While the banquet was on-going, there was a place within the Song Royal Palace that are also busy. This place is where one of the Twin Jade of Dong Xing, Princess Song Lijing, lives. But unlike the banquet, the people within were actually busy trying to find their princess.
“Your Highness!!” a female servant were looking over the small bushes near the pavilion but there was nothing hidden behind the bushes.
“Your Highness!” another servant was also calling to the princess while she ran around the hallway.
“Your Highness, where are you, ah?! We must get you prepared for the banquet!” this time, a servant was looking around in the garden, hoping to catch the princess, but alas, the princess was nowhere to be found.
Just outside the courtyard, Song Lijun was already dressed up and is currently approaching his sister’s residence. In his hand is a small fan which he used to fan his face lightly to keep him cool.
When the two guards who was on duty guarding the moon gate to the courtyard saw him, they only saluted and bowed slightly while hiding their nervousness.
“Greeting to His Highness!”
Both of them greeted Song Lijun at the same time.
“En. Is my sister still not ready? I am here to pick her up,” Song Lijun said.
The two guards turned to look at each other worriedly before one of them turned back to face Song Lijun. “Answering to His Highness… We have yet to receive news from inside, so we do not know…” the guard answered, but Song Lijun could sense the nervousness from the guard’s voice.
Song Lijun was about to inquire more when he heard a loud yell from within the courtyard.
“Your Highness! Where are you?!”
When Song Lijun heard this, his expression turned complicated and he gave the guards a questioning look. The two guards turned pale, and they quickly turned into a mute.
“What? Unable to answer?” Song Lijun asked.
“Your Highness, actually…”
“Actually what? My sister went missing and now, no one knows where she is?” Song Lijun narrowed his eyes at the two guards. “You guys were placed here by Royal Father to make sure this didn’t happen! What were you two doing, ah?!”
“Your Highness! We never left our post. We haven’t seen the princess so Her Highness must still be inside!” the guard tried to defend themselves.
“How long has the search been going?”
Both guards didn’t dare to answer. The search has been on-going ever since the news that envoys from Ruanyu has arrived. A servant had came to inform the princess, but when the servant saw the empty room, they all panicked. In order not to cause an uproar and to save their lives, they didn’t let the news of the missing princess spread. Thus, not even the king knew that his daughter had escaped.
“From your expression… she has been missing for a long time now, right?!” Song Lijun was now angry.
“Missing?!” a shocked voice could be heard from behind Song Lijun. When he turned around, he saw two of his elder brother coming over, followed by their servants.
“Eldest brother, third brother… hear this, ah! Elder sister ran away again and this time, it seems that she succeeded in doing so!” Song Lijun informed his two older brother.
As if on cue, they heard another yell from within the courtyard. “Your Highness! Please stop playing around and come out, ah!! If we’re late, His Majesty will be angry and this servant’s life might be forfeited!”
Upon hearing this, Song Liren’s face turned ugly while Song Lifan only have a helpless expression on his face.
It wasn’t the first time that his sister tried to escape which was why his father deployed the guards to help keep her in place. ‘You only need to keep one woman in her courtyard, there are 50 of you around the courtyard and no one had seen her escape?!’ was exactly what the three princes were currently thinking in their mind.
Song Liren turned to his servant and gave out one quick order.
“Go and inform of this matter to Royal Father. Be sure to inform it to him directly!”
“At once, Your Highness!” the servant replied before he left, rushing over to the banquet hall.
“You go also. Inform second brother about this. We may need his help,” Song Lifan also gave his order to his own servant.
With both servant rushing to the banquet hall, Song Liren and Song Lifan turned back to their youngest brother. Their gaze seemed to be a bit abnormal to Song Lijun, making him feel a bit nervous.
“Lijun…” the eldest spoke up. “If we can’t find Lijing, eldest brother will have to trouble you…”
Song Lijun’s face suddenly turned awkward and he took one step backward. But Song Lifan was quick, and he moved behind Song Lijun and held onto both of his shoulder.
Feeling that his two elder brother seemed to be planning something with ‘his help’, Song Lijun quickly looked around for an escape route.
“Block the road.”
Before Song Lijun could even find an opening to escape, Song Liren already gave out an order to the guards. Thus, any hope of escape disappeared for Song Lijun.
“Brother… whatever it is you two are planning, please spare me,” Song Lijun said in a pleading tone as he tried to worm himself out of whatever the plan is. Then, he looked up at the sky, then quickly tried to change the subject. “Ah! Look at the time! I must go to the banquet hall and accompany Royal Father…”
Song Lijun tried to move, but Song Lifan’s hold on him was strong. With a little pressure, Song Lijun were unable to move away at all.
“Jun, ah… you know the envoy from Ruanyu cannot be insulted,” Song Lifan said in a calm, gentle tone. “We promised them that Song Lijing will make her appearance at the banquet tonight.”
“Yes. We can make an excuse that the youngest prince isn’t feeling well, so the fourth prince is currently resting to recuperate,” Song Liren added.
“Brother! Are you going to make me into sister Jing’s stand-in?!” Song Lijun’s face turned pale at the thought of wearing a female clothings.
“Don’t worry. You two are twins. If Lijing can pull off disguising as you, you would also be able to disguise yourself as Lijing. In addition, the envoys has yet to see our kingdom’s precious Twin Jade…”
Song Lijun heard his older brother’s reasoning and he can’t help but struggle even more.
“No, no, no, no! Eldest brother, third brother, Lijun already painstakingly spent an hour getting ready for this banquet! Are you saying that it was all for naught now?”
“Lijun, ah… I’m sorry. But as long as Song Lijing is not found, you can’t escape this. For the sake of our kingdom, please sacrifice a bit,” Song Liren gave Song Lijun a guilty expression but his sentence told Song Lijun that no matter what, his eldest brother will not change his mind.
Written by: Lin Xiaolong
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