Chapter 90: Is it Going to Eat Me
November 24, 2022Merchie
“Hey, the Second Princess asked you to lift your head!”
The maid standing to the side ordered arrogantly, “Hurry up!”
Qi Bingzhi reprimanded her, “Xiao Mei, you are not allowed to be so disrespectful.”
Xiao Mei curled her lip, but didn’t say anything more.
Shen Shijiu slowly lifted his head, his gaze carrying a trace of confusion.
After Qi Bingzhi saw his face clearly, her mood relaxed a bit, but then her suspicions rose again.
Based on his appearance alone, there was no way Pei Zheng would take a fancy to someone like him.
Was there something else about him
“What is your name”
Shen Shijiu answered obediently, and Qi Bingzhi racked her brains for a long while before asking, “How long have you been practicing medicine”
“R-replying to the princess, I don’t remember.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been learning medicine from my shifu…”
“You don’t remember” Qi Bingzhi was dubious, “How can you not remember something like this, have you suffered damage to your memory”
Zhou Wu replied, “Second Princess must not know, but he’s got some issues up here.”
He pointed at his own head, “Usually, he’s got this dumb look about him.
If he wasn’t so accomplished in the field of medicine, Imperial Physician Jiang wouldn’t have kept him.”
Shen Shijiu muttered in dissent, “My brain is just fine… Shifu even praises me for being smart…”
Qi Bingzhi nodded in understanding, but her suspicions toward Shen Shijiu had actually increased quite a bit.
How could there be such a coincidence; so this person was also a bit of an idiot
She suddenly thought of something, and asked tentatively, “I don’t know if the two of you can do me another favor.”
Zhou Wu cupped his hands, “Your orders, Princess.”
Qi Bingzhi’s expression looked to be full of grief, “Ai, it’s about my closest Third Sister Rourou.
Three years ago, she was tangled up in the calculations of some vile character, and was seriously injured…”
At this point, she gestured as if to wipe away her tears, “I ask the two of you to take a look at my Third Sister, to see if she will ever be able to stand again.”
Zhou Wu replied, “Please don’t worry, Second Princess.
The two of us will definitely do our best to treat the Third Princess.”
Shen Shijiu, who was standing to the side, also nodded.
He seemed to show no reaction at the mention of the Third Princess; it was as if he didn’t know her at all.
Qi Bingzhi knew that he couldn’t fake this response, but that didn’t dispel the doubts she held toward Shen Shijiu.
After instructing the Second Princess once again to apply ointment over her injury, and to not get it wet, Zhou Wu and Shen Shijiu retreated.
Arrangements had been made for them both to live next to the waterside pavilion.
Although the furniture in the wing was very simple, everything was of a very high quality.
Qi Bingzhi sent someone to the palace to bring the Third Princess Qi Yirou to the Prime Minister’s Manor, saying that she had heard the Third Princess’s mother, Noble Consort Xi, was in poor health recently, and couldn’t take good care of the Third Princess.
So, as an older sister, she was willing to look after her younger sister.
Yet Qi Yirou was unwilling to leave the palace, unwilling to leave her mother.
In truth, Noble Consort Xi was in a very dangerous position at the moment.
The Empress had been eyeing her for a long time now, but with Qi Yirou at her mother’s side, she could help take care of her a little.
But now that Qi Yirou had been forcibly taken away, Noble Consort Xi’s situation became even more precarious.
When Qi Yirou arrived at the Prime Minister’s Manor, Qi Bingzhi arranged for her to live in the same place as Zhou Wu and Shen Shijiu.
That wing was more than enough for a servant to live in, but it was far too crude for a princess.
Qi Yirou had long since changed from her once arrogant, scornful self who relied on a shower of favor; she was now completely different from that brazen princess that looked down upon everyone else.
She had become extremely thin, her complexion was abnormally gray, and she was sitting in a specially-made seat.
Zhou Wu and Shen Shijiu carefully examined Qi Yirou’s leg, and discovered that her kneecap had been shattered; there was no way that she would ever be able to stand again.
It was impossible for Qi Bingzhi not to know about this.
Zhou Wu went to report the situation to Qi Bingzhi, while Shen Shijiu stayed with Qi Yirou in the wing room.
Qi Yirou sat beside the window with a blank expression.
Her eyes didn’t move at all as she stared outside, her gaze devoid of light.
In the days after her arrival at the Prime Minister’s Manor, she hadn’t spoken a single word.
