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    Chapter 109: Want to Be a Prince?

    Chang Nian dearly wished to say, "You misunderstood."

    But at the sight of his intense gaze, she meekly changed her words, "You're back."

    Ye Jiangbai was thrilled to hear that. His eyes brightened as he stepped out of the carriage and took her hand, examining her wound. "Does it still hurt?"

    "It's not a severe injury, nothing to worry about."

    "The Emperor has already issued an edict for the Ministry of Justice to thoroughly investigate the assassination attempt on Yung Wa Road," Ye Jiangbai said cheerfully, leading her inside. "Your Highness can rest assured now with twenty Imperial Forest Army soldiers escorting you to the palace residence."

    Looking at his back, Chang Nian softly asked, "Who do you think the assassins will be traced to?"

    Ye Jiangbai paused abruptly before continuing, "Why would Your Highness ask such a question?"

    "Those assassins took their fallen comrades with them when they left, making it difficult to track them down," Chang Nian pointed out. "But framing someone would be easy."

    Stopping in his tracks, Ye Jiangbai turned to face her, his eyes darkening. "Who has spoken to Your Highness?"

    "No," Chang Nian shook her head. "I'm merely curious, curious about who will be the unfortunate one this time."

    "Your Highness is overthinking it," Ye Jiangbai turned away, gently holding her hand with warmth. "I am not involved in this matter at the moment."

    "Truly?" She lifted her gaze, her eyes earnest and persistent.

    Ye Jiangbai smiled. "Truly."

    Chang Nian nodded, just a simple nod, then accompanied him into the room and instructed for the physician to come for a follow-up examination.

    "Oh, I've already recovered. There's really no need to trouble the head physician again," Ye Jiangbai frowned, his expression solemn. "The head physician is quite advanced in age, and the weather outside is harsh with strong winds and rain..."

    Under the clear sky, sunlight filtered through the carved windowpanes, casting a glow upon the two of them.

    Ye Jiangbai coughed lightly, changing his tune. "It's such a distance, and it's not easy for him to walk over, so there's no need to—"

    A cold, small hand touched his forehead before recoiling from the heat.

    "Does Duke Guo not fear damaging your brain?" Chang Nian frowned. "You've been having recurring fevers for several days now."

    Ye Jiangbai pursed his lips and muttered softly, "Who knew it would be so difficult to recover now."

    In the past, he could easily recover even if he pretended to be ill for a few more days. But now, after all the fuss, trying to lower his fever proved to be a challenge.

    "Have you been taking your medicine on time?"

    "..."

    "What about yesterday's follow-up consultation?"

    "..."

    Looking at the guilty person who had closed their eyes in front of her, Chang Nian couldn't help but feel frustrated. She sternly called out, "Liang Ce!"

    "At your service, Your Highness!"

    "Go and prepare the medicine!" she gritted her teeth. "The bitterest kind!"

    Ye Jiangbai quickly opened his eyes. "Your Highness."

    Chang Nian lowered her gaze at him, her delicate face stern, her eyes tinged with anger.

    Thus, Ye Jiangbai swallowed his words, muttering softly, "Why so fierce? I didn't mean to neglect my medicine, but it was just too busy, and I momentarily forgot."

    "No worries," Chang Nian replied. "Now that I have time, I'll attend to your medication."

    The physician arrived, and Chang Nian gently held Ye Jiangbai's arm for the diagnosis. The doctor sighed repeatedly. "I haven't seen you in a few days, yet your condition has worsened. Was the prescription ineffective?"

    Chang Nian narrowed her eyes.

    Ye Jiangbai turned away, remaining silent, focusing on the patterns on the canopy as if he hadn't heard a word.

    The medicine arrived, its pungent scent detectable from afar. Ye Jiangbai glanced sidelong at the distracted Chang Nian, then quietly tiptoed towards the window, planning an escape.

    "Leave, and don't come back," Chang Nian said without turning around. "Otherwise, if you fall seriously ill in my prince's residence, Father Emperor will hold me accountable."

