Ye Zi was so afraid that he even forgot whether he was a human or a plant. Being held in the palm of the hand still didn’t feel enough and his slender stems clung to Gu Yan’s fingers. Whilst trembling, he headed toward his sleeve, desperately wanting to stuff himself into it entirely.
The surprise in his eyes quickly faded as Gu Yan lowered his head and quietly gazed at the small green plant in his hands. His emotions were all hidden in those lowered eyes, and nothing could be seen.
Gu Yan was always followed by a few shadow guards. Just as they saw something flying toward their Prince, they unsheathed their swords a little and almost rushed forward to cut that thing in half.
The moment they saw clearly what had flown forward, the hidden shadow guards couldn’t help but look at each other.
Wasn’t that the little immortal plant in their Prince’s room?
Why did it come here?
The few attendants around Gu Yan were also frightened and before they had time to think about it, they knelt together in front of Gu Yan. Just as they were wondering, they heard a cat cry from the wall. The fat orange cat crouched aggressively on the courtyard wall. Its paws still clutched onto half a leaf as it extremely reluctantly stared at the small green herb in Gu Yan’s hand.
……Poor thing, why was it this ancestor again? !
This cat was raised by the Great Princess and was extraordinarily spoiled. It had lived in the manor for more than ten years and was already an old cat. Relying on its background, this orange cat flaunts its might in the manor all day long and no one dared to offend it. As its body grew fatter and fatter by the day, so did its courage.
The only time it was punished was the time it bit Ye Zi.
When Ye Zi was bitten, it caused Gu Yan to become furious. Hindered by the Great Princess, the cat couldn’t be killed or thrown away so it could only be locked up for three months as punishment. All the servants and maidservants in the courtyard were also implicated in this matter and were all expelled from the manor.
This time, the cat was probably the one who brought the little immortal plant to the gate of the manor and almost struck the Prince.
No one knew how many people would be on the chopping block this time.
The servants waited with trepidation for their Prince’s words, but Gu Yan seemed oblivious.
He looked down at the small green plant in his palm. The attendants also followed and looked at the small green plant in his hand. The inside and outside of the Prince’s manor was silent. No one dared to even breathe and it was as if it was going to stay like that until the end of time.
Gu Yan swept a glance at the attendants kneeling in front of him. Without a word, he took the trembling little green plant into his arms and pulled the fox fur to cover it tightly.
That look was as if he didn’t want people to stare at his little immortal plant.
“All of you get up.”
Hearing Gu Yan’s voice, Ye Zi recovered from his fear. He was being held in Gu Yan’s palm which happened to be right next to his heart and his fox fur tightly blocked him so that not even a single ray of light could peek in.
Since he was closer, Ye Zi could even smell the faint medicinal fragrance coming off of Gu Yan’s body and his slightly rapid heartbeat.
He didn’t dare to move, fearing that this person would notice something off and choke him to death as if he were a demon.
When Ye Zi came back to his senses, he felt too shameful. Wasn’t it just an old cat, what was there to be afraid of?
He was the world’s first small immortal plant that could run and jump. He absolutely couldn’t be a disgrace to plants.
He was going to be the most courageous plant in this world.
Ye Zi plucked up enough courage to stretch out his stem, ready to move the fox fur to see the situation outside. The orange cat suddenly jumped to Gu Yan’s feet and meowed twice at him, unwilling to give up.
——! ! !
Ye Zi fiercely bounced back. He was so afraid that he was tense from the roots to the tips of the leaves, retaining only the last trace of clarity to remind himself not to move, he must not be found out by Gu Yan.
Ye Zi, who prides himself on not being afraid of anything in the world, was only afraid of two things; one was cats and the second was Gu Yan.
But now, the cat was watching outside and wanted to bite him and Gu Yan could crush him to death as long as he exerted some strength. It could be said that there were wolves in front and tigers at the back.
Ye Zi was super aggrieved.
