His highness's Allure - Chap 127
“Take off your clothes.”
Shen Shijiu suddenly clutched his collar and said hesitantly, “Take them off, here?”
“Your clothes are wet. Change into this.”
Pei Zheng tossed some clothes onto one side of the bed, everything from the undershirt to the outer robe; these clothes had already been prepared before their arrival.
Shen Shijiu obediently walked over to the side of the bed and began to unclasp his outer robe. He quickly took it off, before he started to untie his underclothes.
Pei Zheng looked at his back and froze, before his gaze shifted away, and he pinched the center of his brows.
“Go… onto the bed to change.”
Shen Shijiu obediently climbed onto the bed. His crooked collar brushed against his shoulder; it seemed to be on the verge of slipping off.
Pei Zheng quickly walked over and let down the bed curtain, enclosing the little figure within it.
“Pei-gege,” Shen Shijiu suddenly popped his head out of the bed curtain, “It’s so dark in here, I can’t see anything.”
Pei Zheng shoved his head back inside and pulled open a small slit in the bed curtain.
“It’s cold outside, hurry up and put on your clothes.”
The rustling of fabric could be heard from inside.
After a long while, Shen Shijiu still hadn’t put on his clothes. He poked his head out again.
“I don’t know how to put on these clothes.”
Shen Shijiu looked to Pei Zheng for help, with one hand clutching his collar, and the other pressing against the mattress.
Pei Zheng’s eyes narrowed, and he sighed softly.
“Come here, I’ll help you.”
Shen Shijiu’s eyes curved. He hopped off the bed and stood in front of Pei Zheng.
The sash of this robe had to be tied from behind. No wonder Shen Shijiu said that he didn’t know how to put it on; he was unable to reach behind his back to tie it.
Pei Zheng clasped his collar, before he helped him tie his sash. He grabbed the outer robe lying at the side and dressed the small man.
At this moment, there was a knock at the door downstairs.
Shen Shijiu ran down the staircase and opened the door. The cold, snowy wind suddenly blew in from outside.
Pei Zheng followed him. After the cold wind swirled in, he pulled Shen Shijiu to stand behind him.
The person standing outside the door was Pei Zheng’s servant. He didn’t look shocked at all to see Shen Shijiu.
“My Lord, Young Master Shen, the banquet is ready. The others are all preparing to go to the hall as well. Mistress Qian told me to tell you that you must be there.”
Pei Zheng “mm”d.
The servant continued, “My Lord, while I was on my way here, I saw Young Master Qian from this morning. It seemed like his leg was injured.”
Shen Shijiu asked, “Then how did he get injured?”
The servant cast a glance at Pei Zheng, before he smiled at Shen Shijiu, “Young Master Shen, that I don’t know. But that Young Master Qian is so arrogant and domineering, he probably provoked someone again.”
Shen Shijiu nodded.
But in truth, that servant knew that Qian Xiao had been beaten by Mistress Qian, because he had informed Mistress Qian of a few things on His Lordship’s behalf.
At this time, it was completely dark outside, but the heavy snow was still falling, and the entire villa was blanketed in snow, a patch of pure, flawless white.
The banquet was being held in another pavilion. The main hall was shining with light, bright and warm, and many people were already seated inside.
The moment Pei Zheng stepped inside, he attracted the attention of everyone present.
Mistress Qian greeted him, “Lord Pei has arrived, why didn’t you inform me beforehand? I would’ve sent someone out to escort you, the snow outside is just too heavy.”
Pei Zheng untied his cloak, “It’s fine.”
Upon seeing how cold he was acting, Mistress Qian had no idea how to continue the conversation.
She spotted Shen Shijiu, who was standing beside Pei Zheng. She glanced over him several times before she felt Pei Zheng’s gaze full of warning staring at her, and she immediately understood.
“You must be Young Master Shen. I’m terribly sorry about what happened today. My son offended Young Master Shen, but I’ve already dealt with him, so please don’t worry, Young Master Shen.”
After she finished speaking, Mistress Qian grabbed Qian Xiao, who was sitting beside her, and pulled him off his seat, “Hurry up and apologize to Young Master Shen!”
Qian Xiao bowed his head, “I’m sorry.”
Qian Xiao raised his head and yelled, “I’M! SOR-RY!”
Shen Shijiu was startled by his shout, and answered blankly, “I-it’s okay.”
Only then did Qian Xiao plop back down into his seat.
