When Shen Miao finally 'climbed over' the last wall and entered the residence of Prince Rui, Cong Yang was so tired that he did not want to talk.
Because they came in from the direction of the inner courtyard and not the main entrance, there was not a single guard seen in the big residence of Prince Rui. Cong Yang also had a doubtful expression as it was now that sloppy in the past.
Shen Miao was looking at the layout of the residence of Prince Rui. It was as luxurious and beautiful as in the rumours. It was just a temporary place to stay but it was renovated this beautifully. One really did not know how extraordinary Great Liang's Imperial Palace would be like. Just as she was thinking about it, a middle aged male clad in black appeared in front of her.
"Tie Yi." Cong Yang shouted and immediately asked, "Where are the rest?"
The guard by the name of Tie Yi was startled upon seeing Shen Miao and asked her with cupped hands, "Is there something urgent for Young Lady Shen to come over personally?"
Shen Miao looked at the other's appearance and he seemed to know her. Seeing that Cong Yang greeted him, she guessed that he was Xie Jing Xing's people and said, "I am looking for Prince Rui as one have some words to say."
Tie Yi seemed to know that she would say that and nodded his head, "Master is in the inner courtyard. Do come with me."
When winter comes to Ming Qi, no one was willing to walk around outside. If it was at night, there would not be a single person on the streets and even a birth, cat or dog would stay in its warm nest and not willing to move one bit.
The water in pond was already frozen. The thick layer of ice had completely covered the scenery, the entire summer scene of lotus flowers and kois were swimming. It was as if no matter how good the days were, it would always pass. Just like the flowers that bloom in Spring would aways wither one day.
The purple clad youth lazily slept on top of the tree with both hands behind his head and without taking off his mask. There was a lantern hanging on the tree and under the weak halo of light, his expression seemed to be somewhat not of sorrow but it was not happiness and instead somewhat lonely.
It was like the wind that passes through the tree. Floatingly light but was also cold and heavy. Quiet and silent.
The white tiger was lying under the tree and from time to time it would scratch its claws at the trunk and occasionally bit the ice on the ground. The crushing of the nice was clearly audible at night.
This scenery was what Shen Miao saw when she entered. The youth and white tiger slept on but it made her thought of her past lifetime self, walking in the Imperial Gardens in the middle of the night, seeing the remnants of laughter from Fu Xiu Yi and Mei Furen during the day. It was somewhat agonising as she walked around without any goal.
The white tiger suddenly realised that someone was approaching and immediately got up and looked at her vigilantly as it growled warningly. But because it was after all too small, there was no deterrent from its voice, making it adorable instead.
"Jiao Jiao, shh." Xie Jing Xing said, "Be quiet."
Shen Miao, "…"
She walked to the tree and looked up at the person sleeping in the branches and said, "Who are you calling?"
Xie Jing Xing moved and suddenly looked down. When he saw Shen Miao he was startled for a moment before he asked, "Why are you here?"
"The conversation in the Princess residence was not finish thus one came over to take a look."
Xie Jing Xing took a glance at her but did not come down from the tree and instead chuckled, "You came over because you are concern of me?"
"What you think is your business." Shen Miao answered.
"Could it be that you thought that I would be sad?" Xie Jing Xing seemed to have heard a Joe and his expression became interested, "Really naive."
"It is the best if there is none." Shen Miao did not pay any attention to his ridicule and said calmly.
Xie Jing Xing stared at the skies and waved his hands lazily, "Go back. I am fine."
Shen Miao did not return.
The white tiger on the ground seemed to be aware that Shen Miao had no malice and moreover its master had not shown any hostility thus it gradually relaxed its vigilance before cuddling at Shen Miao's feet and call out.
Shen Miao quickly looked at the youth up on the tree.
After a long while, she asked, "Xie Jing Xing, you want to wipe out Ming Qi?"
The air became silent in an instant and it seemed that there were tiny lingering sparks that came out from one of the hanging lanterns.
