Chapter Seventy-Four: Henpecked
The people behind bars saw Yan Jin Qiu appear, and terror rose in their eyes. It was as though the one who came in was not a handsome nobleman but a soul reaper from hell.
A manservant who had been committing torture hurriedly threw away the whip dripping with blood when he saw Yan Jin Qiu appear, and went forward to bow.
The manservant behind Yan Jin Qiu quickly set up a table and a chair, and then stood behind Yan Jin Qiu with his gaze focused in one spot. He seemed to not smell the rot and blood filling the prison.
“Has someone confessed?” Yan Jin Qiu raised his teacup and idly blew on the steam coming off. Then he took a sip and said, “Last time, you managed to let someone escape and even caused Wang Fei to be wounded. Ben wang is very unhappy right now.”
The manservant who guarded the jail changed expression. He knelt down, ignoring the dirty water on the ground, but did not dare to raise his head to plead for mercy.
The room became silent. Yan Jin Qiu swept his eyes across the manservants. He brushed the cover of the teacup across the surface. A moment later, he pointed to two manservants kneeling in the corner. “Take them away.”
The two manservants wanted to speak out and plead for mercy, but their mouths were gagged and they were pulled away.
“Do not act in front of ben wang.” Yan Jin Qiu put down the teacup. His eyes became sharp. “Whoever is tired of living, ben wang doesn’t mind sending them on their journey.”
If Xi Wan had not been clever last time, he didn’t know how much trouble would have been caused. He didn’t know how much Hua Xi Wan knew, but she had not asked questions in the past few days. She wasn’t curious about the secret under his study, as though she had really been the target of an assassination and did not hear any secrets regarding him.
He had thought about the responses Hua Xi Wan might have, like fury, curiosity, or dislike of him. But all of his guesses missed. This surprised him, and also pleased him. There were countless women in the world, but only she was so special in his eyes.
“Since these people are not willing to confess, then they do not have to speak. There’s no use for their tongues,” Yan Jin Qiu said with a cold smile. “These people prey on my Xian Wang Fu being weak; ben wang naturally has to treat them well.”
A while later, screams came from the prison. He looked on coldly. When the servant presented the cut off tongues in front of him, he glanced over the bloodied tongues. “Since these are things that came off them, then they should take care of them. Ben wang hopes that by the next visit, these people will have confessed in writing. Otherwise, their hands are useless.”
The ones who had their tongues cut off rolled on the ground in pain. When they heard his words, they didn’t dare to move. They retreated to the corners and trembled. When their tongues were thrown in front of them, their terror reached a peak. They covered their heads and didn’t dare to look.
Walking out of the underground prison, Yan Jin Qiu bathed before walking towards the main yard with his hair down. When he walked into Hua Xi Wan’s room, the nurse was changing the dressing for Hua Xi Wan. Seeing him come in, everyone in the room bowed.
“There’s no need for courtesy.” Yan Jin Qiu walked next to Hua Xi Wan, still slightly damp, and carefully lifted her arm. Before, he had only seen Hua Xi Wan when her arm had already been bandaged. Only now did he see how deep the wound was.
While it h
ad been a few days, the wound was still swollen. It was the length of a hand and seemed exceptionally ugly on that pale and perfect arm. The thread sewing the wound shut had been dyed by blood into a red-black color. The original color could not be seen. However, he felt great pain just looking at it.
His hand that held the arm trembled slightly. Yan Jin Qiu felt a heavy weight on his chest. “Does it still hurt?”
No wonder she had not had a good sleep these past nights. The wound was so painful—how could she have a peaceful sleep?
“It’s all right.” Hua Xi Wan used her unhurt right hand to caress his wet hair. “It is cold right now. How is it that you came with wet hair? Quick, dry it off.”
Mu Tong perceptively handed over a clean towel. Yan Jin Qiu waved him aside when he came to serve, and took the towel himself. “Just now, I had some mud on my body. I was worried it would come into contact with your wound, so I came after washing. How come the wound is so red?”
“Wang Ye, do not worry. Wang Fei’s wound is deep, and it is possible for it to be swollen at the start. But if she rests well, it will not look so shocking when the dressing is changed next time.” The nurse spoke carefully. “Please, Wang Ye, do not worry. This subject is preparing to change Wang Fei’s dressing.”
Yan Jin Qiu saw the bowl in the nurse’s hand that contained a dark green medicinal liquid. It did not smell noxious. He put down the towel in his hand and carefully lifted up Hua Xi Wan’s left arm with both of his hands. He ordered, “Be careful, and do not cause pain for Wang Fei.”
After the medicine was put on, and the bandages wrapped, the nurse saw that Xian Wang’s brow was tightly locked. She thought that he was displeased with the conduct of the Imperial Hospital and explained, “While the stitches on the wound appear frightening, they are beneficial for Wang Fei’s wound to heal. In a few more days, the grand doctor will come to take the stitches out. Wang Ye, please do not object.”
