Chapter 23 Part 1
God knows how much he was terrified by that white handkerchief.
He propped Ni Lie’s firm-lined and cold face with both hands, raised his chin and imprinted his lips. Breathing quickly, he stared at him for a long time.
He said: “This life, I won’t allow you to take a wife.”
There were waves in Ni Lie’s eyes, and his chest beated violently. He wanted to break out and howl out loud at the mountain waterfall. He wanted to pull a fierce horse rushing into the worldly mountains and rivers! He wanted to turnover seven or eight somersaults on the spot! But ultimately, he rigidly suppressed it. He swallowed hard, and whispered softly: “Okay.”
The corner of the lips of the person in front twitched and a smile appeared. Ni Lie didn’t know how he could unexpectedly smile so splendidly. This kind of temptation, a single curve had already aroused half of his soul. He couldn’t help himself at all. He was like a beast whose lifeline was controlled by this person, crawling, letting out low howls from his throat, longing in wait for his pity.
Look at me, he shouted deep in his heart. Look only at me.
He was very lucky. He hugged his neck, then sent out dripping wet kisses.
They were like two lonely cubs warming each other, absorbing the temperature of each other’s body. It wasn’t known how long they kissed like this. The night breeze was blowing gently in their ears, and their noses were full of each other’s breath.
Li Yuanmin only had him, and Ni Lie also only had him.
The night was getting deeper and deeper, but none of them could bear to go back.
Ni Lie held him in his arms, and used his body to block him from the cold in the middle of the night.
He took out a white handkerchief from his sleeve. He placed it between his fingers for a while, then placed it in the hands of the person in his arms.
Li Yuanmin fixed his eyes on the familiar white plum. His breathing was sluggish, and his heart burst into joy.
“There had never been anyone else…” Ni Lie pressed onto his forehead, “There was only Your Highness.”
“You…” Li Yuanmin’s eyelashes trembled in disbelief, “When did you get it?”
He had no idea when his thing arrived in his hands.
How could Ni Lie tell him that he was this dark and despicable, trying to pry into everything about him. How could he realize his own huge ecstasy tonight?
“Your Highness…” Ni Lie did not answer, but buried his head in his warm and slender neck. He sniffed in his familiar cold fragrance, and sighed softly, “My Royal Highness…”
Li Yuanmin felt sour in his heart. He hugged him tightly.
Fortunately, Li Yuanmin thought. Fortunately, he had rescued him. He kissed his hair and felt extremely grateful.
It turned out that this child was different in his heart from the beginning. Thinking of the different endings of the two of them in the two lives, Li Yuanmin couldn’t help having his eyes turn red.
This kind of Ni Lie, what on earth had he suffered in his previous life? There was a faint painful feeling in his heart.
Just when he was grieving endlessly, the person that was immersed in his neck raised his head up, and touched the jade pendant on his chest.
There was sereneness swirling deep in his eyes, like a lake covered in misty rain.
“This was my mother’s remnant….”
Li Yuanmin’s eyes moved: “She…”
He didn’t know what to say. Everyone said that Ni Lie was born from a female tiger. Li Yuanmin didn’t believe it, but Ni Lie never mentioned it, so how could he ask? This was the first time Li Yuanmin heard him take the initiative to talk about his past.
But then he heard Ni Lie’s deep and low voice slowly come out: “Other people call her ‘Tigress’, but she… isn’t like that. She was just a baby girl who was abandoned in the mountains and was saved by a mother tiger. She lived with that tigress for more than ten years…Later, my father was ambushed by an enemy while they were marching. He dragged his wounded body, strayed into the mountains, and was rescued by her.”
“Later…” Ni Lie touched the jade, seeming to recall something from his distant memory, “My father took her back to the barracks and personally taught her poems and etiquette… They secretly fell in love, then they gave birth to me and A Ying.”
Li Yuanmin suddenly didn’t want to listen anymore. He knew how cruel it was later on when their family becomes ruined, making them orphans. Li Yuanmin touched his face and interrupted him:
“This piece of jade, I will keep it well.”
He took the piece of jade from his hand and preciously retracted it back to his chest. With bright pupils, he looked at him with utmost sincerity and tenderness. He said softly: “A Lie, I will store it away carefully.”
