Face-Slapping the Son of a Concubine and a Transmigrating Girl (3)
The two hurriedly got to their knees to greet him. Zhou Xu continued to hide in the rockery, with the intention of watching how this crown prince would handle the situation.
“Rise.” The crown prince spoke, his tone laced with innate dignity and royal bearing.
This bearing made Zhou Zong Han feel that they were worlds apart. Qi Lan had just said, “Social status is irrelevant”, yet in an instant it had lost its meaning. Social status was relevant, evident in the comparison between himself and the arrogant, overbearing crown prince – the difference in status could be seen at a glance.
Zhou Zong Han and Qi Lan got up. The crown prince looked at the pair and spoke, “I saw the two of you at the celebration. You are the senior of today’s star, yet you lack the behaviour of one.”
“Your highness, I…”
“No use trying to explain yourself. I have already heard your words, and cannot help but punish you,” the crown prince turned his head towards his dozen or so imperial bodyguards, “Bai Song, twenty slaps to the face.”
“Pa pa pa….”
The clear and crisp sound was particularly distinct in the night. Zhou Xu inwardly felt good behind the rocks. He had yet to make a move, but the crown prince had already helped him do it, truly in line with Zhou Xu’s intentions.
After the slaps, the crown prince was loftily still, but Zhou Zong Han had to kneel to express his gratitude. Qi Lan, who was by his side, was shocked by this scene. As a modern woman, she had never seen a personage as honorable as a crown prince, and never thought that the ancient era was truly one where subjects heeded the crown’s every word, even to death.
With blood at the corner of his mouth and a red and swollen face, Zhou Zong Han stood up. The crown prince indifferently tossed a sentence to him, “I expect that this will no longer happen in the future. Withdraw.”
Zhou Zong Han dragged Qi Lan to escape, leaving the crown prince alone in the garden. He turned to face the guards and his maids, giving them a meaningful glance. This group of people instantly retreated 10 metres away.
Zhou Xu had also watched enough, turning his body with the intention to leave. However, just as he turned halfway, he heard a cold and distant voice, “This prince let you vent your anger, are you not going to show yourself and express gratitude?”
Speechless, Zhou Xu had no choice but to emerge from the rocks. His azure clothes blended into the nightscape, only the gold embroidery occasionally reflecting shine. This shine served as a foil to Zhou Xu’s pale face, enhancing the dazzle of his already-bewitching face.
Bowing, Zhou Xu spoke, “Many thanks to your highness.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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“This memento*, give it to this prince.” after his words, the crown prince pulled on the object hanging at Zhou Xu’s waist. The hanging object was a white jade memento, very fine and smooth. It had been with the original Zhou Xu since birth. Although it was not priceless and invaluable, it held an extraordinary significance to the original host.
“I haven’t yet agreed, your highness’ actions can be counted as stealing.”
“This prince will give you something in exchange.”
When he was done speaking, the crown prince took his own waist pendant – the Twin Dragon Pearl – and spoke, “One item in exchange for another, how about it?”
Zhou Xu did not take it. He leisurely looked at the aloof crown prince, asking, “What importance does your waist pendant hold to you? My waist pendant has accompanied me since birth. If yours does not hold any sentiment, I do not want it even if it is worth several cities.”
The dim light illuminated the side of the crown prince’s face, making his facial features appear even more fine. He slowly pressed close to Zhou Xu’s cheeks, as he said softly, “A gift from the empress, for this prince to give his beloved. What do you think of this sentiment?”
“Quite good. May I ask your highness how this fondness developed? It seems that we have only just met.”
After a few seconds of silence, the crown prince’s voice suddenly became unusually quiet. He answered, “Love at first sight, do you believe me?”
Zhou Xu retreated a step, smoothly taking back his waist pendant. Smiling slightly, Zhou Xu said, “I believe, but accepting your highness’ Twin Dragon Pearl, this matter will need to wait for your highness to have the ability to decide your own marriage matters.”
Turning around, Zhou Xu left, leaving the crown prince to stand in the shadows alone, his expression unclear.
The crown prince was already 19 years old this year. The emperor and empress had been choosing brides for him recently and Prime Minister Qi’s granddaughter was the empress’ favored candidate, but Prime Minister Qi was unwilling to take a side this early. Since the second and third prince’s position in the imperial court was incomparable to his own position as crown prince, Prime Minister Qi could only choose General Zhou and not any of the princes.
Wearing a cold and aloof expression, the crown prince slowly walked back; no one could guess at his thoughts.
Returning to his own courtyard, Zhou Xu let Cui Yun prepare the bath. He wanted to wash off the smell of alcohol on his body and think about the next course of action. After all the crown prince had already extended an olive branch*, but Zhou Xu had not decided whether to accept his intentions. The crown prince’s ascension to the throne would naturally need imperial concubines; Zhou Xu was unwilling to compete with a group of women for affection.
Warm water ran down his shoulders. Zhou Xu felt that he ought to take care of the original host’s body well. Looking at his condition, even if he was not killed by Zhou Zong Han, he still could not live past 40 years old. His blood was too weak and his bone marrow had trouble producing blood. However he had to slowly cultivate his body. At the moment, he still had to tackle Zhou Yang’s muteness first.
Zhou Xu was certain that the crown prince would not give up, hence he just had to take advantage of him a little, and the two medicinal ingredients could be settled.
Spring in the capital was short. People were still wearing thick, lined clothing, yet in the next instant it changed to thin, light clothing. The original host favored the colour blue. Zhou Xu who inherited his body thus wore blue clothing the whole day, relaxed and leisurely like an immortal. A few months later, his complexion improved since he himself was the best doctor
Just as Zhou Xu had thought, the crown prince had not given up on Zhou Xu. At the end of the 5th month, the emperor organized a hunting competition. The princes could each bring one assistant: it could be an imperial bodyguard or another person of their choosing. The crown prince had thus chosen Zhou Xu.
