Thank you Leonie for your Kofi~!
As soon as this sentence came out, the atmosphere suddenly became very weird.
Yu Yan’s cheeks heated up uncontrollably. He wanted to dig a hole below to bury himself.
What was he rambling about!
Yu Yan was so embarrassed to see the other’s face that he lowered his head and dared not look at Mu Yungui’s expression. He hummed and hawed. “You, you don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mean that. I just…”
Mu Yungui suddenly turned his hands over and held them.
“Master doesn’t have to worry. This subordinate understands.”
With his dry and warm palms, Mu Yungui encompassed him. Those ten callused fingers and palms from practising martial arts, tickled when they slid over his palms.
Yu Yan instinctively flinched, but he held on, not drawing his hands away.
Focus on the overall situation.
Yu Yan told himself in his heart.
Time was urgent. He needed to do this if he wanted Mu Yungui to save that man.
Don’t be afraid.
Mu Yungui bent down, still holding Yu Yan’s hand with one hand, while the other traced his forearm upwards. The hands tentatively touched Yu Yan through the clothes, and at every touch, Yu Yan shivered nervously.
This was the first time he was fully awake while engaging in intimate contact with Mu Yungui.
Time seemed to stretch infinitely. Every detail was terribly clear. He felt those hands touch the side of his neck. The naked skin was still chilled with the coolness of winter, making the opponent’s hands feel even hotter.
“Is this alright?” Mu Yungui asked softly.
Asking a question even at this time?!
But the little shadow guard looked very serious. He half-kneeled in front of Yu Yan, raised his head slightly, his eyes firm and steady.
Yu Yan’s heart almost jumped out of his chest. He looked away, and fiercely ordered, “Hurry, hurry up. Aren’t you an alpha!”
A pity there was not enough air. It sounded like a kitten with false bravado.
That low voice transmitted from the front.
Mu Yungui couldn’t hold back any longer. A gentle smile followed.
He quickly relaxed his smile. His fingers slowly slid downwards, starting from the buckle of the collar, one by one he untied, revealing the white porcelain-like texture inside.
As a prince, Yu Yan had practiced martial arts since he was a child. His figure was not as thin as other omegas. This was why he was able to hide his identity for so many years. But only Mu Yungui knew how soft and sensitive the body this person hid under his clothes was. It couldn’t even stand a touch.
But that was during the period of arousement.
Now, Yu Yan seemed too nervous. The delicate and smooth skin was taut, shivering slightly.
One can’t enter the state like this.
“Master can’t be like this.” Mu Yungui’s voice was low and hoarse. He persuaded, “Relax a little.”
How could he relax!
Yu Yan didn’t dare to watch the other’s movements. He leaned back on the seat, his eyes closed, his teeth clenched with tension.
Mu Yungui sighed silently.
“Lord Meng and his party have mostly left the outskirts at this moment. Any further delay and the result may be disastrous.” Mu Yungui watched Yu Yan and said tonelessly, “The matter is urgent. Master, don’t be offended.”
After speaking, he lowered his head and kissed the side of the other’s neck.
Yu Yan’s body struggled instinctively, but there was a huge gap between the strength of the two bodies.
The dense kisses fell one after another, passing across the collarbone, chest, and waist.
Yu Yan breathed tightly, raising his head to reveal the fragile Adam’s apple, unwittingly letting out a low sob.
Mu Yungui tightened his grip, fastening ontto Yu Yan’s waist.
Pleasure rose. Even their breathing became hot. The aroma of pear blossoms intensified.
Yu Yan felt like a prey bitten by a natural enemy. Wanting to break free, but having nowhere to escape.
When Yu Yan woke up, the sky was already dark.
The candles in the hall were replaced with new ones – bright and warm. The whole hall was brightly lit.
Yu Yan curled up on the soft bed, a faint tingling sensation remaining at the end of his fingertips. The rims of his eyes were red from crying, and his eyes gleamed as if drenched with water.
Tonight was too much.
Mu Yungui made him enter the state. Extremely gentle and patient, Yu Yan was teased until he wanted to go mad. What he said, what he did in the end, he couldn’t remember at all.
