Chapter 56: It Won’t Hurt After I Blow on Them
October 21, 2022Merchie
It was unknown how much time had passed.
After seeing Pei Zheng leave, the two wardens returned to the cell and were immediately greeted by the sight of Qi Changyi lying on the floorboards, his eyes blank and unfocused.
The ground…was a complete mess.
The wardens hurriedly cleaned it all up, before chaining that small body back to the wooden rack.
The little prince’s lips were bleeding again; his old wounds hadn’t healed yet, but new ones were already layered on top of them.
One of the guards fed him a bit of water; Qi Changyi’s body shifted.
He was extremely thirsty and quickly gulped down several mouthfuls.
His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed, and he said softly, “Thank you.”
His body stilled once more.
The two prison guards sighed and exchanged a look with each other, before walking out of the room.
The cell suddenly fell quiet again.
Qi Changyi’s chained wrists had already been rubbed raw, and two of the fingernails on his delicate white hands were broken as well.
The silence was occasionally pierced by pained groans or ear-splitting screams that came from the other cells.
“Your Highness…are you…still awake”
A faint, almost inaudible voice called out; it seemed to have come from across the prison.
Qi Changyi’s head was slumped, and he did not move.
The person on the other side didn’t give up and continued to shout loudly, “Your Highness…Your Highness…”
The small man appeared to have regained some of his strength.
He raised his head slightly.
The shadowy figure shifted closer to the cell bars, and a face was illuminated by the dim light of the corridor.
It was that little maid whose feet had been chopped off.
Qi Changyi’s gaze fell upon the festering flesh on her ankles.
He immediately looked away and silently retched several times.
The maid had been unconscious for the past few days.
It was only when she woke up today that she saw Qi Changyi, who was tied up in the cell across from hers.
She quickly hid her legs in the darkness, and said, “Your Highness, you must endure it, you can’t fall asleep here.
If you do, you may never wake up.”
Qi Changyi was slightly shocked, and slowly choked out, “You’re like this…all because of me…I-I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…”
He had no idea that this little maid who had disappeared, had actually been locked in the secret dungeon and tortured to this point.
The maid smiled, her expression gentle and consolatory, “It’s okay, Your Highness.
I don’t blame you, it’s my own fault for not performing my duties well.
I was sent to this manor when I was ten years old, and I learned all the rules and etiquette on the very first day.
I already knew that the Lord was cruel to those who made mistakes.
It’s…It’s all my fault for not diligently serving Your Highness well, and making the Lord angry…”
Day after day of being locked up and whipped had destroyed the little maid’s will; in her mind, everything that had happened was her fault, and she deserved to be down here.
Qi Changyi shook his head, “No, that’s not true, you served me very well, even better than the servants in the palace…”
The maid interrupted him, “Your Highness, why were you taken down here as well The Lord…the Lord actually allowed them to beat you”
Qi Changyi suddenly stopped talking.
His lips pressed into a thin line, as though he was trying to hold back a sob.
These past few days, he hadn’t cried at all.
It hurt so much; he was in so much pain.
But he didn’t cry.
But after hearing this single sentence, he almost let those repressed tears flow out.
The little maid didn’t press him, but instead said, “Your Highness, the Lord…he’s a bit different from ordinary people.
People only have one life to live, and during that life, they will discover things that they cherish, things that they never want to let go of.
But the Lord has always been alone.
It’s like he’s never felt those emotions before.
Bodyguard Cheng Feng has always been by the Lord’s side, but he is merely a pawn for the Lord to move around as he pleases.”
The maid girl paused, “Your Highness, have you heard anything about the Lord’s past”
Qi Changyi froze and gawked at her.
His past He really didn’t know anything about Brother Pei’s past.
The first time they had met, he was already the lofty Prime Minister of the Imperial Court.
Footsteps suddenly sounded from the corridor.
The little maid’s face paled, and she hastily shifted her body back into the dark corner of her cell.
The footsteps grew louder and louder, and the cell door opened.
