Love Rival Is Getting Prettier Everyday - Chap 53
Chapter 53: The Crown Prince and Li Xu
Li Xu sat up from the couch. In the dark, he grabbed a dagger under his pillow. “Who?”
“It’s me,” He Lanbi said softly.
Li Xu lit the lamp, ran over, and opened the door. He Lanbi came in and was stunned when she saw the dagger on the table. The crown prince was deposed while Li Xu was living on the edge. He looked as if he hadn’t had a single good night of sleep.
“Have you heard?” He Lanbi took off her veil, revealing a delighted look. “Elder Prince Brother was named King of the East China Sea. His fief is the richest among the princes.”
Li Xu was taken aback, then his eyes lit up, and he asked, “Will the emperor release the crown prince?”
He Lanbi nodded. When she saw how happy Li Xu looked, tears welled in her eyes. She said, “Elder Prince Brother will be sent to his fiefdom tomorrow. It’s thousands of miles away. I’m sorry you look so happy, but I’m afraid you’ll never be able to see him again.”
“The palace is too dangerous. When he reaches his fiefdom, no one will harm him. As long as he lives, I believe I’ll see him again one day,” Li Xu said incredulously. “A few days ago, didn’t you hear that he was going to die?”
“You should know it’s just a rumor,” He Lanbi said. “It’s better to leave in life than to say goodbye in death. Come with me and see him again while Elder Prince Brother is still in the palace.”
Li Xu: “I can see him!?”
He Lanbi nodded. “We have to go quietly. Come with me.”
Li Xu casually took a robe and put it on and followed He Lanbi out. It was late winter, and the night was dark and cold. There wasn’t a single strand of moonlight. Li Xu followed He Lanbi closely as they walked through the corridors and the long palace roads before finally reaching the gates of the East Palace.
Li Xu’s hands were shaking. He hadn’t seen Zhou Ying for almost a year. The East Palace was usually heavily guarded. Today, there were only a few guards patrolling outside. He Lanbi took out a waist card from her arm and the guards let them in.
The East Palace had seen better days. The courtyard was bleak. The weeds in the corners of the walls grew tall, rustling from the howling of the north winds. Only a single dim light glowed from a widow in the huge palace. The beam of light hit Li Xu’s heart instantly. As soon as his eyes lit up, he ran towards it.
The north wind blew on his robe. His figure was exceptionally thin. Li Xu trotted up the steps, getting closer to the light. He opened the window and saw Zhou Ying sitting inside.
Though he wore bright clothes, Zhou Ying’s figure looked haggard and downcast. Under the candlelight, he still looked noble and valiant. His eyes were much softer than before as he beckoned gently. “A’Xu, come here.”
Li Xu bent over and crawled through the window. Once he entered, he rushed into Zhou Ying’s arms. The impact was so strong that it pushed Zhou Ying to the ground. Zhou Ying warmly smiled as he hugged him.
“A’Ying. A’Ying.” Li Xu called.
“It’s alright.” Zhou Ying patted his head as his eyes moistened. He then kissed his neck.
The two of them embraced tightly for what seemed like ages. Li Xu got up abruptly. He stared at Zhou Ying and said, “The Emperor is releasing you. Did you know that you will be named the King of the East China Sea? From now on, you’ll have a better life with your own territory, so cheer up.”
Zhou Ying smiled and nodded. “I have known about this for a while now.”
Li Xu looked at Zhou Ying, then couldn’t help but hug him. “If you can live well, I won’t be afraid that you’re on the verge of death every day. It’s worth it to kowtow and worship Buddha daily.”
Zhou Ying: “Are you afraid that I’ll die?”
“Of course.” Li Xu let go of him. Tears were flowing as he kneeled on him. He caressed Zhou Jing’s face and said, “There’s always hope when you’re alive. We will see each other again in the future. Maybe if I beg the second prince, he’ll let me leave with you.”
“I wanted to tell you this as well,” Zhou Ying said in a gentle and slightly hoarse voice. “My fief is far away. I don’t know when I will be able to see you. As long as you think of me in your heart and I think of you in mine, and we both live well, we’ll always be able to meet.”
Li Xu nodded frantically as his tears endlessly fell. It was painful to part in life, but it was still better than parting in death.
