Book I The spring day’s apricot flowers scatter above, who is the youth who walks elegant and quick?
Chapter 37 Two sprouts, red and white
One really couldn’t let their guard down for even a moment, thought Chu Yu with a cold smile.
Rong Zhi still smiled gently. He pulled the branches heavy with flowers closer to him, smelling the apricot flowers’ scent up close. Because of his movements, two apricot flowers fell from the branches one after another, falling to the ground. Chu Yu could almost hear the delicate sound they made falling to the ground.
In a low voice Rong Zhi said, “Princess, do you still remember when, four years ago, you brought me to the palace and told me something that I would remember for the rest of my life. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten either.”
Chu Yu’s heart began to pound hard in her chest. She looked at Rong Zhi without expression, only managing to speak after a long pause, “You speak as if you mean to ask me something.”
Of course, she wasn’t Princess Shanyin and couldn’t answer Rong Zhi’s question. Giving a haphazard answer wouldn’t be acceptable, nor would avoiding it by saying she didn’t remember.
Chu Yu thought about it. She almost shrugged it off with words like “Those are all things of the past, why mention them now?”, but suddenly she felt cold anger in her heart and turned to him. “What kind of person do you think Princess Shanyin is, for you to question me like that?”
Not answering was the best answer, but that didn’t necessarily mean silence.
Just now Chu Yu had thought of a possibility: that nothing like what Rong Zhi had said had happened in the first place, and that it was all a trick to get her on the hook. Whatever she answered would be a fatal mistake.
What Rong Zhi said next had Chu Yu relieved, “Your disregard is justified, Princess. Back then, you didn’t say anything to me.”
She was right.
Even so, Chu Yu didn’t let the triumph show in her expression, but continued to watch Rong Zhi with a cold smile. What he just said might also be a trap. She couldn’t be careless here.
In front of this man, every little action needed thorough consideration. It really was precarious.
Chu Yu was relieved now that she didn’t choose to pretend she had lost her memory. Although it might alleviate her burden of pretending to be the Princess, such an open wound in her defenses would surely open up the gates for him to spin her under his control.
For now at least, most were too scared to try anything if only out of fear of the Princess’s reputation.
Rong Zhi watched Chu Yu with eyes so gentle and soft that she almost thought she saw them drip. But what he said almost made her heart stop dead in her chest.
“Princess, please undo your clothes.”
Trying to repress the fluttering of her trembling heart, Chu Yu flashed him a cold smile and continued to play the cool part. “Today I’m not–” Before she could finish, Rong Zhi’s long white fingers shot out and covered her lips.
Her eyes wide, Chu Yu tried to dodge. But Rong Zhi approached slightly. His smiling face looked so gentle and pure, even as his movements were nothing short of ruthless. His other hand snatched Chu Yu’s wrists quickly, pinning them over her head. With that, they fell to the ground, and flipped over until she was underneath him.
Rong Zhi’s thumbs, index finger, and middle finger locked in around her throat, while the crux of his hand went into Chu Yu’s slightly opened mouth. Although he wasn’t exerting much strength, his positioning was accurate enough that no matter how hard she struggled she could only make a muffled, weak sound.
Not just her mouth was sealed; her hands and feet were held down with a solid grip. It was strange. She could feel that he wasn’t even that strong, but her limbs felt as if they had gone limp. She just couldn’t get away.
Although she sensed that Rong Zhi had some kind of ulterior motive for inviting her into the woods, she hadn’t expected him to attack her directly like this! She had gained nothing, and could only hope that Yue Jiefei could hear the strange sounds coming from the forest.
Rong Zhi laughed. Looking down at Chu Yu, his eyes were too deep to read. He spoke calmly, “Princess, don’t rush it. You’re hurting me.”
What the hell was he saying?
It took Chu Yu a while to realize that he wasn’t talking to her, but for Yue Jiefei to hear.
When something heavy landed on the ground in the forest, Yue Jiefei stood up instinctively to walk in and see what happened. But Rong Zhi’s calm voice informed him what was going on. A strange look came over his face as he realized the Princess was playing her special games again.
Because of this, he not only didn’t enter the forest, but moved away out of politeness, trying not to listen in.
When Yue Jiefei didn’t barge in after a while, Chu Yu knew that Rong Zhi’s words had taken effect on him. A chill shot through her heart. Now that things had come to this, she somehow felt her heart open up. Somehow, she could stare Rong Zhi down without fear.
Rong Zhi smiled slightly. Bending over, his lips brushed against her ear, his breath coming with the delicate sound of a feather. “Don’t be afraid. I know that you aren’t the princess. If you aren’t the princess, please tell me. Where is the true Princess Shanyin?”
He was so confident in himself?
Chu Yu sighed to herself. She knew she had been acting strangely recently. Anyone slightly more attentive would realize that. But even if anyone did realize that, they’d probably only think that the Princess had undergone some kind of flight of fancy. No one would be as bold as Rong Zhi, to make this judgement call that, although seemingly impossible, was in fact the closest to the truth.
“I found carvings near your bed, the number of which correspond to the day that you made me and the others leave your room.”
Chu Yu’s heart trembled: he’d even discovered that? She had made those markings initially in a dazed state, trying to calm herself. Later on they became a force of habit. Rong Zhi hadn’t overlooked even the smallest of details.
Looking at Rong Zhi, she didn’t speak. Her eyes were sharp and taunting, sending a message–”So what?”
Sure, she had been found out. But so what? It was her own bed. She could carve it for fun all she wanted. What was the problem there? Who could interfere with that?
Rong Zhi’s breath came near her ear again. This time, his voice was full of seduction. “Don’t be scared. I won’t do anything to do. All I want is for you to tell me: who are you? Where is the Princess? You know, I’m only staying here because I must…”
Chu Yu couldn’t help but hold her breath.