Chapter 18 Interrogation
When Liu Zhongming stepped over the threshold, the people in the room had already packed up quickly, withdrew and closed the door.
On the bed laid Qu Chenzhou on his back, blindfolded – a black cloth covering his eyes. His hands were tied to the head of the bed and his feet to the bed posts, as they were forced to spread open.
Liu Zhongming went around the room once as if to inspect. Not finding anything suspicious, he sat down by the bed. When he saw that Qu Chenzhou’s fingers were curled up slightly, he chuckled: “Don’t be nervous, I just want to ask you a few questions.”
He stared at the criss-crossing scars for a moment, stroked them with his hand and then slowly moved downwards. With his thumb, he then rubbed the corners of his somewhat dry mouth.
“You haven’t drunk water for a long time. Are you thirsty?”
Qu Chenzhou had been tied up here for a whole day since he was caught. He heard the sound of water beside him and couldn’t help but lick his lips and nod.
Although he knew that what awaited him was definitely not such a good thing as being able to drink water.
“Answer a few questions of mine for me. If I’m satisfied, I will naturally reward you with some water..”
Qu Chenzhou couldn’t see the expression on Liu Zhongming’s face. He could only feel the other’s hand slowly slide down his cheeks before finally stopping on both sides of his throat.
“How old are you this year?”
“Fourteen years old.”
“You are still so young. Won’t it be a pity to die?”
Liu Zhongming’s fingers pinched the soft neck.
Qu Chenzhou bit his lip. He answered with silence.
“Where do you want to escape to?”
“Who is your master?”
“You don’t want to say it? Then….”
Liu Zhongming’s silhouette covered the candlelight above his head. He breathed on his face: “There are so many people here, how did you escape so smoothly? Who told you the route? Who is your internal aid?”
This is what Liu Zhongming cared the most about. The courtyard was filled with people arranged by him. It was absolutely impossible for people to enter and leave casually, let alone for a person with injuries to jump over the wall and escape out.
A hand wrapped around Qu Chenzhou’s neck and gradually tightened its hold. His face turned more and more red, yet, he kept biting his lower lip and said nothing.
“You just need to tell the truth and I’ll buy you back from Qisheng building. Whatever your master can give you, I can give it too and more.”
The pair of hands around Qu Chenzhou’s neck tightened, strangling him and he found it increasingly difficult to breathe. His eyes were covered and as if to compensate, the rest of his senses sharpened.
He could feel it all – the numbness in his wrists, the severe pain from wounds all over his body and also, the suffocation in his throat.
His consciousness began to dim.
Finally when his survival instinct kicked in, he threw back his head desperately and opened his mouth to gasp.
A hard whip handle pried open his teeth.
It was then shoved forward, fiercely hitting the base of his tongue, as if to smash through his throat.The pain and suffocation made him struggle, but his hands and feet were tightly bound, , so he could only arch his back like a dying fish.
And these movements triggered a sharp pain in his lower back.
At the height of suffocation, the hands holding his neck suddenly loosened. A rush of air burst in and he felt the violent urge to choke, but the whip handle in his mouth was stuck at the root of his tongue, leaving him unable to do so.
A ladleful of water was poured slowly on his face. Qu Chenzhou’s nose and mouth were instantly filled with water. The precious air was squeezed out and only cold water rushed in.
He finally choked and coughed violently, but the harder he coughed, the more water poured in. There was a faint hope that he could breathe, but his attempts were blocked again and again.
He struggled and when he had almost used up all his strength, the water inside was finally forced out.
Qu Chenzhou laid limp on bed, swallowing desperately. He breathed in heavily through the tiny gap and he found that the hand was stroking his neck again.
“Did you think it through?”
He lifted his head back, trying to get rid of the shackles on his hands. There was a trembling sob stuck in his throat, but he still shook his head stubbornly.
Facing the possibility of death, he didn’t even know whether he wanted to live or die.
Again he was suffocated to the brink of death and once again, it seemed as if endless water was poured down on his head.
During repeated iterations of the same thing, Qu Chenzhou struggled until he exhausted his last bit of strength. In the end, he fell softly onto the bed, completely drenched in water.
“You can survive torture better than I thought. Have you been trained?”
Liu Zhongming had made a new discovery and his fingers thoughtfully brushed away the messy damp hair that was stuck on his face.
“Have you thought about it yet? The person who now controls your life and death is not your master, but me.”
Qu Chenzhou weakly gasped for a moment and shook his head.
If Liu Zhongming knew what he had gone through in the dark prison, he wouldn’t have wondered why such torture couldn’t get any answers from him.
But when he wanted to give up struggling, by some fluke, he was alive again.
Facing Zhongming, he told himself that regardless of whether he lived or died, maybe this was the debt he owed him, the debt he ought to repay.
Liu Zhongming was not annoyed. He warmly persuaded: “No matter what you say, I will protect you, how about it?”
Qu Chenzhou moved his lips as if he wanted to speak, and the whip handle that pressed his tongue was quickly pulled out.
“Prince… what do you want to ask?”
“Who are you? Do you know me? Who are you doing this for? And how did you manage to slip away? As long as you are willing to speak, you can have anything you wish.” Liu Zhongming spoke patiently, attempting to tempt him.
“As long as you are willing to speak…”
Behind the blindfold, Qu Chenzou’s eyes slightly curved and the corners of his mouth raised a little. He knew best how he could irritate Liu Zhongming, just as he knew how to irritate Pan He.
