The delicious fish meat was like a pinch of fire, igniting the internal organs as soon as it was swallowed into the stomach.
“I heard that Princess Yunxi cried all night,” Lin Xin looked at Shen Lou’s calm eyes, “Hey, who did you marry in your last life?”
After he died, Shen Lou lived for another seven years. You couldn’t be in your thirties without marrying a wife. It was just that Lin Xin had been deceiving himself uptil now and didn’t want to ask more questions.
Without stopping, Shen Lou mixed some rice with broth, scooped up a full spoonful and stuffed it into Lin Xin’s mouth, “I never got married.”
“Huh?” Lin Xin couldn’t speak as he was chewing the rice, so he could only open his eyes wide to show his surprise and ridicule.
“After your death… the devouring spirits spread, the world was in chaos, and the barbarians almost reached Yongdu.” Shen Lou continued to serve Lin Xin food, and he couldn’t help but laugh when he saw his dark blue eyes become bright.
Marquis Lin was so happy that he decided to leave for the Northern Territory today. Because Shen Lou was in poor health and would have a headache after wielding a sword for a long time, they could only go back by carriage.
Even if the carriage was loaded with Luli, it wouldn’t be able to go very fast. Due to the snowy weather and slippery roads, it would take at least ten and a half days to reach Huan Xinghai.
Shen Lou sent his sister home first, while he hugged Lin Xin and got into the carriage.
“Brother, let me go back in the carriage as well.” Shen Yingying wanted to play with Lin Xin, so she insisted on taking the carriage.
“The barbarian envoy has been detained. The news has spread and a war is about to begin. You should turn around quickly and not delay.” Shen Lou ignored his noisy sister and ruthlessly lowered the car curtain.
It was freezing cold, and it would continue getting colder as they moved towards the north.
A charcoal fire was lit in the carriage and hot tea was being brewed. Shen Lou took the sleepy Lin Xin into his arms and read a book while holding him in his arms.
Lin Xin opened his eyes drowsily and found that he was sleeping in Shen Lou’s arms. He couldn’t help but rub his face on his chest.
Opening the carriage curtain with one hand, he saw the wind and snow howling outside, while the cold wind blew in, making Lin Xin shiver. He let go of his hand and shrank into the blanket, looking up at Shen Lou’s chin, “Let me ask, are you addicted to hugging me?”
He obviously only injured his hand, but this man treated him as if all his limbs were broken. He even got in and out of the carriage while hugging him.
Shen Lou took the person into his arms and said without raising his head: “Yes, I will give you everything I owed you in my previous life.”
The body in his arms was slender and flexible, looking very strong, but in his arms, it felt soft, and this feeling was really addictive.
Hearing what Shen Lou said, the smile in Lin Xin’s eyes gradually faded, and he sat up and said, “You don’t have to do this. Everything I did was based on my heart. You don’t owe me anything.”
Shen Lou put down the book and seeing him looking up at him, he reached out and pulled the person back into his arms, letting Lin Xin lean on him to read together, “I do what I want. If you don’t like it, just say it. If you don’t say it, I will keep holding.” Lin Xin was stunned.
Now, leaning against Shen Lou’s warm chest, his heart suddenly felt like a drum.
Huan Xinghai had been completely covered by frost and snow, and the pine forest had turned into a sea of snow. Snowflakes as big as goose feathers was flying around, turning Shen Qirui’s hair white in just a moment.
“The Marquis of Lu is here, but we are too far away to greet you.” Shen Qirui stood at the Qiongjin Ferry, waved away the attendant who tried to hold an umbrella for him, and raised his hand to greet Lin Xin.
There were no sarcastic remarks or tense confrontations. In this life, Lin Xin’s treatment in the Shen family was much better.
Lin Xin didn’t deliberately show off, and directly saluted Shen Qirui as a junior, “It’s freezing cold and the ground is freezing. The Duke had to come out to soak in the snow. It’s my fault.”
