His highness's Allure - Chap 88
Qi Bingzhi summoned Jiang Yubai, claiming that her chronic headaches had suddenly attacked again.
She had strangely begun to suffer from this disease three years ago, and even Jiang Yubai couldn’t find the cause, and thus could not cure her. He had already concluded in his mind that she was faking it.
To force herself to fake it for three years, and drink all of that bitter medicine, was just to earn a bit of pity from Pei Zheng.
The door of the waterside pavilion opened, and Qi Bingzhi walked out, with a maid supporting her by the arm. Her face was still a bit pale.
She saw the two people standing outside the door with their heads bowed, and gawked for a moment, before asking, “Imperial Physician Jiang, who are these two?”
Jiang Yubai said, “Oh, these two are the new apprentices at the Imperial Hospital. I heard that Second Princess’s condition was very serious, so I brought the two of them along to help me, but it seems like the princess is doing just fine.”
Qi Bingzhi coughed a few times in embarrassment, and her eyebrows knitted tightly, “I’ve had these headaches for a long time now, they’re not too much of an issue. It’s just that His Lordship cares about me, which is why he always troubles Imperial Physician Jiang to treat me.”
Jiang Yubai said in his heart, is it really because Pei Zheng cares about you? He’s just scared that if you die, his power and status will be affected.
“Yes, the Second Princess is right. There isn’t a single person who doesn’t know that Lord Pei’s care and attentiveness toward the princess is second to none; it would make others envious.”
Jiang Yubai’s face was full of smiles, but his voice sounded a bit odd.
Everyone in the manor knew that Lord Pei had always been indifferent to the Second Princess; so what Jiang Yubai had said was complete and utter nonsense.
Qi Bingzhi’s face really did pale slightly, and she forced a smile, “Imperial Physician Jiang also heard that His Lordship has returned to the manor. I must go to receive him, will Imperial Physician Jiang wait here, or come along with me?”
Jiang Yubai just couldn’t stand listening to her mistress-like tone, “It just so happens that I have something to discuss with Lord Pei. Shi, Zhou Wu, you both stay here and wait.”
The two affirmed obediently and watched as the little group headed toward the front garden.
After they left, Shen Shijiu immediately relaxed. His whole body always felt uncomfortable when he faced the Second Princess.
Zhou Wu just stood there waiting, without moving at all. Shen Shijiu bent his legs, sat straight down onto the steps in front of the waterside pavilion, and tugged at the hem of Zhou Wu’s clothes.
“You should sit down and rest too, they probably won’t be coming back so soon.”
Zhou Wu was still a bit nervous, and shook his head, “I’m fine, you can sit by yourself, I’m not tired.”
Shen Shijiu didn’t bother with him anymore, and sat with his head cupped in his hands, looking very relaxed, his feet flexing and pointing.
Zhou Wu couldn’t help but admire the mentality of this little fool. He probably didn’t know how terrifying Prime Minister Pei was, which was why he was in the mood to sit and rest.
Suddenly, not too far away, a black shadow flashed amidst a thick patch of grass. Although it had been extremely quick, Shen Shijiu’s eyes still caught it; it seemed to be that little black cat he had met at Yi Pin Xiang.
His eyes lit up immediately, and he stood up, before walking towards that patch of grass.
“Hey, Shen Shijiu! Come back! Don’t just run around!” Zhou Wu shouted anxiously behind him.
But all of Shen Shijiu’s focus was pinned on that soft, fluffy black cat. He brushed the long grass aside; the cat was curled into a ball with its tail over its paws, and its black eyes stared back at him unblinkingly .
Shen Shijiu approached, his footsteps extremely light. His breathing also quieted, and he meowed softly like a cat, “Miaowu, miaowu,”
The little black cat also meowed back, as if it was replying to him, and licked its own fleshy little paws.
Shen Shijiu slowly reached out, and tried to pick it up, but the little black cat suddenly stood up, bolted out of the grass like a streak of smoke, and ran toward the bamboo forest.
Shen Shijiu yelped, and stood up as well, before running after the little black cat, following closely behind.
This bamboo forest was quite large and the cat wove skillfully through it, and, in a few moments, had reached the gate to a courtyard.
It stood outside the archway and paused. It glanced back, as if to make sure that the person behind was still following it. After it saw Shen Shijiu’s figure appear in the distance, it entered the archway with a “miaowu”.
