Chapter 11 Flustered
<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>
Within the pavilion, the aroma of the coral peony only grew stronger, filling the air with a pleasant fragrance.
Li Zhi perched at the edge of the stone table, reclining slightly and propping herself up with her arms, accentuating the soft curves of her supple, full body.
Her face turned upwards, eyes shut as she welcomed the man’s tender kisses.
Their lips met, exuding warmth and tenderness, laced with a subtle hint of fragrant liquor that set their senses ablaze.
Pei Ji’s hands gripped her waist and the nape of her neck, scorching her through her clothes, yet he tempered his kisses with restraint.
He pressed his lips upon hers with exquisite care, as if to prove something, content with the taste of the sweet liquor on her lips, and hesitant to delve further.
The rouge that had already blurred her features became even more smudged as he withdrew, tilting his head to peer at her exquisite and enchanting face, his dark eyes so deep they threatened to swallow her whole.
“You see, I’m not exactly a good person myself.”
His voice was low and husky, tinged with a hint of restraint and warning, as if he sought to prove through deeds that he was just an ordinary man.
With such a breathtaking beauty in his arms, how could he resist the allure?
Yet, he managed to control himself, even in such a heady situation.
He may have seemed bold and reckless, but in reality, his large palms resting behind her hardly budged.
Li Zhi’s almond-shaped eyes slightly curved at the corners, misty and stubborn as she gazed silently and resolutely at him.
Memories of the enchanting dream he had half a month ago flooded Pei Ji’s mind, causing his eyes to flicker uncontrollably as a deep-seated sense of panic took hold of him.
Suppressing his restlessness, he averted his gaze, hoping to forget the warm and tender feel of her delicate body between his palms. His voice deep and grave, he spoke the words that he hoped would quell the storm brewing within him, “Regardless of what happened, you belong to His Majesty now. He favors you, and you should not harbor any other thoughts.”
The meaning of his words was ambiguous, and it was unclear whether he was speaking to her or to himself.
Li Zhi sneered, and a trace of sarcasm flickered in her swollen eyes. The fragility and loneliness that she had shown earlier were gone, and she had once again assumed her charming and alluring demeanor.
Ignoring his words, she reached out and gently stroked his face. Her slender index finger wiped away the faint rouge on his lip, and she asked with a nonchalant air, “The Imperial Guards by the Taiye Pool patrol every two hours, don’t they?”
Pei Ji’s face knotted as he slowly released his grip on her delicate frame, attempting to retreat. “Normally it’s every two quarters, but today it’s every three.”
On this day of Qixi Festival, many guards had been stationed near the Linde Hall and Yeting Palace to assist the eunuchs in preventing any flooding.
Li Zhi flicked a few stray strands of hair from her neck and smirked in response, “All the better for us.”
Li Zhi’s grin made Pei Ji’s heart skip a beat, causing him to instinctively step back. But it was too late.
She hopped down from the table with ease and approached him, wrapping her arms around his neck. Standing on her toes, she moved closer to his lips and breathed out in a soft whisper, “General Pei, we still have two quarters left. I want to test and see if you truly are a good man. If not, then I guess I’ll just have to accept that.”
Without waiting for his response, she leaned in and kissed him, taking control of the situation.
The fragrant wine passed through her lips and she fed it to him sip by sip, leaving a heady aroma lingering in the air.
Pei Ji felt the smoldering fire in his chest ignite with the first touch of the wine, a heat that had been burning within him for far too long.
An explosion rocked his mind, scattering his thoughts and sending his senses into overdrive.
He had been the one to take the lead before, but now, with her passionate embrace, he lost all sense of control, his body succumbing to her touch.
In a moment of surrender, he wrapped his arms around her slim waist, pulling her close.
His hands wandered over her body, tracing the curves of her waist and back, tugging and pulling at the delicate fabric that separated them.
He lowered his head and closed his eyes silently.
The sweet fragrance of coral peonies filled his senses, and he felt himself sinking into its heady aroma, lost in the moment, never wanting to wake up.
On the palace road beside Taiye Pool, He Yuan Shi was led by a palace maid holding a lantern, accompanied by two eunuchs carrying food boxes, heading towards Wangxian Temple.
The savory scent of hot food wafted from the boxes, and the trio hastened their steps, hoping to reach their destination before the dishes turned cold.
The eunuchs, usually tasked with carrying the imperial sedan chair, had honed their walking skills to perfection. Even with a hot soup in the box, they would not spill a drop.
The lady in Wangxian Temple was now the Emperor’s favorite, and could not be neglected in the slightest.
The noblewomen in the imperial harem may not have fully realized it yet, but those who served the Emperor knew very well. Qian Yang, who had been sent back to Yeting Palace to work as a lowly servant, was the best example.
As the most trusted Chief Eunuch in the imperial court, he understood the weight of the matter.