Shen Shijiu felt a bit awkward just standing next to her, so he slowly walked to her side, and said softly, “Your Highness the Third Princess, are you thirsty Do you want to drink some water”
Qi Bingzhi shook her head slowly, like an old person with no energy.
“Then, are you hungry Do you want to eat something”
Qi Bingzhi shook her head again.
Shen Shijiu walked a few steps closer, and asked with concern, “Then are you cold Why don’t you put on another layer of clothing, it would be terrible if you caught a chill…”
“Thank you, but there’s no need…”
Qi Yirou’s voice wasn’t as clear and silvery as it was before.
Instead, it was a bit hoarse.
Shen Shijiu “oh”ed, and the atmosphere cooled down once again.
“Why don’t I just bring you a cup of water…”
Shen Shijiu was about to walk toward the table.
Qi Bingzhi suddenly tugged at his cuff, “I really don’t need it, thank you for your kindness, I just want to be alone for a bit…”
Shen Shijiu turned back around.
“Shifu said that when girls say they want to be alone, they mean ‘hurry up and hug me’…”
Shen Shijiu looked at Qi Yirou with his sparkling clear eyes, “Your Highness the Third Princess, is that what you mean”
Qi Yirou’s body was stunned by that pair of eyes.
This person was clearly so ugly, but why did he have such a pretty pair of eyes
Such a clean, pure gaze was rare to see.
“That’s not what I meant… But, you can stay here and accompany me.”
Shen Shijiu flashed a smile, and moved a small stool over to sit beside Qi Yirou.
“Your Royal Highness, are you unhappy”
Qi Yirou didn’t speak for a long time.
Just when Shen Shijiu thought she wouldn’t answer, she suddenly spoke.
“That’s right, I’m… unhappy…
“I haven’t been happy in so long, three years Four years Or maybe even longer.
The happiness and joy of the past are all but a fleeting memory on the surface.
I’m imprisoned in the palace, I’m in a state of constant dread, loneliness, and pain all day long…”
Qi Yirou’s eyes darkened, “Besides, I’m a guilty person, what right do I have to be happy”
She touched her deadened knee, “The punishment I’ve suffered is far from enough, I should… spend the rest of my life… repaying what I owe… “
Shen Shijiu could hear the terrible grief in her tone, and didn’t know how to comfort her, “Your Royal Highness…”
Qi Yirou forced an extremely bitter smile, “I’ve never said these words to anyone, the reason I tell you this is because, because…”
She took a deep breath, “…Because you remind me of an old friend.”
Shen Shijiu blinked, “The princess’s old friend”
“A close relative, my little brother, a… dead person.”
Qi Yirou’s eyes were veiled with a layer of water.
“In the past, I relied on the favor of Royal Father, and I was arrogant and spoiled because of it.
And I did many things to hurt him, I told him many times in the past that I wanted him to die, but after that, he really did die.
And, at the last moment of his life, I didn’t forget to give him a hard shove…”
Qi Yirou’s tears fell, “I regret it, I really regret it.
I was fed lies by other people, which made me hate him to his bones, but in truth, he had always been very good to me since we were children.
I was just blind to it at that time, and forgot that he truly was a kind, warm person…”
Qi Yirou couldn’t speak anymore.
She covered her eyes and sobbed.
The words she had locked in her heart for so long could only be said in front of a stranger now.
The corners of Shen Shijiu’s eyes also became wet.
He sat there, looking at Qi Yirou’s shoulders as they shook with sobs, and silently lifted his sleeve to wipe his own tears.
QI Yirou cried for a while, before she finally calmed down.
“You can’t tell anyone what happened today.”
Shen Shijiu pressed three fingers together and held them up in a salute2, his little face full of sincerity, “I promise, I won’t say a thing! Your Royal Highness, please rest assured!”
Qi Yirou couldn’t help but laugh at how silly he looked.
At this moment, Zhou Wu finally returned.
When he entered the wing, his expression looked a bit unnatural, and he avoided Shen Shijiu’s gaze.
“Ahem, Third Princess, the Second Princess says she wants to see you two.”
Shen Shijiu was a bit surprised, and pointed at himself, “I have to go too”
Zhou Wu nodded.
A few servants came inside, and lifted Qi Yirou out the door, walking in the direction of the waterside pavilion.
Shen Shijiu obediently followed as well.
Upon arriving at the waterside pavilion, the Third Princess was carried into the surrounding curtains, while Shen Shijiu stood alone in the outer hall, with a few servants watching him.
Zhou Wu walked through the door to the waterside pavilion with his head lowered, and stood with the servants.
