Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
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That night, Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao slept together on the bed. But once morning came and Jiang Yao woke up, holding the sleeping Luo Xiao in his arms, he decided to not wake the boy up.
He felt happy over the fact that there was no way for Luo Xiao to cheat on him. He was too pure and innocent to think of anything like that. With a smile on his lips, the demon prince carefully got out of bed, making sure not to wake up Luo Xiao, before covering him back up with the blanket.
Seeing Luo Xiao sleep like that made him feel warm inside, a warmth which was something unknown for Jiang Yao to feel. And it honestly felt very right, as if it was meant to be there to begin with despite it never being there previously to meeting Luo Xiao.
The prince sighed softly before leaning over and kissing Luo Xiao gently on the lips. Oh, how much he loved kissing and feeling those soft, untainted lips that Luo Xiao had. And seeing him sleep calmly, without even reacting, it made him want to kiss him again, and again, and again, just to see how he would react to being woken up by being kissed.
But now wasn’t the time for that. Jiang Yao smiled lightly, a smile reserved truly only for Luo Xiao, before he straightened his back up and disappeared from the room. He knew Luo Xiao would understand that he couldn’t stay for much.
The main palace of the royal demon family in Cloudsoar City was perhaps the grandest structure complex ever built, not just in the Demon Empire, but the entire Tiandi continent. Perhaps only the Cloudsoar Royal Academy could rival the place, and only because it simply span a greater area than the palace. The grandeur of the place, however, could not be questioned.
Jiang Yao wasn’t at the main royal palace to marvel at it. He had been summoned by his father, the Demon Emperor, not that he really knew what for.
The Demon Emperor himself was an exceptionally well known and influential figure. But aside from that, not much was actually known about him. Not many people knew what he looked like and what his real personality was like. He was a true mystery in many ways – and only the closest to the Emperor knew what he was actually like.
Jiang Yao’s expression was rather frosty as he made his way towards the exit of the palace. The meeting with his father had gone about the same as usual. Neither of them was really talkative to each other, and really all that his father had asked for was information about the parts of the empire managed by Jiang Yao. A merely formal meeting which made them seem even less like a father and son and more like partners in business.
His cold, frosty presence made anyone else in the vicinity want to hide away – he was after all known as a cold, ruthless being, which was a stark difference from the other man walking into the palace at this very moment.
Jiang Luo, in terms of the feeling he gave off, was the almost direct opposite to Jiang Yao. A warm, welcoming atmosphere came from him and the soft smile formed by his lips, not to mention aided by the fact that he was physically around thirty years old. Older people simply seemed more soft than the younger cultivators. Jiang Luo was known for his powers over fire, which aided that difference even more.
Beneath the gentle exterior lay a scheming and black heart. Those who knew the Fourth Demon Prince was aware that he was no more merciful than Jiang Yao. In fact, he might even be more malevolent compared to Jiang Yao, who was aloof from the fight for the throne.
Although this was the case, Jiang Luo had taken Jiang Yao as his arch-enemy. He knew that although Jiang Yao had no interest in the position as Crown Prince and later Demon Emperor, he was still the strongest amongst them all. Should he suddenly change his opinion, then everything he had built up over the years would crumble.
Unbeknownst to both of them, they were walking towards one another. Currently, they were in an almost open war against each other. Jiang Yao had ordered his shadow guard to deal with Jiang Luo’s information network and sources of income as a punishment for him trying to kidnap Luo Xiao.
Jiang Luo was not dumb, he had long since guessed that this was the case, and he was fuming mad whenever he thought about how much manpower he had lost, not to mention how many years his information network had been pushed back.
This was also the reason that Jiang Luo had appeared in the palace this day. He needed to request his royal father to permit him to recruit men again.
One had to always ask for permission from the Emperor if one wanted to mass recruit especially if any of the princes wished to do so, as there was always a risk of betrayal and thoughts of overthrowing the throne.
As they were walking, one towards the imperial study and on away from the imperial study, they suddenly met face to face in the middle of a grand hall.
This hall was bustling with life. Servants and maids were rushing back and forth on errands while some were cleaning and carrying stuff from one end of the palace to the other. Even eunuchs were walking around doing their tasks.
It was not only servants that were present. Many officials were working in the palace, and these were also walking towards their own destination.
Some were here because of actual work, but some had arrived with ulterior motives. They had heard that the seventh demon prince had been summoned and thus came to curry favor.
Others knew that the Fourth Demon Prince was here for the sake of recruiting men and wanted to offer some of their own family members in return for getting closer to him.
As such, the hall had been bustling with life, but suddenly it was so silent that one would be able to hear a needle drop to the floor. Jiang Yao and Jiang Luo were staring at one another, surprise evident in both their eyes.
While Jiang Yao did not even spend the effort to hide the loathing and disgust in his eyes, Jiang Luo quickly covered up the hostility that had threatened to appear in his eyes as he smiled at Jiang Yao.
