After Being Abducted by the General Chapter 55

Chapter 55

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After arriving at the estate, everyone was busy once again.

The management of the estates was taken care of by the stewards of the Chu Wang Mansion, and the rooms for their stay were kept clean. Although the decorations in the rooms couldn’t compare to the grandeur of the Chu Wang Mansion, they had their own rustic charm.

The servants arranged the bedding, lit the charcoal brazier, and after everything was in order, half the night had already passed.

Yuan Li and Chu Hechao’s rooms were next to each other. It was late at night, and the two didn’t say much, each preparing to rest after washing up.

The estate in the countryside was colder than the Chu Wang Mansion, and there were no heated beds, but the rooms were warmed by burning charcoal, creating a cozy atmosphere that made one yawn.

However, Yuan Li couldn’t fall asleep yet. His hands, previously frozen, now started itching in the warm blankets.

Yuan Li scratched his hands, but the itchiness only grew, preventing him from falling asleep.

Helplessly, he took his hands out from under the blanket and examined them in the dim light of the charcoal fire. They had swelled up, with red bumps appearing on the frostbitten areas. He couldn’t even make a fist; they resembled two pig trotters.

The itching was most intense on the back of his hands. Yuan Li endured it for a while, but unable to bear it any longer, he got up, dressed, and prepared to make some saltwater with Sichuan peppercorns to wash his hands.

This was a folk remedy. Boiling water with Sichuan peppercorns and salt had anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, pain-relieving, and itch-relieving properties. As long as there was enough salt, Sichuan peppercorn saltwater could serve as an ancient disinfectant. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be used on damaged skin, as it would irritate the wounds and impede healing.

Yuan Li wrapped himself in a thick cloak and carefully closed the door.

Just as he closed the door, the adjacent door opened. Chu Hechao stood there wearing a thin garment, his belt loose, revealing a small area of well-defined muscles on his chest. His gaze was sharp, as if he hadn’t slept at all. “Where are you going in the middle of the night?”

Yuan Li didn’t expect him to still be awake and whispered, “Did I wake you up?”

Chu Hechao glanced at him and replied, “Answer my question first.”

“My hands are itching too much,” Yuan Li honestly admitted, “I wanted to go to the kitchen and make some Sichuan peppercorn saltwater to wash my hands.”

Chu Hechao furrowed his thick eyebrows and said, “Wait.”

After speaking, he hurried back into his room, put on his clothes, and joined Yuan Li outside.

The two of them walked towards the kitchen together. The estate was quiet, with even the chickens and ducks fast asleep. The starry sky stretched above, illuminated by the bright moon, and the wind was chilly.

Chu Hechao took a step forward, blocking the cold wind blowing from the north, and suddenly asked, “What is Sichuan peppercorn saltwater?”

Yuan Li briefly explained the purpose of Sichuan peppercorn saltwater to him.

Chu Hechao keenly perceived the benefits of Sichuan peppercorn saltwater and asked directly, “Can it be used in the infirmary?”

“No,” Yuan Li sighed, “Sichuan peppercorn saltwater is used for treating eczema, soreness, foot soaks, hemorrhoids… Well, it’s quite useful for various purposes, but it shouldn’t be used to clean open wounds.”

Chu Hechao felt a slight regret, but not to the point of disappointment. His peripheral vision caught sight of Yuan Li’s hand. “Can Sichuan peppercorn saltwater reduce the swelling in your hand?” he asked.

“It should be able to,” Yuan Li replied uncertainly.

Chu Hechao said, “Let me see.”

“What do you want to see?” Yuan Li was puzzled.

Chu Hechao directly grabbed Yuan Li’s hand.

The once slender fingers had become swollen and deformed, feeling somewhat cold to the touch. Placed in Chu Hechao’s large and powerful hands, the contrast was striking.

Yuan Li felt a bit embarrassed and pulled his hand back. “Don’t look, it’s quite ugly.”

Chu Hechao held onto his hand and suddenly rubbed it firmly between his own hands. His grip was strong, and his hands were rough and coarse like sandpaper. With this rub, Yuan Li’s hand suddenly grew warm, and the pain and itchiness subsided, replaced by a sense of relief.

Yuan Li felt so comfortable that his fingers curled up, and he instinctively handed his other hand to Chu Hechao.

Chu Hechao smirked, raising an eyebrow as he glanced at Yuan Li. “What are you doing?”

Yuan Li urged him, “Rub it a bit.”

Chu Hechao laughed, exuding a mischievous aura. “Why should I rub it for you?”

Yuan Li retracted his hand. “Well, forget it then…”

Before he could finish his sentence, his hand was grabbed by Chu Hechao. The rough palm of the man rubbed Yuan Li’s hand neither too lightly nor too heavily, dispelling the cold and itchiness. “Kid, can you be more patient?”

