After his return to the capital, Gu Yun did not go out for half a year. He was alright at first, but there was a period when his condition was very poor, he could not even afford to sit or stand for a long time. A bowl of medicine went down, and almost a day passed. However, as winter approached, his health gradually improved, Gu Yun was starting to feel a little 'overwhelmed'.
At times when he was busy - every day, he only wished to plunge into the warm countryside, lying all day long without getting up, resting until his bone and flesh rot. He was finally able to live the life he always dreamed of after much difficulty, yet he was getting sick...of having too much free time.
With nothing to do all day long, he busied himself from morning until night with the bastard bird, finding ways to torment each other. The bird was weathered and thin, wishing it could disappear from this world.
Perhaps some people were born to sleep in a hard bed, their entire body made up of bones, lying too long in a luxurious brocade would cause them back pain instead.
Finally, even the Emperor could not bear to watch anymore. When it was near the winter solstice, Gu Yun was released back to the court.
That day, coincidentally, it was Gu Yun's day off. A few days prior, he was already a bit dejected, unable to get up from the early morning and unable to sleep well at night. Although he was quite careful at concealing himself and did not toss and turn, Chang Geng knew he wasn't asleep. In order not to disturb him, Gu Yun would unconsciously keep his breath low and long. Sometimes, he could hardly hear him.
He did not answer even when Chang Geng asked. If he was being pressed too much, he began to talk nonsense. Either way, with that Gu's ability of a flexible tongue, what he did not want to say, one could never find out even if they pried with an awl.
In addition to the new year's festival, the important officials above third grade took turns to rest every day in case an accident happened and there would not be anyone available to overtake their duty. In other words, although Gu Yun's rest was today, it didn't mean that His Majesty, the Emperor, who secretly snuck out of the palace and stayed overnight at the Marquis's Manor, could also rest. At the beginning of the new government, Chang Geng had a mountain of things to attend to, he still had to get up early in the morning to rush back to work.
Then he found that Gu Yun was also dressed to go out.
"Wear more clothes on such a cold day," Chang Geng asked casually. "By the way, where are you going?"
Gu Yun seriously told a fib: "For a horse ride in the suburbs."
Chang Geng looked up at the howling northwest wind outside, then at Gu Yun's face that belonged to someone who had just recovered from serious injury, with no trace of blood, and frowned: "What?"
Gu Yun glanced elsewhere, at the sky, at the ground, anywhere but Chang Geng, and refused to talk.
Chang Geng had no time to linger around the manor and interrogate a certain someone, he could only quickly signal Huo Dan with his eyes before his leave. Ever since he witnessed his Marquis being severely ill, being carried back home personally by His Majesty, Huo Dan was determined to go on the path of being a secret spy, eating from one but protecting another.
Gu Yun's ears and eyes were still not sharp. For a moment, he didn't realize that a traitor had risen from his own backyard. After Chang Geng left, he put on his coat stealthily, and told his servants to prepare a very low-profile carriage. He only took Huo Dan with him, the extra guards were all left at home.
Huo Dan: "Marquis, sir, where are we going."
Gu Yun mumbled something.
Huo Dan: "Marquis, sir, do you have a toothache?"
Gu Yun: "..."
It was rare for Huo Dan to see his 'hard to express by words' face. He thought to himself, "Is he going to look for flowers and willows* behind His Majesty's back?"
However, looking at Gu Yun's 'there is nothing left in this life' expression, it did not seem like he was about to go out to find pleasure.
They stared at one another for a long time. The cool wind passed through the curtain and blew out the heater. Gu Yun finally squeezed three words out through his teeth: "Hu Guo Temple."
Huo Dan: "..."
He thought in shock, "My Marquis must have taken the wrong medicine in the morning!"
Gu Yun angrily pulled down the curtain of the carriage: "What are you looking at? Still not going?!"
When Marshal Gu was in the Northern Frontier, he had secretly made a wish: if Chang Geng's Bone of Impurity truly was cured, he would go light incense for Hu Guo Temple. But he never was able to fulfill it.
At the time of making the wish, this ungrateful man might have had some sort of respect. But as time passed, he had thrown away the favor and forgotten Buddha.
In these recent nights, Gu Yun had some strange dreams. He saw a row of bald monks chanting sutras to him in an orderly way. Their heads were shiny and swaying in one direction, going Amitabha all night, he was still dizzy the next day when he got up. Continuing for three or four days, Gu Yun finally remembered his 'grand wish' and understood why the donkeys were here.
Taking advantage of the rest day, he reluctantly went to Hu Guo Temple to burn incense.