“Dear brother, what brings you here?” he asked as if the two of them were on good terms, but Jiang Yao just glanced at him with annoyance.
“Looking for new people? Don’t bother; I’ll just kill them again,” he said. His voice was not low, and the words he told stunned everyone present. Had Jiang Yao made a move against Jiang Luo? Was he suddenly interested in the throne?
“Dear brother, I wonder why you suddenly felt the need to punish me so severely. Was it because I tried touching your toy?” Jiang Luo narrowed his eyes, but the smile was still on his lips as he spoke towards Jiang Yao, but contrary to what he had expected, the younger demon prince did not argue back. Instead, he just waved his hand, and suddenly the entire hall was covered in frost.
Icicles suddenly shot towards Jiang Luo without warning, sharp like knives and fast like lightning.
The expression of Jiang Luo instantly changed as the previously elegant and amiable expression on his face turned ugly, and he hurriedly retreated.
“Jiang Yao, you are too audacious! How dare you attack me in royal Father’s palace?!”
Jiang Yao snickered. “Don’t even think about threatening me with Father’s name. I am sure he will be curious about how you touched something that belonged to me with your men. It was naturally you who instigated this feud; I am just taking revenge!”
Jiang Luo was pale and furious. He was not Jiang Yao’s opponent in direct battle, and although he could scheme against him, he had no chance in a face-off like this.
At the same time, he knew that what Jiang Yao said was also correct. Their father would never care about their personal matters, and especially not since he had tried to kidnap someone on Jiang Yao’s side.
Gritting his teeth, a large beautiful flame erupted from his hands and covered his entire body, trying to raise the temperature in the room, however even though he tried, he was unable to penetrate the frost, he was only able to keep himself warm, with the breath coming out of his mouth was turning to frosty mist.
Jiang Yao had a sinister smile on his lips. He was like a cat playing with a mouse.
With another wave of his hand, more icicles appeared, and they too shot towards Jiang Luo, who barely managed to block them all, but his breathing was hurried, and sweat was beading up on his forehead.
“It seems you have increased your strength,” he smiled, but he was still not feeling worried. Another wave of his hand and double the amount of icicles appeared, shooting at Jiang Luo, who gritted his teeth in hatred. He knew he was going to get beaten today.
And beaten he was. His clothes were in rags; blood was dyeing whatever left of them on his body and wounds were all over his flesh by the time Jiang Yao finally had vented enough of his frustrations.
The many officials and servants were all shocked. Although they knew that Jiang Yao was stronger than Jiang Luo, they did not know to what extent, but when Jiang Yao was beating Jiang Luo without even moving more than a hand, they understood that Jiang Luo was doomed to lose everything if Jiang Yao ever got serious.
Many of the officials started to reconsider who to support; the servants were also shocked and quickly vanished into different corridors to share the news with everyone. Jiang Yao had beaten Jiang Luo!
“If you try to touch him another time, it will not be as simple as a beating,” Jiang Yao said as he looked at Jiang Luo with cold and callous eyes.
“Touch him, and I will skin you, break all your bones, and make you wish you were dead.”
Jiang Luo was feeling hatred, but he knew better than to discuss against Jiang Yao, he put on a grieved expression on his face and looked at Jiang Yao as if he was unfairly treated.
“Don’t act in front of me,” the corner of Jiang Yao’s mouth lifted up in sarcasm. Then he turned around and simply left the palace, heading back to his own palace as his job there was over.
He knew that Jiang Luo would not give up on using Luo Xiao against him, but he never doubted his own strength. Right now Luo Xiao was growing, so he would shelter him from the rain and the wind until the day they could stand side by side.
“Fetch Mo Yi,” he said when he had seated himself in his empty study.
There was no sound, no movement, but Jiang Yao knew that his order had been heard.
Moments after, Mo Yi appeared, entered the room and kneeled down in front of Jiang Yao.
“Master,” Mo Yi called out, and Jiang Yao looked at him. “Follow Jiang Luo. Figure out what exactly he has to back him, I need to know before he dares to touch Xiaoxiao again.”
A moment of silence.
“If it seems as if he has detected you, return immediately.”
Mo Yi cupped his fists before vanishing into thin air. At the same time, Jiang Yao sat down in his chair, feeling warm at heart whenever he thought about Luo Xiao whom he had spent last night together with.
If it were possible, then he would sneak into the academy every night to share a bed with his cute little lover, but he knew that it was not possible.
He was also aware that now that Luo Xiao was growing, it was essential for him to be allowed freedom to grow. If he were there all the time, he would affect him too much.
Sighing, he leaned back and smiled gently, a smile so unlike the one he had mockingly given his older brother. He would give his all to protect Luo Xiao, even if it meant going to hell and back. Even if it meant fighting against his annoying fourth brother.