Correlates with Ch 175-176
Xuan Ji froze. What did he mean by that?
Long Fei Li grabbed her by the chin and forced her to meet his gaze. His deep eyes were staring down at her, strained with a raging fire threatening to implode.
A bitter laugh escaped her lips. “Long Fei Li, first of all, I wasn’t scheming anything. It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not but I only let them in because I know you despise jealous women and I no longer have any intentions of being one.”
His hand stiffened slightly.
“Second, your love isn’t something I can afford, nor is it something you’ll likely give. Even if you were to give, it wouldn’t be to me. This fact is something that I, Nian Xuan Ji, am fully aware of.”
“Third, the past can’t be altered. As you said before, who you love is none of my concern. But why must it be that night, even if you didn’t spare me a glance, why did you have to find your way into my sister’s bed on that particular night?”
It had been so long since she had last cried. The night before leaving the palace, Yu Zhi had told her that grief was a feeling far worse than death and upon recalling her words, she couldn’t help the tears that trickled down her cheeks.
Staring down at her tear-stricken face, Long Fei Li was momentarily at a loss for words.
Releasing his hold on her chin, he pulled her up, wrapped his arms around her and whispered, “Xiao Qi.”
Hearing his soft whisper in her ear, Xuan Ji froze. He had only ever called her in such a way when they were tangled in the heights of passion.
A sliver of fear suddenly rose within her….. No, he couldn’t call her that. This unusual sense of intimacy was unnerving. This man…. She couldn’t keep doing this with him, she would really go insane if this continued.
As she trembled in his arms, he quietly whispered in her ear, “I won’t ever touch Nian Yao Guang again, never.”
Xuan Ji continued to shake. Did he understand what he was saying? She didn’t need his promise…..
“Don’t call me Xiao Qi,” she angrily said and with a strength she didn’t know she had, she pushed him aside and made a run for the door.
Long Fei Li instantly stood to chase after her but the moment he took a step forward, he stopped himself. Turning around, he gazed at the broken bed frame and the corner of his lips lifted in a derisive smile.
He had lost control.
He had nearly told her the truth.
That night, the man in Yao Guang’s bed wasn’t him.
As if she had been possessed by a ghost, Xuan Ji sprinted as fast as she could, heading in the direction of the green forest. There, she finally slowed and slumped down onto a stone bench where she had often sat together with him. After sitting there in a daze for some time, she finally got to her feet and made her way back to Feng Jiu Palace.
At the entrance, Die Feng and the rest greeted her, their eyes lit with joy.
Xuan Ji squeezed out a faint smile and swept her eyes across the crowd. Realizing someone was missing, she asked, “Die Feng, where’s Cui Ya?”
Die Feng giggled without saying a word as the rest of the servants followed suit.
Xiao(Little) Lu Zi cheerfully said, “Your Highness(Niang Niang), you may not know but before you returned, Eunuch Xia Sang had stopped by.”
Xuan Ji’s expression fell. “Your brain must not be working, I(this Niang Niang) asked about Cui Ya not Eunuch Xia.”
“Look, Mistress is so anxious–” Die Feng lifted her hand to cover her smile and said, “Eunuch Xia came to send your meal.”
Puzzled, Xuan Ji asked, “Meal?”
Xiao(Little) Shuang Zi replied, “Eunuch Xia Sang said that His Majesty had ordered the meal be sent to Your Highness. We just saw it—.”
He suddenly stopped and said ambiguously, “Your Highness, take a guess what we saw.”
Xuan Ji knocked him on the head and told him to quickly get to the point1.
Leaning close to Xuan Ji’s ear, Die Feng whispered, “It was all Mistress’ favorite dishes.”
Hearing this, Xuan Ji stiffened. Long Fei Li, what exactly did he mean by this. She had just left Chu Xiu Hall and yet he had ordered Xia Sang to…. The more she thought about it, the more confused she became and remained staring at the ground in silence.
Seeing her reaction, the servants of Feng Jiu Palace wanted to laugh but did not dare do so openly. Could it be that their Mistress was so overwhelmed with happiness that she was stunned speechless? But they couldn’t blame her for they themselves were ecstatic.
After a long while, Xuan Ji gritted her teeth and said, “Sooner or later, I’ll be angered to death by you all. I(This niang niang) had asked about Cui–”
“Ya!” Xiao Lu Zi chimed in, “Mistress, I was just about to tell you that the food sent had gotten cold. Cui Ya was afraid that you would be hungry once you were back so she went to reheat the food.”
“So troublesome, it doesn’t matter if it gets a little cold,” Xuan Ji faintly remarked under her breath.
