Chapter 48: Before the ceremony (Part Two)
“White,” Ouyang Xiaoleng interrupted him and said firmly.
“Ah? White is an ominous color. No king would wear white on his coronation,” Thousand Hand yelled in alarm and waved his six hands at the same time; his high-pitched voice turned even more ear-grating.
“I only want white. I won’t wear any other colors.” Ouyang Xiaoleng ignored Thousand Hand who stood there speechlessly.
“Fine. White, then. I can only put my talent on the strings and belt.” Thousand Hand shook his head.
In fact, Ouyang Xiaoleng wanted to wear the white dress robe that his father had used. His father didn’t wear it on his coronation, but Ouyang Xiaoleng liked it very much. However, he knew Ouyang Hongye, who craved for perfection in each detail of the coronation, would never agree to this idea; if he told Ouyang Hongye that he’d go to his own coronation dressed in an old robe, the latter would collapse in shock.
Xia Qiu was always on his mind, but only when he lay in bed did he have time to miss her properly. Thinking of her, he tossed and turned until he fell into a fitful sleep; in his dream, he saw her lying on her side facing him as they had done in the bird house of the Bird Concealment Platform. He gazed at her unblinkingly, afraid she’d disappear when he blinked.
He thought, “I always hurt her feelings unwittingly. I’m so willful and stubborn that I blurted out hurtful words all the time. I like her but couldn’t tell her. She must hate my silence, but she never scolded me for it. She took in so much negative emotion from me but gave me such heart-felt smiles. I was the cause for each of our separations. I’m determined to protect her but always put her in danger.”
After returning home in the capital city, Wangyue remembered that he hadn’t see Xuetu for some time and missed her. He had thought she’d eagerly come out and see him and Ouyang Xiaoleng when they came back but to his surprise, she didn’t come. He got worried and decided to go to his sister-in-law’s house to check up on Xuetu.
His elder brother’s widow, Miao Xueyou, and her daughter, Xuetu, lived in a house named Wutong Court not far from the North Star Palace. Wangyue had lived in the house with his elder brother since birth; when he grew up, he traveled around and seldom returned home. After his elder brother married at Lord Xueye’s arrangement, he moved out of the house and lived in Lord Yong’s residence ever since. When his brother was alive, he often visited Wutong Court but after his brother passed away, his visits to the house were few and sparse since the house always reminded him of his time with his brother and brought him great sorrow.
Unlike him, his brother was silent and gentle and always stayed by Xueye and Hongye’s side, listening to their talks and jokes quietly with a faint smile on his face. He wasn’t good with words but was very loyal to his friends. Tingyue died before Xuetu was born, which was the main reason that Wangyue took pity and doted on her. He had visited her often ever since she was a baby and even stopped roaming and stayed in the capital city for her. But lately, he had sensed Miao Xueyou’s disapproval of his frequent visits to Xuetu and wondered if he was just his reading too much into it.
“Sister-in-law.” When he arrived at the Wutong Court, he met Miao Xueyou who had just come back from outside. He walked up and greeted her.
Occupied by her thoughts, Miao Xueyou didn’t see him until now. “Oh, Wangyue. What are you doing here?”
“I just came back. I haven’t seen Xuetu for a while and decided to come and see her.” Wangyue didn’t see any emotion on her face.
“Don’t stand at the gate. Come in.” Miao Xueyou led him into the house.
The Wutong Court looked the same as many years ago. The swing on the huge phoenix tree was made by him and his brother, so were the rattan chairs and table in the courtyard and the furniture in the house. All these things reminded him of the time when he lived with his brother.
Wangyue followed Miao Xueyou into the house and sat down in the living room. As Xuetu didn’t come out and greet him, he asked, “Where’s little Xuetu?”
“She’s in her room. I locked her in it,” Miao Xueyou answered casually.
“Locked her? Why?” Wangyue was puzzled.
She poured him a cup of tea and handed it to him as she answered, “She went out with Xiaoleng and the others without my permission and encountered Mother Rakshasa; later when she heard you guys were about to go and search for the sky rune and land rune, she wanted to go with you, too. She’s young and has little spirit power and fighting skills; I can’t let her go out again. After Tingyue is gone, Xuetu is my only family; I don’t want her to get involved in your fight. I don’t want her to be in danger.”
Wangyue couldn’t find any fault with her words. “What does she think of it?”
“It’s not important what she thinks. You know how much she likes you, Lord Yong and Xiaoleng; she admires you guys, especially you. In her eyes, you’re like her father and would do anything to help you. She’s too young to realize the dangers she’d get into. If you truly love her, please leave us alone.”
“At least let me see her.”
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