At the dining table, Li Xiang inevitably brought up the topic of Zhao Liuli's hairpin ceremony.
After Li Xiang finished eating a bowl of crab tofu soup, she was still feeling indignant. She resentfully mumbled, "I really don't understand what's so good about that Wei Luo. Why does the Her Majesty value her so much..."
Elder Princess Gao Yang was worried that Li Xiang wasn't eating enough and pushed a plate of fu ling pastry in front of her. She continued to coaxingly comfort her daughter, "Don't think about it anymore. First, fill up your stomach. You spent all night memorizing that book. You must be starving right now."
(T/N: Below is a picture of fu ling pastry. The filling is made from wolfiporia extensa.)
When Li Xiang just returned home, she was really hungry. But, by now, she was already mostly full. She shook her head and said, "Mother, I'm full." She turned her head to thoughtfully look at Li Song. He was sitting across from her, holding a pair of chopsticks, and looked absent-minded. She opened her mouth to ask, "Older brother, what are you thinking about? You've been sitting there without eating anything."
Li Song suddenly returned to his senses, but there wasn't any change in his expression. He calmly picked up a piece of radish cake, ate a bite, and mildly said, "Nothing much.”
Seeing him like this, Elder Princess Gao Yang couldn't resist being concerned, "Is your hand hurting again? You haven't been using your left hand to practice martial arts, right? Do you remember the doctor’s instructions? You have to properly recuperate. Don't be impatient during this short period of time."
"En, I remember his words."
After he had been injured at Duke Ding's residence and returned home, Li Song had obediently stayed at home to recuperate. Prince Ru Yang and Elder Princess Gao Yang wanted to find out who injured their son, but after investigating for a month, they still didn't have any results.
Because this mishap had occurred at Duke Ding's residence, Duke Ding felt guilty about this matter. He had come to see Li Song several times during the past month and helped Prince Ru Yang investigate who had entered and exited that bamboo forest on that day. Unfortunately, there were too many people at the residence that day and it was difficult to find out. In addition, that bamboo forest was in area that most people didn't pay any attention to. And so, they still haven't found out who the culprit was.
Elder Princess Gao Yang had asked Li Song about this once, but Li Song refused to say anything.
Later, seeing that she wouldn't be able to get any information from him, Elder Princess Gao Yang could only give up and treat if as if he didn't know whom the other person was either.
And so, until now, there weren’t any clues.
Fortunately, the doctor had said the injury on his wrist wasn't serious. As long as he properly cared for it, it wouldn't be a problem for him to fully recover. If this weren’t true, Elder Princess Gao Yang wouldn't have been able to seem so calm today. Thinking of this, Elder Princess Gao Yang personally picked up the ladle to fill a bowl with ginseng silkie soup and put the bowl in front of Li Song. She urged, “Drink this bowl of soup. It'll be good for your hand. Don't think your mother is being too troublesome. This is for your own good."
Li Song finally pulled the corner of his mouth into a smile. He used his right hand to accept the green celadon bowl, "When have I ever said such words? Mother, don't falsely accuse me." He used a spoon to stir the silkie soup. Soon after, he drank the bowl in one gulp. After putting down the bowl, he said, "I'm full. I'm going to go out and walk for a bit."
Then, without waiting for a response, he stood up and left the main hall.
Elder Princess Gao Yang looked at his departing figure until he walked to the entrance. Then, she helplessly sighed, "I don't know what Song-er is thinking about. He seems lost in his thoughts every day. When I ask him what's wrong, he won't tell me anything. He seems rather distant and unfamiliar with us lately. My heart feels so unpleasant."
Prince Ru Yang didn't like seeing his wife feel sad. He patted her hand and comforted her, "Didn't he always have a strange temperament? Our child has grown up. It's natural for him to have his own thoughts."
Although this was true, Elder Princess Gao Yang's mood didn't improve. Faced with a table full of food, she didn't have any appetite.
On the other side, Li Xiang was biting her chopsticks. Her thoughts turned and she said, "I think I might know what older brother is thinking about..."
Elder Princess Gao Yang immediately looked at her and said in surprise, "Oh? Tell us. What is your older brother thinking about? How did you find out?"
Li Xiang pondered for a while, then she slowly said, "When older brother came back from Duke Ding's residence that day, there was an emerald hairpin in his hand..."
She told her parents about the scene she had seen that day. She also said that Li Song had tightly held onto the hairpin and didn't seem to have the slightest intention of loosening his grip. Then, she said, "When I went looking for older brother the past few days, I also frequently saw him holding that hairpin... A girl probably gave older brother the hairpin? But, he won't say anything. And I didn't dare to continue asking him about it.”
Elder Princess Gao Yang felt surprised. Her son had grown up. He had a girl that he liked. This was good news. Why didn't he tell them? If the two families were well matched in terms of social status, it would be mutually satisfying if they became relatives by marriage. It would be fine to set down a date for his wedding earlier! Her son would soon be sixteen. It was time for him to marry anyways. After thinking, she asked, "Xiang-er, do you know which family that girl is from? A girl that your older brother likes must be rather outstanding."
Li Xiang shook her head and honestly said, "I don't know either. Based on that hairpin, she's not a girl from an ordinary family. She's probably a daughter from a noble family. If mother is curious, ask older brother directly."
But, Elder Princess Gao Yang felt anxious, "I'm worried that he won't tell me..."
Elder Princess Gao Yang's worries weren't unreasonable. Li Song definitely wouldn't tell her. He wouldn't even admit to himself that he was in love with Wei Luo.
After Li Song left the main hall and returned to his own courtyard, he didn't go to his room. Instead, he stood under a large banyan tree and didn't move for a long time.
The trunk of the banyan tree was thick and solid. It was very similar to the tree that had been in his courtyard at Jing He Villa.
At that time, he and Wei Luo had stood underneath a tree. She had unhesitatingly pierced that hairpin into his chest. Even now, he hadn't gotten over it. When he looked at the golden emerald hairpin in his hand, he couldn't help feeling a pain in his chest.
Even so, he couldn't help taking out that hairpin to carefully look at.
What was so good about this? Wasn't it only Wei Luo's thing?
His eyes deepened. He closed his hand around the hairpin and tightly held it. He really wanted to stab that little girl's chest, so she could experience what he was currently feeling. On the surface, the wound had already healed. But, the wound in his heart wouldn't heal. It only festered. He didn't know when he would be completely recovered.
There was a person hidden in his heart that he couldn't let go of or give up on. But, he couldn't let other people know. He could only hide her deeply in his heart while his heart was rotted.