Chapter 72 Raising Awkwardness
After half a month of separation, no one expected that the two would meet again in this way.
Qu Chenzhou’s gaze slowly moved down. Seeing himself and Liu Zhongming sticking together, in an inexplicable position, he could only focus his gaze on the drapery above his head again, and did not lower his curled legs.
Liu Zhongming didn’t change his position. He looked up and down at him in his leisurely manner: “What should I say? Fortunately, I woke up in time, otherwise this Shizi’s innocence will not be guaranteed?”
“So the Shizi still has his innocence?” Qu Chenzhou said solemnly without looking sideways. : “Sorry.”
Liu Zhongming gave him a hard push.
Qu Chenzhou snorted softly when he was touched, and a slice of red flew from the base of his ear to the corner of his eye. Seeing that the other party had no intention of letting go of him, he bit his lips and asked, “Shizi, did you have a good night’s sleep?”
“With a warm fragrant jade by one’s side, naturally I slept well.” Liu Zhongming put the back of his hand on his cheek: “Look at you, what’s wrong? Did you turn like this because you’re shy?”
“This is considered a warm fragrant jade?” Qu Chenzhou didn’t want to take on disgusting topics, and sneered. The corners of his lips twitched: “Shizi, don’t say this when outside, so as not to teach people to think that Shizi has not seen the things in this world.”
“Great minds think alike, that statement speaks to my heart,” Liu Zhongming agreed: “Chenzhou, do you know what I was thinking when I just woke up?”
“Let me guess,” Qu Chenzhou quickly replied, “Shizi is annoyed that his skills are not as good as others, and after fighting in bed all night, there is still a person who is hungry and thirsty next to him. “
Liu Zhongming didn’t talk nonsense with him, he smiled and put his hand on his waist.
Qu Chenzhou shut his mouth wisely.
“This Shizi was just thinking…”
Liu Zhongming didn’t expect to hear any good words from this man’s mouth, so he continued talking to himself. His eyes moved downstream from the hand tied to the head of the bed, and slid across his face. It fell on the front placket that was open to the lower abdomen.
The morning light had appeared. The clearly-shaped collarbone casted a deep shadow on the shoulders, and the undulating soft body was hidden under the shadow of the ambiguous clothes.
“I’m thinking… this Shizi really took on that bad reputation in vain. To unexpectedly not have played with a certain someone, haven’t I been wronged?”
His fingers slid down from the soft sunken throat in front of him, like a dragonfly. He turned around at the waist and abdomen, but he didn’t go down, but he didn’t want to stay away. He watched a large blush spread from Qu Chenzhou’s neck up and down quickly, and asked with a chuckle, “It’s cold, isn’t it? Why are you shaking so pitifully?”
Qu Chenzhou shivered slightly, bit his lower lip, and finally squinted at him.
“Master Shizi, only thinking of playing with one, how can you… afford the name of a frivolous man?”
“It’s better than none at all, right?”
Liu Zhongming pointed his finger down an inch, then he felt his lower abdomen tighten and he was about to die. He curled up and raised his knees to hit him but Zhongming’s toes kicked lightly on his slender ankles in time, and stepped on those dishonest legs.
He watched Qu Chenzhou struggling several times, and laughed softly: “It just so happens that this lord here wants to come for his collection.”
“Is the Shizi settling for second best and interested in me?” Qu Chenzhou took back his gaze, then calmed down between his breaths and said, “That’s fine.”
Liu Zhongming didn’t expect that he would suddenly relax. His mind tightened, and the pictures in the book suddenly popped out, and the cycle went back and forth automatically. Now the place that should be sleeping wanted to rise up again and it was difficult to stop halfway.
“Don’t worry, Shizi, my mouth is very strict,” Qu Chenzhou said sternly: “I will never tell others that Shizi’s skills are jerky on the bed…”
The hand that was sliding back and forth on his chest stopped at his waist in revenge, and he closed his mouth again.