Shen Shijiu came up to the arched door, and when he saw the words “Back Garden” written upon it, he hesitated a little, and was a bit scared to go in.
The back garden was quite large, and that elegant little pavilion he had seen earlier was inside.
Shen Shijiu saw the little black cat sprawled on top of a tree, clinging onto a tree branch and flicking its tail at Shen Shijiu.
“Xiao Miaowu, come back.”
Shen Shijiu waved at the little black cat, but it ignored him, and continued to lie on the branch without moving.
“You don’t want to play with me anymore? Then I’m leaving now.”
Shen Shijiu pretended that he was about to leave, but he was still staring at the little black shadow from the corner of his eye.
Sure enough, the shadow on the tree moved, and it seemed like it wanted to jump right off the tree. But the branch was quite a distance from the ground.
Fearing that it would injure itself, Shen Shijiu charged over in a hurry. The little black cat jumped off the branch, and just happened to land right into Shen Shijiu’s embrace.
“Xiao Miaowu, you’re being very bad.” Shen Shijiu stroked its little head, “That was so high up, what if you had gotten injured?”
The little black cat nuzzled into his chest, its eyes wide and round. Its head tilted up to look at him, before it licked his small hand with its tender pink tongue.
“It’s so itchy.” Shen Shijiu began to laugh. He hugged the little black cat and kissed it, “How can you be so cute, I really like you.”
He was standing under the tree with the little black cat in his arms, rubbing and stroking its fur, when suddenly, two voices sounded from behind him.
“Has the little pavilion been cleaned up? His Lordship is back, so he must be staying there tonight.”
“Replying to Housekeeper Li, the cleaning is all done, and the mattress has also been replaced with a new one…”
“Who told you to change it?!” Housekeeper Li’s voice rose a bit, and carried a note of anger, “His Lordship said that nothing in the little pavilion is to be tampered with, how dare you make decisions without permission!”
The little servant girl was startled, and said submissively, “Th-this servant was wrong. Housekeeper Li, don’t be angry, this servant will change it back immediately.”
After she finished speaking, the young maid hurried off.
Housekeeper Li stood in place and sighed. He was about to leave when suddenly, he looked up and saw a figure standing under a nearby tree.
He was wearing a plain white robe. Every strand of his ink-black hair was neatly swept up under a guan1, a simple and clean appearance. He was slender, and the hem of his robes fluttered gently in the breeze; he resembled a weak willow tree swaying in the wind.
Housekeeper Li’s heart throbbed. The figure was just too similar to the one in his memory; he thought he was hallucinating. He blinked hard, but the figure was still standing in the same place and hadn’t moved.
He slowly walked over. He was already choking down sobs, so he couldn’t make a sound. He could only stretch out a quivering hand and lightly touch the person’s shoulder.
Shen Shijiu was a little startled. He turned around, and saw a man standing in front of him. The man’s eyes were full of tears as he looked at him; Shen Shijiu didn’t move at all under his stare.
But the moment they locked eyes, Shen Shijiu saw a flash of extreme disappointment in his gaze.
Housekeeper Li hastily raised his sleeves to wipe the tears from the corners of his eyes. This face was extremely unfamiliar, and mediocre in appearance; it was a far cry from the little face in his memory.
“Who are you? Why are you here? Don’t you know that people can’t just enter this back garden whenever they wish?”
Shen Shijiu felt a bit dizzy from his rapid-fire questioning, and didn’t know how to answer. He hugged the little black cat, his eyes clear and innocent.
Upon seeing the cat in his arms, Housekeeper Li understood, and mistook him for a new servant designated to care for the cat.
He just hadn’t expected that this princely little cat could nestle in his arms so obediently. After raising it for so long, no one in the entire manor, save for Pei Zheng, could tame this spoiled cat.
“All right, since you’ve found the cat, you should leave quickly. His Lordship is back, so you need to take extra care while doing things. You can’t let it run around like this in the future.”
Shen Shijiu nodded dumbly.
Housekeeper Li glanced at him again, before he turned and left.
Shen Shijiu looked at Housekeeper Li’s back, and for some reason, felt an inexplicable sense of familiarity with him. While they were talking, he had kept his expression very serious the entire time, but Shen Shijiu didn’t find him scary at all.
