This reply not only made its way to Zhuang-fu’s and Yuwen Xun’s hands, it had also found its way to someone else.
A white-clothed man stood before a tall window, his figure like a jade tree. His ink-like hair was half pulled up and pinned in shape with a white jade crown. The other half was allowed to flow freely down his back.
The man set down the copy of the letter. There was a hint of laughter in his voice as he spoke, “This Zhuang Qiong is quite interesting.”
“How so? Isn’t she just seeking death, Master?” The young lad waiting on him scratched his head.
“Yuwen Xun dares not touch her.” The man turned around, revealing his extraordinarily handsome features.
His lips lifted slightly in the barest hint of a smile. His peach flower eyes were filled with warmth, and one could almost feel the spring breeze brushing past when he looked at you.
The first impression he gave was that he was a very gentle man. So gentle in fact, one would wish to offer their all to him.
Even though the young lad had accompanied him for many years, he was always amazed by his Master’s looks.
The lad only managed to snap out of it after a good long while. “Master, why does the Emperor fear the Zhuang Clan so much?”
The man’s fingertips brushed past his mouth and it lifted into a slight smile. “I don’t know either.”
The lad, “…” ‘Then why do you look so sure of yourself?’
Shi Sheng’s actions weren’t restricted whatsoever, so her habit of feeding the fishes extended to strolling the palace everyday.
Though news of her losing favour circulated the palace, her status still remained. Even if they were gloating inwardly, they didn’t dare to show it.
But there were exceptions.
“Oh, why isn’t this Gui Fei-jiejie? Why have you come to the imperial gardens today?”
Shu Fei was dressed extravagantly. She led a procession of maids as she sauntered over to Shi Sheng.
Shu Fei had gained favour with the Emperor recently, so she was feeling quite triumphant.
Shi Sheng only had Tao Qin by her side. When compared with the Shu Fei who led a veritable army of servants, it was a bit lacking.
Shi Sheng examined her. “Seems like your body’s quite healthy—you don’t look like you’ve suffered from what happened at all.”
Shu Fei’s expression stiffened as the scene from Snowfall Garden flashed in her mind’s eye.
“Jiejie, do you still think you’re the Yun Gui Fei from before?” ‘She still dares to mention that incident!’
“Indeed, I’m not.” Shi Sheng nodded in agreement.
“…It seems like Jiejie has learned your limits recently.” ‘See? Even this bitch can’t act arrogant without His Majesty’s favour!’
“My limits?” Shi Sheng raised a brow. “What are those?”
Shu Fei cursed inwardly, ‘Do you still think you’re the Yun Gui Fei that has His Majesty’s favour?! If it wasn’t for the Zhuang Clan and your status as Gui Fei, everyone in the palace would not put you in their eyes and trample you under feet!’
“Jiejie, how about we go over there and sit?” Shu Fei pointed at a distant pavilion. ‘I’m avenging myself for the previous time no matter what!’
“Not going.” ‘Who’s got time to play palace intrigues with you?’
“Are you looking down on me(cq), Jiejie? Can I not even have a chat with you?” Shu Fei closed in on Shi Sheng and reached out a hand to pull the latter.
Shi Sheng subconsciously retreated, but who knew that Shu Fei would suddenly dramatically slip and fall towards the pond.
There was a splash.
Shi Sheng, “…” ‘Oh come on!’
She lifted her head to look for the ML. From Shu Fei’s actions, it was clear that he was in the vicinity.
And, as expected, Shi Sheng saw Yuwen Xun’s sedan nearby.
“H-help…” Shu Fei flailed about in the water.
The surrounding maids and eunuchs frantically tried to rescue her. They were clearly so near, yet not a single one managed to pull her out…
‘Are you guys idiots?’
This splash came from nearby. A figure swiftly swam towards Shu Fei, who violently thrashed about in the water and constantly pushed her would-be saviour into the water.
Lu Ruo expended a lot of effort to get Shu Fei to the shore, but just as she was about to get out herself, she suddenly started to thrash around wildly.
