171 Chapter 171 Gonglu Country’s Future
Xu Yichen left the Emperor's Palace. And on his way back to his office in the imperial court room, he had to pass through a path adjoining the Emperor's Palace and the back palace. Coincidentally, a carriage stopped by the entrance of the back palace and a lady with a small frame alighted. Xu Yichen doesn't need to take second look to know that it is Imperial Noble Concubine Xing.
He is still not comfortable with interacting with Xing Baihe because of the fact that she is from the Zhixiang country. But since she is still of higher rank and Lin Xulian acknowledged her, he has no choice but to lower himself and approached her to pay respects whenever they have an encounter. "Greetings, Imperial Noble Concubine Xing." He said courteously with a deep bow.
Xing Baihe returned it with a small respectful bow. "You are too polite Adviser Xu. Adviser Xu is his majesty's trusted aid thus this Noble Concubine should be the one lowering myself." She said in a melodious and refined tone showing her royal upbringing.
"This subject cannot be presumptuous, your highness." He politely added. Xu Yichen intended to leave immediately after giving his obligatory salutations. But Xing Baihe kept him from doing so. Alas, he could only courteously respond to her.
"Is Adviser Xu with the emperor? How was His Majesty? This Noble Concubine wants to check how His Majesty is faring but can only ask around since it seems inappropriate. Although I am considered as His Majesty's wife, it was just a political marriage after all. In addition, we also had a mutual agreement to remain on a civil relationship.
"Nevertheless, as a human with emotion, I cannot help but worry. Xulian jiejie's death had a huge impact on myself even though we only interacted in a short span of time. I can only imagine how hard it was for His Majesty. I've never seen such genuinely loving couple. And suddenly separating them between worlds, my heart bleeds for them." Xing Baihe said in a sad tone. Tears are even stating to well up on the edge of her eyes but she quickly dabbed them dry with a handkerchief.
Xu Yichen for the first time held a positive view on Xing Baihe. 'No wonder empress Lin adored this lady. I thought it was just her maternal instincts kicking in just like in the sixth prince's case. This lady is truly good natured.' He thought as he looks at the emotional lady in front of him.
"There is no need to worry, Imperial Noble Concubine Xing. Although his majesty is saddened with Empress Lin's passing, he is determined to seek justice on her behalf. That motivation keeps him going. This subject is certain that if his majesty knows that your highness is concerned about him, he would feel a bit better." Xu Yichen answered and consoled her at the same time.
Suddenly, the emotional Xin Baihe lifted her head and stared straight into Xu Yichen's eyes. But this time there is not a single trace of sadness and vulnerability in her eyes. Instead, it has an air of dominance. Then Xu Yichen's eyes dilated. In a third party's perspective, it would look like all the light left his eyes and dimmed in an alarming manner.
"Tell me, Xu Yichen. What did you discuss with Feng Jun Yi?" Xing Baihe commanded. She sounded confident that Xu Yichen will tell her everything she asks.
"Replying your highness, the emperor and I discussed about the servants and imperial guards who run away from the palace." Xu Yichen replied in a respectful yet monotonous way.
"What?! As an emperor he still had time for such trivial matter? You should talk about more important things. Important enough to cause your country's demise!" Xing Baihe said furiously. "Is there anything else?""When the emperor heard that they all served your highness before, he had an odd reaction." Xu Yichen added in the same monotonous tone.
Hearing this, Xing Baihe's expression changed and became alarmed. "Is he suspecting me?" Xing Baihe isn't afraid of the emperor. In fact, she couldn't care less. But her brother wanted to destroy the Gonglu country without Feng Jun Yi realizing it. She herself wants to see him drowning in anguish while looking at his crumbling country. He will die without knowing how it happened.
"Rest assured your highness. This attitude is considered a normal reaction for the emperor. Before the previous Empress Dowager Li was dethroned and imprisoned, the emperor didn't trust and was wary of everyone. Even the servants were not spared. Including this subject." Xu Yichen replied based on what he deemed true.
Xing Baihe's mood lifted hearing this. "So that's it. Hah! In other words, he is starting to have a mental breakdown. I bet he feels awful right now. Having no one to rely on in the middle of his grief, anyone would lose his mind. Coupled with the poison I gave him; it won't be long until he goes insane." She said with a crazed smile.
Without anything more to report, Xu Yichen stood unmoving on his spot. Xing Baihe immersed herself in her sadistic daydream for a moment before releasing him out of her control.
"Adviser Xu? Adviser Xu!" A woman's voice jolt Xu Yichen awake. Then a worried look from Xing Baihe greeted him after he regain his consciousness.
Xu Yichen immediately gave a deep bow in front of Xing Baihe. "Forgive this subject, your majesty." He apologized. He suspected that he blacked out again. And worse is, it happened in front of Xing Baihe. This incident keeps happening a lot lately.
"There is no need to apologize, Adviser Xu. In fact, this Noble Concubine was alarmed and worried when you suddenly stopped responding. Is there something wrong with your body?" Xing Baihe asked anxiously.
"There is nothing to worry about, your highness. The imperial physician said that it is just due to fatigue. It isn't life threatening. Forgive this subject for causing unnecessary alarm." Xu Yichen replied respectfully.
"Then that will put this Noble Concubine at ease. I will get my servants to deliver some tea in Adviser Xu's office to alleviate your fatigue." Xing Baihe offered.
"This subject wouldn't dare to trouble your highness." Xu Yichen politely declined.
"Nonsense. Just think of it as my own way of assisting his majesty. By helping his people, I believe I can be of great help in a way. And brewing tea is just an insignificant aid. But it is the only thing I can do. I should apologize for my uselessness." Xing Baihe said with a warm smile.
"Then this subject will no longer decline and thank your highness." Xu Yichen conceded. And although he still couldn't erase his antipathy with the Zhixiang country, he already disregarded the possibility that Xing Baihe is a threat. She is too good and innocent in his eyes.
After a few final pleasantries, Xing Baihe bid farewell and entered the gates of the back palace. And Xu Yichen followed her departing back with his eyes, fully believing her lies and even promised to himself that he will help her gain the emperor's trust.
Meanwhile, in the Emperor's imperial study, a eunuch entered and gave a proper salutation before announcing a visitor's arrival. "Greetings Your majesty, his highness the six prince arrived." Feng Jun Yi hummed in acknowledgement signaling the eunuch to invite the visitor in.
Not long later, a handsome young man clads in a warrior's armor entered. The sixth prince Feng Jun Ying, now seventeen years old, looked a lot like Feng Jun Yi during his youth. His body exudes an air of strength and vitality that no one would believe that he was born weak and always in the verge of death.
Feng Jun Yi nod and praised his brother internally seeing how well he had grown. He is no longer the young child that couldn't protect himself. He is now a valiant warrior who protects his country in the front line of the battlefield.
"Welcome back Ying'er." Feng Jun Yi greeted after almost a year of not seeing each other.
"Thank you, emperor brother. Your majesty asked for this subject's immediate return. Did something happen?" Feng Jun Ying inquired.
Feng Jun Yi's expression became serious as he answered. "We have to discuss about the Gonglu country's future."