Eventually, Oleg Cragfiend stopped scolding Nan Xun. Nan Xun lowered his head and stood before him obediently like a little boy being reprimanded by his parents. Jun Huang hadn’t been subjected to her master’s scorn, but she didn’t like seeing Nan Xun like this. She turned to Oleg Cragfiend and said, “It’s not his fault, master. I was the one who asked for some time outside. You’ve said yourself that I shouldn’t stay in my room all day.”
Oleg Cragfiend shot her a disapproving look. Nan Xun took her hand to stop her from speaking up for him.
Nevertheless, Oleg Cragfiend did stop talking. They made their way into the manor. It was inappropriate for them to hold the conversation outside the door.
Jun Huang returned to her building to take a bath, while Nan Xun told Oleg Cragfiend about Jun Huang’s recovering memory. After she re-emerged, Oleg Cragfiend took Jun Huang’s pulse. His expression relaxed.
Jun Huang looked at him nervously. “How am I, master?”
Oleg Cragfiend put away his things. “You’re about recovered. You’ll be fine after some rest. However, you have to take care of yourself even after your recovery. Don’t overwork yourself again.”
“I understand, master,” Nan Xun spoke up before Jun Huang could. “Don’t worry. I’ve thought about it. Once everything is settled, Jun Huang and I will leave the capital and settle down somewhere peaceful.”
Oleg Cragfiend’s expression finally brightened a little. He nodded and walked away. Jun Huang hadn’t quite realized what they were referring to by “everything”. Nan Xun didn’t explain.
Jun Huang had been leading a peaceful life in Nan Xun’s manor. To stop Jun Huang from tiring herself, Nan Xun had his men acquire some storybooks to occupy her time.
Jun Huang didn’t object. She didn’t find any faults in a peaceful life. However, the serenity was disturbed after a few days.
Jun Huang was reading a novel in the garden. The writing was crude, but the story was captivating. It was an easy read.
“Someone is looking for you, miss,” a maid approached her and said.
Jun Huang glanced at the maid with a frown and nodded, placing the book on the stone table. The maid led her to the main hall.
An extravagantly dressed woman sat on an empress chair. Her gold-gilded robe shone under the sun. It was almost offensively luxurious. Jun Huang glanced at the woman’s face and quickly looked away. She sat down on the seat for the hostess before smiling at the woman. “What’s the purpose of your visit?”
The woman considered Jun Huang openly. Unfazed, Jun Huang had a maid pour her a cup of tea and took a sip, her expression relaxed.
The woman frowned. “You don’t look that different. Why would the prince show you favor? Have you seduced him like a fox spirit?”
That told Jun Huang the woman was Nan Xun’s admirer. She raised an eyebrow and cleared her throat, putting down her cup.
“What do you expect me to say?” responded Jun Huang. There was a hint of steeliness in her voice. “If I were a spirit, do you think you’d be able to enter this manor?”
The woman hadn’t expected the almost threatening words from a woman like Jun Huang. She glared at Jun Huang and took a deep breath. “Who are you, and what makes you think you’ll be good enough for the prince? The prince only keeps you around because you look like Feng Baiyu. Who do you think you are when there are so many talented and beautiful women in the imperial city?”
“Who do you think you are?” Jun Huang questioned. “What if I’m only here because I look like Feng Baiyu? What gives you the right to insult me? If you don’t want your reputation to be tarnished, you better walk away.”
She got to her feet. She didn’t want to waste her time on the woman. “See her off, housekeeper. You shouldn’t just let anyone enter the manor.”
The woman gritted her teeth, but she didn’t have a reason to stay. Not long after her departure, rumors that there was a sharp-tongued and shameless woman in Nan Xun’s manor started spreading. Many of Nan Xun’s admirers visited to check out Jun Huang.
Resigned, Jun Huang ordered the servants to find an excuse to turn the unwanted guests away in the future. The maids were put into a difficult position. The young mistresses from esteemed families might seem too good for petty tricks, but in truth, they were snobbish and prone to indignation.
