Chapter 52 Alienation
Liu Zhongming turned into a zombie in an instant, as if a body-fixation spell was placed on him. He stared at the curtain above his head. Even his breath was stuck in his throat, divided into several sections, and let it out very lightly.
He was like a child with a butterfly on his fingertips, afraid that his chest rising and falling would frighten the little spirit.
The goosebumps on his body rose and fell again, and it took a long time before he dared to turn his head slowly to look.
Qu Chenzhou was very tired and slept soundly. His flat and soft chest was against his arm, and his warm breath gradually penetrated into his clothes, making his heart beat like a drum.
It was really exciting to think that he would be regarded as a mother at the age of eighteen.
The “mother” could be heard clearly, but there were a few vague words behind it, but they were not very clear. It sounds like–I’m already…
He pulled the quilt over to cover the two of them. When he felt warm, the sound of his breathing became even.
How could there be such a person, he thought, he was two completely different people, night and day.
During the day, he was confident and calm, arrogant and indifferent, as if everyone was just a pawn between his fingers.
In the sleepy night, his hard armor fell off without knowing and what was exposed inside was just a little fox with wet eyes and a wet nose, flicking its tail in a charming manner.
It was getting dark and they had been lying here for a long time. Without his orders, the servants dared not come in and light the lights.
The darkness gave him courage. He slowly raised his hand, paused for a moment above his head, and gently placed it on his soft black hair. Delicate and cool, indescribably comfortable.
The person under his hand didn’t move, so he racked up his courage and moved down gradually. His fingertips fell on his face, and he felt the uneven crisscross scars.
Although the pus was taken out last year, there was not enough good medicine that followed. It can’t continue like this.
His fingers lingered on the scar. With Steward Lin around, it was very easy to ask the ins and outs about them, but he never asked, as if he deliberately didn’t want to understand what happened in the past.
Now that he touched the scar, he realized that he was afraid that he would feel sorry for him.
Since when did it start? When did he regard Qu Chenzhou as a person?
Sometimes he was glad that the humiliation and torture that happened to Qu Chenzhou was not experienced by this person. Sometimes he imagined that this person had all the memories of Qu Chenzhou and was afraid he could experience the pains from the memories.
When did he become so overly sensitive?
Consciousness gradually blurred in his wild thoughts. Someone was talking to him, their voice was rough, as if it took a lot of effort to utter a single word.
“The day after tomorrow… at the flower shop…”
“Okay, I’ll wait for you,” he heard his anxious voice: “What’s wrong with you? Your face looks so bad? Why are you sweating so much?
Without answering, he pushed him hard. Then as if he was standing on steps, he was pushed backwards.
Liu Zhongming shivered violently, and after feeling the air for a moment, his buttocks fell firmly to the ground. His upper body landed on the bed in time, and he scooped upwards towards the bed with both hands.
Then he screamed loudly in his heart. The person on the bed was dragged by him and slipped a bit. A pair of star-like eyes opened in the hazy moonlight, then saw him half lying in the sarong at a glance.
Qu Chenzhou, who woke up, became the alienated person again.
It wasn’t clear if it was Liu Zhongming’s delusion, but he felt that the current Qu Chenzhou seemed to be further away from him than usual.
It was like a stray cat that had already been fed on the roadside. Suddenly one day, for some unknown reason, it became vigilant against him again. It turned around and left without even giving him a chance to recover.
“You… fainted this afternoon.” He tried his best to keep his voice soft, worried that because he climbed onto his bed without permission, it would remind the other party of something bad in the past.
Qu Chenzhou looked at him, turned over silently, then turned his back to him.
Liu Zhongming cursed in his heart.
He really hated Qu Chenzhou’s stinking problem where he suddenly becomes silent, but right now he couldn’t open his mouth. Thus, he could only slowly get up from the ground, pat his clothes as he was about to go back inside, then take something from his sleeve out.
It was a wooden hairpin that he saw on his way back. The style was simple and the curve was beautiful and sharp. It reminded him a bit of this soft and sharp person, so he bought it.
