“No! Don’t come any closer!” Jun Hua’s voice was choked, as if muffled by something. Wei Chongrong turned to look, only to see that Jun Hua had wrapped his entire body into the quilt like a silkworm in a cocoon.
Wei Chongrong couldn’t help laughing and chuckled softly, thinking secretly: sure enough, Little Monkey was still such a thin-skinned child. What was so embarrassing about this kind of thing? Wei Chongrong thought for a while; since Jun Hua didn’t want to be seen by him, he was not going to deliberately make it difficult for him, so he walked as far away as possible.
In his previous life, it could be said that Wei Chongrong grew up with Jun Hua, but in fact, the relationship between the two of them was very distant most of the time. After all, one of them was raised by Wei Su, holding all his hopes and thoughts, but the other wasn’t pleasing to the emperor’s eye and left to fend for himself.
It was only when the court was controlled by the Shangguan family and Wei Yang had no one else to use that the two of them gradually became closer.
However, at that time, Wei Chongrong had only Wei Yang in his eyes and saw nothing else. Jun Hua occasionally reminded him not to pour out his heart and soul into Wei Yang but not only did We Chongrong not appreciate his good intentions, he also thought that Jun Hua was nosy and deliberately provoked his relationship with Wei Yang.
In fact, Wei Yang had already become wary of Wei Chongrong, and if Wei Chongrong restrained himself in time, everything might have turned out different.
It was a pity that he didn’t do that. When Wei Yang realised that he could no longer do without Wei Chongrong, the suspicious emperor panicked. He wouldn’t allow anything to happen that wasn’t under his control, so Wei Chongrong had to die; and only with his death could Wei Yang rest easy.
Many years later, Wei Chongrong finally figured out how much Jun Hua had given to him, but unfortunately he never had the chance to make up for it.
Today’s Jun Hua was happy, his parents were alive and well, his leg was healthy and Wei Chongrong was spoiling him to his heart’s content. Even in the past few years when they were separated, no matter what Jun Hua said he wanted, Wei Chongrong would get it for him, unwilling to see him even slightly unhappy.
Not long after, Jun Hua emerged from the quilt, raised his head to look left and right, but didn’t see Wei Chongrong.
He blinked in confusion and was hesitating whether to go out to find him when he heard Wei Chongrong’s voice outside the window: “Little Monkey, may I come in?” His tone was undulating, with a light smile that wasn’t easy to detect.
Jun Hua’s face was originally only a little flushed, but when he heard Wei Chongrong’s words, he instantly turned scarlet like a boiled shrimp.
He knew that even if Wei Chongrong didn’t peek at him, he had heard everything. He still nodded obediently: “Brother Rong, come back.”
Wei Chongrong leaped in through the window, got to the side of the bed in a few steps and teased Jun Hua: “Little Monkey, so you’ve really grown up!”
Jun Hua stared at him, blushing. For a while, he didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know that his shy eyes weren’t intimidating at all.
Wei Chongrong still didn’t dare to tease him anymore, hurriedly changed the subject and said, “Little Monkey, do you want to take a bath? I think you are sweaty all over…”
Jun Hua had long felt sticky and uncomfortable, and quickly nodded: “Is there a place to take a bath here?”
Wei Chongrong was puzzled: “Shouldn’t you be more familiar with this place than I am?”
Jun Hua innocently defended: “I didn’t live here before, and I had Brother Qingcheng around, so I didn’t have to worry about anything.”
“Who is Qingcheng(1)?” Hearing the name, Wei Chongrong frowned unconsciously.
Jun Hua leaned from the side of the bed, reaching out to find the shoes he didn’t know where he had kicked: “It’s today’s Flower Empress.”
Wei Chongrong suddenly realised something, gritted his teeth and said, “Qingcheng was the one who was going to approach Tuduo according to the plan, right?” He knew it, Ji Xin had always been very reliable, how could he possibly give Jun Hua such a difficult task as to infiltrate Zhuxia and approach Tuduo? It turned out that there was someone else.
Jun Hua didn’t say anything, acquiescing to Wei Chongrong’s words silently. After looking for a long time he only found one shoe.
