Chapter 72 – One storm hasn't calmed, before being frightened in a dream
Chu Qing-Yan lay on the couch while Xi Ning fanned her on the side.
"Master, when I heard that today you were attacked by assassins and got hurt outside, this servant's heart almost jumped out." Xi Ning said this while shaking the fan, and her tone even had some lingering fear.
Chu Qing-Yan smiled, lifting a finger to poke her forehead, and said with an annoyed smile. "Let me see it jump out!"
Xi Ning stamped her feet, feeling extremely helpless. "Master!"
Chu Qing-Yan retracted her hand and didn't continue to tease her, her thoughts turned to the matter Huang Yi talked about and she couldn't help but ask. "His Majesty's treatment towards His Highness, has it always been harsh?"
"This…" Xi Ning suddenly hemmed and hawed, her words were somewhat unclear.
Today before Huang Yi, because of her age, she didn't dare ask too much. Now seeing Xi Ning seeming to know something, Chu Qing-Yan immediately looked towards her. "Tell me everything you know."
Xi Ning took a glance at her family's master and thought for a bit, then she felt that she should be frank with her master. As a result, she very quickly flung the lecture from the housekeeper to the back of her head.
"Master, shouldn't be said to be severe, it ought to be——" Xi Ning thought for half a day and finally came up with an appropriate word, "cold."
Cold? Meaning not in the least bit interested? Chu Qing-Yan frowned.
Xi Ning continued, with an overtone of maybe fighting for justice on behalf of Xiao Xu. "I heard those old people in the manor say that His Highness was one that wasn't dotted on by his father nor loved by his mother. Originally, his Majesty had some concern towards His Highness; however, ever since the Fourth Prince was born, he completely dotted on the Fourth Prince. After the fire destroyed His Highness's face, His Majesty became even more indifferent towards His Highness. Moreover, the Empress was only ever concerned with His Highness's studies and very seldom cared about other aspects regarding him…."
In Xi Ning's long-winded words, some elements may be rumors, but since even this little girl knew about it, then it proved that it didn't differ from the truth much.
Chu Qing-Yan stared at the canopy of the bed, the white muslin entering her view and blurring her vision. It seemed the big block of ice lived a harder life than her, because at least she still had parents that loved her dearly.
Should she treat big block of ice a little bit better from now on?
This was the last thought that flashed through her head before she entered slumberland.
When Xiao Xu returned from the palace, Chu Qing-Yan had already fallen asleep.
After hearing Xi Ning's report, he originally should have gone back to his own room to rest. He didn't know why, but his foot turned and he headed towards her room instead.
He was somewhat preoccupied, his mind turned around the words Father Emperor had said to him today. His face was indifferent like the serenity from the deep seas.
When he stepped into her room, he unconsciously lightened his footsteps and only stopped when he reached her bed. He didn't know why, but being by her side, he could find a little bit ease and the feeling of being unrestrained.
Suddenly, he discovered that there was something wrong with that peaceful sleeping face. Many beads of sweat formed on her forehead as her two hands clutched the quilt tightly. Her lips were pale from biting down too hard on her teeth, and there were periodically whispered words. He immediately bent down at the waist just in time to hear her mumbling to herself.
"Go away——Go away——"
Xiao Xu immediately realized, today's matter had affected her and now she was having a nightmare. Seeing her like this, a faint trace of pity welled up in his heart.
Just as he was about to lift a hand to caress her head in order to calm her down, he heard her suddenly cry out. "Don't——"
His hand stopped in mid-air as his eyes came into contact with the large pair of eyes that abruptly opened. He stared into her bewildered and frightened eyes, and his brows and heart couldn't help but pucker up.
Chu Qing-Yan originally dreamt of a huge sword chopping down at her, after crying out in fear, she suddenly woke up with lingering fear, but her eyes met a pair of gentle eyes. She felt sad and didn't have time to consider anything else, thus she extended both hands hugging toward that person. "Big block of ice——"
When the tiny body threw itself towards him, Xiao Xu instinctively wanted to avoid, but for some unknown reason, he stayed fixed in place and stared blankly as she drilled into his arms, using all her strength to hug him.
"I was really scared!" Chu Qing-Yan hugged that warm body, saying in a 'having been wronged' tone.
