Old Maidservant Liu pondered over Su Xi-er’s words for a moment before coming to a realisation a few moments later. It’s just that the Empress Dowager has liked Prince Hao for many years. Surely she has to be frustrated now that she’s been forced to bring Pei Anru into the imperial palace?.


However, it was difficult for an old maidservant like her to make a judgement.


"Old Maidservant Liu, you should head back first. No matter what happens tonight, it will not implicate the Palace Side Quarters." Su Xi-er’s eyes curved into crescents.


Old Maidservant Liu nodded and exited the room, leaving Su Xi-er along in the room as she gazed at the moonlit courtyard.




While it was extremely quiet at the Palace Side Quarters, it was the exact opposite for the Imperial Garden. Unlike Nanzhao, there weren't any parterres in Beimin’s Imperial Garden, nor was the garden encompassed by a stone wall. There would also be maidservants who came by monthly in order to maintain the garden.


Large red lanterns were hung on every tree; adding onto that was a group of palace maids holding lanterns in their hands. Combined with the bright moon, the atmosphere appeared to be very festive.


All the court official had smiles on their faces. Even the emperor, Situ Lin, had his eyes curved into crescents as he displayed a huge smile. But when he happened to spot his Imperial Uncle sitting on the right, he couldn't help but feel a shiver go down his spine.


Xie Yun, who was seated on Situ Lin's left, noticed his reaction and couldn’t refrain himself from laughing. "Is Your Majesty feeling cold?"


Situ Lin immediately shook his head. "This Emperor isn't cold. Don't worry, Commandery Prince Xie."


Pei Yaran took a glance at Pei Qianhao, noticing that he was seemingly disinterested in the entire event. She then observed the other people sitting opposite her. Xie Yun was collected and indifferent; Consort Dowager Guo was doused with the smell of temple incense; and Situ Lin was cold and aloof.


Just then, Pei Anru suddenly stretched out a hand to tug at Pei Yaran's sleeves and called out to her.


Pei Anru's soft call attracted the attention of Pei Qianhao. When his gaze fell upon her, Pei Anru’s heart sank as she took in the frosty look in his eyes. So this person before me is Prince Hao. Before I entered the palace, everyone told me that my mission was to close the distance between me and Prince Hao. Mum even held my hand and said that Dad's life is in my hands.


It was a heavy burden, so heavy that Pei Anru felt like she was suffocating. She cautiously glanced at Pei Qianhao and clenched her tiny hands into fists. If I don't curry favour with him, Dad will die! Dad has doted on me since I was young; I don't want him to die!


Stirred by the thought, Pei Anru tugged at Pei Yaran's sleeves again.


Pei Yaran's brows furrowed together as Pei Zheng signalled to her with his eyes.


All of this didn’t escape Xie Yun’s eyes. With a nonchalant gaze, he suddenly asked, "Empress Dowager, this woman standing behind you bears some resemblance to you."


Taking the bait, Pei Yaran replied, "She is this Empress Dowager's niece, Pei Anru. Here, take a step forward and let everyone take a good look at you."


Pei Anru acknowledged Pei Yaran’s words as she took a step forward and greeted everyone deferentially. "This official's daughter, Pei Anru, pays her greetings to everyone."


Situ Lin was just a young child, and was piqued with curiosity when he saw Pei Anru. "You look just a few years older than this Emperor. They said that women from the officials' household can sing and dance well. Since you are Empress Mother's niece, why don't you perform a dance for us?"


Situ Lin's careless words suited Pei Zheng’s wishes perfectly, causing him to immediately concur.  "Your Majesty is absolutely right. Anru, perform a dance for us."


Pei Anru nodded and flashed everyone a sweet smile. Just as she was about to start her dance, an icy voice rang out. "This Prince has already seen an exquisite dance in Nanzhao. Unless you have the courage to say that you can match up to such skill, there would be no meaning to your dance."

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translation: Cosy

TLC: Rakumon

Edit: Lunarlark


Rakumon's Corner: 

Oof, that's a burn there ><

How do you think Pei Anru would do?