Chapter 36: As Long As You’re Alright
Bai Xiangxiu couldn’t be bother with hiding anymore. She suddenly shouted out, “Be careful!”. As a result, Song Jiaoyue really did take more care after hearing the words. He hauled his opponent behind him to block two flying daggers, but another one stabbed into his abdomen, causing him to fall to his knees with a gasp of pain.
Meanwhile, the other enemy raised a dagger. Bai Xiangxiu ran out without another thought. She had planned to push Song Jiaoyue out of the way after the enemy sent the other dagger flying. But who knew her timing would be so good? That flying dagger seemed to grow eyes and stabbed straight into her shoulder.
So painful. Bai Xiangxiu faced Song Jiaoyue as she slowly collapsed.
He caught her with a face full of shock. Bai Xiangxiu felt that she might die, so it was only right to say some stirring words before her death. After all, she was finally in close proximity to the supporting male lead. But her wound really hurt too much to do anything grandiose. So she lay there in the crook of his arm, and drew in what could be her last breath to whisper, “As long as you’re alright.” She honestly couldn’t say anything more, but she never thought her words would visibly move Song Jiaoyue.
“Madame Xiu, Madame Xiu, you…” His hands grew inexplicably warm. When he took one out for a look, he found it covered in blood. This was her blood, caused from the dagger she’d taken for him! He abruptly tugged out the dagger stuck in his own body and flung it towards the last jianghu member. The latter was preparing another strike when Song Jiaoyue’s move abruptly ended his life.
Song Jiaoyue was planning to take her and leave, but he only felt more and more muddleheaded. Right at this moment, he saw Bai Xiangxiu struggle with a bottle of medicine despite being in too much pain to speak. When he opened it up, he found that it was Red Pearl.
Red Pearl was a medicine that could not only treat injuries, but detoxify myriad poisons. It was especially effective against items that caused confusion. It looked like the prince must have told her about its effects. He hurriedly opened the lid and took a whiff, his mind clearing up immediately.
“Madame Xiu, I’ll take you to get treatment right now. Madame Xiu, Madame Xiu…” No matter how he called, that beautiful woman didn’t respond. She’d fainted dead away. No, he couldn’t let anything happen to her. He definitely couldn’t!
Song Jiaoyue felt his heart trembling at this moment. Holding her carefully in his arms, he returned to the caravan as the fastest speed he could muster. In the distance, he could see Long Heng riding back with people to his aid.
As soon as he relaxed, he narrowly avoided fainting away himself. But he couldn’t. If they fainted like this, it might affect her reputation. But she had risked her life to save him, so how could he let her suffer?
Song Jiaoyue gritted his teeth and had someone bring her back to her carriage. He then took a few steps before falling on the ground.
Long Heng ran over to help him up, his voice anxious. “Where are those people?”
“All dead. Madame Xiu is injured, save her first.” After gasping out that last matter on his mind, he fell into blissful unconsciousness.
Startled, Long Heng handed Song Jiaoyue over to a subordinate before going over to the carriage for a look. He saw the bloody Bai Xiangxiu lying there unmoving, her face almost white from blood loss, her breath all but gone.
His heart ached as he rushed to pick her up. If he’d known that this was going to happen, he wouldn’t have left her here. Who cared what other people said as long as she was safe? Ignoring what others thought, finding her a doctor was the most important thing. With everything done and over with, there was no telling whether she’d die just from excessive blood loss.
Long Heng’s speed was very quick. He found a doctor in a nearby town in a flash. There was no time to attend to matters regarding male-female propriety as the doctor examined the wound and shivered, “It’s not life-threatening. The dagger’s already been taken out. She’s just lost too much blood and needs quiet rest. She shouldn’t be easily moved about, either.”
“If there’s no danger, why hasn’t she woken up yet?” Long Heng asked with furrowed brows.
“Because she’s lost too much blood. I believe she’ll wake up in a while.” The doctor explained as he busied himself with a patient that had just arrived. This time it was actually a subordinate bringing in Song Jiaoyue for treatment. There was no helping it. Both of them were severely injured, so they couldn’t wait until they returned to the capital.
Song Jiaoyue was a man to begin with. Add that to his martial arts skills and deliberate defense of his vital areas, he woke up in less than an hour. After bandaging his injuries, he could stand up in the room and walk around. Naturally, he asked after Bai Xiangxiu’s injury first. He was only relieved after hearing that her life wasn’t in danger.
Just as he released a breath, Long Heng appeared with a cold face. “Just exactly what happened here?”
Vendettas in the jianghu typically wouldn’t involve kidnapping women and children. Thus, the rest of the Song family were all fine, just rendered unconscious. But why was Bai Xiangxiu the only one who’d ended up with a blade stuck in her back? That had obviously been a concealed weapon, so he didn’t believe things were so simple.
Inexplicably, Song Jiaoyue felt a twinge of guilt prick at his conscience. He opened and shut his mouth before saying, “It was I who implicated Madame Xiu, because she came to give me Red Pearl.”
“Red Pearl? That’s right, it can remove the effects of substances that cause confusion. Though, how did she know? I didn’t tell her,” Long Heng wrinkled his brows.
Song Jiaoyue gave a start, but quickly realized how she’d known. She hadn’t been rendered unconscious because there was Red Pearl smeared on her nose. Thus, she’d guessed in that instant that Red Pearl could dispel the effects of the confusion. It was rare to find such an intelligent girl in this world.
“She deduced it,” Song Jiaoyue smiled wryly before continuing. “When she was chasing me, she was spotted by an expert and was hit as a result. However, because of that I received the Red Pearl and recovered my wits enough to preserve my life.” He was very sincere as he spoke. “This is all thanks to Madame Xiu. But such affairs are really too complex. For the sake of her good name, I can only say to outsiders that she was caught up in the action.” He held back the words that Bai Xiangxiu had spoken before she’d fainted. The words were like a spell, echoing in his ears long after she’d lost consciousness.
It was the same even now, as if time had stopped in that moment.
Long Heng was calm as he replied, “You did the right thing, though I never expected such minor players from the jianghu to have the guts to kill the imperial court’s appointed officials.”
“I sent armed forces to suppress ten branches of his organization, so he came back to kill me. Looks like he really doesn’t want to live a peaceful life.” Song Jiaoyue had received orders from the imperial court to investigate a few fugitives, thus earning the ire of some people in the jianghu.
Long Heng glanced at him and said, “I’ll lend some troops to you this time.”
“Ha, with your troops, they’ll definitely be more docile.” His laughter jolted his injury, causing his eyebrows to knit in pain. He thought of the unconscious and wounded Madame Xiu. How much would it hurt for her after she woke?
Would a woman be able to bear it?
His brows further wrinkled at the thought, just as a servant girl stuck her head in to speak. “Which one is Sir Long? Your family’s madame is awake, but she keeps saying it hurts.”
“What?” Long Heng was happy to hear she’d awakened, but grew alarmed at the mention of pain. His steps unconsciously quickened as he headed over to her room. Song Jiaoyue was worried as well, but he only followed two steps before stopping. He didn’t have any right to enter her room.
It looked like all he could do was wait. Once he calmed down, he recalled the words she’d said to him. He hadn’t paid attention to them back then, nor had he given them any thought when he was anxiously trying to save her life. But now the memory of those words brought him an endless ambiguous warmth. Why would a woman say those things to him in such a dangerous situation? Could it be, she…?
Impossible, impossible. She was clearly Long Heng’s concubine, and he was someone who couldn’t even exist in her thoughts.