Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The Snow Garden was surrounded by green bamboo shoots and parasol trees. The leaves were tranquil due to the sparse space in between the plants whereas the decayed fallen leaves on the ground provided a soft carpet to step on. The air was damp and refreshing.
Chu Yu speculated that Rong Zhi and the two, or perhaps more of them who arrived earlier, were gathering in a dark house. Rong Zhi must be sitting in the middle since he was the leader of the pack while the rest sat around him as they plotted something with cold faces.
"Just like this, hehehe...".
"That's how our evil plan is going to work, hehe..."
That was purely Chu Yu's stupid exaggerated thoughts.
What happened in reality was gravely out of her expectation. As Chu Yu walked into the red lacquered door quickly and silently like a thief, she was shocked to see the devil that she imagined sitting on a limestone platform under a parasol tree just merely two to three steps into the place. The person was reading a roll of bamboo slips in his hand. He lifted his head, realizing Chu Yu's arrival after she noticed him.
Amidst the green layered misty forest, Rong Zhi, who was dressed in clothing as white as snow, had eyes that were remarkably bright. Chu Yu stared at him while he gazed back at her. His dark eyes seemed bottomless like a black hole at the end of the universe that could engulf everything in the world. His pupils were like the highest peak, like a snow mountain that one could never reach.
Chu Yu snapped back to her senses as she pouted and peered around. She then gazed at Rong Zhi since she could not find the two people who came in earlier.
They were staring at each other over a foot away like they were flirting while one of them sat and the other stood beside him. Maybe they had little feelings for each other, but Chu Yu did not get anything out of the connection apart from sore eyes.
Perhaps because he thought it was rude for him to hesitate, Rong Zhi put the bamboo slips away into his sleeve.
Chu Yu pouted again and walked towards the loft behind the bamboo forest. Since the two people were not in the forest, they must be in the loft. After walking out of the bamboo forest, Chu Yu slowed down. This time, she was not disappointed as she heard looming human voices from the two half-opened paper windows ahead.
A light sound came behind her. Chu Yu turned her head a little and found out that Rong Zhi had caught up to her. She raised her eyebrow. What should she do now? Should she ask him to back off? It would be great if Rong Zhi raised his voice intentionally. Then, it would mean that whatever the people in there were talking about was no good.
Rong Zhi smiled lightly and winked at her, seemingly hinting her to follow him.
Chu Yu was relieved when she noticed that Yue Jiefei had been following not far behind as she turned to take a quick glance. Curious about what Rong Zhi was trying to do, she then followed him to the window with light steps. At that moment, the voice of the people coming from the loft got louder and clearer now.
Chu Yu was a little excited when she heard the voices. She thought perhaps she would catch them red-handed, but disappointment followed when she heard the content of the conversation.
The two pleasant male voices coming out of the house were strangely in sync when they spoke together as one was gentle while the other was slightly sharper. Chu Yu saw the silhouettes projected on the floor when she looked into the house through the window gap. The silhouettes seemed to be sticking together while the owners of the silhouettes were leaning on each other's shoulders while kneeling by the window behind a desk. They were looking at the opened bamboo slips on the desk with their heads down.
The unknown handsome young man with a classic elegance was rather tall. He extended a long finger and pointed somewhere on the bamboo slip while saying to Jiang Yan, "I disagree with what you said just now. Look at what's written over here…"
He then proved to Jiang Yan what his mistake was.
Jiang Yan held his head on the side while the sun that shone through the window landed on his eyebrows and the outline of his side profile, balancing the chill in the house. Although there was only a little sunlight shining through the window, Jiang Yan seemed like he was bathed in sunshine. He was very different from how he was at the Apricot Forest.
The duo was arguing over an issue in literature and would occasionally clarify their points and they listened to each other with smiles and light nods. However, to Chu Yu who had no clue what they were discussing, all she had in mind was the two seemed to be indulging in a pink dreamy mist floating around them.
The atmosphere was very suspicious. In the 21st century which was her past life, there was a culture trending on the internet called "boys' love". There were novels about two beautiful boys in love in that culture. Although Chu Yu knew a little bit about the novels, she was not addicted to them. Never had she thought that she would see the real deal 1,000 years ago today.
Initially, Chu Yu was here to pry on Jiang Yan and the rest's secret. Although she found something, it was not what she wanted. It was like a husband who was supposed to catch his wife's lover but found two men together on the bed when he lifted the blanket.
She was greatly disappointed by the blow.
As the duo's discussion on literature got deeper and more professional, the more Chu Yu listened to them, the more lost and disinterested she became. She was thinking of leaving since she was cluelessly standing there.
Chu Yu's eyes wandered off casually and landed on Rong Zhi who stood on the other side of the window. To her surprise, he was listening to them attentively. He was already handsome, but his attentiveness made him even more attractive. His dark and gentle eyes looked like a wave of stars in the night sky. They were peaceful, enigmatic and beautiful.
A while later, the duo in the house seemed to have conflicting opinions and their discussion turned so loud that it snapped Chu Yu back to reality. Seeing that Rong Zhi was still listening to them, she patted his shoulder and pointed at the forest, gesturing him to speak over there.
Both of them stood across each other in the forest. Chu Yu gazed at him, but she remained silent. It was Rong Zhi who spoke a moment later. He began with a soft sigh. "I can't hide it any longer since you've found out about it, Princess. Huan Yuan isn't ill. I was lying when I said he was sick," he admitted directly while Chu Yu connected the name Huan Yuan with the refined young man in the high hat and the ceremonial robe after she snapped out of her astonishment. The man was one of the male companions who had called in sick and was absent earlier.
Chu Yu chuckled softly. "He has guts." She showed no emotion on her face. No one could tell if she was displeased after knowing the truth or if she was mad.
Rong Zhi could not figure what she was thinking about, hence he let out another sigh and said softly, "Huan Yuan's talented. A person such as him is rare and can only be found after a hundred years of waiting. It's normal for him to be a little obnoxious. He was born into hardship which caused him to behave like this. I hope you won't blame him, Princess."
Chu Yu was at a loss hearing Rong Zhi speaking without the full context. It was her first time seeing Huan Yuan today and she had no idea about his background or his character. However, Rong Zhi was speaking to her from the perspective of her knowing everything about Huan Yuan. They could not come to a common understanding since they were standing on different grounds.
Naturally, Chu Yu would not get to the bottom of it. All she could see was Rong Zhi begging for mercy for Huan Yuan, so she played along and said while smiling, "Alright, I won't look into this then. I'm doing you a favor. Don't let me find out about such a thing again."
She had a rough speculation in her head. The first version was that Huan Yuan must be a handsome and decent man whom the princess spotted on the streets. He must have been captured to the Imperial Residence, causing his great talent to go to waste and his bright future destroyed on the princess's bed since she fancied him.
The second version was that Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan were initially a gay couple, but were separated by Princess Shanyin for their dapper looks. They were then forced to serve her. It would make sense if they hated Princess Shanyin for separating them and forcing them to serve her, their love rival.
No matter which version it was, Huan Yuan definitely hated Princess Shanyin to his very core, but there was nothing that he could do about it. The only thing he could do to ease his misery was to discuss poems and literature with others or meet his old lover occasionally. He would try his best to skip the banquets that she organized and would call in sick all the time.
However, she later found out that although her speculation towards Huan Yuan was not exactly accurate, but it was close.
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