Yuan Li was curious. “How much older are you than me?”

“Who knows,” Chu Hechao replied nonchalantly. “Seven or eight years.”

Seven or eight years?

But Chu Hechao was only twenty-five or twenty-six now.

Impressive, a grand general at the age of twenty-five or twenty-six. It was the highest military rank, on par with the Three Excellencies.

Yuan Li’s age in his previous life wasn’t older than Chu Hechao, but combining the ages of both lives, he could easily be Chu Hechao’s older brother.

Yuan Li chuckled, feeling somewhat inexplicably pleased with himself. He whispered, “You’re the kid here.”

As they walked to the kitchen, both of Yuan Li’s hands were warm. He rummaged in the kitchen for a while and quickly found Sichuan peppercorns and salt. “General, help me start a fire.”

Without saying a word, Chu Hechao briskly lifted his robe and squatted down, skillfully igniting the fire in just a few strokes.

Yuan Li put the Sichuan peppercorns and salt into the water, boiled it, and poured it into a wooden basin. When the water temperature cooled down slightly, Yuan Li immersed his hands in the water.

While soaking, there was a slight tingling sensation due to the hot water. Yuan Li soaked his hands for quite a while, taking them out when the water was about to cool down. Then he looked up at Chu Hechao with a pleasantly surprised expression. “General, it seems to be really effective. My hands don’t itch anymore.”

“This is not a miraculous cure that works instantly. The fact that it’s not itching now is just because you’ve recently taken them out of the hot water,” Chu Hechao looked at Yuan Li as if he were a fool. “Wait a little longer.”

Chu Hechao was right. On their way back, Yuan Li’s hands started itching again. However, whether it was psychological or not, he felt that the itching had become slightly milder compared to before. Yuan Li was about to share this good news with Chu Hechao when he suddenly felt a sore throat and a heavy head.

Chu Hechao noticed Yuan Li’s flushed face and became alarmed. He quickly pulled him in front of him and asked, “Yuan Li?”

Yuan Li looked up with tired eyes. “Hmm?”

Chu Hechao’s heart sank. He reached out and touched Yuan Li’s face, only to be startled by the burning heat. His expression turned grim. “You’ve caught a chill.”

Yuan Li sneezed and his voice became congested. It suddenly dawned on him. “No wonder I feel a bit dizzy.”

Chu Hechao’s breathing became heavier, and he bent down to carry Yuan Li on his shoulder, striding towards the bedroom with a stern face.

Yuan Li was in a dazed state, unaware of how much time had passed. He was placed on the bedding.

The entire room was warm with central heating, but Yuan Li inexplicably felt a chill all over his body. He pulled the blanket over himself, trembling as he covered up.

A pair of hands pulled the blanket away from him, removing his outer garments and shoes, and then tucked him in tightly under the covers.

Yuan Li closed his eyes, half-asleep and half-awake, as someone continued to move around him.

“…Young Master Yuan has always been in good health, subjected to rigorous training every day, never catching a chill. It came on quite forcefully this time…”

“No problem, I’ll go prepare medicine for Young Master Yuan…”

The noisy voices gradually faded, and the remaining shreds of Yuan Li’s consciousness breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed that his condition wasn’t as serious as he had feared.

The brazier was brought closer, and the glow of the charcoal fire reflected on Yuan Li’s face. Faint flickers of light danced in his closed eyes. Normally, he couldn’t fall asleep with even the slightest bit of light, but perhaps he was too exhausted at the moment, or maybe the warmth of the fire was comforting. Yuan Li felt surprisingly comfortable, and his consciousness gradually sank into the darkness of sleep.

At the last moment, he sensed someone sitting by the bed, casting a shadow over the firelight. In a low voice, they said, “You’re a disappointment. How did you end up being bullied like this, after showing such grandeur in broad daylight?”

Yuan Li fell asleep.

When he woke up again, it was already the afternoon of the next day. As soon as he opened his eyes, Lin Tian, who had been watching by his side, immediately helped him up and handed him a cup of warm tea. “My Lord, you’ve finally woken up.”

Yuan Li took a sip of water and felt some strength gradually returning to his body. He coughed a few times and looked around the room. “Where are the others?”

Lin Tian replied, “Lord Yang came to visit you and the General. The General went to meet him. Guo Lin is handling the Wang Mansion fire incident. As for Mr. Liu…”

He sighed helplessly. “Mr. Liu also caught a chill and is currently being examined by the physician.”

Yuan Li asked with concern, “Is he alright?”

“The physician said Mr. Liu’s condition isn’t severe, but his constitution is weaker than yours, so it’s slightly more serious. He needs proper rest and mustn’t be careless,” Lin Tian regretfully said, “My Lord, it’s all my fault for not noticing your discomfort. I am guilty.”

