His highness's Allure - Chap 115
The distance between them was suddenly reduced. Shen Shijiu breathed in the faint fragrance of sandalwood and a medicinal odor. His earlobes reddened.
“I… I remember that my Lord invited me and shifu to eat something tasty…”
“Mm. What else?”
Pei Zheng leaned a little closer.
When this small man was sober, he understood etiquette and demureness. Shen Huan had taught him well; he knew exactly what he should and shouldn’t do. The skin on his face was still as thin as it was in the past.
However, when he was drunk, he was quite clingy; he was utterly shameless and didn’t know what shyness was.
“There were… a lot of people, and then my Lord got injured…”
Shen Shijiu looked down, and he gazed at the gauze over Pei Zheng’s shoulder, his fingers clenching in distress.
“My Lord, I’m going to reapply the ointment, okay? I’ll be gentle, I won’t hurt you.”
Pei Zheng lifted his chin slightly to look at him, and responded with an “mm”.
Shen Shijiu unwound the gauze, his movements extremely gentle. A small amount of blood was still seeping from the wound. It had been showing signs of healing and had almost closed, but now, the wound had become a bit more serious.
He applied the ointment, before sprinkling on the medicinal powder. Then, he gently rewrapped the gauze.
Pei Zheng hissed and took a deep breath which caused Shen Shijiu to immediately stop rewrapping the bandage.
“What’s wrong, my Lord? Did I hurt you?” Shen Shijiu’s gaze was filled with worry, “I was being as gentle as I could…”
Pei Zheng nodded, “It hurts.”
Shen Shijiu immediately became even more nervous. He held the strip of gauze that he hadn’t finished rewrapping, and stopped in front of Pei Zheng’s chest, not knowing how to proceed.
“My Lord, endure it for a little longer, okay?” Shen Shijiu said, “I’m going to bandage your wound.”
Pei Zheng interrupted him, his eyes pinned on the faint cut on the small man’s face.
Shen Shijiu didn’t think that Pei Zheng would be this uncooperative, “Then what should I do…”
The corners of his eyes drooped slightly; he looked quite aggrieved.
Pei Zheng placed his hand on Shen Shijiu’s back and gave him a light shove, pushing Shen Shijiu into the space between his legs.
Pei Zheng tapped a finger against his own lips, and he spoke as if he deserved his next request, “Kiss me.”
Shen Shijiu glanced up at Pei Zheng, and saw that he was looking right back at him. His fair cheeks flushed red.
“I-I… that’s… Shifu said… I can’t…”
Pei Zheng’s eyes narrowed, “If you keep mentioning your shifu my wound will hurt even more.”
Shen Shijiu hurriedly shut his mouth.
Pei Zheng tilted his face toward Shen Shijiu, signaling that he could kiss him now.
But Shen Shijiu tugged at the end of the gauze, twisting it back and forth, his heart thumping incessantly.
Pei Zheng continued to wait in an extremely patient manner. He was really going to wait until the small man took the initiative to lean in.
He had never been an upright gentleman, and he had used his fair share of despicable methods. But Pei Zheng had never been this hopeful. Never had he cared so much about something.
Shen Shijiu didn’t know how he had mustered such great courage. He closed his eyes, and slowly leaned over.
Just a kiss, and His Lordship’s wound won’t hurt anymore.
A warm kiss fell upon a pair of cool lips. Just as Shen Shijiu was about to pull away, a hand clasped the back of his head, and their lips and tongues were tightly entangled.
Shen Shijiu’s eyes were watery when Pei Zheng let go of him, and he was panting slightly as well. But he didn’t forget to ask, “My Lord, does it still hurt?”
Pei Zheng smiled, and wiped the saliva off of Shen Shijiu’s lips.
“It doesn’t hurt. You’re very sweet.”
Shen Shijiu tied the end of the gauze. Only then did he feel at ease.
At this moment, Shen Huan, who had run out earlier, came back. Upon entering the room, she began to make a racket.
“Lord Pei, do all of your manor’s servants have their heads stuck in a door?” Shen Huan yelled, enraged.
