Yun Qingci had never seen Master Qi; he had seen his portrait, but a portrait was somewhat different from a real person, so it was impossible to know his specific appearance.
For some reason, when he heard Li Ying’s words, his first reaction was to raise his head from Li Ying’s shoulder and look around subconsciously, as if he could find the figure of Master Qi at this moment.
Perceiving his movements, Li Ying gently lifted him up.
Yun Qingci said, “What are you talking nonsense about?”
He had seen people in a hurry to eat candy, but he really hadn’t seen people in a hurry to find pain. No matter how good Li Ying’s so-called reasons were, Yun Qingci couldn’t understand them.
“If you are cured, you can do whatever you want, so you don’t have to come to me every day.”
Li Ying was silent for a while and said, “Is it possible that if I get better, you won’t want me anymore?”
Yun Qingci hadn’t thought of this aspect. He was taken aback, frowned and said, “No, why do you think so? Could it be that you refuse to be cured just to keep me? Li Ying, don’t be stupid, I only stay because I like you, and I will never do it for this strange reason. You know that I am not a kind person.”
Li Ying was silent. Yun Qingci was a little anxious and said, “Did you hear me?”
“I heard you.” Li Ying said, “Don’t move, you’re going to fall.”
Yun Qingci didn’t want him to keep carrying him. He got off Li Ying’s back, stretched out his hand to pull him and said, “I want you to be well, just like you want me to be well, do you understand?”
“I understand.” Li Ying met his worried eyes and couldn’t help curving his lips and saying, “I know, you just feel sorry for me.”
Yun Qingci nodded, clenched his fingers and said, “I think you will definitely see Master Qi again, because if he really has such magical powers, then he will understand that the world has been rebuilt because of you. Everyone here, whether they realize it or not, they are all alive because of you.”
Li Ying led him forward, raised his eyebrows and said, “Do you look at me so highly?”
“I’m telling the truth.” Yun Qingci turned and looked back, then looked left and right, and then in front of him, with a sad face. “In this great world, there are so many people called Master Qi, and I don’t know when I will meet him… Can’t you say what characteristics he has so that he can be recognized at a glance?”
“He likes to wear a red hat.”
“Red hat?!” Yun Qingci opened his eyes wide and said, “Does he wear it in all four seasons?”
“…hard to say.” Li Ying said solemnly, “Maybe he has four hats of different materials.”
Yun Qingci: “…”
He could see that Li Ying was lying, “Are you looking for a fight?
Li Ying curved his eyes and used a passing carriage to shield them from a person on the opposite side of the street. At the same time, he turned sideways to block a person behind them, and then quickly kissed Yun Qingci on the lips.
Yun Qingci didn’t expect him to be so unorthodox on the street, and his face suddenly blushed: “You…”
“Hush.” Li Ying whispered, “Someone is watching.”
Yun Qingci’s face turned even redder, and he plunged his head directly into his arms, not daring to look at the people around him.
He thought bitterly how Li Ying could be so frivolous and actually do such a thing to him in broad daylight.
Li Ying hugged the shameless Lord Empress and couldn’t help but smile while getting on the carriage that followed them.
Yun Qingci stepped on his foot as soon as he sat. Li Ying didn’t move but took advantage of the situation and dragged him into his arms again. Yun Qingci had always liked to be intimate with him, and now Li Ying hurt all over without touching him, so there was no reason to refuse. After squirming for a little while he went mushy with Li Ying again.
He changed the subject awkwardly: “Where are we going now?”
“Let’s go to the lake.” Li Ying asked him, “Do you have any other matters?”
“Do I have any matters, it’s just…” Yun Qingci remembered and said, “I always hear people say that you are not good, why do you just let them say it? Can’t you draw up an edict to shut them up?”
“As long as it is not starting rumours to plant false evidence, everyone has the right to speak.” Li Ying said, “What did you hear?”
“They think you are sticking to me, and they say you are muddle-headed.”
“Well… although it is the truth, I have to correct it.”
Yun Qingci: “What?”
“I love you, and I am very clear-headed.” Li Ying said, “I didn’t lose my mind.”
Yun Qingci’s heart jumped twice uncontrollably, and his expression became complicated again. Of course he hoped that Li Ying liked him, but he couldn’t accept that Li Ying liked him with pain. He thought about it all the way and said, “If you have to rely on pain to remember to like me, what kind of liking is that? At best, it is a threat.”
“Here we are.” The carriage stopped, Li Ying lifted the window curtain and glanced out, saying, “Let’s go down.”
