Shen, didn’t the sage teach you ‘Do not pry into personal matters’? It’s inappropriate for two single men like us to gossip about a young lady in broad daylight. Isn’t that right?”

He remembered Shen Yi’s scolding earlier and immediately inserted the knife, “Dirty.”

Shen Yi: “…”

Gu Yun had unexpectedly found such a huge handle on Shen Yi. He felt extremely delighted, his back no longer sore or painful. He casually walked away, whistling a tune that echoed his flute skills.

“Gu Zi Xi!” Shen Yi angrily caught up with him, grinding his teeth. “You…you…”

You bastard!

Shen Yi used all his strength to swallow the rest of his words, realizing that it was inappropriate to insult his superior in public during broad daylight.

Gu Yun had thoroughly amused himself, and they had left their personal guards behind. They walked together towards the imperial city. Gu Yun then spoke seriously, “Miss Chen has an impeccable character and great abilities. I reckon she could handle beating up three to five people like you without any problem.”

Although it was a provocative remark, Shen Yi didn’t feel offended at the moment. On the contrary, he found it quite interesting—especially when Gu Yun recounted the first time he met Chen Qing Xu on a pirate ship in Jiangnan many years ago. Shen Yi listened with relish, sighing and wishing he could experience it firsthand.

“As for her personality and preferences… I don’t really know much about them. Perhaps Long Geng is more familiar with her.” Gu Yun paused for a moment. “But let me tell you about her family background.”

“Chen Family from Shanxi Prefecture, I know,” Shen Yi interjected. “They’ve been generations of skilled doctors, providing medical care to the people, and their family ethics are very upright.”

Gu Yun scoffed, “You seem to know quite a bit. Are you planning to propose?”

Shen Yi said seriously, “Three mediators and six exchanges are indispensable.”

Gu Yun: “…”

His brother was quite peculiar. He had accumulated a wealth of knowledge from his extensive studies, deeply influenced by the traditions of noble families. However, while they emphasized “rituals and ethics” in public, they engaged in their own illicit activities behind closed doors, without affecting their public image. Only Shen Yi was different. On the surface, he abandoned the imperial court to join the medical field, and later willingly degraded himself to become a common soldier. He was known for “deviating from the norm.” However, internally, he followed the true path of “do not inquire or observe anything improper,” earnestly associating with a group of old soldiers and ruffians, resisting corruption for more than a decade.

During the time Chen Qing Xu stayed in the capital and experienced various troubles, this member of the Chen family probably had a lot of contact with Shen Yi. But even with all that contact, the surname Shen didn’t dare speak openly to her and could only secretly come to Gu Yun for information.

From the sound of it, he probably hadn’t even figured out the connection between the Chen family and the Lin Yuan Ge. He still believed that Chen Qing Xu was purely devoted to serving the country!

Gu Yun sighed inwardly. Shen Yi was such a blockhead; he didn’t seem like one of his subordinates at all.

“Well, let me tell you something you don’t know. Don’t spread it around—The Chen family from Shanxi Prefecture is not an ordinary family of physicians. They are the backbone of the Lin Yuan Ge,” Gu Yun whispered. “I heard a mention from Old Zhong that Chen Qing Xu seems to be the head of the Chen family in this generation. If that’s true, it’s unlikely she would marry you and become the wife of an admiral.”

Shen Yi was immediately stunned.

Gu Yun pondered for a moment. “How about this? I’ll find someone to talk to her on your behalf and see what she thinks…”

“No, not yet,” Shen Yi hurriedly interrupted. “It would be too hasty.”

Gu Yun: “…”

He felt like he was dealing with an impatient eunuch in front of the emperor. But considering Shen Yi’s personality, he might never find a wife in his lifetime. So, Gu Yun, with his experience, advised, “You can’t afford to be not in a hurry, Brother Ji Ping. If you’re not careful, someone else will seize the opportunity, and then you’ll have no place to reason.”

Shen Yi pondered for a moment and shook his head. “Not now, I need to think about it.”

Gu Yun shook his head after listening. He understood too well. If a man hesitated after hearing about a woman’s background, it usually meant that he found it interesting but not indispensable. However, Gu Yun didn’t want to make judgments about the person’s feelings. He casually said, “Alright then, take your time to think. Let me know if you need my help.”

