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Half laughing and crying, Meng Fuyao cursed, "Go somewhere else if you want to mess with her! So dirty!" She then glared at Zhan Beiye and added, "Useless... playing game with a guinea pig."

"None of my business," Zhan Beiye insisted, sitting down beside her with his golden blade. "Don't put us together in a sentence."

Finally, when Zhan Beiye "saw" Hu Sang, his face turned grave as he stared at her.

The air in the room instantly turned freezing cold with his glare, and even Hu Sang, who had been screaming her lungs out, shuddered and cowered into a corner

Unfamiliar with that side of him, Meng Fuyao turned to Zhan Beiye. 'Aye, this guy seems pretty imposing when stern. A pity those dark eye circles ruin the look a little.'

Ignoring her gaze, Zhan Baiye kept his on Hu Sang, his silence producing a murderous aura that stifled the air in the room. It carried an icy blade-like presence that shot toward Hu Sang, causing her to remain still, no longer even daring to wipe the tears off her face.

Meng Fuyao watched on quietly and rather doubtfully for half an hour, wondering if the girl had gone insane.

At the point where Hu Sang was about to crumble emotionally, Prince Zhan took the chance to speak up. His voice was calm yet cutting. "Whoever harms Meng Fuyao, I must kill."

There were no more tears to cry.

"Don't assume that I'll let you off just because you don't know martial arts. I can give up my principles for this woman."

He looked at Hu Sang, silent and expressionless but pressurizing.

Hu Sang had started shivering. She couldn't wish for anything more than to seep into the walls. She felt suffocated in spite of the man's calm demeanor, as though her whole body was getting sliced by his gaze, to the point where her heart could no longer beat.

Hu Sang's wan complexion and chattering teeth were evidence that half her soul had already been frightened away. Zhan Beiye was satisfied, and he let out a grin before speaking in a bright tone, "But I know she's not going to kill you. Not because she can't bear to, but because you mean too little. Only cheap women like you would blindly succumb to resentment and selfishness."

"I respect her decision, albeit rather unwillingly." Zhan Beiye's eyes shone brightly as he looked at Meng Fuyao. "Aye, I'm always losing out when with you."

Hu Sang felt a huge burden lift a little, and she couldn't help but let out a breath of relief. Her eyes welled with tears again as she looked up at the handsome with the overbearing face. Why were eligible men always appearing by Meng Fuyao's side and not in front of her?

Why was that woman, no matter how pitiful looking, always appearing so mighty and above everyone else? Her bright aura was unconcealable, whereas she herself was destined to carry dirt all over her body and kiss the ground that woman stepped on?

Hu Sang did not understand what humanity's highest point was, but she knew that her life was a total failure.

She wiped the sludge off her face with her sleeve, but she knew deep down that some things would leave a stain forever.

No longer willing to look at her, Zhan Beiye ordered, "Scram."

Hu Sang bit her lips and retreated with a bow. Upon reaching the door, she heard Zhan Beiye's icy voice. "Oh, forgot to tell you. You're spared from a death sentence, but your debt will not be written off."

Hu Sang turned around, her legs slowly giving way.

"But you can repay it slowly. If 1 year isn't enough, take 10, if not, your whole life," nasty Prince Zhan spoke slowly. "I'll have to find things for you to do or you'll come up with ideas to harm others again."

Seeing Hu Sang stagger off Meng Fuyao shook her head. "Oh, ruthless. Ruthless."

'The bills... tsk tsk, will she end up selling her body?'

"Who's ruthless?" asked Zhan Beiye, grabbing and chasing Lord Yuan Bao out the door before leaning dangerously close toward Meng Fuyao. Baring his teeth like a beast, he questioned, "You don't know what's good for you, eh?"

Meng Fuyao swung her palm out, shouting, "Go no further or talk to my sunflower acupuncture point jabbing hand!"

"Right, and I have dragon phoenix claws!" Zhan Beiye smacked Meng Fuyao's strengthless hand away. "Why are you like this, my princess?"

"Princess... your head!" Meng Fuyao raged. "Go marry whoever you want. I'll not serve you."

"I won't let you serve me," Zhan Beiye smiled, before continuing indifferently, "I'll get a hundred servant girls to serve you. You can have a new one each day if you'd like that...'

Meng Fuyao shuddered, mumbling, "What a tacky mansion life..." As she murmured, Zhan Bieye started loosening his boots.

"What are you doing?" Meng Fuyao growled. "This is my bed."

"You're going to have to share it with me sooner or later, so let's just get used to it first." Zhan Beiye kicked his shoes off and lied down comfortably. "Much better than a cave."

Meng Fuyao quickly wrapped herself with the quilt. Pinching her nose, she buzzed, "You trying to kill me? Athlete's foot!"

