149 Chapter 149 Real Identity
*Cough* While Hu Hai and Lin Xulian are absorbed in their unexpected reunion, they heard a cough that brought them back and remembered that there are other people in the hall. They both snapped their heads towards the direction where the cough came from, only to see that it was actually Hu Hai's father.
"Lin Xulian greets Envoy Hu. It has been a long time. It is this one's honor to see you again." Lin Xulian said politely while giving envoy Hu a courteous bow.
"No need to be polite, your majesty. This one is called Hu Min. This one is glad and thankful that you are alive and well." Envoy Hu whose complete name is Hu Min replied her politely.
Lin Xulian's eyes dimmed hearing his address to her. "You don't have to address me as your majesty, Master Hu. I am no longer the Gonglu country's empress because the empress died during the burning incident." She said, failing to hide the sadness in her eyes.
Hu Min and Hu Hai are curious as to what had happened to her and the reason why she "killed" herself. But right now, there are more important matters to do. Hu Min and Hu Hai stood in either side leaving Lin Xulian at the center of the hall. "Master, my King. This is the young miss, Lin Xulian."
Lin Xulian suddenly felt nervous facing the intimidating old man in front of her. She also felt at loss on what to do and also guilty because instead of acknowledging and giving respect to the King, she chose to chat right in front of him. Maybe it is because as the empress, she didn't have to bow to anyone. The only time she needed to be polite is when she was facing emperor Xing Wenhe. Old habits die hard.
"Please forgive this one's impudence your majesty. This one forgot her manners and didn't acknowledge your great presence. This lowly one knows that this disrespect is punishable with death, but please punish me with leniency." Lin Xulian kneeled and said while trying to imitate the servants in the palace whenever they did some mistake.
Caught off guard, the King who is actually nervous about how to welcome his only great granddaughter, got confused why she suddenly apologized. He gave Hu Min a questioning look. "Is the people from other countries usually this stiff?""Yes my King." Hu Min replied respectfully.
"Tsk. Those rulers using intimidation to control their people. Treating themselves as Gods by deciding one's life and death to hide their weakness." He said disapprovingly. He then stood up and gave Lin Xulian a small, almost unnoticeable smile. "Stand up child. Come here and let me see you."
Lin Xulian's eyes widened seeing the old King standing up. She didn't notice it earlier but he is really tall and bulky. His face is the only part of him that looks old. But his body and ramrod posture still screamed power and strength. Built wise, he looks like her father Lin Xu. But of course the King is obviously stronger.
Another thing that confused her is why the King is talking to her in a gentle and warm tone. But his face doesn't reflect the emotion, like he is someone with facial paralysis. Just like her big brother Huang. Thinking up to this point, Lin Xulian wanted to laugh. 'Having father's body with big brother Huang's temperament. What an odd combination.' But thanks to these thoughts, Lin Xulian's nervousness vanished and felt an odd connection with the King.
Lin Xulian stood up and stepped closer to the King's throne but she didn't climb up and remained at the foot of the stairs. Seeing this, the King, to everyone's surprise, stepped down. When he is near enough, he enveloped Lin Xulian in an awkward bear hug.
Lin Xulian went wide eyed and stiffened. She can feel that the King doesn't have any ulterior motive, but still the hug is totally unexpected. She chose not to move and waited for the King to have his fill. The moment he let her go, Lin Xulian gave him an awkward and stiff smile. 'Maybe it is some weird culture or something to welcome guests? I don't want to think anymore.' Lin Xulian thought.
"I am glad you are alive. I am Lin Zuizhong, your great granduncle. Welcome home Lian'er, my great grandniece." The King said while giving her a tender look. Up close, Lin Xulian could finally see his small smile.
Born naturally intelligent and talented, Lin Xulian admits that this time she really feels stupid. She could only watch him with her mouth agape. She doesn't know what to say because she wasn't even sure if she heard him clearly. At loss on what to do, she looked behind her towards Hu Hai's direction.
"Welcome home Princess Xulian!" This is the reply she got from the four men even without asking her question out loud. Even the strict Gu Rin gave her a warm welcome. Their greeting looked and sounded genuine. "Me? A princess?!" Lin Xulian asked stupefied.
"Yes you are, Lian'er. My two brothers left the Qiangdu country more than a century ago and you are one of their descendants." The King replied. He then proceeds and told her about how his brothers ditched him to have fun outside the country. While he was left to deal with the country's affairs alone.
Hearing the full story from the King, Lin Xulian couldn't find any reason to doubt their claim about her identity. No wonder no one knew about their ancestor's origin. It turned out they come from the Qiangdu country. This also explains why they chose to hide where they came from.
"Hu Hai was with us since I was eighteen. I'm already twenty-one. Does that mean you already knew about our identity since then? But how? And why did you wait until now to say this?" Lin Xulian threw a string of questions.
"The moment the Feng bird chose you as his master, we already know you are the King's descendant, your highness." Hu Min answered one of Lin Xulian's question. "I'm sure you already knew that the only way to enter the country is by using your internal energy. We sent Hu Hai to train and prepare you and your Lin family before your return.""Also because I want to prepare your brother Huang to inherit my throne as the King." Lin Ziuzhong interjected. "I've been a King for centuries. And it is about time to pass it down. I was planning to inform him personally. But unfortunately, I cannot be away from the stone for a long time. It is the only thing that keeps me alive. And Hu Hai's attempt to convince him to enter the Qiangdu country always failed."
Lin Xulian finally understood the situation. If someone else would tell her that she is actually a princess, she wouldn't believe it as well. "I'll inform big brother Huang for you. But first, I need to find that stupid and glutton bird. I came here with him but he is till nowhere to be found."