Proofreaders: Gwen, krabbykabbi, Luzo, Pau & Red
Cold Sands ch 37
More NSFW (//o\\)
XXXVII Long Night
My vision is clear at times but blurry at others.
I’m being filled by his scorching passion, being played with almost endlessly. My back keeps rubbing against the rug while I grab tightly onto Murong Yu’s arms like a drowning person.
He is still going strong, even picking up speed. I want to beg him to go slower but the moment I open my mouth, the only things that come out are stifled moans that sound like weeping. He pauses for a bit and plants kisses on my face.
My body is so hot that I can’t feel anything but the numbness coming from my lower half. He’s also burning. He holds me close while he starts to toy with my tongue again. Our bodies are plastered against each other as if we have melted into one.
As he grunts, I feel an explosion of broiling heat inside of me and then I start quivering, entering a zone of lightness. It’s the feeling of sudden freedom and release, and of overpowering pleasure.
He falls on top of me. I take a few pants trying to control my breathing so I can handle his weight.
He chuckles softly. I wrap my arms around him and peck him on the lips.
Exhaustion kicks in and I wiggle in his embrace to find a comfortable spot to sleep. Right when I’m about to fall asleep, he pushes himself up with his arm securely around my waist and flips me over onto the ground.
Any sign of sleep disappear. I realise what is going on very quickly. I’m on all fours beneath him, arching my body, my hips sticking up in the air and legs wide open.
Embarrassed and mad, I whip my head around and glare at him. He laughs and lowers himself on my back, wrenching my jaw around to kiss me.
His hand slides past my hips, caressing and kneading. The sudden intrusion of his massive erection catches me off guard but the moans of discomfort are all being swallowed by him.
“Relax,” he whispers in my ear and laughs provocatively, “It feels amazing for me but I can’t move when you’re this tight, can I?”
He starts to move again before he even finishes, filling me with searing pain. I groan quietly and gyrate along with him.
Despite feeling humiliated, the fire blazes within me, pushing me to the climax. I wish I could just become one with him like this and never part ever again.
I sleep very lightly in that warm, strong embrace of his, faintly feeling his body heat and his muscular arms. I grunt contently and snuggle in closer. He chuckles quietly in my ears and the next moment his embrace tightens around me.
Slowly, I blink my eyes open to look right into his obsidian ones.
Murong Yu is studying me with a smouldering gaze that contains an indescribable emotion within. There are traces of bloody lines in his eyes that hint that he has not gotten a wink of sleep. We both are stark naked right now. Being held by him doesn’t feel embarrassing but rather the fuzzy, sweet feeling in my heart seems to multiply.
His chin rests gently against my forehead. His hand slowly sweeps up from my waist along the spine, caressing me with tenderness. I let out a lazy laugh and discreetly wrap my arms around him too. We just closely flank each other, as though hanging onto one another but also hugging at the same time. We share a silent smile, both too scared to disturb this beautiful moment.
Quietly, he watches me for a long time. The dim candlelight falls in his ink black eyes with only the pupils having a heated glow. My body feels as if it has been ravaged by the ocean waves, thoroughly exhausted. I don’t want to budge an inch or get up.
Seeing that I’ve woken up, he flashes a gentle smile and tugs at the thick cloak around us, wrapping us tighter. His other arm has not left its place around me.
Quietly, I take in his temperature and scent. This is what I had longed for in all those nights when I awoke from fright and all those moments when I was soaked in blood.
The entire world has retreated faraway. The menacing blades, the pungent blood, everything, has been isolated from this space. Here, there is only this snug, peaceful embrace and I actually have some peace of mind that I haven’t had the pleasure of having.
He breathes steadily by my ear, warm air hitting my face—it’s a bit itchy. I look up at him, without a sound, looking straight at the face that I had only been able to see in dreams. I think he lost some weight. His face is even more chiselled than before, even more handsome and sharp. The arches above his eyes are lax and a playful smile dances about his lips.
It’s a weird feeling. I mean, shouldn’t we be clashing at sword’s point, battling to the death right now? Or at the very least, wrestling and howling at each other to rip the other person into pieces.
