Jun Huailang had only just woken up, but he could see the situation in the room clearly.

He saw Consort Shu’s tear-filled face heave a sigh of relief, he saw the kneeling imperial physician surprised at having recovered from an impossible situation, and he also saw Diancui turning around and leaving with an unnatural expression on her face.
She was trying to play dumb and rushed to carry out Consort Shu’s order before it could be taken back. 

Jun Huailang immediately stopped her.
“Diancui-gugu,[1] I’m a little thirsty,” he said hoarsely.

He had learned this time — although it was despicable to pretend to be weak, it really was useful.

Diancui was stopped by him, so she could only awkwardly turn around and pour him a cup of tea.
“Your Grace is finally awake.
Madam was very worried,” she said while passing the cup to him.

“I was merely chilled by the wind,” Jun Huailang said.
He slowly sipped the cup of water, then feigned confusion and asked, “Diancui-gugu, where were you going just now?”

Diancui paused and looked at Consort Shu.

After learning that Jun Huailang only had a cold, Consort Shu was relieved.
She also didn’t want him to hear those shameful accusations.
She wiped her tears and said, “She was just going with the imperial physician to get a prescription.”

Speaking of which, she gave the imperial physician a sideways look.
“Aren’t you leaving?”

The imperial physician had just been granted amnesty and escaped disaster.
He said yes many times and crawled up from the floor.
Smiling at Diancui so widely his eyes disappeared, he requested, “Please lead the way.” 

Diancui secretly ground her teeth and led him out.

Only then did the maid guarding the door dare to cautiously say, “My Lady, His Highness the Fifth Prince and Head Eunuch Zheng have arrived.”

Consort Shu wiped away her tears and said softly, “Let them in.”

The maid complied and two people entered. 

“What happened last night?” Consort Shu asked.

Xue Yan didn’t speak, and Zheng Guangde didn’t dare speak either while standing next to him.
After a bit, Consort Shu became impatient.
She picked up a chayote on the table next to her and threw it at Zheng Guangde.
“Are you mute?”

Jun Huailang rushed to speak.
Because he was a bit anxious, his throat tightened and he started coughing.
This time it wasn’t an act.
The cough made his face extremely flushed and tears welled up in his eyes.

Consort Shu rushed to his side.

A pair of amber eyes, which had always been cold and aloof, unconsciously fell on him.

Jun Huailang managed to stop coughing for a moment.
Voice hoarse, he comforted Consort Shu with a smile.
“It’s ok, Gumu.
My throat was just a bit itchy.”

Consort Shu promptly yelled for a maid.
“After the imperial physician picks up the medicine, have him brew a dose and bring it here before he leaves!”

Jun Huailang raised his eyes.
They were still teary from coughing, but he looked at Xue Yan.
“I just thought of it when I saw you.
Yesterday, I left my cloak with you.
If it’s convenient, please send it back to me.”

A single cloak wasn’t worth much, but Jun Huailang wanted to start a conversation to tell Consort Shu what Zheng Guangde dared not say.

Sure enough, Consort Shu asked, “What cloak?”

Jun Huailang smiled and said casually, “I saw His Highness arrive yesterday.
I was a little curious, so I went to have a look before going to bed.
I saw that his room had no dilong,[2] no fire, and the bedding wasn’t prepared, so I lent my cloak to His Highness first.”

He smiled in embarrassment.
“Who knew I would catch a cold.”

Consort Shu frowned and looked at Zheng Guangde.

“You arranged this?” Consort Shu asked, voice chilly.

She had received an imperial decree that went against her own wishes, so she had thrown a tantrum for a while.
Everything had been left to servants to arrange.
But just because she didn’t like the kid didn’t mean she wanted to mistreat him.

Because she disliked him, he lacked clothing and couldn’t even have bedding in her palace — this kind of thing was too tasteless, she would never do that!

Zheng Guangde grumbled in his heart but quickly said, “It is all due to this servant’s carelessness, this servant will go rearrange His Highness’s residence immediately! Madam, don’t worry, I will definitely arrange it properly!”

