PRINCESS YANG LIU currently known as KUAN HUI
The palace grounds had a harvest of people. Generals littered the place as they clamored, joked and laughed loudly, while in their midst were carriages of stock and luggage. They awaited the arrival of the emperor so that they could mount on their horses for YiYuan.
Yang Liu confirmed the emperor's absence when she did not site his entourage. Besides, if he was there, he would be easily noticeable. His existence in a place carried a presence. She then scanned around for General Feng, who seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth.
She needed to talk to him and ask questions which he, only had answers to.
Next to the huge carriage that had an emblem of a dragon, signifying that it belonged to her elder brother, was Grand Consort Shu who stood with her retinue while speaking to the Ladies of Art. The women of art always garbed themselves in white; snow flowers of the palace, they called themselves.
Yang Liu raced toward them and her palace maids started doing the same, to which she stopped and screeched in annoyance about. They had to stop following her.
Grand Dowager Empress gave her entourage strict orders to shadow her every movement since the night she got drunk. For the past week everyone had been looking at her questionably, because of the 'great' secret she presumably was withholding and still had to confess.
Her grandmother gave ordinance, that she should offer audience at the Rose Flower palace, the same day she awoke to seeing her mother in her sleeping chambers. Grand Dowager Empress chastised her for getting drunk and acting wild, said she empathized with her pain but her behavior could not be pardoned.
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Punishment was inevitable.
She got an edict to read all the books on morality, then afterwards she got tested on her read work for insight on her understanding.
Surprisingly her elder brother did not summon her for punishment, though she was confident he was well aware of every detail that took place on the night. He didn't even punish General Feng too, and that made her more anxious. When the emperor was that quiet, it could mean anything. Would he later on use it against her?
It was a mystery.
She, herself barely remembered what took place on that night. The only thing she remembered was drinking with General Feng. How she got into the palace and the banging of bells, was just a haze to her. This is why she needed to find General Feng. He had some explaining to do.
"Mufei(consort mother)," Yang Liu rested her palms on her knees, as she tried to catch her breath and talk at the same time. "Mufei, have you seen General Feng?"
Grand Consort Shu smiled at her then waved her hand to indicate that she would attend to her soon. She was dressed in a peach hanfu that complemented her skin. Yang Liu was dazzled by the matching peach crystals that adorned her hair. She could not wait to become a lady too, and wear such fancy stones.
"Don't feed her any creature that has wings," Grand Consort continued to instruct the Ladies of Art, "No soup of winged creatures. No winged creatures. Nothing of winged creatures."
"Yes, Your Highness," the ladies bowed.
"Anything with wings causes her to have a fever." She took a few steps toward a palanquin and looked inside, observing that whoever was inside was well and comfortable. Looking satisfied, she patted the palanquin and turned to Yang Liu.
"Li'er has been flashing hot and vomiting because we did not know that she is inimical to winged creatures," Consort Shu mused.
Yang Liu did not know who the disloyal Li'er was, she just wanted General Feng. "Mufei, have you seen General Feng?"
Grand Consort lit up at his name and gave her a naughty look. "Yang Liu?" she winked.
Yang Liu contained herself from blushing, "Has Her Highness seen him?"
Consort Shu winked at her, pointing to something behind her. She frantically turned to see General Feng behind, talking to another general. He lifted his eyes and they held eye contact, reminding her of her dream. He looked handsome in his grey official generals uniform.
Seeing her, he excused himself and turned to brush his huge brown mare.
He was avoiding her, what a brute.
Bidding goodbye to Grand Consort Shu, she slowly sauntered over to him and picked some fresh hay that was stacked nearby.
Yang Liu caressed the horse for encouragent as she fed. They were familiar to the other as Yang Liu had used her while she was being taught to ride horses.
She had demanded that they use General Feng's horse because she wanted all that was of him.
Everything General Feng.
But sadly if she lost the other night, she did not get him for herself. The seductress at the restaurant probably did. An ugly image of him being intimate with another woman terribly pierced her heart.
"I walked back drunk and alone the other night," she started softly. "General Feng where were you?"
"Enjoying my price, Your Highness." he replied shortly.
She winced at his in-sensitiveness and hid it by pretending to be observing the horse. What was more painful is that she had no one to blame. She took him there. She initiated the deal. And even more, she probably even paid for their bedroom endeavors.
"So indeed you let me walk home alone?"
"His Highness is a man strong enough to do that safely. What is there to be afraid of?"
"Everything!" Her eyes stung."I was drunk and anyone could have taken advantage of that."
"And who forced you to drink?"
"That is prosperous! General Feng, you will not talk to me like that."
He was beginning to heat up and so was she exasperated. The volume of their voices was also gaining them attention.
"Your Highness. Please be a man and―"
"I'm not a man!" she emotionally shot back. She had heard 'man' and 'boy' being directed at her all her life and she was tired of it.
Before she could stop them, the words were already out. He stopped brushing the coat of his horse, the words sinking in.
'Tā mā de!(damn it). I just confessed to him. What shall I do?'
"Then what are you? A woman?" he mocked. "Your Highness, I wish to be left alone."
Yang Liu breathed in relief. Thank the heavens he was not taking her words seriously because of his brewing anger. He was always slow like that.
"General Feng, you dare dismiss a prince from your presence?"
"Alright. Then excuse this subject of yours!" He threw the brush on the ground and paced away from her. He kicked a stone with indignance along the way.
Yag Liu didn't get it.
She was the one who had the right to be angry but weirdly he was the one vexed at her.
"Your Highness," someone whispered to Yang Liu and she jolted in fright.
"You?" She turned with irritation, facing her court lady who stood beside her. So her entourage had caught up to her and were back to trailing behind her.
"Your Highness, this servant knows why General Feng is acting that way."
"What do you mean?" A flare of confusion overtook Yang Liu's face.
"Your Highness, forgive me..." The court lady hesitated.
"Tell me." She wanted to know everything that concerned General Feng. Could it be that she had been insensitive to him when he had his own personal problems to deal with? How selfish she was to be ignorant of his pain.
"It is said..." the woman who served her for the past five years swallowed, hesitating again. "It is said that he is romantically involved with a Lady of Art."
'That's a lie.'
"They have been spotted together in the Imperial garden numerous times... And also he broke dungeon law to protect his lover when she was jailed―"
"No, it's a lie... It's a lie"
"I'm sorry your Highness."
"It's a lie. General Feng wouldn't do that to me." Yang Liu broke down. Rivers of fat tears flooding on her face. "It's a lie."
Not her General Feng.
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