Lu Jiuchuan woke up and found that Tang Ci was still asleep. He seemed a bit uneasy. His brow was tightly furrowed and his body was a bit stiff. Lu Jiuchuan immediately reached out and hugged Tang Ci tightly in his arms, stroking his back and saying softly, “I’m here. Sleep well.”
Tang Ci felt the warmth of Lu Jiuchuan’s body and obviously relaxed. He peacefully sank into a deep sleep against Lu Jiuchuan’s chest.
He actually slept until noon.
Since being pulled into the card World, Tang Ci hadn’t been able to sleep well every night and was often awakened by nightmares. If he carefully calculated it, he hadn’t slept well for a whole year.
Last night was the night he slept the most.
In the middle of the night, he was tightly held in Lu Jiuchuan’s arms. Perhaps it was Lu Jiuchuan’s presence that reassured him or Lu Jiuchuan’s confession where he finally got what he wanted. In any case, he actually had a dreamless night and slept for more than 10 hours.
He woke up and found a solid chest in front of him. Tang Ci’s face was pressed against Lu Jiuchuan’s chest. The hot body temperature made Tang Ci dazed for a while but once he regained his senses and raised his head, he met a pair of deep and gentle eyes.
There was a warm smile in those eyes. Lu Jiuchuan saw Lu Jiuchuan looking up at him and lowered his head slightly to place a kiss on Tang Ci’s lips. “You’re awake?”
Lu Jiuchuan’s arm was about to be crushed by Tang Ci’s head to the point of numbness but he was reluctant to let go. Previously, Lu Jiuchuan never believed he could sleep with his beloved like this.
Tang Ci was kissed and finally woke up completely.
He remembered last night’s events and his face turned slightly red. He immediately struggled to sit up in Lu Jiuchuan’s arms and tried to look at the time, only to find that the watch on his wrist was missing—by the way, when Lu Jiuchuan kissed him last night, Lu Jiuchuan thought the watch was in the way so he took it off and placed it under the pillow.
Tang Ci found the watch from under the pillow and found it was already 12 o’clock. He was a bit surprised. “I slept for so long?”
Lu Jiuchuan also sat up. He placed his arms around Tang Ci’s shoulder with a smile and said, “You slept so peacefully in my arms. I couldn’t bear to wake you up.”
Brother Jiu’s words were the truth and Tang Ci couldn’t refute them. It was just that Tang Ci was thin-skinned and not full of nonsense like Lu Jiuchuan. He had to look away and hurriedly find some clothes to wear.
Lu Jiuchuan was too presumptuous last night and Tang Ci’s clothes were thrown away after he took them off. The wrinkled ones couldn’t be worn at all, especially the white shirt which was almost wrinkled into a rag.
Tang Ci, “……”
Lu Jiuchuan sensed Tang Ci’s embarrassment and immediately said, “I was wrong. I’ll get you some new clothes to wear.”
He quickly changed into a short-sleeved shirt and went to the car. He found a new shirt and pants from Tang Ci’s luggage in the trunk and took them back to the tent.
Tang Ci was sitting in the tent and waiting for him. Lu Jiuchuan saw that the collarbone exposed over the edge of the quilt was covered with dense hickeys. This was naturally his masterpiece last night.
Lu Jiuchuan smiled and handed the clothes to Tang Ci. He leaned toward the other person’s ear and said, “Xiao Tang, you look so good.”
Tang Ci followed Brother Jiu’s line of sight and saw the red marks on his body. His ears turned red and he quickly hid under the quilt to put on his clothes.
Lu Jiuchuan thought with amusement, ‘Xiao Tang usually looks so serious but he is actually so shy! I don’t know how shy he will be on the day I really eat him clean?’
Tang Ci put on his clothes and returned to his usual serious and calm expression. He briefly washed by the car and turned back to ask, “Where are we going today?”
Lu Jiuchuan came over and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “I will take you on a horseback ride.”
