Prime Minister Yun and Li Ying’s father had always been very good friends. The two of them called each other brothers and they could talk about anything.
They befriended each other when they were teenagers.
Except for Prime Minister Yun, no one would dare to bring such an inappropriate child in front of the Son of Heaven.
Li Ying saluted: “Teacher.”
“Your Royal Highness.” Prime Minister Yun returned the salute and said with a smile: “This is my youngest child. Qingci, come out and meet His Royal Highness.”
Yun Qingci bowed solemnly and said in a low voice: “Greetings to His Royal Highness the Prince.”
After that, there was a sudden burst of laughter, and Li Hong said, “What Royal Highness? Are you outsiders? Just call each other Xiao Ci and Ying Gege.”
“Your Majesty,” Prime Minister Yun saluted and said, “The rules cannot be ignored.”
“We’re going out to play, not in the palace. The rules and regulations are not needed.” He beckoned to Yun Qingci and said, “Come, Xiao Ci, there are many delicious dishes here, have Ying Gege take you there.”
After receiving the instruction, Li Ying stretched out his hand towards Yun Qingci.
Yun Qingci looked at his father hesitantly and only obediently put his hand into Li Ying’s palm after getting permission.
Prime Minister Yun didn’t forget to remind: “Don’t eat cold food.”
At that time, the weather was hot, and Yun Qingci liked to eat cold and icy items, but because of Prime Minister Yun’s words, Li Ying specially ordered people to bring room temperature fruits to Yun Qingci.
Yun Qingci ate two grapes, thinking that there was no ice box on the boat, until a plate of cold grapes was placed in front of Li Ying. Yun Qingci watched him eat, while turning over what the h*ll was in his hand.
Yun Qingci: “…”
He looked at the grapes in his hand, then at the grapes in front of Li Ying, swallowed subconsciously and whispered, “I want that too.”
Li Ying said, “The teacher said you can’t eat cold food.”
“I can eat it.”
“How about a sugar cake?”
Just when Yun Qingci decided to start hating him, Li Ying finally realized that his behavior was a bit unwarranted. He ordered someone to remove the iced grapes in front of him and said, “I will accompany you to eat something that is not cold, okay?”
Yun Qingci was very aggrieved.
Li Ying had no experience with children. Although this child was only one year younger than him, he really looked too young. Li Ying, who had been forced to grow early, found it hard to treat the little young master in front of him as if he were his age.
He put down his book, peeled a grape and delivered it to Yun Qingci’s mouth: “Here.”
Yun Qingci still felt aggrieved.
Although Dad always reminded others not to give him cold food, as long as he whined a few times, they would definitely be soft-hearted and let him eat a little bit. But Li Ying ate several grapes by himself and didn’t give him any of them.
But even though he was very dissatisfied in his heart, when facing the kindness of others, he obediently stretched out his hand. Li Ying avoided his hand and said, “There is juice, don’t touch it.”
He said casually, but Yun Qingci’s face flushed slightly. He hesitantly opened his mouth and bit the grapes from Li Ying’s fingers.
“Consider it an amendment for you, don’t be angry.” Li Ying withdrew his fingers, peeled two more grapes for him with his own hands and fed them to his mouth. His attitude was so gentle and serious that Yun Qingci finally calmed down a little and reluctantly forgave him.
It was too late to hate Li Ying, so he liked him a little bit.
The gorgeous big boat left the pier. At night, Prime Minister Yun played against the Son of Heaven. Li Ying and the other accompanying ministers sat on one side and watched carefully. Yun Qingci could also play chess, but he didn’t bother to think about it. He moved a little horse and squeezed next to his father, quietly observing Li Ying from his nest.
Li Ying was very elegant, gentle and restrained. Even when he was about eight years old, he was dressed strictly, already having the posture of a dragon and an appearance of a phoenix .
Feeling his gaze, Li Ying turned his face to look over, and Yun Qingci immediately shrank his head back behind Prime Minister Yun so that his face was not seen.