But when he put the wooden hairpin next to the pillow and said, “Have a good sleep”, until he retreated almost to the screen, the man didn’t turn around, as if he had already fallen asleep.
He left angrily, not seeing Qu Chenzhou. After a long time, Qu Chenzhou turned his head slightly, held the wooden hairpin in his palm, and fell asleep.
“Don’t make trouble.”
Dan Lang drew his hair over and pushed the person behind him playfully. The person smiled and hugged his waist from behind, not letting go.
“You have to go back so early? Zhongming has set rules for you? I haven’t had enough fun yet.”
The redness on Dan Lang’s cheeks didn’t disappear, and he looked at him angrily: “If Wang Ye has played enough, will this slave even have life to go out this door?”
Ning Wang laughed softly: “Is it because Zhongming didn’t feed you enough that you looked so hungry just now?”
Dan Lang complained a few words, and quickly painted his eyebrows in front of the mirror. He took out a box of mouth rouge from his arms and tapped it on his lips.
Ning Wang turned him over, palmed the back of his head, and bit the rouge off his lips.
“Wang Ye!” Dan Lang said angrily, “I don’t dare to delay today, someone will come and pick me up later.”
“Isn’t it the two guards who followed you? This king has already asked them to go outside for a walk, what are you afraid of?”
“It’s not them, it’s the one in the Shizi’s room.”
Dan Lang didn’t want to say it explicitly.
Since he met Ning Wang a few times last time, something happened in the other courtyard, and the Shizi suddenly stopped them from going out. It wasn’t until Little Chenzhou took his waist token a few days ago and asked him to come out to relax, that he finally had a chance to come out.
The two of them were treated very differently, making him both ashamed and angry.
Ning Wang became interested: “What kind of zhou was that thing called? Zhongming keeps him hidden and tucked away, he doesn’t even bring it out to play. Where is the person? Show me.”
“Wang Ye!” After two sentences, he said, “He’s gone somewhere else. I said I would come here to see some head ornaments, then left him.”
He looked at the mirror again, but the mouth rouge box was taken away.
Ning Wang took a little bit with the tip of his little finger and tapped it on Dan Lang’s lips. After smearing it, he tried to eat it again, while the other person giggled and avoided it.
“Then go quickly,” he tucked the lip rouge into his arms: “Leave this thing for me to reminisce.”
Dan Lang was a little reluctant. It was the lip rouge that Qu Chenzhou gave gum before. After switching a few, only this color and taste matched what he liked. After using up a box, he went to the store to get it.
Now being given the cold shoulder, he didn’t even know if he could still get it.
But he turned his head and thought about it. Ning Wang told him to wait for the flood to pass, then he would take him to his residence from the Shizi’s place. Thinking about the good days in the future and that there would be no shortage of a mere box of mouth rouge, it was not as painful. .
There was no need to worry about how to enter the Shizi’s study.
If he knew that he could catch Ning Wang’s attention, why bother to promise Jiang Changshi to do that task for one thousand taels of silver.
He went out first, and after a long time, then did Ning Wang come out. Before he reached the other side of the street, someone next to the carriage was rushing towards him.
“Wang Ye,” the man invited him to the side of the street and said softly, “The Empress invites you to come into the palace immediately.”
“What now?” Ning Wang was displeased. Every time his mother looked for him, there was no good news. He was already an adult, but he was always taught lessons like a grandson.
“This little person doesn’t know either, you’ll know when you enter the palace.” The man invited him in the direction of the carriage: “Niang Niang is in a hurry, the clothes have already been delivered to the carriage, so don’t return to your residence, change your clothes in the carriage. Please enter the palace as soon as possible.”
“What have you been doing all this time!”
Facing the anger of his mother, Mu Jingzhao didn’t dare to hide. The dark red beads landed on his body and landed at his feet.
Throwing things away like that, what a waste.
