His highness's Allure - Chap 131
After Yue Nu woke up, he was met with the sight of Shen Shijiu slumped over the side of the bed.
Shen Shijiu asked anxiously, “A-Yue, you’re finally awake. How are you, are you okay?”
Yue Nu shook his head, “How did I get here… the general, where’s the general?”
Shen Huan said unhurriedly, “He left. At this hour, he’s probably out of the Imperial City already.”
Yue Nu immediately became anxious and tried to get off the bed, “I-I need to find the general-”
Shen Shijiu was scared that he would fall, so he hurriedly held Yue Nu in place.
Shen Huan glanced at Yue Nu, “How are you going to leave, using that pair of legs? I’m afraid that once you reach the borderlands by foot, the war will already be over.
Yue Nu sat on the bed. The eyes with which he looked at Shen Huan were sparkling with sincerity.
“Master Shen, I have to go with the general to the borderlands. The general saved this life of mine, so it has long since belonged to him.”
Shen Huan sighed, and thought to herself, this child really is quite loyal to Zhao Litang.
“Taking you to find General Zhao won’t be much trouble. But the issue is, you’ll have to quietly follow him and make sure not to get noticed.”
Yue Nu was in slight disbelief, “Master Shen, you mean…”
Shen Huan thought for a moment, “Little disciple, tell Li Yu about this, see if he can arrange something for Yue Nu.”
Shen Shijiu said, “But Shifu, will Housekeeper Li agree? Won’t it be too much trouble to ask him to help us?’
Shen Huan said, “For others, yes. But for you, don’t worry. Just mention it in passing, and he’ll think of something for you.”
Shen Shijiu still didn’t understand why, and Shen Huan didn’t explain any further.
Naturally, Li Yu would never refuse Shen Shijiu. He looked forward to when Shen Shijiu sought him out; only then did he feel like he was back in the past, when the little Highness believed in him and relied on him a great deal.
Unexpectedly, Li Yu actually prepared a carriage for Yue Nu, and even allowed Shen Huan and Shen Shijiu to accompany him. They had to make sure that Yue Nu had safely reunited with Zhao Litang and the others before they could return.
And Yue Nu was also much more careful, following Zhao Litang’s army from a moderate distance. Since the carriage body was blocking the occupants from view, Zhao Litang had no way of knowing who was in this carriage that had been following them this entire time.
When Zhao Litang finally noticed them, they were already quite some distance from the Imperial City.
After seeing Yue Nu off, Shen Shijiu became depressed again.
Shen Huan noticed all of this, but she stood her ground. She thought that her little disciple had been too soft-hearted in the past, which was why he was always being taken advantage of.
So this time, Shen Huan would never allow Pei Zheng the chance to hurt her little disciple ever again.
Shen Huan shut herself and Shen Shijiu inside the pharmaceutical room. Since she still hadn’t found an opportunity to escape the Prime Minister’s Manor, she would just have to make use of the abundance of medicinal materials, and begin to develop a drug that could recover memory.
Today, even as night fell, Shen Huan and Shen Shijiu stayed inside the pharmaceutical room. Shen Shijiu was so sleepy that his little head was nodding, and his eyes were about to close.
“Shifu,” Shen Shijiu yawned, “I’m really sleepy…”
Shen Huan was working on the key step, and didn’t lift her head, “Disciple, just hold on for a little longer. Hold on for a bit and your master will be done with the medicine. You still need to try it for me.”
Shen Shijiu frowned. During the past few days, Shen Huan had fed him all sorts of strange-tasting concoctions. They were all good for his health; however, in every medicine, there were three parts poison1. Shen Shijiu had drunk so much that all he could taste was bitterness.
“Shifu, can’t I drink it tomorrow…”
“No!” Shen Huan said, “Tomorrow, you’ll have to drink tomorrow’s batch. This milkwort is very precious, so your master has been using it sparingly, but one stalk is already gone. So you can’t waste a single drop, my good disciple.”
Shen Shijiu didn’t have the strength to resist. His little head drooped.
“All right, Shifu. I got it.”
Shen Huan finally finished cooking the medicne. She scooped it out and held the bowl out to Shen Shijiu
“Disciple, let me tell you, this bowl of medicine is worth several thousand taels, so you must be very, very careful. You absolutely cannot spill it.”
Shen Shijiu nodded and was about to reach out to take the bowl.
At this moment, the door to the pharmaceutical room was suddenly kicked open.
