Fan Xian, who was enjoying the feeling of the girl in his arms, stopped suddenly. He looked at her seriously. "If it really were eldest princess and the prime minister, what would you do?" The two of them were still in contact with each other’s bodies when he said that, which took away from the seriousness of the question.
After a long period of silence, Lin Wan’er stared bravely into his eyes, her hands clasped behind his neck. "Once I’m married to you, I will belong to the Fan household."
Fan Xian knew what she meant. While there was some lingering worry in their conversation during Fan Xian’s nightly visits, he knew his fiancée wasn’t overly close with the eldest princess because she was raised in the palace by Empress Dowager. Even so, upon hearing how much she was willing to give up, Fan Xian was so grateful that he felt embarrassed.
This young couple came from similar backgrounds and led similar lives, so they knew each other’s hardships and pride. Because of that, they chose each other to spend the rest of their lives with from the moment their eyes met at the temple. How could the royal family care for such sentiments? Fan Xian gave this young maiden care and gentleness she never experienced before, while she, in this dark bedroom, provided solace to his fatigued spirit.
"When can you go outside?" Fan Xian embraced her.
Lin Wan’er leaned against his left shoulder, taking care not to touch his injury. Hearing Fan Xian’s question, she answered, "I’ve been in the palace ever since I was little. I rarely get the chance to go outside, and that was only after my uncle gave me the authority as a ruler four years ago. And now that my body is weak…" She suddenly broke off. "Hey, don’t you think it’s inappropriate to be groping around all the time?"
That took Fan Xian by surprise, but only for a moment. He quietly giggled, "But I really like this feeling of groping around… Back to the topic, you need to move around and get some sunlight." Hearing him say he enjoyed groping made Lin Wan’er realize how absurd she had been for the past few nights, letting a young man lay next to her in the same bed. She helplessly blushed and said, "Then I’ll go ask uncle tomorrow."
"Uncle?" Hearing such a familiar title made Fan Xian laugh, "Oh yes, our uncle is the greatest emperor under the heavens. With his word, you will become my wife."
Only now did Fan Xian remember the Imperial order from yesterday. After hearing about the order, Lin Wan’er learned that the young man next to her had been named the Functionary of Taichang Temple, meaning their marriage had been officially confirmed. Overjoyed, she couldn’t help but blush again.
Fan Xian looked at her blush with a smile on his face. This girl was gentle and spirited, but also shy. He had always thought the girls in this world were like the ones from his previous life. He didn’t think he would be climbing walls every night. And for a proper ruler like her, this was already a major event.
"Oh, by the way, when we first met in the temple, who were you with?"
"I was with His Majesty." Lin Wan’er replied curiously.
"Hm?" Thinking he passed by the royal prerogative without realizing it, Fan Xian couldn’t help but have other thoughts. Since that guest was His Majesty the emperor, then the martial artist he traded blows with must be the lead guard from the palace. Fan Xian felt somewhat proud of the fact the encounter only left him tasting blood in his mouth and nothing more.
Seeing his expression change made Lin Wan’er curious. "What’s wrong? Was it unexpected?"
"I can only blame myself for being stupid; I didn’t think of that." Fan Xian smiled bitterly. "I always thought you would be with either Eldest Princess or Empress Dowager. Man, traveling in this world, it’d be a shame not to see His Majesty once."
"Although I don’t know too much about the outside, I do know the Fan household is revered. It wouldn’t be difficult for you to seek an audience with His Majesty. Besides…" The girl lowered her head in embarrassment, "After we get married, you would have to go see uncle anyway."
Hearing her mention marriage and seeing her charming shyness made Fan Xian’s heart skip a beat. He sneakily snuck his left hand—which had been around Lin Wan’er’s shoulder—downwards along her waist until it finally reached that soft and plump place. With his heart swaying, he squeezed his hand. The smooth firmness was just to his liking.
Lin Wan’er had previously been tolerating his presence because he presented himself as a well-mannered gentleman. For the past few days he didn’t do anything too unreasonable. Not only did she trust him, but she even inexplicably felt a bit proud of him.
Never once did she think he would start lusting after her! Because of that, she initially did not respond to the fact her butt had just been squeezed. She stared at Fan Xian blankly for a moment and noticed the lust growing stronger in his eyes. Only now did she realize what just happened. Her entire face turned bright red and tried to pry off that perverted hand from her backside.
