On the way back, Xiao Wangye tightly held Yan-daren’s hand, and in the blink of an eye, they had arrived at the gates of the mansion.
When Xiao Wangye saw the three words “Rui Wang Mansion” that he had written himself, he felt a burst of loss from the bottom of his heart. He thought that Yan-daren must’ve taken a shortcut with him. If not, then how could they have arrived so quickly?
Yan-daren didn’t understand Xiao Wangye’s mind. Releasing his hand, he said, “It’s getting late. Go back and rest.”
Xiao Wangye didn’t listen. He grabbed Yan-daren’s sleeve and refused to let go. Good thing Yan-daren turned around this time. He soon understood, and then lowering his head, he pecked Xiao Wangye’s lips again.
Xiao Wangye pursed his lips. Although he wished to continue, he thought of how they’d have more time in the future and let Yan-daren go back.
After Yan-daren left, Xiao Wangye’s fingers kept lingering on his lips, and he giddily ran back to his room with a spring in his steps.
However, the moment he stepped in through the door, Xiao Wangye’s smile completely froze on his face.
On the bookshelf in the room, the secret compartment was opened, and the imperial edict inside had disappeared.
Xiao Wangye’s face turned white, and his whole body trembled. When he rushed out of the door, his legs were weak and he almost tripped over the threshold.
Panicking, he shouted Pearl’s name. When Pearl heard it, she hurried over.
“This evening… Who has been here this evening?” Xiao Wangye couldn’t stand still, so he clutched Pearl tightly to stabilize himself.
Pearl had been following Xiao Wangye for many years, and she had never seen him freak out. Shaking, she replied, “Wangye, after you left with Yan-daren, all the servants returned to the lower room. No one had approached the room.”
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Xiao Wangye stopped talking. When he left the palace today, the guards at the gate were set aside by Yan-daren. Anyone could have easily…
Suddenly, on this freezing night, layers of cold sweat broke out on Xiao Wangye’s back. His face was as pale as paper, and he shook his head and muttered to himself, “It can’t be… He certainly didn’t do it on purpose.”
Pearl carefully supported Xiao Wangye and was about to cry in fear. “Wangye, what’s going on with you? Who are you talking about?”
Xiao Wangye broke away from Pearl’s hand, and his eyes were empty. Just then, he had been lively and adorable, but in a flash, he looked like he had lost his soul.
He staggered to the room step by step. Not having even walked that far, he fainted in the white snow.
Xiao Wangye was in a coma for a day and a night, and he didn’t wake up until the evening of the next day.
Pearl was sitting on her knees by the bedside and sobbing softly. When she saw Xiao Wangye open his eyes, she quickly went up to him and asked, “Wangye, are you feeling better?”
Xiao Wangye stared blankly at the curtains above the bed, and the scenes from last night flooded into his mind one by one, making him suffer from a splitting headache.
Xiao Wangye asked in a hoarse voice: “Has Yan-daren ever been here?”
Pearl said, “Never.”
Xiao Wangye closed his eyes again. Two lines of tears slowly slid from the corners of his eyes and slipped into his hair on the sides.
After that, Xiao Wangye lay in bed for another two days. During this period, he seldom ate. When he woke up, he stared at the bed curtain in a daze and said nothing.
Pearl thought Xiao Wangye was suffering from some strange disease, so she especially went to the palace and asked the imperial doctor to come for diagnosis and treatment. The imperial doctor shook his head and said that it was a heart condition.
Two days later, in the early morning, a young eunuch suddenly came from the palace. He said that the end of the year was near, and that the Emperor was going to hold a banquet in the palace tonight. He was inviting Rui Wang to attend.
Seeing Xiao Wangye being despondent, Pearl felt embarrassed. Unexpectedly, Xiao Wangye suddenly seemed to recover his spirit. He lifted himself from the bed and said to the eunuch: “Thank you, Gong-gong, for your trouble in passing on the invitation. The Emperor can rest assured that this Wang will be there on time.”
That night, Xiao Wangye entered the palace alone. He was wearing his favorite red jacket and sitting on the low table closest to the Emperor’s Dragon Throne.
All the officials were seated, and the Emperor came late. Xiao Wangye looked in the direction where the Emperor came from and saw Yan-daren, who hadn’t shown up for many days, walking side by side with the Emperor as they talked.
Xiao Wangye clenched his hands and firmly locked his gaze on Yan-daren. Yan-daren seemed to have sensed it, and he looked in Xiao Wangye’s direction.
The moment their eyes met, a trace of panic unexpectedly flashed in the eyes of the always calm Yan-daren.