Adapted from Princess Agents drama series and original novel by Xiao Xiang Dong’er – Chu Qiao Chuan Biography
Xiu Xiu Mountain (proofread done)
The sun hides and then shows from the passing clouds, it is just the perfect day to ride with Yanbei’s mighty horses on its beautiful sloppy hills, rich grasslands, a bed of flower fields glittering in the sun, it is the best of earth and the bliss of the world.
Two people arrived at the matchless and beyond compare view, like in a dream, like a promise forgotten in time and now fulfilled, now happening, at the feet of its dainty woman and handsome owner riding on their two prime beautiful horses.
Yan Xun looked at Chu Qiao riding on the horse beside him, his eyes so handsome, he squinted his eyes, this is the moment to tell her: “A’Chu, If you forgot everything, let me remind you about anything we were before.”
Chu Qiao catching the scent of the grass, and fascinated by the mountain hills full of grass, enjoying the open green valleys, she threw a sparkle look to answer that look of Yan Xun and replied: “Remind me of everything about what we were before?
Chu Qiao’s voice was soft and wondering what is that “everything” with this Prince. Chu Qiao had to admit, this handsome man beside her is hard to resist. Those little eyes, those smiles, those sweet little things he does to her is already cracking her shell.
Yan Xun hushed softly and said: “Yes.”
Chu Qiao heard that voice, and she doesn’t know why she is somehow starting to like it.
Every counting moment with this Prince is getting better, she felt so special. Even if he just met him yesterday, all she knows is that she is getting married in a few months time. But how come, this man spending each moment with her treats her like they were a couple but really they are not.
Chu Qiao answered swiftly: “Like this?”
Yan Xun frequently flashing a smile with her, his eyes cannot resist looking at her lovely face, as if he is flirting with her and Chu Qiao was just receiving it so innocently.
Yan Xun continued to speak in a gentle tone: “Yes, I promised you this…”
Chu Qiao replied in a joke: “Why can’t I remember it?”
Chu Qiao looking at the breath-taking view and closed her eyes and breathe.
Yan Xun replied in a joke as well: “Maybe someone let you forget it?
Yan Xun holding his breath as he sees Chu Qiao in her closed eyes, she inhaled and exhaled and Yan Xun saw Chu Qiao’s lips on her side view.
Yan Xun wanting to steal a kiss from there and he just sighs and quickly inhaled and exhaled rolling his eyes shaking his head from right to left smiling.
Chu Qiao noticed that gesture asked him: “Why did you shake your head and smiling? Is that the right attitude out there?”
Yan Xun answered: “Nothing…”
Chu Qiao is pressing him, she asked again: Really?
“I just missed you.” Yan Xun cannot hide it anymore, he flashed a flirty smile, tapped the horse then went down the sloppy, grassy hill.
Chu Qiao left on top of the hill, said to herself: “What did just happened?”
Chu Qiao is waving her hands, shouted to his runaway prince: “Hey! Are you just going to leave me here? What did I do?”
Yan Xun shouted back and said with a happy voice: “Come over, we have much sightseeing to do.”
Yan Xun still clueless about Chu Qiao’s forgotten memories, he acted as if he just has to pretend she forgot everything. And needs for him to remind her of what they were once before.
Those sweet moments and unshackled emotions, those cold nights they slept together just holding hands, embracing each other when one of them is sick. Waiting for each other at night when one is away before one will go to sleep. Serving each other’s food plate first. Sometimes playing and sticking food to their mouth using their chopsticks, ran together in the field, learning and practicing their martial arts together.
Yan Xun trained her how to fight the enemy when there is a close fight they almost catch their breath and almost kissing but Yan Xun brushed it off.
Chu Qiao blushed all the time but hides those feelings well. There are just a lot of things they have done together. It is not fair for Yan Xun to let Chu Qiao pass this to the wind then come back empty today, looking like a stranger to him.
Whereas, Yan Xun put them all together in a place that one should never forget.
Those times have so much potential to blossom from solid friendship into a budding love to a lifetime bliss. ending her at Yan’s marriage bed.
However, Yan Xun did not want them all at first. Because maybe he is so sure that while Chu Qiao is very close to him, that they have already shared more than what others have already done for her.
The only thing that is lacking was for him to propose marriage and make her, his for a lifetime.
While Yan Xun enjoys a moment of togetherness with Chu Qiao, he became overconfident that their memories together, his presence alone would surpass his best friend Yuwen Yue.
