“What?” Gu Yun was taken aback and then heard a familiar melody. He suddenly turned his head and saw his precious son sitting on Shen Yi’s shoulder on a huge painted boat in the middle of the Dark River. The boy was swaying his head while listening to Miss Chen playing the qin. When their eyes met, he greeted Gu Yun from afar, smiling and showing his white teeth, particularly eye-catching under the night river’s flowing lamps.

“General!” Several Xuan Eagle Armors landed on Shen Yi’s boat one after another. The one with the loudest voice was Lao He, holding the wooden bird that Gu Yun had released earlier. He was so amused that his mouth was wide open. “I heard you fell while taking the bird for a walk, hahaha!”

Gu Yun: “…”

Rarely did he see this person also furious once, and Changgeng couldn’t help but smile.

The sound of water in the Dark River rumbled, and under the clear moonlight, the shadows of the trees swayed. Gu Yun looked around, realizing that even this place he had grown up in had changed beyond recognition.

The enemy had been defeated, the expedition was over.

The autumn wind could not blow away the bright moon. Now, the moon was full, and people were reunited. Heaven and earth had changed.

Last week, it was mentioned that General Shen had turned the tables and took the opportunity to tease Marshal Gu when he was in a jealous state. He played a prank on him, making him eat a flower ball and draw the note.

If we talk about “consolation,” Gu Yun had many consolations. Changgeng was his number one comfort, but besides him, there were delicious food, fun things, his loyal brothers, the troubled Shen Yi, the beautiful flowers grown by Wang Bo, the pampered horses fed by Lao Huo… Everything in the world that could make him stop and appreciate, laugh a little, was a comfort to him. Naturally, they were all considered his consolations.

However, when did the phrase “reached the end of the road” actually refer to? When Gu Yun first saw this phrase, he did not think of the days when he was young and orphaned and deaf and blind.

Firstly, that was a story from a long time ago, and secondly, for the past few decades, it had always been like this. He had gotten used to it. Now, looking back, it was actually the few years when he was a tyrant in the Marquis’s mansion that seemed blurry. Occasionally, when he remembered some fragments or heard Wang Bo mention them, he felt like those things didn’t happen to him.

He didn’t think of the time when they were surrounded by Western troops. At that time, he was already a mature and powerful man. He knew what he should know and what he shouldn’t know. He had already considered all the things he should think about. No one dared to add the word “little” before “Marquis” anymore. When people mentioned the Xuan Iron Three Divisions, they thought of him, Gu Yun, and no longer the old Marquis, Gu Shen. He was the last line of defense before the country fell. He didn’t have the luxury of reminiscing about himself.

What made him think of the words “reached the end of the road” or “no way out” was when he was ordered to escort the North Barbarian Crown Prince Gali Yinghuo out of the border.

That spring came unusually late that year. It was already March, but there was still no sign of life in the northern border. The sky and earth here seemed frozen, as if they would never brighten up. The bodies of cattle and sheep were hidden in deep snow pits by packs of wolves. If a person faced the wind for a while, their cracked nose and mouth would become so bloody that it would sting their throat.

Shen Yi wore a light fur and black armor. Before the horse had even stabilized, he leaped down and hurriedly rushed to the marshal’s tent. Without lifting the curtain, a muffled cough came from inside the tent, which startled Shen Yi and made his hand tremble.

The one guarding the marshal’s tent was the commander of the Northern Garrison. He said in a hurry, “It’s not the Marshal, it’s Master Chen.”

“Master Chen?”

“Yes, I heard that Master Chen has poor health. He never goes out in the winter. He made an exception this year and came over. As soon as he arrived at the border, he encountered this snowstorm. Even someone with a good physique wouldn’t be able to handle it, let alone him. He’s here to treat someone’s illness, but the doctor himself is about to fall ill. Sigh!”

Shen Yi had been riding in the snow and had a cold aura around him. Afraid that he would make things worse by rushing in, he withdrew his hand from lifting the tent.

Between his handsome and composed eyebrows, there was a touch of restlessness. In just a few days, his cheeks had become hollow. The horse handed over to the guards seemed to be connected to its owner’s state of mind and was pacing restlessly.

“The Emperor instructed us to send the Barbarian Crown Prince back as soon as possible and then return to the west.” Shen Yi lowered his voice and said to the commander, “According to the plan, we should have left a long time ago! The garrisons along the way have sent people to inquire a few times. Although the Xuan Iron Three Divisions are present, if we’re delayed for another ten days or half a month, they probably won’t say anything. But it’s been almost a month!”

The commander, just like Shen Yi, almost whispered, asked, “Is the Marshal still…”

Shen Yi shook his head.

“What is the reason after all?” The commander was puzzled and couldn’t understand. “The Marshal grew up in the northwest. Even if he doesn’t adapt to the water and soil in the capital, he shouldn’t have trouble with the wind outside the north gate! Wasn’t he fine when he came? Could it be… the barbarians’ doing?”

“No,” Shen Yi didn’t want to say more. A fleeting coldness flashed between his brows, and he waved his hand. “Please stop asking.”

Just then, a young man walked out of the tent, almost losing his balance. He spoke with great effort, “General Shen, my master invites you to come in and have a seat. He is preparing to administer the needle.”

“Ah…” Shen Yi hesitated, and in the end, he didn’t say anything. “Ah!”

The marshal’s tent was very hot, and a warm air rushed out, mixed with a slight smell of blood.

