The man and horse gradually faded away into the distance. Wei Luo turned around to look in that direction. The haze in her eyes became heavier and heavier. It seemed that she hadn't stabbed the hairpin deep enough. Otherwise, how would Li Song be able to participate in the banquet and drink wine? Chang Hong was still lying in bed right now, but Li Song didn't even have a problem riding a horse!
If he hadn't already gone so far away, Wei Luo really wanted to walk forward and stab him again.
As she continued looking in that direction, the sight in front of her suddenly turned black. Her line of sight was completely blocked by a black cloak embroidered with gold thread. She was surprised for a moment, then she looked up, and lightly pushed the cloak. Her head came out from inside the cloak and she looked at Zhao Jie in astonishment, "Big brother?"
The corners of Zhao Jie's lips were slightly curved up. He leaned over and tied the cloak's silk waistband for her. With a faint smile, he said, "It's cold today. Wear this cloak so that you won't get a cold."
He knew what she had just been looking at, but he didn't say it. His heart felt annoyed, but his face didn't reveal this. Instead, he decided to take off his cloak to give to her and block her line of sight. His possessiveness towards Wei Luo grew with each passing day. He couldn't tolerate her looking at other men. She was only allowed to look at him.
As expected, he successfully distracted Wei Luo. She forgot about Li Song and waited until he finished fastening the cloak before saying, "But I'm not cold..."
Zhao Jie stroke her head and wouldn't allow her to refuse, "I'm worried that you'll be cold."
She could only wear the cloak and thanked him. Seeing that it wasn't early, she parted with him at the palace's entrance. She turned around, entered the palace, and walked towards Qing Xi Palace’s Chen Hua Hall.
Just as she arrived at Chen Hua's Hall's entrance, she took off Zhao Jie's cloak. She didn't do this because she disliked Zhao Jie, but because she wanted to avoid Liuli's questions if she saw her wearing the cloak. She didn't want to waste her energy explaining. It would better if Liuli didn't knowing about this to begin with. Besides, the hall wasn't cold. It would be a hindrance to wear the cloak, so taking it off would be more comfortable.
She walked inside the hall. After walking around the place, she couldn't find Zhao Liuli, so she could only ask one of the palace servant girls, "Where's Princess Tianji?"
The palace servant girl said, "To respond to Miss, her Highness went with Bodyguard Yang to the back garden to go fishing."
She continued asking, "When will she come back?"
The palace servant girl shook her head, "This servant doesn't know either. Miss, please wait here for a bit. This servant will bring you a cup of tea."
Wei Luo could only sit in the hall and wait. Not much later, she head Zhao Liuli's crisp voice from outside the hall. She put down her cup that was decorated with brightly colored lotus flowers, stood up, walked out of the hall, and looked at the verandah on the other side.
When she saw the scene, she froze for a moment.
Yang Zhen was carrying Zhao Liuli on his back and walking over here. There was a faint smile on the normally cold and taciturn young man's face. His eyes were gentle and pampering. Zhao Liuli was lying on his back and both of her arms were around his neck. She was talking close to his ears. Wei Luo didn't know what they were saying, but Liuli's laugher was beautifully sweet. Even from far way, Wei Luo could feel the happiness in Liuli's sound.
These… These two people…
Wei Luo was stumped for words as she stood there. She thought this scene was too unusual. The intimacy between the two of them was overly excessive. Or, was she overthinking? Was it normal for a princess and her bodyguard to get along like this? She stood at Chen Hua Hall's entrance and turned her head to look the palace servant girls that were nearby. She discovered that everyone’s’ heads were bowed down in mutual understanding and pretending that they didn't see anything. It seemed that they had already become accustomed to this.
Yang Zhen carried Zhao Liuli to Wei Luo. His dark eyes calmly looked at her for moment. Soon after, he carefully placed Zhao Liuli on the ground and warned her, "House Wei's fourth miss is here. Your Highness, you should go inside."
After Zhao Liuli was standing firm, she went forward to hold Wei Luo's hand and didn't seem to notice Wei Luo's strangeness. She walked inside to Chen Hua Hall in high spirits. "Ah Luo, when did you come here? Why weren't you waiting inside the hall? It's windy today. What if you catch a cold from the windy weather?”
Wei Luo followed behind her with a strange expression. After a long time, she slowly asked, "It's windy outside. And you still went outside with Yang Zhen?"
Zhao Liuli pointed at her cashmere overcoat to indicate that she was dressed warmly and wasn't afraid of the wind. In addition, there was the warmth from Chen Hua Hall's heater. She took off her overcoat and hanged it on a wooden folding screen that was inlayed with numerous gemstones on the edges. She explained with a smile, "Older brother Yang Zhen said he would take me to fly a kite. It has to be windy to fly a kite."
So they were in the back garden flying a kite?
