When the servant finally came back, Yu Huang Rong ordered a few dishes and then waved him out again. He had already come here a few times before when he was in the capital the last time so he did know some of the dishes that were well-received. Thankfully, it seemed that nothing had changed since then. The same dishes were still available and Zhang Shi Lan didn’t seem to mind that he just ordered something for him too.
Qian Mu Qing could only sigh. It was way too obvious that he was only here to give the two of them an excuse to meet. Obviously, they didn’t care about him at all. Well, whatever. He didn’t mind too much. Zhang Shi Lan had seemed really happy when they met today and even though he himself didn’t feel that this relationship was a good idea, he didn’t mind helping them as long as it was something that both of them wanted. And looking at the situation in front of him …
Right now, Yu Huang Rong had grabbed onto both of Zhang Shi Lan’s hands and there was a silly smile on his face that he never would have expected to see from his mighty General. Zhang Shi Lan was slightly better. At the very least, he didn’t look like an idiot. He was still smiling brightly though, indicating his good mood.
Yes, obviously, these two were very much in love and happy with each other. There was nothing wrong with supporting them. Ah, he just wished there was a way to separate from them. If they had to do this again, maybe it would be possible to go to some garden? Then he could look at the scenery while they were relishing in each other’s company.
The two people next to him didn’t notice at all that he was feeling uncomfortable. Zhang Shi Lan had still tried to pay attention to him in the beginning but he was increasingly unable to do so the longer he was in Yu Huang Rong’s presence. Maybe it was because Yu Huang Rong also ignored Qian Mu Qing but after a while, he didn’t even bother turning around anymore and just kept his gaze trained on the man he loved.
Ah, who could fault him? They hadn’t seen each other for a while. It wasn’t too long. In fact, it was a very short time compared to the many years that Yu Huang Rong had spent on the battlefield. But things were different now than they had been back then. Today was the first time they saw each other after they had confessed to each other. That was something special. Nobody could expect them to separate after just a moment and hold a pleasant conversation with other people.
Qian Mu Qing helped himself to a bit of all the dishes the General had ordered, making it seem as if they had really eaten. In actual fact, neither Yu Huang Rong nor Zhang Shi Lan had tasted even a single dish. From beginning to end, they were completely lost in each other’s presence.
“Ah, it really isn’t too easy. My mother has a servant following me around to make sure what I do. I even had to make a stop on the way here to get myself a good excuse for going out. Thankfully, the servant left afterward so I could come here without any trouble.”
Zhang Shi Lan laughed lightly. “Aren’t you being a little too paranoid? Isn’t it just going out with a newfound friend and somebody I wanted to introduce to you? And you’ve also met Qian Mu Qing at Madam Yan’s event. It’s not like you’re completely unfamiliar with each other. Nobody should have a problem with us three going out and eating together.”
Yu Huang Rong clicked his tongue. “I misspoke. There was something I had to do on the way here and I didn’t want him to discover that.”
Zhang Shi Lan’s eyes sparkled. “You have me curious now. Can’t I know about that either?” It really seemed as if there was something more to what he had said just now. Even though he actually didn’t know Yu Huang Rong that well, the way his eyes had narrowed just now and his lips curved into a bright smile with his voice lowering a little told him that there was something more to this and that Yu Huang Rong really wanted to talk about it. He wouldn’t be good fiance if he didn’t ask and gave him a moment to shine, would he?
Yu Huang Rong cleared his throat and took out a small box standing on the ground next to his seat. “Well, it’s actually nothing much. Just that … I thought that since we can’t see each other that often until everything has been taken care of, it would be nice if there was something that would remind you of me every now and then.”
Zhang Shi Lan raised his brows and then looked at the little chest with a complicated expression. In other words … Yu Huang Rong had gotten him a present? He hadn’t expected that. Well, it really was sweet. It was also quite in line with how Yu Huang Rong had been until now. This man … Even though he did seem a little cold from the outside when you didn’t know him too well, he was actually a very affectionate person to the people that he knew.
Zhang Shi Lan looked at the chest and then back up at Yu Huang Rong’s face. “Yu Huang Rong … This is …?” He tried to look as eager as possible to please him but he had a hard time holding back a smile. Who would have thought the General he had always admired could be this adorable?
