Liu Xian’an awoke amidst creaking and swaying.
His body moved slightly, as if he was still laying on the warm clouds in his dreams.
His brain, which had been in severe pain before, was now only left with drowsiness after the pain dissipated.

“Young Master, you’re awake.” A-Ning had looked at him more than a dozen times, and when he saw his family’s young master sitting up, he hurried in to help him.
“You slept for almost the whole day again.”

It was only then that Liu Xian’an noticed that he was currently lying in a large carriage.
A-Ning explained: “It was arranged by the prince.
He ordered everyone to leave and go to Baihe City without delay, but he didn’t allow anyone to wake the young master from his sleep.”

The degree of unreasonableness in this order was comparable to “going down when you had just come up,” but no matter how unreasonable it was, since His Royal Highness Xiao Wang had already opened his mouth, the rest had no choice but to follow suit.
The disciples of the village quickly and skillfully set up a stretcher and held their breath while moving it into the bedroom with small steps.
Some grabbed the arms, some grabbed the legs to hold the young master, and just as they were about to whisper one, two, three, Liu Xian’an turned over.

Thus, everyone froze in place and didn’t dare to move.
It was comparable to being hit with a paralyzing spell.

A-Ning continued: “The prince was standing by the side, watching.
It was a very scary scene.
The room was dark and gloomy, and the breaths of the senior brothers almost couldn’t be heard.
When they tried to lift the young master again after a while, several of their hands were trembling.”

After going back and forth like this five or six times, Second Young Master Liu was at last safely placed into the carriage in a state of deep sleep.
In A-Ning’s words: “Although the Second Master did not personally participate in carrying the young master, he also broke out into a sweat afterwards and was so weak that he couldn’t even eat.”

“Oh, that’s right,” A-Ning continued, “The prince sent someone to find this carriage, and Cheng-guniang laid down the mat herself.
When it was laid, many senior brothers were watching.”

Of course, they weren’t looking at the mat, nor at the beautiful Cheng-guniang.
The disciples of Baihe Mountain Village weren’t so rude.
Everyone was mainly watching the incident itself.
They didn’t know why the Second Young Master just went out with His Royal Highness Xiao Wang, and the relationship between them became so close.
Not only was the carriage absurdly big, but enough blankets for five or six beds were laid out.

The Third Young Lady’s outings were not even so meticulous.

As A-Ning was talking, someone knocked twice on the carriage window.
Liu Xian’an lifted the curtain, and Cheng Suyue said with a smile: “Second Young Master Liu, do you want to ride a horse for a while? Right now the weather is fine, the scenery is beautiful, and there are lotus fields on both sides.
Um… said in a poem, they furl open and closed innocently.”[1]

Don’t regard it as just one sentence, Cheng-guniang worked hard to memorize it for a long time.
Liu Xian’an tidied his clothes and bent down to disembark from the carriage.
He didn’t take the red bay pony with him when he left home this time, so Cheng Suyue found a relatively short and well-behaved horse from the cavalry of Xiao Wang Palace – but it only looked well-behaved.
Because it had just been pulled out of the main force, it immediately moved its four hooves and trotted briskly to join its elder brother Xuan Jiao, and by the way, took Second Young Master Liu on its back to join His Royal Highness Xiao Wang.

Liang Shu asked: “Are you awake?”

“Yes.” Liu Xian’an took the reins of the horse.
“Thank you, Your Highness.”

Liang Shu saw that although he was still a little lazy and tired from sleeping for so long, he was no longer in the dull, trance-like state from before.
He asked: “Are there any anti-fatigue sweets?”

“Yes.” Liu Xian’an sent a disciple to bring a jar. 

Liang Shu ordered: “You eat it.”

Liu Xian’an made a sound of agreement.
It turned out that the prince didn’t want it for himself.
He took out a candy and pressed it under his tongue, and the silver ice flake rushed straight to his forehead, making his whole body jolt.
Then he was even more sober.



