Translator: Amber.es | Editor: cresscentmoon
Bolding you when formally used.
Within a private room of the biggest restaurant in the city, Mu Yungui served Yu Yan a piece of pastry. “Is Master still thinking about what happened just now?”
Yu Yan came back to his senses. He nodded. “Yes.”
The forces in the imperial court were split into two factions. If there was no participation from the prime minister, he and Eldest imperial brother were evenly matched.
But once the prime minister was involved, things would get a little tricky.
Yu Yan explained, “The prime minister wants to become Guo Zhang1国丈: Common name of the emperor’s father-in-law. Although he didn’t say it clearly, the hidden meaning in his words was that if I disagree, he will turn to support Eldest imperial brother.”
“Once Eldest imperial brother has the support of the state ministers, I am afraid…” Mu Yungui’s eyes darkened. He asked in a low voice, “What’s Master’s plan now?”
“I asked him to give me three days to think about it.” Yu Yan lowered his head and took a bite of the pastry. One of his cheeks bulged as he chewed carefully. He swallowed that bite before snorting coldly, “The group of ministers under the prime minister all cover for one another’s acts. Don’t know how many corrupt officials have been raised from that pool. If he really becomes Guo Zhang, isn’t it asking for me to become a puppet emperor?”
It wasn’t surprising that Yu Yan detested being controlled.
Mu Yungui: “If it is the eldest prince, he might not refuse.”
“That’s natural.” Yu Yan sneered. “Eldest imperial brother is the kind of person who can do everything for power. Compared to me, he is much more relaxed. He doesn’t think about this and that, about the next many steps.”
Mu Yungui lowered his head and did not answer.
Yu Yan nibbled at the pastry and finally noticed that Mu Yungui’s mood was not right.
He glanced to the side, then understood.
This blockhead was brewing vinegar.2木头醋了. Funny thing is because vinegar is aka jealousy. The literal translation is ‘This blockhead becomes vinegar’.
All the worries Yu Yan had in his heart were swept away. His heart did a little jump of happiness.
He obviously minded it so much, and yet refused to say anything.
Starting to worry now?
I’ll make you brew till you die.3醋死你。Make you jealous till you die
Yu Yan cleared his throat and deliberately said with a serious face, “In fact, ignoring those groups of corrupt officials under the prime minister’s hands, it’s not a bad thing to marry his daughter.”
Mu Yungui froze.
“I heard that the lady is well-known for being an exquisite, intelligent, knowledgeable, and talented woman.” Yu Yan paused. He glanced at Mu Yungui from the corner of his eye. “After all… the king of a country can’t live without a queen.”
Mu Yungui’s eyebrows furrowed. His fingers on the table slowly curled up.
Yu Yan held his chin as he looked at Mu Yungui casually, and waited quietly for the other’s response.
But Mu Yungui stayed silent.
Yu Yan was slightly frustrated. He finished his last mouthful of pastry and stood up. “Let’s go. Head back to the palace. I still have to consider the prime minister’s suggestion.”
He turned around to leave, but was grabbed by the wrist.
Yu Yan turned.
Mu Yungui was gripping his hand tightly, hard enough that Yu Yan felt a twinge of pain.
That pair of handsome eyes gazed deeply at Yu Yan, as if concealing some sort of intense emotion.
He had to say, Mu Yungui’s appearance was a tiny bit scary.
Yu Yan swallowed. “You…what’s the matter with you?”
Mu Yungui queried softly, “Does Master really want to consider lord prime minister’s suggestion?”
The hand holding his wrist was terribly hot. Yu Yan looked away, feeling a little aggravated in his heart. “I…”
The two of them were in a stalemate. The private room was so quiet one could hear a needle falling.
“Sir, your sweet osmanthus cake is here!” The private room’s door was suddenly pushed open and Yu Yan was almost hit by the shop’s waiter who rushed in.
Mu Yungui quickly pulled him back. Yu Yan was not standing firmly, and fell directly onto Mu Yungui’s lap.
Yu Yan: “…”
The waiter blinked blankly. “This… you, are you done eating?”
