Editor: Ning Ning
On the day the convoy arrived in Jiang Du, the city gate was wide open and the alleys were deserted.
This was the first time the Yan Empire had sent an envoy to another country. Furthermore, it was the second prince, beloved by his people, who had personally made the trip. The long main road of Jiang Du City had already been crowded with people since earlier.
The cacophonous sound of gongs and drums clamoured to the heavens, filling the land with loud noises.
The convoy’s carriage leisurely rolled in from the distance.
The First Prince of the Yan Empire personally led several important ministers to the gate.
The carriage stopped at the city’s gate.
Everyone got off their horses and bowed down.
Yu Yan didn’t let anyone support him as he got off the carriage. He greeted the First Prince, “This younger brother greets Imperial Brother.”
The First Prince, Yu Shu, was much older than Yu Yan. Though his eyebrows were somewhat similar to Yu Yan’s, Yu Yan had inherited his concubine mother’s appearance, gentle and elegant. Yu Shu looked more like Emperor Yan.
Yu Shu’s temperament was rigid and cold, opposite to Yu Yan’s temperament. Not to mention, within the imperial family’s open and hidden fighting among the princes, their relationship wasn’t any better.
He coldly nodded at Yu Yan and motioned for him to get up.
Yu Yan had just straightened up when a voice suddenly came from behind Yu Shu. “Imperial Brother!”
A slim young man sprang out from behind Yu Shu and hugged Yu Yan’s waist tightly.
Yu Yan was knocked half a step back. The corners of his mouth twitched.
…… My waist is going to break.
A few days ago, Yu Yan’s temporary mark had failed again, so he could only ask Mu Yungui for help. The bastard knew restraint at the beginning, and his movements were gentle and considerate. Who knew that the more time he spent behind him, the more ruthless he got. Yu Yan’s waist still hurt.
The young man unfortunately didn’t know this. He buried his head in Yu Yan’s bosom and rubbed his head against it. “Imperial Brother is finally back, I was so worried about you.”
“Ah… Ah Hong.” Yu Yan almost couldn’t maintain his indifferent expression. He whispered, “Many people are watching, don’t make a scene.”
The young man released him, upset. “”… Oh.”
This young man was the Fifth Prince, Yu Hong.
Yu Hong was the youngest of all of the Emperor’s children, and he was born with a fun-loving personality and had no interest in the throne. In the imperial household, he was the only one who had good relationships with his other brothers. He was well pampered by them all.
Coming to the city gate to personally see Yu Yan was not at all surprising, after all….. even the eldest prince couldn’t stand this kid acting coquettishly.
Yu Shu cleared his throat and said, “Imperial Father is hosting a banquet in the palace, follow me there ba.”
Yu Yan nodded, turned around, and instructed the rest of the envoys, “Enter the palace.”
The envoys responded in unison. They got up and returned to their horses and carriages. Only Meng Changzhou, who kneeled at the front, gave Yu Yan a meaningful look when he stood up.
Yu Yan happened to notice his gaze.
When Yu Yan asked him who was behind his assassination attempt, he said it was Yu Hong.
Could it be this kid?
Yu Yan lowered his eyes to look at the teenager still hanging on his arm. His eyebrows slightly wrinkled.
Yu Hong was oblivious to his thoughts. He tugged on Yu Yan’s sleeve and asked softly, “May I ride with Imperial Brother?”
Yu Yan, “……”
Only a few months have passed without seeing each other and this boy became more clingy??!
Without waiting for Yu Yan to answer, he suddenly felt a chill on his nape. Out of the corner of his eye, there was a displeased person looking at him. He glanced back. Mu Yungui lowered his head and stroked Xiao Hei’s mane, looking normal.
…… Did he sense wrongly?
Yu Yan shrank his neck.
He finally couldn’t resist Yu Hong’s coquettish offensive attack and took the person up the carriage.
The suppressant incense couldn’t suppress the scent on Yu Yan’s body, but it could disperse the remaining scent in the air. Therefore, on the way back, Yu Yan was always lighting the suppressive incense.
