Today, Li Yuanmin didn’t immediately return to the Western Palace. Rather, he stealthily turned the corner to Zhong Cui Palace’s beast house.
Autumn Selection was approaching and Wang Guifei had restrained Li Yuanxu to the palace to review his homework, for fear that he would cause trouble. Therefore, the always lively beast house was deserted.
Since it was Wang Guifei’s territory, the guards at Zhong Cui Palace were stricter than other places. Fortunately, the beast house was quite far from the Palace. It really wasn’t an important place and it was occupied by fearful beasts, so the palace’s servants tried to avoid it, never rushing over to that side. The Imperial guards didn’t care as well. They would gather at a distant place during shift duty to drink and play, they didn’t even interrogate the palace servants who went in and out of the beast house.
The sun was already close to the Western Hill, it was dinner time. There was only one imperial guard left. Li Yuanmin had observed for a few days now, and knew that in a short moment that imperial guard would receive a food tray and hide to goof off in the side room (small house attached to the big house in ancient China setting).
Li Yuanmin leaned on the rock in the garden (big rocks you’d usually see in TV drama), and used the back of his hand to rub the corner of his injured mouth. He glanced at the blood stains on it, and sniffed, looking indifferently. He took out a bundle wrapped in cloth from the hidden hole inside the rock in the garden. He rummaged through and got one set of old-fashioned palace maid outfit to change into. His appearance was indistinguishable from male and female. Moreover, his stature was small, so after he changed his clothes, he looked completely like a palace maid. He waited for the imperial guard’s footstep sounds to gradually fade in the distance, before quietly entering the beast house.
A foul smell came out.
The heavy fences inside the beast house were divided into separate areas, and various types of ferocious lion, tiger, and other animals were enclosed. With the low roars of the beasts, one after another, Li Yuanmin’s brows frowned. Holding his breath, he quickly walked to the innermost room.
A figure was curled up on the ground.
(Ciacia/N: I swear I always cry whenever the 10y.o Ni Lie appeared… He’s too pitiful *sobs* my baby, bohoo..)
Green head flies fluttered around, occasionally stopping on his body. If it’s not for the body that moved slightly up and down, it would look like the person had been dead for quite some time already.
(Ciacia/N: *silently sobs*)
At this moment, the “dead person” on the ground slowly opened his eyes, and looked at the person who came in. He turned his face away, annoyed, and closed his eyes again.
Li Yuanmin approached as if he hadn’t seen that. Through the fence, he dragged the hay that Ni Lie was on towards his direction with force.
He leaned close, and used his hand to softly reveal his dirty and black neckline, exposing fierce wounds on his chest. The edge of the wounds had already started to scab, it was no longer festered with insects.
A few days ago, it was Li Yuanmin who used a silver needle to pick out the maggots from the wounds one by one.
(Ciacia/N: *sobs* *sobs*)
When the Fourth Prince’s interest was the strongest, he practically had to fight a fierce battle every two days. More often than not, the old wounds hadn’t healed yet when the new ones arrived. Not to mention medical treatment, even having food to eat was not guaranteed. Moreover, the beast house was dirty and damp, making the wound fester with more maggots. Even if he was exceptionally gifted, he still was born to be tortured until he was at his last gasp. Nowadays, Li Yuanxu was occupied with the selection of Autumn Selection, so the beast house’s servants naturally ignored him and allowed him to fend for himself.
The unparalleled brave hero, who killed people like flies and cause enemies to be terror-stricken at the sounds of his name, the Killer God, the “Human Slaughterer”, now resembled an insignificant dust, shrinking in this cold and stinking beast house.
Fortunately, the medicine given by He Yunyi was good. It seemed that the injuries had gotten better.
He was ready to continue removing his underpants, when a rough and hoarse voice viciously said: “What are you doing!”
Li Yuanmin paused, “Let me see your other injuries.”
But Ni Lie tightly grasped his trousers without letting it go. Li Yuanmin frowned, his sight fell on the other party’s dodging red eyes.