Smiling, Die Feng said, “Mistress, you can’t say that. Even if we are willing to let you eat cold food, if the Emperor gets wind of this, wouldn’t he blame us?”
Xuan Ji smiled wryly and headed for her room as she told them to let Cui Ya deliver the food once she returned.
“Your Highness should take a good rest, you must be tired these days,” one of the servants remarked as the rest giggled.
Feigning anger, Xuan Ji said, “Laugh again and I’ll have your lips smacked.”
Hearing this, Die Feng stifled her laughter and quickly stepped forward to assist Xuan Ji to her room.
Upon entering the room, Die Feng went to the dresser and returned with a small bag.
Xuan Ji looked at the item in her hand. Wrapped in fine silk cloth, it was square and angular like a book.
“What is this?”
Die Feng replied, “Princess Yu Zhi came by with it. Seeing that Your Highness wasn’t here, she gave it to this servant and instructed that I couldn’t let anyone else see it so I didn’t dare open it. Your Highness, you should take a look and see for yourself.”
Finding it a little strange, Xuan Ji received the item and opened up the silk cloth. It was her journal!
Overjoyed, she thought that yatou(little girl) Yu Zhi sure kept her promise. It seems her efforts in spending the last several days at Chu Xiu Hall had not been in vain.
But very quickly Xuan Ji discovered that something was off. The journal was indeed hers but the words on the cover ‘Records of Yun Cang: Xi Liang’ had disappeared.
Startled, she quickly opened the journal only to find it completely blank. The text had disappeared!
No wonder Yu Zhi said that there was nothing in it. Xuan Ji thought it was fortunate yet strange at the same time. After some thinking she said, “Die Feng, you can withdraw. I want to rest for a bit.”
Die Feng nodded and carefully closed the door behind her when she left.
Xuan Ji furrowed her brows and opened the journal once more. This time, she was startled yet again by what she saw. On the first page, the words ‘Search for Bai Zhan Feng, God of War’ were clearly written. Her heart began to race as she stared at the words in a daze. Could it be, only she was able to see the contents of this journal?
She extended her hand to the bottom of her pillow and pulled out another item, it was the embroidered pouch she had hidden all this time.
At this moment, a sudden sound came from the door before it was gently pushed open.
“Young Master(gongzi)…… Your Highness(Niang Niang)— ” a voice with a faint tremble sounded as a head poked in.
Xuan Ji looked up and smiled. “Yatou(little girl).”
It was Cui Ya who came with her meal.
Cui Ya sheepishly smiled and placed the dishes on the table.
Xuan Ji waved to her and said, “Yatou(little girl), come here.”
Cui Ya immediately came to the side of the bed.
Xuan Ji patted the bed and said, “Take a seat.”
Cui Ya shook her head repeatedly and said, “Your Highness, that won’t do, older sister Die Feng told me the palace rules. I’m a servant, it’s not appropriate–.”
Xuan Ji chuckled and took her hand, pulling her down to sit on the bed. “In Feng Jiu Palace, there aren’t any servants that strictly adhere to the palace rules so you don’t have to either. It’s fine as long as you don’t take the wrong step and make a mistake outside these palace walls. If you continue to insist on these palace rules, I’ll be upset.”
“Yes, this servant understands.” Cui Ya said in a panic, “Don’t be upset.”
Hearing her refer to herself as a servant, Xuan Ji felt a little disheartened. She stroked her head and said, “I had hoped you would live a carefree life going forward. Why must you suffer so?”
Cui Ya shook her head and said, “Wherever you are is where Cui Ya will be.”
Once she ran away, there was an additional person to worry about. Xuan Ji let out a sigh and said, “Alright, then in the future you shall follow me.”
Cui Ya’s face was full of joy as she smiled brightly in reply. Her eyes then fell on Xuan Ji’s hand as she noticed the journal and embroidered pouch. She said, “Your Highness, what’s this?”
With a wry smile, Xuan Ji replied, “This is something that we can’t let anyone else discover otherwise it will bring great trouble.”
Cui Ya didn’t really understand but she nodded and said, “Then you should keep it hidden carefully.”
Xuan Ji nodded and then glanced at the meal that Cui Ya brought. A sense of discomfort rose within at the sight of those dishes. It was all her favorites………. The number of times she has had a meal with him were few and far between. But spending the past few days at his palace they had eaten together more often. Did he note her preferences then?
Is this a sign that you care for me, even just a little?
Xuan Ji then stared at the embroidered pouch in a daze. This inkling of care you have for me, how does it compare to the affection you harbor for the woman you hold dear to your heart?
Seeing Xuan Ji frowning, Cui Ya followed her line of sight and gazed at the pouch. Noticing the words embroidered on the pouch, she softly read, “You Zhi?”