Yu Yan, barely maintaining his calm and serene expression, nodded. “I’m done. You can pack this. Thank you.”
The waiter took the pastry and left, leaving only the two of them in the room.
Still, Mu Yungui did not loosen his grip.
He held Yu Yan’s waist with one hand. His forearms were stretched taut, blocking Yu Yan’s chance to escape.
Yu Yan was a little uneasy. He gently pushed Mu Yungui’s hand. “Yungui, let go…”
“Master hasn’t answered this subordinate yet,” Mu Yungui’s serious and deep voice sounded from behind his ears. Yu Yan’s eyes lowered. The red mole on the back of his neck was slightly hot.
He was too close.
Close enough that Yu Yan could feel his breath condensing behind his ears.
Yu Yan’s heartbeat sped up exponentially. Before he could answer, the other’s hand fell on his waist.
Yu Yan’s waist turned soft in an instance.
Mu Yungui knew too well where he should touch. That hand on Yu Yan’s waist moved with a vile thought. Even through the layers of clothes, Yu Yan could feel the scalding heat of Mu Yungui’s palm, a silent provocation.
Yu Yan was bent forward. He pressed his lips tightly. The long scattered hair hanging behind him draped to the side, revealing a small part of the slender white neck hidden behind, as well as the tiny birthmark on it.
He was dead.
Looks like he overdid it.
The omega, who was completely marked, couldn’t stand any teasing. Yu Yan trembled. Mu Yungui lowered his head and moved closer to the back of Yu Yan’s neck.
The human body in his embrace was rigid.
Mu Yungui was instantly clear-headed.
His arm loosened. Yu Yan quickly got up and backtracked a few steps.
It was the first time Yu Yan had clearly felt an alpha’s suppression. In front of the alpha who had marked him, he had almost no room for resistance.
Yu Yan’s breath hitched. He had always had a lingering fear of this loss of control.
Seeing Yu Yan’s appearance, Mu Yungui’s eyes darkened and he followed. “Apologies. This subordinate…”
“Let’s head back to the palace.”
Yu Yan interrupted him. With a turn of his head, he walked out of the room.
In the next two or three days, Mu Yungui did not appear in front of Yu Yan again.
It was like going back to the beginning of everything. That person hid in a dark place where no one could see him, silently performing the duties of a shadow guard.
… It was too much.
Deep into the night, Yu Yan jumped onto the bed and hammered the bed hard.
He admitted that at that time, he was simply courting trouble, deliberately angering Mu Yungui. As a result, it pressured that person.
And it was indeed him who, after pushing him to his limit, was also frightened by his reaction, not saying anything to the other the whole afternoon.
How could the bastard ignore him? !
It had been three days!
Tomorrow was the day he had to reply to the prime minister and the bastard was still at loggerheads with him.
Does he really not care who he chose?
Yu Yan felt a little wronged.
Not only wronged, but also hungry.
The past three days, Mu Yungui did not show up in front of him. He could sense that the other was still in the palace. When the inner servants brought dinner at night, he purposely used the excuse of his heart being distracted to chase them out with the food.
He didn’t believe Mu Yungui could really just watch him starve.
However, that bastard could really see it through.
Yu Yan held his belly and rolled on the bed.
The weather in late summer was hot and stuffy. The violent winds and thunderous lightning outside stirred one’s heart. The more Yu Yan thought about it, the angrier he became. And the angrier he was, the hungrier he became.
“Mu Yungui!” Yu Yan called out loudly.
The inner servants in the hall were chased away by him long ago. Within the empty hall, Yu Yan’s voice echoed.
In the past, though Mu Yungui was not in front of him, as long as Yu Yan called out, that person would immediately appear.
But not today.
Yu Yan yelled twice, and a figure flashed past, kneeling in front of him.
However, it was not Mu Yungui.
Shadow Two asked, “Lord Commander is not in the palace today. What order does your Highness command?”
“Not in the palace?” Yu Yan frowned. “Where did he go?”
Shadow Two: “This subordinate doesn’t know.”
