Fuzhu’s Ballad Chapter 51

Chapter 51 All questions

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Ge Chun brought the medicine in a plate and gestured for Lan Dan to take it. “It’s hot, let it cool a bit before he drinks it,” he said sternly, with a look as if everyone owed him money.

Lan Dan quickly took the dish and put it on the table, stirring it with a spoon.

Ge Chun walked to the side of the bed and lifted the thin blanket covering Shentu Rui’s body. He removed the gauze from the wound and examined it carefully with a frown. He applied the medicine again and when he wrapped the wound, his face still looked bad.

Lan Dan touched the temperature of the bowl with her hand and felt that it was almost ready. She didn’t dare to feed it to Shentu Rui rashly, and asked Ge Chun next to her cautiously, “Is it ready?”

Ge Chun’s eyes widened again and he snorted, “Do you have to ask me if it’s ready? Don’t you want to taste it first?”

This criticism was really impossible to refute. Lan Dan also felt that she was at fault for not thinking of it and quickly scooped up a small mouthful, wrinkling her whole face, not because it was hot, but because it was too bitter, even more bitter than the “poison” the Empress Dowager gave her just now.

Ge Chun looked pleased as he watched, but before Lan Dan could feed the medicine to the patient, she stole a glance at him and was surprised to see his smug expression. In fact, she always felt that Ge Chun was the least compassionate physician she had ever met. He never showed any good attitude or patience towards his patients, and often seemed very impatient. She used to think he was only like this towards her, but now she saw that he was just as severe with Shentu Rui, as if he were a debtor.

“From now on, you must taste his medicine, food, and drink first!” Ge Chun’s face darkened again. “So many people want him dead. If he is really poisoned to death, others will think I didn’t save him, and I’ll be blamed.”

Lan Dan’s heart sank when she heard this. In the past three days, she had been extremely anxious and dazed, with only one thought in her mind: whether Shentu Rui was still alive or not. It was not difficult to guess who was responsible for the fatal arrow. Despite the apparent chaos of various factions in Tongye, there were only three major powers at play, and only Shentu Cheng wanted Shentu Rui dead. Now that his first plan had failed, he must have a backup plan, and since he had already resorted to extreme measures, it was unlikely that he would let Shentu Rui leave Tongye alive. No wonder there were heavily armed guards outside the door. They were probably there to stop Shentu Cheng from forcing his way in. Lan Dan nodded heavily. It seemed that not only Shentu Rui’s injuries were worrying, but the whole of Tongye was in a huge upheaval.

Lan Dan’s heart unexpectedly softened and warmed for a moment. She realized that for her sake, Shentu Rui had sacrificed his entire wealth, which had been built up over many years of careful planning, and had almost collapsed at that moment.

“Feed the medicine,” Ge Chun urged.

Lan Dan snapped out of her reverie and secretly berated herself for having such frivolous thoughts. She brought the medicine to Shentu Rui’s lips, scooped up a spoonful, and gently coaxed him to swallow it.

Suddenly, Shentu Rui choked on the medicine. Although he had swallowed the first spoonful, his lips were tightly pursed, and Lan Dan could not feed him a second spoonful.

She looked at Ge Chun imploringly with a pained expression, but he just sneered and said, “This guy has improved a bit, he knows the medicine is bitter.” Seeing that Lan Dan was having trouble feeding Shentu Rui, Ge Chun let out a cruel smile, pinched Shentu Rui’s jaw himself, and squeezed his joint tightly to force him to open his mouth. Feeling relieved, he ordered Lan Dan, “Pour it in for me!”

Lan Dan felt sorry for Shentu Rui but didn’t want to complain. She rolled her eyes and secretly poured the medicine into his mouth. Although Shentu Rui was feverish and drowsy, he was still stubborn and wouldn’t swallow the medicine, which dripped down the corners of his mouth.

Panicked, Lan Dan hurriedly wiped him and said, “What if he can’t drink it? Should we make more and force it down his throat? Maybe he can swallow a little bit more.”

Ge Chun berated, “You idiot! There are so many precious ingredients in this medicine! Make more? You’re speaking recklessly! These rare and valuable medicines are only enough for the most dangerous days. Even one extra drop can’t be spared!” Getting angrier, he pointed at Lan Dan. “You drink it first, then give it to him mouth-to-mouth, hold your breath, and I’ll see if he can swallow it!” La Dan felt embarrassed and hesitant, but Ge Chun became even more furious, almost pushing her. “Hurry up! The medicine is losing its efficiency as it cools. Do you still want him to recover?”

