When Ruyi finally returned to her courtyard, the skies were covered in the deep red colors of sunset. Soon, it was going to turn dark.
After meeting Long Zi Jin, Ruyi was not in the best of moods. She couldn’t help but bite her lower lip as his parting words kept resonating in her head.
As a high-ranking female servant, she had her own personal courtyard and as soon as she entered, a grace figure appeared before her eyes, standing at the center silently with a cold air of indifference.
When the person turned around, a beautiful, delicate face came into view. With such a charming countenance, it was indeed Jixiang.
“Ruyi, we’ve grown up together. My mother was Her Highness Consort Ru’s maidservant. That woman killed my mother, imprisoned Her Highness, and she knows what kind of person I am. She knows I love the Emperor. Indeed, who in this palace doesn’t know of how I feel about the Emperor? But she’s unaware that we’ve long since known that she’s uncovered my identity and uses me to pass on false information to the Emperor. It’s strange, I’m the one in the light while you’re hiding in the shadows,” she calmly stated, a ghost of a smile on her lips.
(t/n Consort Ru is Long Fei Li’s real mother)
Ruyi frowned slightly and asked, “Jixiang, what exactly do you want to say?”
“I’m taking revenge for my mother while you’re taking revenge for the late Emperor’s kindness, and for him.” Jixiang’s soft laughter rang but came to a sudden halt. “We have the same goal thus over the years, though I hate you, I’ve never harmed you.”
Ruyi asked in a low voice, “You hate me?”
Jixiang slowly approached Ruyi. With a cold smile, she asked, “Why ask when you already know? I was the one who taught you the art of brewing tea. He likes to drink the tea you make and since then I’ve sworn I would never brew tea again in my life.”
After a momentary pause, she chuckled and said, “Now, there’s Consort Nian…..”
Ruyi interrupted her and coldly asked, “Jixiang, what exactly do you want to say?”
“One day, if you’re the woman by his side, you can accommodate me. If it’s Nian Xuan Ji, she won’t tolerate anyone. I’m here to give you a piece of advice. Wen Ruyi, it’s time you do something. I, Xing Jixiang, wholeheartedly believe in his love for you.”
With the echo of her footsteps, Jixiang was gone.
Standing there in the courtyard alone, beneath the dark colors of the sunset, Ruyi reached into her pocket and took out an object. Resting in the middle of her palm was a pearl from the Western Sea1. It was round and smooth, shining with brilliance. Gazing at it, Ruyi couldn’t help but pinch the area between her brows as she felt her head throb in pain.
(t/n This last part is kind of vague and I’m not sure what the author is trying to convey. If you remember, in the previous life, Long Fei Li is the Dragon Emperor of the Western Sea’s Dragon Tribe. So why does Ruyi have a pearl from the Western Sea?? Who gave it to her?? Was it Jixiang?? Is that why she’s so sure of Long Fei Li’s love for Ruyi??)
At the moment, Yuzhi was sitting in front of the dresser when the sudden voice of a maidservant issued behind her, bringing her out of her daze. “Princess, Eunuch Xia would like an audience with you.”
Upon hearing this, Yuzhi stood up happily and said, “Quickly invite him in!”
She had grown up with Xia Sang who was a few years older than her. Since she was a child, he had taken great care of her. Later, when she went to Mingjian Manor to study martial arts, ninth brother would often send him on errands and he would visit her regularly. Each time he came by, he would bring her a lot of things. Sometimes they were gifts from ninth brother and tenth brother, sometimes they were things he had bought her.
Her brothers’ gifts were always fancy and extravagant but the things he gave her were different, they were her favorite snacks, the ceramic dolls she liked…….
They cared for one another and to her, Xia Sang was like an older brother, a confidant and a friend. But since that day they argued over her marriage, he had not come by to see her.
Though the Imperial Palace was huge, when she goes about, and when she goes to find the Emperor and Prince Lingrui for fun, it was hard to avoid him. Xia Sang was always the picture of decorum. Every time he saw her, he would respectfully greet her and then leave without so much of a word which deeply annoyed her.
She began to grow anxious and worry. Thinking of what Xuan Ji had said, she wanted to go find him and make peace but as she was not thick-skinned, in the end she never went.
Since she was young, he had always accommodated her. He had never acted like this before.
She knew that the words she spoke that day had truly hurt him.
He was a eunuch. It was the biggest shame and regret of his life. Since she was young, she had known he was smart and capable and was by no means inferior to her two older brothers…..
Just then, to suddenly hear that he came to see her of his own initiative, how can she not be overjoyed?
“Princess, Eunuch Xia said that he would not come in and would wait for you in the courtyard,” the maidservant hesitantly said with an embarrassed look on her face.
Yu Zhi nodded and repeatedly said, “Don’t need to enter. Don’t need to enter. I’ll go out to meet him.”
She hurried outside and saw his blue figure standing beneath the plum tree, his hands fixed behind his back. Gazing at his tall and handsome figure, she suddenly had a thought, that if it wasn’t for his status, how many young lady’s hearts would he have stolen?
For a moment, a sadness welled in her heart and she stood still in her tracks.
Hearing a sound, Xia Sang turned around to see Yuzhi standing on the steps, staring at him in a daze with an aggrieved look in her eyes. He couldn’t help but frown slightly.
Yuzhi chanced another glance at him before quickly lowering her head. She whispered, “What are you doing here?”
“Tomorrow, I’ll be leaving the palace with the Emperor. I wanted to come and see you,” Xia Sang calmly answered.
His tone was obviously mild and light but there was a hint of cold indifference from the way he spoke. But hearing him say he had wanted to come see her, Yuzhi’s nose pricked and she wiped the corner of her eyes as she ran up to him and hugged him.
Xia Sang was taken aback by her sudden action. He had often held her as a child. Though he was a eunuch, it was customary for men and women to keep a distance. After she came of age, he had never touched her again. The last time he had held her in his arms was more than 2 years ago.
With her warm and soft body in his embrace, his hands stiffly hung by his side. He had always been calm and decisive but at this moment, he did not know what to do.
The fragrance from her hair enveloped his nose and in the end, he clenched his jaw and with shaking hands, hugged her back.