At the Noble Consort’s Feet Chapter 66

Chapter 66 Blush

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Pei Ji was silent for a long time, gradually feeling a tinge of unease. Inevitably, he reproached himself for entertaining such irrational thoughts just moments ago.

“He is none other than His Majesty, the monarch.”

With a husky voice, he spoke, his tone resolute, but uncertain whether he was responding to her words or reminding himself.

Through the veil of the dimly lit night, Li Zhi observed his reactions, unexpectedly sensing a faint trace of sympathy welling up inside her.

She understood that as a member of the imperial family, Pei Ji had been subtly shaped by the teachings of “loyalty to the monarch” over the past two decades. These deeply ingrained thoughts had become inseparable from his very being.

Li Jing Ye had only begun to reveal a glimpse of his true self. In the future, as the situation intensified, he would undoubtedly find himself increasingly challenged to confront it.

She tenderly stroked his cheek, drawing closer to lightly brush her lips against his. With a gentle smile, she spoke softly, “I’m just speaking in passing. You needn’t take it to heart. As I have always said, I will not allow you to commit acts that defy reason and conscience.”

Pei Ji remained silent, drawing her closer to him, enveloping her in a tight embrace for a moment. Then, he turned over, and leaned in for a kiss.

The intimacy they had just shared dissolved any urgency or assertiveness. Everything now flowed gently, like a soft breeze and a gentle rain, filled with tenderness.

With exceptional meekness, she placed her hands on his shoulders, patiently acquiescing to his touch.

After a considerable time, he buried his face in the strands of her hair, inhaling the subtly moist and fragrant scent. Softly, he inquired, “Have you already decided long ago to leave him?”

Suddenly, he felt as though he had unraveled her thoughts all along—her lack of loyalty and perhaps even harboring resentment toward the Emperor. It seemed she had been silently vigilant, fearful of being forsaken one day, ensuring she would have an exit strategy.

She lacked a sense of security, and he had always known that.

“The house you asked me to buy in Yangzhou, was it also for your own use?”

After careful consideration, he realized that her relationship with her family was distant. Her only sister resided in Chang’an, making it improbable for her to settle in Yangzhou even if she married Wei Peng in the future.

She secretly acquired a house in Yangzhou. Whom else could it be for, if not for herself?

Undoubtedly, Yangzhou was a splendid place.

It bordered the grand canal, where caravans and travelers came and went incessantly. The region was abundant in resources, filled with elegance and charm. Most importantly, it was located in the Jiangnan region, far away from the chaos of Chang’an.

Previously, he could never have foreseen that as a consort, she would want to separate from the Emperor. However, as he gradually gained insights into her, he came to understand that her thoughts were anything but conventional.

With her eyes fixed on the ceiling, she gently caressed his broad shoulder, her voice calm and composed. “Yes, I do want to leave him.”

Pei Ji gradually lifted himself up, supporting his body with his arms as he leaned over to observe her from above.

Her gaze met his directly, unwavering. “Ever since the day he decreed my entry into the palace, I knew that one day, he would cast me aside.”

It wasn’t solely due to what she had witnessed in her dreams, but also because she comprehended her own circumstances.

She had always been aware of her captivating beauty, a skin that held irresistible allure. However, she also understood that someone like Li Jing Ye, who could hastily admit her into the palace without hesitation, would inevitably treat other, even more stunning women in the same manner.

He would never regard her from an equal standpoint.

“The first time I saw you, I knew you were different.” She reached out and caressed his handsome face. “I want to leave, is it not something that goes against the national interest or morality?”

A gentle smile tugged at the corners of her lips as her fingertips glided over his lustrous eyebrows and straight nose, finally coming to rest upon his lips. “I no longer want to deceive you.”

He treated her so well that her conscience would be uneasy if she were to deceive him further.


Pei Ji struggled to find his words, sensing a faint teasing sensation at his lips. He slightly tilted his head, allowing her slender fingertips to graze his mouth.

