Chapter 358: Your lordship will remember
Chu Xifeng said His Highness Duke of Qin was personally investigating the matter of the grain merchants and the imperial uncle's intention to sell off his stores. Because of that, it was unlikely that he'd make it back to the capital in time for the wedding. Typically speaking, Han Yunxi disliked going to the palace without Long Feiye there, but she was quite in the mood to enjoy the trip this time. She wasn't the type of woman who cowered behind her man, afraid to do anything on her own, much less one who only relied on a man to get things done! She could walk shoulder-to-shoulder with him!
Even without Long Feiye, she had the guts to enter the palace on her own. Unexpectedly, Long Feiye actually made it back the moment she and Zhao mama were planning to get on their carriage.
"Your Highness, I thought you weren't coming," Han Yunxi was surprised.
Long Feiye glanced at the carriage before saying coldly, "Your lordship thought you'd wait for me."
So it's my fault? Han Yunxi was very happy at his words, and hastened to say, "Your Highness, then shall chenqie always wait for you in the future?"
At the sight of Han Yunxi's merrily dancing eyes, Long Feiye averted his gaze, feeling somewhat flustered. Instead of answering her question, he simply said in an icy tone, "Get on the carriage!"
Han Yunxi's eyes flashed slyly before she quickly climbed into the carriage behind him. Zhao mama was the last to follow, but her heart was stuck between a sob and a gasp. Why did it feel like esteemed wangfei had just teased His Highness Duke of Qin?
If esteemed wangfei was traveling on her own, then Zhao mama would sit in the carriage with her. But now that His Highness Duke of Qin was there, she chose to sit outside with the carriage driver. The trip from the Duke of Qin's estate to the imperial palace crossed through some of the capital's most prosperous, flourishing lanes. The carriage made its way slowly through the streets as Han Yunxi perched on the window to look outside. The journey from General Mu's estate to the imperial palace had to take a path past the Duke of Qin's estate, because nobody lived closer to the palace than the Duke of Qin. Han Yunxi had already asked around to find out the auspicious hour for the wedding. Now was supposed to be time for the crown prince to go pick up his bride!
But there was no sign of any activity in the streets. A puzzled Han Yunxi looked left and right for any signs of movement. Long Feiye leaned lazily to the side and watched her, before he asked offhandedly, "What are you looking at?"
Han Yunxi kept looking as she replied, "The bride's escort party! The crown prince should've left the palace by now."
It was obvious that Long Feiye wasn't interested. Han Yunxi kept silent for a long time, but suddenly turned back with a grin. "Your Highness, chenqie was actually planning to wait for you, but after calculating the bride escort time, I decided to set off."
Only then did Long Feiye ask, "What's so interesting about a bride escort party?" In his memories, this woman didn't like busy, bustling commotion either. Han Yunxi was about to reply when she decided to forget it. She didn't find bride escort parties very interesting, either, but Mu Liuyue's previous flaunting and bragging inspired her to take a look today.
These were matters of jealousy between fellow women. Showing off and social competition could hardly be interesting topics for men. Han Yunxi figured that Long Feiye had long tired of such topics, being the busy man he was. Moreover, she didn't like tattling on others, either.
With a grin, she replied, "I just want to see how they'll dispense with all 'unnecessarily formalities!'"
But at this moment, Zhao mama's voice suddenly drifted into the carriage. "Your Highness, that's not it!" Before Han Yunxi could stop her, Zhao mama had already told all. "Your Highness, a few days ago Mu Liuyue blocked esteemed wangfei's carriage in an alleyway and said she had a special message to deliver. It was all about how grand her wedding ceremony would be, how much betrothal gifts she'd gotten, and how esteemed wangfei even had to marry into the Duke of Qin's estate after the Han Clan paid for the bride escort party themselves!"
Zhao mama had wanted to tell Long Feiye everything as soon as they came home that day, but she hadn't dared. After all, no matter how she put it, it was still Mu Liuyue finding fault with His Highness Duke of Qin in the end! Like esteemed wangfei, she had decided to drop the topic until she eavesdropped on their conversation today and couldn't resist butting in. Because she was separated from her master and mistress by the carriage curtains and not facing them directly, she had the guts to speak her mind.
As she reasoned, even if His Highness Duke of Qin grew unhappy at the censure, he wouldn't flip out right here in the streets. Moreover, esteemed wangfei should be able to shield her as well! But her words left Han Yunxi stunned!
Zhao mama really deserves a beating! She can talk about Mu Liuyue all she wants, but why bring up how the Han Clan had paid for my procession? That's so awkward!
Will Long Feiye think I'm still holding a grudge to this day?
The atmosphere in the carriage grew more and more embarrassing as the silence stretched on. Under such circumstances, even the damnable Zhao mama didn't dare to speak. Han Yunxi maintained her posture of looking out the window, secretly wishing she could burrow into a crack in the carriage. She could admit that she had objects to how her own marriage had gone, or else she wouldn't have retaliated against Mu Liuyue. Still, that didn't mean she'd complain about it. She understand the complicated interests involved in the wedding between her and Long Feiye. If there was anything to blame, it was the fact that he was the Duke of Qin and she was the empress dowager's lifesaver's daughter. She could only rejoice over the fact that she hadn't become the empress dowager's spy and made them into real enemies.
