First impression of the library: big.
Very big. There were seven to eight large rooms, all filled with lines of bookshelves. Each bookshelf was also completely filled up; there was almost no empty space to be seen.
Second impression of the library: disorderly.
This was Chu Yu’s impression after looking carefully. On the bookshelves were paper books, silk scrolls, and bamboo scrolls. Bundles of bamboo scrolls were wrapped in silk, light blue colored book wrappers and neatly stacked on the bookshelves, clean and without a speck of dirt. The light smell of books and the scent of sandalwood were mixed together in the air, showing that Rong Zhi takes very good care of his library on a day-to-day basis.
But the disorderly Chu Yu was talking about was not that Rong Zhi threw books around or made a mess, but instead the placements of these books had almost no pattern or order. Bamboo scrolls and paper books were mixed and placed together; although each were set up neatly, overall, the library seemed somewhat disorderly.
And these books weren’t sorted along the information they contained either. Instead, all genres were mixed together, making it very hard for one to find what one wanted.
Third impression of the library: miscellaneous.
Chu Yu randomly flipped through some books, and discovered that the diversity of the collection of books in this library was way beyond of her imagination. Mountains and rivers, geography, politics, poetry and literature, folk stories, records of strange events and miscellaneous rumors; there was almost everything.
Rong Zhi stood silently at the entrance of the library, watching Chu Yu walk around the bookshelves and pick up books to flip through hastily, but didn’t walk up to help her. He just stood where he was, watching quietly; an emotion inexplicable like folded clouds unfolded slowly in his black and bottomless irises.
He didn’t say anything, didn’t do anything, just watched for a long time, as if in a daze. Only then did he slowly open his mouth, and from memory, instructed Chu Yu on where she could find the poetry books she was looking for, and also helped pick out poetry collections himself.
“The seventh book on the third grid of the second row of the bookshelf on the left.” Following Rong Zhi’s guidance, Chu Yu correctly found the book he was talking about, admiring his memory a million times in her heart. So disorderly arranged, yet he could still remember the exact position each book was placed; this human brain was comparable to a computer.
Holding more than twenty books in her arms, Chu Yu’s arms felt sore and painful. She turned to ask Rong Zhi for help, but saw him holding ten books and saying with some difficulty: “Princess, I can’t carry this anymore, please help with the burden.” Saying this, he walked over, and added ten more books onto Chu Yu.
Chu Yu glared at him, wordless. But Rong Zhi’s expression was completely undisturbed, as if this was the way it should be. Thinking about it, for all these days, she had never seen Rong Zhi pick up anything heavier than a bamboo scroll; maybe he really was very weak or something. Chu Yu gritted her teeth and bore with it, serving as Hercules for once.
As Chu Yu slowly walked out with the books piled in her arms, Rong Zhi, who had been pretending to continue looking for poetry collections, stopped his movements and looked deeply at Chu Yu from an angle she couldn’t see.
The air was filled with the sweet-smell of books and scrolls; the young girl’s appearance was a deceiving elegance. Although she seemed to be having a hard time from the burden in her arms, the expression under the oppression was still bright as a breeze in the mountains; gracefulness was also in her eyes.
In a trance, Rong Zhi seemed to see another figure, vague and faint, separating from Chu Yu’s elegant features then overlapping with it again.
His hand subconsciously reached over his heart. Only until Chu Yu exited the library and her figure completely disappeared, did he come back to realization from his dream-like trance: who, was the person he just saw?
After two days of locking herself up and burying herself in books, Chu Yu felt so dizzy, she felt like she returned to her before life, when she went to college. Every time before a test, everyone would study like it’s the end of the world, trying their hardest to memorize the main points in their textbooks. Relying on these methods of cramming right before exams, she actually went through all four years of college safely, never getting to the point where she needed to retake a test.
Chu Yu had long been used to this type of cramming and have done it hundreds of times, but Rong Zhi, who had been watching her these two days, couldn’t understand at all. After these two days, he finally couldn’t resist asking her, “Princess, you’ve been working so hard to read these books; are you going to do something?”
Chu Yu put down the book in her hand, rubbing her sore eyes, “I can’t help it. I have been invited to attend a poetry banquet, and I have to do at least some preparation.”
