When Jun Huailang turned around, he saw Xue Yan sitting up with his cloak wrapped around him. His expression was a bit stunned, and his amber eyes stared at the lantern on the table.
It was different from his normal resigned silence, and as different as can be from the sinister appearance in his previous life.
Jun Huailang unexpectedly wanted to laugh.
He thought to himself, no matter how much trouble this kid stirs up in the future, right now he’s still at the mercy of others. Even if Xue Yan grows into that moody tyrant in the future, who knows if he still had the face to kill the whole Jun family.
The cold wind blowing in from outside made Jun Huailang shiver. He cupped the hand stove in his hands, stepped forward, and wordlessly stuffed the hand stove in Xue Yan’s hand.
As he did so, he brushed Xue Yan’s fingertips. As expected, his fingers were as cold as ice.
Jun Huailang was about to speak when Jinbao woke up outside. Seeing that the door to his master’s room was open and light was shining through the doorway, he was so frightened that he frantically ran in.
As soon as Jinbao entered, he saw a tall and handsome young noble standing inside, turning around to look at him. He was stunned for a long time before he recognized that this noble was clearly the immortal-like young master playing the qin in the courtyard earlier in the day. He was the heir of Consort Shu’s family, the one who could not be lightly provoked.
Could it be that his master provoked this immortal?
Jinbao was so terrified he was about to kneel and kowtow, but he heard the young master speak. “Go and call Zheng Guangde here,” he said in a clear voice.
Jinbao was so cold that his brain couldn’t process it.
Zheng Guangde? Who was Zheng Guangde?…… Wasn’t that Eunuch Zheng, the chief eunuch in charge of Consort Shu’s palace!
A moment ago he had wanted to go to Eunuch Zheng’s house to ask for a candle, but he couldn’t even enter the house. He had been stopped at the door. Eunuch Zhen was sitting inside with a little eunuch fanning him. That was the style of a favorite at the side of a beloved consort!
Jinbao was so frightened that his legs went limp.
The young master waited a while, then seemed to think he hadn’t heard clearly. He good-temperedly repeated in a warm voice, “Zheng Guangde is in the middle room of the side wing. Go and tell him I called him over.”
Jinbao looked at Xue Yan.
Xue Yan had recovered by now. He calmly glanced at Jinbao which scared the boy awake. Jinbao ran out the door and even forgot to shiver along the way.
Jun Huailang watched Jinbao leave before turning back to look at Xue Yan.
“I heard you will be my aunt’s child from now on,” he said.
Xue Yan looked at him, waiting for his next words.
Jun Huailang continued, “The servants didn’t treat you harshly because of my aunt’s decision. From today forward, you are the master of Mingluan Palace. If there are any problems, you can go tell my aunt.”
After a pause, he awkwardly said, “Or you can also come find me.”
Jun Huailang consoled himself, emphatically thinking he did not pity Xue Yan for his miserable life — it had nothing to do with him. He just wanted to make it clear that the Jun family was innocent and would not take the blame for other people.
After a moment, Xue Yan merely laughed in a low voice. “I still don’t know your name.”
He was wrapped in Jun Huailang’s cloak, pure white fur framing the sides of his face, and looked very well-behaved. But those eyes, perhaps because their color was so light, always felt feral when looking at Jun Huailang. He was like an untamable beast, exuding a hint of danger.
Jun Huailang felt that he must be thinking too much.
He replied, “My surname is Jun, my name is Jun Huailang.”
At that time, footsteps could be heard outside.
Jun Huailang saw Zheng Guangde coming at a run, with Jinbao close behind. Zheng Guangde must have been sleeping, his robes were all in disarray. In his haste his collar button was buttoned wrong.
Zheng Guangde hastily kneeled as soon as he arrived and greeted Jun Huailang. “Your Grace, you were looking for me?”
Jun Huailang stood with his back facing Zheng Guangde. He inclined his head and said, “If there are no other unused rooms in Mingluan Palace, I can vacate my residence and let His Highness the Fifth Prince live there.”