“Lord Pei, Young Master Shen, this way.”
Mistress Qian led the two to the seats at the front, which were reserved for the most distinguished guests.
After Pei Zheng sat down, he patted the spot beside him, and Shen Shijiu obediently sat down as well.
Pei Zheng looked across the hall. The person sitting there was none other than Zhao Litang.
Besides Wu Quan, Yue Nu and Shen Huan were also sitting next to Zhao Litang.
When Shen Huan saw Pei Zheng and Shen Shijiu, she looked quite happy. She said something to Zhao Litang before she ran over and squeezed between Pei Zheng and Shen Shijiu.
“My little disciple, scoot over a bit.”
“Oh.” Shen Shijiu obediently shifted to the side, and was now a bit further away from Pei Zheng.
Pei Zheng’s expression visibly chilled. He drummed his fingers against the table and didn’t say a word.
But Shen Huan turned a blind eye to it. She rummaged through her sleeves for a long while, before she mysteriously drew something out of her cuff and showed it to Shen Shijiu.
“My little disciple, look, what’s this?”
Shen Shijiu looked at the herb he didn’t know the name of in Shen Huan’s hand, and shook his head.
“Idiot! This is milkwort!”
“Milkwort?” Shen Shijiu’s voice rose a bit, and Shen Huan hurriedly covered his mouth.
“Be quiet, don’t let anyone hear you.”
“Shifu,” Shen Shijiu asked in a whisper, “How did you get it?”
Shen Huan thought about how to phrase it, “Mm, I borrowed it. That’s right, I borrowed it. My little disciple, let me tell you, with this, I can develop a medicine to recover your memory, and you’ll remember your past again! How about it?! Are you happy?!”
But Shen Shijiu didn’t look nearly as joyous as Shen Huan.
Although the master-disciple pair weren’t talking very loudly, Pei Zheng, who was sitting beside them, heard every word.
Recover his memory?
His mind wandered for a moment, and he unconsciously crushed the cup between his fingers.
Wine splashed everywhere. None of it got onto Pei Zheng’s robe. Instead, much of the wine had spilled onto Shen Huan’s clothes.
“Lord Pei, you did that on purpose, didn’t you?!”
Shen Huan gritted her teeth into a smile. Then, she could only stand up and follow a servant to change into clean clothes.
Without Shen Huan separating them, Shen Shijiu slowly scooted back over, “I know you didn’t do it on purpose.”
Pei Zheng looked at him and smiled, before he poured another cup of wine and gulped it down.
Across from them, many people surrounded Zhao Litang’s table, including that Lord Qian and Lord Wei.
They were chatting cheerfully for one moment, and then clinking their cups together in the next; it seemed like they were having a good time.
In contrast, Pei Zheng’s table was cold and quiet.
But Pei Zheng was also watching what was happening on Zhao Litang’s side.
Lord Qian and Lord Wei were both full of smiles. They didn’t expect that conversing with Zhao Litang would go so smoothly; this General Zhao was really easy to talk to.
Lord Wei said, “General Zhao, then it’s settled. Later, I’ll send my daughter to your residence to learn a few things, it’ll toughen her up.”
Zhao Litang replied, “All right. When the time comes, I’ll have my best soldiers teach Miss Wei some kung-fu. She’ll be able to defend herself and strengthen her body in the process.”
“Then I’ll have to thank General Zhao on behalf of my daughter.”
As he spoke, Lord Wei looked at his daughter, but Wei Yiren must have been sneakily staring at Pei Zheng, because she didn’t see her father’s meaningful gaze at all.
Those lords chatted with Zhao Litang for a while, before they all exchanged a glance; shouldn’t they give Pei Zheng a brief greeting as well?
They forced wide smiles onto their faces and walked toward Pei Zheng.
The moment those lords left, Zhao Litang sat back in his own seat. He downed several cups of warm wine in succession, and coughed a few times.
But Yue Nu, who was beside him, sat there obediently and didn’t move at all.
Someone walked past, and accidently bumped into Yue Nu. It had clearly been just a light brush, but Yue Nu couldn’t take it, and his body swayed slightly.
Wu Quan helpfully reached out to steady him, but was scalded by the heat of his skin.
“General, Yue Nu’s temperature is really high. It’s probably a fever.”
Zhao Litang glanced at the drowsy Yue Nu, “Can you hold on?”
Yue Nu straightened up with great effort and sat properly, before he replied softly, “Yes.”