Yuan Li shook his head and tried to stand up from the bed, taking a few steps. Although he still felt weak and fatigued, he was already much better than he had imagined. At this rate, he estimated that he would fully recover in the next day or two. His recovery ability was quite good indeed.

Indeed, he shouldn’t neglect his daily exercise.

Suddenly, Yuan Li remembered something and raised his hands to take a look. The redness and swelling on his hands had indeed subsided a bit, and there was no itching anymore. “Lin Tian, has the redness on my hands subsided a bit?”

Lin Tian took a look and also exclaimed in surprise, “My Lord, it does seem to have subsided!”

Yuan Li nodded in satisfaction and decided to wash his hands with the Sichuan pepper and salt water again tonight.

While they were talking, Chu Hechao and Yang Zhongfa entered one after the other.

As soon as Chu Hechao saw Yuan Li standing before the bed, he pressed his lips together and walked over with large strides. “Who allowed you to get off the bed?”

Yuan Li turned to look at him, his face still somewhat pale.

Chu Hechao wanted to scold Yuan Li, but restrained himself. “Get back on the bed.”

Yuan Li also knew that he couldn’t withstand the cold right now, so he obediently returned to the bed.

Yang Zhongfa approached, rubbing his hands nervously. He looked guilty and said, “I’m sorry, Young Master Yuan. I drank too much last night and passed out. I had no idea about the Wang Mansion fire… I truly deserve blame.”

He had been drowning his sorrows in alcohol these past few days, little did he know that by getting drunk, he missed the major fire at the Chu Mansion.

Yuan Li didn’t pay much attention to it.

Yesterday’s fire, even with the presence of Yang Zhongfa, wouldn’t have changed anything. There was no need to dwell on such matters.

Seeing his attitude, Yang Zhongfa also felt relieved and asked how Yuan Li was feeling.

Yuan Li replied that he was feeling better, and Yang Zhongfa followed up with more questions one after another. The more Yang Zhongfa spoke, the more furrowed Chu Hechao’s brow became. He grabbed Yang Zhongfa by the back of his collar and threw him out.

Yang Zhongfa had no idea how he had angered the General. “How did I bother you, General?”

“You sure can talk,” Chu Hechao squinted at him. “Go talk to the pigs in the pigsty.”

Yang Zhongfa was dumbfounded. “What am I supposed to say to the pigs?”

Chu Hechao retorted, “Aren’t you going?”

Yang Zhongfa hurriedly ran away in a fluster.

Chu Hechao returned to the room and ordered Lin Tian to leave as well. He sat on the edge of the bed with a stern face, lost in thought.

Yuan Li was bored and decided to strike up a conversation. “What are you thinking about?”

Chu Hechao raised an eyebrow. “Guess.”

Yuan Li tentatively said, “The frontier? The Xiongnu? Xianbei? Wuhuan people?”

Chu Hechao maintained a smirk-like expression, and Yuan Li knew he guessed wrong. He pondered for a moment and said, “Are you thinking about last night’s big fire?”

Chu Hechao replied indifferently, “I’m thinking about you.”

“Me?” Yuan Li asked curiously, “What about me?”

Chu Hechao tugged at his lips without much amusement. “I’m thinking about how to teach you a lesson, so that you’ll know you don’t need to personally fight the fire. With so many soldiers and servants, is there a shortage of just one person like you? Freezing injuries and catching a cold, Yuan Li, are you happy now?”

Yuan Li sighed and admitted, “But if I did nothing, I would be filled with frustration.”

Chu Hechao was about to say something else when Yuan Li suddenly lifted the blanket and attempted to get up.

“What are you doing?” Chu Hechao frowned.

Yuan Li softly said, “I want to go to the toilet.”

Chu Hechao nodded toward the corner. “There’s a chamber pot behind the folding screen.”

Yuan Li responded, “…I want to go outside.”

The General spoke firmly, “No.”

It’s awkward to relieve oneself inside the room. But Yuan Li couldn’t hold it any longer and ended up walking to the area behind the folding screen while pretending Chu Hechao didn’t exist. Just as he was about to relieve himself, Chu Hechao also approached and began loosening his belt.

Yuan Li glanced at him, and having someone else there actually made the awkwardness diminish.

Soon, another sound of water trickling started.

Yuan Li couldn’t help but glance at Chu Hechao, then back at himself, and his face turned green.

Chu Hechao asked from above, “What are you looking at?”

Yuan Li raised his head, his eyebrows raised mischievously, and he smiled.

“General,” Yuan Li calmly fastened his pants, speaking with a nonchalant tone as if discussing what they had for lunch, “You’re quite well-endowed.”

After saying that, Yuan Li walked out from behind the folding screen calmly.

Not long after, there was a loud “bang” sound from behind. Yuan Li turned his head and saw that Chu Hechao accidentally knocked over the folding screen.

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