At that time, Yun Qingci was not someone Li Ying could coax with just a word or two.
He was hostile to almost everyone, especially people like Li Ying who had a good relationship with the Yun family.
Knocking down the grape with a wave of his hand, Yun Qingci threw away the trowel, turned around and shouted, “Someone come! Drive him out!”
His injury was not healed, and his lungs were suddenly pierced with tearing pain. He coughed twice, breathing like broken bellows. Li Ying stepped forward to support him, but Yun Qingci flung his sleeves and pushed him. “Don’t touch me!”
Li Ying had no choice but to say, “Don’t be angry, I’ll just go.”
Yun Qingci squatted down, pulled up his knees against his wound and lowered his head without moving.
He successfully expelled Li Ying.
Auntie Liu quickly came to pick him up and asked a doctor to come and see him. His throat was sore, and it took several days for him to recuperate before he improved.
Li Ying didn’t dare to flip over the wall casually anymore, so he could only send some supplements from time to time. In addition to him, the elder brothers of the Yun family would also come to see Yun Qingci, but Yun Qingci didn’t want to talk to them.
After being stopped outside the door again, Li Ying asked Auntie Liu, “Does he sleep well at night?”
Auntie smiled and nodded, and said, “Pretty good.”
“Does he cry?” This was what they were most worried about. Yun Qingci was spoiled and pampered, and now that he was injured, they were afraid that he would cry himself sick.
Auntie Liu sighed and said, “If he were willing to cry, it would be easier.”
At this point, Li Ying learned that Yun Qingci hadn’t shed a tear after his mother was gone.
“I haven’t noticed before that the little master’s were so stiff. When the lady was there, he would drip some tears if he fell while walking.” Auntie Liu raised her sleeves and wiped her tears, her tone choked: “He doesn’t cry or make trouble, but this slave doesn’t know what to do. This slave is worried that he will stifle himself sick.”
Although he was unable to meet Yun Qingci, Li Ying understood his state of mind.
Most children who are unloved are not good at crying, because they know that it is useless to cry, and if they cry, they will just be even more hated.
Yun Qingci was pampered. Li Ying didn’t know how he accepted the fact that no one cared for him so quickly at such a young age. For Li Ying, the love from adults was not important, because he had never felt it. Even his father’s love was dependent on his diligence and hard work.
No one would love another person unconditionally, but Yun Qingci had been loved like that before.
It is always more painful to have something then lose it than to never have it.
From the perspective of an outsider, Li Ying could understand Yun Yu’s decision at that time. The safety of the Son of Heaven was naturally more important than that of a child. But Li Ying was actually somewhat of a beneficiary because Prime Minister Yun had saved his father after all.
Perhaps there was such a reason, or perhaps there was something else that Li Ying couldn’t see. He just thought that if someone in this world was destined to be carefree and loved all his life, he hoped it would be Yun Qingci.
He always thought of the little thing that plunged into his arms on that big ship. His eyes were the clearest Li Ying had ever seen in his life.
But now Yun Qingci always had a haze in his eyes.
He ran to his courtyard more and more frequently, either to take him to catch shrimp, to take him to hunt birds, or to take him to the city to watch some sideshows, but no matter how many reasons he came up with, Yun Qingci was indifferent.
Yun Qingci would go to his mother’s tomb on the first and fifteenth of the month, and Li Ying always took this opportunity to catch him and kept shouting “Ah Ci, Ah Ci” beside him.
Either telling him that the sky was so blue, or telling him that the water was so clear; even if he saw a beautiful stone on the road, he had to call him to take a look.
This went on for nearly a year, and Yun Qingci sat in the carriage and ignored him every time. At first, he was really unwavering, but after a long time, his heart would inevitably sway. What kind of prince this Royal Highness was, he obviously pretended to be so noble in front of him when they first met, but now he had become such an idler.
At that time, it was usually Lu Gong, the son of Auntie Liu, who drove the carriage. He was also responsible for carrying Yun Qingci back when he couldn’t walk, but that day, he suddenly had a stomach ache and stopped twice on the way to the tomb. After arriving at the place, he couldn’t wait to jump down from the carriage and hurry to the latrine.
Yun Qingci slowly walked with Auntie Liu. Halfway through the walk, the injury started feeling a little painful. He stopped and looked back, but Lu Gong hadn’t come back yet.
Auntie Liu said, “Let me carry you.”
“No need.” Yun Qingci continued to walk slowly; his Auntie was getting older and he didn’t want to tire her.
Li Ying followed him and said, “I’ll do it.”
Yun Qingci immediately stared at him fiercely: “I don’t want you.”
Fierce was good, and cute was also good. It was much better than the previous look of gloom and indifference. Li Ying was in a good mood and had a good temper: “Then call me when you are tired.”
