Chapter 47: The Cold Arrow Behind (Part 2)
The black clad person has light footwork. When he jumped through the window, he did not make a single sound. He surveyed the room while he was squatting below the window. Qing Feng lay by her side on the bed and following the black clad person’s every move with her eyes. Even though the view was between them, when he looked over, Qing Feng’s heart could not help but pound loudly. She clutched the sheets under the thin quilts and her breath almost stopped. Qing Feng bit down her lips and the pain she felt help her to calm down. It is too late to call for help. Before the guards can arrive, she would have lost her life.
The black clad person look around before getting up and walking towards the low cabinet beside the screen. In the dark, Qing Feng could only see that the black clad person was about seven feet tall, with a fit body and dressed in black. The person’s face and hair were all covered up. He opened the cabinet and rummage before quickly closing it up and quickly jump out from the window. The entire ordeal only lasted half a cup of tea (one cup of tea time = 15 mins)
Qing Feng lay stiffly on the bed and dare not move for a long time. She only looked out of the window at the side of her eyes and saw the bright moon shining against the window paper. There was no more black shadow. Was he gone? After waiting for a while longer, it was still quiet outside. Qing Feng quietly got out of the bed and walked to the side of the door and opened a crack to peer out. The courtyard doors were tightly closed and there was no one in the courtyard. With a lantern hanging on the handrail at the stone steps, the eunuch who was on night vigil was laying flat on the steps sleeping. Everything looked calm as if there were nothing unusual. Qing Feng then boldly pushed open the doors.
Outside the house, the night wind kept blowing making Qing Feng shiver immediately. At that moment she then realised that she was so scared that she broke into a cold sweat and her clothes were damp.
Qing Feng softly called out, “Xiao Chu-er”
Xiao Chu-er was lying on the steps motionless. Qing Feng reach her hands out and tapped on his shoulder but he did not respond at all. Qing Feng pushed him but Xiao Chu-er still lay motionless.
He… Will not be dead right? Qing Feng that was just settled started to increase again.
“Xiao Chu-er!” Qing Feng called out as she forcefully push his head around. The person who was lying on the ground suddenly moved, frightening Qing Feng to take a step back. After a while, Xiao Chu-er sat up and with a still confused mind, he looked up and saw Qing Feng’s ashen face. Xiao Chu-er got a shock and his mind suddenly woke up as he went down on his knees and begged for mercy, “This servant deserves to die! This servant deserves to die! Begging for forgiveness from your Ladyship!” He usually would not doze off when he was on night vigil but not sure what was the matter today, he suddenly felt so tired and he could not remember when he fell asleep!
He was still alive! Qing Feng was secretly relieved. The series of shocks almost made her collapse that the abdominal pain suddenly worsen. Qing Feng leaned against the door frame and called out softly, “Get up and call Fu Ling over.”
“Yes, yes, yes.” Qing Feng did not punish him which Xiao Chu-er was secretly glad about. His steps did not slow down as he got up from the ground and ran off.
Fu Ling was awaken by the “pa pa” sound at the door and called out softly, “Who is it?”
“It’s me Xiao Chu-er! Her Ladyship is looking for you and want older sister to go there immediately.” Fu Ling just finished asking when Xiao Chu-er’s voice immediately sound from the other side of the door.
Fu Ling looked out the window and saw that the night was still thick and the surrounding silence only made Xiao Chu-er anxious steps louder. It should still be midnight now? Not thinking much, Fu Ling threw a piece of clothing over herself and opened the door.
Seeing that Fu Ling is out, Xiao Chu-er carried the lantern to light out the road as he urgently spoke, “Good sister, please hurry up!”
Stroking her loose hair, Fu Ling quickly tidied up her clothes as she asked, “What time is it now?”
“Midnight has passed.”
Fu Ling head towards the main house and it was lit up by the dim candlelight. The door was still ajar thus Fu Ling had a bad premonition and quicken her pace.
Lightly opening the door, Fu Ling saw Qing Feng, who was suppose to be lying on the soft bed, sitting at the round table in the middle of the main hall. Fu Ling was alarmed as she called out, “Mistress?”
Hearing Fu Ling’s voice, Qing Feng propped herself up and said, “Close the doors.”
Fu Ling closed and locked the doors before walking quickly to Qing Feng’s side. Before she could speak, Qing Feng suddenly grabbed her hand and clutch it tightly. The ice cold fingers made Fu Ling worry, “Mistress, your hands are so cold. Are you not feeling well?”
Qing Feng leaned forward slightly and lowered her voice to speak, “Just now… There was a black clad person who entered the room.”
“Are you hurt?” Fu Ling unconsciously looked around and when she recovered, she nervously looked at Qing Feng from head to toe, for fear that she would suffer any mishaps.
“I am fine.” Qing Feng gave her a forced smile but her face was still pale. Fu Ling was worried that she wanted to take her pulse but Qing Feng suddenly pointed to the low cabinet by the screen and said, “Oh yes, when the black clad person came in, he went over to that cabinet and rummage something before immediately leaving. Go over there to see what was missing?”
