The empire, especially the palace is bursting with activities today. A few days ago they received a news that the princess of Zhixiang country, Princess Xing Baihe, is on her way towards the Gonglu country and will arrive on this day. Although everyone is skeptical about receiving a princess as the emperor's concubine from the past enemy's country, they don't have the right to voice out their reluctance because it was decided by the empress and emperor themselves.
Lin Xulian prepared early that day to welcome the princess. Since the wedding and conferment of the princess as the Imperial Noble Concubine will happen in more than a week from now, she cannot meet the emperor. And as the empress and master of the back palace, Lin Xulian has the responsibility to welcome the new concubine.
If the concubine is just a normal noble citizen of the country, all these fuss is not needed. The emperor can also just make a decree conferring the new concubine if she will be given a high rank such as the Imperial Noble Concubine. But they will receive a princess from another country so they should prepare a formal ceremony to give respect to her country and to acknowledge the peace agreement.
Later on the eunuch finally announced the arrival of the princess. Lin Xulian remained sitting on the master seat of her Phoenix palace's receiving hall. From the height where she sat, she can clearly see the totality of the princess's appearance. Lin Xulian can still remember that adorable little princess she met four years ago during the emperor's birthday banquet. She is wondering how much that princess must've grown.
When the door finally opened and Lin Xulian can clearly see the princess, her eyes sparkled. Because the young lady in front of her is really petite. Her height only increased by a few inches. But she is really short compared to any eighteen-year-old lady that Lin Xulian met. Her face also didn't change that much. There is still a bit childish look. Then when Lin Xulian's sight landed on her chest, she found it flat like a washboard.
Her appearance is a huge contrast to her grown up clothes and matured lady-like posture while walking. She looks like a child who stole her mother's clothes. But overall Lin Xulian finds her adorable in every way. 'I want to keep her.' Lin Xulian thought.
"This princess greets your majesty, the empress. May your majesty live for thousands of years." Xing Baihe greeted Lin Xulian with a proper bow the moment she reached the front hall.
Lin Xulian almost swoon hearing her sweet voice. It is also still a bit childish that no one would believe that she is already eighteen. If Lin Xulian hadn't met her four years ago, she wouldn't believe it herself. But Lin Xulian can't show her true feelings because it might scare the little princess away. "You may rise Princess Xing. We'll be sisters in a few days so you don't have to be so uptight."
"This princess thanks your majesty." Hearing Lin Xulian's dismissal, Xing Baihe raised her head to look at Lin Xulian. Then her face showed a flabbergasted expression.
Lin Xulian knitted her eyebrows seeing her reaction. "What is it Princess Xing?"
Xing Baihe blushed knowing that Lin Xulian noticed the change in her expression. "I-It's nothing your majesty. I-I was just amazed how much more beautiful you've become in all those years. Your beauty is like a fine wine. It is getting better and better while it aged."
"You surprisingly have a sweet mouth, Princess Xing. Come and take a seat beside me." Lin Xulian presented the seat at her right. It is a bit lower than the master seat but still above everybody else. Inside the palace's receiving hall, aside from Lin Xulian and Princess Xing, Concubine Lan and Concubine Yun is also present. There are also other noble ladies, both married and not. They were invited to welcome the princess and help her gain some new acquaintances. She came from a foreign country after all.
Xing Baihe immediately took her seat. "Your majesty, can this Princess offer you some tea. I brought some Camellia Sinensis tea for your majesty to enjoy. This will help your body warm up especially now that the weather is slowly getting colder."
"This empress does remember that Princess Xing has a talent in brewing tea. The essences that you extract from the tea is very pure yet not overpowering. This empress will be happy to have some then." Lin Xulian wasn't lying when she said it. The tea that Xing Baihe brewed last time was the best she had in her life. This is also the other reason why she willingly let her marry the emperor.
Xing Baihe signaled her servants to prepare the things she needs and brewed the tea right in front of everyone. But of course the tea only belongs to Lin Xulian. No one has the guts to ask some from a princess.
"Your majesty is really a good person. No wonder his majesty wanted to remain loyal to his empress." Xing Baihe suddenly said to Lin Xulian in a low voice.
Lin Xulian looked deeply at Xing Baihe. "Princess Xing, are you really certain that this is fine with you? I know you already agreed, the same goes for Emperor Xing but...can your heart settle for this kind of life?" Lin Xulian is referring to Feng Jun Yi's condition when the marriage alliance was conferred. He clearly stated that aside from not giving away the position of the empress to the princess, he also won't consummate with her.
"In all honesty your majesty, I am quite relieved. At least I didn't get to marry a lecherous man. Although his affection wasn't directed towards me, I am completely satisfied just seeing a pure and true love right in front of me." Xing Baihe said with a pure honest smile.