When Jiang Yucheng arrived at Huayang Palace, Shangguan Wan was waiting for him. “Yucheng, you’re here!”
As soon as she saw him, she happily went up to him, intending to give him a hug.
However, he backed away from her. “Greetings, Your Highness.”
Shangguan Wan pouted in displeasure when she failed to hug him. “What are you doing?”
“We aren’t married yet, so we shouldn’t be meeting in private this late at night. We need to follow palace etiquette,” he told her.
“Yucheng, this is Huayang Palace. There are no outsiders here, so you don’t have to pay attention to those things. Besides, who will dare to stop me from doing whatever I want?” His reply made her burst into laughter as she reached out to grab his arm. What’s there to be afraid of when the entire imperial palace is under my control?
Jiang Yucheng didn’t push her hand away this time. He merely swept a nonchalant look at the palace maid next to her.
“You may leave, Chan Yi,” ordered Shangguan Wan.
“Yes, Your Highness.” The palace maid then bowed respectfully at her before taking her leave.
With a twist of his hand, Jiang Yucheng held onto Shangguan Wan’s wrist. “Let’s talk inside. Sun Qi, stay guard outside.”
Sun Qi hastily bowed. “Understood.”
Jiang Yucheng led Shangguan Wan inside the room before carefully checking all the doors and windows.
It was a funny sight to Shangguan Wan, who laughingly said, “You’re being too cautious, Yucheng! Do you have doubts about the security measures I have in my palace?”
It was only after making sure that there was nothing unusual in their surroundings that he turned around and sat down on a stool. With much patience, he explained, “It’s better to err on the side of caution. I’m doing this all for your sake.”
Shangguan Wan’s mood considerably improved when she heard this. She leaned into his embrace, but the latter wasn’t in the mood to enjoy their time together.
“I went to visit His Majesty earlier. There’s still no sign of him waking up. Those methods don’t seem to be working.”
The mention of this topic dampened Shangguan Wan’s spirits. She sat down next to him, snorting. “Well, you went too hard on him back then, so all we can do is slowly wait for him to wake up. There are only so few heavenly doctors we can trust after all.”
She was the one who failed to handle this matter right, yet she’s pinning the blame on me now? A cold glint flashed across Jiang Yucheng’s eyes. Forget it. It’s pointless to argue about these trivial details now. Besides, we’ve got more important things to discuss.
“Let’s not talk about this now. Did you look for me this late in the night because of the Wan Zheng Competition?” He cut to the chase and asked her about it.
Shangguan Wan’s eyes lit up at once as excitement and elation filled her face. “Yes! I believe Sun Qi has told you the news. The first-place winner, Chu…”
“Chu Liuyue,” he supplemented.
“Yes, that’s right! That’s the name! I heard that she’s a young teen and was brought back by Mu Qinghe, is that right?”
Inexplicable displeasure arose within him, but he didn’t show it on his face. Instead, he nodded at her. “She’s just a stage-three warrior. I’m quite surprised that she took first place, but—”
“What? Do you not know that she’s already reached the fourth stage?” Shangguan Wan interrupted.
Jiang Yucheng was stunned to hear this.
A secretive yet excited smile spread wider and wider on her face as she continued speaking. “She broke through while she was in the Tianling God Realm! Do you know what that means? She has an affinity with that place!”
The man knitted his brows. “But her Dijing Yuan meridian is only at the intermediate level. It can’t be compared to those with superior—”
“How is it incomparable at all?” Shangguan Wan stood up, her excitement and ecstasy plain on her face. “Like you said, she only has an intermediate Dijing Yuan meridian, but her performance is way better than those with superior Dijing Yuan meridians! This means that her Yuan meridian—”
“Wan’er, it’s too early to be discussing this. Don’t you think it’s safer for us to take one step at a time?” Jiang Yucheng didn’t want to hear whatever she had to say next, so he just cut her off. “His Majesty hasn’t regained his consciousness, so we shouldn’t act rashly.”
Shangguan Wan dazedly sized him up a couple of times as suspicion filled her eyes. “What’s wrong with you today, Yucheng? I’m just glad that things are progressing really smoothly. Aren’t you happy for me?”
He gently said to her, “Of course, I am. I’ve been waiting for this day at your side all along. I’m just concerned because this matter affects your future.”
Shangguan Wan furrowed her brows slightly. “But you look as if—”
“It pains me to think of the suffering you have to go through afterward.” He stood up, held her hand, and brought her into his embrace.
“But I can’t wait any longer! I’ve been living in fear for the past year, scared that someone might find out that my Yuan meridian has been destroyed and that I’ve become a cripple! It’ll be game over for me if I can’t recover before the Grand Court Meeting!” she cried despondently. That suffering is nothing when compared to having to lose everything.
Jiang Yucheng gently patted her back and reassured her. “Don’t worry; everything will be fine. We just need to take one step at a time, and I promise you that nothing will go wrong. Our efforts will go to waste if we alert our enemies now.”
As Shangguan Wan gradually calmed down, she looked up at him and asked, “What do you think we should do next?”
He smiled at her. “Stick to our original plan, of course. The various sects will be sending their representatives to Xin Li Garden tomorrow, and the competition’s participants will be there as well. You just need to sit there quietly and fulfill your duties as a princess. We don’t have to worry about them vanishing into thin air if we get them to stay in Xi Ling.”
Shangguan Wan was very quickly convinced by Jiang Yucheng. “Alright, we’ll do as you say. I’m curious about their appearances anyway, especially that Chu Liuyue person.”
Jiang Yucheng’s eyes gleamed darkly as he nodded in agreement.
Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou followed Duan Ziyu to the front hall, where Mu Qinghe was currently enjoying a rare moment of peace with his eyes shut. He opened his eyes when he heard noises in the hall.
Both Chu Liuyue and Qiang Wanzhou paid their respects to him.
Mu Qinghe’s gaze lingered on the duo for a while before he opened his mouth to say, “Congratulations for getting such fantastic results in the competition.”
Chu Liuyue gave him a humble reply before mentioning her intention to move out of the Mu Residence.
He looked at her fixedly. “Why? Are you not treated well here?”
While Duan Ziyu broke out into a cold sweat, Chu Liuyue shook her head and explained, “Everyone here has treated Little Zhou and me very well. I’m grateful to have received so much help from you, but since I’ve come to Xi Ling, I can’t stay here forever. I’m really sorry for imposing on you for this long, so I think it’s better that we move out and find another place to live in.”