Chapter 204: A Pitiful Child
Commander Lu was extremely displeased with Bai Xiangxiu’s attitude. He whipped her ten more times, until her clothes were all hanging in rags. Blood slowly seeped out of her wounds. Bai Xiangxiu finally couldn’t endure the pain any longer and let out a quiet yelp.
Commander Lu was satisfied when he heard that sign of pain. He put away the whip and laughed. “Are you ready to talk now?”
“I have nothing to say. Can’t you be a little more forthright!? Be a real man, not like a damned indecisive old woman!” Bai Xiangxiu was heady with rage after suffering through the beating. She didn’t know why she was so angry either, most likely because the man in front of had such a rage-inducing expression. Who was he to act all high and mighty? Bai Xiangxiu was determined to go against him. Even if she bore no feelings for the country itself, there was no way she would stand for it when outsiders looked down on her husband’s country. Especially not when her husband was a prince of said country!
Commander Lu was very much impressed. Despite her feeble-looking appearance, she had so much more backbone than other men. She continued to stubbornly glare at the commander without a hint of cowardice in her eyes, even though her body was covered with wounds. This was a rare kind of woman, and one found even rarer on the battlefield.
A commotion started outside while the two locked gazes. Someone skidded to a halt outside and yelled. “General! The woman has run off after grabbing the child! What should we do?”
“Chase after her, and take the child back from her hands!” Commander Lu immediately broke off the staring contest to chase after Lin Qianzi. It seemed that he was concerned about the child after all.
Bai Xiangxiu immediately tested the rope on her wrist after he left. The bindings were very firm; there was almost no way for her to free herself. But she wasn’t just anyone. She’d been baptized by all sorts of modern television shows since childhood, which was why she was well-prepared for a situation such as this. She took a second to peer around for any watchers before lifting her legs.
She’d learned a little bit of the art of body bending, thanks to Long Heng. She raised her feet up into the air and slowly walked up a metal pillar directly in front of her. She then reached for her ankles and pulled out a tiny dagger she’d previously hidden there. Her waist almost felt like it would snap in half. She released the tension in her body, bringing her feet down. Clutching the dagger between her hands, she began to saw on the ropes. She didn’t know when someone would come in again, so she ground the tiny blade against the rope with feverish haste. In her rush, she cut herself by mistake, but paid it no mind. She freed herself from her bindings not long after, and quietly snuck out of the room.
There were guards outside, but they were too busy looking outwards rather than paying attention to the door. Noticing that this was her chance, Bai Xiangxiu hid herself in the shadows and slowly started to make her way to the outskirts of the camp. Halfway through her journey, she suddenly heard the sound of a child crying.
She was incredibly sensitive to the sounds of children crying as a new mother. Instinctively, she decided to take a look instead of continuing with her escape. Lin Qianzi was currently being dragged back to the army camp with her child still in her arms. She screamed while crying, “Please let us go! Let us go home!”
“Woman, I would’ve killed you already if it wasn’t for the fact that you had something with my brother. Hand the child over or face the consequences.”
“No! This is my child!”
“Grab the child from her.”
“Don’t! I beg you…”
Bai Xiangxiu didn’t dare move an inch. She hid behind a wooden cart and watched the commotion from afar. She decided to make her escape as soon as the coast was clear. All of a sudden, the child was flung into the air in the midst of the struggle. It was unknown whether it was due to a slip of a hand or if it’d been done on purpose to protect her child.
You have GOT to be kidding me! Now you’ve done it! You’ve gone and implicated that poor innocent child in your fight! For better or worse, the child had been tossed in the direction of Bai Xiangxiu’s hiding spot. She gritted her teeth and leaped towards the child to try and catch him, foregoing her hiding spot.
She reached out as she leaped, trying to catch him. But fate was a cruel and unforgiving mistress as Bai Xiangxiu’s outstretched fingers missed the child by a hair’s breadth. The injuries from her whipping had crippled her usually nimble feet, and the child had simply been too far from her hiding spot. The child’s head cracked on the edge of a weapons rack as he hit the ground with a thud. His clothes had yet to settle from the fall before his breath left his body forever.
Bai Xiangxiu could feel her heart freeze over. She dropped to her knees next to the child, cradling him in her arms. However, the beautiful child’s head was already drenched in blood. He had already passed on.
