Inner Residence arc ー A Chance Encounter
The young man had a sallow complexion, purplish black lips and a painful expression. The uncle brought over a canteen and fed that gentleman a few mouthfuls of water. Then, he asked his comrades, “Still no news of Old Ge and the others?”
The person who he asked shook his head. “There are many crossroads here and it’s a heavy downpour now. I’m afraid that they won’t be able to find us in a short while.”
They spoke with a bit of accent. It’s just that I couldn’t identify where the accent was from.
The young man laid on the ground coughed a few times like he was more dead than alive and a trickle of black blood overflowed from the corner of his mouth. Although he was wearing first-class silk clothes, it was worn out with quite a few holes which revealed his fair arms. I saw patches of red spots on his skin which were the size of a thumb.
I remembered that I seemed to have seen this symptom in Zhang Qiuyang’s book before.
Everyone looked over. I quickly covered my mouth. The uncle’s eyes radiated with light. He said cautiously yet excitedly, “You recognize this poison?”
I nodded my head gingerly.
The uncle’s figure flashed like segments of a montage as grabbed my hands. “Is Young Lady able to treat?”
I nodded my head again dim-wittedly.
The uncle pulled me over. “Please quickly take a look at my family’s Gentleman.”
I was dragged by him to kneel beside that young man with a thud and on the contrary seemed more like a visitor wailing at a funeral. They had strength in numbers and also possessed weapons, so I hastily took this gentleman’s pulse.
After I finished examining, I said, “It is indeed Thousand-year Red and there are also some internal injuries.”
Thousand-year Red was a poison of a hot nature. The poisoned victim would feel hot on the outside and cold on the inside. It was a little similar to a fried ice cream just that it wasn’t sweet but excruciatingly painful. That young man’s visage was ordinary. His brows were knitted and was flowing with cold sweat It was obvious that he was suffering terribly.
I said, “The antidote is easy to prescribe. It’s just that I need to perform acupuncture.”
The uncle’s face was extremely fierce as he snorted. “You must be sure that you can save him!”
I rolled my eyes. “Alright then, I shall go back to staying at one side.”
“Hold on!” That uncle compromised. “I’ll trust you once for the time being.”
I wrote out a prescription then took out the silver needles I carried on me to perform acupuncture on that gentleman.
That man had a slender and well-proportioned figure and his skin texture was distinct. I supposed that he was someone who trains regularly. There was a tiny wound in the shape of a cross on his chest. It was swollen red and decaying. It was precisely the spot where he got poisoned.
I tried hard to recall the methods written on the book while I inserted needles to guide the blood to flow out and downed him with a pulse preservation medicine. There were altogether six sets of acupuncture techniques. After I finished performing every single one of them, that man had already threw up a lot of black blood with the stench of rotten fish. The wound on his chest had also turned purplish black.
I kept the needles then bent over.
That uncle suddenly grabbed hold of me. “What are you planning to do?”
Do what? Under the watchful eyes of all the people, could it be that I’ll to molest his young master.
I said in a bad mood. “I’m sucking out the poison for him.”
As soon as the uncle heard it, he became paranoid again. “I won’t trouble Young Lady anymore. Let this humble one do it instead.”
I found it ridiculous. I was not even a man and your family’s gentleman was more so not a flowery lady. If your family’s gentleman is awake, I suppose he would also be more willing and pleased to have a young lady to do this for him. You bunch of old men bending over on that young lad’s body, that’s the scene that is extremely strange!
I told him, “You can also do it. However, if you were to also get poisoned, I wouldn’t have the strength to save a person one more time.”
Thousand-year Red’s poison was not considered difficult to detoxify. It’s just that the most crucial part was sucking out the poison from the victim. A Thousand-year Red’s toxicity was very potent. If the person sucking out the poison wasn’t prepared beforehand, that person would also get poisoned. Everyone knew to treasure their lives and stayed away from poison. She, Cheng Lingsu* sucking out poison for Hu Fei*, that was because of love. I sucking out poison for this anonymous person, that was based on the spirit of the international humanitarian law. I’m so great and noble, yet you actually can’t recognize what’s good for you.
*T/n: The characters are from the wuxia novel ‘The Young Flying Fox’ by Jin Yong.
A man at the side also persuaded. “Big Brother*, it’s better that we let this young lady do it. I see that she doesn’t have evil intentions.”
*T/n: May not refer to a biological brother but more of a polite term of addressing him or because he is their boss
The uncle’s pair of eyes were simply could practically see through me. I smiled sincerely.
