The cry of a Chinese Nightingale sounded outside, prompting Ming Jian Tang to sit up in bed. He looked at the window and then glanced at the person lying next to him. Ah, this really was bad timing.
“Jian Tang … What’s the matter?” The young man’s voice was heavy from sleep. He hadn’t even opened his eyes but still reached out, his hand searching for the warm body next to his.
Ming Jian Tang sighed. “I should get going now.” He leaned down and kissed the boy’s shoulder, his lips lingering on the skin that was still somewhat heated from the previous passion. “Try to catch some sleep. We’ll see each other tomorrow morning.”
Lu Yan Xin reached up, his fingers trailing Ming Jian Tang’s chest before his arm circled his neck, trying to pull him back down again. “Why should we see each other tomorrow morning when we can see each other now? I’m not that tired yet.” His voice was only a whisper in the dark night, a tempting promise that was hard to reject.
Ming Jian Tang took a deep breath, trying to calm the flames that were already being rekindled. Ah, just why had things to be so difficult? How much he would love to stay and indulge in this longer, even if it was just for a few short hours more. “I’m dead if they find me.”
Lu Yan Xin’s eyes cracked open, glinting in the dark. He glanced at the man’s face that was almost in front of his, half obscured by shadows. “The ‘they’ you speak of … It couldn’t be my family you are talking about. My father would have you beat up at worst.”
Ming Jian Tang chuckled. “You think so? I don’t think he’d like it if a lowly guard like me made a move on his precious son. In fact, I think being killed for this might already be benevolent. What if he locks me up instead and has me tortured every day.” He inched closer and his lips brushed Lu Yan Xin’s cheek, trailing down to his jaw and finally to his neck. “I’m sure you would also be devastated if I had to suffer like that.”
Lu Yan Xin brushed through the man’s hair, taking a trembling breath at his touch. “You’re thinking too much. I’m not his precious son. I’m the other one. And you’re evading me, Jian Tang. Do you really think I’m stupid? Every night, you’ll get up when you hear that Nightingale. You really want me to believe that this is a coincidence?”
Ming Jian Tang stopped his kisses and glanced up. “It sure isn’t. Whenever I hear it, I remember how late it already is. You see … When I come here, I tend to forget the time. So the nightingale’s call is always a good reminder that I can’t linger here any longer if I don’t want to invite trouble.
“You know it’s not just for me. Even if your father has me killed or tortured, I can take it. It was my own decisions that led to this. But what about you? I would never forgive myself if —”
Lu Yan Xin reached up and put them against Ming Jian Tang’s lips, interrupting him mid-sentence. “You don’t have to say anything. I don’t need to hear any explanations. Just don’t lie to me. I also know that my family has many enemies. Isn’t it normal that they would send somebody to gather information?”
Ming Jian Tang raised his brows, trying to make out Lu Yan Xin’s expression in the dark. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a full moon tonight and only a bit of light fell through the window, most of which was kept out by the bed curtains. It had seemed to provide them with a bit more security when they were entangled at night but right now, it made him worry instead. If Lu Yan Xin knew … If he truly knew …
Ming Jian Tang closed his eyes and took a shallow breath, trying to clear his thoughts. He couldn’t let his feelings get the better of him. He had to stay calm and collected.
“What? Do you think I’m that person?” Heh. He really didn’t know what was going on in the mind of the Lu family’s head. Even if his other son was better with the sword, better with bow and arrow, better at riding the horse, better at representing their family, this son here was obviously the smarter one. He could actually see through this. That other son still hadn’t started to suspect even a single one of the spies by his side while Lu Yan Xin … He had almost seen through the one person that was targeting him.
Lu Yan Xin chuckled. “You really think you are the only man I know, do you?” He laughed again, his fingers brushing Ming Jian Tang’s back in a teasing manner. His voice sunk to a whisper again, his breath brushing over the other man’s skin. “I’m not that young anymore. I’ve had some … encounters.” His hand left Ming Jian Tang’s back and instead traveled to the front, accurately grabbing onto him.
Ming Jian Tang took a labored breath. Yes. He couldn’t deny that. Lu Yan Xin … he was indeed quite well-versed in this regard. It had initially come as a bit of a surprise but it was a pleasant one. While a younger and less experienced person might be easier to control, this had definitely made his task more enjoyable. It also made him reluctant to pull back. So if Lu Yan Xin had really figured everything out …
Lu Yan Xin smiled at Ming Jian Tang’s reaction and doubled his efforts to make him go crazy, not giving him any time to sort out his thoughts. “I doubt that a normal guard would know as much as you do. Let’s not talk about how much you know about politics or medicine or even reading the stars, you’re also much better trained than an ordinary guard. It might not be unbelievable for my brother’s or father’s personal guards to have this level of proficiency in handling a weapon or two but mine? You’ve done a poor job at pretending to be one.” He leaned down, his lips replacing his hand.
