Inner Residence arc ー Chapter 13 (Part 2): Spring Banquet (Second Half)
“Quickly pinch her philtrum.”
Damn it. I’m scared of pain. I instantly hummed a little to indicate that I haven’t completely passed out yet.
The eunuchs and palace maids all lent a hand to lift me up. Getting heat stroke under April’s sun was not something very honorable. However, I’m an aristocrat’s daughter now. This identity permitted me to be a little more delicate.
“Xiao Hua————” The voice I have anticipated for very long time finally sounded.
Among the cries of alarm from everyone, Xie Zhaoying urged his horse over. Then, he immediately snatched me over from the hands of the palace maid and called to heaven and earth in sorrow, “Xiao Hua, what’s wrong with you?! Did your illness relapse again? Elder Brother is here now, quickly wake up!”
This guy’s strength was not accurate at all and grabbed me until it was very painful. Even if I hadn’t fainted, I was going truly faint from pain. I could only say with a feeble breath as if I was dying, “I……You……” After that, my two eyes rolled back, signifying that I had completely passed out.
Xie Zhaoying carried me in his arms as he mounted the horse. “I’m bringing her to see a physician.”
Empress Zhao said worryingly, “Is she alright? What kind of illness does she have when she’s so young?”
Madam Xie was also bewildered. “That’s right, what kind of illness?”
I exerted all my effort to suppress my laughter. As the result, I scared Xie Zhaoke. She cried out in alarm, “Ah! She’s convulsing!”
As soon as her words were spoken, those surrounding and watching instantly cried out ‘wah’ as they retreated and dispersed. Xie Zhaoying seized the opportunity to break out from the encirclement while bringing me along.
Once we had departed the crowd, I opened my eyes.
Suddenly, a man in dressed eunuch clothes turned his horse over here and lowered his voice. “Mister Sun instructed this humble one to come to Gentleman’s aid. Please follow me.”
Xie Zhaoying followed without saying anything. The polo field was outside the palace. That person brought us to a remote citizen’s house. A few men swarmed out from inside. As soon they saw Xie Zhaoying, they joyfully said, “Gentleman has arrived!”
As Xie Zhaoying got down from his horse, his legs buckled under him and his body dropped down heavily. I hastily hugged him and knelt on the ground. My hand felt a warm and wet patch on his waist.
I only felt my heart being fiercely pricked by something as my tears gushed out. I hugged him tightly. “Second Elder Brother! Second Elder Brother!”
“Forth Miss, please don’t get flustered,” a middle-aged scholar said, “The crucial thing right now is helping Gentleman to treat his injury.”
I composed myself slightly. The others hurriedly lifted Xie Zhaoying inside. The inside of the house had already been prepared. Xie Zhaoying was lightly placed on the bed and that middle-aged scholar immediately took his pulse.
I anxiously said, “The wound on his waist has has split open. Staunch his bleeding first!”
A tall and burly fellow told me, “Fourth Miss can be reassured. We will take good care of Gentleman. You may go next door to wait first.”
I was furious. “I also have medical skills!”
“We have Mister Sun here, please rest assured.”
“He’s my elder brother!”
The Uncle with surname Sun spoke out, “Then we’ll trouble Fourth Miss to lend a hand.”
I wiped off the tear stains on my face and glared at that man bear. However, after Uncle undid Xie Zhaoying’s clothes, I took a look and my eyes became blurred again.
The wound which had just formed scab had been completely torn open and was badly mutilated, staining one side of his body incarnadine. I really had no idea how he he had held out with such a serious wound.
Mister Sun said, “The poison didn’t flare up. It’s just his wound that reopened. That’s extremely fortunate.”
It was indeed extremely fortunate. I relaxed and sat squarely on the stool.
Mister Sun was very experienced. He dexterously treated Xie Zhaoying’s wound, applied a kind of odorless green medicine before we bandaged it up carefully. I was instead unoccupied at one side and looked on helplessly.
Mister Sun told me, “I still need to trouble Fourth Miss to keep an eye on Gentleman. He can’t randomly move about anymore for at least ten days.”
I ridiculed, “Who likes to repeatedly torment themselves for no reason? It’s just that the higher-ups don’t let him off.”
Mister Sun smiled. “Don’t worry, Miss. After this matter, they won’t act again so quickly.”
I half believed and half doubted, and asked again, “Is he staying here to convalesce or returning to the Xie family?”
Mister Sun said, “Of course, he has to return to the Xie family. We have already prepared a carriage. When Gentleman has awaken, we’ll let Qi Lun send the two of you back.”
That man bear greeted me by raising his clasped hands.
I looked around the house. It was neat and clean, the furnitures half new and seemed to not lack any daily objects. No matter who entered his house would be under the impression that this was an ordinary household.
There were in total five people who came to our aid. The little eunuch had left already. Besides Mister Sun and that big black bear Qi Lun, there was still a man with delicate features, a tall man in his prime with the countenance of one who had survived hardships, and a lean young man with with piercing eyes dressed in black clothes.
Currently, all of their attention was on me. I smiled timidly and nodded my head at them.