Yan Xun took that opportunity where Chu Qiao was so consumed about her anger for the Yuwen household, and he let it flourish in her heart.
Yan Xun never thought that Chu Qiao is still breakable after that solid friendship he established.
But when the truth finally showed and settled itself in the icy lake, and he remembers, Chu Qiao said wholeheartedly: “if Yuwen Yue dies in Yanbei. I will never forgive you.”
After riding for a few hours, Yan Xun finally reached a small community nearby. He went down from his horse and gave it to the little boy. Then went back to Chu Qiao who riding at her horse walking in circles, she asked: “Are we going to stay here for a while?”
Yan Xun said smiled and opened one of his palms then said: “Come down here A’Chu just trust me, just like we used to be.”
Chu Qiao heard that voice again, and it gives her relief. She gave her hand to that open palm, and Yan Xun received it so warm. It electrified his body her hands are cold.
Yan Xun was swallowing behind his throat when Chu Qiao asked: “Is there something wrong?”
Yan Xun calmly said and smiled: “There is none, my little fox.”
Chu Qiao laughed at the latter and repeated with a tone of mocking: “Little fox?” Who? did you call me, little fox?”
Yan Xun threw a slight smile he said: “Yes you are my little fox,” you would deceive me and make smart moves, but I make sure that I win them all the time.
You even said: “if I can win from you then I can outsmart anyone else.”
Chu Qiao looked above, said: “God of memories, help me here.”
Yan Xun laughed out loud, said: “As we speak, the God of memories has already replied and told you at this moment.
“This man in front of you is your first love.”
Chu Qiao annoyed, her ears were like going to explode, she slammed her palm to Yan Xun’s nape.
But Chu Qiao seems to connect to that two words:” is it really him? She thought of herself.”
Yan Xun was going to play with her like they are kids when suddenly a rugged old woman came and greeted the Prince of Yanbei she said: “Ahem, ahem, your grace, you came how we can serve your Highness?”
Just in time when the clouds partly issued a warning of a thunderstorm and raindrops started to fall.
Without warning, Yan Xun suddenly grabbed Chu Qiao in his side and hugged her tightly not wanting any drops of rain to soak her clothes and become wet. But it’s too late when the big raindrops turned into heavy rain. They looked like they have no other choice but to drench their purple robes into the heavy rain.
Chu Qiao felt so much in that hug, he pushed Yan Xun and gave him a not so nice look.
Yan Xun kept on teasing her with his flirty smiles, and he said to the old woman: “I will have the usual.”
Chu Qiao’s ears went like a boom, she exclaimed: “I will have the usual? What is this?”
The old woman sensed what she means, and this is the only time they usually greet the Prince coming here alone. Today he brought a companion. They never thought it was a girl as lovely as the heavens and as breath-taking like the view of this grasslands. But the old woman cannot see the face of the girl. Her face was covered with a full metal mask that hid her delicate face.
Yan Xun some anxious but enjoying at the moment he said: “Why? Will you get jealous if you found out you are not the only one I brought here?”
Chu Qiao cannot take this anymore she just gave her that jet in the air look and Yan Xun secretly feeling some victory in that look. He knows Chu Qiao very well when she is upset about him.
The Prince of Yanbei, played like a child drenched his expensive clothes in the rain and said: “Old woman, will you tell her the truth?”
The old woman turned to Chu Qiao and spoke to her gently she said: “Your Grace brought you here, his first company. We never saw him with someone or any company even before. But you and your Grace just be happy like that its the first we have seen him since his last….”
And the old woman looked at the Prince of Yanbei like a kid playing happy in the rain, and continued to speak to her: “… Your Grace has never been with anyone else until now.”
Chu Qiao does not know, but she feels entitled from that news she heard from the old woman.
Her heart suddenly secretly overjoyed?
She asked herself again: “Is this taking effect on me? How come I feel something there..like why I am rejoicing inside, knowing, no one else came to this paradise with the Prince of Yanbei except me?”
The old woman spoke again and told her: “I will prepare your place to stay. Please ask your Highness to stop playing in the rain and come to the house.”
And the old, woman left them alone.
Chu Qiao from a distance looking at Yan Xun on his wet clothes, like child smiling, playing, she cannot help herself but laugh as well.
She called on him: Yan Xun!!!!