Yu Yan questioned, “When did he leave?”
Shadow Two thought for a moment. “At sunset.”
At sunset. It had been almost six hours since then.
Where could he go?
Yu Yan felt uneasy.
In the past years, Yu Yan had long been used to it. Even if the person was not by his side, he would be guarding from a particular corner.
Even if he had to occasionally leave Yu Yan to do tasks, he would inform the time he would return in advance and definitely return before the scheduled time.
Mu Yungui had never left without saying goodbye like this.
Thunder exploded in the sky. The rain that was brewing throughout the night started falling in an instant.
Yu Yan opened the window as the heavy downpour flooded the whole area, encasing the entire courtyard in a thick curtain of rain.
Was he… angry?
It was because he had always refused to show his inner thoughts, causing Mu Yungui to always think that Yu Yan was only using him as a tool for relief. Loyalty, affection, and goodwill were all finite. There was a limit.
Had he exhausted Mu Yungui’s patience?
Rain lashed at the outer edges of the chamber hall, but it seemed to strike Yu Yan’s heart, one drop at a time, inciting disturbance in his heart.
No. He can’t panic at a time like this.
Yu Yan turned around and put on a piece of clothing before walking to the door. He ordered, “Prepare the horse, I want to go out of the palace.”
Shadow Two asked, “Your Highness, the night is dark now. Where are you going?”
Yu Yan stopped.
He didn’t know where to go.
Mu Yungui knew everything about him. But on the other hand, he didn’t know where Mu Yungui would go or what he would do when he was unhappy.
“I…” Yu Yan shut his eyes. “Head to the outer manor,” he muttered.
He could only think of this place.
Yu Yan yanked open the palace’s gate.
A figure jumped down from the roof and landed stealthily into the courtyard.
Mu Yungui was soaked all over. His fringe clung to the sides of his cheeks, making his face seem very pale. Under the rain, his handsome features appeared to be sharper and more chiseled. Those pale eyes lifted and steadily met Yu Yan’s gaze.
The heart that was originally lost, suddenly found its path again.
Without thinking, Yu Yan rushed into the rain, and hugged him tightly. “It was my fault. I’ll eat rice in the future. Won’t deliberately agitate you, nor get angry with you. Please don’t be angry with me anymore!”
Mu Yungui staggered under his hold, subconsciously embracing that man.
Mu Yungui called out but Yu Yan ignored it.
The downpour cut off all external sounds. He couldn’t hear what Mu Yungui was saying. Water dripped down his face. He couldn’t even open his eyes, only using his instinct to embrace the person tightly.
Mu Yungui sighed. He carried Yu Yan in his arms, princess style, and walked straight into the palace hall.
When he passed Shadow Two, the latter questioned: “His Highness’s carriage…”
Mu Yungui glanced at him coldly, then slammed the door shut.
Shadow Two was shut outside: “…”
Mu Yungui placed Yu Yan onto the small couch. The person looked like he had just been fished out of water, completely drenched from head to toe. He sat on the small couch, dazed, allowing Mu Yungui to help him untie his hair and take off his robe.
The latter turned around to leave but Yu Yan stopped him. “Where are you going?”
Mu Yungui: “This subordinate is going to bring water for Master.”
“Wait a minute.” Yu Yan grabbed his sleeves. “I, I have something to tell you.”
Mu Yungui stopped in his tracks.
Yu Yan lowered his head, not daring to look at him. He quickly confessed, “I lied to you before. I can’t marry another woman, let alone let the prime minister control me. It’s impossible to even think about it!”
“How could I marry another female? I don’t like her. I obviously only like… This will be unfair to that lady.”
Mu Yungui’s eyes wavered. “What did Master just say?”
Yu Yan blinked and repeated in a lowered voice, “…It’s unfair to that lady.”
Yu Yan dodged his gaze and continued, “Anyway, I have already thought about it. Isn’t it just losing the support of the prime minister’s faction? It’s not a big deal. Even if I fail to win the fight for the throne, once the Eldest imperial brother inherits the position, I can still grab it back.”