“Extinguish a few braziers.” Chen Gongzi’s voice came from inside the tent. He had a thin veil covering his face to prevent his cough from disturbing the patient. His voice sounded muffled. “Aren’t you afraid of getting too hot and harming him? When has your Marshal ever been afraid of the cold?”

When he coughed, his hand trembled, so he didn’t dare to administer the needle himself. Instead, he carefully instructed the medicine boy, even more nervous than if he had done it himself. After a while, sweat appeared on his forehead.

Shen Yi didn’t dare to approach and waited by the door.

After nearly half an hour, Chen Gongzi stood up straight. “It’s done.”

Gu Yun seemed to regain some consciousness and was helped up by the medicine boy. Shen Yi was about to step forward when he saw Gu Yun push away the boy’s hand and vomit blood by the bedside.

Shen Yi was terrified. “Zixi!”

Gu Yun couldn’t sit still without support and slumped to the side weakly.

Chen Feiyun quickly wrote a prescription while saying, “It’s fine. I’ll help him regain consciousness.”

Shen Yi: “…”

Gu Yun’s hoarse voice said, “…Chen Er?”

Chen Feiyun was taken aback and asked Shen Yi, “You didn’t use the medicine for his ears these past few days, did you?”

Shen Yi quickly shook his head and reached out to feel Gu Yun’s forehead, finding it covered in cold sweat, but his temperature had dropped.

Chen Feiyun thought for a moment, lowered his head to sniff his own sleeve, and smiled. “Dog’s nose.”

Gu Yun’s vision blurred, and he struggled to recognize Shen Yi, saying weakly, “Why did you bring him here? Meddling… I won’t die.”

“Marshal,” Shen Yi said with a bitter smile. “The big pot of porridge this morning was cooked using you as the ingredient. If you continue to burn like this, you’ll become the first piece of human-shaped purple flowing gold in the Great Liang.”

Gu Yun couldn’t hear clearly in the first place, and now his ears were ringing even more. He seemed uninterested in what Shen Yi was saying. He tilted his head, closed his eyes, and didn’t know if he had fainted again or was resting his mind.

“General Shen, why do you always have a mournful face when I see you?” Chen Gongzi shook the prescription he had just finished, then coughed, his eyes reddening. But he still spoke with a smile. This person always seemed cheerful. In Chen Gongzi’s words, they were born with short lives, and they were already miserable enough. If they couldn’t be more optimistic than others, wouldn’t that make it even worse?

Shen Yi thought to himself, “Isn’t that obvious? Ten out of ten people who go to see a doctor are sick. Shouldn’t we celebrate with a whip?”

But he wasn’t familiar with Chen Gongzi and couldn’t be too impolite. He bowed his head and clasped his fists. “Thank you for taking the trouble to come, Brother Chen.”

“It’s nothing. General Gu saved my sister’s life, and he has a good temper with me. When he’s better, I’ll have him write a fan for me.”

Shen Yi hurriedly asked, “So, what is the cause of his illness…”

“What the cause is, General Shen should know, right?” Chen Feiyun smiled at him. “He’s young, and he has a martial artist’s foundation. As long as he can eat in the next three days, he won’t have any major problems. Don’t worry.”

What was the cause of Gu Yun’s illness?

Before the New Year, he hurried back with the Fourth Prince to the bed of the late Emperor Yuanhe and saw the Emperor one last time.

He said to the Emperor, “If Your Majesty passes away, Zixi will have no family left.”

Now he realized that he had no family a long time ago.

Gu Yun wasn’t a willful patient. As the commander of the three armies, he had no place to act spoiled. When it came to taking medicine or eating, he followed the doctor’s orders. After he woke up, his personal guards followed the doctor’s instructions and prepared a bowl of watery meat porridge, which Gu Yun didn’t question and finished without hesitation.

Shen Yi heard that and let out a sigh of relief. The people from the Chen family in Taiyuan spoke with reason.

But in the middle of the night, before half a day had passed, the high fever that had just been suppressed returned, and everything he had eaten was vomited out.

Shen Yi rushed into Chen Gongzi’s tent and unexpectedly found that the white-clad young man seemed to be waiting for him, already dressed and ready. When he saw Shen Yi, Chen Feiyun showed no surprise. “I wasn’t talking about eating, but about being able to keep the food down… Let’s go, I’ll administer the needle again. Tsk, this is just treating the symptoms, not the root cause.”

Shen Yi walked out of the tent first and blocked the wind and snow for Chen Gongzi. Then he suddenly turned around and whispered, “If, after three days…”

Chen Feiyun paused and exhaled a cool breath. “Then… General, I’m afraid I am too ignorant and shallow.”

Shen Yi’s heart sank slightly.

Three days were almost over, and Gu Yun, this seemingly cooperative patient, showed no improvement. He became thinner as if his spirit had been drained. What was even more distressing was that no matter what others said, it was useless—he was deaf to the world, unable to hear anyone’s words.

On the evening of the third day, the personal guard with red-rimmed eyes brought food again, and Gu Yun finally turned his head away.

The guard was on the verge of tears, feeling helpless as he looked at Shen Yi who had entered.

Gu Yun slightly lifted his head, smiled at the young guard, and shook his head—Your soup smells delicious, but after repeated retching, my throat is too painful, and I can’t swallow it.

“It’s okay, you can leave.” Shen Yi took the soup bowl, covered it, and placed it on a small stove at the side. He waved his hand to dismiss the guard and then took out a pair of glass spectacles from his pocket and placed them on Gu Yun’s nose.