My thoughts wash over me like the tide. He brushes my face with his, both of us slightly burning. I feel miserable and sweet at the same time. I want to say something but give up right away. This peace is just too hard to come by.
After a really long time, he finally breaks the silence. “Say, Xin, how nice would it be if the sun didn’t rise.”
“Yeah,” I murmur. “How nice would that be…”
We’ve fought and we’ve done it. It’s time to talk business. I can’t stall any longer and neither can he.
I start after much hesitation, “So, are you gonna retreat?”
Straightforward and abrupt, it’s not the tone fit for a peace alliance but I do not need to be shy with him. He probably already guessed what my coming here means.
Expectedly, his lips curve upwards sarcastically. “What choice do I have when you’ve already planned everything out for me?”
I glumly turn my gaze away to the candle off to the far side.
He loosens his arms a little. “Let me ask you something and give me an honest answer.”
“Did you have any other plans coming here to the enemy camp? Or are you telling me you really had no fear? You were that certain that I wouldn’t take you down and initiate a full-on invasion with you as hostage?”
“Yes,” I sigh. “You’re right. I definitely hesitated when I got your reply. But I couldn’t linger on it. I could only take the risk. Plus,” I pause and continue at a lower volume, “I haven’t seen you for so long… I just…”
I shake my head, unwilling to continue, and he just tightens his embrace and leaves it unsaid.
“You just love to do as you please. Think about it. Who else is there to keep the country in check without you in the city? Who else is there to fight back against me?”
I shake my head. “I came and I came prepared.”
He pulls an unconvinced expression after faltering for a moment. “Yeah, right, if you didn’t unite the court and strengthen the defenses in the shortest amount of time possible, Rui would already be destroyed beyond hopes of repair.”
Then he sighs lightly, I’m not sure with what kind of emotion. “Even if you came prepared, as long as I let them see you in front of both sides, in front of the all the soldiers—what would your soldiers think, what would your citizens think then? Your army would shatter into pieces so easily I won’t even need to deploy my men.”
“You wouldn’t.” I stare at the top of the tent.
He stiffens with surprise and only lets out a “huh” after a long pause. He props himself up and looks down at me with playful eyes. “How are you so sure? Enlighten me.”
“Because I believe so. Back when we were still north of South Hill Pass, you were kind enough to give a lord of Great Rui a proper burial and allow the prisoners of war to keep wake for him, so how could you do such a low thing?”
He scoffs. “Still wet behind the ears.”
Murong Yu brushes aside the stray hairs in front of my eyes and runs his fingers down, holding a strand up to his nose. “Water is likely the most important issue in the Rui capital now. What’s stopping me from doing worse things if I could easily poison your water?” He shakes his head. “That man was already dead so he posed no threat to me. He was a lord nonetheless, if treating his remains with dignity is easy to do and gives me a good name too, then why not?”
He leans in, reaching around my neck and softly rubbing it with his icy cold fingers. “If you died—died under my sword—I would let you have a proper end as well.”
His fingertips are so cold that it scares me, the broiling heat from earlier nowhere to be found.
A violent shiver runs through me and his fingers halt, as if they’ve felt my aura of fear.
A few strands of his hair hang down, sweeping against my face. I look into the eyes that still held bits of lust within them. “But how could I just let you do as you please and let you direct me? The only way you’ll be able to, is if I died here.”
His fingertips continue sliding down to my Adam’s apple. “You’re wrong, oh, so very wrong.”
Murong Yu’s bottomless eyes draw closer. “What I want is the emperor and I can accomplish the same thing even if he’s dead. The people in the capital don’t care about you. They care about your status. It wouldn’t bother them whether you were dead or alive. As long as they know that I have the emperor of Great Rui in my hands, I doubt anyone dare defy me.”
He says this in a tone so flat it is as calm as backwater. I feel a bitter emotion exuding within me and I can’t think of anything in reply.
Every single word he utters is so distinct it seems to stab into my heart like knives.
I am the emperor. I am no longer me.
Once again, he has picked open my dried scabs with his sharp words, leaving me dripping with blood.
Seeing that I turned away, he reaches for my face and twists it back around to face him.
