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Chapter 16 … He did not rely on her affections for him.
Gu Hong Jian kept her promise. She said that he no longer needed to look at her again, and Lin Si Ze really did not look her way in a very long time. He did not know where she withdrew to either.
Lin Si Ze's heart was now in disarray. In addition, the palace was also thrown into an uproar; so, for the time being, he did not want to look at Gu Hong Jian—and she complied to this. Every morning when he rose and looked in the mirror, however, he would see the scar on his lip, causing his mood to become very complicated.
Lin Si Ze was very good at concealing his inner thoughts most of the time—excluding the day of Zuo Ning Yan's death.
Zuo Ning Yan's death had made him very depressed, but he also gave himself a time limit for his grief—a limit of one day.
Although he would never be able to forget this matter, as the mere thought of it had him sighing sorrowfully, he could only restrain his grief. After all, he had too many things to deal with.
Zuo Ning Yan's death had instigated quite a large stir in the capital city.
Most people cursed the Yao family and Yao Tian Ao and talked about how he had hounded Zuo Ning Yan to death. Many cursed the Zuo family as well, saying they had actually forced their daughter to marry that sc.u.m Yao Tian Ao and had thus ultimately hounded their daughter to death. From beginning to end, the Zuo family remained silent, never even explaining why they agreed to this marriage.
Zuo Xiang had clearly spoken a few words with the emperor, however, as the emperor's coloration had darkened with anger. The first prince and Imperial Tutor Yao were summoned and ruthlessly reprimanded. Lin Si Ze was also scolded with the same strictness, but it was with a warmer tone and voice. Lin Si Ze knew what the emperor meant in his heart, yet he did not expose a trace of joy. He simply listened to the teachings with a serious bearing, like before, which made the emperor internally become increasingly satisfied with him.
Meanwhile, the emperor's health worsened. Lin Si Ze even heard a whispered discussion between two imperial physicians about how the emperor would not last this winter.
Nevertheless, the emperor continued to remain very calm and had yet to declare his chosen crown prince. In the blink of an eye, three months pa.s.sed.
In these three months, Lin Si Ze had only seen Gu Hong Jian once.
In fact, he was worried that Gu Hong Jian had actually run away early on into her disappearance, so he had even sent people looking for her. This revealed to him that Gu Hong Jian had, in fact, not left the palace. She had not even left De Ze Palace and had simply hidden away in her room. Because she had an excellent and extremely favorable relationship with Lin Si Ze, she was the Head Palace Maid. This previously also meant that she could basically enjoy master treatment. Therefore, no one would say anything even if she never left her room.
Lin Si Ze knew how Gu Hong Jian's temper ran, however. Just as expected, when he sat in the courtyard alone one night, drinking, he had recalled Zuo Ning Yan's smile as she glanced back and then recalled Gu Hong Jian's tear-filled eyes as she shouted at him. His heart and mind were in chaos; he could not help but sigh lightly.
Just as he sighed, he saw a figure gracefully flit across the rooftops of De Ze Palace. Lin Si Ze's gaze followed that figure, but he just so happened to meet Gu Hong Jian's eyes. The two of them stared into one another's eyes for a short, brief moment. Neither could deduce the deep intentions hidden within each other's gaze. Gu Hong Jian did not remain still for long and confidently returned to her room with ease. Peng— Her door slammed shut.
The day before Winter Solstice, the emperor suddenly sent down an imperial decree establishing Lin Si Ze as the crown prince. At the moment, the emperor's body was indisposed, so Lin Si Ze held the government within the palm of his hand. The first prince had no choice but to a.s.sist Lin Si Ze's rule; he had no right to criticize the emperor.
With this, the state of affairs instantly became set and finalized. Zuo Xiang even had a long talk with Lin Si Ze that lasted the entire night, but no one knew what they had ended up talking about.
At the Winter Solstice Feast, the emperor only attended for a brief period of time, rather hurriedly too because his body was unwell and he had to excuse himself. The mood throughout the Winter Solstice Feast was thus at a low ebb. The first prince, however, had shown his face for the first time since Lin Si Ze was announced to be the crown prince. He had a darkened face and would occasionally glance at Lin Si Ze before drinking another cup of wine in extreme anger.
