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Published at 7th of November 2020 06:38:47 PM

Chapter 6

In a daze, Tian Ruidong watched as Hua Liuli entered the room . After his ears caught the dry cough of Hua Changkong, he promptly snapped back to his senses, saluting her .

Hua Liuli acted like she would return one, but Tian Ruidong waved at once . “This subordinate dares not receive County Princess’ salute . May your honored self quickly sit . ”

If he allowed such a delicate girl to go through so much trouble, he’d be struck by lightning .

Upon hearing Tiang Ruidong say she didn’t need to return a salute, Hua Liuli turned around to sit without the slightest hesitation . Occasionally, she would press a hand to her chest . Would cough a couple times . It frightened Tian Ruidong so much that he didn’t dare to breathe too heavily, in fear that he would blow her away with a single breath .

When he had arrived, he had been in a rage . However, once he met County Princess Hua face to face, his anger vanished . And he was bewildered . “A few days ago, this subordinate frightened County Princess, and my heart has been in extreme unease . As such, this subordinate has come today asking County Princess for forgiveness . ”

“Young Noble Tian is too polite,” said Hua Liuli, tone carrying a weak flavor . “It’s my courage that is too lacking . It has nothing to do with you . Young Noble Tian need not blame yourself . ”

Tian Ruidong grew moved . His grandfather and father both thought it was his fault . On the contrary, it was County Princess Hua, the victim, who felt it had nothing to do with him . This was such a good and honest little fairy!

The more the other party spoke like this, the more embarrassed he grew . When he thought about how, just a while ago, he had been unwilling to apologize, Tian Ruidong felt even more ashamed .

Such a gentle and kindhearted girl definitely was a fairy who had descended to the mortal realm .

Full of smiles, Hua Liuli listened to Tian Ruidong repent to all kinds of things . And she was even considerate enough to have a servant girl give him a fresh cup of hot tea .

After he had basically finished speaking, Hua Liuli looked down, her beautiful brows and eyes akin to soft moonlight . It made others unable to control themselves from growing intoxicated . “Young Noble Tian mustn’t take this to heart . I don’t blame you . ”

With this knowledge, Tian Ruidong grew moved to the extreme . Following that, he presented the gift list to her .

Hua Liuli placed the gift list onto the small side table . “Young Noble Tian is too courteous . ”

The female official who had accompanied Tian Ruidong to the Hua estate was the head palace maid of Consort Xian’s palace . Ever since she had followed Tian Ruidong through the doors, she did not say a word .

Her gaze was directed halfway toward the ground, and she maintained a humble stance . She sized Hua Luili from head to toe through her peripheral vision . After Hua Liuli had accepted Tiang Ruidong’s gift list, she took out the invitation card that had been prepared in advance .

Consort Xian had personally written this invitation card . The stamp upon it gave off a faint fragrance .

“The plum blossoms in the imperial palace are in bloom . Her Highness worries that County Princess has yet to get used to the capital, and wants to invite your honored self to the palace to appreciate the flowers . ” The palace maid performed a full ceremony of paying respects . “May County Princess do us the honor of participating . ”

Hua Liuli was not one bit surprised that Consort Xian would invite her to a group event . After all, the rumors regarding Prince Ying that had sprung up in the capital all involved her .

If she rejected Consort Xian’s invitation, then those rumors would grow worse and worse and affect Prince Ying’s reputation .

And this was unacceptable for the ambitious Consort Xian .

Oh dear .

Who told her to be a kindhearted and good person?

Closing the invitation card, Hua Liuli shifted her gaze to the palace maid, who was holding back her expectation in her gaze . She smiled in a bashful manner . “Many thanks to Her Highness for the invitation . Official’s daughter will definitely attend . However, Official’s daughter is in poor health, and there are many things that cannot be eaten or used . Would this be too much of an inconvenience for Her Highness?”

“How could that be? Before this slave arrived, Her Highness had said that in her youth, she was close friends with General Wei . Although she has never met your honored self before, Her Highness already thinks of you as her blood-related niece . ” The female official let out a breath of relief . It’s great that County Princess Hua would be attending . Let’s not talk about her diet being inconvenient . Even if she wanted to drink the dew from March, Consort Xian would find a way to get it .

“Then… I will trouble Her Highness . ” The corners of Hua Liuli’s lips rose .

