Chapter 56 – The good fortune that came was somewhat rotten
The person who passed by outside wasn't just any random person, it was Xi Ning, who had just gone to prepare food for Chu Qing-Yan.
"You-Your Highness, do you have any instructions?" Xi Ning stammeringly said as she was intimidated by Xiao Xu's powerful aura.
Xi Ning's hand was trembling, which made the lid of the porcelain container she was holding jump up and down, making a 'clinking' sound. Xiao Xu wrinkled his eyebrows, looking at the pot of congee, "Is your family's master awake?”
Xi Ning immediately affirmed it, saying, "Master has just woken up. This servant was just about to bring this pot of congee to Master."
Xiao Xu said, "Then go."
Xi Ning didn't know His Highness's meaning, fortunately, she was usually quick-witted and immediately followed after him.
Turning left then right, very quickly, they arrived at a room.
Chu Qing-Yan originally was resting with her eyes closed. When she heard sounds in the next instant, she guessed that Xi Ning had returned. She expanded a great deal of effort to open her eyes and didn't think that the first thing to come into view from the curtain was the corner of a black-colored sleeve. She was slightly dazed as a cold and clear cut voice like jade stone rang softly beside her ear, "Awake?"
This familiar voice made her lose her senses for a split second. These several days, she was lethargic and muddle-headed. She felt as if her own life was like duckweed rising and falling. If not for that voice, at the moment when she was about to sink down, it would suddenly pull her up. Perhaps, if she continued to sleep like that, she would probably never see the light again.
"En." Chu Qing-Yan answered in a low voice. Having not spoken for several days, her voice was hoarse beyond recognition.
Xiao Xu, having heard this, couldn't help but frown. Still, he didn't say anything, rather, he just glanced at Xi Ning. When Xi Ning suddenly received His Highness's meaningful glance, she subconsciously shivered. Afterwards, she realized his meaning and immediately carried over the congee to her family's master.
After arranging her master to lean on the bed post, she then carefully opened the lid of the pot and ladled out a scoop to feed her master.
Maybe it was because His Highness was staring on the side, the fear that came from Xi Ning's heart caused the spoon she was holding to tremble endlessly. Before the congee even reached Master's lips, a lot of it had already spilled out. Xi Ning wanted to cry but she lacked the tears. The fear of His Highness that came from within her bones, even though she wanted to control it, she couldn't.
Chu Qing-Yan also felt something was wrong with Xi Ning. Just when she was about to lift her own hand to feed herself, that certain somebody on the side who exuded cold air opened his mouth, "You can withdraw first."
Xi Ning looked as if she had been granted amnesty and immediately put down the congee, turned around and went out. Before departing, she cast self-blaming tearful eyes at her own master.
The corner of Chu Qing-Yan's mouth twitched. If you really think that leaving me here doesn't fulfil the code of sisterhood, then don't run out so quickly ah!
The sound of chair scraping against the floor rang out, and when Chu Qing-Yan puzzlingly looked towards the source of the sound, she saw a scene that horrified her.
That aloof and remote Prince Ying had unexpectedly lifted up that pot of congee and sat down beside her. It looked like he planned to take over the task Xi Ning didn't finish. But this scene, she never thought about it nor dared to imagine it. The image of such a down-to-earth Highness was too beautiful that she didn't dare look! Because she would think that she was hallucinating.
However, the hallucination very quickly became reality.
Because the spoonful of scalding hot congee was stiffly stuffed into her own mouth just like that, Chu Qing-Yan's face revealed it really was too hot ah!
This time her body was tormented by the highly toxic poison until it was weak from head to toe, and only her mouth was left that was able to move. Chu Qing-Yan couldn't stand this hot congee and directly spat it out.
But once she spat it out, Chu Qing-Yan immediately regretted it. The noble person before her was a prince, and it wasn't easy for him to lay down his noble identity to take care of her. This was already an enormous honor, but was met with such a reaction from her. She reckoned he'd fling his sleeves and leave! Thinking like this, she couldn't help but steal a look at the person before her.
Just as expected, Xiao Xu's face already had the trend of darkening.
Chu Qing-Yan's heart was full of grief and bitterness as she hurriedly explained, "I didn't do it on purpose, it's too hot."