“His feet went numb, how can you call that a broken leg? The way I see it, his brain is the only thing that’s broken!”
Earlier, when Shen Huan followed Li Yu to take a look at Cheng Feng, the man had been sitting in the courtyard, and appeared to be perfectly fine. He explained that when he had jumped off the roof, his feet went numb. The moment she heard this, Shen Huan wanted to leave, but Li Yu insisted on dragging her over to examine Cheng Feng, just in case his leg was actually broken.
Li Yu also had complaints that he couldn’t voice. His lord wanted to be alone with His Highness, so he was the one who had to create these opportunities. This Master Shen was really too oblivious; it was as though she had a candle that burned with light and warmth. His lord’s gaze was cold enough to freeze people to death, but it couldn’t freeze Master Shen.
But fortunately, His Highness himself had applied medicine for His Lordship.
Now that the ointment had been reapplied, Pei Zheng returned to his quarters to read reports1.
Although Pei Zheng hadn’t attended court lately, nor had he entered the palace, the Emperor seemed to have forgotten that the Prime Minister’s Manor existed; for many days now, he had regarded the manor with indifference.
Yet Pei Zheng still had eyes in every part of the Imperial Court, so he would always be the first to know about what had transpired each day.
Meanwhile, Shen Huan locked herself in the pharmaceutical room again, and resumed her research into formulas that could help people recover their memory.
Shen Shijiu returned to the little pavilion. His shifu wanted him to rest if he didn’t have anything else to do, and he wasn’t allowed to keep disturbing Lord Pei while he was working.
In truth, Shen Huan didn’t want Pei Zheng to keep disturbing her little disciple. She had already decided that once Pei Zheng’s wound had healed, she would take her little disciple and leave.
Shen Shijiu had no idea about Shen Huan’s plan. He sat on the steps in front of the little pavilion, resting his cheeks in his hands.
The weather became chillier with each passing day, and the floorboards were ice-cold. But the sun coated everything in its rays of warmth. Shen Shijiu sat there in a daze for a long while; who knew what was going on inside that little head of his.
A fluffy black ball suddenly sprinted over, charging toward Shen Shijiu and pouncing on top of him.
When Shen Shijiu spotted the little cat, he smiled. His eyes curved as he opened his arms and replied.
The little cat pounced onto Shen Shijiu’s face and began to lick it. Shen Shijiu fell to the ground from the impact, and his face was sticky with the cat’s saliva.
“Xiao Miaowu… stop it… you made my face dirty…”
He didn’t expect the cat to actually jump off of his face. It ran to the side while waving its tail at him.
Shen Shijiu ran over and tried to lift it into his arms, but the cat scampered a few steps away. Shen Shijiu chased after it, and the cat ran a bit further. So, Shen Shijiu and the cat ran out of the back garden, darting through the Prime Minister’s Manor.
They ran and ran, and the little cat ran into the courtyard where Pei Zheng’s quarters were. It had been raised by Pei Zheng in this courtyard, so it was very familiar with this place. It wove through the grass and jumped into the room through a window.
Shen Shijiu stood in front of Pei Zheng’s room, and was about to knock on the door. But he held his hand up for a long while, and couldn’t bring himself to do so.
Shifu told him that His Lordship had serious business to take care of, and was very busy. He shouldn’t disturb him; he should obediently go back and play by himself.
But he also wanted to play with Xiao Miaowu.
“Come in.” Pei Zheng’s voice suddenly sounded from inside the room.
Shen Shijiu was stunned. How did His Lordship know he was outside?
He gently pushed open the door and walked inside.
The moment he entered, he saw Xiao Miaowu curled up on the table by the door, looking content; it even waved its tail at Shen Shijiu.
Pei Zheng was sitting at the desk by the side of the room. Rows of booklets filled the table, and he was still reading through them one by one.
When he saw the small man who was obediently standing there, motionless, the corners of Pei Zheng’s lips hooked upward.
“You missed me?”
Shen Shijiu paused. H-how did His Lordship know?
