After Yan Shi Ning left, Yan Jing paced the calligraphy room.
A while later, Yan Shi Ting’s frown changed into a smile and she wanted to fly. She acted reluctant to receive the pair of jade bracelets from Yan Shi Ning, but she loved the jade bracelets.
Yan Jing strode into Yan Shi Ting’s chamber while she was admiring the jade bracelets.
Yan Shi Ting looked up at her father who appeared upset about something. ‘Father, what’s wrong?’
Yan Jing sat beside Yan Shi Ting. A maid was about to pour tea for him but he stopped the maid.
‘Pour me a bowl of water,’ Yan Jing said.
‘Father, why do you want to drink water?’ Yan Shi Ting asked. ‘This is rare tea, the empress gave it to me.’
Yan Jing held Yan Shi Ting’s hand and smiled at her while the maid poured water.
‘Shi Ting, you’re an adult now and about to be start your own family,’ Yan Jing said.
Suddenly Yan Shi Ting felt a sharp pain on her finger and retrieved her hand.
‘Father, what happened?’ Yan Shi Ting asked.
Yan Jing was satisfied a drop of blood fell into the bowl of water. ‘Nothing. I think this bowl is dirty. I’m going to exchange it for a clean bowl.’
Yan Jing didn’t wait for Yan Shi Ting’s reply, he carried the bowl of water outside.
In the courtyard Yan Jing pricked his finger and a drop of blood fell into the bowl of water. Indeed his blood and Yan Shi Ting’s blood didn’t merge and he flung the bowl of water onto the ground.
Yan Shi Ting was startled by the strange sounds of a broken bowl.
Yan Jing didn’t know how he left Yan Shi Ting’s courtyard. His legs felt heavy, his whole body felt cold and his hands were shaky. Princess Kang Hua deceived him for more than sixteen years!
Yan Jing remembered that year Yan Shi Ting was born.
‘Little sister Hua, is Shi Ting my blood daughter?’ Yan Jing asked. ‘Say it clearly!’
‘Big brother, what else do you want?’ Princess Kang Hua asked. ‘Aren’t you wearing the headgear you wanted? If you don’t believe me then I’ll die for you to see. How can you suspect I would deceive you about this? Look at Shi Ting, doesn’t she look like you? Look, her blood and your blood merged. What else do you want?’
Yan Jing’s heart was teared to pieces. He was a prime minister of a kingdom but his second wife and her daughter deceived him for more than sixteen years! He wore a headgear of a fool for more than sixteen years! Indeed it was a laughable situation.
A while later Yan Jing kicked down Princess Kang Hua’s door.
‘Everyone leave!’ Yan Jing ordered the frightened maids and servants while he looked coldly at Princess Kang Hua.
Princess Kang Hua was married to Yan Jing for many years. She knew if he was angry and didn’t want anyone to hear what he wanted to say to her then it was something shameful… her face whitened, perhaps Yan Jing received those two letters.
‘Everyone hurry and go outside!’ Princess Kang Hua ordered the maids and servants that were stalling inside the chamber.
After the maids and servants left, the atmosphere in the chamber was tensed and silent.
Princess Kang Hua refused to open her mouth first. She didn’t want to confess anything she wasn’t forced to.
Yan Jing was repulsed by Princess Kang Hua’s beautiful face. ‘Kang Hua, I haven’t mistreated you. Why did you deceive me to this extent?’
‘I… I… what did I lie to you about?’ Princess Kang Hua denied.
Yan Jing heard Princess Kang Hua’s lie and his head ached. ‘You still want to deceive me? Say it clearly, is Yan Shi Ting yours and your older cousin’s daughter? No, she isn’t a Yan! That bastard child doesn’t suit to be a Yan!’
Princess Kang Hua felt like there were coffins in all four directions. Indeed paper couldn’t defeat fire and her deceit was exposed.