Yun Qingci followed him unwillingly, still trying to convince him. Li Ying asked: “Do you want to row a small boat or take a decorated entertainment boat?”
Yun Qingci glanced at the lake. It seemed that Li Ying had prepared to go out today. There was a gorgeously carved painted boat moored on the lake, and there was also a boat that looked somewhat simplistic.
He pointed at the small boat and became a little interested: “Can I row by myself?”
“Yes, but you have to pay attention to your body.”
“Aren’t you here?” Yun Qingci stepped in happily and the boat rocked for a while. Li Ying stretched out his hand and supported him, saying, “Slow down.”
Yun Qingci sat down obediently, facing him, and took a pair of small oars.
It wasn’t summer yet; the willow leaves by the lake were green, the fish swimming in the lake were cheerful, and the spring was full of light.
Yun Qingci stirred the water happily a few times, then quickly stopped and handed over this kind of tiring work to His Majesty Emperor Li.
He laid down on the edge of the boat and put his fingers in the water; it was slightly icy to touch. Shoals of small fish brushed over his fingers and passed through; it was a little itchy but also a little comforting.
His expression gradually calmed down.
He had known Li Ying for too long, and sometimes Yun Qingci felt that he had already integrated with him. When Li Ying was by his side, he felt comfortable as if he was alone, but when Li Ying was not by his side, he felt as if half of him was missing.
He kept his feet close to Li Ying’s, who stretched his arms calmly and, seeing that his hands kept sinking in the water, did not forget to remind him, “The water is cold in spring, don’t play for too long.”
Yun Qingci obediently retracted his hand. Li Ying stopped, took out a handkerchief and spread his palm.
Yun Qingci quickly presented his hand and asked him to dry it.
The rough silk handkerchief wiped the palm of his hand, and then wiped his fingers carefully. Yun Qingci couldn’t help but look at Li Ying’s expression.
Li Ying in his previous life had also taken care of him in this way. At that time, he could clearly feel loved. It was only later that they often had cold wars and quarrels, and gradually, those feelings of being loved became meager.
Until his rebirth, in his heart, Li Ying had become a hypocritical and despicable person. When he loved someone, that person was good no matter what, and when he hated someone, that person was wrong no matter what.
Li Ying wiped his fingers dry and then wrapped his slightly cool fingertips in his palm.
The boat floated quietly on the lake and gradually came to the edge of the lotus leaves. The lotus flowers had not yet bloomed, and only a few buds appeared, small and green, with light pink tips, among the cyan round leaves.
Li Ying’s palms were warm and could easily drive away the chill from his fingers. Yun Qingci’s gaze fell on his closed palms, his bamboo-like joints pale and thin.
Even if he was reminded to eat more, they were often not together during the day, and he didn’t know if Li Ying had eaten well.
Who can eat peacefully while being gnawed by countless insects?
Yun Qingci’s eyelashes fluttered and his nose began to feel sore again.
“Don’t like me so much,” he said, “I feel ashamed of it.”
Li Ying raised his eyes, looked straight at him for a while and said, “Why do you say that?”
“I won’t like you as much as I used to, just, just like me normally… Don’t like me too much, I can’t repay you.”
Li Ying understood what he meant: “I never thought about asking you to repay me.”
“But I don’t like this.”
Li Ying’s expression was slightly startled, he softened his voice and said, “Ah Ci, you used to like me like this.”
“But we’ve gotten even, and now I’m going to just like you normally. You don’t even have to do that …… I don’t think that’s fair.”
Li Ying lowered his eyes.
His palms were warm, but not hot enough, so it was difficult to warm Yun Qingci’s slightly cool hands. He rubbed Yun Qingci’s fingers, moving gently and patiently: “There is no absolute fairness in feelings. I just want to be nice to you, that’s all.”
“I just don’t think your way of thinking is right…”
“It’s good as long as we suit each other.” Li Ying said, “When you cut your wrist for me, did you think that that would be bad?”
Yun Qingci felt suffocating for a moment and said, “It proved to be bad.”
“I failed you.”
“I didn’t mean that!” Yun Qingci said, “I just don’t want you to go my old way… I, I don’t want to make you hurt, it’s not like I can pay you back for such a thing.”
“Then just love me dearly a little more.”
Yun Qingci looked at him, and saw a touch of longing and expectation in his eyes.
His heartstrings were suddenly tugged again, and his eyes turned slightly red.
“But I feel distressed, and I can’t change anything. If you are like this, you might as well like others.”
Li Ying pursed his lips.
