Proofread by Yin Jing
The spring breeze caresses the face so gently and the sunshine gently sprinkles on the body, which makes people drowsy.
After returning to the mansion in the afternoon, Ling sits in front of the window for a long time with one posture. Qing’er asks a few questions but doesn’t get her reply. She lowers her head and waits beside uneasily.
“You are very different today.”
“Your Highness, tell me, it is good or not?”
“… So long as it is you, it is fine.”
That the Crown Prince invited her to the Yuli Garden to discuss poetry was just his excuse to rescue her from predicament. Ling showed her gratefulness to him, but was disturbed by his words. “Wouldn’t it be a waste of the chance of rebirth if I am as cowardly as my previous life?” Yan Ling sighs. Glancing at the setting sun, she closes the window.
Seeing this, Qing’er pours a glass of water for her, secretly praying that she would not find her real identity. Yan Ling doesn’t unmask her. She puts down the tea cup and rises to her feet, “How many days have Liyi been away to visit her relatives?”
With a crackling sound, the tea cup with a little tea in it breaks into pieces. Yan Ling frowns and looks at Qing’er who is at a loss and begins to doubt her.
Liyi, Ling’s beloved servant maid, visited her hometown but returned with wounds all over her body. Later, when Ling got married, the prime minister’s wife sold Liyi on the grounds that Liyi couldn’t take care of her, which led to the result that she didn’t have a trusted person around her until her death.
“What are you hiding from me?!” Looking at Qing’er’s panic expression, Ling knows that something must have happened to Liyi. Perhaps in the previous life Liyi’s injury was not caused by falling as she said!
Qing’er becomes pale and kneels down on the ground, “I, I don’t …”
“Ah,” Yan Ling kicks up the debris of the tea cup near her feet, squats down and looks straight into Qing’er’s eyes, “I just asked you how many days Liyi has been away. Why are you so nervous?”
The sharp eyes seem to be all-pervasive. Qing’er gasps and quivers, “I… I saw Liyi go to Qiongxin Court…”
Ling’s expression becomes stern. She rises suddenly and rushes out of the courtyard. A moment later, she reaches the front gate of Qiongxin Court.
The maids at the door all change their complexion when Ling comes. They try to stop her on the ground that they need to let Yan Shuang know before she enters, but Ling pushes them away without a word.
Having seen Ling’s unpleasant face and her darting straight into the main hall, the maids scream after her.
“Bang!” Yan Ling throws open the door and finds Liyi lying on the ground, wounded and shivering. Suddenly tears fill Ling’s eyes, “What are you doing?!”
Yan Shuang wakes up from her stupor and quickly hides her whip behind her. She says with a fake smile, “This girl goes out with a new dress, but comes back with such a rag. After all, she is your chamber maid, my sister. Isn’t she a disgrace to our House of prime minister?”
“Oh, you know she is my girl?” Yan Ling stares at Shuang with her beautiful smiling eyes, and her fair skin flushes with anger. “Who gives you the permission to do that to her!”
“I was just trying to give her a lesson. Why are you so mad, my sister …”
“Well, how about I take your maid away and beat her up?” With this, Ling reaches out to pull Qinghe who is standing beside her. Qinghe avoids her and scolds her angrily, “You should be aware of your own identity. Even a maid is better than you…”
“Shut up!” Feeling the secret is to be disclosed, Shuang interrupts her maid in a panic.
“My identity?” Yan Ling sneers, and the corners of her mouth raise a curvature of sarcasm. “No matter who I am, I am nobler than you!”
Seeing Qinghe still wants to talk back, Yan Shuang kicks her posterior knee and forces her to kneel down on the ground. Then she explains to Yan Ling with a dry laugh, “Of course, you are right, my sister. I’ll teach her a lesson in a moment!”
Yan Ling supports the pale Liyi in her hand and goes straight out of the door.
Yan Shuang shouts behind her: “The Third Prince invites you to Tianxiang Restaurant at 9 tomorrow morning. Do remember that, my sister!”
Yan Ling snorts coldly and leaves with Liyi straight away.
Thanks to her past cowardice, even those servant girls dare to bully her.
Ling takes Liyi back to the side yard of Fanghua Court, cleans her wound and puts some medicine. Liyi looks at Yan Ling nervously, biting her lips as she explains, “It’s all my fault. I just wanted to give my clothes to my sisters at home. I had other clothes to wear here. I didn’t expect to embarrass you, and let Qinghe treat you like that…”
“It doesn’t matter.” She was eager to hear the secret. “I asked you, if I hadn’t saved you, how would you tell me about your injury when you come back? Would you say you fell and hurt yourself?”
Liyi freezes. She looks up at Yan Ling and smiles ingenuously.
Tears fill Ling’s eyes once again. She looks up and hopes to hold back her tears.
“Do not go to the appointment, my Lady,” Liyi suddenly frowns and whispers to her, “You are not informed in this House. I heard that the Third Prince is bad-tempered and is mean to people.”
Liyi said similar things in her previous life. However, she fell in love with Liang Yi and her heart was full of how good Liang Yi was. She blamed Liyi for not knowing how to behave in that situation.
“I see.” Ling tucks Liyi in and comforts her, “Recovering is your priority now. I know what to do.”
Watching Ling stand up, Liyi wants to say something but hesitates. “My Lady… Be careful of Qing’er.”
Ling smiles, nods and goes back to the main courtyard.
Ling is determined that she won’t go to Liang Yi’s invitation. There were no intersections with him at the banquet like in her previous life. How could it still be like that now?
All he is planning is to invite her for snacks, to accompany her to bookstores and speech clubs, to take her to the lake in a sunny day, and finally to tame her as his slave. How could such tricks fool her again in this life.
Asking Qing’er to leave her alone, Yan Ling sits at the wooden table in deep thoughts.
That eating too much Angelica makes people have the symptom of fever. Liyi’s parents are herb farmers and she brings back a lot of fine herbal medicines after she comes back from home-visiting. Maybe there is Angelica.
Looking at the medical book in front of her, Ling sighs.
Who would like to damage her own body for nothing? But, besides Liyi, there is no one who she can believe in the whole prime minister’s House. How can she deal with the collusion between the Third Prince and Yan Shuang? Now all she can do is to pretend to be sick.
“I have a sore throat recently. Fetch the stove in the warehouse and make me some licorice soup.” Qing’er, who is waiting on outside the door, answers and goes to get the stove. Yan Ling goes to the bronze mirror and suddenly goes into a trance when she remembers what Liang Yi said to her in her previous life.
“Do one thing for me, and the time it’s done is when I marry you.”
“To be my spy in the Crown Prince’s Palace.”
“… How can I get in?”
The face in the bronze mirror becomes blurred. Ling wipes away her tears and takes a deep breath. She turns her head and looks at the smoking incense stove on the desk and grits her teeth fiercely.