His highness's Allure - Chap 133
Shen Huan knew that she couldn’t continue to hide it from Jiang Yubai, so she nodded.
And when Jiang Yubai saw her expression, he knew that Shen Shijiu himself had no clue about this yet.
He gave her a meaningful glance; we mustn’t speak too much about this matter.
The three of them seemed to have enjoyed their meal, except two out of these three people had something weighing on their minds.
After they finished eating, the three of them headed back to the clinic.
Shen Huan was about to take her little disciple and leave the city, but Jiang Yubai still had a few things he needed to ask her, so he grabbed the two of them and didn’t allow them to leave.
The gate to the clinic was already closed, and the long line in front of it had long since broken up.
Jiang Yubai led the two of them to weave through the building to the clinic’s back gate, which was concealed in a little alleyway.
But unexpectedly, there was someone outside the back gate.
That person was sitting on the ground, leaning against a wall beside the gate. His eyes were shut, and his body was covered in blood. He looked to be seriously injured, and he was on the verge of falling unconscious.
It was Cheng Feng.
Shen Shijiu cried out in surprise, “Shifu, it’s A-Feng!”
Shen Huan and Jiang Yubai sprinted over and examined Cheng Feng. His wounds had all been caused by sharp weapons, and some of them looked to be several days old. Old wounds had been covered by fresh ones, and now, one’s hand would be coated in blood after touching his black robe.
The two helped Cheng Feng inside and placed him onto a bed in the clinic.
After Cheng Feng was laid onto the bed, he promptly passed out.
As Jiang Yubai treated his wounds, Shen Huan helped him from the side; this was actually the first time she had ever served as someone else’s assistant.
“How is he?”
Jiang Yubai applied ointment onto the last wound. Once he finished bandaging it, he slowly exhaled.
“He’s all right, the danger’s passed. He passed out due to too much blood loss, so he just needs to rest and recuperate for a while.”
Shen Huan nodded, “It’s just, how did Guard Feng suddenly pop up here, wasn’t he somewhere else with Lord Pei? Where’s Lord Pei then?”
“I don’t know either. We can only wait until Cheng Feng wakes up to ask him.”
Jiang Yubai said to Shen Shijiu, “Xiao Shi, you stay here and watch over A-Feng for a bit. Me and your Shifu need to talk.”
Shen Shijiu nodded obediently.
Jiang Yubai and Shen Huan walked out of the room. Who knew what they had been discussing; after a long while, they finally came back.
And at that moment, Cheng Feng slowly came to.
Jiang Yubai held out a bowl of medicine and had him drink it. His voice softened a bit, “How are you feeling? I used a numbing ointment on your wounds, do you feel any better?’
Shen Huan wasn’t accustomed to this tone of his; when did Jiang Yubai ever speak this gently to anyone?
Cheng Feng’s body was still extremely weak. He pressed his hand against the bed and tried to sit up, but Jiang Yubai pressed his shoulders back down.
“Lie down and don’t move. I just finished bandaging your wounds. If you move, they’ll split open.”
Cheng Feng opened his mouth. His voice was soft, “I’m… fine…”
Jiang Yubai snorted, “Yes. You’re not dead, so you’re fine, right?”
Cheng Feng said nothing; he merely coughed twice, but it clearly sounded like he was in a lot of pain.
Jiang Yubai hurriedly pinched an acupuncture point on his hand, and Cheng Feng’s coughs gradually subsided.
Shen Huan leaned over, “Uh, apologies for the interruption, but Guard Feng, could I ask you a question?”
Jiang Yubai glanced at her; do you really need to ask him now?
Shen Huan ignored him, “Could I ask… where Lord Pei went?”
A few fragmented memories flashed through Cheng Feng’s mind, and he closed his eyes, “Me and His Lordship… I was separated from His Lordship. He’s missing.”
Shen Shijiu had been obediently standing at the side this whole time, staying quiet. But in truth, he had been listening to every word of their conversation. When he heard the news that Pei Zheng was missing, he suddenly clutched his sleeves.
Cheng Feng’s breathing was unstable, but he explained the ins and outs of the matter in just a few words.
Pei Zheng’s only reason for leaving the Imperial City was to secretly search for cracks in the Empress’s family’s power. He had almost eradicated the Empress’s influence, before he slaughtered every single one of the officials in her faction, including the five officials who had gone to Liuyun Villa together last time.
