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    Asianovel

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    Chapter 110: Transactions and Exchanges

    There was no need for it. He could obtain her compliance with the leverage of secrets; offering her more was simply a waste.

    But at least he had offered something sweet. Therefore, she couldn't be too finicky.

    Chang Nian smiled, her expression sweeter than honey as she reached out to drape her arms around his neck. Her fluttering eyelashes trembled before she leaned in for a kiss.

    Ye Jiangbai had always considered himself uninterested in women, but for some reason, whenever she took the initiative, he found it impossible to control his emotions. She gave a little, and he wanted everything, desiring to meld her entirely into his being, making her completely his.

    Switching from defense to offense, Ye Jiangbai deepened the kiss. The bitter taste of the medicine in his mouth dissolved, turning into a honey-like sweetness. He opened his eyes to look at her, only to find that the person beneath him had hers tightly shut.

    Was she bashful? He smiled, then gently traced her lips with his own. His hand slipped under her clothes, coaxing her body to relax bit by bit.

    Chang Nian was very cooperative. When he couldn't locate the tie of her bodice, she even guided his hand to it.

    In this transaction between them, both parties had to be satisfied.

    The long-restrained softness was released, and in the eyes of the person on top of her, there was astonishment as well as a touch of helplessness. Reaching out to caress, Chang Nian let out a soft moan. She tugged at the blanket, trying to hide, but the person on top of her refused to release her, holding her wrists down possessively. He insisted on examining her attentively, as if he intended to etch every inch of her skin into memory.

    With rosy cheeks, Chang Nian bit her lip and whispered, "Please don't look anymore..."

    He raised an eyebrow. "It's pleasing to the eye. Why shouldn't I look?"

    Tears welled up in her eyes, shimmering like water droplets. Chang Nian tried her best to hold them back, but she couldn't resist.

    Years of timid living had made her disposition weak. Any loud scolding or injustice would make her tears flow and her body tremble, even if she wasn't truly frightened inside. Her body reacted instinctively.

    It was a display of utter helplessness and lack of strength.

    Seeing this, the man on top of her released her wrists gently and cupped her face soothingly. "I won't look anymore, don't cry."

    "Why do you cry so easily?" He nuzzled her nose. "Are women really made of water?"

    Sniffing, Chang Nian replied, "I'm fine."

    She genuinely was fine; there was nothing bothering her in her heart. But perhaps she looked too pitiful, so Ye Jiangbai held her tenderly, kissing her neck and forehead until she calmed down. Only then did he resume his actions.

    Previously, he had accidentally trespassed her body. This time, Ye Jiangbai dared not act rashly. He comforted and coaxed her, waiting until her cheeks flushed and her lips glistened as she murmured softly before he dared to breathe a sigh of relief and gradually claim her as his own.

    The pain was still there, but Chang Nian clutched his shoulder tightly, her fingers sinking in, turning her nails pale.

    Ye Jiangbai grunted and leaned his head against her ear, calling her softly, "Nian'er."

    Her body trembled, and with a low rumble in her throat, she acknowledged him.

    Ye Jiangbai took a shallow breath, gripping her waist and saying in a hoarse voice, "I might...hurt you."

    Chang Nian let out a soft "Mm," her voice gentle yet provoking him intensely. The red bedding billowed like waves, and the bed curtains hanging from silver hooks swayed down, barely concealing the intimate scene.

    Liang Ce had already retreated far from the room, at least a hundred paces away, fearful of overhearing anything he shouldn't and risking his ears being lopped off by his master. Hong Ti came to deliver medicine, but Liang Ce promptly intercepted her, jovially pulling her aside for a chat in the garden.

    With no interruptions, the two enjoyed several blissful nights within the room.

    Initially, Ye Jiangbai was running a fever, but after their intimacy, Chang Nian reached out to touch his forehead and found that his temperature had subsided.

    "Already better?" She struggled to shift her body, frowning. "You haven't finished your medicine yet."

