They were originally here to discuss the issue about a mole in Duan Qinwang’s residence but it somehow turned into talks of an engagement.
As for the identity that Zhou Shizi finally chose, Baoyi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The only daughter of Minister Huo Zhengying from the Imperial Court of Justice had been separated from her family due to a natural disaster and had been wandering around destitute for many years before finally reuniting with her family. That year, Huo Zhengying had lost his only daughter while acting on the emperor’s orders to provide disaster relief to the people. The emperor felt very guilty and had bestowed a county to his daughter.
Baoyi was very familiar with this identity because in the original story, the Third Prince had prepared it for the female lead. It’s just that the female lead had died and this identity didn’t end up being used. But somehow, her scoundrel of a shizi managed to get it for her. Speaking of this coincidence, the Imperial Court of Justice’s Huo Zhengying’s family name was Huo, which was also Baoyi’s family name, bringing some truth to this fabricated identity. Even Baoyi herself suspects that shadow guard thirteen could really have been the daughter that Huo Zhengying lost that year.
Did this count as her subtly snatching Lu Qingluo’s destiny?
However, in the original story, Lu Qingluo would have already commited suicide by this time and the prepared identity wasn’t used……in that case, she probably hadn’t gone overboard.
But no matter how she looked at it, now wasn’t the time to do this but for some reason, Zhou Yunxi was very insistent and wouldn’t change his mind no matter what she said. When had Zhou Shizi ever cared about someone else’s opinions when doing things? For him to have made an exception and listened to everything Baoyi had to say showed that he cared about her feelings.
Baoyi didn’t know why Zhou Yunxi was so anxious and she even suspected that Zhou Yunxi knew something about her origins. Why else would he say things like “you’re not allowed to leave”, where else could shadow guard thirteen go? The one that could leave would only be Enforcement Officer Huo Baoyi.
But that wasn’t possible!
In theory, every world could only bear the existence of one enforcer at any time otherwise the world would fall into a state of chaos.
She could only console herself as she tried to go along with the extremely insecure Zhou Shizi.
Things were smooth sailing on Baoyi and Zhou Shizi’s side while Lu Qingluo and the Third Prince were experiencing trials. The Third Prince had stopped visiting Lu Qingluo for a few days and the female lead was disheartened, Baoyi was vexed too.
She had planned to mess with the Second Prince by using the female lead but she had no intentions of messing up the fate between the female lead and male lead. Zhou Yuncheng’s attitude had become considerably indifferent and this worried Lu Qingluo. Say, this Zhou Yuncheng trusted the female lead too little. Would a softie like Lu Qingluo be capable of lying to people? She’s obviously the type to be made use of!
All the bad things were obviously done by her and the scoundrel shizi!
So when Lu Qingluo came to her, the culprit, and complained tearfully, Baoyi pushed aside the remnants of her conscience and said in an exaggerated manner: “It’s all my fault, if it weren’t for me, there wouldn’t be any misunderstandings between you and the Third Prince.”
Lu Qingluo shook her head and said: “This has nothing to do with you.”
“How could it have nothing to do with me, I know that Qingluo Jiejie only wanted to help me.”
“I wanted to help you but haven’t I done everything for his sake?” Lu Qingluo said, feeling wronged, “It’s better to cooperate with shizi than the crafty Second Prince but he wouldn’t believe me.”
No no no, if we’re talking about craftiness, the scoundrel shizi is even better. If it weren’t for your sake, someone as resourceful as Zhou Yuncheng would never board our pirate ship.
“Exactly! That’s absolutely correct. Besides, you still have me!” Baoyi held onto the female lead’s hand and said smilingly, “The Third Prince will come to realise Jiejie’s efforts.”
Female lead, I’m sorry. Because I fell for a scoundrel, I’ve also become a scoundrel.
Baoyi wiped away two lines of tears in her heart.
Mr Conscience, you’ve died a terrible death. I’ll remember to offer incense to your grave this time next year.
“Baoyi, do you think that he’ll……get angry and ignore me from now on?” Lu Qingluo asked gingerly.
This is a romance novel, not a stallion novel! You’re the female lead, he dares to ignore you? He dares to be so arrogant?! Unless he doesn’t want his position of male lead anymore!