“En.” Letting go of Qing Feng’s cold hands, Fu Ling walked over to the low cabinet and place her hand on the handle. Her heartbeat started to accelerate as she pull it open. There was nothing abnormal about it. The jewelry and silver were rampaged through but when Fu Ling take a quick stock, there was not a single jewelry or silver missing. Under the boxes of silver there seem to be a red cloth. She remembered that Mistress does not have any red scarves and thus reached in to take it out. Fu Ling then found that there was something soft like a bunch of cloth wrapped in the red cloth.
Fu Ling took the cloth bag out and look at it with a candle-
Seeing the things wrapped in the red cloth, Fu Ling gasp in shocked. Her hand loosen and the thing fell and rolled to the corner of the cabinet.
Hearing Fu Ling’s gasp, Qing Feng looked up and saw a bundle of stuff falling from her hands, seemingly like… A doll? She wanted to get up but the throbbing pain at her abdomen made her immovable thus Qing Feng could only call out clearly, “Bring it over for me to see?”
Fu Ling fearfully picked up the doll and tightly held it in her hands. Even when she pass it to Qing Feng, her ends was still shaking.
Qing Feng saw the thing in her hands, it was an exquisite doll which was wearing a red brocade robe, its long hair were like clouds and there were four needles pierced into its head. On its chest, there was also a yellow amulet paste on it with the words “Third quarter of Maoshi” (modern timing: 5 – 7 am). A long and thick needle was pierce through the doll’s heart and out the chest, making it look even creepier.
What does this mean? Why did the black clad person took such a big risk just to put a doll in her room? There was no birth information written so who was it cursing? Who instructed the black clad person to do it?
When Qing Feng was holding the doll thinking, Fu Ling suddenly thought about something and snatched the doll from Qing Feng’s hand and removed the needles, tore the amulet off as she anxiously said, “The Inner Palace forbids witchcraft. The punishment for it ranges from being banished into the Cold Palace to death!” If this doll was found by others, no matter how Mistress would explain, someone would have took the matter to task and one will lose their heads over it.
Fu Ling frantically tore the doll apart and Qing Feng slowly calm herself down before saying, “The Inner Palace is heavily guarded and it is difficult for those outside the Palace to enter, much less to correctly identify which is Qing Feng Hall. Thus it must be someone from the Palace and is familiar with the locations in the Inner Palace and know the timing of the guards patrol and the various routes. He would also be familiar with Qing Feng Hall as he was able to complete what needed to be done in a very short time.” He entered her room so easily and it would not be difficult to kill her so why place a doll in her room?
Her thoughts in her mind got clearer and clearer but the pain in her abdomen suddenly act up and Qing Feng moaned out. Fu Ling looked up and it was only then she realized that Qing Feng’s face was so white and transparent and her forehead was filled with sweat. At first she thought that Qing Feng was frightened but it seems that it was more than that.
“Mistress, what is the matter?”
“My… Tummy hurts a little.” Clutching her abdomen, Qing Feng’s voice tremble. Fu Ling quickly took her wrist and take her pulse.
This pulse… Fu Ling look up in astonishment and stared at Qing Feng with some hesitation and joy. Qing Feng was unable to make out the meaning of it and asked, “What is wrong?”
Fu Ling did not answer for a long time and carefully took a long time to read her pulse before she softly replied, “Mistress, it seems that you have… A pregnant pulse.”
A pregnant pulse?!
“Not possible!” Qing Feng expelled it out lowly, how was this even possible? The first time when she shared the bed with Yan Hong Tian, she drank the concoction from JingShiFang. Its not possible. The second time that she attended to him was only a little more than a month, after that even when Yan Hong Tian often come over to Qing Feng Hall, most of the time he was so tired that he just hug her and fell asleep.
How was it possible for her to be… Pregnant?
“This servant does not dare to confirm it. It would be good to get a physician to look at it.” Fu Ling was also in panic as being pregnant with the imperial line was a big issue! And Mistress’s pulse seem to be unstable thus it would be ideal to quickly get a physician to diagnosis and treat.
“Wait a while.” Qing Feng stopped Fu Ling who was preparing to call more people and softly spoke, “Let me… Think about it.”
She is actually pregnant with Yan Hong Tian’s child.
After knowing that information, the pain in her abdomen is no longer a simple pain. A life was conceived in her? Yan Hong Tian’s pair of deep dark eyes flashed in her mind and Qing Feng hands that was on her tummy unconsciously clenched into a fist.
Qing Feng’s face was as white as a sheet and her lips gradually turned green. Fu Ling urgently spoke, “Mistress, your health must be attended to else the child may be…”
The child may be gone! Her eyes landed on the doll that was torn to pieces by Fu Ling on the round table and she suddenly thought. The child must remain, she did not know what would happen in the short run but whatever that will happen, this child will be her life-saving charm!
