104 4.22

"You.. are you okay?" General Duan Mengyao asks tentatively, his voice hoarse and raspy. 

The eighth prince stares at the man, calculation flickering in his eyes. That one sentence had already told him a lot.

He lowers his head and secretly smiles maliciously. 

It seems he wasn't the only one damaged from their fight. 

The abacus in his heart quickly clicked and clacked. The general had amnesia and he was crippled. Even though his injury was far more severe right now the general is the most vulnerable, unable to recall the hatred he has sowed with himself. As long as he has time to recover enough strength and contact his trusted men, Huizhong can then happily kill him and go into hiding to slowly build up enough firepower to rebel. 

It could be said the eighth prince really is deserving of the big villain title. The logic was sound and relatively simple but to put such a thing in practice is harder. Think about it, if a person you already didn't like went and broke your legs or something equally as drastic and you're suddenly roommates with them the next day who could bear it? Much less pretend the previous incident didn't happen? 

It's possible but only people with strong perseverance, patience and restraint can pull such a thing off. If it was Jia Hyson he may be able to do it in the short term, a week, no, a month at most, before he inevitably snaps goes and slits the bitch's throat in the middle of the night. 

Eighth Prince Huizhong managed to live as a crippled beggar on the streets for two years. Recuperating next to his amnesiac enemy is probably nothing in comparison. 

Huizhong, after gathering his resolve, looks up toward the concerned amnesiac with a weak, frail smile. He already had very handsome, if slightly feminine facial features so this fragile expression made him look more like a weak pitiful beauty. It was one of the many reasons he was bullied a lot as a child ah. Weak, small, unfavored and too pretty for his own good, it was like the Heaven's molded his person solely to be abused in that hateful palace. 

With tears brimming in his reddened eyes, the eighth prince choked out, "H-how can I be okay? This one had been strolling through the market when a depraved, disgustingly smelly old man attacked me in the alley. Luckily this one knew some martial arts and successfully defended my dignity. However the overly muscled beast in human skin was enraged and stabbed and ruined my legs!" The more the eighth prince talked the more tragic and emotional he sounded, each word filled with despair and hatred and fear. It was very moving.

The general who was only a few years older than him, well known for his restrained abstinent personality, who does his best to maintain his hygiene and is perfectly muscled, immediately feels indignation and sympathy for the other person. "How can there be such an awful person?!" He exclaims, "Really deserves to be neutered."

The eighth prince nods solemnly, eyes red but a faint smile was on his lips. "This one also thinks so." His smile widens a little as he adds, "Of course, from what this one saw, there isn't much to cut off if you know what I mean."

The well-endowed general: "Haha that man sounds truly pathetic. I hope he was injured terribly."

The sniffling but trying to maintain a strong smile eighth prince: "Indeed."

Jia Hyson who knew the basic situation: '…' Eighth prince you're really something ah. 

Bebe: '...' That general is going to die isn't he? 

Da Gong: '...' The smaller more injured human will kill the bigger human it seems. 

Da Gong felt this smaller human was not a good thing but currently holds no intentions toward his own interests. The bigger human was not Da Gong's human so as long as they don't make a mess it would be okay. 

"Oh they're awake," Ye Cheng observes with some surprise as Tang Muxin and him enter the room, bags of products in hand.

Almost immediately, Ye Cheng noticed the bloodied legs of the eighth prince. 

"Fuck, what happened to you?" He blurts out unthinkingly before flushing in embarrassment, "Oh, right, you got beaten up in an alley. My bad. Are you feeling okay? Wait, I have some medicine. It won't do much but it'll help with the external wounds, no, actually we need to wipe down the dirt. Can you stand? No that was stupid, here, let me-" 

The eighth prince didn't even get to open his mouth, much less get a word in during the bombardment that came out of Ye Cheng's mouth before he was grabbed and picked up bridal style by the muscular young man. Once everything finally registered in his usually quick-witted mind, the other was already half way to the bathroom. Eighth prince Huizhong flushes and begins to struggle, "You- you dare to-"

Ye Cheng frowns at the struggling. Even though the eighth prince has martial arts training and has good muscle definition, he was at heart, a literati whose biggest advantage is his brain, not his brawn. For Ye Cheng who is used to lifting heavy products, helping out in the farm when he comes back home and being nice by helping people with whatever hard jobs that need doing, it is not difficult to carry the injured man despite him being taller in height than himself. However if the stranger in his arms resists it becomes significantly harder to hold. The man is greatly injured, it would be bad to drop him.

