Teahouse Chronicles (3)

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As long as we’re together, every moment is a joyful reunion (Under the Influence).

On the second floor, Ming Qin lay on Song Shu Qing’s bed, allowing Murong Yan to sit at the edge, gently stroking her head in an attempt to lull her to sleep.

“Yan Yan,” Ming Qin called out to the person before her, her gaze fixed.

“Yes?” Murong Yan continued her gentle movements with wet hands, responding softly.

“You’re truly beautiful,” Ming Qin said for the seventh time, her expression still serious. “You’re the most beautiful person in the world, my peony flower.”

“I am Ah Qin’s peony flower, and Ah Qin is also mine,” Murong Yan replied for the seventh time, with unwavering patience. “Go to sleep now.”

Close your eyes obediently. After a while, Ming Qin reluctantly opened them again, feeling aggrieved. “I can’t sleep,” she pouted, her cheeks turning red. She reached out and grabbed the woman’s clothes, pleading, “Yan Yan, stay with me and chat.”

“Alright.” The noble princess indulged the intoxicated person with tenderness and softly asked, “What does Ah Qin want to talk about?”

“Um…” Min Qqin frowned in distress, scratching her head with her other hand. “I can’t think of anything.”

Lowering her gaze, Murong Yan’s hand paused in its movements, seemingly lost in thought. After a while, she spoke, “Then, Ah Qin, let me ask you.” Placing her hand on Ming Qin’s neck, she leaned in closer. “Back then… what did Xiao Tai say to you that made you so angry?”

“Um, I can’t talk about that.” Ming Qin furrowed her brow, troubled. Even in her drowsiness, she shook her head. “I can’t say, it’s forbidden.” She covered her mouth with her hand, as if restraining herself.

“Ah Qin, I want to know,” Murong Yan gently held Ming Qin’s hand and placed it over her heart, her voice filled with a plea. “Ah Qin, Yan Yan wants to know, is that okay?”

Blinking her eyes, gazing at her beloved woman, Ming Qin’s already clouded mind seemed to be in a struggle, with two conflicting instructions constantly clashing.

In the end, even in her intoxicated state, the principle that always held the highest position emerged victorious.

Unable to refuse, bound by endless obedience, Ming Qin confessed, “That man… Xiao Tai told me that he personally killed Yan Yan’s mother, and it made me so angry, so angry.”

“Is that so…”

Murong Yan’s voice grew deeper, but her tone was not surprised.

Her mother had inexplicably coughed up blood and died, a suspicious incident. Murong Yan herself had suspected the Crown Prince, and later discovered his knowledge of poisons. Being clever, she deduced the reasons behind it all. The only person in the Eastern Palace who could quietly bypass Prince Yu’s Mansion guards and successfully administer the poison was Xiao Tai.

Anticipating the outcome to a great extent, Murong Yan’s heart was not stirred by any significant waves.

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However, Ming Qin mistakenly believed that her silence stemmed from sorrow. She struggled to sit up and embraced the woman, just as Murong Yan had comforted her earlier. “Don’t be sad, don’t be sad.”

Patting the woman’s back gently, Ming Qin spoke, “I personally avenged Yan Yan by taking Xiao Tai’s life. I’ve successfully sought vengeance for her, it’s all right now, it’s all right. Yan Yan, don’t be sad.”

“I’m not sad.”

Regarding the tragedy that had passed over a dozen years ago, Murong Yan might feel a sense of melancholy or mourning, but she wasn’t heartbroken. “Ah Qin has already avenged me, and I am fine.”

Nodding heavily, “Yes! I defeated Xiao Tai, he will never bully anyone again.”

Ming Qin waved her hands as she gestured, “I fought with him for a long time. He was strong, and I was nervous at first, but in the end, I won! Um… even though Senior Sister also helped, even without her, I would have won for sure.” Lifting her chin, she spoke with unwavering confidence, like a proud child.

“I believe you.” Murong Yan smiled lightly in response, holding Ming Qin’s hand. The two of them lay facing each other. “Ah Qin, I believe in you. I have always believed that Ah Qin would come to find me.”

Ming Qin’s face grew even redder due to her earlier excitement.

She toyed with Murong Yan’s icy-cold and delicate fingertips, as white as condensed fat, their tips adorned with a blush reminiscent of cherry blossom petals. Not long ago, her nails had been meticulously polished by the shadow guard, smooth and glossy.

