Qin Min took out a small medicine bottle with a smile. "Esteemed Empress, this is coconut oil. It's more effective than tea oil and has a better flavor, apply this instead."
Naturally Han Yunxi had heard of coconut oil but was very surprised. "Where did you get this from?"
"The south, while I was living in Jiangnan. Children's skin is delicate and prone to red rashes or eczema. Little Shadow is afraid of heat too, so I always carry it on me." As Qin Min explained, she began applying the oil to Yan'er with hands like massage. The girl was so comfortable that she quieted down completely. Meanwhile, Qin Min inadvertently spotted the phoenix feather birthmark at the base of her spine.
"What a pretty birthmark?" Qin Min couldn't help remarking. She had never seen one so beautiful before.
"All of the daughters in the imperial clan have this," Han Yunxi said, though she meant "West Qin imperial clan." The phoenix feather birthmark had already been publicized by Bai Yanqing to the public, but Qin Min wasn't interested in such matters and didn't know.
After applying the cool coconut oil, Yan'er was so comfortable that she sprawled in her mother's lap and didn't want to move anymore.
"Yan'er, did Zhao mama teach you to say those things just then?" Han Yunxi asked.
Yan'er looked up and beamed. "Imperial mother, can you pretend not to know?"
Han Yunxi was bemused. "What benefits does imperial mother get out of it?"
Yan'er thought it over before declaring, "I won't cling to father at night anymore, so you and father can have another little brother."
Qin Min flushed, while Han Yunxi turned even redder as she fumed. "Did Zhao mama tell you that too?"
Before Yan'er could nod subconsciously, she stopped and shook her head. "No!"
"Then who was it?" Han Yunxi asked.
Beneath her mother's scrutiny, Yan'er only felt wronged. She couldn't understand the ambiguity of her statement or why her mother had suddenly turned fierce. After some thought, she said pathetically, "Imperial mother, can you pretend not to know? I'll give you other benefits."
"What kind of benefits?" Han Yunxi pressed.
"I won't cling to father in the daytime. Zhao mama said, father and mother can make a little brother in the daytime too."
Now Han Yunxi had flushed to her neck, wishing she could find a crack in the ground. Qin Min kept her head bowed, shying away while trying to hold back her laughter. Seeing her mother silent, Yan'er almost wanted to cry. She was afraid that imperial mother would do something to Zhao mama in the future.
Anxiously she asked, "Imperial mother, can you pretend to not know anything. I really won't cling to father anymore. You and him can have lots and lots of little brothers and sisters, okay? Or, I can also not—"
Han Yunxi immediately muffled Yan'er's mouth to stop her from babbling any further. If this girl kept talking, Heaven knows how many secrets she'd expose!
"Yan'er, imperial mother will pretend not to know anything. You never said anything today, and imperial mother didn't hear anything today. Will you remember?" Han Yunxi asked.
Yan'er nodded but her eyes swept towards Qin Min. Han Yunxi did as well, and Qin Min looked up to see both mother and daughter staring her way.
"I, I…" Qin Min was very embarrassed and couldn't utter a sentence until she stammered, "I don't know a thing! Esteemed Empress, Your Highness Crown Princess, please don't worry!"
When the trio returned to the pavilion, the two adults were still silent and embarrassed but Yan'er was back to her happy self.
"All's well?" Long Feiye asked.
Yan'er was about to scurry into her father's lap when she suddenly stopped. Does my promise to imperial mother still count? If imperial mother says she'll pretend not to hear a thing, then I have to fulfill my promise not to cling to father too.
Thus, she nestled back in her mother's arms. Long Feiye was puzzled and moved to pick Yan'er up, but she evaded him and wound her arms around her mother tightly, refusing to let go. Long Feiye was even more confused. Yan'er had never refused his hugs before. What was wrong?
"Yan'er be good, come here." Long Feiye grabbed Yan'er and wanted to pry her out of Han Yunxi's hands.
Yan'er immediately burst into tears. "No! I don't want imperial father! I want imperial mother…wahh…imperial mother, hold onto me!"
Long Feiye gave a start and stared at Han Yunxi, who had been worried that Yan'er would spill the beans but was now pleased by her actions. She held her tight and put on an act. "Yan'er be good, imperial mother will hold you!"
"Mhm!" Yan'er nodded vigorously. "You have to hold on tight."
Yan'er was too afraid that imperial mother would find trouble for Zhao mama if imperial father took her away.
"Fine, fine, fine! I'll hold you tight!" Han Yunxi saw Long Feiye's puzzled, disappointed expression and wanted to laugh out loud. It must be terrible to be dumped by someone you loved. Fortunately Rui'er had already grown up and wasn't so foolish and easy to trick. Long Feiye couldn't reclaim his little lover no matter how he tried.
"What's wrong with her?" Long Feiye asked.
"Heheh, she's acting spoiled with her mother. It can't be helped, you should sit back down," Han Yunxi declared.
