Han Yunxi put on the airs of an insufferably arrogant person, enough to infuriate the nearby mermaid soldiers. But in the end, they all endured and didn’t lash out. Xu Donglin’s eyes flashed with mirth before he hastened to explain. “Your Royal Highness, His Highness can only see you tomorrow. As for over there, hehe, there’s going to be a bonfire banquet tomorrow night. Since time is tight, they need to prepare things as soon as possible.”
Han Yunxi’s words had been designed to get Long Feiye over, but when she heard he’d be back tomorrow, her heart secretly rejoiced. “Why are we holding a bonfire banquet? Is it to welcome someone?”
In her memories, bonfire banquets were rather grand and solemn affairs for an army. Usually, it was held for specific reasons.
“Princess, tomorrow is the seventh day of the seventh lunar month,” Xu Donglin said.
Han Yunxi suddenly came to her senses. So tomorrow’s already the seventh!
The seventh day of the seventh lunar month was considered the modern Chinese Valentine’s Day. In the past, the ancients considered it a day for lovers too. “Qiqiao” (乞巧), or “begging for cleverness,” was a festival for young girls to pray to the Weaving-girl to make their hands qiao, or clever (thus perfecting their needlework skills) and ask for her aid in finding a rich and sweetness-filled marriage that could yield a son.
This was a holiday for females, so Han Yunxi didn’t know why the army was celebrating it too.
“You’re all men, why celebrate Qiqiao?” she asked disdainfully. “Unless His Highness Crown Prince likes the festival?”
The mermaid soldiers on the side looked over again, their faces full of fury. This woman was perfectly fine, so why is she mocking His Highness Crown Prince again? What has he ever done to provoke or offend her? He’s already being magnanimous by not locking her up!
Meanwhile, Xu Donglin could only secretly laugh up his sleeve. In the past, when His Highness left for a few days, the princess would only ask about him once, or be so busy that she didn’t even realize when he came back again. Now only a few days had passed, but their conversation had already turned back to His Highness again. They must have been apart for too long and miss each other terribly. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, ah!
“Princess, the Baili Army has a tradition. On Qiqiao day, the wives of the soldiers are allowed to give them gifts, and a fixed quota of family members can come for a visit. If the troops are fighting and unable to meet their families, then General Baili will host a banquet to celebrate the holiday with everyone else. This year, His Highness is living in the barracks, so he’ll be celebrating with them too. The soldiers’ quarters have already been set up, so they’re setting up another one at the main baacks. Tomorrow night, His Highness will come here after drinking a few cups with the rest of the soldiers.”
At this point, Xu Donglin purposely added on, “Thus, we have to build up the site tonight. May Your Royal Highness forgive me.”
“So it’s that like, ah?” Han Yunxi nodded, before she asked with amusement, “Then fine, go tell His Highness that this princess lost sleep tonight, so have him drink a cup to me tomorrow night as punishment!”
Dream on!” the mermaid soldiers couldn’t take it anymore. Xu Donglin immediately shot them a look to warn them not to cause trouble for themselves. As His Highness’s favorite, everyone at the camp gave him face aside from Baili Yuanlong. The mermaid soldiers naturally didn’t dare to disobey and turned aside their heads. Out of sight, out of mind.
“Don’t worry, Your Royal Highness. This one will definitely pass on your sentiments. Princess, please go back,” Xu Donglin said as he blinked at her.
A satisfied Han Yunxi thus returned to her tent. The play between her and Xu Donglin now gave Long Feiye ample excuse to invite her to the banquet. Baili Yuanlong wouldn’t be able to stop them then. In any case, there was a banquet area right here at the main barracks, so there was no need for her to expose herself elsewhere. Now that she was certain Long Feiye would return tomorrow, Han Yunxi was less perturbed. She couldn’t sleep, so she sat up and continued to cultivate. The third level of the poison storage space required more mental effort than the previous two. Previously, she’d feel refreshed after each session, but training for the third required a good sleep before she recovered.
Perhaps it had been too long since she last cultivated, but this time thoroughly exhausted Han Yunxi. By the time the sun came up, she unconsciously fell into a deep slumber. Long Feiye and Baili Yuanlong made it back that morning, covered in wind and dust from the night’s travels. Their horses stopped outside the main barracks and the soldiers came to get them. After dismounting his horse, Long Feiye shot a glance at Han Yunxi’s tent and only saw Xu Donglin sitting outside.
Baili Yuanlong got off his horse and said, “Your Highness, hurry and go rest. You need to host the Qiqiao bonfire banquet tonight. So many officers and men at the soldiers’ barracks have never seen you before and they’re looking forward to it!”
“Mm,” Long Feiye replied. As he took long strides towards the main barracks, he passed by the door of Han Yunxi’s tent. By now, Xu Donglin had long gotten up to pay his respects. Although Long Feiye was clearly in a hurry, he still stopped in front of Han Yunxi’s tent, where Xu Donglin hurried to meet him.
“Has she been well-behaved these past few days?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
Hearing these words, Baili Yuanlong paid attention, too.
“The West Qin princess has just been strolling outside these past few days. Most of her time is spent inside the tent. It’s not convenient for this subordinate to enter, so I don’t know what she’s doing. Just last night, the soldiers woke her up while they were stacking up the bonfire, so she said Your Highness must drink to her as punishment tonight,” Xu Donglin reported.
Baili Yuanlong immediately gave a cold snort. “Who does she think she is? My East Qin’s banquet has no place for her to attend!”
Xu Donglin glanced at Long Feiye, who didn’t say anything one way or another. “Call her out,” he said coldly.