    Freezing in his tracks, Ye Jiangbai turned back, letting out a sigh of profound hurt. He then walked behind her and embraced her. "How can you be so heartless?"

    Chang Nian lifted her chin and raised the medicine bowl.

    Ye Jiangbai's face scrunched up, his chin rubbing against her ear as he whispered softly, "This is really too bitter, it makes one want to vomit."

    Chang Nian scooped up the medicine and blew on it twice before glancing at him sidelong.

    "…Ah, I know that good medicine tastes bitter," Ye Jiangbai drooped his head, leaning in to take the spoon into his mouth. Swallowing with a gulp, he downed the medicine.

    Chang Nian's brows finally relaxed slightly.

    "You, you were clearly a gentle little lamb before, how did you suddenly become a fierce big gray wolf?" He hugged her affectionately. "Can't you be more gentle?"

    Scooping up more medicine, Chang Nian looked at him.

    Ye Jiangbai had no choice but to continue swallowing, his handsome brows tightly knitted as he whined softly, "It's really too bitter."

    Staring at him intently for a moment, Chang Nian blinked, put down the spoon, reached out to pinch his chin, and leaned over to give a light kiss on the corner of his lips. She extended her tongue slightly to taste it, then thought for a moment before nodding in satisfaction, "Liang Ce is an obedient one."

    If he said it was bitter, it truly was bitter enough.

    Ye Jiangbai froze, a shadow passing through his eyes. "You…"

    "Sip it all." She turned her head back and continued ladling the medicine.

    A sweet sensation rose in her heart, causing Ye Jiangbai to curve his lips. With an "ah," he swallowed the medicine in one gulp, smacking his lips afterward. Then, he leaned in again, bringing his lips close to hers.

    "...Wh-what's wrong?"

    "It's bitter." He furrowed his brows and pointed at the corner of his mouth.

    Chang Nian felt slightly annoyed. "Are you a child?"

    "I am different from children," he replied earnestly. "They love sweets, but I only love..."

    Fixing his gaze intently on her, the latter half of his sentence was left unsaid.

    Chang Nian thought to herself, The mighty ones truly have their ways. They can say such words without any sign of embarrassment. As for her, even if she knew they were mere flattering words, her cheeks couldn't help but flush.

    "Does Your Highness want the title of a prince?" He rubbed his face against her cheek, creating a ticklish sensation.

    It took Chang Nian a moment to understand the hidden meaning behind his words. She frowned and said, "My accomplishments pale in comparison to those of Third Imperial Brother. He hasn't even been granted the title of a prince yet. What qualifications do I have?"

    "I merely ask, does Your Highness desire it or not?"

    "Naturally, I do," Chang Nian lowered her eyes. "Which prince in this world wouldn't wish to remain in the capital and be granted the title of a king?"

    Ye Jiangbai smiled gently, tenderly kissing her lips. "If I can fulfill Your Highness's wish, would Your Highness be willing to fulfill mine?"

    His fox-like eyes were captivating, even when they held schemes and calculations.

    Understanding his intentions, Chang Nian's fingers turned cold.

    "How… would one consider fulfilling the title of Marquis?" She asked, knowingly, clutching onto the last sliver of hope.

    Ye Jiangbai took the medicine bowl from her hand and placed it aside, leaning over to press her partially against the soft couch with a light laugh. "What I desire is for Your Highness to belong solely to me."

    Body and soul, inside and out, all to him alone.

    Ever since she agreed to his "one-year agreement," Chang Nian had anticipated such a day. Thus, she wasn't surprised, nor was she unprepared. However, she didn't expect Ye Jiangbai to take such a long detour, making her doubt whether he was truly blind.

    She was just an incompetent prince with a weakness in someone else's hands. If he wanted her, he could have her in any way he pleased. Yet, he added conditions to entice her, showing affection and acting coquettishly, making her momentarily believe that their relationship was genuine, filled with romantic sentiments.

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