Tang Ci, “……”
Why did Brother Jiu have such a big obsession with horseback riding? Previously in the Card World when Xiao Lou had everyone agree on a secret code for each other, Lu Jiuchuan and Tang Ci had agreed to go horseback riding. Now they had returned to the real world and Lu Jiuchuan hadn’t forgotten this?
Tang Ci couldn’t help asking, “Brother Jiu, do you like to ride horses a lot?”
Lu Jiuchuan stared up at the blue sky and there was a gentle smile on his face. “I set a goal for myself when I was a child. Once I have someone I like in the future, I will take them to the widest grassland to ride a horse. I will hold the person I like in my arms and either gallop on the horse or move slowly on the horse.”
Tang Ci heard this and his heartbeat accelerated.
It turned out that early on, when Xiao Lou asked everyone to agree on a secret code with each other, the words that Lu Jiuchuan said actually had the implicit meaning of ‘I like you’.
It was because he wanted to take his beloved to ride a horse.
Every little boy might have a beautiful dream in their heart. Some people wanted to make a lot of money in the future, drive a luxury car and marry their loved one. Some people wanted to travel the world with their loved one while some people wanted to personally design the most interesting gift for their loved one…
Lu Jiuchuan’s favorite thing as a child was the grassland so he wanted to bring his favorite person to the grassland to ride horses.
This secret code was actually a hint and Lu Jiuchuan’s most obscure confession to Tang Ci.
Lu Jiuchuan looked back at him, eyes serious. “Help me realize this dream, okay?”
How could he reject this request?
Under the gaze of the other person, Tang Ci could only nod. “Yes.”
The smile on Lu Jiuchuan’s face widened immediately. He took Tang Ci’s hand and drove to a nearby town for lunch. Then he continued on the road and rushed to a local horse farm.
There were too many tourists at the tourist attractions, especially the horseback riding field. Many tourists held horses and posed for various photos. There was no romantic atmosphere at all. Lu Jiuchuan did his homework in advance and privately found a local herdsman willing to let him experience it for a price. On the endless pristine grassland, there were only two people and no outsiders would bother them.
The herdsman repeatedly told them that his horse was very docile and there was no need to be afraid.
Lu Jiuchuan naturally wasn’t afraid. He had gone to the horse farm with his father when he was very young. However, Tang Ci was different. He hadn’t ridden a horse before. This was the first time he had seen a horse up close and his heart naturally couldn’t help pounding like a drum.
Lu Jiuchuan chatted with the herdsman for a bit to discuss the time and price. Then he took a rope and jumped onto the horse’s back in a handsome manner. His movements were neat and clean and he didn’t look unfamiliar with it at all.
Tang Ci stood next to him and didn’t move. Lu Jiuchuan turned and held out his hand, encouraging him. “Xiao Tang, come here.”
Tang Ci had to bite the bullet and hold out his hand.
Lu Jiuchuan smiled. “Rest assured, I won’t let you get hurt again.”
Then he pulled Tang Ci onto the horse’s back and quickly wrapped his arms around Tang Ci’s waist from behind.
Tang Ci’s body was in the air and his face was pale because he wasn’t used to riding a horse. Then he felt Lu Jiuchuan’s strong arms hugging him tightly. His body gradually leaned back into Brother Jiu’s arms and Tang Ci’s mood calmed down.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Once he opened his eyes again, he was no longer in a panic. His eyes reflected the refreshing beauty of the grassland. The sky in the distance was blue like it had been washed by clean water. The sky was dotted with cotton-like clouds. The green grassland and cattle and sheep scattered on the grassland formed a beautiful picture.
Any photo of the scenery here could be used as a computer desktop photo.
Lu Jiuchuan saw that the person in his arms was completely relaxed and smiled slightly. He lightly clamped his legs around the horse’s belly and whispered, “Go!”
The horse obeyed Lu Jiuchuan’s order and slowly walked forward.
Tang Ci didn’t feel any bumps at all. He leaned against Brother Jiu’s arms and watched the scenery with peace of mind. Meanwhile, Lu Jiuchuan controlled the speed and direction of the horse’s movements. The two of them moved aimlessly on the grassland…
It wasn’t known how much time passed before Lu Jiuchuan suddenly said softly, “Xiao Tang, look behind you.”
