WHY DID YOU LET HIM FEED YOU?
“What’s wrong?” Jin Rongqiu asked when he saw Song Lijun’s expression.
Song Lijun remained silent before he turned his head to glance at Bai Ruohan. Seeing that the other was still busy with his brothers, Song Lijun then let out a sigh. ‘Looks like he didn’t hear what brother Qiu had just said…’
“Brother Qiu, you should not make such a joke, ah. Hanxin Gongye is known to be a loyal man. What if he heard what you said earlier and deemed you a traitor to the throne?” Song Lijun asked in a hushed tone while glaring at Jin Rongqiu. ‘Hurry and get your head back in the right track! Don’t be like this, ah!’
“Are you worried?” Jin Rongqiu asked, his lips curving up into a smile. He then raised his hand to caress Song Lijun’s face in a gentle manner. “Worried for me?” he asked, his voice was slightly lower than usual. The eyes behind the mask were burning with emotions that Song Lijun wished, he hadn’t seen.
Faced with this, Song Lijun felt his heart skipped a beat. Then, it sped up as it pounds against his ribcage.
“I-…” Song Lijun couldn’t even form a proper sentence while looking at the other man. Clearly, he is wearing a veil and yet, he felt that this man is able to see right through him. Moving his gaze away, it landed on a cup of wine. Taking it in his hand, he downed the content in one swift move. Feeling the wine travel down his throat, he finally felt calmer. Meanwhile, Jin Rongqiu’s eyes went wide when he witnessed this.
“Of course I will be worried, ah!” he finally managed to say what he wanted to say earlier. “Brother Qiu is my saviour, my benefactor. I hope that nothing bad will happen to brother Qiu. If something happens, I will be very troubled,” Song Lijun added.
Jin Rongqiu’s breathing hitched the moment he heard Song Lijun’s answer. He could feel warmth bubbling inside him. ‘How I wished I could just bring her away.’
He continued to watch as Song Lijun poured the wine into the wine cup again. This time, he didn’t stop the other from drinking. Instead, he just watched quietly, eyes shining with a hint of playfulness.
Song Lijun had only taken a small sip when noticed this, and he couldn’t help asking in curiosity. “Brother Qiu, is there something on my face?”
“No. There is nothing,” Jin Rongqiu replied before he reached out and grabbed the wine cup from Song Lijun. At first, Song Lijun thought the other was taking it away to prevent him from drinking again. But his expression changed to that of a shock when he saw Jin Rongqiu drinking from the very same cup.
“That… that… cup,” Song Lijun stammered as he stared at Jin Rongqiu in disbelief. “Brother Qiu, I drank from that cup before…”
“I know,” Jin Rongqiu replied with a smile as he placed the cup back on the table.
“Then why did you drink from it?”
“This cup was originally mine,” Jin Rongqiu replied. “Why did the princess drink from it?” he asked back in a playful tone.
Upon realizing this, Song Lijun’s face turned red. His eyes went back to the table and then, landed on his own cup that was placed away from him. “That… then, can brother Qiu hand my cup back?”
“No,” Jin Rongqiu replied. “The princess should relax. Don’t drink anymore or else, tomorrow’s journey to Ruanyu will be unpleasant for you,” Jin Rongqiu explained.
‘But the one going tomorrow is my sister! Not me!’ Song Lijun could only cry in his heart. He lowered his head and didn’t say anything else.
Seeing him appearing obedient yet showing a wronged expression, Jin Rongqiu felt guilty. His hand then reached out to grab a piece of dessert and held it up close to Song Lijun’s lips. “Don’t look sad. Drinking too much is really unhealthy for you. I’m afraid that you will end up having complication in the future if I let you drink too much. Here, have this instead,” Jin Rongqiu said, sounding like he’s trying to coax his angry lover.
Song Lijun stared at the piece of dessert on Jin Rongqiu’s hand, then lift his head up to stare at the other male. After a while, he looked back down on the dessert, deliberating whether he should eat it or not. After a while, Song Lijun decided that he should. He reached out to take the dessert, only for Jin Rongqiu to move his hand away.
“Please allow me to feed the princess,” Jin Rongqiu said with a smile.
Song Lijun forced himself to return the smile before he parted his lips. Jin Rongqiu moved and fed the dessert to Song Lijun. As he watched the way Song Lijun’s lips moved close to his finger, his throat suddenly felt dry and he unconsciously ran his tongue against his own lips.
“Would you like some more?” Jin Rongqiu asked, though his voice sounded a bit strained.
Song Lijun was happily chewing on the dessert, loving how it melts in his mouth. When Jin Rongqiu asked him, he only nods his head in return. He watched Jin Rongqiu picked up another piece of dessert, then he obediently opened his mouth when the food got close enough. But before he could bite down into the food, he was suddenly pulled back and his back was pressed against another hard chest.
Song Lijun looked up and saw that Song Lifan was sporting a very serious expression. “Third brother?” Song Lijun called out but the other didn’t reply to him. Instead, he was addressing Jin Rongqiu.
“Aren’t you being a bit too intimate, my lord?” Song Lifan asked. “What would we do if rumours spread about you and our sister? What if His Majesty, the Emperor of Ruanyu heard of it and felt that we are insulting him?”
Jin Rongqiu did not say anything to respond to Song Lifan. The hand that was holding the dessert was still suspended in the air as Jin Rongqiu glared at Song Lifan from behind his mask.
“I am only helping to take care of the princess,” Jin Rongqiu replied. “The third prince is being paranoid. Even if rumours do spread, the Emperor will not mind at all,” he added.
