“Look! You didn’t harm me. It’s only just a stain!” The smile on Yu Xiaocao’s face was still as sweet as before. Her eyes were curved up in glee and they seemed to glitter with a bit of craftiness. They were so lively that it made a person want to stare at them endlessly.
Zhu Junyang looked at the faint red scar on Yu Xiaocao’s face and revealed a hesitant expression. At this moment, he was slowly becoming more clear-headed. He had a faint impression of what had happened when he lost control this time, which was different from previous times when he had no recollection whatsoever. Perhaps it was because his mind-reading ability was becoming more and more sharp, but he could clearly feel Head Steward Liu’s feelings and thoughts when he was fighting with him. He truly knew that the eunuch was his most capable servant yet he still had been deceived by his heart devil and couldn’t stop fighting.
Ever since he met Xiaocao, although he couldn’t always control the heart devil, he was always able to pull himself away during the past few years. He thought that he had the ability now to control the darkness inside of him. However, he didn’t expect that the heart devil was still inside of him, just waiting for an opportunity to explode.
Today, with Head Steward Liu by his side and fighting for his life, he managed to avoid massacring the Wu Family. Zhu Junyang actually didn’t care whether the Wu Family lived or died. However, what if one day he harmed the Yu Family or the Fang Family? Would Xiaocao hate him for the rest of his life? Or perhaps, when Xiaocao was by his side and he was taken over by the heart devil...he was too afraid to think further down that line. Maybe...staying far away from her was the best way to protect her!
Immense distress and sadness shone in Zhu Junyang’s eyes and Yu Xiaocao could clearly see that the prince had made the decision to decisively cut all ties with her. This made her feel incredibly flustered. She had a feeling that if she wasn’t able to resolve this situation perfectly, he would leave her forever…
“Older Brother Yang, I’m so scared, I want a hug…” Yu XIaoao shamelessly acted like a spoiled little girl and cutely asked for a hug.
A sorrowful feeling rose up in Zhu Junyang’s heart. His little lass was finally willing to call him ‘Older Brother Yang’. However, this was likely the first and last time that he would be able to hear her call him in such an adorable and sweet way. If he couldn’t give her happiness by her side, then he could only stay far away and watch as she lived contently.
Ordinarily, Zhu Junyang was always looking for an opportunity to get closer to her. If she ‘begged for a hug’, then he would gladly turn into a ‘hungry wolf’ and rush towards her. However, today, he actually retreated a few steps. His eyes shone with tenderness and were so filled with emotion that it made a person’s heart ache.
At that exact moment he turned around, Xiaocao felt like something was ripping her heart in two. ‘Zhu Junyang, you bastard, didn’t you say that you were going to stay by my side and guard me? That you were waiting for me to become an adult ah? Don’t tell me that your previous promises and oaths were as insubstantial as smoke ah?’
That wouldn’t do, she couldn’t let him just leave. Even if he had to go, he needed to make things clear first. Yu Xiaocao slightly frowned as she contemplated what to do. She didn’t believe that Zhu Junyang, who had always cared dearly about her, could harden his heart that easily and ignore her.
“Aiya——” She deliberately exclaimed in a distressed manner and gritted her teeth as she made herself fall towards the ground that had rubble strewn all over it.
In the moment she cried, Zhu Junyang, who had originally been jumping up onto the roof, glanced over with his phoenix eyes and clearly saw her headed towards the broken bricks and tiles on the ground. A distance of seven to eight strides was covered in a blink of an eye by his skills. He appeared almost instantaneously next to Xiaocao and reached out vigorously and supported her back up by grabbing her thin, slender arm. He gently lifted her and drew her into his arms as he anxiously asked, “What’s wrong? Did you twist your ankle? Did you fall anywhere and hit yourself?”
From the flurry of questions he just asked, she could tell just how deeply he cared about her. Then, why was he going to leave? Yu Xiaocao leaned into his embrace and tightly hugged his chest. She spoke in a voice that had a hint of a sob in it, “Don’t go. You told me that you were going to protect me as I got older. Don’t leave me…”
Zhu Junyang felt his eyes grow hot, and he gently stroked Xiaocao’s silky long hair as he sighed, “I’m afraid...afraid that one day I’ll do something that I’ll regret and can’t fix. I’m an unlucky and ominous person and will only bring unhappiness to the people I care about the most. Perhaps, staying far away from you is the best decision.”
“Nonsense! You’re not an unlucky and ominous person! You’re my God of Protection!” Yu Xiaocao raised her head and exclaimed, “Because of you, I’m able to relax and do whatever I want to do without having to think of auxiliary issues. This is because I know, that even if I rip a hole in the sky, you will help me patch it up.”
She sniffled and then tightened her arms around him even more, “All these years, if I didn’t have you around, then my life would have been much more difficult. Without you, the watermelons, early-ripening vegetables, and secret recipes I came up with in Dongshan Village would have long been schemed away by some evil person. Without you, my family’s braised food shop in the prefectural city would not have been able to open so smoothly and some local tyrant would have long snatched it away from us. Without you, the high-yielding crops that we planted in the Tanggu Farmstead would have had some local official taking credit for us instead. Thus, naturally, me becoming an official and titled a feudal princess wouldn’t have happened either.”
“The only reason I am so successful today is because you were by my side. Otherwise, I would still be in that tiny fishing village and living a downtrodden and difficult life!” Yu Xiaocao deliberately stated the worst case scenarios that could have happened, “Have you ever thought that if you leave, the emperor would lose a great helper at court and become angry? He might even become angry at me and take back all of the glory and honor he has given to me before. Perhaps he would send me back to be a little farmer’s girl in a tiny fishing village.”
