Proofreaders: Gwen & Red
Cold Sands ch12
NSFW warning *wink, wink*
XII Autumn Chills
Faint candle flames flicker back and forth.
He comes right up against me, seals his lips on mine and starts nibbling and sucking on them, hot and passionate breaths circulating amidst the tangle. My face is burning and the rest of my body only gets hotter by the second. Head aching, I open my eyes a crack only to see his lust-filled black eyes.
My god, what the hell is going on? Something’s gone wrong!
I try to break free but I discover to my own dismay that my sweltering body can only find a bit more comfort in his cooler body. I raise a wobbling arm to push him away but he pulls it up over my head with one arm and pins it down. I grunt in pain.
Damn bastard. Taking advantage of me in my wounded state!
He turns his head over says in a soft, husky voice, “Don’t be afraid. Give it to me…”
He then kisses my ear and nibbles lightly on my earlobes. A violent shudder runs through my body and my breathing quickens involuntarily. With his unbearably warm lips on my neck, waves of numbness wash over me. I’m weak to my bones being held in his arms while feeling sinful desires welling up from deep within. His breathing is already ragged. He runs his hands all over me, luring those desires out from their dwellings. I can only clench my jaw hard to hold back the moans that almost escape.
“Lemme hear you.”
Kisses start coming down like rain. The last pieces of our garments get torn off and our naked bodies intertwine together. I’m cold and hot at the same time and my head is a mess. I painstakingly push against his chest.
This cannot happen…
My body has gone limp already so when I try getting up after struggling to draw the drapes open, he easily seizes my wrists with one hand and hooks around my waist with another and gets on top of me again.
“Get the hell-.”
But my words get stuffed back by his lips before I get to finish. His soft biting has turned into gnawing. Bits and pieces of red marks spread out. On my neck. On my collarbone. On my chest.
I still know what’s awaiting me despite my non-functioning mind. I want to struggle but my limbs are all pinned on the bed and I can barely catch my breath from his kisses. I can only pant for air whenever he releases me.
He’s pulling on my earlobes, nibbling on it every now and then.
“Still got some fight in you, huh,” he says as his hands move down along my spine, teasing me as much as he can.
Soon I feel a fuse being lit from my abdomen leading upwards to my head, muddying my conscience. My eyes get so watery that I can’t make out his complexion anymore. My hidden desires are being uncovered by him one by one. My conscience continues to blur out of focus. I reach around his shoulders and he dips down and leaves a purplish mark on my chest.
Noticing a lack of struggling, he pecks my lips. “Does it feel good?”
My body quivers uncontrollably along with his hands. I can’t feel anything but his gentle caresses, but I look away and hold my tongue. My body, however, starts shuddering, as if expecting something more.
I mustn’t say it. I mustn’t say it. Once I do there will be no take-backs.
“Not gonna say it, huh?” He spreads my legs apart.
Lying underneath him, his every degree of warmth seems to sear me. I feel his heat against that ungraceful place of mine. My body trembles. He holds me tighter, rubbing and poking his heat against it several times, as though searching for release.
Gentle friction. Gradual penetration. Tender destruction.
Suddenly, he lowers himself and catches me in a rushed kiss before rolling his hips forward. I’m drenched in bone-splitting pain, as if being torn in half, and my mind clears partially.
“You bastard…can’t you be gentler?”
I tremble without a sound, my words failing me.
He kisses my cheeks again, and coaxes, “Relax…. Relax…. You’ll only hurt yourself.”
I take deep breaths, urging myself to relax.
“That’s right. Just like that.”
He rolls his hips again and I let out a loud groan, my body arching up voluntarily. I dig my nails into his shoulders and press myself against his fire-hot chest only for him to gasp and start moving quicker.
But my body’s reactions tell no lies. It quivers with every one of his movements. Even the drops of his sweat that falls on me seem to burn with incredible temperature. The candlelight outlines his silhouette, leaving his eyes as the only things sparkling. He’s on top of me, breathing heavily, tearing at my lips—for a second I think I would pass out from the pleasure.
A tingly, numb feeling builds up from within as our bodies fuse together, increasing with intensity; each of his penetrations brings both torturous pain and incomparable joy at the same time.