Qing Feng grabbed the dolls that were already torn up and threw it into the tea tray and said, “Candle flame.”
Fu Ling understood her intentions and brought over the candle. Lighting up the rags in the tea tray only took a bit of effort and the flames were quickly extinguished. It was a good thing that the silk was burned to a small pile of ash. Qing Feng glance around and saw the begonia by the windowsill, saying, “Bury the ashes in the flower pot.”
Fu Ling deft hands quickly buried the ashes into the soil, not forgetting to remove traces of the fire on the tea tray.
“You. Go and call for Huang Jiao. It is compulsory to invite him here. Hurry up…” So painful! She could almost not bear it but she cannot trust the rest.
“Yes.” Fu Ling dare not delay any longer and ran out after she opened the door.
“Older sister Fu Ling…” Xiao Chu-er was vexed about falling asleep during the night watch and was walking up and down in the courtyard. Fu Ling ran out from her Ladyship’s room and rushed out after opening the main doors. It was useless calling out for her.
“Someone come– Lan-er! Xia Yin!”
Before Xiao Chu-er could react, he heard a loud scream from Qing Feng. In the dead of the night, Qing Feng’s sudden scream scared Xiao Chu-er and every single servant in Qing Feng Hall were awaken. Lan-er and Xia Yin were the palace maids by her Ladyship’s side thus they have their own room. When Xiao Chu-er could react, he ran over to their rooms to call them.
Lan-er and Xia Yin were panic-striken when they came into the courtyard. They did not know what had happened but they did not dare to slow down their pace. As they were clasping their outerwear, they ran into the main house.
When both of them entered the room, they could hear Qing Feng sharply questioning them, “Where is the Emperor tonight?”
There are unwritten rules in the Inner Palace. After each nightfall, every palace will definitely send someone to the JingShiFang to inquire about which palace will the Emperor be residing for the night so that when their mistress asked, they would be able to answer. But Qing Feng have never asked before, what was it tonight? Both of them looked at one another. Lan-er hung her hand down as usual while Xia Yin replied softly, “The Emperor has been resting in Zhen Yang Palace these nights.”
Giving Xia Yin a look, Qing Feng faced Lan-er and said, “Lan-er, go to Zhen Yan Palace and tell the Emperor that I am having an unbearable pain and request the Emperor to come over.” At this time, she must not let Xia Yin leave Qing Feng Hall.
“This…” There was still about two sichen (1 sichen = 2 hours) before the morning court. To disturb the Emperor in the middle of the night, she was afraid that before she saw the Emperor, she would have been chased back. Lan-er hurriedly look up and saw Qing Feng’s ashen face and was shocked. It seems that her Ladyship was really very sick?
It hurts so badly that she was shaking but this girl froze. Qing Feng pounded the table in anger and ordered, “Go quickly!”
“Yes.” Lan-er hurried lift her dress and ran out.
After Qing Feng finished speaking, she lay flat on the table and the heavy breathing sound scared Xia Yin to death. She helplessly said, “Your Ladyship, this servant… This servant will go and call for a physician!”
“Stop there…” The supposedly strong voice now sounded very weak. Qing Feng grabbed Xia Yin’s hand and said, “Fu Ling has left for it, you just help me to the bed.”
“Yes.” Qing Feng’s fingers were cold and her palms were damp. Even though her long fingernails dug into Xia Yin’s skin, she dare not make a sound and supported Qing Feng to the chambers to lay down. Even though Qing Feng was covered in thin quilts, she was curled up and shivering tremendously.
“Cold…” Qing Feng softly murmured.
“Your Ladyship?” Xia Yin called softly a few times but Qing Feng ignored her. Her eyes were shut tightly, her lips were pursed and she has an unconscious look on her face.
Xia Yin suddenly rush out of the room and Qing Feng closed eyes suddenly opened and the cold look was able to suck someone in. Just as she was to prop herself up, Xia Yin ran back and carried a thick winter quilt with her. Behind her, there was a palace maid carrying a cup of tea.
Xia Yin covered her with a thick quilt and took a cup of tea from the palace maid over to Qing Feng’s lips and said, “Your Ladyship, this is ginseng tea, please drink a little to warm up.”
Cold clear eyes stared at Xia Yin for a moment before Qing Feng closed her eyes and took the tea cup. She did not drink it but instead hold it tightly in her hands for warmth. After another wave of pain passed, Qing Feng then said in a low voice, “Let them light all the lanterns and also all the candles in the room.”
“Yes.” Qing Feng sight was not sharp and calm but she could see Xia Yin’s alarm and fright.
After the previous call from Qing Feng, the servants in the entire Qing Feng Hall were woken up and was standing outside the house, not daring to say a single word. When Qing Feng’s instructions were laid down, everyone immediately set into action even though they were confused. Soon after, the entire Qing Feng Hall was brightly lit.
“The Emperor has arrived–”
It was late at night thus the announcement sounded sharper than usual. The servants in the courtyard all knelt and Qing Feng who was laying on the bed knitted her brows. He, actually came?