Chapter 194: Wedding Gift
After some consideration, Jun Huang took out a signal flare and walked out of the room. She lit it up. Not long after, someone from the House of Heavenly Fiends showed up and knelt before her.
“I called for you to cancel the mission I gave some time ago,” said Jun Huang.
The man was puzzled, but Jun Huang was the leader of the House of Heavenly Fiends. He wasn’t going to question her. He nodded and disappeared into the dark.
Jun Huang let out a long breath. Her strength seemed to have drain out of her body at once. Her knees went weak and she fell to the ground. She stared at the cool moon with unfocused eyes.
Yin Yun and Jun Hao were safe. It was better for her to stop tracking them down. Her days were numbered. And she wouldn’t be able to control herself if she found out where there were. She didn’t want her only family to experience the fear of losing her and to despair. It was best to avoid them altogether.
She let out a quiet laugh and leaned against the cold wall. She closed her eyes. Moonlight covered her face with a silver glow, adding an ethereal air to her.
When Nan Xun came back, what he saw was Jun Huang’s rueful expression. Her eyebrows were drawn together in her sorrow. It made his heart ache.
He made his way to her in quiet steps and knelt before her to tuck her hair behind her ear. She was still so beautiful.
Jun Huang’s eyes snapped open when Nan Xun’s hand touched her eyelashes. She relaxed once she saw that it was Nan Xun. With a smile, she looked at the night sky and said, “You’re early. I thought you wouldn’t return today.”
She lowered her head and chuckled, hiding her sorrow behind a smile.
“I left early,” Nan Xun said. “One of the servants came to tell me that you hadn’t had dinner. I was worried that you wouldn’t eat anything. There’s nothing for me to do there, so I came back.”
He bent down to pick her up and put her on the empress chair. He then covered her with a robe.
“I just didn’t feel like eating. You should have eaten on your own. There’s no need for you to come back. What if the emperor is going to ask for you?”
Jun Huang didn’t mention her conversation with the man from the House of Heavenly Fiends. She knew that if she said anything, Nan Xun would send people to go find Jun Hao. It wouldn’t help for her to meet with her brother now.
Nan Xun didn’t know why Jun Huang was in a bad mood. Was it because she was worried about her brother and Yin Yun? He didn’t want Jun Huang to live for other people and forget to take care of herself. “The weather has been nice these couple of days,” he said after a brief pause. “Wan’er’s wedding is coming. We haven’t prepared any gifts. If you’re feeling better tomorrow, I’ll take you out.”
Jun Huang turned to him and gave him a nod. “That will be good. I have to give her something for her wedding day.”
“I’ll have the servants prepare dinner. You should eat something and go to sleep. You may not have noticed, but you haven’t looked too good recently.” As he spoke, he stood up and exited the room. He went on to tell the servants what they should prepare.
Jun Huang stayed quietly on the empress chair. She touched her face when she heard Nan Xun’s words. While she couldn’t see how she looked now, it was true that she hadn’t been sleeping very well lately. She must look tired.
After dinner, she went straight to bed. Exhaustion sent her into slumber not long after. Nan Xun stood by the bed looking at her with sympathy. He tucked her in before leaving the room.
The next morning, Ji Bo sent his page boy to deliver a wheelchair to the manor. Jun Huang was still asleep, so it was Nan Xun who accepted the gift. Ji Bo had made the wheelchair himself.
Jun Huang had not recovered enough to walk on her own. The wheelchair would be useful. Nan Xun thanked the page boy and brought the wheelchair to the room Jun Huang was staying in.
Jun Huang chuckled when she saw the wheelchair. She had seen one when she was in Western Que. The mechanisms in place allowed the chair to move for those who had lost their mobility. It wasn’t easy to construct. She didn’t expect a scholarly man like Ji Bo to be able to make one.
With Nan Xun’s help, she sat down on the wheelchair. Nan Xun pushed her out of the door to the main hall. They had breakfast together before going outside.
