Chapter 11 – Can you stay with me?

It was close to midnight when the two returned to the palace hall.

The snow fell heavily. Mu Yungui took off his outer robe and wrapped the person tightly. He then encircled the person in his arms, using qing gong1More information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qinggong to leap across the wall with little effort.

Up in the sky, there were no stars or moons. Heavy snow accumulated everywhere, but the wind and frost was blocked by Mu Yungui.

Even after standing in the snow for so long, the clothing on his body was still very warm. Through the clothes, that heat was transmitted to Yu Yan. His frozen limbs gradually warmed up.

Yu Yan raised his eyes. From his perspective, he could only see the other’s side profile.

The curvature of that jaw line was exquisite and smooth, the contour of it was extremely defined. Even fine brushwork could not imitate.

This man’s appearance was simply a crime.

Mu Yungui was actually not suitable to be a shadow guard. This person was too special and too attractive. Even amongst the crowd, he was a most unignorable existence.

But for Yu Yan, he walked in the dark all year round, restraining all his sharp edges.

Yu Yan looked on until he went into a daze, not realizing that Mu Yungui had already landed steadily at the palace’s gate with his arms surrounding him.

He did not move, and Mu Yungui did not let go either.

The palace lantern beside the road was dim and unclear. The two embraced closely on this silent snowy night, like a pair of intimate lovers.

“Master?” After a while, Mu Yungui whispered.

Yu Yan just noticed what he was doing and his ears turned red. He broke free from his embrace. “Let’s-let’s quickly go in!”

Mu Yungui’s lips bent slightly, and he nodded.

The two walked side by side towards the palace gate. Mu Yungui suddenly paused in his footsteps, bringing Yu Yan into his arms.

He looked aside towards the shadowed area, coldly stating, “Who?”

Yu Yan was taken aback. His eyes followed Mu Yungui’s gaze.

A shadow walked out from the palace wall.

It was Yu Hong.

Perhaps he had been waiting in the snow for a long time, but Yu Hong’s face did not look very well. His gaze sharpened on Mu Yungui’s arms around Yu Yan for a moment, and then looked at Yu Yan.

“Imperial…. Imperial brother…”

The braziers within the palace hall burned to a good temperature. Mu Yungui brought two cups of ginger soup, and Yu Hong curled up on the seat with a grievance, sipping his drink bit by bit. The little face was pale from the cold, and his body was still trembling slightly.

The ginger soup was filled with medicinal cold-preventing ingredients. Once Yu Yan finished drinking his soup, his body quickly warmed up.

Yu Yan asked, “Why are you here, did you quarrel with Empress mother?”

When Yu Hong was a child, every time Yu Hong quarreled with the empress, he would squat at the door of Yu Yan’s room.

Yu Hong nodded, his eyes were a little red.

Yu Yan pressed his glabella2The space between his eyebrows. “Because of me?”

Yu Hong did not answer. Yu Yan stared at him. “…Yes,” Yu Hong shortly whispered.

Yu Yan felt a little helpless, and sighed. “Ah Hong, you don’t need to confront Empress mother on my behalf. These things have nothing to do with you.”

“Why does it have nothing to do with me!” Yu Hong vented, “I know it all. Empress mother is worried that you will compete with me for the crown, but I don’t want to be emperor at all. I just–”

He paused, and then said, “I think only Imperial brother suits the crown. The rest of us—”

“Yu Hong.” Yu Yan interrupted softly. “There are some things you shouldn’t say.”

Yu Hong shut his mouth, upset.

Yu Yan told him, “Alright. After you drink the medicine, I will send someone to take you back.”

“Imperial brother…”

“It’s getting late, go back to rest early. Apologize to Empress mother tomorrow. She won’t blame you.”

