Chapter 134: Personal Caretaker
Jun Huang slowly let out a breath and pulled her lips into a smile. "Fortunately the strategist at his side is you. The third prince is now so focused on going against Qi Chen, he has shown all his hands. He's putting himself at risk. It's a good thing for us that the two of them are going to be head to head with each other. The third prince isn't going to be able to defeat Qi Chen."
Little Girl entered with a pot of tea and left immediately after refilling their cups. Jun Huang took a sip and looked up at Ji Bo. "How does Mister Ji Bo intend to make the third prince stand out more? He has to become an even bigger threat for him to take up all of Qi Chen's attention."
Ji Bo nodded. "I have some ideas."
"Why don't you share your ideas with us?"
"There's one thing we can do," said Ji Bo. "We can have the third prince compete for achievement with the crown prince."
Jun Huang cocked her head, puzzled. "Achievement? What do you mean?"
Ji Bo smiled and waved a hand in the air. "That is between the heaven and myself. You only have to wait and see."
His cryptic words didn't give Jun Huang an answer. She turned to Nan Xun, who shrugged. "I am a regular general. I don't understand anything out of you two's mouths."
Jun Huang pouted. Nan Xun was a general, but he was a man both brave and clever. Sometimes he could be as quick as she was. But for this, neither of them could guess what Ji Bo was implying.
Ji Bo smiled. He always believed that some words were better left unsaid. There was no need for Jun Huang and Nan Xun to know every detail about his plan. What would happen would happen.
He finished his tea and looked up at the sky. After a brief moment of silence, he stood up and bowed at Jun Huang. "It's getting late. I should return to the third prince's manor. Otherwise he may get suspicious."
Jun Huang stood up and returned the gesture. "You're right. What's important is the big picture. I will not keep you here."
Ji Bo nodded. After taking a step, he turned around and smiled at Jun Huang. "Now that I'm staying in the third prince's manor, it's not easy for us to meet up. If you have any urgent matter you need to discuss with me, you can go to the owner of Tianxin1 Teahouse. He's with me."
"I understand," said Jun Huang.
Jun Huang looked away once Ji Bo disappeared from her view. She sighed. The discussion had taken a toll on her. Her temples started to throb now that she didn't have anything to focus on. She rubbed at her forehead and sat back down on the stone stool.
Nan Xun frowned as he approached. Without thinking too much, he massaged her temples to help her relieve the tension.
Jun Huang closed her eyes and let him do so. Nan Xun looked down at her fluttering eyelashes. How could such a beautiful woman be seen as a handsome gentleman?
He stared and didn't notice that Jun Huang had opened her eyes. When he broke out of his trance, Jun Huang was looking at him. Her calm eyes were as clear as a pond in wintertime.
Nan Xun pulled his hands away and coughed to cover up his embarrassment. Jun Huang didn't react to that. She picked up her teacup and savored the quality tea.
Just when Nan Xun started to wonder if Jun Huang had forgotten about his existence, Jun Huang looked up at him and asked, "What do you think about the third prince?"
Nan Xun gave the question some thoughts before answering. "We thought the third prince did not intend to get involved in politics, but it turns out he is a beast lurking in the dark. With that knowledge, it makes sense for us to keep our guard up. But I don't think we need to be overly concerned. We will give him the attention he is due, but no more."
Jun Huang nodded. She raised an eyebrow at him. "Don't you think we have to stop seeing each other so often? The third prince has ordered his people to report my visits to Qi Chen. In the future it may be used against us…"
"I disagree," Nan Xun replied without thinking.
Jun Huang blinked in surprise. She didn't expect Nan Xun to disagree so quickly. She hesitantly asked, "Why?"
Nan Xun looked up at her with so much emotions in his eyes that Jun Huang's heart started racing. "You said so yourself: I got hurt because of you, so you have an obligation to take care of me. Is the famous Jun Huang going to break your promise?" He raised an eyebrow, satisfied with his argument.
Jun Huang huffed out a soundless laugh. It was her fault that Nan Xun got hurt, and she did feel guilty about it. She should be the one to take care of him.
