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Book I The spring day’s apricot flowers scatter above, who is the youth who walks elegant and quick?
Chapter 39 Only half the gossip
Although the scene before him was ridiculous and impossible, Yue Jiefei was extremely loyal to his position. Even if it was a dream, if Rong Zhi had violated the princess. That was a truth that he had to act upon.
She saw Yue Jiefei approach, bend over and brought his hand down on Rong Zhi’s shoulder. When he released Chu Yu, he grabbed his arm and bent it backwards.
Chu Yu’s ears felt numb. The terrifying sound seemed to be that of bone cracking. Soon thereafter she glimpsed Rong Zhi’s arm bent at an abnormal ankle.
Pulling Rong Zhi up again, Yue Jiefei kneed him in the abdomen. Another sickening crack and Rong Zhi’s body flew aside like a kite.
Chu Yu’s hands and feet felt cold. She instinctively sat up, turned around, her eyes following Rong Zhi. He flew back, crashing into an apricot tree three meters away. The branches were only slightly damaged, but they were enough to stop his motion. His body paused, before falling to the ground with the fluttering petals.
Was he…still alive?
Chu Yu’s mind began to go blank. She called Yue Jiefei only wanting him to pull Rong Zhi off her, but hadn’t expected that he would handle things in such a ruthless way. He didn’t even seem to treat Rong Zhi like a live person, not even taking into account his status in the palace when using violence.
Wasn’t Rong Zhi high-ranking in the palace? Didn’t he have the love of the princess? How could Yue Jiefei be so lethal in his movements?
The youth that had been pinning Chu Yu down with so little effort was now lying lifeless on the ground, motionless. Snow white apricot flowers were sprinkled on his black hair, his white clothes.
Chu Yu couldn’t help but hold her breath until she saw him move ever so slightly. Finally she stopped worrying and recovered her normal mental capabilities.
Although she was angry that Rong Zhi had tried to strip her clothing away, she never wanted to try and kill him. Yue Jiefei’s heavy-handedness had exceeded her expectations.
Rong Zhi began to move. Pushing his good hand against the ground, he propped himself up into a sitting position. His hair had come apart, spilling on both sides of his pale face. Petals drifted down slowly as he moved, sliding down through strands of his black hair.
After he sat up, he pushed his back against the trunk. But his eyes were still fixed on Chu Yu. More accurately, on her exposed shoulder. That’s exactly when she realized that she was still disheveled. With an irritated hum, she stood up and pulled her clothes around her body.
Rong Zhi’s expression was complicated. Thousands of tiny expressions seemed to flit through his face all at once, until finally–Chu Yu knew she hadn’t seen wrong. In the end, his face had lapsed into relief.
A rather extremist view states that everyone is wearing a mask. If Rong Zhi had one, it would probably be his laidback demeanor and smile. Chu Yu had rarely seen him without one of those two expressions. But in this moment, his calmness had been disrupted. He looked so alive, so animated, bright as exploding fireworks that linger in the night air.
Yue Jiefei didn’t care for any of that. Seeing that Rong Zhi could sit up, he tensed to attack him again before Chu Yu called for him to stop. She turned towards Rong Zhi.
“Do you believe me now?”
After the moment of expressiveness, Rong Zhi was back behind his mask. He flashed a mild smile, his eyes quiet and calm. “When I prepared to do this today, I had already prepared for the worst outcome, and had prepared myself to endure it.” Meaning that he gave himself up to her judgement.
Although his tone was peaceful, his accepting attitude almost seemed severe and resistant to Chu Yu. She couldn’t help but say, “You’re quite bold.” He knew what would happen when he failed, but he went ahead anyways. What was it that made him abandon safety for this?
Rong Zhi smiled yet again. “I’ve always been bold. Princess, you should have known that even three years ago.”
Seeing that she seemed unprepared to grant him a sentence, he kept smiling. “If Princess does not plan to punish your humble servant, then he must bid you farewell.” Saying this, he lowered his head. One hand pressed against the other injured upper arm. With a sudden burst of force he reconnected the dislocated part. When the sound of bones cracking rang out, his smile seemed to bloom even brighter, brighter than ever before, so bright that it made Chu Yu’s blood run cold!
After that, he fixed his broken ribs and arm as well.
Chu Yu had thought Yue Jiefei was cruel. What she hadn’t expected was how much more cruel Rong Zhi was. Yue Jiefei was only cruel to others. After all, it didn’t hurt him when he dealt with others. But the body that Rong Zhi was handling without care was his own injured body!
What made her even more fearful was not just how he treated his own flesh and blood like something dead, but his smile. From beginning to end, it stayed bright without the slightest hint of forced cheer or disguised pain, as if breaking a bone was something to be happy about.
What kind of creatures did Princess Shanyin have in her backyard? A seemingly adorable child who wanted nothing more than to be a male companion to the princess; a human-shaped poetry machine who could scrawl down tens of hundreds of poems in the shortest time; an ill boy who was also a skilled swordsman; a cheated-on Oscar performer of a prince. And, of course, the one before her who treated his body like it wasn’t his own, fumbled with it like it was made of building blocks.
As for the other ones she had set out from the palace, who knew what they had in store for her? It really was credit to Princess Shanyin that she could remain calm and in control of all of them, so that nothing big had gone wrong yet.
Chu Yu watched with her own eyes as Rong Zhi reconnected his bones with a smile, stood up slowly with one hand over his wounded ribs, and slowly walk out of the forest.
Chu Yu didn’t stop him, nor did she ask him anything more.
Only after he had departed did she turn to Yue Jiefei. “You’re quite heavy-handed.”
She said the words without any malice or accusation. After all, he had done his job. But upon hearing her words, Yue Jiefei immediately kneeled down, his head lowered, waiting for punishment. “Princess, I acted on my own behalf. Please punish me.”
Chu Yu was surprised. Reaching out, she pulled her collar tighter with a sigh. “You protected me. What punishment could I give you?”
Yue Jiefei refused to get up, still looking at the ground. “I should never have harmed Rong Zhi so, but did so due to our personal conflict. I trust Princess remembers…please, forgive me.”
Chu Yu hadn’t expected to bring up so much old drama with a careless word. Just as Yue Jiefei trailed off, her heart was hooked with curiosity as to the exact nature of the drama. But he only offered her his guilt.
Although she was curious beyond belief, she couldn’t ask any more in fear that he would sense something wrong. All she could do was interrupt him. “Don’t say anymore. The matter is settled. I’m tired and am returning.”
Dammit! Who said that you could tease someone like that, with only half the gossip!