Dark night, nightmares, loneliness and fear, were all the things that could easily break through a person psychological barriers, just like Chu Qing-Yan at this moment. If it was an ordinary day, she would absolutely never dare to take such a bold action.
But, this unconscious action just followed what the heart wanted.
"It's alright, it has already passed." Xiao Xu's hands stiffened, ultimately he lowered his head and placed a hand on her back, awkwardly comforting her.
A faint smell of ink lingered around her nose, bringing her a sense of comfort. Very quickly Chu Qing-Yan was able to calm down.
She felt Xiao Xu's continuous light pats on her back, his strength was much more controlled than his use of brute force from before. She was somewhat embarrassed that she still acted like a spoiled child at such a mature age. However, when she recalled her age at this moment, she felt her actions were justifiable, right? Since everybody took her as a child, why shouldn't she exercise this right?
However, she still recalled the worries she had before falling asleep, so she asked in a small voice. "I heard that His Majesty is very fierce, did he blame you when you entered the palace this time?"
Xiao Xu lowered his brow. "Where did you hear this view from?"
Chu Qing-Yan choked, then her tone immediately changed to have no concern regarding anything. "You don't need to control where I know this from, quickly answer my question."
Xiao Xu silently laughed, this girl's courage was really big tonight! Because Chu Qing-Yan was buried in his arms, she couldn't see this short-lived expression in the dark.
But, when Xiao Xu heard her question, he recalled today's experience in the palace.
Inside the imperial study, those cold and harsh words as well as that look full of blame were like a millennium-old cold air that pressed into his heart.
"Father Emperor has given me three days to find the assassins, or else, he would severely punish me." He said while avoiding the important points and just dwelling on the trivial.
Chu Qing-Yan heard this and immediately knew he deliberately avoided her question, she blinked her eyes and continued to ask. "Then did he tell you what would happen if you didn't find the assassins or if you found them?"
"Finding them is one's duty, not finding them is dereliction of one's duty." His tone was mild as if his mood was unaffected by the severe criticism from that person in the imperial library.
Chu Qing-Yan couldn't help but mumble to herself. "This matter had nothing to do with you, who knew that the Fourth Prince would suddenly appear. This simply was an absurd calamity, okay?"
After mumbling to herself, Chu Qing-Yan raised her head from within his embrace, both hands gripped his lapel, seriously and sincerely said. "No matter, Your Highness. His Majesty doesn't know your good points, as long as I know them, it's fine!"
The wisp of coldness deep inside his heart had already been dispersed by her soft tone and was replaced by a light warmth.
Xiao Xu stared at her for a moment in a daze, afterwards, his hand lifted to hook her nose, laughing somewhat in spite of himself. "What's the use of you knowing?"
"I will treat you well!" Chu Qing-Yan said in the manner of making a solemn vow.
"Remember, these are your own words!" Xiao Xu originally didn't care, but in the end his face became slightly serious, his tone also turned solemn.
Chu Qing-Yan was stunned by his sudden seriousness for an instant, before she immediately nodded her head firmly. "A nobleman's word can never be taken back."
No one knew that the contract for an alliance was already set, starting from this moment.
The people involved didn't know that the string of fate had already tied the two of them together.
The two people hugging quietly enjoyed this peaceful night.
"This king will arrange another servant girl for you." Xiao Xu suddenly said.
Chu Qing-Yan recalled that Xi Ning was indeed rather young, there were some matters that were more appropriate for a senior servant girl to handle, so she nodded her head towards him without any doubt.
Only, if she knew who the servant girl that was about to be arranged for her was, maybe this moment wouldn't be so calm.
"Alright, it's time to pay your debts!"
His sudden words caught her by surprise, Chu Qing-Yan stared blankly. "What… What debt?"
"You honestly confess to this king. Where did 'Big block of ice', these words come from? Huh?"
This must be settling scores at an opportune moment, right?
She thought the cry, that didn't go through her brain, went unnoticed by him. However, she didn't know that his slyness was concealed so deeply!
Under the threatening tone from the person above, with a smile that wasn't a smile Chu Qing-Yan lost all courage and lowered her head.
Cough cough, can't you be an adult and be a little bit more magnanimous?
Such a miser!