In the midst of their silence, the joyous sound of wedding gongs and drums came from the distance. All of the people in the streets gradually made way for the procession. It was the bride's escort party!
"Your Highness, esteemed wangfei, the bride escort party's left the palace!" the tremulous Zhao mama finally found her chance to dissolve the awkward atmosphere.
Han Yunxi quickly followed with her own remarks. "It's really coming! And here I thought we'd miss it."
Fine, she might be pretending that nothing had happened, but she really wanted to see the expression on Long Feiye's face right now. It would've been fine even if Zhao mama never brought it up. Now that she did, did His Highness Duke of Qin really have no reaction at all?
After waiting a bit longer, all she heard was silence. Han Yunxi eventually hid the smidgen of disappointment in her heart and feigned excitement as she peered out to watch the procession. Still, everything she saw was enough to make her smile.
That wedding procession couldn't be counted as a procession at all! Although the crown prince had opted for simplicity, this was a little too bare! Any noble family in the capital could whip up a better bride escort party than this one! The crown prince rode on a horse at the head of the procession, which consisted of one sedan chair, one wedding granny, and a few musicians bringing up the rear. After that, there was....nothing!
Including the sedan chair bearers, there was only a grand total less than 20 people!
Han Yunxi couldn't help but worry for Mu Liuyue's sake. Judging from the current situation, Long Tianmo harbored no feelings towards his bride-to-be at all. He didn't seem to dread Great General Mu's reaction to the lack of pomp and ceremony, either. In other words, the wedding wasn't simply to draw the general's forces to his side, but also act as a threat in itself. Imperial favor and imperial might were both in play here. General Mu's actions would determine how well Mu Liuyue spent her days in the future.
Because the wedding procession was so tiny, and because the charity auction had stolen the spotlight for news in the past few days, there was no sensation at all. It couldn't be compared with her own wedding, which had emptied out multiple streets. Han Yunxi could admit she liked to harbor grudges. Right now, she dearly wanted to see Mu Liuyue's face at the general's estate. But that was fine-she'd definitely get her chance when they reached the palace. Long Feiye had kept quiet throughout the entire affair. Han Yunxi spent the carriage ride staring out the window, while Zhao mama had stuck her ear against the curtains from outside, listening in vain to nothing. Soon enough, they arrived at the gates of the palace, where they had to descend the carriage and switch over to a sedan chair. Han Yunxi was in a rush to get off, but Long Feiye held her back with one hand to get off first, then offer his hand to help her down.
What does he mean? Is he pretending that nothing happened back then?
Admittedly, she was still brooding on those words. She placed her hand in Long Feiye's own and lowered her head, her thoughts preoccupied. But Long Feiye suddenly said out of the blue, "The wedding...you retaliated against it beautifully."
"Ah?" Han Yunxi's head whipped up at the same time her foot trod on air. She immediately sank down in the gap between step and carriage. Long Feiye quickly grabbed her slim waist with both hands and lifted her clear out of the carriage. Han Yunxi hadn't done it on purpose; her alarm caused her to instinctively wrap her arms around his neck.
If Long Feiye had started spinning in circles with her right now, what a beautiful scene they'd make!
Of course, he did no such thing. Still, their posture attracted quite a few lookers. Aside from Zhao mama and the carriage driver, there were plenty of palace guards who simultaneously turned their heads to observe the pair. Because of their positions, Long Feiye had no choice but to look up at Han Yunxi, who also had no choice but to look down at him. This was the first time in their life that they'd looked on each other as equals!
It was also the first time Long Feiye had ever looked up at a woman, and the first time Han Yunxi had ever looked down at his icy lordship. Despite this, they seem quite familiar with the view, because they remained staring at each other in silence for a while. If nobody had come to interrupt them, Han Yunxi might have continued staring at Long Feiye up until the wedding procession returned. However, Long Feiye was quick to recover his senses. He said nothing else, but adjusted his grip until he was holding Han Yunxi in a princess carry and strode forward.
Zhao mama was completely gobsmacked. Hadn't her master always been reserved when it came to matters between men and women? He would get angry even if esteemed wangfei so much as took off her stockings, but now he was carrying her like that in view of everyone in public...
Your Highness Duke of Qin, esteemed wangfei...is it really alright for you two to be so affectionate on the day of the crown prince's wedding?
Leaving aside Long Feiye's domineering air, there was Han Yunxi. She had no objections to this at all, but enjoyed the whole thing immensely. She allowed him to carry her as she stared at Long Feiye's face with unconcealed delight. Anyways, it wasn't like she'd die if she admitted she liked him carrying her! In fact, she loved it to bits! Screw her lack of betrothal gifts, that was all in the past, anyways!
She, Han Yunxi, had always been someone who enjoyed the present and looked to the future!
Han Yunxi had already dismissed her regrets, but after Long Feiye carried her to the sedan chair, he stopped to whisper in her ear, "Han Yunxi, your lordship will remember."
Her ear was still warm with his breath by the time he withdrew from the sedan chair.
What will he remember?
The two sedan chairs rose from the ground as their bearers took them into the palace, one after the other. Nobody noticed the white-robed man standing at the edge of the wall to stare after the pair. As before, a white face veil obscured his features, but even that couldn't hide the clean and refined aura about him. His eyes were clear and bright despite their faint traces of exhaustion. He watched until the sedan chairs vanished into the palace gates before turning to disappear.