Xuan Ji froze in surprise at his unexpected words. If she wasn’t able to leave the palace, then everything that she’s done, including obtaining the imperial edict for the servants of Fengjiu Palace, would’ve been meaningless.
She didn’t want to stay here anymore! In the past, a moment longer in this place was another moment together with him but now, it was merely another moment of torment.
“Long Fei Li, I will only tell you where the descendant of the Bai family is when I leave the palace.”
His gaze halted on the top of her head.
There were very few occasions when he wasn’t the picture of calm and collection, and when he was, it was even more frightening. She couldn’t let an inkling of doubt cross his mind that she wished to escape. She must divert his attention. “ If I stay here, I’ll only be reminded of that night. I just want you to accompany me on an outing out of the palace. If you can’t go, then you can send someone to go with me.”
With her words spoken, she withdrew from his embrace and turned to face the opposing side, her eyes lingering on the patterns of dragons carved onto the headframe of the bed.
From behind, she could not detect the slightest of movement and despair rose in her heart.
After some time, his strong arms suddenly wrapped around her and pulled her back against his chest.
“You want me to accompany you on an outing?” His warm breath was on her neck but there was a coolness to his tone that made it difficult for her to gauge his thoughts.
She naturally did not want him to accompany her because with him there, the chances of escaping were minimal at best, she thought with a wry smile. But this was the only way to dispel his doubts.
Turning around, she gazed up into his deep eyes. “Long Fei Li, I…….”
A moment’s pause.
Biting her lip, she leaned in to nestle closer in his embrace, imploring, “Can we?”
Seeing her take the initiative to approach him, Long Fei Li was slightly taken aback but he responded immediately by wrapping his arms around her tightly. With her acting like this, he found it hard to refuse her request and could only say, “Let me think about it……”
“Hmm.” Xuan Ji closed her eyes as she thought it was best not to push him too much, else she would risk getting the opposite of what she wanted. She did not dare speak on the issue further. Having said all that needed to be said, she finally relaxed a bit but the wound throbbed painfully and her hand involuntarily reached out to press down on it.
Her tiny movements did not escape his eyes and he anxiously asked in a deep voice, “Is it painful? I’ll summon a physician lady immediately.”
She was about to say it wasn’t necessary but he had already gotten up and left before she had the chance.
The soft clatter of the beaded curtains sounded as it fell to a drop ……To her recollection, Xu Xi and Xian Sang were always waiting by his side. It seems that because of her, he had sent them away. Without them here, he was left to do everything on his own. As Xuan Ji gazed through the beaded crystals at his tall retreating back, her eyes painfully pricked.
After some time, he returned and laid down beside her again. She softly said, “Send me back to Fengjiu Palace.”
Xuan Ji was startled.
His question had been spoken so matter-of-factly but it seemed Xuan Ji did not notice.
“With me here, it’s not convenient for you.”
Displeased, Long Fei Li stated, “You will remain here.”
“There’s only one bed and I’m still a patient. You’re not going to ask me to sleep on the floor right? Unlike before, I’m currently sick, I’m covered in blood, it will only dirty your place, make it smell bad…..It’s not suitable for us to sleep together.”
There, it’s that same apathetic tone again! Although he wanted to keep his emotions in check, Long Fei Li couldn’t help the rage that rose within him and sneered, “You’ve been unconscious these past few days, when have I not been by your side? Dirty? On the day of your miscarriage, the bedding had to be changed several times. Isn’t it too late now to talk about dirty?”
His cold gaze was on her face but seeing her complexion suddenly turn ashen, his heart gave a start and a trace of regret crept over him……the lost child, it was a subject that seemed to be keeping them apart.
Xuan Ji quietly turned away.
Neither of them spoke and the room fell silent.
Physically in pain, she soon grew mentally exhausted as she lied there when suddenly his tight voice issued from behind her. “Rest well, Physician Lady Cui will arrive soon. I will get someone to deliver your lunch.”
Following these words, he seemingly left.
Xuan Ji’s nose pricked and she quickly closed her eyes. But then she heard the ruffle of the beaded curtains, followed by his faint voice as he said, “You will remain here, now and always. ”
When Xuan Ji woke up, Long Fei Li was nowhere in sight. Instead, a group of palace servants had replaced his presence in Chuxiu Hall.
Seeing her rise, a slightly older maidservant among the group stepped forward and respectfully said, “Your Highness, Physician Lady Cui just stopped by moments ago. She changed your bandage and brewed a bowl of medicine. This servant will serve your lunch first and then you can take the medicine afterwards.”
The older maidservant turned to the rest of the lower-ranked maidservants and instructed, “The medicine is simmering in the imperial kitchen. Go and bring it here. Before he left, His Majesty has instructed that once Her Highness finishes her meal, she must immediately take her medicine.”
Seeing the maidservants quickly carry out their orders in quick succession, Xuan Ji was somewhat bewildered but she was indeed hungry so she let the elder maidservant assist her as she used the meal and casually asked, “Where’s the Emperor?”
“Answering Your Highness, you’ve been sick in bed the last few days. His Majesty hadn’t left Chuxiu Hall once, let alone attend court sessions. Just now, this servant heard from Eunuch Xia that he headed to Jinluan Hall to deal with some pressing matters,” the older maidservant said with a smile, brimming with respect and admiration.
She never asked for such treatment from him, Xuan Ji thought as she felt increasingly restless. She didn’t want to remain in the confines of his quarters any longer.
Looking around the room at the maidservants in attendance, she thought for a moment and then said to the older maidservant, “Gugu, you can let them withdraw. Just you serving me will do.”
The rest of the maidservants were sent out and they quietly stood outside the door. In addition to the maidservants, there was a large number of imperial guards patrolling the area. The Emperor had given the order, that no one was allowed to enter the hall. Duan Yuhuan, the commander of the imperial guards had also stopped by several times to remind them to not let anyone disturb Concubine Nian’s rest.
After some time, the door to Chuxiu Hall quickly opened and subsequently closed. The elder maidservant hurried out with her head bowed as if she was rushing to carry out an order given by Concubine Nian.
The elder maidservant hurried along, once she got a distance away, she pressed her hands against her chest as she tried to suppress her coughing fits. As she lifted her head, the afternoon sunlight illuminated her small face that was pale and somewhat green. It was none other than Xuan Ji.
She had knocked the elder maidservant unconscious and left her behind.
She wanted to head to Fengjiu Palace to see Die Feng and Cui Ya.
But when she looked forward, she could spot a group coming her way, there were several eunuchs surrounding a man, his robes luxurious and gorgeous. Startled, she quickly lowered her head and stepped to the side to give way. However, she heard an inaudible mutter before he whispered to the eunuch by his side, “Bring that maidservant here.”