If You Want to Kill, Kill
When autumn passed, it was winter.
This year, winter came earlier than usual, with a heavy snowfall at the end of the autumn.
Ning Zhiyu was a kind-hearted man and would have been upset if he had woken up and found out that Qingmei had died because of him, so the maid was never executed.
Even if one did not watch over their master, to make them fall from the pavilion is a capital offence.
After Yan Yuan was infected with the demonic compulsion, his temperament changed drastically.
Compared to his old self, he was so violent and unpredictable that people from other palaces would be dragged down and executed even if they did not provoke him.
In contrast, he treated Ning Zhiyu and the people in Ning Zhiyu's palace the same as before.
The longer Ning Zhiyu was in a coma, the more irritable Yan Yuan became.
Only when he returned to Luanfeng Hall could he find a little peace in his heart, but the palace staff hadn't seen him smile for a long time.
A month passed and Yan Yuan gradually became convinced that Ning Zhiyu had not lost his footing.
He had not taken Qingmei's words to heart before, thinking that they were excuses from the palace maid to avoid responsibility, but after he had calmed down, he wondered why A'Yu had braved the rain to go to the pavilion that day, and why he had not asked him to go with her.
They had always gone together before.
Yan Yuan sat on the edge of the bed and summoned Qingmei in, not taking his eyes off the man on the bed, who was dressed in white like snow and with eyebrows as clear as jade: “That day… what did A'Yu say Say it again."
Qingmei had repeated it to Yan Yuan many times, but Yan Yuan never seemed to get tired of hearing it, and often asked her to say what happened that day.
Qingmei did not dare to disobey, and spoke with red eyes.
"It was raining that day, and the Empress had been reading poetry in his bedchamber all afternoon.
When the night was thick, he suddenly said he wanted to go to Yuqing Pavilion...
This servant could not persuade him, so she gave him fox fur and went out with him."
"There are many steps in Yuqing Pavillion.
The Empress refused to let anyone carry him and insisted on going up by himself, so this servant followed him.
It was so dark outside the pavilion that nothing could be seen, and the servant advised him to come back another day, but he said...
he would not go."
"Why wouldn't he go" Yan Yuan asked in a mute voice.
Qingmei's voice changed its tone a little: "The Empress said...
that things have long since changed, so going more often would only be sad."
Yan Yuan asked indifferently, "What else did he say"
Qingmei huffed, "He said...
the person the Emperor waited for was never him.
He doesn't want to fight for something that doesn't belong to him anymore."
Yan Yuan continued self-mutilatingly, "And what else"
Qingmei choked up, "And...
he asked this servant to tell His Majesty that he loves you.
If there is a destiny in the next life, he hopes to walk with you longer and longer..."
Yan Yuan's eyes were red and his throat was strained.
He knew that Ning Zhiyu must have misunderstood something, perhaps he had heard some whispers about him and Xuan Long and assumed that the person he loved was Xuan Long.
Qingmei told the secret she had kept for a long time: "When you and that young master from Qiankun Palace were...
in the side hall of Luanfeng Hall, the Empress knew all about it.
He just didn't say it out loud and smiled daily when he was facing you, but he rarely smiled in private."
The entire staff of Luanfeng Hall knew about the matter of Yan Yuan summoning Xuan Long to come to Luanfeng Hall to vent to his desire, there are no impermeable walls in the world, not to mention the things that happen in this little corner of the hall.
In Yan Yuan's view, he wanted Xuan Long's body for the sake of lust alone, but in Ning Zhiyu's view, he probably didn't think that way.
He must have thought he had changed his mind...
how desperate must he have been to leap from such a high building...
When he thought of the suffering that Ning Zhiyu was carrying alone behind his back, Yan Yuan's heart ached with regret, hating himself for not taking more care of Ning Zhiyu's emotions, hating himself for not caring enough for Ning Zhiyu, hating himself for wasting too much time with Xuan Long.
He had given Xuan Long too much tolerance.
After nightfall, Yan Yuan got drunk on the Daughter's Wine made by Prime Minister Ning himself, which was served in a jade jug from the wine jar.
He didn't use a cup to drink, but took the jade jug and poured it into his mouth, as if he was not drinking strong wine but plain water.
The palace staff were all dismissed and he was the only one at the table full of food.
Yan Yuan was not a very good drinker, and after a pot of Daughter's Wine, his cheeks were flushed and his eyebrows were hazy, making his already distinguished face even more beautiful.
After drinking two jugs in a row and carrying one more in his hand, Yan Yuan wandered off to the Heavenly Prison.
Chang'an is in the northwest of China, and the winter cold is bone-chilling.
The prison is the coldest of all, and there is not even a fire pit for warmth.
Xuan Long was lying in the old bedding that had come from nowhere, and his towering belly was the most conspicuous.
The guards opened the cell door and retreated to a zone where their ears could not hear them.
Yan Yuan entered with the wine jug, but when he let go of it, the empty jug fell to the ground and shattered.
The man on the floor did not wake up because of the noise.
Yan Yuan walked over to him, lifted the bedding from Xuan Long's body, bullying him, and untied his clothes with his palm, revealing his stomach, which was more than seven months pregnant.
The whip wounds he received a month ago had healed, leaving ugly scars that were an eyesore.