Because Gu Hong Jian was not present, Lin Si Ze was also at a loss. She had always accompanied him to Winter Solstice Feasts in the past. This time, he had randomly chosen two palace maids and palace eunuchs each to accompany him. At the Winter Solstice Feast, countless officials congratulated Lin Si Ze on becoming the crown prince. They even ambiguously implied that with Lin Si Ze's n.o.ble character, graceful bearing, and brilliance, he was absolutely the best candidate to be the crown prince; they had naturally been supporting him for quite some time.
To each and every version of such praise, Lin Si Ze simply smiled and accepted the words.
After the Winter Solstice Feast ended, Lin Si Ze returned to De Ze Palace, folding his arms into his sleeves as he unhurriedly strolled toward Gu Hong Jian's room.
No lights were on inside; Gu Hong Jian was not there.
Lin Si Ze scowled. It was just beginning to snow outside; at this time, where did she go?
The little palace eunuch shielding Lin Si Ze with an umbrella saw the latter's scowl and cautiously inquired, "Honored crown prince, are you looking for Gu zhǎngshì? She…"
Lin Si Ze glanced at him and ordered, "Speak. I will neither punish you nor tell her about this."
The little palace eunuch explained, "Honored crown prince, Gu zhǎngshì has recently been gathering servants behind the southeast corner of the courtyard to gamble…"
Lin Si Ze: "…"
Lin Si Ze then asked, "You lost?"
The little palace eunuch honestly stated, "Answering honored crown prince, xiaode1 lost, as well as all the others. Gu zhǎngshì is the dealer and always wins."
"Her tricks are clever…you all cannot win." Lin Si Ze felt somewhat helpless. "Since she always wins, why do you all keep gambling with her?"
The little palace eunuch said, "Answering honored crown prince… Gu zhǎngshì's skill in martial arts is very high."
As it turned out, she used force to coerce others to gamble with her and then cheated to win their money? Why did she not just plain rob others and save herself from having to pull this gambling gimmick?
Melancholic thoughts had crowded Lin Si Ze's mind before. He originally thought Gu Hong Jian, who was avoiding him, was undergoing the same experience, but to his surprise, she actually…was doing such a thing…
Lin Si Ze suddenly realized that these days, his room had been gradually containing fewer items day by day. Apart from the especially valuable ones that no one would actually dare to move, the items worth some coin were being sent outside the palace to be sold, piece by piece. Combined with Gu Hong Jian's current behavior…was she saving up money?
What was she saving up money for?
Lin Si Ze's brows rose, as his expression darkened slightly.
The little palace eunuch observed Lin Si Ze's body language and deduced that his master was clearly in a foul mood. He hurriedly explained, "Honored crown prince, xiaode did not say Gu zhǎngshì did…it's just that if Xiaode's money was given to Gu zhǎngshì, then that's all. But there are two families who have sickly mothers who they need to support…"
Lin Si Ze stated, "No, your words are very good. What she is doing is preposterous. You all should have told me… What are you called?"
The little palace eunuch replied, "Answering honored crown prince, xiaode is called Jiang Hai Fu."
Lin Si Ze nodded. "Jiang Hai Fu, lead me to Gu zhǎngshì."
Jiang Hai Fu complied and sincerely guided Lin Si Ze through winding paths until they finally reached the rear of De Ze Palace. Once they bypa.s.sed a bamboo forest, Lin Si Ze saw a group of people.
Gu Hong Jian did not know what she was thinking. She had used a sail and attached it to the eaves to screen off the area and to protect them from the wind and rain, like a tent. A large wooden table and several long wooden benches were placed beneath the sail. Candles were lit at all four corners and the center. Gu Hong Jian stepped up on the bench with one foot, the corner of her lips hooked into a smile, as she said, "Place down your bets."
The others all looked miserable, choosing 'small' one after another.
Lin Si Ze walked forward and conveniently took off the jade medallion at his waist, tossing it onto the large table.
Everyone startled, including Gu Hong Jian. After that, everyone became really frightened and seemed to make their salutations one after another. Meanwhile, Gu Hong Jian slowly set down the dice cup in her hand and expressionlessly stared at Lin Si Ze.