“It’s more lonely now that you’re the emperor, right? You were always by yourself then and now you don’t even have someone to pour your heart out to. I couldn’t even believe my eyes when I first saw you. It was just like a pile of clothes lying there with no one wearing it.”
His other hand ventures down along my waist, tenderly caressing. “Here, too, it’s gotten so skinny.”
My vision blurs again from this one utterance.
“Silly you, keeping everything inside and not letting anyone help you.”
“Aren’t you the same?”
In his embrace, I seem to have gone back to that night once more. For as long as I can remember, I had never cried so pathetically in front of outsiders—no, not even in front of my so-called family and friends. Yet when I’m lying in this man’s arms, his mere existence can let me have some peace of mind.
“There, there. Now you’re crying again. Keep it down or someone might come in.” His voice starts becoming shaky, too, as he wipes away the tears brimming in my eyes.
I nod and take a deep breath. “I admit, everything you said is true. But even if you can take down the capital, taking care of the aftermath and the many matters after the surrender will take much time, effort and resources. How will you manage to do that?”
His brows point upwards, changing his expression into a fierce one. “You should know since you took the throne the extreme measures a powerful person must take. I’ve heard a thing or two about what you’ve done: a massacre in the courts, shooting down refugees. The same goes for me. There is only the question ‘should I’ and ‘need I,’ not ‘dare I’ or ‘can I.’ My father has taught me since I was young that one can never be too generous with bloodshed and mercilessness if he wants to reach that almighty position at the top. The blood of the innocent had christened my blade when I was eight. You think I would be afraid of slaughter now?”
He takes a short pause before spitting out with venom, “You want to know how I’m going to tame Great Rui? I’ll tell you how. The day the walls fall and the city surrenders, I will kill every male over the age of fifteen who has the ability to fight back. I won’t spare a single one. I’ll butcher them all. Let’s see you oppose me then!”
I glare at him with a cold look. I know he speaks the truth and I have nothing to counter it.
“The three conditions you proposed, I will accept the first two. Forget about the last one. A princess…” He then shakes his head while sighing very faintly. “So what…couldn’t possibly stall my advances…”
“In the end, we are still on opposing sides.” He touches his chin to my cheeks. The short stubble pokes me, stinging a little.
Seeing that face of his, I can’t help myself from reaching out and touching it. He freezes for a moment before cracking a smile. My fingertips come into contact with his awfully cold skin. Right when I’m about to pull back, he takes hold of my hand and won’t let go.
Our lips brush lightly against one another before springing apart.
“It’s getting late. I should get going.” After the mental battles, and even if I’m reluctant to leave this warmth, I haven’t forgotten what I have come for.
He stays quiet for a while before his hand that is on my hand quivers and releases me. Murong Yu sits up without saying a word, removing the cloak and exposing us to the icy air. I shudder and push myself up from the ground.
He picks up something and slips it on. “Go. It’s already the Hour of the Tiger.”
The rug is strewn with clothes—cloaks, shirts, underwear—some of which are torn and balled up, like the place has been looted.
I pick up my own undergarments, shooting dirty looks at him while I put each of them on. I shake out another piece of clothing and something white tumbles out. Alarmed, I rush to retrieve it but he suddenly darts forward, bends over and picks it up first, holding it up close to examine it. Then he beams at me before approaching and putting it around my neck.
I smile back and don’t say anything.
I remember my own pendant. If only I had it with me now, I could give it to him, but…
Sitting on a chair, Murong Yu pours himself a cup of tea and watches me casually with a bit of mischief in his eyes. He even pushes me, “If you’re gonna get dressed, you should hurry it up.”
I grind my teeth in anger so hard that I can hear it. Screw this. I start pulling everything over my head. Meanwhile, I can still feel his eyes on me even though I’m facing the other way. I tug with annoyance at the pieces of fabric and protest, “Couldn’t you have gone slower? I mean I don’t think these are gonna last through the trip back!”
He remarks as though I said nothing, “Why are you hiding? Not like I haven’t already seen everything.”
This guy can be even more frustrating to deal with than me when he wants to!
When I finally finish getting dressed and combing my hair, I walk up to the table and take out a stack of letters and a half-moon shaped pass from my sleeve. He shows a puzzled face. I explain, “You can take all of these if you want. These are the letters I exchanged with the second prince. I believe they can be of use. This is the pass of the Wraiths which you can use to command the forces in Yan.”