Time seemed to stand still as everyone froze in shock, including Bai Xiangxiu. Of everyone present, she was the most clear of the place a child held in a mother’s heart. She lifted her head to gaze at Lin Qianzi when she realized the child has passed away. It took almost every ounce of courage to tell her the truth. “He… is gone…”
“What did you say? WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” Lin Qianzi’s eyes filled with tears, and her voice turned hoarse as she screamed.
“He has passed away.”
“No… Impossible… my child… my child…” Lin Qianzi began sobbing uncontrollably. Beside her, Commander Lu was incredibly furious and frustrated. He gave Lin Qianzi a tight slap and yelled, “Stop crying! What use are you if the child is gone!? Send her to the pleasure camp!”
“How can you do this to me? No matter what, I’m still your brother’s…”
“My brother’s what? You’re nothing! Didn’t you say that the child wasn’t his? And that you had no relationship with him?”
“W-we… Please, just don’t send me to the pleasure camp! Why isn’t she coming with me? It’s her! She’s the one who worked together with Long Heng to murder your younger brother!” Lin Qianzi pointed at Bai Xiangxiu like a crazy woman. Hatred was writ clear over her face. “She could’ve caught my child, but she didn’t! She did it on purpose! She murdered my son on purpose!
Bai Xiangxiu slowly and gently laid the child on the ground. Even in death, the child looked very cute, hints of soft gentleness in the curves of his cheeks. Based on looks alone, there was a possibility that the father truly wasn’t Duan Yunying, as he did bear some resemblance to Luo Yunzheng. Yet, the identity of the child’s father no longer mattered in the face of such a tragedy. An innocent soul had been lost over a petty fight. There was a possibility that he could’ve grown up to become the enemy nation’s prince had the female lead not resisted or tried to take him back. Now, the only possible future for the child was to be buried in the freezing cold soil.
What was worse, even during such a grief-stricken circumstance, the female lead was trying to drag Bai Xiangxiu down with her. Did she spare no thought for consequences? Bai Xiangxiu’s rage birthed as a candle and rapidly grew into a firestorm that thrummed through her veins. She accepted that her death was inevitable anyway, now that Commander Lu knew she’d had a hand in his brother’s murder. Emboldened by her rage and acceptance of her fate, Bai Xiangxiu didn’t run or hide, instead lifting the child with the utmost gentleness, cradling him softly in her arms. She raised her head and walked over to Lin Qianzi. “It was his bad luck to be born as your son.”
“What did you say? What the hell did you say to me?!”
“There’s only one thing I intend to say. At the very least, my son knows who his true parents are. But yours? If you hadn’t strayed or hesitated back then, there’d be no mix up of his true father today. This tragic turn of events could’ve been avoided altogether.”
“You have no right to lecture me! Why would I have been captured if you and Long Heng hadn’t murdered him?”
“The hell? Do you not have a brain to use? Let me tell you something. If you’d obediently gotten married to Long Heng as per the arrangement instead of seducing men left right and center, you’d be a princess consort living in the prince’s manor. You wouldn’t have come within miles of this place today! But no, you had to hate on Long Heng on one side and protect Luo Yunzheng on the other. And as you wished, Luo Yunzheng decided to devote his heart and mind to you! He even rescued you from your wedding and decided to retire from the jianghu. He even looked for houses to live a secluded and peaceful life with you! But you didn’t have the heart to appreciate any of that! You just had to avenge Duan Yunying after hearing that he was dead. The question before you now isn’t ‘Are you a cheap whore?’, it’s “How much of a cheap whore are you?”. Even the holy mother would frown at the sight of you! With one thing after the other, you’ve done nothing but inflict harm on these men! Men have feelings too alright? They are made of flesh and bone, just like you!”
Bai Xiangxiu could no sooner stop the flow of words from her mouth once she started than she could rebuild a dam. Every injustice that Luo Yunzheng had poured out to her when drunk came back to her. She’d genuinely wanted to strangle that female lead back then. But here and now, holding Lin Qianzi’s child in her arms, Bai Xiangxiu gave vent to everything she’d been holding back for so long, giving the female lead a long awaited piece of her mind.