Fan Xian was too enamored by her ample hips and would not let go. He embraced her more tightly. As his right arm was still in no condition to do this, he decided… to use his legs. Hanging on to the girl like an oversized koala, he locked his lips with hers.
From the first touch, her lips were moist and warm.
They didn’t part from each other for a while. Fan Xian felt refreshed and speechless, while Lin Wan’er was in a daze and on the verge of tears. She did in fact cry out from embarrassment. Looking at her, Fan Xian didn’t know what to say. He forced a smile and tried to explain, "I couldn’t control myself, I just couldn’t."
"You’re harassing me." Lin Wan’er wept. However, she kept her sobs low in order not to alarm the guards outside and the old nanny downstairs.
"How so?" Fan Xian felt greatly wronged. They would be husband and wife soon. What was wrong with getting a little intimate?
As if guessing what the young man was thinking, Lin Wan’er said with a pout, "There are still a few months until our marriage."
Fan Xian looked at her with a shady smile. "We’ve already spent so many nights together. What’s the big deal?"
Lin Wan’er was afraid he would say that. She blushed yet again and started to hit him. Halfway through, however… she thought about his injuries and stopped. Unfortunately, while turning, she came in contact with something rather indecent. As gentle as she may be, she knew what just happened and no longer cared for Fan Xian’s injuries. She forcefully pushed him off her bed.
"You should go back now. You’re still wounded." She buried her face in the blankets, unable to look at Fan Xian.
Naturally, Fan Xian looked down. Feeling wronged, he told her, "Then I’ll see you tomorrow."
Lin Wan’er pulled down her blanket for a bit, exposing her rather pitiful face. She asked, "Don’t you have actual business to do tomorrow?"
"Oh, that’s right. The bookstore opens the day after tomorrow," Fan Xian recalled. The men from the Overwatch Council weren’t back in the capital yet, so he wouldn’t be able to investigate anything. In that case, it was better to take care of matters at hand. As the saying goes, sharpening your knife won’t waste your time cutting. This could probably be considered one of Fan Xian’s good points.
He dared not bully the girl any more than he already had, so he opened the window to leave. Moonlight spilled in, illuminating the maidservant who was sleeping close by. Seeing her sound asleep, Fan Xian let out a chuckle, wondering if she would get fat after sleeping like this for a few days.
Two days later, the bookstore officially opened. Dongchuan Road was crowded with people. Even the Imperial scholars ditched classes to come and see. The storefront was constructed out of high-class timber and the building was decorated by colorful lanterns. Furthermore, the entire store was garnished by the smell of new books. Eventually, however, too many people came, and the fragrance of books got replaced by the stench of sweat.
Half of those people were here to see Fan Xian. Everyone was curious about this illegitimate son who had just came to the capital a little over a month ago. How did he manage to become so influential in such a short period of time? They also wanted to know why a martial scholar like him would open up a bookstore. There were many lucrative trades in this world, and selling books was far from an ideal business.
Ever since his near-assassination, Fan Xian’s view on life underwent a drastic change. He no longer had any intention of running this bookstore behind cover. He instead came out in the open and introduced himself and his brother as the owners. He also gave his bookstore a name, calling it "Danbo Bookstore". Its nameplate was calligraphed by King Jing himself and hung proudly above the front door.
The surrounding crowd pondered at the meaning of this name. Fan Xian explained that "Danbo" implied "sincerity", and meant "being worry-free without chasing fame or riches". He then threw out the quote "one can’t be sincere without simple living, one can’t have high aspirations without a peaceful state of mind" by Zhuge Liang. The crowd was shaken at the sound of this; even the crown prince was hearing this explanation for the first time and was shocked—he took this as a sign that they were confessing unwillingness to interfere with major affairs; obtaining safety by showing weakness.
Only Fan Ruoruo understood her brother. "Danbo" represented "wandering in Danzhou."
Seeing the crowd growing large and larger, Fan Xian began to sweat. He whispered to Ye the shopkeeper, "Those advertisements worked a bit too well. So many people have come on the first day."
The shopkeeper was no stranger to the term "advertisement" and chuckled. "It is known that the Dong family had Minster Cao’s original copy. After 68 chapters, we are the only ones printing it. The fame of Story of the Stone alone is enough to attract this many people." He paused for a bit before chuckling again. "And of course, they’re mainly here to see you; to see what a poet who could kill an eighth-ranked master looks like."
Fan Xian was taken aback and muttered, "I’m neither over two meters tall nor over two meters wide; what’s there to see?"