When we return to the inn, Bai Jian Fei’s party had already checked out, without a word, not leaving any message for us, leaving so cleanly and neatly. Towards this, Yuwen Rui just lightly smiles, unable to see any thoughts of it being unfortunate nor any regrets from him. Ladyboy Pan on the other hand, left a note for us, saying he has already made his move to return to Yun Mi, telling us to enjoy our time alone. Yuwen Rui’s face remains placid, just that the vague flicker of wicked shine shows he has already started scheming against Ladyboy Pan, so I sincerely start to pray for Ladyboy Pan, not praying he wouldn’t be schemed to his death, but praying he wouldn’t be schemed to die too tragically.
Gentleman Pan ah, with Gentleman Yuwen playing with you, looks like your days ahead will no longer be boring.
With Ladyboy Pan returning to Yun Mi, we no longer have any reason to continue staying in Tian Yin City, and so, the next day we set off again, heading to the final destination. Yuwen Rui and I are still getting along just as we used to, but there also seems to be something that had substantially changed –– we have always been like this, some things remain unchanging, some things are constantly changing.
Five days later, we arrive at a remote city, at the time, I was in deep sleep, not opening my eyes no matter how much he shook me, Yuwen Rui had no other choice, and could only carry me down from the horse carriage. I silently laugh, continuing my unfinished, sweet and beautiful dream.
When I wake up, Yuwen Rui was sat at the table reading a book, playing with a big juicy grape in hand, white fingers looking in particularly nice as the ripened grape reflects against it.
I rub my eyes, blankly calling out: “Cousin.”
Yuwen Rui takes his eyes off the book, looking at me with a seeming smile, saying: “You’re awake?”
I hazily sound “en”, stepping out of bed and walking up to sit at the table, picking up a grape and peeling it with great familiarity.
Yuwen Rui rest his forehead on one hand as he looks at me, cold voice saying: “Do your eyes only see the grapes?”
I stuff the juicy grape into my mouth, leaving the sweet taste to spread inside, then swallow it in satisfaction. Only after eating it, do I say: “Of course I see Cousin too, but I see Cousin every day, haven’t seen grapes for so long.” Having said that, I take another grape and peel and peel, watching the grape skin perfectly separate from the grape flesh, my heart is thoroughly moved.
Grapes, I really missed you to death, ai-yo-wei!
Yuwen Rui coldly harrumphs, “So you just compare me to grapes like this?”
I lick the grape juice from my fingers, then stuff another grape into my mouth, “What are you saying? How could Cousin compare to grapes?”
Yuwen Rui’s long eyes abruptly narrows, dangerously looking at me.
I gulp, eh, my words just now seem to be a little off? I immediately speak up in a flattering tone, saying: “Cousin is much tastier than grapes~”
Only then does he draw back the displeasure from before, reaching out to wipe away the grape juice on my lips, lightly saying: “Not bad at sensing which way the wind blows.”
I raise one hand, making a vowing gesture, and sincerely say: “Cousin really is much tastier than grapes.”
The smile in Yuwen Rui’s eyes spreads out like ripples, ring after ring, saying with slight allure: “You certain?”
I resolutely say, “I’m certain.”
“You’re certain, but I’m not certain……” His long and slender finger swipes across the corner of my lips with romantic ambiguity, he reaches out to hook me into his arms, and sit me onto his lap, his long eyes containing a smile, leisurely saying: “How about we confirm it?”
I had just stuffed a grape into my mouth, and before I came to realise what he meant, I am met with warm lips, didn’t even bite into the grape in my mouth yet, and another soft tongue had taken it away, I fiercely try to snatch back the fruit that originally belonged to me, helpless that the other person is extremely wicked, constantly able to play along like fishes in the water, curling left and rolling right, not letting me eat it. After a round of entanglement, I was already losing my breath, but he is still at ease, and even seem to have not had enough yet.