The Emperor had given him the privilege of executing them first and reporting it later, but in accordance with Pei Zheng’s usual style, he wouldn’t leave them any opportunities to cause him trouble in the future; his only option was to kill them all.
When this matter was made public, it caused an uproar within the Imperial Court.
So the Empress secretly sent numerous assassins to ambush and kill Pei Zheng.
On their way back to the Imperial City, for several days and nights, Cheng Feng and Pei Zheng barely slept. The attendants with them had all been killed; the two of them were the only ones left, and they were both severely injured.
But they were still a two-day journey away from the Imperial City, and they had no idea how many people would be waiting for them along the way.
“Master,” Cheng Feng said, “Her Highness the Empress isn’t even trying to hide it anymore, she’s after your life. If His Majesty finds out-”
Pei Zheng reached up and wiped the blood off the corner of his mouth. His eyes were full of hatred, “All of them… must die.”
Several arrows suddenly whizzed out from behind them. Cheng Feng darted away, when suddenly, an explosion sounded, and a sheet of smoke appeared in front of them. Then, someone tried to assassinate them under the cover of the smoke.
Cheng Feng barely managed to dodge. When the smoke finally cleared, his body was already covered in cuts, and the killer laid dead at his feet. However, Pei Zheng was nowhere to be seen.
Cheng Feng searched everywhere, but his efforts were fruitless. He pushed his injured body to its limit and somehow returned to the Imperial City.
The matter of Pei Zheng’s disappearance couldn’t be disclosed; Cheng Feng couldn’t return to the Prime Minister’s Manor for the time being, so he came to find Jiang Yubai.
But he didn’t expect that he would actually meet Shen Huan and Shen Shijiu again.
When Shen Huan heard this, she understood; it was likely that Pei Zheng was in an extremely dangerous situation at the moment.
They stayed in the clinic for a while longer. It was already getting late, and Shen Huan wanted to take Shen Shijiu back to the Ghost Valley.
Jiang Yubai didn’t try to stop them. He didn’t plan on meddling too much in their affairs.
Jiang Yubai only felt that sometimes, Shen Huan micromanaged things too much. Even though she was Shen Shijiu’s shifu, she shouldn’t be restricting his freedom like this.
“Master Shen, please wait a moment.”
Jiang Yubai called out to Shen Huan and Shen Shijiu, who were standing at the gate.
Shen Shijiu had seemed a bit absent-minded since the time they found Cheng Feng in the afternoon. Jiang Yubai knew that he was worried about Pei Zheng. Seeing the way he looked really made one’s heart ache.
Jiang Yubai called Shen Huan to the side.
“Master Shen, you’ve seen it too. Right now, Xiao Shi must be very sad. But he doesn’t want to make you unhappy, so he’s trying his best to hold it in. I know that everything you do is because you have his interests at heart. However, is he really happy right now? Do you know?”
Shen Huan glanced at her little disciple, who was standing nearby with his head bowed, “Even if he’s not happy right now, it’ll get better later. Sometimes, a moment of perfection is only used to mask the filth beneath. If he can’t see the truth, then I’ll help him see it.”
Jiang Yubai froze, “Master Shen, you aren’t just Xiao Shi’s shifu, right? You both share some other relationship, don’t you? I remember that Xiao Shi is from the foreign tribe, could you be as well?”
Shen Huan gazed at Jiang Yubai. She was suspicious; how could Jiang Yubai tell?
“Master Shen, are you?” Jiang Yubai asked again.
Shen Huan was a bit scared of him, and nodded, “I am, you’re right. Me and my little disciple are actually related by blood, so you can understand why I did what I did, no? He’s already suffered too many hardships, too much pain. You knew him in the past, so you should be clear about what I’m referring to. In the past, he didn’t have a family to care for him and protect him, which was why he let people to do whatever they wanted to him. Now, it’s different. He has me, he’s not alone anymore. I can never allow anyone else do anything to hurt him, do you understand?”
Shen Shijiu, who was standing at the side, lifted his head and looked over. Jiang Yubai smiled at him, before he said to Shen Huan, “I understand. I also understand your feelings, Master Shen.”
Shen Huan patted her chest and exhaled.
Jiang Yubai continued, “But I don’t support your methods.”
Shen Huan glared at him. It looked as though she was about to fire back at Jiang Yubai, but Jiang Yubai leaned slightly in Shen Huan’s direction, before he walked away toward Shen Shijiu.