"Don't move," Ye Cheng scolds, "didn't you hear me? Are you deaf ah? I just bring you to the bathroom to treat your wounds, that's it. We're both men what's there to be ashamed of?" 

Ye Cheng had a wide network but mainly it belonged in the more rural country areas. Unlike the scholars and nobles in the city, the farmers and commoners were more loose and relaxed with basic etiquettes. Things like multiple people living in the same room or bathing in the nearby pond are forced by their living situation. Who cared about modesty at that point? Seeing another man less half dressed or even completely naked was not considered perverted unless someone makes it perverted. 

Of course if one of them was a women it would be a completely different story ah. After all, this is a feudal patriarchal society where if women expose more than they should to a man, their only options pretty much boil down to marrying him or killing yourself. 

The original Tang Muxin who had stripped and pretended that she had been forced by Ye Cheng is one of the only exceptions to the rule due to her thick face and her incredibly low intelligence. Plus the Tang family were big fish in a small pond, while there were rumors and curses for such a shameless girl to still live on after that farce, the Tang patriarch was able to shelter the worst of the barbs for his child, costing him a lot of face in the community and most of his remaining affection for the girl. 

One could have said that Tang Muxin's father wasn't bad. It was just the original Tang Muxin was too terrible and so poisonous that she could even make people lose their fatherly love. 

Anyway, under the eighth prince's stuttered protest full of indignant confusion, Ye Cheng was unperturbed, treating the man's words like a fart. A noble's dignity, what was that? Can you eat it? 

The eighth prince didn't actually have much ingrained noble pride. He was beaten and humiliated by even the lowliest servants of the palace when he was young. Only in the last few years has his hard work bore fruit and he can stand up with a straight back full of poise and grace like the other princes. However it is because of this that he holds onto his pride tighter than anyone else.

Putting it simply. A child who has no toys since birth, is often teased for not having a toy, is discriminated and bullied for never having a toy, finally, through making money by doing chores and working hard, earns his first toy. Compared to the other children who are used to toys everywhere, this child will become much more attached to his first toy, and would hate to even let it go from their little hands. 

People may like and appreciate their toy, but to that child who had to earn his toy, that toy weighs far heavier on their hearts than the others. If someone tried to take the toy away, even temporarily, obviously there will be some kicking and screaming.

Unfortunately for the eighth prince, 'pride' was his toy, and kicking and screaming were actions that would make him lose that as well.

It wasn't an exaggeration to say the eighth prince was completely uncomfortable with this situation. Thanks to his childhood he isn't used to people serving him hand and foot, and he had also developed strong paranoia and unwillingness to be touched. When he had power and standing he refused to let others go near him much less take off his clothing. The fact he was injured and vulnerable made it even more unacceptable in his mind. 

However, he could only swallow up most of his protests. Right now he had to play nice with these vulgar commoners in order to recuperate. 

Yes. In order for his plan to work he needs to heal well without any prying eyes. So he must play nice. Play nice… play….. nice.... play...


Everyone who can hear the screams in the other room: '…' 

General Duan Mengyao chuckles awkwardly, "That man is quite a character." He comments mildly. 

Jia Hyson, and Tang Muxin who knew the basic character profiles of the eighth prince had faintly strange expressions. Indeed. It turns out the villainous vengeful and aloof blackened genius was actually quite a hysterical person ah. Who would have thought?

Da Gond merely clucks disdainfully, "Tch. So noisy ah." These new humans were no good. The little worm is cute but sadly has no taste for picking servants. Fortunately, Da Gong is here to train them well. 