Shen Shijiu looked at him in confusion, and even called his name softly, but Zhou Wu didn’t seem to hear him.
The curtain moved slightly, and a figure appeared behind it.
Shen Shijiu replied, “Greetings to the Second Princess.”
“Do you know what crime you are guilty of”
Shen Shijiu was stunned; what crime was he guilty of He hadn’t committed any crimes.
Qi Bingzhi, who was behind the curtain, continued, “I’ll ask you again, you poisoned the Third Princess, harming her legs to the point that they will never recover; do you know what crime you are guilty of”
Shen Shijiu hurriedly shook his head, “I didn’t, I didn’t poison the Third Princess…”
Qi Yirou said sharply, “You still show no repentance Your companion Zhou Wu personally called you out, how could it be false”
Shen Shijiu’s face was filled with disbelief, “Zhou Wu, it couldn’t have been you, right Hurry and help me explain to Her Royal Highness, I really didn’t poison her…”
Unexpectedly, Zhou Wu took a step forward, and cupped his hands toward Qi Yirou, “Replying to the Second Princess, when Shen Shijiu was making medicine for the Third Princess, he did add some herbs that I haven’t seen before, but I am unable to determine if those ingredients are poisonous or not.”
Shen Shijiu was completely shocked, “Didn’t I show you the ingredients before I started cooking the medicine None of them were particularly rare herbs, you can buy them all at pharmacies.”
Qi Bingzhi interrupted him, “Since that is the case, someone, prepare paper and ink, and have him write the prescription out immediately.”
Several servants brought over a small desk, a brush, and ink, before pushing Shen Shijiu to sit in front of the desk.
Qi Bingzhi’s trusted maid, Xiao Mei, walked over and stuffed a brush into his hand.
“Hurry up and write!”
Although Shen Shijiu was in a state of extreme panic, he still tried his best to hold the brush, endured the terror in his heart, and slowly began to write.
After he finished writing, Xiao Mei took the prescription and showed it to Zhou Wu.
Zhou Wu looked at it for a long while before he spoke, “Second Princess, I’ve thought carefully about it, there are no issues with this prescription.”
Qi Bingzhi’s tone changed, “You…”
She snorted coldly, “Forget it, Xiao Mei, bring me that prescription, I’ll take a look!’
Xiao Mei held the prescription and walked behind the curtain.
Qi Bingzhi took that piece of paper and took a glance before she felt that something was off about it.
The script on it was long and thin, with sharp strokes.
Who would have thought that Shen Shijiu, who was so unattractive, could actually have such nice handwriting
But the more Qi Bingzhi looked at it, the more she thought that this handwriting looked incredibly familiar.
Her beautiful features scrunched as she stared at the crowded list of medicinal herbs.
Suddenly, she thought of something, and hurriedly said to Xiao Mei, “Quickly! Bring me that memorial from my bookshelf! Hurry up!”
Her mistress seemed to be in quite the rush, so Xiao Mei hurried off to fetch the memorial.
Qi Bingzhi had taken this memorial from Pei Zheng’s study while he was away.
There were only four words written on it, “Report to the Emperor1“.
Qi Bingzhi carefully compared the memorial to the prescription; the more she looked, the more she felt they were similar, but there were too few words on the memorial, so she couldn’t be sure.
“Xiao Mei, come and take a look, do these two scripts look alike”
Xiao Mei leaned over and observed the paper closely, “Princess, you know this servant is illiterate, but they do indeed look very similar.”
Qi Bingzhi’s hand, which was holding the prescription, suddenly trembled.
Although she had never seen Pei Zheng’s handwriting on other documents, these coincidences just kept happening again and again; how could she not suspect anything!
“Your Highness the Second Princess, I really didn’t use any poison, those herbs are all beneficial to the body…”
Shen Shijiu was quite aggrieved, his eyes were shimmering with tears.
He didn’t know why Qi Bingzhi would suddenly question him like this.
Qi Bingzhi, who was behind the curtain, whispered something in Xiao Mei’s ear.
Then, Xiao Mei walked out, and stood with her back straightened in the outer hall.
“All right, regarding this matter, the princess will make the final decision herself.
You can go back now.”
Shen Shijiu affirmed in a muffled voice, and glanced at the curtain again, “Then, Your Highness the Third Princess…”
Xiao Mei said irritably, “What are you worrying so much about, if she tells you to go back, then you go back! The Second Princess and the Third Princess are reminiscing about the past, it’s not your place to ask questions!”
Shen Shijiu lowered his head, clutched his robe and didn’t reply.
