I Couldn't Ask - Extra 2
Extra 2 – The Young Man
The first time I saw Qiufu was at the New Year’s Eve’s palace banquet when I was eight years old.
She was obediently sitting behind the screen with those female relatives of the noble and wealthy. I could only see her shadowy figure.
It was only a coincidence that I had met her face to face.
In the middle of the banquet, the screen on the opposite side suddenly moved. Immediately, a white hand pushed the screen aside and revealed a delicate and beautiful face.
Qiufu looked at me with her head tilted and smiled at me with a charming smile.
Her behavior was stopped by His Majesty’s words. However, when she withdrew her head, she still sulkingly said, “I will do it again in the future.”
His Majesty patiently explained, “You won’t need this screen when you get married.”
Qiufu said, “Then this daughter will get married now.”
His Majesty laughed, and the entire banquet could not help but laughed along with him.
“Who does the princess want to marry?” My father had asked her at the most appropriate time..
She thought about it for a moment and pointed at me. With a haughty look on her face, she said, “Prime Minister, this princess has a crush on your son.”
Bright and pampered was my first impression of Qiufu.
As she grew older, she suddenly fell in love with horseback riding and archery. She would often win first place during hunts.
Every time she did well, she would suddenly look back at me. At that moment, everyone around me would cheer, and I blushed like a shy little girl.
I would deliberately avoid her, and the most I would say to her was “Princess, please respect yourself”.
Qiufu always said that I was thin-skinned, but that she just appreciated me and that’s all.
It’s just… Appreciated?
There was a little emptiness in my heart, and I didn’t know how to respond to her.
When Qiufu was twelve years old, she saved a young man on the road.
He was wearing rags and his face was covered with dirt, but his eyes were frighteningly bright.
He said his surname was Xu.
“Xu” was the surname of a neighboring country’s imperial family that was suffering from a coup, and he was clearly fleeing from there.
Qiufu naturally knew about it, but she still took him back to her residence to take care of him.
I didn’t know it at the time, but he would be a turning point for me, Qiufu, and everyone else.
Gradually, Xu Tangan fell for Qiufu. Even I, a person who was slow to comprehend emotions, could see it.
His eyes were always following her. His eyes were filled with passionate longing, like a beast hiding in the dark as it waits for its prey.
Qiufu is in danger.
This thought flashed through my mind, and it was because of this thought that I decided on my intentions for Qiufu.
When I went back, I had a big fight with my father. I resigned from my official position, and I asked His Majesty to grant a marriage decree.
I wanted to stand upright next to her, even if her affection for me was not as deep as it used to be.
This was the only selfish thing I had ever done in my life.
And in the end, I failed to protect Qiufu.
I was just a scholar. A scholar who could only accompany his wife to write poems and nothing more.
When the country was ruined, I could not carry a blade to protect the people of the capital.
I could only watch Qiufu give in to Xu Tangan when he held a sword to her neck.
He said to Qiufu, “Follow me and you can save the lives of your loved ones.”
When Qiufu gritted her teeth in anger and had replied with “Xu Tangan, you are going to hell”, I hated that I was only a scholar and could only helplessly watch her be taken away. There was nothing I could do.
Later, Xu Tangan sent me to guard the border. His country and his border.
He also mocked me, “Don’t you scholars value integrity the most? Xu Zunyu, why don’t you cut your own throat?”
He saw that I did not speak. He suddenly realized this and said, “The husband always has a clear view on the circumstances and therefore is a hero among people.”
I begged him for the first time.
“Let Qiufu go.” I knew that he wouldn’t listen to me, but I still begged him like a stray dog.
He looked down at me with the corners of his eyes in disdain and slowly said, “In your dreams.”
“She can only be mine for the rest of her life. She can only be deeply in love with me and will have nothing to do with you, Xu Zunyu.”
Before leaving the capital, I still met with Qiufu.
I knew that I would never see her again. Xu Tangan would not let me live to see her again, even if I could survive at the difficult border.
She looked at me with red eyes. Those eyes were no longer bright and assertive.
However, she was still my wife in my heart, even if it only existed in name and she had become his concubine.
None of it mattered.
When I thought of her, it would always be the little princess who dared to point at me at the banquet and say, “Prime Minister, this princess has a crush on your son.” and the woman who shyly smiled at me on our wedding night.
At the very last moment, I said, Qiufu, forgive me for not bowing to you. As soon as we say farewell today, I don’t know when we will see each other again.
I selfishly thought that she could accompany me on the way to the Yellow Springs1, but at the same time I sincerely hoped that she would be able to grow old safely and have a family full of children and grandchildren.
In this world, there was ultimately too much that I couldn’t ask for.
The author has something to say:
After thinking about it for a long time, I still wanted to write about Xu Zunyu’s perspective. As the husband of the female lead, he should be the one that couldn’t ask for her.