At first she was caught off-guard. Then she remembered the pouch that Rong Zhi gave her before she left, and thoughts began to spin in her head. She said quietly, “Today before leaving I took a shower and switched to a new scent, so it’s different from usual.” The scent of the pouch was somewhat similar to that of her room when she first woke up there. She hadn’t sensed any slight differences, but Liu Ziye apparently had.
“Oh.” Liu Ziye seemed content not to ask any further. His eyes narrowed as he shifted around on Chu Yu’s legs, trying to find a more comfortable position to lie in. “You always smell so good. Every time my head hurts, I smell the scent on your body and I start feeling a lot better.”
Chu Yu nodded along. Staring down at the youth on her lap, she felt like she was looking at some kind of fearful creature.
The tyrant Liu Ziye from history, from legends, was resting on her lap right now like a kitten with its claws hidden.
The afternoon sunlight was warm and comforting on them. If something like this happened in a normal family, it wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. But in the palace?
Chu Yu was very confused.
After a while of lying there, Liu Ziye flipped over, eyes narrowed. Grabbing Chu Yu’s sleeve, he asked in a whining voice, “Sis, press your fingers on my forehead. The past two years I keep having headaches. If you push down on it it’ll feel better.”
At first Chu Yu didn’t understand, but it didn’t take her long. She extended her fingers and pressed on his temples firmly and gently, beginning to massage him. At the same time, some of her doubts from just now began to become more clear. A shocking answer came to her heart.
When she finally bode Liu Ziye farewell and left the palace, it was already almost dusk. Chu Yu slowed down as she approached the entrance and took out the pouch that Rong Zhi had given her. Lifting it to her nose, she inhaled deeply. Lazy fumes entered her lungs, relaxing her whole body.
This pouch had a calming effect on the spirit.
Liu Ziye seemed to have some kind of hidden illness that gave him headaches and prompted him to have constant angry impulses to kill people. Perhaps it was some kind of intermittent mania. Princess Shanyin kept the incense burning in her room for months, years. As time went it, the scent suffused into her skin. Because it soothed Liu Ziye’s nerves, he came to the conclusion that he was extraordinarily comfortable whenever he was with his sister, and treated her quite well in all regards.
Since Chu Yu had become Princess Shanyin, however, she began to find the scent of incense suffocating and ordered it to be taken away. The scent on her body had faded as a result. If Rong Zhi hadn’t delivered this pouch today, she wouldn’t be able to soothe the young emperor’s nerves in the same way. Because it came from the pouch and was different from an aroma emanating from one’s skin, Liu Ziye sensed a slight difference.
Chu Yu thought back on each detail: if the scent was enough to soothe Liu Ziye’s emotions, why didn’t the princess tell him and give the incense to him directly? That way she wouldn’t have to enter the palace all the time…or perhaps she kept it a secret from him on purpose?
Did she keep the truth a secret on purpose? Or was it possible that Liu Ziye’s illness was caused by her in the first place?
Although it was almost summer and the weather was beginning to warm up, Chu Yu felt a cold sweat break out all over her skin.
Her hands and feet were cold, as if they had been soaked in ice water.