C91 – I Want You To Be My Wife
During lunch, Wang Zizhao summoned Zhao Sanlang for a special conversation. Firstly, he commended Sanlang’s performance on the recent mission and then entrusted him with a new responsibility, the management of the grain supply.
“Sanlang is no longer a youth. It’s time for him to shoulder some responsibilities. Idle hands only give our adversaries the upper hand,” Wang Zizhao remarked.
Zhao Sanlang bowed his head, refraining from any objection, and obediently responded. In doing so, he officially assumed a position of authority.
Furthermore, overseeing the grain supply was a crucial role within the army. Official duties encompassed various aspects, from determining daily grain consumption to safeguarding against theft and rodent infestations.
Consequently, he found himself with less time to assert dominance over Tang Yue and learn from him, much to his chagrin.
So, Wang Zizhao finally witnessed a prolonged presence of another person within his tent.
“Do you still remember the thousand words I taught you?” Wang Zizhao finished annotating a document and inquired of Tang Yue, who was preoccupied with some birds.
One of the birds, captured in the mountains, displayed vibrant plumage and a delicate yellow beak. Its cries resembled those of a meowing cat and belonged to a species Tang Yue had never before encountered.
Tang Yue shifted the food from his left hand to his right, gently encircling the bird with his arm, refusing to partake in its consumption. Without turning his head, he replied, “A thousand words mean nothing to me now. I can read them fluently.”
Wang Zizhao stood and approached Tang Yue, playfully teasing the bird with his fingers. He inquired, “Where did you find it?”
“One of the guards captured it in the mountains. Isn’t it adorable?” Tang Yue mimicked the bird’s cry, and the bird reciprocated. Its shrill tones carried a hint of melancholy, rendering it quite unique.
“It’s quite grating to the ears!” Wang Zizhao provided an unvarnished assessment.
Tang Yue couldn’t refute that. The bird had given many people sleepless nights, causing them to wake up in fear. Some dared not sleep alone, enlisting companions from the mountains.
Yet, Tang Yue had to bear with it. After all, the allure of beauty often came with its own set of privileges.
Initially, Tang Yue had intended to present the bird to Wang Zizhao, but he now found it difficult to broach the topic.
“How about… letting it go?”
“If you fancy it, feel free to keep it. It’s just a bird,” Tang Yue suggested, inclined to release it into the wild.
The mountains held a variety of creatures that Tang Yue had never encountered before. Some had vanished into the annals of history, while others seemed to belong to entirely different worlds.
Whatever the reason, Tang Yue couldn’t help but marvel at these unfamiliar entities, igniting a newfound sense of wonder.
“Whether you choose to care for it or not is entirely up to you,” Tang Yue declared, unfastening the rope from the bird’s talon and placing it near the door. If it desired to take flight, he would allow it to return to the embrace of nature.
Initially, Tang Yue presumed it would be reluctant to part ways, having been fed by him before. Yet, to his surprise, the bird took flight as soon as the curtain was lifted.
“What an independent creature!” Tang Yue shook his head, sighing with understanding.
But it made sense. In the face of freedom, love and sustenance paled in comparison. Birds possessed the right to pursue their liberty.
He turned back inside, where Wang Zizhao handed him a small box.
“For me?” Instead of presenting his own gift, Tang Yue accepted it, displaying a hint of embarrassment.
“Open it and see,” Wang Zizhao suggested, trying to maintain a casual demeanor, as if he were merely gifting something to a colleague.
Tang Yue eagerly and expectantly opened the box, revealing a ball-shaped object inside. It appeared unremarkable, but it didn’t quite resemble a pearl.
Of course, it was much bigger than a pearl.
Tang Yue found it difficult to muster the courage to inquire about the purpose and nature of the item Wang Zizhao had presented. Reluctantly, he said, “It’s truly beautiful. Your Highness, thank you for this gift. I’m deeply touched that you remember to bring something for me when you go to work.”
Wang Zizhao’s discerning eyes quickly caught on to Tang Yue’s insincere words. His brow furrowed, and he retrieved the box from Tang Yue’s grasp.
“What’s the matter?” Did Tang Yue regret receiving the gift and wish to return it? Such reasoning seemed illogical.
Wang Zizhao raised the tent’s light-blocking curtain, casting the room into darkness save for the radiance emanating from his hand.
Tang Yue pondered for a moment and then exclaimed, “A Night-Luminescent Pearl?”
Only then did Wang Zizhao ease his anxiety. It appeared that their gifts were mutually unfamiliar. What could this signify?
The pearl was coated in dust, which was not his intention.