"Me? It's fine, I think?" Zhan Beiye commented, lifting his feet up. "Smell it."

Meng Fuyao slapped her quilt away while Zhan Beiye returned to his resting position, using his arms as a pillow. "Eventually you'll be sleeping beside me, so let's have you get used to it first."

Meng Fuyao glared at him. "Are you going to force your way through, Prince Zhan?"

"Do you feel forced?" Zhan Beiya asked, frowning. "You haven't fallen for Zhangsun Wuji, have you?"

"I don't fancy anyone! Meng Fuyao declared, clenching her teeth. "I've already made it clear that my goal is to travel around and do what I need to. Flowers like you men will go untouched!"

"Aye, that's what I like about you," Zhan Beiye complimented her with a smile. "See, through your mouth, the prince of Tiansha and crown prince of Wuji have turned into flowers. How domineering! Just my type."

Meng Fuyao glared at him, realizing that both men were actually the same. No matter what she said, they would have a way to retort so it would be unwise of her to pick a quarrel or fight with. The best thing she could do in this scenario was to ignore his existence.

As such, that was exactly what she did. She laid herself down, back facing him, and claimed the quilt for herself.

Zhan Beiye complied, lying sprawled out on his back and sighing. "Sleeping by your side is still the best... I can be at ease. It's been many years since I've had a good sleep."

Meng Fuyao leaned against the wall, determined not to turn around to ask questions.

"In the palace, when I was young, I slept by my mother's door. She would sleepwalk in the middle of the night, running outside barefooted. With her in that state I couldn't wake her, so I slept by the doorstep. When she exited the room, she would step on me, trip and fall onto me. That way I'd wake up and carry her back to her bed, and she wouldn't be injured."

Meng Fuyao stared at Zhan Beiye's shadow, which was cast on the wall by the lamps. His strong silhouette had unknowingly transformed into that of a child. It was a child who lived in a cold, empty palace, never daring to fall into a deep sleep in order to protect his mother.

How indescribably sad was that?

Meng Fuyao felt a sour sensation running through her nose as she recalled Yao Xun's words. Zhan Beiye's history was unusual. His mother was the queen from the previous dynasty, and for many years he had been ostracized by his elder brother. It took him a lot of time and effort in order to attain what he had. Dark Wind Horses was highly reputable, but there could only be 3,000 soldiers according to the prince's guardsmen standard. It was the maximum number his elder brother would allow.

Meng Fuyao believed that if permissible, Zhan Beiye's emperor brother would very much hope to slaughter this highly threatening brother of his.

Having experienced such a dark past and still make it till today, and even possessing such a bright and cheerful personality, Zhan Beiye was truly an unfathomably strong character.

"Later on, I had a piece of land... in Geya desert. At that time the desert was destitute and split into three portions, one belonging to the bandits, one to Moluo and the smallest one to me. How generous of my brother... I asked him on the day of bestowment if the whole desert was mine, to which he laughed and said yes. It's easy then... I taught the bandits a lesson, got rid of Muluo's cavalry, stripped them naked and buried them beneath the sand, dried them and flew kites. All of them became submissive after that, and Geya desert became all mine... but even in those years, I had never had a good night's rest."

Yet another wave of sourness took over her nose. 'D*mn, what's he doing? Is this an assembly to share grievances?'

Was he trying to soften Mayor Meng's cold, solid heart by sharing his sob stories revolving around his youth?

Meng Fuyao wasn't going to allow that. She p.r.i.c.ked her ears up, waiting for his next "attack," but there was no more voice, only a low but stable breathing.

Unable to contain her curiosity Meng Fuyao turned her head around. A faint wisp of moonlight shone through the half-covered window gap and onto Zhan Beiye's face. His usually handsome and firm features were at this point still and gentle, while his skin appeared to be covered in a layer of frosted sheen that elevated the elegance of his lashes and brows. He possessed an almost staggering beauty that was beyond refreshing. His eyes drooped slightly, and his breathing was calm. He appeared to be relaxed and happy.

He was sound asleep.

Meng Fuyao laid on her side, studying his child-like posture. The moonlight shone down on her frail-looking face as well, revealing the softness and tender expression on it.

'Alright...' She wasn't going to kick him off her bed.

Meng Fuyao yawned and turned lazily toward the wall once more, her eyelids slowly shutting.

She, too, had fallen asleep.

"You adulterous pair!"

A high-pitched and crisp female voice boomed in Meng Fuyao's ears. She rubbed her eyes and lifted the extremely heavy quilt up before turning around and falling back asleep. "Speak again, Hu Sang, and I'll slaughter you right now..." she trailed off.





CHAPTER DISCUSSION