He let go of Yun Qingci’s hand, then retracted his feet in silence and whispered, “Then why don’t you just leave me with my pain and leave me alone.”
Yun Qingci immediately rushed towards him: “I didn’t mean that…”
Li Ying hurriedly stretched out his hand and pushed him back. The boat rocked for a while; Yun Qingci was caught off guard and was pushed to the bow.
Li Ying balanced his strength and suppressed the rocking of the boat. Seeing that Yun Qingci was frightened, he stroked his head soothingly and said, “Actually, there is indeed a solution for my backlash.”
Yun Qingci couldn’t wait: “What solution?”
“If I don’t love you, it won’t hurt.” Li Ying said, “Even if you really meet Master Qi, there is only one solution.”
Yun Qingci was dumbfounded.
“This is the price I paid for coming to find you, and it is also the punishment I gave myself, do you understand? I can’t help not hurting, just like how I can’t stop myself from loving you.”
Li Ying gently rested his forehead against Yun Qingci’s.
His forehead was a little cold, while Yun Qingci’s was very hot. Li Ying maintained this position, checking Yun Qingci’s temperature, and said, “I know that you have suffered a lot because of me before, and I also know that both your experience and the people around you are forcing you to learn to be sensible.”
“Ah Ci, it’s a good thing. I don’t think it’s bad at all. You will gradually become a person who knows how to give up, the so-called normal person.”
Yun Qingci used to love madly, love obsessively, always making him feel overwhelmed. Since Li Ying had given up that love himself, he was not so shameless to feel that he was still qualified to make Yun Qingci continue to be crazy for him.
They both changed.
Li Ying, who used to be reasonable and calculating, now had become a fool, and Yun Qingci, who used to be a fool, now was learning to be smart.
Li Ying deserved all this.
Who would let him get everything and still come back to Yun Qingci? How could a fool who had been foolish all his life and had learned his lesson be foolish again?
“Ah Ci.” Li Ying said, “It’s great. I’m very satisfied. I really respect everything about you.”
“That’s good, that’s enough.”
A very light kiss fell on Yun Qingci’s forehead.
Yun Qingci’s fingers rubbed the corners of his eyes, and a drop of tears was shaken off his fingertips. It fell on the lake’s surface and splashed a layer of ripples and then quietly disappeared.
Next day, Prime Minister Yun woke up early in the morning and found that Yun Qingci was dressed up and was sitting quietly in the front hall.
It was not dawn yet, and there was a single lamp in the hall, its dim light outlining Yun Qingci’s thin silhouette.
Yun Qingxiao rearranged the black gauze hat on his head and glanced at his father, both feeling that Yun Qingci seemed very unusual.
“Today…” Prime Minister Yun stated and Yun Qingci seemed to be startled. He raised his face, his eyes a little blurry. He looked at his father and listened to him say kindly: “Why did our Xiao Ci get up so early today?”
Yun Qingci raised his hand and rubbed his eyes, and Yun Qingxiao chuckled: “I thought you were meditating on something, but I didn’t expect you to be asleep.”
Prime Minister Yun also smiled and said, “How long have you been sitting? Is it cold or not… Hey, your hands are cold, come on, go and bring the stove.”
Now that winter has passed, it was impossible to warm one’s hands with a charcoal stove. But there was a big temperature difference between the day and the night in spring. An old man like Prime Minister Yun needed to burn a stove when he slept at night.
Soon someone brought a small kettle with hot water, wrapped it in cloth and stuffed it into Yun Qingci’s hands.
Prime Minister Yun sat down beside him; Yun Qingxiao sat down on the other side of him and said, “What? Are you going to go to the court session with us?”
“…no.” Yun Qingci held the small kettle and said, “I want to go back to the palace.”
His father and brother smiled at the same time.
Yun Qingci didn’t expect them to agree immediately, but he still said: “I have thought about it clearly. I, I still have him in my heart. Since I have him, there is no need to hide it for fear that others will know, and torment myself and him.”
He didn’t dare to look at the expressions of his father and brother, lowered his head and said quietly: “I was waiting for father and brother to come out today to say that I’m not going to separate… I, I know you are doing it for my good, but I, I really won’t be the same as before. If he dares to treat me badly, I will definitely come back right away and will not do stupid things for him anymore.”
“I know you don’t believe me, but I’m really clear-headed. I’m sorry, Dad, Second Brother… I’m asking you to listen to these terrible things early in the morning. I just think… Now that he and I have clearly overcome our misunderstandings and made up, why bother to act contrary to what we feel?”
His tone was firm, but he felt a little uneasy.
