Chapter 19 — Kun Ning Palace’s Beauty
Leng Yufeng kept looking at the departing carriage a little distracted. Was that the crown prince? Truly outstanding. When he returned to the capital the previous day, he had received the emperor’s decree, making him into a grand tutor for the crown prince. He had found it very surprising then. After all, he was making a general into a tutor. It seemed like His Majesty’s intentions were clear, but if the emperor really had those intentions, why would he pretend to disregard the crown prince for so many years? He hadn’t given the crown prince even half of the usual rights. Though Leng Yufeng didn’t want to get involved in the Deliberation Hall’s inner intrigues, he was probably unable to escape that since the day he became a general.
When he saw the crown prince’s carriage a moment ago, he had wanted to catch a glimpse of him. It was just a glimpse, but even he had no choice but to praise the crown prince’s good features, as well as his imposing manner. However, those were all things that didn’t concern him. When the time came, he would immediately depart for the border area and leave this complicated capital behind. His heart was full of the hot-blooded battlefields that he liked most.
“Yufeng, why aren’t you going in?” Huan Mo Che, dressed in blue clothes, was watching his good friend, who was sitting on horseback seemingly lost in thought. The sight had stirred up the young ladies into throwing him stealthy peeks.
Leng Yufeng composed himself and upon seeing his pal Huan Mo Che, quickly leapt down from the horse. He said happily, “How come you’re here?” As far as Leng Yufeng was concerned, attending these banquets was a boring affair. However, his status didn’t allow him to skip out on them. He didn’t anticipate that his friend would also come, as he rarely showed up for the previous birthday feasts of the emperor.
“Hehe, it’s because I was afraid you’d be bored alone in the palace, so as a good friend, I’ve come to keep you company!” Huan Mo Che spoke some half true, half false words. Although he didn’t hold an official position, he still had the title of the capital’s ‘First Son’. No matter what kinds of small and large feasts were hosted in the palace, he always received an invitation. In the previous years, he wouldn’t necessarily attend even once, but thinking of the crown prince now, he had finally decided to show his face in the palace. Though the crown prince was very intelligent, he didn’t have much authority. Moreover, people’s hearts were obscure within the palace. If something really happened later, as the prince’s Grand Tutor, he could take care of the problem.
Leng Yufeng threw a glance at Huan Mo Che, obviously not fully convinced by his excuse. Although they were close friends, and he trusted that if it came to life and death, they wouldn’t betray each other; they definitely weren’t such kind-hearted people. Where would they have so much time to come and waste it at this useless event. Even if they had some, they would be better off using it to get a good sleep.
“It’s been only one year that we haven’t seen each other. Mo Che, you’ve started to speak so insincerely!” Leng Yufeng scoffed coldly. After that, the two of them walked side by side toward the inside of the Imperial palace.
The two of them – one was a callous war god, the other was a gentle young master; whether their status or their appearance, both were far above everyone else. Adding their ability to their status, the two of them were highly coveted by countless women within the capital. However, neither of them had ever glanced at a woman twice. A crazy rumor had started spreading, that the general family’s General Leng and the prime minister family’s young master Huan were gay lovers. When the two of them had learned about it, they had been indignant at the time, but had later thought it might be alright, if it made those women stay further away from them. As a result, they hadn’t clarified things and had let the rumor circulate. Moreover, they also felt that it was impossible for them to fall in love with a girl like ordinary people did, so they had never put much importance on their own marriage matters. Thus, as long as the two of them showed up anywhere together, they would receive numerous female gazes filled with pain.
“Do the words spoken by these common people hold some truth?” Huan Mo Che smiled tauntingly. He had encountered too many two-faced people. His friendship with Leng Yufeng wasn’t only based on mutual appreciation, but more than that, it was because both of them were sincere in their feelings.
“Ey, looking at these people’s manner, I’m afraid what kind of rumors will spread about us around the capital tomorrow!” Huan Mo Che observed the gathered women – some of them obviously blushing in admiration, others looking jealous. Aversion flashed across his eyes.
Leng Yufeng indifferently swept the surrounding people with a glance. Sure enough, there were many people who minded their own business, but plenty of them were furtively sizing them up as well. What was more, they were discussing them in whispers. However, Leng Yufeng didn’t care at all. If he really minded, he would have already clarified everything long ago.
“It’s actually all the same to me. In any case, I’ll go to the border area before too long. As for you, who knows how many female hearts you’ll hurt.” Leng Yufeng stated with a spiteful smile.