Shen Qirui was a little surprised that he was so knowledgeable about etiquette. He looked at his eldest son, who was standing close to Lin Xin, and felt relieved. He smiled a little and his tone became easy-going: “Come in quickly, where is your master?”
“Master went out to look for medicine to cure the prince’s illness, and there has been no news about him for three months.” Lin Xin sighed. His master disappeared without a trace as soon as he ran away, and he did not have the habit of sending messages regularly, which made people feel nervous just thinking about it. Even he felt a moment of worry. Now he finally understood his uncle’s mood. When he saw his master next, he would definitely deal with him well.
The Yuan’a had arrived ahead of schedule and were standing in the main hall on standby.
The guards carried the Luli over and stacked them neatly in the hall. There was almost 10% more Luli than what was due. Lin Xin raised his eyebrows slightly and looked up at Shen Qirui.
Shen Qirui said that this was a sufficient amount of Luli and asked him to check it, which was quite tacit.
It seemed that what happened to the Lin family had spread to the Northern Territory, and Lin Xin was very satisfied. Lin Shujing was a reliable person, and Marquis of Lu’s method of solving the problems faced had been spread among the aristocratic families. Marquis Lu was not as selfless as he appeared, he even accepted bribes.
If you want to avoid a county being cut off and losing your fiefdom, just pay the tribute obediently.
Lin Xin deliberately picked a few mistakes and cut off a county in the northern region.
A county was not worth mentioning in the vast Northern Territory. So, Shen Qirui readily agreed.
The Shen family, who he had originally thought to be the most rigid, turned out to be the first to adapt. Lin Xin suddenly had a new understanding of Duke Xuan.
“The Chinese New Year will be here in a few days. The Zhong family’s Luli will be inspected again after the New Year’s Eve. If they live up to expectations, come stay in Huan Xinghai for the New Year.” After Yuan’a sealed away the Luli, Shen Lou spoke up before his father could see him off.
“This…” Lin Xin blinked at Shen Lou, but said evasively, “I am an outsider, how can I disturb you?”
“You are an outsider in no way. Your master and I have been friends since childhood, and we treat you as our own family.” Shen Qirui immediately enthusiastically persuaded Lin Xin to stay, patted Lin Xin on the shoulder, and asked the housekeeper to make arrangements without any explanation.
“I’ll just stay in Fengjin. There’s no need to clean another guest room.” Seeing that Father Shen agreed, Lin Xin agreed unceremoniously and directly designated himself to stay in the prince’s courtyard.
Shen Qirui laughed and teased them about their good relationship. Suddenly, as if remembering something, he took out a piece of paper from his sleeve and handed it to Shen Lou, “You have become a marquis after living up to my expectations. It’s time for you to get your title.” Shen Yingying said that her son was still followed by the Zhong family in Beijing. The boy called “Shen Da Shen Da”, which was very inconvenient. Since he wanted to be friends with his peers, it would be much more convenient if he had a nickname.
Lin Xin, who was drinking tea, almost spat out, “Why, the prince hasn’t taken the title yet?”
“I am weak, so my elders were considerate and didn’t give me a title when I tied my hair.” Shen Lou took the piece of paper and opened it to Lin Xin. On the printed rice paper, the word “Qingque” was written squarely.
Finally understanding where he was exposed, Lin Xin covered his face with a cup and said, “Good word, good word.”
Shen Lou looked at him, pursed his lips and smiled.
“Since we have chosen the title, it can be said that you are ready to get married. The emperor mentioned Princess Shang the day before yesterday,” Shen Qirui frowned, “We need to make a marriage arrangement earlier. Our family cannot afford to marry a princess.”
Shen Lou’s mother died early, so Huan Xinghai now had no mistress, and the marriage of his children could only be taken care of by the father, Duke Xuan.
“This son already has a sweetheart. Father, please don’t look for anyone.” Shen Lou put away the paper on which he wrote the words and said lightly.
