Chapter 384 - Image Change

“Act normally and don’t pretend that you’re a little abused wife. Seeing that makes me feel angry!” Zhu Junyang was interrupted by Yu Xiaocao, so his fury towards Meixiang had pretty much disappeared. However, in regard to the misunderstanding, he was a bit regretful that he didn’t take advantage of the situation and peck the little girl’s tender face. Tsk tsk tsk, the lass hadn’t reached twelve years old yet. Wouldn’t it be a bit too early for that?

Meixiang silently rejoiced that Miss Yu was there when she saw that the young royal prince didn’t explode. Otherwise...her mother, who was an inner steward at Prince Jing’s estate, would only be given her corpse!

“Am I truly that vicious ah? That I’ll just kill a person without any warning?” This was the first time that Zhu Junyang had peeked into a person's inner thoughts, so he had trouble stopping it. Poor Meixiang was his experimental subject.

Consequently, Zhu Junyang felt his temper rising again. Apparently, in the hearts of these maids, he was even more beastly than mere animals and was almost a man-eating monster! ‘Look at you, Meixiang. Usually you act very normally around me, never showing that you’re scared, and you treat me with respect. Apparently it was all a ruse ah!’

Yu Xiaocao covered her mouth and giggled like she was a little mouse who had succeeded in stealing some grain. Apparently, it was like what the young royal prince described. All of the people around him were afraid of him. Even Older Sister Meixiang was the same. The maid normally acted as if nothing was wrong when she was with the young royal prince, yet she had also inwardly thought that the prince had a vicious nature.

Xiaocao suddenly thought that the young royal prince had quite a pitiful life these past few years. There wasn’t anyone by his side who treated him sincerely. Even the servants and maids around him acted as if they were constantly on thin ice. It wasn’t surprising that his temper only became more and more irritable! If she was in his shoes, she likely would have gotten depression from all of this.   

Meixiang was in the front and she increased the speed of her steps. ‘How did the young master guess exactly what I was thinking? This is too scary! Next time, when I need to give the young master a message, I should just give the task to Lanxiang and Zhuxiang ah. Argh! Although I’m one of the most trusted personal maids of Her Royal Highness, I have quite a bit of pressure on me.’

Zhu Junyang stared at Meixiang’s back with such intensity that it seemed like he was drilling a hole. ‘Meixiang, you brat. Lady Mother sent you to talk to me, and it’s her way of showing how much you’re valued. Yet, you’re not grateful at all. Am I a man-eating monster ah?’

Yu Xiaocao couldn’t take it anymore and pulled on his clothes as she stifled her desire to laugh, “Alright ah, you can stop observing Older Sister Meixiang. She’s going to be scared to death at this rate! As long as the other person doesn’t have any malicious intentions towards you, it’s not a bad thing if they revere and respect you.”

Zhu Junyang discovered that, when he turned his head to look at Yu Xiaocao, Meixiang’s thoughts became obscured again. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t focusing on the maid. He felt like he was starting to slowly grasp how to control his ability. In the future, wouldn’t it be as easy as pie for him to look into another person’s thoughts?

He revealed a brilliant smile at Yu Xiaocao. It was as if a thousand flowers suddenly blossomed in the middle of a wintry tundra. It was so stunning that Xiaocao was enthralled for a moment. 

Zhu Junyang felt as if the dense haze within his heart had suddenly been dispersed completely by a refreshing breeze. He had never felt so open and free before in his life! He really needed to express his gratitude to his little lass. She was the one who dragged him away from the edge of the abyss. The little lass was truly his lucky star! 

“You...don’t need to smile like that. I feel goosebumps coming up seeing it!” Yu Xiaocao found it hard to accept the sudden change in Zhu Junyang’s demeanor. The young royal prince had never smiled so sincerely before and it made his smile more enchanting and gorgeous. The smile was so stunning that it made it hard for a person to look away. If he was a female, he would definitely be a devilish beauty who could cause the downfall of a country!  