Seeing that Jun Huang was considering the request, Nan Xun pushed further, "I'm injured. There are a lot of things that I can't do myself. However, my injury has to be kept secret. There's no one else who can take care of me but you. Of all the people I trust, you are the only one who knows medicine. Therefore you should be the one to stay at my side." Nan Xun spoke with such certainty, it was as if he thought his proposal was the most logical solution.
Jun Huang's lips twitched. Nan Xun was being unreasonable. When she was about to say something, Nan Xun dropped the cup he had been holding. It hit the table and tumbled onto the floor, shattering into pieces.
Panic seized her heart in a tight grip. She could see Nan Xun's fingers trembling. He couldn't close his hand properly. She rushed to his side and took his fingers in her hands. "What happened? Are you alright?"
Nan Xun's breathing was a little shallow. Sweat broke out of his forehead and streamed down his stoic face. It took a moment for the burst of pain to fade.
His silence made Jun Huang even more worried. "What wrong? Tell me!" As she spoke, she grabbed Nan Xun arm and took his pulse.
"I'm fine. That hit must have hurt my nerves. It's painful, but it gets better after a while."
After taking his pulse, Jun Huang understood the severity of his condition. She frowned. Nan Xun's injury hadn't been this serious a few days ago. "Why has your injury gotten more serious? Have those men ambushed you again?"
Nan Xun shook his head and took some time to steady himself. "The emperor was in a good mood yesterday. He told me to spar with him. I can't let him know about my situation, so I obliged him. The wound reopened. I patched myself up when I returned. I didn't know it's going to worsen this much."
Jun Huang pursed her lips. Nan Xun must have felt it when his wound opened in his sparring session with the emperor, but he stubbornly persisted.
Seeing the concerned lines on Jun Huang's face, Nan Xun let out a quiet laugh. "I'm fine. Don't worry."
"If I am to stay in your manor, we have to find a good excuse. Qi Chen is mistrustful. I can't test his trust in me again…"
"Don't worry. I'll take care of it." With that, Nan Xun turned away to leave with a hand covering his shoulder.
Once he returned to his manor, he had a servant prepare a brush and some ink for him. He wrote a letter describing how he had rescued Jun Huang and had got hurt in the process. He requested for Qi Chen to let Jun Huang stay in his manor for a few days. She would take care of his injury, and he would consider the debt paid.
He read the letter over before ordering his shadowguard to deliver it to Qi Chen. The shadowguard accepted the order and left for Prince Chen Manor without making a sound.
Qi Chen frowned at the letter delivered to him, wondering what Nan Xun had meant by this.
Seeing Qi Chen's expression when he entered the room, the housekeeper asked, "Has Your Highness run into a problem?"
Qi Chen looked up at the housekeeper. The housekeeper had served him for decades. He was someone Qi Chen could trust with all his heart. After a moment of silence, Qi Chen handed the letter to the housekeeper.
The housekeeper took a moment to think before asking, "What does Your Highness intend to do?"
"Nan Xun claimed to have been injured because of brother Feng and asked me to let brother Feng take care of him. I can't figure out what he hopes to achieve by this. I'm not sure what I should do."
"This old servant believes that it's not a good time to offend Prince Nan Xun," said the housekeeper. "He has written you a letter personally, which means that he wants to see how you will respond. If Your Highness turns him down, Prince Nan Xun will think you don't want him on your side."
Qi Chen hummed. The housekeeper had a point. Nan Xun took the time to write him a letter. It must be because he was trying to get a feel of Qi Chen's attitude towards him. Qi Chen had to give Nan Xun what he wanted.
Qi Chen let out a breath, his brows furrowed. "Go let brother Feng know about this and tell him what I think. He is a man capable of looking at the big picture. Nan Xun has gotten hurt because of him. He will agree to stay in Nan Xun's manor for some time."
The housekeeper nodded and left for Jun Huang's place. Jun Huang didn't expect Qi Chen to agree so readily. It took some time for her to recover from her shock.
Literally translated as Sky Heart. ↩