“Huh? Which family?” Shen Qirui was very surprised. His son had not been interested in women since he was a child. He looked like he was destined to be alone for the rest of his life. How could he have a sweetheart after just going out for half a year?
“I haven’t made an agreement with him yet. I’ll report it to my father after he agrees.” Shen Lou said respectfully.
The cold wind howled, and large flakes of snow fell directly on his face, turning into water droplets and flowing down his neck into his underwear, making his fingertips numb from the cold.
The water channels in Huan Xinghai were covered with thick ice, so they couldn’t take the ferry, and had to walk to Fengjin on the ice.
“Do you really have a sweetheart?” Lin Xin stepped on the ice covered with a straw mat, lowered his head and kicked up a stone. The stone bounced three times on the ice and slipped away for a long distance.
Shen Lou looked down at him suddenly, “I’ll take you somewhere.”
“Huh?” Lin Xin turned around and was suddenly covered by a black cloak. He was half dragged and half hugged, leaning in Shen Lou’s arms, as they moved forward in the spacious Huan Xinghai.
Zishu, Huang Ge and others were all driven away, and Shen Lou pulled him all the way to the depths of the ice lake. It was freezing cold, and even if the sun set, you couldn’t see the beautiful scenery of stars, only the vast snow covering the sky and the earth were visible here.
“Here.” Shen Lou pulled him to a very secluded old dock, which had been inaccessible and deserted for a long time. He pulled out the Yu Yuan Sunset Sword and slowly drew a circle. The sword energy surged and lifted up a large area of snow.
“What… thing?” Under the ice, there were stars twinkling. Lin Xin looked up at the sky. It was clearly still daytime. How could there be stars in the lake?
“Star Lake Stone.” Shen Lou cut through the ice and touched up a small piece. It was a dark blue stone that sparkled in the sunlight, as if it contained thousands of stars.
The Yu Yuan sword temporarily served as a carving knife. In less than a stick of incense time, the palm-sized Star stone was carved into a lifelike deer. The deer’s antlers were forked, its four legs were slender, and one front leg was slightly bent, as if it was walking in the forest.
Lin Xin took the deer and rubbed it gently with his thumb, “This is also what you owe me?”
“I carved one in my last life and prepared to give it to you at the tribute banquet.” Shen Lou put his sword into its sheath, laughing at himself. He didn’t know how to carve anything at all, so he asked a stonemason to teach him. He chipped more than ten kilograms of Star stone and foolishly carved a small “Qingque” on the tail of the deer.
The meaning contained in this sentence was so profound that it was difficult for Lin Xin to digest it for a while. In his previous life, the cold and distant Shen Qingque carved a deer with his own hands and wanted to give it to him!
Lin Xin clenched the stone in his hand, his lower lip trembling, “Then, why didn’t you give it to me later?”
“That day, I happened to see you and Feng Zhong…” Shen Lou sighed in annoyance.
The pure love of young people was shattered by misunderstandings, but it never disappeared. The love that Lin Xin thought he had never received until his death actually existed from the very beginning.
“Haha, hahaha…” Lin Xin was stunned for a moment, then suddenly laughed up to the sky, and burst into tears as he smiled, “So, when you were young, you also liked me, right?”
“Yes.” Shen Lou raised his hand and wiped away the warm teardrop with his thumb.
“You didn’t marry because I was dead, right?” Lin Xin’s eyes were red and he persisted in asking some silly questions.
“Yes.” Shen Lou didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so he lowered his head and kissed the corner of his eyes.
“Your sweetheart is me, isn’t it?” Lin Xin put his arms around Shen Lou’s neck and kissed the two thin lips that he thought about day and night.
Shen Lou hugged him and tilted his head to deepen the kiss.
Yes, my heart is happy with you, and I don’t want to marry anyone because of you. The one I love is you, and I can destroy the world to find you.
The north wind stopped a little, and large tracts of snow fell. The snowflakes floated to the Star Lake Stone Deer between their fingers, and turned into water droplets amidst the warm breath, finally blending into the earth.
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