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Chapter 185: Shielding One’s Shortcoming (Part 1)
Su Ming Feng followed the big bearded guard in and along the way, the servants of the residence of Prince Rui all looked at him with critical gazes, making Su Ming Feng feel uncomfortable all around.
But thinking about it, there was no turning back on this matter. Since he had already offended Prince Rui, if it was not true, he could just return with a big apology. No matter what, Prince Rui had to give some face to official’s family since this was the territory of Ming Qi.
Now Su Ming Feng started to be apprehensive again. Prince Rui did not even put Emperor Wen Hui in his eyes so how would he put a lowly young master of the Su family in his eyes? Moreover the Su family was no longer in officialdom so to Emperor Wen Hui, the residence of the Count of Ping Nan had no value at all thus if something really happened, Emperor Wen Hui would not offend Prince Rui because of them.
It was fortunate that there was a Second Young Master, Su Ming Lang, in the Su family. If something really happened to him, there would still be descendants in the Su family.
But if Prince Rui took his anger out on the Su family, how would the entire residence end up in?
On the way Su Ming Feng let his imagination run wild and his back gradually broke into cold sweat that he was not aware where the big bearded guard had brought him to until when the big bearded reminded, “Gentleman Su, you have arrived.”
Su Ming Feng then quickly recovered to his senses.
This was the Inner courtyard of the residence of Prince Rui and there was a pond in the courtyard. In the winter night the wind that blew from the pond to oneself was really very cold. There was a lantern that was hang from the tree branch that allows one to see that there was a stone table in the garden. Two people were sitting in front of the stone table, seemingly a male and female, looking rather realistic.
Su Ming Feng looked at the bearded man unconsciously and the bearded man said, “His Highness is waiting in front. This one will withdraw first.” Finishing, he did not wait for Su Ming Feng’s reply and turned around to leave.
Su Ming Feng looked at that big bearded man’s back and was thinking that the guards of the residence of Prince Rui were so arrogant, it was no wonder than Prince Rui had that kind of conduct. What kind of master would have what kind of servants as subordinates would follow the example of their superiors. Prince Rui was not respectful to Emperor Wen Hui, the guards of the residence of Prince Rui were not respectful to guests.
Thinking about it, the only unbridled person in Ding capital was only the previous Little Marquis of the residence of the Marquis of Lin An.
Upon walking nearer, one only then discovered that there was a white furry animal that was crouching under the table. At the beginning when Su Ming Feng saw its shape, he had thought that it was just a cat but when that cat-like thing heard his movements, it turned its head over and cried, revealing its white sharp teeth.
It was actually a tiger.
Su Ming Feng thought that even though it was a small tiger, the residence of Prince Rui actually raise a tiger in their house. This Prince Rui was indeed very unique.
As he thought, he felt that Prince Rui and Xie Jing Xing were not very similar.
As Su Ming Feng walked to the front of the stone table, Prince Rui’s back was facing him thus Su Ming Feng saw the female that was sitting first.
That female’s brows were clear and appearance was graceful and dignified. As the familiar eyes looked over, Su Ming Feng called out hoarsely, “Young Lady Shen.”
It turned out to be Shen Miao.
“Young Lady Shen, why are you here?” Su Ming Feng could not help but asked.
“Young Master Su is managing really to wide.” The indifferent voice sounded and there seemed to be a slight annoyance in it, “This Prince’s Wang Fei is in one’s own residence, what is wrong with it?”
‘One’s own residence’ almost made Shen Miao unable to continue to drink. He smiled and nodded towards Su Ming Feng, “Gentleman Su.”
Su Ming Feng’s gaze landed on Prince Rui’s back that was facing him.
He did it lazily but his posture was unexpectedly tall. With the faint light of the lantern, one was able to see the smooth lines of the gold threads that lined his collar.
“Your Highness Prince Rui.” Su Ming Feng said.
