Yu Zhen leaned his head against the wall, sighing in irritation. After Xiao Juzi had his meal, he plopped his head on Yu Zhen's lap and fell asleep shortly after. Its large, heavy head was beginning to frustrate Yu Zhen who had been in the same sitting position for hours since midnight. By now, his backside was sore, and he was debating whether or not to wake the big cat up. What an obnoxious little pet Xiao Juzi was!
When the sun peeked through the horizon and light returned to the world, Yu Zhen decided it was time for his pet to stop lazing around all day eating, sleeping, and repeating it all over again.
"Alright, get up and go take a lap around the palace," Yu Zhen grunted out. He shifted his legs, forcing Xiao Juzi to wake up.
Xiao Juzi let out a small growl in warning, raising his head only to glare at Yu Zhen.
"You've been sleeping all your life. Why don't you go hunt me a prey," Yu Zhen snapped. He stood to his full height, dusting off Xiao Juzi's fur. The bright orange fur was stuck to his black robes, prominent as ever.
Xiao Juzi tilted his head. Prey? Like the little rabbit that was always near him?
"Winter is approaching, you need to stay in your den like a good boy." Yu Zhen narrowed his eyes when Xiao Juzi sat on his legs and licked his paw, ignoring his Master's words.
"Are you listening?"
Xiao Juzi continued licking his paws before letting out a loud yawn. He opened his mouth, teeth bared, and tongue out. Not a second later, he plopped his paws on the ground and laid on it.
"Hah." Yu Zhen shook his head at the stubborn beast. "Fine then, tonight, you won't get a juicy piece of the freshly butchered cow."
At this, Xiao Juzi raised his head. Juicy? Freshly butchered? Cow? The human had his attention now!
Yu Zhen snorted in response. He turned his head and began walking off, only to pause a few steps later. Xiao Juzi tilted his head, one ear folded.
"Go back to your den."
Xiao Juzi snorted in response before lazily getting up on all fours. He lazily walked in the opposite direction of his master, following a familiar scent of his marked territory.
Yu Zhen watched Xiao Juzi disappear into the distance. At least the servants were not awake yet. Or else they would get a fright seeing a tiger walk around without any leash and chains.
"Giving freedom to a beast…how foolish she is." Yu Zhen shook his head in disappointment, mainly at himself for allowing her to convince him so easily.
Yu Zhen continued walking again. It didn't take long for him to reach his estate only to discover the main doors were partially opened and the usual guards weren't around. His heart plummeted to the ground.
Yu Zhen had never ran so quickly. He yanked the doors open violently that it nearly caused a dent in the wall. The bedroom doors were wide open, revealing the empty bed and opened windows.
Fear gripped at his heart, squeezing it tightly. Where did she go? His thoughts raced at the possibilities of something happening to her. No one would be foolish enough to capture his Wangfei right under his watch. Who would dare to snatch the beast's woman?
Li Xueyue must've left on her own accord. But why now, when she should've been sound asleep in bed? His eyes narrowed.
Had someone guided her somewhere on the pretext of bringing her to him? Who would be so stupid to carry out the order, knowing their entire family would die a painful death?
"Yu Zhen?" A voice too sweet for this world filled the hallways. It was mellow and curious, he swore his heart flipped.
Yu Zhen's gaze snapped to his left. In the near distance, she was approaching him. She was accompanied by the guards that abandoned their post to protect her.
"Where did you go?" she tiredly mumbled, reaching her hands out to grab his sleeve.
Yu Zhen's heart melted at her small action. She peered up at him with those large, innocuous eyes of hers. She was truly good at hiding her true colors. No one would ever believe the gentle Crown Princess had a tainted heart and blood on her hands.
Yu Zhen wanted to scold her for wandering around when the sun had barely risen, and the air was still cool. He was still infuriated by the secrets she kept from him. He did not feel like arguing with her so early in the morning when she still bore the marks of last night's passion evidently on her fair skin.
Yet, his body moved on its own. Yu Zhen shook her off. Not a second later, regret nipped at his chest. Guilt prickled his heart, gnawing at his conscience.
Hurt flashed in her eyes. She rapidly batted her pretty little lashes at him, only to look away in confusion. Her brows came together to form small creases on her forehead.
"Why are you angry?" she asked.
Yu Zhen could see the gears in her head turning to formulate a conclusion or two. No, scratch that. He could see her began to overthink every little thing that happened. But then she seized him by surprise.
"I should be angry at you as well," she snapped at him.
Yu Zhen blinked hard. He incredulously peered down at her, as if she had gone crazy.
"What did you just say?" he coldly demanded, taking a threatening step in her direction.
Li Xueyue jutted her chin up as her eyes flared with irritation. A fire burned from within, tiny like her silhouette. She must've thought it was a flame that could burn down the forest, but in his eyes, it was a meager little thing. Just a gust of wind could extinguish it. Or so he thought, for she stood her ground, even in the face of danger. She always did, didn't she? And it was one of the reasons why he loved her so much, enough for his thoughts to be consumed by her and only her.
God damn it. They were supposed to be arguing, and he was already thinking about those traits of hers that captured his heart—someone that he did not know existed until she came trailblazing into his life.
"I woke up, cold and exhausted, only to find the spot next to me to be even colder. Where were you?" she harshly questioned him.
Yu Zhen narrowed his eyes. By now, they were standing chest to chest, hers huffing with anger. He dared her to continue, and she did so with ease.
"I was tired out because someone decided one round meant three," she snapped, poking at his chest with each word.
Yu Zhen's eyes were fixated on her. She was so beautiful when angered, her words coming out breathless as a means of composing herself. She flicked her hair behind her shoulders, revealing the spot he loved to nip and nuzzle on.
"I went off to find you, and you have the audacity to be mad at me as if—"
"Get inside," he growled.
She gaped at him. "Make me," she bit out.
Yu Zhen narrowed his eyes. It seems three rounds were not enough. He did not need to be told twice. Yu Zhen hauled her on his shoulders, knocking the wind out of her stomach.
"What the hell are you doing?!" she shrieked, kicking her feet as if it would ever do anything.
Yu Zhen was glad the palace had not woken up yet. He did not need people seeing him carry his wife like a sack of potatoes—especially when she wriggled about, and his hands itched to smack her bottom.
"What does it look like I'm doing?" he bit out, storming into their estate.
"Being a damn brute that's what you're doing!" she hissed, as he slammed the doors shut.
Yu Zhen strolled to their bedroom, locking the doors behind him. He tossed her on the bed, her body slightly bounced on it. Her hair was sprawled out, her wrists landed near her head—she was unguarded. Her lips parted in surprise when he instantly climbed on top of her.
"A brute?" he viciously repeated, grabbing her chin.
Li Xueyue glared up at him. "You have temper issues."
Yu Zhen narrowed his eyes at her. "And you are stubborn. But alas, here we are, husband and wife."
Li Xueyue licked her bottom lip, his eyes instantly following the action. "Tell me why you're mad."
Yu Zhen clenched his jaw. He did not want to tell her anything. The only thing he wanted to do was make her scream again, but this time, for completely different reasons.
That's it. Yu Zhen crashed his lips upon hers, and unsurprisingly, she kissed him back with equal fervor. He yanked off the ribbon that held her clothes in place. And before she could protest, he captured her wrists and pinned them on the bed and kissed her harder. There would be no means of escape. This time, he would show her no mercy, even if she would beg him.
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