(I do not hate Yong Shan, but I’m feeling bad for Yong Qi. 🤧 )
Yong Shan sat up abruptly. Looking closely at Yong Qi again, it seemed that he hadn’t woken up yet. The desire in his lower abdomen clamored even more intensely, and while being unable to control the reason he had always been proud of, Yong Shan slowly leaned in.
At this moment, Yong Qi raised his hand and rubbed his eyes. He slowly opened his thick eyelashes, with a hint of hazy and dazedness, staring at Yong Shan sitting in front of him. After a long while of staring, a sudden realization came, and his face changed drastically, “Why are you…”
“Why am I here? You seem to have forgotten that this is my Palace.” Yong Shan looked at him and smiled condescendingly. Then he stretched out his hands and pulled Yong Qi to sit up, “Get up. Now that the sunlight is just right, you should go out to get some sunbathing, so that your body won’t be so weak.” He told Yong Qi to go out sunbathing, yet he did not stand up, neither did he let go of his hands that were holding Yong Qi. Instead, he pulled him to his side, leaned his body over, and touched Yong Qi’s waist again saying with his tongue clicking, “Chang Defu said that you only like to eat spinach with sesame oil. You should eat more meat dishes in the future, otherwise you will become thinner.”
(T/N: Ze ze)
Yong Qi was trembling under the hands that were stroking his waist. He was both embarrassed and scared. Since he had just woken up, there was a little blush on his cheeks which made his elegant appearance look more charming and bewitching.
Yong Shan, with his pitch-black eyes, stared silly at him for a while with that picture in front of him.
Seeing his eyes were still glued on himself, Yong Qi’s body began to tremble slightly.
While the silence was almost suffocating, Yong Lin’s yelling voice came in a timely manner, “Brother Yong Qi, get up quickly! While Brother Yong Shan is not here, we might as well…”
The door was pushed wide open and Yong Lin came stomping in while shouting. He was taken aback when he saw Yong Shan was also there. He stopped his tracks and stuck out his tongue, “Brother Yong Shan, why are you here?”
“It’s really weird today. People keep asking me why I am here. Has everyone forgotten that this is my palace?” Yong Shan noticed Yong Qi’s hand was retreating, then he deliberately gripped the retreating hand tightly, maintaining an ambiguous posture, looked at Yong Lin and smiled, “What do you want to do while I am away?”
Yong Lin, who looked like he was caught red headed doing bad things, raised his hand to scratch his head, not daring to answer.
Yong Qi gave a light cough and replied on his behalf, “We have agreed to practice calligraphy together in the afternoon.”
“Yes! Calligraphy!” Yong Lin immediately responded, and with a frown, he continued, “Last time Mother scolded me for my ugly writing, so I begged Brother Yong Qi to teach me how to write. Brother Yong Qi, if you have enough naps, come and teach me now.”
Seeing the two of them cooperate in tacit understanding, they even dared to sing a harmony tone in front of him, Yong Shan was furious in his heart.
He was still holding Yong Qi’s jade-like hand in his palm. The hand that was as fine as Jade, elegant and soft, yet Yong Shan could not help but wanting to squeeze it hard and smash it to pieces. However, this thought had just flashed for a moment, but that was enough to give him a surprise. How can I treat him like this?
Isn’t it as cruel as my father?
There were many thoughts in Yong Shan’s mind, and his face changed accordingly. He looked at Yong Qi with eyes turning sharp for a moment then gentle at the next.
Deep down in his heart, Yong Qi knew that he was fierce and terrifying like a breast with a face changing faster than flipping a book. Feeling uneasy, Yong Qi lowered his eyes to avoid Yong Shan’s line of sight, trembling in fear like a little creature under the control of a big beast, and its life only depended on when the big beast was going to eat him.
He listened to Yong Shan’s breathing movement from a quick pace to slowly slowing down and then became calm again, with his heart pounding in fear.
“It’s really rare that you, the Third Prince, who only know how to play around all day long, also know how to practice calligraphy.” Yong Shan seamlessly let go of Yong Qi, put on the air as a big brother, and said to Yong Lin, “Since you came to beg for Yong Qi to teach you, you’d better learn and practice well. Don’t be lazy. Write at least seven or eight pages of good characters and present it to Mother tonight. That will make her happy.”
Yong Lin always knew that his Second elder brother was someone who is amazing, standing on a higher level than him. Yet, he did not expect that it would be so easy to get along with him like this, so he laughed foolishly and nodded in agreement.
Yong Shan really wanted to stay and watch, but he knew that he was actually not very welcomed. He sighed secretly in his heart, stood up then stretched out in an elegant and unrestrained manner, “You two practice slowly ba. There are paper and writing brushes in the study you can use and, Yong Lin, don’t break all those writing brushes of mine. Since I still have other things to do, I won’t bother you two anymore.”
