In the two weeks that I was sick, I saw Xuan Chen every day in my dreams. The day that he kissed me must’ve been a dream too. He’ll be crazy to kiss me now.
I want to turn back the time to when we were strangers to each other. At that time we were closer than now. He felt so far away even if he was just a few steps from me.
Ming Long came to visit me. I flew into his arms and pretended to be happy. He saw right through me.
“Ge, I want to go home. I want to eat roasted duck that mom make and I want to eat tofu that mother make.”
“Xiao Mei, you’re an empress now. You can’t go in and out of the palace. If I could I will take you back home. Try to live through the hard times. After the hard times there will be happy times. Ge will bring you the things that you want to eat. Is the royal cuisine not to your satisfaction?”
“That’s not it. I just miss home.”
“The forbidden city is your home now. Unfortunately this brother of yours can’t do anything for you. If it weren’t the emperor I would’ve beaten him for treating you this way. Try to bear with it for a while. The emperor will see how good you are in time.”
I can only nod. What more can I say?
“Huang Shang jia dao.”
“See, even the emperor is coming to see you. I’ll let you two have some privacy.”
“Greet mother and mom for me.”
“Huang Shang, 吉祥 ( ji xiang, another way to greet the emperor.)”
“免了( mian le, what the emperor say to those who greets him).”
He personally helped me up. What is he up to now?
He took the flower and put it in my hair. My heart is going crazy. I want this moment to last forever. Am I dreaming again? I pinched my cheek. It hurts. He laughed. I was bewildered by his attitude. What made him change?
Then dozens of man in black appeared before us. I was helpless against them when Xuan Chen fights them. But they seem to be wanting me instead of him. Xuan Chen’s martial arts is really awesome but there were too many of them. I just kept shouting that there were intruders and avoiding being cut. Where are those damn guards? Then some more appeared and began to shoot arrows at me. I tried my best to avoid them, when one was right before me. I saw Xuan Chen getting stabbed in the chest while trying to get to me.
I tried to make my way to him. The arrow that was supposed to hit me didn’t hit me because one of the men in black fended it off for me. The guards were coming, so the men in black retreated. One of them cast one more look at me. Our eyes met. I was too busy to care who he is. I ran to Xuan Chen. The sword is still in his chest. He’s having trouble breathing.
“An Ning, don’t you ever dare die before me. I won’t let you die before me. I heard you call my name. Can you call me again?”
This fool still laughed. He coughed blood.
“Xuan Chen, please don’t talk anymore. Where are the damn physicians?”
I couldn’t bear to see them pull the sword out of his chest. He took my hand.
“An Ning, you said you love me while you were sick. Is it true?”
“I love you.”
“Zhen will not die before reaching ten thousand years. So don’t worry about Zhen. But if I happen to go before my time I want you to have a happy life outside the palace.”
He caressed my cheek leaving a trail of blood before passing out. Since he’s unconscious the physicians didn’t dare to perform acupuncture on him. I yelled at them to do something. I know I was being unreasonable. The empress dowager demanded that I go get some sleep. Unwillingly I went to my room.
“Yun Wen, come out. I know you’re here.”
He came out of the shadows.
“Greetings, my empress, “he said mockingly while bowing.
I pounded him on the chest.
“Do you know what you did?”
He stopped me from pounding him the second time.
“Why didn’t you tell me that you were the prime minister’s daughter?”
“Did you tell me that beside a thief you’re also an assassin?”
“Hahaha, fair enough. We lied to each other.”
“Yun Wen, how did you enter the palace? Who are you?”
“Li An Ning, why are you so stupid? The first time you me saw I was chased by people and I used you to hide me. The second time I kidnapped you and the third time I tried to kill you. Why are you still talking to me instead of calling the guards? Aren’t you afraid of me?”
He poured himself some tea.
“If you really wanted to kill me, you wouldn’t have saved me from that arrow. Even if I call the guards I’ll be dead before they arrive here.”
“You’re really an interesting girl. No wonder the emperor has fallen for you. If you’ve stayed longer with me, I think I’ll fall for you too. You want to know about me? Fine I’ll tell you. My name is Zhu Yun Wen. I’m the grandson of the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty.”
He barred his shoulders. There’s a dragon tattoo on his arms.
“When I was born my father did this to let me remember who I am. My mission is to restore the Ming dynasty. The first step was to cause more conflict between the prime minster and your husband by killing you.”
“Why don’t you kill me now? It’s the perfect time, don’t you think?”
“I think I might love you a little, since I can’t bear to kill you. There’s already conflict between your father and your husband. It’s a matter of time before they went to each other’s throat. By killing you I only speed that process. I’m a patient man. I can wait.”
“Thank you for the compliment. I need to go. Think about what I said. Your husband will kill your father or your father will kill your husband. Don’t get to attached to your husband because you’ll get hurt either way.”
“Yun Wen, can’t you just live a simple life?”
“I can’t. This is a burden I need to carry till the day I die. You saw how my people are living. I can’t go and have a nice life while knowing that. Oh… if someone get to know about our talk, the first one to die is Hei Tou.”
“There isn’t much that I doesn’t dare, sweetheart.”