“At that time, then the Imperial Plantation’s fruit orchard, your farmstead’s greenhouse vegetables and fruits, as well as the beauty salon, pharmaceutical workshop, and frozen dessert store would all slowly be taken away by those people who are envious of me.” Yu Xiaocao raised her head slightly to secretly glance at Zhu Junyang’s face to gauge his reaction to all of this. When she noticed that he had become quite solemn, she continued, “Also, you always say that I’m very muddle-headed and don’t have a brain for scheming or politics. Without you as my patron, I, with nothing behind me, would probably be used by someone and forced by that person to work for very little profit…”
“That won’t happen! This prince will handle everything before I go. Whoever wants to touch a single hair on your head, I will make sure to make their entire family pay in blood!” When he thought of Xiaocao being imprisoned by someone, losing her independence, and being forced to work for them...rage roiled up in his heart and his eyes gradually became red again.
Yu Xiaocao held on tightly to his neck and rubbed her soft and tender face against his as she softly said, “Even if you killed all of those people in the end, it still won’t take away the hurt and harm I’ve experienced, right? If you don’t want me to get harmed, then say by my side and keep me safe forever. Continue being my shield against those with evil intentions and let me grow up without a care in the world.”
How could Zhu Junyang not want to stay by his little lass and watch as she slowly grew up, become his wife, and then have a group of little cute buns with him? However… “I’m afraid if I stay by you, I will become the person who hurts you.”
“Master, have you not discovered that whenever you’re about to lose control of yourself, as long as Miss Yu is around, you’re able to suppress that heart devil? Let’s take today for an example. You had been completely consumed by the heart devil but as soon as you heard Miss Yu’s voice and saw her, your reason and mind gradually returned. Miss Yu is the nemesis of your heart devil. You not only won’t harm her but with her by your side, you will also get farther and farther away from the devil and inky darkness inside of you!” Head Steward Liu managed to slowly walk over with the help of Dong Dali after taking a pill to heal his internal injuries.
His words were like the strikes of a clock chiming and woke Zhu Junyang up from his confusion. That was right. In the past, before he met Xiaocao, the darkness within him seemed to always be hazily present and waiting for him to lose control. However, with Xiaocao around, she somehow managed to disperse the inky fog around him, and, like a ray of sunlight, warmed his entire being and soul. She allowed him to experience the warmth and happiness of a normal person.
Head Steward Liu was right. Xiaocao was the nemesis of his heart devil! Just like earlier, when he had been consumed by the darkness and controlled completely, the sound of Xiaocao’s voice penetrated the confining fog and reached the bottom of his heart and roused his consciousness again. The aura around Xiaocao was like the warmth and fragrance of a spring breeze. Although it was gentle, it was able to disperse all of the negativity away from him.
He lowered his head to sniff gently at the little lass’s hair that was lightly fragranced. The sweet smell of her finally released the last bit of moodiness and darkness out of his heart. Earlier, he had boxed himself in a corner. If he left Xiaocao, then it was likely that he would once again be in the thrall of that heart devil and be completely controlled. There would likely be one day when his two hands were covered completely with blood and his eyes completely red. At that time, could he still remember then how much he cared about her?
“Zhu Junyang, Head Steward Liu is right. If you let me stay by your side, we can work together to resist and defend yourself against the monster inside of you. Believe me, the last victory will definitely be ours!” Yu Xiaocao’s large eyes were filled with anxiety and worry, which made him feel a pang inside.
He lightly stroked the little mark on his little lass’s face and finally made a decision. The little lass had so many secrets on her. If he wasn’t by her side, once those secrets exploded, it would probably be the day she was condemned to hell. He needed to stay by her side forever, protecting her and all of her secrets and become a man who would sweep all of her troubles and worries away!
“Didn’t you call me ‘Older Brother Yang’ earlier ah? How come you’re using ‘Zhu Junyang’ again? Call me ‘Older Brother Yang’ again.” Zhu Junyang had returned back to his roguish self and started to tease Yu Xiaocao again.
Yu Xiaocao unexpectedly didn’t blow up at this frivolous statement of hers. The tears in her eyes slowly flowed down her face while she still had that beautiful and sweet smile on her lips. She foolishly said, “As long as you don’t leave me, I can call you ‘Older Brother Yang’ all you want.”
“Eh? Looks like I didn’t need to come here today!” A clear and gentle voice could be heard from the right side of these two people.
The two of them, who had been firmly embracing each other, finally let go of the other person and turned to face the familiar voice. On top of the eaves that were tiled with light green tiles, there was an elegant figure dressed entirely in white. The slight breeze gently lifted his long, dark hair and made the sleeves of his outfit dance gracefully. The person in front of them resembled an ethereal and beautiful immortal that could only be found in paintings.
“Sir Su, how come you're here?” Yu Xiaocao raised her head and looked at that man who resembled a perfect gentleman carved out of the finest jade. She used a sleeve to wipe the tears from her face and revealed a smile as bright as a blooming flower.
Su Ran lightly jumped off of the roof and landed on the ground soundlessly. He glanced at Zhu Junyang, who had regained his usual calm, and then raised an eyebrow at the ruins of the Wu Family’s estate. He lightly chuckled, “Someone told me that the Wu Family was currently deconstructing their home. I had nothing better to do, so I came over to take a peek!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s thoughts: Haha, I love Su Ran.