Happy Lunar New Years!!
“Don’t ask anymore. I can’t tell you now but in the future you will know,” Madam Xuan said as she knitted her brows. She then picked up the comb again and continued to comb Hua Zhu Yu’s hair, treating her as a child. But Hua Zhu Yu felt highly uncomfortable with her sudden affectionate actions. What’s even more uncomfortable was the fragrance from her body. Hua Zhu Yu extended her hand and took the comb, calmly stating, “I can do it myself.”
Madam Xuan sighed helplessly and said, “Xiao Yu, it’s no longer early, you should rest for the night.” Afterwards, she got up and stepped out of the room, closing the door behind her.
Hua Zhu Yu laid silently on the bed. The faint starlight streamed in through the window and shone on her, her long lashes casting faint shadows upon her face. In regards to what Madam Xuan had just told her, she didn’t know whether to believe it or not. She still felt apprehensive and doubtful.
Tomorrow, Southern Kingdom’s throne would fall into a different hand. Was the rumored Huangfu Wu Xiang really still alive? Hua Mu and Huangfu Wu Shuang must have escaped safely, she thought. Based on their abilities, she knew they were certainly no longer in Yu City.
Hua Zhu Yu had a restless night and had woken up early next morning. Dou Qian Jin was a considerate person and had prepared several dresses for her which were placed in the wardrobe inside the room. Hua Zhu Yu chose to change into a begonia embroidered dress before stepping outside. Kang and Ping were standing in the corridor, seemingly having waited a long time for her. Upon seeing her, they were slightly stunned but very quickly came back to their senses.
“Ping, how’s the situation in Yu City? Did you find out anything last night? ” Hua Zhu Yu asked. Last night, she told Ping to look for Kang and assess the current situation in Yu City.
Ping replied, “General, now in Yu City there is a rumor spreading around that the Marquis has taken the retired Emperor Yan hostage, that he had manipulated the Emperor Huangfu Wu Shuang in order to usurp the throne and seize Southern Kingdom. However he failed in the end and had escaped Yu City with his captives, the current Emperor and Emperor Kang.”
In Hua Zhu Yu’s heart, an indescribable feeling surfaced. There was no need to find out where this information came from. However, it didn’t mention anything about how Huangfu Wu Shuang has escaped from the palace through a secret passageway. It seems the Imperial Family’s prestige was at stake so the narrative somehow changed into Hua Mu abducting Huangfu Wu Shuang. But what was surprising was that it was rumored he had even abducted Huangfu Wu Shang.
“It was rumored last night Huangfu Wu Xiang led the Feng Yun troops and attacked Yu City. Huangfu Wu Xiang, is this person really alive?” Hua Zhu Yu asked.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
“Yes!” Kang said as he lowered his head. “Last night, this subordinate had carefully investigated. The leader of the Feng Yun troops really was Huangfu Wu Xiang.”
“Did you hear anything about the prince of Yue Zhi?” Hua Zhu Yu asked as she narrowed her eyes.
Ping shook his head and said, “No.”
Hua Zhu Yu felt at a loss. After some thought she said, “Let’s go out.” Just as they were about to leave, Dou Qian Jin was arriving. When he saw Hua Zhu Yu in a dress, his eyes immediately lit and he said with an appreciative smile, “As expected of this prince’s princess consort(Wang Fei)!”
Hua Zhu Yu lifted a brow and asked, “Is it princess consort or cousin(mei mei)?”
Dou Qian Jin gave a meaningful light sigh. His peach blossom eyes flashed with a light and he laughingly said, “Ah, it seems that maternal aunt has told you everything. So what? It can’t be that cousin(mei mei) can’t be princess consort? It’s not like you are my sister(mei mei).”
Hua Zhu Yu quietly glanced at him. The corner of her lips hooked up as she asked, “Don’t tell me you’re in need of a princess consort?” Although she displayed a smile on the surface, her heart became heavy, it seems she really was his maternal cousin.
“If you knew I was your cousin for some time, why are you just telling me this now?” Hua Zhu Yu asked.
Aggrieved, Dou Qian Jin said, “As soon as I found out Ying Shu Xie was you, I went to search for you right away. Later I heard you were in Northern Kingdom. Xiao Yin also accidently let it slip that you(I think he’s referring to XY’s sister) were Ying Shu Xie and I knew right away it was you. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen you before. After you escaped from our marriage, I had no means of looking for you until last year when I had chased after that fake Ying Shu Xie who showed up in Southern Kingdom. But who would’ve thought you actually went to the battlefield, even became a eunuch! But it’s not too late now. Come back to Eastern Yan with me.”
“I can’t leave just yet. There are some things I must get clarified,” Hua Zhu Yu said.