Walking ahead of the group, the palace maid holding the lantern kept a watchful eye on the path before them. Suddenly, she spotted a dark figure approaching in the distance, causing her to jump in fright. It wasn’t until the figure drew closer that she was able to discern its face.
Wearing a purple robe and a jade clasp with a tall and solemn demeanor, whose face could it be but Pei Ji’s?
The four of them quickly stepped aside to the side of the road and bowed in reverence.
On any other day, Pei Ji would have returned the gesture with a solemn face and without any sloppiness.
However, today, for some unknown reason, he only glanced at the four of them hurriedly, nodded slightly, and quickly strode away.
The palace maid watched his figure disappear into the darkness and inexplicably felt a hint of panic.
She hesitated and asked, “General Pei seems different today…”
He Yuan Shi frowned and lightly rebuked, “Pay attention to the road ahead. It’s not our place to discuss General Pei’s affairs.”
The maid hurriedly responded and said no more.
That is the son of an Imperial Princess and the Prime Minister, the cousin of His Majesty, a man of high esteem, not to be gossiped about by servants.
But He Yuan Shi himself couldn’t help but feel that something was off.
If he wasn’t mistaken, there seemed to be a lot of wrinkles at the collar of General Pei’s coat, as if it had been forcefully pulled and tugged.
Bathed in the moonlight, Li Zhi leaned against the railing of the pavilion, holding a wine cup to her lips and taking small sips.
Her lips were almost devoid of rouge, her eyes still swollen, her long hair scattered, and her clothes were slightly disheveled. She reached up to fix them haphazardly and recalled the earlier scene, laughing lightly as she looked up to the sky.
Earlier, she had teasingly pulled at Pei Ji’s collar.
He was clearly lost in passion, his body hot and tense, kissing her recklessly. But suddenly he came to his senses, pushed her away with a stumble, and stared at her in shock and fear, as if she were a seductive demon.
She leaned against the pavilion, looking at him with a smile.
He stood motionless for a while, then hurriedly rearranged his disordered clothes without saying a word. He didn’t even have time to smooth out the wrinkles before he hastily fled.
It seemed that her boldness had scared him off.
Li Zhi enjoyed the cool breeze and laughed until she was out of breath.
Although Pei Ji usually appeared calm and collected, he could still look so disheveled in moments like this.
However, his mind was indeed extremely resilient. Even with a beauty in his arms, he could still restrain himself and not cross the line.
If she could get him to make a promise someday, he would probably risk his life to keep it.
Li Zhi was lost in thought when she heard a voice outside the pavilion. It was He Yuan Shi. “My lady, are you there? His Majesty is concerned about you and has sent me with some warm food. Shall I bring it in for you?”
Li Zhi’s expression turned cold. She quickly wiped her face and composed herself to appear gentle and vulnerable. “Please come in, Chief Eunuch He,” she said softly.
He Yuan Shi led the way inside through the curtains. As soon as he entered, he saw Li Zhi sitting on the railing, looking frail and alone. Her hair was in disarray, and her eyes were red from crying.
It seemed that His Majesty was right to worry. The lady was indeed here, drowning her sorrows in wine.
He felt sorry for her and personally helped to arrange the dozen or so dishes on the stone table, and then spoke a few words about His Majesty’s concern before retreating to report back to the Linde Hall.
Li Zhi gazed at the table full of delicacies and understood that Li Jingye wouldn’t come tonight. Her heart filled with delight.
She summoned Chun Yue, and the two of them sat by the Taiye Pool and enjoyed the food and drink.
She knew all too well that in a few days, she would move into Chenghuan Palace and become one of the beauties in Li Jing Ye’s harem. She would never find such a vast and comfortable place to be alone again.
However, Chun Yue was restless.
Chun Yue suspected that Li Zhi didn’t have any feelings for the Emperor, but instead had her eyes on General Pei.
After pondering for a while and confirming that there was nobody around, she couldn’t help but offer some advice, “Miss, it’s true that General Pei saved you, but now you’re with the Emperor. General Pei…”
As she spoke, her face flushed red, and the last few words seemed to catch in her throat, almost too embarrassed to say them aloud.
“Silly girl,” Li Zhi smiled, reaching out to tap the soft roundness of her servant’s face. “He still has his uses, but if I could leave this place and live without relying on a man, would you come with me?”
In this world, men were free to indulge in the pleasures of having multiple wives and concubines, while women were forced to bear the weight of countless restrictions. In Great Wei, where societal norms were relatively liberal, even the princesses of the imperial family weren’t immune to keeping male favorites. Whether it be the courtiers or the common people, discussing such matters was often met with scorn and ridicule, all while bemoaning the decline of the times.
Although Li Zhi knew that her actions were shocking to the world, her desire to break free never wavered.
Chun Yue seemed puzzled by her mistress’s desire to leave, but she had noticed that Li Zhi seemed to have matured and grown much more calm in recent times. She trusted in her mistress’s judgment.
After a moment of hesitation, Chun Yue gritted her teeth and nodded, “This servant will follow you, Miss.”
<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>