Shen Yi didn’t pay attention to that sentence. He was lost in his own thoughts and seriously analyzed with Gu Yun, “I didn’t know about this situation before, but after you mentioned it, I also feel that it’s not quite appropriate.”

Gu Yun: “Hmm.”

Shen Yi continued, “In that case, there’s no way. I’ll have to wait until this battle is over and resign from my post. I won’t be a general anymore.”

Gu Yun: “…”

He almost fell off his horse.

Shen Yi, with a troubled expression, continued to smile. “It just doesn’t feel right to propose before the battle is won. People like us, if we become too attached, it’s easy to become distracted on the battlefield, which is dangerous. And in case something happens, it would be a burden for the other person. Sigh… I’m afraid that if I wait until after the battle, time will no longer wait for me… It’s really difficult to find a balance. Zixi, do you have any ideas on how to keep unwanted people away?”

“…You don’t have to worry about that. From what I know, Miss Chen has that ability,” Gu Yun paused for a moment, narrowed his eyes, and suddenly smiled.

Shen Yi was puzzled, “What’s so funny?”

Gu Yun said, “I’m laughing at you. You excelled in the imperial examinations, then went against the court officials the next day and happily joined the Lin Shu Academy. It was there that you achieved some success. Some people even speculated that you would become the successor to the Imperial Historiographer. But then you left the Lin Shu Academy as an armor commander and joined the Xuan Tie Camp step by step to where you are today, with remarkable military achievements. You’ve indeed taken a path that others would see as a one-step-to-heaven miraculous journey… Resolving the siege of the capital, saving the emperor, you might even be awarded a noble title or become a high-ranking official. People think you’ve made careful calculations, but now you want to resign from your post just to get married.”

Shen Yi continued to smile with a troubled expression—he never had ambitious goals. These years, he had just followed Gu Yun, taking care of this and that. Unfortunately, due to the turbulent situation around the Duke of An Ding, he accidentally gained some reputation, which wasn’t what he desired. As a result, there was nothing he couldn’t let go of.

Some people changed their hearts easily, completely transformed within three to five years, while others remained steadfast, traversing tens of thousands of miles, their original intentions unchanged.

Gu Yun looked at him and suddenly felt a bit emotional. The slight frustration that arose from the mention of the harem’s affairs had disappeared. He affectionately hooked Shen Yi’s shoulder and patted him.

“If you need anything related to Miss Chen in the future, let me handle it. You haven’t noticed my fluctuating emotions, and you’re still there worrying and contemplating. Well, even if I’m not too upright, I think…”

Shen Yi went on with his self-doubt and self-analysis.

Gu Yun: “…”

While it was unnecessary to change his original intention, it would be nice if he could stop talking incessantly. Gu Yun had been bombarded with non-stop chatter by Shen Yi, causing him a splitting headache. He couldn’t bear it any longer and whipped Shen Yi’s horse, taking the opportunity to escape.

At the same time, the news of “the Yanwang envoy being invited into the palace while still outside the city” spread like wildfire. In no time, it reached the ears of those in the capital. Fang Qin’s subordinates, including several advisers and party members, were sitting around him. This time, with the chaos in the north, Fang Qin felt like a person being married off.

To Fang Qin, the faction led by Lv Yang was like a bad tooth. Although it was in his own mouth, it was constantly inflamed and painful. It not only hindered his chewing but also frequently restrained him. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to remove it. However, he didn’t expect Yanwang to have so many tricks up his sleeve. With Yanwang’s absence from the capital, he took advantage of the opportunity while Fang Qin was still caught off guard and took control of the canal area.

Now that the Canal Administration had been established, factories were popping up like mushrooms all over the place. It had become an irreversible fact. With Fang Qin’s years of experience in the officialdom, he sensed that the next steps, such as land taxes and reforms in commerce and the people, would also be irreversible. He wanted to play a mantis catching the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind, but Yanwang had long been “mending the plank road while secretly crossing Chencang.” He had calculated ten steps ahead and had finally made a move, leaving Fang Qin just one step behind.