The snow was like crumbs, small and dense, and the only color in the yard was white without any variety.
Because Yun Qingci needed good visibility for his work, the lights in the room were very bright. However, the bed screen was blocking the light somewhat, so inside the bed was still a little dim.
Yun Qingci leaned back on the pillow; his long hair held by a black wooden hairpin looked like splashed ink. Li Ying sat in front of him, leaning forward, with a few strands of hair falling down his shoulders and his eyes shining.
In his previous life, he had been accustomed to Yun Qingci’s ways for twelve years. Even in this life, he was accustomed to Yun Qingci’s ways for four years. It was not surprising that he would have this idea.
If it had been Yun Qingci of the previous life, he would have put on these ear mufflers on him without hesitation, and would have slept happily all night after that because Li Ying took the initiative to ask him for a gift.
Not to mention Master Lin Xiao Hou, even the King of Heaven himself if he appeared here would be ranked below Li Ying.
Yun Qingci smirked, wondering if it was him who was too eager in the past, or if it was Li Ying who was too self-satisfied now.
“This is not for Your Majesty.” He took the ear mufflers from Li Ying’s hand, flattened them and said. “They were sewn for Xiao Hou.”
Li Ying’s expression froze, and the light in his eyes shrank rapidly: “Did you sew the ear mufflers for him with your own hands?”
Yun Qingci’s expression was sincere and his eyes were serious. Li Ying looked at him for a few breaths: “Why?”
“He kindly warmed my ears to keep out the cold, but I improperly kept his things and caused them to be lost. He should be reimbursed.”
“Kindly.” Anger surged in his chest, and Li Ying felt ridiculous: “Is it kindness or ulterior motives?”
“It was really kindness,” Yun Qingci said, “There was gossip everywhere. Although he only gave me a pair of ear mufflers, his intention was to protect me from slander. I should cherish such good intentions.”
Li Ying’s lips trembled: “Cherish?”
Yun Qingci just looked at him.
Li Ying enunciated every word, as if to make sure he could hear clearly: “Do you know what you are talking about? You, Yun Qingci, as Lord Empress, should cherish another man’s intent in your heart? ”
“No matter if it’s a man or a woman, if they treat me well, I’ll treat them well. ”
“Don’t you know how to avoid suspicion?” Li Ying restrained himself and said, “Lin Huaijin is the son of my aunt.”
“I know. ”
“He likes you! ”
Yun Qingci was startled and said, “Oh.”
Li Ying’s face was gloomy. He stared at Yun Qingci for an instant and said bitterly: “I forbid you to give them to him.”
“I have promised him.”
“I don’t allow you,” Li Ying said, “You have promised, but you are not allowed to give them. This is an order.”
Yun Qingci thought for a while and said, “Then, if Your Majesty likes them, take them.”
Li Ying was spoiled. Yun Qingci spent too much effort on him in his previous life. He didn’t want to bother arguing with him. Anyway, neither of them could convince the other one. It was better just to let it go. Li Ying was the Emperor, and he was the Lord Empress. It was better to respect each other as guests.
The white palms were laid in front of him.
The gray ear mufflers were furry and looked very warm. This warmth should belong to him.
Li Ying moved his fingers slightly, but did not take the ear mufflers away directly, instead asking Yun Qingshi, “And for Lin Huaijin?”
He longed for Yun Qingci to say that he would make someone else sew a pair for him, or say: Your Majesty, I’m not going to explain to him, I don’t care.
Yun Qingci said, “I’ll sew another pair for him.”
Li Ying was jealous: “…do you have to give them to him?”
“Your Majesty,” Yun Qingci had to remind him: “You destroyed his stuff. I am now helping you with the aftermath. Moreover, I have promised him. People should keep their word.”
“You didn’t need to come forward about this matter. ”
“Then where was Your Majesty?” Yun Qingci said, “When Lin Huaijin was by the lake, why didn’t Your Majesty tell him that it was Your Majesty who burned his ear mufflers? Why did you let me go back and face him? How could you go back to the palace with such peace of mind?”
“Your hand is still injured…”
“Your Majesty.” Yun Qingci began to become impatient: “Why bother, you and I don’t have to keep pretences between us. My injury is the price I paid for my stupidity. The entire Shangyang City knows that, and Your Majesty doesn’t have to remind me again and again.”
