Xuan Ji’s silence made Cui Ya all the more anxious and she gripped her hand even tighter.
Shaking her head, Xuan Ji said in a low voice, “The more dangerous it is, the more we can’t throw it away. If someone were to find it and discover who discarded it…..”
What’s more, once this matter was exposed, she was worried of the predicament it would put him in and there was nothing she could do then.
Don’t let the spoils of the present make you lose sight of the sorrows of tomorrow. This was what she had once told Die Feng.
As Xuan Ji stared at the table decorated with food a mere steps away, a painful smile twisted her lips. For Xin Yi, will he kill her?
“Yatou, what you’ve told me today must remain a secret only between us. You mustn’t speak of this to anyone else, do you understand?” Xuan Ji asked in a low voice.
Cui Ya nodded her head in quick successions.
Seeing this brought a smile to Xuan Ji’s lips as she continued, “As for this embroidered pouch, you must never….”
Before she could finish speaking, Cui Ya knelt down on the ground. With a solemn expression on her face she said, “Your Highness, rest assured. Even if it kills me, I won’t breathe even a word of it to anyone.”
Although Cui Ya didn’t quite understand the entirety of the conversation she overheard between the Emperor and that woman, she had heard the Emperor state clearly that he was going to kill whoever discovered the pouch and now that pouch was in Xuan Ji’s possession so her life was at stake.
Xuan Ji helped her up and said with a sigh,“Silly girl.”
She then looked down at the embroidered pouch in her hand and a wave of bitterness crept through her. Beneath her breath, she muttered, “ Xin Yi, who exactly are you?”
From what Cui Ya told her, Xuan Ji could tell that Xin Yi was a person of status within the palace, she was even well-informed of the Empress Dowager’s affairs….
Cui Ya stared at Xuan Ji silently. She opened her mouth to say something but quickly decided against it and lowered her head.
However her actions did not escape Xuan Ji’s eyes. Xuan Ji looked at her for a moment and a sudden thought came to mind. “Yatou, is there something you haven’t told me about that night?”
Startled, Cui Ya quickly shook her head.
“I’ve told you the truth about the embroidered pouch because I trust that you won’t betray me. As for me, do you not trust me?” Xuan Ji asked a low voice.
Cui Ya repeatedly waved her hands and said in a panic, “Your Highness, it’s not, it’s not…”
Xuan Ji pressed, “Is it about Xin Yi?”
Cui Ya’s lips were clamped tightly and she remained silent for a long time before finally asking, “Your Highness, do you really want to know who that woman is?”
Xuan Ji’s gaze lowered as she nodded silently.
Seeing her like this, Cui Ya’s heart ached. She came to a decision and leaned forward and whispered, “When I was at the bottom of the well that day, I didn’t see who that woman was but….”
“But what?” Xuan Ji asked anxiously.
Deep down Cui Ya felt that she shouldn’t tell Xuan Ji this but seeing the sadness in her eyes, she said, “That night, they had arranged another meeting, at the fourth night watch, five days later.”
Hearing this, Xuan Ji drew in a sharp breath as her heart began to race chaotically. They were going to meet again! If it’s five days later then wasn’t that tomorrow? If she went ahead and hid in the cold palace….though the thought made her shudder, deep in her heart there was an indescribable frenzy.
Xin Yi…… she slightly lowered her gaze. Even if she was going to leave this palace, Xuan Ji still wanted to know exactly who it was that he held so dear to his heart.
Recalling that night when she had taken a dive into the lotus pond to help him retrieve the embroidered pouch …..She was trembling all over, her hands were full of wounds, scratched by the gravel at the bottom of the pond but he had not noticed any of that. His water-like eyes had calmly rested solely on the embroidered pouch.
“Your Highness… are you thinking of going?” Cui Ya asked in a trembling voice but the moment the words left her lips she instantly regretted it. Panic gripped her as she thought of what would happen if the Emperor found out…..
Xuan Ji knew what she was thinking and said in a soft voice, “Silly girl, whether I’m going or not, I haven’t decided but I’m fully aware of the gravity of the situation, Don’t worry. You can withdraw, I want to rest for a bit.”
Cui Ya nodded her head gently and headed for the door to leave. But after a few steps, she suddenly turned around and stomped her foot. “Your Highness, if you want to go, remember to call for me. Cui Ya will go with you.”
Touched by her words, Xuan Ji nodded with a smile.
When Cui Ya was gone and Xuan Ji was all by herself, she hugged her arms tightly as a bitter smile traced her lips. Should she go? But there was that other matter that’s gotten her conflicted. That night, Cui Ya had hid in the well till dawn before she attempted to climb up and escape. Luckily the well was not deep and she was able to climb up on the stone walls. Though she was gripped with fear, before she left she couldn’t help but take a look back. At the bottom of the dry well in Bi Xia Palace, she saw a female corpse. Whose corpse could it possibly belong to?
Nighttime. Liu Li Palace.
“Your Majesty, has chenqie(this concubine/consort) done something to make you dissatisfied?”
Consort Hui’s gaze was fixed on the Emperor who was about to leave. She quickly made her way over to his side and spoke in a tone that was slightly coquettish and not overly grievous.
The Emperor had turned over her nameplate today to her pleasant surprise and slight alarm. Early on in the day, she had made all the preparations for tonight…..….The Emperor had rested with Nian Xuan Ji in Chu Xiu Hall for the past several nights. Today she heard that Concubine Nian had finally returned to Feng Jiu Palace. It was rumored that someone had even witnessed Concubine Nian’s pale face when she ran out from the Emperor’s quarters. Everyone in the palace was speculating what had happened. Was Concubine Nian chased away by the Emperor after angering him again?
In terms of talent, Nian Xuan Ji could not compare to the Empress. In terms of looks, without mentioning the two Consort Hua and Hui, even against Yao Guang and An Jin, she could not compare. However, the Emperor was seemingly fond of her. Though she had been demoted and punished, he still rested with her. But now, it was clear she had been relegated to the cold palace.
Long Fei Li tonelessly said, “Hui’Er is thinking too much. Isn’t it as you’ve said? I just remembered that I still have some work to take care of in Chu Xiu Hall so I can’t stay the night.”
What else could Consort Hui say at this point?
With no regards, Long Fei Li stepped out of Lui Li Palace.
Xia Sang followed behind him and said in a low voice, “Your Majesty, should this servant bring the nameplates here so you can choose….”
“No need,” Long Fei Li said in a low voice. He hadn’t even touched Consort Hui when he already had the sudden urge to leave.
As they returned, two servants were walking ahead, leading the way with the lanterns they held in their hands. Along the way, Xia Sang suddenly noticed a pair of phoenix eyes glanced towards the side. Looking in that direction carefully, he was surprised to discover that it was in the direction of Feng Jiu Palace.