Hi guys I've merged the forewords and chapter one because the forewords just didn't really make sense as I wrote it when I was still on winglin.
"I didn't do anything, Yong Qi, please, believ- " she cried desperately, crystalline tears streaming down her porcelain cheeks.
Yong Qi cut her off abruptly, his face red with anger, "She may not be the one I love, but she's still my wife all the same and the baby she's carrying is mine too! The baby is innocent! It's an innocent life! A living, breathing, life!"
He turned and strode off, without even casting a single look back at the girl helplessly kneeling upon the hard ground.
"I know that, Yong Qi, I know all of that… But why won't you believe me…?" she whispered to his retreating back, to the empty air in front of her with right hand pressing against her abdomen.
"I need you too…"
The pounding of the heavy pouring rain filled her ears, along with her own labored breathing. Her hand was hidden beneath the plain, ugly cloak that she wore in hope to ward off the chill of the weather, resting protectively upon her abdomen.
The tattered and soiled hem of the cloak lifted upwards with each step she took to plough through the rain soaked earth on her unstable footing to reveal the grandeur that was hidden beneath its unsightly brown. The silky pink splashed with exquisite embroideries was undeniably spectacular even though it was also soaked in muddied water. The same could be said for the mud-splattered silken embroidered shoes upon her feet which looked exceedingly out of place, as they had not been made with the purpose of trekking through the muddy terrain the young lady was doing so.
Dry sobs wracked her frame as she tried desperately to find some shelter and help with both her tears and the falling rain pelting her smooth face; it was hard to distinguish between the two.
Her steps gradually grew more unsteady and wobbly as her strength slowly ebbed away from her. At last, they lost all of their strength and folded beneath her as her elfin frame slowly met the mucky earth, a thick red liquid seeping into its muddy waters…
It has been five years. Five long years since the death of the famous princess, Huan Zhu Ge Ge (还朱格格), who had been greatly adored by her people.
The one who had taken the hardest blow from her passing away, however, was not among the commoners but within the grand palace walls- the favoured prince of His Majesty, Wu Ah Ge(五阿哥), Yong Qi(永琪).
The man in question presently sat motionless on a stool, dull brown orbs staring blankly at the tattered book on the table before him. What used to be the most promising prince was now turned into a lifeless soul; what used to be a glowing countenance has turned into sunken cheeks and deep eye bags threatening to swallow up those dull brown orbs.
Gone were the days of daily court meetings, or even laughter. Since the day they had discovered Xiao Yan Zi's death beyond the palace walls, he had not attended a single court meeting. The only times they had seen a smile on his face since then was when Xiao Jian brought news of Er Kang's hopeful survival and when they had finally found him. Even then, they were bitter sweet, for he was only reminded of his own loss in the face of Zi Wei's and Er Kang's happy reunion.
With Er Kang's return, however, Yong Qi had lost his purpose in life, for without Xiao Yan Zi by his side, it felt meaningless to him to carry out his duties as a prince. After all, what use was he as a prince if he could not even have saved his beloved? Hence, he was reduced to this pathetic shell of his former self, passing his days in a trance as everything and anything sent him into painful reminiscences.
It was heartbreaking to watch such an energetic and capable youth turn into this walking tragedy. That was why Zi Wei (紫薇) and Er Kang were to determined to force him back on track.
For the first year or so, the couple had not interfered in his "mourning" as they, themselves, had also been despaired at the lost of a sister and a friend. For the first half of the second year, they still took no action in regards to his lack of will to live, understand that Yong Qi needed and had every right for some time to get over his loss as deeply in love with Xiao Yan Zi(小燕子) he was.
It was only during the middle of the second year that they had made their move, giving him a nudge or two whenever they met him, which was plenty enough. Since then, it has been a year and a half and seeing how there has been no progress, the couple had no choice but to try something drastic.
It was this drastic action that had led them to Yong Qi's residence, Jin Yang Gong, which was once the epitome of joy and happiness but was now just an empty shell, silent and bleak. Their presence was quickly made known with their echoing footsteps clearly audible within the still palace, where one could even hear the sound of needles falling onto the ground when they did.
"Princess Zi Wei and the Prince Consort have arrived!紫薇格格驾到!驸马爷驾到！" the drowsy guards stationed by the entrance were almost lulled to sleep by the silence of the afternoon when the arrival of the princess, Ming Zhu Ge Ge(明珠格格), and the consort, Fu Ma Ye(驸马爷), shocked any hint of fatigue out of their system.
Acknowledging them with a nod, they swiftly strode into the receiving hall, only to be greeted by Zhi Hua (知画) and her personal maids.
"Good morning, Zi Wei Jie Jie and Prince Consort. May I enquire the purpose of your visit at this early hour?/知画给紫薇姐姐和俄驸请安. 请问两位在这时辰拜访知画有什么可帮忙的呢?"she questioned courteously.
Gazing at the woman before her, Zi Wei could not hold back the pity that rushed to fill her heart. The girl looked drained and her face was ashen, her skin clinging helplessly onto her bones. The poor girl had suffered such a great deal since Yong Qi lost Xiao Yan Zi, with him doing nothing all day long but thinking of her, responding to no one at all. It was not much different from being a widow!
As gently as she could, she asked her, "Is Yong Qi around?/ 永棋呢?"
A dark look was cast over her porcelain countenance as she answered in a voice so low that her words were almost carried away by the wind.
"He's still the same as always, in that room./ 还是一样, 在那房间里."
Whispering her thanks, Zi Wei gave her husband a worried glance which was returned in kind as they hesitantly approached the room Yong Qi had once shared with Xiao Yan Zi.
