Li Xueyue woke up feeling lost and confused. She blinked her eyes in pure confusion. She looked around and sat up, wondering what exactly happened. She was confused.
"I was sleeping on the table. How did I end up on the bed?" she asked no one in particular.
Li Xueyue slipped off the blankets and realized her clothes hadn't been changed, but that was fine with her. She got out of bed and opened the door leading to the living room of her estate. She jumped upon hearing a small 'coo.'
"Oh my…" she trailed off. There was a golden cage resting upon her table with a light grey pigeon perched on a thick branch.
Li Xueyue instantly recognized the bird. She rushed forward, her lips parting in surprise.
"How did you get here?" Li Xueyue asked whilst checking the birdcage to ensure there was food and water inside it. Indeed, the bird feeder was filled with food and there was a cylinder filled with water for the pet. There was also a bathing station prepared.
"Well, I'm glad to see you again," she stated whilst stepping back from the cage. She was unsure what to do with the pigeon. It seemed quite dirty in comparison to the cloud-white bird from a few days ago.
"I'll have the servants clean you," she said.
Li Xueyue advanced towards the window and pushed it open. To no one's surprise, it was already nighttime. The moon was high in the sky and the stars were already out.
"Well, it's very late," she pointed. She closed the windows and headed for the main doors of her bedroom.
"Princess," the guards outside greeted with a bow.
Li Xueyue nodded in response as she looked around, realizing there wasn't a single servant around.
"How late is it?" she questioned.
"It is well into the middle of the night, Princess," a guard answered.
"Shall we call forth a servant?" the other guard asked.
Li Xueyue shook her head.
"No need," she said.
Li Xueyue didn't want to disturb the servants' rest. It wasn't their fault that she had slept for so long. She felt strange. This time, she didn't experience a nightmare. Instead, it was a blissful dream.
She could vaguely recall soft caresses upon her face but concluded it must've been a figment of her imagination.
Li Xueyue headed back into her room. She didn't have an exact plan in mind but decided it was better not to disturb anyone. She closed the doors behind her and headed for the table.
"I should write a letter to my family," she decided on a whim.
Li Xueyue would send out the letter tomorrow once the messenger dove was thoroughly cleaned.
- - - - -
The next morning came and Li Xueyue didn't sleep a wink the entire night—not that she tried. Her time was spent writing individual letters to each and every member of her family, including Li Minghua.
"Hmm, this seems like too many for you to deliver," Li Xueyue mused to the bird.
This morning, the servants were startled to see her awake so early but they quickly got to work.
Whilst Li Xueyue had her morning meal, the bird was taken out of her room to be thoroughly cleaned. It was returned to her by the time she was done eating. Yanxi had yet again complimented her appetite—grateful for the improvement.
"You did a good job in returning to me," Li Xueyue whispered with her head turned to the bird.
Yanxi was combing through her hair whilst another maidservant applied powder on her face. It wasn't long before the Crown Princess was properly dressed.
True to Yu Zhen's words, she was made to wear lighter accessories and her dresses did not weigh her down like before. She could move with ease without straining her body.
"All set, Princess," Yanxi warmly said as she took a step back. The maidservants fawned over their masterpiece.
Today, the Princess was dressed in richer colors, consisting of purple and white. She was the epitome of beauty, resembling wisterias—soft and graceful.
"You've outdone yourself, as always," Li Xueyue happily said. She caught a reflection of herself in the mirror. Everyday, she was dolled to utter perfection.
"Only the best for my Wangfei," a lazy voice drawled from behind the screen.
Li Xueyue didn't even have to turn around to know who had entered her room without permission. Only he would have that privilege.
"You're excused," Yu Zhen commanded the maidservants. They quickly dispersed from the room like a flock of birds. The doors were shut behind them, and soon, it was just the two of them.
"People will think we're doing questionable things all alone in my bedroom," Li Xueyue mumbled when a hand slithered around her. She was softly pulled against his chest.
"Not many have a mind as ambiguous as yours, Sunshine," Yu Zhen mused and chuckled. He bent down and kissed the top of her head.