Lust fills the air to a suffocating degree. Desire crashes down like tidal waves, drowning us and rolling us into its depths.
With the candles almost burnt out, the room goes dim and the white canopy turns into mist.
I lose all awareness.
No dreams come.
I painstakingly open my eyes.
I only move the slightest and a heart-wrenching pain shoots through me, but I can’t pin point what’s hurting. It just hurts everywhere.
I prop myself up on my elbows to get up but my lower body seems to rip apart. I clench my jaw. Then it hits me like lightning in a storm. Memory fragments resurface. I bury my face into the soft pillow—I wish I can just suffocate to death now.
I actually...underneath a man.
I close my eyes, exhausted, and smile wryly.
I feel a body closely flanking me from behind. He seems to be holding onto my waist too. I slowly turn my head over to see those damn pretty eyes of his appearing extra energetic. He tightens his grip and pulls me closer to him after seeing me wake and puts a blanket over us. Surrounded by his warmth and breaths, I try to break free but I don’t seem to have any strength left to do so.
He nuzzles my forehead. “Whatcha thinking about?”
Enraged, I tilt my head away, escaping his hot breaths.
“Oh?” He stops for a moment before chuckling. “You sure you wanna do that?”
I try my best to distance myself from him, although it’s not quite working. “Why wouldn’t I? Who do you think you are?”
“You wanna murder your own man?”
“You fucking...Go away!” I’m so mad I can’t see straight anymore.
I can’t believe I got...by a man. And I was the one on the bottom!
He’s looking all the more joyful as he puts an arm around my shoulders. “You and your words again. Whatever. I’ll let it slide.” He wiggles closer, smirking, and takes a bite off to the side of my lips.
“So, how’re you feeling now?” He whispers.
I glare threateningly at him before closing my eyes. I feel like jelly, soft and weak, not to mention sticky all over. I’ve already moved around too much just now so I just want to sleep.
I let my mind relax for one second and he’s reached over like he’s been doing it for his whole life. Electricity seems to run through me.
His lips linger between my brows as he teases, “What’s the big deal? I’ve seen it all last night.” His hands keep going, touching me everywhere, raising the temperature wherever it goes.
He is one thick-skinned asshole all right. After seeing him sitting pretty there as if I fell into his lap, I would pay to have his face beaten to a pulp.
His eyes bore into me; his breath mere inches away. We’re so close that our hair are entangled and I can even see my own reflection in his unclouded pupils, as well as the sinful marks on my bare chest. Instantly, the heated passions from last night rushes forth again and my cheeks start burning. Just as I’m about to turn away he plants his lips on me. A moist warmth smothers me and his agile tongue sneaks into my mouth, an action so tender I’m about to drown in it.
My breathing hastens. Concupiscent and carnal desires arise.
He reluctantly lets go before sitting up and putting on a shirt. “They say ‘they rose when the sun was high in the sky, the sensual night too short; and since then the Emperor missed the morning court.’ I can finally relate now.”
I pull the blanket over and glance at him out of the corner of my eye. “Please, don’t flatter yourself.”
I’m completely wiped out. I don’t even want to lift a finger.
I meet and greet everyone of the Yan royal clan in my head, damn every single one and cast the vilest curses upon them all, starting with the founding emperor of Yan all the way down to Murong Yu’s unborn grandson. That bastard was like a beast in heat, torturing me throughout the entire night. I’ve only recently recovered and couldn’t possibly handle such vigorous activity. I’m just exhausted.
I roll onto my other side and wrap myself tight with the blanket. I yawn and get ready to go back to sleep.
There’s nothing I can do about this now. I’m very angry, indeed, but I don’t even have the energy to speak right now. Plus, I’m not a woman who needs to protect her virtuous chastity. I don’t need to sob, break down and hang myself over this. Eh, screw this. I should take a nice, long nap, get back into shape and organize my thoughts about this later.
I hear footsteps approaching. “You can sleep in a bit. Wash up first.”
“Huh?” I glower at him.
He grins and lifts my blankets away. I blush and resist without thinking, trying to cover my body with the blanket, but he just ignores me and carries me into the back room.