Wei Chongrong pulled Jun Hua up and said loudly: “Don’t look for it, I’ll carry you.”
As soon as he picked him up, he heard Jun Hua cry out in alarm. He hurriedly looked down and saw Jun Hua reach for his pants. Unfortunately, he was half a beat too slow and the pants without a belt slid down his calves to the floor.
Jun Hua was so dumbfounded that couldn’t speak for a moment, and finally raised his hand to cover his face in despair.
Wei Chongrong laughed when he saw this: “Why are you so shy? When you were a kid, I even bathed you. There is nothing I haven’t seen before…” Wei Chongrong’s words didn’t help at all. Not only did Jun Hua not take his hand away, but even his neck turned red with shame.
Having carried Jun Hua to the bathroom, Wei Chongrong put him in a bathtub filled with hot water and began to undress himself.
Jun Hua sighed comfortably and stretched out in the water. As soon as he opened his eyes, all he saw was Wei Chongrong, stipped naked. Thunderstruck, he couldn’t help exclaiming, “Brother Rong, Brother Rong, what are you doing?”
“I want to take a bath.” Wei Chongrong replied as a matter of course, “Such a large bathtub is more than enough for the two of us, so it’s better to bathe together. Why waste it, it’s not like we haven’t bathed together before…”
Jun Hua vaguely felt that something was wrong, but he couldn’t tell what was wrong. Before he could figure it out, Wei Chongrong had already stepped on the ladder.
There was a washing cloth hanging on the shelf next to the bathtub. Wei Chongrong took it and stuffed it into Jun Hua’s hand: “Help me rub my back.”
Jun Hua took the washing cloth, a little at a loss. Wei Chongrong couldn’t help but urge him when he saw him not moving for a long time.
Jun Hua raised his hand and slapped his face, telling himself that it was nothing – taking a bath together, rubbing each other’s backs, these were normal things – and began to rub Wei Chongrong’s back. After rubbing it twice, he stopped and said in shock: “What happened?”
Wei Chongrong was taken aback when he heard the question and was confused for a moment before reacting. Jun Hua was asking about the scars on his back, so he replied with a smile: “Last winter, Xianhan and I went hunting in the Arslan Mountains. We accidentally met a black bear and I was slapped by it…”
Halfway through his tale, Wei Chongrong felt that the movement behind him wasn’t right; he turned around to see Jun Hua’s eyes flushed. He hurriedly cupped his face and comforted him, “Little Monkey, don’t cry, that black bear was later killed by me, and my injuries are all healed. It’s fine.”
Jun Hua sniffled and blamed himself. “It’s all my fault, if I hadn’t asked you for a scarf made of snow fox fur, you wouldn’t have had to take this risk, much less get hurt, it’s all my fault… Brother Rong, I’m sorry!”
“It’s really not your fault at all, Little Monkey, stop crying!” From childhood to adulthood, Wei Chongrong couldn’t bear seeing Jun Hua’s tears the most. As long as Jun Hua cried, he was at a loss for words, “Besides, I didn’t go to the Arslan Mountains for you alone.”
“Who did you go there for?” Wei Chongrong’s words successfully diverted Jun Hua’s attention and he asked subconsciously.
Wei Chongrong picked up the dry towel hanging next to him, wiped Jun Hua’s wet face and explained: “You know, my father’s health wasn’t good in the last two years. In the prescription from Lu Wang’s Lord Consort, there were several medicines that were only available in the Arslan Mountains, so…”
When Jun Hua heard that his snow fox fur scarf was only incidental, instead of being upset, he was relieved. He pulled Wei Chongrong closer and continued to rub his back. When he rubbed the scars that had already healed, he moved very carefully.
Thanks to martial arts training all year round, Wei Chongrong’s body was very beautiful, with clear muscles and smooth lines. Jun Hua rubbed and rubbed, his face turning red again, and he subconsciously compared himself to Wei Chongrong. In a few years, would he have such a figure, ah?
Feeling him rubbing his back slowly and carefully, Wei Chongrong couldn’t help but say, “Little Monkey, if you keep dawdling, the water will get cold.”
Jun Hua raised his head, blushed and said, “It’s fine, let them add some more hot water.”