He just wanted to leave home, why was plant life so difficult?
In a place where Ye Zi couldn’t see, the corners of Gu Yan’s mouth curled up slightly, seemingly unable to restrain himself.
When the apprehensive attendants looked up and saw this look on their Prince’s face, they were confused.
Their Prince was actually in such a good mood today that he wasn’t even angry at the cat that nibbled on his immortal grass that he had been raising since childhood?
Without waiting for them to think more about it, Gu Yan put away his superfluous look and ordered with a stern face, “Catch it and lock it up.”
The attendants didn’t dare to speculate on their master’s mood and hastily carried the cat away.
Ye Zi couldn’t see outside and didn’t know whether the cat was gone or not. Under his extreme nervousness, he didn’t even notice that Gu Yan’s finger had gently soothed him twice on the tip of his leaf.
Gu Yan carried Ye Zi back to the courtyard.
When entering the room, Gu Yan’s footsteps paused and his gaze fell to the window, which was a wreck. He shook his head rather helplessly but didn’t say anything. He only called for someone to clean up and then bring in some new soil.
The maidservant quickly brought new soil and a new flower pot. Gu Yan didn’t let the underlings intervene. He washed his hands, filled the pot, loosened the soil, and planted the small green herb back into the flower pot.
He moved meticulously and his eyes, which were always indifferent, showed some softness and warmth.
But Ye Zi was frightened and exhausted and simply didn’t notice. Only until he was buried in the familiar soil did he finally have a peace of mind. The entire little green herb was wilted, even the tips of his leaves were drooping down as he gave off a look of lethargy.
Gu Yan sprinkled some water on the little green herb’s stem and touched the leaf where Ye Zi was scratched by the orange cat. The leaf was split down the middle and three cat claw marks remained on the slender blade.
“Does it hurt?” Gu Yan gently stroked the leaf as his eyes slightly darkened, “It’s my fault, I shouldn’t have left you alone these past few days.”
Ye Zi was comfortable with his touch as the small flower bud drowsily shrunk into the leaves. The small leaves were half asleep but took the initiative to lean over and curry up to Gu Yan’s fingers.
Gu Yan supported his chin as he interestedly looked down at him. The corners of his mouth formed into a faint smile. He didn’t close the door and the old housekeeper, who grew up watching Gu Yan, just so happened to take in his current expression as he neared the door.
Old housekeeper: “……”
No matter how many times he bumped into him, he still found it hard to get used to the way his young master was always as gentle as water with the plant.
The old housekeeper lowered his head and pretended not to notice.
When Gu Yan noticed someone coming, he withdrew his fingers from teasing the little green herb and asked, “What is it?”
The old housekeeper replied, “The Great Princess wants to see you.”
Gu Yan’s expression froze for a moment.
The Great Princess that the old housekeeper spoke of was Gu Yan’s birth mother.
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Gu Yan’s biological father had been the Crown Prince of the current dynasty. He had been made the Crown Prince when he had been a child and was well-loved by the late Emperor.
When Gu Yan was one year old, a plague broke out in Chang’an. The epidemic came and went quickly, but the Crown Prince lost his life in the plague. After the death of the Crown Prince, Gu Yan was brought up by the late Emperor and he had even intended to let Gu Yan inherit the Crown Prince’s position.
But the late Emperor never came out of the pain of losing his son. After not even lasting a few years, he also passed away.
Gu Yan, who had just turned ten, couldn’t ascend to the throne. Thus, at the late Emperor’s deathbed, he could only hand over the Crown Prince position to the Second Imperial Prince, the current Emperor, Emperor Jinghe.
The late Emperor left a posthumous edict and the young Gu Yan was given the title Prince Rui. He also ordered that Gu Yan didn’t need to go to the fiefdom when he reached adulthood and to let him stay in the capital, living the life of an idle Prince.
The former Crown Princess Consort then became the current Great Princess Rui.