Taking advantage of the cold winter months, as it was not the new year occasion or festival days, there were few visitors in the mountain temple. Gu Yun hurriedly made an early morning departure and sneaked into Hu Guo Temple like a thief. At this time, the mountain fog had not dispersed. There was a layer of dew hanging on the stone steps, and the surroundings were quiet. Gu Yun did not have the heart to appreciate any of it. He walked with his head bowed, and his steps were fast, rushing as if he was going to be reborn.
Huo Dan was afraid that he would fall, he trotted all the way behind him in fear. They reached the end of the mountain road that took half an hour to pass in less than a moment. In the blink of an eye, they had reached the front of the incense hall's gate.
Huo Dan gasped a few breaths and asked gingerly, "Marquis, sir, what are we doing here?"
Gu Yun gnashed his teeth and said with an irritated expression: "Incense offering."
Huo Dan: "..."
Seeing how this gentleman was so aggressive, he had originally thought he was coming to collect debts or seek vengeance.
The morning classes of monks in the temple had begun. The sound of the morning bell and the arrangement of the sitting mats in the incense hall seemed to be in place. A monk in a white plain monk's robe was knocking a wooden fish in the main hall and chanting sutras in silence.
Gu Yun glanced around and saw that no one noticed him from far and near. He quickly sneaked into the incense hall, grabbed a handful of copper and silver coins, and threw them into the donation box. Then he picked up two incense sticks with disdain, shook his wrists and lit them, stretching his arms, trying to keep the smoke away from him.
Gu Yun picked up the incense and glanced up at the Golden Buddha statue in front of him. He said to himself, "Do I have to worship this thing?"
Then he made a decision in a blink of an eye: "Forget it."
He didn't even have the proper posture of worship, only nodded his head to Buddha as if this was as far as he could go to display respect. He quickly inserted the incense in his hand into the censer, turned his head to Huo Dan and said, "It's done. Let's go."
Huo Dan: "..."
It was the first time in his long life that he saw someone worship Buddha with such arrogance. Their Marquis was not so much coming to worship Buddha as he was waiting for Buddha to come and worship him.
Just when Gu Yun had dealt with the incense quickly and was about to leave the hall, the monk who was hiding nearby knocking on the wooden fish suddenly stood up and turned around, smiling to Gu Yun and saying, "How is the Marquis doing?"
Gu Yun: "..."
He made complete preparations to avoid people's eyes and ears. Unexpectedly, he had bumped into the stinky monk here in the incense hall. He must have forgotten to look at the golden calendar before going out.
Liao Ran smiled and gestured at him, asking, "Why did the Marquis come? It must not be for praying."
Gu Yun looked somewhat unnatural and said, "Repaying the wish."
Liao Ran said: "Since the Marquis is willing to come, why not be more sincere. It's too hasty to come and go like this."
Gu Yun cursed 'how unlucky' secretly, but smiled politely on the outside: "Since my heart is sincere enough, why must we cling to custom? Master, are you blinded by outward appearance? "
Liao Ran clasped his hands in front of his chest, bowed his head, and said frankly: "Marshal Gu naturally understood Buddha's teaching, truly an admiration for us monks. It is true — you can remember to come all the way to express your thanks, then you must have been very sincere the moment when you made the wish. As you came here today, of course, it was also to give your heart to our Buddha."
Gu Yun was at a loss for a reply, he had to look at him with a smile on the outside, but gritted his teeth on the inside.
Liao Ran: "The weather is cold. Why don't you come to the monk's meditation room and have a cup of tea?"
Gu Yun: "I dare not disturb you. Master, please continue with your day. Um… I've come all the way here, it could be said it was a trip. I'll take a walk around myself.
Liao Ran smiled at him again and again to pay courtesy, then floated out of the incense hall.
The eminent monk walked out the door about a hundred steps away, then suddenly picked up his monk's robe, and came back with small steps. He poked his head into the incense hall and saw Gu Yun the disrespectful bastard had indeed obediently walked in front of the mats, stared at them for a moment, then took the incense and lit it again. He held his nose and forced out a devout appearance, but even when looking at his back, one could still see his unwilling heart.
After appreciating Gu Yun's irritated back, the eminent monk momentarily felt extremely satisfied, only then did he raise his robe happily and walk away.
After Gu Yun went home, he washed himself with wormwood leaf water three times from head to toe, then called Huo Dan aside, threatening him with a pressing demeanor: "I know you like to run your mouth with Chang Geng in your free time, but for today's matter, if you dare leak a word with others, I will use military law to deal with you."
Huo Dan: "..."
