The Doctor’s Three-Time Marriage-Chapter 359 - : 359. Pretending

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Chapter 359: 359. Pretending

Translator: 549690339

When the bridal entourage of Liang Country arrived at the capital, it was a rainy day.

In the early hours of the morning, the weather was gloomy, and drizzle began to fall. When Qiao Cong and Cen Man came to look for Su Liang, she was visiting the underground secret chamber built by Old Mu.

More accurately, it should be called a maze.

Qiao Cong walked down the steps step by step without using crutches. His foot injury had healed.

Cen Man’s eyes also returned to normal, and she was much more cheerful than before. As she regained her sight after years of blindness, her eyes sparkled with curiosity and she wanted to understand everything around her. Since she had recovered from her long-standing blindness, her eyes that opened revealed a youthfulness that erased the years of aging.

“Third Master, Fourth Master, I’m inside. Try to find me. Be careful not to touch the protrusions on the wall.” Su Liang’s voice came from inside the chamber, accompanied by two echoes.

“Xiaoliang, I have something to discuss with you.” Qiao Cong looked at the three entrances in front of him.

Cen Man chose the entrance on the right and walked in directly, “Why are you in a hurry? If your grandson has a heart, he will come to see you.”

Qiao Cong frowned, watching Cen Man’s figure disappear into the distance. He stepped into the left entrance. Indeed, he wanted to discuss with Su Liang how to deal with Situ Jing, as he still cared and couldn’t let go.

Not long after, Cen Man found Su Liang. She was looking at a tree with Gu Ling.

Not a real tree, but a lifelike mechanical tree made by Old Mu and Gu Ling, which was very beautiful and interesting.

Cen Man walked over with a smile, “You’re really clever.”

Su Liang turned around and held Cen Man’s hand, “Master, you are so beautiful.”

A true statement. The graceful elegance that radiated from the rejuvenated Cen Man would make it clear that in her youth, she must have been an incredible beauty.

Cen Man couldn’t help but laugh. She looked back but didn’t see Qiao Cong’s figure and called out, “Old Qiao.”

From the right came the sound of Qiao Cong tapping on the wall, “There’s no way through.”

“Hahahaha!” Old Mu’s proud voice sounded, “Little girl, what do you think?”

Su Liang chuckled, “Second Master truly is a Divine Craftsman.”

Old Mu was overjoyed. As a descendant of the Mu Family, he had no wild ambitions. He found that this was what he truly loved and what made him feel fulfilled.

“Old three, do you admit defeat?” Old Mu asked, shouting in the direction where Qiao Cong was.

Qiao Cong was annoyed, “Let me out!”

Old Mu chuckled, “Call me big brother first!”

Qiao Cong raised his hand to hit the wall, but Old Mu immediately stopped him, “Stop!”

Gu Ling disappeared from Su Liang’s side, and soon managed to save Qiao Cong, who had been trapped in the Heavenly Iron Cage, and brought him over.

Qiao Cong’s face was dark, and he squinted his eyes at Old Mu, “Do you dare to try it again?”

Old Mu counterquestioned, “Do you dare try it downstairs?”

Su Liang didn’t bother to mediate their quarrels, she had grown used to their daily bickering. She touched a mechanism on the trunk, the tree bloomed, and Cen Man marveled, “It can bloom!”

Yellow flowers bloomed all over the tree, arranged in a delicate and unique manner.

Qiao Cong’s attention was also attracted, and he ignored Old Mu, approaching the tree and asking, “Is it just for looks?”

Su Liang explained that the flowers on the tree were hidden weapons, which could be launched in three waves to defend against enemies.

Cen Man praised sincerely, “It’s truly ingenious.”

Qiao Cong, however, said, “Placing it here seems to have little use.”

Old Mu was instantly displeased, “What do you know? Challenge me if you don’t believe in its use!”

Su Liang made an objective evaluation, “This is just in case.”

It was hard to say when this maze-like secret chamber could come in handy, or if it was just a place for the children to play hide and seek. Zhengzheng already loved playing in it.

But even if it was just for play, it was definitely the most high-end and interesting place.

Su Liang loved it.