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Ye Cheng clicks his tongue faintly annoyed. He also can't help but feel this man was a bit too energetic for someone so injured. "Uncle, there's no need to shout ah, this one can hear just fine." He complains as he gently wipes the blood off the eighth prince's legs. Currently, the eighth prince is bare from the waist down in order for Ye Cheng to properly assess the extent of leg's injuries.

The eighth prince who is only twenty-one years old: '…' Uncle? Who's an uncle? It can't be he's talking about laozi? 

The eighth prince felt indignant. He stared gloomily at this brutish and uncouth man with faint disdain. Even if the face is above average, the child has no concept of manners and personal space. Not only that he is dark skinned from being under the sun and the clothing is rough and poor quality. Such a poor uneducated man, what right does he have to insult him? 

Of course Ye Cheng was thick skinned and used to ignoring uncomfortable situations. If he didn't have that sort of ability how can he have the courage to go up to complete strangers and coax them to buy his products? 

Still, this man was clearly being ungrateful. Acting like he was being wronged so loudly and obviously while being treated for his injuries by kindhearted strangers. Ye Cheng is nice but he will not help count the money while being sold. It's best to kick this one out after getting the basic injuries healed. 

However he did not show his satisfaction. The haughty man is a noble with some background. It's best not to offend him too badly and even better if he gains a good impression. After all Ye Cheng loves to add people to his network, for business reasons if nothing else. 

Thinking this, while his face shows some dissatisfaction with the prince, his hands are gentle and thoughtful. No matter what the injuries really did look awful, even if it wasn't for sake of business connections Ye Cheng didn't have the heart to ignore it. 

Luckily he has some skill in this sort of thing when treating animals. Wiping the legs down with warm water, covering the open wounds with bandages, mixing the medicinal herbs into paste, massaging it into the skin and finally even giving a professional foot massage to improve circulation and target the acupressure points. 

The eighth prince Huizhong who was still silently holding back his anger, quickly felt it fade away under Ye Cheng's hands. In fact, a lot of his tension since waking up seemed to dissipate under those firm yet careful ministrations. His pale face taut with pain and anger seemed to relax and flush faintly pink as more time passed.

This was the first time anyone had touched him like this before. 

The commoner was clearly annoyed by his attitude and held a faintly perfunctory expression yet his treatment was still attentive and full of compassion. It wasn't disdainful or fearful, nor overly affectionate or exaggerated and falsely pleasing. Just an ordinary kindness that was neither too hot nor too cold.

Coupled with the amazing massage skill that seemed to know where his sore points were, and the rather meticulous care toward his wounds, the eighth prince felt a bit moved and subconsciously couldn't help but have a better impression of this uncouth commoner. 

In fact, the more he relaxed, the more pleasurable it started to feel. He began to feel a little drowsy despite himself. 

However, his tranquil state was broken by a soft but pointed cough. Snapping but into reality, eighth prince Huizhong saw the commoner was giving him a faintly bemused and puzzled look. Maybe it was because his favourability toward the stranger had risen slightly but the eighth prince felt the expression was quite charming. 

Until he realised where he was looking at.

Ye Cheng who was a little embarrassed at the situation saw the mortification of the haughty noble and suddenly wanted to be a little cheeky. Trying to fight the smile off his face he couldn't help but chuckle a little dryly, "Uncle, it turns out you are like that ah. No wonder you resisted so hard when I took off your pants. Unfortunately, while this lowly one does not judge people's preferences, this lowly one will have to politely decline. After all, I am materialistic and prefer uncle pay with wealth rather than the body." 

Perverted uncle Huizhong who is mistaken to want to pay with his body: '...'

The eighth prince who is now full of shame roared, "ROLL!"

Sensing the other needed some time to calm down, Ye Cheng cleverly rolled out, passing him a dry rag to wipe himself down and some fresh clothing. Once the door to the bathroom door closed the eighth prince heard the commoner burst into giggles like an immature bear child.

Eighth prince Huizhong grits his teeth as he began to wipe himself down, doing his best to ignore the raised manhood between his legs that had inexplicably made such a prominently inappropriate appearance. 

Good! Very good! He, Yan Huizhong, of the Imperial Yan family, will remember this humiliation!

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