Chapter 18: Homosexual
Gradually, a deep undercurrent appeared in the ink-like eyes of Young Marquis Xu. After a while, the messenger received a signal from the deputy general and temporarily withdrew from the tent.
Outside the tent, the biting cold wind hit him as he rolled up his sleeves and wrapped his scarf tightly around his neck.
The northern border was incredibly cold, living up to its reputation.
Just as he was about to leave in the dead of night, he heard a shout from behind. It was the deputy general who had followed him out, and he discreetly slipped a pouch of silver into the messenger’s sleeve. Lowering his voice, he asked, “I have a question for you, about someone from the capital.”
“General Yu, please ask away.” The messenger weighed the silver for a moment, his face beaming with joy.
“I’m inquiring about Lord Chu Xie… does he still hold the position of Zhangyin?”
“Of course, he’s a highly esteemed figure, why would you need to ask about him?” The messenger hesitated for a moment, then returned the silver. General Yu pushed the pouch back into the messenger’s hands.
He asked, “To be honest, our Young Master only found out the day before that Young Master Xu sent a letter to the residence in Changping County, North Border. It was addressed to the old marquis… I don’t know if the messenger who delivered that letter was with you, and if you happen to know what was written in that letter?”
The messenger held the heavy pouch of silver, looking around hesitantly, and then smiled awkwardly.
“Come on, just tell me. After all, it’s a letter for the Marquis Zhenguo’s family. There’s no need to be so hesitant,” Deputy General Yu gestured.
Finally, the messenger reluctantly revealed the details and origin of the letter.
Deputy General Yu’s face changed, and he quickly bid farewell before storming back into Xu Chunmu’s tent.
“Young Marquis, this is serious. The family letter indeed seems suspicious. It appears that the Crown Prince has promised your elder brother a position as the Deputy Commander of the Imperial Guards in the capital!”
He sneered, “What a joke! We’ve been enduring hardships here while he’s been living a comfortable life in the capital for over a decade, marrying into the Ministry of Personnel. Now, he even controls half of the Imperial Guards. Young Marquis, it seems he doesn’t consider you part of the Xu family…”
His words were somewhat rough.
Xu Chunmu’s expression remained unchanged as he continued to wipe his sword. He replied, “It’s just a matter of being a two-faced person…”
Then, as if he remembered something, he said, “However, the Crown Prince wants to replace the Zhao family’s influence in the Imperial Guards…”
His hand suddenly stopped.
Duke Yue’s Mansion has always been friendly with the Zhao family and Chu Xie.
With a swish, he sheathed his long sword, lifted the tent, and stopped the messenger who was about to leave, telling him a few words about the news he was going to enter the capital with before letting him go.
The messenger, thinking that the young marquis had changed his mind, left with a delighted expression.
“Little Marquis, what’s going on? Why have you suddenly decided to enter the capital again?” Vice General Yu asked as he caught up.
“Something’s not right,” Xu Chunmu’s expression turned icy, but there was a hint of restlessness in his tone. “I clearly didn’t go to the capital, so why is the Jinhuan Gambling House… Why did Chu Xie lose to the Crown Prince? And there are these two imperial edicts, one after the other…”
Deputy General Yu didn’t quite understand what he was saying and replied with a puzzled “Hmm.”
Moving closer, this time he heard Xu Chunmu’s murmured words clearly.
“Why would the Crown Prince… suddenly want to make me his consort…”
He couldn’t help but burst into laughter, pushing Xu Chunmu’s shoulder playfully. “What else could it be? You’re handsome!”
Xu Chunmu’s gaze remained cold and indifferent as he swept it over Deputy General Yu.
“Alright… I won’t say anything more. If you want to go to the capital, just go. After all, no one would dare to stop you, Young Marquis… I mean, Crown Prince Consort…”
Xu Chunmu didn’t respond to his remark. Instead, he ordered a horse to be brought over. Deputy General Yu’s expression finally changed, and he grabbed Xu Chunmu’s wrist. “Wait, are you really leaving? Leaving your post without permission is a grave offense!”
Xu Chunmu replied calmly, “Well, he’s going to name me as the Crown Prince Consort anyway… What’s the matter? Do you think the Crown Prince will come all the way to the northern border to get married?”
