The Death of Chen Yu
It was raining heavily outside. Although the inside of the carriage was separated by wood, there was still plenty of moisture.
Xiang Rong was completely soaked, and she was placed on a tiger-fur seat. The once luscious and thick blanket was immediately soaked. She subconsciously moved to stand up, not wanting to ruin this person’s things, but there was a hand gently pressing down on her shoulder, pushing the person standing up back down.
“Just keep sitting. It’s fine.” It was still that faint voice; however, it was very calming.
Xiang Rong looked up at that person. The person’s formerly clean white clothes had become soaked from going outside to save her. His hair was also soaked; however, he did not lose his refined appearance. She could not control herself, and tears filled her eyes. In a timid manner, she spoke up using a voice that could barely be heard, “Your Highness the seventh prince.”
This person was Xuan Tian Hua. He helped Xiang Rong sit down before moving his hand from her shoulder. He then sat across from her and ignored that he was wet. Frowning slightly, he asked her: “Where are you going?”
Before waiting for Xiang Rong to reply, Yu Qian Yin, who was sitting to the side, suddenly said: “It’s you? Third young miss of the Feng family?” She then looked out the window and asked: “Where is the Bu family’s general? Is he not together with you?”
Xiang Rong was stunned and did not know how she should reply to this question. She just looked at Xuan Tian Hua, a hint of resistance appearing in her eyes.
“Answer my question.” Xuan Tian Hua stared at her and said: “Where are you going?”
“Why did you start crying?” Yu Qian Yin’s voice sounded once more. Tilting her head, she looked at Xiang Rong in confusion: “Could it be that you were hurt from the fall just now?” While saying this, she handed over a cloth towel.
Xiang Rong was feeling a little irritated and received the towel, replying: “I did not cry. It’s rain from my hair.” She then replied to Xuan Tian Hua’s question before waiting for Yu Qian Yin to reply: “I am going to the execution stage. Eldest sister will be executed today. I heard that second sister has already gone. I also want to take a look.”
Xuan Tian Hua frowned and asked her: “What’s there to watch with someone getting killed?”
Xiang Rong put down the towel and calmly said: “There’s nothing really not worth watching. Your Highness, where are you going? If we are going the same way, just send me there. If we’re going in different directions, just let me out. I can go on my own.”
Xuan Tian Hua shook his head and gently sighed. This child was no longer the same as before. He could not remember when he had first met Xiang Rong, but in his memory, she always followed behind Feng Yu Heng, and she had a timid appearance. Whenever she saw him, her face would turn red, and she would not dare to speak. Afterward, he became relatively familiar with her, and it was mostly because of Feng Yu Heng. He had acted to protect this girl a few times, but there had not been any further interaction. That was why he did not know when this girl had become like this. Losing her former timidness, it was replaced by her current bold stubbornness. Her eyes seemed to be a bit more resolute. She had been born with an appearance that was slightly similar to Feng Yu Heng. Now that she was like this, she seemed to look a bit like Feng Yu Heng.
Xuan Tian Hua looked at her for a while and did not say anything aside from: “We were just about to go to the execution stage. We will bring you over.”
Xiang Rong clearly replied: “Thank you.” She then leaned back in the carriage and slightly closed her eyes, not making a sound.
Yu Qian Yin sat at Xuan Tian Hua’s side and spoke to him about how Xiang Rong had fallen off of the bridge only to be saved by the Bu family’s general. As she spoke, she said to Xiang Rong: “I heard that you became engaged to that general from the Bu family? Congratulations, congratulations! Just look at how you fell from the bridge, and he happened to come and save you. This truly is fate. Don’t you think so?”
Xuan Tian Hua did not react. It did not seem that there was any change in his mood. Xiang Rong was the same. She continued to lean back with her eyes closed, taking a nap. It was as though Yu Qian Yin’s words were spoken into a bundle of cotton. There was no response, and there was no stir.
