After the meals were finished, Tang Zhuo Zhuo was at a loss. Huo Qiu’s presence had been very domineering all long. When his massive body leaned towards her, she unconsciously evaded it, the palm of her hand moistening her handkerchief a little.
In her previous life, her heart and mind were completely filled with Wang Yi, and she had dealt with Huo Qiu excellently. She would never say one more word than what was required, and only answered when she was asked. Such days happened far too often, making her believe that they both hated each other, and she became more and more perfunctory.
But, in this second chance she got, she didn’t want to make the same mistake again. But the path to getting along with each other… She was very troubled.
Looking at her appearance, Huo Qiu’s gaze involuntarily turned cold. The thought that she’d been thinking was painted clear on her face. Once again, it was in vain that he dashed over here with hope residing in his heart.
The eunuch and palace maids were methodically dismissed, and only Tang Zhuo Zhuo’s and Huo Qiu’s pair of eyes that gazed at each other were left inside the palace. A sweet smelling aroma curled upwards in midair, and was dispersed by the blow of the cool night wind; it left without leaving a single trace.
“Tang née.” His heart was burning with flames of fury and jealousy, the complexion of his face was also not good. His voice was as cold as ice on the coldest day of winter.
Huo Qiu’s temperament was sinister and ruthless, he decisively cut everyone down. Based on her past experience, when his face sank, even the noisy officials in the court didn’t dare to speak more than half a word. Tang Zhuo Zhuo lifted her gaze towards his expressionless one, and couldn’t help but be stupefied.
“This lowly one is here,” Tang Zhuo Zhuo obediently responded in a high-pitch tone. She drew back the strands of hair that escaped from her temples behind her ears, revealing jade-white ears and pearl earrings that reflected a graceful shimmer.
Huo Qiu’s eyes dimmed a little bit again.
“Since I gave you the title of the Crown Prince’s wife, you should be aware of what desire that you can and can’t have.”
Fearing that she wouldn’t listen to him, Huo Qiu used an extremely strong tone. When he recalled the portrait hidden in her cupboard early in the morning, he turned furious but also found it laughable.
He was the dignified crown prince, and the true wife that he formally and legally married looked at the portrait of the man with yearning everyday? No matter how calm and self-restraint he was, he couldn’t receive this kind of shame and utter humiliation.
In the past, because of such words, the relationship that was originally about to arrive at a freezing point, finally burst apart. At an early age, the Tang family had given rise to brave and capable generals that had always been loyal to the Emperor. Tang Zhuo Zhuo grew up in such a prominent old family, hence her temper naturally couldn’t swallow such hurtful words.
Even if it was said by the Chongjian Emperor.
Thinking about it now, if he had really wanted to argue, not only would she alone receive the repercussion, the whole Tang Family would also face the consequences.
Tang Zhuo Zhuo pursed her lips, her gaze landed on his large palms hanging beside him. Her expression was a little bit absent-minded, as she recalled how warm this pair of hands were when they touched her portrait. Such things seemed to have happened a lifetime ago.
“This lowly one will put those words in her heart,” she said whilst maintaining eye contact with Huo Qiu’s cold eyes, words only spoken lightly after staring for some time. In the open and spacious place of the palace, her voice spread out and was lowly echoed back.
From Huo Qiu’s point of view, her slender eyelash dropped down, like a row of dense small rushes which serve to scratch and tickle a person’s heart.
Huo Qiu’s throat itched, and a trace of surprise slid across his eyes quickly. The hand hanging on his side tightened before loosening again.
For a moment, the palace insides became silent, where only the indistinct sound of two cicadas could be heard from the treetops outside. Tang Zhuo Zhuo was aware of Huo Qiu’s meaning, it was nothing more but a warning and reprimand.
She wanted to explain, but when she thought about the painting that caused their dispute, her determination waned.
Huo Qiu looked at the beautiful, slim and graceful woman before him, from the delicate contours of her face to her slender snowy-white neck, and to the dainty waist that he yearned to grasp on. Another wave of irritability which unconsciously broke out in his heart, was forcefully tampered down by him again.
This woman was beautiful in all aspects, except that she didn’t have any form of kindness.
