Chapter 43 – Laughing Point (3)
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The next day, Su Xin was glad that the sun was finally shining in its brightest over the cold Qu Liu country. The open blue sky was a welcome sight and Su Xin felt rejuvenated.
She wanted to catch some rays and disperse the coldness she was feeling from her illness for good, so she decided to take a walk in the courtyard.
With her was Shu Juan who followed her step by step in fear that something might happen to her. It looked like her master was recuperating well, but she couldn’t be so confident about leaving Su Xin all by herself, with the Young lady becoming headstrong and impetuous with her actions recently.
Boredom toiled at her so she persuaded Shu Juan to play tic-tac-toe with her.
On a sheet of paper, Su Xin draw the diagram for a tic-tac-toe match and explained to Shu Juan the mechanics of the game.
A battle between crosses and circles, whoever creates three in a row wins.
At first, Shu Juan didn’t understand this bizzare game so Su Xin won consecutively.
Fortunately, the game was very simple, and Shu Juan learned at once. The two sides were in a stalemate but then Su Xin was winning all over again.
“Shu Juan, your moves are too predictable.”
Su Xin put her pen on the table and leaned on her palm, looking at a flustered Shu Juan.
“No, Young lady is too smart and Shu Juan is too dumb.” Shu Juan smiled, not feeling like her intelligence was discredited in any way.
“What are you playing with?”
Two heads looked at the direction of the small, yet sharp voice, to see a handsome boy of probably eight or nine years old standing by the door with a haughty look.
Both master and servant stood up and saluted the little man.
“Greetings to Your Highness!”
This child was Qu Feiqing’s younger brother’s son. She imprisoned her younger brother, then brought his child to her side to raise him by herself.
Although Qu Feiqing didn’t say a word about this, everyone already acquiesced that this child was the crown prince of the country.
People too had long believed that their emperor was too prideful to bear a child, thus the kingdom would be handed to no one else but her nephew.
“Excuse me, are you the woman my aunt brought back on her return?”
Qu Xingchen held his chin high while scrutinizing the woman before him.
His aunt never loved to be close to other people. It was strange for her bring a person to the palace.
He had been completing the task assigned to him given by his aunt for days, so he could not come early to see what this person looked like when she first came.
Su Xin nodded and tidied up the table next to her. Qu Xingchen’s steps were full of confidence of young emperor, as he walked near the woman. At the table were random things which he presumed was all tools for a game.
Qu Xingchen’s slightly peeked at the surface to see scrawls he couldn’t understand. With his childish curiosity getting the best of him, he brought his defences down and looked at Su Xin, while still maintaining his haughty stature.
“You haven’t told me what you’re playing in this palace hall yet.”
Su Xin’s mouth twitched at the corners seeing the little boy pretending to be an adult so decisively.
“Oh just a little game, roughly like this…”
She told his Highness the rules of the game and soon enough, his eyes shone in excitement and he was eager to try.
Su Xin blew up several rounds of Qu Xingchen but it was not long before the lad gradually mastered the rules.
Truly a natural tactician just like his blood relative, Qu Feiqing.
Su Xin stepped up her game but the child won’t accept such a situation—he was taught to not take defeat lightly. He won several rounds leaving Su Xin astounded that a child a decade younger than her could outwit her, an adult.
This game is quite relaxing to play and the two of them were quite hooked to it, but their play didn’t last long.
Qu Xingchen beamed from ear to ear as he blocked Su Xin’s tricky move when suddenly, his smile disappeared and his body visibly shook. He hurriedly put down his pen and looked at the courtyard door.
He was looking intently that Su Xin thought he might be seeing a ghost. But there was not a single soul she saw until the door slowly slid open to reveal the ever imposing Emperor, Qu Feiqing.
The boy had incredible senses, Su Xin realized incredulously.
Qu Xingchen stood up and squared his shoulders before making a ritual greeting in a childish tone.