Chapter 1231: [TangNing] Begging to be picked up

Faced with little Rui’er’s pleas, Long Feiye was left at a loss for how to react. This was the first time since his son was born that the child had asked to be picked up! It...was also the deepest wish hidden in his heart, something that even Han Yunxi might not fully understand. He had never been held by his own father. When he got old enough to remember things, he could only recall his mother holding him a handful of times. Still, the most he got was a hug or pats on the shoulder. 

Perhaps he was destined to be a child who wasn’t spoiled, who had to grow up early. But that didn’t prevent him from hugging or spoiling Rui’er. Because he had been a child himself, he understood what they wanted and hoped that he could provide the same. 

When little Rui’er saw that his father wasn’t moving, his sobs intensified. He clutched at his father’s robes and tried his best to climb up his father. At last, Long Feiye recovered and plucked him up, pressing him tight against his chest. If possible, he’d absorb Rui’er completely. 

Just how much did he love him?

“Father’s here! I’m not scared!”

“Good boy...father’s right here!”

Nobody saw that the corners of Long Feiye’s eyes were wet with tears. Little Rui’er had really stopped crying from fear. Instead, he wrapped his arms around his father’s neck and buried his head into his father’s chest. Gu Qishao watched wordlessly from the side and could only sigh. In the end, he’s someone else’s son, after all!

Little Rui’er had stopped crying, but soon enough Long Feiye sensed that he was trembling with fright. Although he wanted to hold him longer so his son could lean against him more, he was perfectly rational towards his son even as he remained cruel to himself. He immediately pried Rui’er off his chest. As the boy looked at him while biting his lips, fear was evident on his face.

Now Gu Qishao had discovered the abnormality as well. How can this be?

“Rui’er, what’s wrong? Tell your father, don’t be afraid,” Long Feiye said.

Rui’er looked at him with teary eyes and didn’t reply. He seemed sluggish, almost half-sleep.

“Good boy, tell father why? What are you afraid of?” Long Feiye asked.

Rui’er’s shivering got worse. His expression was one of abject terror, making Long Feiye’s heart seize with pain. Still, he patiently asked, “Rui’er, you’re afraid of father, right? Tell father, yes or no?”

Rui’er continued to grit his teeth in silence. Still, he didn’t hesitate to shake his head in the negative. Long Feiye tried asking a few more times, but Rui’er only continued to shake his head. Whether it was daylight or nighttime, awake or asleep, fussy or calm, he always shook his head. But it was clear that his body was reacting in fright!

“Then what are you afraid of?” Long Feiye was so anxious that he forgot his son was only half-awake. What a fuss this night had become. Since Rui’er was only semi-conscious now, he’d probably forget about this when he woke up. The boy wordlessly stared at his father with helpless, timid eyes, but he reached out his hands and wrapped them around Long Feiye’s neck again as if he’d never let go. 

Long Feiye knew he should be pushing Rui’er aside, but he couldn’t bear to. He held him longer, cradling the child in his arms as if he’d be there until the sky fell down. When Rui’er cried consciously at being carried, it was out of pure instinct. But now that he was fussing at night, his semi-conscious reactions were borne from his most sincere desires and reactions!

So it turned out Rui’er wanted him to carry him after all! How much of this unknown fear had he endured while conscious? How much had Long Feiye himself endured as a child while facing his icy, merciless mother? Enduring something like that was like being left to boil without ever slaking that thirst. Of course, he never expected as a child to lose both parents forever before growing up. Those left behind only acknowledged his identity as the East Qin crown prince. They treated him as someone who would never grieve or miss them and placed the burden of his parents’ responsibilities on his shoulders! From that day on, he began to live a lonely existence, cool and cold. All he had were subordinates, not family or relatives!

It had been over a decade since Long Feiye thought of these things. He rested his head on Rui’er’s shoulder and gave him a heavy kiss. “Xuanyuan Rui, don’t be afraid! Father isn’t leaving. Father will wait for you forever--until you stop feeling afraid anymore.”

So speaking, he pried Rui’er free and gave him to Zhao mama who had just arrived.

Although Rui’er held onto him tight, it was still obvious that he was shaking. There had to be some underlying reason. If he let his son keep feeling afraid, he couldn’t predict the consequences. He could only be cruel!

Zhao mama caught Rui’er, but he suddenly howled with tears. She was always the little master’s third choice after his parents, so this reaction left her at a loss. In fact, she had been by him the entire time until something called her away from Gu Qishao.

