A turbulent gust of wind whizzed through the air. Trees roughly swayed as leaves tumbled and took flight. Blades of grass sliced through the quiet night.
During the peace of midnight, a bloodcurdling scream rippled through the palace. A chill drifted through the empty corridor. Pleas and cries arose. Blankets shuffled, clothes crinkled, as bodies lifted from the bed.
"No! Please, make it stop!" she shrieked, pushing against the hands grabbing at her. She slapped it away, but missed, as her palm connected with a face.
"Get off of me, I don't want it! Please don't," she wailed, her voice crazier than a ghost wandering the night.
"I hate it, don't... Not there, don't touch me!" she coughed out, struggling in a tight grasp.
Yu Zhen didn't know what to do. His heart lurched at the maniac sight of her. What went wrong? They were peacefully sleeping a minute ago, and now, she was losing her mind. She viciously fought in his arms, his left cheek burning from her slap.
"Shhhh," he whispered, hugging her tighter. She punched and kicked, attempting to get him off of her.
"It's me, Xueyue, it's Yu Zhen!" He embraced her, despite her writhing body.
Yu Zhen always knew she was physically strong. Even with her tiny frame and frail shoulders, she had the muscles to punch a man to the ground. He didn't think her tiny paws could ever injure him—until tonight.
"Don't touch me! Get off me!" she screamed, kicking him right in the stomach, not realizing who was holding her.
"I'll be good, I promise. So please, not there, not here. Not anywhere. My lord, I am only a child!" she pleaded, shaking him off of her.
Yu Zhen gritted his teeth. He refused to let her scratch him with tiger paws. In one hand, he captured both of her wrists as one leg pinned her knees down. With his other hand, he forcibly grabbed her chin. She was forced to look at him, her eyes clouded and wide.
"Who am I?" he demanded, his voice coming out in a low rumble. It was intimidating and dark, a tone meant to scare people. Yet, it forced her to listen, her ears on high alert.
"I-I-I don't know—"
"No, my lord, please—"
Yu Zhen glowered down at her, refusing to let her look away. Tears filled her eyes and she began to shake. It didn't take long for waterworks to happen as realization finally clicked in her. She shook her head, turning back into her crazed state.
"Li Xueyue!" he hissed, finally realizing it must've been a traumatic nightmare of her past.
"L-Li?" she whispered, suddenly pausing.
"Yes, Li. Not Bai. I've brutally slaughtered them. Their bodies were fed to pigs."
She slowly blinked her eyes, confusion filling it.
Yu Zhen's gaze softened. He slowly released her hand and wiped the tears away. She seemed so lost and bewildered, he could do nothing but stroke the side of her face. She was in a daze, watching him.
"I am not your lord," he gently said. "I am your husband."
Yu Zhen brushed the stray strands of hair away from her forehead. His voice was low and soothing, like a lullaby she had always craved to hear.
"Husband," she repeated. The title effortlessly rolled off her tongue, as clarity slowly entered her system.
"The love of your life," he added on, waiting for her to say it.
"Love…" she mumbled, her eyebrows pulling together.
"Of your life," he added on.
Yu Zhen watched with eagerness, wanting to hear it from her mouth. But she didn't say it. Instead, her hand slowly lifted. He thought she would smack him out of confusion. But she didn't. Her fingers slowly, almost hesitatingly touched his jaw.
Yu Zhen stayed still as she explored his face in the darkness. Her hand caressed under his chin. What was she looking for? A double chin?
"What are you doing, Sunshine?" he patiently asked.
"It's cold," she abruptly said.
Yu Zhen raised a brow. He had forgotten she didn't put on any clothes. He picked up the blanket and covered her body with it. Warmth weighed down her shoulders.
She nodded her head.
Yu Zhen smiled in response. He pulled the blanket tighter around her, worried she'd get sick.
"Will you tell me?" he questioned.
Yu Zhen saw the same fog pass over her head. She was going to slip into that crazed state again.
"My name," he said, changing the topic. "Who do you think I am?"
"Yu Zhen," she stated. Her voice was low and inquisitive, almost bewildered he'd ask such a thing.
"And what am I to you?"
Li Xueyue blinked. She tilted her head, wondering the reason for this foolishness. Was he worried she'd forget him?
"And what?" she murmured.
"What else am I to you?"
Li Xueyue couldn't see his face in the darkness. But she could picture his teasing smile, and the squint of his eyes when he was humored.
"The leech of my life?" she said, but it came out like a question.
Yu Zhen chuckled in response, finding it amusing that she dared mock him. Abruptly, he jumped on top of her. She yelped in response, attempting to escape, but couldn't.
"Why are you as heavy as a whale?" she groaned, feeling his entire weight on her. She could feel the ridges of his hard body, and the tightening of his abdomen when he balanced his weight.
"And why are you as light as a feather?" he retorted.
"I've gained weight!" she argued.
Yu Zhen had always fed her well, ensuring she ate more than she could during every meal they shared. Everyday, there was a wide variety of dishes. Some suited her taste, some didn't. The ones that didn't suit her taste always suited his taste and vice versa.
Li Xueyue wondered if he had abhorred the food in Wuyi. Hanjian's food was spicier and more flavorful in contrast to the light and mild-tasting dishes in Wuyi.
"Doesn't seem like it," he said.
Li Xueyue sulked at his words. "I'm trying my best, you know."
She flinched when he patted her on the head. She angrily swatted at his arms. "I'm not a pet."
"I didn't say you were." Yu Zhen planted his head on top of hers, his fingers spread. He wasn't patting her, but he just felt like placing it there.
"Besides," he continued. "I like aggressive animals."
"I'm aggressive," she argued.
"Aggressively cute," he scoffed.
"Still aggressive though."
"I know you are," he said.
"You don't sound like you believe me," she argued.
"Sounds like a personal problem, Sunshine."
Li Xueyue glared at him. She grabbed his head and angrily yanked his hair. He snorted at the small attack.
"Go ahead, pull it."
"Get off of me, you're so heavy," she grumbled.
Yu Zhen responded by hugging her. Their bodies sunk into the bed, but he remained that way. He breathed in her scent, floral and light. It tingled his senses and tickled his heart.
"Will you tell me?" he questioned.
Li Xueyue's smile slipped. She played with his hair, her fingers running through the silky strands. His voice was patient and filled with understanding, almost expecting her to say no.
"Only if you're ready," he comforted, knowing it must've been a serious issue for her.
Li Xueyue weighed her options. Was she ready for it? Would opening up about this issue soothe her soul? Or would it make things worse?
Please go to https://www.qzxyzy.com/The-Rise-of-Xueyue/
to read the latest chapters for free