The carriage quickly advanced, and they arrived very quickly at the stage of the execution. The driver outside lifted the curtain of the carriage slightly and said to Xuan Tian Hua: “Your Highness, it’s raining too hard outside. There’s no possibility of observing the execution. There is a restaurant across from the execution location. How about we go to that restaurant to grab a spot near the window. We will still be able to see from there.”
Xuan Tian Hua nodded, “That’s good.”
The carriage moved a little further forward then stopped. The person outside brought out an umbrella. Xuan Tian Hua was the first to get out, and Yu Qian Yin followed behind him, waiting for him to reach out and help her; however, Xuan Tian Hua reached in and said to Xiang Rong: “Give me your hand.”
Xiang Rong was stunned for a moment then reached out without any hesitation. Xuan Tian Hua carefully helped her out of the carriage before informing the servant: “Help the Yu girl out.” Saying this, he pulled Xiang Rong into the restaurant.
This restaurant had been opened across from the site of the execution. Perhaps it was because the restaurant had been opened in anticipation of earning money from people coming to observe the execution, but the shopkeeper was excited whenever there was an execution. He originally thought that even if there was an execution today, nobody would come and watch given the heavy rain; however, who knew that such a noble customer would come.
The seventh prince, Xuan Tian Hua’s appearance was very famous. Anyone in the capital that was a little bit interested would be able to recognize him. He was a little confused to see the seventh prince help a girl out of his carriage. For a while, this shopkeeper did not dare recognize this person.
Xiang Rong seemed to have realized that this was improper and moved her arm, quickly removing it from his grasp. Xuan Tian Hua did not say much and just walked up the stairs. Yu Qian Yin glanced at Xiang Rong then quickly followed. Xiang Rong asked the shopkeeper: “I want a spot on the second floor next to the window that will allow me to see the execution stage.”
The shopkeeper was stunned, “You did not come together?”
Xiang Rong shook her head, “No.”
The shopkeeper felt a little troubled: “There are two rooms that are best for seeing the execution stage. One of them was already occupied. The remaining one…” He pointed at the group of people that had just gone upstairs: “All that remains are the scattered seats outside. You see…”
“Then I’ll take one of those.” Xiang Rong did not say anything else and went up the stairs. Being completely soaked, she shivered from the cold wind. She hurried the shopkeeper: “Give me a pot of hot tea first.”
Just as this was said, someone upstairs shouted: “Third young miss, quickly come up. We have hot tea here.”
She felt that this voice was very familiar and looked up. There, she saw WangChuan waving to her. Xiang Rong rejoiced and increased her pace, rushing over to Wang Chuan, anxiously asking: “Is second sister also here?”
Wang Chuan nodded, pulling her into the private room. Sure enough, she saw Feng Yu Heng sitting inside. She was drinking tea and munching on sunflower seeds. Seeing her stand there in shock, Feng Yu heng helplessly waved to her: “Come here.”
Only then did Xiang Rong recover and quickly walk in. Going directly to a cup, she poured herself some tea and downed a mouthful.
Feng Yu Heng helplessly shook her head then informed Huang Quan: “Go to the ready-made clothing store next door and buy some clothes for third young miss.” She then pointed out the window and said to Xiang Rong: “Look, Feng Chen Yu has already arrived.”
Sure enough, in the direction that she pointed, there was a prison carriage slowly arriving. There was a person inside with scattered hair and a set of prison clothes that stuck to her body thanks to the rain. Looking from far away, it was possible to see a trace of grace in her body.
“Was Feng Jin Yuan on the verge of crying?” Feng Yu Heng smiled and picked up a pork shoulder up from the plate on the table, “The daughter that he loved the most is about to be executed, and the manner of execution is being cut at the waist. I fear that he must be causing a fuss back at the manor, right?”
Xiang Rong nodded, “It’s not just a fuss. I just don’t understand. In his heart, is eldest sister the only one that is his daughter, and the rest of us were just picked up?”
