The Jing Prince was left by himself in the spacious hall.
His expression was inexplicably dark and gloomy as he sat.
Xiao-Shi hadn’t changed in both lifetimes. She still used such foolish, ignorant and vulgar schemes!
In his past life, the Jing Prince actually wasn’t as removed from the rear court as he was in this life. Due to the need for an heir, he couldn’t avoid spending the night with his concubines despite his apathy for feminine charms.
Three women could still put on a performance together, but with four women there was no way to avoid disputes. Unlike in this life, the Jing Prince had spent the night with Yu Jiao and Yu Rong in his past life.
Back then, the Jing Prince Estate’s internal affairs had been given to the Jing Consort to handle. The Jing Consort had fawned upon him slightly with the intention of seeking forgiveness, and since she was his wife, he decided to reestablish their relationship. The Jing Consort appeared magnanimous, dignified and amicable normally, and her handling of internal affairs also distinguished clearly between reward and punishment.
Everything appeared to be peaceful and harmonious…..
The Jing Prince’s heir had been born frail, and afterwards he lost two more sons. One from the Jing Consort and one from Senior Concubine Qiao. He was left with only one son and two daughters. As for Yu Jiao and Yu Rong, they had miscarried once early on and showed no more signs of development afterwards.
At that time the Jing Prince’s thoughts had been simple, and was also weary from dealing with changes in the capital. As a man to begin with, how could he concern himself with internal affairs? Rich households always had the convention that the rear court was managed by the main mistress. The Jing Prince didn’t plan on being an exception.
After the events occurred, he had merely comforted the various people, and didn’t think to investigate the cause.
The days continued to pass until right before his death.
The Jin Emperor had bestowed upon him poisoned wine. Eunuch Fu had desperately tried to shield him but was dragged off by others.
He knew Eunuch Fu would definitely be put to death, and those old fellows who had been with him since the very beginning would also not have any good outcomes. He sat in the abandoned Hall of Splendor with a cup of poisoned wine in front of him….
Xiao-Shi came to send him off, and spoke a few words.
“…..You spent your entire life muddling along at a loss, without any accomplishments, without any ambition. You were essentially a spineless coward. You wanted peace and tranquility, but is this a peaceful world? You didn’t struggle and didn’t fight for things, yet this is the outcome….”
Xiao-Shi’s face was eerily twisted. This woman who was supposedly his wife was suddenly extremely unfamiliar.
Luo Jing always thought he hated such contempt and disregard. In the past when he encountered this, he always felt uncomfortable despite not showing anything on the surface. Having converted to Buddhism recently, he had found inner peace. However, looking at the twisted face of the woman before him, his actually felt it was preposterous.
“…….Qiao-Shi had my son killed, and in return I had hers killed. The other two fools didn’t even give birth to a child…..the peaceful rear court in your mind was merely an illusion. It was all an illusion created by others…..how could there be no struggles? To not struggle is to be swallowed up. It wasn’t a situation where everyone could coexist to begin with…..”
Luo Jing felt extreme pain in his heart. He had thought he should appear shocked, should have suffered a huge blow, should have….but at that moment he was scarily calm. Although his heart felt like it was cut by a knife, his appearance was as like hardened cement, unable to even reveal the slightest sorrow….
“…..your prince’s throne will belong to our Heng’er in the future….his majesty had said that once you are dead, everything will belong to us mother and son….stop struggling, there’s no use in struggling…..”
“…..You’re just a mute. Leaving a mute alive is merely squandering resources….”
Luo Jing merely looked on silently. He looked at her deranged appearance.
“……..how about you drink it yourself. Don’t force me to do it. His majesty has said that if you aren’t willing to drink, I can personally handle it…..”
Luo Jing’s white jade-like yet withered hand gripped the wine cup, and drank the wine inside. He drank in the same way he normally drank wine, his posture normal, his expression normal, his gaze apathetic. Yet he continued to stare at her.
The Jing Consort’s heavily made-up face was suddenly flooded with tears. She seemed to be crying and laughing at the same time. She bent over and used her hands to cover her face, but couldn’t stop the stream of tears from falling.
“Luo Jing, don’t blame me. I had no choice. People are selfish creatures. It was for Heng’er’s sake….If you don’t die my son will have to die…..I only have this one son left, I can’t let him die…..”
Luo Jing felt something leaking from the corner of his lips. He opened his mouth…..
He really wanted to say: you fool….
But was unable to say it out loud….
When he reincarnated, the Jing Prince’s mind was extremely chaotic for several month.
The world as he had known it had been shattered by Xiao-Shi and the Jin Emperor. He didn’t understand why people’s characters could be so unbearable. He struggled over it, grew exhausted by it, doubted it, but couldn’t find an answer no matter what he did…..
