Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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Luo Xiao was unaware of why Jiang Yao held his hand, but he didn’t think too much about it. He was completely used to such actions by now.
While many of the girls blushed and looked down upon seeing his action, some looked on begrudgingly. The men were also stunned, but whereas the majority looked disgusted, there was a group that didn’t care about such things. There was yet another group who seemed to understand Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao was even attractive to them as well.
Jiang Yao had nothing against those that saw them as a nuisance, nor did he mind those who were ignoring them, but the ones that seemed to appreciate his appearance got a long glance and felt their bodies turn cold.
As a result, they no longer dared to even look at them and only then did Jiang Yao feel happy.
Luo Xiao was completely unaccustomed of everything that happened around him, his eyes were round like bronze bells and he was observing everything.
The caravan bustled with life. Many experts moved toward the center of the caravan where food was being prepared.
The guards ate in teams so that there was always someone protecting the caravan, but the merchants and the passengers were always the first to dine.
When the caravan leader saw Jiang Yao, he instantly hurried to stand as they were very important guests. They had paid a high price to join their caravan so it was obvious that he would treat them especially well.
“My esteemed guests! Please, come sit!” He said as his arms swung outwards gesturing for them to sit down.
Luo Xiao was about to sit when he felt someone drag him to the ground a bit farther away from the caravan leader.
“You sit here,” Jiang Yao said, and Luo Xiao, who was completely clueless as to why he was isolated from the others, frowned.
Unfortunately, Jiang Yao used his royal sounding voice, and Luo Xiao knew this was not up for discussion.
In the end, he sat down and Jiang Yao sat down next to him. They sat on their own as if they were in their own little world.
“Excuse me, my sirs,” said a young woman who came over with two large plates of food. They didn’t know what these two guests liked to eat, so they had just picked a little bit of everything.
Luo Xiao quickly accepted the plate of food and thanked the girl where Jiang Yao just accepted it but stayed quiet.
She was a naive young girl. She had never before seen two men as intimate as these two, and she was quite curious about them.
“Are you two a couple?” she asked Luo Xiao, who seemed more approachable than Jiang Yao. Everyone who heard the question piqued they ears to listen in on what their answer was.
Luo Xiao’s face flushed red from hearing her question. He opened his mouth to answer but then he looked tentatively at Jiang Yao. What was he supposed to say?
He wanted to say yes, but wasn’t that too brazen? Seeing his doubtful eyes, Jiang Yao felt a little annoyed. “We are,” he answered in Luo Xiao’s place.
The face of the girl who asked the question turned beet-red, and she raised her hands to her cheeks. She looked at the ground unable to say anything else.
Luo Xiao was equally embarrassed but a sweet smile appeared on his lips. He had wanted to say it but feared that Jiang Yao would be against him voicing such a thing. Now it was clear that their relationship was acknowledged by others, and Luo Xiao was very happy.
Seeing the happy yet embarrassed smile on Luo Xiao’s face, Jiang Yao felt content. It was definitely fun to see him happy, proud, and embarrassed all at the same time. It was clear that the place Jiang Yao had in his heart was not light.
Many girls suddenly appeared next to Luo Xiao and looked at him with curious gazes. Seeing these young girls, Jiang Yao said nothing and just started eating.
“Where are you from?” one of the girls asked Luo Xiao.
“The Kingdom of Zhanshi,” he said tentatively, not sure why they had taken a sudden interest in him.
“Is your partner also from the Kingdom of Zhanshi?” One of the girls asked while glancing st Jiang Yao.
“No,” Luo Xiao said. He didn’t know how much he was allowed to say, so he didn’t say where he was from, and the girls were also respectful enough not to ask too many questions.
“You are very pretty,” one of the girls said as she looked at Luo Xiao, “have you ever tried wearing a dress?”
Luo Xiao’s eyes widened in shock and alarm. “No! Why would I do such a thing!” he exclaimed and was certain that he would never want to wear one either. He was a man through and through so it was unnatural for him to wear a dress. Even Jiang Yao looked at the speaker with a slightly surprised gaze.
“Do you want to try? We can dress you up like a pretty girl,” another girl took over, but Luo Xiao shook his head like a rattle drum. “I am a man!” he exclaimed, and the girls all looked disappointed when hearing his response.
“Let’s eat!” Luo Xiao said. He sighed and ignored the boisterous girls that suddenly felt he was their new best friend.
Luo Xiao was shocked at their behavior but he had many questions so he started eating his food while listening to the girls’ chatter.
“We were born here and raised as merchants,” one of them said. “We travel from one village to another, from city to city and sell our wares. We are always in our caravan, so we don’t know what life is like for villagers. Tell us about yourself?” one of them asked Luo Xiao.