“I’m incredibly happy and in an extremely good mood! I have never felt so light and free before in my life! Xiaocao, this prince wants to thank you properly. Whatever you want, please tell me!” The sound of Zhu Junyang’s was perceptibly brighter than before. Meixiang could also tell that the young master was in a good mood and also felt happy for him!  Yu Xiaocao’s eyes lit up and her face seemed to glow with an inner light as she asked, “You’ll really do anything that I ask for ah?”

A thought quickly flashed through Zhu Junyang’s head and he frowned. He immediately squashed the little lass’s hope, “The only thing I cannot do is to stop pursuing you. I don’t care if you believe me or not, but I don’t want anyone but you in this life!”

For a second, Xiaocao’s face dimmed and she frowned as she mumbled to herself, “Don’t say it so confidently. Who knows if one day a great beauty will appear and steal your heart? At that time, wouldn’t that be a slap to your face?”

“Are you sure the great beauty you’re talking about isn’t a large, salivating wolf? She’s even going to steal my heart...even if a dozen large wolves appear, I can escape from them without a scratch!” Zhu Junyang knocked the little lass on the head as he snorted in amusement. He really didn’t know what to do with her sometimes!

In the front, Meixiang secretly slowed her steps and looked back to take a peek at the interactions between the young master and Miss Yu. She thought, ‘Looks like the young master is being sincere. This is a good situation that other people can’t even hope to fish up. Why is Miss Yu so reluctant to accept this?’

The young master treated Miss Yu very well. There were so many maidens in the capital of the proper birth and rank, who were also more beautiful than Miss Yu, that wanted to get closer to the young master. However, the young master always disdained these young ladies and only Miss Yu had caught his eye. She wasn’t saying that Miss Yu wasn’t good either but she felt like that the young master deserved someone better. Unfortunately, what was really infuriating was that Miss Yu didn’t appreciate how good she had it. Meixiang felt a bit aggrieved on behalf of the young master. 

During that second where Zhu Junyang turned around, he could feel Meixiang’s thoughts very clearly. It looked like the maid Meixiang wasn’t too bad after all. ‘This prince will generously forgive all of her mistakes from earlier!’

“Look at you ah, aren’t you secretly reading Older Sister Meixiang’s thoughts again? Oh ho...I know, Older Sister Meixiang must have been complimenting you in her heart. Otherwise, why else would you look so smug?” Yu Xiaocao surreptitiously pinched Zhu Junyang’s arm. She was very curious as to what made Zhu Junyang look so pleased.

She thought that the volume of her voice was soft enough but didn’t expect Meixiang’s ears to be that sharp. When the maid heard this, she immediately jumped forward a few steps and then turned around with a scared expression on her face as she looked at the two people behind her. Tears immediately filled her eyes as she knelt in front of Royal Prince Yang as she hurriedly explained, “Miss Yu, please don’t send me to my doom! May the heavens smite me if I have any untoward thoughts to the young master. Young Master, please believe me...my mother has already found a good marriage partner for me. Once I reach the proper age, I was going to ask the princess consort if she could do me a favor and let me go. I promise that I have never had such vile thoughts in my heart!”  

Yu Xiaocao was flabbergasted by the maid’s reaction. She was only joking, so why did Older Sister Meixiang react in such a frightened manner? Wasn’t maids falling in love with their masters a common plot point in a lot of novels? Was it necessary to be that scared?  Zhu Junyang glared at her in disapproval and reassured Meixiang, “You can get up. Miss Yu was only joking! Don’t take it to heart!”

When he saw the confusion on Yu Xiaocao’s face, he couldn’t help but explain, “In the future, don’t make jokes like this. Two years ago, there was a maid who had climbed into my bed and I broke all four of her limbs before I threw her out of the residence. When I punished her, I called all of the maids in the estate over so they could all see the consequences of having impure thoughts. After that happened, it became peaceful around me…”

Meixiang couldn’t help but shudder when she thought of that maid who had been punished. The aftermath resembled a broken rag doll, with all four limbs going in monstrous directions. That maid used to be one of the most trusted by the princess consort and was also the most beautiful out of all of the maidservants in the residence. Furthermore, she had a glib tongue. 