But it looked like he was about to faint at any moment.
“Didn’t you drink medicine in the afternoon? How could this happen?”
Wu Quan said, “Perhaps it was because of the heavy wind and snow on the way here. His body is weak, and he isn’t wearing any clothing that can resist the wind, which could be the cause of his fever.”
Only then did Zhao Litang see what Yue Nu was wearing; not a single piece of his clothing could protect him from the wind. Just looking at him made one feel cold.
Just as he was about to say something else, Mistress Qian walked over, carrying a tray of wine.
The two talked for a bit, and Zhao Litang sat back down.
Yue Nu’s head was burning to the point that he lost consciousness. His body swayed, and he collapsed with a thud.
Zhao Litang helped him up with one arm. The moment he touched the boy’s body, he was scalded as well.
“Why is his temperature so high?’
Wu Quan hurriedly took Yue Nu’s pulse, “General, he’s burning up. We have to hurry and cool his temperature down, otherwise he’ll get even worse!”
Zhao Litang hugged that boiling-hot body against his chest. He was also extremely worried and agitated.
If he had known that so many issues would arise after he saved this child, it would have been better if he had just left him alone.
Zhao Litang draped his cloak over Yue Nu’s body. He carried the boy bridal style and hurried out of the banquet hall.
Wu Quan gave a rushed explanation to Mistress Qian and the other lords, before he followed as well. He happened to bump into Shen Huan, who had just finished changing, and instantly felt relieved. He grabbed Shen Huan and dragged her outside as he walked.
“Oi oi oi, what are you doing?! I just came in!”
“Master Shen! Someone’s life is at risk! Just hurry up and come with me!”
Shen Shijiu sat in his seat and waited for a long while, but his shifu still hadn’t returned. Instead, those lords had walked over.
They still wanted to use this opportunity to chat with Pei Zheng, but as soon as they called “Lord Pei”, they were met by Pei Zheng’s gloomy gaze sweeping over them. Any words they had wished to speak were swallowed back into their throats.
Each of the lords toasted to him, before they all dispersed throughout the hall.
Lord Qian and Lord Wei leaned their heads together.
“This Pei Zheng. Calling him ‘Lord Pei’ is just to give him some face, does he really think he’s still the Lord Prime Minister with the power to cover the sky? He should take a long, hard look at himself, and see just how long it’s been since he’s last seen His Majesty!”
“That’s right, he’s only in his twenties. We‘re technically his elders, aren’t we? Yet he’s so cold to us, he really has no manners1!”
“That’s exactly what he is. He lived out there until he was in his teens before he was reacknowledged by the Pei family. His temperament is already set in stone. No matter how powerful the Pei family is, even they wouldn’t be able to handle2 such a heartless person!”
“So that’s how it was. He had a mother to give birth to him, but no mother to raise him.”
The moment he spoke these words, a cup flew over and smashed into Lord Qian’s head with a “peng”. His head instantly began to bleed.
Lord Qian clutched his head and was in so much pain that he collapsed onto the floor. Lord Wei saw this and yelled, “Who! Who threw that cup?! Who was it?!”
“Whoosh”, a chopstick shot over and speared Lord Wei’s guan, mussing his hair into a chaotic mess.
Everyone present was terrified; not even the wives and daughters dared to make a sound.
Pei Zheng leisurely stood up from his seat.
His spot wasn’t that far from Lord Qian and Lord Wei’s, and it just so happened that he was adept at reading people’s lips.
“Apologies, I really don’t have any manners.”
Lord Qian and Lord Wei both stiffened. One was collapsed on the ground and bleeding, while the other’s hair was so messy that he looked like a madman standing in the center of the hall.
The corners of Pei Zheng’s lips hooked slightly, and he walked toward the two lords.
“Oh, also, I’m heartless, and I had no mother to raise me.”
He walked up to Lord Wei, and considerately helped him take the chopstick out of his guan, before he fiddled with it in his hand.
“So, when the two of you see me again, you’d best be a little more careful.”
He spoke these words with a smile, but his tone made one’s entire body feel ice-cold; it was even more terrifying than the freezing weather outside.
Pei Zheng didn’t stop again; he continued to walk until he stood at the door, before he looked back and glanced over everyone in the hall.
Everybody immediately averted their eyes and didn’t dare to continue staring at Pei Zheng.
Except one person.
Pei Zheng hooked a finger at him, and that little figure hurriedly stood up from his seat and ran to Pei Zheng’s side.