Wei Chongrong raised his hand and tugged at the thin rope dangling from the wall, only to hear a crisp bell ring. A short while later, a voice came from the other side of the door, “Master, should I bring the water in or leave it by the door?”
Jun Hua leaned to Wei Chongrong’s ear and said, “I don’t want them to come in.”
Wei Chongrong immediately raised his voice: “Leave the water, no need to come in.”
“Okay.” There was a smaller door cut in the bathroom door, and two buckets of hot water were pushed in through it.
Wei Chongrong climbed out of the tub, picked up the hot water and added it. Jun Hua covered his face with his hands and peeked at him through the gaps between his fingers. Wei Chongrong noticed Jun Hua’s little gesture but didn’t point it out to him, only the corners of his lips curved upwards slightly.
When it was Wei Chongrong’s turn to rub Jun Hua’s back, his movements were much faster, but still gentle enough to make Jun Hua feel happy.
After the bath, Wei Chongrong wrapped a towel around him and carried him back to bed, then lay down beside him.
He had slept all day and wasn’t sleepy at all at night. Although Jun Hua had been tossing and turning all day, he was so excited to be reunited with Wei Chongrong after such a long time that he couldn’t sleep and wanted to talk.
“Brother Rong, why haven’t you come to see me all that time?” Jun Hua remembered very clearly that when his daddy took him and his brother away from Yujing, Wei Chongrong promised him wholeheartedly that he would visit him in Yi’an County when he had time. But Jun Hua had waited for more than five years with bated breath, and Wei Chongrong hadn’t ever come.
Wei Chongrong smiled apologetically: “Little Monkey, I’m so sorry! I actually wanted to come to see you a long time ago, but I never had a chance. Before that, I was studying at the palace school, and then it was my daddy… This year, I was going to have some free time, but who knew that Third Brother…”
When it came to Wei Mao, Jun Hua was also full of resentment. If Wei Mao hadn’t been running around, Wei Chongrong would have been able to visit him in Yi’an County, and they could have played around comfortably. Unlike now; they did meet each other but it wasn’t easy, and how could they still go to the mountains and play in the water!
Seeing Wei Chongrong’s sad face, Jun Hua was about to comfort him when there was a light knocking sound outside the window. Wei Chongrong sat up and whispered, “Come in, we’re still awake.” Just as he finished speaking, a dark shadow leapt in through the window.
“Little Dongzi, what have you seen?” Wei Chongrong asked. He told Dongfang to keep an eye on Tuduo and Qingcheng and report to him if there was the slightest movement.
Dongfang didn’t say anything, looking first at Wei Chongrong and then at Jun Hua. Thinking he was worried about Jun Hua’s identity, Wei Chongrong said, “Little Dongzi, go ahead, Little Monkey is not an outsider.” After saying that, he found that their names were surprisingly a bit similar.
Dongfang still refused to speak, but instead stared at Wei Chongrong with a deadly gaze. Wei Chongrong stared back at him for a moment, reading a long string of words in his eyes that said “doing that to such a young child, are you a human being at all?” He hurriedly denied, “We are not in that kind of relationship, don’t misunderstand.”
In fact, this wasn’t what Dongfang wanted to express; he simply felt that the next topic was a bit bloody and Jun Hua didn’t look old enough, so he was afraid of scaring him and wanted to ask Wei Chongrong if he should let him avoid listening to it.
As it turned out, Wei Chongrong misunderstood him, and Jun Hua misunderstood Wei Chongrong and asked nervously, “Brother Rong, you and him…” He raised his finger and pointed to Dongfang. “What is your relationship? Why are you afraid that he will misunderstand you?”
Seeing the disdain in Dongfang’s eyes, Wei Chongrong said quickly, “Little Dongzi, say what you have to say, don’t beat around the bush.” As for the question asked by Jun Hua, it was directly ignored by him. This wasn’t the point at all.
Dongfang cupped his fist and reported: “That Second Prince Tuduo, I finally understand why you said ’the face of a beauty, the heart of a snake’. He is really… too good at torturing people! That poor courtesan was almost played to death by him.” He was ordered to monitor Tuduo and stayed on the roof of his room for half the night, and his eyes and ears were poisoned. For the first time, Dongfang knew that in bed, there were so many ways to make people suffer. If it weren’t for Tuduo who was tired of playing and called it a night, he would have had the urge to rush down to the rescue.