“You’re really not leaving?” Dou Qian Jin seemed to have expected this reply and did not seem overly surprised, only slightly at a loss.
“No, I’m not,” Hua Zhu Yu said resolutely before walking past him.
“Xiao Yu, where are you going?” Dou Qian Jin followed behind her and casually asked with a smile.
Walking ahead, Hua Zhu Yu’s black hair furled in the wind like passing clouds. Kang and Ping followed closely behind her. When they arrived at the gate of the residence, they noticed several Feng Yun troops stationed there. It seems that they had the area surrounded since last night.
Dou Qian Jin helplessly spread out his hand and said, “If you had walked slower I would’ve had time to tell you that we can’t leave.”
A young general saw them and came over. Clasping his hands into a fist, he said, “Forgive me but my Master has instructed no one is allowed to leave temporarily.”
Hua Zhu Yu frowned. She knew who had given this order and coldly said, “I want to see the prince of Yue Zhi, take me there.” Tai was still in their hands and no matter what, she had to save Tai.
The soldiers exchanged glances and the general said, “Alright, this way please!” Clearly they had received instructions beforehand that if she wanted to see their master, they were to escort her there.
A horse carriage arrived and Hua Zhu Yu got on. Dou Qian Jin, Kang and Ping rode on horseback while the Feng Yun troops surrounded them, leading them to Yue Zhi’s guest house.
When they arrived, Hua Zhu Yu alighted the carriage. The group entered the house, proceeding through several winding corridors before arriving at a courtyard. From afar, they could see Prince Na Lan standing under the veranda with his hands clasped.
His stature was tall and lean as he stood there, his black robes rippling in the wind. Beneath the sunlight, his mask gave off a cold, sharp glint. When he saw the group arrived, he was seemingly smiling.
“What an unexpected arrival,” he said with interest.
Hua Zhu Yu slowly walked forward, silently observing him. Facing those deep eyes hidden behind that mask, she could not help her breath quickening as her heart beated uncontrollably.
Last night she had thought it through. It seems her suspicions were true. In this world, apart from him, no one else would treat her like that. When she fell into the passageway and was about to be attacked by that blade, he had shielded her. He had even chased after her so persistently.
“I came because I want to know if you, my Lord is who I think you are,” Hua Zhu Yu slowly said with a light smile. As soon as the word ‘you’ was spoken she had swiftly took action.
Prince Na Lan felt something was amiss and he quickly stepped back but Hua Zhu Yu’s hand was fast. She knew last night he had suffered a serious injury and his internal strength wouldn’t be able to recover so quickly. Thus she vowed she must take off his mask this time no matter what.
Prince Na Lan blocked her attack and they began fighting beneath the veranda. After a few moves, her hand extended out, her fair slender fingers stretching from her sleeve was aiming directly for his mask.
Prince Na Lan could not dodge in time and his golden mask was seized by Hua Zhu Yu.
Instantly, a handsome face appeared before her eyes. It was a familiar face indeed but it wasn’t him!
Hua Zhu Yu’s heart instantly dropped in disappointment and a sudden coldness enveloped her as if a relentless whirlwind was making its way through her empty heart.
“Who …… Who are you?” Hua Zhu Yu callously asked, still holding onto his mask.
Yue Po smirked as a wisp of hair at his temples fluttered across his beautiful eyes, brushing across his cheeks charmingly. “I am Na Lan Xue! Prince of Yue Zhi! Give me back the mask, ”he replied with brows raised.
“You’re Na Lan Xue? If I recall correctly, you’re Na Lan’s attendant. When you’re an attendant, who’s prince Na Lan?” Hua Zhu Yu coldly questioned.
“I know you’re here to find him. Follow me!” Na Lan brushed the dirt off his sleeves and took back his mask from Hua Zhu Yu’s hand to cover up his face.
The group of people followed after Na Lan Xue and got on a carriage that headed directly for the Imperial Palace (Huang gong). The carriage entered the Imperial Palace and continued until it arrived in front of a palace(gong dian) called Shun Hua Palace. The palace was originally sealed from entry. Hua Zhu Yu was a eunuch inside the palace for a long time but she had never been here before.
The large vermillion gates slowly opened. Following after Na Lan Xue, Hua Zhu Yu ascended the steps and entered the palace. With the blowing wind, her hair furled silently in the air, twirling like the entanglements in this world.
As far as the eye could see, there was a long winding corridors that extended all the way to the deepest parts of the palace. She slowly proceeded along the corridor and observed the surrounding scenery. It was quite beautiful but it was seemingly covered in a layer of dust, as if it had been abandoned for some time.
Once they reached the end of the corridor, they arrived at the entrance of a room. There were several attendants standing by. The door was wide open as palace maidservants along with eunuchs were streaming in and out constantly.