The people in this hall all seemed to respect Pei Zheng on the surface. They were afraid of him, but in truth, they also harbored ill intentions toward him.
But only this small man would ever treat him with sincerity.
In front of everyone, Pei Zheng clasped Shen Shijiu’s hand. He lazily tossed the wooden chopstick in his hand backward, before Lord Wei clutched his foot and fell to the floor as well.
Then Pei Zheng led Shen Shijiu out of the hall, and they walked into the sweeping blizzard.
He never had a good reputation to begin with; what more could this do to him?
The cold wind was furious, and the snow had already accumulated into a thick layer on the ground, crunching beneath their feet as they stepped onto it.
The vast villa was completely empty. Under the cold, clear moon and the snowy, wind-blown sky, only two people slowly walked.
Shen Shijiu took a step onto the icy-white ground, and snow immediately covered his ankles.
After walking like this for only a few moments, Pei Zheng suddenly halted in his footsteps.
“Are you cold?”
But his little hands were freezing.
Pei Zheng stood in front of him, and bent down slightly.
Shen Shijiu was confused, “Pei-gege?”
“Get on my back. I’ll carry you.”
Shen Shijiu’s eyes curved, and he obediently sprawled over Pei Zheng’s back.
Pei Zheng lifted the small man up, before he began to walk through the snow. Two strings of footprints knotted together into one, winding and twisting through the snow.
“Pei-gege, don’t mind them. They’re all talking nonsense.”
Pei Zheng “mm”d lightly.
“You aren’t who they said you are. You’re a very, very nice person, they just don’t know.”
“Is that so? How do you know what they said isn’t true?”
Shen Shijiu hugged Pei Zheng, and laid limply on the other’s back, “I just know it.”
Pei Zheng laughed and pulled the small man’s body closer.
They walked back to the three-story pavilion. Pei Zheng placed the small man back onto the ground.
The little snowman in front of the pavilion was still there. Shen Shijiu ran over and held it up with both hands.
“Pei-gege, for you.”
Pei Zheng reached out to take it. That snowman had already melted quite a bit in the small man’s hands, and slowly, one couldn’t even tell what it was supposed to be anymore.
Shen Shijiu looked up and said, “Pei-gege, it’s okay. I’ll make you a new one tomorrow, so don’t be sad, okay?”
Pei Zheng laughed, “I’m not sad.”
Shen Shijiu pouted, “You are. Even though you didn’t say anything, I know you are.”
The snowman had already completely melted, wetting Pei Zheng’s hands.
Shen Shijiu suddenly burrowed into Pei Zheng’s chest, and wrapped his arms tightly around the other’s waist, “I’ll hug you. Are you a little happier now?”
Pei Zheng hugged him back, before he kicked open the door and walked inside.
A charcoal fire had been burning in the room the whole time, so it was very warm. The snowflakes on the pair’s bodies melted, soaking their robes.
“Are you a little happier now?”
Shen Shijiu asked again as he flopped over Pei Zheng’s chest, lifting his watery eyes to look at him.
Pei Zheng’s voice was hoarse.
It was far more than just a little…
Shen Shijiu nuzzled Pei Zheng’s chest; it seemed as though he was diligently trying to think of ways to make Pei Zheng happier.
He suddenly stood on his tiptoes and tried his best to lean his little face toward Pei Zheng’s.
Pei Zheng stood there and didn’t move. When he saw the small man in front of him secretly straining himself, he couldn’t help but smile.
“What are you doing?”
Shen Shijiu’s little cheeks flushed slightly, but he mustered his courage and didn’t look away, “I-I’m not doing anything, Pei-gege. Could you bend down a little?”
“Hm?” Pei Zheng obediently lowered his head slightly.
“Chu”, something soft pecked his lips.
After the small man was done kissing Pei Zheng, he was incredibly embarrassed. He hurriedly buried his face back in Pei Zheng’s chest, and resolutely refused to lift his head again.
Pei Zheng was stunned for a moment, before he stroked the corner of his lips, forming a tender smile that rippled all the way to the ends of his eyes.
“What are you hiding for? Lift your head.”
Shen Shijiu’s voice was muffled, “Don’t want to.”
“Lift your head and let me see, hm?”
Pei Zheng pinched his blushing earlobe, “Be good. I want to see.”
His fingers reached over and lifted the small man’s lowered chin. His clear white skin was flushed red, and his delicate face seemed to be wet with dew. His eyes were glistening; it looked as though he was trying not to cry.