However, Jun Huang wasn’t someone they could afford to offend, either. Nan Xun had made sure of it. The maids could only turn the troublemakers away, claiming that Jun Huang was sick.
“Miss, it’s the daughter of a second-grade official this time,” complained a maid. “She insisted on seeing you. We’ve done all we can, but she refused to go away. She said that she’d consider you a coward if you don’t meet with her. We don’t know what to do.”
Jun Huang laughed, her brows relaxed. “She’s trying to provoke me. If I meet with her because of her taunt, what do you think the ones you’ve dismissed would think? Tell her she’s welcomed to slander me in public, but be honest about her intention. I’m not afraid of her.”
“I’ll take care of it,” said Nan Xun as he emerged. He’d been listening to the two of them talk from a distance. The maid hurriedly excused herself, giving Jun Huang and Nan Xun their privacy.
Jun Huang shot him a glare. “You should take care of it. You are the one who attracts all the admirers. I shouldn’t have to drive them away for you.”
Nan Xun chuckled and held her close, resting his chin on her shoulder. “No one other than you can catch my eyes,” he whispered. “You know that they have nothing to do with me. You’re the only one I want, and the best woman I’ve ever known.”
His breaths were warm against her ear. She lay against his arms and snorted. Nan Xun sighed in relief when he saw her curved lips. Fortunately, she wasn’t angry at him.
“Someone is here to see you,” Nan Xun said as he got to his feet.
Jun Huang frowned. “Who?”
“An acquaintance,” Nan Xun said vaguely. Jun Huang frowned, wondering who Nan Xun was talking about.
She didn’t have an answer. She didn’t remember knowing anyone. With a low chuckle, she followed Nan Xun to the garden.
From afar, they could see a man dressed in white robe standing in the pavilion. He seemed to be in his thirties. Even a glance was enough for Jun Huang to tell that the man was brave and clever. However, she felt a slight aversion to the man for reasons she couldn’t explain.
She didn’t let her emotions show. Calmly, she approached the man and considered him. The man looked at her with a smile, his expression open. Jun Huang took a step back. She didn’t like being under his scrutiny.
“Who are you?” Jun Huang asked bluntly, her tone was calm but steely. The thought that she should be less direct didn’t even cross her mind
“This is Mister Ji Bo,” Nan Xun whispered in her ear.
Unaffected, Ji Bo nodded with a smile and said in a caring tone, “I’ve heard about what happened. How unfortunate it is.”
Jun Huang looked at him silently in lieu of a response. Ji Bo maintained his smile and only spoke up after the three of them had taken a seat. “You lost your memory and have been trying to recover it. I don’t know what you remember. Can you recall anything about me?”
“Apologies, I’ve forgotten many things,” Jun Huang said directly. “What I remember has nothing to do with you.”
Ji Bo nodded in understanding and stopped asking questions. “Since you don’t remember, I’ll tell you.”
“...Northern Qi wasn’t what it is now. The princes fought ferociously for the throne. The third prince was the weakest link. You and Nan Xun took a team to where I’d been residing… Eventually, you broke through my formation with your knowledge. It’s a remarkable achievement...”
“Too many things have happened. I can’t go into all the details. However, I’m sure you’ll be able to remember one day.” Ji Bo told her about how they met and briefly summarized the feud between the princes. Jun Huang listened with rapt attention.
For some reason, she felt both a sense of familiarity and wariness for Ji Bo. She kept her feelings to herself as Nan Xun engaged Ji Bo in a conversation.
Her feelings had no basis. She couldn’t tell if she was being overly sensitive. What was more, Ji Bo held an important position in the court. Both Nan Xun and Qi Yun needed his help. It wouldn’t be ideal for her to offend him for no good reason.
Ji Bo might not be that petty, but it was better safe than sorry.
Nan Xun hadn’t noticed Jun Huang’s unusual reaction since his attention was on his conversation with Ji Bo. They talked about the development of Northern Qi with great enthusiasm.
Jun Huang needed her rest, so Nan Xun had been going to Ji Bo for advice recently. Since Ji Bo and Jun Huang often came to the same conclusions, Nan Xun didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.