Qiao Cong didn’t think it was useless, but just thought that the mechanical tree should be moved to Su Liang’s room. It could serve as a decoration during normal times, and be used as a secret weapon in case of intrusion.

Old Mu rolled his eyes at the suggestion, “You’re the only smart one! My apprentice is already making a better and more powerful one to place there!” He was referring to Gu Ling as his apprentice.

Gu Ling had provided the main idea for the mechanism tree, and he had personally carved those small flowers.

Qiao Cong was speechless.

Cen Man silently patted Qiao Cong’s arm as a sign of comfort.

Qiao Cong didn’t show any signs of discomfort. He just changed his position to be further from Old Mu but closer to Cen Man.

Su Liang saw this and kept silent with a smile. If they could develop a late-life romance, she would absolutely approve of it.

After visiting Old Mu’s maze, Su Liang gave high praise, which made Old Mu very happy. He said his next plan was to turn the entire Su Mansion into a large maze to ensure that trespassers could never leave.

Cen Man smiled and said, “If you need any help, we’ll be more than happy to assist.”

Old Mu had always treated Cen Man well, and chuckled while nodding, “Alright, I’ll come to you when the time comes. Old Three isn’t needed. He has to worry about his worrying grandchild, haha!”

Qiao Cong: …

When they all returned to Yuanming Pavilion, Old Mu disappeared again, saying he was going to Zhengzheng’s house for dinner. He had become a frequent guest at the Wan Family.

Qiao Cong brought up the important matter: Situ Jing should have already arrived at Liang Country’s temporary residence.

“I want to see how he’s doing.” Qiao Cong didn’t beat around the bush. The reason he had to ask Su Liang’s opinion first was that he regarded her as the owner of the house and was afraid she would be unhappy about it.

Su Liang nodded agreeably, “If Third Master wants to go, then go.”

“Do you have any medicine that can cause memory loss?” Qiao Cong asked.

Su Liang hesitated, “Does Third Master still insist on erasing his memories?” This had been discussed before.

Qiao Cong shook his head, “I won’t force him. If he’s willing to do it, I’ll give it to him.”

Hearing this, Su Liang handed Qiao Cong a medicine bottle, “Then give it a try.” But she thought that the probability of Situ Jing willingly taking the medicine was almost negligible.

Qiao Cong put away the medicine bottle and walked to the door. Cen Man handed him an umbrella, “Do you want me to accompany you?”

Qiao Cong took the umbrella and shook his head, “No need.”

Liang Country’s temporary residence.

When Qiao Cong appeared, Situ Jing was talking to Situ Yao.

Seeing an elder appear, Situ Yao’s expression changed, but she heard Situ Jing say, “He’s my grandfather.”

Situ Yao’s face relaxed, she stood up to pay respects, “Greeting to the senior.”

Qiao Cong put down the umbrella, glanced at Situ Yao, and shifted his focus to Situ Jing, “I want to talk to you alone.”

Situ Yao excused herself and left.

With only Qiao Cong and Situ Jing, the grandfather and grandson, in the room, Qiao Cong looked Situ Jing up and down again, seeing that he looked well and scoffed, “It seems that you’re enjoying being a prince.”

Situ Jing looked indifferent, shook his head, and said, “If I really enjoyed it, I wouldn’t have come to Qian Country.”

Qiao Cong’s eyes narrowed slightly, “You were being ostracized?”

“I am the intruder.” Situ Jing nodded, “But grandfather, don’t worry, I will return after the matter is done.”

Qiao Cong’s face darkened upon hearing this, “Is it that good to be a prince?”

Situ Jing shook his head, “No, I want to be an emperor.”

Anger appeared on Qiao Cong’s face, “You really are blinded by power.”

Situ Jing shook his head again, “I haven’t experienced true power yet, so how can I be blinded? I just feel that, to give an explanation for my past experiences, I should strive to sit on that position. Let everyone know that I am not a pawn.”

Qiao Cong took out the medicine bottle Su Liang had given him and placed it on the table, “Eat the medicine inside, and you can forget all your worries.”

Situ Jing looked at the medicine bottle steadily, “Grandfather, is this Su Liang’s intention?”

Qiao Cong shook his head, “It has nothing to do with her, it’s my idea.”

