(Genesis. Before going to the palace, Jesse invited Shamal alone onto the carriage.)
Shamal had one foot on the carriage. A shining, white hand stretched out before him. He raised his head in shock.
Jesse was smiling at him. That kind of doting, indulgent expression with a hint of humor in his eyes brought him back all of a sudden to a thousand years ago. Back then, he had also liked to look at him in this way, holding out his hand, pulling him onto the carriage, and once he grabbed Shamal’s hand, he didn’t like to let go for a very long time.
As though his hand was not within his control, Shamal reached out just like he had done so many times a thousand years ago, placing his palm in Jesse’s, joining them.
Jesse gave the lightest pull and Shamal helplessly fell towards him.
The carriage door closed with a thud.
Shamal scrambled to sit up, flurried, but a hand wrapped tightly around his waist. Jesse let go of his hand in favor of pinching his chin, tilting his face until Shamal had no choice but to look at him. Shamal’s heart abruptly sank.
What happened just now was an illusion. They couldn’t go back to the past. They couldn’t go back to the time before he had left, or the time after Jesse had discovered his lies. That pair of eyes that used to hold the deepest tenderness and sweetness had only naked abhorrence and hatred. And within that abhorrence and hatred, he saw very clearly his own reflected image.
His heart hurt savagely. Not the kind of dull pain, as though it was wrapped within cotton, but it was swift, fierce, frenzied, as if a knife was stabbing his heart!
“Welcome back into my embrace.” Jesse’s mouth slowly curved up.
The mountain path was very long and the carriage kept jolting. Shamal gazed at the scenery flying past outside his window… and the reflection in the window.
Jesse’s eyes were tightly closed. After saying those words to Shamal, he ignored him totally, closing his eyes and resting. It was only during times like this that Shamal could look at him boldly. Although it was a translucent reflection, to him, it was enough.
He slowly reached out a finger. The tip of his finger touched the shadow, those thick and rich eyebrows. Although his hair was white, his eyebrows were still so black and so rich.Shamal greedily rubbed back and forth.
Suddenly, he saw that those pair of eyes had opened and was staring at him unblinkingly.
Shamal jolted. His fingers formed a fist, “You’re awake?”
Jesse lightly said, “What are you looking at?”
“I’m looking at…” He sat up straight and looked straight ahead, “This doesn’t look like the road to the palace.”
“You still remember the road to the palace?” Jesse’s voice was taunting.
Shamal shrunk back and didn’t dare to speak. Because back then, it was on this road that he had escaped with Locktini.
“We’re not going to the palace.” As though he’d had enough of Shamal’s embarrassment, Jesse broke the heavy silence.
A flash of fright went through Shamal’s eyes and he gritted his teeth and said, “I’m the third prince of the Faerie world.”
Jesse was silent.
“My royal brothers will not allow you to do as you ple…” He hadn’t even finished speaking and Jesse had already pressed him against the window.
“If I were you, I won’t have a temper tantrum right now.” Jesse was smiling but his smile didn’t reach his eyes. “If you wanted to wield your status as the third prince, you should’ve used it a thousand years ago. At this time… don’t you think it’s a little too late?”
Shamal anxiously held his breath. Jesse’s face was so close that if he just tilted his head up a little, he would be kissing Jesse’s nose… just like the past, when he took a nap, Jesse would steal a kiss when Shamal wasn’t paying attention.
“So, be a good boy.” Jesse’s voice softened, “Lion.”
The word ‘Lion’ shattered all of Shamal’s thoughts. He opened his eyes wide and watched as Jesse slowly retreated, his face regaining that expressionless look. Shamal slowly straightened in his seat and said in a low voice, “Just what do you want?”
“Don’t ask. Lion.” Jesse put his hand on his lips, “Don’t ask anything.”
Shamal could only swallow his words.
The mountain loomed taller and taller. Seeing the more and more familiar view outside his window, Shamal’s heart became heavier and heavier.
The carriage abruptly stopped.
Jesse opened the door. Seeing the dumbfounded Shamal, he jeered, “Do you need help getting out of the carriage?” (2)
Shamal looked at his surroundings and jumped down. It was empty all around. He privately calculated the chances of escaping from here. Jesse began walking to the grove beside the mountain. Even though he was surrounded by greenery, his hair and his figure were very distinctive. The driver of the carriage was only an ordinary member of the Witch clan. Shamal estimated his strength and couldn’t help but conclude that this was the best time to escape. Jesse didn’t seem to realize that Shamal wasn’t following behind and was still walking forward alone.
If he didn’t run now, when would he? Shamal didn’t hesitate any longer and used his wind magic to fly down the path. He had just flown five to six meters when he felt an intense pain in his shoulder. Blackness surged over his vision, countless stars appeared and he plummeted to the ground.
