In the middle of winter, although the green color was still seen everywhere, the weather had become really cold. On the day of the winter solstice, the coldest time of the year in the Lingnan region had arrived. As soon as 5pm passed, the bustling capital city also faded into the dark.
Unlike the quietness elsewhere, the gate in front of King Guang’an mansion was very lively. The mansion’s soldiers were holding palace lamps, and a crowd of people waited there.
Li Yuanmin stood in the middle of the crowd with an overcoat draped over his shoulders with his sleeves folded. Under the denseness of the lights, that extraordinary beautiful face looked particularly outstanding. Ni Ying, who had already stood long enough, was shrinking her neck and complaining in a low voice, obviously a little cold from this gust of night wind. Li Yuanmin upon seeing this, handed her the furnace in his hand to her without a word. Ni Ying stuck her tongue out while taking it.
She had just practiced once in the training ground, so her body was steaming hot, so how could she have thought of putting on more clothes; now she was very cold. Fortunately, there was a hand furnace which could ease up the cold a little.
The teenagers behind her were all dressed in the same winter clothes. They stretched their necks with great interest to look at the intersection of the long street. The look of excitement in their eyes was in full light–they were finally going to see the heroic county guards troops. They had already heard the majesty of the county guards eliminating the barbarians, so each and every one of them were admiring them endlessly. Because Zhou Dawu was in front, these teenagers did not dare to jump out, and only impatiently looked at the end of the gray darkness.
Soon, a sharp-eyed person saw a little movement and shouted excitedly: “The Commander Daren is back!”
Everyone was shocked in unison, they all looked toward the street. Soon there was a rumbling sound, it was the county guards who had returned to the city. Originally because of the night curfew, the long street was without a single soul, but at this moment the windows along the street were all opened one after another and a burst of loud cheer roared.
It was from the commoners on the street.
The dark long street gradually lit up with lanterns, illuminating the shadows that look just like a river of lanterns from a distance. Mixed with the cheers of the people, it guided the way for this group of soldiers who guarded the tranquility of Lingnan.
Many excited people sprinkled seeds of buds, barley, ground beans and other things symbolizing blessings to greet the warriors who guarded their peace. There were even some brazen and cheerful young ladies throwing handkerchiefs towards the soldiers they admired. With all the clamous, it was almost livelier than the New Year.
Because of the fear of congestion and disturbing the commoners, most of the generals were still stationed on the outskirts of the capital, only a hundred plus people were dispatched in advance to take advantage of the curfew to enter the city with Ni Lie.
As the troops got closer and closer, Li Yuanmin finally saw the tall and straight figure of the leader of the troops. He was dressed in shiny black armor, looking much taller than the last time they had seen each other. His expression was solemn and cold, which made people feel intimidated when they looked at him. The soldiers followed closely behind him, holding their breath and moving forward in an orderly manner. After the troops of several hundred went through the warm greetings of the crowd just now, unexpectedly they weren’t even in a bit of disarray; they still had the same solemn and respectful air which showed the solemnity of their commander.
“Elder brother is really impressive!” Ni Ying said to Li Yuanmin in an admiring manner.
A group of teenagers behind them showed more gazes of admiration.
Li Yuanmin was pleased in his heart, his face unconsciously revealing a little pride.
A few feet away from the mansion gate, Ni Lie turned over and dismounted, followed by Cao Gang and a few others trusted aides who stepped forward. They cupped thier hands to a fist and half kneeled to the ground: “We pay respect to King Guang’an!”
Li Yuanmin hurriedly stepped forward to help them stand up one by one, looked at them a few times, before uttering “good”.
He made a signal behind his back and a group of servants waiting for his signal came running out like flowing water, each holding a short plate, among which there were five or six bowls of Tangyuan* full of snow white, soft dumplings steaming with heat.
*Tangyuan: U can check google for it.
Li Yuanmin paced forward a few steps and said loudly:
“In order to protect the people of Lingnan, you have given up the reunion with your family. Without you, there is no peace today! Ben Wang thanks all of you on behalf of the people of Lingnan! Today is the winter solstice, the festival of human reunion, so Ben Wang invites you to eat a bowl of Tangyuan! ”
When the teenagers finally got the order, they immediately and methodically stepped forward to take the short plate from the servant’s hand, and walked joyfully toward their role models, delivering them bowls after bowls of steaming hot Tangyuan.
The winter solstice in Lingnan, although not too cold, was still a little chilly. But in the middle of the night of this winter solstice, with the people’s heartfelt greetings and this steaming hot Tangyuan, the cold fatigue brought by the long journey seemed to disappear into nothing.
The soldiers stationed at the border for nearly nine months had finally cleared the entire group of large and small barbarian strongholds. King Guang’an ordered the border line to set up garrisons every fifty miles to change their defenses to deter the remnants of the barbarians. Since then, the Lingnan territory has once again restored its long-lost tranquility.
Entering the backyard, Ni Lie squatted down impatiently, wrapped his arms around Li Yuanmin’s knees, and effortlessly held him straight up like a child.
Li Yuanmin smiled and wrapped his arms around his neck, the warm fragrance spraying on the other person’s face. He bit his lip while half-truthfully complaining: “You really aren’t afraid of people seeing us?”
Ni Lie’s breathing was extremely hot. He recklessly sucked on Li Yuanmin’s soft lips, lifted his legs, advanced towards the bedroom entrance, and bypassed the cotton yarn curtain. The two of them fell on the soft bed. Ni Lie’s hands were on either side of Li Yuanmin’s head when finally he took his lips off an inch away from him before looking at him deeply.
