My Lady (spoiled)

Beside the heater, Ming Qin gently wiped Murong Yan’s wet hair with a cloth, one strand at a time.
She gazed at the silver strands that seemed to have multiplied, causing her eyes to tremble slightly.
Her hands moved with increasing tenderness.

Wrapped in a blanket, Murong Yan lay comfortably with her eyes half-closed, resembling a contented cat whose fur had been groomed.
Her slender feet dangled over the edge of the bed, the soles pink from the recent bath.

As time passed, drowsiness crept over her, and her hair remained damp.
She leaned softly into the arms of the person beside her.

“Wait, we still need to eat,” Murong Yan’s recent lack of proper meals had Ming Qin concerned.
“Can you please eat before sleeping?”

“Mm,” Murong Yan murmured softly, though her hands seemed to protest by clutching at the clothing of the person before her.

Gently patting Murong Yan’s hand, Ming Qin reassured her, “I’ll go to the kitchen first.” With that, she left the room and collided with an employee who had arrived to deliver a message.

“Hey there, miss, just in time,” the employee greeted Ming Qin.

“What is it?” she asked.

“The madam was wondering what your young lady would like to eat,” the employee informed her.

“Only the best, of course.
My lady is quite particular,” Ming Qin replied with a smile.

As they descended the stairs, Murong Yan listened in from behind the door, brushing her hair with a smile on her lips.

“My lady.”

She repeated inwardly.

That was a new one.

The title sounded rather ostentatious, especially when uttered by Ah Qin, whose tone was reminiscent of a wealthy businessman.
Despite this, Murong Yan didn’t dislike it.

She untied her hair, took out a black knot, and tied it up neatly.
Then, she pulled the covers over her body and began putting on the clothes that Ming Qin had prepared for her.

After adjusting the belt and sleeves, Ming Qin nudged the door open with her shoulder and entered the room, carrying the food.

“The food here doesn’t compare to what we had in the capital,” Ming Qin grumbled as she laid out the dishes on the table.
She then lifted Murong Yan, who was weak, and seated her on a cushioned chair.
“And that cook’s work is subpar, at best slightly better than my mother’s,” she added, gesturing with her little finger.

Murong Yan watched as Ming Qin stood, her expression agitated.
The sight amused her, and she quipped, “If your mother were to hear those words, she might be upset.”

“But I wasn’t lying,” Ming Qin protested as she scooped rice onto her plate.
She glanced at the plate of pickled pig’s feet on the table and let out a sigh.
“I think the owner is doing her best.”

After Ming Qin had generously handed over a large sum of coins, the owner had done her best to serve the best food in the entire inn.

In addition to the pickled pig’s feet, she had also prepared several dishes of leafy greens which were difficult to come by in winter.
If she had more time, she might have even killed a chicken in the courtyard to prepare a special dish.

Ming Qin didn’t want to criticize the owner’s intentions, but it was true that there were no skilled cooks or good dishes to be found in this small mountain town.

She could only blame herself for not asking the cooks from the shadow guard camp to give her a few tips.

The shadow guard could only pray that Murong Yan would eat as much as possible to make up for the few pounds she had lost in the past few days.

Murong Yan looked at the pitiful Ming Qin and wanted to laugh.
She calmly ate the dishes that she was not particularly interested in and didn’t complain like she usually would.

The yellowish rice tasted a little hard, not as soft and glutinous as the white rice that the imperial chef usually made, but it was still better than the dry food that had scraped her throat a few days before.

The food was a little bland and lacked seasoning, while the pig’s trotters were too salty and oily.

It seemed that the owner was trying too hard to show her sincerity.

Murong Yan silently commented to herself that the fact that there was more oil, salt, and sauce available did not necessarily mean that the food was tasty.

She struggled to finish half a bowl of rice before she couldn’t eat anymore.

Ming Qin understood Murong Yan’s lack of appetite and didn’t try to persuade her.
She simply finished the remaining food without hesitation.

