Chapter 4: Crisis
Edited by: Asa
A light fragrance engulfed the room, and on the dresser was a silver hair tie, along with a few delicately made accessories and pins… Staring at his reflection in the mirror, Qi Mingyue’s retreated his gaze, unhappy with his childlike body. However, he couldn’t deny that this face was indeed beautiful, and even a bit similar to the one he had had in his past life. His eyes were long and his nose was straight. The lips however, was obviously from his father.
Listening to the light footsteps behind him, he quickly grabbed the hand that was about to put more hair ties in his hair, “HongEr, please don’t put in anymore, it is fine as it is.”
“Today is the first day your highness is going to the royal school for classes, I have to make sure that your highness looks pretty.”1
Qi Mingyue stood up, allowing Ying Ran to secure the accessories on his waist, then sighed, “Seems that HongEr thinks that I’m not attractive enough…” before he could even finish his sentence, Hong Qiu blushed in a panic, “That’s not what I meant, how would I possibly think that about your highness, what I meant was…”
“It’s fine, I was just messing with you, look at you.” Ying Ran helped Qi Mingyue with his robe, and smiled as she took out a handkerchief. Surprisingly, he took it from her, pulling Hong Qiu down to sit, patting her tears away with the silk handkerchief, and in a comforting tone, said, “To make a lady cry, it is my mistake.”
Hong Qiu didn’t know what to do as she sat there, and forgot to cry, her face flushed for no apparent reason. She thought to herself that if her master was already like this at such a young age, what would he be like when he grows older? Ying Ran stood to the side but was also very impressed by him, at the mere age of 5, his presence alone indicated his royal status. Everything he did was calculated and even the treatment towards his servants was well-reasoned. He was just a kid, but the servant ladies were all already incredibly affectionate towards him, some even wished they were born a bit later.
Looking at the time, Ying Ran quickly reminded, “Your highness, it is getting late.”
Qi Mingyue nodded, “No need for them to follow,” and walked out.
Hong Qiu and Ying Ran bowed as he left, knowing that as long as he ordered something, they must follow that order. Even though he was kind towards them, they still had to follow the rules.
The second prince joked around with them a lot, but still inspired admiration from within them. When he looked at you silently with a smile on his face, he gave the illusion that he stood well above you.
Thinking back to the words the grandmaster said five years ago, both of them looked at each other and confirmed together:even if the prince was the ‘abnormal star’, they swore to take care of him no matter what.
Since the day that Qi Xutian had ordered that the two princes be moved to the Zixia Palace, Qi Mingyue has been living in the Yuexia Court for five years, not far from Qi Mucheng’s residence, the Ziyang Court. However, everyone knew that even though the two princes were confined, everything they needed was accommodated for them. Until the day they were to take classes at the royal school, they were not allowed to take a single step out of Zixia Palace.
What they didn’t know was that this was Qi Xutian’s way of hiding Qi Mingyue’s distinctness from the public, that was all. Since the hundredth day that Qi Mingyue had started talking, he didn’t want to drink breast milk anymore, but had asked Qi Xutian to prepare him fresh milk. Calling back Hong Qiu and Ying Ran, he’d make them read books to him when he was bored. Even though the language here was similar to his past life’s, there were a few differences in the way it was written. If it weren’t for his small body, he’d have already learned to write. Qi Xutian originally wanted him to live within the XuanTian palace, but it was rejected by Qi Mingyue due to it being an unreasonable request. How could a prince live in the Emperor’s chambers? If he just moved in for no reason at all, doesn’t it just prove his special treatment?
However, Zixia palace was just west of the XuanTian palace, and it could be considered close to Qi Xutian’s place, so sometimes he’d visit. However, he didn’t want to be seen so he didn’t go there a lot. Within five years, he had only been there a few times. Therefore, the rumor had already been spread that the two princes were abandoned by the Emperor due to that ‘abnormal star’ reading. Too bad one no knew who it was, so both of them had been dragged down by it.
No matter what the public said, Qi Mingyue only cared about the things that mattered. He actually really hoped that they gossiped more. Within five years, Qi Xutian had gotten a few more concubines in his harem, which made him sigh thinking that the emperor had so much luck in love. He also heard that Consort Xiao and Fei gave birth to a prince and a princess respectively. The prince was named LianShuo, and the princess was named NingLu. Both were younger than him by half a year, but it was told that the Emperor was very pleased with them. Compared to being confined to ZiXia palace, they could go anywhere they wanted. Listening to the gossip, he played around with the toys that his father had asked for servants to send, everything ranging from jade to gold, grinning slightly.
