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That was the first time that Taizi wanted to see Liu Ruixue privately. In Great Yan, unmarried couples were not allowed to meet, but lots of couples with deep feelings secretly met.
She and Taizi’s feelings weren’t deep, but she was very satisfied with the scholarly and elegant gentlemanly heir to the throne.
Her mother had told her many times, “Mother really is unhappy with this marriage. Once I think of your status being below that She yatou [Taizifei], I’m distressed.”
Liu Ruixue even tried to persuade her mother, “Mother, there is nothing perfect in this world. Daughter may be marrying Taizi as cefei, but Taizi must have requested the Empress Dowager for this marriage. Because of the Empress Dowager, Taizi would certainly not mistreat daughter.”
She had always naively thought that Taizi asked the Empress Dowager to marry her as cefei was because he liked her.
She thought that until the day Taizi asked to meet her in private. He gently and softly said, “Xue’er, do you know why I asked imperial grandmother for you to marry me? It’s because you are gentle, virtuous, and understanding. This is something that not all noble xiaojies and many imperial family members have.”
He continued with a pained face, “As a Taizi, I don’t feel any trace of warm. Fuwang now favors my third brother. Third brother is also eyeing the monarch’s position. I don’t know how much longer I can be Taizi. I really regret now that I shouldn’t have pulled you into this cold environment just because I like you. If I have the support of Old General Mu or imperial uncle’s [An Wang] support, my situation might be better.
“But imperial uncle does not like me ever since I was young. Old General Mu is angry because I proposed to marry Mu Zi You. Now, I am really worried that you will suffer grievances if you marry me. Don’t be angry at me, Xue’er. I proposed to Mu Xiaojie not because I like her in the way that I like you. It’s because I wanted to get Old General Mu’s support.
“I asked to meet you today because I missed you and because I wanted to explain this matter to you. I’m not afraid that other people will get angry at me. I’m just afraid that you will misunderstand me.”
Liu Ruixue now knew that Taizi said those words because he wanted her to take the initiative to persuade Mu Zi You for her help.
But she foolishly said then, “Taizi, Old General dotes on You’er. Now that you reached the limit for cefeis, he does not want to marry You’er to you as a shufei [consort of status lower than cefei]. That is understandable. Don’t blame him.”
She clearly remembered that after she said that, Taizi’s smile immediately went away.
He said sorrowfully to her, “But if Old General Mu really hates me because of this, I’m afraid that I can no longer be Taizi. Who doesn’t know that Fuwang holds Old General Mu in the highest regard and is almost obedient to him? If he says some bad things about me in front of Fuwang, I’m afraid that Fuwang will dislike me even more.”
Taizi was gentle, but anxious as he said, “Xue’er, take into account that I’m deeply devoted to you and help me persuade Mu Zi You. Even if she doesn’t marry me, I hope that she doesn’t hate me. Of course, it will be even better if she can marry me too. Xue’er, if you succeed, the future Empress’ position will be yours. Our son will be the future Taizi.”