Zheng Guangde’s shoulders trembled in fear when he heard this.
Turns out this little ancestor woke him up in the middle of the night to fight against the injustices towards the Fifth Prince, a person who Consort Shu never even mentioned? This little ancestor was Consort Shu’s darling. Although he was easy to serve, if he was unhappy, Consort Shu would have plenty of ways to punish the eunuch.
Zheng Guangde quickly apologized and said with a smile, “Your Grace, what are you talking about! There are many vacant places in Mingluan Palace, but these things were instructed by Madam. This servant just did as ordered…
“Gumu said this herself?” Jun Huailang asked.
Zheng Guangde smiled apologetically, “Why would Madam care about such trivial matters? Diancui-gugu gave the orders.”
This was the convention in Mingluan Palace. Consort Shu was indolent so what Diancui said equaled Consort Shu’s.
The suspicion in Jun Huailang’s heart became a little stronger.
“Go get braziers, bed curtains, and bedding. Eunuch Zheng is better at preparing these daily necessities than me, I don’t need to instruct you,” Jun Huailang ordered, and suppressed the suspicion for now.
Zheng Guangde quickly nodded in agreement.
“It doesn’t matter what you said about relocating, I’ll talk to my aunt myself tomorrow,” Jun Huailang said.
Zhang Guangde hurriedly agreed, “Thank you, Your Grace! This servant will instruct everyone and have it done!”
“Go,” Jun Huailang nodded and added, “Sometimes Diancui-gugu can be confused, but you should understand.”
Zheng Guangde stopped immediately, waiting to hear what he would say next.
“The Fifth Prince’s affairs are the imperial family’s private affairs. It would be disrespectful of you all to overstep your place and meddle,” Jun Huailang said. “Just do your job well and attend to His Highness, the rest you need not worry about. Remember that.”
When he said this, even Jinbao, who was behind him, was stunned.
Even if he was afraid of Xue Yan and never dared disobey him, it was because Xue Yan’s tyrannical abuse forced him to. Throughout the entire palace, no one had ever spoken up for Xue Yan. Jun Huailang was the first.
Jinbao involuntarily looked at Xue Yan.
Xue Yan’s eyes were empty and resting in a corner of the room. There was no way to know what he was thinking. Jinbao had always been afraid of his pale eyes, which were very cold and contained terrifying ruthlessness and gloom within.
But at this time, in that pair of eyes emerged some complex emotions that were not evil.
On the other side of the room, Zheng Guangde didn’t dare stop for a moment after receiving the order. He rushed out and ordered the little eunuchs to go to the storerooms and fetch supplies. For a while, Xue Yan’s room was quite lively. Eunuchs hurried in and out, filling the room to the brim, and in a moment, had the bed made for Xue Yan.
Jinbao had never seen such a fray since the day he started serving Xue Yan. He stood aside and didn’t even know where to put his hands. Jinbao watched helplessly as the other eunuchs rushed about.
At that moment, he felt a gaze. He looked over and saw Jun Huailang looking at him. Those eyes were black and clear. The corners of his eyes drooped slightly and his gaze was extremely gentle.
Jinbao was taken aback for a moment and suddenly became nervous. He was standing stupidly at the side and let this master see it! What to do, he should kneel down and beg for forgiveness first…
But before he could bend his knees, the master turned to Zheng Guangde.
“Zheng-gonggong.” Jun Huailang motioned to Jinbao with his chin. “He still lacks winter clothes. It’s very cold on the veranda at night so prepare a set for him first, and buy other clothes for him tomorrow.”
Zhen Guangde hastily went to arrange it.
Then Jun Huailang stood there, quietly watching the eunuchs move in and out.
Jinbao’s mind was dizzy.
He… not only did he not rebuke Jinbao, he also wanted to give Jinbao more clothes?
How can this be a precious master no one could afford to offend? He was clearly an immortal who saved people from suffering!
The immortal was able to save Jinbao, but was still helpless regarding his own fate.
