Inch by Inch
The steamed bun had been sitting there for a few days, so it was dry and devoid of any moisture, causing Yan Yuan's eyes to turn red as he choked on it and made a lot of noise.
Hu Le dropped his chopsticks and made a loud ‘smack’ sound: "You don't know how to behave! How can we eat when this spittle is being coughed onto the food"
Yan Yuan covered his mouth and coughed away from the table.
It was clear that it was not like what he had said, this fox was deliberately looking for a fight.
Yan Yuan was not on his own turf, so he didn't take it personally.
His throat was so hot and sore that he couldn't eat the thick, hard buns, so he sat there with his eyes downcast.
Hu Le hated Yan Yuan so much that if he could, he would have thrown the dog emperor out to the fish, who cares if he was embarrassed.
He was about to continue to trouble him when Xuan Long interrupted in a soft voice: “Hu Le, don't make a scene."
Hu Le was instantly deflated, "...
Where is the trouble, I'm just trying to help you vent your anger."
With a wave of Xuan Long's hand, Yan Yuan had a green porcelain tea bowl in his hand, containing warm jasmine tea with a light fragrance, while the two white steamed buns turned into sticky, soft and tasty rice.
He then picked up his chopsticks and, with a less than skilful gesture, gave Yan Yuan a piece of spiced marinated beef, "Eat it."
His right hand was injured trying to save Yan Yuan, and he was shaking a little when he held the food.
Yan Yuan's gaze moved from Xuan Long's bony hand to his cold but calm face, and the dryness in his throat grew: “A'Po..."
"Let's eat." Xuan Long did not look at him.
Hu Le was not pleased, bursting with resentment, "You serve him food, what about me"
Xuan Long paused and lifted his chopsticks.
Hu Le: "I'll have the chicken."
Xuan Long poked his chopsticks at the plate of white cut chicken, which was clearly flat, but it slipped away from his chopsticks several times as if it had grown legs.
Seeing that his hands were shaking violently, Hu Le lifted his chopsticks and put a piece of fish fillet into Xuan Long’s bowl, "Forget it, I'll do it myself.
Only someone with crippled hands and feet would need someone else to pick up the food."
Yan Yuan pursed his lips, mentally unbalanced.
He put a shrimp into Xuan Long's bowl, pleasingly saying, “A'Po, you love fish and shrimp the most."
"Mm." With difficulty, Xuan Long picked up the large translucent prawn.
"Yo, you're really good at taking advantage of the dishes made by me.
You're capable of frying two dishes yourself.” Hu Le snatched the prawn from between Xuan Long's chopsticks and nimbly peeled the shell off, putting it back into Xuan Long's bowl.
Yan Yuan did not think as thoughtfully as Hu Le, and did not act as thoughtfully as Hu Le, so he slunk away and said nothing.
After the meal, Hu Le asked Yan Yuan to wash the dishes, and he was scolded by Hu Le for the oil that stuck to the plates.
Yan Yuan, formerly the crown prince and now the emperor, had not been subjected to such humiliation since he was 19 years old.
After he broke two bowls and two plates in quick succession, he was driven aside by Hu Le, who threw up his sleeves and huffed and puffed as he washed the pot, which was covered in bubbles, "You royalty are not taught to wash dishes"
Yan Yuan turned to leave the kitchen and was knocked back by the barrier in the doorway, leaving a red patch on the corner of his forehead.
He grimaced, "Not taught."
“Tch.” Hu Le laughed mischievously, and a cold glint appeared under his icy blue eyes, "Then what do they teach Specialising in teaching abducting and bullying dragons"
"……" Yan Yuan's back teeth clenched tightly, his face grimacing.
"I'm not wrong, am I” Hu Le was unaffected in the slightest, rag after rag wiping the bowls one by one, "Aren't you approaching Han Po because his blood and flesh can heal the sick"
Yan Yuan: "None of your business."
"Not my business" In the blink of Yan Yuan's eyes, Hu Le dodged in front of him, a murderous aura bursting out between his cold brows, his fingers sliding up Yan Yuan's neck like a snake, slowly sprouting long, sharp nails that could bring him to his death with the slightest force.
Hu Le came up to Yan Yuan's ear, curving his upturned eyes and laughing lowly, the laugh was echoing, magnetic, and confusing.
"You say it has nothing to do with me"
Yan Yuan couldn't even react before he was pinned down by Hu Le, his life was in his opponent's hands, and he was tense and unmoving.
"I'm telling you, it has to do with me.” Hu Le's words were as slow as a snake spitting out letters, making Yan Yuan feel uncomfortable, "As long as it's about him, it's about me, and if you ever hurt him again...
I will absolutely make you die a horrible, horrible death."
"You can kill me right now." Yan Yuan said provocatively with an expressionless face.
"Do you think I don't want to” Hu Le suddenly looked ruthless, pushing him away with force, those long, slender nails leaving a long scratch on Yan Yuan's jade white neck.
"It's because he would be upset if I killed you!"
"Just one whip against you and he wouldn't be able to resist blocking it for you!"
"What makes you think you'd have survived this long otherwise"
Yan Yuan staggered back, his palm covering his injury, his brow furrowed in pain, "...
You like him."
"Or what…” Hu Le looked at him like an idiot, "Is it possible that I like you"
At night, Yan Yuan was arranged to sleep in the most remote woodshed in the courtyard, while Hu Le told Xuan Long that he had been settled into a compartment in the small courtyard next door, so that he would not worry.
