Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The charming and gentle thoughts in Rong Jin’s mind dissipated instantly.
Chu Liuyue is the one who has affected my reputation for years because of her status as a loser. She even sold the hunting ground without consulting me, causing me to lose face in front of the imperial families’ sons.
If he didn’t take his revenge by ten times or more, he would have been the Crown Prince for nothing!
Rong Jin forced himself to suppress his anger and walked straight forward.
The crowd was shocked to discover that he was actually heading towards Chu Liuyue.
He looked condescendingly at Chu Liuyue while maintaining a calm demeanor, but anyone could see the turbulent waves beneath his seemingly calm disposition.
Countless pairs of eyes stared intently at the two.
First Elder and the others immediately stood up and bowed. “Pleased to meet Your Highness.”
However, Rong Jin ignored them. His eyes were trained on Chu Liuyue as he asked pointedly, “Are you Chu Liuyue?”
Chu Liuyue met his eyes and answered frankly. “Exactly.”
Rong Jin slowly clenched his hands in his sleeves. He thought Chu Liuyue would panic, but the young girl before him was calm. He couldn’t see any uneasiness in her at all! Where did she get her courage from?
“You’re not very old, but you have a lot of guts. I thought you wouldn’t dare to come today.”
Chu Liuyue blinked her eyes. “What made you think that I wouldn’t dare to come? Your Highness, didn’t you send word to the Chu family and demand that I come today?”
Rong Jin choked at once. Then, he sneered. “You really have a sharp tongue.”
Chu Liuyue smiled and responded, “Thank you for your compliments, Your Highness.”
Rong Jin glared at her before he turned around and headed towards his seat.
First Elder turned and gave her a disgusted look. “You don’t know…”
“First Elder, if you wish to embarrass yourself in public, feel free to scold me,” said Chu Liuyue lightly and sat down again calmly.
It suddenly dawned on First Elder that they were in Mingcui Palace, not the Chu family estate.
Everyone was waiting to see them make a fool of themselves. It would be bad if they made a scene now.
After much self-restraint on his part, First Elder finally waved his sleeve violently and kept quiet.
The Crown Prince obviously hated Chu Liuyue and was bound to throw a fit later. He would simply have to kick her out when the time came.
The palace quickly resumed its bustle, but many people were still secretly checking out Chu Liuyue.
She didn’t seem to mind as she sat peacefully in her seat. In reality, she had already swiftly checked them out.
Apart from the topmost position in the middle where His Majesty and the Empress were seated, the main hall was divided into two parts from the left and right.
The ones sitting at the very front were the princes and princesses of noble status.
As she had already inquired earlier, His Majesty had given birth to a total of nine princes and three princesses. Among whom three princes and one princess had died prematurely.
Currently, there were only six princes and two princesses alive.
Seated across from the Crown Prince was a man dressed in a black powerful suit. He looked about the same age as the Third Prince, but his features were rigid yet handsome. Even his temperament was completely different. He had a murderous aura. It could only be honed on the battlefield.
He was the Third Prince, Rong Jiu.
He joined the Northwest Army at the age of 15. As a young general, he had a prestigious reputation in the army. For this precise reason, he could stand up against the Crown Prince even though his birth mother was only a noble lady.
The court had long been secretly divided into two factions. The Crown Prince might have the advantage, but Rong Jiu was also not to be underestimated.
On Rong Jin’s side was naturally the Fifth Prince, Rong Qi, who was born from the same mother. He was also one of the only two princes with a title other than the Crown Prince.
The Eighth Princess and the Ninth Prince, Rong Shu and Rong Feng, were seated next to Rong Jiu. However, there were a few empty seats.
Further back were the four great family clans—Si, Gu, Chu, and Lu—on both sides.
The Chu family was seated behind the Gu family. The Lu family was seated opposite them, behind the Si family.
Among the four families, the Si family was the most powerful while the Chu family was the weakest.
Originally, the Chu family had enjoyed a higher status than the Lu family. But over the years, they had fallen out of favor while the Lu family surpassed them with their wealth and sat in the third position.
Shortly after Rong Jin sat down, a burst of laughter suddenly came from outside the palace. At the same time, a loud and majestic summon could be heard.
“His Majesty has arrived. The Empress has arrived.”
Here they come!
Everyone rose quickly and bowed in unison towards the direction of the Emperor and his Empress.
“Long live His Majesty!”
Chu Liuyue did the same as everyone else.
“Hahaha. Everyone, rise. Today is the Prince’s birthday banquet. There’s no need to be so formal.” A middle-aged man’s powerful laughter rang throughout the palace. “Alright. Zhen Zhen, go look for your brother too.”
Only then did everyone see the Fourth Princess, Rong Zhen, who was behind the Empress. She was also born to the current Empress—a true First Princess. She looked about 16 to 17 years old. Her gorgeous palace attire set off her face with increasing beauty.
“Then Father Emperor has promised Zhen Zhen?”
Emperor Jiawen smiled in favor. “Of course! You’re the most mischievous of all. Look at the rest of them. None can rival your trouble-making ability. If I don’t agree, I’m afraid you’re going to create a mess today.”
Rong Zhen wrinkled her nose, but there was a coquettish smile on her face as she happily made her way to sit beside Rong Jin.
Any fool could see how much Emperor Jiawen doted on her.
Everyone sat only after the Empress had settled down.
Chu Liuyue quickly looked up and stole a glance at the Emperor.
Emperor Jiawen, Rong Xiao.
The last time she saw him was during the Grand Court Meeting.
All of Tianling Dynasty’s affiliated countries would come to seek an audience during the Grand Court Meeting, which was held once every three years.
Those of Rong Xiao’s status, however, could only stand at the very end. They basically didn’t even have the right to speak to her. But she had an excellent memory. She was already preparing to take over her father’s position at that time, so she was very careful to remember everyone’s appearance and their relationship with each other.
Compared to that time, Rong Xiao seemed to have aged. His face and aura were very different. Yes, at that time, he was humble and could only stand among the crowd, looking up to her from afar.
Now, however, his and her position had been completely flipped!
She quickly withdrew her gaze after only one glance.
Emperor Jiawen was aware of the strange gaze falling on him. But when he tried to look, he didn’t find anything unusual.
As soon as Rong Zhen sat down, she saw the gloomy look on Rong Jin’s face. She suddenly recalled something and looked toward the Chu family.
She only managed to see a slender frame because Chu Liuyue was seated in the second row.
She leaned close to Rong Jin and asked softly, “Is that her?”
Rong Jin muttered a ‘hmm.’
“Hmph! Who does she think she is? Don’t worry, Brother. I’ll help you out.”
Rong Jin moved his eyebrows but made no attempt to stop her. This was a tacit acceptance.
Rong Zhen was rude and arrogant, and she always did things out of the ordinary. However, because her parents doted on her, nothing would happen to her even if she made a mess of things.
As the Crown Prince, he would be at a disadvantage if he got himself into trouble with a woman because of a hunting ground. It would be perfect for Rong Zhen to step in.
In the middle of the conversation, Rong Zhen opened her mouth and asked loudly, “I’m sure this is the ‘famous’ Miss Chu, right?”
Everyone quiet down. Then, they immediately realized that Rong Zhen was going to find fault with Chu Liuyue.
Chu Liuyue raised her eyes.
Rong Zhen smiled unkindly and said, “I haven’t seen you much throughout all these years. Today, I feel like I’ve seen you for the first time. I plan to give you a gift for our first meeting.” With that, she clapped her hands.
“Someone, come and present the treasure that I won the day before yesterday.”