169 Chapter 169 Solitude and Longing
Late one night, in front of the Phoenix Palace's gates, a handsome young man is staring blankly at the fully restored burnt building. His eyes show a hint of confusion as he tries to recall why he was there. His personal guard quietly stood by his side equally confused as to why his master has that look. Then a series of footsteps slowly approached his direction so the young man swiftly hid himself behind a pillar. The guard naturally followed albeit weirded out by his master's action.
Not long later at a short distance, he saw two eunuchs walking pass the Phoenix Palace's gates. But both of them halted and solemnly looked towards the Place. "It's a pity that her majesty, Empress Lin Xulian died tragically. I didn't even get a chance to serve her. It was my goal back then." Said one of the eunuch.
"Me too. I almost made it but the incident kept me from realizing that dream. Sometimes I wake up in tears after dreaming about all the possible encounter I can have while serving her. Unfortunately, I can only dream." Another one added with teary eyes.
The two eunuchs sighed heavily while still gazing longingly at the empty palace. The servants currently assigned in the palace are only there to keep it clean but the air is not that of a habitable space. It has become sullen and suffocating despite of all the efforts to erase the incident's trace.
With one last bow, the two eunuchs paid respects to the "deceased" empress then continue threading their way back to the servant's courtyards. And when the man is certain that no one else aside from him and his guard is there, he returned in his previous position. But this time his look is no longer confused but of shock.
"Xi, would you believe me if I tell you that I forgot about Lin Xulian?" The young man asked towards his personal guard by his side.
The guard, with his head lowered, sneak a peek at his master's face trying to decipher if he is serious or just messing with him. As a guard who accompanies his master everywhere, he knows that his master fancied the empress. Well, seeing that fairy-like face, no normal man would not admire her. But his master had it worst. So for him, his master forgetting about Lin Xulian is impossible.
"Replying your highness, if your highness says so then this one believes." The guards chose a safe answer. He wouldn't dare oppose his master's words, would he?With the guard's answer, the young man laughed mockingly. But not towards his guards but to himself. "You don't believe me. I can't blame you though. But it's true and I don't know why. This is frustrating." The young man said with a gradually cracking voice as he continues gazing at the Phoenix Palace.
The young man is no other than the fifth prince, Feng Jun Yun, who deeply loved Lin Xulian at first sight. And the fact that he had forgotten about her for some time delivered a blow on his heart and made him question how deep his love for her truly is.
His personal guard couldn't hide his surprise hearing his master's revelation. Even as a nobody behind the scene, he had never forgotten about the empress. What more for the fifth prince. "Don't be too hard on yourself your highness. The mind is the most powerful part of ones being. Sometimes when one is in great grief the mind will instinctively erase the cause of it." The guard said to reassure Feng Jun Yun although he has no background in medicine.
"I hope that's just it. Or else I will hate myself until my death." Feng Jun Yun said solemnly. Then he started to walk back to return to his own manor. "What is the situation in emperor brother's end?" He added in inquiry.
"Replying your highness, the emperor pulled back his men not long ago after the previous missing group returned. No one knows why. Even the surviving guards had no idea. But I managed to learn that the Lin clan were in the An Valley after Empress Lin's death. Unfortunately, they also left without informing anyone where they are going." The guard reported.
Feng Jun Yun halted and turned around to look at his personal guard. "Are they fleeing? I had no idea that the mighty Lin Huang will choose run with his tail between his legs rather than seeking justice for his supposed beloved sister. Even emperor brother already gave up. So much for his claim that he truly loved her. He is a big dumb liar!" Feng Jun Yun stated furiously.
The guard sweated profusely while keeping an eye in their surroundings to ensure that no one heard his master cursing the emperor. This is one of the reasons why he pities his master. The emperor can openly express his grief with the empress's death. But the fifth prince can only grieve in silence.
"Your highness, please calm your anger and lower your voice for we might get in trouble." The guard warned. "This one thinks that his majesty had a valid reason for his actions. As to the Lin clan, they might be dealing with the incident on their own and just doesn't need the imperial family's help." He frankly added.
Thinking about it, Feng Jun Yun find it plausible for the Lin clan to choose to deal with the revenge themselves. It could also mean that they already know who the enemies are. And just as what his guard said, they didn't need the imperial family's help. They are strong enough. But he still wants to be a part of it no matter what.
"I can believe half of what you said. As for emperor brother, I bet he doesn't have any good enough reason. He spent more than half of his life to get his revenge from my mother and second brother. It hasn't been a year since the incident yet he already lost the motivation. It only means that he doesn't care about Lin Xulian that much as I do." Feng Jun Yun argued.
The guard chose to keep silent this time. What his master said was reasonable. Emperor Feng is not one to give up half way if he was truly determined.
When they final arrived at the fifth prince's manor, Feng Jun Yun suddenly commanded. "Clear my study's surrounding. Do not allow anyone within the courtyard's premises." Then he proceeds towards the direction of his study.
The guard bowed and accepted the command. He watched his master's retreating back for a few moments before doing his task. He could already guess that his master will enter his secret chamber within the study again. He had seen that chamber only once and that was the time he started pitying his master.
Inside the study, Feng Jun Yun twists the candle holder beside his desk. Then a low rumbling sound echoed inside the room. At a corner, an indent appeared in the stone wall. A narrow door suddenly appeared after he slightly pushed it in. The door led to a small chamber with a single chair at the center.
But the most remarkable inside it is the huge painting of a beautiful woman in front of the chair. He lit the candles at either side of the painting then sat on the chair as he marveled and admired the beautiful woman on the painting. It was no other that Lin Xulian.
It was a norm to paint the members of the imperial family after they were given a title. Feng Jun Yun then bribed and threatened the painter tasked to paint her to have a copy. But he was able to make use of it to the fullest after she died. After all this is his only way to see her face again. "But this painting couldn't compare to seeing you in the flesh. Even just from a distance. Maybe I won't forget you just like what happened today."
Feng Jun Yun is immersed in his solitude and longing that he had no idea that a pair of eyes is observing him from a corner. And since he is totally unaware of that person's presence, that person must've had a strong martial arts skill.