Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
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Chapter 48 – Starry Sea
Their late afternoon was spent cuddling in bed. With Jiang Yao holding the upper hand when it came to who held who, Luo Xiao was left with no option but to just relax in the prince’s arms.
While the red flush on Luo Xiao’s face had faded over time, the playful smirk in Jiang Yao’s eyes hadn’t reduced a bit.
Once the sun had fully set, as if following a clock, a maid appeared in front of the closed doors of the bedroom.
“Your Highness, dinner has been prepared per your request,” she bowed, and after delivering her message, retreated back into the depths of the palace.
Even though the doors were closed, Jiang Yao heard her without any issues. It truly was getting late, and he knew that Luo Xiao hadn’t eaten lunch at all for the day. “Come, Xiaoxiao, let me feed you some of the continent’s delicacies…”
Unlike him, in the last few hours, Luo Xiao had become rather sleepy – the warmth from Jiang Yao’s body, and the odd safety he felt when in his embrace, had almost lulled him to sleep even though his stomach rumbled a little every now and then.
“Delicacies? Alright…” rather sleepily, Luo Xiao replied before getting off the bed. After yawning once, he rubbed his eyes to wake up a bit more before following Jiang Yao outside.
The two shadow guards were nowhere to be seen and that was natural. They weren’t supposed to be visible, but Jiang Yao could feel the two following them from within the darkness nearby. For a moment, Jiang Yao thought about dismissing them as he was with Luo Xiao but decided to just ignore them.
The corridors of the palace were brightly lit by magic lights which were perfectly placed so that no corner remained unlit. With the help of these lights, anyone could see the luxury with which the palace had been built.
It was truly a marvel to the eyes – precious paintings and murals decorated the walls and the pillars supporting the upper floors were made out of the purest jade that seemed to radiate its own light. Various engravings of beasts seemed to come to life with their roaring heads and claws protruding from the ceiling, and they made one feel as if they truly were inside the scene depicted.
Naturally now that he was given a chance to take a proper look at them, Luo Xiao was completely shocked. Every time he saw a new corner of the palace, his breath would hitch and he’d need a few seconds to register what he was seeing and accept it.
That’s why it took the two of them a bit more time than usual to reach the dining room or more accurately, the dining hall.
Perhaps an entire battalion could eat at this place, that was how big it was. The wide windows opened to a gorgeous view to the palace gardens, which made Luo Xiao almost gasp at the sight that laid before him.
He hadn’t expected that even the gardens were lit at night, and not by lamps but their own light. Many of the flowers blooming actually glowed with resplendent light, giving one a sense that the stars had fallen to the ground. Multi-colored fireflies and other glowing insects flew around like specks of starlight, and it was as if the entire garden had become its own universe.
At the sight of it, Luo Xiao couldn’t even look away. It was all so beautiful that it captured him completely, his feet getting him over to the windows on their own.
Noticing his enthusiasm towards the night gardens, Jiang Yao laughed, following him. “Want to have dinner outside?”
“Yes!” being given the option Luo Xiao immediately took it. His expression was akin to a child’s as his eyes focused on one of the night butterflies fluttering near the windows.
Chuckling softly, Jiang Yao waved his hand, signaling the servants to do just that. Within minutes, a small table for two appeared in one of the best spots in the gardens, with two servants waiting on the side to bring the dishes at a moment’s notice.
“Come on,” Jiang Yao’s hand took Luo Xiao’s before leading him out of the dining hall to the table in the middle of the gardens.
As they made their way towards the table, Luo Xiao had to slow down just to be able to marvel at the seemingly endless gardens. Up close, the flowers which glowed seemed even more delicate and precious.
“What sort of flowers are they…?”
“Hmm? They all grow naturally around the continent, though it was a bit of a pain to get them to grow properly here…” Jiang Yao chuckled before gently pulling Luo Xiao forward. “Come on, or our dinner will get cold.”
Moments later, the two were seated on opposite of each other around a small round table, and the servants brought in hot dishes for the two of them. However, even with that arrangement, Jiang Yao didn’t seem to want to let go of Luo Xiao’s hand, even though the other needed it in order to eat his food.
“Jiang Yao…” In the end, Luo Xiao had no choice but to remind the other by gently pulling his hand away. “You can hold my hand once we finish eating,” he smiled before picking up the chopsticks.
“Alright, alright, Xiaoxiao,” Jiang Yao couldn’t help but sigh at the notion that he had to wait but complied. Taking his own chopsticks, he starting to eat as well.
The two servants who stayed nearby to both bring food and make sure everything was up to par found themselves surprised – the Seventh Prince was known for not obeying anyone except the Demon Emperor. And yet, an exception had appeared as Luo Xiao had casually made Jiang Yao resign and listen to his words.
