Waiting until the third day, the moment Su Qi pushes open the doors and enters, a line of words clearly flashes in my brain: ‘every cloud has a silver lining’.
Even if Yuwen Rui and I have been captured, even if I have been imprisoned here for so long, even if the plans I came up with have failed, right now, I have still found a way.
No one should lose hope at any given time, because, perhaps hope is just around the next corner, as long as you persist for a little longer, you will be able to see it.
When Su Qi sees me, a familiar tender warmth rapidly flashes past his eyes, then in the next moment, he courteously speaks up: “Fifth Princess, long time no see.”
The last time we met, I was still addressing him as Seventh Brother, but now it can only be ‘your majesty’, lament instantly washes over me, yet my face can only remain calm as I say: “Your majesty, long time no see.”
Su Qi’s pair of enchanting peach blossom eyes appears unpredictable, “Fifth Princess coming to Yun Ze this time, afraid you have yet to have good tour around, right? Don’t know if Princess is willing to enter the palace with zhen, wait until a day zhen is free to take you for good tour around?”
I hook up my lips, “I’d be extremely pleased to.”
Su Qi smiles, pretty face filled with courtesy.
When Su Qi and I leave, Meng Shao Jue was waiting at the doors, a shallow smile surfaces on his handsome face, yet those shiny black orbs are like whirlpools, deep and gives off a sense of danger. When he sees me, he happily hooks up his thin lips, yet his eyes turns a few points colder.
He fixes his gaze onto me, slowly saying: “Is Princess that dissatisfied with this Prime Minister Estate of mine?”
I lightly say to him: “The Prime Minister Estate is naturally great, but it’s not where I should be staying at.”
He slightly narrows his phoenix eyes, the smile wiped clean from his lips.
“Shao Jue.” Su Qi speaks up, “What is of more importance, you should be aware of this yourself.”
Meng Shao Jue lowers his eyes, indifferently saying: “This subject……understands.” Having said that he takes a step back, not sparing me another glance.
Upon seeing this, Su Qi says to me: “Princess please.”
I clench both my hands and turn my eyes away, stepping out of this place that I have stayed in for almost a month.
Fated but not destined, or destined but not fated, who is to care about this now?
The blue coloured sedan is considerably comfortable inside, I slowly close my eyes, recalling Meng Shao Jue’s troubled expression from before, and lightly sigh. Towards Meng Shao Jue – this person – I still cannot say I hate him, perhaps he is cunning and ruthless, perhaps he only sees his own interests, perhaps he takes to underhanded means, but how could all this be said to be his wrong? Every person has things they cannot take control of, and he clearly went through more pain than the average person.
If I were him, maybe I would act even more ruthlessly. But I am not him, so I only wish to advise him, don’t just look back when you’ve reach the end, only to see that everything you had wanted is already gone, and cannot be retrieved, leaving only regrets behind.
People are always like that, able to understand other people’s pain, but is unable to truly feel it.
Approximately one sichen later, the sedan comes to a stop, a person who appears to be the head eunuch comes up to greet me, then takes me to a courtyard, saying to me: “Princess may wish to wash yourself first, this eunuch shall take you to see his majesty later.”
I nod, cooperatively following several palace maids into the room. After washing myself, I once again follow that head eunuch in turning left and wandering right for half a quarter of an hour, finally stopping before the imperial study room.
The head eunuch lowers his head and says: “His majesty is currently waiting for Princess inside, may Princess enter.”
I say: “En.”
I push open the doors and enter, Su Qi is currently holding a memorial to the throne, focused on reading it, the swirling smoke surrounds him, making the scene appear rather ethereal. He raises his head to look at me, thin lips shallowly hook up, “Princess, you’re here, come take a seat.”
I walk up and sit facing him as instructed.
He places down the memorial in hand, exquisite peach blossom eyes filled with gentleness, “Don’t know what the words Princess told Lady Meng to pass onto me yesterday……is supposed to mean?”
I smile, “What does your majesty think?”
His long and slender finger traces along the edge of the memorial, narrowing his peach blossom eyes as he says: “The things that zhen wants are far too many, so as of now, zhen is unable to guess which one Princess is referring to.”
I am also too lazy to be beating around the bush with him, directly saying: “Yun Mi’s and Yun Zhan’s treasure maps, in exchange for both Yuwen Rui and Ling Xian Er.”
“Yun Mi’s and Yun Zhan’s treasure maps?” His eyes instantly appears to contain complications, “Princess sure is magnanimous.”
I lightly say: “They are no more than useless sheets of paper to me.” Yet to them, they are but incomparable treasures.
He thoughtfully nods, then says: “You think zhen will agree to this exchange?”
I slowly hook up my lips, “Then…..do you not agree?”
A smile gradually surfaces on his face, attractive voice saying: “Zhen agrees.”
I shrug my shoulders, is that not fine then?
He lightly knocks on the desk, “Are you not afraid zhen will refuse to release the people after receiving the treasure maps?”
“Not afraid.” I smile and shake my head, “I wouldn’t give you this chance.” Since I am able to offer such a condition, naturally I have taken other things into consideration, carrying out such idiotic acts of failing to steal the chicken and losing the rice is not something I enjoy doing.
“Very well, it is set then, the two treasure maps shall be given in exchange for Yuwen Rui and that Ling Xian Er.”
“Alright.” I fix my gaze onto him, “Before this, I want to see Yuwen Rui.”
He thinks for a moment, “Alright, zhen shall come with you.”
I get up, yet my right hand had been grabbed hold of by someone, I turn back, seeing Su Qi with one hand pressed onto the desk, one hand grabbing me.
“Ah-Lan.” He sighs, revealing a pampering look of helplessness that I’m familiar with, “Are you really not going to acknowledge me?”
