Zhan Beiye had no choice. At a disadvantage right from the start, Zhan Beiye had to struggle more in order to receive the most basic treatment from others. A moment of weakness would lead him, and his mother, to be trampled on.
Meng Fuyao sighed, studying Yan Lanzhu, whose eyelids were slowly dropping. 'What a naive child, but with so much love to give.' Meng Fuyao felt they were a good match.
The more she thought the stranger it seemed. Ya Lanzhu wasn't weak. 'How did she suddenly fall asleep just like that?'
Immediately after she smelled a faint fragrance, fresh and tempting. She turned sideways and saw a pair of profoundly smiling eyes.
Zhangsun Wuji stood amid the hazy room light, smiling ever so charmingly while smirking and gesturing for her to keep quiet. "Shhh…"
Meng Fuyao couldn't help but laugh. 'What is he up to?' He had already deactivated her acupuncture points.
He then removed his shoes and moved onto the bed. Shocked, Meng Fuyao questioned in a quiet voice, "She's still here. Aren't you ashamed?"
"I know you'll feel the shame on my behalf, so why not carry her out first?" He smiled, hands behind his head. "I do not wish to hug any girl that is not you."
Meng Fuyao laughed helplessly before carrying the child outside, where was only space for one to rest. 'What to do?' Meng Fuyao frowned. Should she go back in? Should she steal his bed? Not go back to sleep? Just let him occupy her bed like that?
As she was still thinking, Meng Fuyao suddenly felt an arm around her waist.
His chin rested on her shoulder, and his breaths were peaceful. His voice reminded her of Spring's night drizzle and breeze, his every syllabus floating into her reddening ears.
Smiling, Meng Fuyao turned to ask, "Can't believe you're into these childish games too."
Her eyes shone brightly like the splendor of stars despite the lack of light in the room. "You've never seen the real me, Fuyao. Ever since I met you, I stopped being myself."
Warm air brushed past her ears, tickling her. Meng Fuyao tried to dodge it, but he held her even tighter. She twisted her body slightly and responded, "So you're not only a brilliant strategist and politician but also a sweet talker."
"Not before I met you," he whispered. "But a certain someone is enjoying a rich love blossom luck and attracting all kinds of men. I will be forgotten if I don't learn something new."
"You sound like an angry housewife." Meng Fuyao pushed him, feeling the heat on her skin at the same time. She retreated with a beet red face to the window, which wasn't shut tight. A ray of starlight seeped in, highlighting the subtle curl on Zhangsun Wuji's lips. His face was slightly flushed, and his eyes appeared even more distant than the stars.
Meng Fuyao looked at him, ripples surging within her heart. A pained look flashed across his face briefly.
Meng Fuyao sighed. "You're troubled,"
Holding her hand in his, he led them to the bed. Meng Fuyao handed him a pillow, but he reached for the one beside her. "This is yours, isn't it?"
"How cheap," she chided before stretching herself comfortably on the bed. Shoulder touching shoulder, they gazed at the moon outside and the fresh cherry blossoms beneath, some yellow, some red. The clustered flowers cast their shadows onto the window paper, creating beautiful lines and shapes.
"Alright. Do you have anything to say to me?" Meng Fuyao asked with half-shut eyes while listening to the rustling of leaves.
"You never believed that I was dead, did you, Fuyao?"
"Of course," she blinked. "I was very afraid and worried. When that stupid rat said you were gone, especially, I was this close to believing it. Deep down I knew that it wouldn't make any sense for a troublemaker like you to just die like that."
"You never forget to add in an insult no matter what, huh?" Zhangsun Wuji pinched her nose. After some time he continued, "I'm glad you believe me. Can you… really trust me?"
"Hmm?" she let out.
"Can you always trust me no matter what happens from now on? Please understand me and do not be swayed by false impressions."
"You're talking about King De?" Meng Fuyao asked instead. "I didn't mind it much. I believe that you have your own difficulties, and when the time is right, you'll tell me all about it."
"Fuyao…" Zhangsun Wuji breathed softly before sighing. "You make me feel like I'm letting you down…"
"Brother," Meng Fuyao turned around and stated sternly, "Don't be too touched and agitated too soon. Don't fall deeper because of this, or I'd be the one saying that in the end."
"You stubborn little fool…" Zhangsun Wuji smiled. Patting her head, he added, "I'm not going to argue with you on this. Whatever the case, let's wait and see."
"Wait and see we shall," Meng Fuyao agreed. "One day you'll realize that I have your interests at heart."