A fluttering black robe appeared in front of the small man.
When he looked up, he saw Pei Zheng’s sharp, stern face.
The small cell suddenly became even more cramped.
Qi Changyi’s body trembled involuntarily in Pei Zheng’s fierce, imposing presence.
Pei Zheng walked over and lifted the little prince’s face.
He seemed to have a little more energy than before; his lips were already a little redder.
The cell was so dark that it was difficult to see anything In what way was his complexion healthy His face was clearly just covered in dry wounds.
Without saying a word, Pei Zheng waved his hand and sent the two wardens out of the cell.
The moment the door closed, he grabbed Qi Changyi’s head and kissed him.
Qi Changyi’s eyes widened slightly.
He could only stretch his neck up and endure it.
After a while, he could no longer breathe, and he barely managed to catch his breath.
Just now, Pei Zheng had transferred his qi into the little prince with his mouth.
Unfortunately, the qi was exhausted in an instant.
One could easily tell how weak and frail Qi Changyi’s body had become.
Pei Zheng continued the transfer of spiritual power until he finally felt a surge of energy flowing from within the small man’s body.
He finally parted from the kiss and took a few breaths.
Pei Zheng let go of Qi Changyi, stood in place, and carefully observed him.
He had delicate eyes and soft lips, yet his temperament was incredibly hard and difficult to smooth out.
With a flick of his fingers, the small man’s face was turned sideways.
Pei Zheng peeled the torn robe off Qi Changyi’s body, and the gruesome wounds underneath were revealed.
Pei Zheng leaned closer, “Does it still hurt”
Qi Changyi’s nose became warm, but he bit his lips and did not speak.
Pei Zheng’s scorching breath sprayed over the small man’s wounds as he spoke, “Be good, I’ll blow on them for you.
It won’t hurt after I blow on them.”
Those soft, warm breaths had a soothing effect; they really did relieve the pain of his injuries a little.
Qi Changyi’s eyes blurred with tears.
Pei Zheng raised his head and saw the aggrieved pout on the small man’s mouth.
Tears had beaded at the corners of his eyes and were about to roll down.
Pei Zheng’s heart softened at the sight of it.
He wiped the tears away with his finger, “Does it still hurt a lot”
Pei Zheng hadn’t shown this gentle side of himself for a long time now.
Qi Changyi looked at him.
What should I call him, do I still call him “Brother Pei”, like I did in the past
“…I want to…see…Xiao Yuzi again…please…”
That short sentence was slow and drawn out, but Pei Zheng’s expression instantly turned gloomy.
His fingers squeezed that thin white neck, and his eyes narrowed, “What did you call me1“
Qi Changyi could hardly breathe, and his face slowly began to turn red.
“You’re really good at making me angry.
You want to see him You’ll have to see if he’s still alive to meet you!” With those words, Pei Zheng let go of him and turned to leave.
Cold, fresh air rushed into his lungs.
Qi Changyi opened his mouth wide and took several quick breaths before he finally calmed down a little.
He couldn’t speak as tears streamed down his cheeks and fell into the darkness.
There was no way to see outside the prison; there was no way of knowing whether it was day or night.
Qi Changyi woke up to a noisy disturbance and saw a warden dragging someone out of their cell.
The sound of the gong echoed through the corridor; it was time for another daily torture session.
This time, the two wardens guarding Qi Changyi only pretended to lash him twice before they put their whips away.
They spoke to each other in low voices as they walked out.
“Just now, who was that person who was dragged out I only caught a glimpse of them, but it scared me half to death! They didn’t even have feet…”
“It was probably just another servant who made the Lord angry, don’t look too deep into it…”
The cell door closed once more.
Qi Changyi’s lowered head shifted.
His little face was hidden by his dark hair, so his expression couldn’t be seen clearly.
But little droplets of water kept sliding down his chin.
There was no saving that little maid from her fate.
He stayed in a drowsy, hazy state for a while.
His consciousness would fade at times, but once he thought of what he had just seen, his heart would twitch painfully and snap him back to reality.
