The third quarter of yín-shí (3-5 am) on the eighth day of the third lunar month, Lin Si Yao followed Liang En Jing and Liang En Zai to the palace to see the Emperor.
Lin Xiao woke up early, but after being fed, he slept again. And Lin Long, who had just learned to turn her body, was crawling on the bed, playing happily with Situ Yun.
Su Shuilian signaled Bai He and the wet-nurse to watch the kids. Then, she walked on the corridor of her Lotus Courtyard, in deep thoughts. When she reached the end of the corridor, she chose a clean bench and sat down, facing the lake of young lotus leaves, absent-minded.
Although Liang En Zai had repeatedly assured her that there wouldn’t be anything unexpected when A Yao went to the palace to see the Emperor. That the Emperor had just wanted to compliment him. Afterall, Lin Si Yao had helped the royal family to eliminate Blood Union’s Twelve Blood Knights that Da Hui had always been afraid of.
However, she didn’t know why she was still somewhat anxious.
Meeting up with the Emperor wasn’t a simple matter.
She remembered Imperial Doctor Ouyang Xun, who used to save the Emperor’s life and was greatly dedicated to the entire Da Hui’s royal family. However, because of his frank rejection, he ended behind bars.
There was also Long Xi Yue. Not only did she assist Ouyang Xun in saving countless people, she had also helped the Emperor’s concubines and wives in their labor. In the end, her outcome?
If Blood Union hadn’t taken action, she would have become a sacrifice. She would have been forced to sacrifice her second life with an embroidered ball. Haha, if her embroidered ball chose a talented, handsome husband, she would have to step back and sew the wedding dress for the Third Princess. And… if she picked some common guy, a low-profile villain in the market, she would have to wear that wedding dress and sacrifice her life to exchange for the good name of the Emperor. Isn’t it ironic?
Fortunately, the Blood Union had come to save them. Doctor Ouyang was taken to Blood Union, and because of that, he wouldn’t have a chance to set his foot on Da Hui’s territory anymore. How about Long Xi Yue? Perhaps she would follow Ouyang Xun back to Blood Union, or… she would change her appearance and live as someone else.
Sigh... With that thought, Su Shuilian couldn’t help but let out an audible sigh. It has been two years since she had arrived in this world, never had she thought that her life would have a complicated relationship with the current royal family.
She just wanted to stay and settle down with A Yao in a small, remote town that had verdant hills and limpid water. They would have several kids and raise herds of cows, sheep, or chickens. When the harvesting time came, she would harvest rice or dry rice or deliver lunch to her husband working on the field. When they had free time, they would go fishing, catch some shrimps or roast the sweet potatoes with the kids. She could have time to sew clothes or draw some pictures. A dream come true!
No one had expected to see the reality, which was completely different from their imagination.
The Fan Hua Town still had verdant hills and limpid water. However, it was renamed to Fan Hua Private Mansion.
She and A Yao still lived there with their kids, but now they had more people; more servants and maids in the house.
When the harvest time came, they didn’t need to worry. They didn’t need to feed their livestock either…
And even her embroidery job, the one she had mastered and it had become part of her, wasn’t as interesting as when she had to do to earn a living. Their maids had prepared clothes for the adults and the kids for four seasons. She didn’t need to sew anything herself, unless she insisted. However, if she did that, she would blame herself for squandering.
Sigh... Su Shuilian sighed again. She threw a pebble into the lotus lake. Looking at the ripples expanding after the pebble sank, she slowly calmed her mind.
Perhaps she needed to learn from A Yao. She should not mind or take concern of other people and matters. Of course, she believed that she and the twins were in his heart. Moreover, they got the most prominent position in his heart.
Thinking about that, Su Shuilian’s lips curved into a satisfied smile.
From the outside, this man looked cold and indifferent. However, when they were with each other privately, he was full of passionate love. Sometimes so hot, she even finds it hard to endure.
However, the two conflicting characters seemed to stay harmoniously in him. It pulls her closer to him.
Su Shuilian held her hot cheeks, gently patting, trying to cool down the heat on her face. Looking at the sun over her head, she knew it was wǔ-shí (11 am-1 pm).
Oh, she had sat here absent-minded for almost two hours? Did they get any news from the imperial palace?
Su Shuilian massaged her sore calves, slowly getting up. As she was about to return to her room and check the twins, she was startled by someone standing behind her.
Feng Cai Yun internally sighed, waving at the daughter that had been sitting there and let her mind wander for half a day.
“Xu-er, we have received word from the imperial palace, saying that they will return after attending the feast.”
“…Ok!” Su Shuilian nodded, exhaling in relief. If the imperial palace sent someone to deliver the message, and they got the feast, it meant they were safe. The worry that had weighed her heart vanished.
“Mother, do you want to talk to me?” Su Shuilian saw Feng Cai Yun looking at her with complicated eyes. She stopped and checked her clothes. Finding nothing strange, she lifted her head to look at her mother.
Feng Cai Yun shook her head. She just came to chat some with her daughter. This morning, she heard that today, her daughter and her son-in-law would return to Fan Huo Town. She felt really lost. This was the daughter she had borne in her womb for ten months... Although there was the gap of ten years they didn’t know anything about the other’s existence, when she finally found her, she was already married and pregnant.