“Say something, this lord wants to hear it.” Liang Shu looked ahead.
“Just nothing to do with those white-bearded old men.”

Liu Xian’an was careful not to touch the huge world in his mind, and searched through all kinds of things about this world in his memories.
However, he found that apart from sleeping and eating every day, the rest was all really lackluster, so he had to add fuel……add brocade and flowers, ba. He added embellishments as he described the two jars of wine at the house and simply praised them up to the sky.
If the shop owner heard it, he would probably be moved to tears.

Liang Shu didn’t find it tedious, so he let him continue talking and talking, and if he paused too long in the middle, he would urge him to continue.
Liu Xian’an’s mouth went dry as he spoke without rest, and in the end he couldn’t help but give his opinion.
He was tired and didn’t want to speak anymore.

Second Master Liu Fuzhi happened to be passing by on a horse.
Hearing these words, his heart tightened.
How could he be so rude to His Royal Highness Xiao Wang?

He cautiously glanced at Liang Shu, only to find that this cruel and violent prince was not angry, but smiling: “All right, let’s talk later.”

And Second Young Master Liu was still muttering ignorantly: “I don’t want to talk for a while.”

Liu Fuzhi thought anxiously, alas, his elder brother was used to this.

So he personally scolded his nephew: “Speak well to His Royal Highness!”

Liu Xian’an: “……”

He preferred not to speak.

But Liang Shu forced him to talk.
After speaking about the wine, he talked about Baihe City, from the easternmost street to the westernmost street.
In the end, even the story of the pig butcher in the city marrying a new wife was repeatedly described three times.
It made Cheng Suyue feel as if she had personally attended the butcher’s wedding banquet.

She asked her brother: “Is this a new method created by the prince to bully people?”

Gao Lin analyzed: “It’s possible.
Look at Young Master Liu’s haggard expression, this is a crime.”

Liu Xian’an gulped down water.
He felt that he had already said all the words in his life.
If it wasn’t for the throat medicine prepared by his second uncle himself, he feared that sparks would be coming out of his throat.
A-Ning had been following behind the team.
This day, he found a time when His Royal Highness was not around, and immediately trotted over to encourage him: “Young Master, if you persist, you will be home soon.”

Liu Xian’an was taken aback.
Go home?

He turned his head and looked to the side of the mountain road.
Sure enough, in a ring of clouds, a quiet city surrounded by mountains and rivers loomed.
He said in surprise: “How did we come back so fast?”

“It isn’t fast, we came back in ten days, the same as when we left.” A-Ning didn’t understand.
Every day, he watched the young master being forced to talk with His Royal Highness Xiao Wang with a helpless look, as if years were passing and he would rather be dead than alive.
How could it be so fast, just a flick of a finger? 

Liu Xian’an really felt like years had passed, but that was merely in regard to his throat.
His thoughts tended to be still, and he didn’t think the time was unbearable.
For once in his life, he could stop thinking hard about the dao.
He also had no time to think about it, because under the insistent request of His Royal Highness Xiao Wang, his daily life was almost completely occupied by “Ah, what street are we going to talk about today?”

Liang Shu came again on horseback.
A-Ning fled, quickly running to the last place in the team.

Liu Xian’an quickly swallowed a throat lozenge, and then cough cough coughed for a while, vividly displaying his weakness.

He had never wanted to go home so badly.

But even in returning home, he seemed to be unable to escape the fate of telling stories, because Liu Fuzhi had already written to his elder brother about His Royal Highness Xiao Wang’s visit to the city, so the local officials and the people of Baihe Mountain Village greeted them at the city gates when the time came.
It stood to reason that Liang Shu should stay at an inn, but Master Liu Zhuang faced this military prince who he “didn’t know if he would marry his daughter in the end, but it was best not to,” and still had to show due courtesy.
He politely said: “Baihe Mountain Village has prepared a guest room for the prince.”