In these years, even though they didn’t meet a lot, Qi Mingyue realized that his father’s affection towards him was real. Everything from his clothes to the food he ate was much better than the other princes. Almost every time when Qi Xutian received something nice, he’d order for it to be gifted to him. If he liked it, he’d keep it, everything else would be sent back. Being treated like this, he couldn’t help but trust his father. Others said that Qi Xutian’s treatment towards others is unpredictable, then it meant Qi Xutian really must have a special place in his heart for him.
Qi Mingyue had just stepped out of YueXia Palace, and saw a small crowd of people nearby walking towards the royal school as well. Maybe they were going there too? He thought to himself as he continued walking at a steady pace.
A girl, about his age, stood there crying uncontrollably and the servants around didn’t really know what to do. Seeing him walking towards them, a guard stood forward. Noticing his extravagant attire but still unsure of who he was, he asked, “Young man, are you…”
“Mingyue.” He stated his name calmly, but his footsteps didn’t stop, and he continued walking forward.
“The second prince?!” Everyone there was shocked. The prince that had never come out after the hundredth day celebration was standing in front of them. Even though it was said that he wasn’t favored, he was still a prince. And thus, everyone paid their respects towards him.
“You may rise.” He nodded slightly, not planning to talk to them too much. But as he walked by the little girl, a tiny hand tugged on his robes. “Are you the second prince that father dislikes? What about big brother? Aren’t you two confined together?”
As soon the girl finished talking in her delicate voice, the surrounding servants couldn’t help but feel awkward, only to see that Qi Mingyue stood still and held her tiny hand, giving her a smile, “Are you NingLu?”
The little girl saw his expression, then nodded and stared, even forgetting to cry. She then pouted her small lips and said: “Second brother is so pretty, why is father locking you up? Is it because he doesn’t want other people to see you?”
Everyone only saw that the second prince reached out, stroking the princess’s face, wiping away her tears, then muttered, “Such a straightforward child, too bad… To be born in the palace.” He then flicked her forehead lightly, leaving a small red mark, “in the future, remember, there are some things better left unsaid.”
As soon as Qi Mingyue finished, he turned to leave. However, taking a few steps, he then turned around, “Please do tell Consort Lin, those who talk too much, should be punished.”
Looking at the figure as he walked away, the crowd stood still. Even NingLu forgot why she was crying. She only thought about how this brother of hers was the prettiest and the nicest person on earth. Rubbing her forehead a little, she smiled brightly, “Second brother is going to the royal school right? NingLu wants to go too!”
The servants then remembered that the reason the princess was crying was because of the royal school. Now that she had seen the second prince, she became even more determined. The male guards around the servants gave them an awkward smile. How was the royal school a place for girls? They probably should just go and get Consort Lin.
Even though Qi Mingyue found his way to the royal school, it was already too late. He calmly walked in, “I have arrived late, allow master to punish me.” 2
Once entering the royal school, no matter what status you have, everyone must pay their respects to the teacher. Lin Murong saw that even though he was late, he didn’t lose his posture, and was satisfied but said, “Why aren’t you in your seat, first day of class and you are already late. You will be copying this book as punishment.”3 As he said that, he took a book, not too thick, not too thin, and set it in front of him.
Qi Mingyue took the book and found his seat. Seeing that the seats were arranged based on status, his seat was right next to the eldest prince, who sat at the center of the first row. It was Mingyue’s first time seeing him. Looking him over, Qi Mingyue saw that he was handsome, and he looked more like Consort Hua. But his eyes were weak, and his dodging gaze made it seem like he had done something bad. Like a thief with a guilty conscious, it was another useless emotion to have.
Opening up the book, Qi Mingyue realized that it was just a normal language textbook that looked like a requirement for this class. Not the same as ones from his past life4, and the words were more complex. To let a five year old, not knowing how to even read, let alone write, to copy this. It seemed like Lin MuRong was doing this to trouble him on purpose.
Everyone knew that the emperor didn’t like these two princes. When they finally were able to enter the royal school at the age of five, it was the first time anyone had seen the two of them. The people who sat behind them were all children of relatives of the royal family, and also a few others that were allowed to study in the royal school. They’d all heard about Qi Mingyue and Qi MuCheng. Of course they weren’t very friendly to the two, and nearly insulting them.
Qi MuCheng didn’t object, and continued to hang his head low to work. Qi MingYue didn’t care either, and started copying the book, pretending that he was just practicing his handwriting. Listening to Lin MuRong reading the textbook while shaking his head, slightly annoyed, he realized that everything in this book was utterly useless.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise from outside the door, reaching all the way into the class. Everyone turned their heads, only to see a little girl being held back by multiple servants, crying and running towards the class.
“Second brother!” She ran straight into Qi MingYue’s arms, crying as she complained, “NingLu wants to go to the Royal School too!”
When had they become this close? Pulling himself away from NingLu, his head started to hurt, “Sister, you should go talk to father. If he permits you, then you can come study.”