The uncle threatened me, “If you secretly mess around with anything and play any dirty tricks, then don’t imagine that you can walk out of here alive.”
I thought to myself. ‘If I’m really an assassin, you all would have been poisoned to death by me and dissolved into a puddle of liquid long ago.’
The heavy rain outside didn’t have the intention of taking a little rest at all while the fierce wind had torn away a few tiles on the roof. I bent over to suck out poison for that man mouth after mouth. The poisoned blood was stunk with the smell of rotten fish and even had a whiff of mustard smell which flushed my nose until my tears flowed out. Those who knew nothing of the situation would definitely be moved by my teary face appearance and think that I was sacrificing myself to save my boyfriend.
After toiling like this for more half an hour, my neck was already aching. The wound on the man’s chest was finally no longer turning black and his body temperature had also gone down. I felt his pulse and said, “His life is preserved. Afterwards, take medicine to recuperate. He will be fine after resting for about ten days.”
The uncle said with his emotions stirred up, “Gentleman is indeed a fortunate person.”
I happened to be rinsing my mouth when I heard his words and spurted out a mouthful with a ‘pfft’. My mouth was filled with bloody water just like in Stephen Chow films and also looked like I have suffered internal injuries.
The uncle continued to be moved so his subordinates could only come forward to thank me on his behalf. Suddenly, I heard the uncle shout, “Gentleman, you’re awake?”
I wiped my mouth and turned my head around and happened to see that man faintly opening his eyes. His facial features were ordinary but his eyebrows were very handsome. His eyes were profound and his eyes were jet-black like black ink as he gazed at me.
I reached out a hand to feel his forehead. “It’s good as long as you’re awake. Drink more water.”
He was still very feeble and unable to talk so he only used his gaze to thank me.
I smiled at him. He closed his eyes and passed out again.
The person guarding at the entrance suddenly said, “Someone’s coming!”
The uncle turned stern. “Is it Old Ge?”
“No.” That person listened further. “There’s a lot of people. All of them don’t know martial arts.”
I pricked up my ears to listen for a long time and couldn’t hear anything but I did notice that the rain was stopping soon. Just as I was thinking that I didn’t know where Yun Xiang was, I heard a familiar voice shouting, “Quick, quick! It’s right at the temple ahead!”
I was astonished. The world was this humungous and he could still find me here. I didn’t know if this was an unusual gift he possessed or it was blind luck of a cat bumping into a dead mouse.
I was unable to care that much. Since I couldn’t go by the front door, then I would run inwards. However, although the temple was dilapidated, the enclosing wall wasn’t fallen. It was so tall. I absolutely couldn’t climb over it without growing wings.
The uncle asked, “Did those people come to find Young Lady?”
I hastily replied, “They came to catch me. Uncle, help me. Just climbing over the wall works!”
The uncle asked instead, “Why do they want to catch you?”
I was exasperated and in a frenzy of rage as the footsteps outside were closing in. With just this delay, Butler Wang had already brought the retainers and walked inside the temple.
“Oh my! Fourth Miss! You really made us have a hard time searching!” Butler Wang shouted while full of misery. He was like performing in an opera. “Senior Master is very furious. We searched all over the city and yet couldn’t find you. After that, we thought of coming here to search.”
I stared at him. He felt that his reason didn’t make sense and said, “It was raining this heavily, so we thought that you may be taking shelter from the rain here. Alas, in short, Miss, please follow me back! Senior Master and Madam are very anxious!”
“I’m not going back!” I was resolute like a Red Army* soldier as I said, “I will absolutely not marry that person. For one day this marriage is not cancelled, then for one day I won’t go back.”
*T/n: Referring to the ‘Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army’ which was renamed to the ‘Chinese People Red Army’. It is commonly known as the ‘Chinese Red Army’ or ‘Red Army’. It was eventually renamed as the ‘People’s Liberation Army’ and it was the armed forces during the Chinese Communist Revolution from 1928-1937.
Butler Wang did his best to exhort me earnestly, “Fourth Miss, aren’t you making it difficult for Senior Master and Madam? You roaming outside like this is also ruining your own reputation.”
I said happily, “Then isn’t it better?”
Butler Wang was anxious until his sweat was dripping like rain. In the first place, his body was fat, so those sweat was just like oil melting out of his body. He must have received Grand Tutor Xie’s incitement, to employ force when necessary. Hence, he called out in command and a few robust old maidservants swarmed forward and captured me.
I couldn’t struggle free and was irate until my whole body was trembling. I turned my head around and shouted to the uncle, “Uncle, save me!”