These words touched Lan Dan’s heart. Her face turned cold as she took half a bowl of medicine and leaned in to support Shentu Rui’s head to kiss him.

Ge Chun continued to gesture and said, “Pinch his nose!”

Lan Dan also went all out, bravely kissing Shentu Rui and holding his nose. Shentu Rui’s breathing was obstructed, and he struggled to swallow the medicine. His forehead wrinkled slightly, and he tried to resist. But Lan Dan didn’t give him a chance. She drank the remaining medicine at the bottom of the bowl and then poured it down his throat in the same way. The second dose was too much, and Shentu Rui choked and coughed heavily. His eyes suddenly opened, and he saw Lan Dan not far away, wiping her mouth with resentment. When she saw him staring at her, she became nervous and they stared at each other.

Shentu Rui let out a long breath, finally recovering, but his eyes closed again and he remained unconscious.

Lan Dan also breathed a sigh of relief and continued to wipe her mouth. When he woke up… her days would be even more difficult. According to his temperament, he would not give her a good face until he fully vented his resentment. She sighed, wrung out a hot towel, and wiped his face and body, cleaning up all the places where the medicine had spilled.

Only then did Ge Chun take action, touching his forehead and flipping his eyelids, sneering. “It looks like he has completely recovered. Don’t underestimate what you see at first glance!” Then he left in anger.

Lan Dan looked down at him closely. Completely recovered? His face was still so pale, his lips still bloodless, and the fever continued to rage. How could she see any improvement? Perhaps she was influenced by Ge Chun, but she felt that he looked peaceful and slightly serene while lying there, even though he still looked ill and showed no facial expression upon closer examination.

At this moment, a palace maid who was with the Empress Dowager entered the room and also carefully examined Shentu Rui for a while before nodding at Lan Dan. “The Empress Dowager has summoned you. Come with me.”

Lan Dan was stunned. The Empress Dowager was calling her? What could it be?

Walking outside the door, Lan Dan was a bit surprised to find that the sky had already turned dark. She felt that time had passed quickly.

There were no lights in the General’s mansion, but a bonfire was set up with several iron cauldrons, illuminating the entire courtyard as bright as day. On the way to the main hall, heavily armed soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, motionless with solemn expressions, creating an extremely tense atmosphere. As Lan Dan walked past them, she felt a sense of unease as if something big was about to happen, and the crackling of the bonfire was the only sound in the silence. Despite so many people being gathered in one place, there was not a single sound, only the crackling of the braziers could be heard.

Su Yi Ming was also in full armor guarding the area, and when Lan Dan passed by him, he frowned at her, seeming to hint at something.

Lan Dan was puzzled but didn’t want to ask in this situation, so she followed the palace maid to the doorway of the hall.

“Your Highness, I have already checked on the Prince of Yan. His condition has greatly improved. Miss Fu Zhu has also come as ordered and is waiting in front of the hall,” the palace maid reported loudly to the door.

After a pause, the Empress Dowager’s slow voice came from the door, “Let her in.”

The palace maid opened the door and gestured for Lan Dan to enter. Inside the hall, there were only three or five candlesticks providing dim illumination. Due to the darkness outside, the shadows of soldiers were cast onto the paper windows by the fire’s flickering flames. The shadows appeared in rows and shook slightly, creating an oppressive atmosphere that made it hard to breathe.

In the hall, there was a table with food and wine, and only Shentu Cheng and the Empress Dowager sat facing each other. There was not even a servant to pour wine, and they neither talked nor ate, nor even looked at each other.

“Sit down.” The Empress Dowager said faintly, pointing to the seat beside her. Lan Dan sat down as instructed with her head lowered.

“Why is she here?” Shentu Cheng frowned slightly, somewhat dissatisfied.

The Empress Dowager smiled. “There are some things that can’t be said in front of Rui’er, but I want him to know, so I called Xiao Lan Dan to listen.”

Shentu Cheng snorted, not knowing whether to laugh or not care, and said nothing more.

“And, there are still things you haven’t cleared up with her. It’s a good opportunity for everyone to speak their minds and let bygones be bygones. It’s better to speak your mind and not hold it in,” the Empress Dowager said bluntly, with a hearty laugh.

Shentu Cheng looked at Lan Dan and sighed, “She has completely become a different person, there’s nothing to say anymore.”

Lan Dan, who was initially uneasy, became calm after hearing this and replied with a faint smile, “I don’t have anything to say either.”