He only remembered one thing.
At the moment when his emotions reached the peak, he seemed to feel Mu Yungui lowering his head and kissed his forehead lightly.
Like a dragonfly’s touch, yet seemingly filled with affection.
They have never kissed before, unlike their closeness now. Mu Yungui would have abided by etiquette and never gone beyond what was proper.
And yet, today. That fleeting sensation happened so fast, it felt as if it was an illusion.
Was it really just an illusion?
Yu Yan couldn’t say.
The resting chamber was empty of people. The book case that was toppled by them had been cleared up. A set of clean clothes was neatly stacked on the head of the bed, and on an elongated table further away, a soup goblet was simmered over a small fire, exuding the rich aroma of food.
That person, even if he had to leave, still kept everything neat and tidy.
Yu Yan turned over and buried his head in the quilt.
He just sent the person away, and yet was starting to miss him a little.
This was really wanting his life…
Jiang Du’s winter had always been harsh.
Unlike the biting cold and dry winds in the north, Jiang Du continuously rained and snowed during winter, the coldness penetrating deep into one’s bones.
Yu Yan hated winter the most.
He ordered two more braziers in the room and took a sip of the tea at hand.
It had already cooled down.
Yu Yan: “…”
Yu Yan has always been happy-go-lucky. The inner servants only needed to guard the outside. There was no one inside the room. These things were usually done by Mu Yungui.
He couldn’t tell others that Mu Yungui was not in the palace.
Yu Yan pressed the space between his eyebrows, becoming even more agitated.
“Your Highness, Wei gonggong1This is a term of address for eunuch. Like Sir/Mr or such. is here.” A person outside the door announced. Yu Yan looked up and saw an old gray-haired eunuch walk in.
This Wei gonggong was the empress’ person.
Yu Yan’s palace had always been deserted by visitors. This person rarely came, at most once a year. Him coming here was likely to pass a message.
Yu Yan got up to welcome him in, and asked if the empress really wanted to invite him to an evening meal in the palace.
The empress of the Great Yan was backed by the Qin family in the north. A prominent family background, their northern powers could not be underestimated. But when the Qin clan’s female married the Yan Emperor, she was late in the news. Seeing that the Yan Emperor’s concubine gave birth to two princes, she turned impatient.
She personally schemed a murder of mother and child, killing Yu Yan’s biological mother, and adopted Yu Yan to raise him in her own palace.
Since the birth of the fifth prince, Yu Hong, the empress has gradually alienated Yu Yan. When he reached the coming-of-age, she couldn’t wait to let him move to his own palace and leave.
In recent years, she has been indifferent, rarely interacting with each other.
Today was odd.
Yu Yan pondered for a moment. “Today… is the ninth day of the new year. Does Wei gonggong know why imperial mother invited me for a meal?”
Wei gonggong: “This slave doesn’t know.”
After all, the empress was his nominal mother. If she summoned him, even if it was a Hongmen feast2A banquet set up to murder a guest, he had no reason not to go.
Yu Yan sent off Wei gonggong, changed his clothes, and entered late.3Raws was 踩着饭点到了皇后寝宫: Everyone arrived, then he reached the latest.
The inner servant led him to the warm pavilion for dining. Before he even stepped in, he heard voices coming from within.
“I haven’t seen you in a few days and you lost weight. You don’t care if you don’t eat properly?”
“No, you’ve4Formal you kindly sent food to my palace every day. I have gained weight, rather.”
The empress sat in the main seat, dressed in vibrant yellow palace attire, looking graceful and beautiful. Yu Hong sat to her right; the mother and son pair chatted happily.
Hearing the inner servant’s announcement, Yu Hong raised his eyes and looked over, just in time to meet Yu Yan’s gaze.
His eyes lit up. “Imperial brother!”
Yu Hong was thinking of getting up to welcome him, but was held back by the empress. He glanced at the empress hesitantly, and sat down angrily.
Yu Yan pretended not to see it, and bowed and greeted the empress. “This child greets Imperial mother.”
“Get up.” The empress said softly. “Today is a family reunion dinner. Please feel comfortable.”