As Yun Qingci walked, he said, “You’re annoying, don’t get so close to me. Why do you want to go with me? That’s my mother, not your mother.”
“Your Mom is my Mom.”
“Your Mom is in the palace.”
“That’s Royal Mother, not Mom.”
A child of this age was very easy to fool. Li Ying said it solemnly with a very deceptive expression, so Yun Qingci really froze for a moment.
It took him a long time to speak again: “Lying ghost.”
When he returned from worshiping his mother, Yun Qingci’s eyes were red. He walked silently out of the mausoleum and couldn’t help but raise his hand and press his chest, panting slightly. Then he stopped, leaning against the wall.
Auntie Liu was also looking at the entrance frequently, wondering why her unlucky child hadn’t come to pick up the young master.
Li Ying squatted down in front of Yun Qingci and said softly: “Well, don’t be brave. If you cause your old injury to relapse again, you’ll just hurt yourself.”
Yun Qingci was full of resistance.
Li Ying said, “I’ve been annoying you for so long, are you sure you don’t want to retaliate?”
This was a way out for Yun Qingci. Li Ying could see that Yun Qingci at this time no longer hated him as much as he did at the beginning.
Yun Qingci was in a stalemate with him for a while, and sure enough, he flopped down heavily and said bitterly, “I’ll crush you to death.”
In the year since his mother was gone, he got even thinner than before. Although he was a bit taller, he was still so small in Li Ying’s eyes that it was obviously impossible to crush him to death.
But he still propped up the ground with his hands, pretending to complain: “You rogue.”
Yun Qingci pressed down hard again, Li Ying ‘propped’ him up ‘vigorously’, and coaxed him: “Give me a break, I’m about to be crushed by you.”
“Hmph.” Yun Qingci laid on his back, relaxed a little and then asked, “Did you deliberately stop Lu Gong outside?”
“You won’t know until you go out.”
“It must be you, don’t think I don’t know what you are up to.”
“Then what do you think I’m up to?”
Yun Qingci stopped talking.
It turned out that Lu Gong was simply stuck in the latrine; Li Ying didn’t send anyone to stop him at all. Yun Qingci returned home, still not letting Li Ying enter the door, but stopped for the first time when he entered the gate of the courtyard.
He was wrapped in a snow-white cloak, and his gilded high collar held his delicate jade-white face. When he looked back at Li Ying, his little appearance was very precious: “Hey, annoying guy.”
Li Ying lifted his eyebrows: “Huh?”
Yun Qingci raised his chin and asked him, “Will there be any fish to catch tomorrow?”
Li Ying’s eyes lit up with relief .
He must have said at the time: “Yes.”
Because in his memory, the corners of Yun Qingci’s mouth curved imperceptibly, though he quickly pursed them again and went into the courtyard without looking back.
After that, Yun Qingci never stopped him again. To his servants and to himself, the reason he gave was: “His Royal Highness is so high in status, who would dare to stop him.”
So Li Ying had even more reasons to annoy him.
Yun Qingci couldn’t do strenuous movements, but it was possible to read books, play chess and throw arrows in the pot. When the two of them were together, they were always quarreling. They were either arguing about how to play chess or how to interpret the words, and it was usually Yun Qingci who yelled, “That’s how it’s going to be! That’s it!”
Then Li Ying reluctantly agreed.
Li Ying usually finished his homework in the palace and came over after listening to his father discuss politics. He usually came in the afternoon and it was dark when he left. Occasionally, he would come earlier but not later. Generally, if he did not come in the afternoon, he would not come.
Sometimes he came for several days in a row, and sometimes he didn’t come for several days in a row.
But every time he came, Yun Qingci looked disgusted.
For the first time, they didn’t quarrel for several days because of Qin Feiruo’s death date. Yun Qingci was depressed for a long time. Every time Li Ying came over, he just accompanied him quietly and supervised him to eat his meals.
But that day, Yun Qingci ate a small bowl of rice and vomited as soon as he left the table. Li Ying has no experience in taking care of others, and it was only at this time that he discovered that Yun Qingci seemed to have a low fever.
Li Ying ordered someone to go to the palace to ask for a doctor. The latter prescribed some medicine, but Yun Qingci vomited whatever he drank, so that night, Li Ying could only stay in the courtyard.
Yun Qingci always lived in Qin Feiruo’s room. The bed had not been changed. Li Ying sat on the low couch at the head of his bed, opened his book, and prepared to guard him all night.
In the middle of the night, Yun Qingci woke up.
He saw Li Ying first. The latter was sitting with his back to him and looking through the book intently. The bedside lamp was lit just right, not dazzling, but not dim.
A voice suddenly sounded in the quiet room.
“Did he ask you to come to me?”
“Who?” Li Ying returned to his senses, only to realize what he was asked, and said, “No.”
“If he did, don’t come in the future.”