Shen Huan was startled, and the bowl in her hands fell straight to the floor, while Shen Shijiu’s hands were still stretched out at as he stared dumbly at the door.
There was someone standing in the doorway; the man whom they hadn’t seen in several days, Pei Zheng.
Pei Zheng’s eyes were narrowed. He looked at the pair inside the room, and his eyes seemed to be a bit misty.
Accompanying this was the strong scent of alcohol that blew inside. Shen Huan frowned when she smelled it.
Just how much did he drink? Even if he fell into a wine jar, the smell of alcohol wouldn’t be this strong.
“Lord Pei!” Shen Huan pointed at the medicinal soup that had spilled all over the floor, “Can’t you just knock? Do you know how much this broken thing costs?! Several thousand taels!”
Pei Zheng walked in, and suddenly reached into his cuff and pulled out a handful of banknotes, before he threw them all at Shen Huan.
“You want money, right? I’ll give it to you, how much? Is this enough?”
Shen Huan was dizzied by the sight of banknotes raining down from the sky; just how much money was this? She had probably just been hit in the face with around ten thousand taels.
“What is the meaning of this?” Shen Huan asked angrily.
Pei Zheng walked up to Shen Shijiu and grabbed his arm; it seemed that his consciousness was a bit muddled, but he still stubbornly held onto Shen Shijiu.
“I’ll give you all the money. Give him back to me.”
Shen Huan was sure that Pei Zheng was drunk; he looked perfectly normal, but for him to say such things, it meant that he was quite heavily intoxicated.
“Lord Pei, you’re drunk. I don’t want to fight with you today. Me and my disciple are going back to rest.”
After Shen Huan finished speaking, she walked over and tried to pull Shen Shijiu away.
But the moment she reached out for her little disciple, Pei Zheng suddenly grabbed her wrist and twisted it behind her back.
Shen Huan’s arm was in pain from being twisted. She was helpless. Although Pei Zheng had only used one hand, he was strong. Shen Huan squirmed a bit but was unable to struggle away.
“Lord Pei, let go of me! Since you’re drunk, I’m willing to let this slide.”
“I’m not drunk.” Pei Zheng responded.
All right. He must be pretty heavily intoxicated, because a sober Pei Zheng would never obediently give me an answer.
“Disciple,” Shen Huan called pitifully. She really couldn’t argue with a wasted Pei Zheng.
Shen Shijiu pulled at Pei Zheng’s hand, and said quietly, “My Lord, could you let go of Shifu? Shifu doesn’t have any bad intentions…”
Pei Zheng really did loosen his grip a bit. He glanced at Shen Shijiu. Shen Shijiu’s eyes were bright, and there was a trace of pleading in them; he looked very soft and sweet.
With a cold snort, Pei Zheng let go of Shen Huan.
Shen Huan hurriedly jumped back a step, distancing herself from Pei Zheng. She was afraid that, if things didn’t go his way, he would use another forceful maneuver from his arsenal.
“Forget it, Disciple. Make him a bowl of sobering tonic.”
Shen Shijiu nodded, and was about to make a portion of sobering tonic. The recipe was very simple, and the medicine didn’t take long to cook.
But Pei Zheng gripped Shen Shijiu’s hand, refusing to let go, and didn’t let him walk away either.
“My Lord, My Lord…”
Pei Zheng remained motionless
“Pei-gege,” She Shijiu softened his voice and called quietly. He stood on his tiptoes and leaned toward Pei Zheng’s ear.
“Pei-gege, why don’t you come over here with me? Wherever I go, you’ll go as well, okay?”
Pei Zheng “mm”d; it seemed as though he was agreeing.
Shen Shijiu came to the side of the shelf. Pei Zheng clutched his hand and followed.
Then, until the medicinal soup had finished cooking, Shen Shijiu could only use one hand. Pei Zheng’s other hand would assist him, and they cooperated in tacit agreement.
While Shen Huan, who had been standing at the side the entire time, wanted to step forward and pry the pair’s tightly clutched hands apart. But she was also too scared to approach Pei Zheng, so she could only stand there and fume.
“Pei-gege, drink this.”
Pei Zheng sniffed the foul-smelling black medicinal soup. His thin lips opened in a small gap, and he said shortly, “No.”
“But if you don’t drink it, you’ll get a headache tomorrow, and you’ll feel very, very bad.” Shen Shijiu coaxed Pei Zheng in a gentle voice, “Just be good, and drink it by yourself, okay?”
He spoke as though he were talking to a child, although he was a child himself.
