The Grandmaster Strategist Chapter 6: Slim, Graceful Reflection
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Volume 6, Chapter 6: Slim, Graceful Reflection
In a daze, Lu Yun gazed petrified1 at the golden headband in his hands. Just now, maids had come to look for the golden headband the princess had lost. He had subconsciously hidden the golden headband. He could not help feeling a bit regretful and ashamed. Even though he considered the young girl to be a naiad or a nymph, he still found himself deeply troubled. He missed this only opportunity to retaliate against Jiang Zhe. Fine, fine. Roulan was merely Jiang Zhe’s adopted daughter. How could he be shameless to the point of changing his target to a young girl after he couldn’t do anything to Jiang Zhe?
Suddenly, the sound of Li Lin’s snarling came from the distance. “What! Did you say that Roulan fell into the water and nearly drowned? How is this possible? How dare you curse her! This Prince must cut you down!”
Lu Yun shivered inside. He was already quite fearful of Li Lin. Now, afraid of being asked too many questions, Lu Yun discovered that he had been inappropriate. Hearing Li Lin’s voice, he rushed over. Before he had wound around the cluster of flowers, he heard a clear, bright, and powerful voice state, “Brother Lin, you cannot be hotheaded. Although this maid was perhaps a bit excessive, she has no malice. Didn’t you rush back because you heard Roulan had fallen into the water? We’d best go into the inner residence to take a look. That girl is accustomed to acting willfully on a daily basis. Who knows what’s really going on?”
Moved, Lu Yun peered through the cluster of flowers. On the flower path ahead, he could see an enraged Li Lin standing before a maid. The maid was scared out of her wits, kneeling on both knees and pounding her head into the ground.2 Behind Li Lin stood a youth dressed in bright yellow. He was roughly fifteen or sixteen years old, elegant and cultured in appearance. His eyes were like deep and serene pools. He looked open, honest, and measured. This teenager was currently pulling on and trying to reason with Li Lin. There was no need to overthink things. From this teenager’s apparel and the appellation he used for Li Lin, Lu Yun found himself overwhelmed. Surprisingly, there were only a few zhang separating him and Great Yong’s Crown Prince Li Jun. Lu Yun could not refrain from tightening his grip on his dagger as his eyes fell upon the crown prince’s face. Lu Yun watched the mild crown prince try to soothe Li Lin, a smile on his face. Although the crown prince possessed an incomparably high status, he gave off the feeling of a cleansing spring breeze. Lu Yun had heard that this crown prince had overseen Youzhou on Li Zhi’s behalf from a young age, enjoying a reputation for humanity and filial piety. Catching sight of him today, Lu Yun discovered that his bearing was unordinary as expected. Compared to Southern Chu’s Zhao Long—although of similar age and was the monarch of a country, Zhao Long only knew how to eat, drink, and be merry, and was mediocre and incompetent—Lu Yun found that his heart ached and that his breathing was coming in fits and bursts.
The eyebrows of a youthful imperial bodyguard standing in attendance behind Li Jun rose and he took a step forward. Standing protectively at Li Jun’s side, he shouted, “Who’s there sneaking behind the flowers?” The bodyguard’s voice was not harsh, probably because this was the residence of Princess Changle and was widely considered as one of the official residences with the tightest security.
Lu Yun shook inside. Walking around the cluster of flowers, he dropped to one knee before Li Lin and reported, “Subordinate Yun Lu pays my respects to Your Imperial Highness.” He deliberately showed that he did not recognize Li Jun. In this way, even if he were punished, it would be a lot lighter. If he didn’t know any better, he could not be held responsible. As expected, when he snuck a glance, the expression on the bodyguard’s face eased and he retreated behind Li Jun.
In coarse breaths, Li Lin roughly asked, “So it’s you? Were you afraid to come over because you saw that this Prince was angry?”
Calming further, Lu Yun answered with his head lowered and the expression on his face controlled, “This subordinate does not dare.”
Flapping his hand, Li Lin said, “Forget about it. Come and pay your respects to His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince. Imperial Brother, this is my newest bodyguard. I saw that this fellow was not bad. In a few years, I’ll deliver him to the Eastern Palace to serve as one of your imperial bodyguards. However, it’s inappropriate right now. The Bright Inspection Department and the Intelligence Management Section are keeping close tabs, and this fellow’s background isn’t completely clear. If I were to send him over, I would likely be impeached by the Imperial Censors.”