“Indeed, it’s a Night-Luminescent Pearl. Do you like it?” Wang Zizhao extended the box once more.
This time, Tang Yue was more cautious. He accepted the box gingerly with both hands and gazed unwaveringly at the pearl resting within.
It marked his first encounter with a genuine luminous pearl. Previously, he had only witnessed them on television. The counterfeit versions paled in comparison.
“So, luminous pearls truly exist in this world…” Tang Yue placed the box on the table and cradled the luminous pearl in his hands, inspecting it closely.
The pearl, approximately the size of an infant’s fist, appeared unremarkable in its original amber hue. Now, in the darkness, it emitted a captivating yellow-green glow, truly a marvel to behold.
“Where did you acquire this?” Truth be told, there was no need to inquire further; over the past three days, Wang Zizhao had only ventured to Qinyang City. There was no other plausible source.
“I raided the mansion of the vice city lord,” Wang Zizhao responded succinctly.
Tang Yue recalled seeing covered carriages behind the prison wagon and pieced it together. Those must have been the carriages transporting the goods.
Tang Yue swallowed hard and asked, “Are you certain you can part with this?” Treating it lightly might appear self-serving, but overemphasizing it could be seen as misappropriating a national treasure.
The Night Pearl. To Tang Yue, it had only existed in legends, and he never expected to lay eyes on the genuine article in his lifetime.
“Since I’m giving it to you, it naturally becomes yours.”
“You don’t think it’ll be revealed, do you?”
Wang Zizhao’s lips curled slightly. “If it’s exposed, I’ll bear the blame.”
“Indeed,” Tang Yue, not one to grasp subtleties, mused, “Wouldn’t it be troublesome if the king finds out?”
“I won’t let him find out,” Wang Zizhao replied with composure.
Tang Yue swallowed uneasily and wondered, Why do I sense a rift between father and son? Could it be that they’ve become adversaries?
To be frank, Tang Yue hadn’t anticipated that the king, who had deprived his son of the crown prince position and showed no interest in his son’s crippled legs, would suddenly express concern when his son’s condition improved. However, the issue of the crown prince’s title had yet to be resolved.
With these thoughts in mind, Tang Yue extended the luminous pearl back to Wang Zizhao and suggested, “If Your Highness were to gift this pearl to His Majesty, it would surely please him.”
“Our Royal Father has encountered countless treasures. It’s merely a pearl; it wouldn’t pique his interest.”
“How can he know if he doesn’t attempt it?” Tang Yue drew nearer, speaking in hushed tones, “The top priority right now is to secure the crown prince’s favor. If it takes a little extra effort, so be it. If one Night-Luminescent Pearl isn’t sufficient, consider alternative ways to win him over. When he’s content, he’ll naturally divulge everything.”
Wang Zizhao regarded Tang Yue with mild astonishment. He hadn’t expected such frank words from Tang Yue. Not even Hu Jinpeng dared to express such sentiments so directly.
Tang Yue recognized he had crossed a line but couldn’t bear to witness anyone but Wang Zizhao as the future ruler of the land.
“Young master’s concern is appreciated. However, the Night-Luminescent Pearl is my gift to you as a token of gratitude for saving my life.”
Tang Yue shook his head. “I’m a physician, and you were my patient. It’s only proper for one of us to treat a patient. There’s no need for such a precious gift.”
“What if I were to say that I’m presenting this Ye Ming Zhu as an engagement token to you?” Wang Zizhao’s sudden words left Tang Yue bewildered.
“What… What are you saying? What do you mean by engagement token? Could it be that engagement tokens in this era carry a different significance?”
“This King wishes to propose marriage to you, how does that sound?”
Tang Yue was so stunned that he couldn’t respond. He stared at the other man in disbelief, attempting to discern if this was all a jest.
However, the Wang Zizhao he knew didn’t seem like someone who would make light of such matters.
He pinched his thigh, confirming the pain was real and not a dream. While he had dreamt of treating Wang Zizhao in such a manner, he had never contemplated marrying him.
Of course, he had no intention of marrying Wang Zizhao.
“Your Highness, please refrain from jesting about this. I take it seriously,” Tang Yue awkwardly responded.
Wang Zizhao inched closer, his gaze full of intensity. Tang Yue felt cherished by Wang Zizhao, his heart fluttering. He almost blurted out his consent.
His heart trembled, and he realized he was on the verge of agreeing.
“I’ll give you a few days to consider it. Ponder it before we reach Ye City.”
In a daze, Tang Yue nodded and stumbled out of the tent, unsure how he managed to do so.