“Little master, take a look at this old servant! It’s mama! Look!”

“Little master, wake up, it’s daylight and you should get up now,” Zhao mama coaxed while gesturing for Xu Donglin to bring the lantern closer so it could shine on the boy’s face. If a fussy child couldn’t be made to calm down, then the next best thing was to wake him up. 

Unfortunately, Rui’er continued to cry. He sobbed and struggled as fiercely as he did in Gu Qishao’s arms. He was so strong that Zhao mama couldn’t even hold him standing up and let him slip to the ground. The boy immediately threw himself at Long Feiye and clutched his legs while bawling. “Father, I want father...father pick me up…”

Now Zhao mama was tearing up as well. Xu Donglin could only look away, afraid to see any more as he secretly wiped at his own eyes. Gu Qishao felt more wretched and confused the longer he watched. He couldn’t help huffing, “Long Feiye, what are you doing? Pick him up already before I steal him away!” He was ready to rush over and stuff Rui’er into his arms. 

Above his son, Long Feiye began to caress the little head and hum a soft tune. Without fuss, he picked up Rui’er and used lightness techniques to fly towards Narcissus Courtyard. Rui’er didn’t cry the entire time, but his body kept trembling. Long Feiye was very clear that he would never pick up Rui’er after this until the boy stopped fearing him. He did his best to take the longer, roundabout way to his quarters. Even so, what then?

He was extremely fast and reached the rooms in a flash. Carrying the quiet, sleeping, shaking boy into the warmth of the bedrooms, Long Feiye’s brows were knit tight. He placed him on the bed, and little Rui’er caught whiff of the familiar scent. He spotted his mother next and whimpered as he crawled close to snuggle next to her with his butt in the air and cheek against the covers, then finally settled down.

After all that sorrow and grief was over, he sniffled a few more times before finally calming down and falling asleep. He had none of the temper or pride of his daytime self, but only looked like a clingy caterpillar. Long Feiye observed from the sidelines at his son’s innocent face and Han Yunxi’s fully unconscious one. Although he felt sad, it was mixed with helplessness and even a faint warmth and joy that made him grin.

Sometimes things were bitter because you were lonely. If you had family and someone you loved, even the most difficult hardships weren’t so bad. Long Feiye found some thick covers and placed them over Rui’er, then sat by the duo with his back against the headboard. He never grew tired of their sleeping faces and soon fell into deep thought. 

Little Rui’er was normal in every way, so he and Han Yunxi had been planning for the boy to grow up so he could tell them what was the matter. But seeing his son so helpless tonight was like feeling his heart being torn to pieces, making it hard for him to breathe. Gu Beiyue had once said that it might be related to his killing aura. Those with potent internal energy had strong auras that sensitive children could feel. Perhaps he needed to pay a trip to Celestial Mountain, or track down Han Chen who knew more about the Lustbite energy. 

On the first day of the new year, Long Feiye end up falling asleep while draped next to his wife’s body. 

Tang Li, was peacefully sleeping while keeping watch over his wife and daughter. The snowfall grew more intense as silence blanketed No. 7 Teahouse. Only the sound of the north wind whistled through the landscape. 

Gu Qishao had long returned to Serene Sunlight Courtyard. He was currently soaking in the hot springs with his back against the edge, head thrown back to face the skies. The hot water lapped against his chest and the body that had recovered for over a year. His muscles were defined, his bones exquisite. It was a sexy sight that made one’s thoughts wander, especially combined with his devastating looks to make him some beguiling devil. 

Closing his eyes, he allowed the snowflakes to land on his face and shoulders with a chuckle. “Another year is here...the first year has passed, haha!”

With this, he could add another year to his age. This was his first year completed in his new life. There would be many more to come. 

--

While No. 7 Teahouse was falling into silence, Gu Beiyue had just returned to his living quarters as well. After establishing the country, Gu Qishao had turned into the busiest man at court amongst all the officials. Thanks to the hectic pace of the first few months, he could now afford to be idle for a bit. After all, the crown prince was still too young to be tutored, while the Imperial Physician Courtyard had been suitably staffed even though it was built from scratch. Meanwhile, none of the matters from Medical and Medicine City, major as they were, were especially pressing. He was still making preparations. Using the excuse of Qin Min’s health, he found a reason to leave the hinterlands and ask for a vacation from Long Feiye to bring her south.

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