Xu Donglin called a few times from outside the tent, but there was no response.
“What’s going on?” Long Feiye’s eyes flashed with worry.
Of course Xu Donglin knew what was wrong. The princess had been sleeping during the daytime these past few days, so she must be sleeping in today as well. But he didn’t explain a word, choosing instead to slap himself on the thigh. “Aiya, could something have happened? The princess hasn’t come out all morning. Your Highness, general, could the West Qin princess have...escaped?”
At his words, Long Feiye rushed into the tent. “Han Yunxi!” he cried in alarm.
No matter how deeply Han Yunxi was sleeping, she was instantly startled awake. Still groggy, she heard Long Feiye’s voice and instantly got up to lift the curtains. Her sleepy face and long, tousled hair made a beautiful vision with her nightgown. The fair white skin of her jade-like arms and the loose cut of her collar moved to reveal the curves of her chest, painting a picture of spring’s splendor. Long Feiye froze, while Han Yunxi immediately woke up.
At this moment, Baili Yuanlong rushed in as well. “You Highness, why did--”
The instant before he entered, Long Feiye dashed forward and pushed Han Yunxi into the inner partition before drawing down the heavy curtains. Not expecting this, Han Yunxi almost tumbled to the ground; fortunately, Long Feiye grabbed her by the wrist in time. She fell back at the same time her nightgown slipped downward, exposing her wide. Han Yunxi really wasn’t used to wearing the dudou of the ancients because she felt it was too thing. She always needed to wear extra layers before she felt covered up. That single piece of wine-red garment across her chest was her custom-tailored bra. Even so, how could it cover up her proud, round peaks?
Long Feiye’s eyes locked gazes with her before he couldn’t resist looking down. Whenever he viewed her loveliness, it was with a scrutinizing, even severe gaze that made Han Yunxi fearful in hindsight. He really was scary and extremely domineering when he looked serious. Even she had no room to negotiate with him then. Baili Yuanlong was still outside the curtain. When Han Yunxi saw Long Feiye about to lose control, she hastily drew her jacket close and muttered under her breath, “Long Feiye!”
By now, Baili Yuanlong had raised his voice. “Your Highness, are you inside? Has something happened? Is Han Yunxi still there, and is everything alright?”
Long Feiye didn’t move beyond continuing to stare at her. Han Yunxi grew desperate. She was about to remind him again when Long Feiye suddenly hauled her over, buried his head in her bosom, and gave a vicious bite to the deep ravine there. After pausing a moment, he let her go and turned to leave.
Han Yunxi was stunned. She stood unmoving as she felt like something had been sprinkled over her body and heart, making her indescribably restless. There was an empty feeling of dissatisfaction left behind as well.
Long Feiye! Long Feiye! She cursed silently in her heart. Abominable!
They were only separated by a single curtain. Outside, an expressionless Long Feiye faced Baili Yuanlong and said, “She’s asleep. Later on, have Baili Mingxiang arrange for a few servant girls to wait on her.”
There were no female servants in the military and even less womenfolk to begin with. They could only find Baili Mingxiang or Zhao mama for help.
“Yes! It’s good that nothing happened. Your Highness should hurry up and go back to rest,” Baili Yuanlong agreed.
Once the two men were gone, Han Yunxi’s heart was still beating fast. By the time she hastily got dressed and went outside, Long Feiye had already reached the main barracks.
“When did he come back? Why didn’t you wake me up!” Han Yunxi murmured.
Xu Donglin was all innocence. “Mistress, His Highness set out late last night and arrived at least two hours in advance. This subordinate didn’t expect it, either!”
“He rushed back overnight?” Han Yunxi’s heart ached. She originally wanted Xu Donglin to find a reason for them to meet, but now she’d rather he rest instead. Tonight’s bonfire banquet would definitely last until late night again. Although he had a sturdy body, she didn’t want him to suffer like so.
“Mistress, Baili Yuanlong won’t let you join in the banquet. His Highness didn’t say anything, so I don’t know if you can participate,” Xu Donglin reminded her. “His Highness will probably be readying for his bath right now. After he rests, this subordinate will go ask him.”
Han Yunxi nodded without a word. Whatever the case, I’ll have to wait until night for a chance to talk with Long Feiye separately.
Ever since their conversation in the carriage, where she’d told him about her origins, they hadn’t had a chance to talk alone in days. It wasn’t clear what Long Feiye thought about it all. Han Yunxi could only wait. But it wasn’t long before Zhao mama brought a few shadow guards to deliver over ten chests.
Seeing this, the mermaid soldiers immediately surrounded them. “Zhao mama, these are…?”
Zhao mama’s face was full of complaints. “This old woman has lived so long, but I’ve never seen such a woman! His Highness gives her a bit of face and she thinks she can open a dyehouse! Her nose is stuck up so high, it’s grown up her face! She actually asked His Highness for ten chests of clothes and jewelry. When he refused, she demanded they be sent over from West Qin. Heheh, if we don’t deliver these to her, people might think East Qin can’t even afford clothes and accessories! Tell me now, isn’t that just aggravating?”
The mermaid soldiers had been fully suppressed by Xu Donglin these few days, so they didn’t dare to give voice to their anger. Hearing Zhao mama’s verbal cursing made them fully satisfied as they chimed in with agreement. Zhao mama seized the chance to say it was better to bring in the chests quickly before they were told to hurry up. Thus, all ten chests made it safely into the tent.
Han Yunxi had long heard Zhao mama’s playacting skills. Now she looked doubtfully at the ten boxes with a face full of doubt. After the shadow guards left, she finally asked, “Zhao mama, what’s going on? What are these?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter