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Book I The spring day’s apricot flowers scatter above, who is the youth who walks elegant and quick?
Chapter 38 Believe it or not
Should she tell him or not?
Chu Yu gazed at Rong Zhi without blinking.
He was delicately handsome. One would think he was soft and noble upon first glance. He had clear eyes and brows, with pure black eyes that were like endless like the end of the universe. Looking into them too long made you feel like you’d be sucked in. His nose had a high bridge, yet it was soft at the tip. His skin wasn’t pure white, but textured like a warm, smooth jade. Yet it was even warmer and softer somehow.
Eye to eye, in such close distance, it was as if they could read each each other’s emotions. His black eyes were filled with honesty as he murmured, “Trust me.”
Looking at him, Chu Yu’s taunting look turned into one of mockery.
She didn’t trust him.
Not a single word he said.
Even though she had given people differing degrees of her trust since arriving, that was as Princess Shanyin Liu Chuyu, not as the Chu Yu born a thousand years later.
The Liu Chuyu who was Princess Shanyin would trust some of these people. But Chu Yu didn’t.
The Chu Yu from a thousand years later didn’t trust anyone from this time. She kept her guard up to the highest extent, guarding her secret and bottom line, ensuring her safety before exploring her surroundings, constantly mulling over her future steps.
She wasn’t sure, didn’t know the future. But she wouldn’t be sad about that, wouldn’t let herself grow disillusioned.
The secret of her origins was her final bottom line. Perhaps if she told Rong Zhi, he would cooperate with her. But there was also the opposite possibility: that he would use this and push her to the edge of no return.
Chu Yu was not suspicious or spiteful. She just couldn’t trust–what did Rong Zhi have for her, that would be worth her abandoning her final bottom lines to believe in?
Rong Zhi raised an eyebrow. He had very fine brows that had the majestic flair of a rising wing when they rose. “You won’t talk? Even if you won’t, I have proof.”
Chu Yu’s taunting eyes grew even sharper. Proof? What proof? Did he have the ability to carve open her brain and read her mind?
She had a feeling that Rong Zhi wouldn’t hurt her. Not just because he didn’t harbor killing intent in his eyes, not just because he could have done so a long time ago in much more cunning, traceless ways, without resorting to violence in the middle of day.
Even when using violence, his hands were still gentle. Even when pressing Chu Yu to the ground, he had used his body to absorb the impact before turning over to keep her down.
But Rong Zhi’s next move stunned Chu Yu, making her freeze up and making her jaw drop: he bent down, opened his mouth, and with his teeth bit Chu Yu’s collar, slowly pulling it aside.
The goosebumps all over her body seemed to jump up in protest. She couldn’t control her instinctive fear, and felt that she was trembling down to the core of her bones with the piercing smart of shame.
He was taking her clothes off!
Although she was Princess Shanyin now, her previous life experiences had shaped her personality. She was not a person to abandon herself to lust. She had ordered the male concubines to scatter not just to avoid trouble, but also because she didn’t need them in the first place.
In certain aspects, certain ways, Chu Yu was even more conservative than Princess Shanyin, who lived in ancient times. She was a firm believer that both sides should take joy in a relationship, as well as the importance of respect and equality. The intimacy of Rong Zhi’s acts had already surpassed her bottom line.
Rong Zhi used his mouth only because both of his hands were busy. Chu Yu knew this as well. She told herself to stop caring as she suppressed her instincts, trying to relax her body so she wasn’t so stiff, all the while trying to think of other things to distract herself: Rong Zhi said it was four years ago. He looked no older than seventeen or eighteen now and could be no older than thirteen or fourteen four years ago. Had he been chosen at such a young age by Princess Shanyin? Or had she underestimated his true age?
Rong Zhi slowly peeled away Chu Yu’s collar. He raised his head for a quick breath of air before lowering his head and biting the inner layer. With less cloth between them, his warm breath blew against the skin on her neck. Chu Yu stared up at the sky without budging, acting the part of a dead fish.
Seeing her serious, tragic, almost sacrificial expression, Rong Zhi couldn’t help but chuckle. “Who sent you? Before coming here, didn’t you know what Princess enjoyed? You can’t even take this much?” He had already decided she had to be some sort of spy, although he was still curious. In such a tightly guarded palace, how could she have switched the real princess out?
Finally, he peeled several layers of clothing aside, revealing her smooth shoulder. Taking a breath, his gaze naturally wandered beneath her collarbone.
Then his eyes froze.
Right beneath her collarbone was a tiny red dot, as bright as cinnibar. Along with Chu Yu’s gaze, it seemed to mock him.
Rong Zhi’s expression sunk into thought. Releasing her chin, he wiped across the spot with a finger. But it didn’t disappear.
Chu Yu’s nervousness faded as her mouth twitched. She had thought Rong Zhi had some kind of convincing evidence. He was searching for physical traits! Little did he expect, this body once belonged to Princess Shanyin. But what was under her collarbone? Why hadn’t she herself found it? Perhaps she had overlooked it.
Rong Zhi had relaxed his grip on her. Taking the opportunity, Chu Yu turned her head and shouted, “Yue Jiefei! Come quickly!”
Was it too quiet in the forest? Yue Jiefei had walked a few steps further to wait, yet he couldn’t help but be suspicious. He had just been considering checking out the circumstances when Chu Yu’s high-pitched voice cut short his doubts. He hurled into the forest without a second thought.
When he saw the condition of the two in the forest, he was stunned. He rubbed his eyes with all his might before confirming he wasn’t seeing wrong. From what he knew, the princess had always been the one to climb atop Rong Zhi. How come this time it was Rong Zhi who was on top? Did he get so used to the motions that he decided to counterattack one day?
Seeing Yue Jiefei’s hesitation, Chu Yu grew angry. What kind of look was that? Was he seeing the swan trying to eat the whatever it was for the first time? (She wouldn’t admit to herself that she was the whatever it was…) *
She yelled again, “Yue Jiefei, what are you doing there? Come and save me!”
Hearing her urging, Yue Jiefei seemed to come back to himself, stepping up quickly.
* Chinese saying: “A toad wants to have swan meat”. It’s a metaphor for someone ugly trying to get with someone who’s way out of their league. Here, it’s reversed.