AMTDCPOTEC Chapter 45
After Marrying the Disabled Crown Prince of the Enemy Country
Chapter 45 Laba
There was a moment of silence. Le Zhi hurriedly lowered her eyes and retreated, then immediately got up.
Huo Du subconsciously held her hand and asked, “Where are you going?”
Le Zhi looked at his pale face, gently pulled out her hand, pressed his shoulders to make him lie down, and then bundled him in the brocade quilt, “Wait for me for a while.”
Le Zhi ran quickly to the door and opened the door to call Jing Xin, who was on duty at night, “Jing Xin, get some hot water quickly, the more the better.”
Jing Xin hurriedly responded. She lifted her skirt and ran quickly towards the boiling water room. Because she was in such a hurry, she even forgot to take her umbrella. When she thought about it, she was already in the snow.
Suddenly, an umbrella was above her head, covering a large area of flying snow.
Jing Xin looked back and was astonished to see the person, “An, Lord An?”
An Xuan hummed lightly and said nothing.
After all, he was the person next to His Highness Taizi, and Jing Xin had rarely had contact with him, so she could not help but feel a little nervous, “Is Lord also on duty tonight? The servant is going to the boiling water room, Lord doesn’t have to…”
“Then let’s go.”
The two walked side by side. Jing Xin, who originally had a reserved temperament, had never walked so close to a man before. She was grateful for An Xuan’s kindness in her heart, but she still distanced herself from him.
An Xuan, who was beside her, caught a glimpse of her small movements from the corner of his eye, and his heart was full of sadness. It was not a coincidence. Whenever Jing Xin was on night duty, he would be waiting not far away, just because he was afraid that something unexpected would happen at night, and he could be used as help.
An Xuan knew that Jing Xin’s thoughtfulness was always towards others, and often very thoughtless with herself. He sighed silently, and quietly moved the umbrella towards her side more.
Le Zhi replaced the incense burner in the bedroom with citrus fragrant pieces and the sweet fruity fragrance wafted through the air, making the room warm with fragrance. She took the ginger powder, mixed it with the tea, and then walked back to the bedside.
“Drink some ginger tea.” Le Zhi helped Huo Du up against the embroidered pillow. Although he was tightly bundled in a brocade quilt, he was still icy cold, “Your Highness must be very cold, drinking ginger tea is the best.”
Huo Du’s eyes were on her from the beginning to the end. Looking at her busy appearance, he only felt as if his heart was blocked by cotton. He opened his mouth and said in softly, “It’s just an old illness, I’ll be fine in a while.”
Hearing this, Le Zhi frowned in dissatisfaction and handed the teacup to his lips, “Your Highness is not a child anymore, why are you still so willful? Drink quickly.”
This time, Huo Du did not say anything, just opened his mouth obediently and drank all the hot ginger tea.
Not long after, there was a knock on the door outside the room. Knowing that Jing Xin was back, Le Zhi immediately went over to open the door and brought a large bucket of hot water into the bedroom.
“Must be exhausted, right? Go back to the room to rest.” Le Zhi stuffed a handwarmer into Jing Xin’s hand and said with concern.
“Unacceptable. This maid can’t use Master’s things.”
But Le Zhi insisted on giving her the thing, and Jing Xin could not refuse, so she had to accept it. She walked towards her room with the handwarmer in her arms, but after walking a few steps, she met An Xuan with a lantern.
“I’ll send you back.”
“No need, no need…” Jing Xin frowned and replied in a trembling voice.
Seeing her nervous appearance, An Xuan could not help but smiled and said, “I’m on night duty today and it’s my duty to protect the safety of everyone in the Taizi mansion.”
Having said all that, Jing Xin could no longer find an excuse to refuse, so she agreed. The two were silent all the way until they entered the northern courtyard. An Xuan stopped and said, “If you need any help in the future, you can come to me.”
Jing Xin was stunned as to when did she become so familiar with Lord An?
However, she just wanted to quickly go into the room now, so she nodded, “Sure, thank you Lord An for tonight.”
An Xuan watched her enter the room until the candlelight in the room was blown out, making sure that Jing Xin had rested, only then did he walk away.
Le Zhi took a clean and soft cotton towel from the bathroom and watched the hot steam emit from the bucket. She only waited for a while before squatting down to soak the cotton towel in the water.