Zhou Ying stretched out his hand to wipe the tears from Li Xu’s cheek. He took out the jade pedant from his arms and said, “Why did you secretly put it on the window last time? Keep it with you so that you’ll always have me by your side.”
Li Xu took the jade pendant from his hand. It still had residual warmth from Zhou Ying’s body. He raised his head to look at Zhou Ying and was unable to control his emotions. His face distorted and became flushed. He clenched the jade pedant and covered his face. Zhou Ying tightly embraced him again.
Li Xu wanted to tell him that he was sorry that he hurt him. He was sent by the second prince with the goal of approaching Zhou Ying to pull him off the seat of the crown prince. The actions he took led Zhou Ying to his present state. Zhou Ying fell into the abyss, and he was the one who pushed him.
All his words were meaningless, though. Their minds were connected, and they both understood.
“You saved me. If it weren’t for you, I might not have been able to hold on. I’m very happy to have experienced these events with you.” As Zhou Ying said those words, a tear slid down his handsome face and fell on the jade pendant in Li Xu’s hand. “A’Xu, in this life and the afterlife, I will always find you.”
“There will definitely be that day,” Li Xu said. His eyes were desolated, but they remained bright. He still held onto the hope that one day he would work hard and be able to climb up to the highest position possible and would no longer be an eunuch controlled by human flesh. At that time, he would be able to reunite with the person he loves, and they would be able to live together indefinitely.
The sky was getting brighter. Li Xu sat by himself in front of the window while holding the jade pendant in his hand tightly.
He Lanbi suddenly rushed in and shouted, “A’Xu!” The cold north wind blew in with her. Her voice was trembling; her eyes were red and swollen as she looked at him.
Li Xu froze as he had a sudden and dreadful premonition.
He Lanbi said, “A’Xu, I can’t lie to you. Elder Prince Brother is not going to a fiefdom. He’s going to be executed. They were unwilling to kill him in the palace so they will do it halfway through his journey.”
“What?!” Li Xu frantically got up and wanted to run outside. He Lanbi grabbed him as he shouted, “I have to go tell him quickly!”
“Elder Prince Brother has known for a long time!” He Lanbi said. “He has known for a long time…”
Li Xu stared blankly at her. His hair scattered down as his eyes turned red.
“The second prince couldn’t bear it. He allowed you to see the crown prince one last time and had me lie to you. A’Xu… I can’t lie to you. I can’t lie to you… We’ll never see Elder Prince Brother again.” He Lanbi sobbed. “It’s too pitiful for Elder Prince Brother and too pitiful for you if you didn’t know the truth.”
Li Xu’s face instantly flushed.
He Lanbi: “The second prince won’t let anyone speak about it. Just know in your heart that I had to tell you, but you cannot speak about it to outsiders. Elder Prince Brother doesn’t want you to know. They all… Hope that you’ll live well.”
Li Xu felt as if he had descended from heaven straight to hell. If Zhou Ying could live, even if he could never see him again for the rest of his life, he would still be able to accept this small wish.
He Lanbi burst into tears silently and let go of his hand. “He’s about to leave the palace. Go and see him for one last time.”
Li Xu hurriedly ran out. He was wearing only a thin robe and was barefoot. The sky was bright, filled with snowflakes floating around. The palace was covered with snow, as if it was dressed in silver. His feet were blistered and red. He ran, panting, as his clothes began to loosen, revealing his thin chest. He finally reached the carriage that was carrying Zhou Ying.
Momentarily stunned, he immediately ran towards it. The curtains of the carriage suddenly lifted. Zhou Ying saw his figure running towards him and immediately stretched out his hand.
Li Xu grabbed his hand and ran with the carriage. Suddenly, he burst into tears. He was speechless. He didn’t know what to say. He just looked at Zhou Ying and shook his head. The jade pendant fell to the ground and shattered into two pieces.
For nearly a minute, the close-ups focused on this scene until a guard pulled Li Xu away and pushed him to the ground. There was no dialogue.
After the music stopped, there was only silence as snow fell on his head. Only the sound of the wind could be heard. Li Xu gave a long and loud knock with his head to the ground as he kowtowed to the carriage that was speeding away.
The theme song of sounded. Two shots then appeared.