Li Jun smiled slightly. He naturally understood this principle. All of his bodyguards had been very carefully selected. One’s background, martial arts, and character all needed to be evaluated. However, since Li Lin attached such great importance to this youthful bodyguard, this young man’s talents were presumably hard to come by. Li Jun took a step forward and personally helped Lu Yun to his feet, stating, “Stand up. You are Brother Lin’s bodyguard. In the future, you will inevitably see Us frequently. You need not be so formal, nor must you listen to Brother Lin’s nonsense. Imperial Father appoints every one of Our Eastern Palace’s imperial bodyguards, so the numbers are limited. That is there are all these unavoidable conditions. By following the Prince of Jia from now on, your prospects are boundless. In several years, when you’ve gone into battle and seized glory, becoming a marquis and a general, wouldn’t it be better than being underemployed by Our side?”
Lu Yun played the yes man, while a look of great admiration shone in his eyes. As expected, Great Yong’s crown prince had the bearing of a monarch. With just a few short words, he felt his heart warm. If Lu Yun was really that carefree Yun Lu, he would likely have risked his life to repay the crown prince.
Li Jun studied Lu Yun for another moment. He could see that although this young man was still youthful and was quite respectful, the youth was neither servile nor overbearing. The youth’s countenance carried a shred of haughty unyieldingness. As expected, this young man’s character was hard to come by. Li Jun could not help but feel fondness. Glancing at Li Lin, he praised, “Princely Brother’s eyesight is truly out of the ordinary. I can see that this fellow has General Zhangsun’s presence.”
Li Lin revealed an expression of immense satisfaction. Because he was still young, not only did revealing such an expression not cause others to feel resentment, but instead caused them to feel that he still retained his childish nature. Shaking his head, Li Jun smiled and continued, “All right, let’s go check up on Roulan. She has suffered and will definitely seek to take it out on us. If we get there too late, she’ll probably snub us for a few days.”
Li Lin turned angry and said, “Roulan is most biased. Every time she sees you, she beams with delight, while she’s always scowling at me. While it’s plain that you can only see her every three to five days compared to me accompanying her every day, she always treats you kindly.”
“Whose fault is it that you didn’t watch her grow up?” replied Li Jun with a hearty laugh. “Back when I was still the Prince of Yong’s heir, I spared no effort in helping her escape Uncle-in-law’s evil scheming. As for you, you’ve been butting heads with her since meeting her for the first time in the Eastern Sea. You also forced the girl to call you older brother. Afterwards, you were tricked by Uncle-in-law and served as his accomplice to bully Roulan. You deserve your present reckoning.”
Li Lin stamped his feet without speaking, his face darkening and blushing. Gazing at the bodyguards who were restraining their smiles, Li Lin shouted, “Get out of the way! This is Uncle-in-law’s residence. There’s no use for you all to watch the show.”
The two princes’ bodyguards exchanged looks of dismay, not knowing if they should obey. Li Jun smiled and said, “It’s fine. Aside from Leng Hui, you can all withdraw to rest.”
Aside from the youthful bodyguard standing behind Li Jun, all of the bodyguards scattered and withdrew. Lu Yun sighed mentally and also prepared to leave. To his surprise, Li Lin called him to a halt and asked, “Yun Lu, you were by big brother Huo and Roulan’s side. I’ve heard that you were the one who rescued Roulan. Is that the case?”
Lu Yun blushed. Recalling how he had originally planned to take Roulan’s life, he could not help feeling a bit ashamed. He whispered, “This subordinate was present by happenstance. Because I know how to swim, I had no alternative but to offend the Princess.”
Li Jun let out a cry of surprise, his gaze on Lu Yun becoming more appreciative. After nodding his head slightly, Li Jun walked towards the inner residence. Li Lin put up a hand, indicating that there was no need for Lu Yun to follow, before hurriedly following Li Jun. Lu Yun was momentarily stunned but eventually gave a sad sigh. In low spirits, he walked towards the Perched Phoenix Pavilion.
Just as he reached the Perched Phoenix Pavilion, Li Lin burst back in a towering rage, shouting, “So infuriating! Everyone, follow me back to the residence.”
