Published at 1st of December 2020 01:29:13 PM
Su Ran had long felt the faint aura of animosity Royal Prince Yang had towards him in the past few days . In addition, the prince was becoming more distant . At first, he was quite puzzled by this change . Later on, after some careful observations, he discovered that whenever that lass Xiaocao treated him warmly, the prince’s hostility towards him would increase . Only then did he realize that Royal Prince Yang was feeling the bite of jealousy!
Argh! He was pretty sure that, in the whole Great Ming Empire, only Royal Prince Yang would actually consider an already damaged person to be an invisible rival for his sweetheart’s affections . When he got back, if he told this to the emperor, Su Ran was pretty sure the other man would laugh until he cried .
A faint smile appeared on Su Ran’s face . This slight smile made his face seem even more elegant and ethereal . He was the perfect image of a pure and lofty gentleman . So handsome, so elegant! He was even more like an immortal than those actors who played the main characters in the xianxia  dramas . Yu Xiaocao felt like she was truly a bit smitten by his appearance and demeanor!
“Oh! Then, who do you think is more good looking between the two of us ah?” Su Ran’s tone had a hint of enticing temptation in it and Zhu Junyang’s expression immediately became cold . The prince opened his mouth to stop the little lass from replying .
Unfortunately, Xiaocao had reacted even faster than he had expected . She almost immediately blurted out, “Sir, you and he are both incredibly good looking in your own ways! Each of you have your own styles and both styles have their merits!”
It was important to realize that Chief Steward Su hated people commenting on how good looking he was the most . Apparently, during his youth, he had a few bad experiences all related to his stunning good looks . His handsome appearance had induced a few people to scheme against him for unsavory reasons . In fact, even after he had been rescued and sent into the ranks of the hidden guards, he still had some shadows from those previous experiences .
It was said that when he first entered the palace service, he had caught the eye of a particular member of the imperial family . That person wanted to ask the emperor emeritus to give Su Ran to him as a favored human pet, but Su Ran vehemently refused to go . This caused that member of the imperial family to have a hateful grudge against him, and that member ended up bribing some of the stewards in the family to harm and kill Su Ran . Fortunately, he had been saved by the current emperor when he was still the heir of Imperial Prince Duan . After that, Su Ran had slowly climbed to the position where he was today .
Not long after the current emperor ascended the throne, Su Ran became the head of the hidden guards and was in charge of the internal affairs of the palace . He had helped the emperor from behind the scenes to handle many disloyal people . As for that particular member of the imperial family, after Su Ran became powerful, he suddenly had a serious illness that caused pus filled sores to grow all over his body . In addition, these ulcers stank to the high heavens . Even the imperial physicians from the palace found themselves unable to figure out where he had gotten this condition from . After lying in bed, struggling to hang onto his life for half a year, he died just like that!
Some people claimed that the pus filled sores that the member from the imperial clan had gotten were related to Chief Steward Su Ran . He had chosen that horrible method to take revenge for his previous insult and dishonor . In addition, other people who had commented or gossiped about Su Ran’s looks all ended up having bad outcomes, such as breaking an arm or a leg during some accident . Thus, all of the hedonistic nobles in the capital soon learned to change the subject as soon as someone mentioned Su Ran and refused to say a peep about him .
If anyone else, especially a man, had frankly complimented Su Ran on his looks in the way the little lass did, it was likely that person would already be on the ground and unable to get up again . The injuries inflicted on that person would take at least ten days to half a month before they would heal enough for the person no longer to be bedridden .
However, this time, Chief Steward Su seemed quite pleased by her words and even began to joke with the chilly looking Royal Prince Yang, “It is my honor to be compared to the capital’s most famous handsome man who also has an equally bad reputation, Royal Prince Yang!”
“We’re both on the same level, ok?!” Zhu Junyang’s alluring phoenix eyes met Su Ran’s pair of elegant and clear looking eyes . It was clear that there was a competition going on . In terms of reputation, both of them were considered to be calamitous stars in the capital and were on other people’s ‘do not offend’ lists .
