Stealing Laurel from the army

A little excerpt from Petals. How baby Laurel ends up with his shifu:

(I really do love Li Qiuyue so much.)

Li Qiuyue, in her twenties at that point, looked down at Laurel, this small soldier who has thrown himself in the mud, clinging to her robes. She considers him with that immovable, clear gaze of hers. She doesn’t say a simple yes or no.

Instead, she murmurs, “What is it you suppose I can teach you?”

Laurel looks up at her, eyes shining with unshed tears. It is the closest he’s come to crying in all of his short life. He can’t even be ashamed of himself, so worked up is he with the burning desire to follow her.

“Anything,” he says. “Whatever you see fit to teach, I will learn.”

“You won’t have an easy life if you follow me. If I am loved in the capital, I won’t always be. Will you regret it, if one day you’re hated for following me?”

“Never,” Laurel says vehemently, with a child’s simplicity.

He’s a child and can’t possibly know what he’s saying. It isn’t a promise Li Qiuyue would ever think to hold him to, but nevertheless, it brings the pale ghost of a smile to the imperial granddaughter’s shapely lips.

“Alright,” Li Qiuyue says simply. The words seem breathy and deceptively light for things that will change the both of their lives. “You may follow me.”

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