CH 5

When Gu Yan said this, not only Ye Zi, but even the steward was stunned and began advising, “Your Majesty, this child is still just a brat and doesn’t know the rules, what if he offends you again……”

“No harm.” Gu Yan straightened up and looked at the frightened and beautiful face from above, “If he doesn’t know the rules, I can teach him.” 

Ye Zi reluctantly followed Gu Yan. 

There were many times when Ye Zi couldn’t understand what was going on in this person’s head. In the past, if any of the servants in the manor broke the rule, deducting their monthly salary and punishing them was certainly quite common.

But when Ye Zi got into trouble in front of Gu Yan today, he didn’t seem to be the least bit angry.  

Was this person a masochist? Did he like it when others treated him like that?

As he was thinking, Gu Yan suddenly stopped in front of him. Ye Zi wasn’t paying attention and ended up running into his solid back.

Ye Zi took a half step back and Gu Yan looked back. His gaze was fixed on him, as if he was taking a closer look. Ye Zi was a little uncomfortable by his gaze and asked in a low voice: “What’s wrong?”

Gu Yan said: “Now it’s just the two of us.”

Ye Zi blinked, not understanding what he meant.

Gu Yan was patient and whispered, “I thought you would have something to say to me.”

Ye Zi tentatively responded, “……M-Many thanks to the Prince for saving my life?”

Gu Yan: “……”

Gu Yan took a deep breath: “Very well.”

Ye Zi: ? ? ?

Gu Yan raised his hand and reached toward him.

Ye Zi was about to hide when Gu Yan whispered, “Don’t move.”

He picked half a fallen leaf from Ye Zi’s shoulder.

Ye Zi had climbed the tree and fallen earlier so his clothes were in disarray and he had been too preoccupied just now that he didn’t have time to pay attention to this. Gu Yan brushed away the fallen leaves and straightened his lapel.

“The person who will come later is an honored guest. Look at you, how do you expect to face them with such unkempt clothes?” Gu Yan said in a low voice. His eyes fell on the plain innerwear exposed at Ye Zi’s lapel and his eyes moved slightly.

He narrowed his eyes, hiding a few hints of a smile in his deep gaze.

Gu Yan’s cold fingertips touched the skin between Ye Zi’s neck, causing Ye Zi to shrink a little. He uncomfortably dodged Gu Yan’s hand and said in a rushed manner: “I……I can do it myself.”

Ye Zi began to fix his clothes in a fluster. Gu Yan didn’t say anything else as he turned and walked into the central room for meeting guests.

There were several maidservants cleaning the central room. When they noticed Gu Yan enter, they all bowed to him. Gu Yan sat down in the main seat, Ye Zi diligently came forward and took the initiative to pour him tea.

Since he couldn’t escape anyway, it was better to coax him so that he was on his good side. As long as he didn’t make mistakes that would make Gu Yan suspect him, he would surely find a chance to escape.

The Prince’s manor had dozens of maids and attendants of all sizes so Gu Yan won’t be looking for people to inquire about an unimportant servant.

Ye Zi’s wishful thinking was pounding loudly in his heart. He handed the tea to Gu Yan and said, “Please have tea, Your Majesty.”

Just as his words fell, there was suddenly a slight sound of porcelain colliding behind him.

Qiu Tang was scrambling to stabilize the porcelain vase that she almost broke as she wondered to herself: Wasn’t that Princess Consort Rui’s voice just now?

In the morning, she wasn’t able to see Princess Consort Rui’s appearance as she was in a hurry. But as servants, the first thing they were taught was to be able to recognize people as they weren’t allowed to mistake their master. Thus, even if it was just the voice, she wouldn’t be mistaken.

But how could Princess Consort Rui be dressed as a servant?

Qiu Tang curiously looked up towards Ye Zi, who also happened to turn his head because he heard a noise, and their gaze collided.

Ye Zi: “……”

……I’m done for, I don’t want to live anymore.

What timing, how did I run into this little girl again?

Qiu Tang was quick-witted, seeing Ye Zi’s guilty look, she immediately reacted. This was probably another one of the Prince’s unique fetishes, if someone were to find out, the Prince would be embarrassed.

She nodded slightly toward Ye Zi and averted her gaze as if nothing had happened.

Ye Zi: “……”

The misunderstanding seemed to have gotten bigger.

Gu Yan was about to take the tea from Ye Zi’s hand when he noticed Ye Zi and the servant girl exchanging glances. His eyes darkened and he reached out to cover the back of Ye Zi’s hand.

Ye Zi’s hand trembled. When he came back to his senses, he nearly knocked over the tea.

Gu Yan deliberately scolded: “Did you not eat or something? How come you can’t even steadily hold a cup of tea?” 

