Chapter 24: Pei-gege, It Hurts
The intruder was dressed in an elaborate black boa-embroidered robe1, with designs of auspicious clouds in dull silver, a vermilion and white jade belt at his waist, and an exquisite jade token hanging from it.
When the two guards saw him, they were so frightened that the objects in their hands dropped to the ground with a ‘thunk’.
They quickly gathered their bearings and saluted respectfully.
“G-greetings to Minister Pei.”
Why would Prime Minister Pei suddenly show up at the Office of Careful Punishment, a place dominated by cruel torturers One could have a hundred ideas on the matter but not a single one would be correct2.
Pei Zheng gazed coldly at the two guards who were bent at the waist in their salute.
He walked into the room without paying them any attention.
Qi Changyi’s eyes were hazy.
He thought he must have been hallucinating from the pain.
After all, why would he see Pei-gege in such a place
He shook his head, as if he was trying to shake away the illusion.
But Pei-gege did not disappear.
Instead, he walked towards him, his eyes dark and complicated.
The small body tied to the cross was completely red, as if he had been immersed in a bath of blood.
Some of his wounds had opened, exposing the scarlet flesh underneath.
The sight would make most people suck a deep breath.
But although his body was riddled with injuries, Qi Changyi’s little jade-like face was unscathed.
Pei Zheng reached out to stroke his cheek.
His movements were surprisingly gentle.
When Qi Changyi felt the warm hand on his face, his eyes became wet.
He was trying to hold back his tears, but he called out in a low, aggrieved voice, “Pei-gege.”
Pei Zheng felt his heart tremble.
He carefully untied the restraints, pulling Qi Changyi off the rack.
He opened the front of his robes, neatly depositing Qi Changyi’s body inside, hugging the small man close to his chest.
Seeing this, the two guards became even more terrified of Pei Zheng, but still dared to try and stop him.
“Lord Pei, you can’t take him away! By the third princess’s order, if we don’t get the truth out of him, the prince cannot leave the Office of Careful Punishment!”
Pei Zheng’s eyes looked as though they could shoot ice crystals, and his voice was so cold that it seemed to lower the entire Office of Careful Punishment’s temperature by several degrees.
“Oh And what if I insist on taking him away If you’ve got the guts, why don’t you try and stop me”
After he spoke, Pei Zheng was just about to leave while carrying Qi Changyi against his breast.
The person who was struggling so hard against his restraints just a moment ago was quiet and obedient in Pei Zheng’s arms, his eyes still glistening with tears.
The two guards weighed the consequences of going against Pei Zheng or Qi Yirou in their heads, and chose to point their swords at Pei Zheng.
“Lord Pei, if you insist on doing this, don’t blame this lowly one for offending you.”
A sword stabbed Pei Zheng in the blink of an eye, but before it could touch him, it was suddenly repelled by a burst of inner force3, which caused it to fall to the ground.
A shadow flashed quickly through the door.
It hooked a foot underneath the fallen sword, kicking it into the air.
The sword seemed to have eyes; it flew toward “third brother”‘s wrist, nailing him to the wooden cross.
As “third brother” howled in pain, the mysterious shadow’s black hand pulled out a sword flower4, and “second brother”‘s palm was punctured and pinned to the rack as well.
The sword flew gracefully, seemingly appearing out of thin air.
It slashed randomly at the two guards, exploiting their numerous openings.
Blood immediately soaked their official robes.
Chengfeng stood in front of the cross and lowered his eyes, awaiting Pei Zheng’s next order.
The scene was bloody and brutal.
Pei Zheng covered Qi Changyi’s swollen eyes with his robe, “Your Highness, what do you want to do with these two dog slaves”
Qi Changyi choked twice through his sobs.
“They, they were also only obeying third sister’s orders…”
He paused, stretched out a weak, boneless hand, and pointed at “third brother”.
“However, just now he wanted to take off my pants.
Pei-gege, the maid sent by third sister clearly didn’t say he needed to take off his pants to execute me…”
Qi Changyi didn’t understand what had happened, but that didn’t mean that Pei Zheng wouldn’t either.
He looked at the guard whose legs were shaking to the point of being riddled with holes5, and he was suddenly burning with fiery rage.
The guard shouted, “Lord Pei, don’t listen to this fool’s words! This lowly one was merely following orders!”
The corners of Pei Zheng’s mouth lifted into a sneer.
“Orders Whose orders The Emperor merely said that the prince would be locked in here until he confessed to the crime, but the third princess wants you to kill him immediately”
Pei Zheng restrained his smile, and his gaze turned menacing.