Liu Zhongming won back a round. He sneered, covered his clothes hastily, then went to look at the sweat towel tied to the head of the bed.
He had to say that when he first woke up, he was really taken aback. Fortunately, the smell from his skin and hair was familiar, so he laid still and watched Qu Chenzhou with great interest as he tried his best to kick himself off.
But as soon as he raised his head up, his brain hummed, and was hit by the hangover that was suppressed for a while. Liu Zhongming groaned, leaning on the bed with his head up, trying to untie the sweat towel with one hand while being dizzy again.
“Explain to me well, what’s going on?” He asked feebly, “Why are you in my bed, and who tied you here?”
“Shizi,” Qu Chenzhou sneered and said, “This needs to begin with a story I’ve heard before.”
Liu Zhongming knew he wouldn’t spit out the truth, but he was a little curious and he couldn’t move anyways, so he simply concentrated on studying the towel knot, then responded casually: “What story? “
The story says that once upon a time there was a pig who lived in chaos and confusion. One day with guidance by an immortal, he had the opportunity to turn into a human being.”
“The immortal gave the pig a snow lotus and told it to guard it for three days and three nights. Don’t be greedy for a while and eat the snow lotus. When the time comes, the immortal will come to enlighten it again.”
“When the immortal came back, the pig was really obsessed with guarding the snow lotus.”
“But just when the immortal was going to enlighten it, the pig suddenly opened its mouth and ate the snow lotus.”
Liu Zhongming had a headache and was confused, and asked casually: “What’s going on? Didn’t the immortal tell it not to eat it?”
“Yes,” Qu Chenzhou glanced at him and said coolly, “It was because that pig forgot.”
Liu Zhongming pursed his lips and looked at him for a moment, then slowly stepped over to the bedside. The hangover medicine was by the bedside. He casually ate it, then shook the hand bell.
Now it was Qu Chenzhou’s turn to be anxious. When the bell rang, the servants would soon come to serve Liu Zhongming to wash up and get up. He didn’t know how many people would see his embarrassed appearance.
“Shizi!” he shouted, but he didn’t see Liu Zhongming looking back, so he hurriedly shouted: “Master Shizi! Don’t!”
The sound of the bedroom door being pushed open came from outside, and the sound of chaotic footsteps stepping over the threshold, and people respectfully greeting him drifted in.
He didn’t dare to make a sound, he could only turn his face into the bed.
The footsteps that came one after another seemed to slow down infinitely, as if a lifetime had passed, yet they stopped outside the screen as if it was only in a matter of seconds.
They also receded from the door like a tide, and the bedroom door was closed, blocking out the sound from outside.
Liu Zhongming turned back with the water basin by himself, his footsteps still a little unstable because of his hangover, but with a smothered laugh, he washed properly, sat down on the bed, and wiped Qu Chenzhou twice with a handkerchief.
“What are you screaming about? Guess how many people heard you say—Master Shizi, don’t?”
Qu Chenzhou turned his face away from him, his cheeks flushed and eyes misty.
“It’s useless to just call Shizi,” Liu Zhongming looked at him in a relaxed manner, “Shiyan told me, you cried so hard in front of auntie, it threw one’s heart in disarray. How about this, you cry for me and I’ll untie it for you.”
Qu Chenzhou bit his lip and said nothing.
Liu Zhongming picked up the bell again.
“Don’t…” Qu Chenzhou’s face flushed. He was shaking badly but he didn’t want to show his weakness, so he could only close his eyes: “If Shizi wants to shake it, shake it then.”
The hand bell rubbed his face mischievously by his ear, then it was placed on the cabinet.
A hand stretched out above his head, touching his hand from time to time as he fiddled. He couldn’t help thinking about what happened here last night.
“Why are you so nervous?” Seeing his fingers curl up again, Liu Zhongming sneered: “Is it true that you thought I was going to do something to you? Or expected it?”
