The coldness of the Great Qi was out of my expectation.
I had no idea if it was my body that was off, or my head that was off—– I believed it was the latter. When I entered the land of Qi, I really wished I was an animal that had long fur so it could protect me from the cold.
Unfortunately my wish was too weird for the gods to accept, so in the end, I could only endure this ice cellar that was the Great Qi.
As for Crown Prince Feng Zhao Wen; perhaps he was a beast by nature, even though he didn’t have the thick fur of a beast, walking around the snow-covered ground while wearing a big cloak make him appear so handsome and casual. He didn’t even shiver from the cold. How amazing.
I truly didn’t understand how it was possible, so when he didn’t notice, I would secretly touch his hands, like when I was handing him a cup of tea. His fingers felt warm in contrast to my cold one. I was secretly disappointed—— We ate the same thing, drank the same water, wore the same clothes yet why were we so different?
Feng Zhao Wen froze a little; lifting his head that was buried inside a document to look at me. After that, he returned to reading the document. Two hours later, when Tian Bing Qing came to clean up the documents he had read, he gave him an instruction, “Bring a hand stove over.”
Tian Bing Qing stood near the entrance of the carriage with a bitter expression, shrinking his neck and not moving.
I looked at the snowland outside. The Crown Prince’s entourage had to brave the snow and the cold for the journey; his request was making other people’s lives even more difficult. I quickly expressed how hot I felt and how I didn’t need any hand stove.
Feng Zhao Wen lifted his head to glance at me, before lowering it to resume his business again.
Tian Bing Qing gave me a grateful look before collecting the documents Feng Zhao Wen had read.
On the second day, I began to regret my reckless decision.
It was truly embarrassing.
On our journey back to the Great Qi, I shared a carriage with Feng Zhao Wen. That was nothing. I had shared his bed and tent for half a year without any incident. But that morning, I woke up and was greeted by a patch of naked skin.
My body was nestled against a broad chest, giving me warmth that I had not felt for days. I slept soundly the previous night, I didn’t have any nightmare. Honestly, I would rather face the nightmare in my dreams than to face this scary situation after waking up.
I quietly raised my face that was tucked against his chest, weeping tearless cry as I looked at the drool stain that I left pooling on top of his jade-like skin. I secretly looked up and was greeted by a pair of crystal-like phoenix eyes. Maybe it was because he just woke up from his sleep, Feng Zhao Wen’s voice sounded particularly magnetic. “Awake?”
I was scared witless. I could feel my heart racing inside my chest as I replied him hastily, “Not yet! I must be having a nightmare!” Facing Feng Zhao Wen’s murderous face, I buried myself inside the quilt and refused to come out.
Feng Zhao Wen didn’t really say anything. He flipped open the quilt and called for Tian Bing Qing to wash it.
I stole a look at Feng Zhao Wen’s oppressive presence inside the carriage. I gradually found it hard to breathe. “Your Highness, why don’t I sleep in Tian Bing Qing’s carriage tonight?”
Tian Bing Qing who had been waiting after Feng Zhao Wen, kept looking back at me to send me looks. When he heard what I said, he immediately rejected my suggestion, “The carriage I am in is already full…….. Yes, full……….” After he said that, he jumped off the carriage and ran off.
…….. I shouldn’t have had spoken up for him yesterday. I should have made him ran around the snowland to find me hand stove.
When this matter happened again and again, I got used to shivering in the day and leaning onto warmth at night. Early in the morning, I wiped the trail of drools on Feng Zhao Wen’s chest, laughing lightly as I greeted him, “Good morning, Your Highness.” I had to admit, having a warm chest to lean onto was a good way to stay warm.
I heard the maidens in the Great Qi marries early. Maidens like me who hadn’t marry at this age was out of the norm. It must be because of the cold weather of the Great Qi. It would be hard for the womenfolk to pass the cold winter so they needed to find a warm chest to keep themselves warm.
The Great Qi was rich and beautiful, everything was white all around. It had gorgeous scenery but it was too cold.
I burrowed myself inside Feng Zhao Wen’s Crown Prince’s palace, refusing to take even one step out. After returning from war, he had a lot of things he needed to settle, I could only see him when it was late at night.
Lucky the delicacies that came out of the eastern palace’s kitchen suited my taste; spicy and flavorful. I felt like I ate this kind of food a lot in the past, it gave me familiar feeling.
Tian Bing Qing kept trying to make me to go outside, but I always gave him excuses to reject his offer.
One day, General Wu Ke ridiculed me to no end when he came over to see Feng Zhao Wen. I was amazed by his mouth, don’t tell me eating food at the local restaurants outside would make one’s dull mouth so sharp and eloquent?
