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Chapter 42 Events Unfolded

The Ninth prince left and the servants all retreated. When the door was closed, the wind that slipped in blew out the candles. He waved his hands, indicating that there was no need to re-light them.

The last ray of light was extinguished, engulfing the room in a sea of darkness. Zongzheng Wuyou leaned against the chaise, not moving as his hand held a tea that had long turned cold. The cold temperature of the cup seeped into his fingertips, chilling his heart and turning into an inexplicable sense of loneliness, dissipating into the air.

The Ninth Prince’s words were like a heavy gong, hammering at his heart. A question he had never considered was now laid out in front of him.

Why did he have to have her? When he touched other women, he would be conflicted, but why is it that he only wanted to get closer to her?

He never planned on taking a wife, but there were times when he would imagine about the future with her by his side, thinking that life was not that boring after all. She was just a tool that he finished using, why was he so anxious to find her, even to the point of using Wuyin Lou’s people? It’s only been two days, yet her disappearance caused an emptiness in his heart.

This…what exactly was it?

He closed his eyes, the images of that woman’s pale face swimming in his mind, including the cold and shallow smile that surfaced on her face after she knew the truth as well as the pain in her eyes that she tried to cover up…it wasn’t that he did not notice all of this but rather he chose to ignore it all, burying it into the deepest parts of his heart.

The rain fell for the whole night, the faint sounds coming in from the tightly shut window. When the skies brightened, he was asleep on the chaise, fatigue could be seen between his eyebrows. The cold tea was still in his hands, not a single drop was touched.

The steward, seeing how there weren’t any movements from inside, ordered the servants to guard the door. Even though he ordered them to not allow anyone inside to disturb him, it could no stop the Ninth Prince’s loud voice, “Seventh Brother…” The moment he stepped into the residence, he began to loudly yell.

Zongzheng Wuyou’s brows furrowed and he opened his bloodshot eyes. A shushing sound came from the servants outside as they pleaded in a soft voice, “Your Highness, please stop yelling, wangye hasn’t woken up yet.”

How could the Ninth Prince listen to them, he directly opened the door and yelled out, “Seventh Brother, what time is it, why are you still asleep?” He walked into to see Zongzheng Wuyou’s fatigued expression and paused before letting out a teasing smile, “Seventh Brother, were you unable to fall asleep because you were thinking about Li Yue all night? This is not the Seventh Brother I know!”

Zongzheng Wuyou froze for a moment before standing up and glaring at him. The Ninth Prince hurriedly changed his tune, “My Seventh Brother like a celestial being, viewing money…no, viewing women as dirt, how could he be hung up and have insomnia due to a woman? Isn’t that right…Seventh Brother? If anyone were to do that it would be me, hehe…”

Seeing his cheeky smile and exaggerated mannerisms, Zongzheng Wuyou’s lips twitched.

The Ninth Prince butt in front of him, “The General residence sure is rowdy, even with such a big rain, all the officials are gathered there. The number of people bringing gifts could cover the distance between Northern City and Southern City.”

Zongzheng Wuyou’s eye twitched and he didn’t speak. After washing himself up, the steward ordered the servants to bring forth the heated up breakfast. Zongzheng Wuyou waved his hand; he didn’t have an appetite. He turned to eye the Ninth prince, speaking indifferently, “I told you to go there to find someone, not to join in on the fun.”

The Ninth Prince sat down, his face sullen, “I can have fun while trying to find her. This time, we really let Fu Chou off too easily, even the Crown Prince’s official wedding was not as extravagant as his, not to mention Imperial Father’s bestowments, Princess Rong Le’s dowry, and the wedding gifts from the court officials, pei pei(1)…”

Zongzheng Wuyou poured himself a new cup of tea and took a sip, listening to Old Ninth’s sourness, his lips curved up into a faint smile, “What, are you regretting it?”

The Ninth Prince raised his eyebrows, “I don’t regret it, but…if Princess Rong Le looks like Li Yue, then it’s such a deal to marry her, he gets two people for one!”

Zongzheng Wuyou shot him a look, there’s only one Ah Man in this world! He spoke casually, “Their figures are similar and if they even look the same, then wouldn’t they…” Wouldn’t they be the same person? He didn’t finish his sentence, abruptly stopping as the thought in his mind quickly flashed by.

“Seventh Brother, you…” The Ninth Prince saw that he didn’t finish speaking but his face had changed and was about to ask him when he stopped.

Zongzheng Wuyou slowly stood up and walked in front of the window. The large raindrops fell onto the ground, creating ripples in the puddles, new ones forming before the old ones finished, erasing the traces of the previous ones. Zongzheng Wuyou’s mind was blank.

In the bathhouse within the General’s residence, it was the only time Princess Rong Le had disappeared from his sight for a short period of time. By the time he had entered, Fu Chou ordered for the curtains to be taken away, and the entire bathhouse was within his view, giving off the feeling that he was mistaken. Afterwards, he saw Princess Rong Le reaching her hands out into the water, why did she do so? Whether that water was from the hot springs or not could be distinguished with just a glance, why did a princess need to personally touch the water someone had already used and had yet to be cleaned out to determine the temperature? Unless…someone went into the pool and creating ripples on the water was just to cover it up.

What a thorough plan, she actually dared to do switch right underneath his nose! But, why did Princess Rong Le help her to this extent? One was the princess of Qiyun, the other was an exiled noble from Qiyun…both were people of Qiyun!

Zongzheng Wuyou closed his eyes, thinking deeply.

In the banquet hall, she once said, “Wuyou, if…I’m saying if, if I am Princess Rong Le, you…” She never finished that probing sentence and he treated it as if she were just a normal woman trying to probe his heart. That night at the banquet, she was very distracted.

By the hot springs, she said, “Wuyou, if…I’m getting married, would you be happy for me?” At that time, Princess Rong Le and Fu Chou’s wedding was set to happen in three days.

One by one, each event slowly unfolded, shocking him to his core, paining his heart. He suddenly opened his eyes, unwilling to think further. Turning around, his words carried hints of urgency he was unable to hide, “Old Ninth, when you came here, did the princess of Qiyun’s carriage arrive at the General’s residence yet?”

The Ninth Prince froze, not understanding why he asked but still answered, “At this time, they must be getting ready to bai tang(2).”

Before he finished, Zongzheng Wuyou already left and the Ninth Prince yelled out frantically, “Seventh Brother, where are you going?”

What answered him was the rustling sounds of Zongzheng Wuyou’s white robes as they flew past—

(1) The sound of someone spitting.

(2) bai tang 拜堂: In traditional Chinese weddings, there is a ritual where the bride and groom kneel three times each to their parents, to heaven and earth, and to each other.