Hearing these words spoken aloud, Xuan Ji recovered from her daze and quickly grasped Cui Ya’s hand, warning, “Yatou(little girl), in the future you mustn’t speak of these two words in the palace. Remember, this name cannot be spoken of carelessly. It’s a huge crime.”
Confused, Cui Ya asked, “Why Your Highness?”
But suddenly she shuddered as a sudden thought flashed in her head. You Zhi….. she had heard of this name before! That night, when she was curled up in the bottom of that dry well, shaking in fear, she had heard that mysterious woman addressed the Emperor. Although she didn’t quite understand what they had said, Cui Ya knew in her heart that it was a secret not meant for her ears. If they were to discover her, she would surely lose her life!
That woman had addressed the Emperor as Your Majesty but right before leaving, she had gently called out,” You Zhi.”
Stunned, Cui Ya asked,” You Zhi is the Emperor?”
Startled, Xuan Ji asked, “How do you know it’s the Emperor?”
Not to mention Cui Ya who had just entered the palace, Xuan Ji was certain that even Die Feng who had grown up in the palace since she was young did not know the Emperor’s courtesy name. Courtesy names were meant to called by those of the same generation or older but how many people actually dared to call the Emperor by his courtesy name directly? Imperial concubines and ministers may have heard of his name, but ordinary servants in this palace most likely have not.
Hearing Xuan Ji’s question, Cui Ya’s complexion instantly paled when she thought of what happened that night.
Seeing her reaction, Xuan Ji grew increasingly suspicious and held her hand even tighter, questioning her once more.
With her life at stake, if it had been someone else, Cui Ya would have never breathed a word. But since it was Xuan Ji that had asked her, though she was frightened, she still told her what had happened that night from beginning to end.
Though Cui Ya did not understand the struggles within the palace nor the intricate alliances, she had a very good memory and she had given a detailed account of what had happened that night.
The more Xuan Ji listened, the more frightened she became. The Emperor wasn’t the Empress Dowager’s real son?
Recalling that particular night, he had been with her, entangled in the heat of passion till the late hours of the night. It seems he had waited for her to fall asleep before he slipped away to the cold palace. The man that shared her bed…..he was so close yet so distant. Thinking of this, a sudden disappointment gripped her heart.
But very quickly, concern rose. If the Empress Dowager imprisoned his biological mother, how difficult of a predicament must he be in…… But another thought had made her heart tremble even more. Who was that woman?
If Long Fei Li had a pouch embroidered with ‘Xin Yi’, could the woman who sent someone to deliver the letter to him……. Biting her lips, Xuan Ji asked, “Yatou, did you hear what the Emperor called that woman?”
Cui Ya furrowed her brows, trying to recall the conversation she overheard that night. She murmured, “Xin…”
Although it was something she had anticipated, Xuan Ji couldn’t help but cover her mouth with her hands. As expected, it was indeed Xin Yi!
Just who was Xin Yi? She had once quietly asked Die Feng and Yu Zhi in private if they had heard of a Xin Yi in the palace but neither of them seemed to recognize this name.
Seeing Xuan Ji’s pale expression, Cui Ya was startled and asked, “Your Highness, what’s the matter?”
Xuan Ji stared at Cui Ya silently for some time before her lips lifted in a bitter smile as she said, “Guess what? The pouch they’re talking about is precisely this pouch in my hand right now.”
Color instantly drained from Cui Ya’s face as she asked in a trembling voice, “How could that be? What do we do? Your Highness, you must quickly throw this pouch away. Cui Ya will help you dispose of it.”
Xuan Ji’s heart was in turmoil but she was very clear of one thing. He had told Xin Yi that he would kill whoever it was that found the embroidered pouch…..if he knew that person was her, what would he do?
- Here what she literally states is “she almost mistakenly said “quickly explain to this Lao Niang” instead of “quickly explain to this Niang Niang.” Lao Niang means old lady where as Niang Niang means Your Highness. It’s kind of a play on words I guess.
- Yatou is used kind of like a term of endearment thought its literal translation is little girl/ slave girl
Hey Everyone!! Sorry for the slow update, recently classes have just been pretty rough and then they took away fall break as well so I have just been overwhelmed with school that I didn’t really have time to translate. Then once I did translate, I come back to find that my website has been down for 3 days and I couldn’t even access it. Then I had to spend another hour trying to figure out coding to get the website up and running again. But luckily there was youtube for guidance, else I really wouldn’t know what to do. But yes, so if you couldn’t access the website these past few days that was the reason why.
On a side note, I just love the servants of Feng Jiu Palace, they were so cute trying to tease Xuan Ji. I also adore Cui Ya and her steady love/care for Xuan Ji despite realizing that she’s a female.