I decisively extend my hand, instantly pushing away his close face, bitterly mourning over the grape that had been taken away.
Yuwen Rui’s long and fine fox eyes is filled with laughter, mischievously saying to me: “Why aren’t you continuing to fight for it?”
I angrily look at him, saying: “Don’t blame my side for being too dumb, only blame the enemy side for being overly cunning!”
“Hahahaha.” Yuwen Rui heartily laughs, handsome face appearing more dazzling to the eyes, “You sure know how to comfort yourself.”
“Heng!” I shan’t bother with him, picking another grape all over again, all whilst eyeing him with warning, should he dare to snatch mine again, I’ll throw the grape skin onto his face.
“Alright alright.” He pamperingly strokes my head, like stroking a little dog, “How old are you already, to still like eating grapes so much?”
I side-eye him, does grapes repel with age?
“Ah-Lan.” He rests his head on my shoulder, lightly smiling as he says: “How about we grow a vineyard in future?”
Vineyard? The type where you can only see grape vines at a glance, and every vine is filled with hanging purple grapes, a little shake will have countless dew dripping, that sort of vineyard?
I gulp, unknowingly saying: “Very good, very good.”
Yuwen Rui sounds a muffled laugh, biting my earlobe as he says: “Glutton.”
I turn my head, glaring at his black hair as I say: “Is being a glutton bad?”
He raises his head, copying my tone as he says: “Very good, very good.” He lightly hooks up his lips, eyes filled with unclear romantic ambiguity, leaning in towards my ear as he slowly says: “You eat grapes, I eat you, isn’t it very good?”
Just like that, causing I, this person who hasn’t blushed for who knows how long, to burn up.
This person……this person……truly is far too impudent!
I was just wanting to rebut but was stopped by his index finger tapping my lip, he runs his hand over my loosely falling hair, saying: “Ah-Lan, let me bind your hair.”
I nod, lightly smiling as I say: “Alright.”
A quarter of an hour later……
To begin with, I was suspecting whether Yuwen Rui knows how to do hair binding, but now I can confirm he doesn’t know –– look at this messy hair of mine, if it isn’t the work of the handsome man behind me? If his actions are unskilled, his expression unnatural, then forget it, but the problem is, this guy is still behaving like fishes in water, with no trace of distress or discomfort on his face at all. I bring forward a lock of hair, what kind of world is this person from ah, this?
Yuwen Rui instantly grabs my wrist, warningly saying: “Don’t move, it’s not done yet.”
I hold back my laughter, saying: “Cousin, I won’t move, but when will it be done?”
He brings back that lock of my hair and let it fall again, white fingers gently running through the black hair. Having finally coiled up my hair, he lightly smiles as he says: “There are still many days ahead, there shall come a day I learn it well.”
I cannot help but start laughing, he says it so reasonably, even if he can’t do it now, there will definitely come a day he can do it, we still have many days to spend together ahead of us.
Seeing this, Yuwen Rui hugs me from behind, rubbing against my face as he says: “Laughing so wickedly.”
I don’t bother looking at him, taking his hair that’s hanging down and yank at it. Who’s wicked? I clearly laughed so gently and mannerly.
One day noisily passes by just like that.
When I wake up the next day, my sight is still a little blurred when I open my eyes, dully looking at the woman that appeared in the room for a long time.
Instead, it is that woman who offers a graceful and dignified smile first, as she says: “Ling Miao Er greets Princess.”
I rub my eyes and pull at my ears, confirming that I am not seeing things, nor am I hearing things, isn’t this woman that’s looking rather easy-going in a body of female clothing, Ling Miao Er?
“Hoho, does Princess not recognise me now?” Ling Miao Er passes me a damp cloth, “I have met Princess in the palace before.”
I take the damp cloth, squinting my eyes into smiles, “I remember you, Ling Zhi’s younger sister.” Also a woman that holds dear feelings for Yuwen Rui.
