After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 68

Chapter 68

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But as soon as those words were spoken, Chu Hechao froze.

Yuan Li was also startled by this remark, his eyes widening in disbelief. Has the joke gone too far? But when he saw the regretful expression on the man’s face, Yuan Li felt a surge of energy in an instant.

Last time, he had almost lost to Chu Hechao, could he afford to lose again this time?

Yuan Li pondered for a moment, then leaned forward and brought his face close to Chu Hechao’s, slowly saying, “Alright then, General, I’ll trouble you with that.”

Chu Hechao, who was still regretful, held his breath.

He looked at Yuan Li incredulously, wondering what this meant.

Was this… agreeing to let him use his lips and tongue to apply the balm?

The man’s body tensed up, and he mustered the last of his sanity, placing the bowl of oil on the table with a deep voice, “Don’t talk nonsense.”

Yuan Li suppressed his laughter, pretending to look innocent as he asked, “Wasn’t that what you wanted to do?”

Chu Hechao sat as stiff as a rock, motionless. Yuan Li’s smile grew deeper as he teased, “General, are you going to say something?”

He sized Chu Hechao up and down with a glance, “Are you scared?”

Chu Hechao’s expression changed repeatedly, and finally, his eyes stared at Yuan Li intently.

The young man’s handsome face was right in front of him, brimming with a playful smile and a lively expression. Chu Hechao could even feel Yuan Li’s breath, shallow and clear. When his gaze lowered, he saw Yuan Li’s fair chin and lips that were dry and peeling.

The lips were slightly pale and seemed a bit rough. But inexplicably, Chu Hechao felt as if the smiling young man in front of him had transformed into a demon, enticing him towards the abyss.

Seeing the silent and patient man before him, Yuan Li felt a sense of strangeness in his heart.

Normally, Chu Hechao would have already retorted with a provocation by now.

Suddenly, Yuan Li remembered the speculation he had set aside due to being busy before.

Is Chu Hechao gay?

Now is the perfect opportunity to confirm this speculation.

Yuan Li’s curiosity, which should not have arisen at this moment, suddenly surged. He launched a more powerful attack and leaned forward again, “Chu Hechao?”

His lips opened and closed.

Chu Hechao once again found himself standing at the edge of a steep, pitch-black cliff.

All other sounds faded away in an instant, and all Chu Hechao could see were Yuan Li’s face and those lips. Rationality and desire pulled and tugged, emotions and morals held him back. In an instant, a faintly ferocious expression appeared on the man’s face.

Various voices echoed in his mind.

Look at him, acting so recklessly in front of you. You should teach him a lesson.

Chu Hechao, he’s saying such things, why are you still holding back?

But he’s Chu Mingfeng’s wife. Chu Mingfeng’s last wish was for you to take care of him.

He’s your brother’s wife, you can’t touch him.

Don’t let him be berated by everyone.

Chu Hechao’s hand slowly clenched into a fist.

But you are Chu Hechao, the Great General of the Northern Frontier. With enough power, no one dares to say anything, and you can turn your brother’s wife into your own husband.

It was a ceremony you and Yuan Li held, and you both drank the wedding wine. It should be you who becomes his husband.

The voices in his mind were clamorous. Chu Hechao’s Adam’s apple rolled, and a terrifying expression flickered in his eyes as he looked at Yuan Li.

Yuan Li wanted to see more clearly, so he leaned forward even more forcefully. But he ended up sliding off the chair and almost pouncing on Chu Hechao. Yuan Li reacted quickly, immediately placing his hand on Chu Hechao’s leg to stabilize himself.

In the moment their hands touched, Yuan Li felt the muscles under Chu Hechao’s skin tense up instantly. He raised his head, and Chu Hechao’s face revealed a restrained expression of pain. Then, he closed his eyes.

The man remained silent like a towering mountain, and his closed eyes exuded a sense of hidden endurance, incredibly sexy and handsome.

Yuan Li’s heartbeat inexplicably quickened.

He suddenly felt a strange and hesitant sensation.

Chu Hechao…

Does he actually like him?

