Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 22: Recovery
It was hot. His breath was heavy and his body was drenched. Sweat ran down his forehead to his eyelids. As he drew in a breath, Ashiyowa opened his eyes. He saw white.
“―Does it still hurt?”
The voice came from above and when he looked up, he found his self-proclaimed half-brother.
Ashiyowa was naked. Stripped from his nightwear, he was left completely bare aside from the bandage wrapped around his waist down his right leg. He was lying on top of the Emperor’s body, equally bare, and when he tried to move away, his wrists were held down.
“Aniue, look… You’re still…”
The Emperor’s body was similarly coated in sweat, his warm breaths brushing against Ashiyowa’s ear. Laying down on his back, the Emperor entwined their fingers, squeezing Ashiyowa’s hand. Ashiyowa wanted to scream.
Struggling to pull his hand away, Ashiyowa trembled, only to fall back onto the Emperor’s chest. He was by himself the last he remembered; he should have been sleeping alone in the forest. Yet, before he knew it, a white tent with a cone-shaped ceiling and circular walls had been set up and a futon was laid onto the ground. There were now two of them under the candlelight.
Ashiyowa felt something hard against his thighs, the other man’s desire was obvious. But, he was still frightened and hugged himself even tighter. It had only been about a day since. He tried summoning the last of his strength to move away from the futon, but pale arms wrapped around his waist and he was pulled back into the Emperor’s embrace. The Emperor buried his face into Ashiyowa, his mouth and nose rubbing against his chest.
“Aniue is in pain…”
His muffled voice made Ashiyowa sick.
Speaking of which, the discomfort in his body seemed to have subsided, along with the sharp strokes of pain that tormented his head. Though his leg was bandaged, he felt like he could bend and stretch his knees.
Without thinking, Ashiyowa looked down onto the face that had buried itself in his chest. Dishevelled strands of golden hair scattered across the Emperor’s face, but his misty blue eyes had a certain clarity to them as he faced Ashiyowa. His plump lips were glossy and red, and his white skin was like a snowfield, flushed with red.
Ashiyowa flinched at the sight. You wouldn’t think the person in front of him wore the same face as the beast who had hungrily devoured him the night before. His arms stretched out, grabbing Ashiyowa’s shoulders and stroking his back. Ashiyowa felt the Emperor’s hot breath against his skin, his face pressed against Ashiyowa’s chest.
Without thinking, Ashiyowa almost let out a strange voice, but desperately suppressed it. Beads of perspiration continued to drip down his body.
It felt like the very core of his being was burning. He recalled a sensation that awakened every corner of his body. He remembered the Emperor’s intoxicated face, excited by the heat, and suddenly, his waist and legs felt lighter. Looking down, the white bandage around his right leg had come undone. With the bandages loosened, he could now bend his knees, just as he thought. Freed from the restraints, Ashiyowa let out a breath. With the bandages off, Ashiyowa had nothing to hide his body and was now completely naked, like the Emperor.
To prevent any further misunderstandings, the Emperor visited the dense forest with a group, carrying Ashiyowa’s lunch. Seeing his half-brother curled up as if to protect himself, he gave instructions for a tent and futon to be set up. He approached Ashiyowa, whimpering, and embraced his curled back, trembling from the cold. He was pushed away this morning, but with a glance at his hands overflowing with so much power, he knew what he had to do.
He began stripping the both of them, placing Ashiyowa onto the futon before climbing in. Wherever their bare skin touched, he felt a sweet numbness arise. Through his lips, he transferred some water into Ashiyowa’s mouth and hugged him tightly. At a glance, Ashiyowa’s body looked long and lanky, but his muscles were well-shaped, and as you could guess from his diet, he had no fat at all. The Emperor ran his eyes over Ashiyowa’s body, admonishing himself as he almost forgot his purpose. Gently, he lifted his palm and gradually began exerting his power. The relentless bite patterns and bloodstains that littered the nape of Ashiyowa’s neck, shoulders, and chest slowly disappeared. In the midst of his fever, Ashiyowa felt a strange sensation from his core. It was as if he was melting, the pain slowly dissolving.
He woke up, soaked. Though people with black hair and eyes were common in the country, Ashiyowa’s features somehow seemed a little different. As Ashiyowa’s hot breath stabilised, the Emperor became excited when their eyes met. Their wet skin was stuck together, melded to each other, and the bandages that were wrapped around Ashiyowa had untangled earlier as he was turning around in the bed.
Ashiyowa’s right leg could bend without any issues and the pain was gone.
Despite the events of the previous day, the Emperor desperately fought against the urge to press his body against Ashiyowa’s. But as he released Ashiyowa, a quick peek at his body told him that he wasn’t ready to accept the Emperor again, both physically and mentally. Yes, that was only natural. Not much time had passed since he had done that.
I want to touch him…
No, he couldn’t. Not now.
I don’t want to hurt him again… I want to put my finger in.
Not now. It’s too soon.
While pressing his forehead against Ashiyowa’s chest, the Emperor’s internal struggle to fight against his instinct continued.
I want to taste him…
He didn’t want to subject his brother to such brutality again, he wanted to bring him pleasure, to properly join their bodies together.
The Emperor clenched his teeth.
“… Aniue … I’ll never do such a terrible thing again … I won’t hurt you … I won’t be rough. Please forgive me…”
He released his hands and broke apart from Ashiyowa for a moment, before squeezing their fingers together even tighter. Drops of sweat trickled down the tips of his hair.
“I love you.”
Ashiyowa was surprised by the Emperor’s sudden behaviour. After tucking Ashiyowa into the futon, the Emperor left the tent.
Stars stretched across the night sky. A chamberlain offered him an outer robe as he stepped on the soil and walked away.
“I’ve released the pain. Help him refresh, he’s drenched,” the Emperor spoke to the Secretary of Ryokuen in the dark.
“Please, Your Majesty. You must take care of yourself. We’ve readied the bath and prepared some food.”
“―Before that, call a concubine,” the Emperor interrupted. He had to get rid of the heat within his body. If not, he might be tempted enough to turn back.
“Certainly, Your Majesty.”
At his request, a chamberlain was promptly sent out.
The sight of his pale, dewy skin tinged orange under the candlelight was bewitching. The Emperor knew then that even if he called upon the most beautiful princesses, none could compare to Ashiyowa.
Despite the darkness of the night, the reflection of white flowers in full bloom stretched across the garden pond. He vaguely remembered that only half of these flowers were predicted to bloom at this time. For a while, the Emperor gazed at the elegant flowers in silence.