At the same time, Ju Mu’er was hardly sleeping soundly, rather she seemed stuck in a dream that did not seem like a dream, and the feeling of it was making her uneasy and on edge. Then, in her stupor, she suddenly felt like someone was standing by her bed, the realisation was enough to scare her into hastily opening her eyes. Before she could scream, a large palm had clamped over her mouth, and mumbling “Hu-hu” she began to struggle.
“It’s me.” Long Er hurriedly called out to her.
Ju Mu’er seemed dazed by this new development, and Long Er continued, “It’s me, I heard that you were bullied in the streets today, so I came to see you.”
Ju Mu’er vigorously leapt in his direction, shocking Long Er as he hastily tried to catch her, if he had been but a second late, she would have toppled over and off the bed.
Ju Mu’er tightly held on to him, her actions causing Long Er to feel extremely distressed for her. “That callous wretch scared you, didn’t she?”
Ju Mu’er remained silent, and Long Er continued to reprimand her, “Why did you go out without the bodyguards?”
“Why didn’t you come and look for me after being bullied?”
“You can still sleep soundly at such a time?!”
He could hardly even calm down enough to sleep, and just had to come see her, yet, here she was, sleeping like a little pig. Long Er had a belly full of reprimands for her, but before he could finish them all, Ju Mu’er suddenly asked, “Is it daybreak already?” Why was it that she felt like she had hardly slept at all?
And thus, Long Er’s belly full of words were forcibly pushed back down by this one question.
This truly was too wonderful, the two of them were each talking about completely different things!
“It isn’t daybreak yet.” This answer was ground out from between Long Er’s teeth.
“Oh.” Ju Mu’er replied dazedly, then she buried her head into Long Er’s embrace. She had just experienced a nightmare, and having him beside her now was really too comforting. She instantly began to feel more relaxed, and soon, feelings of lethargy began to overcome her.
Long Er wrinkled his brow, seriously considering the possibility of whether or not this silly young lady was fully awake right now.
“Who am I?”
“Second Master.” Her reply was half-hearted and unclear.
“Are you sure?” He purposely asked again, trying to trick her.
The words successfully entered Ju Mu’er mind about half a beat later, and she suddenly sat up, half scared to death at the possibility, “You’re not Second Master?”
“Who else could I be?” Long Er was quite frustrated by now, this young lady could drive him up the wall when she was wide awake, and she could do the same when she was half-awake.
Ju Mu’er blinked her eyes slowly, her mind gradually growing clearer as her sleepiness disappeared, “If it isn’t daybreak yet… Then why is Second Master in my chambers?”
Long Er’s face froze and his words failed him. Inside, he thought to himself, if she dared to chatter on about anything related to actions that were immoral and against basic etiquette, he would show her how angry he could get.
However, Ju Mu’er did not follow in the footsteps of Old Father Ju and mómo Yu, speaking of such things, instead, she said, “It’s so cold huh, Second Master, can I get a blanket before continuing to talk with you?”
Long Er’s heart immediately softened, “Hurry, you’d better lie down then.”
Quite obediently, Ju Mu’er quickly laid back down, even going so far as to use a blanket to tightly wrap around herself.
“Don’t close your eyes.” Long Er leaned by the head of the bed, making use of the moonlight to look at her, then he lightly squeezed her face, asking, “Were you beaten today?”
“The side you’re pinching right now.”
Long Er’s hand froze, and he pulled it away. After a moment, he reached his hand out again, and caressed her face, promising her, “I will get you your payback.”
“Mmm.” Ju Mu’er was not really concerned about this, the issue that was really worrying her was something else.
“Are you not interested in how I’ll get you your payback?”
“How will you get it for me?” She obediently followed his cue and asked him, even though she felt more sleepy than anything else at the moment.
“I’ll go reprimand her father, and naturally her father will be sure to punish her.” Even the incident of the marriage-stealing, according to what his informants had told him, that Ding Yanxiang had been dealt punishment, having been forced to kneel in repentance and had even been slapped twice by her father.
“Mmm.” Ju Mu’er seemed to completely lack any sense of urgency that came from being an involved party, her disinterest soon influenced Long Er and he quickly lost interest in this. He shook her, and brought up a request, “You’re not allowed to sleep, quick, say something to make me feel happy.”
“Ah?” It was already the middle of the night, had he come to see her just to have her comfort and appease him?
“Why is Second Master unhappy?”
“Two days ago, I received some news. Some business in Maoping City and Ce City has been taken by another party, and that’s why those bosses didn’t come this year.”
Ju Mu’er reached out a hand from beneath the covers, she lightly traced the outline of his large palm before holding it, then with a smile she said, “It’s alright, Second Master will surely be able to earn enough back again.”