When the bodyguards saw his indignation, none of them dared to ask what had happened and simply ran with Li Lin out of Princess Changle’s residence. Fetching his horse, Li Lin lashed his whip and galloped through the streets of the imperial city. The bodyguards were alarmed and repeatedly called out from behind. None of them dared to gallop through the imperial city as this was a major crime. Although they watched as Li Lin disappeared into the distance, they were worried and sprinted back to the Prince of Qi’s residence.
Finding it strange, Lu Yun asked one of the other bodyguards that he was relatively knew well, “What happened to the Prince for him to be so furious?”
After glancing at his surroundings, the bodyguard answered quietly, “He’s likely suffered at the hands of the Princess of Zhaohua. Everyone in Chang’an knows that while our Prince doesn’t fear the Heavens or the Earth, he is afraid of the Marquis of Chu and the Princess of Zhaohua, especially the Princess. If the two of them are together, they’re guaranteed have a row every three days and a tiff every two days. Towards the end, the Princess will either complain tearfully to the Prince and Princess of Qi or our Prince will complain to Her Imperial Highness, Princess Changle. At the beginning, the parents on both sides would try to advise as well as punish. However, after that, they would be reconciled. Now, the parents are disinclined to intervene. But today is truly strange. Usually either His Imperial Highness, the Crown Prince, or young master Huo can calm the Prince or the Princess. I don’t know what’s happened today for the Crown Prince’s and young master Huo’s words to have no effect.”
Lu Yun was fascinated by this and could not help dropping his head to snicker to himself. Regardless of how vaunted their statuses, Roulan, the Princess of Zhaohua, and Li Lin, the Prince of Jia, were still just children. However, Lu Yun still found it difficult to associate the childish side of this teenager with the grave bearing the Prince of Jia possessed at the Golden Valley Garden.
After a while, the bodyguards returned to the Prince of Qi’s residence. Taking a glance, all of them saw Li Lin pacing at the entrance to the residence in long strides. Seeing the bodyguards return, he furiously declared, “Why were you all so slow? Princely Father wants me to escort Mother to Nanshan and attend upon her. Ready yourselves already.” When the bodyguards heard this, none of them thought to justify themselves by arguing that the prince had galloped too quickly and ran off to pack their luggage.
Lu Yun was delighted. Before this point, he was worrying over how to leave the Prince of Jia to go to Nanshan and seek an opportunity to assassinate Jiang Zhe. In a twist of events, the Prince of Jia needed to travel to Nanshan. Lu Yun was not sure if this was the result of the Heavens’ blessings.
With all the bodyguards gone, Li Lin was left alone standing enraged at the entrance to the prince’s residence, kicking a stone back and forth after he had dismounted to vent his rage. Gazing at Lu Yun’s back, Li Lin was so infuriated that he booted the stone. Just now, when he had gone to see Roulan, he had not expected that he would be the target of mockery and ridicule,3 stating that he was so blind as to keep an assassin by his side. How was he to blame? This was clearly the fault of the Intelligence Management Section for failing to investigate thoroughly. Besides, didn’t she also praise Lu Yun? How was he wholly responsible? At the time, Li Lin wanted to rush out and immediately have Lu Yun executed. However, he was stopped by Huo Cong and was instructed to bring Lu Yun to the residence at Nanshan. Seeing that he could not act to punish the young man who had deceived him, Li Lin found it increasingly difficult to quell the rage inside him. Instead, he simply violated the law by galloping through the streets of the imperial city to return to the Prince of Qi’s residence. Regardless of how angry he was, Li Lin understood that Huo Cong’s intentions were also the intentions of his uncle Jiang Zhe.
During the entire trip, Li Lin pondered how to bring Lu Yun to the residence in Nanshan. There needed to be a reason to ensure that Lu Yun did not become suspicious. This was a task that big brother Huo had assigned. How could he have expected that as soon as he returned to the residence, he would be informed that the Princess of Qi, Lin Bi, was going to Nanshan? Lin Bi was supposed to be accompanied by Li Lin’s oldest half-brother, Li Jing. Hearing this, Li Lin had snatched this assignment. He was well aware that all this was most likely his Uncle-in-law’s scheming. Otherwise, his stepmother would not go alone to Nanshan with neither rhyme nor reason. With his stepmother pregnant again, his father practically never left her side. Remembering his careless mistake this time, and upon realizing that he would likely be mocked for several months by his uncle and Roulan, Li Lin was both angry and dejected, his hatred for Lu Yun increasing. Were it not for his forceful forbearance, his gaze would be enough to skewer Lu Yun.