When he fell, his shoulder hit the ground first. He heard a loud crack and his other shoulder began to hurt. As he lay on the ground, huge droplets of sweat began to drip from his forehead. He opened his eyes wide and struggled to sit upright. After a while, his vision was restored. And then he saw Jesse walk out of the woods slowly, looking at him mockingly.
In that moment, he had a strong urge to die.
The excruciating pain in one shoulder faded, but his other arm was dislocated.
Jesse stopped before him and leisurely squatted down. He lifted his arm, smiled and said, “As expected of the third prince, how precious (3), one fall and you have a broken arm.”
Shamal looked at him and suddenly felt that he was looking at a stranger. The Jesse from before — if he had gotten even a tiny cut on his finger, Jesse would have been upset and agitated, scolding him for being too careless and then ever so carefully, bandaging his finger. But the Jesse before his eyes was only mocking.
Tears rose uncontrollably in his eyes. He should hold them back. He could be embarrassing and pathetic in front of others, but he absolutely refused to cry in front of Jesse. Because he knew that even if he cried until he ran out of tears, the person before him won’t even wrinkle his brow.
Jesse lifted his hand and grabbed his arm.
Shamal shrunk back.
“Even if you’re injured, you still want to run from me?” Storms gathered in Jesse’s eyes and the hand holding on to his arm tightened more and more.
It was only an inch, who would come so near? Shamal was in so much pain that his face was contorted yet he ground his teeth and refused to make a sound. Jesse saw that his face was becoming paler and paler and finally let go. He pressed Shamal’s shoulder and gently pushed. Shamal groaned lowly but his shoulder had already been pushed back into place. Although there was still an aching pain, at least he could move.
Jesse stood up. “Can you walk?”
Shamal stood up as well. “Just now, you cast a slavery curse on me?”
Jesse smiled coldly, “Then what do you think?” He turned around and walked back into the woods, Shamal following soundlessly behind.
Although the trees in the woods had thick and abundant leaves, sunlight still managed to filter in through the gaps of the leaves. Tiny rays of flower-white sunlight were like little poles standing in great numbers throughout the woods. Shamal suddenly recognized this place and abruptly stopped walking.
Jesse didn’t even turn around and only said calmly, “Do you still want to try?”
Shamal’s face was white, fists opening and closing, opening and closing by his side, and in the end, he started walking again. As he walked, the faint sound of running water could be heard. Indeed, after ten more steps, they saw a waterfall gushing forth from a mountaintop. The froth was snow white and when it landed in the green pool of water, droplets sparkled and flew about in every direction.
Jesse stopped beside the pool of water. Shamal worriedly walked over.
Jesse suddenly turned around, “This is where we first met.”
Shamal lowered his head. To him, it was not a good memory. Because he had killed Jesse’s snake, Jesse spared him no mercy from the very beginning, immediately using all sorts of witchcraft from the Witch on him. Shamal could barely retaliate before he was subdued.
“Lion, if only we could have stayed in that day forever. How wonderful that would be.” He looked at the waterfall, spellbound and lost in thought.
Shamal mumbled, “To be thoroughly beaten by you?”
Shamal raised his head in shock and saw the smile that Jesse didn’t yet manage to hide. It wasn’t a cold smile where only his mouth smiled but not his eyes. It was a genuine, sincere smile. He suddenly realized that he hadn’t seen Jesse smile like that in a very long time. All he had wanted deep in his heart was to see Jesse smile like that.
As though sensing his gaze, Jesse turned around. Their gazes met, yet neither of them looked away.
Tears pooled once again in his eyes and Shamal couldn’t help but say softly, “I’m sorry.”
Jesse’s eyes were like a stagnant and unmoving lake, with not a ripple of water. He only stared fixedly at Shamal, as if he wanted to see right into him.
“I…” Shamal had more to say, but Jesse had already turned around. He turned around resolutely, without any reluctance or feeling.
Shamal mocked himself as he covered his face. Tears spilled from between his fingers. Jesse looked back and gazed at the sorrowful figure and he looked conflicted.
(1) satellite came up with the title! It’s a pun on the Chinese. In Chinese it’s 椰丝情缠 Yē sī qíng chán. The first two words mean ‘coconut’ and they are a pun on Jesse’s name (耶西 Yé xī). The next two words mean something like ‘feelings winding around/entangled’.
(1) In Chinese, Jesse implies something like ‘do you need help getting off the carriage just as I helped you get on’?
(2) Jesse is being mocking. ‘How precious’ has the connotation of ‘the third prince is so precious and valuable like an expensive vase, a slight fall will break his arm’