Less than ideal reunion

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Yuanji was quickly catching up. I ran while he barely tried with his fast strides. Yuanji ate the distance between us with his long legs, and I gasped as I got ready to scream like a little child.

"Don't do that!" Yuanji hissed, seeing me about to let out a scream. "Come back here!"

I ignored him and kept running.

"Stop embarrassing me, He Lian!" His strides hastened to a run, Yuanji was behind me before I could take another breath, his fingers brushed the back of my clothes before I slammed into someone's chest and fell.

I tripped and landed…face first…on the muddy ground.

I groaned, kissing the ground. I wouldn't doubt my expensive clothes are ruined while parts of me are covered with mud.

I heard someone's laughter, it wasn't Yuanji laughing but someone else. Besides, Yuanji wouldn't be laughing right now, he would be scolding me for acting unladylike.

His laughter was carefree, rattling my curiosity. I wanted to see who's laughing at me right now and demand him to stop. I craned my head up to see, while he bent over at the same time, helping me up. Our face got so close that our noses almost touched. He wasn't afraid, he wasn't intimidated, he treated me as though I'm someone familiar to him.

"Jingam!" I murmured and he smiled.

"My, my is this how the infamous women of the house of Yi behave?" He said, his voice soft, almost like a purr. I stared at his bright acorn eyes, he's looking right at me confidently. Jingam is not one you would consider a handsome man, but that never bothered me. His appeal came from his self-assurance, his conviction, the way he carried himself. "I thought a flower from the house of Yi are delicate and graceful? How come you are covered in mud?"

"Nope." Interrupted Yuanji breathily. "That one is a pain in the ass."

"Well, that's true, little bird. You shouldn't make your brother chase you in the courtyard. You know he has frail knees." His carefree laughter erupted louder, he is now making fun of me and my brother.

"Might I remind you, you are the same age as me Jingam."

"False, I'm twenty-three while you're twenty-four." Said Jingam.

"A few months difference."

I jerked away from Jingam's grab.

He let go, and I instantly slid around the mud, my feet trying to find their balance. "Easy now, little bird." He crooned, " a storm just passed not too long ago leaving the ground soft. You might fall face first again."

Jingam watched me struggled and I was glad to have the kind of strong stomach I have. My dance and archery lessons paid off, balancing myself easily like a dancer. "Ah, marvelous stomach you have, even in the mud, you move like a feather. So graceful and so pleasing to the eyes."

My earlier curiosity overcame with irritation and it showed on my reddening cheeks and hardening expression. "Oh, lord Jingam, I never knew your honey tongue had grown both sour and sweat at the same time. Had marriage tainted the tang of your sugar?"

Jingam couldn't help the wild smile creeping up. "Don't be upset little bird, I quite missed our playtime."

"You're annoying!" I told him forgetting all my lady manners.

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