Part of a Memories of a Graceful Reflection translation project at fruitydeer.com.
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Source: 猶記驚鴻照影 by Feng Ning Xue Wu // Translated By: Xin (fruitydeer)
Thanks to all who have been patient in waiting for this next update. 💞
It’s time for Murong Qing to set her qualms aside as the situation becomes curiouser and curiouser…
Chapter 022: The Twenty-Second Time
I was not in the mood for trying to understand what was happening outside. I merely expended all my effort in stopping the blood, applying medication, and wrapping the wound–doing every single thing I could without leaving even a thread out of place.
When everything came to a culmination and I finally made sure that his injury was no longer grave, the sky outside had become frigid and pale.
As my heart eased, fatigue ensued. I lifted my arm and wiped away the thin traces of sweat on my forehead, feeling that the rock in my heart had finally settled to the ground while my entire person finally relaxed.
I suddenly realized that, prior this moment, I didn’t seem to realize how much I cared about his injury and how heavy it weighed against my heart.
I shuddered slightly, either unwilling to think about it or not daring to think any further. But somewhere in there was also a minute, explicable sense of fear.
What was it that I feared, I myself could not even make sense of. But this strange sort of sensation was something that even I was incapable of quelling.
“Wang fei must be tired. Let Xun Yun send you back first,” Nan Cheng Yao’s voice rang faintly in the dimness of night, itself carrying some sort of hidden emotion before ultimately returning to quietude.
Forcing myself to collect my frame of mind, I looked at his wrapped wound and said softly: “Your Highness’ injury no longer has major problems, all that is needed is rest and recuperation. In time, you will be able to recover without any lingering illness. Qing’er will not disturb Your Highness’ rest, then, and will first take leave. Tomorrow, I will return to change the dressing.”
Why he got injured, who injured him, and for what reason he did not call for an imperial physician from the palace and chose to look for me instead…These were not questions that I cared not the answers to, but I understood that, at least right now, it was definitely not the time to ask.
So I remained mum and was about to follow Xun Yun out the door. Then, I heard a genial voice echo from beyond the doors. This voice held a sense of forcefulness: “Given that someone saw the assassin enter Third Wang fu with their own two eyes and that all corners of the fu were then searched with the exception of Qing Tian House, Chief Steward Qin, why bother yourself with continuing to create obstruction? There couldn’t be some some unspeakable secret here, could there?”
I trembled slightly. I never would have expected that the owner of that voice would end up being this dynasty’s crown prince, Nan Cheng Mian.
While focusing on Nan Cheng Yao’s wounds just now, I practically forgot about the outside disputes. Upon looking outside the window now, the burning lights made the scene feel akin to daytime. Shadows of human silhouettes gathered about. It seemed that matters had reached a point of no return.
Xun Yun and Zhu Yu’s expressions changed and they immediately proceeded to clean up the water basins, medicine box, and those clothes and bedding that were dyed with blood. Their movements, agile. Not a moment later, the entire room was clean and tidy, as if nothing happened at all.
However, if so much as a gust of wind blew in, there would be no avoiding a rippling negative effect. My brows pinched ever so slightly.
Conversely, Nan Cheng Yao’s expression was bereft of surprise. Like before, he spoke up mildly: “Send Wang fei out from the back door, then remain here until this matter has passed.”
Xun Yun swallowed a deep breath, but was ultimately unable to disobey as she responded with silence and walked before me and made a “please go ahead” gesture.
I pondered for a moment, then said: “Is there any wine?”
Xun Yun froze. Perhaps it was because she did not expect that I would ask such a question. I did not have the mind to explain, either, only speaking as fast as I could think: “If there is, then I’ve to trouble the maiden to bring some over for me. The more, the better. It’s best if it’s the kind that His Highness drinks the most often.”
Xun Yun was still completely perplexed, while Nan Cheng Yao’s dark eyes slowly took on a look of admiration. He nodded slightly, signaling Xun Yun to do as I instructed.
With his approval, Xun Yun swiftly brought the wine over. It was a good yu po (域魄) wine, its fragrance overwhelming.
I couldn’t help but think about how Nan Cheng Yao really understood how to reward oneself. Lian went through great efforts to help me seek out but one jar, yet Nan Cheng Yao himself had so much stored away. However, now it could only go to waste.
Despite the regret felt in my heart, my hands moved with virtually no traces of hesitation. I took this priceless yu po wine and slow splashed it on the ground, the bed, and across the chair cushions…
The piercing scent of alcohol permeated the room, replacing the scent of medicine and blood that once filled it. I smiled dimly at this quite seamless result.
Just as I had opened my mouth to speak, the sound of Qin An doing his utmost to maintain an obstruction became louder and louder. He was warning us, making it clear that the person outside was about to lose his patience.
“Your Highness the Crown Prince, nu-cai already said just now that there is no such assassin inside. Third Highness has already gone to sleep. You know how his temper is, nu-cai cannot bear the burdens of his rest being disturbed…”
“If Third Brother is to blame someone, I will naturally be the one to bear such a burden. If the assassin is allowed to escape and Imperial Father pursues the matter, then it would truly turn into a situation that no one can bear to afford.” His Highness the Crown Prince’s voice carried a sense of forcefulness that would not allow questioning: “Hou Ying, take some men and surround this courtyard. Do not, under any circumstances, let the assassin escape. Feng Di, follow me in. We must ensure that my third brother is fine.”
“Your Highness the Crown Prince…” Qin An continued to do all he could to protest, but the arrow was already spent.1 A series of footsteps gradually walked towards the resting hall we were in.
Nan Cheng Yao’s expression did not change, merely directing a faint laugh towards me: “I did not want to drag you into this at first, but now it seems that it’s too late for you to leave even if you wanted to. Wang fei, the evening breeze is brisk, why don’t you come to the bed for a rest?”
Xun Yun and Zhu Yu exchanged a glance, and without Nan Cheng Yao’s instruction, swiftly extinguished the candles and retreated from the resting hall, shutting the doors behind them.
I laughed softly: “Didn’t Your Highness once say that, since I’ve married into Third Wang fu, how could I dare hope to stay out of matters? Regardless of disaster or fortune, Qing’er will naturally advance and retreat along with Your Highness.”
He did not speak, merely staring at me.
And outside the door, Zhu Yu’s voice rang out: “Chief Steward Qin, what’s the matter here? His Highness began his rest not too long ago. You bringing so many people here will draw His Highness’ ire. I am not one who dares to bear the weight of this crime.”
Qin An himself cooperated with her to buy more time for us. I braced myself, swallowed the yu po wine in the cup, then poured the remaining wine in the jar onto my own dress. With my eyes closed, I tugged at the snowy white cloth wrapped around my waist, the plain white silk gently slipping off.
My cheeks were burning, but I had no have time to act coy as I quickly lied on my side in the space he left for me. Covered only by an under-layer the color of a white moon, I pulled the brocade quilt over my body, not daring to move at all. I repeated to myself over and over that he was my husband, there was nothing to be embarrassed about.
Next to me came the sound of his low laughter. Then, a pair of slender arms, separated by the quilt, lightly embraced me.
I lied down for no more than several seconds before I heard the doors of the hall open. Nan Cheng Mian had already pushed past the doors and entered the hall.