“I was looking at it all night. There’s nothing to hide.”
Steam gently swirls in the misty air.
I start to feel better being bathed in hot water. My arms are lazily hanging out one side of the tub and my eyes start fluttering close out of drowsiness. He’s standing outside, carefully washing me with a cloth. I was already tender all over and now with the water I can barely stand, so I let him do as he pleases.
“Murong Yu, you sure got a lotta free time for a grand marshal. It’s almost noon now.” I still have enough energy to have words of course.
He chuckles as he scrubs. He blows on my shoulder and touches it. I jolt from the touch and my fingers grip onto the tub’s ledge. His fingers are tracing the scar on my left shoulder again and again.
“This here, does it still hurt?”
I haven’t quite comprehended what he had said so I’m watching him, dumbfounded. All I can see in his intense eyes is warmth and more warmth.
Oh, right. This injury was from that time I saved him.
He bends over and kisses it. I tremble, completely forgetting to resist.
“You’d slept for so long that night. As if you weren’t gonna wake again…” His lips leave, revealing red hickies on my shoulder. He grins. “Here, I’ll clean you up and then you can go get some proper rest.”
His fingers wiggle into me. Thank goodness he’s actually cleaning, so I close my eyes and try to ignore the intrusion.
After changing into clean undergarments, I get carried back to the bed again. He tucks me in and plants a light kiss on my forehead.
“Rest well. I’ll be back later.”
So apparently noontime during autumn can be quite warm.
The cloudless azure skies stretch as far as the eye can see. The dazzling sunlight cascades down like warm liquid gold, hitting my face along with the autumn winds. So soothing and peaceful.
I’m lying on a soft grass field, eyes closed, lazing under the warm sunshine, chewing on a piece of weed.
I had woken up a bit past sunset that day and I was still sore as hell when I got up. I ate dinner that he brought for me all the while suffering from the pain, and then I fell straight back to sleep before he even came to bed.
Well, I’m not against having a plushy human cushion to lean on in my sore and tender state, but it’s a different story when said cushion starts snickering and gets all touchy.
If only I had a knife within reach I would’ve most definitely, without hesitation, skinned him alive. If only I had been able to move.
Geez, what am I doing? Even now I still can’t do anything but zone out at the azure blue sky.
I really don’t want to think about what happened that night. Okay, I admit I’ve been pretty unlucky recently, but this has got to be a joke!
I found out afterwards that it was indeed Xiao Qinyun who made that pot of soup, except she added an extra ingredient on top of chicken and ginseng. My god! I was only kidding with her. Who knew that she could get her hands on aphrodisiacs?!
And Murong Yu, too! He went to the kitchen for god knows what reason and decided to take it after finding the smell nice….
I close my right hand tightly into a fist and pound the ground with all my strength.
‘You can never escape your own doings.’ I truly get this saying now.
When I used to live a sensualist lifestyle back in the capital, I’d go through a million pretty flowers and not have a single keep me down. Who’d ever thought that that playboy would get bottomed by another man?
I exhale deeply, open my eyes a little and let them close again.
I think back to that night. My delirious moans as my body writhed to meet his. I even came in his hands. It was as if my body wasn’t my own.
What a fucking disgrace!
I let out a long sigh. I feel as if something’s stuck in my chest. It won’t come up or go back down. It’s just choking me.
What is this thing between Murong Yu and I? Sex-deprived for too long? So we were just looking for some release?
My dignity of being a man, the most important part of being a man, was stamped upon and smothered. I want to murder someone when I think about it!
But, the things he did that night...felt pretty good...I mean it wasn’t all too bad. He was pretty good at it. Obviously very experienced. It was in part because of the drugs but I have to admit I didn’t really resist either-
Ugh! No! What the fuck are you thinking, Han Xin?! You high? How the hell can you think it felt good? Both of you being men, you got the short (the shortest!) end of the stick!
It’s okay, I tell myself. I was only acting weird because of the drugs. I’m not so sex-deprived that I would get sexually aroused by some man. That I would start developing an attraction to men.
I’m not turning into a homo.
My mind starts to settle down. I am still my own man.
