“Western Region King, the fireworks banquet is about to begin. Why don’t we ask for an explanation from Xiliu at the banquet?” Pei Qianhao suggested.


Su Xi-er’s expression was cold. “Elder Brother, we should let people see what Xiliu is doing.”


“We’ll do just that then.” Du Ling answered.


Hearing that another interrogation was going to take place at the banquet, Li Zikang could only suppress the growing tension in his heart.


“This general will definitely give you an explanation at the fireworks festival, Western Region King.” Li Zikang then hurried off, afraid that the people behind him would give chase.


The remaining three exchanged glances with one another before walking to the Taohua[1] Courtyard.


Upon arriving, they changed into the clothes Wu Ling had prepared. Pei Qianhao donned a black changpao with a jin pattern. Paired with his well-defined facial contours, he appeared somewhat aloof. On the other hand, Du Ling was clad in a purple changpao with golden dragon motifs. With his gentle countenance, he fully displayed the disposition of a leader. Finally, Su Xi-er was dressed in a white changqun with embroidery of lotus flowers. Despite its seemingly plain look, the lotus flowers seemed to overflow with life every time Su Xi-er took a step. Showing off her unique demeanour, she was no different from a goddess that had descended to the mortal realm.


Approval flashed in Du Ling’s eyes, his heart full of pride. Meanwhile, Pei Qianhao’s eyes became gentle and filled with affection.


After they were done dressing up, the three followed the palace maids to the venue of the fireworks banquet – Liuhua Pool. The water’s surface glistened in the moonlight, melding with the multicoloured lights given off by the decorations. 


The officials and their family members had already settled into their seats, but an uproar broke out when the three of them arrived.


“Look, that’s Princess Consort Hao. Is she really Nanzhao’s late Eldest Imperial Princess?”


“That’s what the rumours say. Who knows?”


A woman in a pink changqun walked over to the three of them.


“Princess Consort Hao, are you really Nanzhao’s Eldest Imperial Princess, Ning Rulan?” Her expression lacked any menace, and she looked as if she was genuinely curious.


Pei Qianhao gently held Su Xi-er’s hand, but both his and Du Ling’s eyes grew cold as they fixed the woman with a stare. Under their combined scrutiny, the woman felt goosebumps on her skin.


Su Xi-er tried to alleviate the tension with a polite smile. “What do you think? Does it seem that way?”


“This official’s woman thinks that although Ning Rulan was a beauty, she was also an esteemed hero, while Princess Consort Hao is a beauty who doesn’t belong to the mortal world. I don’t think the two are alike.” The woman in the pink changqun gave a brief statement.


“You already have the answer then.” Su Xi-er replied graciously with all the required mannerisms, stunning the woman in the pink changqun.


Suddenly, a mocking voice could be heard. “Princess Consort Hao, was that a denial I heard? Why did Prince Yun insist that you are Ning Rulan then? Don’t tell me that Prince Yun mistook someone for his fiancée.”


“Everyone knows how Nanzhao’s Eldest Imperial Princess died. You are being unreasonable here.” Su Xi-er’s tone remained calm.


The woman who had spoken was left speechless despite her indignance.


“Princess Consort Hao, please don’t blame us. My daughter was just curious. After all, Nanzhao’s Eldest Imperial Princess had a very resounding reputation.” A married woman clad in palace attire said meaningfully.


Pei Qianhao didn’t step forward to cull the jabs sent towards Su Xi-er, but stood firmly behind her instead.. My Xi-er is not a pushover; she can handle these clowns without breaking a sweat.


Contempt hung at Du Ling’s mouth, but he similarly observed from the side.


Su Xi-er responded with a faint smile. “They are nothing more than rumours. I believe that the truth will come to light, and I’m looking forward to that day.”


There was no trace of anger in her voice, and her expression was placid, captivating those present.


Hua Ziqing had also caught all of this from his hiding spot, the corners of his mouth curling into a sneer. His confidence in a particular idea in his mind was now further cemented. 

1. ’Taohua’ is peach blossoms.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Rakumon

Editor: Lunarlark