Only then did Xiao Xu notice her slightly red and swollen lips. He estimated it was from being scalded just now and turned red. His complexion eased slightly soon after, and he then looked at the congee in his hands, seemingly waiting for it to cool down.
He could wait for it, but her stomach couldn't wait ah. So, she couldn't help but purse her lips and suggested, "You can blow on it."
Xiao Xu glanced at her with his deep pair of eyes. Chu Qing-Yan inwardly commented about this look, this king had laid down his status to take care of you, and you actually dare to give him orders? Chu Qing-Yan blushed with shame for her moment of brain fart.
Although Xiao Xu didn't make a sound, he really did do what she said, placing the congee before him and blowing on it before giving it to Chu Qing-Yan again.
But good things didn't last forever, His Highness Prince Ying who never had any experience of taking care of people, either he didn't have a good grasp of the amount of strength, or he filled the spoon too full. This caused Chu Qing-Yan's teeth to almost be knocked out or almost choke to death on the food.
Half of the congee in the pot still hadn't been fed to her and Chu Qing-Yan already felt like she had been tossed not-so-lightly. She feared that if this continued, she, who did not die from Mandara, would have half of her life gone from being tossed around by him. In order to save what remained of half of her life, she felt that she needed to give him some suggestions.
"Your Highness, it's better for Qing-Yan to do it herself!" As she was saying this, she lifted her hand and was about to take the spoon from his hand.
Xiao Xu's hand slightly avoided hers, and his pair of eyes looked at her in a lonely manner, "You are certain you have the strength now?"
"I——" Chu Qing-Yan choked, and at this moment, her hand chose the wrong time to become limp.
"If you still have the strength to talk, better save that strength to eat." After saying this, a big spoonful of congee was stuffed into her mouth again.
Chu Qing-Yan's eyes gleamed with tears as she looked at this big spoon before her, suddenly, she even had thoughts of wanting to die.
Having gone through 81 difficulties (1), it took a full hour to feed her this pot of congee that couldn't be considered a lot. The person that should have eaten her full and be filled with strength seemed to have gone through a battle in deep water and scorching fire. Her whole body laid limp on the bed, taking big gasps of air. Seeing Xiao Xu take back his hand, she was almost moved to tears from gratitude. Finally finished eating, it was simply a catastrophe alright? Maybe right now, even the skin on her lips was already broken.
As if he hadn't noticed Chu Qing-Yan's expression of having fled for her life from a huge catastrophe, Xiao Xu looked at the completely empty bowl with satisfaction, and stood up after putting down the bowl, telling Chu Qing-Yan, "Take a good rest, if there's anything you need, let the girl who’s serving you and Hong Yi know."
Chu Qing-Yan hurriedly nodded, wishing she could immediately send off this deity.
Perhaps it was because he was in a good mood, that Xiao Xu didn't discover the difference in her. If it was like normal, he would definitely tease her with a few words. He called the servants to attend to her and immediately left with large strides.
Xi Ning was summoned into the room and saw her master laying on the bed with an expression of wanting to swallow her, and she made her face look as virtuous as possible and laughed mischievously, "Master, is there anywhere else you don't feel comfortable?"
"My heart doesn't feel comfortable." After Xiao Xu left, Chu Qing-Yan immediately resumed her true face, and rolled her eyes at her, "You still have the nerve after shrinking back as battle approaches? Leaving me alone to face His Highness?"
"His Highness's aura is too strong, this servant can't stand it ah!" Since following her master, Xi Ning had also learned a word or two.
Chu Qing-Yan coldly snorted. Actually, in her heart, she was very clear on the fact that other people regarded Xiao Xu with fear. She couldn't help but wave her hand and let this girl go, after all, she was only joking with her.
Perhaps to other people, being able to obtain Prince Ying's care was like a blessing earned from a previous life, but the way she saw it, it was a bit horrible. On the contrary, she hoped that this was just a whim for Xiao Xu, from now on, she'd rather he not lay down his noble status, because she couldn't bear it!
Or else this little life of hers wouldn't be enough for him to toss around.
Chu Qing-Yan didn't guess wrong, the first time was indeed a spur of the moment interest for Xiao Xu. However, following this wouldn't be as simple as a whim.
1) The 81 difficulties: This refers to the Journey to the West where the priest with his disciples, including the monkey king, had to undergo 81 difficulties/tests to get to India to retrieve the true Buddha's teaching/scriptures.