His expression darkens and he stays silent, several emotions playing across his face.
“You really think I’d pull my troops back?”
I let out a deep breath. “That’s your choice and this is mine. There’s no conflict.”
He stares at me dumbly in disbelief towards what I just said.
“The throne is the most important thing for you,” I utter calmly.
Before he replies, I pick up the cloak from the door and swing it around myself. I pull the collar in together, hiding my body. I take a good look at him before turning to the tent entrance.
My feet halt abruptly but I don’t turn to look. “What else is the matter, Your Highness?” I inquire flatly.
The footsteps behind me sound muffled. I think he is coming in large strides. The next thing I know, I’ve fallen into that familiar embrace once again. He snakes his arms around my waist and leans in, placing his lips on my cheek.
“Why must you be like this?”
I turn my head back a little, feeling his hot lips, but I don’t say anything.
“You… You really are inconsiderate and reckless as always, always causing trouble but never cleaning up after yourself. You’ve used my little brother and now you’re tossing him away without a care in the world, leaving this big brother of his to clean up the mess.”
“Isn’t that perfect for you?”
“Still, you don’t have to give me the secret messages. It’d be better for Great Rui if I have a harder time. You don’t have to help me.”
I pull a light smile. “I owe you, but even so, I owe more than I can ever return.”
He shakes and his arms tighten around me. “You yourself are mine. What’s there to owe?”
I smile as tears well up in my eyes. I force them back and just stay there. If only I could be in his arms until the end of time.
For a long, long time, there is only our exhaling and inhaling.
I pat the back of his hand. “Really gotta go now.”
“To do what?”
“I have to take a bath and take a short nap if there’s time. Then I’ll probably get woken up. The day has just started.”
He turns me around to face him. I don’t fight back. He leans down and seals his lips on mine, shakily invading my mouth—so cold, so tender, without any lust, it is just a motion of mutual comfort; desperate, heated and lingering.
It’s so familiar that I yearn for it; I yearn for it so much that I’m succumbing to it.
I grit my teeth and back away. Tears fall down my face and in between my lips.
He takes a step forward, his arms still in the same hugging position, gazing at me.
I whisk around, too scared to see him. I wipe the tears away and walk towards the entrance. I raise the flap and then stop in place, not turning my head back. “Could Your Highness please pass a few words on to Duchess Xiao for me if You happen to see her.”
Without waiting for his reply, I say calmly, “Please let her know, her xiao is still with me. I shall gift her a new one if there is a chance. Also, I thank her very much.”
Outside the tent is still the murky night. The Eidolons and soldiers are standing guard a ways off. The captain comes over and holds the tent flap open for me. I walk out in strides and jump on the horse. The captain lets the flap down and joins me on his horse. The entire party silently leaves from the side entrance like how it came before.
My body is aching but the injuries in my heart are worse. Using the hood of the cloak to hide my face, I let the tears flow free.
Footsteps echo in the long, pitch black tunnel. I’m sore and tender all over and my legs feel weak. Suddenly, I trip and manage to stay standing by holding onto the wall. The Eidolon behind me shoots forth to help me but I shake my head, catching my breath myself.
That bastard never knows where the line is. I’ll excuse him for fighting that way, but he has sex the same way too. My vision goes blurry and I feel like I can fall asleep right on the spot. Nothing is better than some sleep now. Nothing is softer than a pillow.
No. I’m still sticky. The first thing I have to do when I get back is take a nice bath and deal with those obvious marks, the wounds from the fight and the purplish-bluish stuff from his bites… The wound on the corner of my lips starts stinging.
The first thing I see when I come out of the tunnel is Liu An curled up in a ball with his head tucked in. I think our footsteps have woken him up and he climbs to his feet. “Welcome back, Your Majesty.”
I nod weakly. The soreness is beginning to bother me. He trails behind me with his back bent as we walk out Qing Feng Chamber. “Your Majesty, the battle appeared to have died down in the evening. You ordered the palace to be in lockdown so we denied Marshal Heng entry several times, I am afraid…”
“Go ahead and make preparations. I wish to bathe,” I command, ignoring what he says.
