Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 41: Trip Outside
The pure-blood royal and half-blood royal boarded the carriage with the help of their attendants and returned to the palace.
The Emperor stuck by his older brother’s side as they bathed, holding his hands without letting go. After he put Ashiyowa to bed, he quickly crawled in alongside Ashiyowa.
It was still daytime but when the door was shut and the room was dim, the Emperor rubbed his face against Ashiyowa’s warm, clean-shaven cheeks and hugged him.
The Emperor immediately noticed it when Ashiyowa, who hasn’t uttered a word since they left the vermillion gate, called his name.
“What is it, Aniue?”
“Leshe… Even if I’m your brother… or even if I’m not — do you still want to hold me?”
“Then — Then… okay.”
Wondering if his words were serious, the Emperor leaned forward and looked beneath him at Ashiyowa’s expression. Ashiyowa opened his eyes slightly and stared back at the Emperor through black irises.
The Emperor slowly snuck his index finger into Ashiyowa’s mouth and squirmed as if taunting him to entangle it with his tongue.
A tear rolled down from Ashiyowa’s red eyes as he looked up and used his tongue. In a panic, the Emperor hurriedly pulled his finger out, cupped Ashiyowa’s face, and gave his lips a peck.
“I — I’m sorry, was it painful…?”
Within the Emperor’s hands, Ashiyowa shook his head. His tears made a trail as they flowed down from his glistening orbs.
“— Leshe, I… think what the old man taught me is not wrong. But, you… about you, and I… about myself, I can’t think of myself as a royal but if you, if you say you can’t live… if you say you love me, then h-here —”
“You’ll stay here? I can embrace you, Aniue?”
“I want to embrace you; I want to hold you, Aniue. I love you very much.”
With his cheeks slightly reddening, Ashiyowa nodded shyly.
“I like you; I really like you. I love you, Aniue.”
While Ashiyowa hugged the Emperor’s head, the Emperor kissed him deeply. Their tongues entwined, exchanging saliva, licking inside their mouths, and evoking sensuality with the tips of their tongues.
“A lot… love you a lot. I love you, Aniue. Lafos, my Lafoseine…”
“Hn… ngh… a-ah —”
During their intercourse before noon, Ashiyowa — who walked around almost all night, tormented by anguish — abruptly fell asleep as if he lost consciousness the moment before they connected their bodies when he came and released a small amount of semen by the Emperor’s hands for the first time.
The Emperor woke up with Ashiyowa’s body still in his arms.
After a few days, when both their feelings and the intense mood in the air had settled down, the Emperor allowed Ashiyowa to go outside.
“Go and look around the capital, ride a horse-drawn carriage and go the long way, or see the Royal Capital’s Palace’s facade, relax and take your mind off things — and please, you must come back after.”
“Have a good time.”
As he grasped Ashiyowa’s hands, the Emperor kissed Ashiyowa on his lips.
Ashiyowa told the Secretary that he didn’t want to go with the Grey Wolves because it would be like announcing that he was a member of the royal family, so they made it a requirement for those who were going to wear clothes in colors other than grey.
“There will be one attendant and one bodyguard at your side. The rest will be positioned around the three of you and watch over you from a distance, so if anything should occur, they can come to you at once.”
Ashiyowa didn’t think anything would happen but he nodded his head.
They offered him less highly decorated clothes than the royal silks he usually wore but he declined them.
“Don’t we have plainer clothes?!”
After staring for a moment at the chamberlain, he chose the working clothes he wore when building his hut.
The young attendant that accompanied him called “Nukumori” was dressed like a nobleman’s child. He spoke in a soft and polite manner; the disguise suited him well.
The guard was called “Kōseki”, he was a little taller than Ashiyowa, he also had a thick neck and arms. He may have changed out of his grey armor and clothes, but he was still basically a warrior. He had a sword at his waist and appeared to be protecting “Nukumori”, while Ashiyowa took the servant’s role.
“Aniue-sama, what name shall we address you with?”
“Oh, just Ashi is fine.”
“Where would you like to go first?”
The three of them discussed it and decided to take a tour and visit the palace before going home after traveling around the capital by carriage. They prepared an undecorated carriage for four people to ride and two horses.
He got into the carriage using his black-lacquered cane, which didn’t match the working clothes he wore. They passed the vermillion gate after being sent off by the Secretary and several others. After that, he passed through many gates and crossed the moat.
