Commander Wen Jinkai was livid. His eyes were menacing and bleak, his fingers curled into a paling fist. His eyes snapped to the hands loosely wrapped around his woman's waist.
Was Xueyue even considered his woman when he was so indecisive with her? He could hardly tell, but his possessiveness answered with a determined 'She's mine.'
Li Xueyue unknowingly tensed at Wen Jinkai's enraged expression.
Commander Yu Zhen must've mistaken her reaction for fear because his hands tightened around her waist, his thumbs gently rubbing her sides as if he was comforting her.
Li Xueyue was confused by his reaction and attempted to fix their promiscuous position, but he held her firmly in place.
\"Release her,\" Wen Jinkai's voice was as calm as a flowing river.
\"Hmmm,\" Commander Yu Zhen pretended to contemplate his response. Without warning, he flexed his arms and yanked her flushed against him. The side of her face was pressed against his chest.
\"I don't think so,\" he wrapped his arms around her waist, crossing his hands on her lower back. It was almost as if he was protective of her.
Li Xueyue could hear the steady beat of his heart. Rhythmic and regular. Comforting in ways she couldn't comprehend. He was not afraid of Wen Jinkai.
\"Release her.\" Wen Jinkai's face was passive and neutral as he uttered, \"Or else you'll be missing both of your hands.\"
\"Why don't you make me?\" Commander Yu Zhen lightly laughed, enjoying this man's threats.
When Wen Jinkai took a step closer, Hu Dengxiao drew his sword and Lu Tianbi readied her dagger. They might've not looked like it, but both of them were trained since birth to become lethal killers.
Li Xueyue attempted to create distance between herself and Yu Zhen, but he gently urged her to stay, squeezing her waist with his hand. Large and warm, he shifted it behind her head, almost as if he was telling her, 'It's okay. You're safe.'
'Did he think I was afraid of Wen Jinkai…?' she curiously asked herself, her suspicion confirmed when he caressed the back of her head in a soothing manner.
\"What a rowdy man you are.\" Yu Zhen hummed, resting his chin on the top of the Princess's head. He liked the fact that she did not overly accessorize herself, or else her hairpins could've pricked him.
Wen Jinkai's gaze darkened, darting from Xueyue to the mysterious man in front of him. He debated the chances of her getting hurt if he forcibly yanked her out of the man's arms.
Wen Jinkai didn't understand why he was so infuriated by the sight of them together. It almost reminded him of what had happened two years ago on that windy night, with breezes strong enough to stoke a fire.
\"Xueyue.\" Wen Jinkai decided he would not risk her safety for the sake of his pride. \"The walls have ears. Come here.\"
Li Xueyue understood his message, but the problem was, she could not break free from Commander Yu Zhen's hands.
He might've seemed easygoing and affable, but his grip was no joke. His stance was carefree and laidback, but his hands were strong. It was determined to keep her safe, even though Wen Jinkai would never hurt her—or so she believed.
\"Now,\" he demanded when she didn't budge.
Her eyes slightly widened in disbelief at his commanding tone. Who did he think he was?!
\"Lovely ears should not hear foul things,\" Yu Zhen lightly commented while he shifted the hand from behind of her head to her free ear, covering it. Her other ear was pressed against his chest, where he had unintentionally allowed her to listen to his tranquil heartbeats.
No other woman had come as close to him as she had done. He didn't realize how calming it was to have someone nestled in his arms.
\"She can't hear you.\" Yu Zhen rolled his eyes when Wen Jinkai's face darkened considerably, a dangerous shadow covered his eyes.
\"Do you think you're intimidating me?\" He chortled.
Wen Jinkai decided he would not care if she was a bit harmed if it meant he could have her back. He stormed to them, prepared to unsheathe his sword if needed.
Li Xueyue surprised both men when she finally spoke up, \"Unhand me.\"
Yu Zhen peered down at her, his eyes clouded with worry. At the same time, she glanced up at him with certainty. Upon seeing her lack of fear, he released her.
Li Xueyue took steps back from both men, straightened her clothes, and softly frowned. She turned to Yu Zhen and chided, \"That was—\"
\"Improper. Ill-mannered. Lack of etiquette?\" he teased, grinning to himself. \"I never said I was a gentleman, Sunshine.\"
Her gaze narrowed and corrected, \"It's Princess to you.\"
He saluted her with two fingers, \"Okay… Sunshine.\"
\"Your nicknames for me are corny.\"
\"That's because I'm the cream of the crop.\"
\"The crop must've soured.\"
\"Why won't you have a taste and we'll decide afterwards?\" Commander Yu Zhen teased with a triumphant grin when she was stunned speechless.
Wen Jinkai had enough of this trifling man. He reached for his woman, but she side-stepped his hand and frowned.
\"I don't belong to you, Wen Jinkai. You had no right to demand from me to go to you.\" Li Xueyue's brows wrung together.
Commander Yu Zhen lifted an amused brow. So this man was none other than the infamous Commander Wen Jinkai who had defeated the Hanjian troops in Yijing.
Yu Zhen quietly wished he was the one fighting in Yijing. That way, he could've tested what kind of fighter Wen Jinkai was. Unfortunately for Wuyi, Commander Yu Zhen was stationed to fight elsewhere: The bordering city of the Capital. He had effortlessly won, and if the Emperor of Hanjian allowed him to continue his conquest, Yu Zhen could've stormed the city and tried to take the Capital. Once the Capital was captured, Wuyi would be forced to surrender.
The problem was, both of the Empire's best fighters were at each other's bordering cities, and both of them had victoriously completed their mission.
If a peace treaty weren't signed and candidates of goodwill weren't gifted, then the war would've commenced. It was impossible to predict the extent of bloodshed or which side would be declared victors—the risk was not worth it.
Wen Jinkai's biting stare shifted from disbelief to frosty and cold. He glowered at her like she was a stranger.
\"I was merely worried about your reputation. First, you were involved with me and now another.\"
\"What are you implying?\" Li Xueyue's frown deepened.
Wen Jinkai instantly regretted his words when he saw how deeply offended she was.
He walked closer to her and explained, \"Xueyue, you know I didn't mean it like that.\"
\"No, I'm sure you did,\" Li Xueyue scowled, infuriated that he would think of her as an easy woman. Each step he took forward, she took two backwards.
\"Don't try to grab me as you please, Commander,\" she warned and narrowed her eyes. \"I'm not yours to touch.\"
Wen Jinkai was instantly offended by her words. What did she think his intent towards her was? To be friends? To be pen pals? How could she be so dense?
\"I thought we've already established our relationship.\"
\"We did,\" she grounded out. \"But when you couldn't promise me something beyond materialism and forcibly declared to the crowd a promise I did not agree to, you established what kind of man you are.\"
Wen Jinkai's face instantly softened. He was not ready. Why wouldn't she understand that? He was not ready to open his heart because he did not understand the meaning or purpose of love. Why was she so fixated on that? It wasn't like love could feed her, shelter her, and keep her safe and sound.
\"I have places to be, Commander,\" she emphasized his distant title. Jutting her chin to the side, she stormed off with her servants in tow.
He watched as she approached the announcer before sauntering into the throne room. Releasing a disgruntled sigh, he decided to chase after her but was beat to the chase when a man whirled past him.
Competitive by nature, Wen Jinkai instantly began heading in the direction of the throne room where only one man would leave victorious whereas the other would be baffled to no return.
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