“Brother Qingcheng…” Jun Hua hadn’t known Qingcheng for a long time, but Qingcheng had always taken good care of him, and he couldn’t help but worry when he heard this.
Wei Chongrong was even more frightened. The person who approached Tuduo according to the plan was Qingcheng, but if he had not appeared in time, with Tuduo’s course of actions, Jun Hua would have fallen into his hands. Not to mention the search for Wei Mao, he wouldn’t even be able to protect himself.
“Master Shizi, what are we going to do now?” Dongfang asked about the next action plan.
Wei Chongrong squeezed Jun Hua’s shoulder and said calmly: “Let’s sleep and leave here after dawn.” After saying that, he looked at Dongfang and said, “You can find a place to take a nap, there is nothing to do for you for the time being.”
It was Tuduo’s hobby to torture people in bed, he was not suspicious of Qingcheng, so all they had to do was wait.
A wall away, in the Tianxian Courtyard, making sure Tuduo beside him was asleep, Qingcheng opened his eyes, sat up and quickly pressed Tuduo’s sleeping points.
He gently got up from the bed and walked barefoot to the bronze mirror, looking at the bruises and welts on his body with a regal smile.
After standing in front of the mirror for a moment, Qingcheng returned to the bed, where he leaned down and planted a kiss on Tuduo’s lips, saying in a low voice, “One day, I will double everything you have done to me and return it to you, my prince.”
Tuduo breathed lightly, sleeping very soundly. Qingcheng looked at him for a while, getting so absorbed that he smiled at himself, and finally lay down again.
The bidding at the banquet was only for the first night of the beauties, not for owning them. A large ransom had to be paid to take them away. Compared to Tuduo’s real money, Wei Chongrong was playing at dismantling the east wall to mend the west wall(2). He didn’t spend a coin out of his pocket.
From the Hundred Flowers Garden, Wei Chongrong took Jun Hua and Dongfang to a small courtyard nearby.
The courtyard was really not big, with a two-floor house with two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs and an open space in front of and behind the house. Abundant flowers and plants were planted in front of the house and two ropes were drawn behind the house to dry clothes.
As soon as Wei Chongrong entered the house, he allocated the rooms: “Little Monkey and I will live upstairs, one room each, and Little Dongzi, you will live in the room downstairs.”
Dongfang reluctantly raised his finger and pointed, “Master Shizi, next to it is the kitchen.”
Wei Chongrong smiled and nodded, “That’s just right, it’ll be convenient for you to cook for us.”
Dongfang instantly said with a sad face, “Anyone who has eaten the food I have cooked is no longer alive.”
Jun Hua shivered in fright and tentatively said, “Why don’t I cook?”
Wei Chongrong and Dongfang turned their heads to look at him at the same time: “What can you cook?”
Jun Hua thought hard for a while, and finally said, “I can only cook white porridge, I don’t think I know how to cook anything else.”
Wei Chongrong puffed out a laugh, “Alright, Little Monkey, I’m teasing you, let’s go out to eat, there’s no time to waste.”
Never mind Dongfang’s dislike of his bedroom next to the kitchen, he didn’t have a chance to sleep in it for three nights after moving to his new home anyway. Because Wei Chongrong had different tasks for him every time, he spent the nights at the residences of the First Prince, the Second Prince and the Third Prince respectively.
Of course, Wei Chongrong himself wasn’t idle. He took Jun Hua to visit Zhuxia’s royal palace at night. After this trip, Wei Chongrong somewhat understood why Jun Qing was willing to let Jun Hua go out. His martial arts and courage were sufficient, all that was missing was experience.
Zhuxia had an eventful autumn. The king was old and dying. The three princes were fighting each other for the position of his successor. However, Wei Mao’s disappearance had nothing to do with Zhuxia’s three princes. The one who could not be cleared of suspicion was the princess.
- Allure; gorgeous
- Usually means “coping temporarily” but here is probably means that it was like putting money from one pocket to the other