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Chapter 26 False Rumors

A gentle expression was on that handsome face. He smiled lightly towards her and whispered, “We meet again!”

Man Yao moved away from his embrace, “You helped me again, thank you!” Even though she knew martial arts, this palace was an unfamiliar place. She was not confident that she’d be able to safely leave if she didn’t have help.

The man elegantly smiled, “How did you know they would come back again?”

Man Yao sneered, “Given Crown Prince’s suspicious nature, unless he personally confirms it for himself, he would never easily assume that he heard wrongly.”

The man laughed, “You seem to know a lot about the Crown Prince?”

Man Yao spoke lightly, “For some people, you only need to take one look to see what type of person they are.”

As she spoke, she climbed down from the trees, lightly landing on her feet as her white robes fluttered in the air, her pose elegant and casual like a fairy. When she landed, she spun around, making her sleeves spin in an arc, making for an extremely captivating scene. She raised her head to look at the man in the trees and lightly laughed as light flashed through her beautiful eyes. In that moment, it seemed as if the whole space was lit up by her smile! Dazed, the man also jumped down, his movements handsome and careless, “Then what type of person…do you think I am?”

Looking into his starry eyes, Man Yao instinctively felt that although he seemed gentle and polite, that was not all that was there to him. But no matter how she looked, she couldn’t see through that gentle facade. In the end, she only said a few words, “Humble and courteous, as gentle as jade.” This was the first impression he gave towards her, even if it was incorrect.

The man laughed and nodded his head, seemingly very satisfied with this assessment. The two people walked together and quickly reached the area near the banquet hall. The man suddenly stopped, as if he remembered something, and then looked at her with a serious expression, “Can you promise me something?”

“Go ahead.” She wasn’t certain about what he wanted to ask her, so she didn’t dare to make such a promise so easily.

The man drew closer and lowered his voice, “Don’t tell anyone that you saw me ten days ago.”

“Alright.” Even though she felt it was a little odd, she agreed without hesitation. She secretly thought: This person seems to be very familiar with the palace, who exactly is he? Appearing in the palace at this time, could it be that he was one of the names on her list, one of the royal family members? Whether he was or not, the truth would soon be unveiled.

The man’s lightly raised his thin lips, giving an elegant smile that Man Yao returned.

Outside the banquet hall’s palace walls, a scene suddenly emerged in front of people’s eyes. Two extraordinarily handsome men were very close to each other, gazing into each other’s eyes as they smiled, as if they were long-time friends, laughing very carefreely. The skies had long turned dark, and the lanterns were hung up in the hallways of the great hall, lighting it up. The night winds of May blew, bringing forth a bit of chill that penetrated into people’s hearts.

Man Yao suddenly felt a piercing gaze and turned her head. Not too far away in front of her, Zongzheng Wuyou’s hands were clasped behind his back, his chin slightly lifted up as his thin lips pursed. His eyes stared at the two people, his gaze frigid. Her smile froze and walked up to him, “You arrived? How is the Ninth Prince’s situation?”

Zongzheng Wuyou didn’t immediately reply, only closing his eyes before opening them again to look at her, not seeing any difference in her gaze before lightly replying, “It’s just external wounds, it’s not a big deal. I’ve already ordered people to bring him back to the residence.” Finishing, he spoke towards Leng Yan who was standing behind him, “Pass word down that the person has been found.”

Leng Yan received the order, and left after throwing a complicated look towards Man Yao. Man Yao was stunned, he ordered people to find her? That makes sense, she had already been delayed by almost an hour. Seeing his indifferent expression, she suddenly had an urge to explain things and gave an apologetic smile, “I accidentally got lost. Luckily, I met this gongzi…” Even though it was a lame excuse, it was the truth.

Zongzheng Wuyou lightly raised his eyebrow and stared straight into her eyes, as if he was trying to see right through her, making her originally calm heart start to beat faster. Zognzheng Wuyou slowly blinked his eyes, his gaze landing on her left hand. Man Yao jerked, suddenly remembering that his jade emblem was still in her hand. In that case, to him, her excuse of getting lost seemed to be very laughable. Oh well, when had she ever needed to explain her actions to anyone? Giving a light laugh and shaking her head, her smile carried hints of self-mockery, and she returned the jade emblem back to him.

Zongzheng Wuyou didn’t move to receive it, only indifferently sweeping his gaze over the man behind her as he drawled slowly, “When did you become so close with the legendary Great General Fu?”

Great General Fu? Man Yao was astonished and looke dback at the gentle and elegant man behind her, only to see him take two steps forward and politely smile, “Prince Li is too modest. This general was only able to have today’s fame due to wangye. In terms of being legendary, this general is far from reaching wangye‘s level.”

To be able to refer to himself as “this general” in front of Zongzheng Wuyou, other than the Lord Protector General who held the command of three armies and is a duke, who else could it be?! Fu Chou, he was actually Fu Chou! Man Yao was stunned, unable to reconcile this gentle and elegant man with the ferocious Great General Fu! Rumors could not be trusted! She gave an awkward laugh and clasped her hands in greeting, “So it was Great General, Li Yue was disrespectful!” No wonder why he wanted her to keep their encounter from ten days ago a secret. A general actually arrived back ahead of schedule yet didn’t report to the Emperor, this was the crime of deceiving the Emperor!

