“Father, you look quite good today, has the medicine taken effect?” He Yang eagerly poured a cup of tea for He Heng, and stiffly waited around. He Heng glanced at him, slowly blew it, and seeing He Yang stare at him without even blinking, he then smiled and took a sip, then said, “You’ve worked hard, that medicine certainly is not bad, you’ve earned a merit for this. It just so happens that I have not yet planned for the ancestral ritual for spring, how about you arrange it, go gain some experience.”
Jin had a tradition of going to the ancestral temple for a ritual once they entered spring. The ancestral temple was not in the imperial city, and on the entire journey, officials would welcome them, have a banquet, but as for who goes, how to arrange the seating, each and every area had problems that could arise. Matters concerning the Emperor were not some small things, and in the past, it was all arranged by the Crown Prince He Xuan- not only could he place his own people, he could even take a portion from the banquet’s allocation of funds from the Board of Rites, that was a piece of fat meat everyone would fight for.
Not only that, the ancestral rite itself had a significance of bearing the country’s affairs- to allow He Yang to arrange the ancestral rite had a meaning of changing the heir of the country in private and public. He Yang got frightened by this surprise right in the face, and froze for the time being, then knelt down to express his gratitude, “Thank you Father for the graces, this son will definitely not let down Father’s expectations, and will properly plan this matter, please rest easy, Father.”
“En.” He Heng nodded his head, “If there is something you don’t understand, you can ask your brother.”
“Has his Majesty really let you arrange the ancestral rite?” Empress Liu leaned her body in with slight disbelief, and used her right hand to knock on the phoenix-engraved armrest made from pear wood, “This time, Old Second has been tripped up with a big one.”
He Yang nodded his head, and smiled joyously on the side.
Empress Liu paused, then spoke with a low voice, “Looking at it now, that White Ears is certainly a good thing. Ihave asked the imperial doctors, it just so happens [White Ears] is suitable to grow in your territory. Go back and write a letter, and have Lu Zi Xi quickly encourage the farmers to grow some more White Ears, and have his Majesty remember your diligence.”
“Mother is the most thoughtful, this son will have it done.”
“En.” Empress Liu nodded her head, then called out to him again, “Go and see that Nan Hun Duke again. This time, you must thank the person more, give this to him, take it as a gift of gratitude.”
Empress Liu narrowed her eyes, she waved her hand, and had Lan Yi bring a small box. Inside of it was a jade pendant with delicate handicraft, smooth and sleek, warm to the touch, a rare and beautiful jade. That jade hung with a willow leaf, made of green jade, and when beneath sunlight, it would emit a blue-green cool hue.
“Mother is going to gift him such a good jade? [He is] a mere dog who lost his family, how could he deserve such an important present?” He Yang wrinkled his eyebrows and looked at that jade pendant, and was a bit unhappy.
Empress Liu lightly closed the box, and still gave it to him, and spoke up with ambiguity, “Just give it to him, Mother naturally has a purpose for it.”
These few days, Xiao Zuo already felt much better. Laying in bed these few days made him feel like his entire body stoff right now, no matter how he turned around, he would be uncomfortable, so he got up from bed early everyday.
A few days ago, Xiao Zuo had the steward purchase some flower seeds, and planted them while it was still spring. Each day, he would ask the newly-hired gardener diligently, and follow him around to tend these pampered flowers, and found a sort of refined pleasure in it.
Xiao Zuo was still wearing old clothes these days, only slightly tying his hair, and draped on an outer robe to water the flowers in the yard.
“Who knew the duke had such refined interest.” He Yang put his hands to his back, followed with a small servant holding up a box.
Xiao Zuo placed the water pot down, then turned to bow, and smiled, “Greetings to the Fourth Highness.”
“Is your body better now?”
“Thanks to your Highness’ graces, it is already better.”
“En.” He Yang nodded his head, he couldn’t be bothered to pretend to be cordial with Xiao Zuo anymore, and directly said, “You did get in an accident in my residence, after all. I did not attentive enough. Since you are much better now, I have a small toy here for you, to express my apologies.”
“Your Fourth Highness is too kind, this is too much for me.” Xiao Zuo hurriedly waved his hands, “I cannot take this.”
“Aye.” He Yang still remembered he had to return to the residence to take care of the matters in his territory, and started getting annoyed, “If I let you take it, you take it, are you not willing to take it?”
“How could I dare.” Xiao Zuo paused, and could only accept it, “Then much thanks to your Highness.”
Xiao Zuo went inside to open the box to take a look. Seeing it was a top-rated quality jade pendant, he did not think much of it, then put it on the table to let Zi Wan take it.
Ever since that day he dreamed of He Xuan, Xiao Zuo couldn’t understand his own feelings even more. At first, he seemed to have some small knot, then afterwards, that small knot got bigger and bigger inside, up until it filled up his entire heart, to the degree it needing Hua Tuo to reincarnate and cut it along with its stem to completely get rid of it, that he then had a bit of an enlightenment.
Thus, each time He Xuan came to visit these days, he would always decline by saying his body was unwell so he wouldn’t see him. Xiao Zuo actually long already missed him, wishing how he could immediately reincarnate and be the pillow on He Xuan’s bed, able to sleep together with He Xuan night after night, but he did not manage to organize those meandering hidden thoughts of his yet- he himself was still a mess, if He Xuan were to go inside his heart and make a mess too, then that really would be something that could not be cleared up even in the next year.