Yuan Li swallowed nervously, questioning if he had misunderstood his feelings.

If Chu Hechao really liked him, would he be so harsh towards him?

He often yelled at him and told him to stay away. Is that how someone behaves when they like someone?

But perhaps everyone has a darker, mischievous side deep within them. Looking at Chu Hechao, who closed his eyes and couldn’t bear to look at him, Yuan Li became bolder and insisted on forcing Chu Hechao to open his eyes.

He pondered for a moment and awkwardly moved his hand on Chu Hechao’s leg, carefully observing his expressions.

The man’s jaw momentarily tensed with a hint of aggression, his eyes still closed and his eyebrows furrowed. Yuan Li took note of every subtle expression, but they quickly disappeared, leaving his face blank.

However, large beads of sweat formed on the man’s forehead, rolling down his face from his chin to his Adam’s apple.

He had been pushed to this extent.

Yuan Li stared at the sweat bead as it slid down from Chu Hechao’s chin to his Adam’s apple, unable to resist reaching out and wiping away the droplet.

Chu Hechao’s Adam’s apple rolled again.

More sweat emerged from his forehead, and Yuan Li, lost in thought, lightly touched Chu Hechao’s Adam’s apple in an unmethodical manner.

Suddenly, a terrifying vein popped out on the man’s neck, and he swiftly and ruthlessly grabbed Yuan Li’s hand to stop his mischief.

Yuan Li, who was enjoying himself, was startled and looked at Chu Hechao with a bit of panic.

Chu Hechao finally opened his eyes.

The man’s face was covered in perspiration, and his eyes were filled with dreadful bloodshot veins. He stared intently at Yuan Li, his eyes murky and somber.

“Yuan Li,” he spoke with a hoarse voice, enunciating each word, “do you want me dead?”

Even after returning to the bedroom, Yuan Li couldn’t shake off the expression in Chu Hechao’s eyes.

As he laid in bed, Yuan Li placed his hand on his chest and realized his heart was beating fast.

That gaze from Chu Hechao left Yuan Li slightly chilled and restless.

Mixed emotions of astonishment, embarrassment, and an inexplicable something surged within him.

Yuan Li truly felt that Chu Hechao liked him.

But when it came to being certain, Yuan Li couldn’t help but feel uncertain.

After all, this was too absurd. While he knew there was nothing between him and Chu Mingfeng, he was still officially Chu Hechao’s sister-in-law, and he had always maintained the demeanor of a sister-in-law to suppress Chu Hechao. Although Chu Hechao seemed indifferent to everything, he actually cared a lot about his family. So how could Chu Hechao possibly develop feelings for him, his sister-in-law?

Yuan Li struggled for a while but couldn’t make sense of it.

He really wanted to know if Chu Hechao liked him…

But Yuan Li also understood rationally that if they were to break through this thin barrier, the only ones who would be embarrassed would be the two of them.

“Sigh.” Yuan Li sighed softly.

He pulled the blanket over himself and decided to put it aside for now.

Sleep, just sleep.

The next morning, when Yuan Li woke up, he had dark circles under his eyes.

Lintian expressed concern, “Master, did you not sleep well?”

Yuan Li sighed deeply, tormented by his intense curiosity throughout the night, and shook his head.

He woke himself up, went outside, and began his usual morning exercise. While running, Yuan Li ended up at Chu Hechao’s training ground.

He thought Chu Hechao would have finished training and left long ago since Yuan Li woke up late today. However, to his surprise, Chu Hechao was still there.

The Grand General was only wearing a thin garment, and the steam rising from his body distorted the morning mist. The upper part of his robe was taken off and wrapped around his waist, revealing his honey-colored skin with beads of sweat rolling down with each movement of his muscles.

His waist heaved as he caught his breath, and that forceful sensation exuded by a mature man reminded Yuan Li of when he first saw him in early March last year.

Yuan Li looked at him with a worried expression, wanting to speak but hesitating.

He really wanted to ask Chu Hechao directly if he liked him, but he felt it would be too self-centered to ask that way.

If Chu Hechao didn’t have those feelings, it would be so awkward.

