Chapter 18
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No matter how attractive the performances in the hall were, none of them could catch Ning Qinghuan's attention. Her mind had long since drifted somewhere else.

Can two girls be in love with each other? Can two girls kiss each other?

When Ning Qinghuan thought of Jun Zishu's smiling face, she subconsciously squeezed the cup in her hand. Currently, both her heart and her mind were in a mess. She felt as if something within her was about to break out of its cage.

"What's wrong? You look distracted."

When Madam Ning saw Ning Qinghuan's absentminded expression, she grew a little worried about her daughter.

"I'm fine, Mom."

Ning Qinghuan quickly hid her complicated emotions, realizing how inappropriate it was to think of such matters in this important event.

After enduring through the birthday banquet, Ning Qinghuan got onto her carriage and began making her way back home. While in the carriage, she finally had some time to sort through her previous thoughts.

After pondering for some time, Ning Qinghuan decided to ask Shaoyao, the maid closest to her, "Let me ask you something, Shaoyao. Do you know what it means to want to kiss someone?"

"Why are you asking such an embarrassing question all of a sudden, Young Miss? Did you take a liking to some young master? If you want to kiss someone, it probably means that you like him."

Shaoyao covered her mouth and smiled. She had previously been thinking that her young miss would take a while longer to grow up. After all, her young miss hadn't taken a liking to any young men for the past few years.

"Like, is it? What if that person is someone that shouldn't be liked?"

Ning Qinghuan's thoughts gradually became clearer and clearer. If it was possible for two girls to like each other, were her feelings for Jun Zishu grouped under this category?

But were such feelings correct? It probably wasn't in most people's opinion.

"Shouldn't be liked? Is this person's status too low? Or does he already have a family? Or is it someone in the palace that shouldn't be..."?

Shaoyao wasn't an ignorant little maidservant. She still had some knowledge regarding the empire's nobility.

"No… I don't know how I should explain it to you, but if I want to be together with him, everyone will probably disapprove of it."

"Does the other person like you, Young Miss?"

"I don't know."

"How about taking a guess?"

Ning Qinghuan wasn't sure if Jun Zishu liked her the same way she liked Jun Zishu. However, she also hoped that was the case. After all, her Little Wan'er liked her so much and obediently listened to her words. Her Little Wan'er had even said that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with her. Maybe her Little Wan'er did like her after all?

"I know that you can't just marry anybody you like because of your status, Young Miss. However, if the person you like doesn't belong to the group you cannot marry, you can try it. If you never try, how would you ever know that others will disapprove of your relationship?

"You will be spending the rest of your life with whomever you marry. So long as you and that person share the same feelings for each other, I don't think there will be much that can hinder you two. You have never been like other girls your age, Young Miss. I believe you can find a solution. Worst case scenario, you can just find another person to like."

Shaoyao smiled as she spoke. Ning Qinghuan's marriage wasn't something she could concern herself with. However, from her perspective, she still hoped that the young miss she had been taking care of all these years could live a happy life.

Meanwhile, which girl in this world did not wish to marry into love?

Ning Qinghuan nodded to Shaoyao's words, the resolve in her heart growing a little.

However, Ning Qinghuan still wasn't sure if the thoughts she had were something that appeared on a whim or if she genuinely wanted to spend the rest of her life with Jun Zishu. Thus, she did not plan on sharing her thoughts with Jun Zishu for the time being.

Personally, Ning Qinghuan hoped that Jun Zishu could be together with her forever. The only question was what kind of relationship she wanted to have with Jun Zishu. Did she want them to remain as sisters? Or something more?

However, all of these questions vanished out of her mind the moment Ning Qinghuan entered her bedroom and saw the person lying on the bed.

Before entering the room, Ning Qinghuan had simulated countless scenarios in her mind. Meanwhile, she concluded that she would pretend as if she had never witnessed the enlightening scene in the palace.

However, when she opened the doors and saw the sleeping figure on the bed, the conclusion she reached crumbled and disappeared into the void.

Jun Zishu looked to be sound asleep at this time. She slept on her side, and because of the hot weather, she only pulled the blanket up to her stomach. Her hands rested in front of her, and her back faced the wall. From Ning Qinghuan's perspective, Jun Zishu looked absolutely lovely.

Ning Qinghuan gently closed the doors, afraid that she would wake up the sleeping beauty. Then, she quietly approached the bed and crouched down to observe Jun Zishu's sleeping face.

Jun Zishu's lips opened slightly, revealing the tip of her tongue to Ning Qinghuan.

What should I do?

Ning Qinghuan tentatively extended a finger and gently caressed those soft red lips.

Even though Ning Qinghuan had a million words in her mind, she found herself unable to speak at this moment. Instead, she quietly observed Jun Zishu's sleeping appearance, satisfaction filling her heart.

Ning Qinghuan tilted her head slightly, her eyes growing dazed from fascination.

Slowly but surely, Ning Qinghuan moved her head forward. As she observed Jun Zishu's closed eyes, a bold and crazy thought suddenly appeared in her mind.

