Chapter 85: Covenantor (VIII)
“Little Ze, are you planning to take a first aid kit to the party?” The ceremoniously dressed Lu Xiufan inquired as he entered the room and saw Shang Ze preparing a first aid kit, with the suit Lu Xiufan had requested neatly folded and untouched on the bed.
“Just a precaution.” Shang Ke responded as he checked the medical instruments and medicine without lifting his head. Lu Xiufan often encounters assassination attempts, during which poisoning was a serious possibility. According to the information provided by the System, Lu Xiufan has been poisoned at least thirty-five times, and although he hasn’t been hurt so far despite the attempts, who knows when that might change? Either way, it’s always good to be prepared.
Lu Xiufan enjoyed seeing Shang Ke worrying over him like a newlywed wife; it gave him an indescribable sense of satisfaction.
Instead of disturbing Shang Ke, Lu Xiufan quietly watched from the sidelines, waiting until Shang Ke finished organizing the box before saying, “Hurry and change into the suit, we’re getting ready to leave.”
“There’s still three hours before the banquet starts, and it only takes fifteen minutes to get to the palace from the mansion. We still have plenty of time.” Shang Ke closed the first aid kit and put it on the ground, before finally picking up the suit and heading to the changing room.
Lu Xiufan casually followed with his hands clasped behind his back.
Shang Ke heard the footsteps behind him and the corners of his lips twitched imperceptibly. Don’t think that simply feigning absent-mindedness will allow you to sneak into the dressing room!
Shang Ke calmy closed the dressing room door, leaving Lu Xiufan firmly on the outside.
Lu Xiufan: “……” He’d followed so closely, yet he was still too slow to avoid the boot.
After only a moment, the newly dressed Shang Ke returned from the changing room. Lu Xiufan’s eyes brightened, Shang Ke’s appearance was already outstanding, but changing into such an exquisite suit enhanced his elegant, aloof expression, and he was exuding an austere and refined aura.
This person belongs to him. With scorching eyes, Lu Xiufan placed a hand around his waist, whispering, “Let’s go, partner.”
Today was the 14th birthday of Prince Yi Yun, and the Queen was hosting a grand dinner banquet, inviting many of the nobles. Many of the major network’s reporters flocked outside the palace, eagerly photographing the event.
Lu Xiufan was usually fairly low-profile, but as the Queen Consort’s brother, and the Prince’s uncle, it was difficult to not be noticed at this event. The instant he stepped out of the car, the surrounding crowd was roused and started to cry out for him, flashes of light blinding him one after the other.
Almost immediately, Shang Ke, the person accompanying Lu Xiufan, also attracted immense attention. Lu Xiufan had never before brought a partner with him to banquets—Shang Ke was the first. His appearance and manners were exceptional even among a crowd of handsome men and beautiful women. Even standing next to Lu Xiufan, he wasn’t overshadowed or outshined.
Who was this young man? Reporters quickly began digging into Shang Ke’s identity.
Yue Xuan had tried suppressing Yue Ze with all his might, hoping that he’d die in obscurity. However, after this banquet, Shang Ke’s identity could no longer be hidden. Yue Family was one of the top one hundred major families, so even though Yue Ze rarely came to the capital, in the Luo Xu region they were well known. With his picture in hand, reporters easily discovered his identity.
Everyone wanted to pay their respects to Lu Xiufan and Shang Ke the instant they entered the banquet hall, however, no one dared get within three meters of them. With Lu Xiufan’s exceptional background and prestige, even the powerful officials kept a respectful distance. The only ones willing to brave the invisible boundary were mostly crazy men or desparate women.
Lu Xiufan introduced Shang Ke to the Queen, Queen Consort, and prince as Yue Ze, the son of the Yue Family’s patriarch.
There was a flash of surprise in the Queen’s eyes. It was clear from Lu Xiufan’s tone that he cared for this young master of Yue Family. After carefully examining Shang Ke and seeing that he bore outstanding looks and an elegant personality, she was satisfied.
