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    Chapter 86: His Little Fool

    She felt that she had been teased, but seeing Ye Jiangbai's earnest expression, she didn't know how to refute him. Opening her mouth, she took a fierce bite of the wonton.

    As soon as she bit down, the soup filled her mouth. Chang Nian blinked and exclaimed, "It's so delicious!"

    The thin skin dissolved in her mouth, the filling was ample and the meat fresh. It was seasoned with cabbage and mushrooms, creating an indescribable savory aroma. Sipping the hot broth and then eating another wonton, Chang Nian let out a contented sigh.

    Ye Jiangbai found it amusing and said, "You must be hungry, that's why the food tastes exceptionally good."

    "No, not really," Chang Nian replied vaguely with a mouthful of wontons. "It's genuinely delicious!"

    Ye Jiangbai hesitantly stared at the dirty bowl for a long while before finally picking up one and putting it into his mouth.

    His fox-like eyes lit up instantly.

    "I wasn't lying, was I?" Chang Nian held the bowl with a smile, gazing at the bustling street. She said leisurely, "If we were ordinary citizens, sitting across from each other after a busy day, enjoying a bowl of wontons here, and then returning home together, wouldn't that be wonderful?"

    Ye Jiangbai dismissed the idea. "Ordinary citizens have their own hardships; it's just that Your Highness has not experienced them."

    Chang Nian pouted, feeling that this person had no sense of romance. But her stomach needed to be appeased, so she didn't argue further and finished both bowls of wontons. Then, patting her belly, she said, "I need to find a way to earn some silver too."

    Ye Jiangbai shook his head and produced a purse, offering it to her. "Take this."

    Chang Nian frowned. "A true man doesn't accept handouts."

    Ye Jiangbai paused, his expression complicated as he looked at the empty bowls in front of her.

    Chang Nian coughed dryly and said guiltily, "I'll just consider it a loan from you."

    "Places like these can be crowded and chaotic. Your Highness shouldn't wander off," Ye Jiangbai advised. "There's something interesting over there. Would you like to take a look?"

    Feeling underestimated, Chang Nian puffed up her cheeks. "I'm not here just for fun. There was a bet involved with you. Don't worry about me, I'll go take a look on my own."

    With that, she got up and skipped away.

    Ye Jiangbai watched her retreating figure with his chin propped on his hand, gently tapping the table. A few plainclothes bodyguards emerged from the side, following her at his signal.

    If the ancestor wanted to cause trouble, all he could do was indulge her, he thought, smiling wryly before looking up at the sky.

    On this fine day, the sun was warm, casting a blend of three parts springtime charm and seven parts radiance upon the earth. People bustled past, while steam rose from the neighboring steamed bun shop. Laughter echoed as two or three children chased a ball made of wicker, running far and wide. Market-goers haggled with vendors over prices, and the butcher, cleaver in hand, chatted amicably with customers.

    This was the essence of human life, no wonder the Seventh Prince found it alluring. She had been accustomed to solitude, rarely encountering such vibrant scenes.

    If she truly enjoyed it, the wealthy Duke of State pondered, he would find them a bustling town where they could purchase a residence. No one would know them there, allowing them to spend a portion of each year basking in this vitality.

    The sun was high in the sky, indicating noon, yet she had yet to return. Ye Jiangbai rose and paced, frowning. "Ye Liang."

    Ye Liang emerged from the crowd, bowed, and stood at his side. "The Princess found work washing dishes at a nearby tavern. However, she hasn't come out since she went in."

    A slight weight settled in Ye Jiangbai's heart. He asked, "Which tavern?"

    In the capital, apart from the renowned Drunken Immortal Pavilion, the Eight Immortals Restaurant on Delong Street was also highly acclaimed. Ye Jiangbai made his way there, bypassing the main entrance and heading for the back courtyard. Knocking on the door, he inquired, "Are you still hiring dishwashers?"

    The manager opened the door, delighted. "Yes, we are. Please come in."

    Passing through the kitchen, they didn't pause. The attendant led him forward, smiling. "There's another kitchen further ahead."

    Those in the back kitchen cast curious glances. A woman picking vegetables whispered, "Why are there only new faces here today? It's a pity."

    Ye Jiangbai lowered his gaze, his hands clenched slightly within his sleeves.

    It was previously mentioned that many influential officials and wealthy gentlemen in the capital had a preference for male companionship. As such, there were inevitably handsome serving boys in the grand taverns, tasked with serving food to please distinguished guests. Ye Jiangbai had considered this when he arrived, but his face still paled when he actually took the tray and heard the manager's apprentice say he would be delivering the dishes.

    "Where did the person who came before me go to deliver the food?"

    The manager was taken aback, "You two are together? Perfect, she's in the Heavenly Room Number One. You can go take a look."

    How could Zhao Changnian know the intricacies of working at a tavern? Upon seeing the job posting, she would undoubtedly enter and, perhaps even thinking that delivering food would be easier, happily accept the task.

    Taking a deep breath, Ye Jiangbai's expression darkened as he pushed past the nearby apprentice and started up the stairs.

    "Eh, what's wrong with you?" The manager sensed something amiss and promptly called out, "Stop him!"

    "Yes!" A few burly brawlers resting nearby rose fiercely, brandishing wooden sticks as they prepared to seize Ye Jiangbai.

    However, just as they took a step forward, three official sabers were swiftly unsheathed beside them.

    "Pardon," Ye Liang asked expressionlessly, "What business do you have?"

    The official sabers were as white as snow, their edges sharp enough to reflect the frightened faces of those present.

    "Uh... Would sir require a rolling pin?" The enforcer timidly offered the rod with both hands, "Free... free of charge."

    ...

    Ye Jiangbai strode up to the third floor and located the Heavenly Room. Without asking any questions, he kicked the door open.

    Zhao Changnian was earnestly discussing matters with someone when he was startled by a loud crash. He hastily turned around and saw the intimidating figure standing there.

    "Y-Your Highness... Why are you here?" Changnian struggled to free his hand from the person's grip, but the arrogant young noble on the seat simply turned and scolded, "Which eyesore dared to disrupt my pleasure?"

    Fixing his gaze on the grip, Ye Jiangbai entered with a grim expression, gently asking as he held onto Changnian's hand, "To which noble family do you belong, young master?"

    "Huh, you dared to kick down a door without knowing who it belonged to? You must be tired of living!" A lackey at the side jumped to his feet, "This is Young Master Huo, the only son of Lord Huo!"

    Slowly prying the hand open, Ye Jiangbai wore a sardonic smile, "Huo Xu's son?"

    Young Master Huo's face darkened as he sized up Ye Jiangbai twice before frowning. "Who are you, you lowly vermin, to snatch someone right in front of me and even dare to call my father by name?"

    "What are you waiting for? Attack them!" The sycophant beside him barked indignantly.

    In an instant, numerous guards flooded in from outside the door. Chang Nian tugged anxiously at Ye Jiangbai's sleeve. "Let's go!"

    "Go?" Ye Jiangbai held her hand tightly and sneered at the young Master Huo before him. "No one is leaving today."

    Shouldn't those words be for them to say? Young Master Huo was infuriated. When he gathered with his group of friends for a meal, it was all about saving face. How could they allow someone to humiliate them like this? Whoever dared to step on their dignity would have their legs broken, even if they were the emperor himself!

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