He lowered his head and rubbed the little black cat’s back again. The fluffy fur was extremely soft and comfortable to the touch. The soft scent that was unique to a kitten wafted around, and made Shen Shijiu feel as though he was covered in the same sweet, milky fragrance.
He sniffed the kitten as he walked out of the courtyard with his head lowered. But he walked for a long while, and still hadn’t reached that arched door. Shen Shijiu raised his head in suspicion and glanced around.
Drat. Where was he, why did it look like he had gone backwards?
Shen Shijiu became anxious, swiveled and walked back, but after turning through several paths, he had actually arrived right in front of the little pavilion.
This back garden was hidden, but was actually quite large. There were many rockeries, trees and curving, winding paths, which all succeeded in making Shen Shijiu dizzy.
During the past few years, when he had been living with his shifu in the Ghost Valley, he had never seen this kind of manor. Back at the Imperial Hospital, there had been people to guide him, but now, he had no choice but to walk around aimlessly.
Shen Shijiu stood in front of the little pavilion, momentarily at a loss.
Unexpectedly, a figure suddenly leaped down from the surrounding wall, and landed right in front of Shen Shijiu.
Shen Shijiu was startled, and the little black cat in his arms was also frightened, mewling twice, before latching onto Shen Shijiu’s lapel and burrowing into the front of his robe.
Shen Shijiu quickly patted the kitten in his arms, and comforted in a gentle, quiet voice, “It’s okay, it’s okay, don’t be scared, don’t be scared…”
The person in front of him didn’t move, simply looking at him and the nervous kitten in his arms; his eyes were cold and extremely complicated.
Shen Shijiu raised his head, and met those long, narrow eyes full of a strange curiosity. His eyes widened slightly.
Pei Zheng stared fixedly into his eyes the entire time; although they were somewhat round, they weren’t almond eyes. They resembled two clear pools, pure and bright, reflecting a flawless radiance.
He thought he would only ever see such clarity in one person’s gaze.
His heart suddenly tightened, and Pei Zheng gripped that slender wrist.
“Who are you?”
Frightened by his sharp eyes, Shen Shijiu shrank back unconsciously.
“M-my name is Shen Shijiu.”
“Shen Shijiu…” Pei Zheng’s grip tightened slightly, and he muttered again, “Shen Shijiu…”
With a meow, the little black cat in Shen Shijiu’s robe popped its head out, looked at Pei Zheng, and seemed dissatisfied with his ferocious expression.
Pei Zheng sneered, “You ungrateful little thing, you dare to run off with anyone you see?”
He reached out and plucked the cat out, before placing it on a nearby branch.
The little black cat meowed twice, glanced at the two of them, jumped off the tall branch, and disappeared in a blink of an eye.
Shen Shijiu was a little shocked. It turned out that Xiao Miaowu could jump off branches by itself, but he had still been so nervous and rushed to save it.
Realizing that the person in front of him was still thinking about the cat, Pei Zheng squeezed his wrist and twisted it in displeasure, which made Shen Shijiu wince in pain.
“It hurts… it hurts a lot…”
Now that his ordinary facial features were all wrinkled together, he looked a bit ugly, but his voice was soft and heartwarming.
Shen Shijiu felt that his wrist was about to go numb from the pain, and he couldn’t take it anymore, so he reached out and shoved at Pei Zheng’s chest.
Unexpectedly, Pei Zheng grunted as he was pushed away, shifted his body, and let go of his wrist.
Shen Shijiu hurriedly held his wrist and took two deep breaths, before he began to massage it.
But he suddenly found that he had rubbed thick, bright red blood all over his wrist.
He yelped in surprise, and hurriedly looked at his other hand; it was covered in scarlet, it must have gotten onto his hand when he pushed Pei Zheng.
He looked at Pei Zheng in a panic, and saw that Pei Zheng’s face was a little pale, his brows were slightly knitted, and his breathing was obviously uneven. Even if the black robe he was wearing was soaked in blood, one wouldn’t be able to tell that there was anything wrong at all.
But Shen Shijiu leaned in and took a sniff, and was hit by the overwhelming, rusty odor of blood. It was due to his momentary nervousness that he had failed to notice it.
“What’s wrong, are you injured? It seems very serious, are you all right? Can you still hear me?”
Shen Shijiu waved a finger in front of him. Pei Zheng raised his eyelids and glanced at him with a look of cold indifference.
“Get out of here.”
