After he leaves Ci Ning Palace, Bai Yu Chen did not immediately release Xia Hou Shang Yue from the dungeon. Instead, he walks on the path slowly, his mind reeling from what the empress dowager just said. If he didn’t marry Xia Hou Shang Yue, he will still have a political marriage with his minister’s daughter.
That’s what being an emperor means. An emperor’s marriage is never based on love, it has always been a political transaction. Maybe, what the grand empress dowager said was true. Maybe, if he treats Xia Hou Shang Yue better they can get a different outcome.
With that in his mind, Bai Yu Chen’s heart gradually turns lighter. But upon remembering the scene of Xia Hou Shang Yue chatting happily with Bai Yu Xuan, an indescribable feeling of anger creeps up in his chest.
Not long later, Bai Yu Chen reaches Xun Ran Pavillion where Bai Chu Xun lives at. She only ate a piece of sour plum cake. After she woke up, she was sent here by her maids.
“Where is the princess?”
“Answering the emperor, princess is in her chamber.” After answering him, the maid retreats.
Bai Yu Chen sighs heavily. After appointing the empress and taking in concubines, he was too busy with the country matters that he no longer has time to visit Xun Ran Pavillion. He wonders how Bai Chu Xun, that brat is doing.
Inside the chamber, only a candle is lighting dimly. Bai Yu Chen frowns as he calls for her. After a while, nobody answers him. The maid clearly said she was in her chamber, why is it empty?
“Xun Er…” Bai Yu Chen calls again. When no answer comes, he turns around to leave but was stopped when a pair of hands circles his waist.
“Older brother Chen, now that you have the empress and Noble Consort Yu, you forgot about Xun Er!” Bai Chu Xun glues herself to Bai Yu Chen’s back as she whispers, grievance painting her palm-sized face. She closes her eyes as she breathes in his familiar scent, finally feeling those warm feelings again.
Bai Yu Chen did not move, he lets Bai Chu Xun hugs him like that because she can give him mother-like warmth. The two people already went past the final line of defense one year ago.
It has been kept a secret all these while. Not a single soul in the palace knows. Not even his trusted Eunuch Hai. Nobody knows that an inappropriate affection has transpired between the two royal siblings.
After a long time, Bai Yu Chen finally put away Bai Chu Xun’s arms. He turns around to face her and fix her slightly unkempt hair.
“Xun Er, are you okay?” Upon hearing that, Bai Chu Xun suddenly cries. It’s been a while since he last treated her like this. These past two months, Bai Yu Chen had been aloof to her. He can be gentle like water at one time, but suddenly forgets her existence at another.
During that period of time, Bai Chu Xun does not know how much tears she had cried. Just as she thought Bai Yu Chen is going to end them and accept Xia Hou Shang Yue as her sister in law, he suddenly comes to Xun Ran Pavillion and calls for her name so gently. He cares for her so much.
Bai Chu Xun once again falls for his tenderness. Despite knowing that this is a kind of love the people will never tolerate, she still stubbornly step past the line.
“Silly girl! Aren’t zhen here? Stop crying, you will no longer look good if you cry!” Bai Yu Chen gently wipe her tears for her, his face carrying an indulging expression. At times, he too does not know why he has such a relationship with his own sister, but a part of him acknowledge that his sister carries a shadow of the then Consort Li.
“Older brother Chen, did you….. did you forgot about Xun Er? You did not come to see Xun Er for such a long time!” Bai Chu Xun weepingly says as she buries her head in his chest. After a while, the worry in her heart gradually disappears. As long as her imperial brother still wants her, she is willing to be unwed for the rest of her life!
“Zhen was too busy lately. Right, you too were poisoned. How do you feel? Are you uncomfortable?”
Bai Yu Chen look at Bai Chu Xun’s faint red face, suddenly reminded of Xia Hou Shang Yue’s peach blossom-like cheeks on their wedding night. He shakes his head, throwing away those thoughts before he looks down at Bai Chu Xun with a gentle smile. The concern in his eyes are real. Bai Chu Xun lowers her head and laughs.
“I got better after drinking the physician’s medicine. Older brother Chen, was it really imperial sister-in-law?” Bai Chu Xun looks up as she carefully asks. Worry and uneasiness flashes in her eyes, one that did not escape Bai Yu Chen’s attention.
His heart sinks. Don’t tell him…….
“Do you think it was her, Xun Er?” As Bai Yu Chen sits on a chair, his face carries a usual smile. Bai Chu Xun freezes before she awkwardly laughs.
“I don’t know. But You Xiang can only be found in Mu Kingdom……”
“Xun Er, do you really not know? Do you think zhen don’t know anything!” The smile on Bai Yu Chen’s face suddenly fades. He grabs her by the wrist and make sure she cannot look away from his eyes. Bai Chu Xun’s face reddens as tears pool in her eyes.
“Older brother Chen, you’re hurting my wrist!” The moment he release her hands, Bai Chu Xun looks away, holding her reddening wrist while looking down.
“Xun Er, if zhen ever finds out it was really you who puts the poison, don’t blame zhen for not remembering the affection between us!”
Bai Yu Chen’s thunder like voice echoes in Bai Chu Xun’s ears. She looks up at him in disbelief, her eyes full of shock and hurt.
He actually believes she was the one who puts the poison! Bai Chu Xun laughs, her face full of tears.
“Older brother Chen, I did not put the poison! You must not misunderstand me!”
Bai Yu Chen laughs coldly and tilts her chin. The two people’s faces are almost glued together. Bai Chu Xun has no idea what he intends to do, she can only look at him uncertainly.
“Misunderstand you? Xun Er, don’t think zhen does not know your doings three months ago. If zhen hadn’t wanted to look for an excuse to get rid of Ye Family, zhen wouldn’t have closed my eyes and let you off! But zhen never thought you will repeat your doings!”
“I didn’t. I didn’t….. Older brother Chen! I didn’t put the poison!” Bai Chu Xun break free from Bai Yu Chen’s grasp and retreats, but accidentally trips on a chair and fall. Her face is full of tears. She already regretted what she did back then. This time, it really isn’t her! She wouldn’t dare to harm her grandmother twice!
“Xun Er, zhen came today to warn you not to repeat your antics. If this happens again, zhen will marry you off! From today onward, zhen don’t want to see you anymore!”