Yun Qingci said that he was pretending, and felt that he was deliberately humiliating him. Li Ying’s fingers contracted and his heart ached, so he had to calm down and explain: “I am just concerned about you. ”
“You were concerned when you learned that I made ear mufflers for Lin Huaijin. After you came when I was bathing, I sewed a ear muffler under the lamp. For such a long time, why didn’t you think of being concerned as you were thinking I was doing it for you??”
“I didn’t come here when you were bathing…”
“…” He actually lied. Yun Qingci said, “Then when did you come?” ”
“When you were almost done.” Li Ying pursed his lips; he unexpectedly raised a stone to drop it on his own foot: “You were cutting the thread soon after I came.”
Yun Qingci said blankly: “Then for this short time, weren’t you cheering? Your first reaction at that time was to ask me to put them on you, why didn’t you feel concerned about me then?”
He added slowly: “Your skill in pretending to be affectionate is not as good as before. ”
Li Ying looked at him suddenly.
His hair was pitch black, his eyelashes were pitch black, and his eyes were pitch black, like an unpredictable abyss, setting off the extraordinary whiteness of his face, so fiercely white as if it had been drained of blood.
Yun Qingci didn’t like it.
Now that he had been reborn, everything had started again. His father and brothers were still here, so having a good relationship with Li Ying was the right way to make the Yun family stand more stable.
He didn’t want to continue to be entangled, he just wanted to respect Li Ying like a guest and maintain the best cooperative relationship. In his previous life, he created the Qing Division to help Li Ying monitor his ministers. It was a terrifying force, and it was also the force that allowed Li Ying to rest easy and be a powerful Emperor.
Although later he was coaxed by Li Ying to give up the Qing Division completely, not leaving even half of his trump cards in his hand.
But now the Qing Division was still in his hands, and its leader recognized him alone. In other words, much of the information Li Ying obtained every month was passed through his hands.
In Li Ying’s heart, there was only the great cause of being the emperor. Yun Qingci had already decided that he would not continue to be entangled with him. Then in this life, they would be able to get what they needed from each other and rule the mountains and rivers peacefully…
If it doesn’t work, then kill him.
But Li Ying’s pressing at every step today still made Yun Qingci lose his propriety.
Such shameless scheming methods should not be allowed to insult their clean and pure mutually profitable relationship.
With a thousand thoughts flitting through his mind in a moment, Yun Qingci opened his mouth and said: ”This subject means…”
“I know. ”
“?” Know what?
“You are just too angry and talking irresponsibly.”
This also saved him the trouble of finding a reason. Yun Qingci nodded and said, “Yes. ”
“Warm your ears,” Li Ying’s voice was slightly hoarse: “It’s up to you how to reimburse him. ”
This was the Li Ying that Yun Qingci was familiar with, the one who wouldn’t pay attention to such a trivial matter, let alone waste his words arguing.
Yun Qingci put his ear mufflers away and said, “Okay.”
He hid his bitterness and unkindness and became well-behaved and likable again. It was not that Yun Qingci had never been mean in front of Li Ying, but it was always because Li Ying defended others, and Yun Qingci was angry and jealous. Yun Qingci had never defended anyone in front of Li Ying, let alone a man who had a good impression of him.
Yun Qingci shouldn’t care about those people, he should only care about Li Ying.
But now, Yun Qingci mocked him, pretending to be affectionate.
Yun Qingci laid down with his long black hair spread out on the pillow; his delicate face was like jade, and his eyes were soft: “Your Majesty. ”
His reason reminded Li Ying that it was time to leave, but when he heard Yun Qingci call him like that, he couldn’t help but want to get closer. He felt dazed: “En?”
“It’s late at night.” Yun Qingci was driving the guest out: “Go back and rest.”
He had no plans to let him stay.
Li Ying’s jaw tightened, and he tucked the quilt around Yun Qingci in silence. Yun Qingci watched his movements, saying, “Don’t bother, I’ll take care of myself.”
Li Ying said, “Okay.”
He stood up and reached out to put down the bed curtain, seeming reluctant to leave.
Yun Qingci’s gaze became puzzled again.
The sound of Li Ying’s footsteps faded away. Before leaving, he thoughtfully turned off all the lights. Yun Qingci fell asleep while thinking about how to get in touch with his spy in the palace as soon as possible.
A long while later, a slim hand lifted the heavy bed curtain and held it quietly for a long time before finally withdrawing.