“I don’t want to go back.” Yu Hong stretched his hand to pull on Yu Yan’s sleeves. “Imperial brother, can you please don’t drive me away. We haven’t slept on the same bed in a long while…”

“Don’t be so wilful.” Yu Yan said, “After you blocked Empress mother with your front foot, your back foot wants to stay overnight in my palace? Do you think she is not angry enough?”

Yu Hong: “…Oh.”

After Yu Hong drank the medicine, Yu Yan asked the servants to prepare a sedan chair and personally sent him out of the palace hall.

Before leaving the hall, Yu Hong suddenly looked back at him and declared, “I’ll not participate in the dispute for the crown prince. If necessary, I will help Imperial brother.”

Yu Yan asked, “Why?”

Yu Hong laughed. “Because I like Imperial brother the most.”

Yu Yan did not answer.

Yu Hong continued, “Imperial brother, give me some time. I will prove it.”

Once done, he got on the sedan and left.

Yu Yan looked at the direction of the sedan chair and frowned slightly.

Mu Yungui had already placed water in the bathtub and carefully mixed the perfumed spices within. Yu Yan soaked himself in the water and leaned against the wall of the white porcelain-carved bath, his body relaxed and limber.

“…So, the assassin did it last night?” Yu Yan asked.

Mu Yungui’s slender figure was reflected on the screen, standing upright. “Yes, this subordinate intercepted the assassins before they started, but the group of assassins were well-trained. This subordinate chased them all night, finally catching a single live one this morning and……”

“What?”

“There may be fish that slip through the net.”

Fish that slipped through the net. This meant that Meng Changzhou will continue to be in danger. It also meant that they may have alarmed the mastermind behind the scenes.

Yu Yan certainly doesn’t worry about the former.

Meng Changzhou wanted to kill him, but he had done his best to save that person once. His life and death have nothing to do with himself. He sent Mu Yungui this time just to investigate the identity of the instigator behind the scenes.

As for the latter, Yu Yan was even less worried.

He predicted that the mastermind would act against him soon, saving him to guess here and there.

Yu Yan pondered for a moment, and queried, “You just said that the group of assassins are a team of cavalry?”

Mu Yungui: “Yes.”

“Mountain roads are remote and deserted. That person has to fool others but also has to rush to kill Meng Changzhou before he returns to his hometown. It’s not surprising that he sent the cavalry. But as far as I know, other than Emperor father, to be able to freely dispatch cavalry — there can only be one.”

“The eldest prince Yu Shu.”

Yu Yan rubbed his eyes. His brain energised by the warm water vapor finally began to get a little tired.

He laid next to the stone steps. His voice was drowsy, “Where did you lock that person up?”

Mu Yungui answered, “In a manor on the outskirts of the city.”

“Huh…” That manor was used by Yu Yan to escape the summer heat, so he hadn’t been there for a long time. Yu Yan yawned. He propped his sleepy eyelids and said, “I’ll know more when I investigate tomorrow. Not now.”

Mu Yungui: “Yes.”

Then Yu Yan was silent.

Mu Yungui waited beside the screen. but still did not hear any movement. He whispered, “Master?”

No response.

Mu Yungui shook his head helplessly, went around the screen, and saw that the young man had fallen asleep on the stone steps.

Yu Yan was still soaking in the water, only his bare shoulders were exposed. His head tilted to one side, and the curve on the side of his shoulders and neck was slender and delicate. His drenched long hair spread out on the surface of the water, trying to cover most of the spring below.

Mu Yungui tightened his breathing.

He looked away uncomfortably, quietly apologizing and bent over to lift the person out of the water.

The skin under his palm was delicate and soft. Yu Yan tilted his head, unsuspectingly leaning into Mu Yungui’s arms. His cheeks were a little red from the steam, and his body was a little cold from the water. He instinctively moved closer to the heat source next to him.

Mu Yungui’s ears reddened in an instant, and he hardly dared to look on. He hurriedly placed the person on the soft couch, and pulled a bathrobe to wrap him up.

