In the deep recesses of memory



They hurried all the way, traveling day and night, exhausted from fatigue.
Shentu Rui took good care of her and there was no trouble, instead there was a feeling of mutual respect.


Lan Dan couldn't decide if this feeling was good or bad.
In the past, he always made her angry, but now that he suddenly stopped, she felt a faint disappointment.
Since she confirmed that she liked him, not only did he seem to understand her thoughts, but she couldn't even decipher her own complex feelings.


The further north they traveled, the more barren the land became, but heading south was a delightful surprise, as if they were meeting spring face to face, with a profusion of flowers along the way.
As they approached the capital, the hills were already filled with peaches and apricots in full bloom, a breathtaking sight that filled them with warmth and lightness.


Lan Dan was both happy and sad, marveling at the beautiful scenery before her, but also feeling pity for herself for having lived in the capital for eighteen years and never seeing its beautiful springtime scenery.


What was her spring like in previous years? She silently reminisced about the elegant magnolia trees in front of the crimson palace walls, the endless peach groves along the Taiye Pool, and the towering city walls adorned with brilliant red flowers in the distance.


The clear and bright sunshine was just as vivid as the scenery around her.


She thought it was beautiful every year, but her memory was a blur and she couldn't remember which year these memories were from.
Her life was so plain, without any details.
She couldn't help but look at Shentu Rui walking in front of her.
When she first met him, they climbed the Dragon Wall together to see the winter in the Imperial City, the colorful night of the Lantern Festival, and this beautiful spring in front of her.


Even the previous spring with Shentu Cheng could not be compared.


“Catch up,” he suddenly turned around and called out, whipping the reins and urging the horse forward.
The sunlight fell on his dark hair and shoulders, and it seemed that the whole person was enveloped in a faint light, becoming the charming demeanor he exuded.


Riding close behind, Lan Dan rounded a low hill to behold a vast field of golden rapeseed flowers stretching up to the sky.
The edges of the field were neatly trimmed, and the flowers seemed to spread out like a carpet of gold reaching towards the heavens.
Against this radiant backdrop, the sky was bluer, the clouds whiter, and the overall effect was one of rugged, exuberant beauty that lifted the spirits and dispelled any lingering gloom.


Shentu Rui dismounted and was about to help Lan Dan, but she had already jumped down by herself, running as fast as a rabbit and darting into the flower field.
She ran along the ridge of the field, laughing and shouting as she went.


Shentu Rui found a solid spot near the field and sat down, smiling as he watched Lan Dan running around and having fun in the field.
He had experienced that kind of joy too, having lived in dark and confined conditions for so long, and finally being able to run and shout freely.
Lan Dan was even more unfortunate in this regard, having been locked up for more years in a smaller cage.
He remembered when he took her out of the capital, she didn't dare to speak loudly even when she saw the vast fields, but now she dared to do so.


Not only she dared to, she was also becoming more impudent and unpredictable!


He felt both chagrined and amused as he absent-mindedly tapped the field with his riding crop.
He noticed a short plant with immature green fruit hanging from it, about the size of a longan.
Seized with mischief, he picked three of them and held them in his hand, watching as Lan Dan continued to run around in the field.


She was exhausted, half walking and half running, stopping occasionally to pick a few rapeseed flowers and hold them in her hand while watching him from a distance, laughing.


She was no longer hopping like a rabbit, but rather moving like a vixen.


Shentu Rui picked up a wild fruit, aimed with precision, and threw it over, hitting her on the head.


She was too far away for him to see her facial expressions clearly, but he knew that she was glaring at him with an angry yet pretty look, waving her hand, and heading deeper into the flower field.


Even though she tried to dodge, he hit her in the back of the head with another fruit, causing her to stomp her feet in anger before continuing to run forward.


Shentu Rui laughed heartily as he hit her again with a third fruit.


She fell without a sound and vanished in the vast expanse of swaying flowers.


Shentu Rui thought she was just playing a prank, so he continued to sit without making a sound, watching how long she could wait.
But after waiting for a half of an incense stick's time, she still didn't get up.


Lan Dan was lying on her back in the flower bed, feeling the coolness of the ground and the unevenness of the surface.
But this perspective made the sky look exceptionally beautiful.


She was aware that Shentu Rui would come to find her, but it took him longer than she anticipated.
Nonetheless, he was someone with a profound understanding of the world and could tolerate his restlessness.
As she listened to his footsteps coming closer and closer from the edge of the field, she felt proud of herself and chuckled quietly.
Her mood improved significantly, as if she were soaring over the sea of flowers and up into the sky, with an inexplicable feeling of happiness.


