Edited and Proofread by KitKat
Hu Shifei stretched his neck and looked out the carriage window. He saw An Chang Qing getting into another carriage and Xiao Zhige rode his horse beside it. The two were whispering to each other through the window. He couldn’t help clicking his tongue and mumbled, “If I weren’t a doctor myself, I would’ve thought that someone had put Wangye under a Gu spell.”
(TN: Gu is a mythical parasitic insect capable of manipulating its host’s mind.)
Tie Hu, who was acting as a coachman, vaguely heard his words and exclaimed, “Who dares to touch the General? Old Hu will kill that person!”
“…” Hu Shifei sneered, “If it’s Wangfei, I’d really like to see you try.”
Tie Hu was speechless. He scratched his head and said, “Wangfei doesn’t look like someone who practices witchcraft…”
“Looks like you’re not that dumb after all,” Hu Shifei rolled his eyes then banged on the carriage wall and urged, “Hurry up and move!”
The two carriages headed back to the Wang Manor. When they arrived, Tie Hu placed Hu Shifei’s wheelchair on the ground before placing him on it. He then carried them both and walked into the gate.
Hu Shifei flared up and slapped the armrest of his wheelchair in anger, “Put me down! Do you think I can’t walk by myself?”
Tie Hu put him down and scratched his head, “Your leg has been broken for so many years, of course you can’t walk…”
“Does this wheelchair look like furnishings to you?” Hu Shifei yelled at him in anger.
Tie Hu: “…”
An Chang Qing was laughing at them from behind. He looked at Xiao Zhige and said, “Are all your underlings this… Interesting?”
“Just this one. He’ll be following you from now on,” Xiao Zhige said stoically, “Although Tie Hu is simpleminded, his martial arts is unrivaled and he’s very loyal. Take him with you whenever you go out. I’ve assigned two others under him. If you need anything done, just tell Tie Hu and he’ll handle it.”
“Will that hinder your work?” An Chang Qing thought that it was good enough that Xiao Zhige would give him a low-rank bodyguard like Zhao Shi but to think that he would assign Tie Hu under him.
Tie Hu may seem dimwitted but seeing his strength and familiarity with Xiao Zhige, An Chang Qing could tell that Tie Hu was not just a common soldier.
“No. There’s nothing to be done in Yejing. Keeping him idle is just a waste,” Xiao Zhige replied.
An Chang Qing was relieved after hearing that. They proceeded to the Flower Hall in the front courtyard when Hu Shifei said that he had not bathed for days and instructed Tie Hu to push him to the guest room for him to wash up.
By the time they had reached Wang Manor, it was almost dinner time. Thinking that both Tie Hu and Hu Shifei were Xiao Zhige’s close subordinates, An Chang Qing ordered the kitchen to prepare a large dinner for them and the four would dine together in the Flower Hall.
Hu Shifei waited for the maids to finish setting up the table before coming in. While pushing his wheelchair, Tie Hu said, “Doctor Hu, if you could groom yourself this way every day, you wouldn’t still be single at this age.”
An Chang Qing looked over and found that Hu Shifei was wearing a dark blue outfit and had shaved and bundled up his hair neatly. Only now did Hu Shifei resemble a scholarly middle-aged man.
Hu Shifei let out a pei and shouted at Tie Hu, “What do you know?!”
Tie Hu kept quiet and continued to push Hu Shifei to greet An Chang Qing and Xiao Zhige, “General, Wangfei.”
Hu Shifei followed suit and politely greeted them. He continued to ask, “Where is the patient Wangfei wanted me to treat?”
“She’s not in Wang Manor.” After giving him a brief account of Lady Yu’s situation, An Chang Qing continued, “Doctor Hu, please wait for a few more days. I will make arrangements for you to treat her.”
Now that he had already been abducted here, there was nothing Hu Shifei could do except to agree.
The group finished their discussion and had dinner together. After which, the maids led Hu Shifei and Tie Hu to the guest rooms for the night.
As for An Chang Qing, he couldn’t sit still and paced about in the room. What Xiao Zhige told him before weighed heavily in his mind – An Changqi will not live past tonight.
Xiao Zhige would not deceive him but without personally hearing the news, he could not rest his heart. What if An Changqi survived? This would ruin everything he had planned.
If An Changqi died tonight, not only could he use this to plant a seed of doubt and create a grudge between Madame Sun and Madame Li, but also drive apart An Zhi Ke and An Zhi Zhou. Amidst the chaos that ensued, An Chang Qing could then easily take his mother and sister away from the An Manor.
The moment Hu Shifei told him that there was something wrong with the prescription, the immediate person that came to mind was Madame Li. Qian chong jin was not a rare plant, the wealthy usually found them too ordinary for their taste and yet, they were planted abundantly at the An Manor. Particularly the land behind Rainbow Garden, a vast area was used for the Qian chong jin plantation. Every time the flowers bloomed, the petals floated with the wind, carrying its fragrance across the field. Who knew that behind the beautiful scenery was a hideous plot to kill his mother.