I hear footsteps coming closer and stopping beside me. I can feel that something is blocking the sun with my eyes closed.
“Oi, get outta the way. Don’t block ma sun.”
It took a lot of work to find a place to sunbathe in a residence this huge. I don’t want anyone disturbing my nap for no good reason.
But my face remains in the shadows. Annoyed, I open my eyes only to see Murong Yu’s dark eyes and his pursed lips.
“Why have you been avoiding me lately?!” He interrogates after a short silence.
I prop myself up to a sitting position and regard him with the weed in between my teeth. “I needa least a coupla days t’ take it all in, dun I?”
He turns his gaze away to something in the distance.
“How d’you like it if yer topped by ‘nother man, huh?” I angrily break the weed in half and spit it out while staring straight to the front.
He takes a step towards me with a half-smile. “You hate me?”
I suddenly feel too tired to look at him. “Wouldn’t call it hate. I’ve never hated anyone, really. It’s just been kind of a blur the last few days. I just need some alone time.”
He walks until he’s in front of me before squatting down to look at me. I purse my lips in defiance but let him pick out the grass in my hair.
“I don’t want you to hate me either,” He blurts.
I force a smile but it’s a pathetic attempt.
“But I’m gonna say this even if you do. I’ve never been one for take-backs.” He pauses. “I’m serious.”
I shake my head.
Serious? How humorous.
I don’t buy it.
It could all be an act between a man and a woman, let alone between two men. Not to mention, we are of such different classes and belong to rival states. That night of passion was nothing but a mistake caused by aphrodisiacs.
I don’t want to dwell on it so I’ll just forget about it.
Yup, it was just a mistake.
I stand up and brush my clothes off and then he gets up too. I glance at him. “Let’s forget about it all. Like nothing ever happened.”
He grabs my arm. “You serious?”
I look up at him with no expression. I spot a pained emotion from his eyes. His grip on my arm tightens and I try breaking free but to no prevail.
“Of course I’m serious.
“Everything’ll fade with enough time.” My voice is almost monotonous. “What happened that night just wasn’t normal. It’d be good for both you and me to forget it.”
“You!” He growls and takes a step as though to embrace me but I pull away. He stops.
“Think over it some more. You can stay by my side forever, Han Xin. You can help me.”
I fling his hand away and back away some more. “What does your highness think I am? Your servant in title, your concubinus in reality?”
I sense anger in his expression and scoff. “Ah, I guess this is a prisoner’s fate. Not even in control of his own life.”
“Prisoner?” He repeats slowly. “I’ve never thought of you as a prisoner aside from the very beginning. Tell me, have you ever seen a prisoner like you?”
I grin. “You’ve your own reasons for treating me how you do. Whatever your goals are, they’re your problem. Got nothin’ to do with me.”
He pauses for a moment before taking quick steps back. His gaze is suddenly filled with all sorts of emotion that I can’t identify. I can’t tell if he’s fine or upset.
“Xin,” he calls me.
I turn away. “My name is Han Xin, your highness. It would be the best if you could call me by that.”
He scowls and his eyes seem to get darker as he watches me, like trying to see the bottom of an old well or a swamp. The moment I’m about to leave, he grabs onto my wrist and the next thing I know he has his arms around my waist and has me backed against a tree. His hot breath hits my face and upsets me. I brace myself and glare back at him. He holds my glare, not letting go of me.
He finally says, “Han Xin, I think you need to calm down. We can talk about this again once you are.”
“I am calm!” I ball up my fists behind my back. A punch would do the job if it has to come down to it.
He only holds me tighter as if I haven’t said a thing. So tight it’s uncomfortable. I’m flexing my arms, about to break free, when someone appears, running towards us from the distance. The two of us immediately spring apart.
“Your Highness, there is an urgent message!”
Murong Yu’s face has returned to its normal state. He shoots that person a look. “You are dismissed.”
Not staying a second longer, I step back, turn and leave.
You and I were meant to be like this, Murong Yu.
Five thousand of Yan dragoons ride into South Hill Pass at night. After the Rui soldiers on night duty spotted them from the towers, three thousand cavalry under Marshal Heng immediately rushes out of the fortress to face them. Perhaps because the Great Rui has lost nearly every battle, the Yan captain drops his guard and the world is given a taste of the military prowess of Marshal Heng.
