Wuxiaworld > EMPEROR AND I > 30 Beloved And I


WEI LI LIAN

PRINCESS LE-ANNE

LADY QUEENS MANOR

Walking into the lady queens manor after being away for so long felt nostalgic to Le-anne. She removed the coat that covered her head to conceal her identity and hung it on the hallway hooks.

The few lady queens that passed her respectfully ushered their greetings, but Le-anne could tell that deep inside they hoped that she was not back to stay for in their hearts, she was 'sen-shang[1] from hell'.

"Wei Li Lian?" Mistress Han froze when she opened the bedroom door.

"Here in flesh," Le-anne giggled and hurried over to the dressing table where Mistress Han had sat for her evening makeup routine.

"Oh I have missed you." Mistress Han rose up and they hugged neck to neck. "You are still alive and well." She held up Le-anne and looked her over, a tear sparing on her pale cheeks. Her eyes held love and deep adoration like one a mother carries for her own child.

"My lady!" The door opened further and in ran Ai who squealed uncontrollably. "My lady is here." Ai threw herself on Le-anne and embosomed her so dearly.

"Young Miss Ai." The princess bundled up her little maid-in-waiting. For a moment she thought she would lose it and cry with them. "Mistress Han has been treating you well, look at you getting bigger than your mistress," Le-anne teased her as she patted her little head. Ai laughed loudly and twirled herself around proudly.

So glad to reunite and be able to catch up, they all broke into conversation as Le-anne shared about palace life while Ai and Mistress Han updated her on what had happened while she was away. Apparently Ai had been learning on how to dance recently and Mistress Han had found a suitor who was madly pursuing her, though the heartbreaking part was that he was one who she couldn't have as he was a noble man while she was just a lowly ranked courtesan.

"Right, we must talk about the reason I called you here," Mistress Han waved her hand and Ai obediently reacted to this by going to the wooden closet and pulling out a sizeable box which she placed on Le-anne's hands.

"This came for you, my lady." Ai smiled and winked.

Mistress Han began to explain, "A merchant who resided at this manor for a couple of days told me that he searched for a woman named Elora from the Borderlands, for he was told she came here."

"When Mistress Han told me this in passing, I assumed that it was you he looked for because I remember when I started serving you, your preferred being addressed as Elora." Ai explained further.

Elora was the name Le-anne got from her mother. She looked down at the box nervously, did this mean her mother had sent the box for her? Examining the exquisite bronze gold colored box closely, she ran her hand over the smooth surface. But again her mother was not the only dearest person that knew her as Elora.


She couldn't help but tremble as she lifted the lid off. It could be just anything that lay inside, there to add or steal from her life. She was sure it was not her mother when the scent of lavender washed her over.

Lavender could only be linked to someone else...

Her long lost savior.

She held her chest in incredulity. He had been searching for her… He had been looking for her and had found her. Her savior, her supposed to be lover and husband.

"Where is he?" She stood up and looked around, "Where is the man who gave you this?" Blood was pumping tracklessly, adrenaline overdosing her. For so long she had wondered if they would meet again, for so long she had waited and hoped that he would be the prince in shining armor to come and save her.

"Where is he?" she repeated on the brink of shedding tears.

"My lady, it was just a merchant who left the box behind and not the person that you look for," Ai walked over to her and sorrowfully held her hands.

Mistress Han, although not so sure of what was going on added, "He said he had been given that box in case he met you while on his travel for the owner has been searching desperately for you over the years."

Le-anne knelt down and examined the contents. Surely there had to be something that would help her inside the box. Inside was an expensive looking snow white coat and beside it, was a silk cloth that was carefully written on using black ink.

She read softly, "My heart aches for you... my dreams you flood with your presence, and my heart you have taken as your own." Her hand shook and she covered her mouth as tears swelled her eyes. She couldn't believe he had found her. She looked down and saw a short wide stick that looked like a fire explosive[2] and questionably, she looked at Mistress Han.

"The merchant was glad that you are in Nevoria because the person you seek also lives here. He said you must burn that on the bridge of the Capital then the person you seek will see this and come for you."

"Really?"

"And you must put that robe on because by it he shall identify you."

Le-anne couldn't think quite straight as excitement swamped her. "Quick, help me change out of this horrendous uniform that I may look presentable." She sat herself on Mistress Han's dressing table and Ai rushed out to collect a few dresses that she may choose one.

Mistress Han picked up a comb from the dressing table and softly started to comb her hair while also thinking of a style that would suit the occasion.

"I had no idea our lady's heart belonged to a certain suitor," Mistress Han chided.