Gu Yan’s gaze remained on the little green herb’s leaves for a long time before gently responding, “Okay.”
Gu Yan had just stepped into the Great Princess Rui’s courtyard when he heard the sound of a broken vessel inside the room. His footsteps paused and a flower pot was thrown out of the room, shattering right next to his feet.
Gu Yan retracted his foot which almost stepped on the broken porcelain piece when the voice of the Great Princess Rui came from inside the house: “Get in here quickly!”
Inside the room, the servant girls and nannies stood in a row, each one shrinking like a quail. Seeing Gu Yan walk in, they threw him a pleading gaze.
The main seat was occupied by the Great Princess Rui. Her brow was slightly knitted and her face was still heated and angry.
The Great Princess Rui took good care of herself and she looked like she was in her early thirties. Her pretty face remained unchanged and she was more mature compared to her youthful days.
Gu Yan took the tea bowl from a servant girl by the door and said softly, “You guys can leave.”
A room of maidservants and nannies hurriedly saluted and left with relief.
Gu Yan carried the tea bowl and walked up to the Great Princess Rui, bowing towards her: “Mother.”
The Great Princess Rui didn’t look at him: “Kneel down.”
Gu Yan looked at her and knelt down in a disciplined manner.
The anger on the Great Princess Rui’s face subsided a little. She took the tea bowl from Gu Yan’s hand and asked in a cold voice: “I heard that you went to ask His Holiness for a marriage. My son is getting married, how come I, the mother, don’t even know anything about it? Gu Zicheng, do you still see me as your mother?”
Zicheng was precisely Gu Yan’s courtesy name.
Gu Yan had tucked in his fox tail in front of his mother and when he was asked this question, he immediately meekly admitted his mistake: “It’s all because Zicheng didn’t consider it properly. That day, His Holiness had stated that he was going to set a marriage for me since I hadn’t started a family yet. However, I already had my heart set on someone and that’s……that’s why I told the truth.”
“So you also knew that you hadn’t properly considered it?” The Great Princess Rui glanced at him in displeasure, “I can forget about how you mess around on a daily basis, but since the beginning of the dynasty, there has never been a precedent for a male consort….If you really like him, it’s okay to take him in as a concubine, why must you——”
……give everyone a hard time?
“But if that is the case, wouldn’t His Holiness still have to set up a marriage for me?” Gu Yan paused and continued, “Mother, do you know who His Holiness wishes for me to marry?”
“The daughter of the Duke of Protection, Commandery Princess Changning.”
There was a moment of silence in the room and a sudden feeling of foreboding rose in the Great Princess Rui’s heart, “How did you answer?”
Gu Yan smiled: “I told His Holiness that it wasn’t impossible for me to marry Changning, but my heart belongs to someone already and I only want to marry my beloved as my consort. If Changning is willing to be a concubine, I can also make an effort to take her in……”
The Great Princess Rui was so angry with him that she almost had a close call: “What are you talking about! She is a Commandery Princess and her body is extremely precious, and you actually want her to——you really……”
The Great Princess Rui used her whole life of upbringing to keep herself from cursing aloud. She didn’t know where she made a mistake all these years to bring up such a shameless disgrace.
Emperor Jinghe had only imprisoned him for three days, which was really being too easy on him.
Gu Yan warmly persuaded her: “Mother, take a sip of tea. Don’t get angry and harm your body.”
The Great Princess Rui glared at him. She lifted the lid of the tea bowl and blew gently before saying leisurely: “The Duke of Protection is the Empress’s blood brother and Changning has just reached maturity this year. You guys are well-matched and are also cementing old ties by keeping it in the family. If you really marry her……”
Gu Yan continued: “If I really do marry her, His Holiness will have more control over me.”
The lid of the tea bowl touched the wall of the cup and there was a soft sound. The Great Princess Rui’s expression changed: “Yan’er, don’t talk nonsense.”