Filled with uncertainty, Lu Yun did not understand why the Princess of Qi would travel to Nanshan with little luggage and a light escort.4 Having spent quite some time in the Prince of Qi’s residence, he was well aware that the Prince of Qi did not have a secondary residence in Nanshan. Purportedly this was because Li Xian had an odd temperament and was not fond of the hermit lifestyle in the Zhongnan Mountains. As a result, the prince only had residences at the western and eastern outskirts of the city and did not own a residence in Nanshan. However, he did not care to wonder about it. In any case, it was enough that he would have the opportunity to go to Nanshan. He planned how he would find Jiang Zhe’s residence and how to sneak inside to perform the assassination, utterly failing to take note of the frigid looks that Li Lin occasionally shot at him.
Nanshan was between fifty to sixty li5 from Chang’an. Combined with the need to detour to the western outskirts of the city before heading south, and with orders from the Prince of Qi to Li Lin to ensure that Lin Bi was not worn out, they rested for the night at Duqu6 and only reached Nanshan in the afternoon of the second day. Nanshan’s woods and ravines were beautiful and tranquil, containing an imposing grandeur. The sources of the Zao, Feng, Ba, Chan, Xi, and Gao Rivers all started in Nanshan before flowing north to the Wei River. The residence that Lin Bi was traveling to was located at the northern foothills of Nanshan. A stream wound its way through the foothills, and there were several pavilions built along the water. On both sides of the stream were odd rocks and craggy terrain, and the vegetation was rich. There was no road leading to the residence. If one wanted to reach the residence, they could only do so by boat, crossing the stream. The stream converged into a tarn at the foot of the mountain. A skiff was anchored in the middle of the tarn.
Yun Lu and the bodyguards were the last to board the skiff. Though it went against the current, the black-robed servant made easy and experienced progress, delivering the bodyguards to the waterside pavilion. After they were dropped off, the skiff departed. This waterside pavilion was probably used to house the bodyguards and attendants. It was expansive and unadorned. Only after they had arrived did Lu Yun learn that this residence was owned by the Marquis of Chu. He was overjoyed and immediately began to look for an opportunity to perform the assassination. Lu Yun selected a room that faced the water and was located in one of the corners of the waterside pavilion. Because it was narrow and cramped, no one fought over it with him. However, this was his intent.
Opening the window, he saw that a zhang below was the stream. The Xi River was so clear he could see the bottom. The streambed was jagged and littered with rocks. Between the sharp, broken rocks, he could see fish and shrimp frolicking about. Following the stream, Lu Yun looked upriver. At the edge of his vision, he could see two other waterside pavilions. Although the pavilions were all connected by arch bridges, Lu Yun knew that if he used the bridges he would immediately be arrested. As a result, his eyes fell upon the stream. If it were nighttime, he could swim upriver to search for Jiang Zhe’s bedchambers.
After eating dinner, Lu Yun excused himself under the pretext of exhaustion from the long ride and went to sleep early. This didn’t raise any eyebrows. Living alone in the small room, he had no need to worry that anyone would keep track of his whereabouts. After bolting the door, Lu Yun waited for the second watch1 and for the sky to become pitch-black before changing into a set of black clothes. This set of nightwear was quite refined, light and sleek, and could temporarily serve as a wetsuit. In addition, the clothes weren’t bulky and were easy to carry around, which was extremely rare. Lu Yun had brought it along for some time and it had yet to be discovered.
Opening the window, he vigilantly looked around. Aside from the light coming from the several waterside pavilions, there were no other light sources. Hopping out of the window, he grabbed the window sill and hung there. Reaching up, he closed the window before dropping down into the water. Because of his great swimming, his movements were agile. Not only were no sounds made, there was barely any splash. Upon entering the water, he swam upriver. The current was quite rapid and was quite tiring to swim against. After swimming for some time, he reached the second waterside pavilion. Climbing to a window facing the water, he looked inside. Within were a number of bodyguards. From their uniforms, he identified them as the Stalwart Tiger Guard. Lu Yun concluded that they were Jiang Zhe’s bodyguards. Lu Yun headed further upriver.