He slowly walked toward the door and promptly left.
Zhou Wu also bowed, “Second Princess, since this matter was a misunderstanding, I will be leaving now as well.”
Unexpectedly, Xiao Mei came over and said, “Wait, you can’t leave.
The princess still has something to ask you.
Zhou Wu glanced at Shen Shijiu, and could only stay behind by himself.
After Shen Shijiu left, Qi Bingzhi ordered someone to lift the curtain, and she slowly walked out.
Zhou Wu stood in place and didn’t dare to lift his head, his gaze pinned to the floor.
“You sure have guts, you even dare to taunt this princess We clearly came to an agreement on this matter, yet you dared to suddenly change your mind!”
Qi Bingzhi walked up to Zhou Wu.
Her voice was soft; it carried a note of reproach, but it wasn’t harsh.
Zhou Wu was too frightened to lift his head.
When he saw Shen Shijiu, he decided to go back on his word, and was unwilling to accuse him.
After all, Shen Shijiu was a pure, kind soul, and Zhou Wu had a conscience; he couldn’t harm him just for a little money.
“Not going to say anything” Qi Bingzhi’s fingers were entangled in her fragrant shawl.
She touched Zhou Wu’s chin, and gently tilted it up.
Zhou Wu was forced to look up and happened to meet Qi Bingzhi’s gaze.
Although he had been in the Prime Minister’s Mansion for a few days now, he never had the chance to get a clear glimpse of the Second Princess’s face.
The person in front of him had a fair, exquisite complexion.
Her eyes were as alluring as silk, and they appeared to be slightly slanted as she looked at him.
A pair of red lips gently opened and closed as she spoke, before she leaned in, closer and closer…
Zhou Wu stepped back in a panic, and the flush on his neck couldn’t be hidden.
Before coming here, he had spent his days traveling while studying medicine, and was busy immersing himself in medical techniques, so he had never come across such a pretty girl before, and couldn’t withstand even the slightest bit of teasing.
Seeing him like this, Qi Bingzhi covered her mouth with her shawl and laughed softly, before she turned and walked back behind the curtain.
The curtain was lowered again, but Zhou Wu’s heart was still throbbing incessantly in his chest.
“The princess says you can go back now,” said Xiao Mei, who was standing next to him.
Zhou Wu “oh’d” dumbly, turned and was about to leave.
Xiao Mei suddenly lowered her voice to a volume that only the two of them could hear, “The princess wants you to come back tonight.”
Shen Shijiu returned to the wing alone, laid on his bed, and pulled the blanket to cover his body and face.
He still felt very wronged in his heart.
He had suffered through such terrible accusations for no reason.
His eyes were red with aggrievedness, and he held back tears as he laid beneath the quilt.
It was too hard out here on his own.
He missed his shifu, but why hadn’t his shifu come to find him yet
Could it be that his shifu was being bullied by others
Several scenes appeared in Shen Shijiu’s mind at this moment:
Shen Huan blinding a group of thieves with poisonous smoke;Shen Huan throwing poisonous insects a few dandies who kidnapped village girls, which would kill them before they could have any children;Shen Huan waving her arms, which she had disguised to look rotten, scaring all the running and screaming children on the street to the point of crying, just because they bumped into Shen Shijiu;Shen Huan giving laxatives to those shrews that cursed loudly on the street…
It seemed like his shifu would be able to protect herself well; it would be better if she stopped bullying other people, though.
Shen Shijiu breathed a light sigh of relief; as long as his shifu was fine, he would be fine too.
But he really did miss his shifu, and that shabby little bamboo house… Why hadn’t she come to pick him up yet He had already earned a lot of money, and was ready to present it all to his shifu…
He thought and thought, and Shen Shijiu felt his eyelids becoming heavier and heavier, until he simply drifted to sleep.
When he woke up again, it was already dark, and the inside of the wing room was pitch black.
He felt around and got off the bed.
He felt a bit hungry, so he went to the table and poured a cup of water to satiate his stomach.
After drinking the water, he looked outside, and saw that there was a figure sitting in the courtyard.
He found it a bit strange, and quietly walked outside.
The person in the courtyard was none other than Qi Yirou.
She was sitting quietly in her seat, and looking up at the sky.
“Third Princess, why haven’t you gone to sleep yet”
Shen Shijiu also walked to the stone bench at the side and sat down.
Tonight’s sky was lovely: the white moon hung high among a speckled sea of stars; it was as beautiful as a painted scroll.
Only when he walked closer did Shen Shijiu realize that something was wrong with Qi Yirou.