There were only two children on the boat. Li Ying followed his father to gain insights because his father had high expectations from him. Yun Qingci was brought out to play simply because Prime Minister Yun doted on him.
Li Ying pondered for a moment. Thinking Yun Qingci was bored and flustered because he couldn’t understand chess, he got up and walked over. Yun Qingci was cowering behind his father, pulling at the corner of his clothes. As a shadow fell down on him, he subconsciously raised his face.
Li Ying smiled at him: “Let’s go to the deck?”
Yun Qingci told his father and walked after him step by step.
Before leaving the cabin, Liu Ziru personally put a cloak on Li Ying. Yun Qingci looked around. None of the people his father had brought were in the cabin. He walked to the screen by himself and stood on tiptoe to grab the clothes hanging on it.
Li Ying raised his chin, and Liu Ziru immediately stepped forward to help him take it off and said with a smile: “Little boy, come, I’ll put it on for you.”
“No, no need.” Yun Qingci refused in a low voice. He was not used to being taken care of by strangers. He took the cloak by himself, put it awkwardly on his body and groped it with his small hand for a long time, unable to find the straps of the cloak.
As soon as he was about to take it off and put it on again, Li Ying walked over to him and helped him smooth his collar. The little hand that was not much bigger than Yun Qingci’s dexterously pulled out the straps and helped him fasten them on his chest.
“Thank you, Prince-gege.”
Yun Qingci’s voice was as thin as a mosquito’s squeak. Li Ying patted him on the shoulder and said calmly: “No need to thank me.”
The deck was very windy. As soon as Yun Qingci walked out, his face wrinkled with the wind. Li Ying chuckled, pulled him over, blocked the wind with his body and said, “Grab me, don’t let it blow you away.”
Yun Qingci had to stick to him sullenly and came all the way to the railing. Prime Minister Yun didn’t have to worry about him climbing up, because the guardrail was almost higher than him. Yun Qingci had to work hard to stretch before he could press his chin on it and see the black river below.
Li Ying couldn’t help laughing: “Are you not eating properly?”
Yun Qingci said subconsciously: “No.”
“Then how could you be so short?”
Yun Qingci: “…”
The little guy was starting to feel unhappy again.
He was just a bit of a picky eater, and Qin Feiruo had to force him to eat, otherwise he would rather not eat, so that was why he looked thin and small.
Li Ying was more than a head taller than him.
Perhaps realizing that he had poked the little guy’s sore spot, Li Ying changed the subject and said, “Look at the sky.”
Yun Qingci immediately followed to look and quickly left his displeasure behind: “The stars, and the moon!”
“They are following us.” Li Ying teased him. “Do they like us?”
“Because our ship is moving,” Yun Qingci corrected him and said, “They will follow everyone.”
Li Ying raised his eyebrows and said, “You know a lot.”
“Do you like the moon?”
“ I like it.”
“Why do you like it?”
“Because it is light when there is the moon, and it will not be dark when there is light.”
“Are you afraid of the dark?”
“You are afraid.”
Yun Qingci was afraid of the dark, Li Ying thought, but there were few children who were not afraid of the dark. The young child of the Yun family was spoiled and pampered, and it was normal to be afraid of the dark.
At this time, Li Ying did not take Yun Qingci’s fear of the dark seriously.
In Yun Qingci’s memory, the few days he spent with Li Ying could be said to be neither too bad nor too good; nothing impressive happened, except that the other party would often accidentally step on his little tail and would be resented by him.
But those little grudges were quick to come and go.
Later, the most impressive thing about that trip was the assassins’ attack. It was the third place where they disembarked. At that time, Yun Qingci couldn’t remember what was going on in the street. He only knew that the old man selling tea and eggs suddenly overturned his stove and took out a long knife to stab the Son of Heaven. Yun Qingci retreated in a panic, subconsciously wanting to find his father, but his father just glanced at him heavily and rushed straight to the emperor who was pressured by the force of a sword blade.