Tang Ci hummed and turned his head in a doubtful manner. He thought there was some scenery behind him that he had overlooked. Yet the moment he turned around, Lu Jiuchuan accurately kissed his lips.
Tang Ci was caught off guard by the kiss and his body instantly stiffened.
He didn’t dare to move while riding a horse. In addition, he was held in Lu Jiuchuan’s arms. After being kissed by Lu Jiuchuan, he could only passively bear it. Tang Ci’s heartbeat was ridiculously fast and he closed his eyes the moment Lu Jiuchuan pried open his teeth.
Lu Jiuchuan’s kiss was extremely gentle.
The horse carried them and walked slowly on the grassland. The wind blowing their way brought the aroma of grass. Between the vast sky and the endless grassland, there seemed to be only the two of them left.
In the depths of the grassland with no outsiders to disturb them, Lu Jiuchuan’s kiss seemed to have a special meaning.
This kiss wasn’t full of adult desire like last night. It was pure and sacred, like a teenager who was in love and kissing his loved one for the first time.
Tang Ci was kissed until his body softened and redness appeared at the corners of his eyes.
A long time passed before Lu Jiuchuan let him go. The two of them stared at each other on the horse’s back. Then Lu Jiuchuan finished his unfinished sentence. “I will always be there behind you.”
Tang Ci’s nose was sore and his voice trembled slightly. “Brother Jiu…”
Lu Jiuchuan gently stroked his hair that was being blown by the wind and said softly, “We have experienced a lot in the Card World and the suffering you have endured is difficult for ordinary people to imagine. I know that you often have insomnia and are awakened by nightmares. However, all these things are in the past. Remember that no matter what happens in the future, I will always be behind you. If you are tired and sad, you can lean on my arms without any burden. It is because Lu Jiuchuan is the person who understands you the most and loves you the most in the world.”
He understands me, loves me and is willing to guard me. With such a lover, what is there to be dissatisfied about?
The experience of losing his legs in the Card World was a pain that Tang Ci would find hard to heal in his life.
However, he also gained the love of his life that was worth cherishing!
He didn’t lose at all. On the contrary, he was lucky.
Tang Ci endured all the pain in his heart and hugged Lu Jiuchuan hard.
The horse seemed to perceive the warm atmosphere between the two men. It took the initiative to stop and lowered its head to eat grass.
Lu Jiuchuan smiled slightly, took Tang Ci’s hand and asked softly, “Then are you willing to sign another contract book with me?”
Tang Ci was stunned. “Contract book?”
Lu Jiuchuan took out a contract book from his pocket.
This red cover looked like…
‘Real World Contract’ was written on the cover. It was very similar to the contract book in the Card World but there were only two rules written on the inner page.
1. The two people who sign this contract will promise each other that they will respect each other, cherish each other, protect each other and be willing to hold the other person’s hand until they grow old.
2. After signing the contract, there is no regretting it.
Tang Ci, “……”
This contract was equivalent to a marriage certificate. Tang Ci’s heart trembled when he saw the promise. Lu Jiuchuan simply took out a pen and wrote ‘Lu Jiuchuan’ in bold characters in the signature place. Then he handed the pen to Tang Ci. “This time, are you still willing to sign?”
Tang Ci didn’t hesitate to sign his name.
It was stroke by stroke in an extraordinarily careful manner.
The contract was signed smoothly. It might not have magical effects of pulling the people in the book into the same instance like the Card World but this contract was in the hearts of the two people. It was their most serious commitment to each other.
The first time they signed the contract book, they just wanted to work together to clear the Card World.
This time, they wanted to hold hands and grow old together.
TL: And that’s it for Card Room! I first started this in August 2019 and now almost three years later, it is now complete! It was a struggle to complete at times due to the length and author forgetting/changing details but ultimately, Card Room was a novel that I really enjoyed. Thank you to everyone who stuck to it despite the long length and I hoped you liked it as much as I did!
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten