One Winter’s Tale Bonus 1: Rose-Red And … Snow-White?

Fu Min looked around the corridor and then sneaked over to the door on the other side. He didn’t knock and just rushed in, pulling it shut behind him.

In the small courtyard adjacent to the room, Fu Heng turned around and lowered his weapon, his brows furrowing together. “Why are you sneaking around like that?”

Fu Min harrumphed. “What sneaking?” He straightened up and leisurely walked over. As soon as he stepped into the courtyard, he glanced around though.

The courtyard wasn’t just linked to Fu Heng’s room but also to the ones of the other advisers living next to him. If one of them came out and caught them …

Fu Min gave an embarrassed smile and hugged his husband’s arm. “I’ve found something fun for us to do. How about going in and giving it a try?”

“Something fun nobody should know about?” Fu Heng looked around before he casually put his arm around his husband and pulled him back inside. He put his weapon away and then went to close the windows so nobody would be able to spy on them. Well … just in case anybody actually wanted to.

Fu Min couldn’t wait and pulled him over to the bed. They sat down and Fu Min took out a book from his robe with a mischievous grin. “I got this from His Majesty.”

Fu Heng nodded, keeping his thoughts to himself. Whatever it was, he didn’t believe that it had actually been given by His Majesty. Not with the way Fu Min acted.

“It’s a book of stories. Back when His Majesty got his hands onto this, he chose one and applied it to his own life. Do you think we should do the same?”

Fu Heng raised his brows.

“What? They got together in the end!”

Fu Heng nodded. He probably couldn’t fault His Majesty. He himself had known Fu Min much longer but he hadn’t managed to marry him much earlier either and there hadn’t been any trial in-between. “So which one?”

Fu Min scoffed. “I haven’t even looked at them!”

“Oh.” Fu Heng nodded and leaned closer, wanting to take a look together with Fu Min.

His husband smiled happily and then dragged Fu Heng’s arm over his shoulder, nestling into his arms before he opened the book and started to read it to him. When he had read the first few sentences of the sixth story, he glanced up. “I think this one might fit us.”

Fu Heng’s brows rose again.

“Well …” Fu Min reached up, tugging at one of Fu Heng’s red strands of hair. “Rose-red?”

Fu Heng looked down and his brows furrowed. “That … is there nothing more heroic?”

“No! I like this one.”

“Oh.” Fu Heng nodded. “It’s very good then.”

Fu Min laughed. “I knew you’d see it my way! Let’s continue!” He snuggled back against his husband’s chest and continued to read the story. When he reached the end …

“So you’re Snow-White?” Fu Heng brushed through Fu Min’s blond hair with his fingers.

“I guess so. It means we’re as close as brothers.”

“Mn.” That sounded about right.

“That just leaves the question who the dwarf is. And the bear. Who do you think the bear is? I don’t think I know anybody that could be a cursed prince.”

Fu Heng’s brows furrowed. “Xiang Yong?”

Fu Min also furrowed his brows and then looked up. He was more puzzled than anything else though. “Why would it be Xiang Yong? I mean he might be able to run a kingdom all on his own but … I doubt he’d be stupid enough to step right into the trap of some dwarf.”

“He wanted to marry you.”

“I … I don’t think he wanted to.” Fu Min shook his head and raised the book again, covering his face. Ah, he should change the subject. He really didn’t want to be reminded of the stupidity that his younger years were. If not for him pretending to like Xiang Yong, maybe they would have gotten married much earlier. “Anyway, the bear isn’t that important. At its essence, isn’t this tale just about the two good brothers defeating the dwarf? The prince is just for those people who like romance. But in our case, that’s already a given since the two good brothers are getting married at the end. So who is the dwarf?”

Fu Heng pondered. “Xiang Yong?”

“Fuck! Why is it Xiang Yong again?!”

Fu Heng furrowed his brows. “He wanted to marry you. And I defeated him.”

Fu Min nudged his husband’s chest with the edge of the book. “If you ever talk with somebody about this, do me a favor and leave this part out. Honestly, I don’t know why you’re always talking about Xiang Yong. How is he even important? I’m sure the demon king is the actual dwarf in our story. I mean he imprisoned us, that’s almost as bad as being cursed.”

“The bear was cursed though.”

“Then maybe An Bai is the bear.”

“Why? You like him?”

“I …” Fu Min stared at his husband with grievances in his gaze but then he saw a muscle twitch in Fu Heng’s cheek. “Bastard! You think this is funny?!”

“Mn.” Fu Heng reached out and pinched Fu Min’s cheek. “It’s not my fault. You were always like this previously. I still love to see when you get so agitated.”

“You’ll agitate me to death one day!”

“Don’t worry. I’ll die with you.”

“That’s not romantic at all!”

Fu Heng just smiled. It didn’t need to be romantic. He just wanted to be with him every day of his life and if Fu Min really left one day, he wanted to follow. That was all. “I love you.”

“That …” Fu Min stuttered and then threw the book away. “Let’s not try to follow His Majesty in this after all. It might only work with some especially challenged couples.”

“So we’re not.”

“Mn?”

“Especially challenged?”

Fu Min pursed his lips. “Of course not. I loved you all the time. You just didn’t manage to ask me to marry you. It’s only … a small hindrance. Nothing much.”

“I see. I love you.”

“You’re so persistent today.”

“You didn’t tell me yet that you love me as well.”

Fu Min huffed and looked away. Fu Heng wasn’t perturbed at all. He leaned forward and wrapped his arms back around Fu Min.

“I love you.”

“Fine! I love you too. Happy now?”

“Mn.” Fu Heng tightened his hug and pecked his husband’s cheek. “Very happy.”

Fu Min stole a strand of red hair from behind him and played with it. “Well, I’m as well. You’re annoying as heck but it’s still nice to spend time like this.”

Fu Heng nodded. “I love you.”

Fu Min turned his head and frowned. “Don’t overdo it!”

“I thought you wanted me to talk more.”

“I wanted you to say more important things so there won’t be any miscommunication.”

“It’s the most important thing I have to say. And it’s the most important thing for you to know. As long as you know that, there isn’t anything that could go wrong between us.”

“Ah, I’m happy. You actually said so many words to me.” He glanced up and then pecked Fu Heng’s cheek in return. “I love you too. Now, let’s bring this book back. It wouldn’t do for His Majesty to find out we’ve taken it without permission.”

“Oh.” So his husband had really done that. Well, he had figured anyway. “Let’s go then. No need to be nervous. If we can beat a dwarf, we can also beat a dragon.”

Fu Min laughed and tiptoed back to Qiu Ling’s chambers together with Fu Heng, successfully returning the book without anybody knowing.

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