Chapter 26 — Han Xuan Hao’s Blushing Face & Palpitating Heart
“Clearly, you wanted bengong to discover you. If bengong failed to do so, wouldn’t you be disappointed?” Shang Wuxin’s voice was cold. She honestly couldn’t understand why the Lord of Han Xing Pavilion was tailing her, and she could tell he didn’t mean any harm either.
Han Xuan Hao eyebrows rose. “Why is Wuxin so intelligent?” As he spoke, he itched to move closer, but he was barely able to procure an inch before an icy glare from Shang Wuxin halted him.
Han Xuan Hao felt like he could go as far as to say that if he took even one step closer, Shang Wuxin would definitely make a move to kill him.
“Since you’re here, help bengong with a task!” Shang Wuxin gazed at the moon, the tone of her voice strange. “This will neutralize one of the three favors you owe me.”
She had originally been contemplating on who to send out for that task, and now someone had delivered himself to her doorstep.
Interest piqued, Han Xuan Hao immediately spoke. “Whatever Wuxin wants accomplished, you only need to say it. You need not mention the favors. After all, we are partners, are we not?”
Inside, he knew that if all three of the favors he owed were fulfilled, Shang Wuxin would no longer have anything to do with him. How could he allow that to happen?
“For this task, I’ll need you to return to the capital!” She felt skeptical of his selfless proclamation, but since he himself said that the three favors wouldn’t be implicated, why try to convince him otherwise? If she did, wouldn’t she be giving herself the short end of the stick?
“What is it?” Han Xuan Hao questioned incredulously. He’d shadowed the whole way because he wanted to be at Wuxin’s side, but now he was being asked to go back. His heart was tense, and he was even wondering if Wuxin had done it on purpose.
Shang Wuxin glanced at Han Xuan Hao, whose reluctance was clear as day, and her lips twitched. “You don’t want to?” Her eyes ladened with displeasure. This man owed her three favors, and yet he was repudiating his debts. Should she dispose of him?
How could Han Xuan Hao possibly not notice the thick murderous intent flashing in Shang Wuxin’s eyes? Though bitterness trickled into his heart, he spoke with a smile, “This task, if Wuxin wants me to complete it, I can. However, I have one condition.” Once those words fell, he threw Shang Wuxin a suggestive wink.
The smooth gesture caused her to freeze as her heart gasped with appreciation—he truly was a yaonei1.
Shang Wuxin sized him up, and her voice contained a sliver of interest. “Oh? Mind sharing what your condition is?” For him to propose a condition did not go beyond her expectations at all, as she should’ve done the same too. She just didn’t know how considerable his condition would be.
Han Xuan Hao braved Shang Wuxin’s murderous eyes and slowly drew near, but he knew his limits, so he kept his hands to himself. With their close proximity came a very faint but aromatic fragrance. He couldn’t help but sniff a few more times, knowing it was Shang Wuxin’s natural body scent and finding it odd that a young male would give off such a nice scent. However, he really did like this scent.
“From now on, I wish for you to call me by my name, Xuan Hao!” He suppressed the urge to move closer still. “If you agree, I’ll return to the capital and help you with your task. How about it? And at this point, I don’t think we’re just partners anymore—we’re friends!”
Shang Wuxin took a step back, slightly widening the distance between them. Han Xuan Hao could no longer detect that subtly elegant scent and felt a sense of loss, but nonetheless, he continued to smile as he gazed at Shang Wuxin. He knew the youth was an exceedingly intelligent individual, but his request did not cross any lines.
Sure enough, Shang Wuxin only pondered briefly before saying, “Then, Xuan Hao, I thank you for your assistance!” The implication behind her words was clear—she’d extracted bengong from her speech, which meant she was willing —at least on a surface level to acknowledge Han Xuan Hao as a friend. On the other hand, there was no way of knowing her real thoughts.
Han Xuan Hao was delighted to hear his name fall from Shang Wuxin’s lips. His own red lips arched into a wide grin, and his eyes sparkled; a completely unrestrained display of beauteousness, so brilliant it was suffocating.
A perplexed expression surfaced on Shang Wuxin’s face as she stared at him. It was merely a name, so why was this man happy to such an extent? Forget it, as long as her purpose was satisfied, nothing else concerned her.
“Alright, what do you need me to return for?” Joy brimmed Han Xuan Hao’s countenance. From their current location, it wouldn’t take long to reach the capital. If the task was accomplished quickly, he could still catch up.
Shang Wuxin leaned in, placed her lips beside his ear, and used a leisurely tone to divulge her plans.
Alas, he could only register the sweet aroma emanating from Shang Wuxin’s body, and the warm breath tickling his ear sent his heart into chaos.
“Understood?” After her instructions were given, she caught sight of Han Xuan Hao’s red cheeks and stepped back.
“Ah?” He was rather befuddled. “What did you say?”
Shang Wuxin’s expression showed that she was not amused, but she drew closer again and repeated her instructions.
This time, although Han Xuan Hao’s heartbeat was still palpitating uncontrollably, he exerted great effort to listen. The more he heard, the colder his face became.
“Wuxin, rest assured. I will definitely do a good job!” He suppressed the subservient smile that threatened to blossom on his face. “I’ll take my leave now, take good care of yourself!”
The man disappeared with a reassuring smile, and as Shang Wuxin watched him vanish, the corners of her lips rose in an evil tilt.
When she returned to the encampment, she immediately spotted Leng Yu Feng and Huan Mo Che. Instead of resting, they were standing upright at the outer ring of the encampment, as though waiting for her. Seeing that, an inkling of enlightenment crept into her heart.
“Crown Prince!” They called out. Since they were outside of the imperial capital, they relinquished some of the compulsory courtesy they normally enforced.
Shang Wuxin waited for their questions and as expected, Huan Mo Che opened his mouth to ask, “Crown Prince. Henceforth, it would be best if you refrain from straying too far. Caomin2 is not an enemy—at least, not Crown Prince’s.”
For the two men to station themselves at the outer ring of the encampment, Shang Wuxin realized it must’ve been because they saw her with Han Xuan Hao.
The lake she’d been standing near could be seen from the trio’s current spot, which was the top of a high terrain. Han Xuan Hao’s face might had been too far away to recognize, but his interactions with Shang Wuxin were easily perceived.
“You both should rest!” She said nothing more and headed straight for a large tree, closing her eyes once she made herself comfortable.
The two men followed and sat themselves at either sides of the crown prince, intending to rest, but were both enthralled.
When the crown prince’s eyes were closed, his sharp and silent aura of death were diminished, leaving behind only a pale and slim being, akin to an indolent yet seductive kitten. Leng Yu Feng and Huan Mo Che were both struck with the urge to clasp the crown prince in their own arms and nurture him.
Simultaneously, they removed their outer robes, and when they both leaned toward to drape their own robe over the crown prince, they exchanged an embarrassment look. Two layers of clothing concurrently appeared on the prince’s body and instantaneously added warmth to his body.
Shang Wuxin’s eyelashes quivered briefly and then eased. The two men who gave her their outer robes also shut their eyes.