After saying that, he took the tea with a normal expression.

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“I……” Ye Zi didn’t know what he had done to provoke this man but he didn’t dare to contradict him, only muttering in a small voice, “I didn’t eat in the first place.”

Not to mention eating, he hadn’t been watered since the morning until now.

He was thirsty.

Gu Yan took a fruit from the fruit plate. The fruit was the size of a thumb and had bright red skin. It looked very tantalizing and made one’s mouth water. 

Gu Yan asked, “Do you want it?”

Ye Zi honestly nodded his head.

Gu Yan handed it to him: “It’s your reward.”

Having been tormented for the entire morning, Ye Zi was really thirsty and wasn’t polite with him either. He took the fruit and ate it in a bite. This kind of fruit was juicy and it would gush open after the skin broke, filling his mouth with a sweet aroma of pulp. 

After eating one, Ye Zi thought it wasn’t enough and eyed the rest of the fruit plate. 

Gu Yan looked at him with a smile: “Want more?”

Ye Zi nodded: “Mnn.”

“Then you have to answer my question first.” Gu Yan paused for a moment, pointed to a group of maidservants in the room, and asked seriously, “Who do you think is the best-looking in this room?” 

Ye Zi: “……”

What kind of life-threatening survival test was this?

How boring was this person if he decided to use this kind of method to set him up?

Ye Zi stabilized his mind and responded sincerely: “You are the best-looking.”

Gu Yan stared at him for a long time and it made Ye Zi’s legs weak. Finally, he let him off: “Sit down and eat.”

On the other side of the central room, a servant girl came up to Qiu Tang and asked, “Do you know the person next to the Prince? Those fruits are tributes from the West and there aren’t many in total, so why did the Prince reward him with all of them?”

Qiu Tang, who was very happily enjoying the show, curbed the smile on her lips and answered seriously: “Don’t ask more questions, get back to work. How can we guess what goes on in the Prince’s mind?”

Outsiders would never be able to guess that their Prince was actually good at acting coquettishly in private.

To have the person you liked pretending to be a servant boy so you could bring him around with you at all times and to have him compliment you in order to eat fruit——

He certainly knew how to play.

The maidservants were sent away by Gu Yan after they finished cleaning the room.

Ye Zi finished the whole plate of fruits in one breath and patted his stomach with satisfaction.

As he ate in a hurry, the corners of his mouth were stained with a bit of bright red juice. Gu Yan smiled helplessly and stretched out his hand to wipe it for him. But before he could touch Ye Zi, someone else came.

“Your Majesty, the Third Imperial Prince, and Prince Yu’s son have arrived.”

Prince Yu was a Prince with a different surname appointed by the previous Emperor during his reign and was so highly respected in the court that even Emperor Jinghe had to give him courtesy. Prince Yu had only one son, who he treasured very much, and that was this Little Prince Yu.

Little Prince Yu, Xiao Min, was similar in age to Gu Yan. When they were both younger, they were deskmates for a few years at the same school taught by the current Grand Tutor. Xiao Min was the only son in his family so being spoiled caused his nature to become mischievous and naughty. However, he wasn’t a bad person and had quite a good relationship with Gu Yan.

Today, he was the one who sent a message, saying he wanted to visit Gu Yan.

But he didn’t mention anything about the Third Imperial Prince coming along.

Emperor Jinghe originally had five sons and one daughter. The Grand Prince and the Fourth Imperial Prince died early and didn’t live past the age of 15. The Second Imperial Prince was born to the Empress and was now the Crown Prince. The only ones left were the Third Imperial Prince, who was born to a concubine mother, and the Fifth Imperial Prince, who was not yet ten years old.

Although Gu Yan grew up in the Palace, he didn’t have many dealings with Emperor Jinghe’s Imperial sons so his friendship with the Third Imperial Prince wasn’t that deep.

Gu Yan frowned and didn’t say anything, but Ye Zi lowered his eyes with a preoccupied look.

The Third Imperial Prince, Gu Xuan, was not an unfamiliar name to him.

Gu Xuan was the one who ended up taking Gu Yan’s life in the original novel. 

According to the novel, when Gu Yan became an adult, he became quite powerful and tried to seize the throne several times. However, on the eve of success, Emperor Jinghe saw through his conspiracy and everything went down the drain. Gu Yan, who couldn’t bear the blow of the failed conspiracy, ended up becoming insane.

Taking their uncle-nephew relationship into consideration, Emperor Jinghe allowed Gu Yan to go to his fiefdom to recuperate.

In a few years, Gu Yan recovered from his illness, but his desire for rebellion was still alive.

He assembled an army and rose up, and the momentum was so strong that he fought all the way to the Capital.

At the most critical moment, the Third Imperial Prince, Gu Xuan, led the army and finally killed Gu Yan.