The early morning of March still carried the chill of late winter, but as the exercise continued, the warmth overcame the cold.

Chu Hechao sensed someone and raised his eyelids, turning his sharp gaze towards Yuan Li.

Upon seeing Yuan Li, his forehead visibly twitched, his thin lips straightened, and he stared at Yuan Li with a seemingly expressionless face hiding countless thoughts.

Suddenly, Yuan Li felt his gaze weigh a thousand pounds, icy and scorching, causing him to shudder. Without saying a word, he turned and ran away.

After returning and freshening up, it didn’t take long for a servant to bring Yuan Li a box of lip balm, which not only included lip balm but also hand cream for preventing dryness and cracking.

Now there’s lip balm and frost ointment. The one for women is called “red balm,” while the one for men is called “lip balm.” It’s colorless and used only for moisturizing the lips. Naturally, the Chu Mansion also has it, but in the winter, everything was burned in the fire caused by Xiao Ce’s accident. Yuan Li hadn’t thought of replenishing it afterward.

Yuan Li was surprised when he saw it and asked, “Where did this come from?”

“The General sent someone to ask for it from General He’s residence,” the servant who brought the lip balm replied. “Please feel free to use it. If you run out, General He still has more.”

He Lang really lived a refined life. Yuan Li chuckled, took the lip balm, rubbed it a few times, and coughed before earnestly saying, “Tell the General that I thank him.”

The servant took his leave. Yuan Li opened the box and smelled it. There was a faint scent of honeysuckle inside. He applied some to his lips and finally felt a bit better. At least his lips didn’t sting when he spoke.

Half an hour after finishing breakfast, Liu Jixin arrived with two people to pay respects to Yuan Li.

Yuan Li freshened up and changed into new clothes, then went to the main hall to wait. Not long after, Liu Jixin walked in with two thin and weak young men. He raised his hand and saluted, saying, “Subordinate pays respects to the Honorable Governor.”

The two people behind him quickly followed, saying, “The humble servants Zheng Rong/Zhou Gongdan pay respects to the Honorable Governor.”

Yuan Li looked at the two of them with interest.

Standing to Liu Jixin’s left was Zheng Rong, whom Yuan Li had heard Liu Jixin mention before. He knew that Zheng Rong was Liu Jixin’s younger brother-in-law, so it was somewhat unexpected to see him here.

It was because Zheng Rong looked too frail, with a pale complexion and a weak and thin body. Yuan Li could tell at a glance that he was severely weak and had various minor ailments.

At the sight of such a person, Yuan Li felt the urge to train him a bit. Otherwise, with this physical condition, he wouldn’t be able to withstand even a slight cold.

The other scholar looked better, and he had a dignified appearance. There was a hint of elegance in his demeanor. He had a smile on his face, and although his shoes had patches, he appeared clean and composed, without a hint of discomfort.

“Zhou Gongdan,” Yuan Li teased with a smile. “That’s quite an extraordinary name.”

His peripheral vision glanced at Zhou Gongdan’s shoes, and his smile deepened.

In the present era, families who can read and write have a certain financial foundation, even if they are from humble backgrounds. This humble background is still a scholarly family. Common people may wear patched shoes, but those who can read, even if they are impoverished, are not impoverished to that extent.

Yuan Li could tell at a glance that this person, although wanting to join him, was also testing him. Testing whether he was biased against the poor and favored the rich, judged people by appearances, and had inconsistencies between words and actions.

Yuan Li pretended not to know.

Zhou Gongdan showed a helpless expression and clasped his fists towards Yuan Li. “My name truly reaches beyond my station as Zhou Gong. It’s all because I was born in a hurry. When my mother was deeply asleep and dreaming of Zhou Gong, I was born crying. It didn’t even alarm the midwife. That’s how I ended up with the same name as Zhou Gong. I am truly self-conscious about it. If the Honorable Governor doesn’t mind, please call me by my courtesy name, Wenning.”

Yuan Li nodded and then looked at Zheng Rong.

Zheng Rong was somewhat nervous, with a tense voice, but his speech was well-structured.