Not waiting for Lin Si Ze to open his mouth, Gu Hong Jian's gaze fell to Jiang Hai Fu, who was standing further back, and she remarked, "Oh, you told?"
Jiang Hai Fu trembled slightly. "…"
With a dark face, Lin Si Ze berated, "You have done wrong, yet you still dare to scare others?!"
Gu Hong Jian, with an even more aggressive bearing, retorted, "What am I doing wrong?! It's just gambling!"
Everyone was speechless. This kind of thing was strictly forbidden in the palace, yet she fortunately spoke about it so bold and self-righteous. How fortunate that…the honored crown prince was unexpectedly not more angry.
It seemed that the crown prince was not truly angry at Gu zhǎngshì, fantastic.
While everyone else thought this, they were sent back by Lin Si Ze, with only Jiang Hai Fu remaining of the outsiders. Lin Si Ze allowed him to hold the umbrella and stand not too far away, while he and Gu Hong Jian stayed beneath the sail. Gu Hong Jian frowned as she tidied up the money on the table, ignoring Lin Si Ze.
Lin Si Ze asked, "You're collecting money; what for? To leave the palace?"
"How does this concern you," Gu Hong Jian coldly said.
Lin Si Ze asked, "You're leaving the palace?"
Gu Hong Jian pursed her lips and asked, "And what about it?"
Lin Si Ze replied, 'You can't leave."
Gu Hong Jian scoffed. "I want to leave, but you're stopping me?"
Lin Si Ze remained silent and simply stared at Gu Hong Jian. A long while later, he said, "Fine. If you want to leave, then go. Don't steal their money, though. They also do not have it easy. Return their money to them; I'll give you money. At any time, you can leave…and return for more money."
Gu Hong Jian's lips tugged to one side as she replied, "I actually forgot that you are the honored crown prince and are well-off. I also forgot to congratulate you, but now there's simply no major problems to tackle. You..everything is readily available now."
At this moment, Lin Si Ze absolutely did not want to talk to her about this, so he merely nodded half-heartedly. "For all these years, thank you."
Gu Hong Jian waved her hand, saying, "What use is there in saying pleasant words. Give me a lot of money, okay? After I leave the palace, I plan to start a trade or buy some land and hire some workers to grow crops. Living a simple life should be wonderful."
"Mn." Lin Si Ze nodded like before.
Gu Hong Jian saw that Lin Si Ze was not opposing her. Although her heart had long since prepared for this, she still felt her heart chill. In short, she also no longer felt like talking.
She stayed silent, and Lin Si Ze did as well. The two of then stood there for a moment in silence before Gu Hong Jian impatiently spoke up. "I'll go return their money to them first; as for the money you're giving me, you can give it to Jiang Hai Fu to give to me later."
Now unconcerned about Lin Si Ze, she lightly pressed down onto the b.a.l.l.s of her feet and left, leaving not a trace in the snow. To the side, Jiang Hai Fu, who had not known Gu Hong Jian was so highly skilled in martial arts to such a degree, stared after her, dumbstruck, as she nimbly flew through the air. Suddenly, a bag of money dropped down. He reached out and fumbled for the bag, immediately becoming elated after realizing that it was his lost bets from earlier.
Jiang Hai Fu received the money and then hurriedly left the tent area, so as to shield Lin Si Ze with the umbrella and prevent snow from falling onto his person.
Lin Si Ze stood under the umbrella and gazed off in Gu Hong Jian's direction for a while before ultimately sighing softly.
Jiang Hai Fu heard his master's sigh, and the heavy ambiance did not dare to leave until Lin Si Ze walked away, with Jiang Hai Fu following precisely.
That very night in De Ze Palace, the innocent servants regained their money. A compliant Jiang Hai Fu also brought over a heavy bag of silver to Gu Hong Jian, as Lin Si Ze ordered.
The next morning, the palace eunuchs in charge of sweeping away the snow saw Gu Hong Jian's door unexpectedly opened wide. Peeking in, they found it to be absolutely empty; clearly, Gu zhǎngshì had already packed up all her things and left. Moreover, she did not even leave a letter upon leaving. Everyone was extremely stunned, with one of them running to inform Lin Si Ze only to obtain an indifferent "Mn. I understand, leave," from Lin Si Ze.
