At noon, Xiao Heng unexpectedly received an Imperial decree ordering him to enter the Palace.
Gu Sui’er recalled that when the Madam asked him about it before, Xiao Heng had denied her. However, now he had no other choice but to follow the Emperor’s instruction.
After receiving the decree, Xiao Heng just said quietly: “I’ll be back in the evening.”
Gu Sui’er nodded obediently: “En.”
Since it was the mid-autumn festival, a family banquet was arranged in the residence this evening. She had heard Xiao Jin and Lu QingYi talk about the different games arranged for the banquet- guessing the lantern riddles, playing mahjong, and writing poems and so on.
However, she didn’t know much about all these games.
If Xiao Heng was to be there with her, she felt that she would be more at ease.
So when Xiao Heng said this, she was actually relieved.
After a short while, Xiao Heng left.
After Xiao Heng’s departure, Gu Sui’er sat still beside the window, thinking of the time when Xiao Heng kissed her.
She knew that this was what kissing felt like.
No wonder Bao Gu kept thinking of her kiss with the Young Master of the inn. No wonder she cried so loudly when the Young Master got betrothed to another girl.
She touched her lips, unable to suppress herself from recalling that sensation again.
It felt both hot and cold, like that of a fire burning on an extremely cold mountain at night. When one stretched their hands towards the raging flames, they would feel a bone-chilling cold wind on the back of the hand while the other side of their hand would almost be scorched by the heat.
She let her body lean weakly on the back of the chair and closed her eyes, thinking about him.
As long as she thought about him, she felt as if her body was burning till nothing but ash remained.
“Young Mistress, where should these paintings be hanged?” Nanny An’s voice interrupted her wild thoughts.
She raised her face and looked over to see Nanny An carefully holding two paintings in her hand.
She felt that she seemed to have seen these two paintings in Xiao Heng’s room before.
“These… will be moved over too?”
As she said this, she heard that her own voice had turned soft and delicate as if the entire person had become a pool of water before speaking it.
She abruptly stopped in her tracks, her face reddening.
Fortunately, Nanny An chuckled, pretending to have not noticed the difference: “Yes ah, third Master told me to move them over and said that he will be living here in the future.”
Gu Sui’er calmed herself down and answered softly, “Then wait for the third Master to come back and decide.”
However, Nanny An quickly denied, “No. Third Master asked you to decide.”
As she spoke, she moved closer with a wide smile: “From now on, the third Master will share the same room with the Young Mistress. You won’t be separated anymore.”
Gu Sui’er was a little embarrassed. Nanny An had taught her quite a lot of stuff before like pulling his hands, taking off clothes and kissing. At that time, she heard her calmly, not at all thinking about these things. But now she had really shared a kiss with Xiao Heng, she felt extremely shy after hearing her words.
“Then hang them on the eastern wall. If those are put up there, anyone can notice them as soon as they come in.”
“Alright! I’ll hang it there. Third Master will surely like it too.”
Other small pieces of furniture were also placed in the room soon after. Some were taken over from Xiao Heng’s room while others were obviously brought out from the warehouse.
Even though Gu Sui’er didn’t know how to arrange the furniture in this room, whenever the maid asked her, she could only take a closer look and then discuss it with Nanny An.
After busying around for about half a shichen1Shichen[时辰] – I might’ve explained it earlier too but a shichen is one of the 12 two-hour periods of the day., the room was finally decorated.
The brocade canopy of the bed was replaced with a new gorgeous red one made with the highest quality muslin material, the older quilt was also replaced with a larger brocade quilt that could accommodate two people, calligraphy paintings were hung in the room, a small flower vase was placed on the table, and various kinds of jewels were randomly placed inside the room along with some writing tools. The room not only looked both elegant and comfortable but also seemed to be filled with joy.
When Gu Sui’er was thinking like this, she heard Nanny An: “This room now looks just like a newlywed couple’s bridal chamber!”
Gu Sui’er was stunned for a moment. In fact, she also felt like it to be like this. However, after some careful thinking, she discovered that something was wrong with it.
She suddenly recalled Princess ZhaoYang’s words. She had said that Xiao Heng let his little Concubine conceive his child before taking in a wife. It seemed that she had gained some advantage from this aspect.
But as far as a bridal chamber was concerned, she didn’t think about it.
Tired, Gu Sui’er lay on the bed to rest for a while. This bed was bigger than the previous one and was much more comfortable to lie on. She suddenly had the urge to roll around on the bed as she wished.
But now, she had a big belly and naturally couldn’t do so.
When Xiao Heng left the Palace and returned with a bunch of mooncakes, it had already started getting dark.
