Because Lin Qingyang intervened, Xu Rui’er and Ying Xiaodie could only leave with their heads down, giving the troublemaker a fierce glare before departing.
“That look almost burned a hole through me. I guess I really offended them,” Lin Qingyang said helplessly.
Xu Wenze thanked him, saying, “You helped me out just now, my younger sister was indeed impolite.”
Lin Qingyang teased, “I’ve done you a favor; you better remember. Ying Xiaodie is the younger sister-in-law of my eldest sister.”
With these words, it was evident that everyone understood Xu Rui’er’s intention was to help Ying Xiaodie get closer to Xu Wenze. In theory, Lin Qingyang shouldn’t have interfered, but seeing Xu Wenze in such a predicament, he thought he was a bit more familiar with Old Xu and hastily offered his assistance.
Xu Wenze caught on to Lin Qingyang’s joking tone and softened his expression, “I wonder how Brother Lin wants me to express my gratitude.”
Watching the scene, Qi Yan quickly suggested, “How about later we all…”
Before Xu Wenze could respond, Lin Qingyang promptly knocked Qi Yan, well aware of what this guy was implying.
“Don’t mess around, Brother Xu prefers a quiet environment for painting and usually works alone.”
Xu Wenze was momentarily surprised, and his expression changed subtly.
With a knowing smile, Qi Yan teased Lin Qingyang,”Oh, you seem to understand Young Master Xu’s preferences quite well.”
Realizing his quick response, Lin Qingyang recalled Xu Wenze’s inclination for solitude and explained, “I also prefer a quiet environment. Don’t bother me later; paint on your own. I won’t be helping you.” He swiftly changed the topic.
He certainly couldn’t paint with Xu Wenze, fundamentally avoiding spending too much time alone with him to prevent getting entangled in a potential romantic situation.
“Well, actually…” Xu Wenze was about to speak when he was suddenly interrupted.
“Brother Wenze, the teacher is here,” unexpectedly, Chu Lishu, who had been observing, spoke up.
Xu Wenze turned to look, and indeed, the teacher had arrived at the inner courtyard. Consequently, he had no choice but to follow Chu Lishu back to their designated spot.
Qi Yan leaned in, gossiping, “Hey, I feel like you’ve been getting along well with Xu Wenze lately. Is it true that provoking Xu Wenze with Chu Lishu is working wonders?”
Lin Qingyang stared at Qi Yan in horror, silently lifting the inkstone, adopting a posture as if ready to smack it into Qi Yan’s face.
“Okay, I was wrong.”
“Next time, don’t stir up trouble. Are you a matchmaker or something?”
“I’m just looking out for you, brother.”
“Thanks, but no need!”
He didn’t want his relationship with Xu Wenze to become awkward, and currently, he was concerned about Chu Lishu’s attitude towards him. If things went wrong, he might end up confirming his role as a cannon fodder.
Soon, everyone arrived at the back mountain. Lin Qingyang wasn’t lying; he indeed preferred being alone to paint.
He chose a secluded spot where no one else went, painted quietly for a while, and let himself unwind. Resting his soul was essential.
However, as he continued to paint, he suddenly felt something was off.
How come he seemed to hear the sobbing of a girl?
Could she be in trouble?
Lin Qingyang hurriedly followed the sound, fearing unexpected situations. Without daring to shout loudly, he quietly approached to assess the situation.
Vaguely seeing figures not far away in the woods, Lin Qingyang crouched down, peeking out from the grass that was about half a person’s height. He was suddenly shocked: it was a young couple embracing and kissing passionately.
Because there were only silhouettes, and Lin Qingyang wasn’t familiar with them, he had no idea who they were. All he knew was that the girl was wearing the uniform of the Imperial Academy, while the boy was dressed in a royal blue brocade robe.
Feeling awkward and realizing that the girl wasn’t being mistreated, Lin Qingyangwas about to slip away quietly.
Suddenly, he heard a faint sound of twigs breaking behind him.
Lin Qingyang could hear it, but the two people further away couldn’t.
Lin Qingyang immediately turned around, utterly bewildered to find that the person approaching was none other than Xu Wenze.
Xu Wenze, with a curious expression, stared at him as if puzzled about why he was crouching on the ground.
“Brother…” Before Xu Wenze could say more, Lin Qingyang quickly pulled him down and covered his mouth with a hand.
Xu Wenze was shocked, a fleeting look of fear crossing his face. As he attempted to struggle, Lin Qingyang pressed him down completely.
“Shh!” Lin Qingyang warned, just as a male voice suddenly sounded nearby.
“Is… is someone there?” came the frightened voice of the girl.
