Chapter 245: The Playful Newly Appointed Princess Consort
Long Heng smiled wryly. The corners of his mouth moved only a little. Bai Xiangxiu wouldn’t have noticed that smile at all had she not been staring at him. However, that smile sent chills down Bai Xiangxiu’s spine. “You’re probably thinking something amongst the likes of ‘woman, just wait until I’ve recovered’. Am I right?” Bai Xiangxiu whispered.
Long Heng was taken aback and immediately caressed his face. Was I that obvious? How does she know?
“You’ve said that so many times in the past with that same look on your face already. It’s so frightening.” It was at this moment when Bai Xiangxiu remembered how it always ended up with her not being able to get out of bed for three days. It was genuinely torture for body and soul.
“That’s quite clever of you. No need to be anxious, the day will soon come.”
“When did I ever look anxious?” Bai Xiangxiu rolled her eyes at him. Unfortunately, a certain prince automatically classified it as flirting instead.
The autumn weather today was quite invigorating. The gentle breeze was extremely pleasant when it blew past them. Bai Xiangxiu was looking out at the view through a tiny window in her carriage. At this moment, everything that happened in the battlefield seemed like just a dream. And yet, those were precious memories. She’d never forget about the bravery of the nameless heroes. Their gallant sacrifices would never be forgotten.
“Do you wish to go back to Tranquil City?”
“Mm. The people there are cute.”
“I like that place too. If it were possible, I’d rather go to that city and live out the life of a recluse prince.”
“That’s surprising, I thought you’d wish for me to aim for a higher position!”
Bai Xiangxiu turned around to face Long Heng. “That position is a bottomless pit. Once you’ve jumped into it, you’ll forget all about your friends and family. You would abandon us all sooner or later. Me, our son, the old madame, everyone.”
“Who’s naive? I’m certain it’ll happen.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from a royal family or a normal family, there’s no such thing as family or friends at the face of self-interest. Don’t we both know that this is the truth?” Bai Xiangxiu stared at Long Heng as she was puzzled by what he’d said. Long Heng gently patted her head and said, “Many disgusting things have never tried to approach you as you were just a concubine before.. But soon, you will soon see them show their true face in front of you. You have no idea how much I wish you could continue to remain ignorant of this fact.”
“What… are you trying to say?” For some reason, Bai Xiangxiu could see a hint of sadness in Long Heng’s eyes. She never thought that he’d actually feel sad over something in life as well.
“You must know that I don’t have anyone else except you, mother and Lin’er. It’s same for you as well.”
“I… still have my brother…”
“Only that rascal from your family treats you with sincerity.”
“……” What did he mean by saying that? Was there something wrong with her warm, scholarly family. Just what did that contempt in Long Heng’s eyes mean?
“This is why I say you’re too naive, always thinking that others are kind. If your parents were good, why did they send you into my manor to spend your days in loneliness? I won’t say much else, you’ll understand soon enough.”
Bai Xiangxiu seemed to understand something from these words. The old madame had taken in these four concubines before Long Heng had returned from the battlefield, and although it had looked like a most glorious affair, but there was a saying that one would rather be the wife of a poor man than the concubine of a rich man. She had been the firstborn of the wife, but she’d been sent in as a concubine. It looked like the parents of the original owner of this body hadn’t loved her much. Not to mention, they hadn’t come to look in on her after such a long period of time. They’d only sent her some gifts after the little prince had been born, but still hadn’t visited her.
She’d thought at that time that her family was so thoughtful. They had refrained from visiting her because they hadn’t wanted to put her in an awkward position, right? After all, the parents of a concubine weren’t typically treated with much respect. Did they just not want to see me? Meh. Maybe Long Heng’s just thinking too much.
The atmosphere in the carriage chilled for a moment, but thankfully they soon arrived at the Pavilion of Departing Visitors at the east corner of the palace. Everyone was congregated here, with the men leaping astride their horses and the women taking places in carriages as they set out for the hunting grounds of east mountain.
However, trouble brewed here. Long Heng was escorted off the carriage and then laid down on the soft litter. This was when Bai Xiangxiu discovered that her husband really knew how to put on a good act. His face was the picture of weakness as he laid there, and it really looked like he’d been through a great illness.
Those around him naturally came to ask about his health and offer words of comfort. The emperor was first delighted and then felt agonized. He was happy that Long Heng had finally eaten a loss at his hands. It looked like he would take at least a month to recover. He was then conflicted because Long Heng’s act was pronouncing loud and clear that the emperor was a heartless man who didn’t know how to treat others kindly. Long Heng was this sick already, but he’d still forced the general to accompany him. This was blatantly making life difficult for Long Heng!
And so the emperor frowned and comforted Long Heng with a few words, saying that he could remain lying there and didn’t have to alight. Long Heng naturally agreed. It would be difficult if the emperor wanted to make him come down. He wouldn’t joke with his own health.
The empress hadn’t accompanied them on this outing. The old madame naturally couldn’t come if she hadn’t, as the old madame was her guest. Those who had come were the emperor’s concubines. There were ten carriages full of them, filled with roughly seventeen consorts or girls who had relations with the emperor. Bai Xiangxiu kept shaking her head when she saw the carriages. The emperor was something alright, how did he manage so many women?
However, Lin Qianzi was also here. Bai Xiangxiu had gotten word of that yesterday. That woman actually still wanted to get revenge and had thought of many plans. It was a pity that Bai Xiangxiu heard them all, but didn’t mention them to Long Heng so that he wouldn’t worry. She was waiting for Lin Qianzi to throw herself into disarray. I just don’t get it, you’re a little girl who’s just had an abortion. What’s the point in taking the field with your injuries? She also probably doesn’t know that she’s just cannon fodder for someone else. Someone else is using her in all of this. That person was likely here today as well. Bai Xiangxiu felt that she had to face quite a few enemies today.
The emperor first rode in his palanquin and switched to horseback when the retinue exited the capital. He subconsciously flicked a glance at Bai Xiangxiu. It was an unstoppable fact that men loved looking at beauties, not to mention a legendary beauty. There were those who hated her, and those who loved her. Those who hated her wanted her to die, and those who loved her pitied her. They were all of the imperial harem, with some the emperor’s new concubines, and others the dowager consorts of the previous emperor.
A pale, tender hand suddenly poked out from the carriage just as they were all musing over their thoughts. It was holding a water skin that it flung forcefully to Long Heng. Long Heng caught it and took a sip of water.
The married couple were being lovey dovey towards each other. This very ordinary movement was enough to betray that this woman was a bit playful. She could’ve ordered the servants hand over the water skin to Long Heng, but she’d chosen to thrown it herself instead, and had thrown is at a very low angle. She’d obviously wanted to tease Long Heng! One had to admit, while those prim and proper ladies might look demure, they weren’t as lively as a playful woman. There were very few women like this in the imperial harem. Even the extremely seductive Lin Qianzi was quite a dull character normally.