Chapter 916: Surely You Have Some Sense of Shame?
The simple sentence was a thunderbolt that sent Zhao Zicheng reeling with shock. His mind became completely blank for a moment. “W-what did you just say?”
H-he’s… her fiancé?! But didn’t she return? When did—
Zhao Zicheng turned his head back, only to see the woman—who had been so cold and distant toward him just now—smiling unconsciously at the sight of the newcomer. Her eyes were even sparkling with joy.
His heart immediately turned cold.
“Rong Xiu.” Chu Liuyue—who hadn’t expected his early arrival—walked over to him. “Why are you here so early?”
Rong Xiu raised his brows slightly and lifted the corners of her lips. “I naturally have to come early since I’m paying my respects to my father-in-law. Besides, I would’ve missed a good show had I come any later.”
Chu Liuyue shot him a glare in return. Trust him to make fun of me when I’ve clearly rejected Zhao Zicheng.
Rong Xiu’s smile deepened, and his heart tingled slightly when he saw her annoyed expression. He wanted to wrap her in his embrace, but considering the fact that they were currently at the Tianling Imperial Palace and that many palace staff were watching them, he endured it and held her hand instead.
At the sight of the two’s tightly clasped hands, Zhao Zicheng finally snapped back to his senses, and a frown unconsciously formed on his forehead. Anyone could tell that the two were on intimate terms. Fiancé… How come I never heard about it before? I even specifically asked my father to test His Majesty a few days ago, but the latter didn’t mention a single word about this. Did she get to know this man during the past two years? If I remember correctly, she came back from an empire called Yao Chen, which is outside Heaven’s Canopy. Then, this man…
“You don’t seem to be from Xi Ling.” Zhao Zicheng took a deep breath in a desperate bid to make himself appear calm. There’s no aristocratic household with the surname ‘Rong’ throughout the entire Tianling Dynasty, much less in Xi Ling. Chances are that he’s from Yao Chen.
Not wanting to explain things to Zhao Zicheng, Chu Liuyue thus said, “My father is probably waiting for us inside, so I’ll leave with Rong Xiu now. You should go back, Second Young Master Zhao.”
Zhao Zicheng, however, looked at Rong Xiu insistently. “Since you’re Her Majesty’s fiancé, then there should be nothing you can’t say about your family background, right?”
This was a clear confrontation.
Rong Xiu gave Chu Liuyue a reassuring look before flashing a bland smile at Zhao Zicheng. “I’m Rong Xiu, the Seventh Prince of Country Yao Chen.”
I knew it—he’s from Country Yao Chen! Zhao Zicheng’s frown deepened. Although he’s a prince, his status is nothing worth mentioning in Xi Ling since Country Yao Chen is a lesser empire. He’s not even worthy of marrying the young miss of an average aristocratic family, much less Her Majesty. Their difference in status is so huge that even the courtiers won’t agree to this marriage!
He couldn’t resist glancing at Chu Liuyue and clenching his fists while feeling conflicted and aggrieved. She surely understands this, and yet she’s still so insistent about the marriage. This just means that she’s truly in love with him. Jiang Yucheng was one step ahead of me back then, and now, she has this man named Rong Xiu by her side. It seems that I’m always one step too late.
“I’m Zhao Zicheng, the Assistant Minister of Appointments.” Although Zhao Zicheng wasn’t in Xi Ling the last few years, he hadn’t resigned from his post. He had just gotten promoted to become the Assistant Minister this year, but truthfully speaking, this title was nothing compared to his family background. There were several Assistant Ministers after all, yet there was only one Second Young Master Zhao.
Zhao Zicheng had no intention of using his family background to pressure Rong Xiu. He just wanted to exert pressure on the other with his court title.
While ordinary people would inevitably reveal looks of surprise and admiration when they heard Zhao Zicheng’s position, Rong Xiu only nodded in a calm and indifferent manner. “I’ve heard about you.”
Chu Liuyue and Zhao Zicheng looked at him in surprise.
The former wondered, Rong Xiu has only been to Xi Ling that one time, but Zhao Zicheng wasn’t in the city back then. So how did he hear about Zhao Zicheng’s name?
Zhao Zicheng found it perplexing that Rong Xiu didn’t seem to be surprised or in awe of him when the latter seemed to have heard a thing or two about him. Is he clueless about the way things work in Xi Ling? If that’s the case, then his reactions make sense.
He took a deep breath. “I’d like to have a brief chat with you alone, Young Master Rong. I wonder if it’s convenient for you?”
Rong Xiu raised his eyebrows and nodded. “Yes, of course.”
“Just talk here.” Noticing that the atmosphere was beginning to become strange, Chu Liuyue grabbed Rong Xiu’s arm to stop him from leaving. Since they’re most likely going to talk about me, why can’t I listen?
Zhao Zicheng gave her a hesitant look. “Your Majesty—”
“What is it that I can’t hear about when Rong Xiu and I have been engaged to one another? If you have something to say, please cut to the chase, Young Master Zhao.”
Rong Xiu blinked in amusement. Oh, it’s rare to see her standing up for me… This doesn’t feel bad.
I don’t think she has ever stood up for Jiang Yucheng back then… Seeing how protective she is of Rong Xiu, she must be serious about him. There was a moment when Zhao Zicheng’s eyes narrowed slightly, but a ball of fire suddenly ignited within him when he saw how Rong Xiu seemed to be enjoying Chu Liuyue’s protection behind her back without the slightest ounce of guilt.
If he’s already behaving like this now, what more in the future?! Her Majesty deserves better! Zhao Zicheng’s expression became serious. “In that case, I won’t beat around the bush anymore. Young Master Rong, if you truly love Her Majesty, then please leave her right away and don’t get involved with her ever again.”
The temperature around them instantly dropped to freezing point, and the air around them seemed to be freezing bit by bit. Chu Liuyue distinctly detected the biting aura coming from Rong Xiu.
In fact, there was this one moment when Zhao Zicheng felt a murderous aura in the air. His heart thumped, and all the hair on his body stood on their ends. However, that feeling disappeared as quickly as it came as if it was all just his imagination.
A ghost of a smile touched Rong Xiu’s lips, and his voice was glacial. “Oh? What if I say ‘no?’”
Zhao Zicheng wasn’t discouraged by Rong Xiu’s answer, for he had already expected this. Instead, he continued saying, “You two might’ve been a good couple in the past, but as you can see now, she’s currently the Tianling Dynasty’s Empress. Her future partner needs to be someone who’s well-matched with her, but you’re not. If you truly like and cherish her, you should leave and forget all about the engagement for her sake. Surely you have some sense of shame?”