“Yue Ze, is your younger brother called ‘Yue Xuan’? He is on the guest list as well, why don’t you introduce him to us later?” The Queen consort suggested with a bright smile. Both he and the Queen had approved the guest list, and upon hearing the name ‘Yue Ze’, he immediately recalled Yue Xuan.
The Queen quietly shot her husband a look before saying, “Yue Ze, make yourself at home. Have Xiufan take you around to enjoy the sights.”
She was more insightful than Lu Xiuqi. Yue Ze had come as Lu Xiufan’s partner and the official guest list only listed the second son Yue Xuan, not the eldest, Yue Ze. It was clear there was more to this story. Any introductions should be up to Yue Ze to initiate.
After going through his introductions, Lu Xiufan took Shang Ke to the VIP lounge.
Shang Ke hadn’t thought that Yue Xuan would come, but after glancing over the room, he found his brother among the crowd surrounding the prince. By all accounts, because of Yue Xuan’s identity and the prince’s bad impression of him, he shouldn’t have been invited at all.
“Yue Xuan’s mother has a close relationship with the other court women.” Lu Xiufan explained as if reading Shang Ke’s thoughts.
Ah. Shang Ke looked away, picked up a plate, and started selecting dishes for Lu Xiufan.
Lu Xiufan lounged on a sofa, sipping at a glass of wine while watching Shang Ke carefully picking and choosing from the table of food, his gaze focused and intense.
Shang Ke brought a heaping plate of food to the glass table in front of Lu Xiufan, then went back to get one for himself before returning and sitting a little apart from Lu Xiufan. Immediately Lu Xiufan shifted to sit beside Shang Ke, one hand coming to rest on the back of the sofa behind him, the other lightly holding a glass of wine.
All the people at the banquet were busy socializing. Only the two of them sat in the corner calmly enjoying the gourmet food, as if the outside world had nothing to do with them.
For a moment, Lu Xiufan’s drinking faltered before immediately returning to normal.
Once the Birthday Celebration Ceremony began, Lu Xiufan went on stage to make an appearance, enduring the speeches, acknowledgements, and stream of toasts before dragging Shang Ke towards the Queen to say their goodbyes.
The Queen was familiar with his personality and didn’t try to detain him, only exhorting Shang Ke to take good care of Lu Xiufan.
The two men left the palace and drove straight back to the mansion.
Halfway through the drive back, Lu Xiufan asked out of the blue, “Do you have antidotes in your first aid kit?”
Shang Ke immediately turned to look at him, and seeing that Lu Xiufan’s muscles were stiffening and his face was turning purple, couldn’t help but be alarmed.
Lu Xiufan added, “The wine I drank seems to have spoiled.”
The wine prepared to be served in the palace was spoiled? Spoiled my arse! The ill-looking Shang Ke immediately grabbed Lu Xiufan’s wrist to take his pulse.
Shang Ke took a moment to compose his expression, before bending down, pulling out the first aid kit from under his seat, and handing Lu Xiufan a tube of medicine. He then took out a silver needle and pricked the tips of his fingers, causing beads of dark red blood to immediately drip out.
This guy, not saying a word, even after he was poisoned, not changing his expression for several hours at the banquet! He’s even better at seeking death than me!
Shang Ke kept his gaze lowered, purposefully avoiding eye-contact in case he accidentally exposed his anger.
“I’ve been trained to avoid poison since I was young, it won’t kill me.” Lu Xiufan slowly explained, “It was inappropriate to raise a ruckus at Yi Yan’s birthday banquet.” It’s not as if he was unfamiliar with poisonings, it had become almost routine. It’s just that this was the first time an attempt occurred in the palace.
Because it was inappropriate to raise a ruckus at a birthday party you bore it? Did you think this was a bit of constipation and that if you bore it a bit it would pass?!
Shang Ke’s expression was heavy as he dismissed Lu Xiufan’s explanation. Once the dark red blood turned light red, he took out a tissue to wipe off the blood, and then smeared on some ointment for the punctures.