He stuttered as he explained, “I-I was looking for, looking for Xiao Miaowu…”
“Mm,” Pei Zheng responded, “So you didn’t miss me?”
Shen Shijiu almost instantly blurted out, “That’s not it…”
Pei Zheng smiled. It was really too easy to trick this little man into saying certain things.
“Sit. Accompany me for a bit.”
Shen Shijiu nodded obediently, before he sat down in a chair. The moment he tilted his head, he could see Pei Zheng, who was sitting a short distance away.
As Pei Zheng continued to read through the reports, Shen Shijiu slowly slumped over the table, and stared into the little cat’s eyes.
The cat replied with a “miaowu”. Shen Shijiu hurriedly placed his hand by his lips and made a shushing noise, before he patted the cat’s head, and mouthed, “You’re not being good, you can’t make noise and disturb His Lordship, do you understand?”
The cat licked Shen Shijiu’s fingers. Only then did Shen Shijiu crack a smile.
Shen Shijiu lifted the little cat into his arms, and gently stroked it. Then, he buried his little face into the cat’s fur and rubbed it back and forth.
The cat was very comfortable being patted and stroked; it stretched out its paws and clutched Shen Shijiu’s hand. Shen Shijiu reciprocated the gesture, before he held the small cat’s soft, warm paw and kissed it, smiling until the corners of his eyes curved.
Pei Zheng lifted his head and saw the small man sitting at the table across from him, kissing the cat’s paw. And he was smiling so nicely at the cat too.
This cat had been raised by Pei Zheng, and because it was so spoiled, it had a bad attitude. Unexpectedly, when it was with this small man, it became an obedient little pet that could tolerate his patting and stroking.
Pei Zheng felt a bit uncomfortable as he watched. It was just a cat, yet it could steal all of Shen Shijiu’s attention away: it had been quite a while, yet Shen Shijiu had only cast a few glances in his direction.
Pei Zheng angrily closed the booklets, stood up, and walked over.
“Why are you so cute? Why are you so squishable?”
Shen Shijiu was still speaking in a soft whisper, hugging the small cat without letting go.
Suddenly, his hands were empty, and the cat was lifted by its scruff out of his arms.
Shen Shijiu looked up and saw Pei Zheng fling the cat right out of the window.
Although the cat could jump off a tree with ease, Shen Shijiu was still a bit worried that the cat would fall and hurt itself. He was about to run over to the window to take a look.
Pei Zheng stretched out an arm, and restrained the small man by the waist, holding him back. Then, he carried Shen Shijiu to the table and placing him down to sit on top of it, staring at him with a face full of displeasure.
Shen Shijiu didn’t have a clue what was going on, “My Lord, are you done with your work?”
Pei Zheng didn’t answer.
“My Lord, why aren’t you saying anything…”
Pei Zheng didn’t answer.
“My Lord, c-can I come down?”
Pei Zheng didn’t answer, and instead squeezed Shen Shijiu’s waist.
“M-my Lord, what’s wrong…”
Pei Zheng stretched out his fingers, and brought them up to Shen Shijiu’s lips.
Shen Shijiu didn’t know what he meant by this. He blinked as he looked at Pei Zheng, his gaze clear and innocent.
“What did you kiss earlier?”
Shen Shijiu was confused, “I didn’t kiss anything…”
“Hm?” Pei Zheng raised his brows.
Shen Shijiu recalled, and smiled, “Oh, I kissed Xiao Miaowu’s little paw, it’s so cute!”
He looked at Pei Zheng’s fingers, his eyes bright, “My Lord, do you want me to kiss you too?”
Pei Zheng leaned a bit closer, but he didn’t say anything.
Shen Shijiu grabbed Pei Zheng’s hand. It was very pretty; fair and slender, with long, powerful fingers, distinct knuckles, and faint blue veins on the back of it.
He lowered his head and planted a kiss on the back of Pei Zheng’s hand, just like he did with the cat. Long lashes brushed his skin, and the warm softness left after a mere touch.
