Chapter 73: A Small, Delicate, and Pale Foot
Ye-mama was so scared she started trembling. Though she was a married woman from the inner residence and getting on in years, she was still hard-pressed to resist the killing intent that emanated from Prince Li. An aura that he painstakingly forged on the battlefield, his very presence made her face turn white. With her heart in tumultuous disarray, she forgot to stop him from barging inside.
By the time he opened the door, she mused that the two of them were husband and wife already. What was there to be afraid of? If he saw, then he saw. Thus, she extended an arm to block the two male servants behind him.
Long Heng didn’t think about the two servants who didn’t follow, but pushed open the door and went inside. This room had originally been used as a resting area for the kitchen chefs. The outer room had a place to boil tea and rest, while the middle was separated by a hanging curtain that was embroidered with a landscape painting. Standing outside, he could see multiple pairs of embroidered shoes at the entrance.
He didn’t care who was inside and drew the curtain aside. Chaos currently reigned inside. A crowd of people were surrounding a pair of tiny white feet, pointing and gesticulating. Everyone gave a start at the entrance of a tall man, and they immediately scrambled out of his way to make a path.
This path ended at the heated brick bed that Bai Xiangxiu was sitting on top of. She had no idea who came in because of all the people blocking her vision, but when she heard the gaggle of girls suddenly fall silent, she realized who it was. She snuck a peek and found her household’s prince standing stock still in front of her.
She was a modern woman to begin with, so she had no reservations about him seeing her feet. But her womanly vigilance enabled her to see how Long Heng’s eyes obviously darkened at the sight of her foot. She hastily grabbed her feet and shrank back, but he’d already emerged from the crowd. One hand grabbed her accurately by the ankle and a voice said, “Don’t move.”
Bai Xiangxiu’s face immediately turned as red as a roll of silk. Clearly, he’d been uneasy before, but why did he suddenly get so bold? The room was full of people…
Wait, where had they all gone? Bai Xiangxiu’s heart instantly started thumping. “It’s alright. I just sprained it a bit.”
“If there’s anything to do, have the servants do the tasks. Otherwise, what’s the use of keeping them around?” His tone was stern, making Bai Xiangxiu feel like she was being lectured by a teacher. She felt rather embarrassed as she lowered her head. Long Heng could hear the chill and severity of his voice. This was probably the reason she feared him!
He felt like climbing on top of her as he looked down at her cherry-red lips. However, this was the Song estate. He held back the urge and cast his gaze elsewhere. “There’s nothing for you to do at the moment, so I’ll have someone send you back!” Long Heng was exceedingly prone to shielding one of his own. His own people would never be allowed to get hurt or be even slightly imposed on.
He assumed that this timid and docile woman would immediately nod her head and agree, but her next words were a complete surprise. “How could I do that?” Bai Xiangxiu regretted her words as soon as she uttered them. How dare she have the audacity to oppose this Prince Li? Shouldn’t she be afraid of him? When she thought of his methods, her heart began to tremble.
She assumed she’d be punished and bit her lip, head lowered.
“Why?” A chilly voice sounded from above her head. The male lead was very tall, so she was still shorter even when they were both sitting on the bed.
Bai Xiangxiu used all her strength to bite her lip, enduring the pain so she could calm down. She could admit that she feared death, but she couldn’t lose all of her self-respect because of that! She was a modern woman with her own principles when doing things. “I… this concubine doesn’t like breaking promises easily after making them.”
“You…” Long Heng discovered that he had no way to deal with her. It wasn’t only because she was defying him, but also because of her stubborn and staunch personality.
She was obviously small and weak, but she still knew the value of keeping her word. She wasn’t a man, so why did she have to do something like this? His heart beat furiously in his chest. He felt that he’d come to another completely new understanding of this externally delicate, yet internally honest woman. His heart began to beat faster in nervousness.
“Since that’s the case, take good care of yourself.” He turned to leave, but his heart couldn’t calm down.
“Understood.” Bai Xiangxiu watched Long Heng’s retreating back and exhaled in relief. He actually hadn’t penalized her, how strange! In this society where men were respected, concubines were nothing more than playthings and servants. They could easily give the concubines away, sell them, or even kill them. Thus, after her fright left her covered in cold sweat, she felt grateful to the male lead. He wasn’t half-bad; he hadn’t even murdered her for her words. It really was a shame that he belonged to the female lead.
Right now, the situation differed too much from canon. The fate of an insignificant mob character like her had never been mentioned by anyone. The story didn’t even say whether Old Madame liked this character. The original plot had the supporting female trying all sorts of ideas to frame the female lead. She had plotted and schemed many ways to try and seduce the male lead.
But right now it seemed like the male lead was trying to seduce her. What to do? This male lead was really impossible for people, especially women, to ignore. Even if he didn’t seem very soft or gentle, just his whole ‘if I want to have you, there’s no use running away’ look in those eyes was enough to make a person shiver.
But the female lead was still there, so did he want the supporting female character’s body, or did he actually harbor feelings for her? How could this be possible? They’d barely spent any time together, nor did she have any aspects to her that could attract him. Bai Xiangxiu sat stiffly on the bed for a while until Xiao Shi arrived to apply medicine.
Soon enough, she could walk around a bit. The progress in the kitchens had reached the point where there wasn’t much for her to correct anymore. Song Jiaoyue had the two head maids accompany her, since a Buddhist gathering was a seldom-seen grand ceremony. Though she was a concubine, she was also a guest who ought to participate. But women couldn’t stand in the open at the front, so they assembled around the family hall for worship. If it was quiet enough, they could even hear the Great Masters lecturing on Buddhist principles inside. Song Jiaoyue was rather biased towards Bai Xiangxiu and had prepared a little room just for her that was extremely refined and tasteful. She could quietly stay there listening to the Buddhist lectures outside.
As Bai Xiangxiu listened to the Great Masters talk, she couldn’t help but wonder why she’d ended up in a different world. She crossed her legs to sit on the mat, eyes closed as she rotated the prayer beads in her hands. Even now, she found the situation almost unbelievable. Why had she come here, and how would she return? Or perhaps, she’d stay here and never be able to go back?
Was this a novel or reality, her past life or her current one?
Perhaps she was too deep in thought as she contemplated those questions, because she didn’t notice when Song Jiaoyue entered.
Song Jiaoyue was stunned by the sight that greeted him as soon as he stepped in. That woman had a very attractive face to begin with, but when she closed her eyes and sat like that, she was as dignified and serene as a celestial being. Her posture and face were both lovely, while the quiet stillness about her was a beauty that had broken free from the vulgarity of the mortal world.
Why hadn’t he ever noticed this side of her before? Originally, he thought she was just a frivolous, flighty woman. But now it seemed that she was nowhere close to that type.
She was still young, but possessed profound knowledge and intellect. She was beautiful, but wasn’t haughty because of it. Nor did she use her beauty to seduce men.
Even when she’d admired him, it had all been very proper. Besides boldly giving him a gift, all she did was stare at him frequently… And that kind of look had disappeared ever since he’d rejected her. From this, he could tell that she wasn’t a clingy type of woman, nor was she indecisive and irresolute. Still, her feelings for him must have been genuine, or else she wouldn’t have fallen ill for so long.
Right now, he really wanted to ask her, Just what had she seen till now? What had she finally understood?