Pei Zheng’s forehead creased as he looked at that bowl of medicinal soup. He stared at it for a long while, before he finally lifted his hands, picked up the bowl, and gulped down its contents as if he were drinking wine.
At the end, he even flipped the bowl over, looked at Shen Shijiu and raised his brows, signaling that he was done.
Shen Shijiu smiled. His eyes curved into crescents, and he showered him with praise, “Amazing! You drank it all, great job!”
Pei Zheng’s mouth also curled into a smile, before he tapped a finger against his own lips.
Shen Shijiu thought that there was something on his mouth, so he leaned in to take a closer look, but there was nothing.
Pei Zheng tapped again, staring unblinkingly at Shen Shijiu’s crimson lips; they looked so soft and sweet.
But Shen Shijiu still didn’t understand what he meant.
“I want a reward.” Pei Zheng said.
Shen Shijiu asked, “Do you want me to kiss you?”
Pei Zheng nodded.
Shen Shijiu’s earlobes reddened, “But, Shifu‘s still over there.”
Shen Huan couldn’t really hear what the two of them were muttering about. Seeing that Pei Zheng had drunk his sobering tonic, she began to urge them, “All right, all right, it’s getting late. If Lord Pei doesn’t have any other orders, you should hurry back and rest.”
Pei Zheng really did walk toward the door. Shen Huan sighed in relief, but unexpectedly, Pei Zheng was pulling Shen Shijiu along with him. Shen Huan’s heart jumped back up into her throat.
“Hey! Where are you two going?! Disciple, you can’t go, come back! Lord Pei, Lord Pei, let go of my disciple! Lord Pei! Pei Zheng!”
Shen Huan was so anxious that she had shouted his name. Then, she realized what she had just called him, and her lingering fear resurfaced.
Pei Zheng had already walked out the door. It was snowing outside. He held Shen Shijiu’s hand and stood in the snow, before he lifted his eyes and glanced at Shen Huan. Then, he turned back around and left.
Shen Huan hurriedly chased after him. If she didn’t know what Pei Zheng intended to do with her little disciple, she would be a fool!
But unexpectedly, just as Shen Huan was about to step out of the pharmaceutical room, she was blocked at the doorway. A swarm of guards surrounded the outside of the pharmaceutical room, leaving no room for Shen Huan to escape.
She watched as the pair in front of her disappeared from view. She was so anxious that she tried to force her way out, but those cold-faced guards grabbed her arms. Then, they shoved her with force back into the pharmaceutical room, before they closed the door.
Shen Huan was shoved to the floor. She climbed back up in a panic and tried to open the door, but it had been locked from the outside. No matter how hard she pounded, it wouldn’t budge.
Shen Shijiu was being led away by Pei Zheng. He was extremely worried about his shifu. and continuously looked back at the pharmaceutical room. He saw Shen Huan being shoved into the room, and was instantly overwhelmed with anxiousness.
“Pei-gege, don’t hurt Shifu, okay? I’m begging you, please don’t hurt Shifu…”
Pei Zheng didn’t say a word. He held Shen Shijiu’s hand and continued to walk until they arrived at his room. Then, he slammed the door shut behind them with a “peng”.
“I won’t hurt her. Don’t cry.”
Pei Zheng lifted his hand to wipe the small man’s tears.
Shen Shijiu’s eyes had already filled with tears from panic. However, when he heard Pei Zheng say these words, he finally felt at ease. If Pei-gege said he wouldn’t, then he definitely wouldn’t.
Once Pei Zheng saw that the small man had stopped crying, he began to stare fixedly at his lips again.
Shen Shijiu noticed the unbridled heat in Pei Zheng’s gaze. His eyes darted back and forth; he was too scared to meet Pei Zheng’s stare.
But Pei Zheng wasn’t satisfied with his reaction. He grabbed the small man’s little chin, and forced him to look into his eyes.
“Where’s my reward?”
Shen Shijiu said softly, “All right. Close your eyes, and I’ll give you your reward, okay?”
Pei Zheng obediently closed his eyes. Their bodies were extremely close to each other.
Shen Shijiu mustered his courage. He slowly stood up on his tiptoes and closed his eyes. His red lips slowly shifted closer.
But Pei Zheng opened his eyes. When the red lips in front of him were only a few centimeters away from his own, he leaned down and pressed his mouth onto them. His tongue stretched inside and pried the small man’s mouth into a soft gap, so that their tongues could twine together and deepen their kiss.
When the kiss ended, Shen Shijiu’s clothes were in disarray, and he had also been shoved onto the bed.