Shi Sheng crossed her arms and voiced her ridicule to Tao Qin, “It’s either cramps, or she’s been entangled by the vegetation.”
“My Lady…” ‘How are you still this calm when His Majesty is coming over??? From where he was standing, it must’ve looked like you pushed Shu Fei in!’
Yuwen Xun brushed past Shi Sheng, emanating a cold aura. He leapt into the water, causing the crowd to exclaim in shock.
Yuwen Xun dragged Lu Ruo to shore. Perhaps due to having swallowed too much water, she had fainted. Yuwen Xun actually deigned to give her CPR in person.
“*coughing*…” Lu Ruo coughed violently as she came to.
These people had somehow gotten hold of a couple of cloaks in such a short amount of time and handed one each to Shu Fei and Lu Ruo.
Yuwen Xun naturally carried Lu Ruo. Shu Fei was helped up by an attendant, her face pale as she looked pitifully at Yuwen Xun. “Your Majesty.”
Yuwen Xun looked at Lu Ruo before handing her to someone to the side and walked over to Shu Fei, sweeping her up in a princess carry.
“Your Majesty…” Shu Fei leaned into Yuwen Xun’s embrace, sobbing softly.
‘This scene… Why do I feel like I’m having déjà vu?’
Yuwen Xun ordered everyone to head to the Hall of Proclaimed Peace…Shi Sheng included.
She shrugged indifferently. Shi Sheng swept her gaze past Yuwen Xun’s sedan, at first not really paying attention.
But a moment later, she took a second look.
Beside the imperial sedan stood a white-clothed man. She could only see his profile from where she stood so she couldn’t really make out his features, but the disposition he possessed wasn’t something just anyone had.
“Who’s that?” Shi Sheng poked Tao Qin.
‘He’s not in Zhuang Qiong’s memories, and there’s no one matching his description in the plot…’
This world did contain spirit energy, but not much. It was so sparse that Shi Sheng hadn’t even gotten to the stage of drawing it into her body.
Tao Qin cast a look at the person Shi Sheng was referring to and shook her head slightly. “This one has never seen him before.”
Yuwen Xun spoke to the white-clothed man who soon turned and left.
In the Hall of Proclaimed Peace, Lu Ruo and Shu Fei had already gotten changed into clean clothes. The latter was nestled by Yuwen Xun’s side while Lu Ruo sat on a lower seat, a hot cup of tea in her hands.
Shi Sheng stood in the centre of the chamber.
“Yun Gui Fei, do you admit your guilt?!” Yuwen Xun was excited inwardly. After all this time, he had finally found an opportunity to deal with this despicable woman.
“I’m guilty if you say I am. You’re the bigshot Emperor here, so whatever floats your boat.” Shi Sheng was very indifferent.
“Yun Gui Fei!” Yuwen Xun was angered into throwing a teacup at her.
Shi Sheng leapt aside, easily dodging the makeshift missile.
She blinked and asked innocently, “Your Majesty, does your hand hurt?”
That cup had been filled with tea meant to warm Lu Ruo and Shu Fei up, so its contents were boiling hot.
Shu Fei and Yuwen Xun had swapped places just now and the palace maid serving them hadn’t the time to switch their cups, so Yuwen Xun grabbed the boiling hot cup meant for Shu Fei.
“Your Majesty…” Shu Fei anxiously looked at Yuwen Xun’s hand that was red from some of the boiling liquid spilling out.
Yuwen Xun used his sleeve to cover up his hand, feeling rather embarrassed. He was clearly in pain, but he could only keep a stoic expression. “It’s nothing.”
He hated Shi Sheng even more inwardly.
“Quickly, fetch some ointment.” Shu Fei wasn’t listening to Yuwen Xun, only thinking of the best way she could portray herself to be a virtuous concubine.
Yuwen Xun’s expression darkened. “I(z) said, it’s nothing.”
His unfriendly tone startled Shu Fei, who no longer dared to pull at his hand and looked at him timidly instead.
 My TLC says it looks like this (except the crown is white):
 Like this: