Chu Liuyue and Chu Ning followed Rong Xiu back to Prince Li Mansion.
The people there seemed to have received the news; they were especially enthusiastic toward Chu Ning and Chu Liuyue. It was as if they were welcoming their own family members.
Chu Ning felt a little uneasy.
After spending some time in Prince Li Mansion, Chu Ning wanted to let Rong Xiu get some proper rest, so he left with Chu Liuyue.
Rong Xiu sent a carriage to send the two of them back home.
Chu Ning didn’t want the trouble at first, but he gave in in the end.
The father and daughter each sat on one side of the carriage. The pair stared at each other wordlessly.
Chu Ning stared at his daughter. He wanted to say something, but he wasn’t sure where to start.
“Father, just speak your mind,” Chu Liuyue said softly.
Chu Ning pondered for a moment before he spoke. “You and Prince Li… Did the two of you have something going on already?”
Chu Liuyue smiled. “What are you referring to?”
Chu Ning paused. “I mean… Did you know that he was interested…”
“Yes.” Chu Liuyue didn’t intend to keep this from him. “Just as you imagined, Prince Li and I have feelings for each other, which resulted in His Majesty granting the marriage today.”
Even though he had imagined it, Chu Ning was still a little surprised to hear this. “This… When did this happen? Could it be… when he helped you back then…”
“Prince Li saved me first. We didn’t know each other back then.”
Chu Ning heaved a sigh of relief. That means the two of them only got closer after Prince Li returned. If that’s the case, it is much easier for me to accept.
“You truly like Prince Li?” Chu Ning asked with a solemn expression as he stared at her eyes.
Chu Liuyue nodded.
Chu Ning froze for a moment. He then muttered, “…That’s good… that’s good…” His expression was a little complicated. It seemed like joy, but it also seemed like regret.
Chu Ning understood Yue’er’s personality. If she weren’t interested in Prince Li, she would’ve never agreed to the marriage today.
“Prince Li is a really good person.”
Compared to Rong Jin, he is several times better. Yue’er didn’t have an eye for people before; she liked Rong Jin for years and was humiliated and embarrassed for it.
However, things were different now. Chu Ning could tell that Prince Li valued Yue’er. It could even be said that he saw her as a piece of treasure.
He could finally put his mind to ease.
“But… Prince Li’s body… Yue’er, have you checked Prince Li’s pulse before? Is there anything you can do to help him recover?”
Prince Li was born with the illness. They had hired countless heavenly doctors, but the situation never changed for the better. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been sent to Mingyue Tianshan to recuperate for years without returning to Imperial City.
Looking at Chu Ning’s worried manner, Chu Liuyue felt touched, but she also found it humorous. “Father, don’t worry. I’ll try my best. Regardless of the condition of Prince Li’s body, I’ll take good care of him.”
Chu Ning sighed and then nodded. “That’s great.”
He had once hoped that Yue’er would marry a healthy, ordinary person and have an ordinary life. But Yue’er had now exhibited phenomenal talent, so there was no way she could lead a normal life.
“Your mother would be really happy if she were still here…” Nostalgia filled Chu Ning’s eyes.
Chu Liuyue felt her heart ache.
For so many years, Chu Ning played the role of father and mother to raise Chu Liuyue. One could only imagine how tough it must’ve been.
She moved forward and held Chu Ning’s hand.
The father-daughter duo sat across from each other wordlessly, but the inside of the carriage was a rare scene of warmth and harmony.
A crisp slap echoed in the room.
The Empress glared at Rong Jin—who was standing before her—coldly. “You must’ve been insane today!”
Rong Jin hung his head without uttering a word.
“I already told you to keep your hands off of Chu Liuyue! Do my words mean nothing to you? I thought you were just uttering nonsense when I saw you lying in bed before, but I didn’t expect you to go over there and fight with Rong Xiu over Chu Liuyue!”
The Empress’s fingers were almost touching Rong Jin’s forehead. “Your father got one thing right today—you must really be tired of being the crown prince!”
Rong Jin wiped the blood away from the corner of his mouth. A ball of fire was building up in him, and he finally couldn’t help it. “She was mine to begin with! Why can’t…”
“You annulled your marriage agreement with her a long time ago!” The Empress suddenly raised her voice as her eyes made their way down Rong Jin’s body, sharp as knives.”Don’t forget that you brought the annulment up yourself! What did you say then? You said that you wanted to annul your marriage agreement with Chu Liuyue and make a clean break, no matter the cost!”
“It’s only been a couple of months since then, but it’s like you’re possessed! How do you want the others to regard you as the Crown Prince!? Do you know how much effort it took me to put you in the Crown Prince position back then!?”
The Empress was already a little hysterical.
Rong Jin looked up.
The Empress’s face was twisted, and her eyes were filled with grudges.
Rong Jin was stunned. It was only then that he realized that the Empress seemed especially emotional today.
He took a deep breath and lowered his voice, but he was still indignant. “But… But why does it have to be Rong Xiu? What does that lowly person have that I don’t? Look at him! He’ll probably faint from walking a few extra steps!”
He felt disgusted at the thought of Chu Liuyue marrying someone like that!
The Empress’s expression turned grim before she laughed out coldly. “Why? ‘Why,’ you ask?! Rong Xiu asked your father for it himself, so how could he not agree to it!? You’re better than him in every way, but his mother was a vixen, that’s why!”
She’s been dead for this long, but she’s still haunting us! I couldn’t beat her back then, and now my son cannot beat hers! How can I not be upset?!
Rong Jin only understood then that the Empress was behaving like this because she had recalled the person and the things from back then.
The Empress seemed to have realized that she was a little out of control. She took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down. “In any case, it’s not easy to keep you in your position. Your father can put up with you once or twice, but there will not be a third time!”
Rong Jin pursed his lips. “I know my mistakes.”
“What’s the use of knowing your mistakes? You’ve got to find a way to make up for them.”
Rong Jin’s eyes lit up. “Mother, you have an idea?”
The Empress stared at him intently. “Of course. But you’ve got to swear that you’ll never mention Chu Liuyue. You’ve got to get that thought out of your head!”
Rong Jin froze. “But mother, she’s the only one I…”
The Empress looked at him with warning in her eyes.
Unconsciously, Rong Jin swallowed his words.
After a long while, he finally replied with clenched fists. “…Yes.”
The Empress was relieved, and she relaxed a little as she picked up the teacup from the side. “The only way to secure your position as Crown Prince is to have a marriage alliance with Situ Xingchen.”