“In any case, I… I have made a choice.”
Even if, in the end, he was charged with conspiracy to usurp the throne, with the accusation of infighting, he would not accept being controlled by others, if it meant hurting Mu Yungui.
What he wanted to get, what he wanted to sacrifice.
Yu Yan had thought about it clearly.
“You won’t.” Mu Yungui said softly.
Yu Yan was startled.
Mu Yungui turned around and knelt in front of Yu Yan, watching him calmly. “The officials under the prime minister have been engaging in smuggling, fraud, corruption, and bribery. A total of 13 people have been killed by this subordinate tonight. As for the other thirty-six people involved, this subordinate has listed their crimes in the book, leaving them at the disposal of Master.”
Yu Yan opened his mouth, his throat dry. “You went out tonight to do this?”
Mu Yungui: “Yes.”
“Most of those thirteen people were important ministers within the imperial court. Even if Master verified the evidence of their crimes, it would still be difficult to convict them. Hence, this subordinate made the decision to remove the thorn in Master’s eyes.” Mu Yungui elaborated, “It’s a pity that there wasn’t enough time. The evidence obtained by this subordinate is not enough to implicate the prime minister.”
“Why did you……”
“Master, please rest assured. This subordinate’s actions are prudent, leaving no clues behind, let alone implicating Master.”
“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Yu Yan interrupted, “Why are you doing this?”
“Because…” Mu Yungui closed his eyes. “This subordinate does not want Master to marry the prime minister’s daughter.”
Yu Yan’s heart trembled. “Why didn’t you say it before?”
“This subordinate dare not say,” Mu Yungui expressed softly. “Master has planned this for many years. If due to the selfish desires of this subordinate, the best opportunity is missed, then this subordinate would only deserve to die.”
On this matter, no one could force Yu Yan to make a decision.
Regardless of whether Mu Yungui was just an imperial bodyguard. Even if they were equal, even if Mu Yungui was Yu Yan’s alpha, he was not qualified to ask Yu Yan to give up this opportunity for him.
But… in his heart, he was unwilling.
In this era, it was not surprising for men to have three wives, especially those who were monarchs.
But Mu Yungui was unwilling.
It took him so much time to have this person look at him, to finally be able to stand beside him.
How could he let him go so easily?
“This subordinate has been thinking for many days. Other than completely overthrowing the prime minister’s influence, I can’t think of anything else.” Mu Yungui looked into Yu Yan’s eyes and said seriously, “The thirteen lives tonight is a promise this subordinate gives to Master. Though this promise may not be as good as the conditions offered by the prime minister, this subordinate hopes that Master can give me some time.”
“Even if you lose the prime minister’s support, seizing the throne will not fail. This subordinate will not let the crime of usurping the throne fall onto Master.”
“I will try my best to assist Master in fulfilling his wishes. Would you be willing to…give me a chance?”
That person looked at him with a sincere and heated gaze. Yu Yan tilted his head, his eyes slightly red.
“You’re not a blockhead,” Yu Yan muttered.
Mu Yungui did not understand. “What is Master saying?”
“Saying such things, how could you be a blockhead?” Yu Yan’s voice was hoarse, choked with emotions. “Sure enough, the past was all pretend.”
“This subordinate speaks from the bottom of his heart. It’s not…”
“I know!” Yu Yan was so angry his tears couldn’t come out, hating iron for not becoming steel. “Who needs you to explain? At this time, will you die if you give me a hug?”
Mu Yungui stood there blankly.
He got up slowly, bent over and embraced the thin and soft body into his arms.
Mu Yungui still had a faint bloody aura and a damp breath of rain on his body. But his heart was as warm as before.
Yu Yan buried his head in Mu Yungui’s arms. His shoulders trembled silently.
Mu Yungui gently stroked his hair, and asked quietly, “Was Master… trying to find this subordinate just now? Were you worried that I would leave without saying goodbye?”
Yu Yan’s shoulders stopped trembling for a moment. He buried his head in the embrace and refused to answer.
