New goal for two chapters a week set on Ko-fi!!! Go check it out!!
The moonlight sprinkled on the blue stone. The road surface was bouncing with crystal light, while the carriage swayed and pressed, causing a few wisps of dust to roll up in a flash.
A low voice sounded, and Ni Lie opened the sedan curtain and entered.
Li Yuanmin was leaning against the sedan window to take a nap. Seeing that it was Ni Lie, his eyebrows relaxed immediately, under the moonlight, like water mist.
“It’s A Lie ah.”
This face Ni Lie had been seeing for seven years, suddenly entering his eyes, couldn’t help but shorten his breath.
He had always known that Li Yuanmin was born beautiful. As he grew older, this breathtaking beauty became even greater, growing in his dried and cracked heart, blooming with a continuous heavily scented fragrant.
This fragrant that dissolved his dryness, sometimes, he hoped that it was not delicate, beautiful and alluring like this.
——There were too many wolves.
As long as he saw those gazes that harbored unfathomable motives falling on him, his heart was filled with a terrible tyranny.
Tear them apart! The wild beast in the corner of his heart roared.
He was regarded as a stranger living alone since he was a child, and he was looked upon as a ferocious animal when he was in Yeyou Court. Of course, he was a human, but every now and then, he felt that he was a kind of ferocious animal. Whenever someone lusted after his flower, he wanted to brutally show his fangs, and use his sharpest tooth, his most violent force, to tear those people into shreds, into broken pieces.
Ni Lie clenched his fists tightly, his joints bleached white, but he suppressed it. He whispered softly:
“Your body has gotten better.”
This sentence came abruptly, but how could Li Yuanmin not understand it? He reassured him: “It was fine yesterday, and today I have rested for most of the day, it’s no problem… This banquet, we have to go no matter what, so why not sooner.”
Under the moonlight, he looked at the young man’s slightly cold face, and patted the seat beside him.
Ni Lie’s adam’s apple moved, and he sat down.
Li Yuanmin looked up at him, and said softly: “Tonight, you don’t have to follow me in. Just keep watch outside for me, understood?”
Ni Lie did not speak.
Li Yuanmin sighed, “If you can’t do it, you don’t have to follow me there.”
It was quiet for a while, then Ni Lie’s low voice came out: “I understand.”
After an incense stick time, the speed of the carriage slowed down, and the carriage shook abruptly. Li Yuanmin knew that he had arrived at Xuntai Mansion. He sighed and couldn’t help but look at the quiet appearance of the young man beside him. He couldn’t help but pat him on the back soothingly, just like in his childhood days.
Ni Lie’s eyes half drooped. He did not answer him, only lifted the sedan chair and helped him out of the carriage.
Although the vassal state King was the lord of the region, the power in his hands had declined. It was no longer comparable to the power of the imperial court. Since the time of ancestors, all the vassal princes have been cut off of authority and only equipped with name and reputation.
Especially in the Lingnan region, this place had never been a vassal state. The government of Xuntai was highly centralized. They were in charge of internal affairs and government decrees, governing various territories, governing people’s livelihood, collecting taxes, clearing lawsuits, investigating traitors, etc. They had great power. Moreover, Lingnan was located at a remote place, far away from the Emperor. It was not exaggerating to say that this Xuntai was the local Emperor here.
He raised his eyes and glanced at the majestic Xuntai Mansion. His eyes were deep for a long while, but he smiled and invited He Jian to go with him, with Ni Lie followed behind.
Before they could announce their arrival, the golden painted beast face above the mansion gate trembled. The gate opened, and a person hurriedly rushed over.
He was dressed in an indigo second-grade official uniform and looked no more than forty years old. He had a slightly thin body, a mustache shaped like the Chinese character number 8, a yellowish face, and a flattering and boastful expression.
“Aiyo! I didn’t know King Guangan had come!”
The person who came was the Xuntai, who recently took office not long ago, Yuan Chongsheng.
After seeing the look of the person before him, Yuan Chongsheng’s eyes flashed with surprise, but he quickly returned to his normal color. His hands twitched:
“This subordinate is negligent, hoping King Guangan would forgive this subordinate.”
“Yuan Xuntai is exaggerating,” Li Yuanmin hurriedly supported his elbow, and raised it up weakly. “Actually it’s Ben Wang who is rude, coming here without saying a word. I also don’t know if I have disturbed Xuntai Daren’s peace.”