In the dim light, the branches concealed the youth's expression that even if one could see him, one was unable to see his expression due to the mask. One could only see the corner of the gorgeous purple robes that was hanging down with the golden threads that was shining under the light. Those lines interlaced and waved but seemed to be vaguely outlining a picture of a beast.
Seemingly a Dragon.
The silence made one apprehensive and he did not answer.
Shen Miao's back was leaning against a tree as he said faintly, "If you at the end want to wipe of Ming Qi then everyone that one come across can be adopted or discarded. There is little common ground for understanding between people of differing principles. Some people are good but are destined not to be on the same route. Since there are different routes, why be bothered about them?"
Xie Jing Xing laughed and his voice was heard on top, "You are comforting me?"
"No. I am comforting myself." Shen Miao answered.
She could understand Xie Jing Xing but she was somewhat different from Xie Jing Xing. Xie Jing Xing was a man and had to bee even more decisive thus one believed that after tonight, he would still be the confident Prince Rui and nothing was difficult for him and there was nothing that could stop him. He was like a lion who had a powerful existence but its just that when he was licking his own wounds alone, she so happened to encounter him.
"You also have matters to grieve?" Xie Jing Xing scoffed, still using the frivolous tone as before. However Shen Miao knew that in his eyes, there was no smile at this moment.
This was because there were some emotions that even he was unable to hide it, thus he went up to the tree where no one could see and was even unwilling to take down the mask and sit there quietly.
"My grieving matters are no less than you." Shen Miao smiled gently, "At least Princess Rong Xin is till alive. Shouldn't the most painful thing in the world is that the person who had misunderstood and blamed are gone? Some mistakes can be compensated but some wrongs cannot be made up."
Like her Wan Yu and Fu Ming. She could save many people but only these two could not be saved. Even if one's entire life was exhausted, one could not save them at all. No matter if she could take her biggest revenge in the future, or even if the entire Shen family could live on splendidly, there would not be any opportunity to make up for this regret and one could only think about it at night.
Even dreaming about it was a luxury.
"You also knew that there would be such a day sooner or later so why be concerned about it? Everything is destined and things that were done with meticulous virtue and attention to duty. Everything more would be too much and this is only that fate has come to an end." Shen Miao said, "No one would walk with anyone on the same road for an entire lifetime. Just like my marriage."
"Fu Xiu Yi is not on the same road as me, the Crown Prince is not on the same route as me. HuangFu Hao is not, Feng Zi Xian is not, Luo Ling is not and Pei Lang is also not."
Fu Xiu Yi and the Crown Prince were people in the Fu family and naturally they were enemies and it was impossible to be on the same route as Shen Miao. HuangFu Hao labour sinister motives. Feng Zi Xian grew up smoothly without any bumps in life like a flower in a greenhouse and it was different from her. Luo Ling personality was straightforward so how would he understand the schemes and calculations in her year? As for Pei Lang, it was a complicated entanglement since in the past lifetime he had been involved in the destruction of Shen Miao's life. This itself would always separate her from him, so much so that she could never treat him honestly.
"If you say it like that, there is no one under the skies that are on the road with you." Xie Jing Xing reminded her.
"The truth is like this."
Shen Miao sighed in her heart. For a person who crawled out of the grave and lived the second time round, there was some parts, in some ways, that was almost like a ghost. She had been travelling on the road of revenge alone and it had always been so.
"Then with you comforting me like this, it would make me have the illusion." Xie Jing Xing smiled gently, "That you and I are on the same road."
The wind picked up the leaves on the ground blew it onto the pond. The surface of the pond was frozen till it was as hard as a rock and unshakeable.
It seemed that one was able to see through the surface of the pond as one was able to see the breeze blowing in the spring and water flowers blooming. The ice in the pond was slightly glittering and the red flowers and green willows scene was indeed a great scenery to look at.
Winter days would always pass and spring would always come.
Shen Miao's voice was light that it was even lighter than the wind in the night as it filled the air.