As a result, Gu Xuan attained an outstanding military achievement. A few years later, the Crown Prince died of an illness so Gu Xuan was then embraced as the heir apparent and finally ascended to the throne.

If the biggest villain in that novel was Gu Yan, then Gu Xuan was the rightful protagonist.

Ye Zi had been in the Prince’s manor for so many years but had not seen this Third Imperial Prince before.

After the attendant finished passing on the message, two gorgeously dressed gentry walked in not long after.

The man in the front was tall and upright. His appearance wasn’t outstanding, but it was also quite decent, and he was full of youthful vigor.

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Xiao Min was the opposite age of Gu Yan, after all, he hadn’t inherited the title yet. Thus, the necessary courtesy couldn’t be left out whenever he met up Gu Yan. He walked up to Gu Yan and saluted him playfully: “Greetings, Prince Rui.”

Gu Yan responded: “The Little Prince doesn’t need to be polite.”

Behind him, a slender, slim man slowly stepped in.

The man was a little younger and his appearance was as gentle as jade. He had a pendant hanging from his waist as he held a black bamboo folding fan in his hand, which added some overall elegance. He walked up to Gu Yan, folded the fan, and smiled lightly: “Cousin, I’m sorry to bother you.”

His voice was clear and crisp, much more composed than Xiao Min’s.

Gu Yan nodded and Xiao Min explained, “Zicheng, today the Third Imperial Prince just so happened to invite me along to enjoy music with him. Seeing that it was still quite early, I decided to drag him along with me. You don’t mind, do you?” 

Gu Yan said: “Of course not.”

Xiao Min was dissatisfied: “Hey, you are about to get married, why do you still have such a cold look? Earlier, I heard them say that you got into trouble with His Holiness in front of the Imperial Court and insisted on marrying a man to be your consort. I was going to come make fun of you thinking that the iron trees had blossomed and the roosters were laying eggs[1].”

Ye Zi snorted out a laugh.

Iron trees blossoming and roosters laying eggs. 

In the whole Chang’an City, probably only this Little Prince Xiao dared to talk like this in front of Gu Yan.

Gu Yan swept his eyes back at Ye Zi, who was beside him, and Ye Zi immediately became quiet.

Xiao Min also looked over towards Ye Zi and his eyes lit up: “Wow, Prince Rui is quite blessed. Even the servant boy who follows you around is super good-looking, aren’t you afraid that the future Princess Consort will be jealous?

Gu Yan let out an untraceable frown.

Xiao Min had no bad intentions, but his nature was completely dissolute. He always hung out in red-light districts so whenever he noticed a beauty, he wouldn’t be able to walk away.

Xiao Min half-jokingly said: “Zicheng, since you are about to get married, why not hurry up and remove all the eye-catching things in this manor so that my future sister-in-law won’t be angry. As for what to do with them, why not give them to me, I will definitely treat them well.”

Gu Yan refused without even thinking: “No way.”

“Look at how stingy you are. I’m only asking you for servants, not for your wife. How about this, I’ll make an exchange with you.” Xiao Min originally wanted to joke with Gu Yan, but once he saw how protective Gu Yan was, he suddenly became energized.

“Jewelry and jades, or maids and beauties, what do you want? Whatever you want, I have plenty at home.”

Gu Yan asked, “Anything?”

Xiao Min nodded: “Mnn, anything.”

Ye Zi’s heart thumped, this was going a bit too far.

He heard that Xiao Min loved to covet beauty and had a lot of tricks in bed. If he really was to be sent to Prince Yu’s manor, he would probably lose his life there.

Gu Yan, you can’t be such an asshole, right?

Gu Yan took a leisurely look at Ye Zi and asked, “The Little Prince wants you to go to his manor, are you willing?”

How could he be willing? !

Ye Zi couldn’t figure out his meaning and didn’t dare to take a stand and only looked at him pitifully.

Gu Yan urged in a low voice: “Speak up, do you want to stay by my side or go with the Little Prince to his manor? If you don’t respond, I’ll take your silence as a yes and send you there myself.”

There was no trace of a joke in his eyes, like if Ye Zi really nodded, he would send him on the spot without saying a word.

Ye Zi couldn’t hold it in and his eyes were red from fright: “I……I want to stay by your side.”

Gu Yan nodded in satisfaction and said to Xiao Min, “Look, he is unwilling.”


“I am also unwilling.” Gu Yan curbed his smile and a few traces of coldness came from his eyes.

“Even if you empty the entire treasury, I still won’t exchange him.”


The author has something to say:

Ye Zi’s Desire for Survival: I want to go with you, you’re the best-looking, I want to stay by your side.


[1] A highly improbable or extremely rare occurrence.

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