Eventually, their usual bickering came to an end. She found it intriguing that there was never any resentment between them after that. Perhaps it was because he had always emphasized on dealing with the issue the minute it arose instead of pushing it back.
Why simmer in rage for weeks on end, when they could just deal with it on the spot? This was a flawless mindset in theory. But in reality, it was difficult.
"I will have a servant fetch the Imperial Physician," Yu Zhen informed her. He settled her back onto the bed.
"Wait, Yu Zhen!" Li Xueyue called out. She rose to her knees and adjusted his robes. They were loosely worn, revealing the toned lines of his body and his eight packs.
"Always the worrywart," he chuckled. Truthfully, this wouldn't have bothered him. It never did before.
Li Xueyue fixed everything so that he was decently covered.
"Yet again, you only care about others and not yourself." Yu Zhen shook his head at her.
"What do you mean?" Li Xueyue asked, tilting her head in confusion. She combed a hand through her hair, wondering if he was referring to her messy hair.
Yu Zhen brushed the silky strands of hair behind her shoulders. "There, all fixed."
Li Xueyue was puzzled. Was there something in her hair? She tilted her head down and gathered strands of it, searching for imperfections.
He pushed her chin up. "I adjusted it for you. Do not think about it any longer."
Li Xueyue nodded her head. She trusted his judgment. Without another word, she sank into the bed, sitting upon the edge of it.
Yu Zhen exited the bedroom room. He walked beyond a partition screen and headed for the door, throwing it open.
Sure enough, there was no one here. As expected. He had pardoned all of them the night prior. No one should hear her sweet cries, except him. And he had greedily listened to his heart's content.
"Right on time."
From the corner of his eyes, Yu Zhen caught sight of the usual group of servants and guards approaching down the hallways. As usual, they came at the same hour, ready to perform the usual routine.
His servants were smart enough to know when to enter and when not to.
"Get the Imperial Physician," he commanded a maidservant who bowed her head. She immediately scurried off, ready to fulfill his orders.
Yu Zhen didn't spare the other servants a glance. He shut the doors on their faces and walked through the set of doors that lead to the bedroom.
Li Xueyue rested her hands on either side of her as she lazily swung her legs upon the edge of the bed. Her hair was slightly gathered to her side. A small breeze drifted through the room, and strands of her hair caught flight, revealing her neck.
"If there is one thing I worry endlessly, it is you." Yu Zhen headed towards her and lifted the corners of the blanket. He adjusted half of it across her thin shoulders, ensuring she would be warm.
"The feeling is mutual."
Yu Zhen scoffed. "It is not something to be proud of when you do it too frequently."
Li Xueyue laughed. "I can say the same about you."
"Provide an example then, Little Hamster."
Li Xueyue stared at him with a dumbfounded look. She could've sworn his memory was a lot better than this. Or perhaps his inability to accept the truth blinded him.
Regardless of the reason, she glanced at her fingers. "Well, let's see…" she hummed.
One by one, she started to list down the examples with a show of her fingers to keep count.
"Just now. And the night before. As well as the other ones where you fret over my appetite and—"
"Surely you are turning my concerns for your well-being against me?"
Li Xueyue closed her mouth. She had directly fallen into his trap, yet again. Somehow, her wits managed to escape her whenever she was with him. It was primarily because her guard was always lowered, for he'd never violate her trust.
"You did that on purpose," she pointed out.
Yu Zhen revealed a sly smile. There was a glint in his eyes, like a predator stalking his prey. He approached her and gathered all of her hair in one hand.
"And if I did?" he murmured. His tone was husky, low, and lulling. Her eyes fluttered.
"What are you doing?" Li Xueyue mumbled when he grabbed one of the strings that tightened her robe. In one yank, the string unraveled itself, dangling in between his fingers.
"Yu Zhen, the Imperial Physician will be here and—" Li Xueyue blinked. Oh.
Yu Zhen tied the string around her hair in a low ponytail. He placed it behind her, smiling at the fine piece of artwork in front of him. She was getting redder but she wouldn't know it, not until her cheeks burned red with embarrassment.
"Must you tease me so?" Li Xueyue whined, knowing it was the second trap she fell for in the day. Without a doubt, there was a lot more to come.
"I don't have the slightest inkling to what you're implying, Little Hamster."
Li Xueyue glared at him. If he continued to call her that horrid nickname, she'd bite him. "I still don't understand the reason behind this nickname."
Yu Zhen's lips twitched. He suppressed the smile that threatened to break out. The name came to mind after having watched her stuff her cheeks with food. He still recalled the joy in her eyes as she carelessly munched upon two large buns.
Those tender memories were like that of the spring breeze, soft and gentle, but never long-lasting.
Now, her thoughts were occupied with staying afloat in a palace bent on drowning the strongest of swimmers.
"That reminds me," Yu Zhen coldly said. His joy was short-lived. "You didn't have dinner last night. Nor breakfast this morning."
"I can eat later."
Yu Zhen scowled. He thought they were making great progress with improving her appetite back to normal.
It had been a while since she ate as much as that morning when he was invited to have breakfast with the Li Family. He had personally witnessed her finish more food than men twice her size.
Had all the hard work gone to waste?
"The servants can have the food brought in the second we conclude with the Imperial Physician," she reassured him.
Li Xueyue wondered if he made it a personal duty to make sure she ate. If it wasn't for him and the servants, she would've forgotten about eating. Sometimes, she was just too occupied with her thoughts and next plans.
"You neglect yourself too much. It will not do you any good."
"I will try not to."
"Somehow, I do not believe you." Yu Zhen crossed his arms and glared down at her, knowing her stubborn personality.
"How can I prove it to you?"
"By proving it with your actions."
Li Xueyue suppressed a roll of her eyes. "Why does it feel like the tables have turned?" she asked.
Just to tease him, she reached a hand up and squeezed his firm biceps. They were hard as a boulder.
Li Xueyue squeezed it again. "Who lied to you and said that it was?"
"You little tease—"
A knock interrupted him. Yu Zhen narrowed his eyes. All of his people had the worst of timings.
"Come in," Yu Zhen called out.
He heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Another knock echoed, this time, upon the doors of their bedroom.
"Stay out there," Yu Zhen commanded.
Li Xueyue rose to her feet. He slipped an arm around her. Before she could even take the first step, he pulled her close.
"No matter what the Imperial Physician says, nothing will change between us," he softly reassured her.
Li Xueyue was amazed at how quickly his emotions changed. Nonetheless, she forced a smile and nodded her head.
"I will hold you to that promise."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Not a promise, but a vow," Yu Zhen reminded her.
Li Xueyue's lips parted. He remembered the smallest details about her. She could only widen her smile until it finally reached her eyes.
"A vow it is," she whispered. Softly, slowly, her words were carried by the wind and sealed within their hearts.
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