Yang Hanlun had been waiting in the residence early in the morning. He had the cooks prepare food Lin Haihai liked and nothing else. He knew she disliked waste, and he didn’t want to get into an argument with her over such trivial matters. Meanwhile, Lin Haihai had been debating with herself outside the Prince Residence. How should I tell him about the child? I can’t just tell him the truth. Am I going to lie again? She rubbed at her forehead, struggling to come to a conclusion.
That was what the steward saw when he walked out of the residence. He came up to Lin Haihai and bowed. “Greetings, Consort Lin. Why didn’t you enter if you had already arrived? His Highness has been waiting for quite some time!”
Lin Haihai managed a smile. “I’m going to. Where are you rushing to, Steward?”
“In response to Consort Lin, the secondary consort has gone to the palace and hasn’t returned. His Highness ordered this servant to ask her when she would be coming back!” The steward didn’t hide the truth from her. He knew Lin Haihai wasn’t a petty woman.
“Ah, then you should go ahead!” Lin Haihai responded with her brows furrowed. The palace was somewhere she didn’t dare get near.
“This servant will take my leave!” The steward got into the carriage, and it set out immediately.
“Wondering how you’re going to broach the matter with him?” Wangchen asked faintly. Lin Haihai turned to her in shock. Wangchen looked into the distance and said seriously, “I’m a woman. I know how a woman’s body reacts.”
Lin Haihai felt embarrassed. After all, the child’s father was Wangchen’s ex-husband. She was still a little uneasy.
“It’s His Majesty’s, isn’t it?” Wangchen continued. “It doesn’t matter, though. You aren’t going to tell him, are you?”
Lin Haihai gave her a sulky look and jabbed a finger at her chest. “I should keep my distance from you, Wangchen. You’re too good at reading people.”
Wangchen blushed faintly. She was used to Lin Haihai’s serious side. She was a little caught off guard by her cute reaction.
“If you can’t come up with an explanation, then don’t tell him yet!” Wangchen advised.
Lin Haihai scratched her head with a troubled expression. “But I’m terrible at keeping secrets. And I don’t want to run away. I want to tell him!”
“Let’s enter first. Look, the guards are wondering what you’re doing!”
Lin Haihai looked up at Wangchen’s reminder and saw the guards’ curious glances. She whipped her sleeves and walked into the residence with her head held high. Wangchen smiled sweetly in reaction, which Lin Haihai happened to catch sight of when she turned around. Surprised and delighted, she said, “Aw, I didn’t know this side of you. You look adorable!”
Wangchen pulled a long face and levelled her with a cold glare. Lin Haihai crossed her arms before her chest, meeting the glare without fear before approaching Wangchen. She then pinched and rubbed Wangchen’s cheeks hard and patted her face, saying, “If you shoot me another glare, I’ll poke your eyes out!”
She broke into hearty laughter and continued inside the residence. Wangchen looked at her with fond exasperation. Lin Haihai’s personality had changed drastically after getting pregnant. It made goosebumps pop out all over Wangchen’s arms.
Yang Hanlun’s features relaxed when he saw Lin Haihai arrive, and the smile on his face deepened. “I thought you wouldn’t be able to make it back for dinner!”
He pulled a chair for her. Lin Haihai took a seat with a smile. She felt suddenly hungry looking at the dishes on the table. As she put food into her own bowl, she said, “Of course I’ll come back home! I know there’s great food waiting for me here!”
Her use of the word “home” made Yang Hanlun smile. He sat down by the table as well and eagerly put food into Lin Haihai’s bowl. Looking at the growing pile of food, Lin Haihai felt a sudden pang in her heart. This man did love her, but she had been denying him entrance into her life. There was already someone she held dear, and thus she had no room for others. Even now, her heart was fully occupied by that man.
Yu Qing had told her that starting a new relationship was the best way to forget someone. Should she consider accepting him? But she was pregnant with another man’s child. The child would be proof of her disloyalty to him. Would he be able to accept it?
As for the man who needn’t be named… Would he be able to forgive her if he knew she was pregnant with his child one day?
Lin Haihai put away her bowl and stared at Yang Hanlun. Yang Hanlun nervously asked, “What’s wrong? Don’t you like the food?”
Lin Haihai shook her head. She was about to say something when Wangchen entered and took her seat at the dining table without hesitation. She grabbed a bowl and began eating in earnest. Lin Haihai swallowed her unspoken words.
Yang Hanlun knew about Wangchen’s true identity. Although he had lost all respect for his former sister-in-law, he could remain civil with her for the sake of Old General Xie.
Lin Haihai picked up her bowl and quietly dug in. Wangchen threw glances at Lin Haihai as she ate. Although she didn’t know how Lin Haihai planned to tell Yang Hanlun about her pregnancy, she could sense that there were still things Lin Haihai had to consider. After all, it was a situation most men couldn’t tolerate. If she simply told him the truth right now, there would be no turning back.
Lin Haihai knew why Wangchen had interrupted her. She looked at the innocent look on Yang Hanlun’s face. How can I do this to him?
“By the way, why did Birou visit the palace?” Lin Haihai asked casually as she picked at her bowl of rice.
“Imperial Mother has been complaining about feeling nauseous the past few days, but she doesn’t want to have her pulse taken. Birou thus decided to make some supplementary stew to improve her health!” Yang Hanlun felt a little embarrassed as he said so. It always filled his heart with conflicted emotions whenever he mentioned Chen Birou before Lin Haihai. He felt like he had wronged Lin Haihai when he was with Chen Birou, and vice versa.
