“There are so many people in this kingdom. How are you going to kill all of them?” Lu Liangwei chuckled. Seeing him fall silent, she suddenly got up, sat in his lap, put her arms around his neck, and cooed, “I know you’re doing this for my sake, but there’s still a month until I’m due. What if Mother could help curb the disease at the frontier?
She can just hurry back after that. Besides, you worry too much, Your Majesty. Have you forgotten that I’m a physician myself? I know my condition well, and I’m sure that I’ll have a smooth labor. Mother won’t be of much help if she stays here. In fact, the soldiers at the frontier need her more.”
“Just let Mother go to the frontier, please?”
Lu Liangwei coaxed him again and again.
When he remained unswayed, she even slipped her hand underneath his clothes.
There was finally a hitch in Long Yang’s breathing, but he managed to restrain himself as he pulled her hand away and said wearily, “Weiwei, I don’t want anything to happen to you. Do you understand?”
Lu Liangwei nodded meekly. “I do, but I’ll be fine, and I won’t let anything happen to me. I still want to spend my life with you and our children.” Her tone was firm and determined.
Long Yang held her close to his chest, and after a long while, said hoarsely, “Even if I agree, I’m sure your parents won’t. They love and care for you, just like I do!”
“I know. I’m sure my grandmother’s still in the dark. That’s why I’d like you to issue an edict and let Eunuch Zhao declare it at the Grand Duke Mansion so Grandmother will be informed. She’s a woman with a strong sense of righteousness, and besides, she’s spent half of her life in the army and on the battlefield, so she’ll worry more about the soldiers at the frontier. I’m sure she’ll let Mother go there to help when she finds out about this.”
“Let me think about it for a bit more, Weiwei.” Long Yang did not agree directly.
Lu Liangwei knew that he was trying to buy time.
Her father was going to the frontier tomorrow, and if the Emperor did not issue an edict now, her mother would miss the chance to go with him.
“You’re going to pass the throne to our children in the future, Your Majesty. If we fail to curb the disease at the frontier, the soldiers would not be able to fight off Danjue and the Yan Kingdom when they attack. We can’t surrender our beloved Great Shang just like that, can we? Besides, even if our children are born safely, they might have to suffer with us as we live like vagrants.” Lu Liangwei tried to appeal to both his sense of reason and emotion. She had no inhibitions about mentioning Great Shang either, because they never had to be cautious with each other.
Long Yang stroked her head and sighed helplessly. “I’d never let you and our children suffer.”
“But the situation at the frontier is pretty grim. If we don’t deal with it now, the consequences will be unimaginable.” Lu Liangwei furrowed her brow with worry for both her brother and the soldiers.
She still remembered the youthful and enthusiastic faces of the soldiers when they had assembled at the city gates before setting out on their expedition last year.
They had been willing to lay down their lives for the sake of defending Great Shang in battle, so how could she sit here so contentedly and enjoy comfort while they were being tormented by illness?
“I know that you’re also worried about them, and that you have no choice but to sacrifice them for my sake. But if this is your way of loving me, I don’t think I can bear the weight of it.” The emotion in Lu Liangwei’s voice faded away.