Those thin lips spat out these words, before Pei Zheng turned and walked toward the little pavilion.
Shen Shijiu stood in place and secretly clenched his fists, looked at the figure that was on the verge of collapse in front of him, and felt extremely worried.
The robe over his chest had probably long since been soaked in blood. If the bleeding wasn’t staunched quickly, it would definitely cause great harm to his body.
Because he himself had been seriously injured before, Shen Shijiu knew how painful those kinds of injuries could be. How could this person wear such a flat expression, as if he didn’t feel it at all?
Just as he was thinking, he saw the man, who had already walked up the steps, suddenly bend down, clutch his chest, and spit out a mouthful of blood. Blood dripped down his chin and onto the ground.
He didn’t stop walking, as he pushed open the door and entered the little pavilion.
Shen Shijiu looked at the door that had been left open, gritted his teeth, hastily ran inside, and closed the door with a “pa”.
Everything in the little pavilion was delicate and simple. Inside, there was an extremely large, soft bed. Someone was lying on it, sinking into the mattress, completely silent.
Shen Shijiu clenched his fists to encourage himself, and cautiously walked over, only to see Pei Zheng lying quietly, his brows relaxed; he appeared to have passed out.
A little hand quietly pressed against Pei Zheng’s wrist, and Shen Shijiu knelt by the side of the bed, a frown on his face, deep in thought. Only after a long while did he place Pei Zheng’s wrist back onto the bed.
His pulse was a bit disordered, and he could feel the qi rushing through his body. His internal organs must have been damaged by the forced circulation of internal energy, which was why he had vomited blood.
Shen Shijiu searched through his sleeves, took out a small box, and opened it. Inside were small red pills. They had been administered by Shen Huan in an emergency, in order to save his life; each one was extremely precious.
He took one out, and placed the rest back into his sleeve.
Shen Shijiu carefully squeezed the pill between his fingers, and slowly laid down on his stomach next to Pei Zheng, parted the man’s lips with his little hand, and placed the small red pill inside.
But Shen Shijiu waited helplessly for a long while, until the pill had almost melted in the unconscious man’s mouth, yet he still hadn’t seen Pei Zheng swallow it.
If the pill melted in the mouth, it would be completely useless. Shen Shijiu became a little anxious.
Like a small kitten, he gently prodded Pei Zheng’s cheek, “Hey, wake up.”
He poked twice more, “Hurry up and swallow.”
He poked twice more again, “The medicine’s about to melt, it’ll be wasted.”
There was still no movement.
Shen Shijiu paced around the bed, not knowing what to do.
Suddenly, he thought of a solution. But…
His earlobes suddenly flushed red.
At critical moments, saving someone took first priority, nothing else mattered. That’s right, nothing else mattered.
Shen Shijiu’s mind was a complete mess as he pondered the predicament for a long while. Then, he steeled himself, and quietly crawled onto the bed, avoiding Pei Zheng’s body, before kneeling beside him.
He took a few deep breaths, then slowly bent down, and leaned his face toward Pei Zheng’s.
Although the light in the little pavilion was a bit dim, and it was even darker on the bed, Shen Shijiu couldn’t stop his heart from beating faster and faster as they got closer.
The eyes of the person below him were tightly shut, and his breathing was extremely weak, but his breath was scorching hot, and lightly spilled over Shen Shijiu’s face. He was wearing a mask so no one could see his flushed complexion, but his reddened ears couldn’t be concealed.
The person in front of him was unconscious; the chill and bitterly cold aura of his body had subsided slightly, and that beautiful face was fully revealed.
The cold, handsome, sharp brows, that long, narrow and indifferent pair of eyes, those pale bloodless cheeks, and, those lips that were being lightly pried open…
Shen Shijiu closed his eyes, and placed his mouth against Pei Zheng’s. Upon brushing those slightly cold, soft lips, he couldn’t help but tremble twice. His little tongue slowly stretched inside and touched the slightly melted pill, and the tip of his tongue was suddenly coated in bitterness.
His breath trembled as he pushed the pill down Pei Zheng’s throat, and he accidentally touched something else; something gentle, warm, and soft.
Shen Shijiu’s eyes opened suddenly, as if he had been shocked by lightning. He quickly withdrew his tongue, blocked Pei Zheng’s mouth with his own, and furiously blew into it.
