His highness's Allure - Chap 159
Zhao Litang carefully embraced the little prince in front of him. His figure had thinned out a bit; he was but a delicate, soft ball in his arms. It made his heart ache terribly, and his grip tightened unconsciously.
“Tang-gege, Tang-gege, p-please let go of me, I can hardly breathe-” Qi Changyi said softly.
Zhao Litang hurriedly let go, and asked in concern, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I was just too excited for a second. How are you feeling, are you all right now?”
Qi Changyi lifted his smiling face, “I feel a lot better. I don’t feel too uncomfortable anymore, really.”
As he spoke, he spun in a circle, as if to prove that he really was fine.
Zhao Litang finally smiled as well, his mood relaxing slightly.
The two chatted for a while. During that time, Shen Huan came in and delivered medicine. Qi Changyi thanked her politely, before he obediently drank it all.
It was already late at night. Zhao Litang didn’t want to disturb Qi Changyi’s rest any longer. He had just woken up; even though his illness had already been cured, he still needed to recover in peace.
“Changyi, it’s already very late. You go to bed first. We can talk more tomorrow.”
Zhao Litang watched Qi Changyi climb into bed and tucked the quilt over him. Only then did he blow out the candle, before he turned and exited the tent.
But the moment he walked out of the tent, he was greeted by a shadowy figure standing in front of him, his back to the moonlight, his face masked in darkness.
With a “whoosh”, a cold blade was unsheathed.
Zhao Litang felt an icy blade press against the back of his neck. He stiffened; he couldn’t make heads or tails of Pei Zheng’s intent.
“General Zhao. The blood on this sword belongs to those moles.”
The corners of Pei Zheng’s lips curled, “What do you think? It’s still warm, no?”
Zhao Litang caught a whiff of the blood on the sword as he listened to Pei Zheng’s strange tone. His back immediately went cold with disgust, and he quickly stepped aside to avoid the blade.
“Lord Pei, did you go to interrogate those moles? Did you get any information out of them?”
Pei Zheng withdrew his blade and stabbed it into the ground.
“No,” he said, “I killed them.”
“Those who cannot be used have no reason to live.”
Zhao Litang’s rage instantly rushed up to his head. He had been suppressing his anger toward Pei Zheng this whole time; the moment he heard that Pei Zheng had gone off by himself to deal with the criminals he had caught, he became even angrier.
“You actually killed them all?! Why didn’t you discuss it with me first? Lord Pei, there’s one thing that you must understand: this is not the Imperial City, this is the barracks at the borderlands! It’s not somewhere you can act like a tyrant!”
Pei Zheng looked at the enraged Zhao Litang, but his expression remained cool. His lips even curved into a smile.
“I was just taking care of a small matter on General Zhao’s behalf. Since even I couldn’t get anything out of interrogating them, it isn’t anyone else’s job to do so. If you weren’t going to kill them, were you planning on taking care of them for the rest of their lives?”
As he spoke, Pei Zheng lifted his eyes and glanced at Zhao Litang.
“Moreover, General Zhao is so busy. You stayed in this tent for so long, so you must have some other matters that are more important than military affairs.”
His tone carried a certain lightness, and the corners of his eyes were slightly squinted; it appeared as though he was just joking around.
But only those who were familiar with Pei Zheng knew that the less bothered he looked, the more he cared in his heart, and the more he was trying his hardest to suppress something.
“You! Show some respect when you speak!” Zhao Litang’s voice rose a bit. He had forgotten that it was currently the middle of the night, and that the small man inside had just gone to bed.
“Haven’t I shown you enough respect, General Zhao?”
Pei Zheng sneered, “He merely thinks of you as an older brother. How could he know what kinds of unspeakable thoughts you hold in your mind?”
The moment these words were spoken, Zhao Litang’s fist flew over.
Pei Zheng sidestepped, before he turned and punched Zhao Litang in the face.
Zhao Litang wiped the blood at the corner of his lips, before he threw another punch at Pei Zheng.
“I’ll admit… that I don’t see him as just a younger brother. However, I have never held any filthy thoughts toward him. But you, must I list out every single cruel and immoral thing you’ve done?!”
“Oh? What sort of thing counts as ‘cruel and immoral’? I’d like to hear it.”
Zhao Litang clenched his teeth, and fiercely spat out each word, “You made him lose a child. Does that count?”
Pei Zheng froze.
“If it wasn’t you, I wouldn’t even need to admit these things. He still doesn’t know, he doesn’t know that he once had a child, so isn’t going through the sadness and misery. But you, you know everything, so how can you act like you don’t care at all, like you aren’t feeling any sorrow or grief? Or could it be that Lord Pei has a bad memory, and has already forgotten?”
Pei Zheng gripped the sword he had just stabbed into the ground, his eyes cold and coated in frost.
Who said that he forgot?
How could he forget, how could he dare to forget?
He had merely buried it in the depths of his heart. He was too scared to voice it or think about it, too scared to touch it. If he touched it, it would be so terribly painful that he could hardly breathe.
It had also been his child. It had been their child.
