A moment after Xiaoshi went over to water the cactus, Bai Xiangxiu heard a happy voice say, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” She instinctively answered, and then shot up. How many times have I had this hallucination? This really isn’t logical!
“Mistress Xiu, what is it?” Xiaoshi watched as her formerly bed-ridden mistress suddenly jumped from her bed wearing only her undergarments and stared intently at cactus. Still staring, she suddenly demanded, “Hey, what sort of evil spirit are you?”
Xiaoshi was speechless and flabbergasted. She tore out of the house, screaming loudly. “Someone come quick! Call the doctor from the medicine hall! Mistress Xiu… something’s wrong with Mistress Xiu!”
Bai Xiangxiu could only feel a headache coming on. How is there something wrong with me? I’m perfectly fine!
“I’m not a demon, I’m a cactus. I’m Huo’er,” a soft voice sounded. Bai Xiangxiu took a few steps back in fright. She was now utterly and completely certain that there was something wrong with her. Why else would she hear a cactus speak to her?
“You… you… it’s nothing to do with you, I feel like I should see a doctor.” She returned to her bed and laid down on her back, her limbs splayed out as she waited for the doctor to come. However, she felt it was a little undignified, so she covered herself with a blanket.
“Mistress, Huo’er is very comfortable today. Huo’er wants to go sunbathing,” The voice seemed to resound with a childish joy. Bai Xiangxiu was now convinced her sickness was escalating.
The doctor entered the courtyard before too long. He was an elderly man, so they didn’t much stick to formalities. Bai Xiangxiu quickly threw out her arm, almost frantic. ‘Doctor, I’m experiencing hallucinations, like someone is speaking to me. Quickly, tell me whether I’ve gone crazy!”
That old doctor’s lips twitched. A madwoman who quickly and readily admitted that she was crazy. Well, this was a first. After taking her pulse, he smiled, “Mistress Xiu has already made a full recovery. You only need to take some medicine and everything will be fine.”
Sigh, I rushed all the way here only to find that there’s nothing wrong with the person in question. He quickly dispensed some medicine, packed up his doctor’s bag and left. Bai Xiangxiu remained lying on the bed, saying, “Doctor, please don’t go, I really am sick.”
The voice inside her head replied, “I am not someone, I am Huo’er. I am Huo’er, Huo’er is the cactus.”
Who’d ever heard of a cactus who could talk? She hadn’t, at the very least.
Xiaoshi was also at a loss of what to do, but at least she could finally set her mind at ease after hearing the doctor say that her mistress was fine. Really, her mistress was probably only showing some anxiety since she’d been frightened so much. Perhaps she would recover after resting for a time.
Bai Xiangxiu was ‘crazy’ for a full two days, and it was only after the news of her having turned crazy spread that she finally accepted reality. After all, it was just a talking cactus that only she could hear. As long as she pretended that she couldn’t hear it, wouldn’t she still be a perfectly normal person?
While Huo’er was really a cactus, it was a cactus that didn’t know anything at all. It slept around twenty hours a day, only awake for four. So she didn’t feel very bothered by it. What bothered her now was that she still hadn’t been able to return home even after being pricked. Did it have anything to do with the location and time?
That day, she had tried pricking herself at the same location and time, but it made no difference. Did that mean she would have to wait for the same day next year? Having asked Xiaoshi, she had learned that the day would be a little different next year because it fell on the annual Ghost Festival. But she feared she could not avoid a gruesome death for that long. She was on the verge of panicking, the scenes from the day that Xi’er had been beaten to death still fresh in her mind.
She definitely had to find a way to avoid that. She had to find a protector, someone with a thick thigh to hug and hide behind in order to avoid the coming tribulation. That way, even if she couldn’t return home, she could at least live a good life, right?
As for finding a handsome guy from ancient times and enjoying a glorious romance, that was far too impractical. It was best she didn’t think much of it. But whose thigh should she hug?
The male lead’s–
Definitely not. Bai Xiangxiu’s mind immediately twisted into knots when she thought of him.
The old madame’s–
Definitely not as well. He was no better than Prince Li. When she thought about it, the only likely candidate was Song Jiaoyue,
Song Jiaoyue was actually a tender person both inside and out. If the male lead was fire, then he would be water. If the male lead was a blazing hot sun, then he was the cool andtranquil moon. His family background was also decent, on par with that of the male lead’s. The other male supporting characters were all a little too weak. Even if she managed to successfully seduce them, they would never be able to stand up to the male lead.
If it was Song Jiaoyue, getting her out of this relationship with the male lead would be an extremely simple matter. He was a wholeheartedly devoted man just like the male lead. If he fell in love, he would ignore everyone else, including his current concubines. Song Jiaoyue was also known for being extremely gentle towards women. He definitely wouldn’t have one beaten to death. It seemed that his was the only thigh she could hug.
As for the method of hugging, it could only be through gifting herself to him. What, was she to make friends with a man like in modern times? A purely platonic friendship between men and women was already rare in the modern age, much less here and now.
After a long consideration, Bai Xiangxiu finally decided to pursue Song Jiaoyue. She would help him shake off his solitary fate while also ensuring that she wouldn’t be beaten to death. The male lead would throw out his bunch of concubines later on. If someone asked for her, wouldn’t he immediately hand her over on a platter to Song Jiaoyue? So the question was: how to pursue him?
Song Jiaoyue had liked the female lead for her talent. He had been deeply enraptured by her singing, having heard her when she played an instrument in the male lead’s residence. Therefore, Song Jiaoyue liked women not because of their appearance, but because of their talents. Bai Xiangxiu stroked her chin. Where did her talents lie? She only knew how to arrange flowers and plants! If she wanted to get close to Song Jiaoyue, she must first show talent. This was the most important factor.
After thinking things over, she decided to browse through all the poems and literature in the complex. She could compare her findings with what she knew of history and see if any transmigrating seniors had already stolen the poems she knew of. Otherwise, it could end in tragedy if she threw out a verse later on and the others accused her of plagiarism. Therefore, she began reading diligently, working as hard as she had while studying for her college entrance exams.
Seeing her mistress spending day after day submerged in books, reading from morning till night and obsessed to the point of not even brushing her hair or washing her face, Xiaoshi wondered, are books really that good?
The maid thought that normalcy would return when her mistress finished the books. But instead her mistress began working on calligraphy next! Again she worked from morning to night, tiring herself out so much that she had to tie the brush to her fingers to continue writing. Having never ever seen such a self-abusive mistress before, Xiaoshi became very frightened. Meanwhile, the servants once again spread rumors of Mistress Xiu, that she had been frightened into a mad devil since that day, her behavior becoming more and more erratic.
Two months of this craziness passed before Prince Li heard of it. After the old madame told him about it, she mentioned, “I’ll send some people over to take a look later. If she really is crazy, I’ll send her over to the temple to rest. Perhaps the power of the Buddha will help her recover.”
Nodding, Long Heng agreed. It all felt a little unreal as he strode out of the old madame’s abode. Such a lively and intelligent girl had gone mad just like this? After a brief hesitation, his footsteps turned onto the beaten path towards the Winter Garden.