“Ben wang understands. Everyone in the Imperial Hospital has worked hard.” Yan Jin Qiu was worried about Hua Xi Wan’s wound, but he would not vent his displeasure on a nurse who did not have any status. After calling for a servant to see the nurse out, he sighed before saying to Hua Xi Wan, “You did not have to do this.”
“Since I decided to do it, then I have to do it well. Otherwise, the losses outweigh the gains.” Hua Xi Wan thought of the faithful and intelligent Bai Xia and Hong Ying. She said, “Let them take good care of Bai Xia and Hong Ying. While they cannot be looked after by the grand doctor due to their status, still the medicine from the Imperial Hospital can be given to them, and a good doctor in Jing can be found.”
“I have had people already take care of your two maids. Mu Tong has also arranged for a few young servant girls to serve them. Do not worry about this.” Yan Jin Qiu gripped her hand lightly. “This matter has caused you to suffer.”
“Husband and wife are one. If something happens to you, will I be untouched?” Hua Xi Wan reached to touch his half-dried hair. “Dry your hair more. It will not be good if you get sick.”
Yan Jin Qiu pressed a light kiss to the back of her hand. “If I am sick, I do not have to deal with the matters of the court.”
As expected, on the next day, news that Xian Wang was ill came out of Xian Wang Fu. Some said that Xian Wang was truly in love with Xian Wang Fei, taking care of her day and night, and causing him to fall ill. Some said that Xian Wang was angry and hurt that such a terrible thing had happened in his home, and it caused him to fall ill.
But no matter how anyone else speculated, the grand doctor who went to take Xian Wang’s pulse confirmed that Xian Wang was truly ill, and was not just pretending in order to trick the outside world.
Looking at Xian Wang Fei who was talking as she sat on the side of the bed with her wounded arm, and using her other uninjured arm to tuck in the blanket for Xian Wang, the grand doctor sighed inside and then bent his head to write a prescription.
“Wang Fei, Wang Ye has become ill due to being too tired and having an evil wind enter his body. He should not go outside or be cold in the next few days. After drinking medicine and sweating it out, there will be no major problems.”
“Thank you for your trouble.” Hua Xi Wan nodded politely to the grand doctor and had Mu Tong personally see the other out of the fu. Then she turned and glared at Yan Jin Qiu who lay obediently on the bed. “I told you to dry your hair. You didn’t listen to me. Now you are ill and in discomfort.”
Yan Jin Qiu obediently pulled his blanket up as he was being glared at by his wang fei. He covered his chin, and blinked his eyes to show he was innocent.
“Do not pretend to be adorable. Your face is red—there is nothing adorable.” Hua Xi Wan exasperatedly reached out to touch his scorching forehead and called a servant to bring wine. She used her uninjured hand to wipe him all over, and when she was wiping his behind, she couldn’t resist slapping it, which gave off a crisp sound.
Yan Jin Qiu: “…”
He felt that he didn’t have any respect left as a husband.
The smell of the alcohol on his body was slightly nasty. He sniffed and wanted to speak, but then saw Hua Xi Wan’s cold eyes.
In the end, he silently pulled the blanket to cover himself and tried to make it so that no air made it inside the blanket.
She ordered the servants to open two windows far away from Yan Jin Qiu. He was sick, and yet they had the doors and windows covered tightly. Did they want to incubate the virus in the room?
Silently watching as Hua Xi Wan ordered the servants, and seeing two of his windows opened and the coal basin nearest to him moved away, Yan Jin Qiu strangely felt better. This was probably his most novel experience of being ill.
When he had been ill in childhood, the people around him had comforted him and spoiled him. Then he had inherited the wang fu and was rarely ill. When he was ill, the people serving him trembled and didn’t dare to breathe.
This time… other than getting his behind slapped, all of the other experiences were not bad.
“The coal basin should not be put too close to a person; it is not good for the throat.” Hua Xi Wan saw that there was sweat already gathering at his nose tip and said, “First sweat it out. You’ll feel much better after having a sweat.”
While Yan Jin Qiu felt uncomfortable because of the stickiness of his body, he was docile as he saw Hua Xi Wan’s expression of concern. Gradually, drowsiness rose.
“Sleep for a while. When the medicine is done, I will wake you.”
Forcing himself to remain awake, Yan Jin Qiu said, “You should return to your room to rest. Do not let my illness pass to you.”
“Patients should not worry about this. Go to sleep.” Hua Xi Wan used a handkerchief to wipe the sweat on Yan Jin Qiu’s nose. Seeing him finally unable to resist his drowsiness, she sat for a while before walking to the outside room. Under Zi Shan’s urgings, she drank half a bowl of ginger soup before saying, “Move the soft couch into the room, and be quiet.”
People needed company the most when they were ill. She had married into Xian Wang Fu. No matter how much true emotion Yan Jin Qiu had for her, he had never treated her ill at all. So seeing that he was sick, she felt that she could keep him company.