They were so familiar with each other that they seemed to be carved into each other’s bones and marrow. Just like Li Ying had not suspected anything before being stabbed by Yun Qingci with a silver needle in the Full Moon Pavilion, now Yun Qingci was equally unaware of his approach.
The snowy night was long, making people fall asleep fast and heavy. Liu Ziru suddenly woke up from his dream, and there was a person standing in the pitch dark room in front of him.
The hairs all over his body stood up, Liu Ziru hastily groped for the firesteel under the pillow.
He recognized the man. Li Ying stood silently, His silhouette was darker than the dark night and his breath heavier than the abyss, as if there was an endless black current wrapping him from head to toe.
Liu Ziru turned over and lit the lamp, covered the lampshade, and the dim light dissipated the darkness in the room, but it couldn’t get rid of the black tide around Li Ying.
Who knew how long he stayed outside before he entered. He had a layer of snow on his shoulders and head, while his hair was frozen to icicles. His voice was hoarse: “In three days, I will pick up the Lord Empress to return to the palace.”
“Three days…” Liu Ziru didn’t expect him to come in the middle of the night to talk about this, so he couldn’t help but say in an ashamed manner: “Usually, for a ceremonial cortege, you have to prepare at least one month in advance. Seven days is already extremely hard…”
“I said.” Li Ying approached suddenly, his face pale. His facial features appeared unfamiliar and hostile, and red blood vessels were pulsating slightly in his furious eyes: “Within three days, I will take the Lord Empress back to the palace.”
At that moment, it was as if a hideous evil spirit rushed out of his human skin. Liu Ziru’s eyebrows twitched wildly, and he fell at the feet of the Emperor, exhaling with a puff: “Yes, this servant will arrange it properly.”
In the brightly lit room, a slender black shadow was cast on the wall. The shadow bent over and stared at the person at its feet. The shadow’s voice was soft: “Thank you, teacher, work hard.”
With Li Ying’s mood now, Liu Ziru didn’t dare to talk about hard work, nor did he dare to delay.
Early the next morning, he ran to the Grand Commander’s Mansion. Qiu Xian was practicing with a whip. When Liu Ziru entered the door, he happened to hear the fourth young master of the Grand Commander’s mansion sigh: “Big brother, I can’t do it anymore. I really can’t do it. Let’s just take a break.”
Qiu Xian lashed a whip on his calves. Qiu Yang let out a cry, quickly straightened his arms and re-stabilized his horse pose.
“Commander Qiu.” Qiu Xian was the eldest of the Qiu family and the child that the Grand Commander Qiu valued the most. He quickly handed the whip to his subordinates, hurriedly stepped forward and said, “Mr. Liu.”
“According to His Majesty’s order, two days later he will do a ceremonial driving. I hope that Commander Qiu can gather a few teams of experts and arrange a phalanx of close guards.”
Qiu Xian looked surprised: “Dare to ask, what is the important occasion for the ceremonial driving?”
“It’s hard to say.” Liu Ziru sighed: “I’ve delivered the order, so I will go back first. Please be sure to act appropriately.”
This was a piece of advice.
Qiu Xian looked solemn and said, “Thank you, sir, for your suggestion.”
Liu Ziru left in a hurry, while Qiu Yang had already taken the opportunity to wander: “Big brother, Mr. Liu personally came here, is it something important?”
“Do you need to ask?” Qiu Xian frowned and said, “But if it’s an important matter, why are the preparations so hasty?”
“That means it is very important to His Majesty, but not so important to the world.” Qiu Yang analyzed, suddenly clapping his hands together, “Do you think he is going to the Prime Minister’s mansion to pick up the Lord Empress to return to the palace?”
“Lord Empress?” Qiu Xian’s eyes overflowed with mockery: “That lunatic, is he worthy?”
“…Actually, I don’t think he is that unbearable.”
“Wasn’t he the one to bully you on the ice? ”
Qiu Yang straightened his back slightly and said solemnly: “It’s not like he bullies just anyone.”
“Huh.” Qiu Xian took the whip again and lashed him once again: “Study more! If you don’t learn anything, you will forget everything when you see a good-looking face! ”
Qiu Yang gritted his teeth as he got lashed: “You are just angry. If His Majesty is preparing to take him back to the palace, you, a dignified commander, will just be one of the ornaments His Majesty will give him to coax him…”
Qiu Xian sneered: “It’s ridiculous. The man wasn’t even given an escort when he was sent to his parents’ house. If this Yun Qingci can still turn his situation around, you will be my eldest brother.”