"Hm, this is quite strange…" The Imperial Physician tilted his head at the curious case before him. It wasn't impossible, but certainly was not that common. But he could not be too sure yet.
"Is there a problem?" the Crown Princess asked. She had been watching him the entire time with a worried look on her face.
The Imperial Physician shook his head. "Certainly not, Princess. Though, something I didn't predict seems to be taking place."
"You're talking in circles," the Crown Princess stated. "Please be more precise."
The Imperial Physician was hesitant in sharing his diagnosis since he wasn't completely certain of her condition. He pressed his lips together and peered down at the Crown Princess, searching for what they called a "glow." She was certainly beautiful, but the sun was beginning to set now, and sunlight was seeping through the window.
There was a warm hue to her skin, turning it a fine shade of gold. He glanced towards the side, where the windows were wide open, and the curtains did nothing to block out the light.
"You are healthy as any woman can be, Princess," the Imperial Physician finally said. "However, there is something that is bothering me, but I can't be certain for now."
The Crown Princess pulled her brows together. "What do you mean?"
The Imperial Physician slowly shook his head. "For your sake, it is best that you do not know. But soon, Princess, you shall."
- - - - -
"Are you sure it's alright to let the Imperial Physician leave just like that, Princess?" Xiao Hua asked the second he was out of the door. She was standing beside the seated Princess who seemed to be lost in thought.
"My husband only wanted to make sure I am healthy," Li Xueyue said. She cupped her fingers around the turquoise blue teacup. "And we received word that I am fine."
Li Xueyue tried to make sense of the Imperial Physician's reaction. Why did he say that it would be better for her to remain in the dark? Was there something so important that he couldn't tell her yet?
The Imperial Physician mentioned he would come back and visit her in three weeks, but before then, she could request to see him as many times as she pleased.
"I heard the Imperial Physician passed the exam with flying colors," Li Xueyue added on. "He must have a concrete reason for being so secretive about my condition."
Li Xueyue lifted the teacup to her lips and was surprised by the taste of chrysanthemum. She settled the teacup down and peered at it.
Her favorite drink was always chamomile. Why had it been replaced with chrysanthemum? Not that she was complaining, but chrysanthemum tea was rare and expensive, especially the ones brewed for her.
"Did the Crown Prince tell you to brew chrysanthemum?" Li Xueyue asked Xiao Hua.
Xiao Hua softly nodded her head. "The Crown Prince instructed this since it is much healthier for your body, Princess."
Li Xueyue slowly nodded. She brought the teacup to her mouth again and took a quiet sip of it. "I finally have time for myself, but I don't know what to do with it," she sighed.
"Hmmm…" Xiao Hua trailed off as she glanced around the room. "Princess, by chance, did we bring back the item you have requested from Marquis Qin?"
Li Xueyue's lips twitched, threatening to break out into an amused smile that would make her a sadist. She had enjoyed seeing the panicked expression on Marquis Qin. He had tried so hard to hold back his hand before it would slap her across the face. He looked like he was ready to murder her.
"No, I did not," Li Xueyue responded. "It would just add more to the costs."
Xiao Hua slowly nodded her head. Suddenly, she thought back to the topaz earrings that were gifted to her. She quietly gulped. "T-then, the earrings"
"Was a gift," the Crown Princess concluded. "Don't worry, Xiao Hua. You can wear it as you please."
Even so, Xiao Hua dared not to. "It is a precious gift, Princess… If worn, then it might get dirty or damaged."
The Crown Princess gently smiled at this. She turned her head and glanced at her. "Xiao Hua, you are too precious."
- - - - -
Yu Zhen's scowl deepened. Kneeling before him was a servant whose forehead touched the ground. He was dressed in light pink clothes, the signature color of his Mistress—Princess Yu Lingluo.
Dusk was rapidly approaching, and Yu Zhen had just finished his work when this servant risked his life to visit his private study. Yu Zhen rarely allowed anyone in here, much less a random servant sent by his sister.
"Inform your Mistress that the next servant she sends to me will be returned with his head in a box," Yu Zhen growled.
Yu Zhen glanced toward the window, where the pale moon was high in the sky. He narrowed his eyes. A thick cloud rolled over the dazzling moon, covering it in somber grey.
"T-the Princess begs of you to reconsider, Your Highness…" the servant trailed off in a shaky voice. His entire body was trembling, like a dying leaf hanging onto a barren branch.
Yu Zhen saw the cold sweat that tricked down the servant's back. His lips curled in disgust. That damn brat!
Without warning, he stood up from his chair. The servant flinched back in fear, a tiny whimper escaped from his lips. Cowardly, just like his Mistress.
Silently, Yu Zhen walked around his desk. He stormed out of the door and slipped into the brightly lit hallways. Lanterns greeted him every few steps, and soon, he found himself in a place too feminine for his taste.
The lanterns here were different. They were shaped like flowers—roses, peonies, and so on. The ones placed in the open garden were shaped like tiny animals such as rabbits and lambs.
It was so childish that he scoffed. He expected no less from his childish little sister who'd risk her reputation and status to be with an orphan boy.
"Y-Your Highness!" the guards greeted in astonished voices and widened their eyes. They knew their Princess had sent many servants to the Crown Prince's private study, but none of them were successful in escorting him here.
"You are beyond the age of pathetic tantrums," Yu Zhen barked towards her door. The guards beside the double doors cowered back, bending their upper bodies in greeting.
"Now open up, you brat." Yu Zhen stood there and waited for three seconds. When he was met with pure silence, he narrowed his eyes. His jaw tightened.
"If you're waiting for Hu Dengxiao to show up here, he never will. He is getting married to the love of his life soon."
Yu Zhen heard a violent crash. He rolled his eyes at this. It was exactly like her exuberant nature to break things out of rage. It was what the Emperor and Empress loved to do. What could he say? Yu Lingluo learned from the best.
"Open up, I do not have all night to wait for your tantrum to finish."
Yu Zhen gave her three more seconds. When he didn't hear anything, he took a step backward. Apathetic and cruel, he turned on his heels and walked off. Only when he reached the end of the hallway did he hear wood rattling against metal?
"Zhen-gege…" a soft, hoarse voice filled the air, accompanied by the shuffle of clothes.
Yu Zhen turned his head. Even when he saw her pitiful expression of tear-filled eyes and parched lips, he did not blink.
"I will behave, so won't you come in?"
Yu Zhen didn't have the intention of staying for long. He glanced up at the sky again, this time, the moon was completely gone. Midnight was quickly approaching, and his Wangfei would be lonely without him.
"Please?" she whispered, taking a step outside of her bedroom.
Yu Zhen's gaze zeroed in on her feet. He clenched his fist and glared. This idiot. Shattered porcelain and glass littered across her bedroom floor, yet she still walked around barefooted?
He held back the urge to scold her in public. Without another word, he stormed down the hallway and pushed her into the bedroom. Not a second later, he slammed the doors shut behind him.
But before he could say anything, she crashed her body against him. Yu Zhen stiffened. His arms hung on his sides. Loudly and violently, she sobbed and sniffled against his chest, crying over her first heartbreak.
"You know I don't comfort anyone," Yu Zhen muttered. Despite his cold words, he lifted his hand and gently patted her on the back of her head. She cried louder, clutching tightly onto his lower back, for that was all that she could reach.
"C-can't y-you just force him to marry me?" she begged.
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