Currently, there was only a faint scent of the incense in the air, leaving the carriage without the slightest trace of its usage.
Even if it doesn’t fully disperse, it was fine. Yu Hong was still young and there were still several years before his gender settled, so he wouldn’t be able to smell any pheromones.
Yu Hong was annoyingly persistent, pestering Yu Yan to talk about this and that and he hadn’t stopped since he got into the carriage.
As he dealt with Yu Hong, Yu Yan lifted the curtain to look outside.
The New Year was soon approaching. The city of Jiang Du was decorated with bright lanterns and banners, creating the feeling of prosperity that surpassed the past
When the people on the street saw Yu Yan’s head probe out, they cheered and jumped.
Yu Yan had such a pleasant face, and when he smiled, he looked even more seductive. Coupled with an easy-going personality and often hanging around the streets and alleys, he was the common people’s most beloved prince.
He smiled and waved his hand towards the crowd. Some people in the crowd were bold enough to throw bouquets of flowers towards the carriage.
Throwing flowers to show love was a custom in the Yan Empire.
Before Yu Yan could react, a tall figure suddenly steered his horse in front of the carriage’s window and intersected a bouquet.
The flowers fell to the ground and were quickly trampled into the mud by the horse’s hooves.
Mu Yungui turned towards the woman who threw the flowers and coldy warned, “If this happens again, I’ll capture you as an assassin.”
The woman let out a cry of fear.
Yu Yan, “….”
There was a reason why this person was still unable to get a wife.
Yu Yan quietly criticized. Just at this time, Mu Yungui turned his head and two pairs of eyes suddenly collided.
The hint of anger in Mu Yungui’s eyes hasn’t disappeared and the more Yu Yan looked into them…. It was indeed a bit frightening.
The coldness in Mu Yungui’s eyes faded away in the next moment and returned to normal.
…… The change was so quick that Yu Yan felt as if what he had just seen was just an illusion.
Without waiting for Yu Yan to say anything, the teenager beside him realized he was being ignored. In exasperation, he pulled Yu Yan back, causing the carriage curtain to lower.
The convoy and it’s escorts galloped into the imperial city, and the Yan Emperor hosted the banquet at the Nine Star Pavilion to entertain the ministers that arrived.
Inside the Nine Star Pavilion, Emperor Yan sat on the throne.
Emperor Yan was currently fifty years old, yet his vitality looked poor.
Since the beginning of last year, Emperor Yan had become seriously ill and had rarely come down from his sickbed since then. Although he was left emaciated from being tortured by an illness for almost a year, the old man hasn’t lost his former majesty.
The banquet began.
The Nine Star Pavilion was bustling with singing and dancing, livening up the atmosphere.
However, Yu Yan was distracted.
He rested his chin on his hand. He fiddled about with the dishes in front of him, filled with clear and bitter vegetables. He sighed quietly.
……There was nothing that he liked to eat here.
“Yan’er,” Emperor Yan suddenly called out, “you’ve had a long journey. Come, drink a cup with me.”
As soon as the words left his mouth, an inner servant immediately came forward and filled a cup of wine for Yu Yan.
Yu Yan got up and bowed towards Emperor Yan. “Imperial Father, you must have forgotten that your son does not drink wine.”
Emperor Yan waved his hand. “Today is a family banquet in honor of your return after your meritorious service. There’s no harm in drinking a cup of wine with me.”
Yu Yan, “This……”
Not waiting for Yu Yan to say anything, the eldest prince suddenly interjected, “Second Brother, our imperial father is rarely in a good mood. If you continue to refuse, it will be improper.”
Once his words left his mouth, the banquet’s atmosphere suddenly became tense.
Being watched by the public, Yu Yan had no choice but to raise his wine cup and drink it all.
Emperor Yan laughed. “That’s right. Our great Yan Empire is rich in wine. As part of the imperial family of Yan, there isn’t any reason to not drink wine.”
Yu Yan, “…… Indeed.”