Gu Yun took two steps and turned his head around abruptly. He was faced with the distorted expression of Huo Dan, who wanted to laugh but could not.
Huo Dan was frightened, he swallowed down his laughing fit. Without saying anything, he turned around and ran away.
Many years later, Chang Geng still did not know where Gu Yun went and what he did that day. It was evidence of how mighty Marshal Gu's authority could be.
No one knew if it was because Gu Yun only paid a sincere visit to Buddha once in his life. This time, Buddha had given him a large gift of buying one, getting another for free.
The next afternoon, Chen Qing Xu visited and brought a prescription.
"I have been looking for clues in the palace for a long time, but was not able to find anything," said Chen Qingxu. "Instead, I found something useful in the book of the secret arts of the goddess, which can detoxify poison that has been contracted for a long time. It's just that Marshal's ears and eyes have been damaged for many years. Even if detoxification is done, you can only wait for them to slowly recover in the future. I'm afraid... "
I'm afraid it's impossible to be cured completely.
Chen Qing Xu: "Would you like to try the treatment?"
Gu Yun glanced at Chang Geng, who wanted to say something but decided against it, and took it without hesitation. It doesn't matter whether it worked or not, if it could make Chang Geng feel at ease, he didn't care how much more medicine he had to drink.
At the moment the medicine entered his mouth, Gu Yun suddenly felt that he was a little familiar with the scent, but he momentarily couldn't remember where he had sensed it before. At that time, he had thought that since there were too many medicines he had taken in his life, it was inevitable that some might smell the same as the other, and did not put it to mind.
Instead, Chang Geng was very nervous. It took him two hours to look through a dozen reports, he would look up and ask him how he was feeling every other time.
It's all long-term diseases, how could he possibly feel with only one dose.
Gu Yun half-coaxed and half-lied to him: "Much better."
Chang Geng asked hurriedly: "Which part is much better, can you still see me when you take off the liuli glass?"
Gu Yun glanced at Chang Geng and said with a smile, "Can see everything without fail, every single strand of hair, even with a blindfold."
Chang Geng: "..."
Hearing that the man didn't speak sensible things again, Chang Geng threw the royal pen aside and planned to have a good 'talk' with him.
Gu Yun raised his leg with a smirk, then steadily and ruthlessly made the Emperor take a 'leg swipe'. His technique was better than that of previous years. Chang Geng suddenly stumbled and fell towards him, the man even innocently opened his arms waiting for the fall.
Chang Geng himself was scared out of cold sweat, afraid that his fallen large body might squish him to death. He hurriedly stretched out his hand towards the handle of the chair for support and angrily shouted: "Gu Zi Xi!"
Gu Yun smiled, his lecher hand quickly caressed Chang Geng's waist to his heart's content. Chang Geng's anger raised at his touch, but for fear that the other could not take it, he did not dare to engage in it and could only clasp his wrist with a grave expression and press it aside. Gu Yun didn't struggle either. He kissed Chang Geng's arm with his head on his side: "Oh, smells good."
Chang Geng could hardly speak: "You..."
Suddenly, Gu Yun's face changed, he broke his wrist away from Chang Geng's hold: "Wait."
Chang Geng hurriedly kept his balance: "What is it?"
When Gu Yun was 'molesting' His Majesty, he accidentally rubbed the old beads on his wrist at the tip of his nose. A very faint odor came out of the gap between the wooden beads. It was so light that only Gu Yun and his dog nose could detect it. He suddenly remembered why Chen Qing Xu's prescription smelled so familiar - the odor of the medicine was the same as the light fragrance overflowing from the beads on his wrist.
For many years, Gu Yun and this string of wooden beads had been separated then reunited. He didn't care much about this thing, but these little beads seemed to cling to him stubbornly. No matter what he experienced, they had always accompanied him.
Gu Yun took off the beads which were rarely separated from his body, tried to twist several of them, and finally as he got to the biggest one, under his finger's force, a shallow gap was exposed, and a crisp sound was heard. In Gu Yun's hands, the bead was divided into two parts, revealing the inside world - a pill was hidden in it.
The two men could only look at each other. Chang Geng turned the whole palace upside down in order to find the clues of the antidote, but the real antidote had been hidden on Gu Yun's body. It had been with him through many things for more than eleven years, only once Chen Qing Xu found out the formula of the antidote by herself did it show a little clue.
Gu Yun suddenly couldn't help but laugh, holding the medicine pill in his fingers and joked, "How come this little thing's temperament is exactly like Emperor Yuan He?"
Untimely cruel, untimely warm.
...Untimely poison, untimely antidote.
"This cousin...will be watching you."