Part of a Memories of a Graceful Reflection translation project at fruitydeer.com.
Do not download, copy, or redistribute without permission.
Source: 猶記驚鴻照影 by Feng Ning Xue Wu // Translated By: Xin (fruitydeer)
A surprising turn of events starts to bring our reluctant couple closer together. Through his actions, we also get to see to what extent Nan Cheng Yao is willing to trust Murong Qing.
Chapter 021: The Twenty-First Time
I hurried to have Shu Ying open the door. In the midst of darkness, Xun Yun’s expression held a sort of anxiousness that was difficult to conceal.
Her voice had always been clear and steady; it was my first time seeing her behave with such emotion. I could not help but ask: “It’s late into the night, does the maiden have something going on?”
She could not be bothered with etiquette and went straight to the point: “Xun Yun knows that Wang fei is a master of medicine. Wang fei, please bring along a medicine box and quickly make a trip with Xun Yun.”
Before I could speak, Shu Ying curiously interjected: “Is someone in the fu sick? Why not call a physician?”
Xun Yun’s expression stilled for a moment before she swiftly replied: “It’s a little maid servant with whom I share a room. She must’ve eaten something dirty and now her stomach is in great pain. Since it’s so late, calling for a physician might cause too much of a delay, so I’ve come to trouble Wang fei for help.”
“Is it Zhu Yu? But when I came back to the fu, wasn’t she doing just fine…”
In her curiosity, Shu Ying wanted to continue asking, but I gently interrupted her: “Alright, Shu Ying, hurry and help me fetch the medicine box, lest we cause delay.”
Shu Ying quickly prepared everything for me and was about to follow me out, but I smiled faintly, stopping her: “You stay here, alright?”
“But, Young Miss…”
I continued to smile: “I’ll be following Miss Xun Yun, are you worried that I might get lost? That said, you know just as well that I don’t want too many people to know that I understand medicine. So if anyone else comes by, you may tell them that I have gone to sleep.”
I noticed that Xun Yun’s expression relaxed imperceptibly as she cast me a deep look. In that moment, I behaved as if I saw nothing, smiling faintly before first stepping outside. She carried the medicine box and followed me from behind.
Upon leaving Gui Mo Pavilion, I did not beat around the bush. Without pausing my step, I asked candidly: “How is His Highness’ condition?”
Xun Yun looked at me in surprise, her expression vacant.
Realizing that I surmised correctly, I sighed inwardly. Other than Nan Cheng Yao, who could cause Xun Yun to rush into my Gui Mo Pavillion such disregard for etiquette?
However, what could have happened to Nan Cheng Yao, who just a few shi chen1 ago, was drinking and chatting so merrily?
Seeing her remain speechless, I sighed softly: “Miss Xun Yun, there are no outsiders here right now. I’m simply trying to get a general understanding so that I can better face the situation when the time comes. There’s no need for you to conceal things from me.”
Xun Yun replied with haste: “Wang fei has misunderstood, Xun Yun would ever dare possess the intent to conceal from you. It’s just, in that moment, I did not expect that Wang fei would ask as such.”
I did not speak, but she paused for a moment, then sighed softly: “His Highness has suffered an injury by sword. It’s near his waist and abdomen. The wound is not light.”
Stilling inwardly for a moment, I then walked silently with her for a while longer before finally speaking up: “Why seek me out? Even if it’s not convenient to call for an imperial physician from the palace, there must be skilled physicians whom you can trust, so why seek me out?”
Xun Yun’s eyes lowered and she replied softly: “It’s what His Highness means for.”
I no longer spoke, or did I have the time to think it over too deeply. Up ahead was a dim light; we had reached the garden outside of Qing Tian House.
Qing Tian House was where Nan Cheng Yao resided. Although I have been here since my marrying into the wang fu, the number of times could be counted on one’s fingers.
Upon seeing us, Qin An could not be bothered with etiquette, straight away taking us towards Nan Cheng Yao’s resting hall.
Qing Tian House was guarded in all four directions. Though there were not many guards, they were well organized. Among those people, some I knew. These were the imperial guards of the wang fu. Still, many of them were people I could not recognize.
Nan Cheng Yao lay on top of an agarwood bed at the center of the resting hall. Zhu Yu was in the midst of using hot water to provide the most basic treatment for him.
But no matter what, that blood would not stop and Zhu Yu could not hold back her tears. Nevertheless, the pair of hands treating his injury remained free of any tremors.
Though our footsteps were incredibly light when we entered, he still detected it, quietly opening his eyes.
