Upon opening the door, he saw Yun Shishi reading a story to his brother.
Youyou's eyes were shut tightly, seemingly having fallen asleep. His mother's voice gradually softened when she saw that the child had gone to sleep and intended to end the story there.
From the doorway, Little Yichen's rueful voice came. "Mommy, can you continue reading that story to the end? I still want to hear it."
She turned in the voice's direction and saw the boy craning his neck as he crouched at the doorway. She did not know how long he had been there.
"Why are you just sitting there?" she asked bemusedly.
"I can't sleep and want to hear mommy tell a story." He supported his cute, chubby, little face with his hands. Squinting his eyes, he produced soft, crystalline laughter. "Mommy's voice is so nice, and the story is interesting. Can mommy continue reading it to me? I wish to know what happens to the princess."
She gently smiled and patted the bed.
He was touched. He closed the door and crept to the bed, careful not to wake his brother with his movements.
She reached out and put him into her embrace.
Never once had anyone read fairy tales to him before bed. Earlier, when he stood at the doorway, he saw her gently caressing Youyou's forehead while she read the story and suddenly felt very envious of his younger brother.
For the past seven years, every day, did mommy read stories to him before he slept?
He was truly envious.
At the Mu residence, before he went to bed, he could only hug a doll alone and sleep in a room full of emptiness.
It was very lonely.
"Mommy, continue reading." Little Yichen looked up at her, his gaze full of expectations.
"… Alas, there were traitors in the palace. Once they caught wind of the King leaving on an expedition, they sent out numerous martial arts experts to assassinate the King. The man did not know of this, of course. Just as they were merrymaking, a few masked individuals appeared, making them quiver in fear. Two loyal guards protected the King and Princess Love to the best of their abilities, but the assailants still succeeded in attacking the princess. The King thought that she was dead and, not having enough time to bring her 'corpse' home, fled for his life."
"Mommy, is the princess really dead?"
"No. They only thought that she's dead."
"The king must be heartbroken?"
"Why didn't the king bring the princess home with him?"
"Err…" She was surprised and a little amused by his strong thirst for knowledge. "There's not enough time, I guess? At that time, many people were after the king."
"The princess is so pitiful…" he lamented.
"Don't worry. Fourteen years later, the King will hear news of her survival and will have people put up a notice that whoever brings Princess Love to him will be heavily rewarded! Let me remind you; the princess has a heart-shaped jade pendant with her."
At this point, for reasons unknown, she was startled and stopped reading the story for a moment.
"Heart-shaped jade pendant?" The boy widened his eyes in curiosity. "Is that a token?"
He easily got it and his eyes shone. "There must be only one such jade pendant in the world! Because of this, the person who has it can only be the princess. Mommy, did the King find out the princess then?"
"Don't fret; mommy will continue the story now."