The weather was pleasant. Sunlight enveloped them in a blanket of warmth. Jun Huang took a deep breath with a small smile tugging her lips. The smile was enough to draw one’s soul. Nan Xun couldn’t take his eyes off her.
“It will be good if the sun can be out every day in Northern Qi,” Jun Huang said and let out a sigh.
“Northern Qi is located near the arctic region,” Nan Xun said with a laugh. “Weather like this is rare. That, however, is what make it precious. If it’s sunny every day, no one will appreciate the sunlight.”
Jun Huang smiled in lieu of a response and sat back as Nan Xun took her to a store.
The storefront was classically designed, while the interior of the store was obviously catering to young women. Jun Huang closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The fragrance told her what this store sold.
“I didn’t expect the famous Prince Nan Xun to know a store that sells cosmetics for women,” Jun Huang said teasingly. “You must have bought many such products for women you like.”
Nan Xun coughed. “I didn’t know the place before, but one of my servants needed to buy some cosmetics for his wife one day when he was accompanying me. I came here with him to have a look.”
“I wasn’t being serious,” Jun Huang said. She didn’t expect Nan Xun to give her an explanation. She let out a laugh like she didn’t care that much.
Nan Xun silently pushed Jun Huang to a shelf. He didn’t know if rouges would make a good wedding gift. Since Jun Huang didn’t say anything, though, it must be a viable option.
Jun Huang checked through the great variety of rouges. She leaned in to take a whiff. The smell was graceful and long-lasting. Her hand settled on one made of crabapple flower. She hesitated, unable to make a decision.
Noticing her hesitation, Nan Xun took the rouge and made a play of smelling it himself. “It’s pretty pleasant. Wan’er is going to like it. Since you don’t, I’ll take this as my gift for her.”
Jun Huang arched an eyebrow at him without a word, giving him her silent permission. She knew that Nan Xun wouldn’t be able to find a good gift himself. She sighed and turned her attention to the other shelves. Her eyes settled on a delicate box put in the corner.
“Would you please bring that box to me?” Jun Huang whispered to Nan Xun.
With a nod, Nan Xun took the box down for Jun Huang. She opened the box and was greeted with the scent of sandalwood. She realized that it was scented incense, not rouge. She turned to the clerk with a smile and said, “I’ll have this. Please pack it for me.”
Nan Xun handed the rouge to the clerk as well before pushing Jun Huang to another area of the store. On display were some jade wares of fine quality. They were both reminded of their argument with Rong’er in Yun Town for the piece of blood jade. Jun Huang let out a chuckle. Nan Xun ducked his head in embarrassment.
His gaze landed on the blood jade Jun Huang wore on her waist. His mortification intensified. He coughed and looked away.
Jun Huang’s eyes didn’t linger on the jade pieces. They were of good quality, but most were common ones that could be bought everywhere. Her attention was drawn by the hairpins and jade caps. Nan Xun took her closer.
The white jade caps were here for the customers to buy for the object of their affection, while the hairpins were mostly designed for women. They were so delicately crafted Jun Huang couldn’t help being drawn.
It had been too long since the last time she wore a hairpin. She picked up one and imagined how Wan’er would look wearing it with her wedding gown. It would be a good match, she decided She told the clerk to wrap it up for her as well.
Nan Xun thought that Jun Huang wanted it for herself. Surprised, he bent down and whispered, “Even though I’m a general, I know that the hairpin is for women. Are you going to wear it? As a man?”
Jun Huang turned to Nan Xun with a deadpan look. “I just thought that it would suit Princess Wan’er. She tried to get to know me, but she and I are never meant to be. It makes sense for me to give her a good gift for her wedding. I think that the hairpin will go well with the phoenix cap she is going to wear. She will look beautiful.”
Nan Xun felt a pang of jealousy. He knew Jun Huang didn’t reciprocate Wan’er’s feelings, but he didn’t like it when she showed too much affection for other people. Jun Huang had a rare smile on her face, though. He didn’t want to put a damp on her good mood. He pushed aside his jealousy and stayed at her side. He even managed to put on a smile.
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