His highness's Allure - Chap 174
Jiang Yubai had wanted to stay with Qi Changyi as he waited, but something urgent came up at the Imperial Hospital, and he was called away.
Qi Changyi stood alone in front of the door to the palace. He walked to the steps and sat down, hugging his knees, laying his head on top of them, his eyes pinned on the darkness ahead.
It was getting late, and Qi Changyi had not eaten all day. In truth, he was getting a little hungry.
But where did his Pei-gege go? Didn’t he say that he would stay outside and wait for him? Where had he gone?
The emperor’s chief eunuch saw the little figure sitting on the steps. He walked over and suggested, “Your Highness, why don’t you head into the side hall to wait? The night wind is strong, it wouldn’t be good if you caught a cold.”
Qi Changyi shook his head, “But what if Pei-gege comes and he can’t find me? I’m staying here to wait for him.”
That eunuch said, “Earlier, Lord Pei left to take care of something. He told this servant to take Your Highness inside to wait. Your Highness, if you stay out here in the wind, this servant won’t be able to give Lord Pei an explanation when he arrives.”
“Oh… all right then.”
Qi Changyi dusted his bottom and stood up. He was about to enter the side hall to wait.
At this moment, footsteps sounded in the distance.
Qi Changyi lifted his head in excitement. A figure emerged from the shadows into the light, but it was not Pei Zheng; it was the Second Princess, Qi Bingzhi.
Qi Bingzhi looked to be in a rather sorry state; she looked terribly haggard, without a shred of the bright beauty she had in the past. She was so thin that she looked like a bag of bones.
It should have been more than enough for the dignified Second Princess to be married to the son of an official, but because of Qi Bingzhi’s body, she could never preserve an heir. Every time she got pregnant, it would only be a few months before she miscarried. Thus, she gradually became useless to her husband’s family. In the palace, this was even more the case. Since what happened to the empress, everyone in the palace kept their distance from her, so she no longer had a single confidant by her side.
When Qi Bingzhi spotted Qi Changyi, she froze in place. Although she knew that Qi Changyi had already returned, she did not expect to see him here.
The chief eunuch noticed Qi Bingzhi, and a hint of condescension flitted across his gaze. He did not even bow, and walked down the steps toward Qi Bingzhi.
“Princess, why are you here again? His Majesty has just retired for the night, so your timing is very inopportune. Besides, it’s already evening, why don’t you head back for today? If you want to see His Majesty, please come earlier next time.”
Qi Bingzhi’s eyes shifted away from Qi Changyi, “But gonggong, last time, I came earlier, and you said that Father was taking care of court affairs, so you told me to come later. When am I supposed to come so I can see Father?”
A troubled expression spread across the eunuch’s face. It was not that the emperor did not have the time; he was only finding excuses in order to refuse Qi Bingzhi.
“This servant doesn’t know. This servant is not fully aware of His Majesty’s schedule. This servant is simply following orders, so please don’t make things difficult for this servant, Second Princess.”
That eunuch cupped his hands toward Qi Bingzhi, completely blocking her path.
Qi Bingzhi cast a sad glance toward the palace, before she finally suppressed her emotions and said, “All right, thank you for passing the message, gonggong. I’ll visit Father another day.”
After she finished, Qi Bingzhi turned and left.
Qi Changyi gazed at her sad, lonely back, lost in thought.
“Your Highness, Your Highness?” The old eunuch called, “The Second Princess has already left. Let’s head inside.”
Qi Changyi asked, “Gonggong, Second Sister isn’t doing well at all, is she?”
The old eunuch said, “Ai, the Second Princess hasn’t come here looking for His Majesty just once or twice. The princess’s husband has been demoted. Right now, their entire family isn’t doing very well. They’ve probably placed all their hopes on the Second Princess to help them get by. His Majesty knows what the princess’s objective is, so every time, he finds an excuse not to see her. So, it looks like the princess will come again tomorrow.”
Qi Changyi did not say anything. Qi Bingzhi had done so many horrible things to him; he remembered them all, and he would never forget. However, seeing Qi Bingzhi in such a desolate state, he did not feel any vengeful joy.
The shadowy figure was about to disappear when Qi Changyi suddenly sprinted out of the hall.
When he saw this, the old eunuch called out in a low voice, “Your Highness! Little Highness! Come back, you can’t just run off! Otherwise, Lord Pei will blame this servant!”
Unfortunately, Qi Changyi had already ran into the shadows.
Qi Bingzhi’s figure grew nearer and nearer, when she suddenly turned into a small, isolated courtyard. Without a second thought, Qi Changyi ran in after her.
After Qi Changyi ran into the courtyard, there was no sign of Qi Bingzhi. Everything was pitch-dark; only the dim silver moonlight spilled down, coating the scenery in a layer of hazy white.
Qi Changyi was a bit scared. He clutched his sleeves and called out in the darkness, “Second Sister!”
No one answered.
Qi Changyi raised his voice and shouted again, “Second Sister! Second Princess! Second Princess!’
“Stop shouting.” A cold voice sounded behind Qi Changyi. At some point, Qi Bingzhi had appeared behind him. “What do you want from me? Are you trying to make fun of me, or brag about how well you’re doing?”
“No, Second Sister, I wanted to ask why you want to see Father. I’m coming back tomorrow to see him, so I can pass on a message for you-“
“There’s no need for that.”