Lin Qingyang glanced at Xu Wenze, urging him with a look to understand the situation. In ancient times, unlike the modern era, if a couple engaged in such activities outdoors, and the girl was clearly unmarried, their reputations would be severely tarnished. They had accidentally intruded, and causing harm to the girl would be highly inappropriate.
So, they had to pretend not to have seen anything.
However, just as Lin Qingyang finished his warning, he noticed that Xu Wenze was completely stunned, not paying any attention to him. Instead, Xu Wenze stared straight ahead at the trees, his black and white eyes widened in disbelief.
It was the first time Lin Qingyang had seen Xu Wenze with such a stunned expression.
The two people on the other side of the trees approached a bit closer. Hearing their footsteps, Lin Qingyang pressed down on Xu Wenze, both of them slowly lowering their bodies. In the end, Xu Wenze was almost lying on the grass, and Lin Qingyang was partially pressing down on his back. They overlapped and hid behind a relatively thick clump of grass, narrowly avoiding being discovered.
Seeing that Xu Wenze had stopped struggling, Lin Qingyang released his hand covering Xu Wenze’s mouth. He initially thought of moving away, but the two individuals on the other side were still too close. Unable to make any big movements, they had to maintain their current position for the time being.
“Relax, there’s no one here. The grass here is thick, and students rarely come around.” The man reassured.
Lin Qingyang: … Well, excuse me, not only did someone come, but two at once.
“Blame you for coming suddenly; you scared me to death,” the woman complained.
“There’s nothing I can do. It’s just that I missed you too much, Rui’er. I haven’t seen you for so long; do you miss me?”
“Of course, I miss you… Why did you take so long to come see me? Saying you miss me, is it just to deceive me?” After the woman said this in a coquettish tone, there were again sounds of intimacy, indicating that they were embracing.
This voice seemed somewhat familiar, as if…
At this moment, Lin Qingyang felt the person he was pressing down was trembling all over. He lowered his head and saw the refined and elegant Xu Wenze with eyes now flushed with anger.
Lin Qingyang suddenly had an insight—oh, right, this woman is Xu Wenze’s sister, Xu Rui’er, isn’t she?
Xu Rui’er is having a secret rendezvous here?
This is too sensational.
Lin Qingyang looked at Xu Wenze dumbfounded, afraid that he might impulsively rush out. However, it seemed that even though Xu Wenze was angry, he still maintained his composure. If they caused a scene now, attracting onlookers, it would undoubtedly ruin his sister’s reputation.
Xu Wenze couldn’t bear to watch any longer. He tilted his head slightly, glanced at Lin Qingyang with complex emotions in his eyes, and shook his head ever so slightly, as if silently pleading with Lin Qingyang not to stir up trouble.
Lin Qingyang naturally nodded, gently patting Xu Wenze on the back as a form of comfort.
The two individuals didn’t go too far, seemingly suggesting that the man had some urgent matters to attend to. Once their mutual longing was alleviated, they departed. Xu Rui’er also left happily.
Until now, due to the angle, Lin Qingyang and Xu Wenze still hadn’t seen the man’s face clearly, only knowing that he wasn’t a student of the academy.
Soon, the surroundings returned to tranquility.
Lin Qingyang quickly got up, brushed off the dust and dried leaves from his clothes, and seeing Xu Wenze still crouching on the ground, he reached out and pulled him up.
Xu Wenze seemed like he had lost his soul, stumbling as he stood up, facing Lin Qingyang with an expression of embarrassment and guilt.
Lin Qingyang cleared his throat. “I heard some noise and came to check, but when I saw what was happening, I hid to avoid an awkward situation. I couldn’t see clearly who they were.”
Xu Wenze’s eyes flickered, and he gave a helpless smile. “Thank you, Brother Lin.”
Lin Qingyang rubbed his nose, knowing he couldn’t keep up the act any longer. He could only awkwardly say, “Don’t worry, I won’t talk about it. I’m not that bored.”
Xu Wenze moved his mouth but couldn’t find words. The impact on his heart was still significant. After all, their family held the title of a Duke, and their family education was strict. Moreover, there was a concubine in the family. Such inappropriate behavior before marriage would bring shame to the family, affecting even the elder sister in the imperial palace.
Seeing him in disarray, Lin Qingyang couldn’t help but find it amusing. He reached out and brushed off the twigs and leaves on Xu Wenze’s shoulder. “It’s rare to see Brother Xu in such a disheveled state.”
Xu Wenze snapped out of his daze, looking quite uncomfortable. He quickly reached out to pat himself down and straighten his clothes.
Lin Qingyang didn’t have much on him, but his lips had just been brushed by the dry grass. They felt ticklish, as if ants were crawling on them. He hesitated to rub them earlier but now finally could use his hand to wipe them.
【 Ding! Danger…】
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