At night, Ni Lie stayed on the couch in the outer room as before. This was originally a habit he had kept from the capital. However, even if Li Yuanmin allowed him, he also knew that this was inappropriate. So, after his fourteenth birthday, Li Yuanmin forbidden him to sleep overnight like this.
It’s just that in the past few days, Li Yuanmin had fallen ill, so Ni Lie had moved the long couch to sleep outside his room without saying a word. Although he always listened to Li Yuanmin, if it concerned Li Yuanmin’s body, he could be very stubborn. Li Yuanmin knew that he could not persuade him, so he could only comply.
The night was already very deep. Lingnan was a miasma land, and there were many insects and beasts. The faint cries of summer insects could be heard from outside. People were sent to clear it up during the day, but during nighttime it was still the same as before. Fortunately, it was not very noisy, and being like this for many years, made them used to it by now.
Maybe it was because he slept a lot during the day, but Li Yuanmin didn’t feel sleepy anymore now.
He grabbed the thin quilt on his chest, and watched the auspicious clouds carved on the top of the bed in the dim light of the night with his eyes open. For no reason, he thought of the days when he first came to Lingnan. At that time, he was a stranger in a strange land, and his life was in a messy state. He barely had a few people to use, while his body couldn’t live up to his expectations and couldn’t adapt to living in Lingnan’s humid and hot weather. Just half a month after he came here, he became seriously ill—it was really difficult at that time, but fortunately, he overcame it. Today, life already reached the peak he had imagined. He could not help but sigh softly.
“Your Highness can’t sleep?”
There was a sudden sound from outside the curtain, Ni Lie’s voice was deep and low. It was a bit hoarse, like he had not spoken for a long time.
Li Yuanmin made an ‘en’ sound and said, “I probably slept too much during the day.”
After a moment, Ni Lie’s hoarse voice sounded: “Is Your Highness worried about the matter with Yuan Chongsheng?”
Although Yuan Chongsheng’s matter was tricky, it was not enough to make him toss and turn. After all, when he first came to Lingnan, the difficulties he encountered were much more difficult than it was now.
After these years of experience, he had developed a temperament that was not to be startled at everything, which was also a good thing. Li Yuanmin laughed at himself. He was about to explain when he heard Ni Lie’s voice: “Don’t worry, you can leave everything to this subordinate.”
Li Yuanmin was startled, and his heart softened: “It really isn’t this matter. I already have plans for Yuan Chongsheng. We only have to wait a few days for the capital to figure out the circumstances here and send a reply, then I will discuss this matter again.”
He turned over and looked at the person lying outside through the vague curtain. When he first came to Lingnan, he fell asleep like this. When he woke up in the middle of the night, he could see the young man sleeping quietly. At that time, he was still young. Although it was not spacious, he could still sleep well. But now, his body was already this tall that he couldn’t extend his body to lie down. At the moment, he had his hands behind his head, and seemed to be unable to sleep.
This child, watching him grow up little by little, Li Yuanmin felt a feather fluttering feeling. Suddenly he said:
“A Lie, these past few years are all thanks to you.”
The person outside didn’t speak, and through the transparent curtain, it was impossible to see his facial expression clearly. It wasn’t clear whether he still had the look of pursing his lips in silence. Li Yuanmin suddenly thought of something. His heart became a little heavier, and his eyes darkened.
“I will definitely find a way to change your surname for your clan in the future.”
Although Emperor Mingde pardoned him for his slavery in Yeyou Court, the imperial family was majestic and could not be suppressed by others. So it was like a warning beating, and he still maintained his slave surname from Yeyou Court.
Ni meant fierce beast. But in this life, his A Lie was no longer the fierce beast in the human world now.
Ni Lie was silent for half a day, seemingly very casual,
“It doesn’t matter, it’s just a surname.”
Li Yuanmin’s throat was sour. How could he not know that changing one’s surname was extremely difficult. This child was reluctant to speak, and bore all his difficulties to himself, but he was unwilling to entrust his difficult problems to him. Feeling bitter in his heart, he made up his mind even more. No matter what, he will think of every possible way to change and return this fierce beast’s surname back.
He didn’t want the other person to think too much, so he stopped talking: “Go to sleep, you still have to go to the suburbs tomorrow.”
Li Yuanmin sighed silently and lay flat. The night turned deeper. He half-dipped his eyes for an unknown period of time and became a little sleepy. There was a slight noise from outside the curtain. Although Li Yuanmin was half-dreaming and half-awake, he knew it was Ni Lie who came in.
Ni Lie stayed up the whole time, paying attention to the movement inside the curtain. After a long time, only when there was no sound of someone turning over, did he become relieved. But he also feared that he would have a fever again in the middle of the night, so he quietly got up and opened the curtain to check his forehead temperature.
Li Yuanmin saw the familiar figure approaching in a daze. His forehead was warm, the back of the person’s hand carried the heat of the youth. His body was immersed in the refreshing and familiar smell post bath. In a daze, Li Yuanmin felt at ease in his heart. It was warm and comfortable.
He wanted to softly call out A Lie, but he was too tired to open his mouth.
Drowsiness hit him, and he sank into the sweet darkness.
