She was dying.
Long Fei Li couldn’t help the laugh that escaped his lips at the thought that she would no longer be around to incite his anger any longer. He pulled her close to his chest and held her even tighter.
As long as he didn’t give the word, Xu Xi would never dare take action. But of course this was something she didn’t know.
Though the words ‘take action’ were lingering on the tip of his tongue, he couldn’t utter the words. Yet his one statement ‘I met Xin Yi at the age of 7. Nian Xuan Ji, do you understand?’ had been a death sentence.
She was going to die. He should be happy now that he didn’t have to make that call. He had known Xin Yi for nearly 14 years and Xuan Ji, at most it’s only been the span of a single season……merely a season. How could a season compare to over a decade long acquaintance? He didn’t even hesitate to silence his first woman when she discovered this place.
Was he cruel? No! Thousands of lives are lost just to conquer a stronghold let alone the throne and the power to rule the whole world. How high must the bodies pile for one to stand steady at the top, at the height of power all alone?
Yet her one reminder, ‘Keep Xin Yi’s pouch safe, don’t drop it again’ and her one call ‘A’Li’ was all it took for his mountain of reason to come crumbling down. In that moment he knew he would never kill her!
He hated that he couldn’t just let go.
If he was able to, he wouldn’t have anxiously left the palace to search for her even after she had slapped him.
If he was able to, he wouldn’t have been burning with jealousy at the sight of Feng Zhan Bai touching her.
If he was able to, he wouldn’t have sent his hidden guard to accompany Nian Yao Guang in bed that night. He wouldn’t have to use Nian Yao Guang as a pawn to help him dismantle the Nian Family’s military power in the future and just used her(xuanji) instead.
If he was able to, when he saw her cry, saw her eyes brimming red full of tears, he wouldn’t have knocked away that bowl of medicine.
At this point in time, between them, it seemed as if every step he took was a step closer to his own downfall.
Originally, he had despised her. She had a treasonous man for a father who he couldn’t stand.
Before the wedding, Xin Yi had mentioned the Nian Family’s Young Miss and implored him to be more tolerant towards her in the palace. Out of slight curiosity, he had visited Feng Jiu Palace on his wedding night instead of the Empress’s quarters.
Upon seeing him that night, she had an initial look of surprise on her face, followed by a shy, bashful demeanor. But from just one glance, he could tell there was a willfulness and arrogance about her, just like the rest of the young ladies that came from influential families. She was not exceptionally beautiful, nor intelligent. That night he had not touched her. After seeing her, he only felt an even greater repulsion.
With his spies planted throughout the palace, he knew that the Empress Dowager wanted to kill her. But he refused to let the Empress Dowager have her way and give Minister Nian an excuse to rebel. Thus he rode throughout the night from the Autumn Mountains to get back to the palace in time to save her.
When he saw her again, she was gravely injured from being flogged yet she used what little strength she had to crawl towards his feet. When she reached for his boots, he felt as though she was somewhat different from before.
Then she begged him to save her servant girl. She didn’t ask him to save her. Her first thought was on saving her servant.
She had piqued his curiosity once again.
That night he visited her quarters again, merely just to keep up the act.
But he soon discovered that she was quite different from his first impression of her. She was stubborn, witty, always got into trouble, and the words she spoke were somewhat odd. She had a soft smile and when she looked at him there was seemingly a trace of pity in her eyes.
When it all started, he didn’t know. Perhaps that night on the rooftops in the garden under the luminance of the full moon when he kissed her, perhaps later…… who knows? He felt as though it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to reign in his emotions. When she was not by his side he would actually…..miss her.
During discussions with his trusted aides, he would find himself thinking of her, even if it was only for a brief moment.
Before he knew it, time had passed. But what did three months account to in the span of a person’s entire life? What does this beautiful moment account to? He has known her for only a little over 3 months!
He had never been one to hesitate. He didn’t know how he was going to deal with her in the future but the moment she called his name, he had made up his mind. He would not kill her! Never!
But he suddenly heard the sound of a blade piercing into skin. He quickly turned around, only to see her covered in blood as if she was withering away like a fallen leaf.
She had a calm expression on her face, the corners of her lips were even lifted in a slight smile.
With such a smile, even the palace’s top beauty Wen Hua Min could not hold a candle to.
But she’s dying.
Why had he been so heartless just now? She used to look at him with such a smile and called him, “Long Fei Li…”
She had told him she liked him.
She had told him he was tiresome.
She had even said, ‘It’s good that you have someone you can trust by your side.’
For him, she learned how to brew tea. For him, she dived into the cold waters to retrieve his brocade pouch. For him, she did not hesitate to jump in harm’s way at the Nian Residence.
There were so many, so many memories.
In an instant, those moments he had spent with her came whirling back like a gust of wind. But it had only been the span of a single season. Within a hundred days, how can there be so many memories?
Or has every moment been engraved into his heart and soul?
She had asked him if he was tired. Her words truly sounded childish. How could he not be tired, scheming and calculating day in and day out.
After he reached the age of 7, a good night’s sleep had become a luxury to him.
But when he was with her, whether it was rain or sunshine, he could find a sort of comfort and calmness that allowed him to drift off. After they spent the night together, she would fall asleep in his embrace, resting on his arm. Listening to her soft breathing, he could slowly close his eyes and feel completely at peace.
He wanted her!
She can’t die. Didn’t her servant say that she was just in her room preparing a birthday present for him?
It was the first time he was going to receive her birthday present……
He felt as if someone had taken a knife to his own heart making him realize that when she was in pain, so was he.
“Xiao Qi, I’ll take you to go see Physician Lady Cui. You and the child will be alright. You have to stay with me.” He gritted his teeth and said as he moved to pick her up.
In such unbearable pain, Xuan Ji was in and out of consciousness. She squinted her eyes to get a clearer view of his face and saw that it was transformed in pain and anger.
“You look really ugly right now.” She lowered her head and smiled. “Don’t go, it will save you the misery should I survive. If that happens, you’ll regret it.”