Long and loud…Chu Qiao suddenly surprised with herself calling the Prince of Yanbei by his name.
Yan Xun finally caught his attention. From a smiling boy to a handsome man, he walked slowly towards where she stands.
Chu Qiao feeling every step she takes, makes her heart beats so fast.
She just looked at him and not afraid when suddenly a flash of lightning came so fast and none of their looks shifted somewhere.
From a field of grass to a rainy afternoon to a flash of lightning in the sky, Chu Qiao and Yan Xun this close not blinking on their eyes Yan Xun softly said: “Little fox, what did you call me?”
Chu Qiao feeling so wet on her clothes and sticky from her feet, seems glued, she said: “I… I…”
Yan Xun looking so drenched in the rain, wet all over, hard to resist, his eyes looking straight to Chu Qiao not blinking a moment, staring at her.
Those looks of an attempt to kiss her wet lips out in the rain, Chu Qiao snapped back herself and break an alibi, ruined this sweet moment she said: “Aw..aw..aw… I think I cannot move my feet.”
“Spoiler!” The Prince snapped back himself at the present moment found a crises situation.
Yan Xun suddenly changed his face mood from serious to anxious he asked: “What? Your feet, take my hand, quick!”
“Help!” Chu Qiao utters a desperate plea.
Yan Xun took out his sword and nailed it on the ground and used all his might to pull Chu Qiao out from the quicksand! And after a few minutes, Yan Xun was able to pull her out completely.
Yan Xun was so tired he lay down his body on the ground beside his sword.
Chu Qiao like him was very tired as well, her hands are swelling from Yan Xun’s pull she almost cried and laugh at the same time.
Yan Xun breathing up and down, laughing and making some funny tired noises, still managed to tell her: “It was so close and yet here we are, what a rush!” And he was gasping more air.
Chu Qiao doing the same she lied down in the grass and breathing heavily up and down finally let go of that laugh she has been holding on at his playmate: “Oh I thought I saw a lightning flashed and maybe a thud of thunder should add to this agony and if you let go of me?!”
“Oh, that cannot happen, let the thunder be, it’ll be a perfect sight.”
In a happy voice, he said: “Let the thunder and the world be one with the star.”
“But if a star went down like what happened at the frozen lake, did you know who died first?”
Yan Xun paused.. on his usual poetic tongue, put in something for Chu Qiao’s heart to sink.
“It’s the World.”
On a hushed voice full of sadness and misery Yan Xun gave it away.
Chu Qiao looking at the black sky, she asked, devoid of any emotion: “A star went down the icy lake? Why?”
Yan Xun answered casually as if it was just a useless conversation, he said: “She went down because she did not like to live with the world anymore and went with the master ice cube.”
Suddenly there was silence…
Then a soft thunder was heard, but the two just looked at the black sky lying on their backs. Yan Xun is waiting for her to respond but none of it came except for the thuds of thunder and lightning alternately resounding at the open field.
Chu Qiao did not answer and kept that childlike stories in her mind. She closed her eyes when suddenly a flash of memory came to her.
A woman was screaming on top of her lungs, Yuwen Yue…..! Loud and clear, she jumped inside the lake and swam as fast as she could and finally she reached the man and saw his face…that face…Chu Qiao focused on that face she came closer to kiss his forehead, but the man seems profoundly injured but used all his might and tapped her shoulders away from him. Chu Qiao looked at the man while the man was uttering some voiceless words..she thought she heard. Live well..three times.. and there the man was gone and was swallowed by the deep.
Finally, the rain stopped a bit and only a few raindrops, Yan Xun went to wake up Chu Qiao. She seemed to be asleep at the moment when she opened her eyes.
All of Yan Xun’s worries were gone and told her to come and walk to the Cabin house. And they both stood up and walked beside each other Yan Xun holding her in his arms as they were shaking and wet all over. Their lips and skin turned into white and plum.
Suddenly darkness fell in the mountain hills, and the grasslands just received their blessing from heaven.
As the rain stopped to give way to the moon who joined the stars of the heavens, it twinkles and sparkles under the quite grasslands of Yanbei. What an unspeakable moment.
Earlier was so fast pacing, here is the Prince of Yanbei walking alone outside his own cabin and looking after Chu Qiao’s cabin whose candle is still lit. Yan Xun preferred that they do not share one cabin.