The steam rises into the air, clouding my view of the exquisite decor.
Only after soaking in the hot water with the cool, white marble against my back does my body relax a little. The tense feeling suddenly goes away and the soreness and fatigue becomes more apparent with the heat coming from the bathwater. The unbearable pain that accompanied every step I took has totally disappeared but sensation starts to rush back into the numb lower half of my body with the help of the water. Frequent but not strong, tingly waves of sensation make me shudder with every movement.
Cupping the unclouded water with my hands to clean myself, I notice that my chest and shoulders are teeming with hickeys, the bluish and purplish colour appearing all the more obvious. Unknowingly, I rub my neck and then laugh helplessly. I know even without looking in a mirror that this place is probably dark red like I got bitten by a dog.
Soaking in the water makes me really drowsy. I close my eyes, ready to fall asleep in this steamy room.
“Your garments have been gathered, Your Majesty,” a woman says shakily after a while. I blink open my eyes, coming out of my daze, and see a few women holding some clothing on their arms on the other side of the thin veils, their heads bowed low on the far side of the tub.
Although I know they won’t look around recklessly, I press myself lower into the water, letting the liquid wash over me. They put down the clothing and leave after performing the rituals.
I bathe for a little bit longer before getting up. I grab a loose bath robe and slip it on. Only when I see the mirror before me do I discover I really haven’t taken a good look at myself for a long time.
The eyes are still my eyes but something about it has changed.
The same ink black eyes have been shrouded with fog and are no longer pellucid.
I draw near and then I notice after taking a closer look that my face looks bruised, the corner of my lips are torn and there are still bloody scabs on them that seem to be from the fight. Then I touch my neck and there is a ring of maroon that stretches all around it. No collar would be tall enough to cover it.
Shit. Going out like this would definitely…
I’m shaking with fury. That fucking bastard!!
“Son of a bitch. I’m going to kill him one of these days,” I spit venomously. Out of nowhere, I hear something knocking against the ground. I whip my head back to see Liu An kneeling there with quivering shoulders.
I quickly fix my expression to appear stern and dignified. “What is it?”
“Marshal Heng has forced his way into the palace, saying he wants to see You, Your Majesty, and no one could stop him.”
I put the palace under lockdown before I left in the evening with the excuse that I was not feeling well, not permitting anyone to enter, including Heng Ziyu. It’s not surprising that he grew suspicious after such a long time, but to be this heedless and barging in…
Footsteps are heading for me. Alarmed, I put on an outer robe without even taking off the bathrobe. Liu An rush over to help me and just when we have pulled the collar up in an attempt to hide the marks on my neck, the doors swing open.
Heng Ziyu is standing outside the door with a flinty stare. Behind him a poor attendant is cowering behind the door. I cough and pretend to look up carelessly. “Marshal?”
He steps over the doorstep and bows slightly. “I beg Your forgiveness for it is difficult to perform the rituals while in armour.”
I’m starting to feel uncomfortable from his intense look. This isn’t because I am self-conscious but because even this reasonable excuse seems to be a bit out of place.
“Please rise, Marshal.”
He does as he is told and stands before me, his eyes still bright. “How are You feeling?” I nod and stop his inquiries with a wave of a hand. “Fine after some sleep. Give me the report on the war.”
He puts his hands behind his back and briefs me on the situation after a short pause. The Yan’s attacks were unusually fierce after night fall and they took control of the area around An Shang Gate again. However, our troops managed to hold strong with the height and protection of the walls. It is almost dawn now and the attacks are sparse.
I let out a sigh of relief after the last bit. “That is good to hear.”
I shift over to get a cup of tea. I turn back as I sip the tea and clash into his gaze which causes me to stop dead in my tracks.
His eyes have stopped on my neck, filled with astonishment. In this room with dim candlelights, all I can see is the astonishment.
Slowly, Heng Ziyu looks up to my face, the flinty spark in his eyes gone, leaving only hints of depression. I realise with a start—I let go of the collar of the robe earlier when I grabbed the tea cup. The wounds on my face and the marks around my neck must all lay exposed to him right now.