    His snow-white skin was exposed beneath the covers, and Ye Jiangbai reached to pull the blanket over him, drawing her closer into an embrace. He whispered, "Those bitter medicines won't work. You are the cure I need."

    "Hmm?"

    "Your Highness, my ailment is severe, and I still require a potent remedy."

    Chang Nian: "..."

    Men truly were terrifying creatures, capable of describing such intimate matters with such elegance.

    Yet, she indulged him. Despite the pain, if he desired it, she would accommodate him. Their union brought pleasure to both, fostering an unprecedented harmony and joy between them.

    Ye Jiangbai had never felt such a profound sense of security before. Holding this person in his arms was more reassuring than gazing at mountains of gold and silver in the treasury. Chang Nian obediently kept her eyes closed, sleeping peacefully against his chest. He dared not move, simply watching her until her breathing became completely even. Then, he cautiously reached out to touch her eyelashes.

    How adorable, he thought.

    Such an adorable person was fit to grace the world as an empress.

    Zhao Hengxu sat in his palace, sensing something amiss.

    He hadn't seen Ye Jiangbai for ten days. When he sent messages requesting a meeting, the Duke's residence only replied that the Duke was gravely ill and not receiving visitors. Indeed, Ye Jiangbai had been absent from court, claiming illness. It didn't seem deliberate avoidance, but...

    Yet, why would Feng Tingyun lodge a complaint after Chang Nian was ambushed on Yung Wa Road? Father Emperor had just reprimanded him harshly; he felt somewhat uncertain about the situation.

    "A court official, Lord Feng, has arrived," a palace attendant reported.

    Zhao Hengxu regained his composure and instructed them to invite Feng Tingyun in.

    Feng Tingyun was a trusted aide of Ye Jiangbai, often conveying the latter's intentions. However, Zhao Hengxu did not have a favorable impression of this man.

    Upon entering, Feng Tingyun greeted with a smile and then inquired, "Your Highness, has something urgent brought you to summon this humble servant?"

    "I've heard rumors that the Duke has been in close contact with Seventh Brother recently," he said with a smile.

    Feng Tingyun looked utterly confused. "Where did you hear that? The Duke has been convalescing at his residence, and Seventh Prince has established his own estate. They haven't seen each other for half a month."

    His expression was sincere, and it didn't seem like he was lying. Zhao Hengxu paused, then lowered his gaze. "It seems someone has spread false information."

    Who would dare to spread such rumors? Feng Tingyun chuckled inwardly. Ye Jiangbai was meticulous in his actions, and no outsider knew about his freeloading at the prince's residence. This prince was still too inexperienced if he thought he could bluff Feng Tingyun.

    "Why does Your Highness still concern yourself with Seventh Prince?" Feng Tingyun shook his head. "The Emperor is gravely ill, and the Crown Prince is involved in military affairs. Aren't you worried?"

    "The Crown Prince?" Zhao Hengxu scoffed. "He'll soon be fighting for his own survival."

    "Oh?" Feng Tingyun was taken aback. "From my observations, His Highness the Crown Prince is currently living quite comfortably and is even preparing to take a concubine."

    Zhao Hengxu lifted his gaze. "Do you know how he acquired this concubine?"

    "I'm not aware, and I beg for Your Highness's clarification," Feng Tingyun replied.

    With a sweep of his sleeves, Zhao Hengxu rose to his feet. "His new concubine is the wife of the wealthy merchant Liu Lingyun. It's said she's the number one beauty in the south. For this beauty, our esteemed Crown Prince slaughtered half of the Liu family and falsely accused Liu Lingyun, landing him in prison. Does such behavior align with the 'Virtuous and Righteous' inscription on the Eastern Palace's plaque?"

    Feng Tingyun was startled. "This... How could there be no whispers of this at all?"

    "The Crown Prince wields immense power. How much gossip could there be about such an unbecoming act?" Zhao Hengxu chuckled. He was only revealing this now to use Feng Tingyun's ears to convey the message to Ye Jiangbai.

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