The big doors were kicked open with a loud thud.
Xiao Zuo slowly turned his head, and before he could say anything, that black fabric was pulled off.
His god’s eyes were crimson, the ruthlessness in the features were so heavy he seemed much more like an evil spirit coming from hell, carrying a body of bloodiness and frosty snow, then cutting a gap in the bottom of the sea, letting in a bit of light.
Xiao Zuo seemed like he forgot to breathe, and held in his breath while watching him vacantly, while that completely soaked inner robe outlined his frail and alluring shape.
He Xuan abruptly pulled out the sword thrust into that person’s body, and the blood that splattered all over dyed his outer robe into a bright red colour.
He casually tossed the sword to one side.
This blood-soaked Asura withdrew his wrath, then, like treating some porcelain item that just finished baking, very carefully and extremely lightly reached both hands towards him, yet also seemed like he was afraid of scaring him, and thoroughly wiped the bloodstained right hand over the tablecloth, then extremely clumsily pulled the still slightly shivering Xiao Zuo into his arms.
“It’s alright now, it’s alright now.” He Xuan’s embrace was very hot.
When Xiao Zuo was leaning on his chest, he could distinctly hear his powerful heartbeat, sound after sound, like the interior was trapped with a beast.
“I am here……” He Xuan lightly lifted his hand up, and wiped away the rolling tears from the corner of Xiao Zuo’s eye, then patted his back like coaxing a small child, “I am here, Li Nu, it’s alright now……”
Who knew that once these words of his came out, the small cat in his arms would cry even more fiercely, bearing a fear after surviving a disaster, and cried out loud like he completely did not care for his reputation.
The fluffy head rubbed to and from on his chest, He Xuan’s heart was dressed with many clothes, yet he could feel the slight dampness from the tears.
After a while, Xiao Zuo seemed to have exhausted himself from crying.
His chin propped on He Xuan’s shoulder, his eyes slightly shut, but the body had not come out from lingering effects of the cry just now, and would whimper every so often.
He Xuan’s left shoulder hurt a bit from Xiao Zuo’s head.
He tried calling out, but the person in his arms did not move at all, as though he had finally exhausted of all his strength and slept.
He Xuan lightly sighed.
He undid his outer robe and draped it over Xiao Zuo’s body, moved the legs that went numb from kneeling down, and then carried Xiao Zuo up.
Xiao Zuo was having some dream, his long lashes were still hung with a few drops of tears, while the corner of the eyes were smeared with a damp red.
The throat grumbled a bit, and He Xuan thought he was about to wake up, but who knew he adjusted his position in He Xuan’s arms, and buried half of his face into the crook of his arm, and slept very deeply.
He Xuan’s standing figure paused, his name was probably spun in Xiao Zuo’s dreams for an instant, and accidentally leaked out from his mouth.
He Xuan lowered his eyelashes, and attentively stared at Xiao Zuo’s sleeping face.
After a slight moment, He Xuan lowered his head, and gave a kiss like a dragonfly skimming over water over his tear-stained eyes.
“I am here.”
He Xuan carried Xiao Zuo down from the carriage, and placed him on the bed in his own room, and refused the maid beside him for help, then personally covered him with a blanket, and even tucked in the corner of the blanket without any instruction.
“Your Highness, it was done by the Liu family’s third son.”
He Xuan’s expression couldn’t been seen to be happy or angry, Yin Xing paused, and spoke up.
“Should we kill him”
“No.” He Xuan’s eyes flashed with a bloodthirsty light like that of a beast’s in the dark night.
He seemed to have thought to some interesting matter, slightly curled up his lips, and had a slight smile, “How could I let him off lightly like this.”
“Duke, his Highness the Crown Prince has come.” A small servant girl knocked on the door.
Zi Wan’s hand halted while brushing Xiao Zuo’s hair for him, then saw the bronze mirror vaguely reflect with the figure of He Xuan coming in the door.
Zi Wan roughly glanced the bronze mirror, and felt Xiao Zuo’s body move a bit, unable to hold back like a small cat that just saw its owner, anxiously wanting to go rub on He Xuan.
Zi Wan lowered her eyes.
Since that night Xiao Zuo went out to watch a play with He Xuan and was sent by He Xuan back to the residence on the next day, there was always something different between the two.
Xiao Zuo only said that he stayed at He Xuan’s residence for one night, but when Zi Wan asked again, he put on an awkward expression and didn’t say anything, so she could only let it go.
But these days, He Xuan came a bit more frequently, and sometimes, before he even had time to change out of the court robes, he would have already hurried to the ducal residence.
Zi Wan was also happy for Xiao Zuo too- after all as a prisoner of war, it may sound nice on the surface, but in the end, it was not good to go out and walk around randomly so often.
It was the bit of fun for Xiao Zuo’s days in Jin where he could not go out.
Each day, He Xuan would discuss about some poems and songs with him, and occasionally, the two would also go out and walk around the night market, and was considered to be Xiao Zuo’s seldom amusement.
Seeing He Xuan come in, Xiao Zuo subconsciously narrowed his eyes and smiled.
Zi Wan was still tying his hair for him, so He Xuan leaned against the partition to wait for him, and through the partition, Xiao Zuo could outline that silhouette of his, and unknowingly, had a bit of a dubious feeling, like the scene of a husband who came from the courts waiting for his wife to dress up.
Xiao Zuo then got frightened by this strange thought of his- he might be quite close to He Xuan right now, but if one were to say that he really had some lingering ideas, then it wasn’t that clear.
Perhaps he was not yet enlightened in the path of love, and was like he was peering at flowers through fog when facing these things like love.