“Hmph.” Long Er squeezed her tiny palm, he was none other than the Master Long Er, of course he would be able to earn that amount back, but not earning it from those places had a different meaning...
“Second Master should send them some wedding invitations, seeing as they have just given up Second Master’s business, they will surely be quaking in their boots, Second Master’s marriage is a big thing, it won’t do if they don’t send some gifts to Second Master, and if they don’t send the right gifts that will also be another issue.”
Long Er seemed a bit caught off guard by this, finally he burst into laughter, this sly little lass, she really was one after his own heart, she knew him well ah! Yesterday, he had indeed entrusted someone with some wedding invitations, if he wasn’t able to get those “side-switching” fellows to give up some valuable things, he would not be able to rest in ease.
Upon hearing his laughter, Ju Mu’er also laughed, “Second Master finally smiles, does this mean that Second Master is happy now?”
Long Er’s mouth curved upwards, but still he purposely replied, “Not yet.”
Ju Mu’er scrunched her eyebrows together, her expression one of deep thought. “Then what should we do? How about going back earlier to have some sleep Second Master? Once you get some sleep you will definitely feel happier.”
“Do you think everyone is like you?” Long Er looked at her sleepy expression and closed eyes, unable to contain himself he flicked her forehead once, “Such a sleepyhead, you had to suffer such a grievance today yet you can still sleep tonight.”
“It’s not like I can have a good sleep anytime ah, before this I couldn’t seem to fall asleep peacefully, but now that you’re here I’m able to sleep more relaxedly, so I’m really tired now Second Master.”
“Well, Second Master isn’t sleepy right now.” Long Er said this with na open-mouthed grin, she has just mentioned that it was only because of his company that she was able to sleep well, so was she actually telling him sweet things right now?
“Did you have a nightmare just now?” He recalled that when he entered her expression while asleep seemed to have been a bit odd.
“Mmm.” She held his large hand in hers, gradually feeling more and more sleepy.
“What did you dream of?”
Ju Mu’er’s eyelids fluttered slightly but she replied, “I can’t really remember.”
“If you can’t really remember then it doesn’t count as a nightmare, only those dreams that you can’t forget and can’t get rid of count as nightmares.” Long Er parted her hair, searched for her earlobe and squeezed it, “You’re such a silly lass, luckily Master is kind-hearted, I’ll sit here and accompany you, so you can have a good rest.”
Ju Mu’er instinctively tried to shrink her neck away after being pinched, and buried half her head underneath the covers. After she replied “Okay”, she instantly fell into a deep and relaxed state of sleep.
Looking at her like this, Long Er’s heart began to feel a little uneasy again, “And just like that you’re going to sleep?”
Ju Mu’er was so sleepy that she couldn’t even spare the energy to sigh, wasn’t it Second Master himself who had told her that she could have a proper sleep now? So what did he really want?
“Second Master, I’m sleepy.” Her voice sounded truly piteous.
Long Er did not continue talking, but lowered his head to stare at her appearance as she slept with both eyes closed. Her long eyelashes were like fans, and the moonlight enveloped the side of her face that was not being covered by the covers. He reached a hand out and helped her straighten a corner of the blanket, instinctively, she turned her head sideways, and fawningly nudged his palm with her face.
Long Er was extremely satisfied with this, and suddenly, he could not help but think that Ju Mu’er must have feelings towards him. Otherwise, why would she have come looking for him, why would she have made use of the opportunity to ask to be married to him? She was a clever one, but she did have a little pride, so thinking about her personality, seeing how dependant on him she seemed now, as well as how she did not shy away from his touch or any form of intimate contact, it really meant that she ought to have some feelings for him.
Thus, Long Er’s thoughts were all like this, and his mood quickly brightened. As he gently caressed Ju Mu’er’s face, she wriggled her eyebrows, when he stroked her hair, she seemed completely reactionless, but then he moved to pinch her nose, and blurrily she swatted away his hand, then turned on her side to continue sleeping.
Long Er thought to himself, is she sleeping already?
She was not reacting to him at all now, but he felt like annoying her more than ever. He kicked off his shoes, moving so his entire body was on the bed now. He didn’t like to see her back towards him, so he reached in and decidedly just picked her up, blanket and all into his embrace.
“Mu’er…” He called out to her, but Ju Mu’er did not react. He called again, but still there was no reply. It was only after his third time that a muffled reply came from inside the covers.
Long Er continued, “It’s daybreak already, Mu’er, it’s time to get up.”
“Oh.” It took her almost half a day for Ju Mu’er to reply, but she did not move an inch, it was almost as if this “Oh” was merely a reply she had given to him while she was still asleep.