Shen Shijiu was still clutching his cuffs, which were covered in syrup from the candied haws. Jiang Yubai stroked his head.
“Xiao Shi, we’ve only just seen each other again, and you have to leave already?’
Shen Shijiu nodded, “Dcotor Jiang, you must take good care of A-Feng. Please make sure A-Feng gets better quickly.”
“Of course. You also need to take care of yourself, got it? Also-”
Jiang Yubai spoke to Shen Shijiu in a low voice, “Don’t listen to everything your shifu says. If your shifu is wrong, just tell her. This way, she’ll have a chance to improve herself, right?”
Shen Shijiu thought for a moment, “Doctor Jiang is right. I understand.”
Jiang Yubai smiled at him, “Xiao Shi really is getting smarter and smarter. One day, you’ll definitely become so smart, you might even become more powerful than Pei Zheng-”
When he saw the small man’s eyes fill with crystal tears, Jiang Yubai realized what he had just said, and cursed himself inwardly.
Out of all things, why did he have to mention Pei Zheng?
But in truth, Jiang Yubai was also very worried about Pei Zheng. After all, he was only able to survive in the prison thanks to Pei Zheng.
Shen Huan and her little disciple were leaving the Imperial City. Jiang Yubai prepared a carriage for the two of them.
Once again, the carriage stopped somewhere that was still quite far from the entrance of the Ghost Valley.
The two climbed out of the carriage, and the driver drove the carriage back to the city.
Shen Huan held Shen Shijiu by the sleeve, and the two slowly walked along the road. After passing through the foggy woods and crossing the river in a small boat, they entered the depths of the forest.
The moonlight cast a silver glow over the landscape. The little boat rocked and came to a halt. The master and disciple’s bamboo hut was right up front.
Shen Huan stepped off of the boat first, before she went help Shen Shijiu out as well.
“Shifu, I can get out on my own.” Shen Shijiu said, but he still obediently placed his hand in Shen Huan’s and allowed her to hold onto his arm as he stepped off.
At the moment, Shen Huan was carefully watching Shen Shijiu’s every move. No one understood the condition of Shen Shijiu’s body better than she did.
That year, when she had first taken him in, he was clinging onto his last breath, and his body was on the verge of breaking down. Even if his life was preserved, he wouldn’t have been able to live for very long.
Shen Huan had exhausted her efforts so that after he recovered, he could run and jump, cry and laugh, and be his bright, beautiful self.
Of course she had to be careful. Shen Huan never wanted to see him looking so lifeless ever again; back then, it was as though he was a moment away from never opening his eyes again.
There was a little life in his stomach. Shen Huan had a premonition; whether the child was aborted or not, the process would leave her little disciple on the brink of death.
The two were slowly making their way toward the bamboo hut, when Shen Shijiu suddenly stopped.
“Sh-Shifu, look, there’s a person over there…”
Shen Huan looked over to where Shen Shijiu was pointing. A pair of long, slender legs were sticking out of a nearby patch of grass; there really was a person.
Just because she had nothing else to do, she had to stumble upon a random person at her doorstep?
Shen Shijiu tugged at Shen Huan’s sleeve, “Shifu, I think he’s unconscious, can we go and take a look at him?”
“Let’s go. Be careful.”
Shen Shijiu walked in front, and cautiously approached that patch of grass.
Shen Huan followed her little disciple. There were getting closer and closer to the man lying in the grass. Shen Huan’s heart suddenly jolted, and for some reason, she had a terrible feeling-
Shen Shijiu cried out in shock. Shen Huan thought to herself, it’s over, it’s over, we hid everywhere but we still couldn’t hide from him, just what kind of inescapable fate are we stuck in?
Shen Shijiu shoved the clumps of waist-high weeds aside, and the man collapsed on the grass beneath was revealed. It was none other than Pei Zheng.
But what accompanied this sight was the overwhelming stench of blood. Even the weeds at the side were covered in dark blood, forming a large, black patch under the moonlight.
“Pei-gege, Pei-gege, what happened to you, can you hear me-”
Shen Shijiu bent over. He hugged Pei Zheng’s arm and shook it back and forth. Tears were already streaking his face; he was so panicked, frightened, and worried that he forgot to take Pei Zheng’s pulse first.
Pei Zheng’s complexion was white and completely bloodless, but his lips were coated in scarlet. One couldn’t see the blood on his black robe, but in truth, it was completely soaked.
