Chapter 458 - Attached to Love
Her icy cold little hands had been clasped within a pair of warm palms . It felt very cozy and comfortable . Yu Xiaocao’s eyes curved in a smile and then she turned to look at the always stunningly handsome face of Zhu Junyang . She quietly asked, “Isn’t it snowing right now? I was afraid that it might snow too hard and crush the greenhouse pavilions, which is why I ran to take a look at the Imperial Plantation . I was wearing the fox fur scarf and gloves you had given me, but when I found out you were back I was so happy that I forgot them at the farmstead!”
Zhu Junyang supported her back and moved her from her side sitting position to astride on the horse . This little lass’s waist was too thin . He wasn’t sure if she had been eating right in the past month or so but even when she was wearing thick winter clothes his two hands were able to encircle her waist . Perhaps it was because her life had been too hard when she was young but in his memories, she had always been thin and weak in such a pitiful way . When she reached her age of majority and married him, he planned on making sure that she was eating and drinking well so that she could nourish her body!
He had Xiaocao comfortably lean back on his chest while he wrapped his sable overcoat tightly around her . He cupped his large hot hands around the little lass’s icy cold ones and leaned over to gently breathe hot air on them . He continued to ask, “What? Were you this excited to see me? If you miss me so much, then marry me earlier . That way you’ll prevent me from being bewitched by an evil spirit!”
After hearing the little lass state that she was so excited to see him that she hurriedly rode her horse over and forgot to wear her scarf and mittens, Zhu Junyang simultaneously felt a wave of tenderness and sweetness hit his heart as if he was suddenly drinking honey . The little lass had always been deathly afraid of being cold .
When the little red horse saw that its master had been taken over by Fierce Wind’s  owner, it still obediently followed behind the stallion despite having no rider . It walked behind at a leisurely pace . Although Fierce Wind now had two people riding it, its steps were still light and easy . From time to time, it would move its head a little to look Little Red in the eye .
Xiaocao turned her head to roll her eyes at Zhu Junyang and snorted, “Why would I want a man who was so easily taken by others? Tell me! This time, when you left the capital, did you end up saving any little white flowers or encounter a poor but pretty girl who had sold herself into prostitution for the sake of her father?”
Little white flowers? Was that the term the little lass used to describe women who loved cry out sob stories and act pathetic ah? Just what type of taste did she think he had that she would believe that he would fall in love with one of those people? Wasn’t it tiring to be around someone all day who constantly lamented and wept with an aggrieved expression?
“Did you forget just what kind of person I am? Do you think I would easily fall for the wiles of those women who don’t have pure thoughts? Don’t worry, other than you, I won’t be interested in anyone!” Zhu Junyang could tell that there was a faint undertone of jealousy in Xiaocao’s words and he immediately felt gratified . He made sure to make his thoughts clear such that she knew that he was only loyal to her .
Yu Xiaocao had warmed up so she was in the mood to banter with him, “Men are all the same ah! They always say the sweetest things but then do the exact opposite! The person with the mind-reading abilities is you, not me . How am I supposed to know what you’re actually thinking about?”
Zhu Junyang pulled over one of her little hands that had warmed up and placed it on the area of his chest where his heart was and stated, “Do you feel it now ah? My heart only beats for you! In order to see you sooner, I galloped at top speed as soon as I left the Imperial Palace . I am totally devoted to you alone . If you still don’t believe me, then you’re truly too simple-minded!”
After hearing his heartful vow, Yu Xiaocao felt like the goosebumps on her body were about to fall off . He was being too corny! Where did this fellow learn how to say such things? Was he not afraid that other people might be sickened by his saccharine words?
“Can you be more normal ah? You need to tell the truth . Just who taught you to speak in such a sickening way? It’s really not your style at all!” Yu Xiaocao endlessly roasted him . Zhu Junyang blinked his seductive phoenix eyes twice and then let out a sigh, “I knew you wouldn’t like this at all! When I get back, I’m going to beat the crap out of those Jinwei youngsters who urged me to say such corny things . However, Xiaocao, you need to know my heart only has room for you in it!”