She said, "Who says it is not?"
Then with you comforting me like this, it would make me have the illusion that you and I are on the same road.
Who says it is not?
The shadow of the tree flashed and someone came down from it. The youth's back was tall and handsome and when the white tiger was in a distant saw that its owner had came down, it immediately ran over with joy and even licked the corner of other party's robes.
"Do you think that I am Prince Rui of Great Liang or the Little Marquis of the residence of the Marquis of Lin An?" He asked.
Shen Miao leaned against the tree and placed both of her hands behind as she looked at his back view, "Is this important?"
"I too thought that it was not important." Xie Jing Xing stood by the pond. His voice was calm, as if there was no waves at all as he said, "From the moment I knew about my identity, there would be people who would remind me constantly that it is important."
"The Marquis of Lin An is weak, incompetent, indecisive and is not worthy to be a father. Even if the real Little Xie Marquis did not die at the beginning, he would still die in Madam Fang's hands."
"Rong Yi treats me well."
"I thought that it was important to others but to her, my identity is not important."
"But now it seemed that I had made a big mistake."
He said dully, "To the people under Heavens, this issue had been important from the beginning to the end. There is no flukes."
Believing that all of one's feelings would be able to break through the shackles of one's identity and family feelings would be above all but at the end it was a slap to one's face. The most important thing was that feeling of deep disappointment.
Shen Miao stared at his back and only spoke after a long time, "To me, it does not matter."
Xie Jing Xing lightly laughed.
He turned around and walked towards Shen Miao before stopping in front of her. He looked down at Shen Miao and asked, "Do you know who I am?"
"You are just Xie Jing Xing." She refused to admit defeat and seemed to be pressing down the other party's momentum.
"Just?" He was slightly dissatisfied.
"You can deceive others but cannot deceive me." SHen Miao looked at his mask, "From the beginning I know what kind of person you are. Ever since I know you till when the alliance concluded, you are just Xie Jing Xing, nothing more."
Xie Jing Xing gave a long and meaningful 'oh' sound.
He took another step forward and Shen Miao unconsciously retreated. She was leaning against the tree and this time her back was up against the tree and there was no way to retreated and Xie Jing Xing lifted her chin up.
Xie Jing Xing said, "Do you find that I am cruel?"
"One does not think so as I am also the same." Shen Miao answered.
"Then do you know that I am not a good person?" His voice was very deep and pleasant to hear and with the cold wind blowing by one's ear, it made one's entire body feel hot.
Shen Miao backed up but he was not willing to be looked down upon and said, "I know, I am also the same."
Xie Jing Xing held on to her waist and pull Shen Miao to him. The mask was blocking his face, making his handsome appearance a bit mysterious. He said, "Then I can now answer your question."
"What question?" Shen Miao did not understand.
"You asked if I want to wipe out Ming Qi."
Shen Miao stared at him and in that beautiful pair of eyes, they only filled with bright glittering gems as if one could be suck into in.
"Then what is your answer?" She asked.
"If I say yes, will you report me?" Xie Jing Xing smiled devilishly.
Shen Miao slowly said, "No."
"Because I am also the same."
It was like sparks suddenly appeared on the sheet of ice. One was unable to see if he was happy or anger when he asked, "Do you know what you are saying?"
Shen Miao was silent.
He gritted his teeth as if he wanted to swallow Shen Miao whole, "Shen Miao, you better not regret. Once on board my ship, one cannot alight from it in this life."
He suddenly leaned over and kissed Shen Miao.
Shen Miao unconsciously wanted to avoid it but was held by the waist by Xie Jing Xing. His cold mask touched Shen Miao face as he held Shen Miao hands and kissed her lips roughly.
Translator remarks: And I expect all hell to break loose in the comments below… LOL… Tbh, if I am XJX, I will fall for SM at this moment. Because of his identities and goals, he is always alone but now someone comes out to tell him she only see him as just XJX and his identity does not matter.