He turned his head at a loss to try to find someone to find shelter with, and then there was a gust of cold wind in front of him. Li Ying also had no time to take care of him, but he had some martial arts skills and he cleverly avoided a few swordsmen, picked up a stone on the ground and threw it. The stone hit the assassin’s sword.
The sword blade that would have pierced his heart penetrated his lung.
It hurt so much that Yun Qingci started crying at once, and Li Ying rushed over in distress, shouting, “Teacher! Ah Ci is injured!”
Yun Qingci couldn’t remember clearly what kind of chaos followed. He only knew that his consciousness had been floating and sinking, and the voices around him were sometimes clear and sometimes far away. When he woke up again, he was faced with the cold corpse of his mother lying on the bed next to him.
Yun Qingci’s sky turned dark momentarily, and for a long time after that, he became gloomy and indifferent, looking at everyone coldly and distantly.
In his opinion, there was no one who could be trusted in this world. After all, even his biological father could easily abandon him. What is there to say about others?
Yun Qingci heard Li Ying’s name again the day after the funeral.
The eaves of the house were dripping with rain that day, and the small courtyard was washed clean. Only the white lanterns at the door and the yellow paper money among the dead leaves witnessed that there had been a funeral here.
Auntie Liu, who had always been taking care of his mother, came to tell him: “His Royal Highness the Crown Prince has come to see you.”
“Not seeing.” The eight-year-old Yun Qingci nestled on a couch under the porch with his hair disheveled and he didn’t even raise his head, ruthlessly ordering to evict the guest.
Li Ying came every day, and Yun Qingci rejected him every day. This continued for more than half a month, until one afternoon, Yun Qingci was squatting in the flower garden cultivated by his mother, holding a small trowel to weed, when he suddenly heard a movement from the wall.
He looked up vigilantly and saw a package thrown in. After that, His Royal Highness, who was dressed in strict clothes, climbed over the wall and landed neatly.
Yun Qingci’s face sank immediately.
When Li Ying picked up the package and saw him, a look of surprise flashed in his eyes.
Yun Qingci was even thinner than before, his face was pale, and he looked at people with the eyes of a little devil crawling out of h*ll to claim their lives, full of a gloomy aura.
With their eyes meeting, Yun Qingci said viciously: “Who let you in?”
“I want to come and see you.”
In fact, his father said that when he was free, he should accompany Yun Qingci more. This was because Yun Qingci had a poor relationship with his father and elder brothers, and both his teacher and his father were very worried about his state.
In addition, his mother, who was indifferent to him, actually uncharacteristically encouraged him to get close to Yun Qingci.
Under the influence of many parties, coupled with his own heart, Li Ying came.
Yun Qingci was not stupid. In addition to Li Ying these days, his brothers and father also had come to him. He knew whose side Li Ying was on.
He squeezed the small trowel and looked at Li Ying with murderous eyes: “Get out.”
Li Ying looked helpless and said, “This wall is too high, so I’m afraid it’s a bit difficult to get out.”
“Then you climb out.”
“…Ah Ci.” Li Ying paused, opened the package and said, “I brought you delicious iced grapes. Would you like to try them?”
“I don’t care,” Yun Qingci said, “You go.”
“At any rate, I am also His Royal Highness the Prince…”
“Who is afraid of you?”
Yun Qingci was really not afraid of heaven and earth now. After losing his mother, he realized that only he could protect himself. If he couldn’t protect himself, then he would just die. There was nothing to live for anyway.
Li Ying didn’t expect that in just one year, the well-behaved and petulant little guy would become what he was now, living like a hedgehog.
When he walked forward, Yun Qingci immediately raised his trowel and warned, “If you get any closer, I will hit you.”
Li Ying stopped, peeled a grape, stretched out his hand and said, “Taste it.”
The trowel was tightly grasped by thin white fingers, and the flesh of the peeled grapes in front of him was purple, and there was a hint of cold in the clearness.
Yun Qingci resisted and said, “I don’t want it.”
“It’s sweet.” Li Ying took a step forward again, put the grape to his mouth and coaxed him: “Really, it’s sweet.”