Not even five breaths later, Luo Xiao’s expression had changed yet again. His eyes turned wide as he stared at the delicately cooked steak in front of him. “What is this made of? It’s so good!”
The dish itself seemed rather plain – a medium rare steak adorned with green sauce and a small arrangement of delicate mushrooms next to it. But that plainness actually made one think it was an average dish, yet when Luo Xiao tasted it it was unlike anything he had eaten before!
“It’s simply made from the meat of a species of boars, it’s not that special…”
Though, if one were to look at the expressions of the servants behind the pair, they would realize that it was far from just a ‘species of boars’. Unlike them, Luo Xiao simply nodded as he took another bite, and despite how quickly he ate the natural grace he had never disappeared.
Opposite of him, Jiang Yao simply leaned on his palm as he ate slowly, casually observing Luo Xiao with a slight smile on his face.
For the most part, their dinner went like that. The two didn’t talk much as they simply enjoyed both the food and each other’s presence. Well, Luo Xiao was more focused on eating than Jiang Yao but that didn’t change much.
The dessert was even better than the steak – Luo Xiao didn’t dare believe as the flavors melted in his mouth; the gentle sweetness from the fruits in the small delicacy perfecting the taste. If he could, he wished to eat like this every day – there was no way he could ever not want to eat such delicious food.
The dinner for the two, aside from the delicious food, was incredibly romantic. Compared to all the dinners the two had while they were traveling there was now nobody to look at them weirdly or whisper bad words and spread rumors about the two of them.
At the prince’s palace, aside from the two servants, there were only the two of them, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of glowing flowers and fireflies. Therefore, the atmosphere was just perfect and in a way, neither Luo Xiao nor Jiang Yao wished for it to end.
Of course, all nice things eventually come to an end just like their dinner, once the dishes were finished by Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao.
It seemed like such a simple menu yet it was as if Luo Xiao had eaten for three people. If he were to try cultivating at that very moment, he would realize that the meal he had just eaten was releasing a gentle stream of energy and supplementing his cultivation and body.
Jiang Yao naturally had no thoughts of that as he stood up, a smile on his lips. “Let’s go, Xiaoxiao.”
“Mhm…” Luo Xiao walked over to Jiang Yao as it was clearly time to go back to the palace. However, his eyes were focused not on Jiang Yao but on the gardens. It was plain to see that he didn’t want to go back for the time being even though he was starting to yawn a little.
“Can we just walk around for a bit? They are so pretty…” Luo Xiao sighed as he somewhat leaned to rest his head on Jiang Yao’s chest.
Jiang Yao didn’t bother to reply as his hand found Luo Xiao’s. A sly smirk surfacing on his face as he led the way away from the table into the gardens of glowing flowers and night butterflies.
Far away from the lamps that surrounded the perimeter of the palace, the gardens seemed akin to a fallen starry sky with their own unique charm. Even more, the night sky was clear of any clouds as well which made it seem as if the garden had merged with the sky and the two of them were talking amidst a sea of stars.
Unknowingly, Luo Xiao stopped walking, his expression one of amazement and wonder. Noticing that Jiang Yao silently chuckled, his hand gently moving a strand of hair away from Luo Xiao’s face.
“You know, looking at you like this… It makes me realize that finding you must have been fate,” Jiang Yao whispered softly before his lips touched Luo Xiao’s in a tender, loving kiss.
The youth’s face quickly flushed pink at the kiss, his breathing stopped a bit when Jiang Yao bit his lower lip before letting go after a rather long time. Even though it was nighttime, the color of his cheeks resembled a lantern, making Jiang Yao laugh as one of his hands patted Luo Xiao on the head.
“Sleepy yet? Let’s go, Xiaoxiao.”
Almost rolling his eyes at how much of a parent Jiang Yao resembled at this moment, Luo Xiao followed the other into the palace, and the two passed by the two servants who had obviously witnessed everything.
The two of them, with the plates and tablecloth still in their hands, looked at each other once Jiang Yao and Luo Xiao had disappeared within the palace walls.
“Did we both see the same thing?”
The second one nodded, his eyes clearly betraying his surprise. “How many years has it been since the Seventh Prince had a lover?|
Before the first servant could answer, a third voice came from behind them. “About a hundred. But the cost of that answer is that you two have to clean the west wing tomorrow by noon.”
“Housekeeper! We’re sorry…”
“Off you go, both of you,” Housekeeper Chen didn’t wait for them to finish apologizing as he clapped his hands once, startling the two servants into motion before looking at the palace’s dark walls himself.
His expression unreadable as his figure disappeared into the night.