Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
How could Gu Mingzhu not understand the meaning behind Chu Liuyue’s words? The latter was obviously not taking her seriously!
She laughed with exasperation. “Chu Liuyue, are you afraid to do it?”
Chu Liuyue shrugged her shoulders. “Think what you want.”
Gu Mingzhu was suddenly at a loss for words. She didn’t expect Chu Liuyue to be immune against her provocations! She raised her voice in defiance. “I’ll add another, the Qing Mu Xuan formation! Are you in or not?”
The room was in an uproar.
Qing Mu Xuan formation was a formation just as good as the Long Xian Formation!
In order to get Chu Liuyue to compete with her, Gu Mingzhu was willing to place two fifth-level Xuan formations as a reward! She was putting a lot at stake!
Chu Liuyue finally turned back and glanced at her lazily. “Really?”
“Of course! I am the Second Gu Missy!” Gu Mingzhu lifted her chin haughtily.
Chu Liuyue nodded. “Okay!” She wasn’t a fool. The other party had taken the initiative to do her a favor, so why shouldn’t she accept the bet?
Gu Mingzhu was delighted when Chu Liuyue finally agreed. However, she sneered with despise. “You didn’t agree earlier because the reward wasn’t appealing enough!” Her words implied that Chu Liuyue was money-minded.
Chu Liuyue actually admitted it with a bright smile. “I’m glad you know. If you want to ask for advice, you have to show your sincerity.” Otherwise, I would really be reluctant to waste my time on a person like this.
“You!” Anger began to well up inside Gu Mingzhu. Just as she was about to direct her anger at Chu Liuyue, she felt someone looking at her. It was Si Ting!
Gu Mingzhu restrained herself with much difficulty and regained her usual arrogant demeanor. “We’ll use the two formations laid out by Mr. Dongfang. Whoever cracks them first is the winner!”
“Gu Mingzhu, you have the gall to say this? You have been trying for the past two hours. Chu Liuyue just arrived. You’re obviously bullying her!” Si Yang spoke up, feeling indignant.
Smirking, Gu Mingzhu looked at Chu Liuyue. “It can easily take one a few hours to unravel a Xuan formation. Sometimes, it’s even impossible to crack it in a day. Chu Liuyue came late because of her own reasons. Can I be blamed for that? Besides, she came in second during the assessment. Surely she wouldn’t be so calculative with the time. Isn’t that so, Chu Liuyue?”
Chu Liuyue waved her hand without a care. “Have it your way.”
Gu Mingzhu was annoyed again by her casual behavior. “Begin!” With that, she lowered her head and focused on the Xuan formation that she had been working on. This time, I have to win!
Chu Liuyue withdrew her gaze and looked steadily at Si Ting.
It made Si Ting feel nervous for some reason.
The corners of Chu Liuyue’s lips curled up. Si Ting is obviously the cause of this trouble. Nevertheless, Si Ting has helped me before. It won’t be very nice of me to hold a grudge against him now.
Si Ting was the first to break eye contact.
Chu Liuyue raised a brow but soon directed her attention to her Xuan formation.
At the Royal Palace’s Imperial Study.
Emperor Jiawen leaned back in his chair and emotionlessly stared at Rong Jin, who stood facing him with his hands clenched by his side.
“I won’t repeat myself. Let this matter go. No one is to pursue it.” His low and powerful voice resonated in the spacious study with authority and nobility befitting an emperor.
Rong Jin clenched his fists tighter. In reality, he already had an answer in his mind before he even came. However, it still puzzled him! “Father, something is really fishy about the way Zhen Zhen injured herself. When I was tending to the hunting ground, situations like this never happened! How did this happen as soon as Zhen Bao Pavilion took over the hunting ground? If we don’t launch a thorough investigation, how can we appease Zhen Zhen?”
Emperor Jiawen looked at him solemnly. “Crown Prince, are you blaming me?”
Rong Jin suddenly panicked, promptly lifted his robe, and knelt down. “I wouldn’t dare!”
“Zhen Zhen insisted on hunting the high-level fiend even after Zhen Bao Pavilion discouraged her several times. She has only herself to blame for this! I’ve spoiled her rotten. All these years, I have indulged her in her wilful ways instead of punishing her! I, too, am to blame for playing a part in what had happened!” Emperor Jiawen closed his eyes and let out a long sigh.
“How does my heart not ache for her when her pearl of essence has been shattered? I have ordered Chu Ning to lead the imperial guards to pursue the fiend that has injured Zhen Zhen. Those who followed Zhen Zhen but failed to protect her that day have also been punished. You… what else do you want to investigate?”
His last sentence made Rong Jin’s heart skip a beat inexplicably.
Although Emperor Jiawen wasn’t looking at him, Rong Jin still felt that the emperor could read his thoughts.
“I merely think…”
“I already told you the last time not to have any ideas about Zhen Bao Pavilion, but it seems like you didn’t listen at all.” Emperor Jiawen looked exhausted when he opened his eyes. He said slowly, “Are you honestly asking for an investigation for Zhen Zhen’s sake or… for your own?”
“Father!” Rong Jin was stupefied. Emperor Jiawen’s eyes suddenly resembled ghostly fire, and Rong Jin was scared witless. “Father, please! I have no selfish motives!”
Emperor Jiawen remained unmoved. He knew everything about Rong Jin, including what he had in mind and his plans.
Father and son—one seated and the other on his knees—engaged in a confrontation.
The atmosphere in the study became cold and tense.
After a long time, Rong Jin finally hung his head low, dejected. “Father, I just want an answer! What’s the big deal about Zhen Bao Pavilion that even you, the emperor, are so protective of them? I spent a lot of effort on that hunting ground, but they snatched it out of my hands in the blink of an eye! I simply can’t reconcile with this fact!”
“You, the Crown Prince, are behaving like this because of a silly hunting ground? I think you’re more concerned about your ego and reputation as the Crown Prince, aren’t you?”
Emperor Jiawen’s words hit the nail on the head, and the prince’s face went pale.
“I-if they hadn’t helped Chu Liuyue, I wouldn’t…”
Emperor Jiawen shook his head. “You initiated the dissolution of your marriage agreement.”
He knew that Rong Jin was narrow-minded, but what had recently happened really disappointed him. If Chu Liuyue had shown that she had an amazing talent in the first place, the current situation would be different.
“You’re dismissed.” Emperor Jiawen waved his hand.
Rong Jin wanted to say more, but he swallowed his words when he saw Emperor Jiawen’s expression. “Yes.”
Rong Jin stood up and left.
Just when he reached the door, he heard Emperor Jiawen’s voice from behind him. “I heard that the Chu girl, Chu Xianmin, hurt her face a few days ago. Go and visit her when you have the time.”
Rong Jin had a bad premonition as he turned back.
“The rumors in the Imperial City are spreading like wildfire. With the current situation, it’s better that you marry her as soon as possible.”
“Father, there’s nothing between Chu Xianmin and me…”
“As the Crown Prince, you have to decide what the best solution is for yourself.”
On his way back to Crown Prince Mansion, Rong Jin didn’t utter a single word, but his terrifying expression explained everything.
Song Yuan, who had been waiting outside for him, felt something was amiss. His heart skipped a beat in panic as he lowered his gaze.
Rong Jin stood in front of Song Yuan. “Send word to the Chu family and ask them to make preparations. I will marry Chu Xianmin in a few days.”
Song Yuan was taken aback. “Your Highness, are we… adapting the formalities for a Secondary Consort?”
Rong Jin sneered. “Secondary Consort? Does she deserve it?”