‘You don’t need to deceive me anymore!’ Yan Jing said. ‘I know everything! Earlier I tested that bastard child’s blood and my blood. You can’t deceive me anymore. Kang Hua, I truly want to kill you. Because of you, I left my wife and daughter. But you treated me like a fool. You’re scum! Scum!’
Yan Jing swore and cried for a long time. Indeed he was an unpleasant sight.
Princess Kang Hua dug her fingernails into her palms and she looked at the angry man in front of her. Suddenly everything ended. The days and years of anxiety finally ended.
Princess Kang Hua straightened her back and looked coldly at Yan Jing. ‘What can you do?’
Princess Kang Hua realised it no longer mattered that Yan Jing knew the truth.
‘You dare to kill me?’ Princess Kang Hua asked. ‘Do you dare to tell everyone Shi Ting isn’t your blood daughter? Do you dare to tell everyone she is the daughter of your second wife rolling in bed with another man? Yan Jing, I know you well. You value pride, reputation and status of a prime minister. You wouldn’t cause yourself to lose dignity even if your true heart is ugly. In front of other people you would act dignified. Prime Minister Yan, isn’t he someone other people respect? What respect? You wouldn’t be prime minister if you didn’t marry me! You say that I’m scum. But between the two of us, who is more of a scum?’
Yan Jing’s face paled, he couldn’t refute Princess Kang Hua’s words.
Princess Kang Hua smiled coldly. ‘Even if Shi Ting is a bastard child and isn’t a Yan or even if you’re disgusted, you can only tell everyone she is your daughter! Don’t forget, the wedding is in three days. Yan Jing, that year because of your ambition you abandoned your wife and daughter. Today because you were deceived for more than sixteen years, can you abandon this marriage? Abandon the chance to be the future emperor’s grandfather?’
Yan Jing didn’t refute Princess Kang Hua’s words. He silently stared at her cold arrogant face and felt his heart rotted. It was true, he wouldn’t kill her or expose Yan Shi Ting’s identity. He was going to swallow his grievances otherwise another person would use it as an opportunity to steal his position.
Yan Jing felt defeated. ‘You’re right! I desire success and status. This is my retribution. Kang Hua, from today onward there is no marriage between us. I never want to see you again.’
Princess Kang Hua watched the man she loved for decades leave without looking back at her. She sat and the memories appeared in her head.
Princess Kang Hua remembered that year she was a young lady. Her young self saw Yan Jing for the first time, he rode a horse. Afterward she met him at the former prime minister’s manor and decided she wasn’t going to marry anyone else but him. She confessed to him but he rejected her because he had a wife. So she put lust herbs into his wine and he slept with her. The following morning she was certain he would take responsibility but he rejected her again and apologised to her.
Princess Kang Hua thought her young self was laughable. She was a princess and lowered herself to love that kind of man but he rejected her love! From that day she vowed she would do anything to hold onto the man she loved. So she lied to Yan Jing, ‘I’m pregnant. Big brother, if you don’t marry me then I’ll tell everyone about what you did. I’m a princess, I’m not going to accept being a second wife. You have to divorce your wife.’
Yan Jing rejected the young Princess Kang Hua again. He said he would rather die than divorce his wife and she was forced to accept being a second wife.
After Yan Jing married Princess Kang Hua, she thought her fake pregnancy would become a real pregnancy. But he rejected her again, ‘You’re pregnant, there’s no hurry.’
The newly wedded Princess Kang Hua anxiously watched a few days past then she thought of a plan and acted out her plan. She remembered that night was a sensual night but it wasn’t with the man she loved. So each time she remembered that night, her heart ached.
Princess Kang Hua’s memories faded and she absently walked around the gardens.
A leaf fell onto the ground. Princess Kang Hua picked it up, the leaf was brown like her heart. More than sixteen years of marriage disappeared in front of her. It ripped off her mask and ended her love. She smiled coldly and muttered to herself. ‘I still have Shi Ting! I have a daughter that will be empress! That’s enough! I wasn’t wrong! Everything happened because those people forced me!’
End of Chapter Thirty-Seven