Although his last few words were plainspoken, why did they sound so good in her ears? Yu Xiaocao lowered her head to think a bit . Royal Prince Yang had the status and power . He also had a well-shaped body and alluring appearance . In addition, he had the talent and abilities . . . the most crucial point was that he didn’t stubbornly cling onto the ancient people’s ways of thinking and didn’t expect his significant other to embody ‘the three injunctions and four virtues’  of women .
In reality, she would be hard pressed to find a second man like him in the entire Great Ming Empire . If he was truly sincere about his feelings and had a heart that would never waver, then what was she hesitating for? Although she claimed that she’d be fine with never getting married, in such an environment and society, it’d be an extravagant hope for her to be able to live a happy and prosperous life alone as an unmarried spinster . She had the abilities but no significant background . Furthermore, she was female, so when things happened, she’d be the one who’d likely lose out .
When he saw that the little lass had her head down and was seemingly thinking hard about something, Zhu Junyang gently stroked her head and softly said, “Don’t make things too complicated . I won’t give you pressure! Didn't you say that you would only consider marriage once you turned eighteen? There’s still five to six years to think about this! Take your time, I’m sure that the next five to six years will truly show my intentions and sincerity to you!”
Yu Xiaocao felt her eyes well up with hot tears when she heard such understanding and sweet words from him . Her nose got stuffy and, in the spur of the moment, she almost promised him something due to her roiling emotions . Ahem ahem! She needed to calm down now! Royal Prince Yang was right . There was still five to six years for her to contemplate this . She needed to take her time and then make her decision!
The blustering snow seemed to linger around the two affectionate people . The whole sky was filled with fat flakes of fluffy snow and they seemed to dance around like graceful butterflies as they circled around these two people .
Suddenly, the sound of a horse’s urgent gallops could be heard from behind them . A somewhat old and shrill voice hollered through the night, “Miss Yu, please go a bit slower . It’s hard to travel in such snowy conditions . If something happens to you, what can this old servant say to the master?”
The owner of the voice stared closely at the scene in front of him . Oh! The back of that person seemed quite familiar, wasn’t that his master? He could now see Miss Yu snuggled within the master’s arms and they seemed to be quite content . Liu Fusheng hurriedly shut his mouth and obediently followed them from behind as they slowly rode forward . Miss Yu had already safely met up with the master so there was nothing he needed to do anymore . All he had to do now was follow silently from behind and fade into the background properly!
However, Master, was it really alright for you to hug Miss Yu like this? If other people saw this, Miss Yu’s reputation would definitely be ruined . Was that something you wanted to see? Liu Fusheng fell into a conundrum as he wasn’t sure if he should pipe up a reminder to his master .
Luckily, it was getting late now and the snow was falling harder . The main roads in the surrounding areas of the capital were dark and empty at this moment . Otherwise, Miss Yu wouldn’t be able to show her face out in public anymore!
If an old eunuch like Liu Fusheng realized this, how could Zhu Junyang not think of this? When they had traveled far enough that they could see the large gates to the capital, Zhu Junyang placed Yu Xiaocao, who was now nicely warmed up, back on her own mount . However, he still pressured her to continue to wear his larger sable fur overcoat .
The spacious and large overcoat was so big that it was easily able to wrap the little lass from head to toe . Even the gloves put on her hands were made of the best lambskin that money could buy . The gloves still had the remnants of the prince’s warmth .
“I’ll escort you back to the General’s Residence first! In the future, don’t come out on such a cold stormy day! If there’s anything up, just send someone to tell me instead and I’ll make sure to order the right people to get things done! If you really have no choice but to leave the estate, then take a carriage instead! This prince has recently commissioned a custom-made carriage and it’s quite spacious . There’s a place to store a brazier and it can also boil hot water . If you get tired, you can lean against the carriage and sleep…” As long as it involved Yu Xiaocao, he would do his best to make sure all of the details were right . It was truly hard to find someone who had these intentions towards her!
