In a split second, Hua Jieyu felt completely lifeless. Her face was as pale as a ghost.
His Majesty had bestowed the title of the Crown Princess upon her. She was to leave on the first day of the new year. Just a moment ago, she was chatting with her mother about the events of tomorrow, when her father and Ye Futian was to come. Then, without warning, she was hit with this news.
Nandou Wenyin, Nandou Tai and the rest were all in shock, unable to recover.
This...is this fate? Nandou Tai asked himself. To be honest, he did not fully comprehend what Minister Zuo meant when he said that Hua Jieyu was fated to be an empress, mother of the world. But now he knew. Minister Zuo meant empress to an emperor, emperor of the Nandou Nation.
"No..." said Hua Jieyu. She had finally pulled herself out of her daze. Her eyes showed determination as she said to Minister Hua, "I refuse."
Minister Hua frowned. "Nonsense, this is an imperial order from His Majesty."
"I refuse," Hua Jieyu repeated with a cold demeanor. She was still looking at him. Minister Hua's gaze was sharp as a knife but the girl standing in front of him showed no fear.
"Brother Nandou, does the Nandou clan plan on going against the imperial order?" Minister Hua asked.
"Please forgive her Minister Hua. She's just being stubborn. Please allow me to talk some sense into her," said Nandou Tai. He had a change in expression. The Nandou clan was no longer royal; they were in no position to fight against the imperial power.
"Fine, I'll give you guys two days. During these two days, I will be staying here and on the first day of the new year, we will be on our way back to the Imperial City," said Minister Hua. As he turned to leave, he sneered. Disobeying the imperial order? Who dared to do so in front of Minister Hua?
After Nandou Tai watched Minister Hua leave, his attention fell on Hua Jieyu. He said, "Jieyu, the Crown Prince was born to become emperor. He is an outstanding young man. He is in his twenties and still unmarried. This tells you a lot about his personality. A chance like this only falls to one person in all of the Nandou Nation and now fate has chosen one. You are to become the mother of the world."
"I don't need fate like this," Hua Jieyu said to Nandou Tai.
He saw the determination in her eyes and continued to try to persuade her, "Jieyu, you're only 17, this thing you have with Ye Futian is only temporary. One day, when you guys are standing at two different levels, you'll forget about all this. As long as you agree to this, I'll send people to bring your father into the Nandou Palace and your family will be united again."
Hua Jieyu looked at Nandou Tai with ice cold eyes. "I'm not going to agree and neither will my father."
"Wenyin, talk some sense into her." Nandou Tai looked at Nandou Wenyin who stood behind her daughter.
"Now that there are bigger benefits for you, you're willing to let him come back?" Nandou Wenyin sneered at Nandou Tai. "Do you really think we'll be happy with a family reunion brought by the sacrifice of our daughter? I won't agree to this."
Nandou Tai's expression did not look good. Coldy, he said, "Even if you guys object, this is an imperial order. Who can disobey an imperial order? There is still one day for you guys to think this over." After that, Nandou Tai left with a sunken face.
Following immediately after his departure, Hua Jieyu's eyes filled with tears as she turned to look at her mother. "Mother!" In her voice was a deep melancholy. She seemed so weak at this moment. The usual air that surrounded her was no longer there.
"My poor child," said Nandou Wenyin. She walked up to her daughter and held Hua Jieyu's tear-stained face in her own hands. Her heart hurt to see her child like this.
How could both of their lives turn out this way? Why couldn't they be with the person they loved?
Nandou Wenyin was the one person who could truly understand what Hua Jieyu was feeling at the moment because she had also been through this. They didn't care for nobility. All they wanted was to be with the one they loved.
Just then, a figure came running. It was Nandou Wenshan who had just received the news. Seeing the mother and daughter, his heart was in pain. Hua Jieyu was even more outstanding than her mother. She was destined to be different. Now, she had been given the title of Crown Princess. Was this what Minister Zuo saw in her fortune? Was this her destiny?
"Mother, I miss him. I want to go see him," Hua Jieyu said while crying.
"Silly girl, they're not going to let you step outside." Nandou Wenyin shook her head. She had been through all of this before. But Hua Jieyu did not seem to have heard her mother's words. She turned around and attempted to leave. However, at this moment, multiple figures appeared in the courtyard. They were all powerful cultivators of the Nandou clan. His Majesty's imperial order has fallen upon the Nandou clan but Hua Jieyu objected. In a situation like this, how could they let her leave? Even if the people of the clan didn't stop her, Minister Hua would have. There was no way she was stepping foot outside of Nandou Palace.
Hua Jieyu looked at the figures in the courtyard and her gaze cooled. She then turned and returned to her residence.
"Jieyu, sometimes people just can't fight fate," sighed Nandou Wenshan. He was also sad. In this situation, there was no solution and no way to fight it.
This time, it was even harder to fight than with Nandou Wenyin's situation all those years ago. The rival back then was just the Art Saint. Even though the Nandou clan wanted to create a connection to Minister Hua, who was related to the Art Saint, the clan still held the power of nobilities due to their background and there was not an absolute need to set Nandou Wenyin up with the Art Saint to acquire power. And because of this, the Art Saint had no right to come and demand Nandou Wenyin to marry him. But things were different now. Now, it was the title of Crown Princess. His Majesty wrote the imperial order himself. Nobody, in all of the Nandou Nation, could deny the order.
"No, I've said before, I don't believe in fate." Hua Jieyu looked at her uncle and shook her head. "I'm not going to the Imperial Palace and I'm not going to be the Crown Princess. Not now, not ever."
