Li Xueyue sat by the window sill, hugging her knees close to her shivering body. She peered up at the night sky, cold and devoid of stars. She missed seeing the little twinkles of hope.
These days, the weather was bad, and the clouds were thick. She could only see the lone shadow of a moon whose brilliance could not be hidden behind curtains of clouds.
"Wuyi's midnight is a lot prettier…" Li Xueyue pressed her cheek on her propped up knees. She continued to observe the night sky, admiring the view with a softened gaze.
Crickets chirped, fireflies danced, it was a still night. The peace was disturbed by a gust of wind. The blades of grass flew to the right, as leaves rustled in the trees.
She pitied the lost wanderers. Without the stars, where would they know to go? She supposed the faint moonlight could guide them.
"I wonder if they're doing alright." Li Xueyue thought back to the Li Family. Surely, they must be living blissful lives as the new rulers of a prospering kingdom. She had heard rumors about how well Wuyi was flourishing.
"Chen-ge must be overwhelmed with his duties as the Crown Prince, and Wen-ge must be training day and night to become a Commander."
Li Xueyue closed her eyes and tried to picture their faces. Her heart sank when she saw blurry images. Week by week, her memory of them was growing more faint. If she did not see them soon, they would fade to the back of her mind. Soon, the Li Family would just be a figment of her imagination.
She was not ready for that to happen, but knew it was inevitable. They would be preserved memories, held dear to her heart.
When Li Xueyue becomes the Empress, she would never be able to leave the palace as she pleased. She wouldn't be able to see her family, for Hanjian was now her family. Her little children and Yu Zhen would be the only family she'd know for the rest of her life.
"You must've lost your damn mind."
Li Xueyue heard his frustrated voice from behind her. But she remained in her position, curled up by the window sill and watching the nightlife pass by her.
"I never had it in the first place," she finally said.
Li Xueyue felt his cold presence before she saw him. He was chillier than the midnight breeze. When his hands grazed her neck, she shivered. His fingertips were warm on her icy skin.
When he slowly wrapped his fingers around the side of her neck, she tilted her head back and peered up at him.
He glared down at her. "You're freezing."
She smiled up at him. "Only because you're warm."
Yu Zhen scowled at her words. He had woken up in bed, frightened by the empty spot beside him, only for him to spot her sitting like a ghost by the window still when he looked around. She loved getting herself into trouble, didn't she? She must've enjoyed worrying him like this.
"What are you doing out of bed?" Yu Zhen snapped.
"I couldn't sleep," she sullenly said.
Yu Zhen pressed his lips together. He had hugged her tightly and threw his legs over her. How did she manage to wriggle away from his grasp? She was getting better at escaping from him.
He did not like that. Not even one bit.
"Did you have nightmares?" he asked.
Li Xueyue slowly shook her head. "I just…" How was she supposed to explain it?
Whenever Li Xueyue closed her eyes, she would feel an unnerving sense of fear. His arms were comforting and safe, but her heart tricked her into thinking she was in danger. She did not know why. She loved being in his arms though.
There was nothing wrong with Yu Zhen. But there was everything wrong with herself.
"Is it because I didn't tire you out?"
Li Xueyue blinked. In an instant, she flushed and shook her head. How… how could he be so shameless?!
Yu Zhen gently smiled down at her. He did not want to touch her in bed until she gave him consent. He knew she was still shaken up from that day.
"I just have a lot on my mind, that's all," she finally said to him.
Li Xueyue hugged her upper arms and peered up at him expectantly. When he pretended to be daft, she glared at him. Nudging him with her shoulders, she waited for him to do something.
"Lovely view, isn't it?" Yu Zhen teased with his eyes glued to her. But she narrowed her eyes and jutted her chin in the other direction.
"Yeah, it was. Until your presence ruined it," she mumbled.
Yu Zhen laughed at her words. She must've thought he meant the night sky. When he shifted a bit, her shoulders perked up, expecting his touch. But Yu Zhen brushed past her and went towards the other side of the window seat.
He could feel her glare burning a hole in the side of his head. "I used to look up at the night sky like this."
Li Xueyue hugged her shaking shoulders. This daft husband of hers! She sulked by the corner of the seat, wondering if he was punishing her.
"Me too," she admitted.
"I'd look up and admire the moon. I envied the moon, which had the beauty and grace to be high in the sky with the sun."
Yu Zhen's heart clenched at her words. If only she knew…she had always held the right to be high in the sky, directly beside the sun. He just knew she did the first time she crossed his path, strong-willed and determined.
When she shivered again, he hid a smirk.
Yu Zhen opened his arms towards her. "Come here, Sunshine."