“Supplementary stew? What did she make?” Lin Haihai’s attention was caught. She put down her bowl and waited for Yang Hanlun to answer.
“Things like ginseng and velvet antler,” Yang Hanlun said. “Birou said that Imperial Mother must have been feeling nauseous because of anemia. You know her. She loves spicy food and doesn’t like soup. Birou has to personally bring the stew to her and coax her into having it!”
“You have to stop her,” Lin Haihai said seriously. “Your mother wouldn’t be able to take it!”
She had wanted to do a physical checkup for the empress dowager, but it kept being pushed back by other more urgent matters. If she had already had days of supplementary food, she might collapse anytime!
“Why wouldn’t she be able to take it? Don’t worry. Birou has made the soup herself. Her care for Imperial Mother is unquestionable. It’s not something you should worry about.”
Yang Hanlun spoke up for Birou, assuming that Lin Haihai was finding faults in Birou on purpose. It was an old habit of his. Wherever he heard someone saying anything bad about Birou, he would defend her reflexively. He had always done so since his youth. It wouldn’t be easy for him to break out of the habit.
“That’s not what I’m worried about,” explained Lin Haihai. “Imperial Mother isn’t lacking nutrients. Having overly nutritious food may do more harm than good!”
“Would you stop patronizing me just because you’re a physician? Birou may not have studied medicine, but it’s common knowledge that dizziness is caused by anemia and a weak constitution. What’s wrong about giving her more nutritious food? Imperial Mother has been having her soup for a few days. If that’s bad for her health, something would have happened already!”
Yang Hanlun’s tone hardened. Everyone had their bottom line. Chen Birou was his.
Lin Haihai suppressed an eyeroll. She didn’t want to waste her breath arguing with him. There was a lack of understanding about cardiovascular diseases in this era. The empress dowager led a life of luxury. She had high quality food every day. It wouldn’t make sense for her to be lacking nutrients. Diseases of affluence existed since ancient times, but they had been neglected until much later!
She lowered her head and took a few mouthfuls of rice, her appetite lost instantly. She had to send Li Junyue to the palace to check the empress dowager. She didn’t want anything to happen to the old woman.
Yang Hanlun was silent for a moment. Then he looked up at Lin Haihai with a guilty look on his face. “I’m sorry. I’ve been too harsh with you!”
Lin Haihai threw him a smile. “It’s fine.”
Seeing the troubled look on her face filled Yang Hanlun’s heart with regret. Whenever he tried to improve their relationship, arguments like this happened. They had come to a standstill again. It was impossible for the atmosphere to recover. He had to live with his anxiety and finished his food.
Wangchen watched the two of them and noted their different expressions. They didn’t understand each other at all, and they didn’t seem like husband and wife. Not only didn’t they converse well, they never had eye contact. Even when they opened their mouths, their words were those of a pair of strangers.
After a moment of bemusement, Lin Haihai said to Wangchen, “You should leave first. I have things to talk to His Highness about!”
Wangchen’s head jerked up, and her surprised gaze shifted to Lin Haihai. This wasn’t the right time for that conversation. They were both in a bad mood. Revealing her pregnancy might have terrible consequences!
Still, she put away her bowl and turned to leave.
Confused, Yang Hanlun looked at the serious expression on Lin Haihai’s face. Panic overtook him suddenly. He saw Lin Haihai lower her head for a moment before meeting his gaze with a determined look. Then she said, “I’d like to move out!”
She wasn’t asking for his permission, but simply informing him of her decision.
Anger rose in his heart. He tried his best to tamp it down and said gently, “You shouldn’t. I’ll be worried about you!”
“There’s no need to worry. Wangchen can protect me!” Lin Haihai didn’t give an inch. She had obviously made up her mind.
“You are my princess consort!” Yang Hanlun raised his voice and declared, his eyes burning with fury. “You must remember that! If I tell you you can’t move out, you can’t!”
“You know I’m no longer your princess consort!” Lin Haihai frowned. She should’ve kept her distance from him. If she had been a woman free from the burden of this title, things wouldn’t have become this difficult.
Yang Hanlun sneered and gave Lin Haihai a heartbroken look. “Everyone knows you as my princess consort. If you claim otherwise, why don’t you show me the divorce paper?”
“I know you’ve gone to the North Court and burned it. Aren’t you just fooling yourself? We both know what happened. There’s no point in pretending otherwise!”
Xiao Ju had told her that it didn’t matter if she had the divorce paper. Since they hadn’t made the news public, presenting the paper now wouldn’t have convinced the princes. Instead, they would be angrier and more suspicious, assuming that the emperor had threatened Yang Hanlun.
“You want to be with Imperial Elder Brother, don’t you? That’s what you’ve always wanted. I won’t let you! I’m warning you, if you keep involving yourself with him, don’t blame me for turning my back to him! He’s in enough trouble already. He’ll never be able to recover if I give him another blow!” His voice was icy as he made the ultimatum. The resentment in his eyes chilled Lin Haihai to the bones.
“He’s your brother!” Lin Haihai said futilely. They had always been close. The brothers had loved and cared about each other deeply. And yet they were on the verge of becoming bitter enemies. Is it because of me? What have I done? Look what the brothers have become!
“Did he ever see me as his younger brother? If he cared about the bond between us, he wouldn’t have gotten together with you!” Yang Hanlun’s tone turned heartbroken and deeply hurt. How could he not, when he was betrayed by the two people he loved the most?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Who is the angstier brother? Yang Shaolun or Yang Hanlun? *insert the El Dorado meme*