Qu Chenzhou’s face was cold, he didn’t want to talk to him.
The knot was cleverly tied. Although it was tied for a long time, there were no traces on his wrist. Liu Zhongming was unraveling it, but he was suspicious at the same time. This manner of tying a knot looks familiar, last night when he was drunk, did he tie it?
“Is this from me?” He asked, afraid that the other party would fool him with vague words.
Qu Chenzhou moved his wrists, kneaded his hands together for a moment, then finally sat up with thin anger between his brows, but he didn’t dare to cause trouble again, “It was Shizi who tied it.”
The answer was clear, Liu Zhongming didn’t have anything to say, so he rang the bell again and asked people to prepare breakfast in the flower hall. The two of them changed out of the clothes that smelled of alcohol last night. As soon as they went out, Qu Chenzhou headed straight towards to the east wing.
“Wait,” Liu Zhongming stopped him: “Let’s eat together.”
Qu Chenzhou felt a pain in his wrist and numbness on his body. He was frightened just now, his heart was beating wildly, and he didn’t want to be with this person.
“Shizi, it’s not in line with the rules.”
“I’m the rules,” Liu Zhongming saw that he was being difficult—they have eaten together a few times already, so he took a few steps in front and turned his head to signal for him to follow: “The rules are to be obedient.”
Qu Chenzhou had to follow him into the flower hall, and the two sat opposite each other at the dining table.
There were fish slices in ginger sauce for breakfast, which Liu Zhongming ordered more than half a month ago.
He knew that Qu Chenzhou liked this. He originally prepared this dish to make up for missing spending the holiday together, but now that he saw Qu Chenzhou’s indifferent expression while moving his chopsticks, he couldn’t help laughing in his heart, knowing that this person was unhappy because of what happened just now. .
He was also taciturn. When he first saw Qu Chenzhou, in the silence, there was indifference, arrogance and ashes that burrowed out of his bones.
But now, those eyes were full of anger and caution. Compared with the past, there was a lot of anger.
He took a piece of ginger fish slice, put it on the plate with the steamed bread, and pushed it over.
“Eat.” Seeing the other party not lifting his eyelids, he simply went straight to the topic: “The emperor told my father last night, Dali Temple, Civil Affairs.”
Speaking about the main topic, Qu Chenzhou didn’t plan to leave; he immediately understood where his previous divination was fulfilled: “Was Shizi drunk because of this?”
Liu Zhongming glanced at him: “Don’t think I’m that worthless, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the Criminal Division or the Civil Affairs Division. Firstly, you know better than me that Dali Temple is just a springboard, and secondly, whether the Civil Division is idle or not, it will depend on the person. “
Actually, Qu Chenzhou really didn’t know much about the operation of Dali Temple, and Zhongming wouldn’t explain this to him long-windedly before.
“I would like to hear about it.”
Liu Zhongming thought for a moment, he was not sure how much Qu Chenzhou, who lived in the palace for a long time, knew about the inner workings of the yamen, but he believed that this person was smart enough.
“At the moment, the chiefs of the three provinces are my father, the father of the empress, Tang Shuxin, and Lin Boqian, the prime minister. Since the emperor ascended the throne, Tang Shuxin has been guarding the province. Not only that, but also the Shangshu and Zhongshu things often have the Tang family’s involvement.”
Qu Chenzhou listened. Although he knew about Huai Wang’s generation, he didn’t know much about the past, Emperor Yu’s generation.
“Afterwards, the emperor asked my father to take office as Shang Shu. After all, the Liu family had a foundation. My father doesn’t like to fight, but he can protect what he should manage. The emperor often calls my father to discuss matters. If Tang Shuxin wanted to get involved with the Shang Shu again, it would not be that easy.”
“Afterwards, the emperor asked Lin Xiang to serve as the Zhong Shu and to implement executive order. Lin Xiang’s temper is even more difficult to offend, so now the three provinces are standing on one foot, the emperor is indeed good at keeping everything in balance.”