Yu Huang Rong’s smile got even brighter. He cleared his throat and the tips of his ears turned red. “Well, it’s for you. It’s a present. I picked it today after pondering for a long time about what would fit you the most and make you think of me.” He rubbed the back of Zhang Shi Lan’s hand and pushed the chest closer to him at the same time.
Zhang Shi Lan turned his hand around so Yu Huang Rong could grab it and received the chest with his other. He didn’t know what was inside and opening it right away would be impolite but just looking at the chest, he knew that Yu Huang Rong must’ve put a lot of thought into this. The wood was dark and polished, some small carvings at the side. This definitely wasn’t something simple.
Yu Huang Rong eagerly looked at him. He also knew that Zhang Shi Lan normally wouldn’t open a present he had been given in front of the other person but … Nobody could expect him to wait right? He wanted to know immediately what Zhang Shi Lan thought. “It’s … It’s nothing much. Maybe you could take a look now to make sure you’ll like it? Otherwise, I could get you something else.”
Zhang Shi Lan looked up and couldn’t hold back any longer. His lips curved. He could see Yu Huang Rong’s eagerness but he still wouldn’t breach etiquette this much. “Since it comes from you, I’ll love it. There’s no doubt about that.” He let go of the chest and gripped Yu Huang Rong’s hand with both of his, gently squeezing it. “You know, when I was alone yesterday, was thinking about you and our meeting. I realized there was something I had forgotten when we spend time together after the event. I thought that when we see each other the next time, I should ask you for a token of love. Who knew that you’d be bringing me one on your own accord?”
“Oh? You were waiting for this?” Yu Huang Rong raised his brows in a teasing manner. “Had I known, I should’ve given you something back then already. Now, I’m feeling guilty. I should compensate you with something.”
Zhang Shi Lan shook his head. “How can you say that? Don’t you feel that I’m too demanding? We don’t even know each other that long and I’m already asking for something like this. Who knows if you won’t feel that I’m troublesome if I go on like this?”
Yu Huang Rong chuckled and leaned forward, kissing his cheek. “I would never feel that you are troublesome. On the contrary, I’d love it if you were a little bit more troublesome. Clinging to me every second of the day, trying to bother me by asking for things, demanding my attention and affection all of the time … Why don’t you try doing that? I think I would like it very much.”
Zhang Shi Lan smiled and finally picked up the chest, opening the lid. Inside lay a beautifully carved writing brush. Seeing it, Zhang Shi Lan’s eyes widened and his lips parted but no sound came out. He didn’t know what to say.
Yu Huang Rong inched closer and pulled him into his arms, almost making him sit on his lap. “How is it? I thought that since you’re a scholar, you’ll be using that very often. You can think of me when you do.”
Zhang Shi Lan looked up, still not knowing what to say. Indeed. This was such a carefully chosen gift, it was really much more than he had expected. “Thank you.”
Yu Huang Rong smiled and kissed his cheek again. “It’s nothing. I just wanted to make you happy.”
Zhang Shi Lan nodded but still snuggled up against Yu Huang Rong’s chest. “You know me so well. Even though we haven’t seen each other very often. It makes me feel that I’ve truly found my soulmate.”
Yu Huang Rong beamed hearing his beloved say something like that. “You certainly have. I knew that all along. Is there really a need to question it?”
Zhang Shi Lan shook his head. “There isn’t. It is obvious that this must be my fate.”
Yu Huang Rong’s expression lit up even further and he leaned down, cupping Zhang Shi Lan’s cheeks. “I’m your fate and you’re my fate. We’re definitely meant to be with each other.” He didn’t wait for his response and just leaned down, their lips meeting.
He wanted to pull him closer but gently holding his cheeks gave him a feeling of a certain intimacy that just hugging him couldn’t convey. No, he wanted to show him that there was more to this. It wasn’t just base lust. No, this was the love from the deepest part of his heart, it was showing him his soul’s desire.
They were indeed much more than just two people that were giving in to passion. No, they were each other’s haven, each other’s salvation. Without the other, their life would be bleak and worthless but with this person, they would be able to attain greater heights, to better themselves, to find a goal and a way. “Promise me that you’ll never let go.”
Zhang Shi Lan nodded and hugged Yu Huang Rong’s neck. “Never. Not even when I die.”