Before he had even approached the third waterside pavilion, he heard Li Lin’s hearty laughter. Lu Yun clung to a rock near the shore to rest for a moment before continuing upriver. After turning a corner, he found that there were four waterside pavilions up ahead. The fourth pavilion was completely dark and making no noise. Swimming to the fifth pavilion, he discovered that this waterside pavilion was different from the previous ones. The pavilion was elevated just one chi above the water. Outside of the room facing the water was a platform. Half of the platform suspended in midair and was enclosed on three sides by vermillion balustrades. From here, the stream gradually broadened and the current slowed greatly.
Lu Yun was intrigued. Just as he was about to climb onto the platform to eavesdrop, just as his fingers grabbed the balustrade, he heard a door open. Then light spilled out from within the pavilion, covering the entire platform in a pale yellow glow. Scared, Lu Yun allowed himself to submerge into the water, clinging to one of the pillars supporting the platform. Bending his ear to listen, he heard a sigh. That was the voice of a man. Afterwards, the lighting above brightened substantially. The man had presumably lit the lanterns hanging high in the corners of the platform. With this, the waters surrounding the platform were illuminated. Unable to stealthily advance, Lu Yun was extraordinarily worry. However, he could only bear it patiently and wait.
After a while, it seemed that the man did not have any intentions of returning inside. The mountain breeze was frigid and the light of the moon and stars were extremely dim. Lu Yun did not understand why this man was in the mood to appreciate the beautiful scenery. Lu Yun cursed roundly to himself, but he could do nothing.
All of a sudden, the man gave a soft cry of surprise, making Lu Yun tense. He heard a woman’s sigh follow. The sigh was despondent and sorrowful. Lu Yun felt himself shiver inside and could not help but listen intently. He only heard the woman say, “Wudi, you have spent these years drifting about in foreign lands. Have you been well?”
In a plain but refined voice, the man answered, “Many thanks for your concern. I can’t say if I’ve been doing well or not. The days are relatively tranquil. However, I frequently think of my former companions and the scenery of Qinzhou. That was why I could not prevent myself from returning. This is probably what it means when people say it is difficult to leave one’s homeland. I’ve heard that you’ve been enfeoffed as a marchioness and have a high standing. I’m happy for you.”
“In reality, the Emperor has treated me extremely generously,” replied the woman distantly. “Based upon my meager contributions, it was enough for me to be the Vice Commander of the Stalwart Tiger Guard. To also become a marchioness is too much.”
The man said, “You deserve it. Moreover, by placing you in an important position, those who have ties with the Fengyi Sect can relax greatly and shows them that Great Yong wouldn’t abandon them solely because of their background. Over the past few years, it should have become increasingly difficult for the remnants of the Fengyi Sect to operate in Great Yong.”
After falling silent for a moment, the woman said, “There is no need for me to get involved with these matters. Ever since the fall of Northern Han and my cherished dream being fulfilled, I do not get involved with anything aside from the matters of the Stalwart Tiger Guard. It is a heavy responsibility to protect the Imperial Family. I dare not be complacent.”
“I am well aware that you have no actual interest in power or fame,” sighed the man. “It is only that it is impossible now for you to disengage yourself. If you leave the protection of the Yong court, you would find life rife with difficulties. After all, even though the Northern Han Royal Family has submitted, there are still many who loathe you. Even the Fengyi Sect won’t let you off. I’ve heard that you’ve yet to be marry. What about General Huyan? He should have accompanied you here on this trip, no?”
Pausing for a moment, the woman responded, “Huyan has come with me, even going so far as to ask for leave from Sima daren. I have no choice but to allow him to do as he pleases. In reality, my life now is quite good. There’s no need for me to exhaust myself mentally, there’s no need for me to scheme. Some things you’ve spoken of with great understanding. I need only know my place and can live the rest of my life with riches and honor. This kind of life is what I want the most. Having spent so many years struggling, I’ve long since become exhausted physically and mentally. On the day I was granted an audience with His Imperial Majesty, I once voiced my intent to step down and live in seclusion. His Imperial Majesty stated that because I had incurred too much hatred and made considerable contributions, he did not want me to live among the common people. That is why he appointed me to the position of the Vice Commander of the Stalwart Tiger Guard. If I wanted, I could embark upon another undertaking. If not, then I could live out the rest of my existence in peace. The Emperor’s grace is as heavy as a mountain. That is why I’ve remained in Chang’an even though I know that they want to use my identity to pacify popular sentiment. Now that I have no further concerns, the only one I’ve let down is you. That is why I ultimately came to see you when I heard the Marquis speak of your return to Chang’an. Do you still hate me?”
