Zhuge Yue took a deep breath, as he weakly leaned on the bed before grabbing hold of a the piece of exposed wood. Clenching his teeth, he pulled the rod out in one yank! Grimacing in pain, he tried to suppress his groan despite the intense pain. With the foreign object removed, blood spurted out!
Chu Qiao was stunned, as she rushed to press on the gaping laceration to prevent excessive bleeding! The intense pain from the pressure on his wound almost made Zhuge Yue black out. Holding onto his shoulders, Chu Qiao anxiously asked, "How do you feel?"
Ghastly pale and still clenching his teeth, Zhuge Yue replied, "I am fine."
"Do not move, I will dress your wound." Chu Qiao stood up and dashed to the shower room, and before long she returned with a wooden pail. With much agility, she darted on to the bed and nimbly cleaned the wound.
"Inside, there are still a lot of splinters. I need to take them out."
Stunned, Chu Qiao raised her head to look Zhuge Yue in his eyes, and grimly asked, "Are you sure you can bear the pain?"
Zhuge Yue snorted. "Do not waste time!"
Chu Qiao found a dagger and using a flame that she lighted using some liquor, she heated the dagger to disinfect it. Passing a cloth to Zhuge Yue, she advised, "Bite this when you are in pain." Zhuge Yue took it, but did not put it into his mouth and merely held onto it in his uninjured hand.
Chu Qiao spoke no more, as she turned her focus to treating his wound. The wood rod created a wound that was even more deadly than a normal dagger. Even discounting the size of the wound, the laceration from the wood rod had hooked onto his flesh, and the countless splinter made it a future hazard for inflammation and sepsis if not properly picked out. Facing an injury of this caliber, Chu Qiao's hand eventually started to shake.
"Shall we call a doctor?" Chu Qiao bit her lower lip. She was completely aware of how once the doctor arrived, her identity would be exposed, and it would be a miracle if she could escape. The only way for her to survive would be to escape during the time when the doctor just arrived.
Zhuge Yue snatched the dagger over, as he solemnly declared, "If you cannot handle this, I will do this myself." Before he had even finished the sentence, he already began to pick at his own flesh.
"Let me do it! I will do it!" Chu Qiao hurriedly snatched back the dagger. After which, she stared at Zhuge Yue. Zhuge Yue's eyes were half open, and he looked as though it was none of his business. If his unnaturally white complexion did not give away his state of health, one would think that the one injured was not him. Taking a deep breath to steady herself, Chu Qiao continued treating Zhuge Yue.
After six hours, the sun had already begun to rise. Soaked in cold sweat, Chu Qiao dug out the healing medicine from the clothes she had changed out of back when she first arrived at this place. She applied it to Zhuge Yue's wound. Using a clean handkerchief, she dressed his wound, and with that, the treatment was finally completed.
During the entire process, Zhuge Yue did not make a single noise, and Chu Qiao had not spared her attention to look at him either. Now that she was done, she found that he had already fainted, and his forehead was dotted with sweat droplets. Even though fainted, his brows remained locked in a "V" shape. The towel in his hand had already been soaked, and his hair was drenched in sweat as if he had just been submerged in water.
Chu Qiao adjusted him into a sleeping position, as she used a clean moist towel to clean up blood stains and sweat on his body. When she was done, she found a piece of dry cotton cloth which she used to dry his hair.
The sound of rooster's crowing resounded from afar. Servants came to greet Zhuge Yue from outside, but they chuckled and left after hearing Chu Qiao's anxious voice claiming that Zhuge Yue had not woken. Indeed, after that intense night, it was likely that Zhuge Yue would need to rest for one whole day. Anyway, since they were going to remain in Wupeng City for a few days, the guards informed the maidservants not to disturb master.
Returning to the bedside, Chu Qiao saw that Zhuge Yue was still in a deep slumber. Lowering her head, Chu Qiao's face spoke volume of her exhausting night. Observing the sleeping man, her gaze slowly swept along his well-defined eyebrows, his evil-looking eyes, his crimson lips, and his mouth that she had always heard ruthlessly cruel words from.
"We are enemies," Chu Qiao muttered. She herself did not know if these words were for Zhuge Yue or just for herself. She continued, "Officially, I was a slave who betrayed the empire, while you were a noble within the empire. Personally, you killed Linxi, Zhixiang, Xiaoqi, Xiaoba, and many other of my relatives. You also forced me and Yan Xun into our pathetic lives during the eight years in the Capital. I killed your grandfather, your servants, and betrayed the Zhuge Family. Our conflict is one that can never be resolved unless one of us dies. We should have no sympathy for each other, and killing each other is something to be expected..."
Just like she said, it was morally, emotionally, and logically expected. And indeed, before this incident, Chu Qiao had never wavered in her conviction. But for some reason, right now, her voice became smaller and smaller, so much that she herself could no longer hear her mumbling. Looking at the man still grimacing in his sleep, Chu Qiao caressed his wound.
"Regardless of what happened in the past, I owe you my life." Chu Qiao quietly whispered, "Zhuge Yue, I am sorry."