The youngster gasped, cursing and gnashing his teeth in anger. He was like a beast who refused others from invading its territory.
(Ciacia/N: Well, under the pants’ area also can be counted as territory, cough!)
His body had many festered injuries, and moving like this made him sweat like a waterfall. It was very painful. He trembled all over his body, but still rigidly held his pants tightly.
Li Yuanmin suddenly realized something. His face turned red, and he coughed slightly,
(Ciacia/N: Ara ara~)
“It’s fine…. I’m not…”
He wanted to say that he was not a woman. But after thinking about it, he was also not a man. So, there was no need to explain. He only sighed slightly. He stretched out his palms to cover the pair of hands that rigidly held on to the pants, he didn’t force him. He said softly.
“Don’t be afraid, I can help you…”
He pursed his lips, then added: “This is nothing.”
Ni Lie’s eyes were blood-red. He had long been wasted for many days already, and even if he was ferocious, he was merely a 10 years old youngster. He snorted angrily and took his strength back, then finally fell on the hay.
Li Yuanmin hesitated for a moment, then stretched out his hand to untie his belt.
A more violent fishy smell hit his face, but seeing the black and yellow mess in between his legs, Li Yuanmin couldn’t help but frown.
Ni Lie turned his head, clenched his teeth, and clenched his fists stiffly on his sides, making clear bone cracking sounds. Clearly, he was extremely ashamed.
The corners of his closed eyes were clearly wet.
Li Yuanmin thought, he was just a child.
He didn’t delay any longer. With great effort, he moved the beast drinking water sink, and drew water into the water jar. First, he took off those dirty and muddy underpants to somewhat clean it up, then tore a piece off the hem and moistened it with water. He wiped him with it carefully.
The sky gradually cast shadows, and a layer of hazy dark colour gathered around.
Li Yuanmin’s forehead had fine sweat all over. He looked at the youngster who had already become much more refreshed on the haystack, his heart was relieved.
Perhaps he stood up too fast, his head became dizzy and his strength also collapsed in a flash. He couldn’t endure it anymore. He leaned on the side of the fence and vomited.
Looking at that bold little palace maid who was about to vomit, the corner of Ni Lie’s eyes turned red. He thought bitterly in his mind, since it’s unbearable like this, there was no need to be hypocritical. Everyone in this world was hypocritical and sinister like this, she’s also the same!
Li Yuanmin panted slightly. He wiped the corners of his mouth with his sleeves. He leaned his forehead lightly against the fence, and inadvertently met the black eyes of the youngster. He was momentarily in a trance, seemingly having seen the child who called him Jiejie in his previous life. Li Yuanmin’s gaze becomes soft in an instant.
Ni Lie was startled. He gasped coarsely, then turned his face away.
Li Yuanmin laughed, then slowly leaned on the fence and sat down. He lifted his head, and moved his gaze to the distance.
The narrow sky above the beast house at this moment was gloomy and dusky, like a dull and obscure ink painting.
He thought in his heart, he tried countless times already and was unable to feel at ease to brush off this child. Perhaps he will forever be moved by something cheap like this.
In this life…. Even though this life has to be calculative, he will just take a step and plan a step.
Li Yuanmin talked to himself.
Ni Lie couldn’t help turning his head back to look at “her”.
Time flowed silently. Li Yuanmin closed his eyes. His surroundings were full of a bad stench. The fishy smell of urine, and all kinds of unpleasant smells mixed together. But, he strangely felt a sense of tranquility.
Suddenly, far in the distance, there was a commotion. An Imperial guard yelled excitedly,
“Quickly, look at the sky!”
“A miracle! It’s a miracle!”
He opened his eyes and looked at the sky again. The originally obscure sky was bright purple, with red-crowned cranes flying. They occasionally lowered itself from the sky, just like the immortal land.
With the reappearance of the wonderful scene that took root inside his heart in his previous life, Li Yuanmin’s eyes turned red instantly.
The beasts inside the beast house all whimpered in the darkness, seemingly influenced by the sight. They watched quietly on the spot, looking up at the sky.
