Ji Zhen Tian went silent for awhile as he tilted his head up and closed his eyes.
After some time, he turned around to me, helping me get up.
"Ling-er. Let's go." His voice soft, as if he still couldn't believe that the case of Li Zhen Zhen and the rest of the Li family is all over.
When we were quite a distance already, my maids who were prohibited to go near the event approached me.
"Your Highness!" They worriedly shouted. Then as if only seeing Ji Zhen Tian when they were already near, that's the time they bowed down to him. "Your Majesty."
"Un." Ji Zhen Tian nodded. "Your mistress and Zhen are going to Zhen's palace first."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
Then we really went on to Ji Zhen Tian's palace, my maids and several of Ji Zhen Tian's servants following behind with quite a distance.
"Why are we going to Your Majesty's palace?" I couldn't help but ask.
"Zhen Tian. Call me Zhen Tian."
This again. I couldn't help but smile helplessly.
"But we're not exactly alone right now." I said as I turned around to the servants behind us.
"They're quite far. Call me by my name, else I wouldn't answer."
...Why is he that hung up on calling him by name?
I don't know the answer, so I planned to ask. But first, I'll let him answer my first question.
"Zhen Tian, why are we going to your palace?"
He then looked at me as we walked.
"You... look like you have plenty of questions you want to ask." He said.
Was I that obvious? Did curiosity really showed up on my face?
"...And I think you're misunderstanding something. I... don't want you to misunderstand." He added.
When we reached Ji Zhen Tian's palace and settled in the room,
"Are you okay? Do you want anything? Are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere? Do you want to eat now?" He asked consecutively.
"I'm fine, Zhen Tian. I think it's already time for lunch, so how about we eat?"
"Un. You're right." Ji Zhen Tian nodded, and he went on to call for food.
Both of us were silent as we ate, the silence indicating we don't know where to start talking.
After we ate, it was Ji Zhen Tian who broke the silence.
"Ling-er, you can start asking questions, you know? I don't know where to start explaining if you don't otherwise." He said.
You say that, but I myself don't know what to ask first...
Rather than a question, the first thing that came to mind...
"You said 'Yi Ren' earlier... Ming Yi Fei's sister?"
"Un." He nodded.
"You have avenged her, you said."
"Un." He nodded again.
"You have finally avenged your first love, huh."
"U- Huh?" Ji Zhen Tian sounded confused.
"Imperial Consort Ming told me her story... and that's how I came to know of you and her older sister."
"It's not like that!"
Now I'm confused.
"But she said... that's why you never touched..."
"I let Ming Yi Fei love another person freely and not take her despite being the Emperor and all because it's the least I can do... I... want to apologize to the whole Ming family for getting their oldest daughter involved, for letting her die, for being powerless this whole time. That's... the least I can do to atone. To let the younger sister love freely."
"But Ming Yi Fei said I remind her of her older sister... That's why I thought you're the same... That's why I thought you paid extra attention to me because of that..."
"That's just your assumption! You do remind me of her, and because of that I felt nostalgic with you, and I thought that I missed those times before, but I didn't love her that way. We're cousins. I only thought of her as my older sister. Nothing more. I don't even know who started the rumor of her being my first love, but... that... resulted to her death. That's one of the things I most regret. Getting her involved." Ji Zhen Tian explained hurriedly.
Then, he continued,
"If I were to say who my first love is, ..." Then he looked at me intensely.
So you're saying I'm your first love? Which 'me' are you referring to? The Imperial Consort Ye from before, or the one right in front of you now? Besides, if it's me, me, I don't really get how you've fallen in love with someone like this, like me. I did nothing that could make you fall. I only served you. Really. I don't understand.
I did it with another man, you knew. But even then?