The second auspicious date was decided a month later but the Prince also said he was feeling unwell that day.
I heard from Court Lady Song which she heard the gossips from the Palace Maids in the Queen's Residence said that the Queen made a sudden visit to the Crown Prince's Residence and found out the Crown Prince was perfectly healthy.
The Queen was furious of the Crown Prince's lies and punished him to help the soldiers to distribute rice to the poor citizen.
Thus, the Prince said will come back to the Palace only after they distributed all the rice, which usually take weeks.
So, a night before he left the Palace, he came to my residence and took me for a stroll.
He took me to a pavilion that built in the middle of a lake so that we had to cross a bridge to get there.
From the bridge to the pavilion, there were lights on every two steps distance which made the pavilion glowed in the darkness of the area.
The lights from the pavilion illuminated the lake and I could see lotus flowers decorated the large lake.
There were no chairs so we sat on top of the railings, feet dangled and we stargazed.
"Did you hear that I'm going out of the Palace tomorrow?"
"Mmm hmm,"I answered while trying to count the stars.
"It's going to be two or three weeks till I come back."
"Mmm hmm," It's difficult to count the stars and involved in a conversation.
"Will you miss me?"
"Huh?" I lost count.
He smiled and dismissed the question.
We didn't say anything after that but I felt comfortable with the silence and his company satiated me.
After a while we decided to go back. I was struggling with my skirts as I pulled back my legs from the rail when the Crown Prince suddenly put his hands on my waist and gently put me down.
His hands were still on my waist and slowly his arms wrapped my waist as he pulled me into his embrace.
Heart beaten faster.
I couldn't say a word.
The Crown Prince just embraced me then he let go. He walked me back to the residence without saying another word only 'Good night' then waved me goodbye.
The next morning, the Prince and few soldiers departed with stack of rice sacks piled on the back of ten or more carts.
I looked from afar. There was a weird-unexplained feeling I felt on my stomach when I saw the Crown Prince left the Palace.
It will be weeks till I meet him again.
"Will you miss me?" I suddenly remembered his question last night. I didn't realise I was thinking out loud, "Maybe."
"Pardon, Your Highness?" Court Lady Song asked, thought I was requesting something.
I shook my head, "Nothing, let's head back to the residence."
A week had passed and I heard that the Crown Prince had returned to the Palace but he head out again a few hours later.
"His Highness reported to His Majesty that there was a natural disaster in the west border, the whole village was destroyed by a big flood two days ago," Eunuch Han told me. Eunuch Song was there when the Crown Prince reported to the Majesty and he told every detail of the meeting to Eunuch Han where later Eunuch Han came to my residence to 'share' the news.
Court Lady Song served teas and deserts for us and didn't leave the room.
She whispered to me, 'I will accompany you, Your Highness', when I knew she just wanted to hear story so I just let her sat there, then she took out her book and jotted down every word Eunuch Han said.
'Safekeeping' she mouthed to me.
"His Highness didn't just ask for rice supplies but other food supplies and he brought a few more soldiers with him. He said the villagers need help to restore their homes," he stopped for a while and sipped his tea. "I know that His Highness has such a good heart but I'm worried about him," he added.
"His Majesty said the Crown Prince shouldn't go but the he insisted and said the soldiers will need supervision and he could lend extra help. If General Sun isn't in the north border to negotiate with the Ming, His Majesty might have sent the general instead," he said.
"How long will His Highness be there, Eunuch Han?" I asked.
"If I'm not mistaken, this mission probably going to take about a month," he said and suddenly I felt a knot in my stomach.
"That is why I'm so worried, His Highness had never left the Palace more than a month," he took one of the desserts and suddenly Court Lady Song slapped the back of his hand.
"Where's your manner?" She scolded him.
"It's alright, Lady Song. Help yourself, Eunuch Han," I offered him then he smirked at Court Lady Song.
It was supposed to be only two weeks, now I can only see him after a month. I left out a sigh.
"The Prince will be alright, Your Highness," Court Lady Song said. I didn't know whether it was a statement or an assurance.