Chapter 101: The Seed of Hate (Part 2)
As Dan Yu Lan saw them getting ready to leave, he tightened and released his brows a couple of time before hesitantly saying, “Please stay behind. The Emperor is also grieved with the premature death of the Prince. This matter… The Emperor has his considerations and both of you mustn’t act with undue haste. Moreover Imperial Concubine Qing’s temperament is completely different with both of you, so…”
Dan Yu Lan rarely spoke so obscurely and for him to be like this, it only meant that he was instructed by Yan Hong Tian to do so. Zhuo Qing replied readily, “Do not worry. Before the matter is cleared up, we will not let Qing Feng know and would not… Inadvertently alert the enemy.”
When Gu Yun and Zhuo Qing walked out of Ti Xing Department, both of them felt powerless because of what Dan Yu Lan’s remarks. Gu Yun’s expression was not good the entire time and was agitated when she spoke, “Yan Hong Tian must have suspected the cause of the child’s death else he would not have sent someone to look for the medicine dregs in the beginning and also let Dan Yu Lan perform an autopsy. Since he is suspicious, why the secrecy then? What is he thinking exactly?”
“I do not know…” Compared to Gu Yun’s puzzled and irritation, Zhuo Qing had more worries. Xi Yan’s abnormalities for these period and Dan Yu Lan’s dissuasion, made her felt that this time Yan Hong Tian will not let this go easily. But he concealed his actions from Qing Feng and did not let her know anything. Was this truly ideal?
Forget about it. Anyway Qing Feng’s face would need another three months. Wait till her face was cured before this topic is discussed again.
Inside Qing Feng Hall, other than Fu Ling who can stay behind, the rest of the people were chased out. Qing Feng looked at the baby cradle under the big tree and closed her eyes before taking a couple of deep breaths. She then turn over to Yue Sheng, who was standing beside her, and said, “Let’s begin.”
Yue Sheng cast a sidelong glance at her before turning and walking into the house.
Qing Feng stared at that arrogant figure and gritted her teeth, saying nothing as she followed in.
Yue Sheng looked around to size up the surroundings and saw a few paintings in the study. There was a trace of appreciation that flash across his eyes but it was only for a very short moment before that arrogant expression was resumed back on his face. Seeing Qing Feng and Fu Ling had also entered the living area, Yue Sheng smiled as if he harboured malicious intent, “Naturally I can start anytime. It actually depends if you are fully prepared?”
Qing Feng’s expression did not change as she asked, “What preparation is required?”
“The scars on your face are deep and it is fully healed. In order to restore it back to your previous appearance, there is a need to suffer the pain of cutting off the flesh.” As he spoke, Yue Sheng pull out a roll of leather from his sleeves and untie the rope that was tying it together. When the leather was unrolled, there were different lengths and thickness of knives and at the side there were a few long needles and hooks.
Every single knife looks very sharp. Qing Feng frowned as Fu Ling stared at the glowing coldness of the blade. When she thought of what Yue Sheng’s words of ‘cutting off the flesh’, her heart immediately gripped.
“First of all, all the dead flesh have to be cut out. Supplemented with my specially concocted medication of applying externally and taking it internally, then the desired effect will be prevalent. However before the flesh is healed, every time the dressing is changed, the pain would be like thousands of ants gnawing away.” Yue Sheng took out every single knife and arrange it well before using a cloth to gently and carefully wipe them. The words that he said however were obviously uttered casually as if the pain of thousands of ants gnawing away did not matter in his eyes.
When she heard about cutting the surface of the flesh, Fu Lin’s heart was gripped and when she heard about the pain of thousands of ants, Fu Ling unconsciously grabbed onto Qing Feng’s hands. She could feel the coldness from the pair of hands and tried to suppress a shiver, “Mistress…”
Qing Feng clench Fu Ling’s hands tightly and looked at Yue Zhen as she coldly questioned, “Anything else?”
Yue Sheng slightly raised his head and saw Qing Feng’s strong and calm conviction. The ends of his lips curled up and he smiled, “That’s all.”
At the same time of being secretly relief, Qing Feng also relaxed the hand holding on to Fu Ling, “Since there is no more then start now.”
“Good.” Yue Sheng was evidently satisfied with Qing Feng’s attitude of not dragging her feet. He pointed to the chair by his side to sit and instructed Fu Ling who was still standing stiffly, “Bring a basin of water over and prepare some clean cotton cloth.”
“Yes.” Fu Ling dare not hesitate and immediately went to do it.
After Fu Ling had brought over the water and cotton cloths back, she saw Yue Sheng pick up a flimsy razor and got closer to Qing Feng. Fu Ling gasped and her hands holding onto the basin tightened.
Just when the blade got nearer to Qing Feng face, she suddenly exclaimed, “Wait.”
Yue Sheng’s hands stopped and there was a raise in anger and impatience in his eyes but he still put down the knife that he was holding.
“Fu Ling, put the stuff down and go out.”
Fu Ling urgently spoke, “Mistress, this servant can stay behind to help.”
Not waiting for her to finish, Qing Feng snapped, “Go out!”
Qing Feng did not even look at her, thus Fu Ling had no other way but to put the basin down at the side stool and slowly exited. At the moment the doors of the room was closed, she could see her Mistress gripping tightly onto the wooden handle with her slender hands as she said without her previously strong voice, “Continue.”
At the end the door had been closed and Fu Ling’s hands could not help but shake. Fu Ling took a few steps back and clasped both her hands together as she bit her lower lip while she tried her hardest to keep her mind calm.
