After the harsh winter, spring was here again.
Yuan Mingdao was growing quickly. He got taller, and it was time to make him new clothes.
The rabbits in the residence were still crunching the leaves stupidly, and Ah Tang got even fatter. Rongrong was also much larger. He had lost some of his chubby appearance and showed his sturdy stature. The melon vine in the courtyard finally came back to life from its apathy and began to grow leaves and flowers, producing melons that were not tasty at all.
If this was some place far from the capital, and if his mother also was there, this kind of life could be called perfect.
Fu Zhiyu often went to the palace to accompany Consort Yun. He would cross the market when going there, seeing a lot more things than when he lived in Liuli Palace.
The Crown Prince Fu Lingxiao and the Xue family both calmed down; even if they met Fu Zhiyu in the palace, they hurriedly walked by. On the contrary, after Fu Yanran started to rise, he occasionally sent some things to Liuli Palace, probably just expressing a gesture of goodwill. Compared to him, Consort Yue and Fu Yanxi seemed to be more enthusiastic, saying that they wanted to discuss qin, chess, calligraphy and painting. But after all, the Eleventh Prince was trained as a reserve; Consort Yun didn’t want to know whether they were sincere or not, and she didn’t want to get involved in such things. She treated them as politely and coldly as other consorts.
But when Fu Zhiyu met Fu Yanxi, he also felt that the Eleventh Prince was much more well-mannered now, unlike at the dinner party when he had taken Fu Zhiyu’s hand and just said those things directly. Perhaps the enthusiasm in Fu Yanxi’s heart had not diminished, but he had learned to hide some things from being discovered by others.
Of course, there were also changes outside the palace. Some people were sending Wang Zhao letters and invitations, most of them underappreciated scholars or some officials who wanted to make friends. Fu Zhiyu refused all of them, but there was a special one – Shen Yang.
His performance in the fraud case made Fu Zhiyu wonder if he was also reborn, otherwise he wouldn’t have known everything so well. But regardless of whether he was reborn or not, Fu Zhiyu didn’t want to intersect with him, and Shen Yang’s status was different now. He had become a third-rank official in the Ministry of Justice. He had also met the current head of the Ministry of Justice, Lord Zeng, who was about to retire. Shen Yang was a popular candidate to succeed, and Fu Zhiyu heard that the emperor also liked him.
Fu Zhiyu was an idle prince, and he didn’t want to have any communication with the newest dignitary of the dynasty, lest others suspected that he had any agenda to grab the power. Shen Yang was not as skilled as Xie Ke, the actor, and Fu Zhiyu had no difficulty dealing with him. If he didn’t want to see him, he could avoid seeing him.
Today, the news in the market was a bit messy.
The storyteller was talking about the recent war, saying that the Xie family’s army had advanced all the way to the barbarian capital a few days ago, and King Xidan surrendered on the spot, signed a letter of surrender, and ceded his land to make reparations.
Jilin’s battles went too smoothly. The barbarian iron cavalry was a renowned magic weapon. Even though the former King Beiliang was peaceful, there were some minor frictions between the countries. The barbarian iron cavalry was notoriously difficult to fight. Although Xie Lin had the reputation of being undefeated, even Emperor Qingyuan didn’t really dare to guarantee anything, and the final victory result was really unexpected.
The storyteller was very enthusiastic when telling the story to the crowd; especially when it came to Xie Ke’s part, his tone was excited, his words were beautiful and he was so happy that he used his hands and feet to gesticulate. This scene was not like storytelling anymore, it was like acting in a play.
But the people liked it, throwing copper coins and applauding. It was very lively.
Fu Zhiyu had heard enough about Xie Ke and left early. But when he was sleeping, he keenly felt that there seemed to be some movement.
Mingdao had long since stopped sharing a room with him and had a courtyard of his own. Fu Zhiyu originally didn’t like to have someone waiting by his bed when he slept. This wasn’t the imperial palace and the security wasn’t that strict. Besides, Xie Ke wasn’t in the capital, and with Fu Zhiyu’s current strength and sensitivity, he didn’t feel he would encounter any danger.
He felt the man approaching; Fu Zhiyu sat up, lifted the bed curtain and looked at him.