“You mean, the third princess disobeyed the words of the Emperor in order to lynch someone You should know, the abuse of lynching is a taboo in the palace.”
Those strings of words had scared the two guards to the point that they were unable to stand.
Pei Zheng snorted coldly and muttered a single sentence, before turning to leave.
“Let them keep their dog lives.”
Chengfeng bowed and obeyed the order.
The two guards breathed a sigh of relief.
They both knew this guard who was always by Pei Zheng’s side, and turned to beg Chengfeng for mercy.
“Bodyguard Feng, Lord Pei has already resisted the royal decree by seizing a person from the Office of Careful Punishment.
If you hurt the two guards in charge of the punishment, it will surely incite the wrath of the gods.
Why don’t you let us go, we swear that we won’t ever speak of this matter…”
“Who says Lord Pei is resisting the decree”
Chengfeng interrupted them, and his voice was bone-chillingly cold.
He really took after his master.
“The Emperor has issued a decree: release the prince Qi Changyi and change his sentence to a three-day confinement in his residence.
Sorry, I forgot to mention it before.”
Chengfeng picked up the soldering iron on the ground.
It had long since cooled, so he put it back on the stove until it burned red, playing with it in his hands.
“Also, when the lord said to let you keep your dog lives, he meant…”
He spoke plainly, “Don’t kill them.”
Soon, shrill screams that reached the heavens were heard from inside the Office of Careful Punishment, one after another.
One of the screams became even more tragic, for the guard had been turned into a eunuch.
Pei Zheng hugged Qi Changyi close as he wove through the palace walls.
The small body in his arms was growing hotter and hotter, and no matter what he did, blood continued to flow uncontrollably.
Only his pale lips remained bloodless.
Pei Zheng felt that he was walking too slowly.
He decidedly lifted Qi Changyi into his arms and used qinggong6.
In a matter of moments, his feet lightly tapped the ground as he landed, right in front of the Imperial Hospital.
After casually landing in the Imperial Hospital’s yard, he scared the crap out of Jiang Yubai, who scattered his carefully sorted piles of medicine in fear.
When Jiang Yubai saw that it was Pei Zheng, he rolled his eyes and asked, “Lord Pei, don’t you think we’ve been seeing a bit too much of each other”
Pei Zheng didn’t speak.
He merely lifted his robe, revealing the tiny, bloody man that was tucked inside.
The herbs in Jiang Yubai’s hand fell to the ground.
He wordlessly led Pei Zheng to an inner room, and gently placed the unconscious Qi Changyi on the bed.
After instructing a few maids to fetch hot water, Jiang Yubai quickly prepared an ointment for external wounds.
He deposited the ointment in Pei Zheng’s hands.
“Apply it to every wound.
It will sting a little, so you should be gentle and try not to hurt His Highness.”
With those words, he slung his medicine bag over his shoulder and was about to go downstairs to decoct the medicine7.
Pei Zheng coughed lightly, “You want me to apply it”
Jiang Yubai gave Pei Zheng a weird look, before plucking the ointment out of Pei Zheng’s hand.
He sat down soundlessly on the edge of the bed and took off Qi Changyi’s blood-soaked underrobe.
Pei Zheng immediately grasped his hand.
“What are you doing”
Pei Zheng snatched the ointment back and said indifferently, “Get out and close the door.”
Jiang Yubai picked up his medicine bag again, gently closing the door behind him.
Pei Zheng began to carefully peel off Qi Changyi’s clothes.
The flesh on the wounds had already adhered to the fabric.
Even if he pulled lightly, the wounds would open and blood would seep out.
Qi Changyi’s eyebrows were furrowed from the pain, and his voice was soft and pitiful.
“Pei-gege, it hurts.”
Imagining Pei Zheng looking like a kangaroo mom carrying Changyi I’m crying
1: 蟒袍: an official robe worn by ministers embroidered with a boa snake design.
2: 百思不得其解: means to be baffled, but I kept it because I thought it sounded cool haha
3: 內力: basically spiritual energy or qi in cultivation novels.
4: 劍花: ‘sword flower’.
I thought this meant something different, but it’s actually just a flower with some spiky-looking leaves and petals.
成篩子: ‘to become a sieve’, to be riddled with holes.
6: 輕功: the jumping-flying cultivation thing.
7: 煎藥: decoction, or creating an essence out of an herb by heating it up.
A very common practice in Chinese medicine.