“I still have some matters to attend to. I’ll leave first.” Huo Qiu deeply gazed into her eyes before departing. Tang Zhuo Zhuo was slightly terrified, and her pair of brightly-lit eyes dimmed a little.
Whatever. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even if she couldn’t equally reciprocate the affection that Huo Qiu gave, she still had the ability to become a virtuous wife for the crown prince. A thing that she should have done before.
Thinking like this, Tang Zhuo Zhuo heaved out a big sigh, yet a faint smiling expression was painted upon her face. She gracefully leaned forward, “Have a good day, Your Highness.”
Huo Qiu suddenly creased his brow when he just arrived at the thick and heavy pearl-decorated screen and the pair of gold embroidered shoes gave a slight pause. His barely-restrained frost in his voice, and his gaunt lower jaw was clenched.
“Today, the powerful and bold general, Wang Yi, asked for Marquis Ning Yuan’s second daughter that is birthed from his first wife for her hand in marriage.”
Having said this, he paused, and he didn’t dare to look at her expression. His own was heavy like that of a fog, “The emperor asked for my opinion on this matter, and I think that it’s not that bad.”
Though she might wreak a lot of havoc, if this information could thoroughly break her idea of loving Wang Yi, he would once again revert to his magnanimous self.
The feelings of a childhood sweetheart were nothing in Huo Qiu’s eyes. Though Wang Yi’s mouth uttered sugar-coated words, once he was asked to suppress the war in the Northwest before marrying Tang Zhuo Zhuo, his expression changed in an instant.
How deep could a feeling go?
In the end wasn’t it him who personally led the military expedition to marry her? Rather than her waiting a lifetime for that scoundrel, wasn’t it better for her to be protected under his wings?
It’s just that, when the person he didn’t expect for was finally by his side, the one suffering everyday became himself.
Hearing his words, Tang Zhuo Zhuo’s heart turned cold, and the palm of her hand dampened her fine handkerchief. The current emperor had been sickly lately, the crown prince had taken over the responsibilities and the matter which he said was ‘not bad’ was already set in stone.
In the past, it was this piece of information that made the already fragile relationship to arrive at its freezing point. Remembering her past life,Tang Zhuo Zhuo’s expression couldn’t help but be somewhat in a daze. Right at the moment when she wanted to open her mouth and speak, she caught sight of Huo Qiu who had turned his body without her knowledge. His hawk-like penetrating eyes landed on her. His sinister and ruthless expression was coupled with a frowning eyebrow.
Tang Zhuo Zhuo was somewhat alarmed, she pursed her lips and said under her breath, “Your Highness doesn’t need to discuss the matters of the court with this wife.”
Huo Qiu’s gaze turned lifeless in an instant. A moment later, he turned around, there was a slight ridicule evident in his voice as he said, “That’s right.”
His words were a clear act of dismissal, and with big strides he left the Autumn Palace. Looking at his stancer, Zhang Desheng, who was awaiting outside hastily flicked his horsetail whisk and followed him from behind; he didn’t dare to utter a single word.
They were clearly enjoying their meals before but why did his master come out so dramatically?
The summer night’s wind brought a little chill in the air, the female palace maid held up lanterns on the path towards the Yang Chang Palace. Except for the light steps of footfalls, only the sound of winds rustling the leaves were heard. Huo Qiu remembered the woman inside that palace just now, and he formed a cold-hearted snort deep within his heart.
Did he actually possess at least one drop of her love? Huo Qiu forcefully shut his eyes, the effect that the chill in the air had on his whole body was particularly obvious. Zhang Desheng gulped, with great caution and started to talk, “Your Highness, the lady was thinking of your goodness in her heart. This servant just now heard from An Xia that she waited for you to have dinner with her.”
Huo Qiu didn’t even bat his eyelashes. He would have accepted this kind of words before, but right now she’d been married to him for half a year, and yet there were less than ten words that she spoke kindly to him.
It was too many times that he had been met with a cold rebuke when he showed warm feelings, naturally he was bitterly disappointed.
He fiddled the gleaming jade ring on his fingers, his expression indistinguishable.
All the women under the heavens tried to win his favour, but only Tang Zhuo Zhuo wouldn’t.
That was an extremely heartless fact.
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