The throat of the person beneath him finally bobbed as he swallowed the pill.
Shen Shijiu breathed a sigh of relief, and sat slumped on the bed. A thin layer of sweat had appeared on his back, and his legs had gone soft; he could hardly find the strength to lift them.
This was the first time he had such intimate contact with someone. He was so nervous; his breathing was still rapid, and showed no signs of calming down for a long while.
At this moment, several voices sounded from outside the door.
“Second Princess, Imperial Physician Jiang, since His Lordship doesn’t want to see you, he has his reasons. This servant hopes for your forgiveness. Please do not disturb His Lordship’s rest.”
It was Housekeeper Li who was stopping them from entering.
“Housekeeper Li, I only ordered someone to deliver some nourishing soup. His Lordship is busy with court affairs, so he can’t let his body be ruined. I made this soup myself, it’s very effective…”
“Second Princess, this servant has already explained the situation very clearly. Besides, cooking soup is a laborious task that should be done by servants. The princess only needs to rest well. There is no need for you to exert yourself like this.”
“Housekeeper Li…” Qi Bingzhi wanted to say something else, but was interrupted.
“Li Yu, even if the princess isn’t allowed to see him, I should be able to. I have something to discuss with Lord Pei, don’t try to stop me.”
As he spoke, Jiang Yubai walked over, but Li Yu still blocked his path.
“Imperial Physician Jiang, please don’t make things difficult for this servant…”
Jiang Yubai looked at his face full of pleading, and his eyebrows raised, “Fine fine fine, I’ll come back another day…”
After speaking, he turned around and was about to leave. Suddenly, he noticed a few scarlet stains on the steps in front of the little pavilion, which looked like blood, so he quickly squatted down to check.
Qi Bingzhi and Li Yu also saw the blood and became a bit nervous.
Jiang Yubai stood up, held his red-stained fingertip up, and said to Li Yu with a stern expression, “Is your Lord injured? His blood has already dripped onto the ground, so the injury must be serious. Have you bandaged the wound to stop the bleeding?”
Li Yu was stunned for a moment, “This… this servant doesn’t know… but His Lordship did use qinggong earlier to get here…”
Jiang Yubai’s expression changed. He immediately stepped forward and pushed open the door of the little pavilion.
When Shen Shijiu heard that people outside the door were about to come in, he was already so frightened that his body had gone stiff. He sat upright on his knees beside Pei Zheng, pricking up his ears to listen carefully to what was happening outside.
He silently prayed in his heart, leave, hurry up and leave, absolutely do not come in here; at the moment, his legs were too weak, so he had no way to get out of the bed and hide.
It was a pity that heaven did not abide by human wishes.
The door of the small building was suddenly pushed open. Shen Shijiu’s eyes widened and he held his breath.
Suddenly, a black shadow flashed in front of his eyes. The world seemed to spin as Shen Shijiu’s head was covered with a quilt, and his entire body was pulled down and flipped over. He was now lying on the inside of the bed, safely hidden behind by the tall figure beside him.
He didn’t know what had happened. He had wanted to steal a glance at Pei Zheng, when his head was suddenly blanketed with the thick quilt, and everything was plunged into darkness.
Shen Shijiu’s heart was throbbing wildly, and he could feel a slender, powerful hand on his waist. Just as he tried to shift his body, he was firmly held down. His legs were also squished underneath another longer leg, so he was locked in place
Shen Shijiu didn’t dare to move. He clutched the quilt tightly in his hands, and took small breaths.
After the people outside the door came in, they saw Pei Zheng leaning back on the bed.
Apart from his pale face, he didn’t look like someone who had been injured.
Pei Zheng lifted his eyes slightly to look at the people who had entered, his ice-cold gaze filled with irritation and annoyance.
Li Yu hurriedly explained, “My Lord, Imperial Physician Jiang said that you seemed to be injured, he was worried, so he came to take a look, as for the Second Princess…”
Li Yu paused and didn’t continue.
Qi Bingzhi smiled in a flattering manner, “My Lord, I was also worried for your health, so I’ve brought some nourishing soup, drink it while it’s hot.”
Pei Zheng suppressed the agitation in his heart, looked away, and lifted his hand to pinch the area between his brows.
Thanks for reading~~
1.发冠 (fā guān): It’s that hair accessory that you see in all ancient Chinese dramas, you know, the one for the man bunssss