“Mother said that girls aren’t allowed in to study in the Royal School, so father will never agree.” NingLu’s face was filled with discontent.
“Of course you need to study, just not at the Royal school5. What’s the difference in studying outside? Don’t be troublesome, go back.” Seeing that everyone around was watching this drama play, Qi MingYue didn’t stop it. He realized that since NingLu had called him out, he had to continue playing his part. He couldn’t help but start getting annoyed.
“Mother didn’t allow me to play with everyone else, NingLu is so bored being alone in that house, that’s why I want to come to the royal school with brother… since second brother is here too, then I’ll be even more happy! Together with second brother…” Making it seem as if someone had wronged her, she continued to cry.
Qi MingYue sighed, then turned to Lin MuRong: “Doesn’t Master want to say something?”
Lin MuRong only then walked towards them, and looking at NingLu, he whispered: “You kid, how could you make trouble here, go back.”
“Listening to him, Qi Mingyue remembered that Consort Lin was this Master’s daughter, meaning that he was NingLu’s grandfather. No wonder when she had broken the rules of the school, even Lin MuRong hadn’t said much.
NingLu wasn’t afraid of him, still yelling and screaming, “No! I want to study here! I wanna be with second brother! NingLu is not going anywhere! No!”
As she was screaming, a servant grabbed her and dragged her towards the entrance. NingLu continued to struggle, waving her hands and feet around. Not knowing what, she kicked something so hard that it flew. Directly towards Qi MingYue.
Qi MingYue saw the ink stone flying towards him, and so did everyone else. But no one pulled him out of the way. He knew how to avoid it but his body wasn’t quick enough. He managed to get away, but it still hit his temple, bleeding immediately.
Just then, Qi Xutian’s voice could be heard, “What’s going on here? Why is it so noisy?” As the footsteps came closer, he could be seen waving a fan strolling into the classroom, at the door he then saw the teary eyed NingLu at the door, “Who made my princess cry?” His face was suddenly filled with amusement.
Everyone at the scene quickly kneeled. All except for Qi Mingyue who stood there in the middle, rubbing his blood stained forehead as he frowned in displeasure.
Qi Xutian, seeing him injured with a face full of blood, his blood boiled. Kicking the people in his way, he quickly rushed to his side and held him in his arms, covering the injury, “Does it hurt? I will take you back to treat it!”
“It’s nothing really.” Qi Mingyue then remembered the injuries he suffered during the years of training he did as an agent, realized that Qi Xutian was blowing this out of proportion.
Qi Xutian glared at him, then saw the people on the ground staring at his actions in awe, but not moving an inch. This made him furious, and he yelled, “What are you guys still doing on the ground? Don’t you see that MingEr is hurt? Go notify the Royal Doctor!”
Liu Yi then appeared, and spoke calmly, “Your Majesty, I have requested for him to come. The Royal Doctor will arrive shortly.”
Qi Xutian saw the pale face of Qi Mingyue in his arms and kissed his cheek, then complained in a low voice, “You know that getting yourself hurt is going to make me worry, why are you so careless? Who hurt you, I will make sure they regret being alive.” Even though the last words were soft, it also sounded like a real threat. Everyone who heard it shivered in fear.
Along with that sentence, Qi Xutian’s cold gaze scanned the room. The suffocating atmosphere made it even harder for some people to breathe. Thinking to themselves, they wondered who had said that the Emperor disliked the second prince- he obviously adored him. Whoever said it should go die, they had been caught in this mess.
NingLu knelt on the ground, knowing that she was definitely in trouble, “I-It….It was me….” and started crying as soon as she finished talking.
Qi Mingyue suddenly felt a wave of pain, pulsing in his hand, he gently tapped Qi Xutian’s shoulder, “Father, she’s so noisy.”
Qi Xutian furrowed his brows, and reached out to NingLu, pressing her pressure point6, then coldly ordered a servant on the side, “Take her to Consort Lin to discipline her, she will not exit her room for half a year. Consort Lin’s teachings were inadequate, her expenses will be cut in half. As for you all… unable to take good care of the princess, you will be beaten twenty times7! Leave!”
Ordering them off, seeing that the royal doctor was yet to come, Qi Xutian held Qi Mingyue tighter, “I’ll bring you back to XuanTian palace. There is White Lotus there, it can stop the blood.” and with that, they quickly left.
The crowd of people that knelt on the ground overheard that the Emperor was going to use the ‘White Lotus’ on the second prince, shocked. ‘White Lotus’ given from the LianTong
Empress as a gift, meaning that the lotus was very expensive and important. To dote the second prince to this point was very surprising to others.
It seemed that the second prince was the one His Majesty really cared for, does that mean that the abnormal star…. Is it the eldest prince? Looking over, Qi Mucheng still sat there, his head hung low, expressionless.