“Your Highness’s words makes this subordinate panic,” Yuan Chongsheng looked ashamed. “It was supposed to be this lowly one who had to pay a formal visit to Your Highness’s mansion, but unexpectedly, there were many matters here at this place, and I’ve been working non-stop for many days now. Thus, the candle was burning at both ends (trouble on both sides). I truly couldn’t get away, so I hope Your Highness doesn’t blame me.”
Li Yuanmin smiled and said: “What is there to blame?”
He looked up and down, and praised: “It’s already this late, Yuan Xuntai’s official uniform still has not been removed. Presumably, you’ve rushed out of your official business to come and see Ben Wang. Prying into a small item in a big scheme shows one the full picture. Ben Wang can tell that Xuntai Daren had exhausted himself during the day, thus Ben Wang should be the one to blame. Leader He, what do you say? Do you agree?”
He Jian hurriedly came up from the rear. He took a careful look at Yuan Chongsheng’s face, and said with a smile while bowing his head: “Whatever King Guangan said is right. Xuntai Daren is diligent, extremely diligent day and night, which really makes this lowly one feel ashamed.”
The three people laughed, the scene was pleasant and peaceful.
“Guards!” Li Yuanmin pointed to the carriage, “Move down the ten jars of Xifeng wine.”
As soon as his voice fell, he seemingly realized something. His face was somewhat a little hesitant: “Ben Wang had only thought of oneself and acted accordingly. Ben Wang had brought the wine from the mansion’s warehouse. Ben Wang actually hasn’t asked if Yuan Xuntai would be interested in trying it or not?”
“It’s this subordinate’s blessing!” Yuan Chongsheng flattered, “Your Highness has treated me so kindly, this subordinate is really moved to tears. Today is the 15th and the moon is full. Why not go to the mansion’s bamboo terrace and admire the moon while tasting wine? Wouldn’t it be a worldly pleasure?”
“It would be good like this. Then, Xuntai Daren, please lead the way.”
The atmosphere was harmonious, and under the guidance of Yuan Chongsheng, the group entered the Xuntai Mansion.
Ni Lie took a deep breath and followed in.
After passing through the front courtyard and again bypassing the renovated magnificent corridor, they arrived at the backyard of the Xuantai Mansion. In a short period of time, the backyard’s appearance had been greatly changed. The courtyard wall had been expanded a lot, and a newly built platform stood. On the surface of the lake, a red pillar engraved with feathers embroidered the door of the inner rooms with carved inscriptions. The moonlight sprinkled over, and the mist-covered water drifted. It actually had the charm of a Paradise Land painting.
The three people chatted, smiled, and stepped onto the terrace. The personal guards all stopped and stood guard. Ni Lie guarded outside the picture wall, his dark and deep gaze from beginning to end, never leaving that moon-white figure in the distance.
A graceful, elegant servant girl brought the wine cups to the table. She half-kneeled in front of the table and helped set up the table for the noble people. Cool breeze gently came. Li Yuanmin looked around, and praised: “The scenery here is wonderful. Beautiful and elegant, I am afraid that I can’t find a second place like this in Lingnan boundary.”
“Your Highness praised it too much, this is clumsy work done by my dog son.” Yuan Chongsheng brought Li Yuanmin here, and was not afraid that the other party would use this to attack him and blame him for overstepping. But he said helplessly: “Your Highness may be unaware, but although this capital official was assigned here, I’m not a person from the capital at all. The ancestral home of this subordinate is Gusu. Since becoming the official, my family members have drifted around with this subordinate, and this dog son pitied his mother for being homesick, thus ordering the craftsman to work day and night. They managed to make such a pond, and I still don’t know if I have made a fool out of myself.”
“Your esteemed son is filial, it is really moving to hear this.” Li Yuanmin sighed with emotion.
After drinking for three rounds, the wine jars on the ground were already empty. Li Yuanmin’s snow-colored cheeks and neck were flushed, but his mind was quite clear. He was not drunk, and he talked about the local customs of Lingnan, and did not mention any other things. It really looked like a banquet specially set up for Yuan Chongsheng’s transfer.
