Chapter 27 — Leng Yu Feng’s Change
It was early morning. Before sunrise, the sky was already brightening.
Promptly after opening their eyes, Leng Yu Feng and Huan Mo Che turned to look at the crown prince, only to find him missing while the clothes they had draped on him were left behind.
When the two men reached out to retrieve their respective outer robes, they found their clothes cool and slightly dampened by morning vapor. They immediately realized the crown prince had awoken much earlier than they did.
Leng Yu Feng and Huan Mo Che hastily threw on their outer robes and set out to look for the crown prince. Both were oblivious to the nature of the anxiety on their faces and were even more clueless as to why they cared so much about someone they knew for such a brief time.
“Crown Prince!” They found Shang Wuxin standing not far from their initial spot.
Shang Wuxin was inspecting the provision carriages. She had not rested at all the night before because there were too many unreliable individuals around her, and not only was she restless, but she was also weighed down by the importance of her disaster relief assignment, so how could she possibly fall asleep?
Leng Yu Feng and Huan Mo Che were actually also vigilant, but the faint aroma emanating from the figure between them had lulled them to sleep. Even so, if they had sensed the slightest of movements, they would’ve been the first ones to rouse.
Shang Wuxin glanced at the two and nodded.
They both felt rather embarrassed, for they held the responsibility of protecting the crown prince, yet they had unexpectedly been unaware of his awakening.
“Instruct the troops to quickly eat something and then we’ll set off!” Shang Wuxin commanded, knowing the longer they delayed their arrival, the more innocent lives would be lost to hunger.
Leng Yu Feng went to gather the troops while Huan Mo Che glanced at the crown prince and then disappeared into the forest.
Shang Wuxin was aware of his departure but did not stop him nor worry about him, choosing instead to focus on doing her own thing.
Meanwhile, Leng Yu Feng was somewhat perplexed when he saw his friend going deeper into the forest, but he knew Huan Mo Che was actually not as gentle as he appeared and that he was quite skilled in martial arts, so there was nothing to worry about. Leng Yu Feng thought for a moment before unfastening his water pouch from his horse and heading to the lake to fill the pouch with clean water.
“Crown Prince, you should take a drink!” He said, his voice slightly stiff as he passed the water pouch in his hands to Shang Wuxin.
Leng Yu Feng rarely took care of others—however, since the beginning of their journey, he had not seen the crown prince take one sip of water. Upon closer inspection, he’d found out the prince did not bring along a water pouch.
Shang Wuxin paused on her way to another provision carriage and glanced at Leng Yu Feng’s rigid expression, not expecting this cold-looking general to be so attentive. She was indeed thirsty, so she accepted the offered pouch and opened her mouth to swallow a few small gulps.
“Crown…” The words died in Leng Yu Feng’s throat. He was going to say that the water pouch was his and that he’d drank from it prior, but then he saw the crown prince directly drink from the pouch.
The crown prince drank water in a rather quiet and gentle way, unlike other men, who guzzled large mouthfuls at a time.
Leng Yu Feng’s gaze fell on the crown prince’s lips, which he found were light pink. Those light pink lips were pressed against the opening of Leng Yu Feng’s water pouch, and thinking he also drank in the same manner, his eyes abruptly widened.
He thought the crown prince’s lips looked especially nice, albeit a little pale. Although Leng Yu Feng never really paid close attention to the lips of other people, he subconsciously thought the crown prince’s lips had to be the best.
While Leng Yu Feng was being annoyed by his own thoughts, his water pouch swiftly appeared before him, and Shang Wuxin’s cold voice sounded.
Leng Yu Feng was taken back, for he honestly hadn’t thought a person like the crown prince would be one to express thanks.
In the end, just what kind of person was the crown prince? He was obviously an exceedingly cold, inhuman youth, yet his words and actions were always contrary to Leng Yu Feng’s expectations. Leng Yu Feng suddenly wanted to get a deeper understanding of the crown prince.
Shang Wuxin looked at Leng Yu Feng strangely, wondering why he was holding the water pouch stiffly and not doing anything with it. She brushed the thought aside and continued to do her own thing. At this moment, Huan Mo Che, who was gone for awhile, emerged from the forest.
His robes were still blue but because of the dew from the forest’s trees, the hems of his robes were dampened. In his hand, he held a few freshly-picked wild fruits. When he spotted Shang Wuxin, he walked over with a smile.
“Crown Prince, here’s a freshly-picked fruit!”
Yesterday evening, he was troubled by the sight of the crown prince eating a bingzi. When he imagined how they would have to eat bingzis again for breakfast, he’d decided to go out and pick fruits to appease their hunger with instead.
Shang Wuxin glanced at the fruits and made no move to take them. She started to walk away, but Huan Mo Che managed to forcibly stuff two fruits into her hands, and he’d even wiped those two fruits clean on his own clothes before giving them to her.
Wordlessly, she walked away with those two fruits in her possession, leaving Huan Mo Che to feel helpless towards her emotionless disregard of his goodwill.
Still, Huan Mo Che couldn’t control his desire to do things for the crown prince.
“Here, this one’s for you. Don’t say ben gongzi1isn’t friend enough!” Huan Mo Che took out another duplet of fruits and tossed them to Leng Yu Feng. The latter laughed in his heart, vaguely understanding why his friend’s mood was unpleasant.
This crown prince ah, it seems like he held too much influence over the two men. Was that a good thing or bad thing? Leng Yu Feng even went as far as to think that if he continued to accompany the prince, he would end up doing some unimaginable things.
Afterwards, Huan Mo Che felt thirsty and planned to grab Leng Yu Feng’s water pouch. Actually, they were both more or less people who cared about cleanliness, and he was no exception, but he and Leng Yu Feng counted as life-and-death friends.
Furthermore, the times they shared wine from the same flagon was not just once or twice either. Excluding his good friend, Huan Mo Che really didn’t use other people’s things.
Leng Yu Feng saw through Huan Mo Che’s intentions and deftly avoided the latter’s, then he uncapped the water pouch and downed its contents. Remembering the crown prince, Leng Yu Feng’s face flushed slightly.
“No water left here, go drink from your own!” He said before leaving, afraid Huan Mo Che would notice his red cheeks.
“Odd2!” Huan Mo Che exclaimed as he watched his friend hurry away. He bit into the remaining fruit in his hand.
When his mouth filled with a sour taste, he immediately turned to look at the crown prince, only to find him eating as though he didn’t detect the sourness. He just ate it like that, halting Huan Mo Che, who was on his way to stop him.
It looks like he discovered the crown prince’s taste for sour foods—could that be counted as progress?