Wei Luo thought for a moment. The imperial doctors all said that Liuli should go outside to walk around more. It would be good for her health to occasionally go outside to fly a kite as long as it wasn't too intense. But... Wei Luo glanced at her and tried to feel her out, "Are you injured? Why did you have Yang Zhen carry you on his back?"
Liuli sat on the rosewood arhat couch. She took the lotus pattern cup that a palace servant girl handed her and took a sip. She blinked and said, "I'm not injured... but I was tired, so I had older brother Yang Zhen carry me back on his back."
Wei Luo really didn't know what to say. Liuli's relationship with Yang Zhen was special to begin with and now she had done such an intimate action. Wasn't she intentionally letting people misunderstand? Wei Luo held her hand that had been placed on the table engraved with lions, hesitated for a moment, deliberated her tone and said, "Liuli, you're already fourteen years old this year..."
Wei Luo was clearly only thirteen years old and her little face was youthful, but she used a tone of voice that sounded like an experienced person when she said these words. It made a person feel strange. Zhao Liuli carefully looked over her face. Seeing that Wei Luo wasn't joking, she turned her head and made a gesture for the palace servant girls to leave the room. "Ah Luo, I have something I want to tell you."
Soon, they were the only two people left in the warm room.
Wei Luo suddenly remembered something. Zhao Liuli had invited her to palace because she wanted to discuss something with her. Liuli's following words were probably about that. She suddenly had a bad feeling that her guess about Yang Zhen would come true.
Zhao Liuli's following words would definitely be an extremely serious major event.
As expected, Zhao Liuli repeatedly hesitated with speaking. Her small delicate face twisted more and more. Finally, she mustered up her courage and said, "I think I like older brother Yang Zhen."
Her guess was confirmed. Wei Luo immediately deflated. She involuntarily tightened her hold on the cup in front of her and couldn't say a single word.
How can Zhao Liuli like Yang Zhen? Their statuses were vastly different. One was a young princess that was held in the palm of Empress Chen's hand and heart. The other was only an insignificant imperial bodyguard. How could there be a good outcome? She should have guessed from her previous words. If they only had a normal relationship, how could their actions be so intimate... If Zhao Jie knew this, what would he think and do?
Wei Luo's thoughts turned a thousand times. She couldn't think of what to say.
Zhao Liuli continued, "Older brother Yang Zhen treats me very well. He's protected me since I was child. Whatever I want, he'll think of a way to get it for me..."
Wei Luo mulled over the issue and finally found her voice, "Liuli, you're just too lonely. You only had Yang Zhen by your side since childhood, so you think he's good. There's a large disparity between the two of you. There won't be a happy ending..."
Zhao Liuli stubbornly shook her head. The emotion in her eyes was sincere. "It's not. Ah Luo, don't say that. I truly like older brother Yang Zhen. Even if there are other people by my side, I'll still like him." She had thought about this for a long time. Although she was simple, she still considered the things that she should consider. This time, she had invited Wei Luo into the palace to tell her this. They were as close as sisters, so she didn't want to hide this from her. "When the time arrives, I'll tell imperial mother. She loves me so much. She'll definitely agree..."
Wei Luo looked at her eyes and was suddenly unable to bear saying words of rebuttal.
Sickly since childhood, Liuli hadn't obtained much and had lost many things. Now, she finally had a person that she liked. It was probably a difficult thing.
Wei Luo lowered her eyes. Soon after, she curved her lips in a smile, and looked up to say, "How good is Yang Zhen treating you? For you to like him so much?"
At the mention of this, Zhao Liuli's beautiful eyes seemed to glow. She held up her cheeks in her hands and carefully enumerated, "Older brother Yang Zhen remembers what I like to eat and every time we leave the place, he'll buy those foods for me. Whenever I meet with danger, he'll be the first person in front of me to block me from danger. He gives me presents. And he's very attentive towards me... One time, I twisted my ankle. He was more worried about it than me. He personally applied the medicine on my ankle..."
The more that Zhao Liuli spoke, the more that she had to say. But, Wei Luo became quieter and quieter.
When Liuli talked about this, Wei Luo couldn't help thinking about that other person... Zhao Jie would also remember her favorite foods and give her presents. That time when they went to Rong Chun Fang to listen to that musical, he was the first person to stand in front of her to block that out-of-control carriage. He tightly held her in his arms. Oh. When they were recently at Jing He Villa, when she twisted on her ankle, he was the one who carried her to her room and personally applied medicine for her.
Zhao Liuli had talked a lot, but she didn't receive Wei Luo's response. She couldn't resist stretching her hand out and waving it in front of Wei Luo. "Ah Luo, are you listening?"
Wei Luo suddenly returned to her sense. She nodded and said, "I'm listening."
Zhao Liuli curved her eyes and smiled. She asked with perfect contentment, "Do you think older brother Yang Zhen treats me well?"
She paused for a moment, then she slowly nodded, "... Well."
(T/N: I'm going to be busy later today, so releasing Friday's part half a day earlier.)