The world seemed to be silent suddenly.
The twenty-first martial year’s first xiao han (6th-19th January), purple magic cloud surrounded the top of Zhong Cui Palace, and red-crowned cranes were fluttering. Emperor Mingde rejoiced, considering it a lucky omen. The ministry of rites drafted a memorial, the temples prayed, and there was a bestowal to the court and harem.
Because of this lucky omen matter, the palace was lively for several days.
However, all the excitement was not related to the Western Palace.
A little snow fluttered outside, fell to the ground and turned into a trace of dripping water. The weeds inside the Western Palace’s courtyard had long withered and become yellow. When the west wind blew, they swayed, revealing a somewhat decayed appearance.
Li Yuanmin looked at the snow in the courtyard in a daze, feeling a little worried in his heart.
“What is Your Highness worried about?”
Li Yuanmin came back to his senses and forced a smile, “The sky still had the appearance of the sun yesterday, but it snowed today. I also don’t know….how many people probably have frozen already.”
“It is winter after all, it’s common for the weather to change.”
He Yunyi quietly watched him. During this period of time, his complexion had improved a lot. However, his body was still frail as before, making him can’t help but worried.
Nowadays, he dressed up in a brocade ash coat and brocade belt. Although the materials weren’t precious, it was much better than before. Hearsay, it was Wang Guifei who pitied him, so she ordered the officials of the Imperial Household Department to deliver things for use during winter over here.
Even the bronze furnace inside the palace hall had a lot of fresh coal.
In the end, it made him happy for him: “Fortunately, Guifei Niang Niang showed some consideration. Your auspicious day finally came at last.”
Li Yuanmin smiled and said nothing.
“Since I am here, I will check your pulse.”
Before the other party could react, he took his wrist and put two fingers on his pulse. After a long while, He Yunyi smiled.
“Fortunately, that Guben Peiyuan ointment was somewhat useful. Your pulse is much better than the previous few times.”
Li Yuanmin’s expression moved: “That Guben Peiyuan ointment… Is it good to treat the weak?”
“Naturally. It is good for strengthening the body and cultivating vitality.” He Yunyi rarely pleased with himself, “Our He family’s Gubei Peiyuan ointment has its standing because of its quality, it is not comparable to other things.”
Li Yuanmin pondered about something and put his hand on top of that small medicine box with the complicated design.
He Yunyi knew that he would always be cautious of every small thing, and would not accept any favors easily. He consoled him: “It’s just an ordinary tonic medicine, but the method of making it is troublesome. It isn’t something precious, you can use it at ease.”
He took out a few small ointment boxes from his medical box, and pushed them in front of Li Yuanmin.
“These boxes are newly made. I specially adjusted some winter honey to make it easier to consume.”
Li Yuanmin didn’t refuse this time. His cheeks showed a smile, and he accepted it. He was about to say something when a sound came from outside. Entering was a high-ranking palace maid dressed in scarlet orchid outfit with a round face like a disk.
“Third Royal Highness, Wang Guifei invites you to visit Zhong Cui Palace to taste the newly arrived fragrant tea.”
This is the Head Maid of Zhong Cui Palace, Qing He. A servant follows their master’s changes. During this period of time, Wang Guifei had treated Li Yuanmin favorably, and also ordered the people around her to be a bit more respectful to him.
Li Yuanmin sighed silently and stood up.
“Sorry to bother Niang Niang to remember about myself. Its just that my cold hasn’t healed yet. I’m afraid of affecting Niang Niang with my illness, so I cannot go.”
“This….” Qing He’s face was hesitant.
Li Yuanmin bowed his body, “Troubling Auntie to bring a word back to Niang Niang. When I recover in the future, Yuanmin will certainly apologize and pay respect to Niang Niang.”
Qing He knew that this trip was fruitless, so she bowed and said some auspicious words, then retreated.
“Your cold hasn’t healed yet?” He Yunyi hurriedly asked.
Li Yuanmin chuckled lightly: “I just found an excuse to not go.”