There was some scarlet blood on the hem of her skirt; it seemed like it had flowed down from her knee.
“Your Royal Highness, your knee is bleeding!”
Shen Shijiu hurried back inside, grabbed his medicine case, before quickly bandaging Qi Yirou’s wound.
“Princess, please endure it for just a little bit, it’ll stop bleeding soon.”
Qi Yirou’s face was pale from the pain, and she nodded.
Shen Shijiu finally finished bandaging the wound, and he asked in concern, “What happened How did it start bleeding again”
Qi Yirou looked as though she had been placed in a difficult position, and was unwilling to answer.
Shen Shijiu raised his arm, and lightly patted Qi Yirouo’s shoulder in understanding.
“It’s okay, if you’re injured, just tell me, and I can treat it for you.”
“It was Qi Bingzhi.” Qi Yirou said suddenly, “She will regularly check the condition of my leg, if it’s showing signs of recovery, she will have someone mess it up again, so don’t waste your efforts.
My leg can never be healed…”
Shen Shijiu’s eyes were full of shock, “How, how could that be… The Second Princess, isn’t she your older sister”
“Older sister or not, she never regarded me as her younger sister, I’m just a pawn for her to use to reach her goal.”
Qi Yirou said slowly, “Earlier in the day, I told you that someone had tricked me; it was her.
“When I was young, I wasn’t familiar with how the world worked, so she started whispering lies into my ear and planning ways to provoke me, but I didn’t understand; I thought she was really doing it for my own good.
Now it’s all going to her plan, my fate is in her hands, and my mother is being firmly controlled by her mother, the Empress…”
Qi Yirou closed her eyes, and two trails of tears dripped down her cheeks.
Upon seeing her expression, Shen Shijiu quickly asked, “Your Royal Highness, is your wound hurting again I’ll help you apply some more medicine, okay”
“No need.” Qi Yirou pointed at her heart, “This is where it hurts, no medicine can treat this pain.”
Shen Shijiu didn’t know how to comfort her, so he quietly stayed by her side and accompanied her for a bit.
It was the middle of the night when Shen Shijiu escorted Qi Yirou back to her wing.
He pressed his empty stomach, and planned to go back to his room to sleep.
He couldn’t be hungry if he was asleep, after all.
But just as he was about to close the door, he suddenly saw Zhou Wu’s door crack open, before a figure flashed out.
Shen Shijiu found it strange, it was so late, yet Zhou Wu still hadn’t gone to bed yet
He was just about to call his name when he saw the doctor hurriedly walk outside.
Shen Shijiu followed him.
But upon leaving the courtyard, Zhou Wu began to walk extremely fast, winding and turning many times before disappearing.
Shen Shjiu, who was following behind him, became dizzy and lost.
He looked around at his unfamiliar surroundings and became a bit anxious; he had also lost sight of Zhou Wu.
He called softly, “Zhou Wu’
No one answered.
He raised his voice a little, “Zhou Wu Zhou Wu, where are you”
Only the sound of the night wind rustling through leaves replied to him.
It was quite dim, and there were a few tall trees swaying in the wind, creating a somewhat scary atmosphere.
This time, Shen Shijiu simply shouted loudly, “EXCUSE ME, IS THERE ANYONE HERE”
But still, no one answered him.
At this moment, a tall, slender shadow suddenly appeared on the ground at the nearby corner, and it approached unhurriedly, step by step.
Shen Shijiu’s little heart leapt into his throat.
I-is it a ghost, is it going to eat me3
He was so scared that he quickly shut his eyes, squatted down, and huddled into a ball on the ground, covering his ears and shaking his head.
“It can’t see me… It can’t see me… Don’t eat me… my flesh isn’t tasty… go eat those big fatties instead… you can’t see me…”
His arm was suddenly yanked upward by a hand.
Shen Shijiu’s eyes flashed open, and he screamed, “AHHHHH-“
Pei Zheng’s eyebrows creased, and pressed his fingers over Shen Shijiu’s mouth, before he pulled the other into his body.
He stared at Shen Shijiu, his handsome eyes full of irritation.
Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate, I hope you all had an amazing time with your loved ones~
Thanks for reading~~
啟奏吾皇 (qǐ zòu wú huáng): So 啟奏 refers to when officials make reports to the Emperor, and 吾 means ‘I’ or ‘my’, so it’s basically ‘My Report to the Emperor’.
This gesture means to swear to heaven
Originally, this was written in third person, but I want the title to sound good, so I changed it c:<