Yu Yan actually had no idea of his alcohol tolerance. Intoxication muddled the mind. In order to not slip out any important information, he rarely drank in public.
In the past, people knew his habits and no one dared to let him drink.
But with Emperor Yan’s invitation to a cup of wine, officials seemed to have been encouraged. They started toasting to Yu Yan one after another.
His Highness the Second Prince even made an exception for the first time, and poured almost half of a small pot.
It was not until around midnight that Emperor Yan announced the banquet to be dismissed.
“Imperial Brother, are you okay?” Yu Hong supported Yu Yan, worried. “Should we go to my palace first tonight?”
Yu Yan patted the back of Yu Hong’s hand. His eyes were still clear, and his steps were steady. “Of course I’m fine. Don’t underestimate your elder brother.”
“Master.” A voice interrupted Yu Hong’s words.
The two raised their eyes to see Mu Yungui standing by the palace wall. His tall figure blocked the light, making them unable to see his expression.
Guards couldn’t enter the Nine Star Pavilion, so naturally, Mu Yungui couldn’t enter. He could only wait outside.
Yu Yan, “You’re here……”
He turned to Yu Hong and said, “Hurry and return to your palace. I’ll be fine with Yungui here.”
“Do as you are told.”
Yu Hong pursed his lips and said in a muffled voice, “Got it.”
Yu Hong left in a sedan chair pulled by a carriage. The ministers who attended the banquet had dispersed one after another long ago, finally leaving only Yu Yan and Mu Yungui alone.
“This subordinate has prepared a sedan chair. Master—” Mu Yungui had opened his mouth when Yu Yan suddenly fell into his arms without warning.
Mu Yungui hurriedly caught the person, and soon after, perceived the smell of wine.
Yu Yan was completely relaxed, his head was against Mu Yungui’s shoulder and he gently rubbed against it. “Your shoulder is so hard……”
Mu Yungui, “……”
Mu Yungui asked, “Did Master drink too much?”
“No, just drank a little.” Yu Yan closed his eyes and said vaguely, “I don’t know what kind of bewitching soup that Yu Shu dog gave our father, insisting that I drink. He most likely wanted me to lose my manners in front of the whole palace.”
“Who does he think this Highness is? I’m not so easily tricked!”
Mu Yungui, “…………”
“This subordinate will help you into the sedan chair.”
“Don’t.” Yu Yan grabbed Mu Yungui’s sleeve and lifted his head. “You carry me back.”
The youth’s cheeks were tinged with pink, but his eyes were amazingly bright and filled with moisture. His soft lips opened and closed, and his eyebrows wrinkled unhappily. “Will you carry me back or not? This Highness is asking you!”
Mu Yungui forced himself to avert his eyes, his mouth was dry. “…… I’ll carry.”
It was nearly midnight. Other than servants making their rounds, the palace was practically empty.
It had just snowed during the day, and the snow on the ground had not yet melted away.
Mu Yungui carried Yu Yan on his back as he walked along the long passageway to the palace, his footsteps slow yet steady.
Yu Yan’s voice sounded in his ears, tipsy as can be, “Why is your back so hard, make sure to eat more.”
The corners of Mu Yungui’s mouth curved. “Alright, I’ll listen to Master.”
“You’re smiling?” Yu Yan inclined his head to look at him, his finger poking the side of Mu Yungui’s face. “You look so good when you smile.”
No one has ever said such a thing to him. Mu Yungui was stunned. The faint curvature at the corners of his mouth stiffened back to its original shape.
Yu Yan did not notice this. He continued, “You have to smile more, you can’t always be so fierce, otherwise how can anyone like you ……”
Mu Yungui blurted out, “So Master likes me?”
Yu Yan did not answer.
Mu Yungui’s heart was racing. He didn’t dare look back at Yu Yan’s expression.
In the silent snowy night, one could only hear the sound of the night breeze blowing against the treetops.
“How can I not like you?” Yu Yan’s voice was faint. Every word was soft and clear. “Within this imperial city, only you are sincere to me……”
“I like you the most.”