Lin Si Ze set down the scroll and pushed open the study's lattice window to gaze out at the world covered in a thin layer of snow. Jiang Hai Fu summoned his courage to remind, "Honored crown prince, sir keeps staring at the snow; is sir not afraid of blinding sir's eyes?"
Lin Si Ze collected his thoughts and said, "Mn, I won't look any longer."
Afterward, he reached out to close the window.
Winter Solstice pa.s.sed. Inside the palace, the situation was becoming increasingly tense. The emperor no longer had the strength to even open his mouth to speak.
Although Lin Si Ze was now the treasured crown prince, the first prince had simply fallen silent for a moment before immediately regaining his unbridled bearing. He would rampage through the palace every day, and upon seeing Lin Si Ze, he would not even salute or call out to the crown prince, instead calling him imperial brother like he did previously.
Lin Si Ze merely smiled at this and even occasionally called him imperial elder brother back.
The first prince not only did not feel satisfied with Lin Si Ze's conduct, he instead increasingly felt Lin Si Ze to be cowardly and useless. His thoughts began to stir with restlessness.
At the moment, a trail of information unexpectedly began spreading from an unknown source, saying that the current crown prince had actually adored Zuo Xiang's daughter, Zuo Ning Yan, for a long time but had not confessed his feelings. He had no time to speak of them, as Zuo Ning Yan had been hounded to death by Yao Tian Ao.
Reportedly, the crown prince was absolutely devastated and had cried over her death for several days. He thus bitterly hated Imperial Tutor Yao and Yao Tian Ao and had said in private that if he ascended the throne one day, the first matter of business would be punishing Imperial Tutor Yao for nine generations.
This rumor circulated extremely far. With every detail vividly described, the information slowly spread outside the palace, eventually reaching Imperial Tutor Yao and Yao Tian Ao. This father-son pair were confused with no way to proceed. They immediately entered the palace to search for the first prince, to consult over this matter. Ultimately, they made a decision.
Wànshùn Year 42, early February, very late at night, nine o'clock—
The first prince found a rare opportunity to attend to the sick and rather considerately waited upon the emperor. He personally fed the emperor the medicine carried in my the supervising attendant. The emperor was quite satisfied and did not give him a repulsed look.
The emperor drank the medicine and said he was very exhausted. The first prince hurriedly expressed that he did not dare to excessively disturb the emperor. The emperor, too tired, also allowed him to take his leave, but the first prince walked slowly to the entrance of Ren He Palace, only to hear a wail ring out from behind him.
The first prince stopped and saw the supervising attendant frantically run out, screaming, "The emperor, his majesty the emperor is dead!!!"
The first prince first involuntarily released a bitter cry and then forbid the supervising attendant from announcing this matter. His faction subordinates imprisoned all the servants that knew the emperor had already died within the side palace. At the same time, as if these preparations had been made long ago, Imperial Tutor Yao—who had unknowingly come out of hiding—and Imperial Army Deputy Commander Liu Wei emerged, leading half the Imperial Army to surround De Ze Palace.
Afterward, the first prince rushed over from Ren He Palace and stood outside De Ze Palace. He shouted, "Traitor Lin Si Ze, for murdering elder brother and killing father, becoming a disgrace, quickly come out to die!"
Just as his voice ceased, Lin Si Ze appeared, dressed neatly. A tranquil expression rested on his face, without even a trace of confusion, and his inky black overcoat made him seemingly blend into the night.
Behind his body was Jiang Hai Fu, the little palace eunuch. Illuminated by the grand, sporadic lighting of De Ze Palace, the pair seemed isolated and without help, looking like tiny ants the first prince could easily pinch to death.
Lin Si Ze was very calm at this moment, however, and seemingly peered out with a trace of a smile on his lips.
Lin Si Ze called out, "Imperial elder brother, in the middle of the night no less, what is this nonsense?"
The first prince sneered, "Don't call me imperial elder brother. I have no younger brother like you, a corrupt man with no morals! You killed second younger brother and shifted the blame onto third younger brother and fourth younger brother. And just now, you murdered Imperial Father!"
