Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
These words indeed stunned Xiahou Lian. He subconsciously looked down at Shen Jue’s crotch, but his trousers were concealed by layers of quilt, its shape unable to be seen.
Xiahou Lian was looking too unashamedly, and Shen Jue’s ears turned red as he reached out to push his face. “Where are your eyes looking?”
Xiahou Lian grabbed Shen Jue’s hand and knitted his brows. “How come you’re telling me such a big matter only now?”
Shen Jue bit his lip and said quite exasperatedly, “What did you want me to say? Do you want me to make a special trip to tell you that I, your young master, am not castrated, and do you also want me to take it out to show you? You might not be bashful, but I’d be.”
“There’s… There’s no need for that.” Xiahou Lian scratched his head and lowered his eyes, his pupils a little dim. “I thought you didn’t trust me.”
Shen Jue pulled his elbow. “Who said I don’t trust you. Have you seen who I sleep in the same bed with? It’s you who’s stupid, you slept with me for so long and didn’t notice.”
“I don’t have a disease, who stares at other people’s crotches when they’re full and have nothing to do? Besides, how would I dare to stare at your crotch,” Xiahou Lian murmured, lifting his eyes to look at Shen Jue. Shen Jue also looked at him, his eyelashes deep under the candlelight, containing a kind of unique feeling. He suddenly felt that even if someone like this had a defect, it wouldn’t matter, since his beauty was the only one in this world, no one else able to compare.
“How did you hide it? Doesn’t everyone have to be cut to enter the palace?” asked Xiahou Lian.
“I originally should have been.” Shen Jue turned his head away and said slowly, “The heavens probably pitied me and gave me a share of good luck. At the time when it was my turn to be castrated, the bladesmith with the saber got an upset stomach and went away to relieve himself. I saw that there was a sheet stained with blood on the ground, so I covered my body with the sheet and laid down on the stretcher. The substitute bladesmith thought I had already been castrated, so someone carried me out.”
“No one found out?”
“How do you think eunuchs are castrated?” Shen Jue glanced sideways at him.
Xiahou Lian said, “Isn’t it just cutting off their penis?”
Shen Jue shook his head. “That was the method of the past dynasty. The eunuchs in this dynasty don’t have it cut off, the testes are just removed. The bladesmith makes two small cuts on the scrotum, squeeze out the testes inside, and it’s over. Every year during the examination at Huanghua Gate 1, a eunuch-in-charge just reaches into their trousers and touches it, testing if you’ll…” Shen Jue’s face reddened, “if you’ll get hard. I took a medicine that suppresses lust and stops me from growing facial hair. Later when I became Wei De’s godson, no one dared to examine me, so I kept it concealed.”
Xiahou Lian felt worried upon hearing this. “Medicine? What medicine? If it can suppress lust, it definitely isn’t a good thing, what if you drank too much and you really became a eunuch?”
“If I do then I do, so what? I don’t plan on getting married anyway.” Shen Jue sat cross-legged and looked sideways at Xiahou Lian. That guy’s face was covered with anxiety, and it seemed like he really was worrying about him. Actually, there was something he hadn’t said. He didn’t have solid training in being a doctor after all, so the medicine he had randomly made after reading two medical books wasn’t that effective; every time he saw Xiahou Lian take off his clothes, he always wouldn’t be able to control himself.
However, he couldn’t tell him this. Shen Jue paused, and his voice lowered a little. “A-Lian, you don’t blame me for hiding so many things from you? At the time when I lied to you saying that I was sold into the palace, it was because I wanted you to stay and accompany me. Aren’t I very selfish? I clearly knew that your mother had come to look for you, yet I didn’t tell you.” He looked down at his own palms and smiled in ridicule. “But in order for you to stay and accompany me, Mid-July took effect, and you nearly died.”
“You are quite selfish,” said Xiahou Lian.
Xiahou Lian’s words were like a dull hammer striking Shen Jue’s heart. He had thought that Xiahou Lian would turn it around and console him, telling him that it was okay and that he didn’t blame him. He suddenly felt that he was extremely hypocritical; he hadn’t confessed out of repentance, it had merely been to make himself feel a little better. He turned to look at Xiahou Lian. Xiahou Lian’s face was enveloped by shadows, his expression unclear. He felt despaired; Xiahou Lian must hate him.
He had always been like this, and he could even lie impassively to the person he truly loved. This was him, despicable and lowly.
