One lifetime, one partner (being flirted with)

For the past few days, while out in the field, Ming Qin had given Murong Yan exclusive use of the carriage, choosing instead to sleep with the horses, bundled up in blankets.

In fact, Ming Qin had never slept in a proper bed while on a mission.

Typically, even when on guard duty, she would doze off on a beam or a roof tile while maintaining vigilant watch over her surroundings.

However, on this particular night, it was raining heavily, so Ming Qin had planned to take shelter in the carriage’s corridor and rest while keeping watch.

“I’m not sure if it’s a good idea,” Ming Qin hesitated, eyeing the bed that could accommodate two people but still feeling uneasy.
She scratched her head and continued, “It just doesn’t feel right.”

In the darkness, Murong Yan’s eyes glimmered, and she grasped the corner of Ming Qin’s shirt tightly as she spoke softly, “Ah Qin and I have never been bound by rules.”

Ming Qin misunderstood Murong Yan’s meaning, thinking she was ignoring the lack of discipline among the shadow guards when it came to the county princess.
Ming Qin apologized guiltily, “I’m sorry.
I’ll be more disciplined from now on.”

Seeing her silly expression, Murong Yan couldn’t help but adopt a different tone.
“Ah Qin, I’m a bit scared to be alone,” she confided.

Upon hearing Murong Yan’s words, Ming Qin immediately swore, “You don’t have to be afraid.
I’ll stay outside and stay alert.
If there’s a bad guy, I’ll be the first to take care of them.
You can rest assured.”

“But it’s my first time staying in this inn, and I’m still a bit uneasy,” Murong Yan confessed.
Her eyes looked moist in the darkness, and she clutched Ming Qin’s arm with her cold hand.
“Will you stay with me, please?”

Ming Qin had never been able to resist the soft voice of the woman in front of her, so despite feeling a bit uneasy, she agreed.

After moving the heater closer to Murong Yan, she checked the latch on the window and locked it.
Then she leaned against the edge of the bed at the end closest to the door and lay down, still fully dressed.

The woman on the bed rolled over and faced Ming Qin.
“Ah Qin, I’m cold,” she murmured softly.

“But the heater is already burning too hot.
Adding more charcoal wouldn’t be wise,” Ming Qin explained, turning to face Murong Yan and speaking in a hushed tone to avoid angering her.

“I want to hold you,” Murong Yan said, stretching her arm out of the blanket towards Ming Qin.
Her eyes were obscured by the darkness, but they conveyed longing and attachment.

Ming Qin moved closer and rested one hand on Murong Yan’s pillow while the other rested on her back.

“Go to sleep,” she whispered.

The woman’s soft breath brushed against the side of her neck, tickling her slightly.

In the next moment, Ming Qin felt the familiar, silky softness of Murong Yan’s lips on hers.
Murong Yan tilted her head slightly, and her breath was a bit uneven against Ming Qin’s.

Ming Qin leaned down thoughtfully, so that the woman in her arms didn’t have to strain.
The shallow kisses became longer and more passionate.

Murong Yan touched the person in front of her on the throat with one hand and climbed onto her back with the other.
Their lips pressed against each other, exchanging heat and desire.

There was a noticeable temperature difference between them, and Murong Yan anxiously sought a hotter temperature from the heat source in her arms.

When she finally got the warm spring she wanted, she took it into her mouth and let the heat build up, swallowing it reverently bit by bit until she couldn’t take it anymore.

The warmth spread through her limbs, and Murong Yan’s fingers gripped Ming Qin’s clothes as if they were being electrified.

After a long time, it seemed like her body had become a warm spring as well.
Reluctantly, she moved away, gasping for breath.

Ming Qin pressed her lips against the woman’s slightly sweaty forehead, tasting the saltiness.
She spoke in a muffled voice, “You’re too hot now.”

“No, I’m not,” Murong Yan smiled and retorted, still feeling the sweetness in her mouth.

“This is just right.”