It was but a young seedling that had left the world of the living without even seeing it.
But they just hadn’t had the time to miss this little life, before all of their attention was taken up by the little prince’s precarious situation.
But now, how could he allow someone to accuse him of not caring?
Pei Zheng channeled his internal energy into the sword. The blade twirled through the air a few times, before it shot toward Zhao Litang, who was still lying on the ground.
At this moment, a small shadow flashed past, rushing forward and shielding Zhao Litang.
Pei Zheng’s eyes widened slightly. He only had time to hurriedly withdraw his internal energy, forcing that sword to freeze in front of the small man, before it fell to the ground with a clatter.
At some point, Qi Changyi had woken up, and he had also snuck out of the tent; who knew how much he had overheard just now.
His clothes were thin, his hair was messy and loose over his back. His pure white face was covered in tear tracks. His eyes were shining, as he stared at Pei Zheng with a dew-soaked gaze.
Pei Zheng took a step forward, and called softly, “Your Highness-“
Qi Changyi suddenly looked away and shifted out of his line of sight.
He turned around and examined Zhao Litang. He noticed the wound at the side of his mouth and asked, “Tang-gege, you’re hurt. I’ll help you up first.”
Zhao Litang allowed Qi Changyi to help him stand up. He thought that Changyi might have had heard what he said earlier, which was why he was acting so standoffish toward Pei Zheng. He opened his mouth and was about to say something.
“Changyi, listen to me-”
“Tang-gege, it’s cold outside. Let’s go in, I’ll clean up your wound.”
Zhao Litang had also noticed that Qi Changyi wasn’t wearing much, and his body was shivering slightly. Thinking that he was cold, Zhao Litang accompanied him into the tent.
The entrance curtain to the tent fell, and the warmth inside blocked out the freezing cold.
The moment they walked in, Qi Changyi let go of Zhao Litang’s arm. It seemed that his entire body had lost its energy. He slowly squatted down, hugged his knees, and buried his face in the crooks of his arms.
Zhao Litang also squatted down and patted his shoulder, asking worriedly, “Changyi, what’s wrong? Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere? If you’re feeling unwell, tell me, I’ll call Doctor Jiang to take a look at you, all right?”
“N-no need, Tang-gege. I-I want to be alone for a bit, could you let me have some peace and quiet for a bit-“
Qi Changyi didn’t lift his head. His voice was muffled and laced with sobs. One could tell in an instant that he was trying his best to hold something back.
Zhao Litang grasped his arm, worried, “Then get back into bed first. Your body’s already gone cold, get under the blanket so you can warm up.”
“Tang-gege, I’m fine, just let me be alone, okay? I’ll be all right in a little bit, really, I’m begging you, please leave, please…”
The conversation had already reached this point; Zhao Litang really couldn’t bear to force him any longer. He sighed, undid his outer robe and draped it over the small man, before he turned and walked out of the tent, eaten up by anxiety.
He pulled open the curtain and walked out. There was no one outside; only that cold blade remained, glinting under the moonlight.
Qi Changyi was the only one left inside the tent. He hugged his knees, huddled on the ground. Although the charcoal fire was still blazing, and he was covered by Zhao Litang’s thick, heavy outer robe, he still felt frozen to his bones.
Earlier, as he stood behind the curtain of tent only a few steps away, he had overheard every word of their conversation.
Although he was very stupid, there were still some things that he could understand.
He tried his best to recall the memories that he seemed to have forgotten. As he reflected, he felt a faint pain in his stomach.
It wasn’t physical pain, but it felt as though an empty hole had been left where something once was.
He slowly placed his little hand on his stomach. It was flat, so thin and delicate that he could feel his ribcage.
Had there once been a little life in here?
But, because he had been unable to protect him, he left, no?
Did he leave him because he didn’t like him?
Did he think that he was too stupid, that he wouldn’t be able to take good care of him?
It was as though Qi Changyi’s tears had burst through a dam; they rolled endlessly onto his cuffs, soaking the cloth.
Under this silent night, everyone else had already gone to bed. Only a lonely little fool sat hugging his knees, trying to hold back his tears, suffering through his sadness and misery alone.
Who knew how long he had cried for. He cried until his entire body was numb from cold. His bare, little feet were also pale and bloodless.
Suddenly, someone gently stroked his hair. The small man lifted his head slightly. He slowly blinked a few times and saw a pair of gold-embroidered black boots in front of him. Then, he was gathered into someone’s warm embrace, held as though he were a precious treasure.
The scent of alcohol wafted around him. Qi Changyi also caught a whiff and became a bit tipsy.
Then, his limp arm was grabbed and lifted, before it was wrapped around the neck of the man in front of him. A hand gently pressed against his back, and the small man’s entire body was deeply embedded into that man’s chest.
This embrace was deeper than anyone else’s. Their bodies were tightly fitted together, without a single gap.
Before Qi Changyi could regain his senses, he felt something warm and wet touch his neck; someone’s scorching breaths were spraying all over his fair skin.
“Sweetheart, don’t ignore me, please?”
I AM A MESS I FORGOT TO SAY THANKS FOR READING