Prime Minister Yun hadn’t spoken yet, and Yun Qingxiao said first: “I believe you.”
Yun Qingci looked at him stupidly.
“Now that you have something on your mind and are willing to discuss it with your father and brother, you are receptive to advice, but being receptive does not mean that you must follow it. It’s your own life. You should be self-reliant and autonomous, rather than blindly drifting with the current. If you tie your hands and feet because of us and dare not face your heart, what is the difference between a fool who was chasing His Majesty and leaving me and Dad behind, and a fool who doesn’t listen, doesn’t look, and doesn’t care?”
“Oh, there is a difference.” Yun Qingxiao said in a deep voice: “One is a little fool without a brain, and the other is a little fool who has a brain but is afraid of using his hands and feet.”
Yun Qingci’s cheeks bulged.
Yun Qingxiao looked at Prime Minister Yun and said, “What does father think?”
Prime Minister Yun gave him a fierce look.
Of course, he was a hundred times unwilling to let Yun Qingci go back, but Yun Qingxiao’s words were tantamount to blocking everything he wanted to say. If he wanted to stop Yun Qingci, it would almost mean that he would continue to treat Yun Qingci as a fool.
He was still a little unwilling and said, “It’s not that Dad won’t let you make up with him, Dad is just worried…”
“Dad is worried that I don’t have the ability to withstand risks.” Yun Qingci’s eyes lit up, and he said, “I know, don’t worry, I will definitely get better. I won’t be focused on him. I will have my own life. It’s just… I want to live with him for the time being.”
As for this ‘time being’, whether it was a year, two years, or a lifetime, it depended on how they got along.
Prime Minister Yun finally yielded and said, “Let’s go, we have to rush to court.”
Yun Qingci walked out of the front hall with his father and brother, and went to the Forbidden City in the same carriage with his father. The carriage drove out of the gate of the mansion and ran over the spacious official road.
He opened the carriage window and raised his face to look, only to see that the sky was purple and black, with dense stars shining brightly. Before the carriage reached the Forbidden City, the sky in the east started turning pearly white. Yun Qingci watched the little glimmer get bigger and bigger and couldn’t help rejoicing: “I haven’t ever seen the sky at this time.”
His second brother followed him on horseback, glanced at him when he heard the words, and said, “There are many things you haven’t seen before.”
Prime Minister Yun also said, “In the future, learn more and read more. The days will be long.”
“En!” Yun Qingci nodded seriously, and did not forget to turn around and tell his father: “From now on, every New Year’s holiday, I will go home. He can follow if he wants, and if he doesn’t want to follow, let him spend it in the palace by himself.”
Prime Minister Yun was not happy: “Can he not follow?”
Yun Qingci covered his face and smiled for a while.
His father and brother were going to the main hall for the court session, while Yun Qingci continued to the East Gate, then walked all the way to Chaoyang Palace.
There always were people in the palace, just like it was in hiw previous life. Even when he left, Chaoyang Palace still kept people to serve, even if Li Ying sometimes didn’t have time to come here to live when he was busy.
The servants inside were very surprised to see him. They hurriedly surrounded him and brought him in.
“It’s great that the Lord Empress is back. We have a Master again.”
They were all from Chaoyang Palace. If Chaoyang Palace had no master, all those who were on duty in the palace might be redistributed. It was hard to say whether they would be treated as they were before.
Now that Yun Qingci was in the midst of his glory and the only master in the harem, there were naturally many people who wanted to get into his favor.
Yun Qingci, as always, was not close to others. He waved his hand and ordered everyone to stand down and only had Jin Huan and Yinxi to clean up the bed and prepare it for a good night’s sleep.
It was not that he didn’t want to go to Li Ying. One thing was that he was too sleepy, and the other was that Li Ying left his room in the middle of the night yesterday. At this moment, he likely was changing his clothes and preparing to go to court.
So he crawled into his bed with peace of mind and plunged into a sweet dreamland.
He could make up for lost sleep, but Li Ying couldn’t. He went to the Prime Minister’s mansion every night and had to come back to change clothes in the early hours of the morning, so he didn’t look well.
But Liu Ziru felt very relieved; at least it was much better than when the Lord Empress ignored him before.
The officials lined up outside the main hall for an inspection, and only when they had been inspected one by one could they enter the hall and stand in their official positions.
Prime Minister Yun was one of the first, side by side with Grand Commander Qiu who glanced at his face: “Why, is there anything unhappy today? Tell me, so this official can feel happy.”
Prime Minister Yun: “Your son came to my house to propose to my son.”
