Lory woke up early the next morning. She took a long hot bath and changed her dress. She didn't want to have her 'boss' waiting for her like he had done the previous day. Zhao Li Xin had initially agreed to have Lory watch the competition for one day only, but Lory's shameless begged and pleaded for more. Zhao Li Xin couldn't turn her down once again as he couldn't stand seeing her disappointed.
[Girsha are you coming?] Lory asked as she smeared rouge on her lips. The old bird was resting comfortably on her blanket.
[To watch humans bashing each other...? Certainly!] He answered with sarcasm.
[Then hurry! He is probably waiting for us] She urged him to follow her quickly.
[Don't worry. Your boyfriend won't leave without you…] Girsha lazily rolled his eyes.
[He is not my boyfriend] She glared at him before she added [It is also a matter of courtesy!]
[Yeah yeah…] Girsha carelessly responded as he perched on her shoulder.
Zhao Li Xin was waiting for her in the main hall as she suspected. He was leaning on the couch with his usual half-opened eyes with Mong Yi serving him wine. His robes were slightly opened revealing his collarbone and his long dark silky hair fell on his shoulders neatly. He gave Lory a flirtatiously smile when entered the room.
[Lory, don't drool…] Girsha teased her.
[I'm not!] She checked the corner of her lips just to be sure.
[That's not how a princess should stare a man!] Girsha reprimanded again.
[That's not a man!] Lory rebuke strongly [He is God's perfect masterpiece. Created to tempt humankind like me] she exhaled deeply. She thought she would be used to his charm after a few months of living with him, but she was wrong.
"What's wrong? Are you not well?" Zhao Li Xin didn't know why she froze at the door. He placed his wine cup down and put his hand on her forehead to check if she was feverish. Lory's cheeks became hotter and she turned as red as a tomato from his actions. Zhao Li Xin saw her red face and became more worried. "Your face is red. Should we stay at home? The weather is too cold for you too…"
"No! I'm fine… Don't worry," Lory rubbed her cheeks in awkwardness. "Let's go!"
"If you said so…" Zhao Li Xin sighed and placed a white fur cloak on her shoulders. He heard ordinary people tended to get sick during winter and some even died if the weather was extreme. His little savior was small, frail and barely reached his chest. He couldn't help but worry for her.
"Have you had breakfast?" He halted his steps.
"Uhmmm...." She froze once more.
"We'll leave after you have eaten breakfast..." Zhao Li Xin said firmly as his expression turned dark.
"Eat first!" He said sternly.
It took an hour for Lory to finish her breakfast. She hated to admit it but she did feel better after the meal. They used the carriage to head downtown once again. Zhao Li Xin still wore a white mask while she wore white and dark blue robes. The colors of their robes were coincidently the same, making them look like a matching couple.
Zhao Li Xin had the same reserved as the day before as Lory liked the view from the second floor. She could see everything, including the elders' faces at the podium from there. Mong Ki served wine, sweet tea with a few pastries while Mong Yi prepared a small furnace. The room was warmer and comfortable for Lory. She was touched by Zhao Li Xin's caring gesture and felt fortunate that she meet him in this world.
"Do you still feel cold?" Zhao Li Xin touched her cheeks to feel her temperature.
She felt hot from his touch. She looked down shyly, "No. I'm fine…"
Zhao Li Xin relaxed once he was sure she was okay. His subordinates watched their lord attentively and felt both happy and sad. If only their lord could treat them half the way… No, a quarter of how he treated Miss Luo they would be very happy. Mong Yi and Mong Ki sighed silently, 'Oh well, as long as their lord was happy...'
"It's starting!" Lory shrieked when she saw someone get on the stage but Zhao Li Xin didn't bother as he was busy making sure the cloak covered her well.
The fight between the two competitors was fiercer than the earlier ones. No one wanted to give up even after they coughed a lot of blood. The fresh blood spilling on the floor reminded her of the underground fights in her world.
She had seen some a few times with Lucas and the others. Lory noticed a few people, holding pouches, gathering suspiciously at the back. She tugged Zhao Li Xin's sleeve and asked, "What are they doing?"
"Betting…" He responded.
"They are allowed to bet too?" Lory gasped.
"Are you betting?" She asked with a mischievous smile.
"No. Do you want to…?" He teased as he smiled back at her.
"Well, yeah! But who do you think we should bet on?" Lory crossed her arms before her chest.
"It's up to you. I don't mind losing a little money….." He said with indifference.
'Spoken like a true tycoon.'
Lory took a deep breath. She didn't know the other participants except those from the Lao family.
"Did Lao Min Na make it to the finals?"
"She did…" Zhao Li Xin nodded.
"Let's bet on her. The girl has improved so much these last few years. I feel she has a lot of tricks beneath her sleeves," Lory gave a cunning smile. Lao Min Na had transformed herself from a useless young miss to be among the last participants during the prestigious Martial Art competition. She wanted to see what more she could bring during this competition.
"Sure…" Zhao Li Xin smiled inwardly. His little savior was very keen. He tossed a pouch at Mong Yi without saying another word. The subordinate nodded at Zhao Li Xin and disappeared.
Zhao Li Xin noticed Zhao Mu Fan, Zhao Yi Chen and even Zhao Qin Feng on the second floor. They were all there to support their women. He received news from one of his spies about the relationship between Zhao Qin Feng and the Ying patriarch's daughter, Ying Xuan Xie. His spy also told him Ying Xuan Xie was also an alchemist.
Zhao Li Xin smirked. He now understood the reason the royal Consort Ying was eager to marry her son to Ying Xuan Xie. Everything the royal family did had to be valued and calculated. There was no genuine care or unconditional love. Everyone thought of their own benefit.
As much as his mother claimed she loved Zhao Qin Feng, he wondered if she would still love him if he lost his value. Would she sacrifice herself if Zhao Qin Feng's life was in danger? There was only one answer to those questions as there was no love behind the cold palace walls. There was only greed and loneliness which made him wonder why people tried so hard to be Emperor.
"Would you want to be Empress?" He asked her casually.
"HECK NO!" Lory rejected strongly. She didn't care if he was joking or not.
Zhao Li Xin smiled faintly at her response.
King Marcus and Lory watched the royal parade from the palace's balcony. It was the first parade after Lucas was officially established as the Crown Prince. Lucas was inside the carriage waving at the Harland citizens with a perfect smile, but Lory could tell he was half embarrassed, half anxious and half annoyed maybe from lack of sleep. Lory giggled when she saw Lucas' weird expression after he saw himself on the big screen.
The King wrapped his hand around Lory's shoulders asked, "Do you want to be a king?"
"No…." She said without hesitation as she tilted her head. She didn't understand why her father was asking her that.
The King smiled gently at her, "You don't want to rule the kingdom? What do you want to do?"
Lory was silent for a moment before she got her answer. Her eyes lit up as she looked at her father with a bright smile on her face, "I want to protect it!"
this chapter has edited by Lenrel ?
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