Ni Lie’s eyes surged with a violent sentiment. He abruptly lowered his head and took over Li Yuamin’s already red and swollen lips.
Li Yuanmin let out a faint cry which entered into the intimate breath that only belonged to these two people.
He gently hugged his neck and pressed their body tightly together.
The moon filled the human world, shining tenderly on the world
Everyone felt the changes in Ni Lie in the next few days.
Especially the soldiers of King Guangan’s mansion. Although he was still harsh, ruthless and strict, he was no longer as scary and oppressive as he used to be.
Today, a soldier had made a mistake in formation training, and he trembled all over. But, unexpectedly, the cold face Yama* didn’t cause any trouble for him. He even stepped forward to give him some pointers.
(Yama: King of hell)
Zhou Dawu and Zhang Long were shocked and felt the sight filling their eyes was inconceivable. They held up their swords beside their body: “Zhala! This? What’s wrong with this youngster? When did he become so easygoing?
They remained puzzled after pondering over it for a long time. In the end, they could only shake their head. At that moment, each one of them led the troops to the outskirts training ground.
Seeing Ni Lie in a good mood, the soldiers staying in the training ground took a sigh of relief. Some time ago, they almost lost two layers of skin. That kind of extremely painful memory, they never wanted to make it happen again. Seeing the cold face Yama in front of their eyes, they all prayed with all their heart for him to always maintain these few days’ appearance.
Ni Lie was pointing with a long stick. The corner of his eyes caught a glimpse of a white figure approaching, immediately his eyes moved. He said coldly: “Come!”
The call was meant for everyone to come together.
A group of shirtless soldiers looked at each other in dismay. Thinking that their Commander Daren was in a good mood these days and probably won’t be ruthless to them, they gave each other a meaningful look, shouted in a loud voice and came together.
However, in an instant, there were screaming voices repeatedly shouted. Seven to eight men flew out like sandbags and fell onto the ground, letting out ‘Aiyo’ cries. How could they ever think that this cold face Yama would have a day where he would be easygoing?!
They couldn’t help but raise their heads in fear. Unexpectedly, they saw Yama’s face floating up a contented expression. They thought they saw it wrong and rubbed their eyes to look again carefully, but then an elegant voice came through:
“Everyone has worked hard.”
It turned out that King Guangan had arrived. The mansion’s soldiers, who got up in pain, changed their expressions and bowed their heads in salute to him: “King Guangan!”
(Note: Usually, the subordinates would just call out the superior’s title like this in Chinese greeting. Mention this in case this part sounds off to you)
Li Yuanmin gestured for them to get up, and immediately, without a word, handed the tall man in front of him a handkerchief to wipe his sweat: “Wipe yourself.”
Ni Lie took it. A bead of sweat streaked across his cheek. It was itchy. There was his body’s delicate fragrance on the handkerchief. His throat moved up and down, then he wiped the sweat.
In a few days, it will be the “Mu En Festival” in Lingnan region, where they worshiped the mountain god. It was as important to the local common people as Lunar New Year’s Eve. Li Yuanmin gave them some remarks and rules, and told the soldiers to go to the warehouse to collect silver on their own. The soldiers went away with a look of joy, then did he glance at the man in front of him.
How could he not see his careful thoughts. He criticized it in a low voice: “There is no need to treat them like children this way.”
Ni Lie didn’t explain, he just looked down at him. Unexpectedly, there was a smile on the corner of his mouth. Li Yuanmin’s ears were red, and he kept his eyes closed: “I asked the kitchen to make cold soup for you. Go and drink it. It’s strangely hot this day.”
Ni Lie whispered: “Okay.”
Li Yuanmin said again: “The day after tomorrow will be the ‘Mu En Festival.’ You will accompany me outside in the afternoon. Those clan elders will have to wait for a while. Be careful during this festival and don’t make a mistake no matter what.”
The person in front replied softly.
He always felt at ease when it was Ni Lie who handled things. There was no need to explain to him. But he still gave out a messy explanation, as if there was nothing else to say besides these things.
Li Yuanmin glanced at him. He leaned closer, took the handkerchief in his hand back, rubbed his fingertips, then looked up at him again, “Don’t always keep a blank face, your smile just now was good.”