Xu Zheng, Marshal Heng’s right-hand-man, uses blood and flesh as bait to lure the five thousand Yan cavalry into pursuing them. Engaging sometimes and running away other times, they succeed in luring the entire Yan cavalry into Sparrowhawk Ravine.
Sparrowhawk Ravine. As the name suggests, one must be as quick and agile as a sparrowhawk to escape from there.
The moment the Yan troops enter the ravine, one thousand bowmen start firing down from either side while another two thousand men block the valley entrance. Xu Zheng then turns his troops back around. His vanguards split their enemies in half, striking through them like lightning and creating a typhoon of blood. The Battle of Sparrowhawk Ravine lasts from night until noon, and then from noon until the next dawn.
The heavily wounded Yan captain leads a squad shy of one thousand men out of the deathtrap and reports straight back to the base. Xu Zheng’s side is also left with just little more than one thousand men. They retreat back into the Pass.
The corpses lie in countless heaps and piles, blood flowing freely across the ravine floor. One could even smell the sick, sweet smell of blood in the air from miles away. Even the birds and beasts shy away.
The morale of the Rui army skyrockets and everyone in the nation speaks of the eminence of Marshal Heng.
Heng Ziyu—Marshal Heng.
He was known as an unparalleled military prodigy in his youth, but moreover he is known for his cruel and merciless ways. Once, when Jin An County in the south had been suffering from menacing pirate attacks, he evacuated a large portion of the residents of Jin An and used the four thousand remaining elderly and young who wouldn’t leave as bait. He instructed his forces posted upstream to destroy the dams after luring all the pirates into the county. The entire county and three hundred miles of surrounding fertile land was flooded in an instant. What used be a wealthy county and sizable farmland was wiped out by the raging waves overnight.
His way was obviously over the line but there was no doubt that people die from battles and he had ended the conflict in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of casualties. If he had not done so, losses would not have only numbered in the ten thousands.
Afterwards, Heng received harsh criticism from the Emperor despite the pirates never attacking again in fear of him. At the same time, he was bestowed with the peerage of marquis and the title Protector of the Seas along with the decree for him and his descendents to remain posted in the southern borders for life, never to return to the north without royal edict. Now, letting him out of sight spelt trouble—he has looked down upon the royal family and has held no respect towards the court ever since.
He was exiled to the south because he was at fault, but when it came down to it the senior court officials were the ones who affected the making of that decree. Great Rui was established upon scholastics. The only emperor to date to have had a martial background was the founding emperor, Emperor Rui Shun. The civil officials were not pleased to see people from insignificant backgrounds gain power through martial means and displace their own control of the court.
Now, under the destructive hooves of the Yan cavalry, Rui is finally faced with the deadly consequences after centuries of this policy against martial achievement.
I do not know if Marshal Heng can salvage this fragile country on the brink of collapsing but I do know Murong Yu is up against a vicious opponent.
But I’m not that much better off either. The people who were supposed to pick Xiao Qinyun up still hadn’t arrived yet and Murong Yu didn’t want any more trouble from her so he placed her under strict surveillance at all hours of the day. Of course, I end up being dragged along by her.
I didn’t deserve this!!! How could I possibly successfully escape when I’m up to my neck dealing with her?!
I exasperatingly cry in my mind but I still have to do my work diligently—watching the stove with her as the medicine broils.
Oh right. Ever since that incident with her ginseng chicken soup, I’ve been more than cautious with what she makes. I mean being able to get her hands on aphrodisiacs all the way out here in the country—I can’t even fathom!
But I do have a bone to pick with her. See, originally she had been waiting patiently in the kitchen for the chicken soup to be done, but she ended up leaving for a second. When she got back the soup was gone so she rushed off to look for it. She heard Murong Yu and me talking from outside his room but she’s always been a bit wary of Murong Yu so she didn’t come in.
Why did she not come in? Ah...
I shake my head sadly. Was there just no way I could’ve avoided it?