To wipe the body, it needed to be slightly hotter.
After soaking her slender hands in the hot water, Le Zhi could not help but “hiss”. She quickly picked up the cotton towel and wrung it dry while enduring the slight pain in her hands and then walked quickly back to the bedside. She lifted the quilt and reached out her hand to untie the belt of Huo Du’s bedclothes and without being ashamed, she put the hot cotton towel on his body and wiped it gently.
From the chest to the shoulders, to the arms and back… As soon as the temperature of the cotton towel was a little cold, Le Zhi soaked it with hot water and wrung it dry again, and cycled back and forth until she wiped Huo Du’s whole body.
Finally, she put a hot cotton towel on his injured leg and pressed it down with her hand.
Unexpectedly, Huo Du was beyond obedient and cooperated with her obediently from beginning to end.
“Is it better now?” Le Zhi raised her eyes to look at him.
Just now she wiped his body for him with all her heart and did not look at his expression. When she raised her eyes at this time, she ran into his scorching gaze. She did not know if it was because of the ginger tea that Huo Du’s eyes became warmer.
After waiting for a long time, he did not answer. Le Zhi did not mind either, just turned her eyes and continued to look at his legs. She moved the cotton towel away and saw that the original cold white skin on his leg began to turn red.
Although she knew that his legs might still not feel the slightest warmth, at least the cold blood should start to revive, right?
Suddenly, the cotton towel in her hand was taken away, and Le Zhi’s white wrist was being held back and pulled to the bed. The whole person was pulled into a warm embrace, and her whole body was covered with a brocade quilt. Only then did Le Zhi realize that her body was unbelievably cold.
Huo Du raised his hand, and the bed curtain was spontaneously lowered, blocking out the light of the candlelight.
After a while, Le Zhi exposed her head a little and exhaled a few breaths. She was bundled up tightly just now, which almost made her out of breath.
“Go to sleep.”
With heat passing across her ears, Le Zhi let out an “oh” and closed her eyes with fatigue. After being busy working most of the night, she was really tired.
After a long time, Huo Du slowly let go of her, listening to her gradual even breathing, and said, “Le Zhi, tomorrow is Laba.”
But the sleeping person could not respond to him.
“Will you accompany me?” This sentence was asked even more softly.
For him, Laba Festival was his darkness. For so many years, he had gone through this day alone. But this year, he suddenly hoped that Le Zhi could accompany him.
Even if she did nothing, as long as she was there.
“Um…” The person in her sleep seemed to hear it and murmured twice.
Huo Du leaned closer to her, as if he was afraid of waking her up, and gently kissed her forehead with his gentle movements.
Since you don’t refuse, then I’ll take it as you agreed.
He closed his eyes, held her hand that was red from handling the hot water under the quilt, gently caressed her fingertips, and felt her warmness with his heart.
They slept all night.
When Le Zhi woke up, she was surprised to find that Huo Du had not woken up yet. She gently pulled her hand out of his palm, and then she saw his eyebrows frown slightly. She stared at his sleeping face and found that he was a little less cold and a little more gentle when he was asleep than when he was awake.
She raised her hand to caress his eyebrows, then got down from the bed softly and closed the bed curtain. Huo Du rarely had a good night’s sleep, and Le Zhi naturally hoped that he could sleep a little longer.
And she still had something to do today.
Le Zhi walked towards the bathroom, changed her clothes, and dressed up simply.
When she gently opened the door, Li Yao was already waiting outside the room.
“Master, Laba porridge is ready.” Li Yao said softly.
“Great.” Le Zhi nodded.
Just as she finished speaking, she heard the sound of the bed curtain being lifted. She instructed Li Yao to put everything in the carriage first and then turned around to walk to the bedside.
Huo Du just woke up, and a pair of sleepy peach blossom eyes stared at her in a daze.
Le Zhi wore an aquamarine chest-length dress today, and a snow-white cotton cloak was already draped over her shoulders. She curled her lips and said, “Your Highness is awake? Today is Laba and the kitchen has made a lot of Laba porridge. Your Highness will also eat some later.”
“Are you going out?”
“Yes!” Le Zhi’s eyebrows curved, and her smile was like a flower, “I’m going to Xia Feitai to spend the festival with my sister.”
