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Chapter 40 Resigning to Fate

The night was as dark as ink, Man Yao returned to the residence of Princess Rong Le. Ling’er, who was walking in circles around the courtyard, called out, “Master, you’re finally back! We were so worried.”

If it was before, Man Yao would definitely have welcomed her, smiling and reassuring her that nothing was wrong, but today, Man Yao only stared at her indifferently, directly walking into her bedchambers, not saying anything. Ling’er was stunned and frantically rushed to follow her. Xiao Sha silently followed behind with unhurried steps.

The moon was bright and cold, Rong An Pavilion was lit in a haze of yellow. Man Yao stood facing against the wall, showing her lonely back view to the outside.

Ling’er walked to the doorway, her steps unconsciously falling more quiet, her heart unsettled. She stopped about ten paces behind from Man Yao and cautiously called out, “Master/!”

Man Yao didn’t turn around, her eyes still on the white wall. After a beat, she finally opened her mouth, “You said you were worried about me? What were you worried about?”

Her voice sounded cold, like a basin of water poured directly from the ice-cold moon, chilling the very depths of people’s hearts. Ling’er froze, not knowing how to reply.

Man Yao ridiculed, “Worried that Prince Li would see through my disguise, so then I would not be able to successfully marry the Lord Protect General, causing you to fail your mission, right/”

Ling’er’s entire body shook, immediately dropping down to her knees, lowering her head, silent.

Man Yao’s heart was cold. They were her closest confidants, yet three years of friendship could not compare to their loyalty towards Imperial Brother. She shifted her gaze towards the black sky, murmuring faintly, “Even you guys can’t be trusted, I really don’t know if in this world…there’s still anyone left that’s worth my trust?!”

Ling’er raised her head, the tears in her eyes glistening. She bit her lips, speaking, “Master, Ling’er would never do something to betray you. It’s just His Majesty, he…was worried that you were being bullied, so…”

“Really?” She sneered and turned around, her eyes filled with self-contempt.

On the contrary, Ling’er looked at her with a clear gaze, seriously nodding her head, “Yes, Master. His Majesty originally wanted to personally come to your wedding, but there was not enough time so he said that he will come to visit you later. His Majesty really dotes on you, he’s never cared this much about anyone before.”

Man Yao found a seat to sit down, her gaze moving to Xiao Sha who was standing by the doorway, only to find his gaze was slightly heavy yet undaunted. She turned back to Ling’er, calmly asking, “Does that include you? Ling’er, when did you enter the palace? How many years have you followed Imperial Brother?” She never thought about these questions before, only believing that the most valuable thing between people was honesty, so there was no need to investigate someone.

Ling’er answered, “I entered the palace when I was ten years old, at the time His Majesty was still an unfavored prince. I was skinny and small and my body was not well. I was a servant that was left over after the other princes were done choosing their servants, but His Majesty didn’t detest me and even taught my martial arts, saying that it was to help strengthen my body. I had been serving by His Majesty’s side for five years and seven months before Princess picked me.”

Recalling the past, Ling’er’s voice carried feelings that were hard to ignore. Man Yao’s heart jumped, even after knowing her for so long, she had never realized Ling’er’s peculiar feelings about Imperial Brother! After arriving in this world for three years, even though she had conducted matters with caution, she had always considered herself as an outsider so there were many matters that she did not take to heart. It was to be expected as considering Imperial Brother’s background, forget Ling’er, even within the whole nation of Qiyun, which woman didn’t dream about receiving this ruler’s love?! Thinking up to here, Man Yao asked, “Did you blame me when I chose you?”

Ling’er nodded then shook her head, “At first I was disappointed, but after following Master for so long, I truly liked Master. I’ve never met anyone like Master who treats their servants like friends. I believe that being able to serve Master is a fortunate matter.”

She spoke very earnestly, every word coming from the bottom of her heart. Man Yao’s gaze slightly change and she spoke softly, “Rise.”

Ling’er’s eyes brightened, asking, “Master, do you no longer blame me?”

Man Yao sighed, what could she blame her for? Ling’er was a simple-minded girl, she only did things that she believed were for their benefit. She didn’t understand that for an unfavored prince to defeat the doted upon and favored upon princes to sit on the treasured throne of the emperor was not as simple of a matter as it seemed on the surface.

Man Yao asked, “Do you know about Hen Xiang’s background?”

Ling’er shook her head, “I’ve never seen her before. When she arrived, she was carrying His Majesty’s handwritten letter as well as a token.”

Even Ling’er didn’t know about that woman’s identity? Man Yao frowned and allowed them to rest. Xiao Sha turned around to leave, from the beginning to the end, he never spoke a single word.

It was getting late and she laid down. The moment she closed her eyes, her brain was filled with the events that happened these past few days, and she couldn’t fall asleep. She gave up and sat up when she suddenly saw a dark figure pass by the window. She immediately became alert, laying back down pretending to be deep in sleep.

The mysterious person already walked to her bedside, speaking in a low voice, “Master, it’s me.”

She was stunned and immediately opened her eyes, Xiao Sha?! “Is anything the matter?”

Xiao Sha drew nearer to the bedside, his back towards the window. The moonlight was faint and although she couldn’t tell what expression he had on his face, she could clearly feel his imposing aura, hearing him speak in an unhurried and serious voice, “Master, if you don’t want to marry him, this subject…is willing to take you away from here.”

Man Yao froze, raising her eyes to look at him. The Xiao Sha in her impression was always someone who knew how to read situations, he understood in what situations he should or should not do something. But right now, he said that if she didn’t want to marry, he would take her away! Did he realize what this means? It means betraying her imperial brother, and it also means they would become fugitives of two powerful nations! Man Yao slowly sat up, in the darkness, her eyes focused on his ink-black eyes as she spoke in a heavy voice, “Xiao Sha, are you aware of what you’re saying?”

Xiao Sha spoke in a firm voice, “This subject understand. This is what this subject had already thought about two months ago on the road to Lintian.”

Man Yao was astonished and she sighed, leaning against the ice-cold wall, “Leave? Where would we go?… Becoming Qiyun and Lintian’s criminals, no matter how vast this land is, there would not be a place that could harbor us.” She wanted the freedom to choose the way she wanted to live her life, not go into exile in some far-off place, and even more so, she did not want to implicate Xiao Sha. No matter how strong his martial arts were, how could he win against two countries?

Xiao Sha lowered his head when he heard her words, staring at the moonlight underneath his feet, his eyes dimming.

Man Yao drew her blanket closer, speaking softly, “Go back to bed. The date of the wedding is around the corner. The tea garden will be temporarily closed so you and Ling’er should not step out for the next few days. Zongzheng Wuyou previously did not pay attention to you guys, but if he becomes suspicious, no matter how skilled you are, you cannot escape his eyes.”

Xiao Sha saw her fatigued face, a layer of thin ice seemed to have formed over her originally clear eyes, causing them to look not as bright and clear as before. He still wanted to say something but did not speak in the end. After standing for a bit, he left.

Man Yao stared at his leaving figure that was straight and full of determination. No matter how she looked at it, it did not look like someone who was a servant.