Hello readers, thanks for the really warm response to Chapter 11! It motivated me so greatly that I finished Chapter 12 early and I'm excited to share this with you. I have been planning this story for such a long time that it's almost with great relief that we have finally reached this stage. I feel terribly excited and shall squeal with you when you finish this!
Chapter 12: Weakness
Crown Prince Sun faced the crowd and asked, "So, who made this dish?"
The previously raucous crowd fell silent.
I watched as Crown Prince Sun's eyes slowly scanned the faces in the crowd, one by one, until his eyes fell on me. I felt like a rabbit ensnared by the sharp talons of an eagle - you might think he was not looking for you, but he was only taking his own sweet time to get to his prey.
I never had the opportunity to escape.
I stood up, my head held high, and announced, "It was me."
I watched as the edge of his lips rose up. He came forward and gave a gentlemanly bow to me, "I am Crown Prince Sun, pleased to meet you."
I heard the Heavenly Empress voice sweetly from behind, "The Royal Princess Wang Huan, your royal fiancee."
"Is this fate?" Crown Prince Sun smiled widely at me.
I looked coolly back, "I don't believe in fate."
"How coincidental, neither do I," Crown Prince Sun declared and swiftly grabbed my hand in his. He pulled me towards him and he quickly whispered, "If you don't follow me, I will carry you out of here."
He lifted his head at his parents with a earnest nod, "Since we have found each other, we shall make our grand exit now."
With that, Crown Prince Sun pulled me out of the Grand Palace Hall under the startled eyes of all the gods and goddesses.
When we reached a secluded hallway beyond the eyes and ears of the hall, I immediately retracted my hand, but as if he was expecting it, his grip had already tightened over my hand.
"That hurts," I said and blinked back hot tears.
He quickly let go of my hand. He leaned his head sideways to look at my face carefully but I bowed my head down.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, to be mad or happy. Previously, I couldn't like Ri because I was engaged to Crown Prince Sun. Now, I can't like him even more because he is... Crown Prince Sun.
Thinking of it, I felt a fresh bolt of rage heat up in my heart. I raised my fists and started to hit Crown Prince Sun's chest forcefully. He did not defend himself. He just stood there and received my beatings.
After a while, I stopped and laughed bitterly, "Even when I try and hit you, I'm the one who gets hurt instead." I felt my knuckles ache.
He held the back of my hands and transferred his divine energy.
"Let me go," I barked.
Crown Prince Sun sighed, "You are wrong, because I hurt, Wang Huan, I hurt too... I'm sorry. I never meant to lie to you. When I first visited your courtyard, I had gone there with the intent to get you to break the royal engagement, but... you struck up my curiosity, and slowly... I didn't know how to tell you who I was."
He pulled out a silk parchment from his robes and unfolded it before me, "When you said you hated Crown Prince Sun because he killed your childhood friend, even more I could not open my mouth to reveal the truth."
"Since then, I had asked Yao Feng to check on the Spider Demon Tribe... you should already know that they have gotten their just retribution, they breached the laws of the Heavenly Realms and the Dark Realms by elevating their powers by taking the divine heartstone of minor gods and immortals --- thereby completely extinguishing these beings from the cycle of life and death, " Crown Prince Sun continued, "To commit such a cardinal sin, the whole tribe must be punished. Those who were directly involved were exterminated and those that had no direct part were banished... your childhood friend, the son of the leader of the Spider Demon Tribe was spared. He is still alive."
Yan Zun, my eyes brimmed wet with unshed tears.
"Wang Huan, I'm going to ask both our fathers to give a royal pardon to the Spider Demon Tribe to celebrate our royal engagement. If you don't like me, you don't have to marry me... just maintain the engagement until the Spider Demon Tribe returns. I will make sure that the Spider Demon Tribe settle safely back in the Dark Realms again."
I finally returned Crown Prince Sun's gaze. I looked at him in confusion, "But why are you doing this? Don't you know how much they hate you?"
He returned a sad smile, "Because I don't want you to hate me."