Wowiee, here we have a very petty Pei Zheng in his natural habitat o.O
Thanks for reading~ It’s still New Year’s Day here so Happy New Year again ❤
1.折子 (zhé zi): it’s a little booklet thing, it had a pretty brocade jacket, and it’s basically a fancy brochure. Mostly, it’s for accounting, but it’s also used in the Imperial Court for official reports.
Chapter 116: General Zhao Has Returned
Pei Zheng’s heart instantly softened. Then, he suddenly felt that he was being ridiculous; why was he fighting with a cat for favor?
Pei Zheng lifted Shen Shijiu off of the table. He gazed at those jade-carved little cheeks, and suddenly spoke, “Don’t leave, okay?”
Shen Shijiu lifted his head, “My Lord, what are you saying?”
Pei Zheng helped him tie his inky hair, “I’m saying, don’t go back with your shifu. Just stay here at the manor with me. Please?”
Shen Shijiu visibly stiffened; it seemed as though he had never thought about this predicament before.
Sooner or later, he would have to leave with his shifu. There was no way that his shifu would stay in the Prime Minister’s Manor forever, and there was no way he would ever leave his shifu. That meant… he had to leave His Lordship…
Shen Shijiu’s head drooped, in low spirits. He didn’t know what to do.
Pei Zheng saw how sad and miserable he looked, and his heart ached as well. He pulled him over and took him into his arms.
“Forget it, don’t think about it anymore. Just pretend I never said anything.”
Pei Zheng stroked his little head. He knew that his place in Shen Shijiu’s heart was definitely not as high as Shen Huan’s. But since Shen Shijiu was finding it difficult to make a choice, didn’t that mean that he was also unwilling to part with Pei Zheng?
That was enough.
After a few more days of recovery, the scratch on Shen Shijiu’s face was completely invisible, and Shen Huan had also finished making a new mask for him.
Although Pei Zheng’s wounds were quite severe, with Shen Huan around, they healed quickly without leaving any large scars- just a few faint marks.
During these past few days, Pei Zheng hadn’t gone to the palace. He spent every day at the manor, reading reports, teasing that cat, teasing Shen Shijiu, or taking the man out for a stroll through the streets; naturally, they left Shen Huan behind and went by themselves.
There was news that the chief of the barbarian tribe, Ah Mu Le, had already left the Imperial City, and had begun the journey back to the southwestern territory.
Three years ago, after the barbarian tribe’s new chief, Ah Mu Le, came to power, there was a period of time when he revered and respected the Celestial Dynasty; every year, the tribe would pay tribute. But lately, conflicts had been stirring, and the Celestial Dynasty was well aware of the barbarian tribe’s ambitious plans.
It wasn’t that the Emperor couldn’t tell what was happening; he just didn’t think it had reached the point where it required military action to subdue the tribe.
So, although Pei Zheng mentioned it a few times, the Emperor did not heed his advice to take action.
But Pei Zheng really did stop taking care of government affairs. It was the first time he had ever been so obedient; he was forbidden from attending court, so he really didn’t go for dozens of days.
On this day, after Shen Shijiu woke up, he didn’t see Pei Zheng in the little pavilion. He thought His Lordship had left once he fell asleep, and was disappointed for a long while.
Li Yu pushed open the door and came in. He told Shen Shijiu that Pei Zheng had been summoned to the palace early in the morning. He had been in there for a long time, but there was still no news.
Shen Shijiu became a bit worried, “But, the last time His Lordship went to the palace, he was terribly injured… His Majesty won’t punish His Lordship this time, right?”
Li Yu comforted him, “Don’t worry, His Majesty only punished His Lordship that one time, and it was because of you-“
Li Yu realized that he had misspoken, and hurriedly shut his mouth.
But the small man heard those words and pouted. His eyes were full of self-blame, “Was it because of me? Did I do something wrong and make His Majesty angry…”
“No, no, that’s not what I meant!” Li Yu explained, “Aiya, I’ll just tell you, His Majesty summoned His Lordship to discuss the barbarian tribe, there’s nothing else, that’s the truth!”
