Chapter 56: Grievances
Of all the things for Bai Xiangxiu to notice accidentally, it was Long Heng rubbing his nose. Her hand holding the tea shook, causing her to spill half the tea. Fortunately, it wasn’t hot enough to burn her. However, her heart was another matter, as it was afire with anxiety wondering whether the male lead was thinking about her.
Actually, there was nothing bad about that. The male lead was both handsome and powerful, as well as capable… cough, she hadn’t read that novel for nothing, nor did the male lead’s halo exist for naught. He had many aspects that attracted people. But in the end, no matter how many good points he possessed, he was still the chief culprit of her death!
As a girl with exceptional memory, she clearly recalled the other servant girl who’d been beaten to death, and felt awful all over. All of her thoughts, proper or improper, scattered in the wake of that one memory. On the other hand, Xiao Shi had a brilliant idea as she ran to blow on her mistress’s hand with a distressed air. “Madame Xiu, your skin is so tender, burning it must hurt. Hurry and blow on it.”
“What are you blowing for? Go get some Red Pearl,” Long Heng didn’t want to speak up, but he had to when it looked like this servant girl would keep blowing without stopping.
Xiao Shi was about to fetch the item when Bai Xiangxiu stopped her. “Don’t go. I wasn’t burned, so there’s no need to waste it. Go out and have a look, Old Madame should be on her way.” Wouldn’t any worried mother come running over to see this wounded victim here?
Xiao Shi nodded and left. Someone had to receive the old madame when she arrived. Once she was gone, Long Heng said, “Though you’re in charge of the household, don’t be so tightfisted with yourself. If there’s anything you need, just bring it up with me. How would I let you lose out on anything?”
“Many thanks to Your Highness!” She seemed overwhelmed by an unexpected favor, but kept to established etiquette.
This time, Long Heng felt rather depressed over how she always kept her distance from him. Couldn’t she tell his feelings for her? Thus, the prince began to self-reflect and realized it really was hard for the other party to tell.
The closest they’d been together was when they’d met each other with full sincerity, 1 but before they could do the deed, she’d ended up ‘bleeding’ instead. Later on, his nervousness had kept their meetings brief and their partings long. Would they ever be on intimate terms if this was the style of their interaction?
As his thoughts reached this point, he sunk into low spirits. At that moment, the old madame entered the room, tears welling up in her eyes as she laid eyes on her precious son. Her voice was choked as she spoke, “You child, you’re not that young anymore! Why are you still stirring up trouble everywhere? Where did you get hurt? Let mother have a look.”
As she spoke, the old female servants helped her to the bedside while Bai Xiangxiu quickly brought over a seat. The old madame sat down and spread her hands, but she was too scared to know where to put them.
Bai Xiangxiu spoke up from the side, “The prince’s wound is on his leg. The doctor has already applied medicine and said that it’s just a flesh wound. It was a good thing that it hadn’t reached the bone, so he has just lost a lot of blood. But he will be fine after spending some time recovering.”
Hearing this, Old Madame immediately went to look at her son’s legs beneath the covers, but was stopped by Long Heng’s outstretched arm. “Mother, I get major and minor injuries all the time. One more is of no consequence.”
“Those major and minor injuries come from the battlefield. This is the capital; how did you become so hurt? You couldn’t even make it back to your own courtyard and didn’t call for anyone either. Are you going to tell me or not?!” The old madame was truly anxious as her voice grew in volume. By the end, she was almost shouting, disregarding anyone who cared to listen.
Long Heng didn’t grow angry, but waved his hand to dismiss people who had no business being there. The old female servants and young maids all understood and slowly retreated outside with a bow. Bai Xiangxiu was planning to leave as well, but Long Heng said, “Madame Bai, pour some tea.”
So he wasn’t letting her leave? That’s right, now that everyone else had gone, there wouldn’t be anyone to serve them if she left too. Thus, she poured two cups of tea and placed them on the little table by the old madame’s side. Then, she blinked. Do I leave now?
The old madame didn’t care about that, but asked, “Is it something that others shouldn’t know? Perhaps, that girl from the Lin family?” Her son had left this time to look for her, but came back with a body full of injuries. If this wasn’t related to her, then what?
Long Heng didn’t conceal anything, revealing the entire story from beginning to end. Although he found the girl disagreeable, he didn’t reveal how she’d been pressed beneath the body of that man from the jianghu, or how her clothes had been nearly stripped bare.
But the old madame still smote the table hard once she heard him speak. The shockwaves were almost enough to sent the teacups falling. Bai Xiangxiu was worried that she’d burn her hand and quietly picked up the teacup, waiting until her temper settled before she put the teacup back.
Long Heng remained calm as he drank his tea without batting an eyelid. “She’s done too much.”
Not just too much, but something completely out of bounds from the novel. But truthfully speaking, that number two supporting male was quite formidable, though his martial arts skills were slightly inferior to Long Heng’s.
Still, what’s the female lead doing? Can’t she figure things out? She actually went to help the person who kidnapped her, resulting in the male lead’s injury. How could the male lead like her after something like this? Admittedly, that really was like the female lead. A little white flower who couldn’t keep her priorities straight. But didn’t all the men fall for her because of that? When had that changed?
It might’ve been because of the male lead. Who knows how he’d found out about the circumstances behind the female lead fleeing that day. Maybe he’d changed then.
In other words, when something like this happened before the male lead developed feelings for her, it was just like adding frost on top of snow. If things kept going like this, the story would completely change. Could she still be a proper prophet then?
Bai Xiangxiu wrung her handkerchief as she stood on the side. Once the story escaped from her grasp, what could she do? Keep hugging on to someone’s thigh, or find a way to leave?
No, there was no place to go once she left the prince’s estate. Even surviving would become a herculean task. Moreover, she still had a chance to return as long as she pricked herself on the cactus on the same day she came. If she left this place, it’d be harder than before to get in again. Though the story had shifted, the male and female leads were still the same. She’d keep hugging a thigh and avoid courting disaster or becoming the target of jealousy. What can possibly happen after that? Suicide? She didn’t believe it.
After making her decision, she kept listening but inadvertently caught Long Heng glancing at her. Their gazes met in midair, but both of them averted their eyes before sparks could happen.
The old madame had rapidly become indignant as she spoke. “A woman like this who offends public decency can’t marry into our family. I’ll go reject this marriage proposal right now.”
“I’m afraid it’s not that simple. Minister Lin and Madame Lin naturally understand the state of their daughter’s public standing. If we bring up cancelling the marriage now, it’ll completely destroy Miss Lin’s reputation. So they’ll definitely oppose or delay the idea.” Long Heng’s analysis was sober and practical, but when he looked up, it was to catch Madame Bai’s surprised, disbelieving gaze. She didn’t seem to think he’d reject the marriage proposal.
That’s right, this woman was entirely kindhearted. No one in the estate had a dissenting opinion when it came to that particular tidbit. When a servant’s house was destroyed in the floods, she’d even given her money in secret. If any of the servants had troubles, she made sure to help them. She really was a compassionate, uncontentious person who never offended anyone.
But he’d incurred injuries for the sake of bringing that other woman back. Shouldn’t she worry about him before worrying about other people? Thus, Long Heng was currently feeling jealous on behalf of a group of pitiful and clueless people.
- Euphemism for being naked with each other ↩