He lowered his head, staring at the little beads exposed under the toe of his shoes and the hem of his clothes, thinking to himself, if he took it and put it in the hairpin of those little dolls in the mansion, it would look very pretty.
But now that he was being reprimanded, not only did he not dare to look at the beads, he did not even dare to raise his head to look at the person, thus he could only glance at the person in front of him from the corner of his eyes unhappily.
Although the Empress had already passed the age of forty, she was properly maintained, her skin smooth and delicate, and her beauty undiminished.
Seeing that Mu Jingzhao did not speak with low brows and drooping eyes, her thunderous anger seemed to have punched cotton, and she was even more angry at that moment.
“What have you been doing!” She didn’t have time to waste with her son, so she screamed, “Did you know there was a flood in the south this year!”
“I.. I know.”
“Just an ‘I know’ and nothing else?” The Empress said angrily: “The emperor talked to me today, saying that Mu Jingde had requested to send someone to Jinnan, where the floods are the most serious. He said that more and more refugees have gathered outside the city and he was afraid that the emperor would be frightened, so he personally wants to lead Nanya to go to Jinnan to patrol.”
“Mu Jingyan has opened nine porridge stalls outside the city to help the refugees. Do you know how many scholars in the imperial study have praised him to the sky?”
“Not even mentioning them, Bai Shiyan had led the Beiya people to guard outside the city, even Liu Zhongming recruited refugees to work, to earn a mouthful of food, and now he is praised like a living Bodhisattva!”
“Do you think the emperor doesn’t know anything in the palace? When he told me this, my face fell to the ground!”
“Is Mu Jingde really kind? His Nanya guards the palace and sways in front of the emperor, for fear that the emperor would not see how diligent and loyal he was!”
“Is Mu Jingyan a good person? If his uncle just took a little portion from the salt tax he earns, he could have enough to feed everyone in the capital, so what is a porridge stall? It’s nothing!”
“Is the Liu family giving it for nothing? Once there is movement in the belly of that one in Lijing Palace, this will all be meritorious service!”
“And what did you do?! You are lucky you have a good life and came out of my stomach. If it was someone else, you would have been sent away long ago!”
Mu Jingzhao was trained to be obedient, and replied in a low voice: “Didn’t Uncle lately…”
“Your uncle is your uncle!” The Empress interrupted his words: “Can the emperor put your uncle’s affairs on your head? If it weren’t for your uncle, would you still be standing here!”
Mu Jingzhao pursed his lips, feeling aggrieved.
He was originally the only Di Shizi (first born of the main wife) and Royal father should have just thought about his own background, and not think about helping others.
As a result, he was now not only reduced to being a Wang with his brothers, but also had to pretend to work hard to compete with his brothers for the seat that should rightfully belong to him. (Wang = title bestowed by emperor; usually a crown Shizi would be crown Shizi and not bestowed a title)
But no matter how unconvinced he was, he didn’t dare to talk back to his mother, so he could only ask, “Then… what should I do?”
This unassertive appearance finally angered the Empress. She walked down the steps and raised her hand to slap him in the face. Sge slapped heavily on Mu Jingzhao’s face.
“Do you have a brain? You only know how to ask?! You don’t even know how to think for yourself? Even Mu Jingde that idiot knows how to keep some aides, how about you? Don’t think I don’t know what you keep in your house!”
“Smell yourself! It smells like powder! How is this proper!”
This violent roar and anger not only made Mu Jingzhao stunned, but also made the Empress’s chest tight and short of breath. Her face was red, then she suddenly covered her mouth and started to cough.
“Royal Mother, calm down,” Mu Jingzhao didn’t care about the burning pain on his face, he hurriedly helped her to sit aside, and knelt down pitifully: “It’s son’s fault, Royal Mother please don’t be angry.”
The Empress was too familiar with her son and knew he was not sincerely acknowledging his mistake and not really repenting. Just as she was about to scold him, her throat seemed to be stuffed with a rag, and the incense powder that should not be smelled from the tip of his nose rushed to her face.