At this moment, Ning Qinghuan could hear a voice repeatedly coaxing and tempting her in her mind, saying, "Kiss her. You'll understand your feelings so long as you kiss her. It's just a kiss. Don't worry. She won't notice it so long as you are gentle."

The voice's temptation was truly irresistible. Before Ning Qinghuan realized it, her body had already leaned forward, and she had already made physical contact with those soft red lips. Then, she quickly withdrew her body.

Ning Qinghuan felt a fuzzy feeling in her heart after the kiss. However, she also felt the kiss was too short for her to reach any conclusions.

Jun Zishu remained asleep like before. She was wholly unaware of what was happening in the outside world.

How about trying one more time? If I stop a little longer this time, maybe I'll understand a little more. Ning Qinghuan inwardly convinced herself in such a manner.

With the previous brief experience, Ning Qinghuan adjusted her posture and moved forward with her lips. Then, she boldly inserted her tongue into the small opening.

Even though only a tiny portion of their tongues touched each other, Ning Qinghuan could already feel her face burning up. At the same time, though, her eyes glowed with the desire for more.

Jun Zishu suddenly frowned, seemingly noticing that something foreign had attached itself to her mouth.

Seeing this, Ning Qinghuan quickly withdrew and nervously looked at Jun Zishu.

Fortunately, Jun Zishu remained asleep. She only adjusted her body's posture slightly and subconsciously licked her lips.

Under the glow of the candlelight, the addition of the layer of saliva made Jun Zishu's lips look even more alluring.

While trying to remember the sensations she just experienced, Ning Qinghuan held down her rapidly beating heart as she fled for the door. Then, she quietly opened the doors and left the room.

Little Fairy, who had just woken up from her slumber, just so happened to see Ning Qinghuan leaving the room. However, as none of the alerts she set had been triggered, she went to do other things.

Meanwhile, Ning Qinghuan stood outside the room, her chest contracting to the point where it started to hurt.

Calm down. I need to calm down.

At this time, Shaoyao arrived upstairs and asked, "Do you want to take a bath now, Young Miss? I have already prepared the water."

Ning Qinghuan quickly nodded.

There were two candles lit inside the bathhouse. Shaoyao stood behind a screen as she quietly waited on Ning Qinghuan.

At this time, Ning Qinghuan had submerged herself underwater and closed her eyes, flower petals floating on top of her head. Only after exhausting the final breath in her lungs did she reemerge from the water.

Ning Qinghuan splashed her face with water, trying her best to clear her mind.

She lifted a hand to caress her lips. The soft and warm sensation she experienced before still lingered there. Whenever she recalled that wonderful moment, her heart would immediately start palpitating.

At that time, had her rationality not discontinued her actions, Ning Qinghuan might have been tempted to let herself loose and dye Jun Zishu's lips into an even more beautiful color.

Ning Qinghuan had never known that she was capable of harboring such crazy thoughts. That was a foreign feeling that had never existed in her consciousness.

Ning Qinghuan had planned for her future more than once thus far. When Jun Zishu appeared, and the two of them became sisters, she also started planning for Jun Zishu's future.

At the time, Ning Qinghuan had only been thinking that she needed to find a good family for Jun Zishu to marry into. However, her thoughts had changed now. When Ning Qinghuan thought about how Jun Zishu would marry someone else, smile for someone else, laugh for someone else, and even dive into the arms of someone else…

Ning Qinghuan furiously raised her hand and smacked it down onto the water's surface. Right now, she absolutely refused to let that kind of situation happen.

Just thinking about those situations lit a fire of anger and jealousy in her heart.

Her little sister was the person closest and most intimate with her. On what basis must her little sister enter the arms of someone else and smile at someone else?

If her little sister could remain the same as she was now, having only her in her eyes and heart, how wonderful would that be?

Just thinking of such a future with Jun Zishu flooded Ning Qinghuan's mind with excitement and happiness.

So, was there a need to continue hesitating? Hadn't she already made up her mind deep down in her heart?

If she wanted to get closer to and become more intimate with her little cousin, the best way to do so would be to claim her little cousin's entire being for herself.

However, Ning Qinghuan didn't know how she should go about doing so. Should she get straight to the point and confess her feelings truthfully? Such a sudden confession would probably scare her little cousin.

Ning Qinghuan would naturally be overjoyed if her cousin accepted her confession. However, if her cousin rejected her confession, Ning Qinghuan felt that she would probably go crazy.

After pondering for a moment, Ning Qinghuan took a deep breath as she made up her mind.

No need to rush. Let's take things slowly.

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After getting out of the bath and changing into a fresh set of clothes, Ning Qinghuan got into bed with Ju Zishu and had Shaoyao extinguish the candles.

Because of the summer heat, they would feel uncomfortable if they slept too close to each other. Hence, Ning Qinghuan had not been embracing Jun Zishu as they slept recently.

However, today was an exception as Ning Qinghuan placed an arm around Jun Zishu's waist and closed her eyes.

Jun Zishu woke up from the heat the following day. When she saw Ning Qinghuan's arms and legs wrapped around her body, she wiped the sweat on her forehead in frustration.