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Chapter 977 – The Person in the Painting
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The sky was clear of clouds as far as the eye could see, but the sunlight was not at all scorching. Even on the warm banks of the Red River, it was still midwinter. A chilly breeze swept across the stone platform, not stirring the dust in the seams, only causing the piled white flowers to tremble, making them seem all the more melancholy.
Luoluo stood outside the world of pear blossoms, her figure somewhat lonely.
She was still child-like. No clear emotions could be seen on her beautiful face. However, when they thought about the decision made in the stone hall, the renewed ritual music from Whalefall Platform, and the decree that was about to be announced to the world, many generals and tribal leaders found it difficult to face her. They lowered their heads or turned around so as to avoid her gaze.
Luoluo apparently did not notice these things. She walked forward, her small leather shoes making no sound as they stepped on the soft white flowers.
While still a distance from the pear tree, she stopped. A figure as towering as a great mountain had blocked her path.
She raised her head and realized that it was the Chief Elder who had doted on her since she was a child.
The Xiang clan leader looked at her, saying nothing, but all sorts of complicated emotions appeared in his eyes. Just like those wrinkles at the corner of his eyes, they were very difficult to understand.
In his calm eyes lay warmth, affection, apology, and begging.
Luoluo understood what he meant and gently said, "I did not expect it."
The apology in the Xiang clan leader's eyes increased as he said, "This is His Majesty's will."
Her petite face staring at him, Luoluo calmly replied, "And so what?"
The observation platform had been very quiet, especially after she had appeared.
Although her voice was soft, it rang out in the ears of all the demi-human personages.
The Xiang clan leader froze, as did the Deer tribe Grand Duke, the Carp tribe leader, and everyone else on the observation platform.
Because they had not expected that their forever-cute, cautious, and obedient princess could say such words.
'And so what?' These three simple words seemed like a simple question, but how could they not hear the cold indifference and unswerving resolve?
Luoluo walked to the pear tree.
She looked at the young demon and realized that he really was quite handsome and the aura he exuded did not annoy her very much.
Her gaze fell on his hair. Upon confirming that there were no horns, she felt a little interested and then somewhat confused.
As the most noble Princess of the Demi-humans, whether in the capital or in White Emperor City, she had always been under the tightest guard. As a result, she had not been allowed to properly take part in the Grand Examination, was not allowed to enter the Mausoleum of Books to view the monoliths with others, and she had certainly not been permitted to train herself in the Garden of Zhou.
So she had not had a chance to meet a true demon.
There was only that one time, many years ago, in the Orthodox Academy, on that unforgettable night.
The demon with horns had ended up in Zhou Tong's hands, so he was probably long dead, right?
At the time, he had not even succeeded at Purification, yet he still stood in front of her. Was he not afraid?
A white flower dropped from its branch and brushed past her hair, waking her from her daze.
She curiously asked, "You are the Demon Lord?"
Her eyes were as clear and bright as the waters of a stream. In them, one could see all true emotions.
It was clear that she held no anger towards the young Demon Lord, only curiosity.
The Demon Lord calmly looked back and suddenly added, "You can call me by my name, Nero."
There seemed nothing special about the brief pause between these statements.
But if Black Robe or the Demon Commander were present, they would undoubtedly be flabbergasted.
If those aristocrats and ministers in Xuelao City were present, they might have even fallen unconscious from the shock.
Although an authentic pride had been concealed in his indifferent tone, he had told her his true name and had even permitted her to use it.
Luoluo was unaware of these rules of the Demon Imperial clan, and did not care.
She asked him, "You want to marry me?"
The Demon Lord slightly raised his brow and replied, "Correct."
Luoluo asked, "Why?"
The goal of the marriage alliance was naturally to seal the alliance between the two races.
This was the obvious answer, and the Demon Lord believed that she knew it, but he could not give this answer.
This was about the majesty of a sovereign, of the aloof manner of the Imperial clan, and about his respect toward the other side.
So his answer was still love.
He said that he had loved her for a long time.
Luoluo naturally knew that this wasn't true, just like she knew the real reason he wanted to marry her.
But she still asked, "So you knew about me before?"
Many of these influential figures, including the Xiang clan leader, felt like they knew why she persisted in her questions.
She wanted to prove that the Demon Lord was lying.
She wanted to prove that the Demon Lord had no knowledge of her, so he naturally could not have loved her.
But what was the meaning in proving this?
In their view, Princess Luoluo was acting like a little child, nibbling on the end of her brush as she racked her brains on the solution to a problem.
Even if she did find the solution, who would care about whether it was right or wrong?
"Of course, it's because I knew of you that I admired you. I believe that a day will come when you will think the same."
The Demon Lord calmly gazed at her, brimming with confidence.
Luoluo suddenly took several steps back, standing outside the white flowers before looking back at the tree.
She tilted her head, her brows furrowing as if vexed by something. She looked very cute.
Before her eyes was a painting.
Beyond the railing was the blue sky, high, calm and clear.
A pear tree, blossoming with tiny white flowers.
He stood under the tree.
The wind stirred, the flowers falling like rain.
They fell on his shoulders.
They fell on his clothes.
This was truly a beautiful painting.
The Demon Lord said nothing, allowing her to stare.
Because he was standing in the painting.
A smile so faint that it teetered on the edge of existence rested on his face. A hint of fatigue and annoyance gradually appeared in his eyes.
Luoluo had drawn his interest at the start, as she had not shown fear like the noble ladies of Xuelao City, nor did she feign arrogance like his sisters. Like an ordinary girl, she viewed him with bright eyes and expressed her curiosity.
But as time passed, his interest faded.
Especially when he saw Luoluo's current expression.
This painting was one he had painted for her.
He mentally jeered, girls are girls. In the end, they still like these empty and laughable things.
As he thought this, he heard a question.
"You saw my painting?"
It was Luoluo.
The Demon Lord's smile faded as he calmly returned, "I do not understand your meaning."
"Three days ago, I made a painting."
Luoluo looked at him and said, "I didn't expect to see it realized today."
The Demon Lord slightly perked his brows. "Is that so? That's truly a coincidence."
"Of course, this is not a coincidence. Mother knew that I loved that painting, so she let you see it. A spring wind comes in the depths of winter, a pear tree full of blossoming flowers, and you standing beneath it… these details are really quite excellent. The pear blossoms are beautiful, as are you, and the scene is very natural, but Mother and you got something wrong."
"What did we get wrong?"
"Even if everything is perfectly set up, you can never be the person in my painting."
"Because I did not conjure that painting from my imagination. It was based on an existing scene."
Luoluo gave him a sympathetic gaze, like she was looking at a child nibbling at his brush as he racked his brains for the solution to a problem.
All of you believed that you had found the correct solution, but none of you understood the meaning of the question.
The Demon Lord had an inkling as to the answer. "Who is the person in the painting?"
Luoluo opened her eyes wide and seriously replied, "Of course, it's my teacher."
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