“How could that be,” Baoyi comforted her earnestly, “Get some rest. Perhaps the Third Prince will come to his senses tomorrow morning. Trust me, the both of you are meant to be and no one can break you up, be good……”
Zhou Shizi’s marriage proceeded more smoothly than expected. The emperor held immense interest towards this future Lord of the North lands that actually wanted to form a marriage alliance with a courtier. Huo Zheng Ying was the emperor’s right-hand man, one of his most trusted ministers. If Zhou Yunxi married the Huo family’s daughter, the emperor would have one more bargaining chip should he ever decide to rebel in the future. As a result, Zhou Shizi’s marriage was settled without a hitch, set for the fifth day the following month —— an auspicious day where the red phoenixes intertwined.
With Zhou Shizi’s wedding approaching, Duan Qinwang’s residence became as busy as a marketplace, with an increasing number of people that came and went. As a daughter of the “Huo family”, Baoyi naturally couldn’t remain at the Duan Qinwang residence and had to “return” to the official residence of the Imperial Court of Justice’s Minister.
Huo Zheng Ying was uncorrupt, an official that was unwaveringly upright, honest and frank, never pandering to others. But he held guilt towards his daughter, even feeling like he was still dreaming so he doted on her to the extreme. Madam Huo had missed her daughter dearly and firmly believed that Baoyi was her flesh and blood, one moment saying that Baoyi’s nose was similar to Sir Huo, one moment saying that Baoyi’s eyes were similar to hers. The Huo family tree wasn’t complicated. Besides a dutiful maternal aunt that didn’t have any children, there was just her two parents. Baoyi had a natural affinity for the elderly and effortlessly adjusted to her new identity.
The only thing she couldn’t get used to was not seeing that scoundrel daily and she did miss him.
Zhou Yunxi had also been very busy for the past few days. With the addition of the fact that a husband and wife that had yet to be married weren’t supposed to see each other before the wedding, they had actually stopped all contact. As for her, possibly because she had just recovered from her injuries, she hadn’t been in good health recently, plagued by a constant feeling of exhaustion. So she just left the arrangements to him.
That was until the day before the wedding when Baoyi received a gift.
The letter was sandwiched among the many congratulatory gifts, hidden in a dressing case.
It had been sent by Duan Qinwang’s residence.
Dressing cases like this were usually used as dowries. Even if Zhou Yunxi wanted to gift this to her, he could’ve put it in their bridal chamber since she would be marrying over the very next day. Since he had sent it over the day before their wedding, he must have a purpose for doing so.
The carvings on the small box were exquisite, slightly smaller than average but valuable due to its novelty. It’s said that the timber was from a Yulan Magnolia tree in Duan Qinwang’s courtyard —— it was the one that Zhou shizi had cut down within the first few days of her arrival.
Back then, she had just spouted nonsense about the both of them meeting under the Yulan Magnolia tree but who knew that he would remember it and send her this surprise.
On the front of the dressing case was a lifelike carving of a magnolia flower. Inside the case was a faint carving of a pair of mandarin ducks but because of the wood’s pitch black colour, it seemed to poke fun at the both of them for being learned.
The letter was in one of the drawers, on it were only four words: Be careful with everything.
This was Zhou Yunxi’s handwriting. He’d made such a beautiful item only as an excuse to send these four words to her. It can be seen that he still didn’t trust anyone.
Which means that the spy in his residence had yet to be found and the Duan Qinwang residence still wasn’t safe.
That was why he had insisted that she went to the Huo residence.
Baoyi was moved by the fact that he had made this arrangement without knowing that Baoyi had lost all her martial arts.
She felt that her decision to remain was correct —— the affection between her and scoundrel shizi had appeared out of nowhere but it was real and true, so much so that she couldn’t deny the existence of something like ‘fate’. Zhou Shizi was exactly like in the original work, selfish and unscrupulous, vicious and scathing, but he was serious in matters of the heart and was really good to her.
As for her, she was sincere in wanting to spend her remaining years with this person.
An immeasurable amount of sweetness gushed forth in her heart. Baoyi also felt like gifting him something in return and rummaged through the congratulatory gifts she had received, finding a piece of jade. She wasn’t an expert at engraving but she could still carve a few heart shapes to play at being romantic.
Baoyi touched her waist and spaced out for a moment.
