Chapter 72 – To Dance Gracefully (1)
The forest in this side of the mountain was entirely different from the one in the Baihua Garden. As a royal hunting ground, the men were not only heavily guarded, but also felt more voracious on catching their first prey.
Inside the heart of the wilderness, Lu Lingzhi ordered his fourth younger brother to follow him closely in fear that he might get lost accidentally.
Leading the men was none other than the emperor, who although looked aloof and indifferent, was undoubtedly keen towards the start of the hunt.
Right behind him, Lu Lingzhi couldn’t help but look up at the tall and imposing figure of Mo Rongzhan, and his heart became somewhat doubtful and uneasy.
Last night, he found that the emperor’s nose was looking unusual, reddish specifically. He looked at it this morning and found that it was actually swollen!
What happened to the emperor last night? Lu Lingzhi quietly asked his personal eunuch Ford, but Ford’s mouth was too tight and he refused to disclose any information.
What happened to the emperor that he chose to keep it to himself?
Lu Lingzhi sighed in his heart. He wasn’t worried about anything, except for Lu Yaoyao. He was afraid the emperor would see her.
Too bad he didn’t come home for the past two days, he would have forbid Ye Zhen to go to Zhuangzi hot springs!
It was too risky!
But at the back of his mind, he surmised that he just might be overthinking. Visiting his young wife whose face was partly hidden by a red veil, in their dimmed bridal chamber only to say that he abhorred her family, Mo Rongzhan did not know what Ye Zhen even looked like!
He hated the Ye Family to the highest extent. Even if others would say that Lu Yaoyao looked exactly as Ye Zhen, he would probably not care.
He was put out of his thoughts by a sheepish voice coming from beside him.
“Eldest brother, is that…the emperor?” While walking, Lu Xianghi noticed the guards around following them like dogs. He suspected whether there was an important man here.
Looking at the respectful manner of Marquis Tang and his eldest brother to the man in front of them, he made head and tails of the situation and guessed the identity of the other party.
Lu Lingzhi nodded faintly and whispered to him, “Since the emperor does not want to reveal his identity, you should be quiet about it.”
“Oh!” Lu Xiangzhi said in hushed tone. He looked at the man with awe in wonder, he did not think that he would have a chance to be in the company of the emperor himself!
Along the way, Mo Rongzhan appeared silent. Lu Lingzhi obviously felt that the master’s mood was not very good. This was indeed odd, for the emperor’s tenor was remarkably lighter before he went out last night.
Mo Rongzhan was a bit gloomy. Upon reaching the hunting ground, he let everyone go hunting while he silently went deeper in the woods all by himself.
With the men dispersing towards different directions, Lu Lingzhi put on an excited expression while he pressed Lu Xiangzhi into hunting with him. This was Lu Xiangzhi’s first hunt in this woods, after all.
“Let’s go and test our luck today!” he exuberantly invited Lu Xiangzhi, but it appeared the lad didn’t reflect the same enthusiasm. Instead, he looked elsewhere while his mind drifted off somewhere else.
“If my third sister came, she will certainly like it here.” Lu Xiangzhi remembered his sister.
“It was better for her not to come.” Lu Lingzhi murmured before putting a heavy hand on Lu Xiangzhi’s shoulders, “Let’s go!”
The beauty of the sunset was ineffable while the hunters went back to their camps with delighted hearts. Mo Rongzhan hit a black bear, and all the attendants cheered loudly.
Mo Rongzhan handsome indifferent face finally gave a smile.
“Make a fire and let’s have barbecue tonight!” He told the crowd whom gave a boisterous cheers of approval!
Although Lu Xiangzhi wanted to stay and have fun with the men, after all, it was not everyday he gets to have barbecue jamboree with the emperor, he remembered that he ought to give his third sister a rabbit.
Ye Zhen did say that she’d wait for his return. But would it not be rude to leave the jamboree early?
“Fourth brother, what are you thinking?” Upon seeing the conflicted expression on the young man’s face, Tang Zhen decided to join him. Playfully, he slapped his shoulders hard, Lu Xiangzhi could only rub the sore area of his skin.
“Brother Tang.” In private conversations such as this, Lu Xiangzhi got used to calling the marquis ‘brother’. In fact, Tang Zhen could be a little presumptive sometimes, he even called Lu Xiangzhi as his fourth brother and Ye Zhen, his third sister!
Lu Xiangzhi laughed. “I promised my sister that I would give her a rabbit, but here! found a fawn in the woods. She should like this!” He said excitedly.
Tang Zhen’s eyes brightened. “Well, I’ll go with you and bring this gift to the third sister!”
Lu Xiangzhi nodded pleasantly surprised, “Is that alright?”
“Wait, I must ask permission from the emperor first.” Tang Zhen said, turned and went to the Mo Rongzhan’s keep.
Mo Rongzhan was changing clothes — his once clean hunting clothes now had blood stains from killing the black bear. Hearing Tang Zhen’s request, he was silent for a moment, but gave a slight nod shortly after.
“Go ahead, you should come back without further delay.”
Tang Zhen knew that the emperor meant not to delay drinking with the men. He laughed and said that he would just take Lu Xiangzhi to a villa at the foot of the mountain quickly.
And when Lu Lingzhi found out that they were missing, it was too late. The two were already half in their journey.
The Zhuangzhi hot springs being not far from the hunting ground, it only took half an hour horse ride to reach it. Lu Xiangzhi dismounted outside the second gate, and two young doormen came and led their horses.
Hearing a sound of playing music vaguely, Lu Xiangzhi asked a servant, “Where’s the lord and the madam?”
“To answer the fourth young master, the third lord and the third madam are roasting meat in the garden.” The servant replied.
Barbecue? Lu Xiangzhi glanced curiously at Tang Zhen nearby. “Marquis Tang, why don’t you come with me?”
Tang Zhen softly declined, remembering that he needed to come back as soon as possible. He merely wanted to have a glimpse of Ye Zhen.
“Just go, I just came to give Lu Yaoyao gifts.”
Lu Xiangzhi fell silent in his heart. Tang Zhen was a marquis, and his father an imperial secretary. He thought that it was only proper to invite the marquis into the villa, even for just a little while.
And so it was agreed. Lu Xiangzhi then accompanied Tang Zhen towards the villa’s garden.
Before they reached the garden, the sound of drums and harps was already reverberant in the air.
Lu Xiangzhi thought that no one in the family knew how to play the piano. Well, his father did, but not once did he listened to him. He wasn’t this good either.
The two sped up their steps, and when they were at the gate of the garden, they could not help but slow down…