This tone that was kind of similar to a coquettish tone made the limp and numb feeling rise in Ni Lie’s whole body. He had never had this kind of experience before.
He called him gently.
In the afternoon, the mansion flag of King Guangan’s mansion appeared in a large farmland area in the outskirts and a majestic group of people urged their horses using whips through the muddy trails.
In front of the troops, Li Yuanmin was keeping pace with an over 70 years old clan elder, occasionally pointing his fingers. Very quickly, the group stopped on a vast flat area. Ni Lie, the mansion soldiers and the rest of the clan elders pulled the reins and followed closely behind.
Lingnan region was a vast land. The characters of the local people were as tough as nails. In the open, it seemed as if vassal state officials had the power, but in reality, it was secretly managed by the power of these clans. Li Yuanmin had always known that this kind of connection was strong, so he attached great importance to it, and put up a lot of effort to maintain it. He was not arrogant. He was willing to make a profit, and after going through seven years of effort, he finally made these people dread set on him.
He and the other clan elders had come to inspect the construction of a water conservancy and irrigation that had taken 3 years to be completed. The water canal and dragon carts have been built, and they were continuously transporting irrigation water from various reservoirs to the farmland. In the past few years, Lingnan region had experienced drought one after another, but unexpectedly it did not reduce their harvest. This was the result of this set of water irrigation.
Looking at the fields full of life, Clan Elder Qi, gratefully said to Li Yuanmin: “If it weren’t for King Guangan leading the construction of this irrigation work that year, how can our Lingnan region have its current ambience?”
Li Yuanmin waved his hand and smiled. He regarded it as an unnecessary point: “Old Qi, you don’t have to be polite. It is also the contributions of every clan elder. Without your kind efforts, how could Ben Wang accomplish such a great thing?”
Although he spoke in a simple and easy manner, everyone knew the hard work in between. Not to mention, the project was huge and the beginning was already a tough battle.
Thinking back to that year, every clan elder behind him showed varying degrees of shame. When the young and beautiful vassal state king who resembled a pretty woman proposed this kind of proposal, many people snorted disdainfully at it—the climate in Lingnan was humid, and rain was plentiful. Why should they have to waste manpower and resources to build this water irrigation, but unexpectedly the deceitful heavens decided to change and thus changed immediately. For the first time, they had a few years of continued drought. If it were not for this water irrigation construction, it would be a nightmare of their homeland being destroyed to pieces, with a thousand miles of refugees.
Others did not know why Li Yuanmin tried to promote the project in the first place, but he knew. In his last life, there was a severe drought in the Lingnan region. Crops were not harvested, and many refugees rebelled. The imperial court also sent massive military forces to suppress it, causing a disaster that made blood flow a thousand miles in this world. It was also for this reason that he would rather empty several years of silver and use countless manpower, while clenching his teeth, to accomplish this matter.
Fortunately, his effort was not in vain. Lingnan finally survived this natural disaster.
For this matter, these clan elders behind him were not lacking in doing things to obstruct him in secret. Now it may be assumed that they regretted their past deeds. However, this young vassal state king had never settled accounts after autumn (settle scores when the chance came). Every year, he shared the profits generously, without any shortages. He even always treated them well with extreme etiquette. Nowadays, each and every one of them would see, hear, and obey him unconditionally without any objection.
Taking advantage that everyone was here, Li Yuanmin discussed with them on the spot about the next day’s “Mu En Festival” matters. Clan Elder Qi was frank and straightforward, and agreed to it.
“King Guangan only needs to instruct us. We don’t have any other skills, so we can just listen to your order and run the errand for you.”
Li Yuanmin smiled and said casually: “It’s not that Ben Wang is urging it, but this year is Yuan Xuntai’s first year in office. We must be more cautious to avoid making people think that our Lingnan really is that kind of place filled with savages who devour raw meat and fowl.”
Speaking to this, Clan Elder Qi together with the other clan elders behind him showed a bit of insecurity. After Yuan Chongsheng took office, he had not shown his face until now and, without explanation, had issued several orders. He seemed somewhat higher than the Heavens. It was also said that this year there will be a new division of law, and it wasn’t known what it would look like until then.