I start feeling self-conscious now. No matter how dark the hall is, there is no way he cannot see when he is this close to me. And a man his age would certainly know what kind of marks these are.
This feels as embarrassing as being caught cheating.
I lower my gaze only to feel more embarrassed. There was so little time I didn’t have enough time to even tie the belt. The wet bath robe inside is completely showing and stuck to my skin. The silk robe becomes wet easily and is almost see-through as it sticks to me.
My heart is pounding. I clutch the cup in my hand, not knowing where to put my eyes. His towering figure is like a wall, blocking me without moving at all.
I look down and notice that his arm has been roughly bandaged. I suppose he got hurt.
“You’re injured, Marshal?” I try to keep my voice flat but I find that my heart is beating even faster and my ears are ringing so loud that I don’t even know if he answered me or not.
Cold air hits my shoulders and I realise one side of the robe has slid off my shoulder.
Alarmed, I try to shrink back but I find that he is holding down my shoulder like a metal strap. In the moments of my bewilderment, he snatches the cup and throws it on the ground. The ugly shattering sound brings me back to present and I wrap the robe around me in a hurry. He regards me with a cold look as he snatches my wrist and touches my neck with the cold fingertips of his other hand.
“Could You tell me what this is?”
My stomach jumps nervously and I can’t form any words. He leans in close and raises his voice. Pulling his arm to the side, he tears down the other collar.
“You’re going to have to forgive me if You do not tell me!”
So embarrassed that I’m angry, I bark at him, “It’s none of your business!”
He stops and glares at me with eyes like a blade. I gasp and return the look. “Who are you to stick your nose into my business?”
He watches me steadily without further movement, his emotions indecipherable. No more words, no more movement, save for his slightly trembling hand that is holding my wrist.
I grit my teeth and fling his hand away, drawing back speedily. His fingertips scrape across my neck, making me shiver. His burning eyes linger on me, surprisingly appearing glum.
I don’t want to look at him anymore and I drag my robe back into place. “It will be dawn soon. If Marshal Heng wishes to speak about matters with me, I ask that You wait momentarily outside the hall.”
“Your Majesty,” he finally starts talking after a long silence. “You seemed to have been…since yesterday evening. Did You leave the palace?”
This stops my hands from tidying myself.
“Why must You be like this?” he asks quietly while holding eye contact.
The flames in his eyes start to flicker and just when it appears to almost burst out, he sweeps his arm out and whisks me into his embrace. He snatches my hand again and presses it to his chest. His freezing, metal armour makes me shiver.
The rusty smell of blood is so chilling but his tone of voice is so gentle I feel my heart clenching.
“Why must you… Don’t you trust me?”
I look at him dumbly. My mind is in a mess. I have no idea why he has said that all of a sudden.
The next thing I know, he tilts my face up and kisses me—breaching my lips with the cold of the night and a tinge of bloodshed.
Within the darkness in his eyes, flames seem to have been lit once again.
My senses come back to me and I shove him away, stepping back while catching my breath.
He looks confused while I point at the door, shaking and trembling, even my voice. “Out! Get out!”
Heng Ziyu keeps scrutinizing me and when he finally turns around, he leaves without looking back. As I watch him leave, I collapse on the ta with a tightly uncomfortable throat.
On the other hand, the sky outside the palace gradually starts to lighten. The morning rays seep in and drive away the darkness within.
ayszhang: Heng fans!!! Did any of you see that kiss coming? >u> hehehehe...
We're getting closer to the end!!! OAO *DUNDUNDUN*
On a side note, I would like to express my condolences for the brave souls who faced the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party in 1989. Today marks the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre when what was originally a peaceful protest, consisting mainly of university students, for human rights and against corruption turned into a violent clash after the government sent out over 300,000 soldiers to clear out the protest. Tanks and bombs were utilised in the process and hundreds, and some predict thousands, were killed. Afterwards, news of this incident was and is still completely covered up within Mainland China. The families of the deceased never received any sort of recognition or compensation. Now, before this gets too political, let me just say: May you all rest in peace. We are all praying for China to be liberalised as you once dreamt. 🙏
Cold Sands - English Translation by ayszhang is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.