Li Xueyue squinted at him and let out a small, "Hmph!"
Yu Zhen laughed at this. He stood up from his seat and scooped her into his arms, lifting her with ease. She gaped up at him, almost astonished he could lift her so easily. He nearly scoffed. He had always done this for her, but why did she seem so surprised?
"Under the moonlight," she breathed out, astonished. "You look enchanting."
Yu Zhen's chest was filled with a strange warmth. He sat on the window seat with her on his lap. He hugged her close, pressing her head into his shoulder.
"I've always looked enchanting," he retorted.
Li Xueyue laughed at his words. Her little body quivered. She wrapped one arm around his neck. She hid her smile in the crook of his neck. It was warm there. Her lips brushed against his neck. She felt his pulse, strong and powerful.
"What about you?" she mumbled against his skin.
Yu Zhen combed his hand through her hair. It cascaded down her back, tangled and long, but he loved it anyway. Like a waterfall of pure ink, shiny and silky.
"What about me?"
Yu Zhen tensed when she kissed his neck. His hands suddenly grabbed the back of her head. He hoped to seize control again.
"What do you think of when you peer up at the moon?" she asked whilst pulling her head back.
Li Xueyue realized she was straddling him. She wondered why he was gripping her head so tightly. His eyes had narrowed. She planted her hands on his face, admiring his chiseled features.
"I thought about you."
Li Xueyue softly laughed. "Don't be so cliche," she teased.
Yu Zhen scoffed at her. "Is the truth so cliche to you?"
Li Xueyue bit her bottom lip, suppressing a smile. It was cliche, only because she had expected him to be so sweet. She leaned forward and kissed his nose, catching him by surprise. But her lips were gone as fast as it came.
"Sunshine," he mused whilst gripping her chin. "If you're going to kiss me, do it properly."
Yu Zhen pulled her close and kissed her. His kiss was gentle and slow, savoring every curve of her lips.
Her heart melted. Li Xueyue wrapped her arms around him and tilted her head, deepening the kiss. Her fingers trailed down to his jawline before her thumb rested near his neck. She teased the sensitive skin, enjoying the way his body tightened under her.
"Sweet as honey, huh?" Yu Zhen mused when he released her lips. She touched her mouth and peered at him in confusion, unsure of what he meant.
Yu Zhen chuckled at her naivety. He cupped her face and kissed her forehead, his lips lingering on the spot for a while. He surpassed a smile when she closed her eyes and savored it.
"Would you like to know more?" he asked.
Instantly, she nodded her head.
Yu Zhen's fingers grazed the side of her neck. He pushed back strands of hair that covered her face.
"I'd wonder if you were looking up at the moon as well, admiring its beauty whilst I daydreamed about yours," he finally admitted.
Yu Zhen stroked her cheek with the back of his finger. "Even now, when you are in my arms, I still wonder if this was just a dream."
Li Xueyue's heart skipped at his words. She leaned forward and pressed her forehead on his, their noses brushing against each other.
"And sometimes, I'd worry that I'm not here with you, but instead, I am somewhere on the battlefield, taking in my last breath and you are just a figment of my imagination."
Li Xueyue did not know what to say. Her chest stung at his heartbreaking words. "What can I do?" she desperately whispered.
Li Xueyue hugged Yu Zhen and softly kissed him on the lips.
"What can I do to make you realize this is reality?"
"Nothing, Sunshine, absolutely nothing."
Li Xueyue's heart dropped at his words. Until, he clasped his large hand behind her head and brought it down to his shoulders. He wrapped his arms around her and warmly embraced her.
"All you have to do is behave as you usually do. Smile as you usually do. And laugh as you usually do. Cry as you wish, eat as you will. There is absolutely nothing that I want you to change."
Yu Zhen could feel something warm dripping on his shoulders. He simply smiled and hugged her tighter.
"Will you do that for me, Sunshine? Will you?"
Li Xueyue's body trembled as she forced a laugh. "Stupid questions get stupid responses."
Yu Zhen chuckled. She just loved turning his own words against himself. Even so, she nodded her head.
Li Xueyue squeezed her eyes shut and hid her tears. She wished for them to remain like this, for the rest of eternity.
"And will you do the same?" she asked him. "Will you behave as you always do? Smile as you always have? Laugh as you've done just now? Tease as you wish, joke as you please. Will you remain the same, even when our appearances change and we are no longer this young?"
Yu Zhen slowly shook his head. "Stupid questions get stupid responses," he reminded her.
Li Xueyue laughed. Of course, it did. After all, he was the one who taught her that.
Please go to https://www.qzxyzy.com/The-Rise-of-Xueyue/
to read the latest chapters for free