Shen Huan didn’t even need to take his pulse; after smelling such a strong, bloody scent, she knew that Pei Zheng had lost quite a bit of blood.
It was already late at night, and the weather was getting colder. But that blood was still warm, which meant that Pei Zheng hadn’t been here for long.
Shen Huan casually glanced to the side, but there were no bloodstains on the nearby patches of grass. If he had walked here, he definitely would have left a few traces of blood behind.
Could it be that Pei Zheng had purposely covered his tracks? After sustaining such serious injuries, and even when his consciousness was muddled, he could still be this meticulous?
Shen Shijiu tried his best to help Pei Zheng up, but because he wasn’t strong enough, he could only support Pei Zheng’s upper body.
“Shifu,” Shen Shijiu was blinded by tears as he looked up at Shen Huan. His gaze was full of pleading.
Naturally, Shen Huan didn’t want to have anything to with Pei Zheng anymore. However. Jiang Yubai’s words hadn’t fallen on deaf ears.
What did her little disciple really need? Was her little disciple happy right now?
Shen Huan had pondered this for a long time.
Resigned to her fate, Shen Huan bent down in front of Pei Zheng, before patting her own back, “Little disciple, put him here.”
Shen Shijiu hurriedly lifted Pei Zheng up and leaned him against Shen Huan’s back. The two exhausted their efforts in order to have Pei Zheng lie on Shen Huan’s back, though his feet were still dragging on the ground.
Shen Huan took several deep breaths. This man really was quite heavy; why the hell did he have to be so damn tall.
After every step, Shen Huan had to take a break, and just like this, she and Shen Shijiu managed to bring Pei Zheng into the bamboo hut.
Shen Huan’s robe had already been dyed red with blood.
“Disciple, get me a silver needle, ointment, gauze, hot water, and a washcloth. Quickly!”
Shen Huan carried Pei Zheng on her back into Shen Shijiu’s room, before she placed him onto the bed. She took out a pair of scissors, and quickly cut Pei Zheng’s tattered robe open.
The terrifying wounds beneath his robe were exposed. He was covered in slashes. If it were a normal person, they probably would have died from the pain by now. Who the hell could survive this?
On top of that, Shen Huan still had no clue how Pei Zheng had entered the Ghost Valley. If Pei Zheng could enter, did that mean that other people could as well?
But right now, Shen Huan didn’t have time to think about that. Shen Shijiu brought the things she had requested, and Shen Huan hurriedly began to treat Pei Zheng.
She had to stitch up the deeper wounds, otherwise they would open up on their own.
The process of stitching a wound was even more painful than whatever caused the injury the first place, because one’s flesh had to be continuously pricked by a needle.
Speaking of which, getting a tattoo on one’s body would hurt even more, although both processes involved the use of needles pricking the skin.
After Shen Huan finished sewing up his wounds, Pei Zheng was still unconscious, but a layer of cold sweat had appeared on his forehead; his brow had been slightly creased the entire time.
Shen Huan thought that he would wake up from the sheer agony, but unexpectedly, this man was quite good at enduring pain.
Shen Huan’s hands were covered in blood. She went to wash her hands with hot water, and said to Shen Shijiu, “Little disciple, go and apply the ointment on his wounds. Use that ointment that can prevent scars, and apply a lot. Hurry up now.”
Shen Shijiu went to look for that ointment. His fingers were trembling slightly. He finally managed to open the bottle, before he smeared a bit of ointment onto his fingertips and leaned over the bed to apply it onto Pei Zheng’s injuries.
Those wounds were horrifying to look at; it was as though they were telling him how terrible and painful they were. Shen Shijiu’s fingertips were trembling uncontrollably, and he was unable to place them onto the gashes no matter how hard he tried.
He was so anxious that his tears were dripping down. Some of them fell onto Pei Zheng’s arm, scalding the man on the bed, causing him to twitch a bit.
Shen Shijiu smeared his tears away, “Don’t cry, stop crying. Apply ointment for Pei-gege first, otherwise his wounds won’t get better. Don’t cry, be thoughtful.”
But no matter how he tried to console himself, Shen Shijiu just couldn’t look at those wounds. The moment he caught a glimpse of them, his tears would gush out.
Shen Huan finished washing her hands. She walked to the side of the bed and saw that her little disciple hadn’t applied even a touch of ointment. Instead, he was slumped beside the bed, crying so hard that he was out of breath.
