Wei Luo was sitting on a round drum-shaped stool. She held her cheeks and without a change in her expression, she answered, "Liuli wasn't in a good mood, so I stayed for a while to keep her company and also ate dinner at Chen Hua Hall."
Wei Chang Hong was sitting behind a vermillion-lacquered table inlayed with gold and decorated with spiral carvings. Zuo Zhuan's Annals was in front of him. Mister Xue's lecture today was about this book. This was a book that was normally read by fifteen or sixteen year olds. But, Chang Hong had a clever mind that learned new information quickly. At thirteen, Chang Hong had already studied all thirteen Confucian classics. Right now, he was just reviewing this book again.
Wei Chang Hong didn't doubt her words. He stood up, went to the nearby treasure grid shelves, took out an item, and delivered it to her, "After I was finished with my work, while I was outside, I bought these sugar ears and sesame candy. I remembered that you said you wanted to eat these a few days ago. I coincidentally saw them today and bought them."
(T/N: Below are pictures of sugar ears and sesame candy.)
Wei Luo accepted the candy and couldn't help feeling touched that he remembered, "I was only offhandedly saying that..."
A few days, she had suddenly wanted to eat sweet things and had said she wanted to eat sugar ears and sesame candy. She had already forgotten saying this. Unexpectedly, he had still remembered. Wei Luo put down the oiled packet on the table, opened it, picked up a piece of sugar ear, and ate it. It was sweet, soft, and flaky. She picked up another piece to feed Chang Hong. "It's really good. Eat one too."
Chang Hong opened his mouth, ate it directly from her hand, and chewed on the pastry. Just as he was about to speak, his line of sight stopped on her ear. He stopped moving and stared at her ear.
Wei Luo felt confused from the look in his eyes. Puzzled, she asked, "What's wrong? What did you see?"
His eyes turned. He lifted his hand to touch her small earlobe. Without any expression, he said, "There's a teeth mark here." Soon after, he looked up at her, "Ah Luo, who bit you?"
Wei Luo subconsciously stiffened. She forgot about the sugar ear in her mouth. Of course, she knew who had bitten her. Zhao Jie had bitten her ear a few times in Chen Hua Hall's back garden. But, she hadn't cared about it. She had thought it would have faded by now. Unexpectedly, there was still a mark left. But, it hadn’t felt that painful when Zhao Jie had bitten her!
Wei Luo was internally surprised, but she faked an outwardly calm appearance. She held her ear and lightly said, "Oh. This was from me playing with Liuli... I said a joke about her. She was angry and bit my ear once."
At this time, she could only wrong Liuli. She couldn't confess that it was Zhao Jie... If she told the truth, wouldn't Chang Hong rush over to Prince Jing's residence to settle scores?
Hearing this, Wei Chang Hong's face immediately looked serious and unhappy, "She bit you just because you were joking? Don't play with her in the future."
Wei Luo couldn't resist letting out a burst of laughter. His shortcoming was too obvious. It made even her, the person lying, feel a bit embarrassed.
After Wei Luo fed him a few pieces of sugar ear and said good words about Zhao Liuli, he reluctantly stopped pursuing this matter. Seeing that it wasn't early, Wei Luo said good-bye, returned to her room, washed up, changed clothes, and prepared to sleep.
She slept very peacefully that night without any dreams and woke up the next morning in good spirits.
In contrast, Li Xiang hadn't been well inside Zhao Yang Hall.
Li Xiang had spent the entire night in Zhao Yang Hall drowsily memorizing a book. She had fallen asleep in the rosewood chair several times, but Mama Qiu had mercilessly woken her up each time. By the next morning, she had finally memorized Nei Xun's twenty pages. She had recited the entire book in front of Mama Qiu and Empress Chen allowed her to leave the palace.
Only one day had passed, but she looked significantly withered. Her eyes were bloodshot and there black circles underneath her eyes. Her face was also pale. She looked completely different from yesterday's beautiful and bright appearance.
Li Xiang and Elder Princess Gao Yang left the palace together. They went inside the carriage to return home.
Inside the black, flat-roofed carriage, Li Xiang finally couldn't resist collapsing in Elder Princess Gao Yang's arms, "Mother..."
Elder Princess Gao Yang's heart couldn't feel any worse. She took Li Xiang into her arms, gently patted her back, and comforted her with the words, "Xiang-er, be good. Don't cry... Have a good rest when we get home. Just pretend that yesterday didn't happen."
The person who had disciplined her daughter was the empress, the most respectable and honored woman in the country. So what if she was the elder princess? Her status was still lower than hers. Zhao Xun's heart was definitely unwilling to accept this. She and Empress Chen had never gotten along and now she had punished her daughter. How could her heart feel okay?
Although an older sister-in-law was like a mother, she had stretched her hand too far!
Li Xiang grievously cried and her tears soon soaked through her mother's clothes. Before she had time to regain her breath, she gasped, “That hairpin... It's all Wei Luo's fault..."
Although Li Xiang had broken the hairpin, she had intended to use it to harm Wei Luo. She hadn't expected that Wei Luo would turn the table on her! She wasn't willing to accept this lost, but she didn't have a way to say these words. She could only shut all of her grievances in her heart and change her words into tears to cry out.
Elder Princess didn't clearly hear the second part of her words. Feeling bad that she wasn't able to help her daughter from suffering, she could only hug her and say, "Precious Xiang-er, when we go back home, mother will buy you many hairpins. Did you like Zhao Liuli's hairpin? Mother will have people make a hairpin exactly like that one, okay?”
She shook her head. She sobbed and sniffled as she said, "I don't want it. What's so good about Zhao Liuli's things? It's only unusual."
The carriage quickly arrived and stopped at Prince Ru Yang's residence. The servant girls quickly came out through the entrance to help them out of the carriage.
Prince Ru Yang had waited for them an entire night. Seeing them safely coming back, he let out a sigh in relief. Last night, he had heard the news from the palace and knew that Li Xiang had stay there overnight because of Empress Chen, but he didn't know why.
Li Xiang wiped her tears. With red eyes, she followed Elder Princess Gao Yang off the carriage.
Seeing his precious daughter like this, Prince Ru Yang couldn't resist saying, "Xiang-er, what happened..."
Before he could finish speaking, Elder Princess Gao Yang glared at him. He immediately closed his mouth and didn't continue to question. Then, with a smile, he said, "It's good that you returned. Is Xiang-er tired? Your older brother is waiting in the main hall for you. Daddy has specially prepared an entire table of your favorite foods."
The group of people walked to the main hall. When they were almost at the main hall's doors, Prince Ru Yang shouted, "Song-er, your mother and young sister have returned. Why haven't you come out?"
Inside the hall, there was a handsome teenage boy wearing an indigo robe with a feather pattern sitting on a rosewood chair. He didn't look that different from before. But, a more careful look would show that some of his recalcitrant and arrogance had been lost. There was a shallow birthmark beneath his eye. His dark, deep eyes looked up from the golden hairpin with emeralds.
He quietly put the hairpin into his sleeve, stood up, and walked out of the hall.