While walking to the banquet hall, Song Lijun’s figure was stiff and his palms were cold with sweat. Song Lijun had felt that the man sounded familiar when he heard his voice. But he simply couldn’t pin-point it. It wasn’t until the man introduced himself did Song Lijun finally recognized the other’s identity. ‘Isn’t this brother Qiu the one that I met in Flower Pavilion?!’
The feeling of nervousness rose in Song Lijun’s heart and he can’t help looking away from the other. Then, he realized something. ‘He… did he tell me to call him Brother Qiu? Did he know that it’s ‘me’?!’
“Little Jing?” Song Lihui noticed that his fourth brother was nervous and he couldn’t help calling out. But Song Lijun didn’t react so he could only nudge the other with his elbow lightly.
“Huh? Oh, what’s wrong, second brother?” Song Lijun asked.
“Are you alright?” Song Lihui asked. “Nervous?”
‘You try and appear in front of everyone in women’s clothing and then ask me that question again!’ Song Lijun wanted to reply but quietly swallowed his words.
“Of course, Lijing is nervous. What if the envoys don’t like Lijing? And they told the emperor about it? If the emperor doesn’t like Lijing, then the Great Ruanyu won’t help our small kingdom…” Song Lijun murmured in a soft voice. ‘And if that happens, what’s the point of my suffering, ah!’
Jin Rongqiu heard this and can’t help but curve up his lips. “Don’t worry. The emperor will like you very much,” he said. “The princess has my word.”
“But only brother Qiu says that. I hear the one who led the envoy today is that Hanxing Gong, the War God of Yilian. What if the War God says otherwise?” Song Lijun asked.
Jin Rongqiu stopped walking and turned his head to Song Lijun. The rest also stopped waling and when they saw Jin Rongqiu staring at their disguised younger brother, they suddenly became nervous, thinking that Song Lijun’s question might’ve annoyed the other.
“Lord Rongqiu, please forgive our sister’s incessant questions. She is only nervous and worried. After all, our kingdom’s fate lays on her shoulder,” Song Lihui was the first to recover.
“Really that worried? This lord already gave his word to the princess, not even Hanxing Gong would dare to say otherwise. So the princess can rest assured,” Jin Rongqiu said as he reached his hand out to casually touch the other’s face, hoping to caress it.
Unfortunately, Song Lifan blocked the path with a smile on his face. “Lord Rongqiu must not be someone simple if even the War God has to listen to you,” Song Lifan said in a friendly tone. “But our sister is promised to the Emperor of Ruanyu, we can’t simply let others casually touch her in an intimate manner, right?”
Jin Rongqiu narrowed his eyes and pulled his hand back. It was for the first time in his life that he regrets that he is not the emperor. For the first time, he felt that the throne which he deemed useless before became attractive. He was never interested to join the fight for the throne but thinking about how if any of his brothers won the battle and would also obtain the beauty before him, his heart was filled with unwillingness.
“You are right. She is the emperor’s woman. Please forgive this lord’s thoughtless action. This lord will retire to the banquet first,” Jin Rongqiu said before he hurriedly went back to the banquet hall.
Song Lijun saw that Jin Rongqiu has left and finally let out a sigh of relief. Then, he pulled at Song Lihui’s sleeves. “Brother, brother, brother! What happened? Who is he, ah?! Why is he here?”
Song Lihui turned to face Song Lijun who has a worried expression. “He’s… Gongye’s friend… I think?” Song Lihui also didn’t know the real identity of Jin Rongqiu. Whenever he tried to inquire it from Bai Ruohan earlier, the other simply dodged the question.
“He is confident that his words will hold, so it must mean that he holds a considerable amount of authority. He also seemed to be interested in Lijing…” Song Lifan said as he gently reached out to rub Song Lijun’s head without messing much with his hair.
“Rather than sister Jing… It might be ‘me’ he’s interested in…?” Song Lijun said out loud, making all his brothers turn to him with a questioning look. Seeing this, Song Lijun felt that he shouldn’t hide what happened in the Flower Pavilion anymore. He slowly explained to his brothers about how he had met with Jin Rongqiu, but for the sake of his own dignity, he left out the fact that he had been kissed.
“This…” Song Liren massaged his forehead, feeling the headache coming.
“Very problematic,” Song Lihui added.
“But that lord probably won’t risk angering the emperor just for a woman, would he?” Song Lifan asked out loud.
Song Liren scoffed before he crossed his arm. “You don’t know what men are capable of when it comes to pleasing or obtaining beauties.”
Hearing this, Song Lifan’s expression turned dark. “Brother, just because I don’t like women doesn’t mean I don’t know what men are capable of!” he said angrily. “Are you trying to say that just for ‘Xiao Jing’, that man would dare to raise a rebellion to seize the throne? That’s too exaggerating, ah!”
“Xiao Fan, I didn’t mean to demean you with that sentence. Don’t take it to heart. Of course, although you are a beauty yourself, you are also a man. Naturally, you know but one day, someone will come over and sweep you off your legs and if there is any obstacle, he would just crush whatever comes in his way,” Song Liren quickly tried to placate his angry third brother. “Then you will see the extent of what men can do for someone they fancy! Right now you don’t understand because you don’t have anyone you fancy yet!”
“And do you already have someone you fancy?!” Song Lifan asked with a raised eyebrow.
The still single Crown Prince: …
“Then what makes you think you know?” he asked again. But after a while, the playful smile appeared on his face. “Alright, let’s put that all aside and focus on the important thing… do you really think that someone good looking will come and sweep me off my legs, carry me away to the sunset and, promise his life to me and me alone?” Song Lifan asked.
The Crown Prince, Song Liren was speechless as he stared at his third brother. ‘I don’t think I said it like that…?’
Song Lihui saw that if things were left alone like this, they would surely derail from things that are important and ends up late. So, he cleared his throat to grab his brother’s attention. “Let us first go to the banquet hall. These things, we can discuss it later tonight. Hopefully, by that time, Song Lijing is found,” Song Lihui reminded the other.
“If she’s not found…?” came Song Lijun’s nervous question.
“En. Then we will trouble youngest brother to keep pretending.”
Written by: Lin Xiaolong
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