Lu Xiufan leaned against his seat, letting Shang Ke treat his wound.
“Let’s go to the hospital.” Shang Ke suddenly said.
“No, take me back to the mansion.” He was too conspicuous, going to any hospital would cause the news of his poisoning to leak. He still needed to investigate this assassination attempt and couldn’t alert the culprit too soon.
Shang Ke took his pulse again, and only after determining his life was out of danger, did he give in to the request.
Once they reached the mansion, Shang Ke helped Lu Xiufan walk back to his room. With each step, it felt as if the guy was getting heavier and heavier, until what felt like his full weight pressed down on Shang Ke.
Was this the toxin flaring up again? That can’t be right, the majority of the poison had been cleared out; there’s no way the poison that had no effect at full dose would have one now it was almost detoxified.
“Come help me hold him,” Shang Ke told the servants standing uselessly around him.
Not only did the servants not help when they heard him, they took a step back. Who’d dare help? Couldn’t they all see the master coldly glaring at them?
Shang Ke had no idea what was wrong with this group of servants. He could only continue to drag Lu Xiufan by himself, and only with immense effort was he able to bring him to his room.
Shang Ke carefully lay Lu Xiufan on his bed, before opening the first aid box and beginning preparations for the detoxification medication.
Lu Xiufan turned over, gaze darkening as he watched Shang Ke sitting cross-legged on the floor, preparing medicine for him.
Lu Xiufan suddenly got up, grabbed Shang Ke’s waist and lifted him off the ground.
Shang Ke was caught off guard and had his breath knocked out of him; but he quickly recovered, carefully watching Lu Xiufan as he allowed the guy to carry him to bed.
“I think it’s time to fulfill the terms of our new contract.”
Slow down, you’re still poisoned!
With a burning gaze, Liu Xiufan didn’t give Shang Ke time to protest, lowering his head and capturing Sheng Ze’s lips with a kiss.
Steady! Steady! The time has come to test his control of expression and acting ability!
Liu Xiufan’s breath penetrated deep into Shang Ke, causing his eyelashes to flutter, and a shudder to pass from his lips and race throughout his body.
His clothes were peeled off one by one, exposing his skin to the air, which slowly grew heated under the carresses of two large hands.
Shang Ke lifted his head slightly, revealing flushed cheeks, lips dewy with desire, and a pair of moist eyes flickering like an incandescent refraction off a shard of ice. His hands grasped tightly at the sheets, teeth biting his lips to keep himself from making a sound.
Lu Xiufan’s eyes were dark, throat rumbling, finally unable to bear it anymore, he could only coarsely possess him. As he joined with him, his cold expression melted into radiant warmth, like a blossoming flower, almost suffocatingly beautiful.
The only sounds in the room were rapid breathing, accompanied by the sound of bodies moving against each other, adding an endlessly romantic feeling to the quiet night.
Shang Ke discovered that this forbearing lover had his charms. The eruption of passion that bursts through his repression, the loud roar that comes from a normally quiet voice; the joy that comes from these things is indescribable.
The next day, Shang Ke woke in a daze, about to get up as usual to get ready for work; but before he’d even fully sat up, a pair of large hands trapped him and pulled him back. It pressed him down for yet some more exercise.
“Today is a vacation day,” Lu Xiufan’s rough voice echoed in Shang Ke’s ear.
Shang Ke saw his endless energy, and grabbed his wrist. He started to question whether the poison wasn’t fully cleared after all, resulting in such an imbalanced psyche.
“You need to take your medicine at 9 AM.” Shang Ke carefully reminded him, yet his languid voice lacked all persuasiveness.
Lu Xiufan checked the time, “There’s still an hour, that should be enough time.”
In the end, he ultimately wasn’t able to take the medicine on time…
Because of this, Shang Ke prepared the world’s most bitter medicine, ‘rewarding’ him for his first-rate get-poisoned-and-not-tell-anyone style along with his enthusiasm to do certain things to the ‘peak of perfection’ despite being poisoned…