The kiln factory building was low and dilapidated, and the emperor’s brocade and jade robe looked out of place here. His tall figure seemed a little aggrieved.
Yun Qingci had already kicked him out of reach but still thought that he was not far away enough. He retracted his feet and frowned coldly because of the memory that had just surged: “Go away, don’t stay with me.”
Li Ying’s lips curved downward slightly, his heart constricting: “Why are you driving me away?”
Of course it’s because I hate you.
“This is not where you should stay,” Yun Qingci said reasonably: “Your identity is too valuable, so go back to the palace.”
“…You ordered someone to send a message that you’d return by midnight, why didn’t you return?”
“The plan changed.” Yun Qingci said casually: “It’s snowing heavily, so I didn’t go back.”
“Why didn’t you send someone to inform me?”
“It was too late.” Yun Qingci recalled something and said, “I didn’t want to trouble people.”
This was an excuse Li Ying had once given him. He said that he would come to his palace if he was not busy. Yun Qingci stayed at the table more than once, again and again warming up the food he’d made with his own hands, until he had to order someone to throw it away. He went to bed alone. When he couldn’t sleep all night, he wondered whether Li Ying was being compassionate to others, or just didn’t take him seriously.
He didn’t expect that one day he would be able to throw these words back at Li Ying.
Li Ying quietly raised his hand and stepped forward, as if to explain: “In future…”
Yun Qingci stretched out his feet again, and his white toes moved viciously, snapping threateningly.
Li Ying met his cold narrowed eyes, took a step back and said, “I have been waiting for you to return.”
There was no earth dragon heater in the kiln factory, only smokeless charcoal that burned red in the stove, making an audible crackling sound accompanied by snow hitting the window paper.
Yun Qing looked up at Li Ying with indifference and inquiry in his eyes.
Li Ying was standing in front of him, and Yun Qingci realized that he still couldn’t understand him. He had found an opportunity to ask Yuanbao, but Yuanbao just said Li Ying wasn’t sleeping well, and there was nothing else unusual.
His eyes became a little colder, and he said, “So, you couldn’t wait and you came to find me?”
“Yes.” Finally not driven away anymore, Li Ying lowered his eyelashes and said, “It was windy and snowy at night. There was a thick layer of snow on my cloak. I took it off before coming in.”
The light was dim in the room. After Yun Qingci realized that Li Ying’s hair was half wet with melting snow, he suddenly felt weird and asked, “You know it’s windy and snowy, so why do you want to come here in person?”
“I…” Li Ying looked at him and said, “I want to see you–”
The paper window swayed suddenly, whistling and clattering. Yun Qingci, who sat in front of the window, frowned because this sound disturbed him. He raised his hands to cover his ears and said, “What?”
Li Ying stepped forward again, and Yun Qingci immediately said, “Stay away. Forget it, if you are fine, go back, I want to sleep.”
“How can you sleep here?” The window next to him looked like it was about to be blown open at any time, and Li Ying persuaded: “Let’s go back to the palace.”
“It’s good enough here.” Yun Qingci pulled the quilt and thought secretly: it’s much better than the Cold Palace. At least now he had a cotton-padded quilt to keep out the cold, a charcoal fire to keep warm, and a close attendant to serve him.
There had also been bright lights shining in the palace, as well as a hungry stomach.
The wind was still howling. Yun Qingci pulled up the quilt, and the bamboo bed creaked.
He sat in front of the dilapidated window, leaning down to tidy up the pillows.
Li Ying remained motionless, as if he had been caught in the endless black tide for an instant. His eyes were overflowing with darkness, and every inch of fabric of his brocade clothes became heavy and damp with sweat.
At this time, Yun Qingci should not have known hardships and suffering.
Yun Qingci was about to lie down, but when he saw that Li Ying hadn’t left yet, he started driving him away again: “You are still here…”
A sudden shadow rushed in front of him, Li Ying stepping towards him as fast as an arrow. With a loud bang, the window was suddenly blown wide open, and the snow broke into the room violently. The dilapidated window lattice hit Li Ying heavily on the shoulder, making a dull sound.
Yun Qingci was pressed under him, surrounded with his arms, and through Li Ying’s body, he could clearly hear the sound of the window pattering on Li Ying several times in succession.