Knocking lightly on the door, she said softly, "Yong Qi, it's me. And Er Kang. /永棋，是我和尔康."
"Come in,/进来吧," the reply they received was so faint they had nearly missed it.
The couple entered the room silently, hearts sinking with the usual hopelessness as they witnessed the typical sight before them. That despair, however, solidified their determination towards what they were about to do.
"Yong Qi, we can't let you waste away your life anymore! You need to wake up! You can't keep burying yourself in Xiao Yan Zi's death, you need to get back up on your feet! She's gone already! But the people around you aren't, they still need you! She wouldn't have wanted you to end up like this!/ 永棋，我们不能再让你如此荒废下去了! 你一定得醒一醒，振作起来啊! 你不能一直停留在小燕子的死，你是要继续生活下去! 就算你是多么地不情愿，你也得为你身旁的人，为这些一心关心你，呵护你的家人、朋友，为了小燕子，坚持下去呀! 她一定也不希望你为了她而这样堕落下去!"
Er Kang ended his speech fiercely and feeling much better off, finally having said all that he had kept in his heart for so long. After all, he had grown up with Yong Qi from young and he could not watch him ruin himself like this.
In a more tender tone, Zi Wei added on, "Yong Qi, he's right. Xiao Yan Zi wouldn't have wanted to see you like this. You need to be strong, Yong Qi. /是呀，永棋，小燕子也一定不想到你失魂落魄成这样阿. 你一定要振作啊，永棋."
Yet, these seemed to have no effect on Yong Qi as he just nodded his head mutely. It seems like we were hoping for too much, Zi Wei thought, it is time we pull out all stops.
In a firm tone, Zi Wei said, "Yong Qi, we know that Xiao Yan Zi's passing was a great blow to you, but so was it for us! You're not the only one grieving! We lost a friend too, a sister even! But look at us! We still got back up and pulled ourselves together! Pushing away every single person that cares about you is not going to help you mend that hole in your heart! You have become a beast! Not only do you hurt yourself, but also the people around you! Look at Zhi Hua, take a good look at her! She's not any different from a widow! And have you seen Huang Ah Ma? He's sick with worry for you every day! Have you noticed how wearied he has become? /永琪，我们知道小燕子的死对你造成了多大的打击，但是伤心难过的不止是你一个人而已. 我们也很悲哀啊! 我和尔康也不都失去了个要好的朋友，甚至是姐妹!但你看看我们! 我们还是一样地震作了起来呀! 推开所有想帮助你的人，拒绝我们所有人的关心，不让我们靠近你，帮你弥补你心里面的那个空缺; 你根本就是个禽兽，伤害自己，还伤到你身边所有的人! 看看知画! 她现在和寡妇都没两样了! 你到底有没有看见皇阿玛天天为你担心，现在变得多憔悴了?"
Sensing that Zi Wei was close to breaking down, Er Kang placed a hand on her to remind her of their purpose today and also to calm down the emotions raging within her.
Breathing out deeply, Zi Wei continued, "Fine. I know that saying all of these is not going to change anything. That's why, we have decided that you need a change of scenery. Whether you like it or not, you are going to get some exercise and a breath of fresh air on our inspection trip! Maybe that's exactly what you need. / 好，我知道我们所说的这些话也不会改变什么，所以，我和俄康已决定了，这该是时候让你出来走动走动，透透气. 其实，你需要的可能正是换一换风景. 呼吸一下新的空气. 不管你想不想，要不要，你也一定得和我们一起陪皇阿玛去这趟为辅出巡! 我们想说的只有这些. 我们不多说了，先回去了."
With that, the couple left the room as quietly as they had came in, leaving Yong Qi gazing off in space.
'Xiao Yan Zi, if you could see him now,/小燕子，如果你能看见他现在这样子', Zi Wei pondered as she departed for her home, 'I think you would have approved of our actions as well…/我想，你也一定会赞成我们这样的做法吧…'
"Ha ha ha!/哈哈哈!" Chimes of tinkling laughter echoed in the spacious courtyard as a stunning young woman chased behind a young boy of five teasingly. The boy's attempt to escape the young woman proved futile as she wrapped her slender arms around his middle, lifting him up into the air. Their laughter was contagious as the young child squirmed playfully in her embrace, little feet kicking vivaciously at air.
"Okay, okay! I give up! Put me down!/好，好，我投向了! 姐姐，放我下来啦!" the cherubic youth yielded breathlessly, his childish features tinted pink with glee.
Chuckling light-heartedly, the lovely maiden set him down, captivating brown orbs twinkling with mischief as she tapped his tiny button nose sharply.
"That would teach you not to provoke your Jie Jie(elder sister)/看你以后还敢不敢来惹姐姐!" her melodic voice was laced with mirth as an arm was positioned at her waist, a parody of the dominating posture.
Sticking out his tongue mischievously, the boy was about to reply with a mocking rebuke when a shout off the distance stole both of their attention.
"Young Mistress, Young Master! /小姐, 少爷!"
A slender figure was frantically waving a white handkerchief as she called out, "The Lord and Lady are look for you! Hurry in! /老爷和夫人正在找你们呀! 快进屋吧!"
She raised her voice as she turned in her vague direction, replying, "Okay, okay, Wan Xia, we're coming in! / 好，好，晚霞，我们这就进去了!"
Turning to the little child, she remarked playfully with a mischievous twinkle in her tantalizing brown eyes, "I'll get even with you later! Let's go, Jie Er! /这账, 等下再继续和你算. 走吧洁儿!"
With a grin adorning her captivating features, the youthful maiden offered a delicate hand to the young boy as he reached for it, giggling merrily. The pair made their way towards a bright and cheery looking residence with a skip in their step, hands swinging joyfully back and forth.