Perhaps the young master had been more courteous and tolerating of the princess consort’s personal maids, which caused that maid to have ambitious thoughts. Unexpectedly, she took advantage of a time when the princess consort sent her to give the young master some nourishing soup and had added an aphrodisiac to the soup. The young master had found out though…

It was rumored that the maid’s legs and arms couldn’t be set properly, so she could only lie on a bed, handicapped, for the rest of her life. That maid’s family members had taken her away and she died a few days later. She also heard that the maid’s older brother and older sister-in-law thought that it was too much trouble to care for her, so they deliberately starved her to death…

“It’s not a bad thing for other people to admire you! That young girl only longs for some romance and you also have such devastating looks. Is it necessary to be that angry ah?” Yu Xiaocao didn’t think his reaction was correct. Her eyes flickered a bit and she mysteriously said, “Young Royal Prince, you’re already at the right age. Don’t tell me that the princess consort hasn’t prepared any maids to share your bed yet?”

When Meixiang heard this, she started to walk faster as she thought, ‘Why is this road so long? First she says that the young master looks handsome and then she starts talking about bed-servants...Miss Yu, can you stop trying to tweak the tiger’s whiskers so often ah? Playing with fire can lead you to getting burned. Don’t pull me into this too.’

Zhu Junyang stopped moving and lightly grabbed onto Xiaocao’s arm. There was an unidentified emotion in his slightly slanted eyes as he gazed into the little lass’s eyes. He gently said with the hint of a smile, “Cao’er, in your heart, what do you think of my looks? I want to hear your true thoughts.”

Eh? Meixiang stopped for a bit. ‘It looks like the young master has opened his mind ah! Miss Yu had talked about his appearance yet he didn’t get angry and even wanted to confirm her thoughts. Hold on! Did the young master get his soul switched out by something and is now being possessed by a spirit?’

Yu Xiaocao was dazzled at the sight of his devilishly handsome face. She licked her lips and found herself entranced by him. She replied in a bewitched manner, “One word: beautiful. Two words: very beautiful. Three words: devastatingly extraordinarily beautiful!”

Zhu Junyang knocked her head in a displeased manner and growled, “As a true man, the word ‘beautiful’ isn’t necessarily a compliment! Choose a different adjective for this prince!”

“Who said that ‘beautiful’ isn’t a compliment for men? Young maidens love flower boys the most, okay ah?” Yu Xiaocao grumbled as she used her little hand to rub her head that had turned red from being hit. She silently cursed, ‘You have so much strength yet you don’t even hold back a little for me. My head is going to have a lump because of you!’

Zhu Junyang raised an eyebrow and replied, “Then...am I the type that you love the most?” 

“Uh...who wouldn’t like people who are incredibly beautiful? However, this type of ‘love’ isn’t the romantic type of love!” Yu Xiaocao noticed that there was a trap waiting for her so she hurriedly obscured her words. She then quickened her steps as if she wanted to escape this situation.  ‘Little lass, you’re even more slippery than a loach. If I’m not careful, she might just slip away. It’s not a problem, I have plenty of time on my side and lots of patience to tussle with her. There’s no need to say more at this point as there’s no way a tiny thing like you will prevail in the end!’

Meixiang, who was leading the way, had a better idea of how the young master and Miss Yu interacted now. She really couldn’t figure out just how Miss Yu caught the young master’s eye. Personality wise, Miss Yu was like a willful little kitten, always scratching at a person’s clothes. Yet the young master always held onto her little claws and acted as if he couldn’t bear to say a harsh word to her or punish her. Thus, in Meixiang’s heart, the previous image she had of the young master as a cruel and vicious youth had temporarily evaporated. 

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Myst's Thoughts

Sanguine’s thoughts: Haha, Zhu Junyang is getting a rehabilitation of his image!

Translator: Sanguine