Chapter 17 Escape
For several days, Qu Chenzhou sat silently by the window and looked outside quietly.
No one knew Liu Zhongming better than him. Although the question that day sounded cordial, he knew what Zhongming was thinking without thinking about it.
There were many things about him that could arouse suspicion, and he was afraid that he would never be let go.
In the past few days, apart from the people who came to deliver him meals and medicines, no one came in to visit him. However when he looked at those guards who stood outside his room and kept moving from time to time, even though they didn’t stay at the door all the time, he could see that Zhongming paid a lot of attention to him here.
His eyes moved away from the servant who hurriedly walked by outside, and landed on a Sycamore tree in the corner of the yard.
In the past, when he could not walk around at will, Zhongming could only draw his own residence on paper. He would then keep the paper with much care and often caress it.
Thus even though Qu Chenzhou had never seen this courtyard before, he knew its every corner.
Zhongming had also specifically mentioned that there was a very large Sycamore tree in the yard. And that every time it rained, many bell-like Sycamore flowers would be knocked down.
He had back then really hoped that he could see it with his own eyes.
In front of everyone, Zhongming had even climbed up the tree in order to send him a box full of fresh sycamore flowers. While picking it, he had disregarded his appearance, and had even rolled down the ladder, ending up with a bruised nose and swollen face.
He still remembered the way Zhongming handed him the flowers with an embarrassed look. h And he also remembered the Sycamore flowers, adorned with drops of dew, reflecting the bright sun in his eyes
It was not until the eve before Jing Chen and Bai Shilei rushed to the Stargazing Pavilion, that he was willing to burn the Sycamore flower that had been in his book for years, in the incense burner.
The past turned into a cloud of smoke.
Only now, he could see with his very own eyes, the Sycamore tree, that Zhongming had spoken to him many times about. The tree was lush with pink and white flowers, and they really did look like jade bells hanging amidst the leaves.
This was Liu Zhongming’s courtyard; its east wing. And the bedroom that he could see from the window belonged to Liu Zhongming.
It was their first time to live so close to each other, just as they had imagined countless times before, but only now, Qu Chenzhou wanted to escape.
A single conversation could make him feel like he was unable to cover his traces. He was afraid that if he stayed here for a while, the unspoken past would be stripped down and peeled away, layer by layer.
As for the rest that was tightly wrapped in the middle, it would be displayed unobstructed, and his flesh bloody.
What would happen if Zhongming came to know of those things in the past?… Isn’t his death in his last life not enough to atone for his sins?
He asked himself, but he knew that subconsciously, he had always remembered that appearance of Zhongming running like a mad man in the heavy snow.
Why would he cry over his stiff corpse?
Could it be that something had happened after his death? Did someone say something to Zhongming? Was that kid found? Or did Zhongming really ignore the world and attack the emperor?
There were things that only he and the emperor knew.
He believed that the emperor, to save his own life, would not say much.
And when it came to him, he was already dead, soul dissipated, and he thought that everything would return to the dust.
Yet, he has always been bothered by that scene.
Or.. was it possible that the the emperor did really want to be a mad dog and drag Zhongming into h*ll with him?
In any case, it was a past that cannot be traced back, and it was useless to think about it. As for now, the most important thing was what lay in front of him.
Qu Chenzhou spent a few days sitting quietly by the window, reading all kinds of divinations, counting the pace of their handover and finally made up his mind to escape.
During the time when he lived in the Qisheng Building, he couldn’t get out of the square courtyard wall during the day, and the room where he slept at night was locked by an iron chain. For so many years he had tried his best to escape, without success.
In comparison, the environment here was much more relaxed and also, Zhongming didn’t like to live in noisy places.
The door to his room was not locked and the people coming in and going out of the courtyard, even the shadow guards in the dark, could be discerned from the details of the divinations.
What’s more, Zhongming had once said jokingly that one day, he would be received by him and live with him, thus at that time, many things had been told to him.
He decided that he would take advantage of the dark to escape.
If he was lucky, maybe he could make use of the darkness, hide in a carriage and thus escape from the city.
Since he now had his slave mark burned away, he just needed to find a place to break the slave ring, then cover his eyes, and wait for a chance to escape into the mountains.
Even if he spent his entire life in the mountains, there would be the freedom he had longed for.