“Princess has good memory.”
I attentively look at Ling Miao Er, only seeing her black hair simply done up in a young woman’s hairstyle, although not delicately charming like the average young women, valiant bearings is carried within her beauty, possessing a charm unique to her, tall figure in a body of light blue long robes, looking clean and simple, entire person bathed in an air of gentleness that contains agility. I look at her with praises, this Ling Miao Er is much more pleasant on the eyes compared to those frail women.
Ling Miao Er also eyes me over a few times, saying with a smile: “Afraid Princess has been exhausted throughout this journey, seeming to have gotten a little thinner from before.”
I wipe my face, “Probably just growing.”
Ling Miao Er smiles, “That’s true, Princess has gotten a lot prettier over these past months, no longer childlike anymore.” She pauses, very frankly asking: “Princess likes Gentleman, right?”
I am slightly stunned, not expecting her to put it so bluntly. I did not miss the dejection that flashes past her eyes, nor do I overlook the slightly forced smile at her lips, she likes Yuwen Rui, this is an undeniable fact.
Ling Miao Er doesn’t wait for me to answer, just speaking on her own accord: “Gentleman likes Princess, or perhaps I should say, Gentleman only cares for Princess.”
A wonderful feeling suddenly surges up my heart, that is a type of satisfaction and certainty. I rest my chin in hand as I smile, “That’s right ah.”
‘That’s right’ being I do like Yuwen Rui, ‘that’s right’ being I agree to everything she said, Yuwen Rui likes me.
Ling Miao Er abruptly raises her head to look at me, then suddenly smiles, “Princess has grown up now, finally willing to admit to your own feelings.”
I smile and say nothing. Who knows? It is not that I haven’t matured all along, but it is because I was unwilling to face all this. Now I have enough courage and confidence to face it all, so I take this first step, and I am not prepared to step back again.
Since I did it, then I should persevere, isn’t that right?
Yuwen Rui pushes open the doors and enters in this moment, breaking the strange atmosphere in a timely manner. He comes and sits on the bed, reaching out to knock at me, “Finally awake?”
I cover my forehead and look at him in dissatisfaction, “I only slept for a bit.”
“En, for a bit?” He purses his thin lips, saying with a seeming smile: “It’s already noon now.”
“Eh……” Can I loudly cry out ‘loving sleep is not a crime’……?
Ling Miao Er speaks up, a trace of admiration hidden within her eyes as she looks at Yuwen Rui, “Gentleman.”
Yuwen Rui’s eyes make a turn, lightly smiling as he says: “Ling Miao Er.”
“Gentleman, I have pretty much already finished investigating the assignment you set me.” Her expression turns serious, “Sword Enthusiast had indeed taken Yun Ze’s treasure map back then, but had ran into the former emperor’s hunt down before returning to the kingdom, hence disappearing with the treasure map, which also means that Yun Ze’s treasure map is still with him.”
Yuwen Rui starts playing with a lock of my hair, “And then?”
“Sword Enthusiast had a daughter fifteen years ago, but they were separated after his daughter was abducted by an enemy, after Sword Enthusiast had disappeared, he had in fact been wandering Yun Ze all along, wanting to find his daughter’s whereabouts, just that there had been no news at all. Last year, Sword Enthusiast finally gave up, settling down in a little town, being a blacksmith for a living.”
“Little town?” Yuwen Rui raises his eyes, sharpness revealed within its laziness.
“In response to Gentleman, it is the Xiao Chi Town not far from here.”
“Very good.” Yuwen Rui’s line of sight drifts over to the window, “Let us make a trip to Xiao Chi Town in a few days.”
My right eye suddenly twitches, so quick, it practically makes me think it was my imagination.
After finding the sword enthusiast……would, everything come to an end?
Oh the old wives’ tale of eye twitching…..afraid that we’ve only been given one more chapter of sweetness here before the storm hits.