Zhu Junyang spent the whole journey back to the General’s Residence reminding her in a long-winded manner . If anyone else saw this, their jaws would have dropped open in utter surprise . Was this still the same grave and stern Royal Prince Yang who regarded his words as if they were gold? It was as if he was a completely different person, like he had swapped personalities with a talkative old naggy woman .
“Want to come in and rest for a bit and drink some tea before you leave?” Yu Xiaocao clumsily jumped down from the little red horse . There was nothing to be done about that as she had been wrapped up until she resembled a teddy bear .
Zhu Junyang leapt off his horse and helped her tidy up the overcoat that had been tousled from her dismounting . He wrapped her up even more tightly and then rubbed at her rosy little face as he gently said, “No need! I still need to return to the prince’s residence and tell my lady mother that I am safe and sound . Tomorrow I’ll come by to see you again! Go in and drink some more ginger and sugar tonic . Be careful not to get chilled . ”
Head Steward Liu Fusheng was so surprised his eyes were wide open . He had a look on his face as if he had just seen a ghost . His master finally had his head screwed on straight and knew how to care about people . Should he be happy about this or be ecstatic about this? Such a gentle and considerate motion and such a tender voice had actually come out of the mouth of the capital’s most grim and vicious death god . Hearing this . . . tsk tsk, sure enough, love could change everything ah!
The exaggerated expression on the old eunuch’s face was too much for other people to handle! Zhu Junyang faintly shot a glance at him and then turned his attention back to Yu Xiaocao . He gently said, “Go in ah . I’ll watch as you enter…”
Yu Xiaocao somehow managed to surmount the threshold to the side door while dragging the giant overcoat behind her . It could have served as a perfect object to sweep the snow . She turned her head to look one last time at Zhu Junyang, whose hair now had many snowflakes on it . The fluttering flakes of snow in the air blended seamlessly into the background . This devilishly handsome man was gazing back at her with eyes full of emotion . He lightly moved his large and pale hands at her, hinting that she should quickly head inside .
She wasn’t a true tiny maiden who didn’t understand the flavor of romantic feelings . As she gazed at the picturesque scene in front of her, her heart, which had been silent for over thirty years, couldn’t help but palpitate suddenly . It looked like she had the halo of the main female character on her . She had truly walked into an unexpected good situation . Such an outstanding and handsome man was willing to wait for her…
Her head was still dizzy and confused even after she greeted her godmother and entered her small courtyard . A man’s charms could truly make a person's head spin, especially those who were silently beautiful and had deep emotions!
At this moment, Zhu Junyang had already entered Prince Jing’s estate . After talking to his lord father for a bit, he headed directly towards the inner residence .
Princess Consort Jing got up from the heated couch and pulled at her youngest son’s hands . She inspected him from head to toe with red-rimmed eyes . She spoke in a voice that was choked with emotion, “Why are you wearing so little? Where’s that ugly scarf that you always have around the neck? And where are your gloves? Just what are the servants around you doing? Such a big snowfall yet you’re not even wearing a woolen outer garment?”
Head Steward Liu Fusheng, who had always personally served his master, felt that this was an inaccurate accusation . The master’s entire set of outer clothing had been transferred to Miss Yu instead . What could he say about this? Naturally, he couldn’t say anything! When the master returned back to the capital and left the Imperial Palace, the first thing he did was run to the Imperial Plantation to find his little lover . He even forgot his own mother . But if he said that, wouldn’t that imply that his master was unfilial? Thus, he had to take the fall for his master .
Zhu Junyang supported his mother up and had her sit back down on the heated couch . He sat next to her on a nearby embroidered stool and had a smile on his face, “Lady Mother, feel my hands . They are quite warm and aren’t even the least bit cold!”
 Fierce Wind - the author seems to use 'Fierce Wind' and 'Black Cloud' interchangeably for Zhu Junyang's horse .
 the three injunctions and four virtues - Confusion moral injunctions for women . Obey father, husband and son, and need to have the virtues of morals, physical charm, propriety in speech and efficiency in needlework .