Qi Bingzhi turned away. She did not want to look at that little prince who was bathed in dazzling silver light.
“You won. You won it all. All you had to do was fake your death, and you could have everything that I couldn’t. Whether it be a lover, family, friends, you have them all. But I don’t. I have nothing. There’s nothing left for me.”
Qi Changyi shook his head, “That’s not true, I’m not trying to make fun of you, and I’m not trying to brag, and I didn’t fake my death. I really did fall off that cliff and almost die, if it weren’t for Shifu saving me-“
A wan smile suddenly spread across Qi Bingzhi’s face, “That’s right, you have a shifu. That shifu who could cure any illness. See, shouldn’t you be thanking me? If it weren’t for me pushing you to the point of suicide, how could you have gotten all these things that didn’t even belong to you?”
Things that didn’t even belong to him?
When Qi Changyi heard those words, he frowned and bit his bottom lip.
It seemed that this really was true; if he had not almost died, his father would not have started caring for him again, he would never have met his shifu, and his Pei-gege would not be so sweet, warm and doting toward him, right?
Seeing sadness spread across Qi Changyi’s little face, Qi Bingzhi continued, “See, you’ve realized it too. Without me, you would probably still be living that scared, tasteless life. Now, all of them spout off about how much they love you. If that were true, how could they even give you a chance to jump off that cliff? It looks like the love they speak of is nothing more than words, it doesn’t mean anything. Only an idiot like you could think it was real, and regard it as something to be treasured.”
“That’s not true!
The small man, who had been standing opposite her and had kept his head down the whole time, suddenly looked up. His eyes were shining, as though he had not been broken by Qi Bingzhi’s words.
“You’re wrong, the love they have for me is real, I can feel it! Second Sister, you’re only saying that their love is fake because all the love you’ve received is fake, which is why you don’t believe in love anymore.”
Qi Bingzhi’s eyes flared, “What, what are you talking about?! I got what I deserved, how was it fake?!”
“Whether it was fake or not, Yi-er doesn’t know. Second Sister, you definitely know the truth.” Qi Changyi’s little face was serious. He did not resemble a little fool at all; rather, he looked quite intelligent.
“Second Sister, let me ask you, has anyone blocked a sword for you before? Has anyone ever fed you medicine before? Has anyone ever carried you on their back through the snow? Has anyone ever cared if you ate well and slept well?”
Qi Bingzhi visibly froze at his questioning. She opened her mouth, but she could not say a single word. Instead, her eyes reddened.
Qi Changyi balled his little fists and cried out, “But I have someone who has! So everything you just said is wrong! All of this has always been mine, and it’s not because of anyone else!”
Qi Bingzhi was hit in a sore spot. It seemed that this had provoked her, “Enough! Shut up! Why did you say that you weren’t here to show off? It seems to me that you came here when I fell from grace to kick me when I’m down and gloat about it! Well, you did it! Are you happy now?!”
Her eyes were scarlet and full of hate, “I hate you, I hate you! I’ve always hated you! I’ve hated you ever since you stole the man I liked! I hated how easily you could get the attention and care that I wanted! I hated that even though you were already gone, you still had to come back and steal everything that was mine! That’s why I hate you! I hate you to death!”
“Look at how pure and kind you are. If you were faking it, I probably wouldn’t hate you so much. But why, when you aren’t faking it, does it seem like you were born so noble and true, while I can only rot into dirt and be cast into the shadows, why?! You should hate me, you should hate me to death too!”
Qi Changyi took a step forward, “But, Second Sister, if you want to, we can make up with each other, I don’t want to hate you-“
“Make up?” Qi Bingzhi suddenly laughed, “Is it even possible for us to make up? I don’t care if you hate me or not, it’s all right as long as I hate you. I can tell you right now,”
Qi Bingzhi walked toward Qi Changyi as she spoke. Once she walked up to him, she reached out and poked his shoulder, prodding him even harder with every word.
“I. Don’t. Want. To.”
Qi Changyi’s shoulder ached from being poked by a sharp fingernail, and he was even being forced backward by her attacks. Behind him was the cold, hard palace wall, and there many bricks protruding from it. Crashing into it would be quite painful.
Qi Bingzhi’s last stab was ruthless. The little prince was defenseless, and he staggered backward, about to fall against the wall.
Unexpectedly, the pain and coldness he had expected did not come. Instead, he was surrounded by a tight, warm embrace. A strong arm held his waist, and the little prince’s entire body was spun around, and he fell conveniently into the arms of the man in front of him.
Qi Changyi placed his hands on the man’s chest, raised his little head, and saw a familiar sharp, firm chin. His eyes met with a gentle gaze that was looking down at him, and terrible aggrievement welled up within him. The toughness and cleverness from before was gone; all that remained was a soft, delicate little sweetheart.
Ugh. Maybe this is a hot take, but was that whole sequence even necessary? It really does make it seem like he’s punching down, and Qi Bingzhi does have a point; before Changyi jumped, the emperor didn’t care about him, and Pei Zheng was going to use him as a side piece while he was legally married to someone else. If they did care, none of them acted like it. Just leave her alone already, we already know she’s a crazy bitch
And when Changyi said that stuff about the love Qi Bingzhi received being fake, it honestly made me a bit sad. Sigh.
Anyway, thanks for reading~