Li Ying didn’t say a word, closed the window and pressed it with one hand to avoid it being blown open again. “Someone come!” he said.
Yun Qingci was picked up. The bamboo bed was moved away, and the guard hurriedly added a few nails to keep the window closed. The manager of the kiln factory wiped his sweat again and again, saying, “I never thought that there would be noble guests staying here. The windows are indeed in disrepair. I had no intention of harming the noble guests. Please, Your Majesty, forgive me.”
Li Ying’s gaze was heavy. Yun Qingci glanced at him and said, “It was okay when I slept here the day before yesterday. It’s just because the wind and snow are too heavy today. It was me who decided to stay overnight, it has nothing to do with him.”
After speaking, he suddenly remembered that it was not him who was hit by the window and it was not him who was feeling pain standing and talking. As soon as he wanted to correct his words, he heard Li Ying say, “It’s fine, everyone withdraw.”
He glanced at Li Ying again.
All right, His Majesty Emperor Li had rough skin and thick flesh. It was nothing for him to suffer a little pain. Anyway, he needed to pay him back with interest.
The dilapidated room calmed down again, and Yun Qingci, not feeling remorseful, was put back on the bamboo bed.
It was not easy to get the room warm. As soon as the wind blew, the little heating disappeared. Yun Qingci was wearing a single coat and his feet were cold.
Li Ying’s fingertips unconsciously touched his ankles. He pulled the quilt over Yun Qingci and said, “If you have to stay overnight, I will stay with you.”
Yun Qingci raised his eyebrows and looked at him.
Li Ying’s right shoulder hurt. He pursed his lips, slowly sat down on the bamboo bed and said, “You’re always watching what I do…”
That was unexpected.
When he sat down, the bamboo bed sank under his weight. Yun Qingci reflexively hugged his wooden box, and Li Ying instinctively hugged him.
Yun Qingci fell onto him heavily on the scattered bamboo bed.
Now that he really couldn’t sleep, Yun Qing sat speechlessly on the human cushion named Li Ying, and finally made a compromise: “Never mind, let’s go back to the palace.”
Li Ying sat up and went to bring him padded socks and cotton boots. Yun Qingci held the wooden box and watched Li Ying squat in front of him. His feet were wrapped in softness.
After putting on his shoes, Li Ying took the cloak brought by Jin Huan and wrapped it around Yun Qingci personally.
Li Ying’s willingness to make efforts to please him could only show that he was planning something very big. All his actions seemed to be directed at making Yun Qingci go back to being crazy for him.
This mother and son duo were really worthy of each other.
But Yun Qingci was not worried. The Yun family was clean and loyal for generations. As long as he didn’t go crazy, Li Ying had no excuse to touch them.
No matter how much Li Ying invested in him, he would only lose money.
When the carriage was brought to the door, Yun Qingci got in and sat with peace of mind, and Li Ying followed him closely.
He was not very willing to share a carriage with Li Ying, but he also realized it was not the Li Ying of his previous life. Now Li Ying had just been beaten up by the window for his sake. It was inhumane to drive him away. It was a trivial matter but if Li Ying got sick in this weather, it would be a big deal.
He turned to the wall of the carriage holding the box in his arms, lazily distancing himself from Li Ying, and closed his eyes.
It was very late, the carriage was swaying, and drowsiness quickly struck him.
Yun Qingci yawned.
Li Ying looked sideways at him, unconsciously raising his hand to rub his sore shoulder and arm.
Yun Qingci never mentioned what happened just now. Li Ying didn’t know if it was intentional or unintentional. He seemed to have completely forgotten and kept dozing off.
Now, he had to admit that Yun Qingci was not the Yun Qingci he remembered.
The carriage swaying back and forth was cozy and warm, but Li Ying felt as if he was falling into an ice cellar, with a chill penetrating his bones.
Yun Qingci’s head nodded heavily, and Li Ying stretched out his hand. As soon as he was about to help him, he saw Yun Qingci’s eyes widen. He looked at Li Ying blankly for a moment and said, “Thank you, Your Majesty.”
He was too sleepy and didn’t want to fall asleep in the carriage, so he forced himself to find a topic for conversation: “Is the injury serious?”
He wanted to find something else to say but couldn’t.
