Fuzhu’s Ballad Chapter 50

Chapter 50 This heart will remember forever

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Lan Dan weakly leaned against the window sill. The window was nailed shut with wooden strips, so she couldn’t see anything outside. Only a few lines of light filtered through the cracks, making everything seem dim and unclear. The sun had risen and set three times already.

There was a noise at the door. The lock chain was pulled, and then the door was pushed open a crack. The servant who brought food cautiously pushed the basket through, seemingly scared by her.

Lan Dan crawled and lunged towards the door, grabbing onto the door panel and refusing to let the servant close it. Her voice was hoarse as she asked him, “Did Shentu Rui come to rescue me? Is he still alive?”

The servant outside held onto the door and looked at her with a mixture of disgust and fear, as if she was a madwoman. He did not dare to use force to close the door, lest he hurt her fingers again. “I don’t know, I’m just a slave,” the servant replied impatiently. He made a gesture to close the door and scare her into letting go, but this disheveled woman might really be crazy. With her fingers bruised and swollen from the last time, she still held onto the door tightly, her eyes fixed on him. When a beautiful person fell into madness, they seemed more like a ghost or demon than an ordinary person. It was a very terrifying sight.

“Can you help me go and see, or at least ask?” Her brow furrowed, and her beautiful eyes showed a desperate plea.

“Let go, let go!” The servant had to take a piece of firewood from the pile next to the door and hit her fingers to make her release her grip. Lan Dan cried out in pain, and in that moment of weakness, the servant closed the door harshly.

Lan Dan pounded on the door with all her might, pleading continuously, “Please go and ask for me, please go and ask for me…” Her voice was so hoarse that even if she tried her best, her cries were still weak. There was no response outside the door, and she fell into despair in the darkness of the room.

She had long since run out of tears, and she stared dry-eyed. If there was no clear news of his death, then he must still be alive, right? He must still be alive!

She fumbled for the basket, wanting to eat something. She had to hold on, she had to see Shentu Rui recover and apologize to him. She wasn’t afraid of him getting angry, she would cling to him and say all the sweet words in the world. She picked up the steamed bread, soft and hot, but when she put it in her mouth and tried to swallow, she just couldn’t. She hated herself a little for not being able to do such a small thing. She forced herself to swallow, but it got stuck in her throat, and she coughed for a while, covered in cold sweat. She lay on the dusty ground, wanting to cry out loud, but she was powerless.

She didn’t know how long it had been. Lan Dan wasn’t sure if she had fallen asleep or passed out, but she heard the clinking of the chains. Was it time for food again?

The door was suddenly pushed open, and the sunlight poured in fiercely, making Lan Dan’s eyes sting and unable to open. She was dragged out and thrown onto the cold, hard stone ground. Perhaps because the person dragging her thought she was disrespectful, they pulled her up and made her kneel.

Her eyes adjusted to the light, and Lan Dan saw the person standing in front of her— the Empress Dowager. Behind her were Lan Cheng and several palace maids and guards, all dressed plainly and covered in dust, clearly traveling day and night to get in Tongye.

“Do you still remember what I said to you?” The Empress Dowager’s face was icy, and she glared at her angrily. “If you make him sad, I will be the first person to kill you.” As soon as the words were out, the anger and resentment that had been suppressed all the way suddenly burst out, and she heavily slapped Lan Dan’s face.

Lan Dan, who was already weak, couldn’t withstand the blow and fell on the ground, with a trace of red blood flowing from the corner of her mouth. Ignoring the pain, Lan Dan struggled to get up, disregarding her dignity, crawled over and grabbed the Empress Dowager’s skirt, looking up and pleading, “Empress Dowager, is Shentu Rui still alive? Please let me see him, I beg you…”

Her appearance was so miserable that the Empress Dowager finally seemed to have some compassion and frowned, looking down at her. “Didn’t you want to leave? Since you have decided to leave him, why pretend to still care like this?”

Lan Dan smiled bitterly, “That’s something I’ve never known…”

Before she finished speaking, Shentu Cheng and Su Yi Ming hurried over. They both looked at Lan Dan silently before greeting the Empress Dowager.

“Mother, why are you getting angry as soon as you arrive? Come to the hall and have some tea. Take a break and deal with these trivial matters later.” Shentu Cheng smiled and tried to downplay the situation.

“Trivial matters?” The Empress Dowager’s expression turned cold, not buying his words. “It’s because of her that Rui’er was harmed. I wish to crush her bones and scatter her ashes! Women of the Xiao family are all disasters and should not be kept for a moment longer! Bring it!” She ordered sharply, and the palace maid behind her promptly took out a small porcelain bottle from her sleeve and raised it high.

“Pour it down her throat.” The Empress Dowager pointed at Lan Dan with her eyes.

Shentu Cheng and Su Yi Ming’s faces turned pale and were about to speak, but Lan Dan spoke first.

“Empress Dowager!” She still maintained that humble begging posture. “If Shentu Rui is still alive, I cannot die! I will never leave him again and never let him be sad again. Empress Dowager, please let me go see him…”

There was a slight change in Shentu Cheng’s face. He looked at Lan Dan lightly, but there was no intention of pleading for her. He pursed his lips and stood there silently watching.

The Empress Dowager looked at Lan Dan, shaking her head with anger and hatred. “If only I knew this day would come, why bother back then! Since you are determined, drink the medicine and go down to accompany him.”

Lan Dan was stunned, slowly releasing her grip on the Empress Dowager’s skirt, her eyes staring blankly, “He’s dead?”

