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)
Can I just talk about how much I enjoy Murong Qing as a character? She’s a kind girl, but she’s never pretended to be a saint. Murong Qing is a very normal, relatable girl. She’s frank, honest, and not blind to the realities of her world. If she needs to do something to survive, I don’t doubt that she would do it without a second thought.
Chapter 025: The Twenty-Fifth Time
Ever since that night, Nan Cheng Yao stopped attending court on account of illness.
Naturally, people came in droves to pay their respects. But they were nevertheless turned away by Qin An, who said that His Highness was recuperating and did not want to be disturbed at all.
The Sacred One, along with the scholars and officials of the court, were well-accustomed to the idleness and willfulness of this Third Highness and thus, saw nothing strange of it. No one took mind, nor did anyone pursue the matter further.
Perhaps they assumed that he was indolent by nature and therefore feigned illness due to an unwillingness to deal with with political affairs.
However, Nan Cheng Mian was definitely not among these folk.
I myself was a little surprised and had assumed that, regardless of how much pain he was in, with Nan Cheng Yao’s temperament, he would still power through and go to court, refusing to reveal any traces of abnormality.
But now, with no reservations, he had announced an illness and was staying home to recuperate. It was indeed something I had never expected.
And since that night, there had been no movement further in the Eastern Palace. It was as if nothing even happened in the first place.
However, this sort of calmness could make one feel an inexplicable sense of turbulent winds foreboding the coming mountain storm.1
Throughout this time, I went to Qing Tian Hall every day to change the Nan Cheng Yao’s dressings. He was ultimately a man of martial abilities. The foundations of his physique were strong, so no more than ten days later, the wound on his waist was nearly healed.
“Young Miss, what in the world did Zhu Yu eat? It’s been such a long time and she’s still not fully recovered. You won’t even let me go see her.”
As Shu Ying passed me the medicine box, she could not help but harp on.
With a smile, I said: “If it were you that fell sick from being a glutton and ended having to lie in bed for so long, would you be able to overcome the shame and let others come see you? Zhu Yu’s skin is already thin in the first place, so don’t you go mentioning this matter everywhere.”
The matters of Nan Cheng Yao’s injuries were known to no one in the entire fu other than Qin An, Xun Yun, and a few confidants.
Shu Ying was kind and naive by nature, so the less she knew about something like this, the better for her it would be. As such, I kept this from even her.
Upon hearing what I said, her lips formed into a pout: “Do I look like someone who gossips so thoughtlessly?”
I laughed and coaxed: “No, no, our Shu Ying is smart and sensible.”
She wriggled and laughed: “Young Miss always knows what to say to coax me, but you still refuse to satisfy me over the one thing I’ve been thinking about for so long.”
“I’d like to know what it is that’s caused Wang fei to be this stingy.”
I heard Nan Cheng Yao’s indolent voice rang from outside the doors before I could say anything. Shu Ying and I hastily stood to greet him.
He walked to the center of the room to take a seat. And as I steeped some tea, I smiled: “It’s just a trivial matter. Your Highness, don’t listen to Shu Ying’s nonsense.”
In a small, disgruntled voice, Shu Ying mumbled: “Since it’s a trivial matter, why does Young Miss refuse to play for others to hear?”
Nan Cheng Yao seemed to be in a good mood today and asked casually: “Play what?”
“It’s that song that Young Miss played during the Mid-Autumn Banquet, ya. I wasn’t qualified to enter the hall, so I missed it. But now the entire capital is talking about how Young Miss’ qin skills are so divine. I just want to hear her play once so I can experience it for myself, but she just refuses to agree to it.” As Shu Ying spoke, she looked at me resentfully, the pout of a young girl unwittingly seeping into her speech.
I looked at her helplessly, but just as I was about to say something, I inadvertently took notice of Nan Cheng Yao’s eyes and saw how they darkened imperceptibly. Very quickly, his voice rang faintly: “It’s not just Shu Ying, but even ben-wang would like to hear that divine qin music again.”
“Your Highness?” I was a little taken aback, having never expected that he would say such such things.
Conversely, Shu Ying became even more excited from his words. She looked at me, then looked at Nan Cheng Yao, and was ultimately unable to resist from speaking up in a rush: “Young Miss, even the Third Highness has said as such. Why not have Shu Ying go and fetching the ‘jing-tao‘ gu qin right now, okay?”
Without waiting for me to speak, Nan Cheng Yao had already smiled and nodded. And as if she had secured the greatest treasure, she began flitting off in the direction of the qin room.
As I looked at the back of her figure, I called out with a bit of helplessness: “Slow down, if you rush, you won’t be able to catch your breath and will start coughing again.”
Her silhouette quickly disappeared at the end of the corridor. I turned around and met with Nan Cheng Yao’s eyes, unable to stop myself from asking: “What is Your Highness doing here? Qing’er was just about to go over to help you change your dressing.”
He replied languidly: “I’ve been fine for some time already, it’s all of you who insist on making a huge deal out of things.”
I said gently: “It’s still better to keep an eye a close eye on it. That way, there won’t be any recurring issues. With the chill of the evening breeze and Your Highness not having healed completely yet, you shouldn’t be going outside in the first place. Is there anything on your person that’s causing discomfort?”
He suddenly began to laugh: “You’ve been changing my dressing for over ten days. Every time we meet, all you speak of is my injuries or some insignificant things. I’m really quite curious, in regards to what happened, are you really that good at keeping your composure? Or do you just not care at all and therefore, don’t feel the need to know anything?”
I chuckled softly: “If Your Highness wishes to tell me, you’ll naturally do so. Should Your Highness not want to tell me, my asking would be useless. Rather than being fed lies, Qing’er would rather not ask for answers at all.”
He said nothing, merely looking at me with a smile, and so I smiled and continued on:
“At this point, regardless of how much I know, Qing’er is already on the same ship as Your Highness. No matter what winds or rains come in the future, our misfortunes and blessings will be shared. Thus, in reality, there’s not much of a difference between knowing or not knowing. Because regardless of what Your Highness chooses to do, as long as it is not pitting against Murong Family, Qing’er will naturally expend all efforts to help.”
He laughed in return, then asked casually: “If there comes a day that Murong Family and I go head to head, what would you do?”
His question was asked with nonchalance, but in my ears, each word weighed a thousand catties.
Translator’s Note: Since I mentioned Murong Qing at the beginning of the chapter, of course, it must also be said that Nan Cheng Yao is a total douche for testing Murong Qing’s professed loyalty, which he hasn’t even done anything to deserve in the first place. Men, amirite?