Long Feiye still felt something amiss, but with Gu Beiyue and Qin Min present, he didn't press and sat down. Han Yunxi was still the mother in the end. How could he eat her vinegar?
Han Yunxi held her daughter firmly and subconsciously softened her tone. "Yan'er, good girl, sleep with imperial mother tonight, all right?"
After Yan'er was born, Long Feiye made the imperial bed much wider and longer so husband and wife could sleep with their two children. But the bed in Leisurely Cloud Palace didn't need to be expanded as it already filled an entire room.
Yan'er differed from Rui'er. While Rui'er was very quiet during the day and slept wildly at night, Yan'er was active during the day and a quiet sleeper at night. She would lie in Long Feiye's embrace and stop moving altogether. Thus, Han Yunxi hadn't held her to sleep in a long, long time.
Hearing her mother's request to sleep, Yan'er was shocked! How was mother supposed to have a little brother with father like that? She thought about it and released imperial mother with a shout. "I want Zhao mama! Wahhhh….I want Zhao mama! I want to sleep with Zhao mama tonight!"
Han Yunxi realized her mistake as soon as she spoke. Long Feiye was only bewildered. Just what had happened in that room?
"Yan'er, what's wrong?" he asked.
"I want Zhao mama!" Yan'er's face was stiff. "I want Zhao mama!"
Zhao mama had no idea that the little princess had sold her out. If Esteemed Empress was the only one here, she would've come to take the little princess long ago, but she didn't dare with the emperor present. Long Feiye stood up, a sight that triggered Yan'er even more. Her eyes turned red with tears.
"I want Zhao mama! Imperial father, no moving!"
Seeing this, Long Feiye didn't dare to budge. He could only go along with her for now and question her after she calmed down. He was certain something monumental had happened in that room! Yan'er got what she wanted and nestled in Zhao mama's arms. Han Yunxi had Zhao mama sit on the side and gave her an additional bowl and chopsticks, scaring the old woman so much that she simply sat there without moving.
But Han Yunxi was relaxed instead. Faced with Long Feiye's dubious look, she smiled and said, "Rui'er, Shadow, if you two don't get down and eat, I'll punish you both with ten months' of mooncakes instead!"
Hearing this, Rui'er jumped down immediately. Imperial mother and Zhao mama said he liked to eat sweets when he was young, but he refused to believe it. That was because he hated sweets such as mooncakes now. With her son here, Han Yunxi's smile grew more radiant. She beckoned to him and said, "Rui'er, quick. Come to imperial mother."
It was rare for Yan'er to not cling to her father. She had to show off her love for her in son! As Rui'er drew close, Han Yunxi gave him a firm hug and pulled him into her lap. Rui'er was both embarrassed yet helpless. He was already five and grown up! Couldn't imperial mother spare him some face? She could hug and kiss him in private, but not in public! Despite this, he didn't resist and let her hold him.
He couldn't bear to make his mother unhappy.
Long Feiye glanced over with a "complicated" look.
"Shadow, still not coming?" Gu Beiyue spoke.
Qin Min chortled and muttered, "Shadow loves sweets the most. Esteemed Empress's threat will make sure he stays put."
Gu Beiyue gave a start after discovering he knew nothing of Shadow's likes or dislikes. He rose and flickered soundlessly to appear on the roof, just happening to land behind his son. Shadow was sitting cross-legged on the roof and staring at the moon.
Gu Beiyue coughed softly and Shadow turned back. "Father!"
"Come, eat mooncakes down there with father," Gu Beiyue said gently.
Shadow immediately stoof up. "Father, the moon is so pretty!"
Gu Beiyue looked up. Today was the fifteenth, his birthday. But he hadn't taken a proper look at the moon once. Shadow went only to stretch out his hands. "Father, hold me!"
Gu Beiyue picked him up and the child said, "Father, when Shadow grows up, I'll protect you too, okay?"
Gu Beiyue's heart seized before it melted and warmed. He said, "All right! Father…will wait."
Gu Beiyue didn't release Shadow after coming down, but kept him in his lap. Rui'er stared at them a while and saw that Shadow had no intentions of coming down before he relaxed. He was afraid that Shadow would laugh at him.
Yan'er had been sleeping all day and never saw Shadow. She nestled in Zhao mama's arms and looked at the boy curiously before murmuring, "Zhao mama, is he the Grand Tutor's son?"
"Mhm, he's little Shadow. His full name is Gu Nanchen," Zhao mama replied.
"Zhao mama, he's really good-looking," Yan'er said next.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Yan'er thought it over before declaring, "I won't cling to father at night anymore, so you and father can have another little brother."i thought rui'er was bad but this yan'er is even more unrealistic, sigh. which is weird because the author can write believable small children, she just...chose to make the female and male leads' children super mature and exemplary? they're so weird they don't feel like kids anymore, just nicely nurtured robots with a humor program installed in...it's a bit awkward to read.
even shadow, who's pretty mature for a kid, at least still feels like a kid...