Her dagger wasn’t there, the one that Master Dao had previously retrieved from the Second Prince’s Residence.
Because that dagger was very exquisite and handy, Baoyi had kept it. However, Master Dao had borrowed it a few days ago, saying that he had use for it and had yet to return it.
What use did he have for the Second Prince’s shadow guard’s dagger?
Suddenly, Baoyi had the feeling that she might have overlooked something all this time.
“Chunxi.” she called towards the outside.
“Miss.” Chunhong and Chunxi had followed her to the Huo Residence. Chunhong was currently with Madam Huo making arrangements for Baoyi’s marriage tomorrow while Chunxi remained by Baoyi’s side to wait on her.
“Chunxi, I need you to make a trip outside, do not alert anyone……”
In the dead of night, Zhou Shizi sat quietly under the corridor.
In his hand was a coarse piece of jade that had messy scratches on its surface. Zhou Shizhi pressed the piece of jade into the cinnabar and instead of retrieving Xuan paper, he stamped it onto the center of his palm.
A laughable mark immediately appeared on his skin, red lips and a heart. Zhou Shizi’s face remained impassive for a long time before he finally laughed.
He could even imagine the expression on his little shadow guard’s face as she said —— this is my kiss, this is my heart, for you, all for you!
He had said that her life was his, her being was his, her everything was his. Now, she had fulfilled her promise and given her heart to him.
As he looked at the cinnabar on his palm, Zhou Yunxi couldn’t stop himself from thinking about how achingly beautiful his little bride would be tomorrow. With her lips dyed red with rouge, how lucky he would be to be able to taste it in person.
He hadn’t been this happy in many years. It felt like the portion of his soul that had been missing since his childhood had finally returned, as if his incomplete life had suddenly become perfect. Come to think of it, Thirteen had been with him for so many years and although he had pitied the girl’s sufferings, he had never had these feelings before. However, after he learned of Baoyi’s original name, it was like he had suddenly found his life’s goal and his life became vibrant.
If he could, he would’ve done away with these formalities. Baoyi was his. With or without this wedding ceremony, this fact would remain unchanged.
However, before he completely owned her, he had to first wipe out all the dangers around them.
The smile on Zhou Shizi’s face faded, replaced by the dark and sinister look everyone was accustomed to.
As soon as he said this, seven shadow guards dressed in black suddenly appeared in the courtyard that had been empty just a moment ago. Their leader greeted him before removing his cloth mask and revealing a familiar face.
There was a faint smell of blood in the air,
Zhou Shizi’s gaze slowly swept across the seven people present, noting that although there were some blood stains on their bodies, no one was seriously injured.
“Master Dao, how are things coming along?”
“Shizi, the Second Prince’s Residence had indeed planned to take advantage of shizi’s wedding tomorrow to strike during the wedding feast. Ten of his suicide assasins have disguised themselves among the guests’ entourage and they intend to sneak into the residence to murder Lu Qingluo.”
Master Dao’s eyes flashed: “Exactly, they probably intend to push the blame to shizi and make the Third Prince fall out with you.”
Zhou Shizi scoffed: “As if I had ever been on friendly terms with him.”
Tch, it’s disgusting to even speak of this!
He and Zhou Yuncheng had a common goal but they were originally rivals. How could they ever be on friendly terms? It was just a temporary alliance for the sake of striking the Second Prince. Zhou Yuncheng had never trusted him, and neither did he.
As for whether Lu Qingluo lived or died, what did that have to do with him? Even if the Second Prince didn’t do anything to her, he already had his own plans, how could he let Zhou Yuncheng get any advantages? The only reason he hadn’t made a move was because he still had use for Lu Qingluo and……there was someone trying their best to protect her!
At the thought of that girl blaming him if anything were to happen to Lu Qingluo, Zhou Shizi frowned and said: “Assign some men to watch Lu Qingluo, don’t let her run into any trouble!”
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The author has something to say:
Qingluo: Ah, I’m constantly being given the cold shoulder QAQ
Baoyi: How could that be, female lead hurry and come into my bowl!
Zhou Shizi: My wife has contracted a disease whereby she’ll die if she doesn’t hit on girls, what should I do, waiting online, it’s quite urgent.
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Iluska & Maelani Translations
 Figurative for an affection couple / Happily married couple
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