Yu Yan: “Understood.”
Yu Yan didn’t stand on ceremony. He took a seat next to Yu Hong.
Rather than calling it a family dinner, it could be said it was a meal with a mother and son with Yu Yan, an outsider.
However, after living in the empress’ palace for many years, Yu Yan was used to this person treating him as non-existent. He didn’t care.
The only thing that was more uncomfortable was that the empress’ food was as unpalatable as ever.
After dinner was over, the empress finally said the second sentence of the night to Yu Yan, “Yan’er is not young, but you haven’t married yet. Might it be you already have someone in mind?
Yu Yan: “…”
He knew there was no good intention to invite him to dinner.
Yu Yan gave a reluctant grin and replied: “Replying to empress mother, no.”
“No is good.” The empress nodded. “There is a little niece in my palace, who is sixteen years old. No matter her character or appearance, she matches very well with you. Why don’t you invite her into your palace on another day and meet her first? It’ll be good to make the marriage arrangements as soon as possible.”
Yu Yan: “…”
“No!” Before Yu Yan could answer, Yu Hong interrupted, frowning. “Empress mother, you don’t mean that.”
Yu Hong was a little angry: “Why do you want to force Imperial brother to marry? He has never even seen her yet!”
“Shut up.” The empress scolded, “I am talking to your imperial brother. When has it become your turn to interrupt?”
Yu Hong opened his mouth but no words came out.
The empress turned back to Yu Yan and went on, “Yan’er, I am also doing this for your own good. A man first gets married and then opens a business. To see you marry a wife and have children, I believe that if your late birth mother’s soul still lingers, she can rest in peace.
Lingering after one has passed on.
Yu Yan’s eyes closed, but he still didn’t say a word.
The empress was still trying to persuade, but the words flew by Yu Yan’s ears.
He neither listened nor interrupted. After the empress had finished speaking, Yu Yan didn’t rush to get up and knelt in front of the empress. “Thank you, empress mother. But there is no need.”
Yu Yan’s tone was steady and polite. “This child is dedicated to Great Yan. There are no plans to marry a wife and have children.”
The empress’s face changed. “Yan’er, you might as well consider once more…”
“Consider?” Yu Yan raised his eyes to look at her, showing a hint of coldness. “Consider marrying one from the Qin clan, so that you can easily control my every move?”
“Or let Imperial father bestow a nobility title on me as an excuse, and from now on become an idle marquis far away from Jiang Du?”“
Yu Yan looked down. “This child has been disrespectful.”
The empress still wanted to say, but Yu Yan patted his clothes and straightened up. “There’s also…”
“If you5Formal you really want the spirit of this child’s concubine mother to rest in peace, was there a need to pick on him on the day of her passing to plot against her only son?”
As soon as he said this, not only the empress was stunned, even Yu Hong beside him was frozen.
“If empress mother has nothing else, this child will leave first.”
Yu Yan bowed to the empress and turned away.
It was unsure when it started snowing in the sky.
When Yu Yan came, he allowed no one to follow. At this moment, there was no sedan chair waiting outside. Fortunately, there were only a few scattered snowflakes in the sky. There was still time to return to this palace hall before the snow became heavy.
Yu Yan gathered the fox pelt on his body and walked into the snow.
Someone called him behind him, “Imperial brother!”
Yu Yan paused his footsteps.
Yu Hong hurriedly ran out from the hall. “Why didn’t imperial brother take the sedan chair? Take my sedan chair and go home.”
Yu Yan questioned, “If I used yours, what would you do later on?”
“Let them come back to pick me up again.” Yu Hong said. “Anyway, empress mother wants me to stay for a while. I’m not in a hurry to go back.”
“No need.” Yu Yan shook his head, “The snow is not heavy, I will walk by myself.”
“Imperial brother…” Yu Hong grabbed his hand and whispered, “Apologies, when the empress mother said today that she would invite you for an evening meal, she didn’t tell me this. I didn’t know…”
“It’s none of your business.”
Yu Yan patted the snowflakes on his shoulder, and said with a smile, “Quickly go in. Not wearing a robe; beware of catching a cold.”