Prince Rui did not speak. Su Ming Feng collected himself. As Shen Miao was here, he was no longer afraid. Thinking that he had almost forgotten that Shen Miao was currently considered to be Prince Rui’s consort, it seemed that Shen Miao’s and Prince Rui’s relationship was also not bad thus if Prince Rui had any intention to kill him, Shen Miao would not sit back and ignore it based on Xie Jing Xing’s extent.
Even though it was somewhat strange to have such a thought, Su Ming Feng gathered his courage and asked, “Ming Feng’s visit today is about a matter to ask.”
The simpler Prince Rui spoke, the more Su Ming Feng felt distressed. He spoke, “Your Highness Prince Rui is very similar to one of Ming Feng’s old firend but that old friend had been missing for many years. Ming Feng is to be so bold as to…” His heart shook, “Ming Feng is to be so bold as to request Your Highness to take of the mask and let Ming Feng resolve the doubt in one’s heart.”
After saying these words, Su Ming Feng lowered his head and waiting apprehensively for the other party’s answer.
After some silence, some sound was heard even though it was like usual somewhat faint, as if it was carless voice but each word weighed more than a thousand Jin (1 jin = 0.5 kg) in Su Ming Feng’s ears.
Prince Rui asked, “The old friend that you spoke of, is he called Xie Jing Xing?”
Su Ming Feng’s heart moved and there seemed to be a rush of ecstasy that burst out of it but in a blink of an eye he forced himself to calm down. Prince Rui had stayed in Ming Qi for a few months and Xie Jing Xing’s reputation here was not small and was considered a heroic figure in Ming Qi. Since he was Xie Jing Xing childhood friends, perhaps someone had said this matter to Prince Rui.
He said, “Exactly so.”
“Xie Jing Xing is dead.” One was unable to hear any anger or joy in Prince Rui’s voice, “You said he had disappeared.”
“The world had said that he died in the battlefield with Northern Jiang and I have personally seen the corpse.” Su Ming Feng laughed bitterly, “But I am unwilling to believe it. Now with Your Highness’s appearance, even though Su Ming Feng knows that this condition was very unreasonable, but there are some things in this world that one have to do one’s best to accomplish.” Su Ming Feng has nothing to hide towards Prince Rui. From Prince Rui’s looks, Su Ming Feng felt that he was not one that will pester endlessly and was somewhat reasonable. Perhaps he would feel something in these words and would be particularly broadminded to it.
The white tiger on the floor whimpered as Prince Rui stood up from the stone bench.
He turned around and the mask gave out a cool dark glow in the wind. Su Ming Feng only then discovered that Prince Rui was half a head taller than him when he stood up.
Xie Jing Xing was also taller than him by half a head.
At that time that youth was hard bent on comparing heights and because Su Ming Feng was half a head shorter, he had plead with Su Furen to give him half bowl of rice more every day, hopping he could exceed Xie Jing Xing. At that time Xie Jing Xing said rather despicably, “You want to become a second Su Ming Lang?”
As time passed, it seemed that everything was not changed but the blue sea had turned into mulberry fields and it was a thing of the past.
Shen Miao was about to speak when Prince Rui said, “You want to look at this Prince’s face.”
Su Ming Feng nodded his head.
Prince Rui reached his hands out to the mask that was covering his face and took it off slowly.
The curved eyebrows, tender peach blossoms eyes, bravely shaped nose and lips that had the lazy smile, just like yesterday. There was a slight change in appearance that made that beautiful but mischievous youth become this familiar, sinister and handsome young man in front of him.
But it was still him.
Xie Jing Xing grinned said somewhat despising, “See until one becomes a fool.”
Su Ming Feng felt his eyes suddenly became somewhat sour and he stepped forward before hitting Xie Jing Xing’s shoulder with his fist, just like they did normally. He scolded, “Brat. Keep on deceiving everyone and even me. Really don’t have any sense of brotherhood”.
Shen Miao could not hide the astonishment she felt in her heart.
She did not think that Xie Jing Xing would remove his mask that easily in front of Su Ming Feng and admit to his identity. Just like how he did in front of Princess Rong Xin.
