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by choice

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Everything about it was wrong, because even beyond the fact that they were masquerading as siblings and a world’s difference between their stations, he and Xiao Yan Zi didn’t have the marks that made them universe-verified soulmates like Er Kang and Zi Wei did; but then again, those marks were rare within his family, the one thing that the imperial family lacked that most of their subjects had. Yong Qi had often envied Er Kang and Er Tai who were secure in knowing that one day they might find the person who was unequivocally their other half, but at the same time he also wondered if at least the men in his family – his father and brothers – were likely pleased that they did not possess soulmate marks, because that allowed them to have as many concubines as they could possibly want.

“A mark is just a mark, you know,” Er Tai said when Yong Qi expressed a sense of loss that there was no undeniable verification that Xiao Yan Zi was the only person for him, even though that was undeniably what he felt, “there’s nothing stopping you and Xiao Yan Zi from just choosing to be soulmates, if that’s what you want.”