When he woke up, Ni Lie was no longer there. He probably had already left for the outskirts. His couch was empty with a few rays of sunlight falling on it, and floating dust dancing in it. Perhaps it was because of the morning, Li Yuan’s heart was also a bit empty.
The servant woman waiting outside listened to the movement inside, and asked softly: “Your Royal Highness is awake?”
Li Yuanmin took a deep breath, cleared the loneliness in his heart, got up and stood up on the ground.
“Bring hot water in.”
Seeing that his body was a bit more refreshed today, and there was no official business for the time being, Li Yuanmin went to the training ground alone in the afternoon.
The army soldiers had been dragged to the outskirts to practice by Ni Lie. There was only a group of teenagers left in the training ground. They were shirtless and kicking Cuju (football/soccer).
Looking intently, Ni Ying’s black outfit was also mixed in. Her hair was tied up, while her face was sweaty and red. She had the Cuju below her foot while yelling orders. Even when she was surrounded by four to five youngsters taller than her, her eyes didn’t look dull. On the contrary, it gave rise to a strong excitement. She shouted at that moment, with vitality between her feet, the Cuju entered the hole!
Ni Ying raised her eyebrows, with a complacent expression, flinging her nose happily.
“Look at you guys!”
The panting teenagers at the back propped their knees and looked helplessly at the bright and flamboyant young girl in front of them.
Li Yuanmin couldn’t help frowning.
Only then did he realize that Ni Ying was already old. After the New Year, she will be 14 already. If they’re at the capital, a household would have long come to visit to propose marriage.
Thinking of the time when Old General Li dispatched some guards to protect her and delivered this small young girl to his residence, how could he have known how to teach her to be a wise and virtuous lady? He could only allow Ni Ling to receive the same teachings along with her elder brother and follow Zhou Dawu and Zhang Long to learn some martial arts. Unexpectedly, this child was like a breeze that springs up and creates waves on the water with the groups of boys inside Bei An Prince mansion. With the appearance of a female devil that everyone is afraid of, it seems like he needs to find a female embroiderer teacher to teach her now.
Seeing Li Yuanmin coming from a distance, Ni Ying screamed and ran over quickly, “Your Highness Gege, Is your body better now?”
(Gege: Older brother)
“It’s much better now.” Li Yuanmin looked at Ni Ying’s flushed face. He shook his head. He handed a handkerchief from his sleeve to her: “Wipe it up, how can a lady have this kind of messy appearance.
Ni Ying took it, and smiled cheerfully.
“Your Highness, did you see how I have just brutally oppressed this group of children!?”
“You,” Li Yuanmin scolded: “You are still after all a woman, how can you be rough like this. From now on, you are not allowed to make trouble like this in the training ground.”
Ni Ying didn’t seem to take it to heart, she just giggled and acted coquettishly: “Once in a while, then.”
She wiped her sweat, put Li Yuanmin’s handkerchief on the tip of her nose and took a deep breath: “It’s fragrant, hehe, it’s the same smell as Your Highness.”
Li Yuanmin felt a sudden jump between his forehead, and sighed in his heart. Although Ni Ying and A Lie were brothers and sisters, they both have completely opposite temperaments. He should start to control this devil girl now, otherwise, he’s afraid that no one in Bei An would dare to marry her.
A group of teenagers in the training ground rushed forward like a swarm of bees. There was a lively discussion with everybody talking at once, buzzing continuously.
“Your Highness, you’ve come!”
“Is your body better now?”
“Your Highness! Would you like to see my swordsmanship?”
Looking at the slightly immature smiling faces, Li Yuanmin felt a little relief.
These teenagers were all orphans, and they will be trained as soldiers of the King Guangan mansion in the future.
The Lingnan boundary was adjacent to Jiaozhi, and Jiaozhi has been invaded all year round by barbarians. Those barbarians tend to slaughter villages where there are few people. These are the children who had become destitute and homeless during the rise of the barbarians. Fortunately, there was still a place to take refuge.
It seems like the somewhat always cold, solemn and strict commander Ni was not here.
These youngsters were happy to escape from him, and every one of them winked at Ni Ying.
Ni Ying gave a knowing smile and stepped forward. Li Yuanmin didn’t know what terrible plan she was having, he flicked her forehead: “Just speak, what’s the matter?”
Ni Ying touched her forehead, and only smiled flatteringly: “Isn’t it the fifteenth already? There is a temple fair on west street. I heard that a lot of theater tropes from the Western Regions came this time. This opportunity is hard to come by, if we don’t go this time, then there will be no other opportunities anymore.”
As soon as her voice fell, the teenagers behind him held their breath and stared at Li Yuanmin expectantly.
Seeing those hopeful gazes focused on his face, Li Yuanmin sighed inwardly. Fine. Ni Lie had always been harsh, detaining this group of young people in the backyard all day. In the end, they are all just children, and should be allowed to breathe fresh air once in a while.
Calling Zhou Dawu, he ordered him to send four soldiers to follow them, especially instructing him not to make any minor mistakes. This is especially the case when it comes to Ni Ying.
The teenagers cheered.
Li Yuanmin tugged at the corner of his lips, and went back to his residence by himself.
But unexpectedly, this time, something actually did go wrong.