By the time Li Xueyue finished riding, the sun was setting on the horizon. After handing Heiyue off to the stable boy, she instantly went back to her bedroom, took out the diary, and headed in the direction of Li Chenyang's room. Upon seeing it was empty, she decided to head to the library where he was usually found.
"There you are," she said after pushing the door open. Sure enough, nestled comfortably on the window seat was Li Chenyang engrossed in a book.
"Were you out with Heiyue?"
"Mmhm." Li Xueyue nodded. "I have something to show you, but first, you have to promise that you won't get mad at me."
Li Chenyang quirked a brow. He slipped a bookmark into the page he was reading and closed the book.
"I don't make false promises." His eyes fell on the object she hugged in her arms. "What's that?"
"Why so secretive?" He mused, "Unless…"
"Unless what?" she curiously asked, tilting her head at his pointed look.
"Is it an erotica?"
"Chen-ge!" she gasped, horrified that he even knew those types of books existed. "For all I know, you could be reading one too!"
Li Chenyang laughed at her mortified expression. Her cheeks were stained red and she was averting his gaze. "Your reaction is very suspicious."
"I didn't expect you to say something like that."
"You shouldn't even know about erotica in the first place." Li Chenyang chortled, sitting up straighter. "So what is it you're going to show me?"
"Uhm, a week or two ago, I was bored and I decided to wander in the house for things to do." Li Xueyue approached him.
"And well, I might've...uhm, wandered off into a restricted area without knowing it was closed off to everyone in the house."
A storm cloud rolled over Li Chenyang's face, darkening it. "You unknowingly wandered into Minghua's old corridors didn't you?"
He let out an exasperated sigh and leaned his head against the window. "Xueyue, you weren't supposed to go there. It's the only rule set in the house—"
"I didn't know I wasn't supposed to wander off in there! I only knew it was restricted after returning from it."
"Well, in your defense, we should've told you about this earlier on." Li Chenyang frowned a bit. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Well, I found a book." Li Xueyue showed it to him, his eyes widening.
"Is this Minghua's diary?"
"Did you read it?"
"Xueyue!" he hissed, standing up. "You can't just read other people's personal journal! It's private property."
She quietly tucked her fingers together, staring at the floor. "I know…"
Li Chenyang let out another sigh, his forehead creasing with worry. "Did you tell anyone about this?"
"No, you're the first person I told this to," she admitted.
Li Chenyang frowned a bit. "I will have to show this book to Father. He will ask where we found it from. Maybe I can just say I found it—"
"You can tell him the truth," she blurted out. "You don't have to lie to Father for my sake."
Li Chenyang paused. He examined her widened eyes filled with panic and her paling skin. He lifted a hand and she squeezed her eyes shut, waiting to be reprimanded. He simply rested his hand atop of her head and ruffled her hair.
Li Xueyue's eyes shot open. She rapidly blinked. He… wasn't mad at her?
"I'm proud that you're remaining truthful about this," Li Chenyang softly told her, removing his hand. "I will have to read over this first. Without a doubt, Father will confiscate this."
He tucked the book under his arms.
Li Xueyue nervously glanced at the dairy. "I should warn you, the contents inside aren't pleasant."
Li Chenyang's eyes narrowed, not because of her, but because of what she said. He glanced at the book and began to flip through the pages.
He paused, glancing up before he could even read the first diary entry. "What is it?"
"Maybe you should read this sitting down. The contents in there are very shocking and—"
"I will be fine, don't worry." Li Chenyang chuckled, reaching his fingers to soothe the creases on her forehead. "If you worry too much, you'll grow old too quickly."
He closed the book. "I'll read it after dinner. Tomorrow morning, we can approach Father with this. You can explain your side of the story. How does that sound?"
Li Xueyue readily nodded. "It's a solid plan."
"Great," Li Chenyang said. "I'm sure dinner is ready now. Let's feed Piglet Number Two."
"Okay—hey!" she gasped, her jaw dropping open. "You did not just call me a piglet!"
"I was being nice. I was actually going to call you a pig."
"Fine then, you Bookworm!"
"Oh boo hoo, I read a lot of books—ow!" Li Chenyang winced, shooting her a dirty look. He clutched his burning shin, hissing in pain. "How can you kick your big brother like this?"
Li Xueyue crossed her arm and jutted her chin in the air. "Which big brother calls their younger sister a pig? Some big brother you are! Hmph!"
She stomped out of the library, only to hear, "Oh no you don't! Come back here!"
Li Xueyue glanced behind her and to her horror, he was chasing her. Frightful of his forehead flicks, she began picking up her pace. To her entertainment, he was slightly limping.
When she let out a burst of giggles, Li Chenyang's gaze narrowed. "Is it funny to see me limp? Just you wait, I'm going to flick your forehead and leave a bump!"
"As if you can catch me!" Li Xueyue turned back and stuck out her tongue before picking up her pace until the hallways were met with thundering footsteps. You'd think she was running from a serial killer with how fast she raced to the dining room.
Li Xueyue instantly slowed down when she neared the doors of the dining room. Adjusting her hair and clothes, she breathed in deeply and regained her composure. When she saw Li Chenyang's figure quickly catching up, she wasted no time in pushing the doors to the dining room open.
"Right on time!" Duchess Wang Qixing happily said, clapping her hands. "I was just about to tell Wenmin to fetch you from your room."
Li Xueyue smiled and entered the room, hurrying to her chair. When she sat down, Li Chenyang burst into the room. "Come here, Piglet Number Two!"
Duke Li Shenyang coughed, suppressing laughter whereas Duchess Wang Qixing let out a mortified gasp.
"You can't just call your sister a piglet!"
"She called me a bookworm, Mother." Li Chenyang scowled, crossing his arms.
"Well, it's a lot better for what I'd call you," Li Wenmin spoke up, rolling his eyes. "Piglet is a suitable name for our little glutton, Mother."
"Don't be a hypocrite, Wenmin," Duchess Wang Qixing scoffed, taking a seat at the table.
Duke Li Shenyang could do nothing but shake his head in amusement. "Will there be another petty argument over dinner?"
Li Wenmin shot Xueyue a pointed look. "I don't know, maybe we should ask the egg thief!"
"Who? Me?" Li Xueyue innocently asked, blinking in confusion. "I thought that was you, Wen-ge. Aren't you Piglet Number One?"
Li Wenmin dramatically gasped at her words. "Why, I am offended!"
"Oh shut up and eat your dinner." Li Chenyang snorted, taking a seat at the table.
"Hey, no one invited you into this conversation!" Li Wenmin stuck out his tongue only to be grabbed by the ear.
"Young man, I didn't raise you to be like this over dinner." Duchess Wang QIxing scowled and turned to Li Chenyang, grabbing him by the ear as well, earning cries of pain.
"Mom!" Li Chenyang cried out, attempting to tug his ear back. "What did I do?"
"You burst into this room like some rogue." Duchess Wang Qixing huffed. "All of my children seem to lack discipline today!"
The twins exchanged glances with Xueyue, all three of them sharing the same sheepish expression.
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