FDFH Chapter 29 (Part 2)

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Chapter 29: Legendary Face-Changing Expert (Part 2)

Ah…

Not bad, I could agree to that. I nodded and smiled before turning with an exclamation of surprise.

“Where’s the water…”

“The water’s in the copper basin.”

“Then where’s the copper basin?”

“Walk forward seven to eight steps. There’s a copper basin on the rack with some cold water inside. The hot water pail and ladle is on the ground…as for a face towel, you can use your sleeves for now.” His eyes were gleaming, but their gaze was gentle and soft, his voice unhurried. “Understand?”

I rolled up my sleeves and stuck a pinkie in my ear. But then he raised a foot and gave me a light kick. “If you know, then why aren’t you hurrying over?”

Nice guy, you sure change moods fast.

I peered into the basin and had a sudden bout of laziness. I didn’t feel like adding any hot water, so I just leaned over and splashed my face, shaking my head a few times. This basically made me clean…but excess water was still trailing down from my hair, so I quickly rubbed it dry with my sleeves.

When I raised my head, I saw Nongyu staring at me blankly.

“What?”

He sucked in his lips and pursed them, as if just regaining his senses. But it seemed he was resisting the urge to smile with great difficulty. “To sink to this level, Younger Sister Shào has already amazed me. Your movements are so violent, and yet you treat it as a small trifle. Such behavior is worthy of acclaim.” He clasped his hands in a bow, and refused to meet my eyes.

How contemptuous.

Nothing but bare disdain…

I smacked the table and gave him a glare as I sat in my seat.

“Come and pick one.” His sleeves whisked over the table. I swept over the surface with a careless gaze, but was instantly transfixed.

There was a white jade vessel sitting on the table, within which were suspended various skin masks as thin as cicada wings…the water wafted with the scent of sandalwood as it quivered.

He lifted his gaze to look at me. “Let’s use this one.” So speaking, he deftly lifted out a mask from the very bottom, and pressed it against my face.

“Hey…you, I didn’t even pick yet.”

A mild tone rose from somewhere above me. “These are my masks. You pick what you want, I give what I want…if you pick something I refuse to give, then you couldn’t do anything about it anyways.”

All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

Abominable.

This guy was really abominable!

“Don’t move around. Each mask is as precious as gold,” he stuck his finger around my eyebrows and pressed down a few times, slowly sliding it down…after stroking seven or eight places, his eyes crinkled and he gave a cheerful laugh. “It’s done.”

I felt an ominous premonition and stole a look at him. Turning away, I furtively touched my face. The surface was pretty slippery, and thin enough that it felt like I was rubbing my own skin. My anxiety slowly calmed down.

He embraced me from behind, hands slowly reaching upwards. “There’s one more thing that we need to change.”

He rested a finger above the front button of my collar.

Exactly what did he plan to do…?

All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

Seeing his face get increasingly closer, my expression turned serious.

From the depths of my sleeves, I grabbed some packets of powder. There was still time to throw them…

His hands clamped around my wrists, preventing me from moving within his embrace.

“Do you want to poison me again?”

“A well-read sage of the Confucian classics would never be as rude as you.”

“I’m only like that with outsiders, but I don’t need to be with you.” He smiled and used a finger to prop up my face. “Moreover…I usually read medical books.”

His hand moved lower, brushing against the top button of my collar with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile.

“What are you doing…”

“Don’t misunderstand, I said there’s one more thing you have to change.” He pressed closer and asked, “Do you know what it is?”

I lowered my head, silently looking…

The place where he’d rested his hand was very particular…a little bit lower and he’d be a shameless rogue; a little higher and he’d be considered a tease.

“You’re too artistic with your hand placement. Forgive me for being dull, but I really don’t understand.”

He laughed, lifting his hand to brush a slender finger past my throat and chin. His face drew by my side, the eyelashes drooping as he spoke softly in my ear. “Your voice…”

“Voice?”

“You asked me why I could recognize you even after you changed your looks. Though I’m a face-changing expert who can tell with a glance, those people familiar with you will be able to guess just from listening to you talk.” He turned away, taking a small square box off a rack. From its depth, he took out a round, black pill and held it in his hand. “So…eat this.”

I looked at him sideways.

You think I’d eat it…just because you said so?

Who knew if it was poisoned?

“Do you not trust me? Or are you just afraid of my poisons?”

