Chapter 29: Trapped In a Conspiracy

“Many thanks for Empress Dowager’s love but this grandson is disabled and isn’t a worthy partner for Young Lady Su. I hope you can help Young Lady Su choose a better husband.”

The Second Prince sounded respectful and modest but his firm rejection was hard to ignore.

“Sigh. Qingfeng, you have always been the most thoughtful one… Since my grandson doesn’t have any interest, I shall not force you.” When the Empress Dowager saw that her plan wasn’t going to be successful, she had no choice but to laugh it off and lighten the atmosphere.

The Empress Dowager didn’t mind, but Su Luoqing couldn’t sit still. She had been practicing the dance since several months ago. At the start, she fell so much that her body was filled with bruises.

Right now, she had performed the dance in front of everyone just for the Second Prince and he didn’t even glance at her. Right now, he was even publically rejecting the Empress Dowager’s bestowment of marriage in public.

Su Luoqing could feel everyone laughing behind her back. Too bad for her, she was unable to blame anyone but herself. She thought she could marry into the imperial clan but never thought that she would turn into a laughing stock in front of everyone. Su Luoqing lowered her head and was momentarily ashamed and enraged.

No! I can’t blame myself… It’s all because of that woman! 

When Su Luoqing suddenly recalled how Bai Luochu was speaking merrily with Pei Qingfeng before the banquet started, she decided to focus all her anger on that peasant girl.

That’s right, it was all because of her. The Second Prince never had a woman beside him. There was no way she could make the Second Prince treat her like this without pulling some tricks. Had it not been for her, the Second Prince would surely have been subdued by her talent and affection. The bestowment of marriage should have succeeded!

Thinking about it, Su Luoqing glared at Bai Luochu with hatred in her eyes and there was a trace of bitter resentment.

As Su Luoqing glared at Bai Luochu, a plan formed in her heart. She was going to embarrass Bai Luochu in front of everyone today! Su Luoqing thought about it silently and wanted to see how this doxy was going to continue seducing the Second Prince!

The moon was high and the shadows were sparse. The highlight of the banquet was over and many of the people started to leave. The ones staying behind were a group of officials who were conversing with the princes, drinking, and enjoying a merry time. There were waves of laughter and the atmosphere seemed very harmonious. However, a sharp cry broke the cordial air surrounding the imperial palace.

“Oh my! My golden hairpin is missing!” The one who screamed was none other than Su Luoqing. There was no doubt it was her plan to splash a pail of dirty water onto Bai Luochu.     

The originally lively atmosphere instantly died and no one spoke up. They simply waited for Su Luoqing to continue.

“Young Lady, she was the only one close to you...” When the personal servant beside Su Luoqing saw that no one was reacting, she conveniently directed the head of the arrow towards Bai Luochu as she spoke through clenched teeth.

After hearing this, everyone turned to look at Bai Luochu. Those that were clever enough would know that Young Lady Su was probably ashamed and angered due to the failed marriage bestowal. They knew that she was preparing to vent all her anger on the woman standing beside the Second Prince.

Bai Luochu also knew that this woman had the Second Prince in her heart and wanted to stir up some trouble because of her close relationship with him.

But even if Su Luoqing wanted to frame someone, she had to do better. Right now, Bai Luochu had nothing on her body. How was Su Luoqing going to frame her? What a joke.

“Young Lady, will you please let my servant girl search your body? My golden hairpin is bestowed by the Empress Dowager and nothing must happen to it.” Su Luoqing might seem polite but it was clear that she was going to get her way no matter what.

In her heart, Bai Luochu thought that Young Lady Su’s speech was brilliant. If she was searched in public, even if she didn’t steal the golden hairpin, her reputation would be ruined. That servant girl was probably going to take out the golden hairpin during the search. Bai Luochu who was merely a servant girl would have no say in the matter… There was no way she would allow them to search her!

Just as Bai Luochu was thinking about how not to let this Su Luoqing search her body, Pei Qingfeng suddenly spoke up, “Searching someone’s body in public is truly an indecent act. I happened to see Young Lady Su personally handing the golden hairpin to your personal servant. I think Young Lady Su must be afraid of any accidents happening to the valuable golden hairpin and you gave it to your servant for safekeeping. It is better for Young Lady Su to search your servant girl first.”

Pei Qingfeng emphasised the word ‘safekeeping’ as though he was giving out a warning.

Su Luoqing’s expression instantly turned pale and a hesitant look appeared on her face. In the end, she insisted, “How can I not remember if I gave it to my servant girl? It is better to search that young lady’s body, just in case.”

“Why? Does Young Lady Su think that my eyes are disabled and can’t see clearly?” Pei Qingfeng narrowed his eyes. It was obvious he was irritated by Su Luoqing’s refusal.

When Su Luoqing saw Pei Qingfeng’s expression, she knew that her scheme had failed. She had no choice but to put on a pretense and search her personal servant’s body. Only after taking out the golden hairpin did her face turn ashen white. She hastily apologized to Pei Qingfeng, “The Second Prince is right. This official’s daughter had indeed forgotten and was too anxious. I seek the Second Prince’s forgiveness.”

“This had better not happen again.”

Pei Qingfeng didn’t even look at her but he didn’t dismiss Su Luoqing either. It was the Third Prince who couldn’t continue watching on as he waved his hand to dismiss Su Luoqing.

After this farce, Su Luoqing’s resentment grew even deeper. She was going to remember this humiliation and blamed it all on Bai Luochu. She had completely forgotten that she was the one who started it all.

When the matter was finally settled, many eyes turned towards Bai Luochu and among them were the gazes of the First and Third Prince.

When the First Prince saw Bai Luochu, he immediately recognized her and couldn’t help but squint his eyes at Bai Luochu before looking at Pei Qingfeng with astonishment and suspicion. He then looked at the Third Prince and saw that the Third Prince was somewhat curious as well. In the end, the First Prince hid his shocked expression as he withdrew his gaze. Lowering his head, he made sure that his expression was hidden from view.

As for the Third Prince, apart from suspicion, he had his other guesses. The Second Prince who never allowed any woman near him was actually so protective over this particular Young Lady. Could it be that his Second Brother who had always placed himself high above the rest was going to forsake a graceful peony over a mediocre cattail?

The Third Prince didn’t know if this woman was going to become the Second Prince’s weakness but if he could make use of it, it might come in helpful someday. After all, if his Second Brother was stabbed in the back by someone he trusted, he who usually played it cool would definitely feel the sting in his heart for a long, long time.

The Third Prince’s mind had hundreds and thousands of thoughts running through it and when he looked into Bai Luochu’s eyes, he couldn’t help but feel that there was something strange about her.

Perhaps there were some who wanted to alleviate the awkward atmosphere, everyone eventually raised their cups and toasted drinks.

When the atmosphere was back at where it started, another report came from the gate. “The Phoenix King Valley’s envoy has arrived!”

Previous Chapter Next Chapter