"Did you sleep well, Little Hamster?" Yu Zhen asked whilst playing with the flowy ends of the silk strings that tied her clothes shut.
Li Xueyue nodded. "Did you?"
Li Xueyue lifted her head a bit to glance up at him. She turned around in his arms, wanting a proper view of him.
"Why not?" she worriedly asked. Subconsciously, her hand reached for his face.
Li Xueyue was surprised when he leaned his cheek against her hand. She was concerned that he too, had unruly nightmares. She didn't want him to go through the same troubles as her.
"Because I slept alone."
Li Xueyue's cheeks heated at his word. This pervert. She pulled her hand back but he grabbed her wrist and kept it in place. She glared up at him. He smirked down at her.
"What?" he asked.
"You can't just…" Li Xueyue trailed off. It was another trap. She refused to fall into it this time.
She saw the excitement in his eyes. He was ready to tease her again. The mischief was too hard to ignore.
"Oh nevermind," she huffed, bringing her hand back to his face. Without warning, she pulled at his skin, only to grow irritated.
"How come your face doesn't stretch," she complained, annoyed at how perfect he was. His chiseled features were something she envied. How could one look so handsome early in the morning?
"Because I don't stuff my cheeks with food, unlike a certain hamster here," Yu Zhen said and chuckled. He grabbed the hand resting upon her cheek and brought it to his lips.
"Did you eat plenty today?" he murmured against her fingertips.
Yu Zhen paused mid-kiss. His lips curved downwards in disapproval. "Why not?" he asked. "Is the food not to your liking?"
Li Xueyue opened her mouth to respond but he interrupted her.
"Shall I have the chefs prepare lighter food? Or should they be executed for their incompetence?"
Li Xueyue gawked at him. She almost scolded him. He can't just run around killing people! Was that why everyone seemed on edge around him? But she didn't want to change him into something he wasn't.
"I was just teasing you," Li Xueyue mumbled.
"You're bad at it," Yu Zhen deadpanned.
Li Xueyue raised a brow. Was that a challenge?
"What?" he chuckled upon seeing a glimmer of passion in her eyes.
Li Xueyue lifted her hands and brought his face down to hers, catching him by surprise. She was delighted to see his parted lips and focused eyes. His attention was solely on her, and no one else.
She stood upon the tip of her toes and leaned her face up. She could see a fire begin to ignite itself. And all she did was pretend to kiss him. Her lips landed on the corner of his mouth teasingly.
"Sunshine," he impatiently growled with his hands resting upon her waist. He squeezed it out of retribution but she continued to test his patience.
Li Xueyue kissed the other corner of his mouth, enjoying the way his fingers dug into her waist. She continued downwards until her teeth teasingly grazed his jawline before slowly making its way down his neck.
She suckled and kissed, using the same technique he had done to her. Her fingers trailed down the other side of his neck, her actions purposely slow and light. She felt his skin warming underneath her fingertips as he grunted for more.
And then, Li Xueyue found the spot. His breath hitched and without warning, he grabbed her by her nape. Her eyes widened as he pulled her upwards, his lips crashing down upon hers. But she was quick to turn her head and he kissed her cheek instead.
"Li Xueyue," he warned.
Li Xueyue let out a small, teasing laugh. In one rough shove, she pushed him off of her.
"That reminds me," she abruptly said. "I haven't seen my horse in a while. Bye bye!"
With a wave of her fingers, she dashed for the door. Li Xueyue glanced back to see him standing there with a blank, puzzled look on his face. When he finally registered what had happened, his head instantly snapped towards her direction.
But it was too late. She had flung the doors open and was a step away from leaving the room.
"You damn tease, get back here!" Yu Zhen growled, storming to the door, but she slammed it shut and ran down the hallway.
Yu Zhen yanked it open only to be greeted with bursts of giggles echoing down the hallway. He rubbed his chest, feeling a slight tickle in his heart. The sound, ever so lovely, taunted him from afar.
Yu Zhen could do nothing but helplessly stare as she ran off. He narrowed his eyes onto the whirlwind of purple disappearing down the hallway.
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