Chapter 180: Entanglement from the Female Lead
“Very well, very well… Xiaoshi, give the young master a seat.” He’s pretty and his voice is pleasing. We also share similarities in our faces. It looks like these traits really are characteristic of the Bai family. She was just about to get to know her brother a little bit more when she heard the maids outside announce, “Greetings to Your Highness.”
The hell. Hadn’t he gone into the palace to give his new year greetings to the emperor? Why was the prince back? Bai Xiangxiu hastily stood up and took a look at her brother, noticing that he had tensed up as well. He seemed to be acting like he’d done something wrong. Although Bai Xiangxiu didn’t understand, Bai Xueru did. There were many rules and customs when it came to the residences of nobility and royalty. Women of the rear court weren’t able to easily receive male guests. Even brothers couldn’t be brought to their own courtyard. Although rumors abounded outside of how favored a concubine his sister was, she was still just a concubine at the end of the day. If others found fault with her, she might not even be able to pay a visit home ever again!
Bai Xueru’s face was a bit pale as he looked worriedly at his sister. However, she flashed a comforting smile at him instead, seemingly telling him that all was fine. That’s odd. His sister hadn’t liked him before, particularly after she’d found out that she was going to marry a prince. She’d been extremely arrogant towards the rest of the family, so why was she suddenly being nice?
As he pondered, a series of dull footsteps sounded from outside, as if thudding on one’s heart. Next, a man whose looks would brighten whichever room he was in came into view. He was dressed richly and had a cold expression on his face. His eyes were unusually sharp and were immediately filled with hostility when he caught sight of Bai Xueru. Goosebumps formed over his back, and his heart seemed to start trembling as well. As a young man from a scholarly family, he had difficulty maintaining his composure in front of such a bloodthirsty prince. He dropped to his knees with an audible thunk but found himself unable to say anything.
Why was this scene so bizarre, almost as if she’d been caught cheating on the prince? Bai Xiangxiu’s face flickered through an odd expression as she immediately made introductions, “This is Bai Xueru, my younger brother. He’s brought some gifts from home to present to Your Highness in celebration of the new year.”
How would the younger brother of a concubine have the right to greet the prince in the new year? She was just mouthing empty platitudes. However, Long Heng displayed a rare show of controlling his temper. A composed expression settled on his face as he took a seat, “You may rise. Your sentiments are appreciated.”
“It’s just a small town in the countryside and doesn’t possess many treasures. As long as Your Highness finds no fault with things.” Bai Xueru heaved a sigh of relief when he saw that the lofty Prince Li had no intention of censuring him, but he still stammered as he spoke. However, Bai Xiangxiu could sense that this one sitting beside her had drunk wine, and more than his fair share at that. Although he seemed to be behaving as per his usual, the look in his eyes was completely different from the usual.
“Mama, go stew a sobering soup for the prince.” Someone grabbed her hand as she spoke. It was Long Heng! Playing with her hand in front of others! He was caressing her hand like he was lovingly stroking a precious treasure.
“Do you think I’m drunk? Silly one, I’m completely fine even if they are drunk.”
“….” He’s really very drunk. Bai Xiangxiu blushed to her ears in her embarrassment. She pinched his hand lightly, silently telling him not to get out of line.
However, Long Heng seemed to pay her no heed as he tugged her over to him, plopping his head on hers to take in her fragrance, “Are you worried about me?”
The hell. What are you doing, Your Highness?
“N-no. Mama, take Xueru to go rest.”
“Then, X-Xu-Xueru will take his leave for now.” He really couldn’t stay here any longer, Bai Xueru felt that his face got any more red, it would catch fire. He hadn’t thought that the coldly aloof prince would have such a side to him. His sister really did seem to be favored, but he didn’t know whether this was a good thing or not.
Setting aside the fact that Bai Xueru had been summarily dismissed, Bai Xiangxiu was quite troubled at the moment. The usually aloof and distant Prince Li was now a lecher who wouldn’t give up. It seemed that men who’d had a drink really became unreasonable lifeforms, and there was no telling what they’d do next. Bai Xiangxiu was afraid that he would actually harm her because his movements weren’t gentle. In the end though, he didn’t. Although he did become a little too wild, and pulled all sorts of tricks out of his repertoire. She really couldn’t hold up by the time he came to a close.
She’d already tried her best to hang on since it was the first of the new year, but after this bout, she really felt that she wouldn’t be able to alight from the bed for three days.
It was just as she’d thought, she was rendered incapable of leaving her bed for at least three days. She could only lie there helplessly and accuse Long Heng with her eyes. He too felt that he had done wrong, so he had servants send over nutritional supplements every now and then, but they seemed to have no effect.
When Bai Xiangxiu could finally get up, she had an unexpected visitor. At least, she found it quite strange, why had the female lead come visiting? What did she want? Bai Xiangxiu still decided to receive her and noticed that her counterpart wasn’t any better. There were dark circles beneath her eyes and her steps were shaky. Bai Xiangxiu was entirely too clear on what that meant. It was a sign of over-indulgence in one’s desires!
“What business might Miss Lin have with me?” Bai Xiangxiu coughed lightly as she asked. She didn’t want the female lead to see that they had the same problems.
Miss Lin glanced at her and lowered her head, “The prince treats you very well, doesn’t he?”
“Well enough.” She wasn’t going to back down in front of the female lead this time!
Lin Qianzi’s expression was a bit dull. “I know that the prince genuinely loves you, but I don’t want to ask for anything other than being able to reside peacefully after entering the manor, and having a child with him. This is my parents’ expectations. Can you allow that?” She began crying as she spoke.
Bai Xiangxiu immediately rose from her chair, and took two slow laps around the room. At the end, she turned to transfix Lin Qianzi with a cold glare, “Miss Lin, do you like anyone?”
Two figures suddenly appeared in Lin Qianzi’s mind. One of them was the rascally rogue Luo Yunzheng, the other the gentle and tender Duan Yunying. Both had great spots in her heart, but she had to forget them both.
“What do you want to say?” Lin Qianzi asked Bai Xiangxiu, perplexed.
Bai Xiangxiu laughed coldly, “Would you give your beloved man to another woman so they can have a child together? That’s not true love then.”
Lin Qianzi started, and started to cry even more heartbrokenly. “No, no, I don’t want to take him away from you. It’s just that my parents…”
“What do your parents’ expectations have anything to do with me? Shouldn’t you be asking the prince for this?”
“The prince, the prince hates me.”
“Ha, then how do you want me to help you? Drug the prince and have him sent to your bed?”
“You…” These words were very crude and hurtful. Lin Qianzi was instantly halted in her tracks.
Even Long Heng listening outside was stunned, much less Lin Qianzi. What had she just said? Was he the man she loved? Was this why she wouldn’t give him away to any other woman? Do women also have thoughts like these? But she really had been very direct, to the point of making others speechless.