Liu Jixin had recommended them to Yuan Li, so he examined the two of them and found that their knowledge and understanding of the overall situation were quite good. Zheng Rong was concerned about the livelihood of the people, while Zhou Gongdan had a good understanding of military affairs. Both of them had impressive insights in certain areas. Yuan Li felt delighted and gladly accepted these two talents, even cordially inviting them to have lunch.

The food in the estate tasted much better than what Zheng Rong and Zhou Gongdan usually had. Even two individuals who always paid attention to their manners couldn’t help but eat a lot and eventually felt a bit stuffed.

After the meal, Zhou Gongdan’s attitude became much warmer. He sighed and thought to himself that even if it was just for the sake of eating such meals every day, he wanted to stay with Yuan Li as an advisor.

They didn’t stay long at Yuan Li’s place. When they left, Yuan Li gave each of them a gift.

He gave Zheng Rong a fine inkstone and a set of brushes. As for Zhou Gongdan, he received ten pairs of simple and unadorned boots.

“Read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles,” Yuan Li smiled and said to Zhou Gongdan, “Without good shoes, how can you endure the journey of exploring the vast rivers and mountains, Wenning?”

On the way back, Zhou Gongdan held a pair of boots in his hands, lost in thought.

Zheng Rong felt somewhat guilty because he received such a fine gift, while Zhou Gongdan only had ten pairs of boots and felt a bit uneasy. He whispered to comfort him, “Wenning, the Governor probably noticed the patches on your boots, which is why he gave you boots. It’s a gesture of his affection, so don’t think too much about it.”

Zhou Gongdan nodded with a smile. “Jie Zhi, do you know why the Governor gave me ‘ten pairs’?”

Zheng Rong asked, “Why?”

“Because it’s the Governor’s way of reminding me to ‘seek truth from facts’,” Zhou Gongdan replied.

Zheng Rong didn’t quite understand, but Zhou Gongdan shook his head and suddenly burst into laughter.

Yuan Li didn’t immediately appoint Zheng Rong and Zhou Gongdan as his officials. This indicated that he wanted to observe them for a while. Therefore, the two of them couldn’t directly address Yuan Li as “Lord” but continued to refer to him as “Governor.”

Their arrival was timely because after the arrival of spring, Yuan Li’s governmental affairs became increasingly busy, and he needed more manpower.

Especially recently, with no rain for a long time, Yuan Li had even more tasks to handle.

At the end of March, it was the season of waiting for spring rain, but in Youzhou, it had been a full half month without rain, and the people were getting restless. Counties and prefectures from various regions were submitting documents to Yuan Li, inquiring about preparations for drought response.

Not only the common people but also the powerful landlords and gentry were worried about the weather in Youzhou.

Yuan Li had also sent people to the neighboring Bingzhou and Yizhou to inquire, and they reported that there had been very little rainfall in those two provinces this month as well.

If it didn’t rain soon, it was estimated that a large-scale drought would occur.

Yuan Li’s mood became increasingly heavy, and he even made preparations for drought. Finally, on the last day of March, when Yuan Li checked the weather forecast that updated every seven days, he was pleasantly surprised to find that there would be a thunderstorm three days later.

Moreover, the rain would continue for three days with abundant rainfall. Now, Yuan Li could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

He knew that rain was coming, so he wasn’t in a hurry. However, others were still unaware and anxiously fretting. At this moment, Yuan Li calmly reassured these people, earning even more admiration from them.

Privately, when everyone gathered and talked, they all felt that the Governor was indeed the youngest and most composed governor in the world. Even if it hadn’t rained for half a month, he remained calm and composed. They even thought that Yuan Li must have a way to deal with it.

As this sentiment spread, more and more people agreed with it. Due to their trust in Yuan Li, their anxious hearts eased a bit.

Unaware of their thoughts, Yuan Li counted the days until the rain arrived. Little did he know that before the thunderstorm, he would receive the arrival of Gulichi and the leaders of various Wuwan tribes.

T/N: Mini heads up for next set of chapters, something really REALLY good happens hehehehe

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