There was a ridicule at that moment: “Those capital officials are really impressive.”
Li Yuanmin smiled and said nothing.
Seeing that the inspection was almost done, Li Yuanmin was about to say goodbye, but was held back by Clan Elder Qi. He pointed to the side and mysteriously asked, “Your Highness, why don’t you go look over there?”
“Oh, what is it?” Li Yuanmin was curious.
He pressed his horse’s belly and followed behind Clan Elder Qi, bypassing a jungle. It suddenly opened up to a wide panorama in front of his eyes, he didn’t know when but there was a new temple built here. Li Yuanmin raised his eyes and looked into the temple, feeling dumbfounded for a moment.
Inside the temple, it actually had clay figures that looked rather similar to him. Looking at that curling smoke, the incense burning in front of the temple was vigorous.
Li Yuanmin laughed and shook his head: “Clan Elder Qi didn’t have to do this.”
Clan Elder Qi touched his beard, nodded at him, and said with a smile: “Your Highness doesn’t need to put this pot on this old rotten man’s body to lift.”
Immediately, a clan elder behind him explained: “This is the spontaneous work of the villagers. If it were not for Your Highness achievements and virtue, how could we have such smooth and steady days now? This longevity temple, even if it was built a bit bigger, it would not be excessive.”
Everyone repeatedly praised and agreed.
How could Li Yuanmin not know that this was something the villagers did spontaneously? These clan elders must have made it to please him, so he didn’t say anything at the moment. He had done so much, and he naturally did not do it all to please everyone. For the common people, he must always distinguish himself through virtue and set up his prestige. He had a weak foundation, and could only rely on himself. The achievements and virtue of his doings seeming like it’s been hidden and not told to others, wouldn’t that just be foolish? Later on when things need to be put into effect, wouldn’t it be as easy as stretching one’s arms and legs?
He smiled at once, and made a few polite words with the Clan Elder Qi.
He looked at the clay sculpture again, and glanced at Ni Lie without a word. He found that he was also looking at himself, with a smile on his mouth.
Li Yuanmin’s heart jumped, and moved his gaze away from his body.
As dusk fell, Li Yuanmin and the other clan elders had a meal in the ancestral hall. The atmosphere during the dinner was harmonious, and they ate and drank to their heart’s content before they separated. The soldiers escorted him back to the mansion.
The night was already deep and there were cries of insects and frogs everywhere.
After taking a bath, Li Yuanmin changed into a dry inner coat and entered the bedroom. Together with the strong wind, a dark figure suddenly rushed in and locked the door with his hand behind his back. He trapped Li Yuanmin against the wall with his body.
Li Yuanmin didn’t have time to react or cry out in surprise, when his lips was blocked. It was pried open, and a sharp tongue slid through. Li Yuanmin whimpered, and he was kissed, penetrated inside and out.
Li Yuanmin pushed him. He flushed with anger, trying to find a gap: “A Lie….Don”t ……No….”
How could Ni Lie agree to stop? He only continued to kiss him impetuously, just like what happened in his dream, without letting go.
He had long wanted to do this since they were at the outskirts! His Bodhisattva, his only Bodhisattva!
For a long while, both of them were somewhat breathing unsteadily, but Ni Lie just held him like this, clearly not knowing what to do.
Li Yuanmin even more so. Although he was favored by the Sima family, as a bisexual body, as a pawn to seek imperial power in his previous life, Sima Yu had his heart with another in the beginning. Also wanting to win his trust, he was treating him with due respect, and he never exceeded it. After a few years, he didn’t know why, but he wanted to touch him somehow. But before that moment happened, the capital city was destroyed.
Li Yuanmin was panicked and confused. He pushed the thick chest in front of him: “A Lie!”
But Ni Lie was not concerned with it, he had gone insane. He grinded Li Yuanmin’s lips and swallowed his fragrant, sweet fluids inside his mouth. He recklessly sniffed the delicate fragrance that came from the snow-white skin.
Before, he could only peep and smell secretly, but now, he could hold him in his arms. Everything was his, inside and out.
His blood, his flesh, all of it belonged to him.
Everything was making him crazy.