The Empress Dowager laughed for a while and shook her head, full of mockery. “It seems that there was no fate after all.” She then picked up the wine pot and poured a cup for Shentu Cheng and Lan Dan herself, saying, “You two should drink a cup today, and let bygones be bygones.”

Shentu Cheng smiled mysteriously and did not drink from the cup.

“What’s wrong? Are you afraid that I’ve poison it?” The Empress Dowager put her hand on the wine pot, raised an eyebrow, and smiled with some malice. Despite her attractive appearance, her malicious grin made her look more like a playful younger sister than the mother of Shentu Rui.

With a blink of her eyes, Lan Dan finished her drink and her disdain for Shentu Cheng resurfaced.

Shentu Cheng only picked up his glass and slowly sipped after seeing her drink, still smiling he said, “Mother, nowadays, I’m not quite at ease with you either…”

The Empress Dowager’s smile deepened upon hearing this. “Since Lan Dan has already drunk her wine, let’s have a few more words for fun. When did you stop liking him? Was it when he deceived you, or when he ordered your execution?”

Lan Dan lowered her eyes and smiled, “Neither.”

“Oh?” The Empress Dowager stared, looking very curious and pleased.

Shentu Cheng held his glass but no longer maintained his smile. Frowning, he looked at Lan Dan.

“Yes…” Lan Dan looked up at the distant candlelight, and spoke slowly as if lost in memories, “It was on that bitterly cold snowy day when I was beheaded. He didn’t even come to see me off. Since then, I have never had feelings for him again.”

“Hmm,” the Empress Dowager nodded, feeling a sense of emotion, “A woman won’t wake up until her last moment before death. You can say it’s foolishness, or you can say it’s infatuation. But… what if he had come to see you off?”

Lan Dan smiled calmly and resignedly. “I would have forgiven him.”

Shentu Cheng’s hand trembled slightly, and then he drank his wine in one gulp. When he returned from his battle and no one welcomed him, he really longed for someone who would genuinely treat him well. In fact, he never lacked such people around him, but he missed them one by one. He reached for the wine jug in the Empress Dowager’s hand and poured himself and Lan Dan another cup. His voice became hoarse as he asked, “If I had gone back then, would anything have changed?”

Lan Dan felt his words were ridiculous, “Nothing would have changed. It’s just that…I wouldn’t have accepted Shentu Rui so easily.”

Shentu Cheng gave a dry laugh, drank his wine again, and comforted himself by pursing his lips, “That’s good. If the outcome is still the same, then I won’t have any regrets.”

Lan Dan was about to drink, but was stopped by the Empress Dowager, who looked at Shentu Cheng and shook her head disapprovingly, “You really don’t understand the human heart.”

Shentu Cheng didn’t accept it and coldly asked back, “I don’t understand the human heart?” He had succeeded in reaching the highest position by calculating people’s hearts all the way. How laughable to say that he didn’t understand the human heart!

“No, you don’t,” the Empress Dowager said coldly, looking at Shentu Cheng with a serious expression. “Because you only care about yourself and your small world. That’s why you can only reach this point. But…” The Empress Dowager sneered. “It’s normal. You’re just like your father, cunning, selfish, and vicious.”

Shentu Cheng was disgusted by her words, and sneered,, “Yao Run, you’re from Beimo. Why do you speak ill of my father, who was the Great Khan of Beimo and your master?”

Lan Dan looked at the Empress Dowager. It turned out that her name was Yao Run.

The Empress Dowager laughed loudly and heartily for a while before pouring herself a full glass of wine. “Let’s discuss this later. I want to ask you, since you have already achieved your goals and gained everything you want, why do you still want Rui’er’s life? Even if you take into account my many years of nurturing and assistance, you should not ask for Rui’er’s life.”

Shentu Cheng looked confused and smiled. “Have I obtained everything I desired? Perhaps I seem to be getting everything I want. I wanted to become the Emperor, I wanted to avenge my people in Beimo, and now I have three palaces and six courtyards… but still, I feel jealous of Shentu Rui. I always feel like he has more and better things than I do.” He seemed somewhat emotional as he unconsciously finished his drink. “You always loved him more since we were children, and I don’t blame you for that. I’m not your biological son, although you’ve treated me well too… he already has such a good mother like you, and he also has Fu Zhu. Even though I treated him harshly, he still managed to live so freely and laugh so heartily. I…hate him. He makes me feel like the sun has never shone on me. Why do so many people like him, treat him well, even Lan Huang… Aren’t I the most outstanding and excellent one? Why?”

The Empress Dowager also finished her drink and looked at him with a smiling expression. “I can answer all your questions.”

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