Lin Si Ze calmly replied, "Imperial elder brother is indeed not clear-headed. Did I ever murder second younger brother? Imperial Father..when did Imperial Father die; why do I not know about this at all?"
The first prince expounded, "Originally, this one harbored no suspicions about you. I then learned that back then, that little palace maid who always followed you since the beginning was highly skilled in martial arts. You kept such a person by your side, hiding her skills from everyone…your heart must be put to death!2 As for Imperial Father…that is right! Imperial Father just died, but it truly was not a natural death. After the Imperial physician examined him, he declared that a servant placed poison in his medicine cup…I had interrogated the palace eunuch who brought in the medicine and already obtained a confession citing you as the instigator! You are already the crown prince, but it seems as if this is not satisfying enough. You impatiently desired the throne and unexpectedly instigated such an event. This truly makes me bitter and hateful! How can the kingdom be handed over to a person like you!
The many Imperial soldiers drank in his impa.s.sioned rant, all appearing to utterly loathe the Lin Si Ze coming from the first prince's mouth.
Lin Si Ze said, "The little palace maid is indeed highly skilled in martial arts, but how does that prove I murdered the second prince? Imperial elder brother, you're really being too subjective. As for Imperial Father…Imperial Father is really dead? Why is Ren He Palace over there so peaceful then?"
The first prince narrowed his eyes and declared, "That naturally is because I kept it all under control. Otherwise, wouldn't you immediately ascend to the throne upon knowing Imperial Father has died and then conceal the truth? The Heavens fortunately has eyes, for I was the one to serve upon him today!"
Lin Si Ze nonchalantly bantered back, "Imperial elder brother's words are sensible, but they're too overbearing. At present, imperial elder brother, in spite of your upright and honest character, used this method for some unknown reason and unexpectedly brought so many Imperial soldiers into the palace very late at night. But was there an order from Imperial Father, one to mobilize the army? Why is Deputy Commander Liu present and not Commander Zheng? The orders to mobilize the army should have requested for Commander Zheng to lead, right?"
Liu Wei was originally somewhat anxious, but after hearing what was said, his complexion immediately changed. He raised his voice. "The situation is urgent. Eliminating the emperor's murderer demands immediate action. Commander Zheng is preoccupied at home and not in the capital, so I took over! My Imperial Army is precisely here to guard the rightful emperor—not to care about such insignificant details!"
Anxious about Lin Si Ze's continuing refusal to speak, Liu Wei and the first prince glanced at each other. The first prince nodded slightly, and Liu Wei took out a bow on the spot. His arm strength was extremely powerful. He pulled the bowstring to the limit of the bow's flexibility and pointed the feathered arrow in Lin Si Ze's direction. With power capable of piercing the clouds and cleaving the sun, it shot out!
During this moment where a thousand pounds hung by a mere thread, all of a sudden, a red-clothed figure nimbly jumped down from above Lin Si Ze. Grasping a longsword in hand, she raised it high and split the s.p.a.ce in front of her, unexpectedly cleaving the feathered arrow in two!
Everyone was stunned. Upon seeing that figure steadily land in front of Lin Si Ze, however, they saw that while the figure's height was not tall, she had a straight-backed figure endlessly exuding an imposing aura. Her entire red-clothed body shone in the night like a spark of fire. The longsword in her hand flickered with a cold light, but it could not compare to the clear, cold and threatening look in her eyes.
Lin Si Ze stared at her back, his eyes flashing, but he kept silent.
Gu Hong Jian did not turn around either and simply stared coldly at the people before her.
The first prince and the others were shocked. Then, the first prince raised his hand and roared, "She's that little palace maid who killed the second prince! Quick! Immediately kill her for me! Don't worry about bystanders; second younger brother's vengeance is more important!"
The first prince intended to use the ostensible purpose of killing Gu Hong Jian to kill Lin Si Ze as well. That line, 'Don't worry about bystanders,' was evidently stated explicitly.
Gu Hong Jian slightly narrowed her eyes and kept her body alert.