Yu Yan wasn’t sleeping very deeply, and was woken up by his movements.

It was just, he simply raised his eyelids, took a look, then he closed them with a peace of mind, leaning on the small couch and letting Mu Yungui wipe his hair.

The young man was only wrapped in a white silk robe. The hem of the robe was slightly scattered, revealing a slender white calf, hanging in the air and swaying gently. It was too eye-catching.

Mu Yungui sometimes didn’t know whether Yu Yan didn’t mind at all or that Yu Yan didn’t regard him as an alpha.

How could he be so…. defenseless?

Mu Yungui used his internal strength to help Yu Yan dry his hair before he carried Yu Yan back to the palace chamber.

He got up to leave, but his sleeve was pulled back.

“Where are you going?” Yu Yan’s voice was still very sleepy, sounding terribly tender.

Mu Yungui answered, “This subordinate will guard you from the outside.”

As a shadow guard, he would always find a hidden place in the palace at night to sleep so that he could take care of Yu Yan’s safety at any time.

Yu Yan grasped Mu Yungui’s sleeves. His eyelashes quivered slightly, and asked in a low voice, “Can you not leave tonight?”

Mu Yungui was stunned.

Yu Yan curled his fingertips and asked softly, “Can you stay with me?”

Mu Yungui looked at the young man on the bed, his throat a little dry for no apparent reason.

After a while, he whispered, “Okay.”

The night was dark. Mu Yungui extinguished all the candlelights in the house, leaving only one beside the bed.

Yu Yan curled up on the inside of the bed, leaving enough space for him. The young man’s thin back turned to him, as if he had fallen asleep.

Mu Yungui laid down.

Recently, he had been sharing the same bed with Yu Yan, but it happened after the temporary marking had ended and Yu Yan stuck to him, refusing to come down.

Something like this, lying quietly on a bed, doing nothing, had never happened before.

Unsure how long it had been since, Yu Yan turned and looked over. “Why aren’t you asleep?”

Mu Yungui did not have any sleepiness on his face, seriously answered, “This subordinate will keep a vigil for Master.”

“…” Yu Yan couldn’t help asking, “Aren’t you tired?”

Mu Yungui retained his silence.

“From catching up with Meng Changzhou three days ago, to chasing the assassins all night last night. After catching a person this morning, then rushing back without stopping, taking only half a day for a two day journey. Are you made of iron?”“

Yu Yan paused, then said, “You don’t have to do this for me.”

Mu Yungui: “But this subordinate is willing to do so.”

Yu Yan’s eyes quivered.

Mu Yungui continued, “Since leaving Master three days ago, this subordinate has been wondering and worrying everyday. Worried that when you wake, you’ll be afraid if there’s no light, worried that you won’t be used to eating the meals from the imperial kitchen room, worried that you’ll be in danger.”3As you know, Mu Yungui only uses the formal you to speak.

He laid on Yu Yan’s side, still rather rigid, but as his line of sight fell on Yu Yan, it was as gentle as before. “But no matter how fast this subordinate hurried, it was still too late as Master was bullied.”

Yu Yan’s voice was a bit dry: “How can I be as weak as you think?”

“En, indeed not.” Mu Yungui replied. “Master is very powerful and strong. It’s just that this subordinate can’t help but worry. This subordinate doesn’t want you to be even a little wronged.”

The rims of Yu Yan’s eyes were warm. Don’t overdo it. “I’m obviously talking about you. Why is it back to talking about me again?”

“Close your eyes and sleep, otherwise I will be angry.” Yu Yan turned his back to Mu Yungui. His voice softened. “Good night.”

Mu Yungui quietly stared at his back. A long while later, “Good night.”

 

The author has something to say:
This is the love story of a tsundere and a blockhead.

  • 1
    More information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qinggong
  • 2
    The space between his eyebrows
  • 3
    As you know, Mu Yungui only uses the formal you to speak.

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