The night was as cool as water. When Lin Haihai arrived at North Court, the bright moon was already high up in the sky. Although it was the middle of summer, the air in this pollution-free world was cool and fresh. The summer breeze blew gently, cooler than the air conditioner in modern times. Xiao Ju and Tang Tang were already asleep while Liu’er had returned to the countryside to visit her relatives, so the whole courtyard was quiet. Only the insects were chattering among themselves.
Lin Haihai laid down on the roof. The moon was round, big, clear, and close, and seemed to be within her reach. She stretched out her hand, a glint of mischief apparent at the corners of her mouth. The moon and the starry skies in ancient times. For a moment, she seemed to be drunk and stupefied by the view, having no idea where she was nor what time it was! There was only the tranquil night, the still moon, the serene stars and the quiet cry of insects. She almost fell asleep.
"Do you know that it is rude to disturb others' dreams?" An indolent voice rang faintly. Although sleep had no practical effects for her, it was still a kind of treat.
"Such beautiful moonlight and cooling breeze, Your Highness Princess Consort really knows how to enjoy life!" Chen Luoqing smiled, but surprise flashed in his eyes.
"It’s already so late. Instead of being in bed, why are you here at my North Court to accompany me in viewing the moon?" Lin Haihai spoke leisurely with her eyes slightly closed. She lifted her arm and used it as a pillow under her head.
Chen Luoqing looked at Lin Haihai, the latter looking so relaxed, so calm and at ease. She didn't seem to be a person who bore a heavy burden or tried to grasp everything within her control. "I’m here to see Your Highness Princess Consort. Of course, I have something to ask you!" Chen Luoqing restrained himself and answered her quietly.
"Tell me, then, and I'll see if I can help you!" Lin Haihai opened her eyes. Her radiant eyes were as pure and clean as a spring deep in the mountains, and her lips curved up into a smile. Chen Luoqing was actually stunned for a moment. She’s a woman of this world, how can she have such a pure smile?
“Who are you?” Chen Luoqing peered into her eyes, trying to unravel something. Lin Haihai chuckled and whispered softly in his ear. “Why don’t you guess?” With that, she stood up and laughed heartily.
"I investigated you. You try to commit suicide after you got married, but you survived. Since then, your temperament has changed greatly and you have set up a hospital and accepted many disciples. In just a few months, everyone in the capital knows of Physician Lin, but they don't know that you are the sixth princess consort. Even your disciples only found out about it not long ago when you were held hostage.” If Lin Haihai wasn't a scheming person by nature, how could she have possibly concealed this fact for so long?
"Is there any significance to that? What are you afraid of?" Lin Haihai smiled, sarcasm apparent in her tone.
"No matter who you are, but if you dare to hurt His Majesty, I will never let you off!" Chen Luoqing hurled cruel words at Lin Haihai. She turned to look at the handsome and arrogant face. His eyes were filled with a profound resoluteness.
"Harm can manifest in various ways. By harm, what are you referring to?" Lin Haihai's voice became a little melancholic. She felt pain in her heart when recalling Yang Shaolun's pain-filled eyes. The emperor, unfortunately, he’s the emperor!
"No matter what kind of harm it is, I want him to be well!" Chen Luoqing harshly spat out these obstinate words. Lin Haihai suddenly felt extremely aggrieved. How did she ever hurt Yang Shaolun? There should have been no interaction between them. If she had done wrong, she would have to turn back on the path of wrong. And now, she was doing exactly that.
“Does he know that you came to find me?” Lin Haihai faced Chen Luoqing.
"He doesn't know. I don't know what happened between you, but there are things that can't be indulged in. Otherwise, it will cause a great calamity. Now that he is being pressured on all sides, he will be doomed forever if he is not careful. He cannot make the slightest mistake. But because of you, he couldn’t keep his calm!" Chen Luoqing had no scruples about expressing his worries because he could tell they felt the same way about each other. She should at least know about Yang Shaolun's situation. Maybe she was the only one who could make Yang Shaolun break up decisively.
'I'll go and see him! Even if Lin Haihai no longer wanted to deal with the world's situation, she could see from their faces that it was a hostile phase for the country.
"I hope you can keep him focused on the current situation. I don't know who you are, but I hope you don't harm him,” Chen Luoqing looked at the woman in front of him. Her beautiful face exuded righteousness. It was the temperament revealed outward from inside and couldn’t be feigned.
Lin Haihai said nothing. The pain in her heart was greater than everything else. She stretched out both hands to resist the wind, as her pure white figure blended instantly in the darkness. Chen Luoqing was smart and must already know that she knew martial arts, so she had no qualms about using them before him.
However, Chen Luoqing was greatly shocked. Who could reach this level of lightness skill in the martial arts world? If this woman was the enemy of the imperial court, the consequences for the Daxing Dynasty would be unimaginable!
"Emperor, it’s late at night and the fog is heavy. Please turn in early." With a lantern in hand, Xiao Yuan spoke gently to Yang Shaolun. Yang Shaolun had been standing by the lake for a very long time.
"You can withdraw, this Emperor wants to be alone." Yang Shaolun signaled Xiao Yuan and his imperial bodyguards to leave.
“I’ll stay here to keep watch, just in case.” Xiao Yuan was unwilling to leave. This wasn't normal times, he couldn’t lower his guard.