His dark, black eyes were lucid and sharp. As always, an insouciant smile hung from his lips. Were it not for his pale complexion, one might not even be able notice that he carried injuries on his body.
When he saw me, his eyes seemed to darken. But no more than a moment later, he simply went back to chuckling lackadaisically: “In a slight stride, a waist so slender; the reveal of luminous wrists, light like silk. I am actually bit grateful for the injury this time. Otherwise, how could I get the chance to see Wang fei looking as pure and fresh as a lotus? At this shi chen, it must be the first time that Wang fei has come to Qing Tian House and the first time you’ve entered my resting hall, no less. Such a pity that though there’s a beautiful woman on such a fine night, I don’t have the blessings to enjoy it. A true shame.”2
I ignored his teasing and only walked right up to inspect his wounds.
The clothing at his waist was already soaked in blood. I examined in detail before finally breathing out in relief. Though the wound looked severe, it was not at the intended location of harm, so it should not be a huge problem.
But, though this was the case, I did not dare to dally. The person before my eyes was the Third Highness, the Sacred One’s most favored. Something most treasured could not tolerate the slightest mishap.
Moreover, the redness that would not stop pouring out from his waist also made my heart tremble ever so slightly.
Xun Yun and Zhu Yu followed my instructions of fetching water and grinding medicine.
I could sense that his gaze continued to rest faintly upon myself, but I was not in the mental state to try and make sense of it.
I merely quietly and meticulously dealt with his injury like the most professional of physicians.
Though Nan Cheng Yao’s injury was not critical, it was nevertheless at the most vulnerable part of the waist and abdomen. The more an injury was as so, the more painful it was, like a blunt knife cutting away at the flesh.
It was for this reason that it was so hard to stop the blood seeping out. The pain he suffered exceeded the pain of a mortal wound by a hundred thousand times over, something difficult for ordinary people to imagine.
Even though I already knew from early on that the role he played was by no means a simple one, I still couldn’t help but feel a sense of veneration.
Originally, I wanted to make some numbing medication for him, but he spoke up faintly and said that there was no need, that this bit of pain couldn’t be considered much and I did not have the time to waste.
As I hesitated, the corners of his lips had already curled into a facetious curve. He chuckled slightly, “Could it be that Wang fei is distressed for my sake?”
Knowing that it was useless to say anything, I began my work. I eased up the motions of my hands as much as possible, but there was no way to avoid touching the wound and adding to his pain.
There were several times when I couldn’t resist pausing to look up at him.
His dark eyes remained open, lucid and sharp, while his attractive lips, from beginning to end, carried a slight smile as lofty as a cloudless sky. Only the paleness of his complexion from the loss of blood and the sweat dripping from his forehead revealed the pain that he was currently enduring.
I did not know how much time had passed when someone entered from outside and whispered quietly beside Qin An’s ears.
Qin An’s expression didn’t change. He walked forth and bowed: “Your Highness, Qin An will first take his leave. No one will be able to enter Qing Tian House.”
“You need not hold him back.” Despite the coldness in his eyes, Nan Cheng Yao laughed nonchalantly: “It’s not worth it for us to enter direct conflict with him. Just stall for as long as you can.”
Qin An replied in acknowledgment, then suddenly got down on his knees and bowed deeply to me: “No matter what goes on outside, Wang fei, please attach utmost importance to His Highness and do not stop treating him.”
I could not divert my attention long enough to pay him any attention and only nodded briskly to show that I understood.
Seeing this, Qin An turned around and left the resting hall. Nan Cheng Yao smiled at me once more: “Wang fei, I’m afraid I must ask trouble you to make haste. I do not wish to drag you into this.”
Translator’s Note: Nan Cheng Yao takes a huge step forward today by bringing Murong Qing into the fold. He’s not exactly willing to show her all his cards, but he’s definitely not as guarded with her as before. Also, did he lay the teasing (read: defense mechanism) on real thick this chapter or what? To be honest, I sort of loved it, haha. But what I loved more was how Murong Qing was completely unfazed.
She knows what she needs to do and she gets it done. As shown in the last several chapters, her ability to handle different crises with poise is what makes her an invaluable asset to someone like Nan Cheng Yao. Of course, once the status quo changes, things may not be so cut and dry…
- 時辰 // Shi Chen: Archaic form of time keeping. One shi chen equates to two modern hours.
- 折纖腰以微步，呈皓腕於輕紗: The first line he says is from an ancient passage that I believe describes witnessing the gait of a delicate, beautiful woman. I took a little creative liberty with translating the first part of the line, which describes said waist as being so slender it could snap. Ouch.