Feng Yu Heng laughed, “I really do hope that I was just picked up.” She waved her hand and had no intention of saying more. At this time, Huang Quan had returned.
“There aren’t any good clothes that could be bought at the ready-made clothes shop. Third young miss, just make do with this for now. It would be better than wearing those wet clothes.” Huang Quan was very thorough and had even purchased underclothes.
Xiang Rong, however, asked Feng Yu Heng: “How much longer until the execution?”
Feng Yu Heng said: “Soon.”
“Then I will get changed after watching.” Her eyes were resolute, and she stared firmly at the stage. She was unwilling to look away for even an instant.
Feng Yu heng nodded and had Huang Quan put the clothes to the side. The few then gathered around the window to look outside together.
It was said to be soon, but there were still procedures that had to be completed. Upon arriving at the stage, the criminal’s identification number first needed to be reported. Their body would then be examined. Their eight characters would then be written on a small sign and stuck to their body. Only then could the criminal be brought onto the stage.
Execution by being cut at the waist required a very large tool, and it looked like a door frame made of wood, as it stood tall on the execution stage. At the top, there was a blade dangling. The arch faced down, and it was very sharp. The two sides of the blade were held up by ropes, and the ropes were held down by two large rocks. It was clear that the blade was extremely heavy. Without two rocks holding them down, it would be impossible to hold the blade up. During the execution, the criminal would be placed facing down on the chopping block under the blade. After making sure that the waist was under the blade, with instructions from the executioner, the two rocks would be moved, and the heavy blade would fall straight down. Like cutting a dumpling, it would cut the person below into two parts. The person that had just been executed would not die immediately. For a moment, they would remain conscious. The executioner would then bring the criminal’s lower half up to the front for the criminal to see. This provocation would take the last breath from the criminal. Only then would they be completely dead.
This was the first time Feng Yu Heng had seen this sort of execution. There was nothing that she feared. She just felt that it was a bit fresh. Xiang Rong trembled slightly. It was unclear whether it was from fear or the cold, but her gaze was unwilling to move the entire time.
Feng Yu Heng propped her chin on both her hands and continued to watch. At this time, Xuan Tian Ming happened to look up at her. Their eyes met, and she happily waved down at him, mouthing: “Hi!”
Xuan Tian Ming did not understand what “hi” meant, but he knew that it was a greeting, thus he turned his head and gave an order to Bai Ze. Bai Ze then covered himself in a cloak and headed toward the restaurant.
Not long later, he moved to the second floor. In front of the private room’s door, he said to Feng Yu Heng: “Princess, his Highness said that he has not eaten all morning. He asks that princess leave a little later, and to eat with him here.” While saying this, he looked at the pork shoulder in Feng Yu Heng’s hand and said: “His Highness also said it looks like the pork shoulder that you are eating was quite nice, and he wanted this subordinate to bring some back for him.”
Feng Yu Heng rolled her eyes. So he had been sent to take her delicious food. Very reluctantly, she had Bai Ze take the remaining pork shoulder away along with the plate. When she turned back around, she expressed her displeasure with Xuan Tian Ming. At this time, she heard Wang Chuan say: “It seems that it’s about to begin.”
Their attention was drawn back onto the execution stage. They saw that Feng Chen Yu had already been held down on the chopping block, She continued to struggle, and someone used a long rope to tie her down, making her completely unable to move.
Immediately following this, they saw Xuan Tian Ming write some things on the sign for a while. Just as it was about time for the execution, he suddenly flashed a sinister smile toward Feng Yu Heng. He then gave a forceful order to carry out the execution, using his inner strength to shout: “Execute!”
The word “execute” penetrated the sounds of the heavy rain in all directions. Even the people on the second floor of the restaurant could hear it clearly.
Following the order, the large blade that had been hanging there was finally let loose. Falling at an extremely quick rate. With a “thunk” the girl below was cut into two parts!