Li Ying didn’t speak either. Yun Qingci became more and more sleepy, and his head bobbed frequently. Li Ying pursed his pale lips, raised his hand silently and put his palm to the side of Yun Qingci’s head for protection.
Yun Qingci tilted towards him uncontrollably. Feeling that he was about to fall on Li Ying’s shoulder, he sat up straight again, fighting drowsiness vigorously.
Several times in a row, they ended with Li Ying restrainedly pulling away his fingers.
It was three o’clock when the carriage finally returned to the Forbidden City.
Yun Qingci couldn’t bear it after all and fell asleep against the wall of the carriage.
The wooden box in his arms slipped down unconsciously and was firmly caught by a hand.
Li Ying opened the lid of the box and touched the cold white porcelain with his fingertips, as if hearing the crisp cracking sound again.
Yun Qingci rushed to the ground stupidly and was dragged back by him.
Caught hastily, Yun Qingci stood still, his eyes turning red at once.
Instead of complaining that he had broken his carefully fired porcelain, Yun Qingci looked flustered and at a loss: “I’m sorry… I made you angry again.”
Li Ying wanted to say something, but after all, he didn’t say anything.
The wooden lid was pushed back on. Li Ying slowly stretched out his hand and carefully hugged the person leaning against the wall of the carriage. A dark light suddenly appeared in the bottoms of his eyes.
Yun Qingci woke up and found that he was sleeping in Jiangshan Palace. He laid on the wide dragon couch and turned to look around him. Li Ying was not there, the bed curtains were closed tightly, and his wooden box was placed at his side. His carefully fired porcelain lay inside safely.
He really couldn’t help falling asleep yesterday, it must’ve been Li Ying who helped him put it there.
Yun Qingci didn’t want to stay for long. When he got out of bed to change clothes, Li Ying reappeared coincidentally and saw him and said: “You’re awake, I asked someone to bring breakfast.”
“No, I’ll go back to my place to eat.”
As soon as he said that, he heard someone report: “Informing Your Majesty, Lord Empress, Concubine Ning begs to see you.”
Li Ying instinctively looked at Yun Qingci. The latter blinked and said, “What is she doing here?”
Everyone in the palace knew that he was jealous, and the attendant replied very cautiously: “I heard that she had cooked some dishes for His Majesty.”
Li Ying said, “I have an imperial dining room.”
Yun Qingci said, “Let her in.”
The reporting person suspected that he had heard it wrong. Li Ying also stared at him blankly, and Yun Qingci continued: “What? My words don’t count anymore?”
The palace attendant hurriedly apologized and retreated to bring in Ning Rou.
Yun Qingci turned to get the cloak from the wooden rack, and was about to wrap it up and return to his palace, when a shadow fell next to him. Li Ying said in a muffled voice: “What does Lord Empress mean?”
“Concubine Ning is showing her dedication.” Yun Qingci comforted him good-heartedly. “You eat, I’ll go back first.”
His cloak was yanked——
He pulled it back.
Li Ying didn’t let go.
Yun Qingci pulled again but still couldn’t free his cloak, so he stepped on Li Ying’s foot heavily.
Li Ying let go, his face dark and frightening.
As Yun Qingci put on his cloak, the footsteps were already heard behind the screen, and the woman pushed the bead curtain aside, whispering softly: “Your Majesty, this concubine has cooked you lotus seed soup and…”
She saw Yun Qingci.
The smile froze on her face, and Ning Rou shrank her neck in fear.
Heavens, why was Yun Qingci here?
Now he would hate her again.
The Momo behind her pulled the corners of her clothes. Concubine Ning returned to her senses, recalling the attitude of the emperor towards Yun Qingci in the past, and mustered her courage to salute: “Greetings to Lord Empress, Your Majesty.”
Li Ying was still looking at Yun Qingci, his dark eyes seemed calm and grave.
Yun Qingci was just admiring Ning Rou. After removing Li Ying from the most important position in his heart, he immediately discovered that Li Ying’s concubine was very beautiful.
This waist, this face and this slender figure – the woman looked like she was born to be cherished and pampered.
Ning Rou shivered, quietly glancing at Li Ying’s back, and murmured in a low voice: “Lord Empress, why do you look at this concubine with such terrible eyes?”
What Li Ying hated most was Yun Qingci’s ugly face due to jealousy. She was going to use it.
Wow, Lord Empress is threatening people again, help.