“Hey, no, it’s just…” Deputy General Yu was once again at a loss for words for a moment before stammering, “Are you really going to the capital to become the Crown Prince Consort?”
Xu Chunmu shot him that same icy look and then, with a flick of his reins, he mounted his horse and disappeared into the night.
The morning breeze was bitterly cold, and Jiang Yanchi sneaked into the Chu Mansion with utmost care, intending to steal the antidote. After searching for a while, he noticed that Chu Xie was not present.
Inside was Zhao Xuan, the young Shizi of Duke Yue.
In the earlier years, Chu Xie had advanced through the ranks thanks to serving as the companion reader for the Shizi, which likely explained their close relationship.
Jiang Yanchi didn’t have time to dwell on these details; he was focused on searching the mansion for the pharmacy.
With his keen sense of smell, he entered Chu Xie’s bedroom and noticed a strong medicinal scent in the room. He also discovered that the walls were hollow. After a moment of investigation, he struck a stone tile, revealing a hidden chamber.
Inside the hidden chamber were shelves filled with medicinal herbs.
He couldn’t fathom why Chu Xie had hoarded so many precious medicinal herbs for no apparent reason.
Jiang Yanchi didn’t dare to waste any more time. He recalled what the imperial physician had said about finding the right antidote. It didn’t take long for him to locate the small porcelain bottle.
He hurriedly left and returned to the palace. By now, it was mid-morning.
The imperial physician had mentioned that the patient’s condition had stabilized shortly after he had left in the morning. Jiang Yanchi wasted no time in administering the medicine to the patient. By the afternoon, the patient’s pallid complexion had gained a hint of rosy color, and his breathing had become steadier. Even his hands felt warmer.
As evening approached, the man finally regained consciousness once more.
Jiang Yanchi had unexpectedly stayed by his side for an entire day and night, much to Chu Xie’s amazement.
Furthermore, the antidote from the system hadn’t even been used. Jiang Yanchi had managed to procure an antidote for him. The plot had taken a strange twist, with the rescuer becoming the Crown Prince, and the rescued one becoming himself.
Chu Xie quickly checked the plot completion percentage: 75%. It had unexpectedly increased by ten points. His visit to the brink of death hadn’t been in vain.
He then checked the character compatibility percentages:
Chu Xie: 100%
Xu Chunmu: 30%
He slightly opened his mouth and blinked his eyes forcefully to ensure it was indeed 30%.
Before the plot, there was still 55% left to complete, and he had clearly risen above the passing line before getting poisoned. How did it drop to 30% after a nap?
His eyes dimmed instantly, and he sighed heavily, slumping into the brocade cover.
“What’s wrong? Is there something uncomfortable?” Jiang Yanchi approached and asked, “Is your stomach still hurting? Can you feel your hands and feet?”
“Your Highness, I must leave,” Chu Xie weakly tried to sit up. “This is the Eastern Palace; it’s not suitable…”
“You’ll be staying here from now on,” Jiang Yanchi said as he gently pressed him back down. “I’ve issued an edict to head to the Northern Border. Soon, you’ll be my Crown Prince Consort.”
Crown, what is he playing?
Chu Xie’s mind exploded in an instant.
After a while, he pointed at himself and asked, “You want to marry me?”
“En.” Jiang Yanchi tucked the blanket around Chu Xie and fell silent for a moment before continuing, “I know you’re not very willing, but I will be good to you, slowly… you’ll….” He paused for a bit then, with a forced smile, he added, “You’ll get used to me being by your side.”
Chu Xie blurted out, “I don’t like men.”
Jiang Yanchi immediately realized something and solemnly raised three fingers, saying, “If you don’t want it, I won’t touch you.”
Touch me? Touch me for what?
Can I touch you?
Chu Xie finally understood why Xu Chunmu’s character alignment was so low.
He needed to bring it back up quickly.
“Your Highness, I don’t like men, and I don’t like you either,” Chu Xie said, feigning a cold and distant demeanor. He even looked at Jiang Yanchi with some disgust, deliberately averting his gaze. “I have someone I like, as you know.”
Jiang Yanchi’s expression changed, and his breathing seemed to become erratic.
After a long silence, he said, “It doesn’t matter. You can assume this role for now… stay in the Eastern Palace rightfully, this way, I can with peace of mind….”