Ming Jian Tang jolted and looked at the young man that had leaned over his body. Lu Yan Xin really wasn’t playing fair … He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, reminding himself of his task. He reached down, wanting to pull him up but just then, Lu Yan Xin bent down further, those pale lips closing around his manhood.
Ming Jian Tang took a shaky breath and his fingers curled into Lu Yan Xin’s hair. “You’re not playing fair,” he repeated his thoughts, staring up at the ceiling of the bed.
Lu Yan Xin glanced up from below, his tongue provocatively licking the length of the shaft. “So? Why don’t you tell me what I want to know then? I’ll stop afterward.”
His hot breath tickled Ming Jian Tang, making him give a groan. He brushed through Lu Yan Xin’s hair with his fingers and gave a wry smile. Right now, he really wondered which one of them was the spy. At least, Lu Yan Xin’s interrogation techniques really were spot on. “Let’s say you were right. Let’s say I really am a spy sent by your family’s enemies. Do you really think it would be smart to let me know that you’ve figured it out? Aren’t you afraid I’d kill you for that?”
Lu Yan Xin laughed but didn’t answer immediately. Instead, he continued with what he was doing. Only when Ming Jian Tang grabbed onto his neck, hardly containing his lust did he stop and pull back. He sat up in bed and looked at his lover with a smile. “To be honest, I’m not. Maybe I’m not as smart as you think or maybe I’m just hoping that somewhere down the line, you’ve really fallen in love with me and won’t do anything to me.”
Ming Jian Tang breathlessly shook his head. “You’re evil, stopping right now.” He sat up as well, reaching out and pulling Lu Yan Xin into his arms. He grabbed his chin and kissed him, his tongue entering his mouth while he pushed him back down onto the bed. He only let go of him when Lu Yan Xin was just as breathless as he was. “In other words, if I am a spy, you want me to betray whoever I am working for and instead provide your family with information from now on?” He brushed through Lu Yan Xin’s hair, his gaze softening.
If the world was perfect, maybe that would work out. Unfortunately … He was serious about what he did. He wasn’t in this for money. He did this out of conviction. Well, at least with one thing, Lu Yan Xin was right: He probably wouldn’t be able to bring himself to do anything to him.
It hadn’t been supposed to be like this. It had been supposed to be just a casual affair to get some information. After all, wouldn’t the unloved second son be more than willing to bare his heart as soon as a man only seemed to have him in his eyes? He had certainly thought so.
But who could have known that this boy would turn out to be so very different from what he had heard? Who could have known that he would actually be this intelligent, this mature? It was much more tempting than he’d like to admit.
Lu Yan Xin cupped Ming Jian Tang’s cheeks and craned his neck, giving him another kiss. “You really think I’m like that? I would have expected more from you.” He shook his head and wriggled out of his lover’s arms. “After all this time, I know you at least a little bit. Whoever you’re working for, regardless of what you feel for me, you’d never betray them. You would continue with your task. Or … If you really can’t go on because of me, then at the most, you would ask them to spare me and try to elope with me. Then somebody else would be sent here and things would continue to happen to my family.”
Ming Jian Tang rolled onto his back, not taking the initiative again. Hearing Lu Yan Xin’s words, his heart turned cold. The boy had no doubt at all about whether or not he was a spy. He must have been looking for signs for a long time now. He really had underestimated him. That was dangerous. If Lu Yan Xin was willing to keep quiet about this …
But who was he trying to kid? This was his family. Regardless of the relationship with his father, he would never betray them, would he? And since that was the case, there was only one way to deal with this.
He would have to kill him.
Ming Jian Tang gulped. He hadn’t wanted it to come to this. When he spoke up again, his voice sounded hoarse. “So what now? If it’s true, then you’d be in a dilemma.”
Lu Yan Xin shook his head. “This is my family, yes. But … you’re the man I decided on, aren’t you? So … If you asked me to elope, then I would say yes. If that was what you wanted to know.”
“You would …” Ming Jian Tang couldn’t help but raise his brows. He certainly hadn’t expected this. This second Young Master sure was direct. “So you expect me to pack my things now and flee with you tonight?”