His forehead was suddenly flicked, and he gasped from the pain. Anger arose in his pupils, and he asked Xiahou Lian sternly, “What are you doing?”
“Punishing you.” There was a smile in Xiahou Lian’s eyes. “Who told you to lie to me? I’ve already punished you this time, so you’re not allowed to lie to me next time.”
Shen Jue covered his forehead as he looked blankly at him. Candlelight leapt in Xiahou Lian’s eyes, like scattered and fractured light, all of them melting in his pupils, gold rubbed in black. It was an addictive tenderness that belonged solely to Xiahou Lian.
Xiahou Lian suddenly knitted his brows again and said, “Young Master, I think that you should still stop taking that medicine. You kept your body whole with such difficulty, how can you ruin it like this? You can’t be like this, we have to think of a way for you to stop being this damned chief officer…” After getting halfway, he looked up and was instantly stunned.
Shen Jue was looking at him quietly, smiling as tears fell.
Xiahou Lian was instantly panicked. “Why are you crying? Did I hit you too hard just now and hurt you?”
The candle probably burned out, as the light suddenly extinguished, and there was suddenly a pitch-black expanse in the bed curtains. Xiahou Lian still felt panicked, and he was blank for a while before remembering that he had to turn on the light. He lifted the blanket to get down from the bed, but his wrist was pulled by Shen Jue, and his entire body was brought into his arms.
Xiahou Lian’s heart skipped a beat, and it was as if his entire body had been burnt by fire, his face flushed. In the darkness, he heard Shen Jue’s shallow breathing, striking his ears with rustles, scorchingly hot.
“A-Lian, I’ve always felt that this world is too, too cold.” Shen Jue buried his face into his neck and said hoarsely, “But fortunately, I have you.”
Fortunately, I have you.
My life is a desolate wasteland; brushing away all of the dust, you are my only treasure.
The darkness was silent, and the curtains surrounding the bed enclosed the four sides, as if separating a tiny world that was only theirs. Time seemed to be stretched very, very long, as if all of their surroundings had fallen into stillness.
Xiahou Lian slowly calmed down and lifted his hands to hug Shen Jue back. He said in a low voice, “Young Master, you too.”
Shen Jue embraced him tightly. “Mn.”
“Young Master,” Xiahou Lian pushed him away a little and continued what he wanted to say. “Stop taking that medicine. When the matters with Garan are over, I’ll take you to go.”
“Go where?” asked Shen Jue.
“Go anywhere, Southeast Asia or Japan. It’s fine as long as we get out of Great Qi, and find a place to conceal our identities. I can open a blacksmith shop or a martial arts school, I won’t let you go hungry. It’s just that our lives definitely won’t be as comfortable as they are in the capital, but it’s worth it if we can properly be ordinary people.”
Shen Jue laughed in spite of himself. “I have money, I don’t need you to support the family.” He looked at Xiahou Lian, the trickling light of water in his eyes, an extremely gentle expression. “Just the two of us?”
“At first, but later it definitely won’t be.” Xiahou Lian put his hands behind his head and gazed at the pitch-black bed ceiling, smiling. “When the time comes, you’ll marry a wife and reproduce for your old Xie clan. Sons and grandsons, maybe there’ll be a dozen people or so.”
The smile on Shen Jue’s lips froze. “What did you say?”
Xiahou Lian continued to ramble, “If you want, you can also marry a few more. But I advise you not to marry too many, or else it’ll be easy to have internal conflicts.”
In the darkness, Shen Jue’s expression slowly became gloomy, and his voice also gradually became cold. “What about you?”
Xiahou Lian didn’t notice and still spoke. “Me? I’ll look after the garden for you. When you have children, I can even teach them to box and build up a good physique, not like you, able to be blown over by a gust of wind.”
Shen Jue was slightly stunned, and the haze in his eyes receded a little. “You’re not going to get married?”
Xiahou Lian smiled as he shook his head. “Forget it.”
“Young Master, my hands are stained with too much blood, so I can’t enjoy too much good fortune.” Xiahou Lian smiled faintly. “Your children will be my children, I’ll be their godfather.”
His words were too bleak, and it was as if Shen Jue’s heart had been gripped, practically about to squeeze out blood. He said with difficulty, “My hands are also stained with too much blood, so according to you, I also don’t have good fortune, and I also can’t get married.”
