I did not expect Father to call me over because of this. Rong Xiu kept quiet for a moment before saying, “Father, my other brothers haven’t married yet, so it seems a little early for me to think about this…”
Emperor Jiawen coldly grunted. “All those brothers of yours cause trouble for me! It’s not worth mentioning them. I haven’t been able to take care of you properly all these years, so I have to arrange a suitable marriage for you.”
Emperor Jiawen raised his chin. “I know that you haven’t been back for long, and you don’t really go out of the house. Hence, you’re unfamiliar with these women. The portraits are there, and you can go and choose from them. If you fancy anyone, you can just tell me about it.”
Emperor Jiawen waved his hand and looked like he would immediately grant Rong Xiu the marriage, no matter which woman he picked.
This arrangement caused Rong Xiu to be caught between laughter and tears. Without even looking at the portraits, he honestly said, “Father, my body has been plagued with illnesses since I was young. Marrying someone will just be causing trouble for them. Let’s talk about this matter another day.”
“What are you talking about? Whoever can marry you is very blessed! Who will dare say that you’re trouble? Just pick whoever you like!” When Emperor Jiawen heard what Rong Xiu said, his face darkened.
Coming to think about it, Rong Xiu stayed beside the Emperor the shortest. Hence, logically speaking, both of them should not have a deep relationship. However, nobody knew that he doted on this child the most in his heart.
“The Si family’s Fourth Missy has decent character and talent, but she’s born from a concubine and doesn’t really fit your status. However, if you like her, you can marry her as your second consort. The Lu family is a family of merchants, and the girls in their family all have some power. Hence, I don’t like them. Even though the Yang family’s Big Missy has average talent, her appearance and elegance are one of the best. You can consider her. Oh yeah, Zhenbei Duke’s daughter..”
Emperor Jiawen mentioned almost all the girls from outstanding families in the Imperial City.
To an average person, all of these women were of distinguished status, and all of them were excellent. However, to Emperor Jiawen, all of the girls had their own flaws.
This was not his fault. Just based on Rong Xiu’s appearance alone, he would make most of the women lose their color. Rong Xiu was also the only other son that had a prince title. Once he got married, honor would come their way.
Hence, it was understandable that Emperor Jiawen was picky.
As for Rong Xiu’s body… It did not pose too much of a problem to Emperor Jiawen.
Upon seeing Emperor Jiawen’s excited expression, Rong Xiu’s brows rose slightly. Then, he clenched his fists and placed them over his mouth as he coughed twice.
Emperor Jiawen paused and looked at him in worry. “Why did you start coughing again? Have you not recovered?”
Rong Xiu shook his head, and his lips were slightly pale. He smiled and said, “I’m fine, Father. You don’t have to worry—cough cough—”
Upon seeing Rong Xiu’s current condition, Emperor Jiawen was no longer in the mood to continue with the previous topic. “Forget it. Since you’re reluctant, we’ll stop talking about this for now. However, you must take this matter to heart. When you have the time, go out and walk around more and see if there’s anyone you like. I can’t make the decision for you, so you need to choose for yourself.”
Rong Xiu slightly bent his body. “Thank you, Father, for your kind understanding.”
Emperor Jiawen shook his head and sighed. “I wonder what kind of woman you like…”
What kind of woman do I like? A beautiful face flashed across Rong Xiu’s mind. Even though she looks childish, she is very experienced. Her eyes are especially dazzling, just like the stars in the night sky.
His gaze moved, and he quickly masked his emotions. “I still have a request to make.”
“Oh? After you returned to the Imperial City, you’ve been recuperating in your residence. This is the first time you’ve made a request. How rare! Tell me about it.”
Rong Xiu paused for a while before saying, “I have been living outside for many years, and I didn’t have the chance to pay my respects to my mother properly. This time, I would like to execute my duties as her son.”
Emperor Jiawen was taken aback when he heard Rong Xiu talking about his mother. Then, he rested against his chair, sighed deeply, and closed his eyes. “… She has indeed left for many years…”
Emperor Jiawen seemed to have aged a lot at that moment, and his tone was filled with unconcealable regret and nostalgia. “It’s good that you still think about your mother. However, you should know that… your mother’s tomb isn’t in the palace.”
Rong Xiu looked calm. “I know. I remember that Mother once stayed in Tian Lu Academy for a long time, right?”
“That’s right. Back then… she refused to stay in the palace, so she moved to Tian Lu Academy instead. Your mother had ties with Tian Lu Academy’s director and was very capable. Hence, she was considered as half a teacher at the academy. She stayed there for two years and didn’t even come back once until she passed on.” Emperor Jiawen spoke slowly as if he was narrating a story that had nothing to do with himself.
But his helpless expression of nostalgia and trembling hands proved that his inner mind was not as peaceful.
Even though so many years had passed, that person and those things were still clearly etched in his heart, and he could not remove them.
Rong Xiu quietly looked at his father with a calm and composed gaze. It was as if he did not care about Emperor Jiawen’s reminiscent look. However, he quickly hid his nonchalant expression.
“So, I was planning on going to Tian Lu Academy to take a look at the place Mother had stayed at before. May I know if I have the permission to do so?”
Emperor Jiawen opened his eyes. The young man in front of him had unknowingly grown up. He stood there with his back straight, and the sunlight shone on his jade-like face, making him look fresh.
Rong Xiu was very similar to his mother. That light, distant, and nonchalant aura especially made it look like both of them were made from the same mold. This was why Emperor Jiawen was especially patient and doting whenever he saw Rong Xiu’s face.
“I won’t disagree, but you need to ask the academy’s director about this. Ordinary people can’t enter Tian Lu Academy, but your mother had a different status. Perhaps the director will make an exception for you.”
Rong Xiu’s lips curved up slightly. “I’ve already written a letter to ask the director. He has agreed.”
Emperor Jiawen was dazed and said, “Then… you can just go ahead!”