Not knowing whether it was an illusion or not, Le Zhi suddenly saw a lonely expression on Huo Du’s face that she had never seen before. But it disappeared in just an instant. He was still as usual, with a cold expression.
Le Zhi vaguely felt that there was something wrong with Huo Du. So she asked cautiously, “Does Your Highness have something to tell me?”
“No, you go ahead.”
Le Zhi nodded and repeated once again, “Then Your Highness remembers to drink the Laba porridge!”
Without hearing the reply, she lowered her head helplessly and turned to leave.
She’s not willing to delve into his moodiness.
Huo Du looked at Le Zhi’s departing back view until she stepped out of the bedroom. He curled his lips and smiled lightly and continued to lie down on the bed.
This is normal, isn’t it?
It was the lack of sobriety last night that made him have delusions that he should not have.
After not seeing Le Jin for a long time, her complexion became better and better.
Because Li Yao often brided Xia Feitai’s wardens and prison guards, they all took care of Le Jin a little bit more. Money could indeed get through a lot of things.
“Sister, eat more.” Le Zhi scooped a spoonful of Laba porridge with a smile and brought it to Le Jin’s lips.
Le Jin’s consciousness was still chaotic, but a smile gradually appeared on her face. When she saw the porridge handed by Le Zhi, she naturally drank it.
Le Zhi was so happy that even the end of her eyes could not help but redden. She put the porridge bowl aside, hugged Le Jin, and whispered, “Sister, it’s not very dangerous outside anymore. There will be Zhizhi to protect you in the future.”
Can you stop closing your heart?
On the other side, Li Yao chatted with the prisoner guards familiarly. From a young age, Li Yao learned to understand people’s hearts and feelings, and soon found out a lot of things from these people.
“I heard that after Jingxian Wang got married, he has been neglecting Wangfei and only shows favor to a maid, his bedwarmer.”
“All right, all right! Who doesn’t know what you’re talking about!” Another prisoner guard, who looked disdainful, said with a smile, “I heard that Wangfei is so heartbroken that she is clamoring for divorce!”
“Really or not? It cannot be?”
“Really! Why did I need to lie to you?” The prison guard felt unhappy when he was being questioned, so he straightened his face, “Even Shen Xiang was alarmed. It’s not like you don’t know, our Shen Xiang has a very stubborn temper. He has only one daughter who is Jingxian Wangfei, how can he not be angry?”
On the way back to the mansion, Li Yao told Le Zhi all the news she had found. Le Zhi curled her lips, no wonder Huo Xu never wanted to see her recently, it turned out that he was busy with these things.
She remembered that in the inn that day, Huo Xu closely protected the woman who looked like her.
He really lost his head over lust.
Le Zhi lowered her face, thinking whether she could use this opportunity to attack Huo Xu. At least, let him no longer manage the affairs of Xia Feitai.
Only in this way could she find an opportunity to rescue her sister.
Shen Xiang, Shen Qingyan…
Le Zhi knew that Huo Xu married Shen Qingyan just for Shen Xiang’s power, but it was self-defeating to make such a fuss up to this point. The prisoner guard’s words, although some were based on rumors, might not be very accurate, but also could make a rough conclusion that Shen Qingyan was definitely a woman with a strong personality.
Heh, Huo Xu, a hypocrite, is trying to take advantage of a woman. Perhaps he would eventually set fire to himself.
The noise outside the carriage pulled Le Zhi’s thoughts back. She could not help but lift the curtain to look out, only to see a lot of people outside a shop, “Li Yao, what’s going on?”
“Master, this is the tradition of Great Qi. On the day of the Laba Festival every year, this Laba shop will open for business, and only open for one day. This shop has everything, and people can buy their favorite things or choose gifts for their loved ones or relatives and friends.”
Only open for one day? This was interesting.
Le Zhi could not help but think of the loneliness on Huo Du’s face when she left in the morning. Without giving it much thought, she lifted the curtain on the side and said to Li Yao, “Let’s go down and have a look too.”
Le Zhi finally squeezed into the shop and took a closer look through the curtain hat.
Until she saw a purple stone.
She walked over curiously, picked up the stone, and a burst of warmth suddenly spread in her palm.
This purple stone actually emits heat.
“Madam has a good vision.” The shopkeeper walked over with a smile and said, “This amethyst stone is warm and pleasant, and the warmth will never dissipate. If you carry it on your body for a long time, you will not be cold in winter!”