“Mother, don’t worry, I know very well in my heart.” Gu Yan smiled a little and answered unhurriedly, “His Holiness has issued a decree, allowing me to get married in three days. I have promised His Holiness that the wedding banquet will be simple. No guests will be invited and only a simple event will be held in the Prince’s manor; it won’t disgrace the Imperial family.”
The Great Princess Rui put the tea on the table and reached out to help Gu Yan up: “Yan’er, tell me the truth, are you really happy with that person and that’s why you want to marry him into the family? You aren’t……”
She wanted to say something, but Gu Yan smiled lightly: “What is Mother thinking? You really think I have nothing better to do and that I am just purposely seeking a man to give you guys a hard time?”
The Great Princess Rui looked at him dumbfoundedly.
Not to mention other things, this was indeed something that Gu Yan would do.
Gu Yan lowered his eyes and said in a low voice: “This time it’s really not a lie.”
His right hand opened and unfurled in front of him, as if he could still feel the warm and soft touch of the delicate stem and leaves brushing his fingertips.
Just like many years ago, when that person held his hand, aimed the sword, and taught him tirelessly one move after another.
Over and over again.
The sun was setting as the warm sunlight shone through the window and into the room, sprinkling onto the quietly sleeping little green plant. The little green plant bathing in the sunlight was covered in a layer of hazy white light, which was bright, clear, and translucent.
But Ye Zi was far from as comfortable as he seemed.
He had recently become more sleepy day by day and was always dreaming after falling asleep. The fragmented dream world was like a huge net, swirling around and gathering everything, dragging him into the deep darkness.
Ye Zi’s body sometimes felt like it was being burned by fire and sometimes like falling into an extremely cold ice domain. The hot and cold were hard to bear.
A few crisp sounds pulled Ye Zi out of the endless dream.
The tips of his leaves trembled gently and his stems stretched out.
By the windowsill, the little gray sparrow was tapping on the window pane with its tiny beak. It didn’t come forward and most of its body was blocked outside. Only a small head was exposed as a pair of round eyes stared closely at Ye Zi: “Little leaf, you……”
Ye Zizi was a little confused from his sleep and asked bewilderedly, “What’s wrong?”
“You……you were just……” The little gray sparrow’s round body trembled, as if it was still a little scared.
It had just flown over, wanting to invite Ye Zi out to play, when it saw the small green herb covered with layers of white light. It grew brighter and brighter, as if to swallow the whole plant up in its entirety. The little gray sparrow was scared and didn’t dare to come close. Out of options, it woke Ye Zi up by knocking hard on the window.
Ye Zi wanted to ask again, but the little gray sparrow seemed to feel something. With a beat of its wings, it flew away. Ye Zi was stunned but then he heard some familiar footsteps coming from outside the courtyard.
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Gu Yan had returned.
This time, the Great Princess Rui was really angry. Gu Yan also knew that he was in the wrong and could only accompany her as he accepted her lecture. Only after he ate his evening meal with her was he finally able to leave.
However, he was at least able to pass the hurdle known as the Great Princess Rui.
Gu Yan rubbed his sore brows and pushed open the door to the room.
Inside the room, Ye Zi stood docilely in the flower pot, motionless.
——Pretending to be a plant with great dedication.
Gu Yan walked to Ye Zi’s side and check up on the leaf that had been injured.
Ye Zi’s recovery ability had always been very good. After an afternoon, the scars on his leaf had faded a lot and after another night, he would be able to completely recover.
Gu Yan was relieved. He picked up Ye Zi’s flower pot and placed it next to the desk. He unfolded a rice paper, took a quill, ground some ink, and began to write.
The day was getting darker and the maidservant who was guarding the courtyard came to add oil to the lamp, but Gu Yan still didn’t look up.
He concentrated on writing and Ye Zi concentrated on staring at him.