Even if they were good friends or family, when one saw the sudden identity change, there might not necessarily be forgiveness. The more precious the relationship was, the more one should not put it to test because the results of it would not be something that one could handle. For oneself, it was a profound torture that would never be obliterated.
If it was Shen Miao herself, perhaps she would not be that outright. After all she dared not and do not have the courage to accept an unknown result.
This point was something that she would always be inferior to Xie Jing Xing. He was very clear about what he wanted or did not want and even forces himself to a situation that he would not have any chance to hesitate at all.
“You. How did you becoming Prince Rui?” Su Ming Feng patted his chest, “Just now I was still thinking that if Prince Rui had the intention to kill me, I can only die here today.” He said, “Now one’s life is saved.”
There was an unstoppable excitement in his voice.
Xie Jing Xing stared at him, “You have gotten stupider after not seeing for two years.”
Su Ming Feng waved his hands, “I know that you are not dead. A bad person will live a thousand years. For a person like you, you will live eight thousand years.” He then sighed, “If it was not for Princess Rong Xing who looked for me that day and me seeing Young Lady Shen’s Tiger Head Bracelet, one feared that one would be kept in the dark. Did you plan not to see me?” He said in anger and sulky that he was not trusted.
Xie Jing Xing shrugged his shoulders, “Exactly so.”
Su Ming Feng was furious but in the past he was often bullied by Xie Jing Xing so he was not angry at this moment and was only somewhat doubtful, “It seemed that Young Lady Shen has long knew of your identity.” He laughed and looked at Shen Miao, speaking meaningfully, “At the beginning I had felt that something was fishy. Now it seemed that you have gotten what you have wished. You really hid it well.”
Shen Miao, “…”
“What are you trying to say?” Xie Jing Xing spoke impatiently, “Your SaoZi (aka sister-in-law) and me still have things to talk about.”
Shen Miao and Su Ming Feng were shocked by the word ‘SaoZi’ at the same time. Su Ming Feng took a look at Shen Miao, “Since you are still alive, why did you not say a word to me for these two years? Moreover it seemed that Princess Rong Xin is doubtful of your identity. Why did you not take the initiative to speak to her? And your Father…”
“Su Ming Feng.” Xie Jing Xing interrupted his words, “I am Prince Rui of Great Liang.”
The courtyard became silent.
A slight sigh appeared in Shen Miao’s heart. One had to take this step at the end.
Xie Jing Xing’s identity was destined for him not to have anyone standing by his side in Ding capital. No matter who was it, when they knew of Xie Jing Xing’s true identity, they would always think of ‘treason’. No matter if it was the truth or predicament, no one cared. They only cared about the ‘result’ and ‘deception’.
Princess Rong Xing doted Xie Jing Xing like a real son but at the end could not avoid the thought of guarding against him and deception. Naturally Su Ming Feng would be ecstatic in the short period upon seeing his old friend alive but at the end he would still walk to the moment of truth.
That was the most exposed, cruelest and painful time for a person.
Su Ming Feng looked at Xie Jing Xing and asked in puzzled, “What are you talking about? Yes, you are now Prince Rui. Was it that something happened in the Northern Jiang battlefield that you had no choice but to use an interim stratagem? The identity of Prince Rui is indeed noble and it is not a good idea to have it for long. You have to…”
“I am Prince Rui of Great Liang.” Xie Jing Xing said.
The long-winded voice stopped abruptly.
The wind swirl up the leaves in the courtyard and the white tiger had already huddled back to its shack where it was set up. In the night where there was no moon or stars, only the lanterns emitted a faint light.
Su Ming Feng’s gaze was double and he asked hesitatingly, “What is the meaning of this?”
“My true identity is Prince Rui of Great Liang, not the son of the Marquis of Lin An, Xie Ding.” Xie Jing Xing said faintly, “It is not an interim stratagem.”
“This is not possible.” Su Ming Feng blurted out, “We have known each other for more than ten years and spent our youth together. Why do I not know?”
“The heir of the Xie family died upon birth. The real heir of the residence of the Marquis of Lin An is already dead.” Xie Jing Xing said, “It is not me.”