On the day of the hunt, Zhou Xu and the crown prince met at the hunting grounds. Bowing lightly, Zhou Xu said while clasping his hands, “Your highness, it’s been a while since we last met.”
The crown prince wore light yellow clothing faintly patterned with clouds that clearly indicated his status. As usual, his tone was aloof and cold, face expressionless, “Ordinarily, people would kowtow to this prince to greet, yet you only clasp your hands?”
Zhou Xu smiled faintly, “There is such a thing as relying on favor to act arrogantly.”
The crown prince was inwardly happy, but could not say anything in this situation, only noticeably stiffening before turning to face the other princes on the hunting ground. However, Zhou Xu knew that he was in a good mood. As for how he knew, after a few hundred worlds, he still had his sixth sense.
The hunt went on without a hitch. The crown prince lost as he himself had intended.
Zhou Xu followed behind him, clear on the crown prince’s intention. He was pretending to be weak. At the moment, the second and third prince’s position in the imperial court was too high. Desiring the throne, one must first be alive.
After the competition, Zhou Xu was invited by the crown prince to eat together. Naturally, he did not turn him down.
“Your waist pendant, remember to keep it for this prince,” reminded the crown prince during the meal.
“I can gift it to you today, but I require another item in exchange, how about it?”
“The Frigid Snow Lotus.”
“Then what meaning does your waist pendant hold?”
“In five years, I will not take in a wife, how about that?”
“What do you mean?”
“I will wait for the day your highness governs the country, and to give your highness time to think it over: whether you are willing to give up on establishing an imperial harem for my sake.”
The crown prince maintained his cold and aloof appearance. Zhou Xu did not care because he had finally obtained the Frigid Snow Lotus.
Treating it as a precious treasure, Zhou Xu returned home. He went into the manor’s medicine room and ordered that no one was to enter. After 3 days, Zhou Xu finished making more than 10 pills. When he handed them to Zhou Yang, his legs were soft.
Looking at his younger brother’s state, Zhou Yang stroked his cheek in distress, gesturing to ask him what had happened.
Zhou Xu spoke softly by his ear while handing over the pills, “I made some medicine to heal your body. Take one pill three times daily. Make sure you eat them on schedule, it took me three sleepless nights to make them.”
Zhou Yang helplessly shook his head, then nodded. He still did not believe that Zhou Xu had medical expertise, but seeing his diligence, he was heartened.
Knowing that his elder brother did not believe him and hence would not eat the pills, Zhou Xu left Cui Yun behind, exhorting her repeatedly to closely watch and ensure that Zhou Yang ate the medicine.
A week later, Zhou Yang finally made a sound. Although it still needed practice, Zhou Xu at last could sigh in relief. As long as he could find the Deep Sea Dragon Silk to mix into porridge; after drinking it for a few days, Zhou Yang’s throat would make a full recovery.
Meanwhile in this period of time, Zhou Zong Han repeatedly met with Qi Lan in secret every first and fifteenth day of the month at the Guan Yin Temple outside the city. Zhou Xu naturally knew of this matter. He was waiting because in the original world Qi Lan had even aborted once.
Thus he waited. At the end of the year, Zhou Xu knew that it was about time. Furthermore, he had already heard rumors that Qi Lan was causing trouble in her home.
In truth the present Qi Lan had become more clever, learning to endure silently and prepare well for success. Hence the trouble that Zhou Xu heard about was merely her telling Prime Minister Qi that she absolutely did not want to marry so early.
Qi Lan’s reason seemed warm hearted, but Zhou Xu knew that she was just finding an excuse. Qi Lan had already gotten pregnant and needed to first abort the baby.
In this situation, Zhou Xu only needed to casually find a group of people to disseminate rumours.
There were many versions of the rumor, but one point was identical – Zhou Zong Han and Prime Minister Qi’s granddaughter would secretly meet every month, and it has already been ongoing for some months. Qi Lan had even become pregnant and hence was resolute in not marrying out because she wanted to stealthily get rid of the child then slowly convince her family to let her marry Zhou Zong Han who was inferior in status as a concubine’s son.
With regard to this, it was no longer rumors, but the truth itself.
Hearing these rumors, Prime Minister Qi was extremely angered. He shakily pointed his finger to his granddaughter, asking, “Say it, exactly what relation do you have with the Zhou family’s Zhou Zong Han?”
Qi Lan did not expect her plan to fall through. It was useless to quibble with her grandfather; he could call the physician to take her pulse at any time, then there would be no concealing it anymore. Hence she plopped onto the floor kneeling, tearfully recounting the matter.
Prime Minister Qi fainted in anger on the spot. When he came to, he pushed his granddaughter aside, leaving with a fling of his sleeves.
Telling the matter to both parties at General Zhou’s house, Zhou Xu told his father smilingly, “What problem is there? Just let her marry Zhou Zong Han; in any case, I never fancied her.”
“Don’t talk nonsense. Where would you find a family in which the younger brother married before the older brother?”
Zhou Xu was stunned. Turned out General Zhou still knew that he had an eldest son called Zhou Yang. Truly laughable. How much did this father love his reputation such that he hardly saw his own flesh and blood all year round? For the sake of his reputation, he would cut off his son’s predestined marriage?
“Father, this is where you are wrong. Qi Lan is Prime Minister Qi’s granddaughter, while Zhou Zong Han is merely a concubine’s son. In the end the one having the most advantage would be our Zhou Family.”