As the Jing Prince was taking Xiao Hua on a trip, things were gradually winding up back at the capital.
The crown prince’s side and the Jin Prince’s side started struggling more and more in the open. The first open blow was when an imperial censor impeached the Jin Prince for remaining in the capital and not returning to his vassal state, which was going against propriety. The Jin Prince’s side weren’t pushovers, and struck back by saying the Jin Prince remained under the emperor’s edict to recuperate from his injury. Only the emperor could order the Jin Prince back to his vassal state. Furthermore, since the emperor was unconscious and wasn’t able to wake up, how could his son leave his side at this moment? The two sides got into quite the argument, and they would often roll up their sleeves in court and start going at it.
As for the struggles beneath the surface, it was even more of a mess. The crown prince’s side temporarily had the advantage, but the Jin Prince also wasn’t without the means to counterattack.
As time went on, the crown prince’s advantage became more and more obvious. In contrast, the Jin Prince’s disadvantage was easy to see. The reason was very simple. The crown prince was older and was born from the principal wife. The nation was also currently supervised by him. The Jin Prince’s only defense against him was temporarily unavailable. Although his personal accumulations weren’t bad, his majesty’s unconsciousness was always a concern. There were always those who wondered if he really couldn’t hold on any longer.
The moment his majesty passed away, the crown prince would naturally succeed the throne. At that time, the Jin Prince who had deeply offended him would really suffer a tragic end.
After numerous discussions with his advisor, the Jin Prince couldn’t help but consider military intervention. He secretly started arranging things over in the Jin Province and the Qi Province.
The Jing Prince and Xiao Hua had already stopped at the small town called “Ping Zheng” for several days.
Xiao Hua wondered whether they had to go back since the original ten days planned by the Jing Prince were already long passed. But the Jing Prince didn’t show any signs of movement. Xiao Hua spent two days and wandered through the entire small town before temporarily taking a rest.
She was truly tired. Her horse’s hooves had never stopped as she wandered and spent her time sightseeing. The next day Xiao Hua and the Jing Prince slept until noon.
After eating lunch, the two of them on the couch by the window.
Xiao Hua gave the Jing Prince a glance and felt that he seemed somehow strange today.
“Do you like this place?”
Xiao Hua thought the Jing Prince was asking about this small town. It had mountains on one side and water on the other. The location was quiet and secluded. The streets weren’t normally crowded but the morning and night markets were still extremely lively. The people were sincere and honest, and they would always see people smiling as they walked the streets, greeting them with a wave of happiness and joy.
“I like it.”
“Live here with the children for a few days. I’ll come and bring you back after a few days, ok?”
Xiao Hua’s smile suddenly turned rigid.
After a long while, she asked: “Why?”
The Jing Prince’s apathetic gaze suddenly couldn’t be maintained. He had come up with several excuses in his heart, but he realized he couldn’t speak them out loud at this time.
He could only turn his face away and say quietly: “Don’t ask.”
“Why can’t I ask?”
Xiao Hua’s tone was a little overbearing.
She knew this attitude wasn’t good, but when the Jing Prince spoke she had a sense of foreboding. She felt her heart beating wildly in her chest, and couldn’t help but start to panic.
The Jing Prince’s expression was wretched. He pulled her over and held her in his arms, “Listen to me. I’ll come fetch you after a few days.”
“Why won’t you let me ask?”
“Why do I have to listen to you?”
“Why? Just why?”
The string of questions made the Jing Prince silent for a long, long time. He could only stroke her back continuously.
For the first time, Xiao Hua resisted this sort of comforting. She struggled free and looked at him stubbornly.
The Jing Prince didn’t meet her gaze, and merely said: “Listen to me. Live here with the children for a period of time. The people at the western pavilion will be sent over immediately, it won’t be inconvenient.”
“You clearly know that’s not what I’m asking. Why do we have to do this? Why?”
Xiao Hua had never argued with the Jing Prince before. This was the first time she spoke so fiercely and was so stirred up. She was even a little hysterical. As she spoke, her tears couldn’t help but start to flow.
“Give me a reason!”
The Jing Prince who would be apathetic even if Mt. Tai collapsed had never looked so wretched in his two lifetimes. He didn’t even dare look at her face.
He had already planned this long ago. There were clearly a lot of things he had to do back at the estate, and he had clearly planned on leaving for only ten days. But he continued to drag things out, throwing everything aside just to accompany her a little longer. He just didn’t know what to say….