Pei Zheng’s cold, hard heart also melted into a pool of water. He lowered his head and kissed those crimson lips. His fingers traced the small man’s collar and slipped beneath it.
“You should take off your wet clothes. Otherwise, you’ll get sick, right?”
Shen Shijiu was bewitched by that deep, gentle voice. He obediently nodded, “Right.”
Pei Zheng had coated the small man’s mouth with the scent of alcohol. The aroma lingered on every part of his body, leaving him dazed and muddled.
But Pei Zheng had already relaxedly peeled off Shen Shijiu’s outer robe and tossed it to the side. Then, he lowered his head again, seeking another bite of that fragrant sweetness.
At this moment, there was a knock at the door, accompanied by the sounds of two people’s voices.
“Miss Wei, Miss Wei, you cannot enter! His Lordship, His Lordship has already retired for the night! Please come back tomorrow!”
“Nonsense! The light’s still on inside. So what if His Lordship didn’t wait for me, I can come here and look for him myself, can’t I?! I just need to say something. After I’m done, I’ll leave-”
“Miss Wei! You really cannot force your way inside!”
“Get out of my way!”
The door was suddenly pushed open. Snow-laced wind immediately swept inside.
Wei Yiren stood at the door. Just as she was about to speak, she was stunned by the scene in the room. Her eyes widened and she couldn’t utter a single word.
Pei Zheng’s clothes were slightly disheveled; his outer robe had been pulled to his shoulders. The man in his arms was wearing even less; his inner robe had been lifted above his navel, revealing a large patch of his fair, slender waist. And now, due to being hit by the gust of cold wind, he tucked himself into Pei Zheng’s warm embrace.
Pei Zheng lifted his eyes and glanced over. There was clearly a trace of unsuppressed lust in his gaze, but his stare became gloomy and terrifying as he looked at Wei Yiren.
“Lord Pei, I-I have something to tell you.”
He spoke these words in a light tone, but it was full of bone-chilling coldness.
Wei Yiren’s eyes reddened. She clenched her fingers. The words she hadn’t even spoken yet were stuck in her chest. There was no way she would ever be able to say them now.
Pei Zheng glanced at the servant standing next to the door; he said nothing, but his intent was clear.
That servant couldn’t afford to care about etiquette and politeness at the monet. He grabbed Wei Yiren and dragged her out the door.
Just as the door was about to close, a voice sounded from inside.
“Don’t let me see you ever again.”
After the door clicked shut, Shen Shijiu popped his little head out, “Is she gone?”
Pei Zheng lifted him bridal style.
“She’s gone. Let’s continue.”
Shen Shijiu didn’t know what he meant by ‘continue’. He only felt that he was becoming dizzier and dizzier. His body seemed light and airy in one moment, but he was suffocating and panting in the next.
The blizzard outside continued to rage while an enchanting spring scene3 bloomed inside.
When Pei Zheng stopped and asked Shen Shijiu, the small man was still stupefied, and could only nod weakly.
It wasn’t until the first light of dawn that everything calmed and returned to its earlier tranquility.
Pei Zheng gazed at the small man, whose eyes were still beaded with tears, yet had fallen asleep from exhaustion. His heart softened.
Who said that he was heartless?
His little sweetheart4 was right here.
Pei Zheng covered the small man with the blanket before he stood up and walked to the terrace.
A hazy whiteness veiled the sky. The heavy snow stopped. Before him was a cold, frozen landscape.
Someone was trudging through the snow, headed toward the pavilion. It was that servant.
But he stopped once he reached the door of the pavilion. His expression was full of indecision; he didn’t dare to disturb the people inside the building.
His eyes travelled upward along the front of the pavilion, and he happened to see his master standing on the second floor.
The servant called softly, “The lake is frozen, we won’t be able to leave today! Mistress Qian wants everyone to stay at the villa for a few more days!”
Thanks for reading~~
1.教养 (jiào yǎng): more along the lines of ‘upbringing’ or ‘education’. What he says here is 没教养 which is ‘uneducated’ or ‘shit upbringing’.
2. 捂不热 (wǔ bù rè): More detailed than ‘handle’; it means ‘to warm up’.
3. A refresher; spring = nude
4. 心肝 (xīn gān): this word has two meanings, ‘conscience’ and ‘darling’. And there was my attempt at preserving the wordplay with ‘heartless’ and ‘sweetheart’.