Without patiently understanding her, he might have joined the majority in reproaching this woman for her restlessness and foolish desires.

But in this moment, facing her, he felt a pang of heartache. An unwavering sense of tenderness filled him, wishing he could envelop her in his arms.

She was just a pitiful woman yearning for freedom, deserving of wholehearted care from others.

Sadly, those who obtained her never cherished her…

He made a concerted effort to dismiss the faint stirrings of discontent in his mind, folding his arms and gently lowering himself to capture her lips.

“I will do my best to assist you,” he murmured softly in her ear.

He would find a way to discreetly handle her household registration, travel documents, and all the necessary arrangements. Although he wasn’t directly responsible for such matters, accomplishing them privately would require some effort, particularly to ensure complete secrecy.

Despite understanding the principle that no place under heaven was not ruled by the Emperor, and aware of the slim possibility of her escaping, he still wanted to help her, even if it meant preparing everything in advance.

Once there was a chance in the future, however remote it may be, he would give it a try.

In this lifetime, he had already fallen into her hands.

On the following day, Li Zhi slept in until the sun was high before finally rousing from the bed.

Although she harbored little affection for the Zhong family, finding solace in this house brought her much greater peace of mind than remaining within the confines of the palace.

Pei Ji had naturally contemplated staying overnight, but he had an early court audience to attend. Waiting until the night watchmen began their rounds, potentially attracting undue attention and even running into his father, would be unwise.

Left with no other choice, he had departed ahead of time before the night watchmen’s duty began.

Li Zhi gazed at her own reflection in the polished bronze mirror.

He had mentioned that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, he would visit during the nights for these two days. Even the most youthful and vigorous individual would find it challenging to endure consecutive nights without sufficient sleep.

Was it perhaps imprudent of her to engage in such intimate entanglements with him during the night, further depriving him of the already limited hours of rest?

“Miss, why is your face so red?” Chun Yue busied herself at the table, diligently arranging the dishes. Turning around, she noticed Li Zhi in front of the bronze mirror, lost in thought with a blush on her cheeks.

“It’s nothing. Perhaps it’s just too warm in the room,” Li Zhi snapped back to reality, suddenly aware of her uncharacteristic blush.

A strange and unfamiliar sensation crept into her heart, causing her to furrow her brow in confusion.

She gently placed her hand on her chest, attempting to dispel the strangeness. Determinedly, she retrieved accessories from her dressing case, effortlessly twisting her long locks into a simple high bun. After changing into a new attire, she settled herself at the table, ready to dine in the company of Chun Yue.

Yesterday, Li Zhi had made arrangements with Lan Ying to visit the residence Pei Ji had acquired for her in Chang’an during daylight hours.

Initially registered under Pei Ji’s name, she couldn’t openly venture there. Instead, she entrusted Lan Ying with its discreet management. Presently, over ten servants had been assigned, including a few physically strong individuals adept at household affairs, each personally vetted by Pei Ji and deemed highly reliable.

Upon hearing about Wei Peng’s situation, Pei Ji conveniently used the opportunity to proclaim that this mansion was a wedding gift bestowed upon Wei Peng, relieving them from the need for further concealment. Yesterday, upon receiving the Emperor’s decree, Wei Peng had promptly dispatched someone to deliver the land deed into Lan Ying’s hands.

After a brief period of tidying up, the three of them, accompanied by Lan Ying, boarded the carriage and departed from the estate.

The entourage of female officials, eunuchs, and guards who had accompanied her from the palace diligently followed behind the carriage, their watchful eyes never leaving her side. Li Zhi lifted the carriage curtain and cast a fleeting glance outside, her expression briefly showing a hint of coldness.

She was well aware that these individuals, who served and cared for her, were actually Li Jing Ye’s informants.

While she resided within the Zhong residence, their vigilance remained somewhat relaxed. However, once they ventured beyond the mansion, they became unceasingly alert.