Placing her hand against the shadow guard’s face, “Ah Qin.” After a long while, Murong Yan suddenly became interested once again, breaking the silence with her voice. “Ah Qin, could you tell me why, on that day at the Hidden Moon Tower, you were so skilled?”

Raising an eyebrow lightly, her tone carrying an uncontrollable hint of amusement.

“Um, Hidden Moon Tower?” Tilting her head, a somewhat tired Ming Qin shook her head in confusion. “Yan Yan said it, but I don’t understand.”

Adjusting her posture, Murong Yan cleared her throat and rephrased her question, knowing the answer already. She looked at her intoxicated lover and said, “I heard that before you came to the capital to find me, you sought advice from her.” Murong Yan deliberately asked, “I want to know what Ah Qin learned and why you went to learn it.”

“To find Zi Yan…” Ming Qin held her head, trying hard to recall. “To find Zi Yan, I went to find Zi Yan and ask how to treat Yan Yan well.” Her tone was straightforward, suppressing her drunkenness and explaining with determination.

“Zi Yan told me to give more kisses and hugs, and she showed me a little booklet, saying that if I followed it, Yan Yan would be happy.” Her expression became dazed, and the shadow guard suddenly burst into silly laughter. “At first, I didn’t believe it, but later I saw that what was written on that booklet was the same as the one I saw in Yan Yan’s picture book, so…”

“Wait.” Murong Yan suddenly interjected, her voice interrupting the person before her. She propped herself up and looked astonished. “You… saw my picture book at the Hidden Moon Tower?”

“I saw it.” Ming Qin confessed honestly, pouting. “I was bored while waiting for Yan Yan to wake up, so I looked at it. But back then, I couldn’t understand… it was so boring.”

“Now, can Ah Qin understand it?” Murong Yan’s voice was hoarse as she lay on the shadow guard’s chest, her white hair tied with a black rope cascading onto Ming Qin’s shoulder.

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“I can understand now, I can understand it. I’ve studied it well because Yan Yan likes it…” Consciousness slipping away, she reached out the back of her hand to gently caress the woman’s cheek. “Does Yan Yan think I’m doing well?”

Blushing slightly, Murong Yan chuckled softly. “Yes, yes, Ah Qin has always been doing well.” As if to affirm her statement, she planted a kiss on Ming Qin’s lips, tinged with the fragrance of plum wine.

Looking at Ming Qin, who was struggling to keep her eyes open, her expression dazed, Murong Yan gently covered the shadow guard’s eyes with her hand.

“Sleep now.”

She cooed softly.

“I will be with Ah Qin.”

Until the person beneath her emitted a faint snore, she withdrew her hand and gazed at Ming Qin’s serene sleeping face.

Truly adorable.

She belonged completely to me, this adorable person.

“Ah… Yan Yan, I love…”

The person dreaming murmured, as if having a delightful dream, revealing a silly smile.

Faintly, the sound of fireworks, representing the New Year, could be heard from outside. The intermittently bright and dim colored lights streamed through the window into the room. Murong Yan gazed at everything before her, gently adjusting the stray hair on Ming Qin’s forehead. She couldn’t help but feel a sense of helplessness and amusement.

It seemed that whenever it was New Year’s Eve with Ah Qin, they were never able to successfully stay awake until midnight.

But it didn’t matter.

The woman leaned forward, embracing her beloved tightly.

After all, as long as she was with Ah Qin, every moment was a moment of reunion.

As the sky grew brighter, heralding the arrival of a new year, Zi Yan woke up in Song Shu Qing’s embrace.

On the narrow single bed, beneath the covers, the two of them were pressed close together, exchanging their warmth in an intimate embrace, just as they always did.

Feeling a dryness in her mouth, Zi Yan attempted to sit up, but even her careful movements still disturbed the woman sleeping beside her.

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Despite having consumed alcohol the previous night, Song Shu Qing, who had once been a shadow guard, remained alert. She suddenly opened her eyes, her gaze already clear and focused. Her voice was deep and slightly hoarse as she asked, “Are you awake? Won’t you sleep a little longer?”

“I’m thirsty,” the woman whispered in response, intending to get up, but she was immediately pulled back into Song Shu Qing’s arms.

“Don’t move.” The other empty hand reached down the bed and picked up a water bottle. Swiftly opening it, Song Shu Qing sat up and gently supported Zi Yan’s neck. “Drink,” she said.

Her movements were gentle as she slightly tilted her wrist.

Obediently, Zi Yan opened her mouth and was cared for as she took small sips.

The clear water moisturized her throat that had produced melodic tones the previous night. She drank slowly for a while before tilting her head back.