He pondered over these painful experiences until he decided to get rid of it all.
Since his thoughts and knowledge wasn’t able to align with this preposterous world and with the weird thoughts of certain people, then he would no longer ponder over it and act instead.
Were the thoughts of others really important? Were the thoughts of people really important? If they were, why did he still die at the Jin Emperor’s hands despite spending all his efforts on trying to survive?
To put it plainly, it was due to the lack of ability! If he had shown a little more initiative in his past life, if he had not muddled along so much, if he hadn’t been a mute…..how could he have ended up in a situation where he was unable to resist, retreating until he could retreat no further and had no dignity left?!
What counted as ability?
The Jing Prince started to ponder.
Regarding the Jing Consort, the Jing Prince’s thoughts were complicated.
There was hatred, yet also a lack of hatred. He wanted revenge, but then thought about her face filled with tears before his death. He wanted to throw her far away, but had reasons for not moving her….
In the end he chose to ignore her.
Since he had never cared in the past, he would ignore her from now on.
As for the rest, he thought that since there would be struggles in the rear court it was better for him not to go. After all, in this life he didn’t plan on having any heirs. Might as well just leave it at that.
That low-ranked palace maid was unexpected. She was someone outside of his predictions.
Environment and circumstances change a person’s thoughts….
He thought that Xiao-Shi knew her place. He thought that the Jing Consort, who was a mere figurehead, would have no means to do anything. Therefore, he had followed his desires and went over to the western pavilion a few times. However, he had overlooked the fact that despite being foolish, that woman Xiao-Shi’s methods were always rough….
The Jing Prince suddenly remembered what Doctor Hu just said, “…..if treated with the utmost effort, half a year would be enough.”
He became a little restless for no apparent reason. He rubbed his brows and no longer thought about it.
When Ding Xiang came back and reported that the Rongxi Pavilion and Hanxiang Pavilion had both fallen victim to the scheme as well, Xiao Hua felt relieved all over.
When she first suddenly found out she had fallen victim, her emotions were a little chaotic. After thinking about it, she thought maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing?!
As expected, the events that followed were not outside of her predictions. Only Eunuch Fu’s means had left her a little shocked.
What the Jing Prince’s reaction was like she didn’t know, but Eunuch Fu’s means could be said to be completely ruthless. Not only did it carve out a chunk of the Jing Consort’s heart, it also splendidly killed the chickens to warn the monkey.
After all, the monkey wasn’t just the Jing Consort or the palace maids in the Changchun Pavilion, but also included both mistresses and servants in the other pavilions.
Yu Jiao and Yu Rong were completely finished. In the future, they probably wouldn’t be hopping about anymore. Even if they did, they wouldn’t be coming after her. Senior Concubine Qiao was someone cautious to begin with. Since she had to undergo treatment just like herself, she naturally had no time to waste on her. As for the Jing Consort….
All her personal aides had been beaten to death, and she herself was confined. The Jing Prince had only said to confine her, but not for how long. This meant that only with his highness’s permission would she be released.
Xiao Hua was aware of the Jing Prince’s personality. He had always been taciturn, and since there wouldn’t be anyone competent by his side to remind him, only the heavens knew when he would think of the Jing Consort next.
Everything was looking well for her, except for the part where she temporarily couldn’t get pregnant.
However, at this point she could be said to have found fortune in the midst of misfortune. It had already far exceeded her initial expectations. Putting it all together, Xiao Hua realized this was the best outcome for her.
If she needed to be treated she would get treated. Compared to those two unfortunate souls, her situation wasn’t that bad.
After her relief, Xiao Hua finally got up after lying in bed the entire day.
Ding Lan and Chun Cao had been treading lightly all day. Only after seeing Xiao Hua’s condition did they finally relax.
“Madam, you haven’t eaten all day. This servant has already instructed the dining hall to leave you some food.” Ding Xiang said quietly.
“You’ve been busy all day. Go rest properly for a while. Let Ding Lan take care of the food.”
The Jing Prince finished his dinner and returned to read in his study.
Eunuch Fu felt it was normal, but didn’t notice that the book in his hands remained on the same page.
After sitting for another while, the Jing Prince suddenly stood up and headed towards the outside.
Eunuch Fu didn’t say anything and merely followed behind. Only when they turned towards the western pavilion did he realize there were going to Madam Hua’s place.
When the Jing Prince arrived, Xiao Hua was in the middle of eating.
Having stayed in bed the entire afternoon and not having straightened herself up after getting up, Xiao Hua’s appearance was naturally disheveled.
Seeing the table full of food, the Jing Prince left the words “you eat” before going into the western room. Xiao Hua could only sit back down and eat.