Mister Sun introduced them to me one by one. “This is Ruan Xing(Ruăn Xīng), this is General Li Songling(Lĭ Sōnglíng), this is young swordsman Tang Xun(Táng Xún).”
A general and a young swordsman, not only was there the loftiness of the imperial court, there was also the far distance of the martial arts community? I deferentially paid my respects to each of them. That little brother Ruan Xing and General Li both half rose from their seats to return the greetings. Only young swordsman Tang Xun stood there indifferent.
I carefully sized him up. To be honest, I really thought that this manner of dress up of his was really familiar. After thinking back and forth, realization suddenly dawned on me. Didn’t he look like fellow Liu Ye in the Steamed Bun Murder Case*? I couldn’t help but giggled.
*T/n: Liu Ye played a particular role in the short film
“You’re very happy that I’m like this?” Xie Zhaoying groaned feebly.
I was delighted. “You’re awake! How do you feel?”
Xie Zhaoying opened his eyes. “Isn’t it just bleeding a little.”
Mister Sun moved closer. “Gentleman, it’s good that you’re awake.”
Xie Zhaoying was quite happy to see him. “Mister Sun, all of you came.”
“We arrived earlier. However, the security check when entering the city was very tight so we moved separately. It can be considered to be smooth-sailing.” Mister Sun and the others were very respectful towards Xie Zhaoying.
Ruan Xing returned from outside as he said, “There’s no one. We can set out now.”
Qi Lun and General Li half supported Xie Zhaoying to walk out. That ‘Liu Ye’ style comrade Xiao Tang’s figure disappeared in a flash. He probably went to be on the lookout. On the other hand, Mister Sun barred my way.
This old guy was rather black bellied*. When he smiled, it was a little like my former faculty secretary. Every time he spoke at the end of the term, his smile would cause others’ hair to stand on end. “Students! You have to cherish this hard-earned opportunity. For the end of term examinations this time, the school is enforcing the discipline strictly and the focus is on catching those who cheat and take the examination for someone else. Once they fall into the net and are captured, they will straight away be expelled. You students must cherish!” After that I would be very puzzled. Was being expelled a really cherished opportunity?
*T/n: Outwardly kind but inwardly evil
Mister Sun said to me, “After going back, I still have to trouble Fourth Miss to take great care of him. Furthermore, for today’s matter, if I don’t reckon wrongly, there will be people from the palace coming to pay a visit on you tonight. When that time comes, you have to be deal with them cautiously.”
I contemplated and smiled. “Moreover, those should be Second Imperial Prince’s people.”
Reality proved that I am indeed exceptionally intelligent, unrivalled in this world, abound with gifts from heaven and so on and so forth. After eating that night, I already heard someone conveying a message that Second Imperial Prince had personally came to call on our house to pay a visit.
I had drank some dry and heaty medicine in advance. My face started to turn red and burn up. Even my voice became hoarse. After that, I wrung a wet handkerchief and placed it on my forehead and I moaned and groaned as I laid on the bed half-dead.
Yun Xiang praised, “It’s really similar!”
A series of footsteps could be heard outside before Grand Tutor Xie said, “Your Highness, it’s here.”
There was a distinction between genders so it was not convenient for Xiao Li to enter. Therefore, he only questioned while separated by the door.
“Is Fourth Miss a little better?”
I replied, “Much better, much better.”
“I brought an imperial physician to check on your condition. Hope that Miss will get better sooner.”
I said, “Many thanks for Your Highness’ concern.”
“After Miss’ health recovers, you can enter the palace more to chat with the Empress.”
I originally wanted to flatter him by calling him Elder Brother-in-Law but there were so many outsiders around so it would be very embarrassing.
This guy, Xiao Li’s real objective for coming here was to meet my elder sister, Xie Zhaoke. After staying a little while, he found an excuse to leave. It was said that my father set up a banquet to entertain him. He probably called Xie Zhaoke to play the zither at the side.
The imperial physician examined me for a long time before he finally came to the conclusion that I suffered heat stroke from anemia. Madam Xie came to see me a few times and even ordered people to stew quite a few pots of decoction of tonics high in calories and proteins. They were all stealthily sent away by me to Xie Zhaoying instead.
The next few days passed by peacefully.
There were a few showers of rain. Never-flowers in never-dreams*, we are helpless and can only lament as time passes by. I was overcome with boredom and idled my time away aimlessly as I gazed at the sky every day at 45°. Two swallows constructed a small love nest on top of my pavilion. The couple was lovey-dovey and came home together as a pair of husband and wife all day long. I taught Yun Xiang to sing a song: “Little swallow, dressed colourfully, Comes here every spring**.”
*T/n: A poem. I was thinking whether I should translate it myself but in the end I went with the translation online. The line right after it is sort of what the poem is trying to express.
**T/n: From a children’s song called ‘Little Swallow’
Half of spring had actually passed already.
I woke up with a start. It had been half a year since I came to this world. Half a year, six months, around one hundred and eighty days.
Furthermore, how long have I not thought about Zhang Ziyue again?
For a moment, I was a little at a loss.
Translated and Edited by: HaruOngy and LalaKurouds