Le Zhi nodded in appreciation and asked, “How much is this?”
The shopkeeper smiled and said the price.
Le Zhi’s smile froze, this… was not this too expensive? She was still in debt now.
“Madam, don’t think it’s too expensive. This amethyst stone is really a treasure!”
After thinking for a moment, Le Zhi gritted her teeth, “Alright, I want it!”
Le Zhi got onto the carriage carrying the mahogany box. She could not help thinking that if she did not pay the 5,000 taels owed to Huo Du in a year, she wondered if he would give her more time at his discretion.
Because she was thinking about this matter, she did not realize that in a corner not far from her, a man dressed in white with a scholarly look had been watching her for a long time. But Li Yao found out, she frowned and looked over, only to see the man lowered his head and left.
Looking at the man’s appearance, he did not look timid but was full of righteousness. Perhaps, she was thinking too much?
Li Yao withdrew her gaze, without taking it into the heart.
When they returned to the Taizi Mansion, it was already past noon.
“Has His Highness eaten lunch?” Le Zhi asked casually when she happened to meet An Xuan when she entered the mansion.
But An Xuan shook his head and sighed softly.
“Didn’t have lunch? What about breakfast?”
An Xuan still shook his head.
Le Zhi frowned and her small face showed a displeased look, “Can’t be he didn’t even drink the Laba porridge, right?”
“He didn’t eat anything.”
“Where is His Highness?”
An Xuan wanted to say something but then hesitated. After thinking for a while, he replied, “Study room.”
Le Zhi immediately walked towards the study, but thinking of Huo Du’s strangeness in the morning and An Xuan’s solemn expression, she stopped again, turned around, and asked, “Did he… order not to be disturbed?”
“Yes.” An Xuan said solemnly. Every year during the Laba Festival, His Highness would lock himself in the study, not eating or drinking, and not let anyone disturb him.
However, he always felt that if Taizifei went over, His Highness would not be angry.
“Taizifei should go see His Highness. This subordinate thinks that if you go, His Highness will be very happy.”
After contemplating for a moment, Le Zhi nodded, “Then you go prepare some food and bring it directly to the study.”
Huo Du was sitting by the window, with the cold wind blowing and his eyes stared blankly.
In the morning, Le Zhi went out with a smile and said that she would spend the festival with her sister.
Only then did Huo Du remember what was the distance between them. As the princess of country Li, she would treat him well because she was grateful to him, but that was all.
The more they spent time together, the more he understood her.
Previously, he would have worried that she would be soft-hearted towards Huo Xu, but now it was impossible to think about it. She was such a principled and responsible person. Her affection for Huo Xu from childhood had long been cut off by Huo Xu personally.
Le Zhi was soft on the outside and tough on the inside. She would never allow herself to be trapped in love. Even though she might have a little feeling for him now, compared to the pain of subjugation, this feeling was very little.
She would never allow herself to like people from the Huo clan, let alone Huo Changyun’s son. Even if she had a bit of liking in her heart, she would not hesitate to erase it after she realized it.
For the first time in Huo Du’s twenty-year life, there was a deep sense of regret in his heart.
When Huo Changyun wanted to destroy the country Li at the beginning, he was aware of it. But he watched everything with cold eyes at that time. He did not even care about himself, so, how could he have predicted and foreseen the current situation?
Now, Huo Du watched Le Zhi live in the pain of subjugation every day. Sometimes, he could see her looking at him with pain and struggle in her eyes.
From the beginning, he was not qualified to be liked by her.
As long as there was Huo Changyun’s blood flowed in his body, he would never be qualified.
Yes, not qualified.
He closed his eyes as if accepting his fate and let himself go.
Suddenly, there was a soft knock on the door. Huo Du thought he was hallucinating and ignored it.
But soon after, the door was pushed open a little, and a familiar voice came through.
“May I come inside?”
Huo Du opened his eyes and looked in the direction of the door. Le Zhi did not enter the door, just poked her little head in, and looked at his face while blinking.
He stared at her eyebrows, and his dead heart of his seemed to start beating again.
Again and again, happiness and suffocation.
The author has something to say:
I suddenly remembered that someone wanted to kill his wife at first!
Du: It’s not me. (Poker-faced)