“We all know how much of a fickle the Emperor is…” Song Lifan said to Jin Rongqiu. “If he is happy, then everyone is blessed. But if he is displeased, then-”
“Your Highness is overthinking it,” Jin Rongqiu cut him off. His mood had turned sour in just a few exchanges with Song Lifan. “It seemed that this lord had too much to drink already. This lord will excuse himself for tonight,” Jin Rongqiu said in a cold tone before he turned to Song Lijun once more. “I will come and pick you up tomorrow, Princess,” this time, his tone was gentle.
Song Lijun could naturally perceive the other’s mood but he still hears such gentleness from Jin Rongqiu’s tone. He admits, this kind of gentle tone does melt his heart and if he was a woman, he would probably welcome the other’s pursuit. ‘Unfortunately, I am not bent.’
He watched as Jin Rongqiu stood up. “Bai Ruohan,” Jin Rongqiu’s voice was loud enough for everyone on the table to hear him. “I will go back first. Do not cause any trouble.”
Then, Jin Rongqiu turned around to leave and finally, Song Lijun felt himself relax. “Third brother, ah! What were you doing? Can’t you see his mood turned bad when you said those things?” Song Lijun said to his brother.
“What? It is the truth. Don’t tell me you like playing along with him,” Song Lifan replied. Then he lowered his head and whispered to Song Lijun’s ear. “Xiao Jun, remember, you are currently Song Lijing.”
“I still remember…” Song Lijun grumbled.
“Do you? Then why did you let him feed you?”
“It’s just feeding me some food!”
“In Ruanyu, other than close family members, only lovers are allowed to feed each other!” Song Lifan hissed at Song Lijun.
Hearing this, Song Lijun’s eyes went wide and he suddenly felt dizzy at his newfound information. “Is… that true?”
“Do you think I will lie to you about this? In any case, Song Lijing cannot have any other thoughts on another man. But if you approached him as your original identity, then there will not be a problem,” Song Lifan told his younger brother who only looks at him in disbelief.
“Brother, big brother… Just because I support your choice, does not mean I am also interested in men, ah!”
“You don’t? Have you heard the rumours that were spread around the city?” Song Lifan asked with a playful smirk.
“You know as well as I do that was because of Song Lijing!!” Song Lijun stood up and glared at Song Lifan. His loud voice reverberated through the hall, making the other look at their table. Even King Song Min was looking at him with a reprimanding look.
Song Lijun regretted what he did, and he tried to think of a way to escape the situation. A clear sounding cough was heard and Song Lifan stood up beside him. “Everyone, it seems that my sister had drunk too much wine. Since she isn’t feeling well, I will bring her back first,” Song Lifan said before he gave his father a look, asking him to help them.
“En. Go and bring your sister back. Make sure to tell her servants to let her rest well. Tomorrow, she will start her long journey,” King Song Min said as he dismissed the two.
“Thanking father for his benevolence,” Song Lifan said with a bow. Then, he lightly elbowed Song Lijun who was still in a daze.
“Ah? Oh, right. Thank you, father,” Song Lijun said as he too gave King Song Min a bow. After that, he let Song Lifan ‘help’ him out of the banquet hall, leaving the wondering guests.
Song Lihui, seeing the guests acting uneasy, also stood up and go off to appease them by giving out a few speeches, then proceeded to recite poems to divert their attention.
Bai Ruohan’s eyes followed Song Lijun and Song Lifan before he turned back to the crown prince. His eyes were filled with suspicion as he stared at Song Liren.
“Your Highness, what did the princess mean earlier by saying that?” Bai Ruohan asked.
“It is only the word of a drunk, Gongye shouldn’t worry about it too much,” Song Liren replied. “Come, drink more,” he picked up a jar of wine and helped pour it into Bai Ruohan’s cup. “Gongye, please look after our sister starting tomorrow. As you’ve seen, our sister’s temper is not good when she’s drunk. So I hope Gongye could help her and keep an eye on her so she doesn’t offend the Emperor.”
“Ah, so it was just her temper acting up,” Bai Ruohan lifted the newly filled cup and raised it up. “I do hope she won’t be too unwell for the journey tomorrow. After all, we really could not delay the journey or else, our Emperor would be anxious. Right now, he is old and he is afraid that everyone might rebel on him.”
“What does Gongye mean?” Song Liren asked. He suddenly felt that he had heard something that he shouldn’t have.
“Hmm? Well, I guess I can tell you a little secret since we will be close like a family soon… Our Tianyin Qinwang is interested in the throne. So it would be best if Dong Xing Kingdom knows who to support in the upcoming war for the throne,” Bai Ruohan said in a soft whisper.
Song Liren’s eyes went wide and when he wanted to ask Bai Ruohan more about it, the other only placed a finger on his lips. “Shh… Don’t make a ruckus, don’t act suspicious.”
“If… the Emperor… fall, then what about our sister? Our agreement?” Song Liren asked in a worried tone.
“Tianyin Qinwang gave me his word, he will not harm the princess from Dong Xing. And the agreement between Dong Xing and Ruanyu will be held up as long as he becomes the Emperor,” Bai Ruohan replied.
“So… You wanted our sister to sway the Emperor into naming Tianyin Qinwang to be the crown prince using her status?” Song Liren asked.
Bai Ruohan suddenly didn’t know what to say. The Emperor is already dead, so Song Lijing did not need to do any pillow talk to the Emperor at all. But because Song Liren did not know of this news, he just nods his head after a while.
“I understand. Gongye need not worry about this. I will advise my sister,” Song Liren murmured softly. Compared to other princes from Ruanyu, Song Liren was willing to bet with the Tianyin Qinwang. After all, the man was already well known. Not to mention, the Bai family was known to be close with Tianyin Qinwang.
‘But will that stubborn little sister be willing to do as she is told? No, before that, she has to be found first! Where the heck are the people I sent to search? Why did they not bring me any report yet? What are they doing, ah!’
Written by: Lin Xiaolong
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