The following day, the winter sun rose slowly, prompting Ming Qin to wake up and wash before dawn.

Meanwhile, the woman on the bed was still asleep, exhausted from the previous night’s activities.
Moving stealthily like a cat, Ming Qin prepared Murong Yan’s clothes before tiptoeing downstairs to inquire from the staff about a good restaurant in the vicinity.

Ming Qin did not want to disturb the restless woman too early, so she waited until daylight before returning to her room.
To her surprise, Murong Yan was already up and dressed, looking refreshed and energized.

Ming Qin knelt in front of the bed and carefully adjusted the straps on Murong Yan’s prosthetic limb.
She then informed her, “Someone just told me there’s a morning market next door, and there’s a small stall selling delicious hot cakes.
Would you like me to go buy them for you while you wait here?”

However, Murong Yan shook her head and said, “I’ll come with you.”

Ming Qin hesitated, concerned that the journey might be too much for Murong Yan, despite the short distance.

“I can do it, Ah Qin.
Let me try, please?” Murong Yan’s face was calm, but her words carried a sense of determination.

“Okay,” Ming Qin finally agreed.

Ming Qin nodded at Murong Yan, “I’m right here with you.
Let me know if you can’t take it anymore.”

It was easy for her to carry Murong Yan in her arms and walk around.

After helping Murong Yan put on her robe, Ming Qin led her downstairs.
She explained their situation to the owner and they slowly made their way towards the morning market.

Despite it being less than a cup of tea’s worth of walking, Murong Yan found it challenging to walk.
Her face turned pale, and she clenched her lips tightly, causing Ming Qin’s heart to skip a beat as she watched from behind.

Finally, as they approached the entrance sign of the morning market, Murong Yan couldn’t bear it any longer and stopped, gasping for air.
“Ah Qin, I can’t go any further.”

Ming Qin took a step forward, lifting Murong Yan’s hips and wrapping her arms around her.

“It’s already very good.
That was a long walk,” she coaxed gently, afraid of discouraging her.
“Yan Yan is doing great.
If you can’t stand it, just tell me.
We can take our time.
There’s no rush.”

Removing her cloak, Ming Qin half-hid Murong Yan in her arms and slowly made their way towards the morning market.
Fearing that the crowded marketplace might be too much for Murong Yan to handle, Ming Qin placed her on a bamboo bench near the entrance before excitedly jumping into the market.

Holding her cheek, Murong Yan looked at Ming Qin’s impulsive attitude as if she wanted to buy everything.
She wanted to laugh, but her view was suddenly blocked by the figures of some men.

“Hey beautiful, why are you here alone? Who are you waiting for?”

The man in fancy clothes at the forefront of the group looked at the maskless Murong Yan with a teasing smile.
“Aren’t you waiting here for your ideal husband, me?”

The men behind him whistled and roared with laughter at his words.

Murong Yan was not angry, but rather bored by the men’s advances.

She wanted to get up and leave, but her weak legs were still trembling slightly, so she had to be patient and replied, “I am indeed waiting for someone to please me, but fortunately it’s not you.”

The men were even more enthusiastic when they saw that the woman in civilian clothes had the courage to talk back.
“Aigoo! You’re a very clever and articulate girl, too good for an ordinary man with such a beautiful face,” said the man in the lead confidently as he straightened his collar.
“I’ll have to keep you company.”

Meanwhile, the guard with a sword at his waist seemed familiar with the process and echoed his master’s words, “This young master is the second son of the current Minister of Justice, isn’t he? If you were to become his concubine, you would be a phoenix on a branch.”

The Ministry of Justice?

Isn’t that the most corrupt faction, the department where the Crown Prince and his men control the dismissal, promotion and transfer of civil officials and use their power to manipulate the court?

Moreover, the son of the Minister of Justice is a notorious playboy, known for oppressing the people and taking advantage of women.
He’s just a bully in the skin of a government official.