The uncle could be considered to still have some conscience as he stood forward and said, “I wonder why your distinguished self is capturing this young lady?”
Butler Wang said impatiently, “This is our family’s Fourth Miss who escaped from marriage and ran out. I’m acting under my family Senior Master’s orders to bring Miss back.”
As soon as the uncle heard that it was a family matter, he hesitated. He looked left and right and also didn’t know what he should do next. They were foreigners and were going to have to leave. It would naturally be more clever for them to stir up less trouble.
I cursed silently. I bit my tongue with all my strength and my tears streamed down. “Butler Wang, but just now I had used my body to detoxify the poison for that gentleman and we already have the intimacy of physical contact*. I’m already his person!”
*T/n: It can sometimes also be an euphemism for sexual intercourse
“What!!” Both the uncle and Butler Wang exclaimed loudly. Butler Wang looked even more like he was about to suffer from a stroke.
The uncle was clearly not resigned to me to take advantage of his family gentleman’s like this but my words were fair and reasonable so he also couldn’t think of any solution.
Butler Wang only felt that I, this taro of mine was too scalding* and he was unable to withstand it. The only method was to escort me back for Grand Tutor Xie to handle. Therefore, regardless of how I made a scene, he called someone to seize me and stuff me inside the sedan chair.
*T/n: Referring to the phrase about a hot potato which means a very troublesome issue for the person
I wailed piteously, “My Husband–”
Butler Wang endured his goosebumps as he pulled up the curtain and urged the sedan chair driver to hastily leave.
I was escorted back home like this.
After reaching home, Grand Tutor Xie heaved deep sighs of despair at me for a very long time. Even he who was full of knowledge and political astuteness also couldn’t think of a suitable sentence to chat with me at this moment. I knew that I also wouldn’t be able to escape for the time being and there were still many days ahead of me, so I was also no longer anxious. I sat across of him while cracking melon seeds between my teeth. After I finished cracking a plate of them, I left confidently without bothering about anything.
Not long later, Yun Xiang was also found and brought back. Butler Wang rebuked her a few words and still let her off to come back to wait on me.
I consoled her, “This time was too hasty. It won’t be like this next time.”
Instead, Yun Xiang took out a oil paper packaging from her bundle as if she was presenting a treasure said, “Miss, this is the famous Ma Family’s roasted goose from our village.”
I was very delighted. This girl Yun Xiang was really increasingly clever and tactful!
Upon finished eating the roasted goose, I took a bath, then got onto the bed to sleep.
In the middle of the night, the wind sprung up and blew the windows until they made clattering noises. Yun Xiang slept like a log, so I could only get up myself to close the windows.
The wind was very strong. A speck of dust blew into my eye and I hurriedly raised my hand to rub it. The windows which were not properly shut yet were blown open again with a clattering noise. In the midst of darkness, a hand suddenly stretched over and helped me close them.
I swung over with the back of my hand and was caught by him.
I hastily called out, “Release your hand!”
Xie Zhaoying released his hand and asked, “What’s the matter?”
I opened up my fist. Inside was a small white pill. “An itch drug. It was almost wasted on you.”
Xie Zhaoying did not know whether to laugh or cry. “Since when did you carry medicine on you?”
I smiled sarcastically. “When I knew that the people around me can’t be trusted.”
Xie Zhaoying didn’t say anything. He walked over to light a lamp.
I opened the gauze cover over the food on the table. “There’s still half a roasted goose left. I knew that you’ll be hungry when you get back.”
Xie Zhaoying smiled. “It’s still you who’s considerate.”
I indifferently watched him gnawing the goose leg and asked casually like I was unconcerned, “Are you returning to Xi Yao City?”
Xie Zhaoying stopped and raised his head to look at me. His gaze was clear and bright with some bafflement. His expression was calm and yet focused. Whoever saw this would think of him as a man of noble character. Only I was aware of his skeleton in the closet. That was just like the old cellar under the Xie family’s library where other than pearls and jewels, there was also an enormous pile of salted fish, pickled vegetables, cobwebs and dust.
Although my countenance wasn’t beautiful like peaches and plums, it was stern and cold like frost.*
*T/n: This is kind of playing a pun on a phrase which describes a woman whose appearance is beautiful but has a stern expression. She changed the first part of the phrase from beautiful to not beautiful
“Still going to pretend? Second Elder Brother, or Your Highness Prince Yan?”
Translated and Edited by: HaruOngy and LalaKurouds
Did any of you see that coming? 😀
Anyway, the next chapter is going to be the last chapter for this arc!