In this expensive moment, he gives himself far from his duties and responsibilities to Yanbei state and its citizens for the sake of his heart’s desire. Yet he chooses to stay distant from her. When in the past they use to share his room, his bed, take turns in their duty to be like a watchdog to protect each other.
Besides A’Chu there was no one and this alone made the heart of the Prince of Yanbei loved her but kept himself in control and reserve the right moment at the right time.
Now is it the right time?
Yan Xun remembers his dying moments at the Imperial Garrison where the last piece of his breath was ebbing away.
Chu Qiao came to fill it and dip it into a bitter advise and make him hold on to the blade of revenge.
It is the only way, there can be no other because he cannot spell hope at that time not even recognize his Yan household name.
He is basically no one, useless and dying, and nothing else. Time will soon forget, and he is gone, covered by the ashes of oblivion.
And yet he heard it over and over again A’Chu said: Even if it’s like a dog, live it!
For that last string, A’Chus advise became Yan Xun’s string to pull himself.
Even if it meant he has to cut his last finger for the sake of her, even if it means he has to turn away from a marriage and hurt a princess’ heart, decapitate his favorite buddy and destroyed both of his childhood friends, even if it means he has to lure Yuwen Yue, his brother by blood compact, swore their loyalty to each other, used his feelings for Xinger.
He did not spare any mercy to end his life at the frozen lake. Is it to steer clear of Yan’s future with A’Chu?
Those actions taken made Yanbei powerful and arise from its ashes but not his heart. Yan Xun cannot simply untangle the rope he is already tied at the moment.
Not at this time he has already gained so much power and the trust of Yan Citizens and at the middle of conquering Changan City. The very city where he spent his childhood that stole his years far from the land of Yanbei.
Yan Xun in his deep thoughts: “If it’s my heart, I can simply go to the cabin and ask her to run away with me.”
Yan Xun thought of it again: “If it’s my mind, I will turn my back during the day and make her suffer but will call upon her during the night and be at my side.”
Is this what he wants A’Chu to end up with?
A’Chu will be confined in the four corners of the palace, she will seize to be his military strategist.
And oh… she will take care of those Yan kids.
Why not? Is this what he came here tonight?”
If she becomes his wife and will be promoted as Queen of Yanbei, would he achieve that peaceful heart?
What about the blood of Yan, his blade has not yet exhausted this justice he must pour for the slain entire Yan Royal family. What would he share to his children and grandchildren given justice has not been served for the whole of the yan household during his reign as the King?
Because Yan Xun knows if he will choose his heart all of his plans will become complacent. The Prince of Yanbei will embrace comfort, open himself to goodness, slide himself to become dull and surrender into the honeycomb of love. What good will come out of these thoughts?
What will he teach his children? Love and failure of justice?
Repeating the history of his Yan family?
Would he rather win her heart or would instead record his name in the history of time, the King of Yanbei who won back justice for his slain family?
Which one sounds better and which one would balance the scales of vengeance?
This is the third night of being together with her and yet it feels like forever, and his leave of absence from the throne only gave him seven days, and he must go back to work or forsake the citizens of Yanbei. “I hope this moment never ends…”
Yan Xun whispered to himself and started to play the Yanbei warble flute, a mellow song released on air…hoping to reach those ears of the far side.
Chu Qiao trying to fall asleep, but she cannot. Her memory repeatedly flashing back in time, a girl with the bow and arrow, a sword called Poe Yue Jian sword, a frozen lake, a man named Yuwen Yue and remembered a name called Xinger: “Who is Xinger? She asked herself. Is she the Star that Prince Yan Xun was telling earlier?”
He called me A’Chu, but who is Xinger?
She is trying to nap, but she heard a familiar melody, it is so hauntingly sad and makes her want to go outside and look who is playing the flute, but she is just too tired.
Suddenly the sad melody stopped playing and then she thought: “Why did it end?”
Chu Qiao’s trying to struggle to stay awake but cannot hold any longer finally closed her eyes and sleep soundly.
Yan Xun finished playing his flute, he walked a few steps and arrive at Chu Qiao’s cabin, just like what he is doing in Yanbei military camp. He was walking around General Chu’s quarters. She does not seem to know it, but the servant knows and sees him walking and thinking profoundly. Whenever they caught him, he points his fingers upwards and then put it in his lips, a signal to keep quiet.
The night is cold, bright stars twinkling in the expansive skies of Xiu Xiu mountains, a paradise of grasslands undiscovered, beautiful and memorable.