Shen Shijiu sniffled, and “mm”d.
At this moment, Shen Huan also walked in, carrying the new mask she had made for Shen Shijiu.
“Here, Disciple, come and try it on.”
Shen Shijiu obediently walked over and sat down. Shen Huan took out a bunch of medicinal solutions and fiddled with them for a long while, before pasting the human skin mask onto Shen Shijiu’s face.
Yet somehow, it seemed as though his features looked even more delicate.
After the mask had been applied, Shen Huan carefully examined her disciple’s face. Only after she ascertained that the mask fit seamlessly did she finally feel at ease.
A servant ran in from outside, and leaned into Li Yu’s ear to report something.
Li Yu nodded and sent him away.
“Master Shen, you are the famous Ghost Doctor, so you must have heard of the world’s second-best doctor.”
Shen Huan stroked her fake beard, “I’ve heard of him. He’s an imperial physician, and I think he’s quite young too. He’s a prodigy, but unfortunately he’s still got a long way to go to catch up to me.”
She knew where she stood in terms of status, but she didn’t have even the slightest bit of modesty.
Li Yu smiled, “That’s right, Imperial Physician Jiang of the Imperial Hospital. Right now, he’s in the front garden.”
“What’s he doing here?”
“Uh, we’ll have to meet with him first to find out.”
After Li Yu finished speaking, he turned and left the little pavilion.
Shen Huan’s eyes met Shen Shijiu’s. It seemed that Shen Shijiu was looking forward to seeing Jiang Yubai. After all, he had worked with Imperial Physician Jiang for a period of time.
So, Shen Huan took Shen Shijiu with her to the front garden.
There was a person sitting in the main hall of the front garden. He was wearing the official uniform of the Imperial Hospital. He was very handsome, and had the face of a quiet, elegant scholar.
It was a shame that his manner of speaking did not match his appearance at all.
“Xiao Yuzi! Come and give me a hug! I missed you so much!”
Li Yu was pulled into Jiang Yubai’s arms, with helplessness written all over his face.
Jiang Yubai spotted Shen Shijiu trailing behind a ragged old man. His eyes lit up, and he came over to hug him as well.
“Xiao Shi! Come here, let me hug you too! You look different, why do you look so cute now?”
Jiang Yubai darted around Shen Huan, and was about to pinch Shen Shijiu’s soft little cheek. He really thought that this small man seemed to be a lot prettier than before.
However, he was blocked by Shen Huan.
“Imperial Physician Jiang, it’s an honor.”
Shen Huan spoke in a gruff voice, and cupped her hands toward Jiang Yubai.
Jiang Yubai stared suspiciously at the old man in front of him, looking him up and down.
“Imperial Physician Jiang, what are you staring at this old man for? Could it be that you have bad eyesight?”
Shen Huan raised her voice and asked. She felt a bit uncomfortable under Jiang Yubai’s gaze.
Shen Shijiu tugged at Shen Huan’s cuff, and whispered, “Shifu, don’t be like this to Imperial Physician Jiang… he’s a very nice person…”
“Shifu?” Jiang Yubai’s eyes widened slightly, and it seemed that he had recalled something, “You’re saying, he’s your shifu?”
In truth, Jiang Yubai already knew that Shen Shijiu was actually the Ninth Prince Qi Changyi. But he had never questioned Pei Zheng to confirm it, and Pei Zheng never took the initiative to tell him, so they seemed to come to a tacit agreement.
And according to his previous speculations regarding these two people, if Shen Shijiu was the little Highness, then this ragged old man was…
The best doctor in the world, the Ghost Doctor of the Ghost Valley?
Jiang Yubai immediately put on a reverent expression. His gaze was complicated, shocked, and full of disbelief, yet it also carried a layer of sincere respect.
“M… Master Shen! I’ve heard so much about you! I am Jiang Yubai, I just do a little work in the Imperial Hospital to get by… So-so this is what you really look like…”
Jiang Yubai was still a bit skeptical; so the Ghost Doctor wasn’t some magical sage or fluttering fairy, but at the very least, they should have the appearance of a pure, untouchable master. So why did Shen Huan look like a ragged old man?