Fu Chou pulled at her hands, “Why are you so polite and distant all of a sudden?’” His smile was so gentle and heartwarming that it made people feel as if they were bathed in the spring wind. “You’re Moonlight Tea Garden’s Li Yue gongzi? I heard that the design of your tea garden was beautiful beyond comparison, I really want to take a look.”

Man Yao’s hands froze and she lowered her eyes before lightly laughing, not speaking. Seeing her anxious smile, Fu Chou spoke, “Li Yue doesn’t need to worry, if there’s a chance, I will plead to the Emperor on your behalf.”

Man Yao didn’t think too much of it and sincerely gave her thanks, “Thank you!”

Looking at the two people’s hands clasped together, Zongzheng Wuyou’s gaze became frigid as he spoke in a dark voice, “Great General Fu sure has a wide network! Even though you are in the battlefield, you actually know about such a small matter in Jingcheng like a tea garden closing.” On the surface, this sentence seemed to be quite simple, but if one analyzed further, it would cause one to be suspicious.

“Prince Li’s words aren’t quite correct! Even though the matter of the tea garden closing is not a very large matter, wangye meeting an assassination attempt is definitely a big deal. Everyone in the streets is talking about this matter, how could this general not know about it when I entered the city!” Fu Chou gave a light smile, his words logical.

Zongzheng Wuyou gave a cold smile, his eyes clear, “Oh? General returned to court in victory but did not enter the palace and instead had the time to listen to the rumors in the city? How fresh! Benwang heard that the scenery in the eastern suburbs is excellent, has the general ever been?”

Fu Chou’s expression changed and looked at Man Yao who was stunned. Zongzheng Wuyou clearly knew something. She had never mentioned to anyone about the inn in the eastern suburbs, and furthermore, she did not know that he was Fu Chou at the time.

Fu Chou: “This general had heard of it before. When I am free, I will definitely go visit to take a look. If Prince Li does not mind, when the time comes, this general will send an invitation to Prince Li to travel together. If Li Yue gongzi is able to also give some face, you should come too, is that alright?” Indeed, he was not a simple person. Fu Chou instantly changed his expression and quickly recovered back to normal, even offering an invitation like nothing happened.

Standing in between these two, even though Man Yao was smiling, it was frozen. Taking a glance at Zongzheng Wuyou, she agreed to Fu Chou, “Alright.”

Zongzheng Wuyou looked at her. Even though his eyes were full of mixed feelings, she had no clue as to what he was actually thinking. Retrieving his gaze, Zongzheng Wuyou coldly looked at Fu Chou, “It’s up to General whether to go to the eastern suburbs or not, it has nothing to do with benwang. Benwang does not like to meddle in too many things, and dislikes meddling people even more!” Finished, he spun around to walk towards the banquet hall. After taking a few steps, seeing how Man Yao was still standing at her original spot, his eyes twitched as he spoke impatiently, “What are you still doing? Hurry and follow benwang into the hall.”

Man Yao gave a helpless smile towards Fu Chou and followed Zongzheng Wuyou in. Peeking at Zongzheng Wuyou’s cold and handsome profile from the corner of her eyes, she suddenly felt that her heart felt very fuzzy. He really was a very prideful man. After going around in circles for so long, in the end, he just didn’t want Fu Chou to interfere with her matters.

Although the banquet had not yet started, she could already hear the sounds of music from afar. When they entered the hall, the guards by the door announced, “Greetings to Prince Li, may you live ten thousand years!” The countless soldiers, court officials, and scholars inside the hall stood up to bow. Zongzheng Wuyou walked past them as if he didn’t even see them and walked straight towards his designated seat. Man Yao didn’t bother being modest either and directly sat down in the seat next to him. To prevent herself from attracting too much attention, she kept her head down and didn’t say anything.

“Do you want the tea garden to quickly resume operations again?” Zongzheng Wuyou suddenly spoke into her ear.

Man Yao raised her head in surprise, and before she could open her mouth to say anything, Zongzheng Wuyou had already taken a hold of her hand underneath the table. Grasping it tightly, he continued, “If you do, then…tomorrow, it can. However, you cannot move out of the residence. As for the tea garden, let the servants handle it. Okay?”

Man Yao saw a glimmer of hope in his deep and sinister eyes, a type of hope that one couldn’t reject. He actually could have resolved this long ago! Did he not do so because he wanted her to stay at the residence?”

Seeing how she didn’t reply even after a long time, Zongzheng Wuyou let go of her hand and turned his head back, “If you don’t want to…then forget about it.” Although his expression was indifferent, he spoke as if he was being wronged.

He was usually an indifferent or cold person, and his occasional moments of tenderness made one feel as if they were dreaming. Never would she have labeled him as “adorable”, but faced with a pouting Zongzheng Wuyou, she suddenly felt that the distance between them became much shorter. Man Yao held back her laughter even as her heart was full of joy. Zongzheng Wuyou scrunched his eyebrows only to hear her say, “I didn’t say I didn’t want to, you did.”

Zongzheng Wuyou’s eyes brightened and he blinked rapidly, his face still indifferent as if he didn’t care at all to whether she stayed at the residence or not. Man Yao continued to lightly laugh when a loud voice announced from the doorway, “Greetings to Princess Rong Le!”