Since the banquet for the Mid-Autumn Festival had not yet begun, Nanny An was afraid that Gu Sui’er would be hungry. Therefore, she cut the mooncakes into small pieces and served them to Xiao Heng and Gu Sui’er with a small stick inserted into each piece.
Gu Sui’er picked up a piece first and handed it to Xiao Heng.
Since he came back from the Palace, he hadn’t spoken much. If it was before, she would naturally be afraid. Nevertheless, she was used to his silence now and knew that he was this type of a person.
“Third Master, please have a taste.”
The voice was soft, tender and warm as a perfectly fitting undershirt that snuggles to the body. [T/N: …What a weird comparison…]
Xiao Heng lifted his eyes and looked at Gu Sui’er.
He couldn’t stop himself from kissing her before.
After the kiss, he actually felt a bit uneasy. Fortunately, the Emperor summoned him into the Palace at that time.
However, inside the Palace, the Emperor could perceive that he seemed to be preoccupied with something and was unwilling to stay any longer.
Before he left, the Emperor bestowed these mooncakes. Although he didn’t like it, he brought it back after some thought.
Now, a warm and soft little hand handed the piece of mooncake over to him, and a pair but clear eyes filled with eagerness and anxiety stared at him fixedly.
Something inexplicable may have happened to him because he automatically opened his mouth slightly.
She seemed to be taken aback at first. After that, there was a layer of doubt in her eyes followed by an expression of comprehension. Two pink clouds slowly appeared on her cheeks as if someone had put two drops of red rouge in water.
“Third Master, here.” She raised her wrist and put a small piece of mooncake into his mouth.
He smoothly ate the mooncake from her hand.
The Emperor had said that he had grown tired of eating the same greasy mooncakes every year. So, this year, he specially instructed the Imperial kitchen to prepare mooncakes that were not so sweet but still very delicious.
He didn’t know what it was made of but this mooncake didn’t taste unpleasant at all. The sweetness that seemed to accompany a faint saltiness became a distinct flavor he hadn’t tasted before.
This year, when a small amount of this mooncake had been prepared for him, the Emperor gave him some of it instead of any other reward.
Xiao Heng picked up a small piece, intending to hand it over to Gu Sui’er.
Originally Gu Sui’er wanted to continue feeding Xiao Heng. However, now she looked at the mooncake that was brought in front of her and then at Xiao Heng in confusion.
Seeing her doing this, Xiao Heng simply put the mooncakes against her mouth.
She quickly opened her mouth and ate it.
After eating, she smiled as if she had drunk some honey water: “Third Master, the mooncakes in the Palace are unique. It’s so delicious. I have never eaten such flavorful mooncakes.”
Xiao Heng did not say anything. He took another piece and fed it to her.
After eating a few small pieces, she didn’t have the heart to do so anymore.
It was not good to eat these delicious mooncakes all by herself. She looked at Xiao Heng and suggested: “Third Master, this mooncake tastes different from the ones prepared in the residence. How about we save some for the Old Madam and the Madam?”
But after thinking about it carefully, she continued: “There is also the Eldest Young Miss, the second Young Miss, the eldest Young Madam and the second Young Madam…”
She started counting with her fingers and made a long list of names.
She didn’t forget to count even the old maid who swept the floor outside TingZhu Courtyard.
Xiao Heng raised his eyebrows: “You don’t need to do that.”
Gu Sui’er was stunned: “Why?”
Xiao Heng gently pinched the small stick with his slender and beautiful fingers and answered indifferently: “There is no need for you to wrong yourself to please others. Neither of us needs to do it.”
Gu Sui’er looked at him blankly as if she didn’t understand his words.
“But…” She mumbled: “But I don’t feel wronged ah. They are all very good to me, so I want to share some delicious food with them ah!”
Xiao Heng looked at Gu Sui’er. He suddenly felt that he didn’t understand her at all. She was like spring water, pure and uncorrupted.
“You don’t like it?” He stared at her, his voice getting tensed unconsciously.
“Yes ah, I like it very much! But I don’t want to eat the things I like by myself. It’s so boring to eat alone ah!” She expressed her thoughts earnestly: “I want everyone to taste these delicious mooncakes. They must all be very happy to have these too since they may not have eaten them either. As for myself, eating a smaller piece and eating a bigger piece makes little different.”
Xiao Heng sat there silently, looking at her serious eyes.
“En, your words are reasonable.”
He was never particularly fond of anything nor had he wanted anything. He had also never thought of sharing something he liked with another person.
So he didn’t understand her thoughts.
Now that Gu Sui’er said it, he felt that her words seemed to make some sense.
Even if he still didn’t understand it, the way she explained it to him carefully made him think that she must be right.
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- 1Shichen[时辰] – I might’ve explained it earlier too but a shichen is one of the 12 two-hour periods of the day.