One was the prince, sitting in the carriage with his eyes closed as blood dripped from the corner of his mouth. He had taken poison and was dying.
The camera swayed for a moment and turned back to the first time Zhou Ying and Li Xu met at the royal banquet. This was the classic shot of Jintai Qiongying. Li Xu raised his eyebrows, glanced at the prince, and lowered his head. A gentle smile appeared at the corners of his lips.
The picture then froze as the ending theme song sounded.
“Oh my god, I’m crying to death!”
“Is the prince dead like this?! Sobs!”
“A minute and a half closeup! Shen Jintai is awesome!”
“The acting is amazing. I got goosebumps all over my body when watching it!”
“He shot this scene with no makeup at all, so why is it so beautiful to look at.”
“The original work will also make you cry! A lot of lines were deleted. In the drama, Li Xu and the crown prince’s farewell were processed without a single line.”
“I think they handled it very well. Li Xu didn’t even call out his name. Zhou Ying opened the curtain when he heard the sound of footsteps. The moment he lifted it, you could see his anxiety. Their feelings were connected to their hearts and came out all at once. Seeing this, I just burst into tears!”
“There was no need for words. It would pale in comparison to the helplessness and emotions that came out all at once. Everything should be said during farewells, but their emotions were too complicated. It’s impossible to put into words. Sobs!”
“The farewell lines and the specific scenes of the prince’s suicide have been deleted. Can I expect that the prince is not dead? Just a humble Jintai Qiongying’s fangirl expectations!”
“Shen Jintai’s acting skills here are really superb, and the shots are awesome. The director is so fucking good at shooting. I’m crying for Touhua!”
“Really, I tried to endure it but couldn’t hold back. I cried into a sand sculpture* alone. My mother was so scared and asked me what’s wrong.”
*(沙雕) Refers to funny people nowadays. Originally, it was a homophone for the term “silly dick”.
“I’m different from you. We watched it together in the bedroom and all cried like dogs. I want to send knives to the crew!”
“I really can’t stand it. I originally said that I was here for the palace fighting drama, but I didn’t expect to be abused like a dog!”
“I think it’s worth a golden bell award for Shen Jintai’s performance without lines.”
When the ending theme was over, the trailer for next week aired. The trailer was different from usual, which usually showed exciting palace fight scenes. This time, the trailer had no dialogue.
Li Xu was staggering aimlessly along the road in the heavy snowfall. There was no soundtrack played. Only the sound of the north wind blowing could be heard. He finally squatted down as the camera zoomed towards the ground, showing the half-broken jade pendant covered by snowflakes. Li Xu’s fingers were blistered and red from frostbite. His hair turned completely white overnight.
A voice-over rang out. “A’Ying, all my tears have been shed for you. From now on, I will never shed another tear. Only others will shed tears for me.”
Yan Qiuchi turned off the TV, unable to calm down. After showering, the shock and dull pain in his heart were still lingering. This was something he had never felt before. He got dressed and went downstairs.
In the hall downstairs, discussion from the household staff was in full swing. Mrs. Yan couldn’t watch Shen Jintai’s crying scene. Her voice was full of sorrow as she blew her nose and turned to look at Yan Qiuchi. “Are you heading out?”
Yan Qiuchi let out a “Nn” and left. It was winter, and the night was freezing. He drove directly to the set. The crew was currently filming a night scene. In the winter night, the lights were foggy. During the day, when he looked at the palace walls, he felt they were a little too bright and that he couldn’t help but feel the vicissitudes of life.
As soon as he arrived on the set, he saw a person walking towards him. There was a huge headlight behind the person. It was so bright that it made the figure melt into a halo with only a slender shadow curling up.
As the shadow gradually approached, the figure became clearer.
It turned out to be Shen Jintai.
Yan Qiuchi wasn’t sure if this was some kind of coincidence.
Shen Jintai was wearing a black down jacket while holding a script in his hand. For a moment, he was taken aback when he saw Yan Qiuchi. He then smiled, nodded at him, and shouted, “President Yan, good evening.”
Maybe it was because of the contrasting color of the black down jacket, but Yan Qiuchi couldn’t help but think that Shen Jintai’s smile was so bright and cheerful that it warmed his heart.
The author has something to say:
It’s time to be sweet and refreshing next.
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