"Withdraw! I don't need to be attended to. Xiao Yuan, take my orders and summon General Chen!" Yang Shaolun instructed coldly. Leaves were falling on the lake and swaying with the waves. Yang Shaolun watched the circular ripples closely. The same wave was surging inside his heart. There are many important matters awaiting him but why are my thoughts filled with her? Luoqing said that she has a rather complicated identity. If she were the enemy, how should I deal with it? Would I be willing to stab a knife into her chest?
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Xiao Yuan accepted the order and turned around, signaling the imperial guards to keep watch from 10 meters away. Lin Haihai saw the imperial guards on guard and battle-ready, as well as Xiao Yuan’s anxious look. Yang Shaolun seemed to be facing a major issue. The usual threats to the emperor were either rebellion or invasion by foreign enemies. Which of the two was he facing?
Lin Haihai didn’t go down. She sat on top of the glazed roof tile, looking at Yang Shaolun. He’s remarkably handsome, elegant, and forthright, with tall and straight stature. The aura of a leader’s might that exuded from between his eyebrows made people acknowledge allegiance to him unconsciously. It's no wonder that I will fall for an outstanding man like him. But, this might just be a liking, just like how one would like beautiful things, but that's not love. Lin Haihai thought with her head inclined.
A woman in a pink dress walked over gracefully. Lin Haihai focused her gaze on the woman and realized it was Consort Lin, the one that she met that day. Lin Haihai suddenly felt pent-up frustration in her. What’s that woman doing here?
“Your Majesty, this Consort heard that Your Majesty was troubled by state affairs and still hasn’t had a rest. So, I personally brewed ginseng soup for your Majesty to refresh himself. Please drink it while it's hot." With an alluring smile, she looked at the imposing man in front of her.
Yang Shaolun glanced at her coldly. "Take the soup back. This Emperor doesn't want it!"
“Your Majesty, this consort…” Just as Imperial Consort Lin was about to speak, Yang Shaolun roared angrily, “Withdraw!”
Imperial Consort Lin bit down on her cherry red lips, looking extremely aggrieved. She lowered her head and spoke gently, “Then, this Consort takes her leave.” Yang Shaolun waved dismissively. “You can withdraw!” Imperial Consort Lin turned around and walked away dejectedly. Lin Haihai’s depression was swept away, and replaced by a cheery mood.
"Don't you think it's excessive to treat a beauty like this?" A woman’s clear and melodious voice came from the other side of the lake. Yang Shaolun was startled. With his mouth slightly open, he stared intensely at the woman in white who's approaching him. "Such a blushing beauty, whom even I can’t bear to treat her with indifference. Why is Your Majesty so cruel?" Lin Haihai approached Yang Shaolun with a smile. Both her heart and her glabella were wreathed in smiles. She had no idea why she was so happy. Anyway, she felt an inexplicable and uncontrollable joy seeing him drive Consort Lin away.
"Why are you here so late?" Yang Shaolun asked in an indifferent tone as he contained his palpitating heart.
"Then, where am I supposed to be now? With my husband?" Lin Haihai raised an eyebrow and asked with a smile.
Yang Shaolun became crestfallen. Yes, she should be with his younger brother at this time. He turned around awkwardly, not wanting her to see the disappointment in his eyes.
"It's late already, Consort Lin, please head back!" He shouldn’t have anything to do with her. He had already vowed during her disappearance that she would only be his sister-in-law for the rest of this life.
"Are you afraid to see me?" Lin Haihai was slightly hurt. Although the purpose of this trip was to cut off their longings for each other, she had been the one who couldn't control her feelings.
“What do you mean by that, Consort Lin? This emperor doesn't understand. It’s already very late in the night, do you, perhaps, have other intentions for lingering within the palace grounds? If not, please leave quickly!” With that, he lowered his gaze and turned around to leave.
“Wait!” Lin Haihai took out a red string from her robes. She had woven it herself and placed a drop of her blood on it. As long as he wore it, she would be able to know whenever he ran into danger.
Lin Haihai walked up to Yang Shaolun. Seeing his cold face and frosty eyes, anger welled up in her heart for no reason. It was the first time that she cared so much about a man. Although she had no intentions to continue to like him, his cold attitude still stung her.
They looked at each other. The coldness in Yang Shaolun's eyes slowly dissipated. Lin Haihai sighed, "I will leave after a while and will never return, so don't be indifferent to me. Otherwise, I will only remember your cold face when I think of you in the future!"
Yang Shaolun suddenly turned around, tightly grasped her shoulder, and asked, "What do you mean? Where are you going?" Why is she leaving? Because his brother wants to marry Chen Birou? "Are you unwilling to see him marrying Chen Birou? I can declare an imperial edict forbidding him to marry her!" Bitter words came out of his mouth, but his heart shattered into pieces in that instant.
She looked at him and saw the agony in his eyes. Her heart was also in pain. When did she start to fall for him? She had no recollection, she already fell headlong in love, anyway. She lowered her head, gently grasped his right hand, took out the red string, and tied it around his wrist. The scarlet red string wrapped around his wrist gently. He lowered his gaze and watched her hands move deftly.
"Let this string accompany you in my stead." She wasn't really leaving per se, but she would be staying in the mountains and would not leave if there wasn't anything important. Even if she left the mountain, she would not bump into him. Therefore, there would be no more interactions between them.
“Why are you leaving?” Yang Shaolun asked hoarsely.
"It's for the best, isn't it?" Lin Haihai turned to look at the lake. It was as calm as a mirror. "There are many things beyond our control, but we can try to stop them from happening."
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Sigh. What would you do if you were the emperor? Or Lin Haihai?