Mysterious Wooden Box
There was water on the deck. The little girl tried a couple times but was unable to get up. The bearded man waved his whip once more and was about to strike the girl’s body.
Suddenly, the man felt his vision blur, as it seemed that something flashed past his eyes then disappeared. His whip missed and fiercely struck the deck of the ship, and the girl slave had disappeared.
The sound of the whip striking the deck was very loud and brought the owner of the ship out. The old man shouted: “Do you want to die? This boat is on a river. If you broke it with your whip, the first one that I send to feed the fishes will be you!”
The bearded man was a very stern master. Upon hearing the owner of the boat speak so impolitely, he raised his whip without a single word and was about to whip him.
With such a scene unfolding, the boatmen also became unhappy. They all rushed forward to tug at him. In addition to this, other passengers that were enjoying the show began to criticize the bearded man. Not long later, the bearded man stopped. He also knew what it meant to ruin the deck of a boat. But he very quickly recalled the reason for him accidentally whipping the deck. Thus he quickly looked around and finally stopped in a certain location. He just saw a young girl around 12 or 13 years in age asking her slave all kinds of things. At her side was a man that wore a bamboo hat. For some reason, he felt that this person in the bamboo hat was staring at him, and this stare was causing him to feel chilly.
“Hmph!” He calmed himself down and angrily snorted to give himself confidence. He took a few steps forward then loudly said: “What great courage! There were actually robbers on this boat? That is my slave. Why have you stolen her away?” At first, he wanted to curse and insult, but the ugly words that had reached his lips could not be spoken. A feeling of danger assaulted his mind. His intuition told him that once those words were spoken, they would immediately get him killed. But the slave belonged to him. He had not done anything wrong, thus he should once more: “You little slut! Get back here!”
The little girl trembled in fear but still walked uncontrollably toward the bearded man. She was a slave. Her slave contract was in his hands. What could she do if she did not go back?
But after taking just two steps, Feng Yu Heng grabbed her hand and tugged her back a little, causing the girl to go back to her.
The bearded man saw it clearly and asked in dissatisfaction: “What exactly are you doing?”
Feng Yu Heng gave Wang Chuan a look, and Wang Chuan immediately raised her voice to say: “Do you not have eyes? We are inspecting the goods!”
“Inspecting the goods?”
“You don’t say!” Huang Quan cursed: “Aren’t you a slave seller? We want to buy this girl. We naturally need to inspect the goods to see if she is well-behaved or not.”
When that person heard that they were buying a slave, he immediately put on a smiling face. Taking a few more steps forward, he began to market this slave. Feng Yu Heng was annoyed from hearing this and brought the girl back to her room. Xuan Tian Ming ordered: “Buy her.” He then followed her in, leaving Huang Quan and Wang Chuan to complete the deal with the bearded man.
When the three entered the room, Xuan Tian Ming immediately closed the door behind him. He then heard Feng Yu Heng immediately ask the girl: “Quickly tell elder sister. Where did you get this red string on your wrist?”
There was a red string tied to the girl’s wrist. It looked very normal, and even the bearded man did not pay any attention to it. If the little girl wore it, she wore it. But Feng Yu Heng recognized it. That red string was something that she had brought out of her space. Zi Rui felt that it was pretty and decided to wear it on his wrist. That string was not something from this era. She trusted that it was impossible to find this sort of thing in this era. But because it was already very dirty, it was hard to notice without looking carefully.
The little girl was a little afraid and shyly tried to hide. At this time, Wang Chuan’s voice came from outside: “Master, the purchase has been completed.”
Xuan Tian Ming opened the door and received the slave contract. After closing the door once more, she raised it to the girl: “We have already purchased you. From this moment forward, we are you masters. When a master asks, you had best answer!”
The little girl heard that she had already been purchased and looked at Feng Yu Heng. She suddenly realized that being with this elder sister would be much better than being with that bearded man. But she was still uncertain and asked: “Will you beat me? Will you starve me?”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “I will not. As long as you tell the truth, you will live a life similar to the other servants. You just need to work hard.”
The little girl let out a sigh of relief before revealing the origin of this red string: “The bearded man locked me up for three days at the dock to try and sell me. On the second day, that would be two days ago, another group came by. One person in that group was carrying a large cage with a black cloth covering it. When that cage was passing by me, the cloth was lifted by the wind, and I saw a younger brother inside. He also saw me, but the black cloth fell down very quickly. I could no longer see him, but a red string fell from the cage.” The girl pointed at her wrist while speaking: “I felt that it was pretty and put it on. The bearded man looked at it once but saw that it was just a piece of string, thus he did not care about it.”
The little girl was speaking about someone else’s matters, but when she spoke about the boy in the cage, an unbearable expression appeared on her face, saying: “That little brother was quite pitiful. The space inside the cage was very small. It must be very uncomfortable being locked up inside there.”
The more that Feng Yu Heng heard, the more her heart ached. Hearing that the inside of the cage was very small, she was practically about to have a mental break down. Xuan Tian Ming held her shoulder and repeatedly said: “Calm down, calm down.” He then asked the girl: “Did that group get on the boat? Did you see them?”
The girl nodded, “I saw them. They also got on the boat. They left two days ago.”