Yong Shan went back to the inner room alone, sat on the Huanghuali wooden chair and thought for a while, before he ordered someone to call in a trusted guard, and commanded, “There seems to have been a lot of things going on around the Fifth Prince recently. Send someone to keep watch and report it back on time regardless of major or minor matters.”
After the guard was gone, he took out the letter written by Gong Wuhui in his arms, unfolded it and read it again. Then he rolled it back up and put it in a secret compartment. After that he took the small white porcelain bottle out.
Gong Wuhui was just an ordinary low-ranked official, however he was a talented person who was worthy of being entrusted to do important tasks. He was bold, had unusual courage and resourcefulness in his speech and act. It was really admirable. Yong Shan was afraid that such a person couldn’t be found among the high ranked ministers around his father.
But if he didn’t die, Yong Sheng wouldn’t give up.
He wouldn’t risk losing Yong Lin and Yong Qi for the sake of just one Gong Wuhui either.
This matter was in a dilemma, the more he thought about it, the more headaches he got. Yong Shan frowned, and threw the small bottle into the secret compartment irritably, and felt that he had to put this matter aside first. Then he took out the records that were delivered in the morning, and began to read.
After reading for more than half an hour, Yong Shan felt thirsty and called out, “Bring tea.”
The wooden door creaked open, and Chang Defu personally brought the hot tea up. He waited for Yong Shan to finish drinking it before saying in a low voice, “Your Highness, the medicine from Imperial Dr. Zhang is here.”
Yong Shan glared at him, “If the medicine is here then it’s here. Why are you acting so sneaky and full of shame.”
Chang Defu smiled awkwardly. Since he was still afraid to speak up, he got closer, lowered the voice in his throat and said, “It’s not the medicine for wounds, it’s… it’s that medicine.”
“Oh.” Only then did Yong Shan remember and ask, lowering his voice, “It turned out to be that, how effective is the medicine? It’s fine even if the effect is slow, the most important thing is not to harm the body. Did he say anything about the dosage?”
“Imperial Dr. Zhang personally sent it over, saying that it was a secret recipe from his ancestors. The medicine is effective, but not too strong and does not hurt vitality. Follow along the five elements and meridians for…”
“Enough. Who wants to hear your reciting? Remember to do it clean and clear, it cannot be seen by Yong Qi.”
“Your Highness, rest assured, absolutely cannot be detected. The usage of this medicine is also simple. Each day, with just a little bit of amount, dissolve it with water, and then soak the chopsticks in it. The chopsticks that are dyed with medicine, will naturally come into the mouth when eating. It is colorless and tasteless that even a genius can’t detect it either.”
After Chang Defu was dismissed, Yong Shan glanced at a few lines in the record, and in a short while, he also finished reading the remaining. He lazily yawned, thinking of how he was working hard and how he was worried about the aftermath of those who had caused troubles. However, the people in question were still able to have fun which made Yong Shan couldn’t help but reveal a bitter smile.
How can some people be let off that easily in this world?
He stood up, opened the door and walked directly to the study. When he reached the study, and the moment he looked in through the open door, his face suddenly sank.
Yong Lin was indeed practicing calligraphy and Yong Qi was also there, but their position was too unbearable to watch.
There was a piece of well-wrapped rice paper spread out in front of the desk, and the ink that had been grinded was also placed nearby. Yong Lin sat at the desk, while Yong Qi stood behind him, holding his hand, and was teaching him how to use his brush. While he was in a deep concentration, Yong Qi’s head leaned forward and stared at the paper making his chest pressing against Yong Lin’s back while their cheeks were almost touching each other. The closeness looked so intimate that Yong Shan felt sour and angry.
(T/N: to write good calligraphy, one needs utmost concentration.)
His clenched fist was loosened at one moment then tightened again a second later. Yong Shan stood there for a while. Holding back his anger, he stepped in the room with a laugh, “Practice so earnestly, it seems that Yong Qi is really a good master.”
“Brother Yong Shan, your work is done?” Yong Lin turned his head with the writing brush in hand, grinned and said, “Wait for me for a while. After I finish writing the word “Jing/静”, my homework is done for the day.”
Yong Shan walked over to Yong Lin. He stood and watched for a while. Sure enough, he was still writing the word “Jing”. Half of the word had already been written with the structure upright, calm and quiet, but unfortunately the force behind it broke midway, which seemed to be insufficient.
Yong Shan knew that the error was caused by Yong Qi’s jolt and shook Yong Lin’s hand when he heard Yong Shan’s voice.
