The Prince and I

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Even the library was dark and dingy

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Even the library was dark and dingy. I arrived in this palace weeks ago, slowly learning my way in and around the courtyard, outside the walls, and the market when permitted by lord Chua Chanshin's schedule.

I found out prince Wang Jian don't particularly meddle with my business here. I was free to do as I please if guards accompanied me. He could be quite overbearing and protective, assigning numerous guards tailing my footsteps all day long.

The only chance I get to see him was during dinner when he puts an effort to eat and have small conversations with me. It was a typical set of questions asked each night, that I knew the order, and which question was coming next.

I answered each of his questions like a memorized rhyme that it became meaningless and repetitive. I'm afraid the prince hasn't loosened nor opened up around me - not even a bit - and it got me frustrated.

I strolled over to the shelves filled with books and scrolls, hoping to waste my time here at the library until lord Chanshin pick me up after his so-called obligation. He was determined upon sending me to the library as he shoved and pushed me inside.

My tyrannical bodyguard was getting under my nerves. "With all due respect, lord Chanshin. Why the library?!"

"...Because, I said so." He said simply.

I began turning around, about to walk back stubbornly when he pushed me back inside. I opened my mouth to protest, but he only grinned and slammed the door to my face with a smile. "Wait in here, little lady." He whispered behind the door. "I'll come back later for you."

I granted him no answer as I turned my back from the door and began exploring the exquisite forest of scrolls and books. There're binds of books covering the long massive walls, school of tables and chairs in the middle. I've never seen a library this handsome before.

I could probably spend my whole life in this place and still wouldn't have enough time to read everything in this room.

A book caught my attention. I picked it up and brought it to a brighter part of the room where a lantern flickered its light on the wall. I imagined someone was already in here, walking to see if we could share his or her light together.

I halted stunned when I saw who it was. Prince Wang Jian sat on the corner with a book on his lap. He didn't look up, but I assumed he already knew it was me. There was no other person in the library beside us.

"He Lian." He murmured silently.

I let myself relaxed. "Prince Wang Jian..."

The prince was a quiet solitary person, barely speaking to anyone. I don't know whether that was his nature, or he was going through some emotional turmoil. I found out sad and lonely people tend to stay to themselves and not say anything at all.

There were times when he seemed like he was in his own world. Too much on his mind to pay attention to the world around him. The only person whom he seemed to relax was his personal guard, his friend, lord Chua Chanshin.

I learned for my own sake it's best not to bother him, only speak to him when spoken to.

I felt like the prince was a very misunderstood man, trying my most darn to figure him out.

I took a step toward him, holding my breath. I can't help it. The prince was a scary person and I can never seem to relax around him. "Can I share your light, your highness?"

His eyes lifted, glancing at me. He got up on his feet without saying a word and picked up his lantern relocating it to a table. He turned over to face me..."This is a good place for you?"

I nodded, "that's perfect, my prince."

He pulled out a chair and gestured for me to sit while taking the seat to the opposite side. It was a long-extended silence reading scroll after scrolls in the company of the prince with only his breathing and occasional shifting as the noise accompanying us. It's been at least a few hours since lord Chanshin forced me into the prince's company. If I wasn't mistaken, I'd say he did this on purpose and he knew the prince was here all along.

It was a dirty trick and I couldn't wait for him to come to fetch me, so I could yell at him.

"He Lian." The prince murmured after a while and I jerked at the sound of his sharp voice sounding like thunder after a long silence.

"Yes, my prince?"

"Has Ying Yue visited you after that day?"

I placed my book down to the table, swarmed with uninvited melancholy. "No, she hasn't." And to be honest, I don't really want to see her.

"I'm sorry to hear that. I would imagine she would have visited by now. It's been a few weeks."

"Did you want her to visit me?"

He glanced me as though the question dazed him. "Did you not want to see your sister again?"

My head dropped, my hesitation evident. "Forgive me, my prince."

He sighed quietly. "You need to give her a chance, it's not what it seems."

"How can I give her a chance when she hasn't even made an effort to come to see me again?"

"Perhaps, Ying Yue needed a little time. After seeing how you reacted last time, maybe she's a little hesitant as well. She didn't want to scare you, He Lian. Besides, it's not that easy for her to simply leave the underworld. She's sensitive to the light."

I don't understand how he can continue to speak for her and defend her after she had replaced him with a different man. Maybe, I'm still too young and too inexperienced with the matter of the heart to know the frailty of the human heart.

"Don't you want to see her?" I asked softly.

"I don't have the necessity to see her." He answered.

"Don't you care for her?"

The prince let out another sigh. "I did."

"Don't you still care for her?"

For a moment, I thought I saw a ghost of a smile floated on his lips, and for a moment, prince Wang Jian looked very handsome tonight. "She was my wife, Ying Yue was all I ever knew. I have not loved another girl beside her."

His tender confession made me smile. I remember telling Yuanji I wanted a prince just like elder sister has. I wanted a strong handsome prince charming and it seemed at the time prince Wang Jian was the perfect one.

"We always thought Ying Yue was the luckiest one," I confessed.

"Doesn't seem all that cracked up to be, doesn't it?" He said with a smile. "I couldn't even give her a happily ever after."

"I didn't mean it like that." I turned over my shoulder out of fret, my eyes darted to the door, hoping lord Chanshin would rescue me right about now.

"If you're looking for Chanshin, I'm afraid he's not coming. He left for a mission lasting a few days."

I whipped my gaze back to him.

"You're here on my order so I may look after you instead." Prince Wang Jian continued.

I felt betrayed. Lord Chanshin could've just told me so. "I don't need to babysit. I can take care of myself."

"Perhaps not," said the prince. "But I did owe you a few stories to be told. That was part of the reason why you're here. I wanted to spend some time with you."

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