Death was imminent, so let him play a prank on the other again.
For some reason, Liu Zhongming got the feeling that something wasn’t right, from the way he smiled in response.
Liu Zhongming slept poorly all night. If it weren’t for his routine meetings with the stewards, he wouldn’t have even bothered to leave the bedroom during the day.
The stewards came to him enthusiastically, holding the account books, intending to fish for praises but closed their mouths once they saw their Prince’s face that was as dark as the bottom of a pot.
They could only look at each other, wondering what happened.
Liu Zhongming propped up his head, dark circles conspicuous on his face. He was really very sleepy, but he didn’t dare to sleep. He felt that once he closed his eyes, that voice would start echoing and raging inside his head unrestrained, out of control.
He couldn’t hear a single word.
The stewards tactfully made their long story short, placed down the account books, and quietly withdrew.
Liu Zhongming let out a sigh of relief. He wanted to calm down and flip through the book, however, the words seemed to float around and he couldn’t read anything.
He could only be patient and pull out the Heart Sutra out to read.
In the past, when he was impetuous, his brother would have him copy the scriptures to calm down.
But it didn’t take long for the silence to be broken down. The sound of footsteps on the bluestone road outside the door reached him and following this, someone rushed towards him, without their feet touching the ground.
As soon as he heard the noise, Liu Zhongming’s demeanour changed from his usual calmness. He jumped out of the chair like his butt was on fire and went to close the study door.
The person outside quickly put his one leg in. Now that it got stuck in the crack of the door, he pushed the door with all his might not letting Zhongming shut it. .
“I’ve heard all about it. You said you would go back to interrogate him. Unexpectedly….” Bai Shiyan laughed devilishly from the crack he was stuck in: “I didn’t expect you, Foolish Liu owner of a heart so pure and scant of desire for seventeen years, was conquered by him. Did he seduce you? How did he do that?? I really can’t figure it out.”
“No! Stop talking nonsense!” Liu Zhongming’s face turned a shade of red, now resembling a cooked prawn and he wedged his foot under the other to quickly force him out.
It was Bai Shiyan’s first time getting an opportunity to to pick up this kind of joke in his life, so of course he refused to let go of it so easily. He stuck his face in the crack of the door and asked: “How many times did you f*ck him? I heard from the people in the yard that the little monster screamed in ecstasy and the dogs two miles away went into heat.”
Liu Zhongming was trembling with anger.
What Bai Shiyan said about him before was indeed correct. When he went out socializing, even when everyone knew about the likes and dislikes of the prince, no one dared to joke with Liu Zhongming on this matter.
Even Bai Shiyan, only dared to mess with his inverse scales surrounding such matters only in private, with no harm.
So when the little monster twisted his body, opened his mouth and moaned loudly, he was stunned, fixed to the spot for a while. He did not react for a long time and failed to block the hateful mouth in time.
Such a sweet, sweet cry, hit him like a ball of fluff and he felt an itch in the most inaccessible part of his heart
Not to mention the dogs two miles away, he actually found himself getting a humiliating reaction.
Unexpectedly, after seventeen years of being noble and virtuous, he was completely dragged into the pit and he couldn’t clear himself of it no matter what he said.
Taking advantage of his moment of inattention from embarrassment, Bai Shiyan squeezed in through the door gleefully and peered into the study: “Why is it that you are not allowing me to enter, could it possibly be that you dragged the person to this place? Hmm.. it’s quite interesting.”
“Bai Shiyan!” Liu Zhongming roared and tried to drive out the guest.
“Okay, I was wrong,” Bai Shiyan surrendered with a smile, leaning on the door frame, “Zhongming, just look at your thin-skin! No matter what, you still are a prince, right? Well… would you like to go out with us another day to open your eyes, so that you won’t get captivated by this little monster?”
“With which of your eyes do you see me being captivated?” Liu Zhongming clutched his chest, his insides aching with anger.
“Okay, you’re not captivated.” Bai Shiyan hurriedly smoothed his fur, went inside the room with him and then sat down in a chair: ” Don’t tell me you dealt with that person with this stinky face? You must have been really boring.”
Liu Zhongming put his foot under the chair that Bai Shiyan was sitting and lifted it: “Bai Shiyan, if you don’t intend to speak seriously, just get the f*ck out!”
Bai Shiyan staggered and almost fell down on the ground: “I’m not an outsider, so why can’t I?”
Liu Zhongming got up, returned to the bookcase and picked up the Heart Sutra with a calm face, not wanting to talk to him.
“All right, all right, I’ll speak seriously.” Bai Shiyan dragged the chair over by himself, put it in the old place by the window, and laid down comfortably on his back: ” What I came here today for, is to ask you why you were … suddenly enlightened. Haha! all right, don’t get angry, Zhongming.”
Seeing that Liu Zhongming was about to fall out with him, he hurriedly contained his expression and reluctantly swallowed his jokes back: “I wanted to ask – was he fun?”
“Well, certainly not as fun as you!” Liu Zhongming’s chest felt tight and he was short of breath.
“Come on, you and I are family.” Bai Shiyan solemnly refused him: “So tell me, what did you ask him? How did you ask him? What did you tell him, to get him into your bed?”
“To h*ll with getting into bed with him !”
Prince Liu was furious and finally couldn’t help but explode: “I haven’t touched him at all! He yelled out by himself! I didn’t do anything!”