Chapter 262 - A Dreamplace
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At that moment, a screen separated them. Ji Yunshu wanted to question him further, but she was afraid she might not get the answer she wanted. She got up and brushed off the dead leaves which had fallen on her before clasping her hands in salute. Then, she left. Left alone in the pavilion, Old General Li suddenly cursed.
“Little bastard! You dare drink the wine I fermented in secret!”
The target of his scolding was none other than Li Zhao. Although she could faintly hear his bellowing, her footsteps never ceased as she continued to the exit.
Outside of the mansion, Jing Rong’s carriage was still waiting for her. Lang Po helped her board the carriage as Jing Rong welcomed her with squinted eyes. Once she entered, he immediately gave his order.
“Yes, Your Highness!” Lang Po answered.
The carriage set off to Bamboo Creek Garden.
Within the carriage, Jing Rong looked at Ji Yunshu. The latter had a blank expression. There was no need to ask to know the meeting's outcome.
“It’s normal that he didn’t spill the beans easily. If he had a loose mouth, he wouldn't have his reputation.”
“I didn’t come out empty-handed,” Ji Yunshu replied.
“Oh? What did he say?”
“It took six or seven cups of tea, but he eventually told me about his disappointing son and his bastard grandson.”
Jing Rong almost choked as he laughed.
“Everyone in the Li Family is quite… odd!” he mocked.
Ji Yunshu was left speechless. She reached for the curtain a few moments later. She lifted it and gazed at the world outside. They had long since left the area. She turned to Jing Rong, a grave expression on her face once more.
“Actually, he did mention something.”
“Back when the Imperial Duke was still called the King of Peace, he relinquished the crown prince’s position in favor of your Imperial Father. Old General Li didn’t go into the details and spoke casually. But I felt he was hinting at something.”
Jing Rong understood her meaning.
“You mean he wanted to tell you the matter 14 years ago might be related to my Imperial Father?”
Spit! She wasn’t the one who said that! She didn’t want to shoulder the crime of speaking ill of the imperial family. She wanted to keep her head! But Jing Rong was a prince, it was normal for a son to comment on his old man behind his back.
Ji Yunshu was immediately on edge.
“It’s only a guess. I don't have any proof. While I was listening to his ramblings, I felt he was withholding some information.”
Jing Rong pondered. One of his hands tapped on his knee.
“If this is really the case, what could he be trying to hide. It must be something important enough to keep quiet for 14 years, only breaking his silence now that the Lin Capital case has had some real progress and choosing this time to return to the capital.”
“What could be the information he's been concealing for the last 14 years? What's his reason for returning to the capital now? If his real purpose is related to the Lin Capital case, why would he not open himself to me?” Numerous questions burst out of her mouth.
Suddenly, Jing Rong came up with a conclusion. “He might have a completely different reason!” His conclusion startled even him.
Who was Old General Li? He was senior figure present through three emperors’ reigns. If he came to the capital this time with a hidden agenda, a great storm was coming.
Ji Yunshu couldn’t fathom the great impact such a character could have, but through Jing Rong’s words, she realized how frightening someone like that could be and how shallow her thoughts had been. Her expression became more dignified as she silently contemplated.
A frown twisted Jing Rong’s handsome face. He took his time to seriously teach Ji Yunshu.
“I can dispatch people to investigate this. It’d be better if you don’t meet that old thing alone. He might want to use you as a pawn.”
“I am his pawn already.”
“What do you mean?”
“We talked about the newly reinstated position of disciplinary officer,” she subtly reminded him.
“Disciplinary officer?” Jing Rong asked, puzzled, “Imperial Father abolished that post a few years ago. Why did he suddenly mention it?”
Ji Yunshu's frown grew deeper, but she didn’t respond.
Jing Rong thought for a moment, before his mind lit up.
“So he sent you an olive branch!”
“If you want to take advantage of someone, you have to have a sweet mouth.”
“Are you going to take it?”
“No. I don’t dare! I don’t want to continue being someone's pawn.”
Her spoiled and willful tone made Jing Rong swoon. He leered at her, causing her to tremble. She hurriedly moved away from him.
“When will Your Highness change your bad habit of staring at people?”
Jing Rong chuckled at her complaint. He wanted to pinch her cheek, but, unfortunately, the carriage stopped and Lang Po lifted the curtain over the door and popped his head in.
“Your Highness, we have arrived!”
Already? So fast!
His hand was still raised mid-air and had nowhere to go. He had no choice but to put it down.
Ji Yunshu took advantage of the interruption to disembark.
Jing Rong's expression was dark as he got off the carriage. He shot a furious glare at Lang Po.
“Busy-body!” He spat coldly before he following Ji Yunshu closely.
Left behind and alone in the cold wind, Lang Po scratched his head in confusion. Did he do something wrong? There was no mistake. They arrived at Bamboo Creek Garden, and, as usual, he notified his Highness. How did he provoke his master’s ire? Could His Highness give him an explanation?
Ji Yunshu had barely stepped into her courtyard when her waist was suddenly grabbed from behind. She had no time to react, her whole body was lifted up like a feather.
In no time, she found herself on the roof. Her feet finally touched down but she only felt the roof tiles underneath. Her legs went limp, but a hand tightly secured her waist. She only breathed a sigh of relief then. It wasn’t that high where she stood, but the height still made her panic when she looked down. She took a deep breathe, her chest rising up and down a few times before she could calm down. She lifted her eyes and gazed at the face suddenly just a few centimeters from her's. The culprit was none other than Jing Rong.
She twisted her body.
“What are you doing?”
“Too many meddlesome roadblocks today, coming at us like waves. Fortunately, none can affect us.”
“Today is beautiful, it would be a shame to not enjoy it.”
Ji Yunshu sat down on the roof with Jing Rong's support. She only noticed the darkening sky when she looked up again, beyond which glowed a round moon. It was extremely dazzling. The moonlight bestowed its brilliance on her surroundings. The nightscape was breathtaking.
She held onto Jing Rong, her fingers tightly clenched. The full moon made her feel nostalgic and melancholic.
“I don’t know if I will be able to go back one day,” she muttered.
She spoke very softly, but Jing Rong heard her. He glanced at her.
“Return? Back to Jinjiang?”
She shook her head.
“A place lost in a dream.”
This is a new version of the chapter by Shojiro.
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