Stunned, Lin Haihai stared at Yang Hanlun, unable to come up with a protest. It was a mistake for her to get together with Yang Shaolun, and thus it was a mistake for her to wait for him, to want him, to miss him, to even think about him. They met at the wrong time, that was what it all came down to!
She sat on the chair and went back to eating. She ate and ate without stopping. It pained her a little less now to see things develop in opposition to her wishes. Time was something no one could manipulate.
The prickling pain in her heart threatened to make her shed tears. It was all because of her. If not for her, the bond between the two brothers would still be as sturdy as steel, and they wouldn’t be close to going after each other’s throat. Her existence itself was a mistake! What about you, my child? Are you a mistake as well? How am I going to explain your existence?
Her silence further stoked Yang Hanlun’s fury. He grabbed her bowl from her and threw it at the floor. Then he grabbed her by the chin with bruising force and levelled her with an angry glare, asking her, “Can’t you forget about him?”
A prickling heat rose to her nose. She met his gaze with mist in her eyes, which condensed into tears and fell from the corner of her eyes.
Yang Hanlun let go of her chin. Chen Birou’s tears were the only thing in this world that could soften his heart, while Lin Haihai’s tears were oil to his brewing anger. The resulting fire burned his heart to the crisp. He turned to look at the meal he had prepared for her. The irony of it all stung him. In a fit of anger, he overturned the table. The sound of plates shattering echoed in the room. The dismissed servants returned to see how furious Yang Hanlun was. They were too scared to even set foot into the room, and instead stayed outside trembling in fear.
Lin Haihai slowly rose to her feet and said, “Come with me.” Then she walked toward her room without even looking back.
Guihua looked at their backs worriedly. She knew a thing or two about Lin Haihai’s relationship with the emperor, and she had been worried about the secret getting out of the bag. The day came earlier than she had expected!
Lin Haihai let Yang Hanlun enter her room before shutting the door. Looking at him, she knew she had to come up with more lies to ensure the birth of her child. She knew she must not let anyone know Yang Shaolun was the father. However, she refused to get an abortion. They were the only thing she and Yang Shaolun shared. She would die before giving them up.
“Do you remember how I was kidnapped the day you married Birou?” she asked coolly.
Yang Hanlun’s anger gave way to worry. Lin Haihai never knew how cruel and malicious she could be. She was using his concern and guilt for her against him!
“Did something happen that day?” he asked in a trembling voice.
Lin Haihai’s lips trembled as her tears fell. It looked as if she was trying to suppress tremendous pain. Many things had happened that day. It was the one day they decided to have to themselves. And yet she had to lie to keep what happened a secret. She wiped away her tears carelessly and bit out, “Birou was right. I was forced upon. And I realized today that I’m pregnant!”
The revelation struck Yang Hanlun like the most powerful lightning. Lin Haihai burst into tears at the sight of his furious and pained expression. She had wronged him, and she was still hurting him! She knelt on the floor and sobbed her heart out. She bit into her hands, hating herself for what she was doing.
Yang Hanlun balled his hands into fists with veins popping out of his forehead and his eyes wide and hardened with blazing emotions. It was his fault. How could he not be worried about her at all at the time?
He bent down and stroked her silky hair with trembling hands, struggling and finally managing to say, “It was my fault!”
He pulled her into his arms and broke into tears, his throat locked by his choking sobs. Lin Haihai put her head on his chest, her heart hurting like it was stabbed by a thousand needles. I’m sorry, I’m sorry! A voice cried out deep within her. It was my fault. I should’ve stayed far away from you and your brother!
After a long stretch of silence, Lin Haihai tipped her tear-streaked face up, her expression a lot more composed. She met Yang Hanlun’s eyes and said, “I’d like to keep the child!”
“You must not!” Yang Hanlun bit out. “It’s a child who shouldn’t be born. You have to get rid of it! I swear I’ll avenge you. Whoever did this to you will die a terrible death!” His fiery eyes shone with cruelty. The viciousness of his expression unnerved her.
“I have to keep it. If you can’t tolerate the existence of me and my child, I’ll leave!” Lin Haihai insisted. “It was the adults who made a mistake. It has nothing to do with the child. I will not allow an innocent life to bear the faults of the adults! I don’t care how I ended up with this child. They are mine now. My hands will ever only be used to save people!”
“If you like children so much, we can have many,” Yang Hanlun said with pain. “However, you must not keep the child!” He didn’t understand her insistence. Shouldn’t she hate the man who forced her? Why would she want to give birth to this child?
“Then the conversation ends here. The child won’t have a father, but they will have a mother!” She was essentially saying that no one would hurt her child as long as she was alive. “This child is mine. Do you understand? Mine!”
The visible sorrow in her eyes stunned Yang Hanlun. Her love for the unborn child ran deeper than he expected! Faced with her almost saint-like look, he softened his voice and asked, “Would you allow me to be the child’s father then?”
His love for her ran deeper than he had expected as well, or he wouldn’t make such a great compromise.
Lin Haihai considered him and searched through his face to discern if he was being truthful. If this man could accept her child, should she accept him? Conflicted emotions warred in her heart. She was moved by him and felt guilt toward him. It wasn’t love, she knew that. She was a single-minded woman who wouldn’t easily fall for anyone. Once she did, she was unlikely to have a change of heart. However, love wasn’t all there was in her life, was it?
“I’ll feel indebted to you!” Lin Haihai said with a sigh.
“I should be the one to say that!” Yang Hanlun’s gaze was ladened with love and guilt. “You got kidnapped because of me!”