After being immersed inside the Palace for so long, He Yunyi couldn’t help but plan for him: “Even if Your Highness is not fond with meeting others, however, Guifei after all is a wife in the Emperor’s harem. From now on….. you definitely shouldn’t blindly avoid her.”
Li Yuanmin couldn’t explain it to him, so he just smiled: “I got it.”
This time when coming out, He Yunyi had made another excuse. Thus, seeing he had stayed here for a while now and afraid that his father would suspect something, he put the medicine box on his back and stood up, and whispered:
“It’s not early anymore, I have to go back to the Imperial Physician Courtyard now.”
Li Yuanmin nodded, and stood up. He hesitated for a while, casually saying: “I am in good shape now. From now on, Imperial Physician He doesn’t have to make a special trip to check my pulse. This Western Palace…”
He paused: “If I feel unwell in the future, I will personally come and invite a physician over.”
He Yunyi felt pain in his heart. He thought in his mind, how could he move around to invite anyone? And who would be willing to come over? He’s afraid that he has been suffering from this illness for more than 10 years on his own. He knew his foundation and he was originally weak. These years had been more or less wasted. If he is not treated now, then he may not live long.
“It’s not a special trip, just passing by.”
(Ciacia/N: I love how HYY is soooo considerateee!!!!)
Looked at his gentle soft watery appearance in his eyes, He Yunyi felt sorrowful. How could he not know that he was worried that his ominous reputation would affect him, but he didn’t expose him, only followed after him and smiled.
He walked a few steps, then turned around. Without any explanation, he put a jade pendant in his hand, “From now on, if there is something important in the future, send this to Xiao Guan Pharmacy. I can come over. Your Highness, no matter what, don’t shoulder it alone.”
Li Yuanmin nodded, and placed this precious thing in his bosom, and smiled slightly: “I got it.”
He Yunyi’s heart was reluctant to give up, but he could only leave at this point.
The luxurious and magnificent Zhongcui Palace was surrounded by incense mist.
Wang Chaoluan leaned on the Guifei’s couch, her eyes half-closed. Li Yuanlang was kneading her temples carefully.
“Let’s be polite to the person in the Western Palace.” The lazy voice ordered casually.
Li Yuanlang was reverent and respectful, but his heart nonetheless was full of rage. How could he have known that only a few days later the attitude of Wang Chaoluan to the Western Palace would unexpectedly be worlds apart. Thinking of what Li Yuanmin had said to him that day in the corridor made him horrified. He swallowed his saliva: “Royal Mother, please be at ease. A few years ago it was this child who wasn’t sensible enough, but these days this child has reflected on oneself many times already. From now on, I will be respectful as an Elder Brother to a Younger Brother to Third Royal Highness and will not make Royal Mother worry.”
“Be respectful as an Elder Brother to a Younger Brother….” Wang Chaoluan seemingly laughed with sarcasm.
Since the Xiao han day purple clouds at sunset and red-crowned crane miracle appeared, that son of a bi*ch had refused to come here with all kinds of excuses. But, she maintained a good attitude. He had some godly ability, and now she couldn’t do anything to him. She could only think of all sorts of ways to lure him over here.
These few days, she sent quite a few spies to investigate Li Yuanmin’s whereabouts over the years, and found nothing suspicious.
Thinking of the purple cloud and cranes that filled the sky that evening, with the world regarding it as a good omen, she was chilled and frightened.
All of these was a prophecy from that son of a bi*ch. That means those Zhexi hungry ghosts… she couldn’t not believe it.
She pondered deeply with anxiety. When Qing He came in from the outside, her face wore a somewhat distressed look. Wang Chaoluan’s face became a bit ugly. With a bang, she smashed the jade cup in her hand into pieces!
“What is he using as an excuse this time?”
Qing He didn’t dare to delay. She described every little thing she’d seen. Wang Chaoluan’s face was ashen.
For a long while, a beautiful and sinister smile appeared.
“Good, Ben Gong in any case could be regarded as half his Royal Mother. Since my son has fallen ill, how can I not be concerned? Guards! Get ready to leave for the Western Palace!”