“Your Highness…Your Highness…Your Highness”
Someone was gently tugging at his sleeve.
Qi Changyi’s eyelids fluttered open.
Once his vision cleared, and he saw the person standing in front of him, his gray eyes flickered to life.
“Your Highness, here, have some water.”
Li Yu’s hands trembled as he lifted a cup of water to Qi Changyi’s lips.
He opened his mouth and sipped a little.
His dry lips were moistened slightly, and the tip of his tongue suddenly tingled.
That day, Pei Zheng had left a few bite marks on it.
“Xiao Yuzi, your injuries…”
“Your Highness, this servant is fine, they’re just some flesh wounds.
Your Highness is the one who’s suffered the most terrible heartache1.”
Li Yu looked at the weak little prince who looked as fragile as a piece of paper, whose body was covered in terrible wounds.
His fingertips shook with grief.
“Your Highness, this servant already knows the truth, your mother…How can Lord Pei live with himself! How can he keep abusing you like this! Before, you obeyed his every command because you liked him.
Now, he wants you to be his puppet forever, and tie you to his side for the rest of your life!”
Li Yu’s eyes turned red as well, “Your Highness, don’t worry, we’ll find a way to get you away from him, there has to be!”
Li Yu glanced around the dark corridor before he leaned forward and whispered something into Qi Changyi’s ear.
When he pulled back, Li Yu looked into Qi Changyi’s eyes and spoke with determination, “Your Highness, until that time comes, you must persevere, pull through, and believe in General Zhao!”
A warden opened the door and came in, and escorted Li Yu out of the cell.
Li Yu’s words had ignited a tiny flame of hope in Qi Changyi’s heart.
When Pei Zheng returned with several servants, Qi Changyi was actually fully conscious.
Pei Zheng had the servants leave, before he walked over, carrying a small box in his hand.
When he opened it, a medicinal scent wafted out.
He dipped a finger into the ointment, and smeared it over the small man’s wounds.
“You won’t be pretty anymore if it leaves a scar.”
The weather outside must have been very cold; Pei Zheng’s fingers were frigid, but the small man’s body was warm, even higher than a normal person’s temperature.
Every time those slender fingers touched his skin, his little body trembled.
“Did you meet with him”
Pei Zheng asked softly.
Qi Changyi nodded.
“What did you two talk about”
Qi Changyi seemed to need some time to think, before he remembered, “Xiao Yuzi said…it’s really cold outside…but it’s not snowing…”
Pei Zheng smiled, “It is cold.
I’m afraid that you won’t be able to withstand it in your current state.”
The life in Qi Changyi’s eyes drained away slightly.
In the past, he loved to admire the snow.
This year, he wasn’t sure when he could see it again.
He really wanted to see the snow.
The finger rubbing medicine onto his collarbone suddenly exerted a little force, and the little prince hissed in pain.
“Your mind is wandering.”
Pei Zheng retracted his fingers and threw the empty box to the floor.
He bent down, leaned against the side of the small man’s neck, and took a deep breath.
Only the sound of this little prince’s soft breaths could calm his heart.
“‘Changyi’ means ‘eternal memory’2.
If your love for me wears away to nothing, fill the hole in your heart with hate.
No matter what, whether there is love or hate, you must always remember me.”
This cannon-fodder maid is probably the nicest character we’ll get for quite some time.
Also, I have decided to implement the special pronoun things (this servant, this minister etc.), though it may disrupt the flow of things sometimes, it’s very important in the context of a historical novel.
I’m very sorry I’m always changing my mind, I will go back and change everything while doing some translation checks, please bear with me >-<
Thanks for reading~
1.抽筋去骨: bone-cramping; indicates severe pain
長憶 (cháng yì) is actually the word for ‘eternal memory’, 長相憶 (cháng xiāng yì) is more along the lines of ‘eternal yearning’, because of the 相, which means ‘mutual’.
But ‘eternal memory is better for this context I think