The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 32 - Flowers in the Mirror, Moon in the Water (2)[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:30]
Chapter 32 Flowers in the Mirror, Moon in the Water (2)
As the skies darkened, it was like a blanket of gloom descended, causing people’s hearts to feel restless. Man Yao’s fingers were turning white from holding onto the window pane so tightly, her heart seeming to fall into a bottomless pit. She steadied herself, looking through the slit in the window, watching Zongzheng Wuyou calmly gaze at the ripples caused by the wind in the hot spring, unable to read his expression.
The Ninth Prince was hesitating, wondering if he should ask or not, “Seventh Brother, you and Li Yue…did you…” He was still trying to find the words when Zongzheng Wuyou turned around, his face emotionless as he spoke slowly, “She…did it willingly!”
Such a casually uttered phrase, spoken as if it was a daily occurrence. The cold wind blew through the window, landing on the pale face of the woman inside, her fingers digging deeper and deeper into the wood of the window pane, her slim figure trembling in the wind. She inhaled deeply, the cold wind cutting into her like ice, entering her organs and slicing through her ice-cold heart.
Willingly?! That’s right, she did do it willingly, so who could she blame? She placed a hand over her aching heart, pressing it so tightly it was as if she was about to squeeze her own heart to pieces. She bent over, gasping, she couldn’t blame anyone, but if she had to…she could only blame herself for not reading people correctly, not recognizing that love was like flowers in the mirror and the moon in the water, just an illusion. She lowered her head to look at the gray and cold stones underneath her feet, her emotions running wild through her eyes. She hurriedly raised her head and lifted her chin up, she widened her eyes as she looked at the roof of the cottage. That dark red sculpture seemed to be the mark left behind by dried blood, reflecting in her desolate eyes.
The ninth prince always thought that Zongzheng Wuyou brought Li Yue back to his residence because Li Yue knew how to play chess. He once learned chess just because his Seventh Brother liked to play it, but he could never muster up enough interest and gave up in the end. Recalling that calm and intelligent woman, he couldn’t help but ask, “Seventh Brother, are you…going to marry her?”
Zongzheng Wuyou started and he gazed at the dark clouds in the distance, not saying anything. The Ninth Prince sighed and turned his head to see a slim woman slowly pacing in the cottage, her steps seemingly steady yet giving off a feeling of difficulty, “Li Yue?!”
When Man Yao stepped out of the cottage, a smile was on her face, self-mocking and cold. The eyes that used to be so bright and clear was now still like water, pain and irony hidden in its depths. She ever so calmly looked at Zongzheng Wuyou, her lips tightly pressed together and her beautiful face lost its color to reveal a pale white.
Hearing the noise, Zongzheng Wuyou turned around only to see her wear a thin layer of clothing, her long, black hair dancing in the wind as her snow-white clothing flapped in the wind, causing that slender figure to look as if it was about to collapse at any moment. Zongzheng Wuyou suddenly felt his heart tighten and he unconsciouslly strode forward, slightly frowning, “Are you not afraid of freezing by wearing so little clothing?!”
His care was so natural, and it was this natural-ness that caused her to be unable to differentiate fiction from reality, lies from truth. Man Yao looked at the hand Zongzheng Wuyou reached out to her and scoffed, taking two steps back, suppressing the waves in her heart, “Didn’t you already accomplish your goal? There’s no need for you to continue pretending.”
Zongzheng Wuyou was stunned, realizing that she heard the conversation just now and made her own conclusions. Towards her penetrating gaze, he wrinkled his eyebrows as his eyes dimmed, turning around and not answering her.
His silence seemed to have confirmed her conjectures. Although Man Yao somewhat knew, she still couldn’t help but feel a sharp pain in her heart. Her body faltered and Zongzheng Wuyou instinctively reached out to steady her only for her to avoid him. He lowered his arms, his face still calm, unable to be read.
Seeing this, the Ninth Prince hurriedly spoke, “Li Yue, don’t misunderstand…”
Man Yao cut him off, “Ninth Prince does not need to explain for him, whether it’s a misunderstanding or not, I…know the answer.” Her hands curled up into fists as she tried to suppress the tears welling up in her eyes. She raised her face, a smile hanging off of her lips, “I would like to ask Prince Li about something.”
Hearing her recover her composure so quickly and even change the way she addressed him, Zongzheng Wuyou felt it was especially stinging and he frowned, looking at her calm smile, he didn’t open his mouth, only using his eyes to tell her to proceed.
Man Yao stared at his cold eyes, the pain in her heart spreading as she smiled with difficulty, “The tea garden being closed…me being thrown into prison, that was all your doing…right?” She was always wondering how Ling’er was captured all of a sudden that morning at the tea garden when very few people knew about the assassination attempt the night before. She thought he hated the Emperor of Lintian and didn’t like him interfering in his matters, but she didn’t know that his goal…was actually her!
A sharp glint flashed through Zongzheng Wuyou’s eyes and he looked at her, his voice devoid of emotion, “I’ve said it before, a woman who is too intelligent for her own good is not a good thing. If she were to be a little more dumb at times, then she wouldn’t be so hurt so easily. You’re so intelligent, why would you try to get to the bottom of this, causing pain to yourself.”
This was the man that was so tender and gentle to her last night? He was actually such a fickle person! His words were like a hammer smashing onto her heart, the pain diving deep inside her bones. She forced the tears back, giving a painful smile as she breathed deeply trying to calm her emotions. She gave a mocking laugh, “Intelligent? Ah…if I were intelligent enough, how could I have fallen into your trap and become a…tool for your cultivation?!” The word ‘tool’ was like a knife stabbing into her heart, causing her endless pain. Was she truly…too stupid or was his acting just too realistic?
The Emperor of Lintian closed her tea garden in a fit of anger and captured everyone related and threw them in prison; in order to cleanse himself of any suspicion, the Crown Prince would definitely find himself a scapegoat; in order to save the people of the tea garden, she could only rely on Zongzheng Wuyou. All of these events were within his calculations. He could protect her reputation and also successfully move her into his residence, and then pretend to fall in love with her so that she would be moved in order for him to reach his goal, this was…love?! How laughable!
Zongzheng Wuyou: “It’s not that you were not intelligent enough but rather that you met benwang. You don’t need to worry, since…you are now benwang‘s woman, benwang will naturally marry you.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, the temperature from his touch stunning her, his fiery-hot touch from last night actually became ice-cold now?
She jumped a little and then immediately took a step back, turning her body to escape his touch. Now that things have come to this, did he really think that his marrying her was some sort of great reward to her? Zongzheng Wuyou, you really don’t understand me! Her body was slightly trembling and her hands clenched into fists, her fingernails stabbing into her soft palms. She gazed into his ink-black eyes, unable to see a hint of tenderness from the days past, only indifference and coldness. She covered up all of her pain and hid them deep within the depths of her eyes as she let out a faint laugh, “No need, Prince Li! **…was something that we both did willingly, what’s the point of talking about marriage? Yesterday night…just treat it as a spring dream, now that we’re awake…we are nothing!”