"Xueyue." Li Wenmin stopped in front of the door with a frown. He had finally found her, but it was in the least expected place that he had in mind. "What are you doing?"
Xueyue raised her head and shifted her focus from the towel she was wringing dry. Seated beside the bed of Wen Jinkai, she was replacing the towel that was originally on his head. Due to his injuries and his body's slow healing, his immune system was weak and thus, he had developed a fever.
"Changing the towel?" she responded, placing the cool towel on the forehead of the unconscious soldier. Next, she brought the blanket higher up, making sure he was well-covered before standing up to close the window. She forced her gaze away from his well-fitted shirt that showed the form of his muscles. He was not overly burly, but had ample amount of biceps for her eyes to wander.
"That's a servant's job," Li Wenmin told her, walking into the room. "Why are you so attached to this buffoon?"
Xueyue paused before smiling, "He's your friend and a guest. I don't want him to get more sick."
"I hope you're not doing this because he's good-looking, Xiao Yue." Li Wenmin sulked. "He's ugly."
Xueyue let out a small laugh, "I only want to help him."
"You don't have to."
"But I want to," she deadpanned before heading towards the seat she previously sat on; however, Li Wenmin blocked her path.
"Wen-ge," she mused, pausing in front of him.
"Let's practice archery."
"We just practiced this morning."
"Okay, lets spar."
"But my martial arts aren't as good as yours." Xueyue laughed. "Are you trying to prevent me from seeing him?"
"Seeing who?" Li Wenmin panicked, his eyes widening while he jumped to conclusions faster than a jealous girlfriend.
"You're dating someone?!" He grabbed her shoulder, "All men are scum! Don't trust that man. Wait, who's that man? Now now, Xiao Yue, don't look at me like that. I just want to have a nice little talk with him, and maybe his heart can talk to my sword after--"
"I was merely stating you're blocking my view of him."
"But I am the view," Li Wenmin said with scrunched brows. He seemed genuinely confused at her words.
"If you're the view, we're all going to be blind," a voice spoke up behind them as both of them turned around to see Li Chenyang standing at the door. He had a distasteful expression on his face. Like Li Wenmin, he was also displeased to see Xueyue being so attentive towards the unconscious Wen Jinkai.
"Chenyang, our Xiao Yue likes Jinkai."
"He's ugly," Chenyang scowled. "He doesn't know how to treat people right. You shouldn't like him.
"I get it, he's filthy rich from his conquests as a commander. Yeah, the Emperor and Empress favors him, but still, that shouldn't be why you like a man."
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"Xiao Yue, he's mean and cold. He won't treat you well--"
"I just want to treat him well! I don't like him like that!" Xueyue interrupted them with a scowl. "Why do you jump to conclusions faster than a gossiping auntie?"
Li Chenyang and Li Wenmin exchanged glances.
Li Chenyang awkwardly cleared his throat when he realized what he had done. "Anyways, Mom is looking for you."
"Oh." Xueyue blinked. "What for?"
"But what about the medicine?" Xueyue pointed towards the porcelain bowl sitting on the table with a questionable colored substance. "The doctor instructed that he has to drink it."
"I'll have a maidservant feed it to him. Now come on, let's leave." Li Chenyang quickly ushered her out of the door before she could say anything.
When she opened her mouth, Li Wenmin began dragging her farther and farther from the room. When he glanced back, his twin shared a knowing look: She must not fall in love with Wen Jinkai. A love between them would be devastatingly heartbreaking.
- - - - -
A few days had passed since Wen Jinkai was carried into the Li Manor. Because the journey back to the Wen Mansion would be strenuous and not good for the injured, it was decided that he should stay in the Li Manor until he was better. However, the twins knew the truth. Duke Wen Xuan despised his eldest son whose existence was a painful reminder that his beloved wife had died from excessive blood loss after she birthed Wen Jinkai.
Day by day, Wen Jinkai was growing increasingly healthier.
Xueyue was relieved by his rapid recovery. Even the doctor had pointed out he healed faster than the average man.
From a distance, crickets chirped into the quiet night. Inside a decorated room meant for honored guests, the sound of blankets shuffling could be heard.
A man with broad shoulders leaned on the headboard, as a low growl of stiffness left his mouth. Despite waking up from an unwanted coma, his senses were very much heightened.
In his seemingly endless cycle of sleep, he could hear the voices and conversations surrounding him. In particular, a soft voice with equally soft touches that rested upon his forehead. Gentle and careful, that voice was something he thought he conjured up, until he distinctly heard a name, "Xueyue."
Wen Jinkai glanced at the neatly wrapped bandages on his wound and touched the spot. He stared at the green herbal paste that blotted the white cotton but brushed it off as harmless. If the people who saved his life wanted to kill him after his identity was discovered, they would've done it a long time ago.
Slipping out of bed, he ignored the pricking pain that followed him when he walked towards the door and pushed it open. Immediately, a harsh breeze circulated the room. It lowered the temperature, but nothing was able to match the intensity of his icy gaze upon the realization that he was betrayed by his men.
Wen Jinkai's grip on the door tightened as fury coursed through him. A mole. There was a traitor amongst his trusted people. And he already had a suspicion of who it was.
He forced his anger to subdue until the time was right. His blazing eyes surveyed his surroundings and he realized he knew this place. The Li Household. A rough laughter left his mouth. How ironic. He was saved by a family who will grow to despise him when they learn of the truth.
He made his way around the room, struggling between a proper walk with occasional and barely noticeable limps. He searched for his armor and weapon. After a few minutes, he finally found it tucked underneath the bed.
His expertly designed armor was cleaned and polished until it shinned and had zero remnants of blood. His eyes narrowed at the scent of freshly washed clothes. The Lis had gone through his belongings. He was glad he traveled with only weapons and a signaling flute.
He eyed his flute made from a rare white jade that grew deep in an icy cave whose dangerous and rocky paths made the material nearly impossible to acquire. Smoky wisps ran through the flute, leaving it a mellow blend of snow and ashes. It was his family heirloom, bestowed upon him by his grandfather who refused to give it to Duke Wen.
Wen Jinkai didn't know why but thinking of his grandfather made him think of his mysterious mentor who was introduced by the previous Wen Patriarch. His mentor was artfully skilled in archery and sword fighting, but always kept his identity hidden. Everything about him was unknown, except the fact that he possibly fostered a child from a woman who drugged him.
Wen Jinkai realized he didn't have time for sentiments. He went outside and wandered until he found himself within the edge of a forest. Lifting the flute to his lips, he softly blew into it as the unique material produced an interesting sound that was unrivaled to a simple instrument. He was told that the sound was very similar to weeping fallen angels -- whatever that meant.
He was using the flute to signal his trusted men. The strong wind carried the sound deep, deep into the forest, its noise becoming distorted, but those with distinctive ears waiting for the sound could hear it perfectly.
Wen Jinkai knew he had to leave and do so immediately. It was not safe for him to wander in this house, especially when his enemies were actively seeking his whereabouts. He couldn't risk injuring the people who saved his life… especially "Xueyue" whose voice was like a fresh breath of spring.
In his coma, he had heard so many voices, but her voice stood out to him. He didn't understand why. Deep down, his heart understood perfectly why, but his stubborn brain refused to fathom the thought. Instead, he focused his emotions on the traitor. He had foolishly fallen into a trap set up by a spy in his army. And he already knew who it was.
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