Liang Shu nodded: “Very good.”

In this way, accommodations after entering the city were decided.

As soon as Liu Xian’an entered the gates of Baihe Mountain Village, he was quickly dragged away by the Third Young Lady’s maid.
Liu Nanyuan was waiting anxiously at her residence, and upon meeting him, she rushed forward and asked a few token questions about her brother’s kidnapping.
Seeing that his arms and legs were in good shape and that he was indeed as safe as what her second uncle said in his letter, she went straight to the most important point before them: “The prince didn’t really come to marry me, did he?”

“He really didn’t.” Liu Xian’an explained, “The reason why the prince is staying in Baihe Mountain Village this time is to tour around with me.
But now I don’t really want to walk around with him anymore.
Listen to how my voice sounds, my throat really hurts.”

“No, no, no, you have to accompany him.
What if he wants me to accompany him if you won’t?” Liu Nanyuan rummaged through boxes and cabinets to find a large bag of Yindan tea.
“Ge, please.”

Liu Xian’an was forced to accept this gift, and carried it back to his waterside pavilion, planning to lie down for a while.
Seeing that the servants were bustling in and out, one carrying bedding and another carrying chairs, he was inevitably surprised: “A-Ning?”

“Young Master, Young Master.” A-Ning was also moving a cabinet, and said while sweating: “The prince won’t stay in the guest house, and specifically said that he wants to come to our waterside pavilion, but the guest room here is too dirty and needs to be cleaned up.
The young master should go elsewhere to rest for a while.
By the way, the Master of the Village just sent someone to look for you.”

Liu Xian’an had no choice but to stroll to the study, forced to keep walking.

It was a long distance between the waterside pavilion and the study.
At this time, all of the disciples in the family had heard about the matter of “His Royal Highness Xiao Wang has been appointed to live with the Second Young Master.” They were all extremely shocked, more so than seeing a headless corpse stand up.
After all, there may be Gu insects in the corpse, but the sudden friendship between His Royal Highness Xiao Wang and the Second Young Master really could not be explained.
So everyone looked at him with curious eyes, and some courageous girls even stepped forward to ask him: “Second Young Master, how long will His Royal Highness Xiao Wang stay in the village?”

“Maybe three to five days, ba,” Liu Xian’an answered hoarsely, secretly hoping that it would be three to five days at the longest.
Otherwise, even if he ate throat-soothing herbs for his meals, he really couldn’t handle it.

Liu-furen was also waiting in the study.
When she saw her son come through the door, she expressed concern over the kidnapping first and checked him over four or five times before saying: “Go, your father has something to ask you.”

If he had something to ask, it was naturally related to His Royal Highness Xiao Wang.
Liu Xian’an’s throat was so sore that he didn’t want to say a word.
He omitted everything from Baihe City to Chixia City, and then from the small village at the foot of the mountain to Baihe City, and only answered briefly: “We just get along okay.”

Liu Fushu asked: “What does His Royal Highness Xiao Wang usually talk to you about?”

Liu Xian’an replied: “Baihe City and wine.”

Liu Fushu was puzzled: “Only these?” Baihe City was nothing more than an ordinary city, and the wine could not compare to the fine wine of the palace.
Could this lead to the friendship of living in the same courtyard?

Sighing, Liu Xian’an knew that his father didn’t believe him, so in order to avoid further interrogation, he could only use His Royal Highness Xiao Wang in his mind to make up for the shortfall: “Occasionally we will talk about the heavenly dao.” There was also bathing, but this was not convenient to describe.

Liu Fushu pointed to the chair opposite: “What about the heavenly dao? Your throat is uncomfortable, so write it down.”

Liu Xian’an’s face wrinkled into a bitter gourd.

He didn’t want to write.

So he said: “But His Royal Highness Xiao Wang may be waiting for me.”

[1] This is a fragment from the poem “Gift of the Lotus” by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Shangyin. ⮐

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