Her voice was very loud. It shocked the Jing Prince’s heart into shivering, and also shocked Ding Xiang and Chun Cao who were outside the door.
They were arguing?
Madam and his highness’s relationship had always been good. The two of them had never argued before, and during this trip they were both extremely happy. How did they suddenly end up arguing?
Ding Xiang patted Chun Cao and indicated for her to listen while she went and figured out what to do.
“Why don’t you say anything? Does this have something to do with why we have to keep the children hidden?!”
The Jing Prince’s expression was wretched as he looked in shock at Xiao Hua whose face was filled with tears.
Actually Xiao Hua had already guessed it in her heart. She could never figure out why he did things so weirdly, especially regarding their two children. Such a large western pavilion, which was clearly magnificent, ended up feeling like a cage. She had everything, and wanted for nothing. But there was a gate outside the gate, and not everyone can enter. Based on the same reasoning, not everyone could leave. Only a few people could.
Regarding all this, Xiao Hua was aware of it all.
But since he didn’t want her to know about it, she pretended not to know. That time he told her he didn’t want others knowing about the children was the first time he had revealed anything. Ever since then, she felt a little unsettled in her heart.
Now, her unease finally became reality, but she didn’t expect it to be such a scene.
She knew that he wasn’t planning on abandoning the three of them. He still wanted them. But just why?
Xiao Hua didn’t dare speculate, because whenever she did her heart would involuntarily tremble…
“Did something happen?” She could only ask with a shaking voice in this manner.
The Jing Prince’s usual apathetic expression carried a faint hint of pleading, making Xiao Hua’s tears involuntarily start flowing once again.
“Fine, I won’t ask anymore.” Xiao Hua wiped her tears and said, “But, you’re not allowed to leave me and the children behind.”
The Jing Prince sighed silently and said: “Listen to me….”
Before he finished speaking, Yi Yi’s voice sounded outside the door, “Father, mom.”
“The little young master and little young mistress are calling for madam and highness.”
Ding Xiang and Chun Cao carried Zhuo’er and Yi Yi inside, their eyes containing worry. Xiao Hua received Yi Yi and threw her into the Jing Prince’s arms before receiving Zhuo’er. She had Ding Xiang and Chun Cao take their leave.
“Yi Yi, Zhuo’er, father doesn’t want us anymore…..”
After she said this, Xiao Hua started crying again, crying very miserably and pitifully.
The two children were dazed when they saw their mom crying. What could children who weren’t even two years old understand? Seeing their mom cry, they also started crying. Yi Yi cried very loudly. She hugged the Jing Prince’s neck tightly as she cried, “Father, don’t not want.”
Zhuo’er used his small hands to wipe Xiao Hua’s face and looked tearfully at the Jing Prince.
At this moment, the room was filled with the crying of mom and children.
The Jing Prince was at a loss and didn’t know how to react.
“I do want, I do want….” He only knew to say these words.
Xiao Hua tried to take a mile once he gave an inch, “Then let’s go back to the estate?”
“Listen to me…..”
He didn’t continue speaking after telling her to listen. Xiao Hua started crying again, “Yi Yi and Zhuo’er are going to be unloved children in the future, father doesn’t want us anymore…..”
“Don’t blindly guess.”
Yi Yi hung around the Jing Prince’s neck as he moved to sit next to Xiao Hua. He wrapped his arm around her and stroked her hair.
“It’s because of some other reasons that I’m having you live here for a period of time. After a few days, I’ll come fetch you and the children.”
The Jing Prince’s face turned rigid and he helplessly wiped his brow. Fine, he truly was lying.
This was planned long ago, back when she first became pregnant. Things had gotten more and more tense, and although everything proceeded according to his wishes, he truly had no confidence in what the final outcome would be.
He was willing to bet everything, but not her and the two children. This was why he took them out on a trip this time. The Jing Prince had already decided to have them live here without worries. If things succeeded, he would come fetch them. If things failed, then their future would have already been arranged.
No outsiders knew about the children and there would naturally be no one coming to investigate. As for her, he had already made the proper arrangements. There was naturally something prepared for that moment.