The light reflected Gu Yan’s features, making it more profound. He was handsome to the extreme and with this kind of look, it was no wonder he was able to attract the attention of countless women.
But no matter how many people fell for him, Gu Yan never cared.
The Gu Yan in the novel never liked anyone even until his death. Ye Zi originally thought that this Gu Yan would be the same. They have known each other for ten years, but Gu Yan had never let anyone or anything into his heart.
This person seemed to be born with coldness, like a block of ice. Even if one were to give him their most passionate and burning heart, he wouldn’t look at it.
How could this kind of person like others?
As Ye Zi was thinking, Gu Yan suddenly raised his head and asked in a low voice: “Are you looking at me?”
Ye Zi shook. Pretending to be calm, he raised his flower bud, and straightened his stems and leaves, pretending nothing had happened.
Gu Yan held back a smile and didn’t delve deeper.
Someone outside the door knocked gently and a servant girl brought in a bowl of freshly decocted medicinal soup.
This medicine was for Gu Yan.
Gu Yan hadn’t been well ever since he was a young child and always had to drink medicine most of the time throughout the year. However, he didn’t know which half-wit doctor gave him the prescription. After drinking the medicine for a number of years, the more he drank the worse he became and there was absolutely no improvement.
Gu Yan took the medicine while it was still hot and sent the servant girl away.
The effect of the medicine gradually began to show. Gu Yan put aside the quill and sleepily massaged his brows.
He had long been accustomed to the side effects of this medicine that could make one sleepy and drowsy. He went into the washroom and simply washed up. After he whispered good night to Ye Zi, he laid down on the bed.
The room was silent for a while. Ye Zi waved his stem in the direction of the bed, but the person on the bed didn’t respond, as if he had already fallen asleep.
Gu Yan left an obscure small oil lamp in the outer room. It wasn’t too bright, but just bright enough to see things. Ye Zi carefully used his stem to move the soft soil and dug himself out.
Ye Zizi shook his body clean of dirt and moved to the bed. He stretched out two slender stems and climbed onto Gu Yan’s body using the quilt.
Gu Yan wasn’t sleeping very well. His brows were slightly wrinkled and the original hint of color on his face had also faded, making him look exceptionally pale.
Ye Zi scrutinized him for a moment. He sometimes felt that Gu Yan’s spirit looked better when he wasn’t drinking that medicine.
Ye Zi leaned down. His small green stem and leaves slowly parted and the flower bud moved closer to Gu Yan. A drop of crystal spiritual dew fell from the top of the flower bud and slipped into Gu Yan’s mouth.
Every once in a while, a drop of spiritual dew would automatically come out of Ye Zi’s body. The little gray sparrow had swallowed his spiritual dew accidentally and opened up its spiritual consciousness.
He didn’t know much about how useful this spiritual dew was but for ordinary people, it was the best tonic. Anyway, it was a waste to not use it so every time the spiritual dew was formed, Ye Zi would pour it into Gu Yan, this sickly child.
And every time after taking his spiritual dew, Gu Yan’s body would indeed get better temporarily for a while.
Ye Zi lost his strength for a short time so he simply let go. He picked a comfortable position between Gu Yan’s neck and poked the man’s face with his stem: “You sickly child, to think you actually want to get married. With your physical strength, will you really be able to do it once you enter the bridal chamber?”
He suddenly thought of something: “Unless you’re…..”
The little Prince had a delicate and weak body, no matter how one looked at it, he didn’t seem like someone on top. Since he wasn’t going to be on top, he naturally didn’t have to do any work.
The more Ye Zi thought about it, the more he felt it made sense. After giggling to himself for a while, he closed his leaves contentedly and fell asleep unknowingly.
Dots of little white light came through his stems and leaves and in the flickering light, there was a faint silhouette of a young boy.
The author has something to say:
Gu Yan: Whether I can or not, you will know later
Ye Zi: ……Crying.jpg
 Courtesy name: also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one’s given name.