Mingxia stood up after Mingxue left and placed down her book, prepared to go out for a walk.
She met Zong Ching a year ago during the Royal Spring Gathering. The Royal Spring Gathering was held yearly in the Imperial Palace by the Queen Dowager. All the princes, princess, nobles and even the family of viscounts are invited. As the daughter of a viscount she was expected to come along with Mingxue. Not realizing it, she fell in love with this bookworm, but this infatuation was the beginning to her downfall.
Zong Ching had also wanted to use the Wei family's connections but he needed to their trust. He was a smart man and knew why Wei Mingxue would always blush when she saw him but the first lady Wei Mingxia didn't show any sort of feeling for him. This aroused his interest but soon after he noticed her feelings for him and he decided to play along.
Today was another day where Zong Ching would come visit, arriving with proper greetings and many gifts. He noticed that Master Wei was in a much better mood than usual and it was strange today, the Wei house was much quieter than usual. He sat down with a cup of tea and the two conversed like usual. However something was off today and it bothered him. Master Wei also found the silence uncomfortable so he ended their usual talk about politics and begun talking about their personal matters.
"Ching, have you thought about taking a wife soon?" Master Wei suddenly asked. Ching choked on his tea, causing the tea to splatter over his face and drip on his robes. He wiped his mouth with a towel, coughing as he did. Master Wei chuckled as he ordered for a clean set of robes to be prepared for the Master Zong.
Ching dismissed himself and followed the male servant to a vacant room to change. When he finished changing he walked out and felt that something was off. He caught himself often looking back but to find nothing. As he walked back towards the main room he coincidentally bumped into Mingxue, just leaving Mingxia's room.
"Lady Mingxue." He greeted with a polite bow. However, he saw that she acted differently today, she looked like she was in a daze, not concentrating on what was in front of her. She greeted back politely and left, usually she would blush red like a tomato but today she didn't bother. He walked around the corner and he saw Mingxia taking a stroll in the garden. He was surprised by the view, gasping. With her flowing black hair in a simple hairstyle and an elegant purple dress, there was only one word to describe her, beautiful. Mingxia looked at the flower with adoring eyes and touched its petals lovingly. Her maid looked shocked along with the other servants passing by. They are used to the cheerful Lady Mingxia but the graceful and quiet Lady Mingxia has her own alluring appeal.
"Master Zong, if you don't mind. Would you not just stand there in the middle of the hallway, you're blocking the path." Mingxia said with her back turned.
Zong Ching look startled for a bit and noticed that behind him two little maids were holding a bundle of neatly folded clothes. He stepped aside and let them pass with an apologizing smile on his face. Right now Zong Ching was only sixteen, a young adult. His greedy desires of taking over the throne doesn't affect him until he is twenty years old, when his best friend, the third prince becomes the crown prince. That was also the year that Mingxia's grandmother was murdered by him. Mingxia will not let the tragedy happen in this life, she will slowly take revenge against him for what he did and for what he will do.
"Lady Mingxia, it is rare to see you in the gardens." He commented as he patted her head. Mingxia used to love this interaction and all the servants knew that she did. However after what happened Mingxia found it disgusting and slapped his hand away.
"In case you don't know this is my house, I believe I have the right to come to the garden." She hissed at him. Zong Ching rubbed his hands at where Mingxia slapped, it had become red. A servant came with a towel but he dismissed him. Zong Ching stared into Mingxia's eyes, he saw the hatred and the coldness in it. 'What happened to this girl?' This question bothered him but he forced himself to give his usual smile and asked her,
"Lady Mingxia would you like to take a walk with me?"
The young and foolish Mingxia would take this request foolishly but she knew better now, he was trying to butter her up.
"Give me a reason why I should agree." She replied, Ching was taken back but this was not enough to break his cover.
"Do I need a reason to invite a lady for a walk." He whispered just loud enough for her and her maid to hear, Mingxia saw that her maid blushed red but she has seen too many types of this act.
"Then I also have the right to reject this offer, but if you really want someone to go on a walk with you then I believe my maid would suit you more than me." She looked up at him with resent and continued.
"And in case you didn't know, don't bother me while I'm not annoyed yet." She began to walk back when Ching blocked her way.
"Move." She snapped at him with an attitude she has never used before in front him. The hatred and murderous glance in her eyes frightened him.
Ching stepped aside and stared at Mingxia as she walked back.
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