77 What More Do You Wan
\"Well, there you are, Little Lady.\" Emperor Fadong raised his head from his propped up arm. He was originally discussing something with his Empress, until Li Xueyue walked into the throne room without waiting for a Eunuch to announce her presence.
She curtsied for him and was pardoned.
\"What happened to you? Apparently you weren't in the Chrysanthemum Garden. Which room did you wander off to?\" he teased with a sly smile on his face that irked Duke Li Shenyang. Meanwhile, Duke Li Taojun was pretending as if he had never seen Li Xueyue in his life—even though he was close to ruining her peaceful life half a week ago.
Li Xueyue faked a small laugh. \"Your Majesty, you jest.\"
She smiled and explained, \"I merely got lost on my way there.\"
\"Yes.\" Li Xueyue nodded.
Technically, she was not lying. She did get lost twice, but that was half the truth. She had an inkling that the Emperor had colluded with the Empress to misdirect her. But how could she go against this scheming Emperor? He was a man she would never dream of harming.
Speaking of harming, her thoughts went back to Bai Tianai. Her eyes briefly widened when she surveyed her surroundings in search of a familiar face—the Viscount. Was he here? There could be a possibility of that since he often visited the Capital. She ignored her urges to sigh in relief upon seeing he was not around. She did not need him to ruin her plans.
\"Hmm…\" Emperor Fadong hummed to himself. \"Well I suppose…\" he trailed off when Commander Yu Zhen strolled in, placing his palm up to halt the Eunuch who was about to announce his presence.
Not a second later, Commander Wen Jinkai strutted in too, both men were a formidable force when standing side to side. Though their steps were stealthy and silent, their heavy presence was enough to alert Li Xueyue that they were behind her.
\"Well, well...\" Emperor Fadong's gaze bounced from the young lady to the two men. \"What do we have here?\"
\"What an interesting time that all three of you are present,\" he commented, tilting his head when Wen Jinkai sent a scalthing glare to the smiling Yu Zhen. Both of their personalities were polar opposites of each other, like day and night.
\"But it's a great opportunity for me to introduce you to my plans.\" Emperor Fadong clasped his hands together, briefly glancing at Duke Li Shenyang.
The \"urgent news\" they had to deal with previously turned out to be not so urgent afterall. It was merely misplaced papers that the Duke coincidentally found after forcing the Emperor to search.
\"I'm sure you're aware of the candidate exchange, Wen Jinkai.\" Emperor Fadong started off, gesturing to the young ladies who had yet to be pardoned into their rooms or assigned a rightful husband.
\"Aren't they lovely?\" he nodded to a specific one that stood out from the rest. She was pretty in the conventional ways that a Princess should be. There were virtually no flaws to her on the surface and she carried herself humbly.
\"I'm sure you're acquainted with her, Yu Zhen.\"
Commander Yu Zhen pressed his lips into a thin line. Of course he knew who that woman was. He was the one who had to deliver her here while she sobbed the entire journey until she discovered she had the potential to marry better in Wuyi than Hanjian.
The fate of a Princess was to be pampered and then married off for political benefit. That was the price they had to pay to grow up in luxury.
\"Fifth Princess, Xia Zhixu, daughter of the Emperor of Hanjian and his first wife.\"
Wen Jinkai pressed his lips together. What did this boring introduction have to do with him? He simply followed Yu Zhen here, but did not know why.
\"You should smile, Jinkai.\" Emperor Fadong boldly laughed, the sound bounced off of the walls.
\"She will be your first wife.\"
If Wen Jinkai was excited or disgusted by the news, he did not show it. Like an iceberg, he kept his features under control. His eyes lingered on Li Xueyue and he had noticed she didn't seem fazed by this news. Did she already know about it? That he was going to walk out of the Palace with a new wife?
\"What do you think?\" Emperor Fadong grinned, \"If you marry her, you will become a Prince.\"
\"What's the purpose of such a meaningless title?\" Wen Jinkai slightly frowned, not realizing that he had just insulted Xueyue. What was the purpose of a Princess? At the end of the day, there were all humans. Some were just luckier than the others.
\"She's beautiful, gentle, and kind. What more do you want from her?\"
'I want her to be Xueyue.' Wen Jinkai, of course, would never admit that truth himself. His brows knitted together, his eyes snapped to her as he waited for her to react. Say something. Do something.
He had already declared his interest in her. Would she do the same? Was she bold enough to publicly declare her attraction to him? Or was her big talk about love just a show?
\"I will decide who I wed. I do not need meddling from outside influences,\" Wen Jinkai deadpanned. \"Even if she's the most beautiful woman in the world, I do not care.\"
\"It's always beneficial to have a lover at home, don't you think so? It's lonely if you're by yourself.\" Emperor Fadong stroked his chin meaningfully.
He remarked, \"The war is coming to an end because the negotiations were successful. Your presence on the battlefield is not as required anymore. You'll have more free time.\"
Wen Jinkai raised a brow. \"I can just use my free time to train more soldiers.\"
\"You're young and healthy. Why waste your youth?\"
\"It's my duty to look over this country,\" Wen Jinkai deadpanned, his eyes wandering to Li Xueyue. He was waiting for her to speak up. Waiting for her to protest. Waiting for her to at least move her body. But she did none of that. She simply stood there, turning a deaf ear to everything.
Did she not care about him? He grinded his teeth at the thought. Why was she so impatient for an answer from him then? He did not realize he wasn't the only one staring at her. Everyone was watching her, waiting for her to say something.
\"Well, I can't argue with that.\" Emperor Fadong sighed.
\"It has been so long since you entertained yourself with a woman. How long has it been? Four years now? Since—\" he paused, glancing at Duke Li Shenyang. \"Oh, nevermind.\"
Empress Huiyun struggled to not scowl at the near slip-up. He can't know. He absolutely could not know about the truth. It was something that she swore she would bring to her grave.