A supressed cry of extreme pain came out of the room which made Fu Ling’s feet weaken and she almost stumbled onto the ground. Thinking of the feeling of having the sharp blade cut into one flesh… Could it be that the knives were used to cut the flesh on her face? Fu Ling squatted down on the cold stone steps as she stared at the closed doors with her vision gradually getting blurred.
She did not know how much time had passed, perhaps it was half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) or perhaps it was half a day, Fu Ling waited silently as she lean against the stone steps as she constantly imagine how the knife would be cutting the flesh and what a bloody scene it would be. When she felt that she was almost crazy, Yue Sheng’s voice finally sounded, “The people outside can come in.”
Fu Ling stood stiff and motionless for a moment before she immediately got onto her feed to push the door open and rushed in.
When Fu Ling entered the room, she could smell the thick scent of blood and the basin of water had turn dark red as the cloths filled with blood was thrown all over the floor.
“Mistress?!” Qing Feng was placed on the couch near the screen and Fu Ling ran over to take a look to find that her Mistress had fainted.
“Change her clothes. And also hid all the mirrors and don’t let her see any.” Finishing Yue Sheng kept the leather roll and walked out.
Only when Yue Sheng left, Fu Ling then dared to look at the person on the couch. Qing Feng face was wrapped in thick cotton, which only revealed a pair of tightly shut eyes. No one was able to see her expression and unable to see what kind of pain she had to suffer just now but only her collar was stain full of blood. Fu Ling’s shivering hands held that familiar person and at that moment she was filled with scars as she said chokingly, “Mistress… Why… Why torture yourself?”
Fu Ling kept on standing guard by Qing Feng’s side. Fortunately she finally woke up around dinner time. Qing Feng sat up and reached for her face which was wrapped with a cloth. Her hand paused for a while before it was set down and she did not say anything. Every time when the dressing was changed, Mistress did not let her stay by her side. In the beginning days when it begun, Fu Ling could hear her Mistress repressing her cries but gradually there was not a sound. However the injuries on her fingers were not healed. Ten days of such repeated torture passed quietly with the three of them.
Time would not be at a standstill for anyone, bringing the footsteps of spring here. The sun reduced the chill of the early spring, revitalising the cold season.
Qing Feng sat at the courtyard quietly as usual and in her hands was the warm jade that did not leave her since that fateful day. That piece of warm jade was Prime Minister Lou gave to the little Prince, which was always on the body of the little price. Before the Prince was buried, Mistress took the warm jade down and kept it by her side so that she could frequently look at it.
Usually, other than re-dressing Mistress’s wound, Yue Sheng was usually all alone in the room but because of the good weather today, he too was sitting at the courtyard. From a small bottle, a thumb-sized green toad with scarlet red eyes came out. Fu Ling say it once in Yue Sheng’s room, which was also on the first day when Yue Sheng came. At that time he gave her a long list of medicine, which contained many expensive and rare herbs. Fortunately the medical court’s has a rich variety of herbs and she could gather all of them quickly. When she send them to Yue Sheng’s room, she saw him feeding that toad all of the rare and expensive herbs.
That little toad came out from the small bottle and obediently laid on the palm of Yue Sheng to bask in the sun. But only after a short while, it sat up like it had discovered something and its green head looked around before suddenly jumping out from Yue Sheng’s palm and headed towards the direction of Qing Feng.
Fu Ling jumped back and immediately pulled Qing Feng, who was still immersed in her thoughts, back several steps. For a toad to be in such a bright colour, it should be extremely toxic.
Qing Feng suddenly being hauled up and stood up embarrassing as the warm jade slipped off from her palm of her hand to the floor
That dark green toad did not continue chasing Qing Feng but circled around the warm jade as if it was very interested in the thing.
Qing Feng recovered herself and just as she wanted to pick it up, a greyish white shadow was faster than her and hoock the warm jade and with a flip, the warm jade was in his hands.
“Give it back to me!” That was the most personal thing for her child and was currently her only thought. Qing Feng rush forward to snatch it back.
Yue Shen dodged Qing Feng attack and place the warm jade in his hand. After his thumb caressed the warm jade for a while, he scoffed and threw the warm jade back to her as he spoke with a proud voice filled with disdain, “Rong San Nuan Jade is indeed a good thing but this piece of yours is contaminated with poisonous air. What a bad luck!”
She caught the warm jade that Yue Sheng threw over and tightly held it in her palm. When Qing Feng’s heart settled down, she heard Yue Sheng’s words the next moment and her heart could not help but jump again as she ask urgently, “Poisonous air? What do you mean?”
Yue Sheng squatted down to pick up the toad and did not even glance at Qing Feng.
Hearing the word poison, Qing Feng’s heart was no longer peaceful. She grabbed onto Yue Sheng said unforgivingly, “What poisonous air?”
Yue Shen still continued to ignore him as he sat down on a stone stool beside the big tree and spread out his hands and let the little thing bask under the sun.
Qing Feng bit her lips and took a deep breath before pleading softly, “Begging you to tell me.”
She knew how to use the word ‘beg’? Yue Sheng finally looked up as he propped one hand on the stone table and lean his body forward as he coolly squinted his eyes at Qing Feng and deliberately made things difficult by replying, “Why should I tell you?”
“This concerns the death of my son.” As she said, Qing Feng tightened her hands around the warm jade.
“What does it matter to me?”