Her daughter lived in a remote village, which was thousands of miles away from the imperial city. Even if she wanted to visit her more often, she couldn’t do that. Moreover, she couldn’t move in with her daughter and son-in-law. That’s why she and her husband, as Elder Wangye and Elder Wangfei, had come up with a solution. They decided to merge that village into Prince Jing’s Mansion. Later on, she and her husband could rightfully go and visit her regularly.
It was lucky that her son-in-law was sensible. To bluntly put it, he didn’t care much. Of course, her daughter and her grandchildren were his exceptions.
The cold man with superb skills and extraordinary aura had cared for her daughter very well. She and her husband didn’t need to worry about their daughter. At the same time, it comforted them somehow.
Lately, seeing her daughter sinking in her thoughts and sighing, she repeatedly asked herself: had her daughter ever resented her? After all, what was her mother that birthed her, but never fed her for a single day. What kind of position did she occupy in her daughter’s heart?
Has her existence ever been the object of fluctuation in her daughter’s emotions? Among her daughter’s worries, was there any because of her?
Although she had told herself many times: don’t mind it; don’t worry about it... As long as her daughter was safe and happy, it was alright no matter if she could be something in her daughter’s heart.
But was it really ok?
“Mother…” A tender call pulled Feng Cai Yun’s wandering thoughts back to her.
“Xu-er…” Feng Cai Yun retrieved the bitterness in her heart. She curled her lips into a loving smile. “Let’s go. It’s lunch time. The men aren’t home. We shouldn’t mistreat ourselves.”
“Yes,” Su Shuilian reached out to Feng Cai Yun’s hand. It was very natural, as if they had always done that, as if they had never been parted for ten years.
“Xu-er, I heard from En Zai that you guys would go home after today?” Feng Cai Yun couldn’t hold it anymore, asking.
“Yes, no matter what, I’m married. I can’t just stay in my parents’ house so long.” Su Shuilian smiled faintly. She didn’t need to make any other excuse since it was the most suitable and practical one.
“Did somebody tell you something?” Hearing her daughter confirmation, Feng Cai Yun furrowed her brows. All of the women in the inner court always had her on alert.
“No. Mother, I live very well in Fan Hua Town. If you feel bored in the Prince’s mansion, you should come and stay with us for a while. I’m sure that when you feel comfortable and refreshing, your worries will go away.”
“Look at you! It’s a land of peace indeed. The air is refreshing, and it’s quiet enough. Very good to come and rest. Alright, when I have time, I will come there. But you should never let the cuties forget their grandparents!” Feng Cai Yun listened to Su Shuilian, which reminded her of the leisure, comforting life in the countryside she used to experience. She smiled, talking to her daughter.
“Of course not! You and father are the only elders A Yao and I have in this world! We respect you so much. How could we forget you!” Su Shuilian expressed the feeling from the bottom of her heart. Her tone contained the natural bond that couldn’t be any closer between a daughter and her mother.
They were her parents in this life. She shouldn’t think too much.
As for A Yao, he was an orphan for as long as he has known. Of course, he had only the two of them to show his filial piety.
“I can ease my restless mind as I’ve heard this from you!” Feng Cai Yun felt much better after listening to her daughter. It was her who had over thought all the time, right? Their daughter still loved them. After ten years of parting, it was enough to just know that their daughter acknowledged her. Later on, they would have many chances to make it up for her.
“You don’t need any reward from me? You should know that as long as you name it, Zhen will grant it!”
During the feast, after three rounds of liquor, Li Wen Xiu rose his tumbler, walking to Lin Si Yao, who was quietly drinking his wine. He couldn’t help but confirm one more time.
“Yes.” The cold but clear voice echoed around the hall. Lin Si Yao’s deep and unmeasurable eyes had a gleam of impatience. He glanced over Liang En Zai from the corner of his eye, signaling the other to make him stop the man standing in front of him from repeating this topic! His patience was draining fast.
Liang En Zai sighed begrudgingly.
“Your Majesty, although my brother-in-law has extraordinary skills, he’s just a barbarian from the mountainous area. He’s not suitable to shoulder the heavy duty in the imperial palace. Why don’t you give him some money then?” Liang En Zai smiled, interrupting and breaking the push-and-pull situation between the two.
“Haha…” Hearing Liang En Zai, Li Wen Xiu knew the other was trying to rescue Lin Si Yao. Li Wen Xiu burst out laughing, shaking his head. He turned around to see Liang Xuan Jing sitting at another table. “Zhen does not think that your good son-in-law is just a barbarian from the mountain.”
“Thank you for your praise, Your Majesty!” Liang Xuan Jing got up, bowed to thank the other.
“My officials, today, Zhen have something to announce...” Li Wen Xiu said before glancing at the side hall. “You’ve been listening and drinking for long enough. Come out!”
Seeing Li Wen Xiu’s acting strangely, Liang Xuan Jing and the others were so curious, turning to look at the side hall.
When they recognized the identity of the man walking out of the side hall, everybody was astonished. Then, they muttered to each other’s ears.
“Blood Union… He’s the Blood Union’s Emperor!”
“Heavens! That’s the real Blood Union’s Emperor!”
“Why is he here? Wasn’t it agreed that the Blood Union and Da Hui don’t interfere with each other’s political matters?”
“Is it because of the twelve Blood Knights? He comes all the way here to take revenge?”
“Did… Did His Majesty want to hand Lin Si Yao to Blood Union’s Emperor as tribute?”