They did not continue to ask. Xuan Tian Ming personally sent the girl next door to live with Huang Quan. When he returned, he said to Feng Yu Heng: “A boatman just came and said that the wind on the river was extremely strong for the entire day. The wind was blowing from North to South, and this should buy us a bit of time. It should at least reduce the gap by half a day. The situation in Qing Zhou has already been arranged. Once the boat docks, it will be difficult for them to escape.”
With things as they were, aside from trusting Qing Zhou’s side to capture them, there was nothing else that could be done. Feng Yu Heng was a little tired, and the fire that burned inside her chest was a little uncomfortable. She simply returned to her space to take a bath. When she came out, Xuan Tian Ming was holding a few steamed buns and wondering how he should eat.
“What is it?” She asked, “Where did these steamed buns come from?”
Xuan Tian Ming said: “A boatman delivered them. They are considered our dinner. Apparently, this is the dinner for the elegant rooms. Apparently, the average rooms have a congee that is basically water. The people down below did not get anything, and they can only eat the dry food that they brought.” While saying this, he pinched the steamed bun in his hand then pulled it open: “It’s hard like a rock, and the filling looks most likely to be rotten cabbage.”
Feng Yu Heng helplessly shook her head, “Quickly put it down. I will go and boil some noodles inside my space. Call Huang Quan and them over in a bit to eat a little. Also, call the comrades up. Just squeeze into the two rooms and eat a bowl of noodles.”
Xuan Tian Ming nodded and watched her enter her space. Only then did he go out to inform the hidden guard keeping watch outside, telling him to tell everyone to gather in the two rooms to eat.
Feng Yu Heng had a lot of hand-made noodles inside her space. They were all prepared by the chef at the manor. She saw that they were good and placed a large amount inside her space, and these things would not automatically replenish. After eating it, it would disappear. Not even ten bowls of noodles could be prepared. Fortunately, there were other noodles in the space to begin with. This supply was one that could never be exhausted. After boiling one pot, she brought out bowl after bowl, bringing out a total of 20 bowls.
Very quickly, the hidden guards gathered in the two rooms. Faced with the noodles that their imperial daughter had brought out of who-knew-where, these people did not ask. Either way, everything that the imperial daughter provided was good. With this fragrant aroma coming from the noodles, who would still want to eat the food provided by the boat.
Everyone held their noodles and ate happily. Feng Yu Heng also brought out some meat patties that had been prepared beforehand and placed them before everyone. There were not many patties, and they were also made by the chef. After cutting them up, everyone was able to get half of a patty.
The little girl that had been bought was truly dazed. She had never eaten anything good in this life. For a while, she did not dare move her chopsticks.
Huang Quan saw that she did not eat and asked out of confusion: “Are you not hungry?”
Wang Chuan was speechless. Could she not be hungry? This child’s eyes were about to turn red. She did not dare to eat, thus she stuffed the chopsticks into her hand and told her: “Eat. If you follow our young miss, you will be able to live a happy life.”
Only then did the little girl dare to eat the noddles. Once she began eating, she began to wolf it down. She ate even faster than the guys. After eating the noodles, she ate the meat patty. Her small face regained a bit of color, as she told Wang Chuan: “I have not eaten anything for three days. Three days earlier, even if I did eat, it would only be one meal a day, and it would be a watery congee.” After saying this, it was as though she had recalled something. Turning her head, she asked Feng Yu Heng: “Elder sister… not, it’s young miss. Are you going to save that poor younger brother?”
Feng Yu Heng looked at her: “Why do you ask this?”
The little girl quickly said: “He is really pitiful. Young miss, save him. I can take care of him. After saving him, I definitely will not cause young miss any trouble.”
Feng Yu Heng felt choked up, turning her head away and remaining silent. Wang Chuan held the child’s head and told her: “Don’t worry. We will definitely save him.”
After everyone finished eating, they quickly left. Wang Chuan wanted to stay and help with washing the dishes, but Feng Yu Heng did not allow her to. She went into her space on her own and washed them. She then brought out her blankets from the space.
Perhaps it was because she was too tired, but she enjoyed a very deep sleep that night. She only felt Xuan Tian Ming brushed her hair a few times before she fell into a deep sleep.
She went the entire night without a single dream; however, when she woke up at dawn, the sky was still white with fog. Xuan Tian Ming suddenly sat up in bed and listened to the movements outside.
Feng Yu Heng was shocked by him and casually asked: “What is it?”
At this time, Ban Zou’s voice came from outside: “Your Highness, master.”
“Come in.” Xuan Tian Ming spoke up directly.
Ban Zou pushed the door open and entered. Arriving in front of the two, he handed over a small wooden box, “This subordinate just went to pass water, and when I returned, this small box was placed in front of the door.” Ban Zou was a little annoyed. He had only left for a moment, yet this sort of thing happened. If someone had tried to attack, he really would have lost his life.
Suddenly, a feeling of horror appeared. Feng Yu Heng held her chest and stared at this wooden box.
Xuan Tian Ming already realized that something was off and partially turned to block Feng Yu Heng. He then opened the box to take a look. Ban Zou was given a fright, fearing that there would be some sort of hidden weapon or poison, he was about to move forward to block for Xuan Tian Ming; however, Xuan Tian Ming suddenly moved a hand from the back to accurately cover Feng Yu Heng’s eyes, saying in a low voice: “Don’t look.”