As Murong Yan thought about this, she lowered her voice and spoke unpleasantly, “A good bird chooses a tree to live in.
Furthermore, I have only ever envied those in true love, and I have never wanted to be a concubine.
I’m afraid this withered branch will have to look elsewhere.”


The man in the fancy clothes froze for a moment, taken aback by the comparison to a withered branch made by this common woman, and was momentarily speechless.

“However, you are right about one thing.”

With contempt in her eyes, Murong Yan looked at the man in front of her, dressed up in flashy clothes that announced to the world he was a son of a nobleman, and coldly snorted, “All the men in the world are indeed unworthy of me, including your father.”

The man’s face turned red with fury as he shouted, “You foul-mouthed woman! I want to see if you can still talk back in bed, underneath me!”

The man’s unpleasant roar had annoyed Murong Yan to the point where she was about to get up and leave.

As she made a move to go, the man reached out to grab her collar, but before he could lay a hand on her, another woman appeared in front of him.

Tall and smiling, she held two hot cakes in her hand as she knocked the man’s hand away with lightning speed.

But her eyes shone with a ferocious light, and she glared at him, making the man feel a bit intimidated.

“What do you want from my lady, sir?” Ming Qin stepped forward to protect Murong Yan behind her.

“I’m in pain!” The man in fancy clothes suddenly swung his hand around and wailed loudly.

“How dare you hit me? Men!” Several guards with swords gathered around them, drawing their swords in an intimidating manner, arrogantly.

“Does it hurt?”

Ming Qin didn’t feel any tension.
She just tilted her head in confusion and clenched her hand.
She thought she hadn’t hit him very hard, just a light tap.

“How will you make amends to me now!” The man in fancy clothes roared, veins appearing on his neck.

Behind her, Murong Yan frowned, about to speak up, but Ming Qin reached out to stop her.

Handing Murong Yan the hot cakes, Ming Qin smiled reassuringly and whispered, “Don’t make a sound.
Don’t let anyone spot you.”

Ming Qin turned around, her smile gone, and faced the group of men with a serious expression.
“If that’s what you want, an eye for an eye, then I’ll let you give me a punch.”

The man in fancy clothes was surprised by the woman’s proposal.
His eyes widened, and he responded with excitement, “That’s what you said!”

The man sized up Ming Qin, who appeared plain and was dressed shabbily, without any intention of showing her mercy.

He licked his lips and advanced towards her, flicking his wrist.
Observing her calm and unconcerned expression, he yelled, “Don’t you even think about dodging!”

Ming Qin remained carefree and said, “Go ahead, I won’t dodge.” She spread her legs slightly and hugged her arms to her chest.


The man clenched his fist and bent down to gather strength, twisting his back and punching Ming Qin in the face.

Despite feeling as though he had hit a hard, rocky surface and experiencing intense pain, the man remained smug as he watched Ming Qin get knocked backwards from the impact of his punch.

Ming Qin stood up straight and calmly asked, “So, are you satisfied now?”

Her swollen cheek didn’t seem to faze her.

The man in fancy clothes looked at Ming Qin in horror.
He couldn’t believe that she didn’t seem to feel any pain after taking his punch.

“Don’t you… feel any pain?” he asked, his voice shaking.

Ming Qin calmly touched her swollen cheek and replied, “No, I don’t.”

The man couldn’t understand her calm and fearless demeanor, and muttered, “You’re crazy!”

He quickly gathered his guards and left, still in shock.

Ming Qin was a bit confused by their reaction, but also relieved that they had gone.

Ming Qin smiled, unfazed by the redness of her cheek, and turned to look at Murong Yan with concern.
“Would you like to try the hot cakes and see if they’re good?”

But Murong Yan kept her head down.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like them? Should I get you something else?” Ming Qin crouched down, only to find Murong Yan with red eyes, as if she had been crying.
In that moment, anger surged within her, and her eyes glinted with murderous intent.
“Did those men hurt you?”

The sword was drawn.

Murong Yan remained silent, and only spoke after a brief pause.

“You’re really stupid.”

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