239 Redeem Yourself
"Father," Li Chenyang hissed. "Are you actually letting Wen Jinkai leave with the hairpin?"
Duke Li Shenyang simply turned to face his son. "He will do the hairpin justice."
"What if he hands it over to the Empress?" Li Chenyang frowned. "We can't just let him leave with it like that."
"He won't hand it over," Duke Li Shenyang firmly said. "I have faith that this boy is a lot more trustworthy than we initially believed him to be."
Li Chenyang ground his teeth. He stared at the open door and decided if his father wasn't going to take action, then he would.
Li Chenyang ignored his father. He grabbed the diary that was tucked into his sleeve and ran out of the door, chasing after Wen Jinkai.
Duke Li Shenyang slowly shook his head at the two hot-headed boys that fled his private study. "Stupid son of mine. If you show him the diary now, it will shatter that man."
Duke Li Shenyang approached his chair and sat down upon it, letting out a loud sigh. "I've done all that I could for Minghua, the rest is up to you now."
- - - - -
"S-sir?!" the stable boy cried out when he was halfway into brushing the Commander's horse only to meet with the Demon Lord face-to-face.
Wen Jinkai shoved the stable boy away from his horse. In one swift motion, he hopped onto the saddle and began to head out of the stables.
"You stop right there, Wen Jinkai!" Li Chenyang demanded as he stood right in front of the stables' entrance. It blocked Wen Jinkai from leaving.
"Get out of my way!" Wen Jinkai demanded, his voice so loud that it nearly shook the stable walls. There was nothing that needed to be said at the sight of his violent expression. His eyes were set on murder. His menacing glower oozed a promise of death. No one would escape his fury today.
"It is exactly as my father implied," Li Chenyang gritted out. "The person who started that fire might be your mother!"
"I don't need you to behave like a damn parrot today," Wen Jinkai said. "Now move before I trample you to a pulp."
"Do you want to know exactly how Minghua felt about you?"
At this, Wen Jinkai stilled. "And how would you know how she felt?"
Li Chenyang held up a single book in his hand, weathered and old. "Did you know my sister had the habit of writing a diary?"
Wen Jinkai stiffened. He didn't know. He didn't know much about what she did with her free time. It wasn't his business what she decided to waste her time on.
Li Chenyang scowled. "Read this if you still doubt my father's words," he said, stomping his way to the horse and holding it out.
Wen Jinkai glanced down at the small book. Reluctantly, he snatched it out of Li Chenyang's hand. "Thanks," he said in a gruff voice.
Li Chenyang glared at the ground. Hearing his words of appreciation meant nothing to him. "You'll have to return it after reading it."
"As if the Li Family will ever welcome me back here."
Li Chenyang glanced up at Wen Jinkai. "If you want to redeem yourself for what you did to my sister, you better start picking a side soon."
Wen Jinkai didn't respond. He didn't need to. The answer was already clear.
Li Chenyang watched in irritation as Wen Jinkai rode off, kicking up a cloud of dirt in his wake.
Li Chenyang walked out of the stable fast enough to see the horse disappear into the distance, shaking the ground as it raced out of the house. Wen Jinkai was heading in the direction of the Royal Palace.
Li Chenyang predicted the outcome would be less than favorable to many people. He let out a sigh and stared up at the sky, noticing the sun was hidden behind a dark, grey cloud.
There was going to be a storm today.
- - - - -
"Your Grace, I've checked the grounds as you requested and indeed, the Commander has returned from his outing," a servant said as she kneeled on the ground before the Empress of Wuyi.
Empress Huiyun glanced up from the embroidery she was working on. The proud characters of Wen Jinkai's name were spelled in front of her. She was working on the sword part of the embroidery and smiled at the idea of presenting it to him as a gift.
"How long has he been home?" Empress Huiyun gently asked, holding up the embroidery to examine it from a different angle. If only every day was as blissful as this one. She missed doing small tasks like this. Nonetheless, she was happy that her embroidery skills hadn't deteriorated.
When was the last time she made something like this? A custom handkerchief. She wondered if Wen Jinkai would like it. It's been nearly three years since the Empress embroidered.
The servant bowed lower. "It seems the Commander has returned for at least an hour now. He was last seen heading towards his room."
Empress Huiyun slowly nodded as she pricked the needle through the silk. She showed it to her servant who took a glance and quickly bowed her head.
"The design and craftwork are truly magnificent, Your Grace. The Commander will surely love this gift."
Empress Huiyun nodded. She was in such a good mood today. So many of her worries were disposed of. Well, there was Li Xueyue who still roamed free, but as long as that girl didn't show her face in the Palace, Empress Huiyun would be content.
The Palace was her territory. Whoever dared to go against her would lose the battle, regardless of who they were.
"There, all finished." Empress Huiyun let out a wistful sigh, touching Wen Jinkai's embroidered name.
"Prepare the tea and snacks. Send it to his room," Empress Huiyun said as she stood up whilst slowly detaching the silk from the embroidery stand.
"Yes, Your Grace," the servant said. She dutifully rose to her feet, slowly and careful to not turn her back on the Empress.
Empress Huiyun softly hummed. Her smile spread upon seeing the handkerchief was perfect. Not a single thread was loose. His favorite colors. She found it strange that a man like him would be fond of blush pink, light purple, and celestial blue. But all of that didn't matter. Everyone had their own preferences.
Empress Huiyun wondered if this handkerchief was a bit too girly, considering the colors used, but then she shrugged it off. Only the cloud and sunset was that color, the rest, like his name and the sword were sewn in darker shades.
"How tiring," Empress Huiyun muttered whilst she rolled her sore shoulders. Perhaps she would have one of her servants massage her later.
"C-Commander!" the same servant gasped, upon opening the door for the tall man.
Empress Huiyun brightened. Her son had come to see her at his free will? That was certainly a surprise! She happily turned around, excited to see him.
Empress Huiyun's energetic smile began to slip. She had never seen him like this. Even the storm outside was no match for his thunderous expression. A dark cloud rolled over his perfect features.
Wen Jinkai was furious.