Fuxi Palace Master, Crown Prince Xie Jianyu arched his back in pain. If not for the piece of white cloth that his servants stuffed into his mouth, he might have cried out loud.
"Your Majesty, it will be over soon," Mingyu, his youngest and ironically also the most loyal maid said with a trembling voice. She wiped Xie Jianyu's sweaty and reddened face with a warm cloth again and again, hoping that it could make Xie Jianyu feel a little more comfortable.
"Your Majesty, this servant is so sorry," four of Xie Jianyu's palace servants mumbled as they used their weight to press down on Xie Jianyu's limbs to prevent him from moving about.
Tears fell from the end of Xie Jianyu's eyes as he struggled against the men who restrained his arms and legs.
It hurt too much.
Xie Jianyu would rather taste the sweet embrace of death than wallow in this unbearable pain.
"Your Majesty, I will begin now," Midwife Chen announced after she cleaned her hands and sterilized her knife.
The crown prince was disrobed and his bulging belly was exposed to the midwife.
At the sight of the sharp blade, Xie Jianyu's survival instinct kicked in and he struggled even harder.
"Your Majesty, please be brave..."
Sweating profusely, the midwife steeled her heart and made the first, then the second, then the third cut in quick succession.
She performed her task with such agility and precision that Xie Jianyu didn't even get to let out a muffled scream.
By the time the baby arrived in the world with a shrill cry that broke the night, his mother had already passed out from both exhaustion and blood loss.
He did not even hear the congratulatory remark made by the midwife, "Congratulations, Your Majesty. It is a boy."
Midwife Chen then passed the baby to Mingyu and used the opportunity to quickly stitch the crown prince up.
"Your Majesty?" Mingyu's eyes were brimming with tears when she held the wrinkly, bloody infant in her arms. "Your Majesty? Please wake up. Take a look at him. He's so cute."
The midwife grabbed Mingyu's shoulders and shook her head.
"Let His Majesty rest for a little. It was his first time giving birth. He needs to rest a lot."
"Oh... I understand, Midwife Chen."
While the crown prince was out cold, Mingyu helped Midwife Chen clean the newborn prince.
When the young maid brushed past his tender forehead, it suddenly glowed brightly with the image of a fierce tiger with a golden coat.
Mingyu gasped loudly.
She was so shocked that she almost dropped the little prince.
Midwife Chen took the baby from the maid and glowered at her.
"It is none of your business," she chastised the young woman. "All you need to do is serve your master well."
"I... Midwife Chen is right," Mingyu replied helplessly.
She stole secret glances at the baby while she poured out the dirty bathwater.
That image on the baby's head...
It was the sigil of the Longjing Palace.
That meant that the father of the baby was...
Mingyu held her breath. She did not even dare to say that name out loud in her mind.
She did not want her master to read the knowledge that was written across her eyes.
When Mingyu and Midwife Chen returned to the birthing chamber with the little prince, Xie Jianyu had already regained consciousness.
He leaned against a stack of pillows on the birthing bed, his empty eyes directed at the wooden ceiling above his head.
When the two women entered the room, Xie Jianyu turned his head to look at them.
"Give him to me," he commanded as he extended his hands in the baby's direction.
Mingyu swallowed hard. She was suddenly a little afraid of handing the baby over to his mother.
"Your Majesty, you should rest a little. You have worked hard."
Xie Jianyu ignored Mingyu. He only had eyes for the child. The baby too only had eyes for his mother.
As soon as Xie Jianyu took the infant, the latter opened his mouth slightly and rubbed his little face on Xie Jianyu's chest.
"Your Majesty, you need to feed him," Midwife Chen reminded the crown prince.
"Ah, yes, of course."
Other than Midwife Chen, everyone quickly turned around to grant Xie Jianyu some privacy while he breastfed his baby for the first time.
The baby sucked and sucked, but there was not enough milk for him to drink. He soon started crying from hunger.
"It is perfectly normal, Your Majesty," Midwife Chen said. "Male omegas don't usually have much milk to give. We shall get wet nurses to feed the little prince."
Xie Jianyu covered himself and then caressed the tender cheek of the newborn.
"Don't cry, my baby," he coaxed. "Don't cry..."
The crown prince's soft tone quickly placated the baby. It also made Mingyu and the servants look up in awe.
In their long years of service, they had never experienced Xie Jianyu with this mellow temper. He never looked at anyone with so much love and treated anyone with such indulgence.
Mingyu thought to herself that the little prince was very lucky to have Xie Jianyu as a mother.
Whether he was lucky to have the Longjing Palace Master as a father or not was debatable.
The peaceful atmosphere was disturbed by the shrill voices of the guards outside of the palace.
Mingyu rose to her feet furiously.
"Who is shouting around so late at night? His Majesty is resting!!!"
A guard ran all the way from the entrance gate to Xie Jianyu's private residence. Once he arrived in front of the birthing chamber, he fell on his knees and bumped his head against the ground.
"Your... Your Majesty! The palace has been surrounded by the Longjing and Wuyang Palace's army!"
Mingyu pressed a hand against her lower face and gasped. Her eyes were filled with terror.
An ambush? An ambush at this time?
Xie Jianyu was the very picture of composure. He pressed a tender kiss against his baby's forehead and handed him to Midwife Chen.
"Prepare my armor," he said, his voice stern and commanding. "I am going out to confront them."
Author's note :
Hello, dear readers! Welcome to my newest novel, "Dance Of The Dragons".
Instead of providing a glossary full of character introductions, this time I decide to introduce them one by one as they appear in the story.
Crown Prince Xie Jianyu, 22 years old, omega.
Also known as the Fuxi Palace Master, one of the nine palace masters.
Our shou/bottom/uke ʕっ•ᴥ•ʔっ