Lu Yan Xin shook his head. “No, I expect you to get up for now and go and talk to your Nightingale. Tomorrow, you can come here as usual and then you can tell me what they said. And after that …” He leaned back down, his lips brushing Ming Jian Tang’s jaw. “After that … we can elope. I’ll pack my things in case that’s what happens. If it’s impossible … then don’t bother telling me. Just don’t come back.” He laughed at that. “Well, I guess there’s no way you could do that. You’ll have to finish things one way or the other, don’t you? Well, then … if you have to, then at least take my life before I notice. That’s all I ask of you. If I can’t have the man I love, then I don’t want to be a traitor to my family either.”
Ming Jian Tang gazed at him through the darkness. With how much time they had spent talking and … enjoying each other’s company, the sky outside was slowly brightening. It wasn’t by much but he could make out more of Lu Yan Xin’s expression. The boy seemed serious about this.
He raked his fingers through his hair and sat up. “Why? Why go so far for a man you’ve hardly known for a year? If we do elope, then you would be a traitor. You do understand that, don’t you?”
Lu Yan Xin smiled, turned around, and leaned against the headboard next to him. He reached out and interlaced his fingers with Ming Jian Tang’s, giving a rare sweet smile. “You don’ understand even now? Being the second son of the Lu family is nothing good. Leading this life … if I could choose, I never would have wanted to be born into it. Meeting you was the best thing that has happened to me in a while.” He looked over and chuckled. “And I’m saying that knowing full well that you are my family’s enemy. In the beginning, I am sure you would have killed me without thinking twice if I had given any indication that I knew. It’s laughable when you think about it like this.”
“But you still showed me tonight that you knew.”
“I trust you. I know I shouldn’t. It’s stupid and I never do anything stupid. But I hate this place and I disdain the people living here despite some of them being my family. I … I only care for you. You’re … my pillar of strength, my safe haven, my salvation. I don’t care who you really are. Even if you never let me know, I still think it’s the right thing to do. I … will trust in my heart instead of my mind just this once. If I got it wrong, then I deserve to die.”
Ming Jian Tang nodded. “Very well.” He got up and took a last look at the boy. He had never planned for this. But considering his own feelings and with these sweet words lingering in his ears, he really couldn’t bring himself to reject him. Anyway, the boy might still get killed later on but, for now, he wanted to bring him with him.
He turned away and put on his clothes again. Looking at the uniform of the guards, he couldn’t help but feel ridiculous. Really, just what had he thought when he started this mission? Every rule there was had been broken by him. He had gotten attached and lost his heart. He had even revealed himself in the end. Actually, maybe he should rather worry for his own life before he started to care about what might happen to Lu Yan Xin.
He sighed and turned back to the bed, motioning at Lu Yan Xin. “If I leave you here, it’ll just make them doubt what you’ll do in the time that I’m away. They’ll suspect both of us. So get up, put on your clothes, pack a few things, and then we’ll leave together.”
Lu Yan Xin raised his brows but still got up and picked up his clothes as he had been told. “Will they hold me hostage?”
Ming Jian Tang nodded. “For a while.” There was no doubt about that.
The boy just nodded as if he had expected as much. Well, he had long thought about how things might turn out when he finally told Ming Jian Tang that he had seen through him. This was already the very best outcome he could have hoped for.
He turned back to his lover without taking anything and walked over, hugging his waist. “There’s nothing I need to pack. This place … Even though it was my home, it holds nothing special to me. Let’s just go like this. If we’re lucky, it might look like it was a decision we made in a split second.”
Ming Jian Tang laughed. In the end, this boy was still thinking too simply. There was no way it would be that easy. There would be lots of questions waiting for him when he got back and also a lot of questions for Lu Yan Xin. The worst was that as soon as they left the castle and went back to one of his organization’s hideouts, they would likely be separated and kept as such until his organization was sure that he hadn’t shared anything he shouldn’t while lying next to this beauty naked.
Well, considering his behavior so far, it might be good that they made sure.
Ming Jian Tang shook his head at himself and then leaned down, kissing Lu Yan Xin’s lips. “Let’s go then.” He took his hand and led him outside, through the corridors of the castle and outside to the spot where he usually met up with the Nightingale.
The gaze they were greeted with was anything but friendly but Ming Jian Tang just sighed. Anyway, this was as expected. Now, they just had to slowly deal with the aftermath. At the very least, when they got through this, the familiar bliss would await them that they had already indulged in for the past year.