Chapter 25 – Crocodile Tears (1)
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The carriage was rocking sporadically as it hit the uneven dirt road, but Su Xin remained immobile as a statue, acting like she hadn’t just shown deranged behavior just a few moments ago. To no avail, Qu Feiqing was certain that what she witnessed wasn’t something she made up. The woman was really sniggering on her own and making faces as if she was talking to someone before her.
This made her have qualms about Su Xin’s brain structure. Could hers be different from that of ordinary people? Qu Feiqing found her more interesting, a specimen she was yet to study.
All her life, she lived in a shallow stagnant water; monotonous and dull. But as of late, these waters started to form small ripples which fed her with a little excitement of having found something new. Su Xin was that small ripple.
Vigilant eyes watched Su Xin from head to foot, swallowing her, but Su Xin remained immune to the stare. Instead, she firmly trained her gaze at the carriage wall in front of her like it was the most interesting thing she had ever seen.
The emperor’s scrutiny lasted for a while, much beyond Su Xin’s preference. She could not help but wonder if Qu Feiqing had some sort of eyesight deficiency or why else would she stare at her with squinting eyes for so long.
“If this emperor now will say that you are beautiful, will you leave immediately?” Qu Feiqing retracted her gaze and drew the curtain closest to her apart to glance at the scenery outside while she spoke. This allowed Su Xin to calm her rapid heartbeat.
Older sister, you must say it quickly!
Facing the emperor, Su Xin’s eyes were ablazed with steadfast determination that Qu Feiqing felt that if she’d grant her wish at this very moment, this woman would go on her merry way without looking back.
Su Xin was eager to make her intention clear, but Qu Feiqing was just as eager to stomp on her hopes. For her, it was pure entertainment to see her face drained of all colors as she deflates her hopes with discouragement.
She gave a clear cough indicating her mild refusal.
“But I never say anything against my will.”
Su Xin’s face remained impassive.
Seeing Su Xin’s stoic demeanor, Qu Feiqing stopped teasing. She drew patterns with her finger on the small table instead, however Su Xin did not look up to pay attention to this.
Outside of the carriage, servants were lined up as they travelled on feet. Shu Juan was among them but her mind was not. It had been hours since she found out her master’s plans but she was still caught in a stupefied and unresponsive state of disbelief. Never would she have thought that she’d see the day where her dear Young lady Xue Yao will sit inside the carriage of a great oppressor.
When her master told her that she ‘had arrangements’, she never thought that it meant this. The Young lady was now an official companion to the Emperor Qu and they were now travelling miles away from the capital.
Shu Juan couldn’t justify Su Xin’s choice. It shook her to the core why the Young lady had been continually engaging herself in such risky situations. She’d been playing with fire from the moment she left the safety of the brothel as a free courtesan, devoid of any protection. Nonetheless, Shu Juan still gave her unfaltering support and full trust.
She leaned against the carriage, exhausted not from the long travel but from finding a valid, good reason of her master’s course of action. Su Xin entering the imperial palace could never compare to the fear she felt about her present affair. They were heading to another unfamiliar territory and will live within the iron grip of the infamous Emperor Qu.
Shu Juan was in internal conflict, she felt like the person whom she devoted her whole life was becoming a stranger as the days passed.
She looked at the scenery before her, hoping that it could ebb the unrelenting turmoil in her mind.
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Su Xin wanted to specifically establish a good relationship with Qu Feiqing but the woman remained aloof as ever, even if she had taken Su Xin with her for some reason. Su Xin would talk and Qu Feiqing would only smile in return, never speaking. This made Su Xin’s head throb.
Older sister, don’t make this hard for me!
To build respectful and passive relationships between countries, the four countries took turns in holding the banquet and each leader were expected to attend. At this decade, Yu country administered the event and Qu Feiqing started her voyage at least a month before it commenced.
According to Qu Feiqing’s trusted navigators, the travel back to Qu Liu would take ten days and half a month based on the predicted weather in the coming days.
Under the scorching sun, the marching crowd of servants, horses and guards hit the road causing dust to gather around them.
Little did they know that not far away from them, figures began to creep closer.