After eating, she washed up and also entered the western room.
The Jing Prince was half leaning on the warm kiln at this time. His purple clad slender firm body was nested within the pink cushions embroidered with silver lined peony trees. Accompanied with his apathetic face which was lowered in reading, it gave off a rather unharmonious feeling.
Why did this person come?!
Seeing Xiao Hua walk in, the Jing Prince gave her a glance before returning to the book in his hands.
Xiao Hua’s emotions were a little complicated, but there was a little moodiness surging in her heart.
The truth was that the Jing Prince only dealt with the Jing Consort because she had gone overboard. Xiao Hua also told herself this. But having first dealt with the consort and then come over here while not saying anything, the Jing Prince’s actions made Xiao Hua feel quite weird.
She approached and sat next to him, wanting to speak yet hesitating a few times without opening her mouth.
Forget it, forget it. This person was always apathetic. Perhaps he just did the logical thing, so if she opened her mouth to thank him it might make it seem like she assumed too much.
But despite thinking this, Xiao Hua’s mental state was very different from the past.
The Jing Prince was a very quiet person. Having spent some time with him, Xiao Hua also knew how to entertain herself. Seeing him leisurely leaning there reading his book, she sat by his legs and practiced her needlework.
Her needlework had made some progress, and she was able to embroider flowers and grass and what not. Of course her embroidery skill couldn’t be said to be good, but merely so so.
Time passed silently. The western room had been very quiet this whole time, but the atmosphere was very harmonious.
It wasn’t known how much time had passed when the Jing Prince put down the book and sat up.
Seeing movement, Xiao Hua put her needlework back into the basket.
The two of them went to the bedroom, washed up and lay on the bed. Xiao Hua thought the Jing Prince would do something, but unexpectedly he didn’t.
She lay in the inner spot of the bed on her side, sneaking a glance at the Jing Prince who lay flat on his back. From her angle she could see his well-defined nose-bridge and side profile.
His eyes were closed, seemingly fast asleep. Xiao Hua however didn’t feel sleepy in the slightest.
In the past the Jing Prince gave Xiao Hua an unapproachable feeling. His apathetic expression and taciturn personality made others feel he was a deity far above them. Although he sometimes felt quite intimate with her in bed, outside the bedroom she could never see through his thoughts.
And with all that had happened today, especially since the Jing Prince had come afterwards, it made Xiao Hua speculate a bit even if he didn’t say anything.
The Jing Prince seemed to sense Xiao Hua looking at him, and suddenly turned over on his side. He stroked her hair a little, and didn’t make any other moves.
Stroking the hair is a very intimate sort of action, and gave off a feeling of closeness.
The last time he stroked the hair in front of her chest, it made her feel a little weird. Unexpectedly, it was stroked this time again.
It wasn’t as if he hadn’t touched her hair in the past, but that was just a little gesture he did after they had done the deed. These two times actually made Xiao Hua feel a weird sense of intimacy.
Regarding this master with his weird personality, Xiao Hua’s approach was always to know her place. She would occasionally feel him out a little. After all, no one liked being unable to figure out the personality of someone they were serving, especially someone whom they shared a bed with. Being unable to figure out meant being unable to understand. Being unable to understand meant there was a possibility of making mistakes.
At this time Xiao Hua’s thoughts stirred and she felt him out a little once again.
That was to slowly shift herself over until she acted casually while really plucking up her courage and buried her face in his chest. She had even thought of how she should react if the Jing Prince wasn’t willing.
She felt his body tense up for a second before relaxing. Seeing the Jing Prince not move, Xiao Hua felt relieved.
After a while, one of his arms crept up along her spine and lightly stroked her back.
Once, twice, and once again….
This sort of movement gave off a strong feeling of consolation and comforting. Xiao Hua didn’t understand at first, but then had some idea and a feeling of grievance arose in her heart. Her eyes turned sour unwillingly. By the time she noticed it, her tears had already saturated the Jing Prince’s clothes.
How could she not feel wronged? She had merely buried it deep inside. Since she had no backing and nothing to rely on, who could she go complain to if she was wronged? She merely pretended to be fine.
The Jing Prince’s body turned rigid and his fingers shrank back a little before returning to stroke along her back. He felt a burning sensation in his chest that made his heart involuntarily shiver.
Xiao Hua snapped out of it, and seeing the Jing Prince not react she thought he hadn’t noticed. She covered it up by rubbing her face in his chest a few times before stopping her movements.
This wasn’t the first time Xiao Hua and the Jing Prince merely covered themselves with blankets and simply went to sleep, but it felt different from the other times. Exactly what was different, she temporarily couldn’t tell.
She slowly closed her eyes. The night passed without any words.