Jun Huailang added, “Make some more clothes for him too.
His Highness brought very little luggage, so I suppose he didn’t bring many clothes to keep warm.”

Zheng Guangde quickly complied.

Xue Yan stood alongside like an outsider, silent.
It was as if the conversation between these few people had nothing to do with him, and he did not respond.

But he listened to it all.

Xue Yan looked at the young master of the Jun family, who was like a sly little fox.
In just a few words, he had swept these people into his scheme.

And the purpose of this was actually to benefit a complete stranger like himself.

Xue Yan had never cared about these things.
Even if no one cared, it wasn’t a big deal for him to live in that cold and damp room for a winter.
Last night was a complete accident.
He would soon find some means of obtaining candles, resolving the only thing he was slightly scared of.
But this young master was more anxious than himself.
He was obviously still sick, but the first thing he did was fight for those insignificant benefits for Xue Yan.

A strange feeling emerged in Xue Yan’s heart.
It was a little hot and a little numb, like an organ that had been frozen and unconscious for a long time was being warmed.
It suddenly felt alive again.

He recalled the cloak draped over him last night.
Warm and soft, with the fragrance of white birch.
He had been walking alone in the cold night for a long time.
Although he was not affected by the cold, it’s not that he disliked warmth. 

… He just never felt it before.

His usually calm mind was suddenly in disorder.
He glanced at Jun Huailang, and saw him lying there looking sickly and sipping hot water.
Occasionally he coughed and a layer of sweat covered his forehead.

Xue Yan suddenly became clear-headed.

Although Jun Huailang insisted that he was suffering from the cold, Xue Yan never forgot that he was an evil star.
He had been an evil star since birth and would bring misfortune to others.
When all’s said and done, no one could say for sure whether Jun Huailang’s illness was brought to him because of Xue Yan’s fate.

After all, every single person around Xue Yan had met with misfortune.
It was a fact that no one around him had a good ending.
He was different from normal people, this random gift of warmth wasn’t something he could dream about.

He should wake up.
He never deserved it.

Jun Huailang was ill for several days.
His body gradually recovered, but he still had nightmares whenever he fell asleep.
He didn’t know who it was, but he was always someone else in the nightmares.
Every time he woke up, his body was freezing and his head covered in cold sweat.
However, he never remembered what happened in the dreams.

Jun Huailang didn’t dare tell anyone. 

He had been reborn once, so naturally he didn’t believe the rumors that Xue Yan cursed everyone around him.
Even if Xue Yan was an evil star, he was the ruthless and vicious type who killed people like flies, and did not rely on some fate to kill people.

Obviously the nightmare had nothing to do with Xue Yan. 

Jun Linghuan was only allowed to enter Jun Huailang’s room when he was almost completely recovered. 

Jun Linghuan’s eyes were red and she was about to cry as soon as she entered the door.
Jun Huailang hurried to coax her.
Only after confirming that her brother was fine did Jun Linghuan relax and begin to chatter with him about the trivial matters of the past few days.

Jun Huailang just sat there and listened to Jun Linghuan chatter.
He couldn’t help smiling.

Jun Huailang thought to himself, compared to the previous life, everything was indeed better.
Now Xue Yan owed him a big favor and no one bullied him here in Consort Shu’s palace.
No matter how beastly Xue Yan was, he would definitely never do what he did in the previous life…

At that moment, Fuyi said from the doorway, “Young Master, the Fifth Prince is here.”

Xue Yan?

Jun Huailang paused and reflexively wanted to hide Jun Linghuan.
But then he came back to his senses and felt that his thoughts were too childish.
They lived in the same palace.
It would be impossible for Xue Yan to not see Jun Linghuan at all.

…… Although he had still hoped that the two of them would never meet in this lifetime.

“Please come in,” Jun Huailang cleared his throat and said warmly.

Xue Yan entered.
The clothes on his body were brand new.
Jun Huailang could tell from a single glance that Zheng Guangde did not dare skimp, the clothes were made from precious tribute brocade from Sichuan. 

Held in his hand was Jun Huailang’s cloak. 

“You came to return clothes?” Jun Huailang was astonished.
That day he had used the cloak as an excuse to say what needed to be said, and forgot about the cloak afterwards.