Yuan Chongsheng raised his head and poured the wine into his throat. Nevertheless, an apprehensive feeling rose up in his heart.
He had been immersed in officialdom for more than ten years, and he was good at weighing somebody’s words and observing their facial expression. He was an expert at peeping into people’s nature. However, King Guangan who was not loved by Emperor Mingde in front of him was completely inconsistent with what he knew.
His words, actions and manner were gentle and vague, with a degree of advancement and retreat. He didn’t set up an empty stance, and also didn’t deliberately befriend him. He was really surprised by this bright and upright gentleman. Thinking of the panicked, cowering child with a hurried look, he couldn’t help but glance at the person in front of him twice.
Even though he was not the kind of person who would drink wine and play with women, he had also seen many beauties. Nonetheless, he admitted that he had never seen such a stunning appearance.
But it’s not strange since this guy’s maternal mother was a Western Region female entertainer that Marquis Zhenbei dedicated and valued. Hearsay, she was born extremely beautiful. There were so many beauties in the harem, but no one could compete with her. He also heard that her bedsheet was covered with a rare perfume fragrance, and she was doted on deeply by Emperor Mingde. If it were not for the birth of this prince who was neither male nor female, he’s afraid that it would not be difficult for her to advance to become an imperial concubine from a status of a female entertainer.
It’s a pity, fate was predetermined under heaven.
He knew what the other party was doing here at his mansion. King Guangan had occupied this border for seven years. He transferred to this place, so he wanted to precede him to display his might and give him a beating.——An unlucky prince who was disgusted by the emperor, he didn’t keep him in his eyesight at all. Furthermore, he had already prepared an excuse for what the other party would request for. However, tonight’s banquet, the other party refused to mention a word. He only talked about the local customs and conditions, as if there was no disturbance at the county prison.
His eyes narrowed slightly. There was a sense of vigilance in his heart, but he did not dare to look down on him as before.
After another round of drinking wine, Yuan Chongsheng also began to sway a bit. He was about to send the maid to fill the other party’s cup with wine, but the person on the other side hesitated and said:
“Ben Wang is here this time… not just to look for Xuntai Daren to have a drink, but to ask for something.”
Yuan Chongsheng’s heart was relieved. There was a smile on the corners of his mouth, the time had finally come.
“What does Your Highness wanted to say? As long as this subordinate could do it and as long as it is not something about neglecting law and order, then this one will spare no effort to help.”
Li Yuanmin smiled in relief. He took out a thick book from his sleeve and threw it to him.
Yuan Chongsheng was slightly drunk. He opened it and took a few glances, then his face changed suddenly. He sat upright. Somehow, He Jian on the side shook his head and swayed. His Daren who was a higher ranking snapped and closed the book. He Jian’s face tightened, and he retreated embarrassingly.
Yuan Chongsheng’s expressions changed, and finally he smiled calmly: “King Guangan, what’s the meaning of this?”
This was a farmstead field account book with detailed records. The income from all the accounts of the Lingnan vassal state covered all at one glance. It was even somewhat more detailed than the one in his mansion.
Li Yuanmin didn’t seem to see the worries on his face, his face was full of sincerity:
“This is the matter Ben Wang wanted to request.”
The smile on Yuan Chongsheng’s face had completely faded. After examining him for a long time, he finally said: “This subordinate is listening.”
When he got down from the terrace, Li Yuanmin still remained sober and was able to bid farewell to the two. Yuan Chongsheng had long-lost his previous solemn vigilance. He had a pleasant smile on his face and gave a polite farewell, a peaceful atmosphere after the banquet.
Ni Lie quickly greeted them, and took Li Yuanmin. The two walked out of the Xuntai Mansion one high and one low.
After stepping down, Li Yuanmin relaxed, and leaned on him.
“It’s okay now,” he panted, “A Ying will be back tomorrow.”
Ni Lie looked at that red face and his eyes darkened. His eyes coldly glanced sideways at the plaque of the Xuntai Mansion.
Once he relaxed his vigilance, the suppressed drunkenness became even more obvious. Li Yuanmin pressed his forehead against Ni Lie’s chest, frowning and rubbing: “A Lie, I can’t walk anymore… carry me.”
This completely relying on him appearance smoothed a lot of havoc inside Ni Lie’s heart. He leaned down, carried him horizontally, and climbed into the carriage.