Why was this person so good at using only one sentence to disrupt the whole atmosphere?
Could he not mention this shameful thing?
Mu Yungui obviously didn’t understand this. He continued, “For every day Master is willing to have this subordinate stay by his side, this subordinate will always accompany Master.
“…This subordinate will never leave Master alone.”
Yu Yan acknowledged with a soft ‘En’.
The two embraced quietly. No sounds were made.
The pattering sound of rain outside the windows was no longer annoying. It simply made the atmosphere all the more tranquil.
A short while later —
Yu Yan: “…”
It was his turn to spoil the atmosphere this time, was it?
Mu Yungui stated, “Master didn’t have dinner today?”
Yu Yan: “…En.”
It was said in the folk stories that people who get into a relationship always love to do stupid things. Yu Yan didn’t believe it before, but now he felt like the folk stories were not as stupid as he had thought.
Mu Yungui was working hard to help him fulfill his long-cherished wish while he went on a hunger strike at home and held a one-sided cold war with that person.
…Never seen anyone as foolish as him.
Mu Yungui released Yu Yan and stood up.
“Where are you going?”
Mu Yungui: “Master can take a shower first. This subordinate will prepare something for Master to eat.”
“Don’t.” Yu Yan also stood up. “You’re still wet. Take a shower and change your clothes first.”
Yu Yan couldn’t help but interrupt. “Be good.”
Mu Yungui glanced at him and helplessly nodded, “Will listen to Master.”
An hour later, the two of them had finished bathing and changing their clothes. They walked to the rear kitchen together.
There was no one to guard the kitchen at night, and when they got there, even the fire in the stove had long been extinguished. Mu Yungui held the oil lamp in one hand, and Yu Yan in the other, pushing open the door of the back kitchen.
As soon as he walked in, he was hit with a dense smell of smoke and fire.
Yu Yan had never been in this place before. He looked left and right curiously.
Mu Yungui placed the oil lamp on the stove and tilted his head to look at Yu Yan, a little worried. “Master should head to the hall and wait. This subordinate will return soon.”
“I don’t want to.” Tonight, Yu Yan wanted to stick to this person. He insisted, “I can help you. Two people will be faster.”
Mu Yungui: “…”
Even if Mu Yungui possessed superhuman expression management capabilities, he couldn’t help but reveal a trace of suspicion at this moment.
Two people… will be faster.
He couldn’t believe it at all.
And the facts proved that he was right.
The second prince almost overturned the oil lamp. While boiling the water, he almost burnt the pot. While cutting vegetables, he almost cut his fingers. So on and so forth. After a series of clumsy incidents, he finally “assisted” Mu Yungui in cooking two bowls of noodles.
On top of the simple plain noodles, green vegetables were placed and chopped green onions were sprinkled, together with a spoonful of spicy oil, making one hungry in a flash.
Yu Yan couldn’t even wait to return to his bedchamber. He looked for a low stool nearby, sat down, and ate, completely engrossed in his food.
Mu Yungui leaned against the stove and stared attentively at Yu Yan.
A precious youth sat casually by the kitchen stove, his cuffs rolled up to reveal a thin wrist. His plain white clothes hung on the ground, not knowing when they had been dirtied with dust.
His posture was as elegant as before, but just a little smokier.
“What are you staring at me for?” Yu Yan raised his head. The flickering lights reflected his facial features clearly, as if coating him with a layer of warm velvet light.
There was some flour on the tip of his nose, making him look kind of cute.
Mu Yungui did not answer. He bent down and rubbed the tip of that nose with his fingertips.
Yu Yan sat upright. “Did you want to say something to me just now?”
Mu Yungui: “What?”
“Even if you don’t tell me, I know.” The light from the lamp and Mu Yungui’s figure were shining in Yu Yan’s eyes, as he whispered softly,
“I love you too.”
- 1国丈: Common name of the emperor’s father-in-law
- 2木头醋了. Funny thing is because vinegar is aka jealousy. The literal translation is ‘This blockhead becomes vinegar’.
- 3醋死你。Make you jealous till you die