Zhangsun Wuji stared at her, anger evident in his face, but her eyes remained brightly lit. Her beam-like gaze made it hard for people to find fault with her. After a long time, Zhangsun Wuji smiled. "Alright, since I'm destined to be abandoned by you, and even owe you a thank you for that, shouldn't you console and make it up to me now?"
"Let me hug you to sleep tonight," Zhangsun Wuji requested, reaching out to pull her into his embrace. "Haven't had a good sleep in days," he said and sighed.
Meng Fuyao was about to kick him when her leg went weak. In an instant, he had already jabbed her sleep acupuncture point.
He rested his weight on his elbow, studying Meng Fuyao as she fell gradually asleep. "You soft-hearted girl. How great would it be if you're okay and this good to me…"
The second time Meng Fuyao woke up, she looked nervously to her side. Zhan Beiye had scared her enough, and she really did not want to wake up next to another naked man.
Yes, there was a naked male beside her, but it was Lord Yuan Bao.
The guinea pig laid on his back with all claws up, his pink belly rising and falling regularly. Thinking about how this rat had schemed for Zhan Beiye to catch her naked, Meng Fuyao started feeling agitated. First, she drew a few lines on his tummy, and then she reached for a piece of paper and wrote a few words.
When Lord Yuan Bao woke up, still in half a daze and with eyes still shut, he put on his robe. Meng Fuyao took the chance to stick the note on his back without his notice. As he floated out of the room, the words became clear: No peeing here.
A short while later Ya Lanzhu's wild laughter could be heard. Immediately after, Lord Yuan Bao shot into the room like an arrow, angrily stripping off his robe and looking at the paper. He threw a tantrum, stamping his feet and tossing the robe aside before dashing out again.
This time, Ya Lanzhu's laughter could almost split the sky. On Lord Yuan Bao's pink belly were two big boobs…
The whole day after that, until their arrival at Huazhou, Meng Fuyao never saw the guinea pig. When she asked about him, Zhangsun Wuji simply answered, "Please search in the corners."
Meng Fuyao looked at him. Ever since they had gotten close to Huazhou, there was something about the expression in his eyes that was off, despite keeping his usual face. It became obvious upon their entrance into the city. 'Could it be due to King De's detainment in prison and because he has to decide on his punishment?'
The crew split near the government office. Zhan Beiye, Zong Yue and so on, were not willing to participate in the palace affairs, and hence had left to seek their own accommodation. Meng Fuyao had wanted to leave too but was stopped by Zhangsun Wuji. "I want you to know a few things."
The prefectural magistrate, together with the governor-general of Jiang Bei municipal welcomed them on their knees. Zhangsun Wuji stopped abruptly, observing the specially and luxuriously decorated exterior of the office. "Who else is here?"
Governor-general Cui stayed on the ground, answering, "It's the Empress, Your Highness. She has just arrived in Huazhou–––"
Meng Fuyao was stunned. 'The Empress? Zhangsun Wuji's mother? Why did she leave her palace to come here?'
Zhangsun Wuji spoke after a short pause. "Oh? What's this? Mother has traveled far and needs rest. No one shall disturb her."
Governor-general Cui wiped his sweat off while whining inwardly. Upon the empress's arrival, she immediately made an order to call for him when he got there. Nevertheless, Governor-general Cui daren't say anything. Everyone knew not to get involved in the affairs between the royal family. Now that Zhangsun Wuji had released such an order, all Governor-general Cui could do was nod and retreat.
"You did not tell her about King De's detainment in the underground prison in the backyard of the office, did you?" Zhangsun Wuji moved forward quickly while asking casually.
"No.. no… did not dare go against your orders."
"Alright. Mother is here to relieve stress. Do NOT bother her with military affairs. Understood?"
"There's nothing for me to stress over. As long as you're managing the national affairs and not skipping any meals, what else do I need to worry about?"
A cold and stern yet soft female voice sounded. She owned an accent belonging to the extreme south of Wuji, where the most beautiful women were born. While her voice was soft, every word was clear and strong.
At the end of the corridor stood a woman, pencil-straight, in a yellow royal robe with a pair of phoenixes embroidered on it. Her hair was bunned high and tight, her long skirt embellished with colorful pearls and tassels. The pearls formed 18 crescent moons that hung down from the phoenixes, their brightness so dazzling that her facial features were being dimmed. Nevertheless, she exuded an overpowering charm and aura.
It was the mother of Wuji Nation, also Zhangsun Wuji's mother, Empress Yuan.