Situ Jing looked away, “I chose this path myself and will bear the consequences. Grandfather need not worry.”

Although he had expected this, Qiao Cong was still filled with disappointment. He stood up with the medicine bottle, “In that case, I have nothing more to say. Take care of yourself.” With that, he walked away with big strides.

Situ Jing watched Qiao Cong walk to the doorway, then called out to him, asking, “Is my sister well?”

Qiao Cong snorted coldly, “Take care of yourself!”

As soon as Qiao Cong returned to Su Mansion, he first saw Cen Man.

Cen Man looked at Qiao Cong’s face and knew that things had not gone well. She sighed softly, “Just let him go. No matter how much you worry, it won’t be of any use.”

“You’re right! I’m just asking for trouble, being self-righteous and overly concerned!” Qiao Cong said angrily, “He is seeking his own doom!”

Cen Man frowned, wanting to persuade him again, but Qiao Cong had already walked past her quickly, disappearing around the corner.

Nangong Qian now lived in an enclosed environment arranged by Qiao Cong. Besides her maid Qiuyue, the most people she saw were Qiao Cong and Cen Man. Her days were spent eating, sleeping, and strolling around the garden, living a comfortable and carefree life.

Qi Jun returned from outside and brought a piece of news: Duanmu Chen personally left the palace and went to the relay station to visit Situ Yao.

When Su Liang learned of this, she was quite surprised because it did not resemble Duanmu Chen’s usual style. However, Qi Jun had witnessed the imperial carriage going to the relay station.

“The news has spread outside.” Qi Jun frowned, “It seems that the emperor is really fond of Princess Yaoguang.”

Su Liang’s expression was inscrutable, “Perhaps.”

In the relay station, Situ Yao was also very surprised by Duanmu Chen’s sudden arrival. It had been originally planned that a banquet would be held in the palace tonight to welcome them.

And along with Duanmu Chen was Situ Jing, Situ Yao’s elder brother, who had come to visit Qian Country’s “guest” the Crown Prince of Yue.

As soon as Situ Yao saw her brother, tears filled her eyes, “Big brother!”

Situ Jing’s face was calm, “Little sister, shouldn’t you greet Emperor Qian first? He came especially to see you.”

Upon hearing this, Situ Yao hurriedly paid her respects to Duanmu Chen, thanking him for his concern and for his care of Situ Jing.

Duanmu Chen smiled warmly, “Princess Yaoguang has traveled far and must be weary. You should get some good rest. I am sorry for the interruption.”

Situ Jing arrived upon hearing the news and saw this scene, his eyes slightly narrowed.

Duanmu Chen also saw Situ Jing appear at the door, and their eyes met, making the atmosphere taut in an instant.

Their relationship had originally been that of ruler and subject. At the time when he had promoted “Che Yun”, Duanmu Chen had also made a lot of effort.

“Your Majesty.” Situ Jing bowed.

Duanmu Chen’s expression was indifferent, “Having grown accustomed to seeing the bearded appearance of the second prince of Situ, this is the first time I have seen you like this. Congratulations on returning home.”

This remark sounded mocking, with a hint of provocation. The so-called “returning home” seemed to congratulate Situ Jing on returning to Liang Country’s Royal Family, but at this moment, he was in Qian Country…

Situ Jing politely saluted Situ Jing, “Second Prince.”

“No need to be overly courteous, Jing Cousin.” Situ Jing’s expression remained calm, “I’m relieved to see you safe and sound.”

The three men exchanged words in a hidden battle of wits while Situ Yao maintained a perfect smile on the side.

Duanmu Chen’s gaze occasionally fell on Situ Yao, adding a touch of warmth.

He didn’t stay long at the post house before returning to the palace.

After Duanmu Chen left, Situ Jing also got up and left, leaving the siblings Situ Jing and Situ Yao alone to talk.

“Big brother…” Situ Yao spoke again, tears welling up in her eyes, “I’ve been worried for you all this time.”

Situ Jing let out a deep sigh, “Little sister, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have had to marry into Qian Country because of me.”

Situ Yao shook her head repeatedly, “Brother, please don’t say that. Even if it wasn’t for you, I was already engaged to Qian Country.”