He had nothing to hide so he told about how he had lived in the Jinwei Village. How he had experienced life in his bed because he was weak from birth.
“Sometimes merchants would appear from the outside world and the entire village would gather together to see their wares. It was only at times like these that I was allowed to leave the house and see what was outside.”
“I usually spent all my money buying books that I read when I was confined to bed, so I was never bored.”
“All the villagers treated me very nicely. The children cultivated and when they finished their daily studies of the arts, they came by and visited me. All the adults loaned me their books as well so that I would not be bored, Luo Xiao said.
The girls listened with bated breath and even Jiang Yao listened curiously because he had never really heard Luo Xiao talk about his past.
“If you were so sick how come you look so healthy now?” one of the girls asked curiously but Luo Xiao smiled and looked at Jiang Yao. He didn’t answer the question but the glance showed it all: it was clear that he had been saved by Jiang Yao.
As for how they all could only guess as neither Luo Xiao nor Jiang Yao had any intention of saying what exactly had happened.
“I see,” said the girl. She giggled and covered her mouth with her hand. She couldn’t help but feel Luo Xiao was amusing.
Luo Xiao spent the rest of the evening talking with the girls. He smiled and enjoyed talking with someone his own age, and Jiang Yao had fun watching Luo Xiao, hearing about his past, and thoughts.
Although Luo Xiao let go and was honest and straightforward when he was alone with Jiang Yao, they rarely discussed the past. He enjoyed listening to Luo Xiao casually talk about the past.
It was so different from himself, someone who had grown up in the palace. He had grown up amongst schemes and selfish people, but Luo Xiao was different.
He had been given love and adoration as he grew up. He was a very normal mortal, someone that usually would never reach Jiang Yao’s eyes but things were different now.
As the night drew near the weather turned colder and soon Luo Xiao started shivering. Jiang Yao knew that he had enjoyed chatting with the girls about random things, but now that he was getting cold, Jiang Yao rose from the ground and dragged Luo Xiao to their carriage without looking at anyone else.
The girls that he had talked with all blushed while thinking about the fact that these two were a couple and that they were spending the night together. While the girls’ minds wondered, others looked at them with judgemental eyes as they vanished into the carriage that had been reserved for them.
As they entered, Jing Yao instantly wrapped his arms around Luo Xiao’s frail shoulders and drew him into a tight embrace.
Luo Xiao was very cold. Although he had been wearing clothes, his entire body had long since cooled down.
Seeing him shivering, Jiang Yao took the most straightforward approach and instantly hugged him.
He rested his forehead on Luo Xiao’s shoulder and his breath tickled the younger man’s neck.
Luo Xiao returned the hug. Today had been a great day. He had entered a caravan of merchants and found people with whom he could have a friendly chat. He had a breakthrough thanks to the spiritual oranges and was now being hugged by Jiang Yao.
Although Jiang Yao had taken some petty advantages earlier, he had already completely forgotten about it.
“Let’s get some sleep,” Jiang Yao muttered as he swept Luo Xiao off his feet and placed him on the bed. After setting him down, he took Luo Xiao’s shoes off.
He then continued to undress the younger man. At the start, Luo Xiao had refused to let Jiang Yao undress him, but he quickly realized his protests were completely ignored.
If he flailed about he would be firmly secured by a strong hand, and in the end, he just gave up. At least Jiang Yao allowed him to keep his inner robes on.
Otherwise, he would have fought with his life on the line against such an action. He was too embarrassed to be naked in front of this older male.
Together the two climbed into bed. Luo Xiao had an exciting day, and as he settled in Jiang Yao’s arms, he quickly fell asleep.
Jiang Yao had no actual need for sleep, but when he realized that he enjoyed sleeping with Luo Xiao in his arms, he started sleeping every night as well.
Together the two fell into a deep sleep. Luo Xiao didn’t stir before the following morning where he once more awoke from his deep sleep and saw that the carriages had already started moving.
He tiredly rubbed his eyes and realized that Jiang Yao was not by his side. His eyes widened and he quickly looked around the carriage, but there were no signs of the other man.
Seeing that Jiang Yao was not there, Luo Xiao felt slightly confused. Did he have something he needed to do? But why hadn’t he told him?
Luo Xiao hurried out of the bed before dressing in the clothes Jiang Yao had laid out for him, and only then did he proceed to the entrance of the carriage.
He knocked a few times before opening the door and stepping into the driver’s seat. Seeing this youngster step upfront the driver looked curiously at him, but Luo Xiao just ignored him while looking for any trace of Jiang Yao who he did not see.