“Is that enough?” Song Shu Qing confirmed in a low voice. Only when she saw the woman nod did she put away the water bottle and used her thumb to wipe away the droplets of water from Zi Yan’s lips. “Then rest a little longer.”

Lying down again with the person in her embrace, Song Shu Qing’s hand rested on Zi Yan’s smooth back, her fingers gently gliding over the prominent bones.

However, Zi Yan no longer felt sleepy. After closing her eyes, she couldn’t help but open them again and meet the gaze of Song Shu Qing, who was staring at her intently.

“Can’t sleep?” The shadow guard leaned in and kissed the woman’s forehead, tender and gentle.

“Shu Qing,” Zi Yan couldn’t help but call out, her hands gripping onto the shadow guard’s shoulders. “How much do you remember from last night?”

“Hmm? Last night?” Blinking her eyes, Song Shu Qing tried to conceal the amusement in her eyes and tilted her head. “I don’t remember much, actually. I only remember the food was delicious, the wine was good, and Ah Yun’s face was as red as a cooked shrimp.”

“Is that so…” Zi Yan’s mood became somewhat downcast as she lowered her head.

“Could it be that something important happened yesterday that I should remember?” Song Shu Qing pretended to be puzzled and casually remarked, “Did Ah Yun strip naked and dance on the table, or did the princess drink so much that she ended up crying while hugging Qin Qin?”

“Tsk, if something truly hilarious like that happened, something I should remember for a lifetime, I absolutely cannot forget it. I would rack my brain until I recall it.” Secretly observing the reaction of the person in front of her, Song Shu Qing struggled to hold back the smirk that was about to surface on her face.

“No, it’s not… nothing like that happened…” Zi Yan shook her head, retracting her hand and avoiding eye contact with the shadow guard who had a mischievous expression. “Never mind… it’s nothing.”

Seeing her beloved woman feeling a bit dejected as she twirled her fingers, Song Shu Qing couldn’t bear it any longer and decided to stop teasing. She spoke up, “『I only want you.』” Lifting Zi Yan’s chin, she made her look into her eyes. “I still remember this spoken promise.”

“After all, it’s rare for Ah Yao to be so spoiled towards me. The level of cuteness that transcends the heavens, I won’t forget it even if I were reborn hundreds of times.”

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“You… you always do this…” Zi Yan furrowed her brow slightly and couldn’t help but lightly punch the shadow guard’s shoulder. “Stop teasing me.”

“Ouch, that hurts!”

Even though she felt nothing at all, Song Shu Qing exaggeratedly exclaimed, followed by a sly smile as she begged for forgiveness, “Don’t be angry, I won’t drink so much anymore, will you forgive me, Ah Yao?”

Zi Yan turned her head, deliberately avoiding looking at the person in front of her.

Song Shu Qing’s voice was gentle as she coaxed, “Ah Yao, don’t be angry.”

Seeing Zi Yan still unresponsive, she reached down and had an innocent look on her face, “Ah Yao, just look at me, pay attention to me, okay?”

Feeling the restlessness of her beloved, Zi Yan’s ears turned slightly red. With no anger in her heart to begin with, she compromised, “Alright, alright, calm down a bit…”

Looking up at the smiling face before her, knowing she always fell into her grasp, Zi Yan sighed and patted the shadow guard’s waist, saying, “Give me a kiss.” Overcoming her shyness, she was unusually direct.

“Give me a kiss, and I’ll forgive you.”

“Oh? Well, it’s true that I haven’t brushed my teeth yet.” There was still a lingering taste of plum wine in her mouth, and her throat felt slightly acidic. “You wait for me here…” Song Shu Qing attempted to get up, but she was held back by the woman.

“Shu Qing, I don’t mind,” Zi Yan bit her lip and whispered, “I don’t mind, it’s okay.”

As long as it was Song Shu Qing, she didn’t mind anything.

Seeing the lingering hesitation in the shadow guard’s eyes, Zi Yan had a sudden realization and added in a soft voice, “I…I will only forgive you this time, it won’t count afterwards.”

Trying to mimic her beloved’s spoiled behavior, but in Song Shu Qing’s eyes, it was excessively adorable.

“Ah, well…”

The shadow guard sighed and picked up the water from the ground, rinsing her mouth casually.

“Indeed…” She cupped the woman’s face with her hand.

“When my wife acts spoiled, it’s like the power of an atomic bomb. Impossible to resist…” She leaned in, her movements gentle.

“There’s no way anyone could refuse that…”

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