Situ Jing smiled bitterly.

The truth was, according to the engagement set last year between the two countries and the secret plan laid out by Situ Xie, if things had gone smoothly, Situ Yao wouldn’t have had to marry into Qian Country. The plan was to act after Situ Jing’s return to Liang Country. If Liang Country had successfully formed an alliance with Yin Country to encircle Qian Country, there would have been no need for the marriage alliance at all.

Now, on the surface, the original marriage alliance continued with Duanmu Chen and Situ Yao reuniting their previous relationship, but in fact, this alliance was not the original intention of the Situ Family. Situ Yao’s marriage to Qian Country was indeed for the sake of Situ Jing.

The person Situ Jing hated the most at this moment was undoubtedly Situ Jing. He knew very well how Situ Xie’s plan had failed.

After inquiring about the family’s recent situation, Situ Jing brought up Duanmu Chen again, discussing what he had heard while staying in the Qian Country Imperial Palace.

“The Empress’ mother was bestowed death by Emperor Qian?” Situ Yao’s expression was astonished. On her journey here, she had learned about the death of Lady Marquis Zhong Xin from illness but found it strange, as she had never heard of the Miao Family’s health problems. Sudden deaths related to the Royal Family usually had hidden reasons.

Situ Jing nodded, “Poisoned alcohol.”

“I thought that Emperor Qian and the Empress were in a harmonious relationship.” Situ Yao frowned, “Marquis Zhong Xin is still stationed in Xuanbei City, so why was his wife bestowed death?”

Situ Jing shook his head with a profound gaze, “I’m not sure of the exact cause, but the Empress is definitely involved.”

“I didn’t expect Emperor Qian to be so ruthless. He seemed like a gentle person.” Situ Yao sighed.

Situ Jing scoffed, “Do you think it’s possible for the gentlest prince of Qian Country to become emperor at such a young age?”

“Grandfather said that his becoming emperor had a lot to do with Cousin Gu and Sister-in-law. If it weren’t for them, the outcome wouldn’t be like this today.” Situ Yao’s expression was serious.

“Indeed.” Situ Jing nodded, “But never underestimate him.”

“I don’t underestimate him.” Situ Yao shook her head, “I just don’t know how to deal with him. If I upset him, will he do the same to me…?”

“Don’t think too much, little sister. Not to mention that you are a Liang Country princess, as I see it, Duanmu Chen truly cares for you. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have insisted on you marrying him and coming to see you today. His Empress, Xing Shi, only had the opportunity to enter the palace because of her family background, and she doesn’t have his affection.” Situ Jing said, “With your talents and looks, neither Empress Xing nor any other consorts in the Imperial Harem can compare.”

“Don’t say that, brother. Emperor Qian has seen stunning beauties like Sister-in-law, so what kind of beauty hasn’t he encountered?” Situ Yao spoke in a soft voice.

Situ Jing instructed Situ Yao to seize the opportunity, while there were not many women in the Qian Country Imperial Harem and the Empress was pregnant, to firmly grasp Duanmu Chen’s heart.

That night, Su Liang and Gu Ling did not attend the palace banquet.

All those who participated could clearly sense that Duanmu Chen held Situ Yao in an extraordinary regard.

The next day, Su Liang asked Gu Ling, “Great God, do you think Duanmu Chen has fallen for Situ Yao?”

Gu Ling, busy assembling a new Mechanism Tree, picked up a meticulously carved small flower and precisely clasped it to the “branch” before shaking his head slightly. “Pretending.”

Upon hearing this, Su Liang laughed, “I also think he’s pretending. If he were to truly fall in love, he would hide it and not expose it. He probably likes Situ Yao, but what he’s showing now is all tactics.”

As for the reason, Su Liang speculated that it was because Situ Yao was a foreign princess and Situ Xie’s granddaughter, so Duanmu Chen must have suspected that she had come with some “mission”, displaying extra care for her to see if she would reveal any flaws.

In other words, this was Duanmu Chen’s “sugar-coated shell”, and if Situ Yao were to truly believe that he had fallen for her, focused on her alone, and planned to do something for Liang Country and her grandfather, it would be very dangerous…