Madame Li was the second daughter of Count Yong Xin. Although the count did not enter the court, he was widely respected for his good deeds. Even his two daughters were quite well-known in Yejing. The eldest married the eldest son of Marquis Kang Le and the youngest married An Zhi Ke, the Marquis of Jing An and also the Prime Minister of Da Ye Empire.
After Madame Li married into the An family, she had instantly become the lead maternal figure of the An household. She was magnanimous and well-liked by all. On top of that, she was blessed with a son. No one could shake her position until Lady Yu came into the picture.
Lady Yu entered the An family after Lady Liu and as far as An Chang Qing could tell, An Zhi Ke had favored Lady Yu for a long time. During those years, the two were a harmonious couple and An Zhi Ke even neglected Madame Li and Lady Liu. By the time Lady Yu gave birth to a son and daughter, the winds were blowing her way.
But the good days did not last long. When An Chang Qing was four, Lady Yu did something that had incurred An Zhi Ke’s wrath. Since then, he had never taken another step into Rainbow Garden and Lady Yu had lived inconspicuously, trying her best to stay out of trouble and raise her two children.
Although those years of Lady Yu being favored disappeared in a flash, it had lingered in the memories of many people. An Chang Qing thought that Lady Liu was the only one who had hated them since she had always openly mocked the mother and child. But as it seemed, the reputable Madame Li also held a deep-seated grudge against his mother. Her kindness and generosity were nothing but a front.
If it really was Madame Li…
A plan took shape in his mind but at the same time, he had gotten more anxious. He kept glancing at the door.
They had sent someone to watch the An Manor. The moment An Changqi died, they would immediately get wind of it.
“You will get the news in about an hour.” Xiao Zhige was leaning on the bed reading a book on warfare. Seeing An Chang Qing walking back and forth, he said, “Impetuosity is a big taboo in any tactic.”
An Chang Qing could only hear his previous sentence. He rushed to the bed to confirm, “Really? How can you tell?”
Being distracted, An Chang Qing was not aware of his current posture. He was kneeling over Xiao Zhige on the bed with his arms at his side. He was barefooted and his belt was loosened, opening up the neckline of his robe. Xiao Zhige’s eyes were pulled towards the white fair skin that was exposed.
He held his breath and sighed mentally at An Chang Qing’s unintentional seductive pose. He reached out to fasten up his collar then hugged and dragged him into bed. He covered him with the blanket and said, “Earlier in the evening, the two remaining doctors in De Ren Hall had been invited to the An Manor.”
It was self-evident for whom the doctors were invited to treat. It must be that the current doctors had given up and the An family had called in the rest to give a second opinion.
Only then was An Chang Qing relieved. He laid quietly in bed for a while before sitting up again. He sulked and said, “I still can’t sleep.”
He was like a kid who had listened halfway through a story and could not sleep till he got to the end.
Xiao Zhige looked at him and sighed helplessly, “Don’t sleep then.”
An Chang Qing gave a smug smile. He leaned against Xiao Zhige’s arm and probed at the book in his hand, “Why don’t you tell me a bit about warfare?”
Xiao Zhige grimaced awkwardly. He had read countless books on war but had never had to read it to anyone. Facing An Chang Qing’s expectant eyes, he remained silent briefly before flipping to the first page and began to read it word by word.
An Chang Qing had wanted him to tell him a story but unexpectedly, the man recited the book to him. An Chang Qing was dumbfounded for a while only to realize that it would’ve been even more absurd if this person could tell a story.
He rested his head casually on Xiao Zhige’s broad chest with his eyes closed as he listened to his reading. Xiao Zhige’s voice was low and clear. One could detect the attentiveness in his moderately slow reading speed to accommodate An Chang Qing’s understanding.
An Chang Qing listened and eventually dozed off.
Seeing that he had closed his eyes, Xiao Zhige put down his book and gazed at him.
The youth was leaning against his chest with half his face covered by his long hair. Only the curly long eyelashes and straight nose were revealed. Even so, he was too adorable.
Xiao Zhige stuttered on the words of the book which he had memorized by heart. Seeing An Chang Qing deep in sleep, he couldn’t control himself and reached out to touch the quivering eyelids and the lovely little nose.
Being disturbed, the youth in his embrace hummed twice discontentedly before burying his face into his chest.
Xiao Zhige withdrew his fingers and secured An Chang Qing with one arm. There was a soft smile on his lips. Although the posture was a little awkward, he did not want to let go. An Chang Qing slept in Xiao Zhige’s arms for about an hour when Anfu came to report at the door.
Xiao Zhige covered An Chang Qing’s ears and said softly, “Come in.”
Anfu who had just returned to Wang Manor with the news from the An Manor walked briskly in. He was about to give his report when he saw the pair embracing behind the screen and his words were stuck for a long time. When he snapped out of his daze, he quickly reported, “An Changqi is dead.”
“Got it. You can leave.”
Seeing that An Chang Qing was sleeping soundly, Xiao Zhige put out the light on the table.
Whatever it is, let’s leave it to tomorrow.