Lin Haihai couldn’t stop her heart from clenching painfully. “Would you give yourself some time to think? I don’t want you to regret it!”
Yang Hanlun’s responding smile was warm and brimming with his affection for her. “I won’t regret it as long as you stop loving that man!”
That was the only thing he asked of her, and yet Lin Haihai couldn’t promise him that. She remembered the man’s saddened eyes and the time they spent together. Her lips curled into a sorrowful smile that didn’t reach her eyes as she said, “I’ll try!”
He put his arms around her, and she closed her eyes, putting her hands on her belly. The child was her only connection to the man she loved. It was a connection she would be keeping from others. From now on, Brother Yang, forgetting you will be my lifelong pursuit! Please forget about me, too, and seek your own happiness. Remember not to miss your chance again! The child and I will be keeping watch on you in our own way for the rest of our life!
Wangchen, who had been guarding the door, quietly walked away. She sighed at the starry sky. What a curious thing love was. She had loved that man so deeply that she lost her sanity and would willingly lose her life. When she thought about him now, however, she felt nothing.
If her master could forget about the man and lead a peaceful life with the sixth prince, it wouldn’t be a terrible way to live. However, she knew her master was different from her. While her love was selfish and overbearing, her master’s love was all about sacrifice and giving. Such love would linger in a human heart for much longer, even longer than life itself! Perhaps it was its own kind of happiness to be so deeply in love with someone!
Xiao Yuan brought tea to the Imperial Study and found Yang Shaolun again buried in reports, his expression alternating between anger, appreciation, and worry. Xiao Yuan shook his head and quietly left the cup on the desk before leaving the emperor alone.
A palace maid passed by with a small pot of swallow’s nest. She bowed to him in greetings. Xiao Yuan asked, “It’s late. Hasn’t Her Majesty the Empress Dowager gone to sleep?”
Meekly, the palace maid answered, “In response to Chief Manager Xiao, the sixth consort has visited the palace. She’s keeping Her Majesty company since she’s having trouble falling asleep! Her Majesty has ordered for the swallow’s nest to be prepared for her!”
Xiao Yuan waved her away. “Then go ahead, lest His Majesty get disturbed!”
The maid was new, and she didn’t know the palace well. There was a shorter path if she was going to the Ci’an Palace, but she ended up passing by the Imperial Study.
Yang Shaolun had heard the palace maid. His agitated emotions tore away his pretense and revealed his bloody heart. Only he knew how much pain he had been in late at night, when no one was watching. He missed her. He missed her so much. He missed her faint smile, the curve of her lips, her leering eyes, the way she looked when she lowered her head, when she turned to look at him, when her eyes shone with her love for him. He had never for a moment forgotten about the lovely woman. She had been his!
Xiao Yuan was surprised to see the emperor emerge so suddenly from the study. He hurriedly bowed to his master. Then Yang Shaolun said, “Pick up the cup of tea and accompany this Emperor to visit the empress dowager!”
Xiao Yuan knew he had heard the maid and found out that she had entered the palace. However, it was late. Visiting just to give the empress dowager a cup of tea would rouse her suspicion.
“What are you waiting for?” Yang Shaolun urged impatiently, his voice louder than usual.
“This servant understands!” Xiao Yuan hurriedly put the cup of tea on the tray and trailed after Yang Shaolun.
Chen Birou had entered the palace because she realized Yang Hanlun’s love for Lin Haihai had already surpassed his love for her. Therefore, she decided to shift her focus to the empress dowager, hoping to win her over. Then it would be easier for Chen Birou to go against that woman!
After a few days of hard work, the empress dowager had indeed come to appreciate her, showering her with praises about her consideration and obedience. Today, she would’ve left the palace already, but the empress dowager asked her to stay the night. It was a display of great favor. The empress dowager had even ordered the imperial cooks to prepare a pot of swallow’s nest for her. Chen Birou could barely contain her excitement.
“His Majesty has arrived!” the eunuch sending the message hollered.
The empress dowager was confused. Why would her son visit her so late at night? Then a man dressed in bright yellow slowly walked in, his expression purposefully calm and collected.
“Greetings, Your Majesty!” Chen Birou immediately bowed to him.
“Rise.” Yang Shaolun looked around for the woman he sought.
The empress dowager gave him a strange look and asked, “What are you looking for, Emperor?”
Yang Shaolun broke out of his trance and hurriedly greeted his mother. “This son greets Imperial Mother!” She’s not here. Hasn’t she come? A heavy sense of disappointment rose in his heart. He almost couldn’t bear it.
“At ease. Why did you visit so late at night?”
“Nothing important. It’s just that a new brand of tea has been delivered as tribute some days ago. This Emperor had some brewed to give Imperial Mother a taste.” Yang Shaolun managed a smile, but the sorrow in his eyes made Xiao Yuan’s chest tighten.
“You know this Empress Dowager doesn’t have tea at night. Since you’ve delivered it yourself, though, this Empress Dowager will give it a try!” She gave her son a look that was more fond than disapproving. The tea was her son’s way of showing his care. How could she not be happy about it?
“Leave the tray here, Xiao Yuan. Imperial Mother, this son has other matters to attend to and will take my leave now!”
“Go ahead,” the empress dowager said with a smile. “Keep an eye on His Majesty, Xiao Yuan!”
“This servant understands!” Xiao Yuan left the room after Yang Shaolun and trailed after him.
“This Consort bids Your Majesty farewell!” Chen Birou bowed down according to the proper etiquette.Previous Chapter Next Chapter