“It’s me,” the visitor walked up slowly and stopped a step away from Fu Zhiyu, his voice hoarse, “Zhiyu, don’t call anyone, I beg you, I won’t touch you, really. I haven’t seen you for a long time, I just want to take a look and leave.”
In fact, Fu Zhiyu already knew it was him when he heard the footsteps. Xie Ke came back much earlier than he thought. The barbarian capital was not far from here but it was impossible for the army to come back so soon. Did Xie Ke rush back alone?
It was just before dawn, and the sky outside was getting lighter. Xie Ke came in through the window. In the light that seeped in, Fu Zhiyu could see him clearly.
He was wearing a military uniform and armour on his chest. His helmet must have just been taken off. His hair was wet and scattered. Xie Ke was still panting, as if he had just come down from the horse. His whole body looked messy, but his eyes were bright when he looked at Fu Zhiyu.
Yesterday, the storyteller on the street praised Xie Ke over and over again. Saying that Xie Ke was as wise as a god, he won a round of applause. He also said that Xie Ke’s sword eyebrows and star-like eyes were incredibly handsome, and earned a pile of copper coins from the audience. The more he talked about it, the more outrageous the descriptions became, and he almost said that Xie Ke was the North Star descending down to the earth.
It seemed the legendary North Star was surprised because Fu Zhiyu didn’t kick him out immediately, which apparently caused him more emotional turmoil than defeating the barbarians had.
Fu Zhiyu watched him half-kneeling on the edge of his bed. Xie Ke abided by what he had just said and really didn’t reach out to touch him but just grabbed the edge of the bed and clenched his fingers on the bed sheet.
In this way, Fu Zhiyu could look down at him.
Seeing that Fu Zhiyu hadn’t made a sound to drive him away, Xie Ke was happy again and carefully searched for a topic: “These days, Zhiyu, how are you doing?”
Fu Zhiyu thought for a while and replied, “Pretty good.”
Only after he had moved out of the palace did Fu Zhiyu truly feel that this was the life he wanted. He was now in a very peaceful state of mind. Perhaps because he hadn’t seen Xie Ke for too long, suddenly he didn’t think of how scary this man was.
“How about you?” He even asked leisurely, “Have you learned to leave me alone?”
After Xie Ke had left last year, Fu Zhiyu was stopped once by Lu Linhai.
“The boss risks his life to go to the battlefield for the sake of Wang Zhao!” Lu Linhai mustered up the courage to say, “He really likes His Highness Wang Zhao.”
Fu Zhiyu glanced at him and replied, “Really? So what? I hope that after Young General Xie returns from the battlefield and has power in his hands, he can clearly understand that the affairs of Wang Zhao have nothing to do with him and won’t be blinded by the freshness of the moment, unable to distinguish what he really wants.”
Lu Linhai was infuriated by his words and held back for a long time before shouting at his back: “…You, you are ignoring the sincerity of his heart!”
This sentence really made Fu Zhiyu laugh out loud. Although Lu Linhai didn’t know everything, it was really funny to say that.
Was Xie Ke sincere?
But at this moment, Xie Ke spoke, answering Fu Zhiyu’s question. He looked up at him and stared into his eyes: “…I haven’t learned, Zhiyu, I will never learn to give up on you. But when I went out, I gained a lot. I met many couples who had been together all their lives. Do you remember the old shepherd couple in the grasslands? I asked them what kept them together for so long, and they thought about it for a long time, saying it was love, trust and respect.”
Fu Zhiyu looked at him coldly and didn’t answer.
These three things didn’t fit him and Xie Ke at all.
He remembered the shepherd couple. In his previous life he had even gone to the battlefield for Xie Ke during the Qianyuan Battle. To be precise, he looked for opportunities to follow Xie Ke almost every time Xie Ke went to war, sometimes on the emperor’s order and sometimes on his own initiative.
During the Qianyuan Battle, he blocked an arrow for Xie Ke and then rolled down the hill in the chaos, and was saved by an old shepherd couple.
At that time Fu Zhiyu saw them so loving, and he also hoped that he and Xie Ke would have such a future of being together and supporting each other. They had just started sleeping together a short while ago at that time, and it was probably the joy of sharing the bed that brought Fu Zhiyu a lot of unrealistic fantasies.
