Darkness gradually descended as countless stars covered the night sky. Humidity infiltrated the air, creating a sentimental ambiance. Shang Wuxin stood by the bedroom window, looking up at the sky that was particularly clear. The distant stars glittered like broken tears.
Something suddenly disturbed the peaceful air. The guards of the Crown Prince’s residence got entangled in a fight with several disguised men dressed in black. Perhaps if Shang Wuxin hadn’t received those subordinates today, the black clad people would have already slipped into the room undetected by anyone.
“Crown Prince!” Wu Ju’s worried voice sounded from outside the bedroom. Since Wu Wei had recently been responsible for training the guards, she was often busy and out of the residence. However, she was steadily handing over the chores to Wu Ju. Wu Ju was also quickly adapting to taking good care of the crown prince’s daily life.
“Mhm…” Shang Wuxin’s indifferent voice came from within the bedroom. It seemed as if she didn’t feel the slightest threat regarding tonight’s intrusion.
Wu Ju’s initially agitated mind calmed down when she heard the serene voice. Then she picked up her weapon and stood in front of the bedroom door full of vigilance, wondering when Chief Hai would come back. As long as he came back, the crown prince’s safety would have an additional layer of insurance.
Listening to and watching the outside battle, Shang Wuxin didn’t show a trace of fluctuation. Although Chief Hai had educated those guards well, their training and combat experience was still lacking. Suffering a few casualties today was a good thing for them. That way they would learn to be more alert from now on, and strive even harder. They would see the frailty of life first-hand.
As for those assassins, their martial arts was very good and they were well-trained. Shang Wuxin felt some admiration for their organization, that had managed to cultivate such outstanding killers. At that moment, sounds of a struggle between Wu Ju and someone else reached her from outside the door.
Wu Ju looked at the man who had suddenly appeared there. Even if she had a cold disposition, she was still shaken by his appearance, but she composed herself quickly after. With an anxious and scared voice, she exclaimed, “HanXing House’s lord!”
HanXing House was the world’s number one assassin organization. Rumors said that the people of HanXing House killed without batting an eye, that their lord was fond of dressing in red, and that his looks were enthralling. However, those were all rumors that few had witnessed. But seeing this person now, Wu Ju was convinced he was HanXing House’s lord. Besides him, who would have the ability to break into the Crown Prince’s residence so easily. Furthermore, his martial arts was so excellent, she wasn’t able to parry more than a few moves.
“Cough!” The man’s hit sent Wu Ju flying, before she crashed into the sleeping quarter’s door. Yet Wu Ju immediately crawled up as she wanted to keep defending the entrance. But with the disparity between their strength, she was sent flying once more, and this time she remained on the ground.
The man glanced at the fallen Wu Ju a little intrigued. There was actually such a loyal person attending to the famously useless crown prince. No, even the people guarding outside were this loyal. It seemed like he wasn’t as previously rumored. There might have been some truth to what the commoners were spreading around recently.
When Shang Wuxin heard Wu Ju exclaiming ‘HanXing House’s lord’, she raised her eyebrows. It really was a case of ‘fate brings people together’, huh. She hadn’t yet gone to find HanXing House’s Han Xuan Hao, but the man came to her on his own. After returning home that day, Shang Wuxin investigated a few things regarding HanXing House. Although no one knew the name of the organization’s owner, she was already certain that the man called Han Xuan Hao was the owner. How could such a man bend his knees to act as someone else’s subordinate.
“You’ve come.” A voice carrying a hint of a smile, yet completely humorless, reached the man’s ears. He looked at the crown prince, getting a shock in the process. Beside the window stood the thin figure of a youngster dressed in black brocade clothes, that were lined with gold and fastened with a jade belt. A golden coronet decorated with jewels held up his hair. His beauty was flawless, as if a craftsman had personally carved his face in jade. Even when he was standing there motionlessly, his charm and grace surpassed ordinary elegance. He gave off an impression of splendid poise.
“It’s you!” Han Xuan Hao couldn’t control his surprise. He’d never expected that the young man he had been painstakingly searching for, would turn out to be the country’s crown prince, as well as the target he had to assassinate tonight. As he thought of that, Han Xuan Hao immediately sent out a signal, and the killers who were still locked in a fight within the residence promptly retreated, vanishing in the darkness of the night.
Shang Wuxin observed the man who had appeared in her bedroom. Perhaps no other man would be capable of looking as beautiful in red clothes as Han Xuan Hao. His face was uncommonly attractive, like a work of art. His long hair was pulled back with a white hair band, the silky strands loosely draped over his shoulders and reaching his waist. If Shang Wuxin weren’t able to recognize the scent of blood coming off of him, she would have mistaken him for a regular playboy.
“This Prince hasn’t gone to look for your excellency, your excellency has actually come for me first,” Shang Wuxin stated in a cold voice as she stared at the dumbstruck Han Xuan Hao. “I don’t know whether your excellency has come to repay a debt of gratitude or to take My life?”
Han Xuan Hao showed an awkward expression under the dim light. Ever since the day he’d returned from the mountain forest, he had inquired into the youngster who had saved him. He knew the boy would come find him eventually, since he still had to fulfill three wishes. That boy wouldn’t let go of such a benefit. But he didn’t know how long it would take before the youngster looked for him. What if it was a few decades later? Thus he’d sent some of HanXing House’s spies to carefully search for the boy. However, he didn’t get anything, almost making him believe he had dreamed it all up.