Li Yu took a step forward and asked, “Imperial Physician Jiang, were you looking for His Lordship? His Lordship has gone to the palace, and is yet to return.”
Jiang Yubai waved his hand, “What would I need him for? To make myself angry? I was looking for Xiao Shi…”
Jiang Yubai glanced at Shen Huan, “But now, I need Master Shen. Master Shen, you must help me.”
Shen Huan appreciated his respectful attitude, and gave a generous nod, “Speak, and this old man will definitely try to help you.”
Jiang Yubai thanked Shen Huan, before he said, “I came from the General’s Manor. General Zhao has returned.”
So he had come on behalf of Zhao Litang.
In the three years that Zhao Litang spent guarding the borderlands, he had never once returned to the Imperial City. This time, on his way back, he had been attacked, and was shot in the arm by a poisoned arrow.
Jiang Yubai was ordered to go to the General’s Manor to treat Zhao Litang, but unfortunately, the poison had already festered. He tried many methods, but to no avail. If this dragged on for any longer, the only way to preserve Zhao Litang’s life would be to cut off his arm.
So he had thought of Shen Shijiu. He wanted to see if Shen Shijiu had any unorthodox formulas that could eliminate the toxins and preserve General Zhao’s arm, which had been used to slay countless enemies. Yet he never expected to encounter the Ghost Doctor, Shen Huan.
Shen Huan listened and thought for a bit, “I don’t dare to make any promises. I’ll have to diagnose him myself before I can determine his condition.”
Jiang Yubai said, “Since that’s the case, then Master Shen, please come with me to the General’s Manor.”
Shen Huan nodded, turned, and walked out of the main hall to collect her belongings.
She pointed at Shen Shijiu and said, “Disciple, come with your master.”
Li Yu, who was standing at the side, became anxious, yet he couldn’t think of a way to stop them.
His Lordship said that he wasn’t allowed leave. This was terrible; not only was he leaving, but he was also going to the General’s Manor!
Three years ago, after the little Highness jumped off the cliff and disappeared, General Zhao had hurried back to the Imperial City.
That time, other than Li Yu and Pei Zheng, no one else knew that Zhao Litang had left the battlefield and returned to the capital by himself.
Back then, Pei Zheng had just fallen from the cliff and was seriously injured. He was bedridden and couldn’t move. Zhao Litang had pressed a cold blade against his neck; with just a little force, he could have easily slit Pei Zheng’s throat.
The servants of the Prime Minister’s Manor had all been sent out to search for the prince. Li Yu obeyed Pei Zheng’s orders, and kept watch at the door.
Zhao Litang also believed wholeheartedly that Qi Changyi was already dead, and he was itching to send Pei Zheng to his grave as well.
But Pei Zheng, who was lying on the bed with a pale face, didn’t express a shred of grief. He still firmly believed that the little prince definitely wasn’t dead. He was still alive.
In the end, Zhao Litang didn’t do anything. He thought that Pei Zheng had lost his mind and would happily let Pei Zheng continue to live like that. It had to be more painful than dying.
Li Yu didn’t even have time to say anything; Shen Huan had already walked to the entrance of the main hall, and was about to open the door and step out.
Unexpectedly, as soon as she opened the door, a gust of freezing wind swept inside. There was a figure standing in the doorway.
Pei Zheng’s expression was ice-cold again. His gaze swept over each person in the hall; it was cold enough to freeze one’s blood.
His gaze landed on Shen Shijiu’s face, before he walked inside.
The leg Shen Huan had lifted to step out of the door had inexplicably retracted itself.
Pei Zheng walked up to Shen Shijiu. The small man lifted his head slightly to look at him; the joy in his eyes was palpable.
“Where are you going?”
JIANG YUBAI YOU’RE BACKKKKKKKKKKK
AND ZHAO LITANG TOOOOOOOOOO
Thanks for reading~~