After they parted, the small man was gasping for breath. He looked as tender and delicate as a budding lotus blossom.
Pei Zheng kissed his misty eyes, and continued onward in a gentle, yet strong manner.
Outside, everything was covered in snow, masking and muffling the cries and screams inside that room.
The next day, Shen Huan was finally released from the pharmaceutical room.
She hadn’t slept for almost the entire night, and had thought about many things. When she walked out, her footsteps were a bit wobbly.
Li Yu was waiting at the door. When he saw her almost fall over, he walked over to support her.
“Master Shen, are you all right?”
Shen Huan brushed Li Yu off. She didn’t say anything before she continued to walk forward with her head lowered.
Li Yu was feeling a bit apologetic, and said carefully, “Master Shen, His Lordship went to the palace to attend court this morning and hasn’t come back yet. Young Master Shen… is still in His Lordship’s quarters sleeping.”
Shen Huan found him irritating, “What are you telling me this for? Li Yu, I really misread you. I thought you were enduring humiliation by Pei Zheng’s side so you could avenge your master one day. But look at you now, I’m afraid you’ve already found yourself another master.”
When Li Yu heard these piercing words, he suddenly froze.
He would only serve one master for the rest of his days, and that was the prince.
But after staying by Pei Zheng’s side for long, he realized something; Pei Zheng’s heart and methods were cold-blooded and ruthless. However, if Pei Zheng wanted to treat someone well, he would cherish them to the point that he would dig out his own heart and give it to them.
And now, the little Highness was the one Pei Zheng pampered endlessly. And Li Yu knew that he would continue to pamper him like this for all of eternity.
But others didn’t know about this. Others didn’t understand Pei Zheng. Pei Zheng’s reputation alone gave others a very bad impression. And what’s more, Pei Zheng and His Highness’s past had been engraved into everyone’s memory.
Shen Huan ignored Li Yu, and walked back to her wing room alone.
Everything had already happened. She had been heartbroken all night; now, she didn’t want to think about anything else, she only wanted to sleep well.
Just as she was about to close the door, Li Yu suddenly stopped her.
“Master Shen, you found out about something, didn’t you? Besides what I’ve told you, do you know something else?”
Shen Huan nodded silently.
Li Yu understood, “I thought so. The things that happened that year can’t be summarized in just a few sentences. And also, there’s no way we can change what’s already happened. His Highness had already been hurt, so we can’t pretend that nothing ever happened. However, those wounds can be healed, and those holes can be filled, just like how a broken bone can heal over time. I believe that His Highness will definitely live a good life in the future. He definitely will. So, if he forgot about all that, then leave him be. I just want him to be happy right now, that’s all.”
Once Li Yu finished speaking, he turned and left.
Shen Huan stood in place for a long while, before she slowly closed the door.
No matter what other people said or did, her thoughts would never change.
After Shen Shijiu woke up, he was the only one left in the room. Pei Zheng had gotten out of bed and left at some point.
The small man lying on the bed shifted his body, and felt something weird and sticky on his body. He frowned and tried to sit up.
But the moment he moved, something hot flowed down his lower half. Shen Shijiu immediately yelped and dove back onto the bed. Memories of last night came flooding back, and he was terribly embarrassed; he had reddened from the end of his neck to the tips of his ears.
As he laid there, he hazily fell back asleep.
When he woke up again, it was there was something strange had prodded his body.
Pei Zheng puffed a breath of hot air beside his ear, “You’re awake, my little darling.”
Shen Shijiu still wasn’t completely awake yet. When he heard Pei Zheng’s voice, he tried to turn over, “Pei-gege-”
Pei Zheng pinned him down and didn’t allow him to move, “Now that you’re awake, let’s do something else.”
They went at it until evening. Night had already fallen.
Shen Shijiu laid limply over Pei Zheng’s body and couldn’t muster his strength. He was so hungry that his stomach was growling.
In a short while, the servants delivered a sumptuous dinner.
Pei Zheng carried Shen Shijiu to the table to eat. The small man was too tired to even open his eyes, he ate whatever was fed to him, and didn’t take a bite of anything if it wasn’t delivered straight to his mouth.
Pei Zheng carried him back onto the bed.
Shen Shijiu was about to fall asleep, and said groggily, “Pei-gege, where’s Shifu…”
When Pei Zheng saw that even as Shen Shijiu was about to fall asleep, he was still worrying about Shen Huan, he felt a bit uncomfortable. But he still replied to the small man, “She’s in her room resting. You want to see her?
