Within a few days, everyone in the palace of the Princess had this new insight.
Starting from that morning when she drove all five of the male concubines serving her away, when even her favourite Rong Zhi hadn’t been able to stay, the Princess of Shady Mountains had suddenly changed.
She no longer indulged in pleasure throughout the days, but instead locked herself in her room; she didn’t even let people enter to wait upon her, only allowing Daisy and several other maids in to bring her her meals and take care of her daily life. She wouldn’t even see the male concubines that used to be inseparable with her. A few male concubines requested to see her, but all were refused.
It was like this for five days in a row.
On the sixth day, one of her male concubines couldn’t restrain himself anymore.
Willow was one of the male concubines in the Princess of Shady Mountains’ harem. He was seventeen this year, with delicate and charming features. He liked to wear Harlequin clothes, and his brows looked coquettish. The day Chuyu changed he didn’t get the chance to serve her, and these days all his requests to see Chuyu were blocked out, so he started suspecting and guessing, and couldn’t resist to go find Rong Zhi.
The Princess’ palace was divided into the East wing and the West wing. Chuyu, as the n.o.ble Princess, resided in the East wing; the opposing West wing, was left for her husband and male concubines.
When Willow found Rong Zhi, Rong Zhi was sitting under the b.u.t.tonwood tree in the courtyard, holding a bamboo book in his hand, reading intently.
Willow had came relatively later. When he arrived, Rong Zhi was already serving beside the Princess of Shady Mountains. How favorable Rong Zhi was in the eyes of the Princess of Shady Mountains was unbelievable. She not only granted him the best courtyard in the West wing, but also because Rong Zhi loved reading, ordered people to search and collect rare books for him everywhere.
Moreover, she dismissed Rong Zhi of all etiquettes, so Rong Zhi didn’t need to salute to her.
Rong Zhi’s appearance wasn’t the most beautiful or elegant of all the male concubines, and he wasn’t respectful or careful around the Princess of Shady Mountains either. But no matter how beautiful the male concubines that arrived later were, the favor the Princess of Shady Mountains showed to Rong Zhi didn’t lessen even a bit.
Both Rong Zhi’s origin and ident.i.ty were a mystery to the mult.i.tude of male concubines; they didn’t know the background of this youth. They only knew that the position Rong Zhi held in the Princess of Shady Mountain’s heart was very important. One sentence of Rong Zhi could worth more than their hundreds of sentences, and whatever the Princess of Shady Mountains was thinking Rong Zhi knew by just one glance.
Over the past several days the Princess of Shady Mountains’ temperament changed dramatically, leaving the male concubines in her palace speculating endlessly, not knowing what she was up to. Willow was from a poor family, only becoming a male concubine of the Princess of Shady Mountains by his looks. Although this ident.i.ty was despised by many, it was very useful; because of his ident.i.ty, his elder brother became a low rank official, and was living comfortably. Therefore, when the Princess of Shady Mountains stopped summoning them for pleasure, Willow became very worried that he will lose favor in her eyes.
But Chuyu had people guarding the entrance, and Willow didn’t dare force his way in either. So the only way was to find the Rong Zhi whom he disliked.
Reaching Snowfall Gardens, a solitary and silent feeling overwhelmed Willow. Following the twisted path, walking around the pavilions, Willow found Rong Zhi seated under the b.u.t.tonwood tree.
Rong Zhi was concentratedly reading the bamboo book with his head down. The elegant silhouette of his side figure was gentle like the l.u.s.ter of a jade, appearing between branches and leaves. He looked so at ease and comfortable; the Princess of Shady Mountains’ refusal to see anyone didn’t seem to have the slightest effect on him.
Willow stepped on the pebbles of the flowered path, sending out slight sounds, lacerating the silence that had filled the yard. Rong Zhi lifted his head, his hand holding the bamboo book paused, and turned his head over. He smiled slightly at Willow, “Is there something that you need?”
To come and seek help from someone he had disliked all along, Willow felt conflicted. But he even accepted the position of a male concubine, so how would he be stopped by this conflicted feeling. Only hesitating for a moment, he opened up: “I would like you to go see the Princess. For all these days, the Princess has locked herself up, and she no longer summons us either. Don’t you think it’s odd?”
Rong Zhi stood up slowly, holding the closed bamboo book in one hand. The loose sleeve of his snowy white garment hanged downwards, swaying slightly in the wind, as slow and light as the clouds and as gentle and soft as the moon. Willow watched on enviously. These fabrics woven with snow silk were extremely rare; the entire Princess’ palace had only two units. But just because the name of the quarters Rong Zhi resided in contained the word “snow”, the Princess of Shady Mountains gave all the fabrics to Rong Zhi for him to make into garments to wear.
It wasn’t just because of the name, Willow believed. Even if every single one of them had the word “snow” in their names, the Princess of Shady Mountains wouldn’t even grant them a thread of snow silk.
If the small West wing of the Princess’ palace was a harem, then the Princess’ husband would be like the Queen. But the concubine that had the real power and the most favor would be Rong Zhi, while the rest of them, no matter how many, will be the embellishments of Rong Zhi’s blinding radiance.
Rong Zhi placed the bamboo book into his loose sleeve, then smiled, “The Princess naturally has her own plans, so why shall we bother her, adding to her troubles?”
Willow became angry, and couldn’t resist saying, “Of course you don’t need to worry, but we……” Then he stopped in the middle of the sentence.
When he realized he had expressed the unwillingness and resentment deep in his heart, Willow regretted. Although he disliked Rong Zhi, he still knew the position he held in the palace. Rong Zhi could determine his fate with just one sentence…… It was unwise to get hotheaded now.
But he couldn’t suppress it.
He hated Rong Zhi.
His expression was always so graceful, like the ice caps on the top of mountain peaks. Everytime Willow saw it, he couldn’t help but feel ashamed.
They were both male concubines. Why can Rong Zhi look so pure and good?
Rong Zhi let out a chuckle. He didn’t seem to mind Willow’s anger a bit, but instead walked steadily towards the entrance. “Okay. Then I’ll do as you say, and go visit the Princess.”
Walking out the West wing, pa.s.sing through the middle court, Rong Zhi’s graceful figure arrived at the East wing and reached the bedroom of the Princess of Shady Mountains. Since Rong Zhi had the privilege of going anywhere he wanted in the palace, the guards at the entrance didn’t hold him back but let him pa.s.s.
Standing in front of the closed doors, Rong Zhi’s smooth and pretty chin lifted slightly. But his brows showed that he was lost in thought, hesitating.
Yes, he was the one who knew the Princess the most, and also the one who was most favored. But on that morning, after the Princess screamed, he realized that he suddenly couldn’t understand the beautiful girl anymore.
Rong Zhi frowned slightly. Thinking back about what happened that day, when he was awoken by the shriek, the first thing he saw was the beautiful girl’s horrified, fl.u.s.tered, confused, and even…… expression, the expression in her eyes……
Rong Zhi lifted his face and took in a deep breath. A wry smile appeared on the corner of his lips.
He really didn’t want to think about it.