"Jieyu, don't think that way." Nandou Wenshan's expression changed. Hue Jieyu was way too determined, to the point that Nandou Wenshan was afraid. If Hua Jieyu wanted to deny the imperial order, there was only one way. He was not willing to see her go down that road.
"Uncle, can you stop by the Guqin Gardens for me?" Hua Jieyu did not respond to her uncle's previous utterance. Instead, she made a request, tears streaming down her face.
"What do you want?" asked Nandou Wenshan.
"Can you tell him not to come tomorrow? Just tell him that the clan won't allow it." Her voice was filled with sadness. Her tears could not be stopped as she spoke. Of course, she wished for him to come but she knew, deep down, there was no way of denying the imperial order. If he came, it would only put him in danger. She did not wish for anything to happen to Ye Futian.
"What if he finds out what happened?" asked Nandou Wenshan.
"Then tell him that I have no feelings for him anymore and that I want to be the Crown Princess. Tell him to forget about me and never look for me again," said Hua Jieyu. The tears continued to stream down her face and her own words cut into her heart like knives.
Hearing her words, Nandou Wenshan also felt pained. His heart clenched for his niece.
"Are you sure that's what you want to tell him?" he asked.
Hua Jieyu nodded her head in response.
"Okay." Nandou Wenshan nodded as well. "I'll head over now." He then turned to leave.
Watching him leave, Hua Jieyu crouched down on the ground. Her arms hugged her knees as she cried her eyes out.
Nandou Wenyin did not know when it happened but her tears were filled with tears as well. She walked beside Hua Jieyu and hugged her lightly.
"Mother, I don't know why but my heart really hurts," Hua Jieyu said. Her tone was heartbreaking to listen to.
"Mother's heart is also in pain." Nandou Wenyin hated herself for being so useless.
"Mother, if anything happens to me, you have to take care of yourself," said Hua Jieyu.
"Silly girl," Nandou Wenyin's heart squeezed at Hua Jieyu's words but she had no idea how to comfort her daughter. She herself has had this type of thought countless times, but she had Hua Jieyu; she had a child with the man she loved.
At the Guqin Gardens, Ye Futian was feeling confused after hearing Xia Fan's words. The happy atmosphere at the residence had been ruined. They were no longer worried about Ye Futian becoming the Crown Prince's study attendant. They were more worried about what type of order had fallen upon the Nandou clan.
Ye Futian had initially wanted to go check things out at the Nandou Palace but was stopped by Yi Xiang and Tang Wan. They had yet to straighten things out and Xia Feng was still watching from the outside. If Ye Futian stepped outside, it could be dangerous for him. Tang Wan ordered her first disciple, Nie Bing, to check outside while they waited inside. But before Nie Bing returned, Nandou Wenshan arrived at the Guqin Gardens.
Ye Futian rushed to Nandou Wenshan immediately. His eyes were frozen on the elder male.
"What happened here?" asked Nandou Wenshan. He had seen the obvious group of people outside.
"His Majesty gave an imperial order. He wants me to be the Crown Prince's study attendant," answered Ye Futian.
Nandou Wenshan's face fell. This young couple, Ye Futian was bestowed with the title of the Crown Prince's study attendant while Hua Jieyu was going to be the Crown Princess. To outsiders, this might have seemed like a good thing, but anyone who knew of Hua Jieyu and Ye Futian's relationship knew that this was a calamity.
"Where's Jieyu?" Ye Futian was looking straight at Nandou Wenshan.
"Jieyu wanted me to bring you a message," said Nandou Wenshan.
"What is it?" asked Ye Futian.
"She says she no longer has feelings for you and that she wants to be the Crown Princess, so you should forget about her and never look for her again," Nandou Wenshan said while staring into the young man's eyes. He felt so cruel, but he understood why Hua Jieyu would say such hurtful things to Ye Futian.
Ye Futian felt like he was hit by lightning. He was frozen in place, not because of the cruel words but because of the meaning behind them. In an instant, he figured out what the imperial order for the Nandou clan was.
"Dummy," Ye Futian opened his mouth after a long while. Nandou Wenshan was dumbfounded. Then, he watched as the young man lifted his head towards himself. With red eyes, Ye Futian said, "Did she really think that I would believe those words? Does that dummy think I'm an idiot?"
Nandou Wenshan was speechless.
"Uncle, tell me. How is she doing now?" asked Ye Futian.
Nandou Wenshan's heart clench when Ye Futian called him that. He said, "I'm really worried about her. She said that she will never step foot in the Imperial Palace and will never become the Crown Princess. Never."
"Of course not. She's mine!" Ye Futian continued, "Why would that idiot of an emperor give such an order?"
"I don't know the specifics, but there is one thing I can tell you," said Nandou Wenshan. "Minister Zuo once told Jieyu's fortune. He said she was fated to be an empress. Maybe he told the emperor. This must be her destiny."
"Minister Zuo? Empress?" Ye Futian looked at Nandou Wenshan. "Minister Zuo is an astrologer?"
"Yeah," nodded Nandou Wenshan. At this moment, a lot of things suddenly became clear to Ye Futian.
"You're wrong, Minister Zuo won't tell the emperor," said Ye Futian. Nandou Wenshan lifted his head to look at Ye Futian, confused.
"If Fox is fated to be empress, then that means Minister Zuo must have looked at my fortune as well," Ye Futian said in all seriousness. "If she is fated to be empress, then I am fated to be emperor!"