It was reminiscent of those initial days when she had just arrived at Wangxian Temple.

Li Jing Ye had not completely let go of his suspicions towards her, especially after their recent dispute. He would now be even more cautious. Today, every step she took outside the estate, including the origin of the mansion, would swiftly find its way to his ears.

She couldn’t allow Lan Ying to bear any consequences. Although she harbored no illusions that this departure from the palace would offer a chance for escape, witnessing the current situation momentarily cast a shadow of gloom over her heart.

Fortunately, the lively sounds of the streets swiftly diverted her mood.

She grasped Lan Ying’s arm earnestly and inquired, “A’Zi, do you sincerely wish to marry Brother Wei?”

In the past, due to her unilateral decision regarding Xiao Chong’s affair, she had arranged Lan Ying’s marriage without personally seeking her consent.

A rare moment of bashfulness tinted Lan Ying’s usually radiant face.

Lan Ying nervously pinched her dress hem, took a deep breath, and directed her gaze towards the curtain that fluttered with the jolting of the carriage. Initially nodding, she hesitated and shook her head in uncertainty.

“Third Sister, I won’t hide the truth from you. Three years ago, after he departed, I never once imagined that I would have the opportunity to see him again in this lifetime. But after the passing of three long years, not only has he returned, he has also carved out a prosperous path for himself.”

Li Zhi remarked, “Doesn’t this simply indicate that he is destined for Elder Sister? Besides, he has remained unmarried for these three years. Upon his return, he actively seeks marriage, which genuinely reflects his sincerity.”

She could tell that Lan Ying also held feelings for Wei Peng, but she could also sense the concerns within her heart.

As expected, a sad glimmer shadowed Lan Ying’s eyes. She instinctively cast a fleeting glance at her own legs and softly confided, “I acknowledge his sincerity, but as for my present self, I fear I may not measure up to him and might only become a burden…”

Lan Ying, typically radiant and self-assured, now revealed an unfamiliar aspect of self-doubt that pierced Li Zhi’s heart with profound sadness.

“A’Zi, this is not your fault.” Li Zhi grasped her hand with a solemn demeanor. “The circumstances of the past left you both with no other choice. Now that you finally have a chance to be together, you must cherish it. Don’t let the hardships you endured all these years be in vain.”

Memories of these years, living as a dependent and enduring solitude and destitution, gradually overwhelmed Lan Ying’s mind, causing her eyes to redden.

She was the elder sister, always resilient for the sake of caring for her younger sibling, but she, too, possessed a fragile side. She yearned to escape from her uncle’s household and find solace in the presence of a companion, someone she could rely on for the rest of her life.

Naturally, she held a deep affection for Wei Peng. However, her devotion extended beyond that, encompassing her younger sister.

She refused to leave Third Sister to struggle alone in Chang’an.

“But, Third Sister,” she drew nearer, suppressing her voice to a barely audible whisper. “If I were to marry him, I would have to accompany him to Hedong. It’s likely that we won’t be able to journey together to Yangzhou as we had planned. We made a promise to rely on each other as sisters in the future…”

Li Zhi gazed at Lan Ying, her luminous eyes abruptly clouded with a misty veil.

“Don’t worry about me.” She brushed away the watery haze, summoning a carefree smile, and took the initiative to embrace Lan Ying, speaking softly into her ear. “There are already countless women suffering in this world. As sisters, we must make do with whatever circumstances that fall on us. Don’t worry, I, too, will embark on my own path in due time. When that day comes, it would make me very happy if A’Zi could visit me.”

Lan Ying clung tightly to her, unable to suppress a choked sob. After a considerable pause, she solemnly nodded. “I’ll listen to Third Sister’s words.”

The two embraced in silence for a while, mustering every effort to contain their welling tears. It was only as they approached the residence that they regained composure.