“No, I won’t, not tonight, I’m so sleepy, so tired…”
Pei Zheng’s fingers stretched downward, “And?”
The small man mumbled, “So sore…”
The corners of Pei Zheng’s lips rose, and he kissed the other’s forehead, “Sleep well.”
He had exhausted the small man. But Pei Zheng had restrained his urges for so long; he couldn’t be blamed for being unable to control himself.
Shen Shijiu slept in Pei Zheng’s room for the night. The next day, he was finally taken back to the little pavilion.
Although Shen Huan was unwilling to face Pei Zheng, she still wanted to see how her little disciple was doing,
“Disciple, Disciple,” Shen Huan glanced left and right, before she took a mysterious package out of her cuff, “Take this.”
Shen Shijiu obediently took it, “Shifu, what is this?”
“Something good. When the time comes, just mix it into Pei Zheng’s teacup, and you needn’t worry about the rest.”
Shen Shijiu was shocked, “Shifu, you’re trying to poison His Lordship?!”
Shen Huan hurriedly covered Shen Shijiu’s mouth, “Don’t shout! My stupid disciple, do you want to kill your shifu?! How can this be poison, it’s… it’s…”
Shen Huan rolled her eyes, “This is a medicine for headaches. Doesn’t His Lordship suffer from headaches all the time? He’ll get better once he eats this.”
Shen Shijiu hadn’t seen this kind of medicine before, and asked, “Really? Shifu, are you lying to me?”
Shen Huan said, “Nonsense, how could your master lie to you? Just look back on the other day, Lord Pei didn’t even want to drink the sobering tonic. That was when he was drunk. If you make him drink medicine while he’s sober, he’ll probably be even more angry. So we have to come up with unique methods, got it?”
Shen Shijiu nodded, “Got it. Shifu, you’re finally being a bit nicer to his Lordship. Does that mean you guys won’t fight anymore?”
Shen Huan looked at his hopeful little face, laughed drily, and didn’t answer his question.
That night, Pei Zheng came to the little pavilion. Shen Huan wasn’t standing at the side, trying to stop him. In fact, she hadn’t even shown up.
Shen Shijiu followed his shifu‘s instructions. He sneakily mixed the medicinal powder into Pei Zheng’s teacup, and Pei Zheng drank that cup of tea.
Then, Pei Zheng actually collapsed onto the table. No matter how loud Shen Shijiu called out to him, he didn’t react at all.
At this moment, Shen Huan tiptoed inside. She first went to check Pei Zheng’s condition. Once she ascertained that he had fallen asleep, she said to Shen Shijiu, “Little disciple, hurry up and come with your Shifu! Let’s go while he’s still unconscious! Hurry, once he wakes up, we won’t be able to leave!”
Only the heavens knew how long Shen Huan had spent in that pharmaceutical room to develop this undetectable sedative.
Pei Zheng was such a careful, wary person. Shen Huan clearly understood this; any normal sedatives definitely wouldn’t work. Shen Huan could only develop an imperceptible sedative from scratch, and have her little disciple deliver it. It had been a guaranteed success.
Now, all that was left was to deceive her little disciple for a bit.
When Shen Shijiu heard Shen Huan’s words, his expression changed, “Shifu, you lied to me, didn’t you? That wasn’t a medicine for headaches, was it?”
Shen Huan felt a bit guilty, “It was a sedative, but the side effects aren’t strong, so it won’t hurt him. So we have to be quick! Disciple!”
Shen Shijiu’s eyes turned wet, “Shifu, we still have to leave, don’t we? We still have to leave the Prime Minister’s manor, leave His Lordship, and we’ll never come back, right?”
Shen Huan saw her little disciple’s eyes shining with tears. In truth, she was also heartbroken, but she had no other options.
“Disciple, your master doesn’t want to do this either. However, there are many things that you don’t remember, so are you willing to believe your Shifu? Since Shifu saved you, Shifu would never hurt you.”
Shen Shijiu’s tears fell, and they smashed to the floor with soft patters.
They were running out of time. Shen Huan didn’t have time to explain anything else to him; she could only pull him along and run out. Fortunately, the servants weren’t allowed to enter the back garden, so the back garden was unguarded at the moment.
Shen Shijiu was dragged out of the little pavilion by Shen Huan. He looked back. Through the tears blurring his vision, he could only see the dim, hazy candlelight flickering inside.
Thanks for reading~
1.药三分毒 (yào sān fēn dú): “medicine is three parts poison”, all medicine has side effects.