“Danyang!” He observed her lying on the ground.
Did he use too much force? “Danyang!” He looked concerned, walked quickly, and crouched down to help her up and check her injuries.


Lan Dan pulled his arm with force, causing him to stumble and fall.
Worried that he might try to escape, she used her body weight to hold him down.


Shentu Rui quickly caught on to her prank and sneered.
“How boring!”


Lan Dan's hair had already come loose, cascading down like a dark waterfall.
A few flower petals had stuck to her hair as she had been playing too hard, making it look particularly delicate.


He gently plucked the flower petals from her hair, his gaze becoming hazy as he fondly stroked her long hair.
He looked as though he was lost in thought or in a trance.


He and she were so close that Lan Dan saw a miniature sky and clouds in his beautiful eyes, which appeared to be clear and bright with deep affection.


She felt heartbroken and obsessed since those beautiful eyes didn't have room for her.


Perhaps the previous indulgence gave her the courage to act freely and recklessly, and she bowed her head, touching his lips with hers.


She wanted to be in his eyes, and she also wanted to know…
would kissing him help her decipher the wordless heavenly scripture in his heart as he said?


His eyes flickered, spring and clouds froze in his pupils, but he didn't look at her, and there was a vague sparkle that dimmed.


She was usually not very perceptive, but when it came to him, she was surprisingly alert and responsive.


He didn't reject her kiss, but he wasn't responding warmly either.
As she slowly lifted her head, she felt completely empty inside.


She crumbled and collapsed onto the earth beside him, completely exhausted and defeated.


Gazing at the blue sky filled with yellow rapeseed flowers, Shentu Rui mentioned casually, “You have a garment that matches this color.”


Without much thought, Lan Dan hummed in response.
Most of her clothes were this kind of yellowish color, who knew which one he was referring to.
Her sisters all had colors associated with their names, and though not intentionally, they all preferred clothes in colors related to their names.
The Eldest Sister, Lan Qing, wore mostly cyan-colored clothes; the Second Sister, Lan Lan, preferred dark blue; and Lan Zi was particularly fond of purple.
Only she, because both Lan Huang and Lan Cheng favored red and pink, was inadvertently avoided by the Garments Bureau from making red dresses for her.
In fact, the colors of satin and silk were limited, so avoiding one color or the other, only autumn fragrant or golden yellow colors were left for her, which were not easy to wear nicely.


“Don't like it?” he asked curiously.


“I don't like it!”


Shentu Rui fell silent again.
He liked it very much!


It was a beautiful spring day two years ago, with such good weather and sunshine.
She was sixteen.


He stood in the shadows outside Zhaoyang Hall, and she didn't see him.


The platform of the Zhaoyang Hall was elevated, providing a panoramic view of the city.
The surrounding mountains were visible too, creating an otherworldly atmosphere.


She was wearing a pale yellow spring outfit, with a long flowing cloak.
The wind blew her hem and ribbon, creating a beautiful image of her frail beauty.
She was so thin and slender, as if she was about to turn into a delicate wild flower and go with the wind.

She should have gone to see the Emperor as usual, but she was not in good spirits.
Her youthful melancholy lingered between her brows as she walked on the white marble road, passing by towering vermilion columns and large golden window frames.
The Zhaoyang Hall was too high and magnificent, even the sky seemed less lofty.
She appeared even more frail and pitiful.


Who could say that she wasn't pretty like this?


He had seen hundreds, thousands of people with beautiful features, but he just found her beautiful.




He turned his head to look at the brand new her beside him.


She was truly beautiful, breathtakingly so, even surpassing the beauty of Lan Huang and Lan Cheng, but…
he still felt a faint melancholy.
Was the girl he had gazed at from afar countless times really her?


He knew she was hurt, and despite his efforts to express himself, he behaved so poorly.


But in that instant, he really felt lost and bewildered.


He knew it was simply foolishness, but people can be so foolish…
even he himself.


Shentu Rui stood up and picked up the dejected and silent Lan Dan.


“I still need some time,” he said honestly.
He really did like her a lot already, and as soon as he fully accepted the new her, she would be his Danyang.
He never thought it was a problem or anticipated that this would be an issue, but in that long-awaited moment, he inexplicably resisted.


she existed too deeply in his memory, for too long, too strongly, surpassing his imagination.





Aaahh, my favorite chapter! He misses her original face 🙁

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