The man laughed and said, “From from it. Thirteen years ago, when we parted, we had already begun our separate journeys and served different masters. Although you served Great Yong and toppled Northern Han, I do not hate you. That was your decision. As long as you have no regrets, who out there can criticize you? Seven years ago, when I was caught between life and death, I knew that you wished to save me, going so far as to plead on my behalf. I will never forget that. However, Sister Qing, I blame you. Shi Ying’s death, although the result of many complicated reasons, was principally your fault. In addition, I know that you exploited our affairs. Although Shi Ying was not on good terms with me, he was an upright and frank man, matchlessly unyielding. I will never forgive you for this. You not only made it impossible for him to explain himself and caused his suicide, you also slandered his good name. Although it was a method employed because the two countries were at war and I cannot hate you for your conduct, I cannot but blame you as an old friend.”
The woman fell silent for some time. Suddenly, she laughed and said, “I understand. I finally feel at ease hearing these words from you today. These years, whenever I think of General Shi’s death, I am always restless and dejected. Someone blaming me has taken a load off my mind. Thank you, Wudi, for untangling the snarled knot in my heart. All these years, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity for us to reunite. Don’t laugh at me. Although I severed our relations that day before General Shi’s grave, today, by becoming aware that you will always blame me, I can finally set aside my worries and feel that I haven’t let you down.”
“I understand,” echoed the man in a grave voice. “Hai Li once told me that if you weren’t given the opportunity to settle things between us, you would never know peace and happiness in this lifetime. Otherwise I would never return to Chang’an under any circumstances. General Huyan has treated you with loving affection these past few years. From the first time I met him, I was aware of his feelings for you. Half of your life has been spent in misery. If he can keep you company, I can rest easy.”
The woman’s tone of voice gentled as she said, “In fact, I accepted his proposal on the journey here. Do you wish to remain behind to attend our wedding?”
“Congratulations!” replied the man in delight. “Marquis Jiang has agreed to set me free after a few days. I’m afraid that I won’t have the chance to attend your wedding. Pass this message along to General Huyan for me. Tell him that I hope the two of you can reach old age together and be together forever.”
Listening from below, Lu Yun was stunned by the conversation. He had long ago determined the identities of the two individuals—Great Yong’s Marquis of Cheng, Su Qing, and the only survivor of Long Tingfei’s four generals, Duan Wudi. Lu Yun had heard his father speak of the two’s deeds. He had somehow managed to eavesdrop their private conversation. Were it not for his forced silence, he would have peeked and taken a look at the pair’s elegant bearing.
Now he heard the muffled thud of departing footfalls. Su Qing was probably departing. The man gave a shallow sigh, carrying notes of joy and relief. Then, under the silent moon, facing the deep shadows and the frigid water, Lu Yun heard the man softly recite:
“Gazing broken-hearted at the turquoise spring waters flowing under the bridge
That once reflected her graceful image.”7
Duan Wudi’s voice was miserable. Although Lu Yun could not understand the meaning of the verse, he also fell sad and forlorn.
1. 呆若木鸡, dairuomuji – idiom, lit. dumb as a wooden chicken; fig. dumbstruck
2. 磕头如捣蒜, ketourudaosuan – idiom, lit. to kowtow like crushing garlic; fig. to pound the ground with one’s head, kowtow frequently/again and again to beg for pardon
3. 冷嘲热讽, lengchaorefeng – idiom, lit. frigid irony and scorching satire; fig. mockery and ridicule
4. 轻车简从, qingchejiancong – idiom, lit. to travel with little luggage and just a small escort; fig. to travel without ostentation
5. 27-32.4 km (about 17-20 miles)
6. 杜曲, Duqu – a township located within Xi’an, Shaanxi
8. This is the second of four poems written at the age of seventy-five by the famous Song Dynasty poet, Lu You (陆游), entitled Shen’s Garden (沈园). Lu You was once married to a woman named Tang Wan (唐婉). However, because Tang Wan did not become pregnant and because of Lu You’s mother, they were divorced. Tang Wan went on to marry another. Years later, they happened to meet again in Shen’s Garden. From the sentiments of their former love, Lu You penned a poem, which Tang Wan replied to. Decades later, Lu You returned to Shen’s Garden and penned several poems to showcase his love.
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