She had thought that only vain men would like to speak a few words with others, before calling themselves brothers . Never had she thought that Consort Xian would also be fond of this .

Hua Liuli’s mother had long since told her that because she had been too formidable in her youth, she practically did not have any close friends . After Hua Liuli returned to the capital, if someone called herself her mother’s close friend, Hua Liuli must not believe her . For it would be to deceive her and her third brother .

Before he left, Tian Ruidong longingly looked back a few times at the delicate County Princess Hua . Seeing County Princess Hua raise her head to smile at him, he said at once, “May County Princes be at ease . This subordinate would never ride a horse in the city center again . ”

After Tian Ruidong had stepped through the front doors of the Hua estate, a cold breeze swept past him . And he snapped back to his senses . What did he say just now?

He’d never ride a horse in the city center again?!

Could he pretend not to have said that?

“Your Highness the crown prince, Her Highness Consort Xian wants to host a plum blossom feast in the imperial palace, and has sent an invitation card,” said a eunuch, presenting the gold-printed invitation card to the crown prince .

“What’s there to appreciate about plum blossoms in such cold weather?” The crown prince did not take it . “I’m not going . ”

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The eunuch put away the card .

“Consort Xian is hastily throwing a plum blossom feast because she wants to show everyone this: she and the daughter of Defender General have nothing against each other . ” Fair fingers tapped against the desktop . The crown prince snickered . “They don’t want her as a daughter-in-law, yet also want to borrow her status to quiet down the rumors . This mother-and-son pair have truly benefited . ”

The eunuch dared not comment .

“Alright . ” The crown prince rose to his feet . “It’s already pitiable enough that Consort Xian gave birth to such a foolish son .  I shouldn’t gossip about her too much . ”

His good elder brother hoped every day that their Imperial Father would depose him, the crown prince . As the crown prince watched his brother use those silly schemes, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for him . They were both imperial princes . Why did one become so stupid?

“Prepare a good and generous gift . Send it to Consort Xian’s plum blossom appreciation feast . ”

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“Send it to Her Highness Consort Xian?” asked the eunuch, astonished . When did the crown prince become this considerate? Although he wasn’t attending the event, he was still preparing a gift for Consort Xian . Doing so would protect her reputation .

“To Defender General’s daughter . ”

A wave of relief washed over the eunuch . The crown prince was still normal .

“Your Highness the crown prince, Fifth Prince has come to pay respects,” reported the female official of the Eastern Palace in a soft voice . “Does your honored self want to see him?”

“Let him in . ” The crown prince had on an indifferent expression . As if he weren’t too close to the person coming in .

Shortly after, a handsome and gentle-looking man entered the room . With a graceful manner, he saluted to the crown prince . “Subject-Brother greets Crown Prince . ”

The crown prince was leaning sideways on his soft chair . Expressionless, he looked at his noble and benevolent younger brother with outstanding talent . “Mm, sit . ”

His cold manner did not affect Fifth Prince . After paying respects in a deferential manner, he talked a bit about normal and insignificant things, nothing important, before taking his leave in a well-behaved manner .

In the crown prince’s presence, these brothers were deferential, were stubborn, and even flattered him . But none were as perfect as his fifth brother, so perfect that he could not find any faults .

Unfortunately, even if they exhausted all their schemes, as long as he, the crown prince, did not fall from power, they would always be merely imperial princes .

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It truly made others incomparably sympathetic .

On the day Hua Liuli entered the palace, she did not head for Consort Xian’s Lincui Palace first . Rather, she went to the empress dowager’s Shoukang Palace to pay respects .

The empress dowager was a benevolent elderly person . She was very amiable to Hua Liuli . When she heard that Hua Liuli was attending the plum blossom appreciation feast in Lincui Palace, she specially gave her a red fox cloak .

“This cloak is bright and beautiful .  This grieving one is old and such a cloak is not suitable for me anymore . It will be the most suitable for you,” said the empress dowager . After Hua Liuli had put it on, the empress dowager smiled . “This grieving one had long since said that this cloak would look best on a pretty girl . ”

As soon as these words had left her lips, the palace maid by the empress dowager’s side wanted to smile yet dared not to .

A few days ago, a member of the younger generation from the empress dowager’s paternal family wanted this cloak . Yet the empress dowager did not give it to her . So it turned out it was because she did not think that girl was pretty enough .