Le-anne blushed and avoided any mirror eye contact. "Just a teenage fling, I gave up my feelings after years of waiting and no avail."

"Yes Mistress Han, she gave him up after shedding a well of tears on so many nights," Ai entered the room again with a few dresses on her hand, "as they say, hope deferred makes the heart sicks."

"Young Miss Ai!" Le-anne jokingly reproved her serving lady-in-waiting. The girl stifled a laugh as she again left the room to get more accessories.

Mistress Han naughtily whispered into Le-anne's ear, "How do you think he looks like now?"

Good question.

However, she had no idea. When they met, her eyesight was not so good as Mistress Kei had distorted her vision by some particular plant as they had started the training of heightening her senses; not having perfect eyesight would have Le-anne rely more on her other senses. How he looked was a blur and thus his uprightness and good character had won her over.

"More handsome?" Le-anne chose not to share the details as this could blow her cover.

"Of course! Our jewel does deserve the best." Mistress Han pulled a bunch of her pools of hair, "Thinking about it, how did you get an exit permit so easily when rumor has it that the prince has been poisoned?"

Even bad news traveled fast in Nevoria.

"Grand Consort Shu would not let me but I told her my dearest friend has been bedridden."

"And she allowed you?"

"She is considerate about these things as she knows what it is like being a maid. She was one herself before."

"Hmm… do you think they will investigate you concerning the prince? Normally half of the palace maids lose their life when such a thing takes place."

"Not likely. Much of the time wherever I went, Grand Consort Shu was with me." Well, except when she sought out to poison the emperor.

Mistress Han and Ai then helped her change into a worthy pale blue hanfu. On her hair they stuck a few pearls and crystal accessories that adorned her quite well. Le-anne decided not to put on any cloth to cover part of her face. On that night she was going to be real and leave herself bared. There was not going to be any games, tricks or fakeness.

On top of her outfit, they embellished her with the white coat that reached her feet. Le-anne could feel the softness of the fabric warming her up from beneath her chilled fingertips. On the shoulders of the coat were shiny silver like stones that gleamed in the dark, while the sleeves had a woven pattern of lotus flowers. This complemented the broad collars that stood magnificently, making her look taller than she was.

Mistress Han helped straighten the coat on her, "Because of the river, it sometimes gets very chilly on the bridge, so this will keep you warm and comfortable."

Ai dressed up a little and stuck by Le-anne's side so as to serve her for the night. Although it was matters of the heart, Le-anne intended to take her lady-in-waiting with her to indicate that she was a respectful lady of status. This however, would not change first time impressions as she had unbundled herself half naked before him within the first hour of meeting.

Before leaving, Le-anne promised Mistress Han that she would see her before she returned to the palace so as to update her on what took place. Mistress Han then ordered a palanquin for them which took them straight to the Capital bridge.

The Capital bridge was a marvel of wood, steel and concrete, and beneath it ran the so wild river. Red lanterns decorated the craft as they hung on the trees that were lined up on it. Le-anne understood why he had chosen the place for them as it was just a breath of fresh air, with tranquility lulling the atmosphere. Here and there she would see man and woman that held hands, cross the bridge. It was a haven for love birds.

"Excuse me my lady, but you dropped this."

Le-anne turned around to an old weary woman that was crouched over over a walking stick. The righteous woman held up Le-anne's silk cloth that she had found in the box, sent by her beloved.

"Thank you," Le-anne smiled kindly. Feeling excited and over the moon about the night, Le-anne took out a pouch of silver coins and placed them in the old woman's hands. A pang of sadness hit her when she saw that two of the fingers on the woman's right hand were missing.

The old woman's eyes momentarily lit up with delight, probably grateful that she would be able to afford dinner for the first time in a while. Erratic over the money, the woman bowed down and gave great thanks to which Le-anne walked away from with glee. It felt good to bless someone.

At the center of the bridge, Ai helped her light up the fire explosive which incredibly shot into the sky, scattering a blaze of sparkle. Fiery coruscate continuously exploded in the darkness of the night igniting vivid and vivacious colors. Popping sounds also littered the air, accompanied by loud cheers from people celebrating the soaring bright light that bejeweled the sky.

Looking at how high the work of beauty shot up, Le-anne was confident that wherever he was, he would see it.

Her beloved was going to come for her at any moment, so she leaned on the rail of the bridge and waited patiently.

___________________

TRANSLATION

[1]sen-shang - teacher or one who comes before the other.

[2] fire explosive - modernly known as fireworks.

S.V