However, Royal Prince Yang’s bad reputation was mostly on the surface . Since he had highly-skilled bodyguards and Head Steward Liu at his side, when he lost control of himself in the past, at most, he would beat the offender until he was half dead . He had never actually taken an innocent life . Chief Steward Su Ran, on the other hand, acted entirely on his mood at the time . If he thought someone was an eyesore, then he was always able to find a way to torment a person to death without leaving any clues behind . After all, his title as the head of the hidden guards wasn’t just for show . Consequently, the people in the capital were much more wary of him . In terms of bad reputation, his was much more warranted than Royal Prince Yang’s!
“However, I thought I heard someone earlier mention that you were planning on going into the mountains to gather herbs and hunt game? I’m quite interested in this, Cao’er . Do I have the honor to come along as well?” Su Ran wasn’t too noble to have some petty moments . He obviously knew that Royal Prince Yang didn’t want him to come along, so he insisted on following along . The more he could make the other man unhappy, the happier he became .
“Of course! I was just about to ask you earlier to see if you wanted to come or not!” Yu Xiaocao deliberately pretended not to see the rivalry that had appeared between the two men and giddily promised . She was incredibly happy to allow his request .
Su Ran felt incredibly satisfied within his heart when he saw the dark expression on Royal Prince Yang’s face! He smiled even more brightly and said, “Then we are in agreement! As soon as you decide to head out, just send someone to let me know . I’m going to go visit that little fellow Black Whirlwind . It should be at the front courtyard begging for food right now!”
Zhu Junyang felt like there was a blazing fire within his heart and the heat from his anger was about to ignite his temper . However, when he looked at his lass, who had a face full of innocence, he couldn’t bear to let out his temper to her .
Yu Xiaocao felt that it was simultaneously amusing and a bit pitiful at the same time when she saw steam coming out of his ears . She thought it was a bit pathetic that this outwardly handsome and elegant man had actually been run around in circles by her because of his inexperience with emotions . She needed to soothe him down quickly, so she stepped forward and batted her eyes in a bashful and timid manner . She glanced at his stunningly handsome face and said in a saccharine tone, “Little Junjun, Jun Yangyang~~~don’t be angry ah~~”
“Speak like a normal person!” Zhu Junyang had no temper left after hearing her ridiculous words . Little Junjun, Jun Yangyang, just what were these nonsense names?! However, bubbles of happiness immediately began to surface within his heart .
“Jun Yangyang~the person who I really really like the most is still you, my handsome Little Yangyang~~” Yu Xiaocao’s voice was so sweet that it was almost at the limit . At this point, that outwardly cold but inwardly passionate handsome man in front of her had his ears turn bright red from her antics . Wutong, as her personal maidservant, also felt goosebumps rise throughout her body after listening to her master’s corny statements . She couldn't help but rub her arms after hearing all of this .
Zhu Junyang no longer cared about the irksome third wheel——Wutong, and put his arms around the little lass’s slim and tender waist . He pulled her against his body and lowered his head to gaze deeply into her eyes as he questioned in an uncertain manner, “Is that true? Is this prince truly the person you like the most?”
Yu Xiaocao decided that, based on this handsome man’s recent actions, she could give him a taste of sweetness . After all, this fellow would definitely show up at her residence to propose marriage at the end of the year . Right now, they were basically considered engaged at this point . She reached her hands up to hug his neck and her little face became a bit flushed . She glanced at Wutong and saw that her maid seemed to have turned away in embarrassment before she hurriedly stood up at her tiptoes and gave her handsome man a quick kiss on his warm lips .
In actuality, Wutong had been paying attention to her master this entire time! Before they left, Lady Fang had warned her many times to make sure she kept an eye on the young miss and to absolutely not allow a particular big wolf to take advantage of her .
