“This is why you threw me into a pile of people later?”
It was mid-winter again, and Yun Qingci was huddled next to Li Ying over the fire. Both of them had shed their heavy robes that represented their status and were dressed in green shirts, looking like ordinary gentlemen from a wealthy family.
Perceiving that he was dissatisfied, Li Ying took a candied pastry, stuffed it into Yun Qingci’s mouth and whispered softly: “I hope Ah Ci will forgive me for my belated apology.”
“Forget it, forget it.” Yun Qingci was not a narrow-minded person, after all.
It was rare for Li Ying to put aside the state affairs to spend time with him reminiscing about the past, so he didn’t bother to get angry. After all, Li Ying at that time had no responsibility to accompany him all the time.
At that time, Yun Qingci did not realize that Li Ying was consciously drifting away from him. In his opinion, Li Ying introduced him to his friends and often took him to join the fun. That was Li Ying showing him his life and he thought Li Ying was taking him into that circle.
Yun Qingci tried his best to integrate, but while they played together, he would always stick to Li Ying even more. No matter how much fun it was, if Li Ying didn’t participate in it, he would not go either; and no matter how boring the activities were, if Li Ying participated in them, he would have to join.
Among the friends headed by Lin Huaijin, they all called him a little clingy ghost.
Li Ying very solemnly told them not to call Yun Qingci that. Actually, Yun Qingci was very surprised about it but he also felt very warm.
He secretly told Li Ying: “I don’t mind.”
“But I do.”
Yun Qingci suppressed his little excited smile, put his hands behind his back, unconsciously shuffled his feet and said softly: “It’s just right, you are the annoying ghost and I am the clingy ghost. We’re a natural couple.”
Li Ying laughed.
At that time, they didn’t quite understand whether the so-called ‘couple’ could only be applied between partners. For Yun Qingci, it meant ‘you are good to me and I am good to you, the two of us are the best in the world’.
Yun Qingci never thought about marrying him, and Li Ying never thought that he would become his Lord Empress.
Yun Qingci was very popular among his peers because of his good looks and well-behaved personality, and because of his thinness and small size, everyone couldn’t help but take care of him more.
Gradually, he got used to the fact that as long as Lin Huaijin called him, Li Ying would definitely be there too.
The first time he didn’t see Li Ying when he went out, several children agreed to go catch hares together in the fields. When Yun Qingci arrived happily, he looked around for a while.
Lin Huaijin told him: “His Royal Highness has something to do right now, let’s play on our own first.”
Yun Qingci nodded.
He didn’t play wholeheartedly that day and always raised his eyes to look around absent-mindedly but he didn’t see Li Ying until the end.
He did not spoil his partners’ excitement and stayed in anticipation until it was time for them to go home and he forcefully lifted his spirits when saying goodbye.
The second time when Lin Huaijin called him out, Yun Qingci didn’t see Li Ying again. When the third time happened, Yun Qingci couldn’t help but ask: “Is the crown prince going?”
The answer was no.
The nine-year-old Yun Qingci who had been brought out of his gloom by Li Ying was far from extreme in character. Even though he had known in advance that Li Ying would not be there, he agreed to go out because those people were the friends Li Ying had found for him, and because he did not want everyone to know that he could not do without Li Ying.
After all, what if Li Ying would be there next time?
Later, every time Lin Huaijin called him, Yun Qingci would ask, “Will the crown prince go?”
Lin Huaijin would always say no.
After several consecutive times, Yun Qingci hadn’t seen Li Ying for nearly a month and finally completely lost interest in those people.
No matter who called, he wouldn’t go out.
He didn’t know that Li Ying was watching him quietly. When he learned that Yun Qingci could mingle with others without him, he was a little disappointed. But he was more mature than Yun Qingci and could adjust his state of mind quickly.
Until Lin Huaijin told him that Yun Qingci closed himself at home again and no one saw him.
Li Ying sat for a day and couldn’t bear it anymore. Near evening, he took a carriage to the courtyard on the outskirts.
There was autumn rain that day, and the air was a little cold. As soon as the servant at the door saw him, he hurriedly led him inside. Auntie Liu told him: “Your Highness is here. The little master is in a bad mood nowadays and he eats less. He’s just grown some meat and now he’s getting thinner again. This slave is very worried.”
Yun Qingci always liked to nestle on the couch under the porch when it rained, wrapped in a small blanket, and listen to the rain quietly.
The sky was dark and raindrops dripped from the eaves of the house as Yun Qingci curled on the couch, looking up at the gray sky in a daze.
Li Ying didn’t know what he was thinking, but at that moment, he felt worried.
“Little master, look who is here,” Auntie Liu called him, and Yun Qingci turned his face subconsciously.
He really lost weight again, his face was sharp and his eyes became bigger.
The moment he saw Li Ying, Yun Qingci’s eyes suddenly turned red. He turned over and got off the couch, rushed into the house barefoot and slammed the door.
By then, Li Ying hadn’t seen him for two months. Yun Qingci realized that he was deliberately ignoring him and he was naturally angry and aggrieved.
There was a knock on the door; Yun Qingci was lying on the bed, his tears falling.
Li Ying knocked again.
Yun Qingci ignored it.
He knocked once more.
Yun Qingci still ignored it.
Helpless, he said, “Huaijin said that you don’t want to play with them recently, so I’ve come to see you.”
The room was quiet for a while.