“So quickly?” Huan Mo Che frowned. Every time Leng Yufeng returned to the capital, he would only stay for a few days, then immediately ride back to the border. Huan Mo Che knew that there weren’t any disputes at the borders currently, yet Leng Yufeng wasn’t willing to return to the capital even for the Lunar New Year’s celebrations. It seemed that… “You still can’t let go of that matter?”
Both of their hearts had been wounded and scarred over. Perhaps because they had similarly experienced a bitter past event, the two talented men could understand each other well.
“There’s nothing to let go of, I’ve already taken my revenge. Staying at the border area for so many years isn’t because I’m hiding away, but because the capital is too dull and there’s nothing of interest here. Might as well have fun at the border.” Leng Yufeng said, but his expression turned colder. Even if he had let go of those certain matters, he still felt agitated on the inside.
“What about you? When will you start? You’ve been preparing for so long, it ought to be enough.” Leng Yufeng asked with some concern. “It can’t be that you’re unable to start!”
“Ha…” Huan Mo Che sneered. “Unable to start? That won’t happen. Soon enough, he’ll get the gift I’ve prepared for him.” Huan Mo Che could have struck a lot sooner in the past several years, but he wanted to see him climb much higher. Falling when he was at the peak of his excitement would be that much more painful.
“You’ve entered the Crown Prince’s residence as a Grand Tutor; I wonder…” Leng Yufeng asked, a little curious. He rarely got interested in others. Even when he knew that he shouldn’t get involved with the crown prince, he kept thinking of the youngster he had seen just now, and couldn’t control the need to ask about him.
Noting his pal’s apparent interest, who knew why, Huan Mo Che suddenly didn’t want to let him know of the crown prince’s excellence. More than that, he didn’t want his good friend to become his grand tutor; he wished that he would be the crown prince’s only mentor. Then later, he could also become his personal friend.
“Nothing special!” Huan Mo Che put on an appearance as if he’d said too much, making Leng Yufeng give up on asking further. After all, it was just a little curiosity; the crown prince was merely a stranger to him. Leng Yufeng brushed aside the lingering impression of the crown prince from his mind. The two men’s respective thoughts turned to the banquet held at the Great Hall, as they made their way there.
As for Shang Wuxin, she didn’t directly go to the Great Hall, but rather avoided the crowds by entering the most peaceful dwelling within the palace. It was precisely her Imperial mother’s, Empress Qiu’s dwelling – Kunning palace1. Shang Wuxin hadn’t come there to grieve. It was nothing more than the fact that it was peaceful, so her ears could enjoy some quiet.
“Crown Prince2, it’s very beautiful here!” Wu Ju said, gasping in admiration. Although they were still somewhat apprehensive of the crown prince, they had slowly started to relax around him after being in contact for a while.
Looking around, Shang Wuxin found that while it was an empress’ palace, it didn’t have a luxurious beauty about it. Instead, it was exceptionally refined and serene in all respects, while the courtyard was full of fresh flowers. Those flowers weren’t any rare or precious breeds. On the contrary, they were very common, but because someone was looking after them carefully, they exuded an outstanding beauty. Though the palace was uninhabited, it was kept very clean. If the three of them weren’t so proficient in martial arts, perhaps they wouldn’t have been able to come here, as there were many guards stationed outside, defending the dwelling’s walls.
“It truly is.” Shang Wuxin felt like this palace could cleanse someone’s mind. She thought her Imperial mother had been one fine quality woman. It was no wonder that none of the other consorts could take over her position as empress.
After walking around for a long time, Shang Wuxin noticed that the place that was most tended to was a certain side chamber. That must have been her room when she was young. Empress Qiu had died of an illness when Shang Wuxin was two years old. Shang Wuxin ought to have lived there for two years. The place had been brimming with a mother’s love for her child at that time.
She went to the bed inside the side chamber and lied down, narrowing her eyes, while Wu Wei and Wu Ju stood by keeping watch over the crown prince. However, the three of them soon heard footsteps heading for the dwelling. Wu Wei and Wu Ju promptly entered the side chamber and concealed themselves inside, while Shang Wuxin didn’t make a move, still resting on the bed as before.
That person entered the sleeping chamber in Kunning Palace and stayed there for a good while, then left without saying a word. When they sensed that the person had already left, Wu Wei and Wu Ju showed themselves. Still shaken, Wu Wei spoke, “I wonder who could have come here so unexpectedly!”
“Imperial father…” Shang Wuxin said with a vague implication.
GIRLY: I thought you guys wouldn’t mind more images of Huan Mo Che. This time I think I really got a very suitable one. Blue clothes, peach blossom eyes, neat scholarly look… It’s perfect ❤