26 Pay For His Sins
Xueyue's eyes opened wider. She was surprised by Wenmin's voice.
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It wasn't the usual carefree and overly bubbly voice that she was used to hearing.
Instead, it was rigid and arctic, almost inhumanely dark.
Was this the same puppy she knew before? Did puppies know how to bare their teeth and bite like wolves? Was Wenmin even a puppy to begin with?!
Before any of the Prince's personal guards could react, the Li men already had them surrounded. Each and every Imperial guard was cornered.
It was a clear the Prince's people were severely outnumbered. The guards might be strong, but one Li soldier could take 2 men down.
The fourth Prince wasn't as valued as his older brothers, therefore, the Emperor didn't employ his best soldiers to guard his fourth son.
The crowd was long gone the minute weapons were pulled out. They were too scared for their lives to witness the scene.
When Xueyue looked around, she noticed the entire streets were cleared. There was no one in sight.
Her breath hitched at the climatic scene in front of her.
"You dare point a sword at the fourth Prince?! Have you lost your mind, you crazy f*ck?!" Longhe hissed at Wenmin who was gripping his collar.
"You're nothing but an insignificant fourth Prince whose lowly title and sickly body will never allow you to seize the throne. The Emperor wouldn't care if you dropped dead right then and here." Wenmin spat out the words, each of them cutting Longhe more than his sword.
"How dare you!" Longhe screamed, ready to strike at Wenmin.
Xueyue's heart was beginning to rapidly pound in fear.
Even if Longhe was far from the Crown's reach, he was still royalty.
To offend the crown was to offend the entire country, and that could mean a death sentence. Xueyue, who didn't know the complicated ties that the Lis had to the royal family, didn't want their death to be so vain.
Xueyue knew the gentle Wenmin was out of reach, so she forced herself to turn her attention towards Chenyang whose murderous gaze never left Longhe.
She didn't know why the boys harbored so much hatred for the fourth Prince, but she didn't want this stick situation to get more out of hand.
When Chenyang took a step forward, Xueyue wrapped her arms around his muscular one. His eyes flickered with surprise at the koala on his arm.
She mustered all of her courage, then raised her head for her best pleading look. "Chenyang, please let it go. We have to go home." She whispered, her eyes shaking with each word.
Upon seeing her expression, Chenyang's gaze softened the slightest bit. His hand twitched, wanting to brush away the strands of hair covering her eyes.
"I-it's getting dark out. Duchess Li might get worried if we don't join her for lunch." Xueyue quickly added on. Her voice was shaky, and her heart was riddled up with anxiety.
Chenyang paused to stare at her. He took in her expression and her hand that desperately clung onto his sleeve.
She was careful to not touch him, and he knew it was because she thought he'd get angry at her for rashly touching him.
But he wouldn't mind if she was the one grabbing him.
The latter realization startled him. Was I always like this? When did it start?
Xueyue thought Chenyang would push her away, but instead, his freed hand gently patted her head.
"Alright, let's go home." He quietly said.
Xueyue closed her eyes and breathed out a sigh in relief.
Chenyang raised his head, "Wenmin, we're going home. We shouldn't waste our time on pests like him."
If Wenmin heard his younger brother, he didn't show any signs of it.
Silently in his mind, Wenmin thought, 'If I flick my wrist, this bastard will bleed to death...if I flick my wrist, all of the sins he has committed might finally be forgiven...'
Chenyang immediately understood the dire situation at hand.
"Wenmin, don't make me repeat myself. We're going home. NOW." Chenyang's voice was loud and commanding.
He knew this dark aura around Wenmin. It was the same air that surrounded him when Chenyang discovered Wenmin covered in blood, with bodies littering the ground.
'Just the flick of my wrist...just the flick of my wrist.' Wenmin chanted inside of his head.
A dark cloud was over him, covering his eyes from the reality. A hazy emotion of pure hatred, anger, and thirst for blood surfaced.
When Wenmin refused to budge in his spot, Chenyang felt a sudden wave of uneasiness wash over him.
He took a step closer to his older brother, but Xueyue was three steps ahead of him.
She didn't know the dangerous past that used to surround the bubbly Wenmin, but she knew he wasn't his normal self.
Taking the dangerous steps towards him, she lifted her small hands and grabbed his forearm.
"Wen-ge, let's go home. Alright?" She softly beckoned, her voice sweet and soft like cotton.
Wenmin blinked, a bit confused.
"Please? It's getting dark and Duchess Li is waiting for us at home. Duke Li is in court right now, she'll be really lonely if we don't return for lunch." Xueyue added on, her eyes watching the dark cloud slowly drift away.
Xueyue's fingers grasped his forearm tighter and lightly tugged at it, reminding him of the sword. "Come on, what are we waiting for? Let's go home and have your favorite steam buns. I-I heard the cooks might prepare it for snacks." She rambled on, in hopes of distracting him.
"Buns?" Wenmin repeated, confused at her words.
Xueyue bobbed her head. "Your favorite steamed buns filled with warm, red bean paste. The chefs are preparing it as we speak. It's best to go home and enjoy it while it's nice and hot."
Wenmin's eyes flickered with recognition.
After a few seconds of silence, he finally spoke. "Okay, let's go home." He queitly said, dropping the sword.
When Xueyue removed her hand from his arm, he placed a warm hand on her shoulder and guided her back to Chenyang.
Wordlessly, Xueyue kept her head down as she followed them to the carriage.
Not once did she spare Wang Longhe a second glance.
She didn't acknowledge him or or his presence, and Longhe was the first to notice.
For the first time since his birth, there dared to be a girl that didn't care about him...interesting, very interesting.
Wang Longhe must've been seeking a death sentence when his curious eyes lingered on Xueyue's disappearing form.
The realization that she might not care about him, made him grow very intrigued and curious over her.
In fear of his life, he was wise enough to not speak up when Xueyue was trying to coerce the older Li sibling to not slit his throat. And he kept his mouth shut the entire time they walked to their carriage.
Wang Longhe never removed his gaze from Xueyue's tiny, dainty back.
Not even for a second, even when she got into the carriage and her body disappeared from view, did she ever glance back at him.