Second sponsored chapter of the week. Thank you to Anon, Amelianotbedelia and Maguiling for your donations! Overflow contributes to the next sponsored chapter and will carry over into next week.
Actually the Yun Prince had misunderstood a little. His words were based on what he knew from his past life.
That’s right, the Yun Prince was also someone who had lived two lifetimes.
In his past life, the Yun Prince survived a little longer than the Jing Prince, but it was at most by a couple of months. He had thought he was dead for sure, but who would have thought a mysterious person suddenly burst into the capital and killed the Jin Emperor before fleeing?
The Yun Prince had thought that with the Jin Emperor dead, he would no longer have to die himself. But unfortunately, the Jin Emperor had already given the orders before he died, and the Yun Prince still ended up dying.
After reincarnating, the Yun Prince had wondered what sort of badass was responsible. Having such skill yet only using it at that time was too much of a waste. In the end, he unintentionally discovered that this person was a martial artist within the Jing Prince Estate.
This person’s appearance had been too distinct. His unkempt appearance and scraggly beard along with his tall, sturdy and powerful body made quite an impression. It was said that after he killed the emperor and escaped, he had left behind some words that confused everyone at the scene:
You fucking good-for-nothing. Because of you, this daddy can’t be a freeloader anymore.
The Jin Emperor had been killed during a hunting party in the royal hunting grounds. Many dukes and officials were present at the time, and these words weren’t covered up.
After the Yun Prince reincarnated, he pieced together the clues before determining that person was the Jing Prince Estate’s Barbarian Yan.
After figuring this out, the Yun Prince locked himself up in his estate, yelling and cursing for half a night. His disturbance caused the entire estate to be confused. Only after did the Yun Prince decide to cooperate with the Jing Prince.
If he didn’t have any insurance, how could the Yun Prince trust that the Jing Prince would come out victorious?! Of course, the Jing Prince’s character was worth the Yun Prince’s trust, but for him to make such a large decision wasn’t just based on this scattered reasoning. There were still many, many things, but they were all things that couldn’t be put in words.
The Yun Prince felt that since the heavens had given him another chance to live, fate must have something in store for him. In this life he had changed. That apathetic Jing Prince had changed as well.
His own changes stemmed from his feelings of guilt and remorse towards that woman before his death. In this life, he was determined to make it up to her. As for the Jing Prince’s changes, the Yun Prince guessed it was for the sake of altering their destinies.
There was no reason good people couldn’t live long lives, right?
Otherwise, who would be willing to be good in the future!?
The Yun Prince had told his consort his opinions several times, but unfortunately she had never believed him. She would always smack his head and say “you’re not sick, are you?!”
Every time this happened, the Yun Prince could only laugh foolishly. No one knew that these were his real thoughts.
For some reason, despite the Jing Prince not telling him about his plans, the Yun Prince felt relieved.
Whatever, he truly wasn’t someone fit to do great things. It’s better for him to go back and figure out how to soothe his consort. If things really didn’t work out, he can just do what he said earlier, stealing his mother away and escaping.
The land under the heavens belonged to the emperor, but there were still lands beyond that. Across the sea for example….
Why did no one believe him when he was telling the truth?! Why? If things really failed, he definitely wouldn’t bring that stiff-faced person along in his escape!
The Yun Prince let out a deep sigh and got on his carriage. The carriage slowly rolled forward.
Because Emperor Xi was unconscious, the palace was especially silent during the thirty-fifth New Year’s celebration of the Xi calendar.
All the songs, dances, and banquets were cancelled, and the officials and nobility naturally couldn’t be too lively. But thousands of miles away, the Jing Province’s Jing Prince Estate didn’t have such restrictions.
Unfortunately, the Jing Prince Estate had always been rather simple. New Year’s Eve was spent the same as the past with the whole family coming together for a banquet.
The Li family was also present, but despite the joyous occasion Li Xue Bing and Qi-Shi were a little unable to smile.
This was because Li Hong Chang and Li Hong Qian did not come for the celebration this year. In fact, they hadn’t come back ever since they left.
