Chapter 102: Appeasement, Stay Tonight
This thought only briefly flashed through Bai Xiangxiu’s mind. She wasn’t the real Bai Xiangxiu, so there was no need for her to be foolishly sad thinking about it.
The third madame’s funeral procession started off from the Prince Li Manor in short order, and as the person in charge of the household, Bai Xiangxiu naturally had to accompany the coffin out of the estate. As she sat in the carriage that followed the coffin to the city gates, she was a bit excited. It was the first time she’d gone so far from the manor. But when she arrived outside the city gates, she discovered that the land beyond the walls didn’t really contain anything special.
Soldiers guarded two enormously impressive gates. They didn’t halt the flow of traffic in and out of the city, and men, women, seniors, and children were all mixed into the crowd. Will I too be part of this crowd one day? Although people who transmigrated usually tried to take advantage of their opportunity and live their lives to the fullest, her circumstances had forced her to keep her head down and aim for way to get back safely instead.
After she returned from this experience, she would absolutely find a man to marry. No matter how outstanding the men were here, she’d always felt a bit out of place. The supporting male lead had indeed occupied her thoughts for a time, as she’d obsessed over him day and night. She’d never paid quite so much attention to a man before. But it was a pity that they seemed destined to be just passersby, like those walking in and out of the city gates.
They were about to turn back after the coffin had exited the city gates when they suddenly saw an uncommon procession. What made it uncommon? All of the entourage’s men walked with the awe-inspiring air of military men. The leader was riding a tall muscular horse that left onlookers enthralled. Not because of its lines or figure, but because it was a pure white coat, without a single imperfection. The one sitting on top of it had an even more impressive demeanor, as he wore a black cotton top with his hair neatly swept upwards and held in place by a golden crown1.
He was coldly handsome and carried himself with an outstanding flair. Everyone was instantly attracted by his extraordinary bearing as he entered the city, and the guards at the gate bowed in greeting. “We greet Prince Li in an honored welcome to the city.”
Prince Li immediately noticed his manor’s carriage, but he didn’t know who was sitting inside. The carriage was decked out the same no matter who was inside. Therefore, when he urged his horse forward and saw Xiao Shi, he paused in surprise. What is she doing outside the city? If one brought up the topic of Bai Xiangxiu defying him before, he really wasn’t all that angry about her. What he’d cared about were those two lines from the poem he’d read from her letter. It’d almost felt like he’d been the one doing wrong, and left her to flail in misunderstanding after misunderstanding instead. With her body, it would likely be easy for something untoward to happen if she was distracted. Didn’t they all say that women had a narrow mind and liked to think random thoughts?
He didn’t know how to react when she suddenly appeared, so he slowly followed behind the carriage all the way to the Prince Li Manor. On the other hand, the one inside the carriage was even more conflicted. The master of the house was back, and she’d offended him before he’d left. Should she take the initiative to indicate some goodwill? To that end, she raised the curtain of the carriage and said in a small voice, “You’re back, Your Highness.”
Long Heng had no idea what to say when he saw her acting so carefully. He grunted, spurring his horse to canter towards the front.
He’s still angry! Oh come on, he’s a man, why is he nursing a grudge like this? But after thinking about it, she had indeed challenged his authority. Now that he was back, he would also learn that one of his concubines had run off with another man. This would definitely make for a poor temper. Even though he ended up sweeping out all the women in the end for the female lead, it was entirely different when one of his women had an affair.
This was something few men could stomach in the olden times, so she was a bit worried that Prince Li would want to thoroughly investigate the matter. Jiang Su’er and Ah Quan would certainly be in danger then. Therefore, she would have to handle this matter as calmly as possible and distract him so that he wouldn’t think of looking into this matter.
So it was with this frame of mind that she followed that ill-tempered male lead back to the manor with no outward sign of a conflict. However, she hadn’t anticipated that the male lead would go directly to his own residence and not even look in on her. Bai Xiangxiu was depressed. It looked like she would have to first melt the male lead’s frosty demeanor, or she’d be in for it when his wrath came crashing down on her. She couldn’t help but shiver when she recalled the downfall of her original character.
No! I must make him have a better impression of me! Alright, then she would cook for him. Although she specialized in vegetarian dishes, there was nothing wrong with cooking meat dishes the way she did vegetarian.
Bai Xiangxiu sped for the kitchen once she made up her mind. She really did make four dishes herself and have Xiao Shi send them over. Although she didn’t accompany it with words admitting to her guilt, he would understand her intentions, right? Right?
On the other hand, what she didn’t know was that the subject of her thoughts had walked off in another direction because he was planning on washing off the dust of the road and then coming to meet her afterwards. It seemed like a better option rather than having her live misunderstanding his intentions But just as he’d finished bathing and was tousling his hair dry, she had come calling. Long Heng was delighted and felt that he was thinking too much. She wasn’t angry at him at all!
He came out to greet her without even combing his hair. Who would’ve thought that she had come bearing food, and food that she had made herself at that? This obvious gesture to please him warmed his heart. He sat down with a large flourish and spoke when he saw her still standing, “You haven’t eaten yet either, right? Come, eat with me.”
Bai Xiangxiu was actually having a mental nosebleed off on the side. What was with the bizarre sexiness that this man with wet locks of hair was exuding! Was something wrong with her? Was he in heat? He smelled so good! This was pure, naked seduction alright!? She immediately sat down after hearing his invitation, not intending to offend this man anymore.
Long Heng didn’t pause after seeing her respond so docilely. He had someone bring over two wine cups and personally poured wine for her. “Drink with this prince.”
“Understood.” But what to do if she didn’t like this kind of wine? She still picked up the cup to keep the prince company. He threw his head back and drained the cup, but the spiciness of the alcohol startled her into a coughing fit after a small sip.
Long Heng frowned; how could he have forgotten that while he liked strong liquor, she was just a girl and couldn’t handle it. Look at how red her face has turned! “Shu’er, bring us some wine that girls can drink.”
Shu’er nodded and walked off, thinking; the sun is really rising from the west today! How would the prince be thinking for a woman otherwise?
It was a pity that Bai Xiangxiu wasn’t able to take even a sip of the newly brought wine. That small taste from earlier had burned her throat so much so that it hurt to even talk. Long Heng had no idea what to do about this girl who was as fragile as paper in front of him. What could be done, since he liked her?
He paused when this word registered in his mind. He’d never thought that there’d come a day he’d like a woman. However, it was quite good if that woman was her. He didn’t feel overly conflicted as he looked at the quiet girl in front of him, “Stay the night.”
Bai Xiangxiu immediately felt a wave of dizziness hit her head as she pressed her hand against her forehead. So she’d ducked and weaved, but the moment has still finally come? However, she hadn’t thought that her movement would reveal the injuries on her forehead and hand. Long Heng grabbed her hand and shot to his feet, “What’s going on here?”
He’d just returned home and obviously knew nothing about the fire.
“Nothing nothing!” What’s going on, was this concern that she was hearing in his voice?
- Crowns in ancient China weren’t like the Western crowns limited to royalty. They were small, metal circles that acted like a hair tie for a male. ↩