“I won’t have peace of mind,” Chu Xie looked at Jiang Yanchi, enunciating each word, “I don’t want this.”
Jiang Yanchi’s fingers gradually clenched, and his jaw tightened.
He gazed at the man’s indifferent profile, his voice still calm and gentle, “When you become my Crown Princess, and later the Empress, this vast empire will be…”
“I don’t care,” Chu Xie cut him off with a cold, hard voice.
“Your Highness, it’s not for these reasons that I’m helping you.”
Jiang Yanchi finally fell silent.
After a while, he stood up and quietly left. “Rest well.”
Chu Xie had just let out a sigh of relief, feeling drowsy after drinking the medicine and eating some porridge. He was about to drift off to sleep when he suddenly heard someone approaching.
Startled, he almost tried to sit up immediately, but his body was too weak. All he could manage was a feeble attempt to move his legs. The person came closer, their warmth and the scent of alcohol enveloping him.
In the darkness, Chu Xie could hear the person’s breath right by his ear.
However, he didn’t react much, thinking he might be asleep. His clothes were still on, and he hadn’t uncovered the bedding. Chu Xie sprinkled the sleeping powder he hadn’t used last time on the drunken Jiang Yanchi, then propped himself up and left.
What a peculiar main character, how was he a homosexual.
Without another word, he used Chu Xie’s badge to secretly leave the palace and return to the Chu residence.
However, as soon as he arrived, he saw the Young Master from the Zhao family waiting inside. According to the servants, he had been waiting for several days.
“Lord Chu, do you know that the Vice Commander of the Imperial Guards has been replaced by someone named Xu Changling?” Zhao Xuan asked bluntly as soon as Chu Xie entered.
Chu Xie didn’t have time to discuss these troublesome changes with him. He was still feeling unwell, and Zhao Xuan noticed it. He hurriedly approached and supported Chu Xie’s arm, asking, “What’s wrong with you? Where have you been these days?”
“Forget it, let me rest first… I’m tired,” Chu Xie replied weakly. “Don’t wake me up. If someone asks for me, just tell them to wait until I wake up.”
“Alright,” Zhao Xuan agreed, helping him inside the room.
At just past three in the morning, just after two and half hours, while it was still dimly lit by the early morning light, an unexpected guest arrived.
The person who arrived is none other than the little crown prince, Jiang Yanchi, who had reduced half of his family’s military authority.
Jiang Yanchi saw Duke Yue’s Shizi, who was under the evergreen tree brewing tea nearby – it turns out he had been staying here for several days.
Seeing him from a distance, Duke Yue’s Shizi bowed respectfully, lowering his voice and saying, “Lord Chu didn’t sleep well last night, and now he’s catching up on some rest. Your Highness, is there something you need?”
He didn’t sleep well.
It’s true, perhaps he couldn’t sleep well, worrying about whether he was poisoned and struggling with it.
Jiang Yanchi looked at Zhao Xuan, “The relationship between Shizi and Lord Chu seems to be quite good.”
“We’ve known each other for more than eight years, so there’s naturally been some interaction,” Zhao Xuan carefully chose his words. “Your Highness, what brings you here today?”
Jiang Yanchi looked at the well-maintained evergreen tree, with sunlight filtering through the leaves onto the stone-bricked ground, creating a pleasant speckled pattern.
He was quite enjoying this leisurely moment, and he couldn’t easily be dismissed by just a Duke Yue Shizi.
A burning sensation began to build within him, threatening to spread uncontrollably.
Seeing some determination in Jiang Yanchi’s eyes, Zhao Xuan had a bad feeling. Moreover, with his cousin’s sudden demotion, he felt increasingly uneasy, so he glanced at the Crown Prince.
“Chu Xie poisoned the Eastern Palace, and yet you sit here as if nothing’s happened?!” Jiang Yanchi’s accusation was sharp, and Zhao Xuan immediately dropped to his knees and kowtowed.
“Your Highness, it must be a misunderstanding!”
“Misunderstanding,” the Crown Prince sneered and ordered the palace guards to surround Chu Mansion tightly. Chu Xie was sleeping deeply, and all this commotion had not awakened him.
Jiang Yanchi coldly said, “Let’s pay a visit to Zhao Prison, and we’ll find out whether it’s a misunderstanding.”