“You’re different from me.” Xiahou Lian said lightly, “I killed my father, Young Master, my sins cannot be washed away. You’re different, you can change, listen to Mr. Dai’s words, and be a good person. Look, you support Sir Zhang’s reforms now, and you’re also helping to raise military expenses, how nice. Last time, I even heard the neighbors praising you. Besides, I don’t want to get married at all. Women are the most troublesome, and just seeing them gives me a headache. It’s quite nice for me to stay a bachelor by myself, leisurely and carefree.”
Upon hearing this, Shen Jue didn’t speak. He was silent for a very long time, not knowing what he was thinking about. Xiahou Lian looked at him, but he couldn’t see anything in the dark and could only see a dense shadow. He poked Shen Jue’s back and called, “Young Master, what are you thinking about?”
Shen Jue swatted his hand away and laid down facing the wall, saying muffledly, “I also won’t get married. I do things my own way, you don’t have to worry about me.”
Xiahou Lian had a slight headache, as he didn’t know why Shen Jue was suddenly in a stubborn temper. Other people dreamed of marrying a wife, even if they had to buy one, but wanting this guy Shen Jue to get married was like wanting him to die. Xiahou Lian said helplessly, “If I don’t worry about you then who will?”
Shen Jue was choked by these words, and he didn’t speak for a long time.
Xiahou Lian still wanted to persuade him, but Shen Jue suddenly turned around and pulled on his arm. He lost his balance and fell down on the bed, and Shen Jue covered him with the quilt, tucking it in. He wanted to open his mouth to say something, but Shen Jue covered his mouth and said coldly, “All right, I’m tired, go to sleep.”
Shen Jue was covering his mouth and was very close to him. Dipterocarp fragrance lingered in the air, and when Xiahou Lian smelled that fragrance, his mind was even more wide awake than during the day. It was snowing outside, rustling as it landed on the window and eaves. He opened his eyes and gazed at the bed ceiling, not knowing how long he gazed for.
In the silence, scenes from the past appeared before his eyes. One moment, it was Mr. Dai’s gray hair fluttering in the air, and the next moment, it was Duan Jiu’s black cloak under the moonlight. Gradually, the past events of many years ago flooded in, flitting past his eyes like crow feathers, like silent nightmares chasing him. In an instant, disorderly thoughts surged into the bottom of his heart. He hadn’t had time to be sorrowful during the day, but it was as if he couldn’t breathe now.
He took a deep breath and forced himself to be calm. Shen Jue’s breathing sounded by his ear; he was already asleep. Xiahou Lian quietly pulled his hand down and put it into the quilt. The moon had come out, and moonlight penetrated the pine-green window gauze, filtering through the curtains. Xiahou Lian turned his face and looked at the side of Shen Jue’s tranquil figure. His long and curved eyelashes were resting on his fair cheeks, like thin feathers. He reached out and nudged Shen Jue’s eyelashes, and the surging emotions in his heart miraculously calmed down.
If you don’t get married then that’s fine, the two of us have been partners before, so it’s quite nice, he thought.
He closed his eyes and curled up on his side. He lowered his head slightly, leaned on Shen Jue’s shoulder, and also fell asleep.
I enjoyed the intimacy of this chapter. It was interesting how he was able to keep that hidden all this time. Although it ended on a sad note as XHL remembered his past he can’t run away from. At least they have each other. Everytime they talk about their feelings it is in the dark where they can’t see their expressions, I hope that they can at one point clarify their feelings, seeing as they both are adamant about not getting married or having children. Thank you for the translation and editing
AHHHH THEYRE TOO CUTE I CANT, also XHL please PLEASE catch a hint, he’s so oblivious. But i don’t know if he’s oblivious because he’s dumb or because he can’t fathom why SJ would like him 😕. It’s so sad seeing the two of them think the other hates them ughhh it’s so frustrating ughhhh hopefully they’ll realize their feelings are requited eventually.
Thanks for the chapter!!! i loved it!!!!
They are so sweet to each other! But when is this relationship going to progress??
Thank you for the chapter!
I’m amazed any eunuchs survived the previous dynasty’s form of castration 😖
SJ is crystal clear about his sexual leanings and has been for a long time with regard to XL; he has no attraction to women at all.
XL on the other hand, never seems to have even thought about it. It’s only more recently he’s realised his physical attraction to SJ & feelings that go beyond close friendship.
SJ needs to spell it out, because XL has assumed he’s straight & only thinks of XL as beloved family.
Thanks for translating, the T/N and for editing.
Thank You for the new chapter (ʃƪ＾3＾）❤️
I thought XHL would steal a kiss & SJ would find out.