Chapter 38: Too Ugly, Too Many Thorns
He couldn’t even be compared to the male lead, who’d at least come to comfort her. Though his methods were strange－saying things like, you’ll get used to pain! That’s right, his words just then were consoling her. Was that why his expression was so weird? Why was the male lead comforting her, so odd!
Bai Xiangxiu’s heart felt rather tumultuous, as if the plot of the novel had completely gone off the rails. Right now, the male lead was clearly supposed to be half hating, half attracted to the female lead and sending men out in all directions to chase her. Why was he wasting time in a place like this? Was it because the supporting male was injured, and he and the supporting male were the couple instead?
What a mess. She rubbed her head forcefully, feeling like she didn’t have enough brainpower to handle this.
“Ah…” Because she moved her hand, her shoulder started hurting again. This really was a troublesome injury!
Like this, she spent another day lying down before she could finally get up and walk around. Still, every step brought extreme pain, so all she could do was shuffle though a few circles in the room before someone came to support her into the prepared carriage. There was no way that such a large and luxurious carriage could fit into the back courtyard of the medical clinic, so when she raised her head and saw the courtyard gates dismantled, she couldn’t help but feel daunted!
She finally saw the supporting male lead this time. His injury wasn’t light either, but he could move about freely. Truly, martial arts practitioners were different. She still needed someone to help her walk out of the room.
When Song Jiaoyue saw Bai Xiangxiu, he felt his heart clench. There were things he needed to talk about with her. If she revealed or purposely concealed something, chances were that Prince Li would sense it immediately. He walked towards her, a piece of paper hidden between two fingers. When he recalled how she had boldly given him the wrong gift before, he wondered whether he’d have the same luck. Or rather, he wondered whether he’d have the same courage she did.
“Is Madame Xiu’s injury better?” This was the last chance he could take advantage of, while Long Han was out deploying his men.
“It’s already much better. What about Sir Song?” Bai Xiangxiu exhaled. He still has some heart after all!
“Just about completely well. We’re returning to the capital together today. Though the road’s not far, I still ask that Madame Xiu take care.” He leaned forward a bit, only then realizing that it was difficult for the two to even touch.
“Many thanks for young sir’s reminder,” Madame Xiu unconsciously bent her back for a bow, forgetting she was injured. The sudden pain caused her to grunt softly, and Song Jiaoyue hastened to help her up. Their palms met through the fabric of their sleeves before they hastily broke apart. In that second, his heart seemed to have stopped beating.
Bai Xiangxiu’s body also turned obviously stiff, though she was quick to recover. She backed up a few steps very politely and prepared to climb into the carriage when she heard the male lead call out, “Wait.”
She had just raised her leg, but her heart had already risen to her throat. Even Song Jiaoyue had frozen in place. He had already resolved himself; if anyone discovered anything, he’d take all the blame onto himself.
His and her gazes inexplicably met before both looked away. Why did this feel like some clandestine love affair? Bai Xiangxiu felt encouraged after such a glance. At the very least, the supporting male lead hadn’t run away from fear of being found out. Psychologically speaking, people were less afraid when there were two of them shouldering something frightening together. At least, that was as far as her thoughts went. She’d originally had chills over the male leading finding out, but now she had slightly relaxed.
Meanwhile, Long Heng stalked over and glared at the two old female servants. “Why aren’t you properly assisting your mistress?” The two servants weren’t that old, only around thirty years old each 1. They quickly bowed their heads and knelt on the ground to beg for mercy. Long Heng took the chance to support Bai Xiangxiu before knitting his eyebrows. “Why is your body so cold?”
“This concubine…this concubine doesn’t know either.” You scared me. But that wasn’t something she could say.
“It should be from too much blood loss. You haven’t recovered yet,” Long Heng carefully explained to her.
“Ah…” He’d picked her up in a princess-carry in front of so many people. Bai Xiangxiu’s face immediately flushed red, but because of her excessive blood loss, she still looked rather wan.
Long Heng placed her in the carriage before sitting down on the opposite side. This carriage had been custom made to be especially soft, so it felt like she was sitting on a sofa. A curious Bai Xiangxiu felt things here and there. There was a padded section behind her head, so she didn’t need to fear hitting it and getting injured again.
Long Heng raised the curtains to look out and saw Song Jiaoyue still there. He said, “Do you need me to assist you?”
Song Jiaoyue wrinkled his brows before turning away to quickly get in his own carriage.
Only then did Long Heng lower the curtains and say, “We can set out now.”
The driver started the carriage, but Bai Xiangxiu didn’t feel much vibration. Even if there was, she forced herself to endure it, because there was a secret hidden in her palm. She only had the chance to peek at that piece of paper when they stopped midway for a break and Long Heng left. Written on the piece of paper was but a single line, a description of how she’d been ambushed while delivering medicine to Song Jiaoyue. That was it.
So that’s how it was. He was afraid that she’d spill the beans and had concealed the facts from Long Heng. But the male lead still trusted the supporting male and hadn’t asked her what happened that day. Actually, the male lead and supporting male were still very good friends. If not for the female lead messing things up between them, they wouldn’t have fallen out with each other.
She hoped that her own matters wouldn’t cause a rift between them either. Still, she wasn’t as certain of it as before, before the male lead had changed. Once he did, the plot had shifted strangely as well. Who knew when it’d get back on track again? She held out for the entire journey until they got back home. Because she was only a lowly concubine, there was no one to receive her.
Moreover, Long Heng wasn’t the type of person to trouble himself for her sake. As soon as they entered the city, he’d alighted from the carriage and gone on ahead on his horse. As a result, he’d gotten home first to see everyone there, leaving her to quietly return alone to Winter Garden.
She rested for an entire day, with no one but the doctor coming to disturb her. Huo’er was very happy to see her return. In these few days, his budding shoot had grown as long as a finger. He himself was as big as a her palm. Despite her distaste, Ye-mama had been taking care of him. Thus, Huo’er evened the score by reporting on all the complaints Ye-mama had said to him. He was too ugly, he had too many thorns, why did Madame Xiu like things like this, and so on.
Bai Xiangxiu wanted to laugh. Unexpectedly, she actually felt like she had come home. This feeling was really unacceptable, how could this place be her home?
She was currently sitting down to read when someone knocked at the gates. Xiao Shi ran out to open the doors before coming in to report, “Madame Xiu, Spring Garden’s senior madame and Summer Garden’s second madame has come to to see you.”
“Oh, let them in!” Since they’d already come to her door, she couldn’t just chase them away. Bai Xiangxiu set down her book and slowly moved herself into an upright posture.
Her injury was currently scarring, so sometimes it’d itch intensely, but she couldn’t scratch it. She liked to lean against the chair and gently graze it to alleviate the situation. Now that she moved, it itched again, so she couldn’t resist leaning back for one last rub. But her current posture made it far from satisfactory. At that moment, the light and airy senior madame and second madame came in. Their looks really were too inferior to her own. Men who took concubines naturally valued virtue over looks. But despite this, they shouldn’t look too ordinary for the estate.
- Still an older age in ancient China. ↩