Freedom seemed within reach, and the thought made his blood boil.
By the time it was dark, he was already dressed up neatly. Although his injury had just barely scabbed under the tight gauze, if he tried, he could just barely move.
And thanks to Zhongming, he learnt a lot these past few days, just by looking at the people walking in the courtyard.
He felt that the person who used to be standing behind him, was now leaning on his shoulders, and gently giving him pointers, saying ——you don’t know enough about yourself, I will help you.
——Are you sure? Will that person’s divination change with your thoughts?
——Your actions and thoughts will affect the other’s future, won’t they?
—— The same person, you can only observe them for the time it takes to make a cup of tea, isn’t that right? So make good use of this time.
—— Although you can’t see your own divination, you can choose a method that will benefit you the most to change the fate of others.
——Chenzhou, believe in yourself. You are unique and can do things that many others can’t.
——Your power is strong beyond imagination, so don’t be afraid of anything.
He turned another corner, and immediately stuck his entire back to the wall, holding his breath.
He listened to the sound of footsteps walking by the wall close by, gradually moving away, and he did not even dare to wipe the cold sweat on his forehead.
One meter away was the utility room built on the wall, and beyond it, was the alley that the side door opened to. Zhongming had told him that there were always very few people walking along that road.
He tiptoed on the gravel and leapt over the branches of the tree that extended from beside the room, and barely climbed onto the roof safely. The wounds on him seemed to tear open one by one.
He leaned down on the roof and couldn’t help but pant slightly.
It only took him a very short time to jump out of his room and get here. As long as he got down from here, he could vanish into the dark of the night.
And then evading the North Yamen’s night patrol would be easy for him.
But before Qu Chenzhou could take a breath, a sound of footsteps followed by the voice of someone speaking from afar, came near. The familiar sound caused his body to stiffen in response.
Seeing the two figures appearing under the light of the lantern, Qu Chenzhou didn’t dare even to breathe, and he could only lie motionless on the roof tiles.
But still he was not so lucky in the end. As he watched the two of them who were about to walk over, he felt a sudden pain in his right leg and his whole person rolled down uncontrollably.
Someone stretched out their hands to catch him, and when they could see clearly that it was him, they withdrew their hands again.
Qu Chenzhou was covered in dirt when he fell on the ground. The man stepped on his waist, and before he could curl up, he pulled his hair, forcing him to raise his face, and then the man seemed to confirm something in the light.
“Shiyan, I take back what I just said.” the voice above his head sneered: “There are really some people who won’t drink the alcohol bestowed and want to drink it as punishment.”
“Prince, this is the medicine used for him these days.” The mansion’s doctor unfolded a list in his hand, and explained it carefully for fear of missing something.
“The person in charge of punishment in Qisheng building was very deadly. If it weren’t for Little Brother Qu’s young age, there’s eighty percent that he wouldn’t have lasted. Following the prince’s instructions, we used good internal medicine and external medicine, and gave him daily tonics with ginseng soup.”
“En.” Liu Zhongming asked nonchalantly as someone carried water into the room, “Needless to say what happened before, what’s his current situation?”
“The burn on the slave mark is very deep. Remember not to let it touch water.”
“Maybe it’s because Little Brother Qu is still young, but except for the burns, he recovers faster than ordinary people in other places.”
“But his health isn’t very good. It looks like he has been beaten all year round. If you want him to recover, he still needs time to adjust both internally and externally, and you can’t be anxious.”
The mansion’s doctor was an old man who was always kind, but sometimes he could open up his mouth and become a chatterbox that talked non-stop.
“Right now, his body is at the point of stretching out, so the scars on his body will disappear when he grows up. It’s just that the ones on his face are a little tricky. It should still be there for four or five years. If you want to get rid of it completely, you can try the Yulin ointment in the shop.”
This is something he took for granted. The prince had told them to heal him with all their strength. Since even ginseng did not cause him distress, the Yulin ointment, which was a good scar removal product and expensive, would be just right for the treatment.
Unexpectedly, Liu Zhongming only glanced at him: “Doctor Qin, why do you think he is qualified to use the Yulin ointment?”
“Ah? This…” The mansion’s doctor was a little confused.
“Do you think I want to heal him?” Liu Zhongming grinned and walked to the door: “I was just afraid that he was too weak and would die because he couldn’t take it.”