Li Ying pursed his lips and said, “Ah Ci, don’t be angry.”
Yun Qingci wiped his eyes vigorously and sniffed.
“I brought you delicious food. Will you come out and taste the persimmon cake?”
Li Ying stood patiently for a while, but Yun Qingci didn’t open the door. He could only sigh, put his things at the door and say, “If that’s the case, then I will go back first and come to see you another day.”
He turned around and left. As soon as he walked out of the porch, he heard a voice from behind, and Yun Qingci slammed the door inside.
Li Ying stopped, a smile appeared in his eyes, he returned again and said coaxingly: “I beg you to open the door and forgive your gege.”
Yun Qingci opened the door and said fiercely, “Who’s gege are you?”
“My gege,” Li Ying smiled. When he laughed, there seemed to be light in his eyes, warm and gentle, and Yun Qingci couldn’t resist this kind of Li Ying. He puffed out his cheeks and reluctantly gave way.
Li Ying picked up the persimmon cake in front of the door, and his gaze fell on Yun Qingci’s bare feet. “What kind of weather is it that you’re not putting your shoes on?”
“Do you think I need you to manage me?”
He walked in and sat down on a chair. Li Ying put the persimmon cake on the table, went to bring him shoes and said, “Wear them.”
“No.” Not only did he not wear them, he also raised his foot and kicked the shoes away.
Li Ying picked them up, squatted in front of him and raised his face to look at him, his stare getting deeper.
Yun Qingci flattened his mouth, put his foot on him and said aggrievedly: “You put them on me and I will wear them.”
“Did I owe you in my previous life?” That being said, Li Ying still took a cloth and wiped the soles of his feet.
He was obviously just one year older than Yun Qingci, but his personality was much more stable and mature.
White tender and cute little feet were wrapped in thin socks and stuffed into soft boots.
It was the first time His Royal Highness served someone. At that time, he simply regarded himself as Yun Qingci’s elder brother, and he couldn’t even imagine that Yun Qingci would become his little ancestor in the future.
After putting the shoes on him, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince got up and went out. Yun Qingci immediately followed him out but saw him stop by the water basin at the door and clean his hands under a bamboo pipe.
Li Ying washed his hands and turned around to find that Yun Qingci was picking at the door frame and looking at him pitifully, so he felt distressed and funny at the same time: “I’m not leaving.”
Yun Qingci crumpled his face and walked back into the house.
Li Ying followed up, dried his hands and started to unwrap the paper from the persimmon cakes, saying, “I brought you something and I even have to unpack it for you by myself. Do you even want me to feed it to you now?”
He picked the persimmon cake, and Yun Qingci opened his mouth shamelessly.
Li Ying could only deliver it to his mouth.
Yun Qingci took a small bite and without taking the rest, started questioning. “Why did you ignore me?”
“I’ve been busy recently.”
“Huh.” Yun Qingci took a bite from his hand again and then asked, “Do you think I’m annoying and deliberately ignored me?”
“Absolutely not,” Li Ying said, “I have never found you annoying.”
“…They all say that I am clingy, do you really dislike me?”
“I don’t dislike you,” Li Ying said, “If I disliked you, would I bring you persimmon cakes?”
He fed Yun Qingci another bite and said, “But even without me, Huaijin will take you to play. Don’t stay bored at home all the time, so…”
“I don’t want to play with them.” When he mentioned it, Yun Qingci panicked. He said, “Mom doesn’t like me to go wild with them.”
“I just want to be with you.” Yun Qingci lowered his head, and his tears splashed on the table. Li Ying dragged the chair closer to him, stretched out his hand to wipe away his tears and said, “I have a lot to do. I can’t be with you all the time.”
“Then shall I accompany you?”
With his long eyelashes raised, he looked at Li Ying and said softly: “Next time you don’t have time, I’ll go to the palace to find you, okay?”
“…There are many rules in the palace, I’m afraid you are not used to them.”
Li Ying didn’t want him to enter the palace. He didn’t like the palace and felt that the palace was not a good place, so he didn’t want Yun Qingci to come there.
However, a touch of hurt flashed on Yun Qingci’s face.
He thought that Li Ying didn’t want to open his life to him. For him, the palace was a majestic and noble place. He thought that maybe Li Ying felt that he was unworthy.
The two of them were silent for a moment, then Yun Qingci said, “You can go.”
“Don’t think you’re too important.” Yun Qingci raised his face and said, “I don’t care about you either.”
Li Ying was dumbfounded for a moment and said, “Auntie Liu said you haven’t eaten well recently.”
“What does it have to do with you?”
“I don’t like you anymore.” Yun Qingci left the table and said, “I will never miss you again, and I will never be with you again.”
Hearing his anger, Li Ying could only follow him: “Don’t be mad.”
“You run to my house all day, but you don’t allow me to go to your house. Only you won’t get mad, you are the most magnanimous.”
Yun Qingci accused him sharply. Li Ying knew he shouldn’t, but he still thought maybe he imagined that things were too complicated. Yun Qingci just wanted to come to the palace to play with him. So he handed Yun Qingci a token and told him that he could use it to enter the palace and find him.
Yun Qingci said suspiciously: “Really?”
“Really.” Yun Qingci put away the token, with a look of joy on his face. Seeing that he finally had coaxed him well, Li Ying relaxed slightly and deliberately asked him, “Will you still be with me?”
“I will.” Yun Qingci smiled with joy: “Being with you is the best in the world.”