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megainka > The Woman in the Palace > 16 The Prowling Wives
Footsteps meandered echoing in the quiet floor and walls of this luxurious hall. Prince Hoon sent me to my chamber along with his personal guardsmen to accompany me back. This is something unusual, I'm not used to being surrounded by guardsmen. I don't have a need for guardsmen protecting me on my walk from one hall to another, it is stupid and unnecessary considering the palace should be the safest place of all.

I felt more like a prisoner than the future wife of the second prince.

"Forgive me, Jasmine. I have fallen into discomfort this evening." Prince Hoon reasoned and I suspected it was because of third prince Julong's intrusion. He made second prince Hoon too upset and too distracted to bother walking me back tonight.

We were nearly at my chamber when I ran into the crown prince's wives. They were making their way back from their own dinner with their husband.

The first wife was surrounded with at least three maidservants and two guardsmen while the second wife had about the same number of servants and guards following her behind. The quiet hallway was suddenly flooded with people.

Unspoken tension rose as the prowling wives caught my eyes on my way back to the bedroom.

I sucked a lungful of air, dreading my first engagement with them. With what just happened at dinner this evening, the last thing I needed was the unexpected meet with them.

I paused as to say my polite regard. I had yet to be fully trained in all kinds of manners in accordance to etiquettes established by royals, but I was sure I'm supposed to stop and greet the first wife each time I come across her.

I did so, hoping nothing more will hold us from going on our way, but I guess, a peaceful walk to my chamber was too much to ask.

First Wangfei Ru Shi stretched her luxurious lip as though she found something that interested her. She stalked her elegant footsteps toward me, followed by second wangfei Ai who wore an unreadable stare in her eyes.

I suspected they came to welcome me to the hall since we're practically family.

My eyes met first wangfei Ru Shi's daring stare. She smiled, the kind of fictitious smile that has hidden malice behind it.

"Look what the cat dragged in." She purred. "I heard you joined us in our hall."

"Ah, yes. I moved in this morning." I answered unable to hide the unsteadiness in my voice. I hate that I was so intimidated by her. She had a strong presence that mimicked her husband's, and she carried herself highly.

She gave a soft chuckle and raised her elegant eyebrow. "So, I see you're moving up in the ladder. It's such as shame we must share this luxury wing with someone like you, you don't belong in a place like this."

"Forgive me, first wife Ru Shi. But I belong here as much as you do. I am the second prince's betrothed."

Her face twisted in a scowl. "Is that so?"

"Yes."

Ru Shi laughed smoothly as though something I said amused her. "And here I thought you were Julong's. I heard you were growing quite close to him, too. Perhaps you could educate me how you lured both princes in your lap."

First wangfei Ru Shi flicked her gaze to second wangfei Ai trying to get her reaction but I was too flustered to pay attention. Wangfei Ai said nothing, she refused to join in what wangfei Ru Shi started.

There must be at least fifteen people in this hall right now. Fifteen people who can tell her to stop, but none of us had any power to speak up against her and she's aware of it. One retort could get the servants lashings on their backs and the guards knew enough to keep their mouth shut.

"That's a lie," I said sternly. "They're all nothing but rumors told about me."

"And I suspect the way you stared at our husband was a lie too?" She explored. "I saw the way you looked at him, how your stare lingered at him, how you admired him. You wanted our husband for yourself as well. You want that power, that influence he can provide you!"

I think she was the only one enjo

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