Long Er flipped her over, noticed how she was sleeping soundly with her eyes closed and repeated himself, “Mu’er, get up and have some breakfast.”
This time, Ju Mu’er did not reply, but it seemed like she was unhappy about being disturbed by him, and her eyebrows wrinkled together. Long Er couldn’t help but flick a finger out to smoothen her forehead, and he lightly replied, “Alright, the skies are dark again, you can continue sleeping ba.”
And truly, Ju Mu’er continued sleeping, sparing him no reaction at all.
Long Er leaned by her side on her pillow, plucking at her eyelashes, tapping on her lips, and even squeezing her cheeks. This was interesting...Even though the object of his harassment completely ignored him, he still felt no feelings of boredom. Suddenly, he thought to himself, that’s right, he could add another rule in the Household Rules, “If Master had yet to sleep, then Mu’er was not allowed to sleep.”
Long Er remained where he was, growing more and more tired as time passed by. Leaning by Ju Mu’er’s side, he soon fell asleep. In the middle of the night, because of the cold, completely at ease, he lifted up the covers, and snuggled down into Ju Mu’er’s warm blanket cocoon.
Ju Mu’er was in a deep sleep and even though he was disturbing her she did not wake up, instead, with her eyes still closed, she rolled into his embrace, mumbling to him, “Second Master?”
Long Er was also a bit groggy with sleepiness, and his reply was instinctive, “Mmm.”
Then, with peaceful hearts, the two of them embraced each other as they shifted to the most comfortable position they could find, before continuing to sleep.
Thus, Ju Mu’er slept and slept, but just as her sleep was deep and relaxed, she was awoken with a slap.
“Mu’er, wake up.” It was Long Er’s voice. He called to her four or five times before she finally reacted.
Ju Mu’er sleepily opened her eyes and asked, “Are the skies bright yet?”
A little miffed, Long Er replied, “Really!”
“Then, how long have they been bright for?”
“I don’t know.” He cracked an eye open and had realised that he had slept in a room that was not his own. Not to mention, he had noticed how it seemed really bright outside the window, and it was obvious that the time was currently in the later part of the morning. Instantly his heart jumped in shock, his mind thinking of the many things that he would have to deal with today. Not only did he not know the current time, but the servants in the Long Residence would have no idea where he had gone, and he was worried things would get chaotic.
Thinking of all of his unfinished business, he could no longer continue to enjoy embracing the jade flesh and fragrance of this beauty, and hurriedly got to his feet. As soon as he got up, he realised that he had not even taken off his outer robe last night, so in his sleep the robe had become wrinkled beyond compare, and he looked like he was practically wearing dried plums all over his body. He reached a hand upwards to check his hair, and naturally, after a night’s sleep it was no longer immaculate and tidy.
To ask him to go out in this state of disarray, to wind through the streets of the city and return to his residence, well it truly was an extremely
He turned around to look, and the young lady who was the root cause of his current mortifying situation was busy sleeping. In his less than optimum state, he was not ready to let her remain in a comfortable state, so he reached over to pat her awake.
Ju Mu’er was far from completely awake, and with her blanket in her arms, she had a bewildered expression as she asked, “Why has Second Master come again so early?”
“I haven’t come again, I just haven’t left yet.”
“Oh, then why isn’t Second Master leaving even though it is so late right now?”
Long Er squeezed her cheeks, “Are you awake now?”
“It h-hurts, it’s painful…” Ju Mu’er’s small face wrinkled like it was a dumpling, then woke up.
Long Er asked again, “Where is your comb?”
Ju Mu’er pointed towards a small cupboard, “Inside the drawer.”
“You don’t have a mirror right?
Ju Mu’er nodded her head.
Long Er walked over and pulled open the drawer to look for a comb to tidy his hair, and as he combed his hair he kept turning to look back at her. Ju Mu’er had made use of the blankets by wrapping them around herself, and was currently yawning sleepily. Her hair was completely free and her eyes half open, the blanket had flowers on it and a sort of countryside look to it. It was wrapped haphazardly around her body, and made her look quite disheveled, however, in his eyes, she was the epitome of attraction and appeal.
Long Er had no mirror to check his reflection with, and could only tidy his hair with the comb based on intuition alone. Then, he reached to tug on Ju Mu’er’s hand, “Don’t yawn anymore, come over here and practice serving me as I get ready in the morning.”
“Oh.” Ju Mu’er sat up straight and asked, “What do you need me to do?”
Long Er was caught off guard by this, she could not see anything, so what could she do to serve him? Combing his hair was out of the picture, helping him change his robes was impossible too, and if he were to depend on her to carry a basin of water for him to wash his face, then it was highly unlikely. Furthermore, he had barged into her private chambers in the middle of the night, so he could not freely walk out there to deal with the problem himself. It looked like he would have to return to his residence in this scruffy state.