After speaking, he waved to Yu Hong, turned and walked into the snow.
But instead of walking in the direction of his own palace hall, he went in another direction.
That was where his concubine mother lived.
The ninth day of the first lunar month of each year was the memorial day of Yu Yan’s mother.
Yu Yan’s biological mother was a brothel woman. She fell in love with the Yan emperor who visited incognito, and was brought to the palace to give birth to a son. After giving birth to the emperor’s heir, everyone felt that she became noble because of her child, rising up in position. But when Yu Yan was five years old, she suddenly left a suicide note and threw herself into a well in the courtyard of her hall.
Yes, even now, everyone still thought the woman committed suicide by throwing herself into a well.
Only Yu Yan knew the truth.
Yet, he could not say.
To this day, even the murderer had forgotten the lonely, helpless woman who was forced to death on a snowy night more than ten years ago.
The palace in front of him was brightly lit. The courtyard was covered with dyed silk and red lanterns. Several eunuchs were making snowmen in the courtyard. In the distance, there were palace ladies waving fireworks sticks, laughing and chasing each other.
Yu Yan stood by the palace wall, watching all this from a distance.
Yu Yan’s mother was extremely favored during her lifetime, and lived in one of the most lively palaces in the harem.
A few years after she passed away, Yu Yan could still go to the courtyard where his mother fell into the well to pray to her.
Later, the courtyard was rewarded to other concubines and after several changes, it was no longer what it used to be.
Until now, he was unable to find a place to reminisce about his mother.
Yu Yan stood there for a long time, the cold wind whipped through his clothes mercilessly, piercing his bones like needles.
He gave a long exhale, tightening the fox pelt on his body, and turned to leave.
A tall figure stood under a tree in the distance, staring at him fixedly.
He was unsure how long Mu Yungui stood there. The shoulders and hair were covered with snow; he seemed to cut a sorry figure.
Yu Yan lowered his eyes. The corner of his mouth couldn’t help but bend slightly.
He walked over two, three steps, questioning with a grin, “Why come back so soon, afraid that I will be bullied?”
“En.” Mu Yungui nodded. “I’m afraid you’ll6Formal you be bullied.”
Yu Yan: “Were you always following me?”
“No.” Mu Yungui stated. “Went back to the hall and realised that Master is not there. So…”
“So you came here directly?” Yu Yan asked. “How do you know I am here?”
Mu Yungui answered. “Because on this day, Master will always come here every year.”
Every year on this day, he would come here, standing there for many hours.
In this way, he paid tribute to the woman who was buried forever in the winter. In this way, he reminded himself to keep going and not to give up.
Yu Yan suddenly took a step forward and hugged the person in front of him tightly.
The wind and snow in the sky gradually got heavier. Inside the palace walls were smoke from fireworks and sounds of laughter.
On the other side of the wall, there was a Mu Yungui.
All his joys, anger, sorrows, and grievances were known, were understood.
This road was filled with difficulties, full of thorns. But fortunately, he was not alone.
Yu Yan felt the other’s rapid pounding heartbeat and closed his eyes. “Then you are late. Someone really bullied me just now.”
Mu Yungui looped around his waist and said softly, “Then I will avenge Master.”
“You never asked who it was.”
“This subordinate doesn’t care.”
Yu Yan raised his head. The other side’s handsome eyes lowered, and endless tenderness shone from within.
He looked for a long time before he broke free from Mu Yungui’s embrace, his ears slightly flushing. “Let’s go, let’s go. Return to the palace, this highness is almost freezing to death!”
Side questions for commenters,
As this term of address will pop-up rather frequently, would you prefer the Chinese term Huangxiong (皇兄) or Imperial brother?
Former has 2 syllabus while the latter has 6 syllabus haha. Or if you have other substitute for calling a brother who’s a prince, do comment below too~
- 1This is a term of address for eunuch. Like Sir/Mr or such.
- 2A banquet set up to murder a guest
- 3Raws was 踩着饭点到了皇后寝宫: Everyone arrived, then he reached the latest.
- 4Formal you
- 5Formal you
- 6Formal you