Searching without results day after day, he grew more and more uneasy. It was a situation he had never experienced before – he found the youngster pleasing to the eyes, so he wanted to get to know him. Right around then, HanXing House received the task of killing the crown prince. At any other time, he wouldn’t have gotten involved in such a job. But currently, there were many rumors flying around about the crown prince, most of them positive. Moreover, Han Xuan Hao was in a bad mood and needed to find someone to vent on, so he came in person. He didn’t think Shang’s crown prince would in fact be the same youth who had saved his life.
Han Xuan Hao was glad he had come over personally. He’d found the boy at last. But recalling his reason for coming, as well as the injured Imperial guards outside, he hesitated a bit. He was afraid that he would get resented for his deeds.
“My apologies!” It was Han Xuan Hao’s first time to apologize in 18 years. “I wasn’t aware you were the crown prince. HanXing House will take responsibility for today’s losses. As for the guards, I will try to compensate the Crown Prince’s household as much as possible.”
Shang Wuxin didn’t really mind about that. If she minded, she would have already gone out and prevented the guards from getting injured. In a way, today’s attack could make the residence even more secure. It was the necessary price for their growth.
“Who was it that wanted This Prince’s life today?” Under the moonlight, Shang Wuxin’s face shone with an eerie glow. Even her words seemed to have an unclear meaning.
Seeing that Shang Wuxin wasn’t blaming him at all, Han Xuan Hao relaxed at heart. His lips formed an enchanting smile as he thought of the person who had forked out quite a sum for Shang Wuxin’s life. “Even though she sent a palace maid in her stead, the one who wanted you dead should be Senior Consort Qin of the Imperial palace. Do you want me to help you get rid of her?”
Shang Wuxin found Han Xuan Hao’s offer a little unexpected. In the end, no matter how dazzling his smile looked, he was still a killer, as well as the lord of HanXing House. He wasn’t a kindhearted person who would meddle into other people’s affairs.
“As one of the three conditions?” Shang Wuxin asked with a faint smile.
Han Xuan Hao felt a little depressed at her heavily guarded heart. Why was it so difficult to show his good side?
“Of course not,” Han Xuan Hao said helplessly. “I won’t renege on those three conditions.”
Though she didn’t understand why he would do that, Shang Wuxin didn’t care. She separated the people around her into two groups. The ones who didn’t mean her harm, like Han Xuan Hao right now. She would leave those alone. Then there were the people who obstructed her way and put her in danger. Their existence was unnecessary.
“No need. This Prince won’t exhaust the revered lord over such a trifling matter,” Shang Wuxin said indifferently. A mere Consort Qin wasn’t worth her attention for now. Furthermore, it wasn’t yet time to deal with her.
Done speaking, Shang Wuxin walked behind the curtains intending to go to sleep, while leaving Han Xuan Hao standing on the other side in frustration. The corners of her mouth twitched when she heard him leave the bedroom.
After Han Xuan Hao came out of the residence, he found his subordinates waiting for him as they called out, “Lord!”
“Starting today, any matter pertaining to the Crown Prince’s household will be reported to me. Also, if anyone else brings money to assassinate the Crown Prince, first report to me. If I learn that any of you have forgotten their duty, don’t blame me for being ruthless.” Han Xuan Hao threw an overcast look at his black clad subordinates, no trace left of the enchanting appearance he had shown in front of Shang Wuxin.
“Yes!” The men shook in fear. Although their lord’s outer appearance was exquisite, his heart was black. The number of subordinates that had died in HanXing House was countless.
Han Xuan Hao looked at the distant Crown Prince’s residence, feeling pleased. He finally knew who the boy was. It was unexpectedly Shang’s crown prince, Shang Wuxin. Hehe, in the future, he could come and see Wuxin. Shang Wuxin, Wuxin, Xin’er… Han Xuan Hao kept daydreaming, completely unaware of the gentle smile present on his face, that petrified the gathered killers.
Meanwhile in the Crown Prince’s residence, Wu Ju came to and entered the bedroom, but didn’t go past the curtains. She heard the crown prince speaking from inside, “You’re injured, go rest.”
Wu Ju felt relief as the crown prince was alright, but she wondered what had actually occurred between HanXing’s lord and him. Could it be that the crown prince had won? However, she was aware that it wasn’t her place to pry. She quietly withdrew from the sleeping quarters, just in time to bump into Chief Hai, who was rushing over.
“Is the Crown Prince alright?” Chief Hai was about to burst into the bedroom, but Wu Ju blocked his path.
“Chief Hai, there’s nothing wrong with the Crown Prince. He’s already resting and it’s inconvenient to disturb him.” Wu Ju was worried that the crown prince would get annoyed if Chief Hai really rushed in.
“That’s good, that’s good.” Saying so, Chief Hai went to handle everything. After all, the injured guards needed to be treated. He probably wouldn’t get any rest tonight.
Notes: Edit pending…
Shang Wuxin, surprisingly good at guilt-tripping.
And here’s an image I found suitable for Han Xuan Hao~
But this one really strikes me with the androgynous looks:
Of course, you’re free to imagine him however you please~ Just thought I’d share a bit of my stash, huehue.