After staring at Xuan Long as he finished drinking the foetus medicine, Hu Le changed the dressing on Xuan Long's hand and back, removing the blood-stained gauze layer by layer, and whispering, "I think the bed in my room is too hard, maybe I'll squeeze in with you."
Xuan Long took it seriously and was silent for a moment: "I'll just switch with you."
"No, I mean...” Hu Le cursed himself for his stupidity, why did he turn a nice stone cave into an elegant garden on earth It was just one hole with one bed before, but now it was many rooms, he couldn't think of any way to sleep in his beloved's room at night.
Xuan Long looked at him, waiting for him to say something else, and after a moment of stammering, Hu Le deflated “… It’s nothing."
In the middle of the night.
The dimly lit woodshed was full of firewood and there was no place to lie down.
Yan Yuan stood in the gap between the firewood and the wall, which could only fit one person, and was occasionally frightened by the rats crawling under his feet.
He had always hated these filthy things the most.
Who would have thought that there would be rats under the water, it must be that damned fox demon's doing.
There was no door to the woodshed, and the barrier was enough to trap him in it.
Yan Yuan had been standing for half the night, and his legs were so sore and numb that he could hardly hold on when he suddenly felt a faint light coming in from outside.
He tried to walk outside and found that the barrier had disappeared.
The light came from the night pearl floating over the front courtyard, and as the mansion was so large, the light was swallowed up by the dark green water in the backyard.
With that little bit of light, Yan Yuan felt his way to the courtyard where Xuan Long was.
The door was unlocked, so he pushed it in easily.
Yan Yuan entered gently.
A small candle flame was burning in the room, and the bed was uncurtained.
Xuan Long was wearing profane robes and lying on the bed with his back to him.
It was probably because of the injury to his back, which would hurt if he lay flat, so that was all he could do.
“A'Po..." Yan Yuan stopped in front of the bed and whispered, “are you asleep"
Xuan Long did not stir at first, and only after a while did he speak in a low voice.
From the sound of his voice, it did not sound like he had just woken up, he should have been awake, “What"
Yan Yuan cautiously got on the bed, avoiding the wound on Xuan Long's back, and encircled his abdomen from behind: "That barrier, it was you who removed it, wasn't it"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Xuan Long said indifferently.
Yan Yuan's eyes were sour and hot, and he buried his face into the back of his neck, "You clearly care about me, and you still don't admit it."
“A'Po, are you really not going back with me" Yan Yuan said sullenly.
Xuan Long: “En."
Yan Yuan remembered Hu Le's words, "Is it because of that fox spirit"
"......" Xuan Long's heart was baffled.
Yan Yuan's eyes were red, "You don't really like him, do you"
"What's so good about him, doesn't he just know how to cook and do demonic magic"
"If you come back to the palace with me, I will ask the cooks in the imperial kitchen to cook for you every day in different ways.
There are tens of thousands of palace maids and eunuchs who can serve you, there are also guards who can protect you.
The clothing, food, housing and transportation in the palace is definitely more comfortable than if you were here under the water."
He treats me with sincerity." Xuan Long interrupted with a loud voice.
With just one sentence, all of Yan Yuan's words were gambled away.
Yan Yuan was suffocated for a long time before crying.
"I also treat you with sincerity."
"It's just that my heart has to be given to someone else.
Who told you to appear so late, if you had appeared earlier, I would have loved only you...
What can I do He is my empress, I can't leave him alone, don't be so petty, okay"
"I have said that I will make you a concubine as long as you are willing..."
Don't say it." Xuan Long spoke suddenly and wearily, his throat as mute as if something had choked it, "Don't say it."
Yan Yuan closed his mouth.
The weight of love that Xuan Long wanted was too heavy, and he simply could not afford to give it.
Except for Ning Zhiyu's illness, he had rarely felt so helpless.
Perhaps both Xuan Long and Ning Zhiyu were destined to be unbreakable bonds in his life, and it would be a heartbreaking pain to give up either one.
Yan Yuan bowed his head, fished out the gold-encrusted iris jade from his chest, put his arm through Xuan Long's waist, placed the jade solemnly into Xuan Long's hand, and then held Xuan Long's hand so that he would have no way to refuse it.
"This jade, it's a gift from me, you'd better take it." The voice carried a low begging in it, "I am the emperor, and no one has ever dared not take good care of something I rewarded to them.
This is not a reward, but it is a token of my appreciation, so you should take it, okay"
" Xuan Long's breathing became a little shaky.
Yan Yuan just hugged Xuan Long from behind, holding his hand, and in Xuan Long's hand was the piece of jade, cold with not much warmth.
I can't give you all of my love, but I do love you."
"During the time you left me, I could not help thinking of you everyday."
"I realised then that I liked you so much, so much...
that I simply could not be separated from you."
"I know I've been bad to you and always made you sad.
I know I was wrong, and if I ever get the chance, I'll be sure to make up for it."
I'll be leaving."
"He is still waiting for me."
"He is too sick, if I don't go back, it will be too late, I can't watch him die, if he dies, I won't be able to live either."
thank you for still caring for me and understanding me even now."
Yan Yuan kissed the scar on the back of Xuan Long's neck.
It was clearly a gentle and soft movement, but it was as if he was holding a knife with an open edge, piercing his heart inch by inch.