“Look at my second uncle who works in the Ministry of Revenue, there is no shortage of time to following up with the inner ministers.”
“The same is true for Dali Temple. There was quite a conflict with Jinxiu Camp in the early years. Dali Temple still wants to maintain a peaceful face, but Liao Guangming doesn’t care about that. It is said that Dali Temple was in vain those years and was ran by the Department of Punishment and the Jinxiu Camp.”
“Now that the Dali Temple official has been replaced, the Criminal Department has Ling He to support the facade, and behind Linghe is Lin Xiang,two young ministers left idle again. “
Qu Chenzhou understood most of what he meant, this seizure of power in the officialdom is the same as that in the court in the palace, it is all about momentum and backing.
“Shizi’s status is noble, and everyone knows that being the deputy at Dali Temple is just an expedient measure. The emperor should be thinking of making up for the gap of the young officials at the Dali Temple with Shizi.” He thought about the past life, then asked while holding a steamed cake: “Where are the Civil affairs work placed now?”
Liu Zhongming glanced at him and was relieved—compared to Bai Shiyan, this person really knows a thing or two.
“It is said that the overseeing of the capital has stopped, but Liao Guangming was still not giving up. The status of Jinxiu Camp depends on the emperor’s mood. Liao Guangming going to fight is to one, prove himself to the emperor and second, make enemies for himself.”
“Besides, he has no other capitals worth taking out for transaction.” Both of them knew things well, Qu Chenzhou didn’t say more and just asked: “Is Shizi planning for Dali Temple or Jinxiu Camp?”
“What do you say?” Liu Zhongming asked him back.
Qu Chenzhou smiled, after finding the right direction, Zhongming really didn’t need him to worry much. No wonder when he met up with Bai Shilei with his tens of thousands of soldiers, they were still able to enter the capital under the predicament of several enemies.
Liu Zhongming watched him start to concentrate on eating, and suddenly asked, “Can you drink?”
Qu Chenzhou was surprised: “Yes.”
After a while, a servant brought a glass of wine and put it in front of him. He looked at Liu Zhongming. His eyes gestured, and he took a sip.
The wine was mellow and spicy, with a long aftertaste. After swallowing, there was a clear astringency on the tip of his tongue.
“Have you ever had this wine?” Liu Zhongming asked him.
He shook his head, the palace would not prepare such bitter and strong wine.
“Then why did you want to buy that wine shop?”
This is the second time Liu Zhongming had asked this question. Qu Chenzhou looked at the wine glass in front of him, took another sip, made sure that he had never drunk it, and looked at the person. Seeing that the servants had already left and were far away, then did he lower his eyes slightly.
“Shizi, I was in the palace, so I really don’t know if the weirdness of this wine shop is true.”
“In the previous life, the Liu family fell, and the noble concubine was also implicated. Although the emperor remembered their old love and she was not guilty of death, she was imprisoned in the cold palace.”
Even if it was a situation he had never experienced before, Liu Zhongming seemed to be imprisoned. That terrifying scene choked his throat, and he didn’t dare to think about how he would survive if his sister really lost power in the palace and he lost the Liu family.
He calmed down and suddenly remembered another thing: “You said before that my sister gave birth to a prince, then… what about that child?”
Qu Chenzhou’s eyelashes trembled slightly. After thinking for a moment, he replied, “This is what I wanted to say.”
“The noble concubine gave birth to a prince in the cold palace, and she never dared to let anyone know. Later, when there was a change in the palace, she died, and the prince was sent outside the palace.”
“The person who came to respond from outside the palace was a person from the Wine Shop.”
“I think that should be the last life-saving method left by the Liu family for Niang Niang.”
He raised his eyes and saw that Liu Zhongming’s eyes were in a daze, he put another fish fillet in his mouth and chewed carefully.
That night of panic seemed to have just passed.
The ginger smell was so strong that it choked his eyes red.
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