Unlike Murong Yan, who was picky with food, Ming Qin wasn’t fussy at all.

She loved food and knew how to enjoy it, but she never allowed her taste buds to control her.

As a shadow guard, eating was just a means of sustaining her strength.
Whether it was a delicacy or a simple dumpling, or even leftovers, it was all just a survival tool.

Ming Qin could eat anything without complaint.

As it was already dark, she took the dishes downstairs and brought a basin of hot water to the well, mixing it with the ice-cold water to wash her body, ensuring she didn’t give off any scent as a shadow guard.

Afterward, she changed her clothes in the carriage and went to the stables to inspect the horses and wheels.
Upon returning to the room, she noticed that Murong Yan hadn’t gone to bed yet and was staring out the window at the falling snow, her hand covering her stomach with a frown on her face.

“Are you feeling unwell?”

Murong Yan turned to face Ming Qin, who looked worried, and reassured her, “It’s just a little bloating.”

But inwardly, she couldn’t help but sneer at herself.

What a spoiled princess she had become!

Without the luxury of fine rice and white flour, her body seemed to have grown accustomed to being pampered and protested at the change in diet.

Is she not like a canary that has been kept in captivity and cannot survive without its master feeding it?

What a nuisance.

Ming Qin approached and helped Murong Yan back to bed, gently rubbing her belly while apologizing, “I was careless today.
I will be more careful from now on.”

“Today was already very good.
I have nothing to complain about,” Murong Yan replied.

Forced to suppress her self-loathing, Murong Yan half-lay on the bed and looked at Ming Qin, who sat at the edge of the bed with a guilty face.
She smiled bitterly and said, “It’s me who was too demanding, Ah Qin, please don’t apologize to me.”

“You’re not being demanding,” Ming Qin protested, her eyes sincere.
“All of your feelings should be valued by me.”

As Murong Yan’s hand brushed against Ming Qin’s fingertips on her stomach, her tone remained composed, “Ah Qin, how can I be spoiled when I am like this?”

Ming Qin stopped rubbing Murong Yan’s belly and looked deeply into her eyes, “You are someone who deserves to be loved by the whole world and live every day in happiness without any restrictions.
There’s no such thing as being spoiled for someone like you.”

As soon as she spoke, Ming Qin felt a pang of bitterness in her heart.
Those who had cruelly taken away Murong Yan’s freedom, clipped her wings, and silently suffocated her were the ones who deserved to be punished.

Ming Qin made a silent vow to protect and support Murong Yan, ensuring that she could live a life of luxury and happiness, far away from those wicked people.

Ming Qin’s eyes blazed with rare fury as she gazed at their intertwined hands.

She squeezed the hand, but then quickly eased her grip, afraid of hurting the softness of the interlocking fingertips.
Within the next breath, her expression returned to its usual clarity, and she resumed gently rubbing Murong Yan’s stomach.

Unaware of Ming Qin’s unusual behavior, Murong Yan listened to her words, mulling them over in her mind as if something was stuck in her throat.

Ah Qin always had a way of pulling her back from the brink of despair, easily penetrating the walls of her heart and soothing her emotions.

She had felt this way before, whether it was when she first saw the prosthetic limb, or when she experienced phantom pains, or when she fled from the Hidden Moon Tower, or even in the forest.

Each time, Ming Qin was able to comfort her so easily and stop her distress.

It was as if Ming Qin was meant to be there so that Murong Yan could live as she pleased, and at any moment, she could turn around and see the safety net that Ming Qin had gently woven for her.

In the silence, Murong Yan lifted her empty hand and covered her eyes with the back of her hand, as if trying to suppress the warmth rising from her heart to her eyes.

Ming Qin thought that Murong Yan had fallen asleep, so she silently blew out the oil lamp.

When she felt the steady breaths of the person on the bed, she was about to turn around and leave, but she felt a tug on the corner of her clothes in the darkness.

“Ah Qin, don’t go,” came a pleading voice.

“Please stay with me.”

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