All throughout this time, it was like it was shrouded in a layer of veil, even he himself did not understand.
“Not done yet” He Xuan did not say anything, but Xiao Zuo was already a bit anxious that he got irritated.
Zi Wan tied his hairband, then nodded her head, “It’s done, it’s done.”
Xiao Zuo glanced at the person in the mirror, and slightly made a small joyous run over, “Your Highness, is there anything new today”
He Xuan was amused by this excited look of his, and could not help but stroke his hair that had been brushed neatly, “Certainly so, [I’ll] be bringing you to a fun place today.”
“Let’s hurry and go then.” Xiao Zuo was young, and still had a slight heart to go play- at this time, he long already dressed with a fur coat and a hat and waited at the door, and even urged He Xuan hurriedly.
The two did not ride a carriage, and wandered at the inner main street.
The sides of the street were all shops calling out with food, with an innumerable number of fried and oily pancakes, spreading with its scent for tens of miles.
“Brother Xuan, how much longer do we walk” It was not convenient to say your Highness outside, so the two called each other brothers.
Xiao Zuo’s Nan Liang dialect was still very heavy, so when reciting his name, it would carry a slight soft nasal tone, carrying a hard-to-describe dubiousness to it that made He Xuan have some passing thoughts.
“We’ll arrive soon.” He Xuan stopped in his steps.
To the side was the capital’s most famous fried cake store- sticks of golden fried cakes with flaky exteriors and tender interiors were displayed at the entrance of the store, and just looking at it made people’s appetites move.
“Want to eat”
Xiao Zuo nodded his head, and said with a bit of embarrassment, “But I didn’t bring any silvers.”
“I knew you didn’t bring any.” He Xuan in this moment already brought a bag of steaming hot fried cakes, and passed it to Xiao Zuo, “Have some.”
This fried cake store had striking fame, and was long already filled with people at this time.
Just now when the two were in front of the store, they could already see people lining up into a crowd with no end in sight, so even when Xiao Zuo said he wanted to eat it, he had some intent of just watching and stepping back.
Once one waited too long for something, they would not want to eat it.
Who knew what miracle He Xuan used, after a moment, he came out from the inside and Xiao Zuo looked at him in slight shock.
He Xuan stuffed the paper bag into Xiao Zuo’s hands, and spoke like he was seeking credit, “I gave the owner three times the price to buy it, eat it while it’s hot.”
Xiao Zuo then understood, but he typically did not have any concept of money- it was something that he would forget after hearing it, and his attention was again moved to the fragrant fried cakes in his hands.
“Are you not eating”Xiao Zuo pulled down the paper bag, and took a bite while asking in a muffled voice.
“How about you feed me” He Xuan lifted his eyebrows, and laughed.
Xiao Zuo froze, and slightly hesitantly knitted his eyebrows.
He worriedly had a great mental struggle, but in the end, still moved that paper bag to the side of He Xuan’s mouth.
It was the first time he did this, so he unfamiliarly lowered his eyes, then coughed, “Have a bite.”
He Xuan originally meant to have Xiao Zuo use his mouth to feed him.
This was originally a method of flirting that wealthy sons were accustomed with using, and he thought that Xiao Zuo should know about it.
Seeing him hand over a paper bag with a lack of romance, he did not know if he should be angry or helpless, and only took it and had a bite, then answered indifferently, “The flavour is not bad.”
When he said this, they already arrived at the destination of this journey, and He Xuan then stopped, “We’re here.”
This place was the capital’s destination for selling antique toys, calligraphy, and painting, normally when there were some rare toys, they would all be sent here.
But just from looking at the door, it seemed very modest.
The door plaque was written with “Rarity Hall”, it was not big, and was not very conspicuous in the bustling inner main street.
Xiao Zuo then followed He Xuan inside.
The servant boy recognized He Xuan, so he led them into a compartment, sent some fruits and cakes, then wisely withdrew.
“I hear that today, they are selling a work from a Nan Liang artist, and especially brought you here to look.” At this time, the proceedings had already gone halfway through.
The few things before were all some regular jade accessories and whatnot, He Xuan did not have much interest to look at them, so he started randomly explaining to Xiao Zuo.
Instead, Xiao Zuo’s heart went warm.
Other than Zi Wan and De Qing, right now in Jin, only He Xuan would care about him like this, who knows how he should repay this favour.
Very soon, the stage was placed with the painting that He Xuan spoke of.
Turns out it was a small picture of a pair of mandarin ducks paddling in the water- in the very middle were two mandarin ducks crossing necks, with a few words to the side as well.
The painting itself did not have anything special to it, so the people bidding for it were not many.
When He Xuan received the painting the servant sent, the morning auction had not ended yet.
“Like it” He Xuan spread open that painting, then Xiao Zuo got close, and saw that inscription.
If one becomes a flounder, whom would reject death, to even turn into mandarin ducks, but not admire the celestials.
“I didn’t see it clearly before, but this death character is certainly unlucky.” He Xuan knitted his eyebrows.
Xiao Zuo did not know if he really did not understand or was pretending he did not know, and said, “It is simply conveying its true feelings, one flaw does not obscure the splendour.”
“If you like it, then that’s enough.
It was originally meant to be gifted to you.”
The meaning behind this painting was too dubious, at this time, Xiao Zuo did not dare to have some lingering thoughts, and took it as He Xuan wanting to relieve some of his feelings of yearning for his hometown, then took it, “Thank you, Brother Xuan.”
He Xuan originally wanted to test Xiao Zuo’s reaction, but who knew he would meet with an unspoken grievance.
His features had some irritated gloominess to it, and he spoke with knitted eyebrows, “No need to say thanks.”