Long Er gritted his teeth, he was not about to let her get away without doing anything, and he picked the easiest task for her, “Help Master button these buttons.”
“Alright.” Extremely obediently, Ju Mu’er acquiesced, and she slowly reached a hand out as she felt all over Long Er’s body, looking for where his buttons were. As she continued to feel him, she found it. She said, “Second Master, the buttons are all done actually… Since they’re already done, let me undo them, then I’ll help Second Master button them again, and help Second Master get dressed. I’m positive Second Master will be greatly satisfying.”
Long Er’s face froze again, this silly lass, she was purposefully teasing him. If only she would pretend and come and coax him, then all would be fine. Instead she had undone the buttons and rebuttoned them, even having the gall to ask, “Do you need them buttoned again? Or do you want to change one of the buttons and have her do it again?”
She always knew how to get on his nerves. This was a direct infringement of the first Household Rule! Long Er squeezed her cheeks, causing Ju Mu’er to call out in pain, instantly her expression become aggrieved and she added, “Then, do you want me to tighten your waistbelt for you? Or undo it first before tightening it?”
Long Er flicked her forehead in reply, and oddly, Ju Mu’er followed through with the trajectory of the force and fell backwards onto the bed, playing dead. I wonder if this way I’ll be able to continue sleeping?
Long Er looked at how she was being cheeky, and a flash of anger filled his heart. These were her private chambers, and it was also at a time where she had yet to cross the threshold of his family. If she still dared to be this cheeky once they had been married, then he would be sure to pin her to the bed, and forcefully deal with her until she could not spare a single noise.
As Long Er continued to think, his lower abdomen was set afire. He tried to smother the feelings of arousal and quickly gave two awkward coughs. Alas, that heartless lass remained unmoving on her bed, and because he was harbouring less than pure thoughts, he did not dare to go too near her to bother her anymore.
He coughed again, then hoarsely reprimanded her, “Master is going now.” Once he finished saying that, his heavy steps could be heard moving in the direction of the door of this wing.
Ju Mu’er suddenly bolted upright, loudly exclaiming, “Don’t!”
Long Er’s footsteps faltered, and the corners of his mouth curved up, “What’s the matter, you don’t want Master to leave?”
“You can’t use the main doorway, there are many people walking about in the daytime, and if Second Master is seen by someone it won’t be good.” Ju Mu’er pointed to a back window, “Second Master, you’ll have to leave through the window.”
Long Er’s head instantly began to emit smoke, “You’re asking Master to climb through this window?” Even though he knew that what she was saying was rational, and that he himself was not about to carelessly walk straight out through the door. Of course he would make sure to survey the situation outside, ensure that no one was there before opening the door, but her commanding tone when asking him to crawl out through the window, truly made him quite mad.
“If you don’t want to crawl through it’s alright too, Second Master knows Qinggong, so if you want to jump out that works too.”
T/N: "Qinggong"Qinggong is a training technique for jumping off vertical surfaces from the Chinese martial art Baguazhang. (轻功 - Qīnggōng) You've probably seen actors flying about in wuxia dramas with this skill
“What difference is there?” Long Er was still quite frustrated, if he had known what she was going to be like earlier, then he would not have come to see her, and end up in such a state of dishevelment.
Just at this moment, the voice of Old Father Ju humming a small tune could be heard from outside, and a moment later, the sounds of Old Father Ju lifting something could be heard. Ju Mu’er was a little nervous by now, but Long Er just had his arms folded in front of his chest, and stood without moving, purposely trying to scare her as he said, “Master is not one to go jumping through windows.”
“Then how did Master come in last night?” With just one question, she forced him to close his mouth. She had latched the door before going to sleep last night, but had left a window half-open to let some air in. Before arriving outside her chambers, Long Er did not think of himself as a person who could barge through another person’s doors, and had initially planned on waking her up to be let in, but upon noticing the open window, he had immediately jumped through it.
However, jumping in on one’s own, and being commanded to jump out by someone else were two different things.
Long Er glared at Ju Mu’er, but Ju Mu’er couldn’t see him, so she nonchalantly stood there, facing him with an innocent expression. The more he glared at him, the more meaningless he felt it was. So many people had previously surrendered under his sharp gaze, but this tactic seemed completely hopeless on a blind person.
Even now, the blind girl was asking, “Second Master, are you glaring at me?”
Second Master did not reply, instead he stealthily and silently crept out through a window.
A/N: This chapter has been edited, it was a later chapter that has been moved ahead, none of the content has been changed.