The Empress Dowager gritted her teeth, “It was you who killed him!”

Lan Dan nodded slightly after hearing it. Yes, it was her fault. She propped herself up, sat up with difficulty, suddenly smiled, and reached out to the palace maid calmly, “Give it to me.”

The palace maid handed the porcelain vial to her.

“Your Highness!” Su Yi Ming exclaimed, taking a step forward to try and stop her.

The Empress Dowager gave him a cold look and asked, “What? You don’t think she deserves to die?”

Su Yi Ming was speechless under her gaze, furrowing his brow and anxiously stamping his feet, but he didn’t try to stop her again.

The Empress Dowager’s gaze returned to Lan Dan, her tone surprisingly calm. “Since you’ve already escaped the city, why did you come back? Do you regret how this has ended?”

Lan Dan smiled and shook her head, saying she had no regrets.

She calmly removed the stopper from the vial. Lan Cheng couldn’t hold back her tears any longer. “Sister Dan, don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re properly buried.”

Lan Dan looked at her with a faint smile. “Please… try to bury me as close to him as possible…”

“Stop dreaming! He’s going back to the capital with me, and you’ll be buried here, forever separated!” The Empress Dowager interrupted harshly, feeling very relieved.

Lan Dan didn’t speak any more. She tilted her head and drank the contents of the vial, knowing that no matter how far apart they were buried, they would eventually meet in the underworld. She knew that he would definitely wait for her!

Everyone fell silent, even the wind seemed to be still, the people in the courtyard were like statues.

The Empress Dowager had been looking at Lan Dan all along, and after a while, she spoke coldly, “Remember your feelings now forever. Since even death cannot stop your determination to be together, when you are alive, don’t argue with him!”

Lan Dan, who had been sitting stiffly, waiting for the poison to take effect, suddenly brightened her eyes when she heard the Empress Dowager’s words. “He… he’s still alive?” She asked cautiously, afraid that it was a false hope.

The Empress Dowager snorted irritably. “Maybe your entanglement with each other will continue.”

Suddenly, there was a sharp pain in Lan Dan’s eyes. The pain was so intense that she had to press her hands heavily on them. Tears gushed out like a fountain from a dried-up well, overflowing through her fingers, but she still couldn’t cry out loud. Her shoulders shook violently with sobs.

She thought she had experienced the ups and downs of life, but it turned out that she was still too naive. There was the sorrow of learning about Shentu Rui’s death, and now this joy.

After crying for a while, Lan Dan shuddered, her legs weak, and she had to support herself to stand up. Her eyes were swollen, and tears had washed her face, leaving streaks of dirt. She looked at the Empress Dowager with teary eyes, and the Empress Dowager knew what she wanted to say without her having to speak.

“Take her away,” the Empress Dowager waved her hand to the palace maids behind her.

Lan Dan was grateful and followed the palace maid for a few steps, but then the Empress Dowager stopped her, “Wait!”

The palace maid stopped obediently, and Lan Dan’s heart raced, fearing that the Empress Dowager might change her mind.

The Empress Dowager glared at her and scolded, “Clean up first before you go! Do you want to scare Rui’er?”

She spoke in a comforting tone, looking so much like Shentu Rui, that Lan Dan suddenly felt grateful to her. Her mind went blank, and she ran up to the Empress Dowager, hugging her tightly.

“Thank you! Thank you…” Lan Dan sincerely thanked her. She was the best mother and mother-in-law. If it weren’t for her rushing day and night to come here, she wouldn’t have been able to see Shentu Rui so soon. The Empress Dowager came to see Shentu Rui, but also to rescue her.

The Empress Dowager kept her face tense and leaned slightly back, as if avoiding, but she didn’t push Lan Dan away. This excessive behavior should be due to emotion. Although it was impulsive, it was so warm.

After roughly washing up, Lan Dan headed straight to Shentu Rui’s room, which was the same room they used to share but was now heavily guarded by several layers of soldiers.

She saw Ge Chun preparing medicine under the eaves, but he ignored her despite seeing her. Lan Dan quickly ran over and grabbed his arm, anxiously asking, “How is his injury?”

Ge Chun sneered, “He was close to meeting Yama. Luckily he’s young. If he were five or six years older, there would be no hope for him.”    

Lan Dan’s heart sank again. It seemed that the injury this time was really too severe.

Ge Chun couldn’t bear to see her look so dejected and said coldly, “His condition is still critical. You should take good care of him and make up for your mistakes! Remember, don’t touch him or let him hear any crying without my orders, understand?”

Lan Dan nodded repeatedly, looking terrified.

“Alright, go in.” Ge Chun pushed the door open.

Just a moment ago, she was anxious and restless, but now standing at the door, she hesitated for a moment… It was too much guilt that made it difficult for her to face the sick Shentu Rui.

Lan Dan frowned. If she was willing to drink poison and die with him, why was she afraid of facing her mistakes and his resentment?

She walked straight to his bedside without any precautions— she nearly screamed and had to cover her mouth.

His face was pale and bloodless, and even his lips had no color. His eyebrows and eyelashes were even clearer, outlining his handsome face… If Ge Chun hadn’t said he was still alive, she would not have believed that he was still breathing in front of her.

It had only been three days, but he had become thin and emaciated, his cheeks sunken, and he looked extremely haggard.

Lan Dan did not dare to cry out loud or touch him. She suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of regret. She was wrong, terribly wrong.

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