It hadn’t even been that long since we returned!
From that icy young man from war, General Wu Ke became a sharp-mouthed young man who was pretty skeptical towards everything.
Tian Bing Qing told me he was willing to keep me company if I want to venture out of the palace. I thought he was just greedy…..
As we both sat on a restaurant outside the palace and ordered a tableful of food, there was a loud noise coming from the lower floor of the restaurant. General Wu Ke was wearing a white scholarly robe and was preaching about the welfare of the common people.
—En, the idea of liberating society and molding them into an ideal one was truly admirable. The bunch of scholars he was verbally sparring with were condemning war and it’s effects for the common people. Only then did I realized that Feng Zhao Wen’s decision to go to war wasn’t well-received here.
Wu Ke countered them by saying that once the war ends, the common people no longer had to fear for war. He sounded so righteous that even the travelers stopping by the restaurant were listening in great concentration, agitated as though they wanted to personally get rid of the corrupted tyrant of the Great Chen who was mistreating his people.
Even though I had no idea who the emperor of the Great Chen was, I sympathize with him.
This move from Feng Zhao Wen was truly poisonous.
One could not measure the public’s opinion; opinion from a few pedantic scholars would never be impactful enough to stop war.
Over the past few decades, kingdoms had been at one war after another, never once had they stopped. The wrath of war was not felt by only the people of one kingdom, the people in every kingdoms at least had migrated to another kingdom to seek peace.
Even the cashier in the restaurant was wiping his tears using his sleeves, yearning for his birth place. He heard the Crown Prince already swept the land of Han. He was now preparing to leave for the land of Han to manage his ancestral home.
Was this what people called, the world had a change of heart?
The emperor of Great Chen’s days were numbered.
Feng Zhao Wen had to spend his New Year on the palace. He wanted to bring me along, but I rejected vehemently, “Your Highness, this official is currently reflecting over past’s misdemeanor and has to cultivate properly in the eastern palace.”
Actually, I thought the meals from the eastern palace’s kitchen suited my taste buds. What if it didn’t work that way in the main palace? It was really not worth the risk.
The only downside was I had to sleep alone in the large bed. Even though there were maids waiting for me all night long to wake me up lest I had a nightmare again, no one could help with the cold. Losing a warm chest to lean into made me a little sad.
The corner of his lips were curled as he ordered the maids to prepare balls of incense. After that, he went to participate in the imperial palace’s New Year’s banquet.
Tian Bing Qing ate the dinner feast with me, staring at the fireworks from the palace from the corridor we were at. Ice lanterns were hung at the courtyard. Amidst the ice lanterns, my head gradually felt muddled.
I couldn’t find any familiarity with this scene.
I was sure I lived in luxury in the past because the sumptuous meals weren’t exactly strange to my taste. Just I was very sure that I had never seen this dream-like scene before.
Tian Bing Qing who was next to me was pointing at a lantern the shape of a pair of fish, laughing and talking about the method to make it. I suddenly turned to him. When I heard his sharp voice, I felt like I was in my dream. Before I could even grasp what I felt just now, a voice broke me from my trance, “Is Xiao Lang waiting for me?”
Under the light of the ice lanterns, I could see the tall silhouette of a man from afar. His face was handsome while his lips carried a light smile as he walked towards me. He reached me pretty fast.
He put out his hand and caressed my face. It felt cold and it penetrated my flesh. I was shocked awake. I trembled for a moment before I outstretched my hand to touch his neck. Seeing the rare sight of him trembling from the cold, I laughed out loud.
He stepped forward and grabbed my hands before rubbing it warm. His entire being appeared casual and lazy as the smell of alcohol wafted from him. “What was Xiao Lang thinking about?”
I somehow felt that the way he called me ‘Xiao Lang’ carried traces of derision, I could never found out why. After thinking for a long time, I concluded that I had once done something really stupid and hence decided not to argue about it. I looked at him in the eyes, “I just thought these ice lanterns looked so unfamiliar. It looked like a novelty to me.”
His pupils shrank a little before he laughed and patted my head, “Your head was indeed hit too hard. You forgot even this. Wait until the 15th, the entire city will be full of ice lanterns. I will take you out to see it then. You will definitely remember them.”
I laughed as I nodded, shamelessly placing my ice-cold hand on his neck. I laughed happily seeing him frozen from the chill.
I never thought that the extraordinary and heroic Crown Prince of Qi could have that kind of expression. I was really happy.
Back then, I forgot my past and could not see my future. The only thing I could grasp was the joyful moment in front of me; and this man along with his warm chest that could make me cry tears of joy.