On that day Jun Huailang was wearing unlined garments and exposed to the wind for a long time. When he returned to his own palace, he was frozen stiff. Jun Huailang didn’t think it was serious, but that night, he had nightmares all night long. Early next morning he developed a high fever, and forgot all he dreamed of the night before.
He only vaguely remembered the fear of being cold and alone sweeping through him.
Fuyi was terrified. He hurriedly asked the palace servants to invite the imperial physician. Mingluan Palace was in a complete mess all morning, and everyone in Mingluan Palace knew—
The Lord Heir just went to the Fifth Prince’s place last night for a quick look, and the next day he had a high fever that did not recede. He must have offended that evil star.
All the eunuchs who had been to Xue Yan’s room last night were momentarily terrified. Even His Grace, who was precious and of high stature became like this, if they offended Xue Yan they would surely die! Some people even secretly found some folk remedies. They mixed the ashes of talisman paper into water to wash their hands.
Jun Huailang woke from his fevered sleep and saw Consort Shu sitting at the side of his bed, crying.
“What cold wind entered his body, they clearly said that Lang’er went to Xue Yan’s room and suddenly fell ill!” Jun Huailang heard her cry to the imperial physician. “You are truly useless, I might as well go to the Astrology Bureau and invite the Taoist priest to come here!”
After saying this, she immediately called Diancui over.
“Since this is the case, why should I keep that child? Go to the Astrology Bureau and find someone to exorcize the evil spirits from Mingluan Palace. Then drive away the one in the west side hall and tell him to go back to where he came from!”
When Jun Huailang heard this, his muddled mind suddenly became wide awake.
What he did yesterday was originally intended to sever the karmic bonds between Consort Shu and Xue Yan, but he did not expect that it would be self-defeating, making the situation even more critical.
Consort Shu again said to the imperial physician, “With such little ability, you dare make a fool of yourself in the palace. I will see you pack your bags today and get lost!”
Jun Huailang had no time to think, he hastily reached out a hand and tugged at Consort Shu’s sleeve.
“Huailang, are you awake?” Consort Shu immediately leaned over and put her hand on his forehead.
The palm of Consort Shu’s hand was cold and woke Jun Huailang up even more. He was about to say that someone was using her to treat Xue Yan harshly, but when he opened his eyes, Diancui was by their side.
He must not alert the enemy, he was only guessing right now. Moreover, there may be other people behind Diancui instigating her. But he couldn’t let Consort Shu really do this. The future Xue Yan was vindictive, and he couldn’t guarantee whether the enemy would retaliate against the Jun family for this day.
What could he say to turn this situation around and prevent Diancu from becoming suspicious?
A lightbulb went off in Jun Huailang’s mind.
In his time in official circles, there was always a certain type of person who often showed weakness to gain benefits. They would shed tears while recounting the tiniest problem and make people feel sorry for them, while at the same time diverting their attention.
Jun Huailang used to look down on those people the most.
But now he weakly coughed twice. He opened his reddened, teary eyes and his hoarse voice shook with an inaudible tremor.
“Gumu, it’s so cold there,” he said.
Consort Shu hurriedly asked, “Where is it cold?”
Jun Huailang held back the shame and disgust rising deep in his heart. His clear voice was thick with grievances.
“The west side room. There wasn’t even a brazier there. After standing there for a while, this nephew left to escape the cold, but in my dreams I was locked in there. I tried to find the door, but I couldn’t get out. It was so cold.”
Hearing this, the kneeling imperial physician who was about to lose his livelihood saw a way out of his predicament. He hurriedly said, “It is exactly so, Madam! The house on the west side has no dilong and is gloomy, damp, and cold. It was also windy last night. Lord Heir must have caught a chill!”
Just then, Xue Yan, who had been brought to the east side hall by an eunuch early in the morning, happened to walk in.
Across two large richly adorned rooms and layers of veils, the image of Jun Huailang’s flushed face, red eyes, and aggrieved expression entered his eyes.