As for himself, the Jing Prince had also planned an ending long ago. If things failed, he had no choice but to die. Actually, he could do as the Yun Prince said, escaping with her and the children. But like he himself said, the land under the heavens belonged to the emperor and all the people his subjects. If his corpse wasn’t found, they would never stop their pursuit. How could he be willing to force her and their children into a life where they were constantly on the run?!
Furthermore, his dignity stemmed from the royal family’s dignity. It didn’t allow him to do something like that.
“You were really lying! Luo Jing, you’re truly too mean. I’ve treated you sincerely with all my heart, and raised our children until now, and yet you lie to me. Are you planning on making up with the consort, and feel that we’re eyesores? If we bother you just say it straight, no need to lie.”
Xiao Hua knew that she was being a nuisance at the moment, but without being a nuisance, she truly didn’t know how to dispel this stubborn man’s notions.
“Don’t blindly guess, that’s not it.”
The Jing Prince had once heard a saying. When a woman wanted to be a nuisance, her best tactics were to cry first, make a fuss second, and hang herself third.1
The one who taught him this general knowledge was none other than his martial arts teacher Barbarian Yan. He was always complaining about his wife being too hard to deal with. He had also overheard some married soldiers in the estate discussing such things.
Having been together with Xiao Hua for so long, he once thought that those people were all speaking nonsense. This was because his Xiao Hua’er was very understanding and sensible. She was so sensible that it made one’s heart ache. Only now did he realize, the words of his “seniors” weren’t without reason.
Did Xiao Hua’s current behavior count as her being a nuisance?
“Then take us back to the estate.”
“Can’t.” The Jing Prince was unable to out-argue his woman, and could only choose to revert to his own manner of speech, giving an abrupt refusal.
“Fine, we’ll stay here. We won’t go back.”
The Jing Prince was both shocked and relieved. But Xiao Hua’s next words shattered his foolish assumptions.
“The moment you leave, I’ll jump into the river with the children!”
The Jing Prince was astonished. How did such words come out of Xiao Hua’s mouth? He even felt it was preposterous.
“You no longer want us. Children without their father are very pitiful, might as well put an end to our suffering.”
Was this the so called ultimate move, the “hang herself third”? But instead of hanging, it was changed to jumping into the river with the children?
All sorts of nonsense flashed through his mind as he helplessly held her tightly, “Don’t mess around.”
“I’m not messing around, I’m serious.”
Suddenly, a man’s voice rang from outside.
“Highness, there’s a letter from the estate.”
The Jing Prince let go of Xiao Hua and sat up, “Enter.”
Lin Qing Ting walked inside and saw a rather magical scene.
The legendary Madam Hua held the little young master as she sat on the couch half turned away. The little young mistress hung around his highness’s neck as he sat on the other side. Although his posture was very upright and his expression stern, due to the little girl hanging around his neck it became a little weird.
He didn’t dare look too much and handed the letter over to the Jing Prince.
The Jing Prince didn’t bring Eunuch Fu along on this trip, and only brought ten or so trusted guards. He had intended on leaving the guards behind to protect her and the children, but his planning couldn’t keep up with the developments, and he wasn’t able to convince her.
After reading the letter, the Jing Prince’s expression became grave. He waved his hand and Lin Qing Ting took his leave.
The Jing Prince looked at Xiao Hua who was still half turned away, and then looked at his teary eyed daughter around his neck.
“Really not willing to live here?”
Xiao Hua turned around and faced him, her lustrous eyes filled with tears, “We’re going back to the estate with highness.”
Another soundless sigh, and then a long while later, the Jing Prince helplessly nodded.
The Jing Prince was in a hurry to return and didn’t delay any further. Soon the orders were given to depart.
Xiao Hua was dazed the entire way back, only knowing to grab onto his hand tightly without letting go. The Jing Prince had told her he would definitely bring her back several times but she still didn’t let go. She seemed to be afraid he was lying, and planning to leave her and the children behind.
Only when she saw the familiar western pavilion did Xiao Hua feel relieved. However, she was soon unable to maintain her smile, because she saw someone she had never expected to see.
“Why are you here?”
Warning in advance, a lot of contrived melodrama in the next chapter.
Actually this melodrama had already been planned way back when. According to Xiao Hua’s thoughts, she would say she really had a lot of foresight back then. Hehe….
One final regular chapter to come later today once I finish translating it. Normally I wait until I’m done with the day’s chapters before releasing all in one go, but wanted to post these first so you can mull things over. Also to leave you on this cliff for a bit. Mwahahaha.