They were obviously brothers, yet how could there be a world of difference in Yong Qi’s eyes? He could teach one of two brothers practicing calligraphy while holding him, but felt very uncomfortable after hearing the voice of the other one.
His eyes turned sharp like a blade, but disappeared in an instant.
Under his nose, the two dared to hold hands, their bodies were almost glued to each other, and their intimacy was very hateful.
Yong Shan went around and waited patiently for them to finish writing the word. A moment later, he saw Yong Lin cheerfully jump and throw his writing brush away as if he had been able to solve hard labor at the side. A faint smile floated on Yong Shan’s lips as he spoke before Yong Qi could even leave the desk, “I didn’t expect that the word “Jing” written by Brother Yong Qi would be so good. Teach me too.”
Yong Shan walked to the writing table and sat down. He picked up the brush and turned around only to see Yong Qi’s stunned face, “What? You refuse to teach this younger brother even a little bit?”
Yong Lin, who was busy tidying up his calligraphy handwriting, intending to slip away to seek his Mother for a reward, heard Yong Shan’s words and couldn’t help tilt his head over, and said in puzzle, “Isn’t Brother Yong Shan’s writing very good? Mother always says that your writing is ten times better than mine.”
Yong Shan, with a black face, interrupted him, “What are you talking about? After spending a day in my study, why don’t you hurry up and go back now? Starting tomorrow, stay with mother and practice your material art well. I will check your horse riding and archery when I have time later.”
Yong Lin was scolded so much that he felt wronged. He stuck out his tongue and ran away holding the messy rice paper full of words.
But Yong Qi still stood still in place.
Yong Shan waited for a while, feeling very impatient that his stomach that was full of vicious threats almost blurted out. He turned his head and after seeing Yong Qi’s stiff body, he paused. All his anger was suddenly suppressed. Feeling frustrated for no reason, he put the brush down lightly, and sighed, “Big brother, you’re very biased. We’re all brothers, why bother dividing us into different categories.”
Yong Qi heard his complaints. It was very rare for Yong Shan to complain and act like a spoiled child, so Yong Qi looked at him suspiciously. After a long while, he said in a very pleasant, light voice, “You actually write better than me, so why do I need to teach you? Won’t it be a joke on me?” He then leaned in slowly, and frowned, “If you don’t hold the brush, how can I teach you?”
Yong Shan turned his head abruptly, with surprises in his eyes.
Suddenly being penetrated by his gaze, Yong Qi felt like his heart seemed to be hit by something and felt uncomfortable. Letting out a pretended cough, he turned his head, no longer look at Yong Shan’s face, and just put his gaze on the paper, stretched out his hand to hold Yong Shan’s hand that was grasping the brush, and began to move gently, “My calligraphy was taught by Lei Taifu, while yours was preached by Wang Taifu, so the entry level is different. Lei Taifu’s teaching is based and the emphasis is on context. It is not easy to write the word “Jing” smoothly and easily express the meaning of quiescence. I can’t even write very well myself…”
(T/N: Taifu, Grand tutor.)
The tip of the brush moved very slowly, very carefully and smoothly.
On the white paper, a static character gradually took shape.
Yong Shan looked at the paper, but nothing caught his eyes.
His hand was held by Yong Qi, his white and slender fingers gently covered his fingers, and the warmth of his palm gathered around the back of his hand.
Yong Qi just stood behind him, but he felt like he was being hugged.
The smell that belonged to Yong Qi embraced him, and the voice belonged to Yong Qi haunted him.
Yong Shan truly wished that the word that he was writing right now wasn’t just a single word, but the most verbose book in the world, which could be written for the long, longest of time, until all the ink and paper in the world ran out.
But it happened to be just one word, with just a few strokes in total. Time slipped past just the tip of the brush touching the paper. In an instant, and the word was already written.
Yong Qi let go of his hand and stood up straight behind Yong Shan, “I didn’t teach well, I’ve made fun of myself.”
The hand that was no longer being held, became cold in an instant. Yong Shan sat in silence, still holding the brush with his fingers gripping hard. After a short while, he finally loosened his fingers and put the brush down.
He stared at the word that wasn’t dried yet, and whispered in a tone that made people unable to resist but want to listen, “As long as you treat me, even if it’s only half you treat Yong Lin, I…”
What comes after the word “I” seemed to choke in his throat. He could speak half of the sentence, but was unable to finish the remaining half with endless lingering sounds, hidden inexplicable meaning.
Yong Qi stood quietly and listened, but Yong Shan did not follow.
The two were silent, with one standing and the other sitting, neither could see each other’s expressions, or even hear a breath.
In this unusual quietness, the sound of rustling, and cautiously walking could be heard from outside.
“Your Highness…” Chang Defu entered through the open wooden door of the study, bowed his back, and said in a low voice, “Supper is ready.”