Rong Zhi laughed: “So that’s why. Princess, you want to compose poetry yourself?” That wouldn’t be too easy.
Chu Yu though for a while, then said, “Not really, just that if I’m the only person that didn’t compose poetry at the banquet, it’d be a little inappropriate.”
Rong Zhi pursed his lips and said gently, “If the princess is worrying about this, then you really don’t need to work so hard. All you need to do is bring a certain person when you go attend the poetry banquet.”
“Who? You?” Chu Yu squinted slightly, finding it very amusing. Could she cheat at a poetry banquet?
Rong Zhi shook his head: “What am I? The person I was talking about, is Huan Yuan. As long as you bring him, I can assure you that no one would care if you composed any poetry at all.”
He paused for a second, then continued, “But Huan Yuan’s identity shouldn’t be known by others, so the Princess should control it more tightly.” As he said this, he walked towards the end of the bookshelf. He pressed his hand on the wall, and when he turned his palm, a hidden compartment popped out. He took out two porcelain bottles from the hidden compartment; one had blue lotus patterns1 on it, the other was clear white all over.
Chu Yu was a little nervous and a little curious at the same time, staring her eyes wide open at the two porcelain bottles: could they be the legendary poison?
Rong Zhi examined the two porcelain bottles carefully, then at last gripped the one with lotus patterns in his hand while putting the clear white one back: “This drug is called Three-day Heart-lock Pill. If consumed, one would feel weak and tired for about three days. He would just barely be able to walk; running would already be very very difficult, so not to mention using force. This way, we needn’t worry that Huan Yuan use this chance to escape.”
“Will this, cause damage to his body?”
“Naturally there will be some. After three days, Huan Yuan will need to lie in bed and be nursed back to health for half a month, and only then will he return to normal.” Rong Zhi said very casually, as if this weren’t anything big at all. He handed the drug bottle in his hand to Chu Yu.
Chu Yu stared at him, but her hand didn’t extend to accept it: “Did Huan Yuan offend you before?” If not, why would he encourage her to give Huan Yuan such a damaging drug?
She suddenly thought of something. Since Rong Zhi’s power within the inner court was so big, then had he also went through the scrolls that recorded the information of every male concubine?
If this was true, then not seeing Rong Zhi’s record on the scrolls would be completely normal.
She also remembered, that there used to be several male concubines at the palace who had been executed for not obeying the rules. Did Rong Zhi also do that?
Hearing her words, Rong Zhi was shocked for a moment. He looked up to meet Chu Yu’s gaze; in his ebony black irises, an inexplicable emotion rolled like the clouds; he had always looked so elegant and profound, so the shock accompanied by a slight waver in his expression, was like a confidential mask suddenly cracking, exposing a corner of a stunning face.
His expression had always been calm and elegant, so this momentary but unusual fluctuation instead made him have an uniquely enchanting beauty; Chu Yu almost went into a stupor. Only after a while did she regain senses, but she still felt guilty under his gaze. Even though she knew there was nothing for her to be guilty about, being gazed at by such a pair of eyes, she still couldn’t help but feel guilty…… Not just feeling guilty, her heart also skipped a handful of beats.
“Since the Princess couldn’t bear to let Huan Yuan suffer, then let Yue Jiefei pay attention and look after him tightly. If this person was released to outside, he will definitely become a useful weapon against the Princess.” Rong Zhi smiled slightly. The abnormal expression just a moment ago was like a phantom, wiped away without leaving any trace. He put the drug bottle back where he took it, “Rong Zhi still has business to attend to, so will be leaving now.” He didn’t even do the simplest courtesy, leaving without looking back.
No matter how slow Chu Yu was, she still knew that Rong Zhi seemed to be angry, and the reason for this anger was her. But she couldn’t figure out why that fellow was angry. All she wanted was to not harm people; was there anything wrong with that?
Just what is that fellow fussing about? Can’t he just tell her what the problem was? What with the attitude?
Ancient people are so ridiculous!
1. Lotus patterns: 莲纹, type of patterning in Chinese porcelain art that composed of lotus flowers and creepers branching out from them.↩