After being with her master for such a long time, she had long found out that Royal Prince Yang was only a paper tiger . As long as she worked hard for her mistress, even if Royal Prince Yang found her irksome, he wouldn’t do anything against her for the sake of her mistress . Therefore, Wutong’s courage had continued to grow . She frequently interrupted Royal Prince Yang’s attempts to hold her young miss’s hand or hug her in a stern manner . In fact, she often seriously repeated the words that Lady Fang had told her and, for the vast majority of the time, was successful in stopping him .
However, this time, Zhu Junyang had swiftly hugged her master before she could even react . Wutong had just taken a step and was about to say some words to stop them but her own young miss had moved to ruin her attempt .
Lady Fang had only stated that she needed to protect her mistress against Royal Prince Yang and never mentioned what she should do if her own mistress made the first move . Should she pretend that she didn’t see anything or be the annoying person butting in between the two lovers? Fortunately, she remembered who she was serving and turned her head around to pretend she didn’t see anything . However, she was also worried about her master being taken advantage of, so she continued to watch the two of them out of the corner of her eye . Who would have thought that the one taking advantage of the other person would be her very own mistress!
Wutong’s delicately pale face suddenly became dyed red and it was so crimson that it looked like it would start burning at any time . However, she wasn’t too frightened in her heart . Ever since she had accompanied her master, she had encountered so many frightening things . She was already used to this!
Yu Xiaocao’s lightning fast kiss stunned Zhu Junyang for a second and he missed the best opportunity to ‘strike back’ . He wasn’t satisfied with a paltry peck alone and wanted to kiss her again in a much more passionate manner . However, the little lass had nimbly dodged his attempt .
After forcefully pushing away his rock hard chest, Yu Xiaocao leveled a glare at him and then turned to address Wutong with a pout on her lips, “Why are you just standing here? Are you waiting for something? Let’s go ah! Time to pack our bags for the trip into the mountains!”
Zhu Junyang didn’t think he could hate Wutong more than right now . This maidservant had interrupted him too many times . Loyalty was one thing but this loyal maid always managed to pop up whenever he wanted to get somewhat intimate with his little lass and wave her authority around to make him stop . He stared at her with an icy-cold glare . If this look of his had substance, Wutong would have long been pierced and heavily injured by it .
Even though it was just a glare, Wutong couldn’t help but shiver a bit . When she saw her master turn around to go back to her rooms, she hurriedly trotted after her . She didn’t dare to be alone around Royal Prince Yang at this moment because she couldn’t guarantee that the youth wouldn’t restrain himself and end up strangling her to death! As for the person in question, Zhu Junyang truly had the urge to do so!
The next day, the three of them traveled off with their lightly packed bags and a small escort . Other than the three, they also brought along the full of energy Hou Xiaolang and Xiaocao’s two maidservants, Chunhua and Qiushi . They rode their horses towards the east in the direction of ‘Jinalin’ . Wutong, who had no strength or martial arts, had been firmly ordered behind by Zhu Junyang . He pompously stated that she would only cause them to slow down and bring no benefit to their group .
Wutong also knew that Royal Prince Yang truly found her incredibly annoying and could only inwardly seethe at the indignity as she didn’t dare to voice her complaints . However, she needed to protect her master’s reputation to the very end . The two maids, Chunhua and Qiushi, had all been given to her master by the prince, so they couldn’t be counted on . Hou Xiaoliang was Royal Prince Yang’s lackey, so he naturally was unreliable in this aspect . The only person she could throw her hopes on was Chief Steward Su .
Although Chief Steward Su had a stunningly handsome face and a seemingly warm and gentle demeanor, Wutong still felt the hairs on her body rise whenever she was alone around him despite his lack of an actual temper . Her intuition told her that he was even more scary than Royal Prince Yang .
 xianxia - a genre of Chinese fantasy influenced by Chinese mythology, Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, and other traditional Chinese elements