Grand Commander Qiu: “…what are you talking about?!”
“Master Grand Commander.” An eunuch immediately reminded him softly: “Don’t make loud noises.”
Grand Commander Qiu could only hold back and walk with Prime Minister Yun all the way into the hall to meet the Son of Heaven together. However, he couldn’t stop looking at Prime Minister Yun frequently.
Secretly wondering, which son of mine and which son of yours?
Prime Minister Yun looked blankly at the Son of Heaven in the dragon chair.
With just one glance, he looked away.
Li Ying’s face had always been very pale, but even as the Prime Minister, he still didn’t know what illness the emperor was suffering from.
Xiao Ci made up his mind to come back, could it be because… he wanted to accompany Li Ying on his last journey?
His heart clenched, and when he looked at the emperor’s thin face again, his eyes were tinged with a bit of heartache and pity. He was also the child who had grown up in front of his eyes, so it was almost impossible to say that his heart did not ache.
Why was it like this?
Prime Minister Yun was in a very heavy mood.
Li Ying also noticed Prime Minister Yun’s gaze, so when he dispersed the session, he ignored Grand Commander Qiu’s attempts to pull Prime Minister Yun away and signaled his teacher to stay.
The teacher and the student looked at each other, and Li Ying said, “Teacher, do you want to go to Jiangshan Palace to sit down?”
“The Lord Empress has returned to Chaoyang Palace, and he must be waiting for Your Majesty.” Prime Minister Yun said respectfully: “Your Majesty should hurry up and spend more time with him, so that this old minister won’t worry.”
Li Ying had never seen him look so reasonable; most often Prime Minister Yun would hope that Yun Qingci would stay as far away from him as possible.
But Yun Qingci returned to the palace, and his eyes lit up with the good news almost instantly: “Are you serious?”
Liu Ziru’s face was also full of joy, and Prime Minister Yun secretly thought that since they were like this, let them be happy for a few more days. He sighed: “Your Majesty will know when you go back and take a look.”
Li Ying got up and strode away from the throne room.
The dragon robe was embroidered with gold and there was a heavy jade belt around the emperor’s waist. Although Prime Minister Yun hadn’t worn the dragon robe, he knew that it was not light in weight.
The Son of Heaven was so sickly, how could he still walk so fast?
Prime Minister Yun frowned, and as soon as he went out, he was immediately stopped by Grand Commander Qiu: “Yun Yu, stop right here and make it clear!”
Prime Minister Yun’s face was wooden.
As Li Ying walked, he couldn’t wait to take off the crown on his head. With a crisp sound, he threw it next to him and it was immediately caught by a young eunuch beside him. Liu Ziru couldn’t keep up with him at all. Seeing that he had even unhooked the jade belt, he hurriedly said, “Your Majesty, you should change your clothes before you go.”
As soon as he said it, the jade belt had fallen to the ground clanging.
As Li Ying kept walking, he took off his dragon robe and threw it on the ground.
Liu Ziru sighed, picked up everything with Yuanbao’s help and said, “What is this for? It’s not like Lord Empress has never seen you wearing a dragon robe.”
Yuanbao whispered: “In fact, Lord Empress likes it quite a bit. He said that His Majesty is so magnificent that even he feels intimidated.”
A sparkle of surprise flashed in Liu Ziru’s gaze.
Li Ying left this heavy burden behind and rushed towards Chaoyang Palace like the wind.
Whether it was his country or his throne, at this moment it all became insignificant.
He just wanted to drop everything he had on him and run faster, and faster.
So that he could hold the man in his arms earlier.
He understood what it meant for Yun Qingci to return to the palace.
He finally sorted out all his emotions, prepared to withstand risks, remained clear-headed enough and decided to leave everything behind and go back to the past with him.
He was still the same as before. When he liked someone, he would go all out, for fear that the person wouldn’t feel it.
He showed Li Ying with his actions that if he responded hard enough, one would definitely get an even harder response back.
Li Ying rushed all the way to Chaoyang Palace.
The palace gate was wide open, and in the courtyard, the flowers that had been moved out of the greenhouse were blooming wildly.
The sun was rising, and the world was bright. Li Ying’s forehead shone with fine sweat.
He only had a plain hairpin on his head, only a plain robe on his body, and the dragon boots on his feet were missing, leaving only a pair of plain socks.
At this moment, he was not the Son of Heaven, nor the emperor.
He was simply Li Ying running to Yun Qingci.
END OF MAIN STORY
Thank you everyone for sticking through with me and don’t leave yet! There is still 8 more side stories of this love story!