Within the Longevity Garden.
Sever hours after Ye Zichen’s departure, Xiao Yumei appeared in his courtyard, leading Lil’ Tiantian by the hand.
“Lorie, where did Ye Zichen go?”
There was no one in the courtyard but little Lorie, who was gleefully eating medicines. When she heard someone ask about Ye Zichen, she didn’t turn her head to look.
“He’s not here.”
“Do you know why he left?”
“He went off with Zuo Mo to attend City Lord Lin’s wedding,” said Lorie, continuously stuffing pills into her mouth. “He left me here to protect you two. For the next few days, don’t leave the manor, or if you do, let me know first.”
Having received her answer, Xiao Yumei nodded lightly, and led Tiantian out of the courtyard.”
“He’d only home for a few days,” Xiao Yumei sighed helplessly. Then Lil’ Tiantian came to a sudden stop.
“If Daddy isn’t here,” she said, blinking up at Xiao Yumei, “can we go play with Auntie Chang’e?”
Xiao Yumei frowned. Back when they’d first returned to Maple City, Chang’e had stayed in the longevity gardens for a few days.
She didn’t know why, but even though Lil’ Tiantian had always disliked talking to others, she’d immediately taken to Chang’e.
In fact, she treated her the same way she did Xiao Yumei and Ye Zichen.
Although this surprised her, she was happy to see Lil’ Tiantian looking so lively. It was just…..
Even just looking at Chang’e made her feel strange.
“Lorie just said that your dad left her here to protect us. It seems likely that there will be danger in the near future, so we’d best not go out.”
“Don’t worry about that,” said Taintian, tugging at Xiao Yumei’s sleeves, “Auntie Chang’e lives in the Heavenly Court. Nowhere could possibly be safer than that. Also, we aren’t going for long, just to go play for a bit. Come on!”
Xiao Yumei always doted on Tiantian, and couldn’t resist; she simply pursed her lips into a helpless smile, and reached out to tousle Tiantian’s hair.
“Alright, alright, then let’s go play with your auntie Chang’e. But how will we go? My relationship with the Heavenly Court isn’t as close as your dad’s.”
“Hee hee, I have a way.”
“Then I’ll go inform Lorie…..” started Xiao Yumei, but Lil’ Tiantian immediately cut her off.
“No need for that,” said Tiantian, “Aunt Lorie is happily eating, why disrupt her? Let’s just go!”
Within the City Lord’s manor, the group stood within the courtyard.
When Ye Zichen spoke, Zuo Mo, who stood by his side, instinctively knit her brows. Zhao Zizhao’s froze briefly, but soon got his expression back under control.
“Emperor Ye,” he asked calmly, “what are you saying?”
“Am I wrong?” Ye Zichen asked, his tone somewhat provocative, especially given his unconcealed playfulness. “On the way here, I saw that many guests had already arrived, yet my Leisure House never received an invitation to your wedding. It’s just, I’m the sort of person who loves getting in on the action and decided to crash the party. I trust you won’t mind.”
Zhao Zizhao’s expression didn’t change; he simply kept on smiling.
“Why would I be offended? I couldn’t be happier that Emperor Ye has come to attend our wedding. In truth, I sent someone to deliver your invitation- it’s on its way as we speak. You’ve likely noticed that, although lots of people have come to Hundred Flowers City, true major powers have yet to arrive. This is out of consideration; we know you’re extremely busy. We didn’t want to delay you is all,” he said. “Actually, I was planning to go invite you in person a few days from now. I hadn’t thought you’d come with her Family Head Zuo.”
“Then, can I interpret that as you saying that everyone you invited in advance is of relatively low status?” said Ye Zichen, intentionally picking holes in his words.
“You must be joking,” said Zhao Zizhao, responding to Ye Zichen’s nit-picking with a relaxed smile. “We invited Family Head Zuo in advance, but who would dare say she is of low status? It’s not that everyone I invited in advance is low-ranked, rather, we ordered our invitations based on which organization someone is part of. For instance, solitary cultivators and sect-leaders were sent their invitations last, just like you.”
“That’s strange,” said Ye Zichen, a playful light flashing through his eyes.
“Sect-leaders are often locked in long-term secluded cultivation,” he snorted, then continued, “so you ought to have sent your invitations far in advance….. Does your insistence on sending them last imply that you didn’t want us to come?”
Zuo interrupted him before he could say more, and tugged at his arm before smiling at Lin Xihe.
“Big Sister Lin,” she said, “we’re exhausted from our journey. Could you arrange for us to go rest for a while?”
In truth, the prior scene left Lin Xihe feeling extremely uncomfortable. One side was her future husband, the other the Immortal Region’s Yellow Emperor.
Although they’d smiled throughout their conversation, it was obvious, no matter how you looked at it, that they were trying to find fault with each other.
This tense feeling left her extremely out of sorts, but she didn’t know how to stop them.
Fortunately, Zuo Mo had said something. Lin Xihe hurriedly took the opportunity to make them stop arguing.
“That’s right,” she said experimentally, glancing at Ye Zichen, “your Maple City can’t be considered near to our Hundred Flowers City. You must be tired from the long journey. I’ve long since prepared rooms for you, so how about we head over there now?”
When Ye Zichen looked at Zuo Mo and saw her grim expression, he smiled helplessly, stretched, and said, “Now that you mention it, I really am somewhat tired.”
“Then follow me, I’ll take you to your guest rooms,” said Lin Xihe.
“Thanks for your help,” said Ye Zichen, cupping his hands respectively. Then he turned to Zhao Zizhao.
“General Zhao, let’s chat more next time.”
“Take care, Emperor Ye.”
He watched Ye Zichen depart, then his expression darkened.
Before long, the side gate opened.
“Bro, that brat Ye Zichen suddenly showed up. Will that be a problem?”
A young man who looked about seventy percent similar to Zhao Zizhao approached. This was his younger brother, Zhao Ziming.
No wonder they were brothers; even their grim expressions seemed cast from the same mold.
“No. Even if we hadn’t invited him, it was inevitable that he’d show up when we invited Zuo Mo,” said Zhao Zichao. “I know that already. Judging from his words, he seems to have figured some stuff out.”
“No need to worry. Even if he’s here, it won’t affect the big picture at all.”
With that, Zhao Zizhao squinted like a poisonous snake stalking his prey.
“Soon, this Hundred Flowers City will be in my hands,” he said, smiling coldly. “Then, as long as I give the signal, I can catch all those clan and family heads in the same net, and the whole region will be mine! The Immortal Region has always been governed by its Sacred Land, but has yet to produce a true monarch. I shall soon be its first monarch!”
“Then, Big Brother, you have to be careful,” replied Zhao Ziming. “Cooperating with the Demon Realm is perilous.”
“No need to worry. I have the perfect plan!”
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