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I stood there hugging Xuan Chen, looking at those pairs of eyes over Xuan Chen’s shoulders. He also kept looking at us. A strange feeling came inside my heart. My grip on Xuan Chen became tighter.

“Is something the matter?”

I shook my head. When I looked outside again, he’s gone. My grip on Xuan Chen loosened. A part of me want to run after him and a part of me want to stay here. My heart felt uncomfortable. I don’t want him to see this scene. Why do I feel that? He’s just someone I’m trying to use. I’m using him, he’s using me. I shouldn’t feel bad. After all, he knew that one day I’ll go back to Xuan Chen.

Xuan Chen gently pushed me away and took my hands in his. Looking into my eyes, he asked: “Don’t you really want to come back to the palace?”

Should I go back now? Is this the right time to go back?

“You’ve changed. You’re hiding something from me.”

Of course I’ve changed. The innocent and silly An Ning is dead. The moment her child died, she died too.

“How can I not change after going through all of that?”

He smiled a sad smile and turned around. I was facing his back. It’s a good thing that that person has gone, otherwise Xuan Chen would’ve seen him.

“You still blame me.”

He sighed.

“Alright, I won’t force you to go back with me.”

“I’ll go back with you.”

When he turned back to look at me, he smiled a radiant smile. At that moment, I really want that smile to last forever. The smile that shows real happiness. The childlike smile. Will he smile that smile again, if he knows I’m using him?

These few months I used to wonder if I’ve ever really loved Xuan Chen. Seeing that smile made me realize the answer to that question. I’ve fallen in love with him because he was himself. He was someone who’ll protect me with his life. He was someone who put me in the first place. He was someone who I can tell almost everything. He was my best friend. But after meeting in the palace, I’m not his number one anymore. I also need to be wary of what I said in front of him. One wrong word and I’ll lose my head. I realized that an emperor is destined to be lonely. And I, as the emperor’s wife, am destined to suffer the same fate.

“Really, will you really go back with me?”

“Yes, I’ll go back with you.”

He was so happy that he lifted me and turned around in circles, making me dizzy. He’s so happy, but I’m not so happy, yet I can’t show it.

“Xuan Chen, it’s late now. I’m tired and I want to sleep.”

The hidden meaning behind my words is, that he can go sleep too, but in another room.

He paused for a moment but then smiled again.

“Alright, let’s go sleep.”

He walked to my bed. I didn’t move. He sat on my bed and stretched his hand out for me. I suddenly realized that something isn’t right.

“What about Ming Kuang? Is he still outside?”

“I came alone. I sneaked out of the palace.”

In my head, I let out a relieved breath. If Ming Kuang was with him, he surely would’ve seen Yun Wen. Then our lives will be in danger. No matter how I explain, nobody would’ve believed that there was nothing between us. Even I don’t know if there’s something between us.

“Why would an emperor sneak out of his own palace?”

“Because he wanted to see the woman he’s always thinking of.”

My heart felt uncomfortable again.

“Why be so sneaky about it?”

“Because I didn’t want the whole palace to know I’m coming here. I don’t want a bunch of guards with me, while I’m with you. I just want to be Xuan Chen in front of you.”

But what you don’t realize is that you’ve ceased being just Xuan Chen, the moment you took the throne. To me, you’ll now always be Xuan Chen, the emperor. And I can’t be just An Ning anymore. I’m now the emperor’s wife, the empress, the one who wants revenge. We can’t go back to how we used to be.

“Let’s go to sleep.”

His hand was still in the air, waiting for me. I walked to him and sat beside him.

“Why are you so careless? What if someone wants to murder you? You’re the emperor now, you can’t just come here without guards.”

“Are you worried for me?”

“No, I’m only worried that you’ll get me involved.”

“You don’t need to worry. I still remember; two years ago, I promised you that I’ll protect you with my life.”

There was a longing expression on his face. He must be thinking about that time and wanting to go back. I really want to ask him if he can choose at that time, will he still choose to become the emperor.

“Then you need to protect yourself first. If you can’t protect yourself, how will you protect me?”

“Don’t worry, I made sure no one is following me. Let’s go to sleep now.”

We laid on the bed with our backs to each other. Suddenly he turned and one hand was on my belly. My body involuntarily froze. He sensed it.

“Don’t worry, I won’t touch you before you’re ready. Beside, I’m really tired from this long journey.”

Falling asleep was harder this night than all the other night. But the person beside me didn’t seem to have any trouble falling asleep. He was hugging me tightly against him. If I moved a little, he’ll move with me, as if he’s afraid that I’ll leave him. So I silently prayed for sleep to come to me.

Comment:

We’ve reached chapter 30. When I began writing this story, I thought that I’ll write a short story for fun. I never imagined that I’ll reach chapter 30. I think it’s time to end it. I already have an ending in my mind. I’ll work hard to the end ^^.

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