A few days ago, Li Xue Bing had sent a message to Eunuch Fu asking about it.
Having stayed for a while at the Jing Prince Estate, the Li family was no longer as fearless as they were before. Especially towards this royal nephew of theirs, they had become quite a bit more respectful. This couldn’t be helped. The Jing Prince Estate was so large, and during their stay they had seen quite a lot. The people they could only look up to but not approach in the past all paid respects to the Jing Prince. They inevitably felt some reverence towards him in their hearts.
Of course this only applied to Li Xue Bing. Qi-Shi stayed in their pavilion year round. The furthest she went was to her daughter’s place, and she didn’t seem much different from the past.
Due to this feeling of reverence, Li Xue Bing didn’t dare casually bother the Jing Prince as he did before, and sent word to Eunuch Fu instead.
Eunuch Fu’s answer was, “Lord uncle, the two young masters are currently at a critical stage. The military doesn’t have the tradition of returning home to celebrate the New Year. The two young masters are role models, how can they not abide by convention?”
Actually, while Eunuch Fu was saying these things, the two Li brothers were being drilled at the barracks. They complained endlessly, crying for their dad and yelling for their mom, but unfortunately it was of no use.
Li Xue Bing’s mood was extremely complicated at Eunuch Fu’s words. The words “role models” made him silently rejoice, but the fact that they couldn’t return made him a little moody. In the end, his silent rejoicing came out on top. Since they could become role models, their prospects were naturally promising. For the sake of their prospects, the fact that he missed them was naturally not as important.
He also started consoling Qi-Shi. This resulted in the Li family’s lord and madam smiling yet not really smiling at the banquet.
The Jing Consort unexpectedly didn’t attend today. It was said she was bedridden, but whether that was true or not, the Jing Prince and Xiao Hua had their own thoughts.
The Jing Consort was stubborn, and was sulking at the Jing Prince. She wanted to make him feel annoyed. Whether her actions truly caused him annoyance, only the heavens knew.
The banquet was soon over. The Jing Prince dispensed with the pleasantries and had everyone disperse. He then hurried back to the western pavilion with Xiao Hua. Their two children were waiting for them there.
As of now, the two children could walk and talk. They were a little too energetic compared to the past. When they were younger, they would sleep when it got dark. Now it wasn’t as easy, and they would fuss late into the night.
Especially on New Year’s Eve. The two of them had wanted to spend it as a family of four, but they had to go out and accompany others. They felt a little guilty towards the two little fellows, and naturally wanted to hurry back to them.
When they got back, the two changed into their casual clothing. Yi Yi and Zhuo’er were brought over by the wet nurses.
The winter clothing was thick, and the two children wobbled as they walked. Before they could pounce over, Xiao Hua picked one up. The other was naturally picked up by the Jing Prince.
“Father, mom, where were you?”
The one speaking was Zhuo’er. He really didn’t seem like a two year old child. His grammar was very proper and distinct. Although his sentences weren’t long, but his meaning could be understood by all the adults.
In comparison, Yi Yi spoke a lot normally but her sentences were very unstructured. This aspect was a little similar to the Jing Prince. Therefore, he loved his daughter even more.
Xiao Hua smiled guiltily, and couldn’t bring herself to lie to the children. She could only avoid the question, “Aren’t we back now?”
Children at this age were still easy to placate. At first they still remembered their parents disappeared, but their attention was soon diverted by Xiao Hua’s actions. She helped the two take their shoes off and the four of them sat on the kiln.
The kiln table was filled with various pastries and snacks. They were all things the children could eat.
“Tonight we stay up for New Year’s?”
Xiao Hua looked at the two children and then looked at him. She smiled and said: “Sure.”
Although that was the plan, the two little fellows soon grew tired. Xiao Hua didn’t have the wet nurses take them away, and instead took off their outer clothing and let them sleep on the kiln.
Because it was still early the two of them chatted casually. They talked about Li Miao Lian after her marriage. They talked about how lord uncle and his wife didn’t look too good tonight, probably missing their sons. They talked about how Senior Concubine Qiao kept shooting glances at the Jing Prince during the banquet.
