194 Chapter 194 Her Return, His Harem
'Almost two years.' These thought flowed in Lin Xulian's mind as she blankly stare at the Gonglu country capital's gates. Peeking through the thin material of the curtain covering her inside the carriage, her sight observed the line of people going in and out of the capital. Across her inside the carriage, Gu Kei can feel her gloomy mood. So the excitement she expected to feel on this journey dulled.
As to why they are currently using a carriage, it is the arrangement that Lin Xulian prepared. Back in Xing Guang's manor, Lin Xulian got Fei to deliver her instructions to Xiao Tianshi. There are only four people, or two couples who knew that she is alive. The Xiao sisters, Xiao Tian and Xiao Tianshi and their respective partners Hao Yuwen and Feng Jun Yao.
Lin Xulian instructed Hao Yuwen to prepare a merchant carriage for her to use. She wanted to enter the capital legally so she also asked Feng Jun Yao to prepare her and Gu Kei's identity tokens. Of course she used the name Gu Lian given by Clan Head Gu Lingdao. They met in the nearest town from the capital with about ten miles in distance. Luckily, Liu Yeyin didn't put up a guard against the fourth prince so Lin Xulian's entrance went smoothly.
As for Xing Guang and the other Mercenary Clan members, One of Gu Rin's subordinate escorted them toward their base. Lin Xulian didn't follow just yet. There are things she had to do openly in order to gather enough information to guarantee the success of her plans. After all, Lin Xulian acknowledges Liu Yeyin's ability. She could never be too cautious.
Seeing the familiar street of the capital, Lin Xulian couldn't help but feel nostalgic. Then when the carriage turned, Lin Xulian was able to take a glimpse of the palace's gates. The place where she spent five years of her life. The place where she experienced the most thrilling time of her life. She experienced happiness, excitement and also fell in love. But she also experienced painful betrayal and lies. Her eyes rippled with emotions under her mask.
With another turn, Lin Xulian couldn't see the palace anymore. And as if nothing had happened, her expression became calm as a still water. The carriage then stopped at the back entrance of the Caoyao Pavilion. The moment she stepped down from the carriage, Lin Xulian was greeted with warm hugs from her two sisters, the Xiao siblings. The two wept and voiced out how much they missed their boss. Luckily, Hao Yuwen dismissed all the servants in order to protect Lin Xulian's identity. Or else the sisters will unknowingly spill the beans.
Aside from the two, Hao Yuwen and Feng Jun Yao also welcomed her with relieved and happy smiles. Although they knew that she is alive, seeing Lin Xulian at this moment still felt like a dream. After all, they also wept and mourn when they heard about her death.
Hao Yuwen then led Lin Xulian and her companion Gu Kei inside a private hall on the second floor of the establishment. In there, the dishes are already prepared for them. The room became lively at once. The six of them celebrated and shared everything and anything that had happened during the times they were apart. Gu Kei was able to get along well with them as well.
However, one of them is obviously not on a celebratory mood. The fourth prince Feng Jun Yao, who is usually the noisiest and outgoing one is surprisingly quiet the whole time. And Lin Xulian noticed it so she asked worriedly. "Your highness, is there something wrong? You seemed awfully down."
Hearing Lin Xulian's familiar voice calling him formally, Feng Jun Yao looked at her with a perplexed expression. "Why are you calling me so formally sister-in-law? You can casually call my name without any salutations just like you used to."
Lin Xulian seemed to realize something so her mood dampened considerably. Everyone in the room noticed the change in her too so the air suddenly became awkward.
"This one wouldn't dare, your highness. I am just a foreign visitor and not anyone's sister-in-law." Lin Xulian said seriously with a hint of finality.
Seeing their boss getting upset, as Feng Jun Yao's lover, Xiao Tianshi reprimanded him with a low dangerous tone. "Yao, did you forget what I told you before? Your brother doesn't deserve our boss. So don't try to coax her back to his side or I'll be mad at you!""I do remember. But I was there when emperor brother was down and almost killing himself from grief and guilt. There must be a misunderstanding somewhere." He then turned to Lin Xulian. "Sister-in-law, maybe if you talk it out things will clear up. Emperor brother do care about you. Can you at least give the both of you a chance?"
Lin Xulian subconsciously caressed the pink pearl necklace hidden under her robes. Her eyes momentarily dimmed. "It was really a misunderstanding. But the two of us going back together is impossible. I know Feng Jun Yi really did care about me since I am his benefactor. However, I'm a greedy person. I wanted more than just care. And he could never give what I wanted in life.
As for his guilt, helping him avenge my "death" will do. I won't let him live with my burden after all these. But that's all. After all, the "Empress Lin Xulian" is already dead. If I return, it is a proof that I deceived the emperor and that is punishable with death. Although Feng Jun Yi would probably not kill me, his subjects will not be satisfied. Rules are rules. So your highness, just let me handle these in my own way. Me, being alive, you should take this secret to your grave." Lin Xulian said in an emotionless tone.
Feng Jun Yao was rendered speechless with Lin Xulian's intimidating tone. He still wanted to convince her more but seeing her indifferent and rational attitude, he had no choice but to give up. He can only sigh and ask for his eldest brother's forgiveness. 'I tried, brother.' He thought in defeat.
Inside a chamber of a courtyard in the back palace, the fifth prince and now the interim emperor Feng Jun Yun expressionlessly stood as his servants carefully draped back his purple royal robes. In a wide bed that could fit two or three persons, a naked woman exhaustedly rested under a quilt.
Before leaving the chambers, he gave the woman another glance. Then with a deep sigh he stepped out. After "temporarily" receiving the throne as the emperor, the officials under him gave their daughters as his concubines. And the woman just now is the eight concubine he received. But unlike any other man, he didn't get that sense of satisfaction after having his own harem. Instead, he felt empty.
At first he didn't agree to receive any woman to his harem. But his grandfather, the Left Prime Minister Li insisted saying that even if Feng Jun Yi miraculously wakes up, his grasp to the throne will remain once he has a little prince on top of performing well as the father of the nation.
In fact, his grandfather previously suggested that he should marry a main wife. He even gave him a long list of candidates, but he rejected saying that his brothers might get upset and doubt his intentions. After all he offered himself as just a temporary replacement. Getting a wife after ascending might give them a clue that he has an ulterior motive.
Unknown to anyone, deep inside his heart there is another reason. He can't understand it as well but he can't give that position to just anyone. Not even just for show. At first he thought that it is because of his affection to Xing Baihe. But rationally speaking, he can't marry her anyway since she is already Feng Jun Yi's wife. So marrying anyone should not be an issue. So what's the nagging feeling in his heart?
As for Xing Baihe, he promised to give her the position of the Empress Dowager, even higher than the empress. In that way, even if she became his woman, no one would go against them since they will have the highest position in the court.