Seeing how sad he was, Shen Huan’s heart ached terribly, and she couldn’t bear to reprimand him.
“All right, all right. You’re crying like you’re made of tears, it’s all right. With Shifu here, nothing will happen to your Pei-gege. Little disciple, don’t cry anymore, or you’ll ruin your eyes.”
Shen Shijiu sobbed, “Sh-Shifu, I-I don’t want to cry either, but my heart hurts so bad, so bad that I want to cry, I-I can’t help it…”
Shen Huan patted his little head, “All right, your master understands. Stand up, and sit at the side, okay? Your master will apply the ointment.”
Shen Huan helped Shen Shijiu up, “Go on, sit over there. If you don’t look, it won’t hurt anymore.”
Shen Shijiu obediently stood up, and walked a short distance away from the bed to sit down. From this angle, he couldn’t see Pei Zheng’s injuries anymore; he could only see his deathly-pale face.
Shen Shijiu clasped his hands together and recited silently in his mind. Pei-gege, you have to be fine, you have to wake up quickly, I’m begging you, please wake up quickly, I… I miss you…
Shen Huan swiftly cleaned up the rest of his wounds, and quickly smeared the ointment over Pei Zheng’s skin, before she wrapped everything up with gauze.
She had put her blood, sweat, and tears into making this ointment; she had never used it on anyone besides her little disciple.
At that time, her little disciple’s entire body was covered in terrifying wounds. But now, his skin was as smooth as it had been before.
After she finished treating his wounds, Shen Huan threw Pei Zheng’s torn robe away.
She rummaged through every corner of the bamboo hut, looking for clothes for Pei Zheng to wear. Unfortunately, she only found an old robe that seemed more or less the right length for Pei Zheng.
She brought it to Pei Zheng’s room and placed it beside the bed, before she said to Shen Shijiu, “Little disciple, come with me to sleep in my room. You sleep on my bed, I can sleep on the little bamboo bed.”
Shen Huan had carried the man on her back, treated his injuries, and was now giving up her bed, all for Pei Zheng.
Shen Shijiu tucked the blanket over Pei Zheng’s body, but he sat beside the bed and refused to leave.
“Shifu, I’m not sleepy. I won’t sleep for now, I want to watch over Pei-gege. I don’t want him to be scared when he wakes up and doesn’t see anybody.”
Shen Huan sighed, “Little disciple, don’t worry about that. Lord Pei won’t be scared, we’re the ones who should be scared. What if he thinks we’re bad guys and wakes up in the middle of the night to kill us?”
“He won’t, don’t worry, Shifu.” Shen Shijiu said seriously, “Pei-gege will recognize us.”
Shen Huan pinched his cheek, “Don’t forget that you’re wearing a mask right now. It’s so dark at night, it would be normal for him not to recognize you.”
Shen Shijiu remained resolute, “Pei-gege will definitely recognize me, I know it.”
Shen Huan opened her mouth in a wide yawn. Stitching up those wounds earlier had actually cost her quite a bit of energy. She said to Shen Shijiu, “All right then, I’m going to sleep. Little disciple, you should sleep soon too. You don’t need to stay up too late, got it?”
“‘Got it, Shifu.”
Shen Huan yawned as she returned to her own room. She really did pull out that small bamboo bed, before she tided herself up a bit, laid down, and promptly fell asleep.
Shen Shijiu slumped over the side of the bed and stared unblinkingly at the man lying upon it.
It had been so long since they had last seen each other. Pei Zheng’s cheeks seemed to have thinned out a bit. Although his eyes were closed, his brows were still full of sharpness and determination. When his gaze chilled as he looked at someone, it was so cold and gloomy that it could freeze people to death.
But only Shen Shijiu knew that when those eyes were gentle and shining with stars, one could drown in them, unable to resist their allure.
Right now, those eyes were tightly shut, and he looked lifeless. Shen Shijiu could only stay at the side and look at Pei Zheng; there was nothing else he could do.
“Pei-gege,” Shen Shijiu gripped Pei Zheng’s cool hand, warming it with his own palms.
“Why are you still sleeping? Do you not want to wake up because it’s dark? Then could you wake up for a just a moment, let me see it before you sleep, okay? Can’t you open your eyes and take a look at me, did you not miss me at all?”
As he spoke, the small man pouted in aggrievement, “But I really… missed you so much.”
Thanks for reading~