Book One, Chapter 33: Uncle and Nephew

When Li Jianheng had finished smashing his things, he subsided into sobs, face in his hands.

Xiao Chi’ye picked a clear spot amongst the debris and knelt, waiting. A while later, when Li Jianheng had got a hold of himself a little, he finally said, “Oh, get up! You don’t have to kneel there like that. It puts a wall between us as brothers.”

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Book One, Chapter 32: A Night on the Hill

There was nothing but dense, swirling clouds of water vapour, and the steady drumming of rain.

Shen Zechuan went to enter the spring. As he stooped to ease himself in, Xiao Chi’ye was able to clearly trace the curve of his waist and hips from behind, accentuated by the movement.

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Book One, Chapter 31: The Nape

“Then you should definitely take it off.” Xiao Chi’ye untied his vambraces, then placed them, and his great-cloak and over-robes, on a wooden rack under the eaves. The soldiers within the facility’s interior hall made to approach and greet him, but he stopped them with a gesture. Turning back around, his eyes fell back on Shen Zechuan with idle amusement. “Let’s have a look at how a body honed by the Ji Family Precepts differs from mine.”

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Book One, Chapter 30: King of the Wolves

Xiao Chi’ye seemed to have clean forgotten his indiscretion last night as he spurred his horse across the streets, setting off tides of complaints from the roadside vendors. As he arrived at the Palace gates, he caught sight of one of the carriages from the family manor.

Zhao Hui drew up the curtains for Xiao Fangxu, saying, “Er-gongzi is here.”

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Book One, Chapter 28: Drunk in an Alley

The autumn rain in Qu Capital had not stopped falling since the new Emperor’s coronation. Standing atop the high boundary walls of the palace compound, all one could see was the coal-black of old slate roofs, and the bright white lanterns hanging high above the streets. A grey chill lay over the whole city.

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Book One, Chapter 27: Autumn Chill

Shen Zechuan quickly turned his surprise into a smile and said, “Well, it wasn’t an earth-shattering secret anyway… I’ll see you around.”

“Wait till I’m finished,” Xiao Chi’ye was in a pretty good mood today, having got his lost ring back. “Since Ji Gang is your teacher, that makes us brothers under the same sect. I’m older than you, so it wouldn’t be unfair on you to call me “Shixiong“.”

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Book One, Chapter 24: Rainy Night

Lightening flashed, and thunder rumbled. Rain fell like curtains over the night.

Qiao Tianya stood back up. He handed the slim blades to the men behind him for safekeeping and said, “Xiao Ce’an was hit by one of the bolts. He won’t be running far.”

At the bottom of the slope, Xiao Chi’ye and Shen Zechuan sprawled flat in the mud, holding their breath.

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