Covering the corners of her lips, Hua Liuli laughed softly, her eyes slightly becoming crescents . It made others so fond of her that they forgot she was a sickly person . “Many thanks to Your Majesty the empress dowager for the praise . ”

“This grieving one likes girls like you the most . Once spring starts, come visit this grieving one often . ” The empress dowager held Hua Liuli’s hand gently . Patted the back of her hand . “This grieving one has many bolts of cloth in my personal storehouse . Tomorrow, let’s have a seamstress take your measurements and make some clothes for you to try . ”

Hua Liuli smiled as she nodded . Within the empress dowager’s eyes, she could make out a fanatical gleam .

Once Hua Liuli had left, the empress dowager said in elation, “It’s been a long time since this grieving one has seen such a prepossessing girl . The bolts of cloth in my personal storehouse will finally have a use . ”

The empress dowager’s hobby was to look at beautiful girls in beautiful clothes . If she hadn’t entered the palace back then and become the empress, she might be the most impressive clothing designer in the Great State of Jin .

Aih, what a pity the imperial harem buried her great aspirations .

Stepping foot outside of Shoukang Palace, Hua Liuli coughed a few times . Then, in a frail manner, she gasped . As such, the servants of the imperial palace brought a sedan for her . Although she said, “This does not abide by protocol,” she still sat on the sedan .

Although eunuchs sweept the palace often, snow kept tumbling from the sky . How could such a frail girl like herself walk in such nasty weather?

Once she sat down, it was also in a way that was incomparable in its fragility . She even dared to guarantee that the little flowers swaying from the wind did not appear as delicate and touching as her .

To travel from Shoukang Palace to Lincui Palace, one must pass by the back side of Chenyang Palace . She gazed at how wide the back of that palace was . This imperial palace was filled with inhabitants, yet was even more quiet than the Hua estate, the latter which did not have many servants .

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The snow grew heavier and heavier . From far away, Hua Liuli watched as servants carrying a sedan with golden patterns approach .

“C-Crown Prince?” The voice of an eunuch carrying her sedan proved panic-stricken . Quietly, he advised Hua Liuli, “County Princess Hua, that is Crown Prince’s sedan . ”

The palace servants by Hua Liuli’s side all stopped in their tracks . They bowed and retreated to the base of the wall . Using Yuanwei’s hand for support, Hua Liuli disembarked from her sedan . She watched in silence as the Eastern Palace’s sedan drew closer .

The moment the crown prince’s sedan appeared right before her, Hua Liuli took off the hood of her cloak . Head lowered, she curtsied .

Snowflakes mixed with the frigid wind hit against her face . It felt cold .

The wind lifted the curtain of the sedan . And the crown prince saw the splash of red among the snow . As the curtain was about to drop back down, he reached out his fair hand, lifting it back up .

“Official’s daughter greets Your Highness the crown prince . ” Hua Liuli raised her head, looking at that handsome appearance behind the curtain .

No wonder there were rumors that the emperor was partial to the crown prince . With such a face, who wouldn’t be biased toward them?

Hua Liuli covered her mouth with a handkerchief . Covered the coughs spilling from her lips . No matter when, no matter where,  she would never forget that she was a delicate, pitiful, and helpless girl .

As soon as she had finished coughing, she saw the crown prince drop his curtain . Then she tactfully retreated a step .

At that moment, a hand reached out from the curtain . Upon it was a handmade and fine handheld brazier .

“Take it . ” Once again, the curtain was raised . The crown prince looked at her in a lazy manner . “You are… the Hua clan’s daughter?”

“Thanking Your Highness . Official’s daughter indeed is of the Hua clan . ” Hua Liuli reached out to receive the handheld brazier, then held it in both hands . It was still nice and warm to the touch .

“It’s snowing heavily . Careful on the road . ” The crown prince looked at her eyes, which carried a smile . He let go of the curtain again, expression ordinary .

Fortunately, his eldest brother did not intend to marry the daughter of the Hua clan . Otherwise, with his appearance and brain, one would fear it would wrong that girl to death .

Consort Xian, who had been in the imperial harem for many years, finally performed a good deed . She did not insert a fresh flower into the pile of cow manure that was her son .

This was truly accumulating good fortune and virtue .

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