She’s quietly watching the dancing flames in the stove, lips slightly pursed, eyes half-shut, looking kind of down. I’m quiet too. Needless to say, I know why she’s down.
It’s been raining nonstop since autumn arrived. Murong Yu, not very used to the cold and damp climate of Southern Yan, had caught a cold when his meetings went too late into the night a few days ago.
I’m staring at the darkening twilight outside the window, my heart somehow unsettled.
“Brother, you’re zoning out again,” she quips.
It takes me a moment to focus and when I do I see her studying me with curious eyes, her face propped in her hands.
“You’ve been like this for a few days already, always out of it. What’s on your mind?”
I look away from the window and flash an apologetic smile at her. I don’t know what to say in reply so I use the medicine to divert her attention.
I actually do feel a bit guilty towards her. After all, she was supposed to be the one who spent the night with Murong Yu that night, not me. But thank goodness she doesn’t know that, or else we’d never hear the end of it.
It was just a big, fat mistake. An unlucky coincidence.
“Do you miss home?” She edges close and asks me softly. I shake my head but she continues, “It has to be. I mean I miss my home so much right now. I miss the swallow nest and snow fungus congee with rock sugar my mommy makes me.”
I glance at her from the corner of my eye. “I have no home so how could I miss it?” I sigh.
She freezes, shocked, before looking back down. I don’t say another word.
A Duchess of the royal clan born into the manor of a prime minister, having grown up in the imperial palace and court. She will also marry into a lord’s manor one day. Everything she’d seen and experienced are the best of the best. I bet all this that’s happened is news to her.
All this trouble just for the man she likes. Poor girl.
“My sweetie’s been the same lately too. Bad temper. Scary expression all day.” She leans on my shoulders as she watches the flames. “Won’t eat medicine or rest properly even though he's caught a cold…”
I look down and try to not listen to or think about what she’s saying.
The flames are going strong, painting the walls with a dark red shade.
Ever since that night, I’ve been feeling guilty and awkward around her. She really trusts me and even more so after I brought her to safety that time, but I’ve been using her some of the time, using her status, her naivety, for my own goals.
Such as escaping.
I know it’s a pretty vile thing to do but I also know that sometimes you must do whatever it takes to reach your goal. I’m not a saint. I can’t be honest and righteous my whole life.
Murong Yu should be her husband. I believe he’ll be a good husband, a good father, and not my…
I shake my head furiously to chase these thoughts away.
“Brother, can you go talk to him?”
I shake my head without replying her, not even looking at her hopeful eyes. There’s nothing for me to say. What I need to do now is stay the hell away from him.
I help her pour the medicine out and stir it around with a small spoon. Only after making sure the temperature is okay do I accompany her to Murong Yu’s room.
The candle lights burn dimly as he sits, head bowed, reading the high-priority reports in front of him. There’s several other opened reports laid out on his desk that he isn’t done with. Brush and ink has been put to the side. A breeze blows in, making the paper rustle in its wake. He coughs lightly, his shoulders moving as well. His figure just seems so lonely.
Something in my chest seems to jerk a little.
Xiao Qinyun pushes the door open and goes in only after I give her a small nudge. I quickly dodge to the side and conceal myself in the darkness.
Xiao Qinyun approaches him and puts the medicine down on his desk.
“Put it down and leave,” he orders coldly without even looking up.
“Yu, I’ll go after you drink it.”
“Leave. Do not make me repeat myself.”
Perhaps Murong Yu is truly tired and doesn’t want her around anymore. He takes the bowl and finishes it in one go, and then tosses it onto the tray before drinking some tea.
“You may leave now.”
She bites on her lips before looking down without a word and walks out the door.
Just as I’m about to leave he says in his cold voice,
“Come in, Han Xin.”
Dairytea's comment: We need more xxx scenes. =//u//=
ayszhang's reply: There will be plenty more passion to come *pats Dairytea on the head* ;)
On a more serious note, I have discovered that I have made a mistake. I read the story again to refresh my memory --- There are a total of 1 prologue, 41 chapters, 1 epilogue and FOUR extras in this novel. I had commented saying there are only two, so I apologize (though I don't think you guys would mind?).
Cold Sands - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.