At the same time that Su Tang and Song Yi were discussing, in the far away Pei Duke Residence in the capital, the teenager they were discussing was practicing martial arts in his courtyard when suddenly a servant came to report, “Young master, the Crown Prince is coming here!”
“I’ve already told you I’m not free. Have him go back!” As he spoke, Pei Xuan took a towel from a nearby servant girl’s hand and began to wipe himself. After practicing so hard, he was sweating despite his thin clothes and the cold winter weather.
When his servant heard his instruction, he merely stepped back and didn’t dare to speak further. After all, that was the crown prince! So a little servant like him really didn’t dare to drive him away.
“Hey, you’re still in such a bad temper? You should know that edict wasn’t given by me, right? Isn’t it too much to always show such an unhappy face to me?” Pei Xuan had decided to just ignore the reporting servant and turn to leave, but before he could even get a few steps a young man in a yellow dragon robe entered the door of the courtyard and looked at Pei Xuan with a smile before calling out those words.
This young man was the crown prince of Qihuang Kingdom, Murong Zhao, and also Pei Xuan’s cousin. However, even after seeing his cousin had arrived, Pei Xuan still ignored him and continued to leave.
Murong Zhao was 15 years old this year, and he hadn’t always been the crown prince. Back when the emperor first ascended the throne at the age of 35, his only son at the time had been the crown prince. However, that man was only crown prince for a little while before he fell ill and died.
After that, the empress was not very favored, and she was unable to give birth to a son for many years even while the emperor brought a lot of beauties to the palace. But for some reason, for a long time no princes were born and the crown prince spot sat vacant. Eventually, the empress finally managed to give birth to a son, and that son was Murong Zhao.
After Murong Zhao was born, it was as if the curse cast on the harem was over, because the other concubines also began to give birth to princes one after another. However, all of these new princes were lower than Murong Zhao in both status and age, so his position as crown prince was nominally secure.
But it seemed as if the emperor only became more muddled and confused as he grew older, and these days he seemed to favor Murong Zhao’s 13 year old younger brother. Because of this, there had been a lot of turmoil and rumors recently. And for Murong Zhao who grew up under such circumstances, he naturally only had superficially polite relationships with his brothers. Contrary to that, he was much closer to Pei Xuan, this cousin of his that was one year apart in age.
Thus, when he heard that Pei Xuan was in a bad mood these days, he decided to take the initiative and go over to explain. So when he saw Pei Xuan angrily stalking away, he hastened to follow him.
“I know you didn’t pass the edict, but seeing you makes me angry right now.” Pei Xuan didn’t bother to mince words with Murong Zhao.
“You can’t be so unreasonable, ah. I’m being wronged.” Despite complaining about how Pei Xuan was treating him, Murong Zhao didn’t actually look angry.
Pei Xuan saw his smiling face, snorted, and didn’t bother to say anymore.
“Ah, don’t you remember what your father said? Why can’t you keep his words in your heart and just wait a little more? Your father isn’t as fragile as you think he is. This will all pass.”
But his only answer was Pei Xuan’s silence, and for a moment there was a chill between the two.
However, regardless of how the two cousins were getting along the capital, in the distant Qinghe Town Su Tang was watching Song Yi write his reply to Pei Xuan and mocking in her heart.
Just look, what use was a noble identity? From what she could see, contrary to what people might expect, having such a thing really just causes people to face many schemes and bear heavier burdens. Probably their lives were even harder than hers, a little peasant girl whose mother had died and whose father was useless.
And as for Song Yi’s words about this so-called senior brother of hers, well, she could only say that he didn’t leave much of an impression in her heart. In her mind, such a flimsy relationship couldn’t be relied on, whether they were her blood relatives or senior brothers who recognized the same master, in her heart they were all just strangers. The only people she acknowledged were her people that she personally recognized, and it didn’t matter what kind of blood relationship they might have with her.
To Su Tang, Pei Xuan was nothing but a stranger who had contributed ten taels of silver and given her the opportunity to get to meet Song Yi. Of course, after today he also had the new label of ‘unfortunate child’, but that was all.
In the end, the people who had come to deliver the New Years gifts got a reply letter from Song Yi that very day. Once the letter was in hand, they immediately dropped everything and rushed back to the capital.
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