Xuan Ji silently cursed. Who was this man? Please don’t let it be Zining or that Long Zi Jin, she prayed.
Gritting her teeth, she kept her gaze lowered as the eunuch did as told and led her over.
“Raise your head,” the man mildly ordered.
This voice…..Startled, Xuan Ji lifted her head and her eyes landed on a handsome young man, his eyes temperate as jade, his brows slightly knitted.
As their eyes met, a look of delighted surprise crossed his face as the corner of his lips hooked up gently and he affirmed, “It really is you!”
He paused momentarily, then said in a lowered voice, “So you’re a palace maidservant. No wonder.”
Equally surprised, Xuan Ji couldn’t believe that it was actually him!
That day on the streets of the imperial capital, she happened to come across 3 men and one of them was currently standing right before her, Yun Yang!
At this time, the eunuch that had led her over spoke, his voice clearly berating, “Which palace do you belong to? Don’t you know the palace rules? In the presence of the Seventh Prince, aren’t you going to quickly kneel and pay respects?”
Seventh Prince? This young man who claimed to hail from the prefecture of Leyang was actually Long Fei Li’s brother?!
Xuan Ji was utterly astounded. Smiling bitterly, she thought she had truly hit it right on the dot. Those three individuals she met were truly not simple, not simple! If Yun Yang had such an identity, what about the other two?
But it appears the eunuch did not recognize her, otherwise it would be troublesome if the Seventh Prince found out that she, who had left the palace on her own accord and even visited such a place of entertainment, was actually a concubine. She quickly lifted her skirt and knelt down to pay respects. Pretending to be scared, she said, “This servant greets Seventh Prince; long live the prince.”
Long Xiu Wen directed a chilling gaze towards the eunuch who instantly froze in trepidation. He had reprimanded this maidservant to please the prince but he didn’t know how he in turn offended him instead.
Hearing no reply to her greeting after a long while, Xuan Ji felt increasingly uneasy when suddenly a pair of large hands enclosed around her shoulders and supported her to her feet. Long Xiu Wen warmly asked, “Nian Xuan, don’t you recognize this old friend, Yun Yang?”
He already knew she was a woman! But Xuan Ji was determined to play dumb, refusing to acknowledge him. She replied, “This servant doesn’t understand what Your Highness is talking about.”
Don’t understand? But he clearly remembered this face. Long Xiu Wen coldly smiled and motioned with his hand. Seeing this, the eunuchs in attendance immediately stepped down, standing a distance away.
Xuan Ji was stunned once again when she felt his fingers gently lifting her chin up. Unconsciously she backed away but he quickly responded by firmly gripping her shoulder.
“Are you avoiding me?” There was a hint of anger in his voice.
The Yun Yang she met on the streets of the capital was a gentleman who was intelligent, reserved and refined. But the man currently standing before her, she could sense the shadow of tyranny in his manner creeping to the light.
Xuan Ji let out a faint sigh and said, “Your Highness, this servant still has matters to take care of. This servant requests to be excused.”
Long Xiu Wen stared at her but he suddenly realized he had just let his true emotions surface. He had always been astute and reserved but just then he had made a slip. Staring at the woman whose gaze remained downcast, he softly said, “Miss Nian, you don’t have to be afraid of me. If this prince said that I wanted to take you back to my fief, would you be willing to accompany me?”
Hearing this, Xuan Ji was stunned. What was he saying? Take her back, what did he mean by this…… Frowning, she looked up at Long Xiu Wen to meet his bright eyes that were gazing back at her.
Ultimately, they have only met once! Flustered, Xuan Ji wracked her brains in order to think of a way to escape when suddenly a cold sneer issued from behind. “Long Xiu Wen, you hypocrite.”
Xuan Ji’s heart gave another jolt as Long Xiu Wen’s expression sank a notch.
Turning around, Xuan Ji saw another man leading his group of attendants, heading straight towards them with a dark expression on his face.
From the style of his attire to his face…….Heavens! Xuan Ji silently lamented, if she had checked her horoscope today she absolutely would not have gone out. If she had known this was going to happen, she would have obediently remained at that man’s quarters, living the leisure life of a pig for the next few days and worry about other things later.
Heading directly this way, the man, with his hair bounded under a crown inlaid with a massive, gleaming ruby at the center, if it wasn’t Na-ming Tian Lang, then who else could it be?
Seeing her look in his direction, Na-ming Tian Lang’s dark expression was replaced with a pleasant smile and he quickly made his way over as he called out to her, “A’Xuan.”
Before she even had time to react, Na-ming Tian Lang’s hand had already encircled around her waist.
Long Xiu Wen’s hand was still gripping her shoulder.
Xuan Ji bitterly lamented in silence.
This form of address and greeting was truly going to give her a heart attack.
“Young master(gongzi), If I may ask, who are you exactly? This servant is not acquainted….. “
Alright, she should just remain quiet now. Those two men weren’t even listening to her! Xuan Ji smiled bitterly as Na-ming Tian Lang coldly glared at Long Xiu Wen and said, “Seventh Prince please let go! A gentleman(junzi) doesn’t snatch other people’s things.”
“Didn’t Second Prince just say I was a hypocrite(wei junzi)?” With the corner of his lips upturned, Long Xiu Wen reminded, “Your Highness, it’s best if you don’t forget the purpose of your visit to Xi Liang.”
“You…” Angered, Na-ming Tian Lang pointed at Long Xiu Wen and exclaimed, “So you’d already taken a fancy to her that day! Nian Xuan, today I1 will make you mine! I don’t believe that with my status, the emperor of Xi Liang will be stingy over a palace maidservant!”
(t/n 1. Here, he referred to himself as ye, which means old man)
Long Xiu Wen’s expression lifted with a frosty smile as he sneered, “Your Highness is here to propose to Princess Yu Zhi. It can’t be that we, the Royal Family of Xi Liang doesn’t even amount to one person, can it? This Prince has yet to marry. Your Highness, say if this prince were to ask the emperor to bestow a marriage, do you think the emperor will agree or not?”
Xuan Ji’s heart raced chaotically in fright. That Na-ming was actually the prince of Yue Luo who came for a marriage alliance. And Long Xiu Wen, he…..he was going to ask for a marriage bestowment?
If this were to reach Long Fei Li’s ears, what would result? Forget about escaping the palace, she might very well be killed immediately!
What should she do?
With her growing anxiety, her wound seemed to have split again and she could feel her inner garments wet with blood as she bit her lower lip to bear with the pain.
Standing opposite of her, Long Xiu Wen noticed her pale complexion. Concerned, he was about to ask if she was alright when suddenly she pointed with her raised hand and exclaimed, “Your Majesty!”
Stunned, both Long Xiu Wen and Na-ming Tian Lang directed their eyes in the direction she pointed. With their guards lowered, Xuan Ji took advantage of the moment to break free from their clutches with all her strength and even elbowed Tian Lang in the abdomen. Once she was free, she quickly made a run for it in the opposite direction.
But she had only taken a few steps when suddenly everyone fell to their knees, bowing as they said, “Greetings to His Majesty!”