I pause, biting my lip before calling out: “Seventh Brother.”
Su Qi walks up to my side, lowering himself to look at me, bitterly smiling as he says: “Little fool, you’re finally willing to call out to me?”
When I hear this sound of ‘little fool’ that I have long not heard, my heart immediately surges with an indescribable feeling, bitter and sour, in particularly difficult to bear with, I lower my eyes, “Seventh Brother is no longer Seventh Brother anymore, but is Yun Ze’s emperor.”
“That’s right ah, Yun Ze’s emperor.” His voice contains a lot of helplessness, “And you are Yun Mi’s fifth princess, we are not siblings but are enemies, is that right?”
I go silent for a moment, in the end, nodding my head.
He strokes my fringe, “Silly lass, must you make it so clear?”
I hold his reckless hand, looking up at him as I say: “Before, we had always thought your birthday was in early spring, but did not know that isn’t even your real birthday. Now……Seventh Brother, although it’s a day late, I still need to say to you, happy birthday.”
His pretty peach blossom eyes flashes, instantly pulling me into an embrace, lowly saying: “Silly lass, you’re still so silly.”
I suddenly feel a wave of sadness, thinking of the past Yuwen Xiu’s heartless expression, thinking of the past Yuwen Xiu’s shouting and yelling expression……that was all the past Yuwen Xiu, and not the current Su Qi.
“Your majesty.” I push him away, indifferently saying: “Let’s get going.”
When Su Qi raises his head, he also restores his previous composure, eyes deep and still like water, “Let’s go.”
Some matters have ultimately passed, no longer able to retrieve.
The secret prison Su Qi takes me to, is already a different one to the one Meng Shao Jue kept Yuwen Rui in last time, compared to the last one, this prison cell is clearly much cleaner, nor has Yuwen Rui been tied to a cross, he now wears a set of clean prisoner clothing, slightly curling up his body as he lies on the pile of dry straw.
I watch him from the doors for a long time, motionless.
“Go on in.” Su Qi quietly says: “Zhen shall come back in a quarter of an hour.”
He has the prison guard open the door before leaving, I hesitate for a moment as I face the unlocked cell door, finally pushing it open with trembling hands, slowly walking up to Yuwen Rui’s side. I squat down to look at him, only seeing his tightly shut eyes seeming to have lost consciousness, elegantly handsome face now pale white.
I unconsciously bite down on my lips, reaching out to gently touch his face.
Very icy, but still contains warmth.
I smile, yet my eyes endlessly produce the wet substance that comes rolling down.
I let the tears fall whilst smiling, has he also been worrying about me over this month? Worrying about me just like how I worry about him?
Then, his lashes slightly flutters, extremely slowly, exerting so much energy in opening his eyes. His brown orbs doesn’t have any focus, but is able to see the happiness in them, he moves his dried lips, extremely lightly saying: “Ah-Lan, you’re here.”
I curl up my lips, saying with a smile: “En, Cousin, I’m here.”
“En, missed you, what about you?”
“En, didn’t miss that much.”
“I keep seeing you in my dreams.”
“Dreaming of me doing what?”
“Dreaming of you losing your tooth from eating dumplings when you were little, getting tripped up by me when walking, getting kicked into the pond when playing with water, getting a tortoise drawn onto you when sleeping……”
“……you sure carried out so many great deeds.”
“Not bad, I will try harder in future. In fact……”
“I’m also dreaming right now, aren’t I?”
“No.” I hold back the tears as I shake my head, moving closer to him, using my forehead to rub against him, “See, I’m warm.”
He extremely strains himself to blink, “You’re warm.”
“En, which means I’m real.”
For a long moment, he tries to gather all the strength in his arms, raising his arms to wrap them around my waist, lightly smiling as he says: “Haven’t held you for so long, have you gotten thinner?”
“Gotten a lot thinner.” I furrow my brows, “Waiting for you to help me gain it all back in future.”
“That’s an easy matter.” He sounds a cough, both arms weakly falling back down, “Don’t you become chubby when the time comes.”
“Chubby is good, chubby is blessed.” I wrap my hands around his, leaving his ice-cold body temperature to transfer to me, stirring up my heart into waves of trembles, “Cousin, are you very tired?”
“En.” He half squints his fox eyes, “Always wanting to sleep.”
“Sleep then, have a good rest.” I rest my head against his chest, listening to his heartbeat, “You will have the energy after sleeping.”
“My mouth is so dry.”
“I’ll go get you water.”
“No need to drink water.”
“I’m telling you to kiss me.”
My one hand holds his, my other hand moves the loose hair by his temples behind his ear, then carefully look at his pale and thin lips, gently pasting mine onto them. I use my tongue to delicately trace his pretty lip line, moistening his dry lips, then cheekily bite him, watching the original pale-white turn a rosy-red, stunningly tender.
“Mm.” He lowly hums, “So mischievous.”
Having said that, he no longer stays still, tongue rapidly starting to invade, interlacing around my tongue as he overbearingly sucks it, a complete contrast from the fragile and weak look on his face. His attack is far too overbearing and wilful, causing me to run out of air in no time, I try hard to part our tightly pressed lips, but all my attempts were futile, and I could only be forced to be entangled with his tongue.
And then, the strength in my mouth suddenly disappears, Yuwen Rui’s half opened eyes only leaves a small slit, vaguely leaving behind one line, “That’s it, all my strength has been used up now.” After saying that, he falls unconscious again.
I could neither laugh nor cry, could this be the legendary phrase of ‘dying under the peony flower, remain dissolute as a ghost’?
I peck his lips, quietly saying: “Sleep well.”
I have always been on the accepting end of you treating me well, now……
I want to treat you well this time.