When Senior Concubine Qiao was mentioned, Xiao Hua’s tone was actually teasing, making the Jing Prince blush. He seemed a little embarrassed.
Actually the topics of their conversations were always quite trivial. Having spent over two years together, the two of them were too familiar with each other. They knew what each other meant with a glance or a gesture. Xiao Hua also grew more and more casual in front of the Jing Prince. He was no longer the lofty Jing Prince, who could only be respected but not loved. Instead, this was a man whom she could depend on and be companions with.
Perhaps such a scene would seem tedious to outsiders, but the two of them liked the comfort of this sort of quiet interaction. Especially when the four of them were all together.
“You and the children have never been out to play. When we have time, we can go.”
Xiao Hua smiled and nodded, “Sure.”
Xiao Hua had thought his highness was just casually speaking, but he was unexpectedly serious.
In March of the New Year, as the grass started growing and the birds were flying, the Jing Prince brought up taking Xiao Hua out for a trip.
Of course, the two children would go with them as well. Xiao Hua was extremely happy and starting preparing without thinking too much about it.
Because they were bringing the children, they had to bring quite a few things. Xiao Hua also asked the Jing Prince where they were going, but he didn’t give a specific location. He just said it was a little far from the estate, and the trip would take around ten days.
Some people had to remain behind at the western pavilion. Xiao Hua ended up taking Ding Xiang and Chun Cao. Two wet nurses accompanied Zhuo’er and Yi Yi, as well as four palace maids. As for what they needed to pack, Ding Xiang helped arrange everything and Xiao Hua didn’t need to worry about it.
After preparing for two days, they departed on the third.
The lineup this time wasn’t too large. There were only a total of five black carriages, surrounded by around ten guards disguised as regular people. At a glance, they looked like some rich household’s lord on a trip.
They stopped at various places along the way, as though they didn’t have a destination in mind. They stopped by whatever towns they passed, and at night they didn’t stay at any inns. Instead, there would always be a small pavilion they could use.
Xiao Hua could be said to be a true recluse. She never went outside. This trip truly broadened her horizons.
The Jing Prince took her through the streets, took her shopping, took her to eat at restaurants, and took her into temples to burn incense. The world outside was both familiar and foreign. The familiarity came from her memories from long ago, the foreignness came from all the surprising things she encountered.
The two of them weren’t dressed like they normally were in the estate. Instead, they were dressed as commoners. Although they were followed by guards, those guards were also disguised and normally blended in with the crowd. Xiao Hua even ate some wantons from a street vendor. Although the ingredients and texture were clearly inferior to Nana He’s back at the estate, Xiao Hua still felt it was extremely delicious.
The Jing Prince never ate outside food. To be precise, apart from Nana He’s food, he rarely ate anything else. He still ate a bowl with her at this moment. From his perspective, this thing truly wasn’t that tasty, but seeing her eat up happily, he subconsciously finished his own bowl as well.
Whenever they stopped at the larger towns, the Jing Prince would take Xiao Hua to the night market. The night market was very lively, and there were many snacks available. Xiao Hua would also eat until her stomach was bloated before letting the Jing Prince drag her along, saying how she couldn’t walk by herself anymore.
The people of the Jing Province were quite open-minded because they were all close to each other. Ever since Xiao Hua saw a young married couple holding hands at the night market, her thoughts had stirred for a long time and she took the opportunity to take the Jing Prince’s hand as well, refusing to let go.
The night market’s lights were bright and splendid, and made Xiao Hua feel like she was dreaming. After living for two lifetimes, Xiao Hua felt this was the happiest she had even been.
“Highness, when you’re free in the future, can we come out to play again?”
The Jing Prince gripped her hand tightly, “Sure.”
In that instant, the bustling crowd behind her provided a backdrop for her bright and beautiful smile. This scene was deeply carved into the Jing Prince’s mind for a long time. So long that he still hadn’t forgotten it by the time he was old and crooked.
Minor spoiler in author’s notes below.
Just want to say, the Jing Prince didn’t take Xiao Hua out for fun.