However, at this moment, a delicate yet penetrating voice rang out. "The emperor's sedan arrives——!"
Those people present stared blankly. The Imperial soldiers who were in the middle of rushing forward also froze.
The first prince's face thundered red. Both his hands trembled slightly. "Who?! Who is babbling nonsense?! The emperor is already dead!!!"
As the first line of lights entered everyone's view, however, they all learned that this was incorrect.
A long dragon train, led by a palace maid attendant who held a small lantern, proceeded sedately. On either side, the other Imperial soldiers were being led by the supposedly 'not in the capital' Imperial Army Commander Zheng Yi. Beside them were the emperor's personal Imperial Army, garbed in green robes and longswords in hand. Although this troop was lesser in number to the Imperial Army, all of them were the emperor's elite Imperial bodyguards, who all had high combat abilities. They could appear and disappear unpredictably and were nearly impossible to entice. And almost blending into the night on the eaves to either side were the emperor's personal hidden guards.
The one being protected by layer after layer of protection was the enraged, 'already dead' heavenly son of this dynasty.
He sat on a bright yellow sedan, seemingly listless. He occasionally coughed, but the wrath and disappointment were clearly visible from the furrow on his forehead.
The first prince nearly trembled shook from head to to toe. "How could…how could…the Emperor is obviously already dead! This an imposter, an imposter!"
The sedan had already come to a stop. The emperor heard what was said and laughed grimly before angrily proclaiming, "You cannot even recognize zhèn? Do you have so much confidence in your poison to believe that zhèn will a.s.suredly die of poison?! b.a.s.t.a.r.d, you still won't kneel for zhèn?!"
The first prince trembled and stumbled a few steps back. He wanted to look for Imperial Tutor Yao's help, but when he turned around, he saw that Imperial Tutor Yao was as pale as paper while Liu Wei's thighs were quivering, with Liu Wei practically kneeling down.
Those Imperial soldiers, one after another, set down their weapons, spears and swords alike, and did not dare to move at all.
The war was as good as lost.
The war was as good as lost!
The first prince bitterly smiled and exclaimed, "You unexpectedly planned to harm me! You actually…"
The emperor angrily countered, "If your b.a.s.t.a.r.dly schemes are not wrong, in which you went as far as to consider patricide through poison and plot against your own younger blood brother, then how could you have fallen into a trap?! b.a.s.t.a.r.d, nothing more than an animal!"
Probably because he was too enraged, the emperor's breathing became unstable. Lin Si Ze frowned and spoke up with a clear voice. "Imperial Father, don't get angry because of him. Your injured body is not well."
After a long while, the emperor recovered and coldly stared at the first prince, Imperial Tutor Yao, and Liu Wei. He declared, "Such immense courage, so these little people want to force the emperor to abdicate? Imperial Tutor Yao, I see that you are truly tired of living, and Deputy Commander Liu, Commander Zheng has guided you personally, yet you steal his soldiers like this to repay him?!"
Zheng Yi growled, "Imperial Army, listen to my command! Liu Wei's intentions are dishonest. He has the nature of a ravenous wolf. Now, arrest him immediately!"
In the end, Zheng Yi held greater sway over his subordinates. Immediately after his command was issued, the Imperial soldiers all swarmed Liu Wei and captured him. Liu Wei had not resisted at all and simply knelt on the ground like a kidnapping victim. After this matter was smoothly concluded, all those Imperial soldiers partic.i.p.ating in this coup d'etat returned to Zheng Yi's side. Each of them received fifty large lashes and were directly banished to the battlefront. Imperial Tutor Yao was seized, as well as the first prince. The other faction members, scattered throughout each palace, were also seized. The several civil officials providing support outside the palace were also arrested…
Only when the sky began brightening minutely as the first rays of dawn appeared did the imperial palace, which had been uncommonly noisy the entire night, finally regain its tranquility.
Gu Hong Jian raised her longsword and sat on the steps of De Ze Palace, staying there.
Lin Si Ze immediately left to wait upon the emperor last night and had yet to return. From start to finish, the two of them had not spoken a word to each other.
Gu Hong Jian wanted to leave, but hidden guards even more ferocious than her were barring her way, preventing her from leaving.