“Zhiyu,” Xie Ke greedily enjoyed the moment of mutual peace and then took the opportunity to start talking again, “that was when I realised that I had fallen in love with you.”
Fu Zhiyu seemed to have heard some big joke, and laughed in a low voice.
But Xie Ke’s expression didn’t look like he was joking. He didn’t think this sentence was funny, and his face was very serious.
“It’s true, Zhiyu,” he said earnestly, “If you had seen yourself at that time, you would have also fallen in love with yourself. Blocking the arrow was just one of many things.
It was also at that time that I saw clearly that this Fu Zhiyu was such a Fu Zhiyu.”
Fu Zhiyu, who came to the battlefield of the Qianyuan Battle, had imperial orders. One was to send forage, and the other was to supervise the army. Unfortunately, as soon as he arrived, he encountered a barbarian raid. Xie Ke took his silver spear and went into the battle.
Fu Zhiyu didn’t hide either. He didn’t have time to change out of his white and gold imperial robes. He lifted his sword and got onto his horse. In the melee, his face was stained with blood, and he was so confused that he didn’t know whose blood it was. The battlefield was so chaotic that no one knew who was where, and the moment one joined it, even a revered prince could become a dead man under the sword in an instant.
In fact, Xie Ke, who was familiar with the original work, didn’t know that there would be that arrow. He only knew that his life wouldn’t be in danger at that time. The battle wasn’t described in detail in the original book, but it was mentioned that the protagonist suffered some injuries, not serious ones.
No one knew about the arrow, but Fu Zhiyu blocked it.
It even took Xie Ke a long time before he realised that Fu Zhiyu had blocked the arrow for him, but fortunately, the arrow didn’t hit a vital point and just pierced his arm.
“Are you all right?” Fu Zhiyu gritted his teeth and pulled out the arrow, quickly tying a cloth on his arm to stop the bleeding. He was still holding his sword in his left hand. He was sweating in pain, but his eyes were full of concern for Xie Ke. “I won’t let anything happen to you,” Xie Ke heard him murmur, “I will give up my life, but I won’t let you suffer a little injury.”
The words of love that His Highness the Ninth Prince learned from somewhere were corny and simple, but Xie Ke felt soft in his heart when he heard them.
Zhiyu had always been like this, giving all his heart to the people he liked, not just talking about it.
The raid wasn’t large-scale, but the field was indeed chaotic. Fu Zhiyu not only blocked an arrow for him, but even rolled down the hill afterwards because he was protecting Xie Ke.The original book said that Xie Ke was injured in this incident, but because of being protected by Fu Zhiyu, there was nothing wrong with him at all.
His Highness the Ninth Prince was true to his word. He said he wouldn’t let him get hurt, and he really didn’t let him get hurt.
After Fu Zhiyu rolled down the hill, Xie Ke really couldn’t follow the plot and leave him behind like this. He went after him and found Fu Zhiyu who was recovering in the shepherd’s house.
Those two days were indeed different. Xie Ke recklessly ignored the plot and followed his own heart completely.
Fu Zhiyu was surprised by the gentle look he had never seen from Xie Ke before and became even more soft and cute, charming and begging to be pampered.
Fu Zhiyu was never obedient when he took medicine. After half a sip, he would frown and say it was bitter. Then he would sit up from the bed and ask for a kiss, nibbling on Xie Ke’s lips, his arms hooked around Xie Ke’s neck. Xie Ke would feel his fingers scratching his back. His beautiful eyes were moist. He looked like a clingy kitten.
Xie Ke was immersed in the tenderness of his lover. He didn’t know what day it was until the system forcibly reminded him of the goals and plans he had. Everything was a temporary sham, a sweet illusion, and he had to leave it behind to finish his mission.
But if the current Xie Ke was allowed to return to that time, no matter what power or reason, he would never be willing to leave such Fu Zhiyu.
“Zhiyu, I thought at that time that doing this was the best choice for you and me,” Xie Ke said word by word, “I knew clearly from that time that I loved you, baby, and I loved you deeply. You may not believe it, but it is true.”