Li Ying put down the book, turned around, one arm pressed against the side of the bed, his handsome features turned to him, “And if not?”
“If not, then we will be good friends from now on.”
Yun Qingci had a fever and just woke up, his eyelashes were wet, and his tender face was blushed from illness. Li Ying stretched out his hand and pushed the long messy hair away from his cheeks, and said, “Just good friends?”
Yun Qingci: “?”
“I thought you already regarded me as an elder brother in your heart.”
Yun Qingci’s eyelashes fluttered, and he said, “I don’t need an elder brother.”
“I am older than you.”
Yun Qingci looked at him with wet, red eyes.
While Li Ying paused, he said angrily: “Do you also want to persuade me to go home with him?”
“How could I waste so much time trying to persuade you to go home?“
“Then why are you treating me so well?”
For a moment, Li Ying was stumped by this question.
Watery mist began to accumulate in Yun Qingci’s eyes. He pulled Li Ying’s cuffs and said, “I want to cry.”
“You haven’t answered my question yet.”
“If I don’t answer, you won’t cry?”
“I want to cry,” Yun Qingci said, “Yes, I will cry behind your back.”
There was more and more water gathering in his eyes, as if big bubbles filled his beautiful eyes.
Li Ying’s heart clenched and he whispered subconsciously, “Because I want to be nice to you.”
Yun Qingci’s tears fell.
He suddenly broke down, slammed into Li Ying’s arms, sobbed and said, “I miss Mom so much, I miss her so much, oh… I miss her, I miss her…”
At that time, Li Ying was far from being that tall, and his shoulders were far from being that wide, but that was the warmest embrace Yun Qingci could rely on.
He kept crying until Li Ying didn’t dare to let him continue. He carried Yun Qingci onto the bed, pressed his hand on the place where he had been stabbed, and said, “It hurts to cry, your mother will be worried about you again.”
“She won’t know anything.”
“She knows,” Li Ying said. “If you don’t believe me, ask yourself, if you die and Mom is still alive, will you worry if she doesn’t eat or drink because of you?”
Yun Qingci asked himself diligently, and the answer he got was ‘yes’.
Then he wiped his eyes and obediently stopped crying.
After that, Yun Qingci would no longer deliberately pretend to be disgusted with him. He would get up and change his clothes after taking a nap every day, tidy up his hair and wait for Li Ying’s arrival.
Even if sometimes he waited in vain.
But he knew that if Li Ying didn’t come today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, he would still come one day.
Li Ying never made him wait more than three days.
At least, that was the case before he figured out that Zhang Shixue wanted to use his closeness to Yun Qingci to control the Prime Minister’s Mansion.
He lived in that bottomless Forbidden City. Although he was the crown prince, he still felt that there was no daylight for him. His future could be seen at a glance, and it was nothing but to inherit the throne and become a tool for that woman to consolidate her power.
Or die in the battle for the throne.
He had long ceased to have extravagant expectations for his so-called Royal Mother.
He didn’t want Zhang Shixue to approach Yun Qingci, nor did he want Yun Qingci to become a tool for an opponent to gain power.
So every time Zhang Shixue offered to let him take Yun Qingci to the palace to play, he just nodded politely and never did it.
But he knew that it was not a long-term solution.
Among the officials, people like Prime Minister Yun were very sensitive to politics. At the beginning, he did think about asking Li Ying to try to persuade Yun Qingci to go back to the Prime Minister’s Mansion, but after Li Ying persisted despite the closed doors again and again, he keenly smelled something unusual.
He was worried that Li Ying wanted to get close to Yun Qingci because he was instructed by others. For this reason, he specifically found Li Ying and mentioned the matter tactfully. Li Ying got straight to the point with him, saying: “After all, he was injured because of my father. I just can’t bear to see him close himself and want to help him get out of his daze. Teacher shouldn’t want to see him depressed and ailing, right?”
He spoke to Prime Minister Yun’s heart.
Li Ying told him: “He has started to call me annoying now, and he doesn’t look at me like I don’t exist anymore. This is a good thing.”
Yun Yu could trust Li Ying’s character, but like the emperor, he couldn’t trust Empress Zhang.
Li Ying saw his worries and said calmly: “When he is willing to go out, I will take him to make more friends. When he has new friends, he won’t care about me anymore.”
Then, it would be time for him to retire after his success; for him Yun Qingci would be just a freshly dressed young man, and for Yun Qingci he would be the crown prince above ten thousand people.
His teacher could rest easy; the dark thoughts of his mother would never be put into practice.
But when he was about to start to alienate Yun Qingci, he realized that in his heart, he was faintly reluctant.
He thought that it was probably because Yun Qingci was the only one who needed him, not because he was good at reading, not because he could be of great use and was expected to become an imperial talent.
He needed him simply because Yun Qingci needed Li Ying.