These hidden guards had all hidden in De Ze Palace to protect Lin Si Ze last night, but she had simply not been able to discover these experts and had rushed out, extremely worried.
Now, she realized that it was indeed foolish of her to come.
As it turned out, everything was according to Lin Si Ze's plans—no wonder. She had often commented on Lin Si Ze's remarkable intellect; how could he have forced such circ.u.mstances…
Luckily, she knew Lin Si Ze might run into disaster and had immediately dashed into the palace. She had then tailed Lin Si Ze for two full days and nights. During those two days and nights, she had practically not slept at all.
The more she thought about it, the angrier Gu Hong Jian became. At that moment, Jiang Hai Fu just happened to be scurrying by. Gu Hong Jian picked up a stone and tossed it at his bottom, angrily shouting, "d.a.m.n you; you foolishly pa.s.sed on false information!!!"
Jiang Hai Fu jumped, terrified. He then felt wronged as he rubbed his bottom, stuttering, "I, I…"
Gu Hong Jian's temper cooled a bit. Narrowing her eyes, she said, "Unless someone prompted you to, how could you have possibly left the palace so effortlessly as well as know where I was… Ha, he even calculated myself into his plans—truly, immensely promising!"
Gu Hong Jian hatefully slammed her fists together, thinking, He naturally understood thoroughly that if I heard he was in danger, I would forget everything I had said and earnestly dash over to protect him.
He did not rely on her affections for him.
Gu Hong Jian was forced to stay within De Ze Palace and idle her time away, so she straightforwardly entered the palace and chaotically rummaged through De Ze Palace's treasury, conveniently looking to see if there were any other escape methods while doing so.
Despite her efforts all day, however, she had not escaped, and Lin Si Ze had not returned yet also.
She stopped an innocent servant and threatenly questioned him. Gu Hong Jian learned that the emperor had been too angry after returning, causing his condition to become increasingly critical. It was very likely that he would be unable to endure any longer, so Lin Si Ze must keep close to him and observe.
Gu Hong Jian endured that evening. Feeling extremely hard-pressed, she straightforwardly returned to her room and saw that the interior was the same as before. Apart from the things she carried away, the bedding was still on the bed, soft material as well. It was clear that the past two bright and sunny days were taken advantage of to dry the sheets. The table and chair was also still arranged neatly, untainted by even a speck of dust. Evidently, someone came in frequently to clean, but there were no traces of anyone else living here.
After she had left, this room had been kept for her all along?
Gu Hong Jian was not emotionally moved and instead snorted coldly, thinking, Hmph, pretending to be so optimistic while casually letting her go when, in fact, he essentially…
Gu Hong Jian felt exhausted, however, and did not want to think much. She lay down on the bed and fell asleep after changing into sleeping clothes. She unexpectedly slept the entire day away and only woke up early the next morning to a loud noise.
Gu Hong Jian rubbed her eyes and left, only to be alarmed as she heard that the emperor had truly died.
Author's Note: For those who keep saying that I am dragging this plot out, please look at my helpless expression…
I am first showcasing flashbacks, of which there are plenty. Even if some people don't want to see what finally led their relationship to reach that final state and don't want to know what relation the female lead had with Zuo Ning Yan's death… I apologize, but I have to write it. Furthermore, it is already written.
I wrote this novel without thinking of ever serializing it. I did not expect that I would write, write, write, and write until I finished the story. After that, a friend looked it over and thought it was OK. She didn't mention anything about it dragging on… Maybe it is not suited to being published as a serial. It is my mistake; I should not have serialized it, especially since I cannot update it so quickly…
Furthermore, some are directly commenting that I should write the ending quicker and to not spend so much time on the inbetween events. I??? … At first, I did not say that this novel was completely written already, which means I publish as I write. I also will not listen to you _(:з」∠)_
If some people really feel that they only want to read the end and simply don't want to know what happened to the novel leads, then come back and read the novel in the future. I will not get angry. This is a sincere suggestion, wuwu T.TXiaode is a self-address, to one's superior A saying in Ancient China, summarily described as such: "Although you unsuccessfully committed a crime or have yet to commit a crime, as long as you have such thoughts, die."