Xue Yan hummed in acknowledgment.

Fuyi was about to take the cloak, but Jun Huailang walked up and accepted it casually.
“Thank you for making the trip.”

“Is this the Gege[3] who moved in the other day?” Jun Linghuan looked at Xue Yan and asked.

Alarm bells rang in Jun Huailang’s heart.
His hands fisted the cloak tightly.
Behind the warm smile he directed towards Jun Linghuan, his teeth were clenched.

Jun Huailang patted the top of Jun Linghuan’s head and said, “Yes.
This gege will be our aunt’s child in the future.
This means he will be Huan’er’s cousin.
From now on, Huan’er has one more older brother.
He is your real brother, just like me.”

Jun Huailang deliberately chose the words ‘real brother.’ 

After forcing them into this sibling relationship, Jun Huailang just didn’t believe that Xue Yan could have dirty thoughts towards his ‘real’ sister.
If he could still think this way, then it meant he really wasn’t human.
If the time came, Jun Huailang would have to risk it all in a fight to the death and kill Xue Yan.

But over there, Xue Yan was stunned.

He looked at Jun Huailang’s comfortable and gentle smile and those words he spoke seemed to draw a line.
A line that pulled Xue Yan into his sphere of influence.
It was as if he had family now.
He was no longer alone.
This feeling was strange and fascinating to Xue Yan.

Then he heard the little girl ask, “Oh— Then Huan’er will have one more older brother from now on?”

Jun Huailang smiled.
This gege will love Huan’er just like I do.” And saying this, he raised his head to look at Xue Yan.
With a gentle smile in his eyes, he asked, “Won’t you?”

There was an imperceptible threat in his tone.

Jun Huailang didn’t wait for Xue Yan’s answer.
He knew that this person had a cold and reclusive personality and also didn’t talk much.
Xue Yan definitely wouldn’t respond to this kind of language.

Jun Huailang just wanted to show his attitude to Xue Yan.
He had given Xue Yan his cloak a few days ago and fallen ill as a result.
In the midst of his illness he did not forget to help Xue Yan change rooms.
Even now, he shared his little sister, the most lovable person in the world, with Xue Yan.

If Xue Yan still didn’t behave with integrity towards them, then he had no conscience.

But he didn’t notice that Xue Yan’s eyes, normally full of concealed ruthless tyranny and scheming, were actually empty at the moment.

Xue Yan looked at Jun Huailang’s smile and suddenly fell into a daze.
He thought to himself, this time he smiled at me.
This smile wasn’t stolen.

His heart clenched.
A fire started burning in his heart and made him feel restless, to the point where he wanted to reciprocate somehow.

Whatever Jun Huailang wanted, as long as he had it.

After all, only those who have experienced the last ten years of Xue Yan’s life would be able to understand how rare it was for someone to smile at him sincerely without a trace of disgust.
So in a strange turn of events,[4] Xue Yan hummed softly. 

Jun Huailang was taken aback.

He thought he heard wrong, but in the next moment, Xue Yan raised his hand and clumsily placed it on top of Jun Linghuan’s head

“I’ll be your brother from now on.” He didn’t smile.
His face was blank and his tone was very stiff, but Jun Huailang could hear the promise in his voice.

… As well as a hint of affection.

Looking at the scene in front of him, Jun Huailang couldn’t match what was happening in front of him with the contents of the book he’d read in his previous life.

He thought blankly, this means… I did something right these past few days?



[1] 姑姑 paternal aunt, but can also be used to address older women.
In this story, most of the character use “gumu” for blood related & “gugu” for not blood related aunties. [2] 地龙 underground heating system in the imperial city but due to the amount of resources needed to build and use, only implemented in important places such as the emperor and empress’s palaces. [3] 哥哥 older brother, can also be used to address older men of the same generation not related by blood. [4] 鬼使神差 lit.
demons and gods at work; unexplained event crying out for a supernatural explanation.

I rue the day I decided to translate some titles/terms of address and not others, the inconsistency is driving me crazy lol.
Please let me know if anything is confusing or unclear!

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