Li Yuanmin exhaled a steamy breath, his toes hooked his belt and stepped on it, agile just like water: “There are still people calling me to go over…”
Before the words could fall, the already red and swollen lips were fiercely blocked. Li Yuanmin didn’t even have time to exclaim in surprise before all his breath was swallowed.
This movement came to a break in the middle of the night.
Li Yuanmin gasped for breath, no longer having the strength to speak. Ni Lie lied under him, carefully helping him clean up.
For half a day, the bedding was pulled up, then he was finally taken into a hot embrace. He originally had something to say to him, but at this moment he had no more energy to speak, so he gave up, rubbed against that face that was buried in his neck and said confusedly:
“A Lie, hug me tighter….”
The person in front of him muttered softly with a nasal sound.
Li Yuanmin grunted, touched the smooth and elastic muscle line, before he quickly fell into a deep sleep.
Ni Lie sniffed the delicate fragrance of his hairline, an unspeakable peace and tranquility emerged in his heart. He wanted to see his sleeping face, but gradually he also became sleepy. He fell into the slumberland following his darling.
The sunlight leaked in through the cotton yarn curtain.
Li Yuanmin’s eyes moved slightly, before he woke up.
Ni Lie was no longer around, it was the same as before when he stayed overnight; he had to leave early in the morning.
His heart couldn’t help but feel a little lonely and he buried his face gently in the pillow.
If one day, the two of them could be like ordinary lovers, they could frolic in the morning without fear, how good it would be.
Li Yuanmin smiled bitterly toward his own senseless indecisiveness in the morning. He remembered that he had consoled Ni Lie about this before but expectedly he himself also had this kind of thought that he shouldn’t have.
It’s good enough that he’s by his side now, how could that person in the capital let him insult the royal family’s prestige?
There were many alerts that arose in his heart.
Remembering his previous life, his Royal Father with only his empty title left, inadvertently bumped into him, a prince who he had not seen for many years and had grown into a 20 year old. That face that was originally disgusted at first changed into shock, then anger, as if growing into this kind of appearance was a great crime as big as the heavens.
He angrily stomped on his carriage. With a dark and calm face, he walked quickly to him and slapped him so hard that he fell to the ground in front of everyone. The corner of his mouth split with blood, he couldn’t even get up for half a day – just because he had this kind of face and was born with this kind of body.
But he had no choice, no one even asked him before easily giving birth to him.
Because of this encounter, his only bit of freedom was gone. As if he was afraid that his appearance would tempt someone to discredit the royal family, he was strictly guarded and forbidden to go anywhere inside the West Palace.
For half a year, except for the palace maids who delivered food, he had not seen a second person.
He had thought that he was going to die in this cold palace for the rest of his life, even Sima Yu could not save him.
Unexpectedly, the little tranquility he had before dying was also robbed. It was when the man who was on the throne was sick and confused, he actually had a ridiculous idea. He asked the craftsmen in the palace to give him a non-removable chastity belt and ordered him to wear it forever.
When the two expressionless eunuchs came up to him and pressed him down, he who had always swallowed his anger, the weak him flew into a rage. He crazily attacked them. He didn’t know whether it was because of humiliation or grief but he unexpectedly had that kind of great strength. He beat the two eunuchs who were taller than him, badly bruising them with his bare hands.
The two eunuchs were both shocked and angry and supported each other to retreat.
At that time, he gasped for breath in the same place for a long time, thinking in his heart, he could not live, he must not live. That was the first time in his two lives that he thought of suicide, the way out of suffering.
He ran to the closet, pulled out the slightly dated robes, tore them open with his teeth, and tied a long, tight strap.
He was afraid that he would be trampled on again. Before the people that would come to take advantage of him came, he hurriedly threw the strap on the beam, and was about to put his head into the rope when the solemn bell outside rang.
Nine bells rung.
It was that man who had died, the man who gave birth to him and brought him a lifetime of suffering, it was him who died.
At that moment, he fell off the stool and cried.
After experiencing two lifetimes, he could still remember the numbness from the painful feeling as if his heart was drained at that time.
Now, the man in the capital still had half a year to go. Li Yuanmin was determined not to let him think of himself at this moment, let alone let him know the fact that he had already been lying under a man.
He has to calm down and be cautious at every step… In the future, maybe he can obtain something better for himself.
Thinking of this, he slapped his face, dismissed the faint resentment in his heart, and prepared to get up to freshen up.
After not seeing him for a long time, last night the two were naturally enjoying themselves to their heart’s content. Not to mention Ni Lie, even he also blindly pestered him. Today he suffered a painful consequence. There was one burst of pain after another on his waist and limbs.
He rubbed it a few times before getting out of bed and calling someone to bring in the washing materials.
After cleaning up thoroughly, he allowed the servant woman to tie the crown when a young servant hurriedly rushed inside.
“Your Highness, Governor Xue Daren has come.”
Li Yuanmin frowned, wasn’t he still in the great Jiangbei camp? He thought that he was busy cleaning up the pirates, it should be a long time before he would come. Unexpectedly, it was less than a month, and he came to himself again.
Remembering the disgusting feeling of being spied on by a poisonous snake, his heart was inevitably a little heavy. He pondered for a moment, “Please invite Lord Xue to the hall.”
He thought for a moment and then asked the boy servant, “What about commander Ni?”
The boy servant hurriedly replied: “He has already gone to the big camp in the suburbs, I am afraid that he will not come back until the afternoon.”
Li Yuanmin’s heart was a little calm, he changed into his regular clothes and went to the hall.
The author has something to say: Thank you.