Ashiyowa remembered Wang, the scribe, and made a nostalgic face when “Nukumori” called him that for the first time.
“Wang-san, I wonder how he’s doing —”
The scribe had said that he would remain in the capital and become a court official.
As the carriage passed through the road, they were gradually moving away from the palace, which was surrounded by a moat.
Nobles’ residences lined the area near the Royal Capital, followed by the houses of many government officials. Ashiyowa looked at the houses in the distance as they passed by the gate and looked up at the walls of the Royal Capital.
There were graves and grasslands covering the area around the Royal Capital, Ranukan. Along the flowing river, there were children playing in the water.
The road was different from the one Ashiyowa took when he came to the Capital to have an audience with the Emperor. He stretched his neck and looked around as far as he could while remaining seated inside the carriage.
“That area is suitable for hunting —”
“And that’s where the standing army outside the Royal Capital is stationed —”
“There — is the place where the Royal family often came to play in the past.”
The two people that accompanied him taught him more of the things they knew.
“It seems that lunchtime is near. Shall we have something to eat from the capital’s market?”
After saying this, the attendant whispered to the coachman. The carriage changed direction and headed for the city gate. They went through the gate and entered the city, a place bustling with people.
They got out of the carriage as near as possible to the market and Ashiyowa wore his hat again while he held his cane in his other hand. A purse to carry the leftover traveling expenses was tucked in his obi.
Ashiyowa asked for a bag to put things in, but what they offered to him was a drawstring bag with white pearls sewn tightly on a black background, which he thought was more valuable than the silver and bronze coins he could put in it.
He was more scared of losing the purse than of losing his money.
The three of them walked with “Nukumori” on the front, followed by Ashiyowa and “Kōseki” in the back.
All kinds of goods were lined up in the market, including clothes, swords, small accessories, books, and old miscellaneous articles. There were also simple foods for common people sold at many stalls.
The attendant who was dressed like a child of a nobleman had the merchants politely bowing and waving at him as if asking him to buy some from them. However, there was a lot of shouting going on here and there.
“Tasty Rinze Rinze! Sweet and fresh from harvest!”
“How about a sauced grilled boar!”
“This cloth is five copper coins?! Do you have holes for eyes?”
“Hey there, young man! How about one?”
“Young girl! Put on this hairpin for free! Try this hair accessory. You’ll look prettier!”
The market was full of life, just as it looked. Ashiyowa couldn’t help but feel like a country bumpkin and wasn’t able to stop staring here and there.
“Ashi-dono, if you find anything you want to eat —”
“Oh, yes — then, that please…”
He pointed at the “Bere-yaki” which were simply chopped vegetables that were grilled on a griddle over a lively fire sprinkled with Bere salt.
He had seen a demonstration of this dish before and thought about wanting to try it since then.
“Shall I go and buy it for you?”
Hearing “Kōseki” offer to do this for him, Ashiyowa hurriedly shook his head and approached the stall with his hand on the purse nestled within his obi.
“Um, how much for three?”
“Welcome! It’s one copper!”
“Nukumori” tried to pay for it but Ashiyowa stopped him with his eyes and took out one copper from his purse. He tucked the conspicuous bag away and paid it to the sweaty woman at the food stall.
“Thank you! Come again!”
She served them the Bere-yaki wrapped in big leaves. “Kōseki” received it quickly while “Nukumori” grabbed wooden chopsticks for three people from the stall’s chopstick box.
Behind the stall, there were loads of packages, scraps, and boxes lying around to sit on.
Within the tree shade, Ashiyowa propped his cane by the tree and put his hat above his feet while he was offered wrapped Bere-yaki and chopsticks from both sides.
“Thank you — Let’s eat.”
“We humbly receive.”
It was his first time eating food with Bere salt, so he wasn’t sure if he could eat it. But from what he smelled, he thought it should be okay.
It might have been a little salty but it went well with this rough dish.
“It’s piping hot, isn’t it…”
As they watched over Ashiyowa while he eagerly started to eat, the attendant took a bite too. Beads of sweat started to show in his dark-toned face and his mouth puckered from the hot food.
“Kōseki” finished eating his food the fastest so he observed their surroundings while waiting for the other two to finish eating their share.
After that, the three of them went back among the crowd and re-entered the market.