Jing Xian scoffed mockingly, "Is this vast capital not big enough for you, huh?"
"The capital may be vast, but it's not wide enough to contain one's heart."
"Those are some fine words," Jing Xian nodded in approval.
Mo Ruo began to drink again, smiling, "I could be in Yufu anywhere from two months to half a year. I've handed your medicine over to my servants – they will send some in every week. Remember to take every dose, don't forget."
"When I return, I will find a way to bring you out of this palace. Stay here in the meantime."
"Mm!" Jing Xian agreed noncommittally.
Mo Ruo was here to bid farewell, but also for several jugs of wine. He prodded, "Is the wine ready yet?" He had no shame, as if it were a matter-of-fact for Jing Xian to prepare wine for him.
Jing Xian laughed, calling Bi Lu over from where he stood by the door, "Warm and ready all the wine I have brewed and send them to Yuhua Pavillion."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course – if you leave the capital this time without my wine, I'd bet you'd be uncomfortable too."
"That's true!" Mo Ruo nodded, placing his wine jug aside. He stood up, preparing to leave, "Then I will wait in earnest for your wine to arrive."
He only took a few steps before Jing Xian stopped him, "Is it because of Kong Yu?"
Ugh! Mo Ruo stopped in his unstable tracks, flinching. He turned around slowly, matching Jing Xian's gaze wordlessly.
Jing Xian continued, "You were in love with her, right?"
"You may be able to fool others, but not me. You've always liked her, ever since you were little. Now that she's dead, you're probably tired as well, no?" Jing Xian knew Mo Ruo better than anyone else! He only had not brought this issue up before Mo Ruo prior to this.
Mo Ruo was startled at this sudden revelation, waking up from his drunken stupor. If you looked closely, you could even see a tear in his almond-shaped eyes. He swallowed, "Everything has passed."
Jing Xian rebutted, "If everything has passed, would you still leave the capital?"
"I'm going to see the sights!"
"Do you believe yourself?" Jing Xian questioned. He stood up from his chair with great difficulty, painfully taking step after step to stand in front of Mo Ruo, meeting his wavering eyes with his own lifeless ones. He continued, "Why make it difficult for yourself? If you cared so much about her, you didn't have to hide it. Mo Ruo, it's extremely difficult for someone you can love to come by. Love is valuable, if you were to hide it in the deepest abysses of your heart, then isn't it akin to dying?"
This was the first time Mo Ruo ever heard Jing Xian mention these things. He carefully pondered Jing Xian's words amidst his own surprise. He laughed bitterly, brows knitted, "Take it that I'm not worthy of loving, is that enough?"
Enough! Of course it is! Jing Xian kept these to himself, only to watch Mo Ruo leave listlessly…
That very same day, Pan Chong had cleared out his estate in a bid to leave the capital for his hometown. He paid a visit to Yi Estate the day before he left to pay his final respects, "This old man thanks Prince Yi for his graciousness. If not for Prince Yi, our Pan Family would have long been beheaded after the Crown Prince's demise." Bootlicker!
Jing Yi was having a game of chess alone; he held white stones in his left hand, black stones in his right. He never stopped, not even sparing Pan Chong a glance, "Safe travels, Teacher Pan. This Prince will not send you off."
"Understood," Pan Chong scurried off to his family waiting at the city gates.
Jing Yi's last black stone fell on his board, striking the winning move as Pan Chong left. He called out, "Dou Quan."
Dou Quan rushed in, "What can this servant do for His Highness?"
Jing Yi smiled as he poured himself another cup of tea. He took a sip darkly, "A dog that would bite his master at any time cannot be brought outside even if tied up, much less kept in a cage, understand?"
Dou Quan bowed, "This servant understands!"
"Understood!" Dou Quan paid his respects, leaving…
The night of Pan Chong's departure, his steads were somehow startled, resulting in their horses and sedans disappearing over a sharp cliff. All seven of them were dead with not a body to be found!
The next day!
The capital mayor arrived at Rong Estate. Three sedans stood outside, with Aunty Xie settled in the very last one. He instructed, "Look after Aunty Xie."
The capital mayor himself lifted his official robes and entered the estate.
The entire Rong Estate was busy packing up, filling up the sedans outside with luggage. They had to be well-prepared, especially since their own Highness could be spending a long time at Yufu. Jing Rong only brought seven guards with him, however, intending to make his trip a low-key one.
The capital mayor bumped right into Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu as he entered. Jing Rong was calm, difficult to read as usual. The only thing different was that he was holding two sandalwood boxes, one in each hand, looking a little playful. Ji Yunshu followed silently at his side – she had almost fully recovered, except her body still felt a little sluggish.
Seeing this, the capital mayor quickly presented himself, taking the box Jing Rong held into his own hands, "Your HIghness, this official will hold this on your behalf."
"There's no need, this Prince's belongings need not pass through someone else's hands."
The capital mayor was left hanging awkwardly. He could only turn to Ji Yunshu, saying, "Teacher Ji, Aunty Xie has already boarded the sedan. I have also arranged for the capital yamen's men to escort you. Those papers from the Supreme Court have also been placed in the sedan."
"This official only has respect for you, Teacher Ji – not everyone dares to sound the imperial drums."
Ji Yunshu smiled.
Jing Rong swept the capital mayor an icy glance, "Enough. Quickly return to the capital yamen – there's no need to send us off."
"Yes, yes, yes!" The capital mayor pulled out a vermillion-coloured journal from his sleeve, handing it to Ji Yunshu, "This is the official approval for this case. If you show this to the Yufu County magistrate, this case would be yours to head. Be sure to keep this safe, Teacher Ji."
Ji Yunshu kept it in her sleeves, along with the heavy responsibility that came along with it.
The capital mayor finally left to attend to his own matters.
As the packing was almost finished, Jing Rong had wanted to bring Ji Yunshu up the sedan. She spouted, "Wait, there's something of mine that hasn't arrived yet."
"Something of yours? Is it important?"
"Mm, it's important!" Jing Rong's curiousity was piqued.
Wasn't he the most important thing to her? Ji Yunshu, did you have another man outside?
At that moment, Lang Po arrived on horseback.
What? Was Ji Yunshu's important thing Lang Po?!
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Things are brewing… and Jing Rong is such a vinegar pot!