Xuan Long was awakened by pain, as if a blade had forcibly split and torn his body apart, cold and painful, and he opened his turquoise eyes, his vision and hearing gradually clearing up.
It was Yan Yuan, his kiss landed on Xuan Long's ear, and he called a name desperately and hoarsely: “A'Yu..."
Xuan Long was silent for a long time before speaking softly, "Don't touch me."
You don't want to touch me."
He raised his arms to push Yan Yuan's tight, strong waist and stomach.
The other party's movements were unprecedentedly gentle, and it was because of this that Xuan Long collapsed.
He had no strength and could not break free.
The chains on his hands hit the ground as the other man moved, clanging loudly, and his wrists, unprotected, were worn through by the shackles, exposing the pink flesh.
Xuan Long slowly tilted his head to avoid the kiss that fell from Yan Yuan, his handsome brow numb between his eyes.
"You go away."
It was so cold outside and Yan Yuan had sobered up much of his drunkenness from the cold breeze on the way here, so how could he possibly have recognized the wrong person.
He had done it on purpose, his body needed to be released and the emotions in his heart needed to be released.
If he held back any longer, he would really go crazy.
Pretending that it was Ning Zhiyu underneath him, a living Ning Zhiyu, would make him feel better.
That was what Yan Yuan thought.
However, this was not the case.
The scars on Xuan Long's body were uneven and no longer as smooth as before.
Yan Yuan felt even more uncomfortable when he touched his palm.
He didn't want this, he didn't want this...
This stupid dragon was to blame.
Why didn't he just hand over the inner elixir If he had, he wouldn't be in this situation, they wouldn't have come to this point, and he wouldn't be struggling so much.
With this in mind, Yan Yuan became hateful and folded Xuan Long into various difficult positions, deliberately causing him pain.
Xuan Long knew from then on that Yan Yuan had recognised who he was and was forced to bear the pain he was feeling, his hollow turquoise eyes like a sunken hole in which all the sorrows of the world were trapped.
When it was over, Yan Yuan could not pretend any longer.
When he got up and straightened his trousers, he resumed his neat and tidy appearance, and his eyes glowed as he lifted the damp bedding to casually cover Xuan Long's unsightly body.
"After tomorrow, if you don't hand over the inner elixir, I will...
come and cut your heart out myself."
Xuan Long's eyes were closed and there was no reaction.
Yan Yuan knew that he had heard and that Xuan Long was still awake, so he lifted his foot and pushed his toe against his large stomach through the bedding, "This time, I am not joking with you."
Xuan Long fell asleep.
It was normal for a pregnant person to be sleepy, but no one was as sleepy as he was, often sleeping for the whole day and even missing meals.
Yan Yuan did not like the child in his womb and suspected that it was someone else's bastard, so he did not allow the guards to bring him too good food, only white rice and steamed buns.
Sometimes he would think that if the little bastard just fell out of the womb, it would be a blessing for all and save him trouble in the future.
How could he know that the source of the child's sustenance was the power of Xuan Long's soul, not much to do with food.
Besides, even if he had asked someone to bring him rich food every day, Xuan Long would not be able to eat much.
Most people die of hunger when they are terminally ill, because they are so ill that they have no desire to eat.
No matter what kind of creature, there is little difference in this respect.
Yan Yuan thought he was too sleepy and called him several times without waking him up, so he left Xuan Long covered in filth and went away without having anyone clean him up.
Snowflakes drifted in through the hole in the ceiling, landing on the bloodless man's body and bedding.
As the moonlight lingered, the falling snowflakes blended with him into a bleak painting, as if to bid him farewell.
No one knew how many days he had left to live.
Even Hua Niang could not be sure of the time, but Yan Yuan thought that Xuan Long had a long, long life ahead of him, thinking that he would live as long as heaven and earth and could waste it as he pleased.
Little did he know that the man in the prison was in no better condition than the golden and precious man lying in the Luanfeng Hall, being carefully cared for.
He thought Xuan Long was made of iron and would be fine no matter how he was tossed around, so he could bully him all he wanted.
Tomorrow came quickly.
Yan Yuan was busy with state affairs during the day, but after nightfall he went to the Heavenly Prison, and this time Xuan Long was awake.
He had put on the prison uniform that Yan Yuan had thrown back last night and sat with half a steamed bun in his hand, slowing eating while sitting under the bedding.
The jailor opened the door and when Yan Yuan walked up to Xuan Long, he did not respond, treating him like air.
Yan Yuan slowly bent over and brushed the steamed bun out of his hand with the back of his hand.
"Yesterday you were asleep and did not hear what I said, today I will repeat it to you."
"Today, if you don't voluntarily hand over your inner elixir, I will cut your heart out.
This time, it's not a joke."
The white steamed bun fell to the ground, rolled around a few times and was stained with ash, so it could no longer be eaten.
Xuan Long's dry lips moved slightly, and the voice that came out was hoarse: "If you want to kill, kill."
Yan Yuan's face sank, "Don't act ignorantly again, it won't do you any good.
Would you rather die than save him..."
Xuan Long: "Yes."
"He and I have never met, so why should I give up my inner elixir to save him.”
Yan Yuan completely changed his face, "Someone! Fetch the demon chain and put it on him!"