The room was dead quiet, as the morning sun rose, casting the shadows of windows onto the ground. Chu Qiao sat on the side of the bed and leaned over beside Zhuge Yue. An overwhelming wave of exhaustion overtook her conscious, as she nodded off into dreamland.
By the time Zhuge Yue finally drowsily opened his eyes, it was already dark outside. Chu Qiao had already helped him change into a black silk long-sleeved indoor robe. With golden embroideries of orchids, the robe was silky smooth to touch. Feeling hungry and aching all over his body, Zhuge Yue frowned, and irately mumbled, "Tea!"
Chu Qiao poured him a cup of water and passed it to him.
Probably because he was really thirsty, Zhuge Yue gulped it down without even looking at it. Following which, he licked his dried lips before smashing the teacup. He bellowed, "I want tea!" Just as he finished his sentence, he froze, as he finally noticed that Chu Qiao was the one who had passed him the cup. A split second later, he quickly processed the situation.
"Too drowsy?" Without minding him, Chu Qiao got off the bed and picked up the broken pieces of the teacup. Casually, she pointed toward the food tray on the table, and said, "There is food in there, help yourself."
Having just lost his composure, Zhuge Yue took a deep breath to steel himself, only to feel pain from his wound on his shoulder. Still frowning, he questioned, "Why have you not escaped?"
"I want to escape," Chu Qiao pouted, as she turned around. "Your servants surrounded this room, observing you the whole day. How could I escape?"
Zhuge Yue said, "That was frank."
Shrugging, Chu Qiao replied, "Do I really need to sugarcoat my words when speaking with you?"
Cleaning up the mess on the floor, she sat cross-legged and glared at Zhuge Yue. Calmly, she asked, "What do you want? Out with it."
Zhuge Yue looked at her from the corner of his eyes, as he got off his bed and picked up the food on the table. Just as he was about to start eating, the pain in his shoulder prevented him from picking up the food properly. With that, he turned around, and extremely naturally, he instructed, "Come here, feed me."
Chu Qiao frowned but ignored him.
Zhuge Yue sat next to the table and unreasonably claimed, "I am usually in a bad mood when hungry, and would refuse to interact with others. Whatever you want to ask, you should wait until I am full."
Jumping off the bed, Chu Qiao calmly took the bowl of soup. Suddenly, with a loud crash, she smashed it onto the desk. The ceramic bowl shattered, and a large portion of the soup splashed onto Zhuge Yue's chest. With a yelp, Zhuge Yue jumped up, as he stared in horror at the still-steaming wet patch, with food stuck on his clothes like some kind of abhorrent decoration.
Zhuge Yue's face turned black. His eyes looked like he would fly into a rage anytime. He turned to the shower room, as he ordered grimly, "Come here! Wipe my body!"
Shower room? Again?
Still wearing his silk trousers, Zhuge Yue bared his upper body and stood in the middle of the shower room. Looking at Chu Qiao who was still standing by the door, he snorted. "Why are you standing there? Come here!"
Chu Qiao's chest heaved up and down violently. Taking a few deep breaths, she clenched and released her fists a few times to prevent herself from descending into a complete fury. Finally, she walked over while casually picking up a giant wooden pail along the way. She filled it up with steaming hot water and walked toward Zhuge Yue. With her eyes completely cold with anger, even Zhuge Yue could not help but feel chills down his spine. He immediately took a step back and entered a defensive posture, all while carefully asking, "What are you doing?"
Lifting the pail with one hand while supporting the bottom of the pail with the other, Chu Qiao casually replied, "Did you not ask me to wipe down your body for you? If I do not get it wet, how can I start wiping?"
"I am injured!" the young man frowned and emphasized.
"Yes, I know." Chu Qiao nodded earnestly. "That wound was inflicted by me!"
"So you are going to just pour water on it?"
"If I do not wet it, how can I start wiping?"
The conversation started to repeat itself. "But I am injured!"
"Yes, I know. I was the one who injured you."
"Enough!" Zhuge Yue was exasperated. "Get out."
Chu Qiao looked at the wooden pail. "Really? You do not need me to wipe you anymore?"
Zhuge Yue could no longer hold in his anger, as he shouted, "Get out!"
With that, Chu Qiao turned around and while whistling, marched out casually.
Zhuge Yue's body was really dirty, full of blood stains and sweat, and the latest addition was the bowl of sweet soup. Miserably, Zhuge Yue stood beside the water while slowly removing his pants. His only choice to clean himself was to go into the water. As long as he was careful not to let water touch his wound, it would be fine. Else, the wound would risk becoming inflamed, and an inflamed would leave an ugly scar.
"Oi! These are clean clothes that I just asked your servants to bring over."
The shower room's door had been kicked open. Out of reflex, Zhuge Yue jumped into the water, and howled in exasperation, "Get the hell out!" Zhuge Yue had forgotten that due to the steaming hot water, apart from seeing his silhouette jumping into the water in a splash, Chu Qiao could barely see anything else.
Upon seeing the figure jumping into water, Chu Qiao giggled, and reminded him, "Be careful! Do not drown!" Then she left.
Water had already completely soaked the wound. In frustration, Zhuge Yue tore out the dressing, and punched the surface of the water in anger!