“I, Shao Hua, have made plenty of my own poisons. Like I’d be scared of you trifling imperial physician!”

“So Shào Yu really was a lie you made up to fool me.” He smiled slightly, and said mildy, “…the person vanished without a trace, the waters flow hollowly on. The beautiful spring does not linger for youth, and regrets exist on without ceasing.” His gaze was brilliant as he stared fixedly at me. “Shao Hua is as beautiful as that spring, what a good name[1].”

— All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

He really had a way with words.

His tone of speech even resembled those melancholy, cast-aside lovestruck princes. I was on the verge of paying respects to his skills.

Nongyu’s eyes overflowed with a soft and gentle warmth, and he rolled up his sleeves, preparing to speaking again. I hurriedly twisted around to muffle him with one hand, tossing the pill in my mouth with another as I swallowed.

Air rushed through my entire body and up towards my throat. It felt both numb and itchy…as if countless ants were crawling around inside.

Shoot, what kind of pill was this?

I clutched my throat, looking around until I spotted a table. Pouring myself a cup of water, I downed it in one gulp, allowing its coolness to seep down. It was much more comfortable after that.

“What kind of pill is this?! It’s even hard to talk, do you want me to become a mute?” I frowned as I blurted out my grievance.

A slightly clear and melodious voice filled the room…

I stood stunned.

“Isn’t this good? Now even the crown prince won’t recognize you.” He rested his hands behind his back, feeling extremely self-satisfied.

Che, Han Zichuan hadn’t recognized me back then either.

My hands felt around my throat, feeling extremely astonished. I tested my voice a few more times. As before, it had the crystal clear tones of a child.

— All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

“Go tidy up your things a bit, you’ll be moving to another wing today.”

“Why?” The place I lived at now wasn’t half-bad.

“Your yifu has been in the palace for a while, but he’s taciturn and never goes out. The court ladies and eunuchs in charge of serving him all live in dread because none of them know what he likes. Each day he doesn’t treat the emperor’s illness is one more day that makes me anxious.” He grasped my hand. “Fang Hua didn’t want you to come, yet here you are. Since things are like this, why don’t you live with him? If you don’t reveal yourself, I won’t expose you either, how about it?”

I gave him an empty look.

His eyes shone with sincerity and a certain eagerness.

“I don’t want to…” I said flatly, wearing an extremely reluctant face. “But in light of the fact that you saved me…I’ll grudgingly agree.”

His eyes crinkled into a very pleased smile, and he pulled my wrist to lead me outside. The entire way, he dragged me along as my face kept its stiff expression, though I resisted an urge to smile.

Inside, I was thoroughly delighted…

To the Heavens above, I’ll burn some incense for you when I get back.

Finally I can see yifu and even live with him in the same room…if that was the case, didn’t it mean that at night…

Nongyu slowled down, turning around to look at me. “Are you so happy because you’re going to see your yifu soon?”

“No, originally I wanted to enter the palace and fool around…but now you’re making me work for you.” My expression was tragic and sorrowful.

He placed a hand comfortingly on my shoulders, patting me a few times.

“I heard the servants say he’s hard to serve, so I’ll have to trouble you for these few days. His monthly allowances are much higher than the imperial physicians’, but I’ll give you some extra to add on later.”

I firmly suppressed the rising joy in my heart, instead exhaling an irritated breath as my gaze clouded over. My face reddened in stubborn silence, while his was filled with apology as he continued to lead me in silence.

Around the length of time it took for half an incense stick to burn, we came before a lacquered door, painted vermillion red.

“Imperial Physician Nong,” Two or three court ladies hurriedly knelt on the ground as he approached.

He nodded and stopped walked.

“Why aren’t you inside doing your jobs?”

The court ladies exchanged glances, as if reluctant to disclose an awkward topic. The door was slightly ajar, and opened with a single push.

I stood behind Nongyu as we entered and saw a figure within the rooms. Pitch-black hair covered his shoulders, and a ray of light illuminated his whole body. Under the serenity of the scene, Fang Hua’s beauty shone in brilliant splendor. He sat by a table, head on his hands, eyes closed as if taking a nap.

At that moment, my heart gave a start.

-o-All reproductions of this work not on volaretranslations are stolen copies.

[1] what a good name – Shao Hua (??) “beautiful spoon” vs. shaohua (??), “beautiful springtime, glorious youth”. They sound the same, but are written differently with distinct meanings.


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