The housr was not ostentatious, but rather simple and comfortable. Li Zhi was very satisfied. She and Lan Ying called all the servants in the mansion, went through introductions, and bestowed some gifts before leaving.

On the way back, the two discussed selecting a few people to accompany Lan Ying when she left Chang’an first. Afterwards, Lan Ying and Wei Peng would go to Hedong, while she would discreetly head south. The rest of the servants would remain in Chang’an, prepared for any future needs.

That night, Li Zhi had taken her medicine and sent Chun Yue and Qing Zi to rest, while she sat by the lamplight, cradling the same scroll she had been reading the previous day.

However, for some inexplicable reason, her mind seemed preoccupied today. She could hardly focus on the legendary tales within the book. After barely half a page, she found herself lost in a trance, fixated on the scene where the scholar met the maiden under the moonlight.

Pondering over her own unusual behavior during the day, she instinctively touched her cheek and sensed a faint warmth lingering there.

Perhaps it was due to her newfound freedom, no longer confined within the palace walls, and the ease it brought.

Setting the book aside, she rose from her seat and approached the window, intending to open it and let in a breath of fresh air, when she heard three familiar and brisk knocks at the door.

She hesitated for a moment, once again touching her cheek, before going to open the door.

As expected, it was Pei Ji.

Tonight, with the moon shining brightly, the two stood by the door, their gazes met, and they could see the radiance in each other’s eyes. In just an instant, the surrounding air ignited with a spark.

Li Zhi felt her cheeks grow warmer once again.

She opened her mouth, intending to remind him to be less restless at night and go to bed earlier, but before she could utter a word, he pulled her into his embrace.

The door swiftly closed behind them, and he pressed her against it, biting her lips as he swiftly removed her thin garment.

Her fair skin was exposed, bearing a vivid mark left from the previous night, shining like a brilliant vermilion under the candlelight.

His rough fingertips traced over that spot, taking advantage of her gentle tremble, before he leaned down to nibble at her neck.

Perhaps due to the consecutive nights they had spent together, his ardor was particularly intense today. With each tender kiss, he softly whispered her name, “Li-niang,” in her ear.

Li Zhi suppressed her words that were about to escape her lips, and instead, she held his head and responded with equal fervency.

In their leisurely embrace, she felt a slight discomfort in her waist and abdomen, a tingling sensation caused by a cool object. She extended her hand and gently pushed him.

Pei Ji took a small step back, casually retrieving a pouch from his waist. From it, he extracted medicine and incense, offering them to her. “I have brought these for you.”

Li Zhi pushed him away once more, intent on collecting and storing those two items.

But Pei Ji persistently followed, his hands always resting on her waist, firmly holding her.

Embracing her from behind, he waited patiently as she stored away the box. Then, he drew near again, his voice tinged with unrestrained delight. “Today, I visited Miracle Physician Zhang once more. He shared that he recently cured a long-standing infertility issue for a lady who had been delicate since childhood.”

Li Zhi made a soft sound of confusion, unable to comprehend the reason behind his overwhelming joy for someone else’s fortune.

He continued speaking, “That lady used his newly refined prescription. Over the course of two years, the symptoms that were initially anticipated to worsen gradually faded away. It is evident that the prescription is truly effective. He further mentioned—someone like you, who was affected later but received timely treatment, should have a better chance of recovery compared to that lady. He possesses remarkable skills…”

With such words, could he truly restore her well-being?

Li Zhi smiled gently, finally grasping the source of his happiness.

Having consumed the medicine for two months, it was indeed gradually easing the symptoms of her cold extremities and the lingering pain in her abdomen. Although the changes were subtle, they offered a glimpse of hope.

“Forcing a complete recovery is beyond our control. As long as it can alleviate some of the suffering, I will be content.”

Pei Ji shook his head, holding her in a tighter embrace, as his fingers tenderly caressed her hair. “It will get better, I’m sure of it.

If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))

<Previous Chapter<Table of Contents>Next Chapter>

Leave a comment