Wuxiaworld > EMPEROR AND I > 73 Hot Yet Cold



It was Li Lian's back that jolted her from sleep. She anxiously rubbed it keen to get more rest but when her heavy eyelids faltered about, she saw women and men in light blue robes. This was uniform for people who specialised in medicine so the crew were probably physicians there to treat her.

It was night and they were gathered together, discussing her health. She was not sure whether it was still the same night she woke up to earlier or this was on another day or days later.

"Her vitals are not normal."

"She should be dead with these vitals."

She did not understand what that meant.

A sheen of sweat collected on her forehead, her body unable to bare the pain. She closed her eyes, and sunk deeper into the bed to ease it. She was familiar with the pain but her experience did not lessen it. The torment was probably similar to contractions that women experienced in labor. The pain would strike for a few minutes then disappear before appearing again, more intense.

Because of her fidgeting, the physicians looked back at her, realising she was awake.

"Give me anything to make this pain go away," she begged.

Nobody moved. They stared at her as if she was a piece of meat.

"What are you doing standing there?" she screamed, her voice raw from pain that had no ending. It kept coming in waves, bashing her back with determination to break her. "Do something, please!"

"Young Miss, please calm down. We do not understand anything yet so you will have to withstand the pain." A lady assistant physician approached her. She recognised her to be the older woman who fed her medicine when she pretended to be asleep.

Li Lian flipped over on the bed and ended up lying on her stomach, her hands rubbing her back. The assistant physician did the same to help her out.

"Please!" Li Lian's tears wet the bed. They were treating her this badly because they suspected her identity. Wasn't it? Bloody Nevoria.

"Duibuqi," the lady apologised.

At least she was being sympathetic but sorry was not going to treat her back. Her savage bitter cry echoed in the room as she vigorously hit the bed. She was going to die, she was going to die, she was―

"What is this commotion?"

Li Lian stiffened at the authoratitive voice and coiled away in embarrassment.

'How unrefined?' she could hear Mistress Kei spite her.

"Grand General!" Everyone went on their knees and silence seized the room.

What was she to do? Kneel too? What was worse is her back was toward him.


A maid's back toward a nobleman. Though this wasn't the first time she did this, in this situation it was wrong because other people were around. Watching, and obviously despising her more than they already did.

She delicately shifted to kneel too when her tiny body was hauled into his arms as if she weighed like a piece of paper.

And that was all she needed.

Courtsey broken. She tightly hugged him, her hands around his neck, legs twisted around his waist. His hard toned body was a welcomed resting place.

"Talk to me." he smoothed her hair delicately. His fingers ran up and down through it and it felt good. Some sweetness in her pain.

"It hurts," she was all tears. "My back hurts." She held onto him and cried all the more.

"Shh… Hush now." He gently stroked her back and sat on the bed. He was warm and breathing him in, soothed her. Grand General was a hint of sweat and mud which hinted that he was training beforehand.

She sniffed a little as the pain had lightened before it would strike again.

"Go get her something." He ordered the physicians.

"But Grand General, we are not aware of―"

'No... No... don't tell him your suspicions about me!' Li Lian screamed within.

"Who dares to disobey me?" The Grand General challenged giving her relief.

They scuffled away and the Grand General put her down, though she would have loved to stay in his arms. She felt protected there.

It felt different. To feel safe.

He put her into the blankets, bundled her up like a baby and set on the edge of the bed. The physicians hurried back with a white ceramic bowl of medicine. The way they served him so fast, attentively and precisely. It was like the General was a god or owned the world. She wondered what he did to deserve such respect.

Another shot of pain hit her and she winced, taking her own thumb into her mouth and biting it. She groaned, champing it hard so she could concentrate on any alternative pain than her back. The Grand General pulled it out, probably afraid that she would bleed but she couldn't contain it.

"Don't do that, Little Fox." he chastised her.

She grimaced. Who was he to tell her what to do?

But at least he was not calling her Li'er yet . The way the personal assistants called her Li'er was different in tone from how her mistress said it. She had been fooled and fallen for it. No wonder Grand Consort Shu suspected her. She did not fully know Nevoria language herself.

"Because when you do that…" a glint of mischievousness shone from his eyes, "... It turns me on."

She blushed, not sure whether he was teasing or being serious. His coy attitude revitalized the atmosphere. Even in serious situations, he played dirty.

It was a while later that she settled down, the torture of her back minimized. He took a spoon, and blew on the medicine so as to cool it down. It was a rick of brown which smelt horrible, reminding her of horse excretion. She opened her mouth and he slid the spoon in, biting his lip.

A bastard will always be a bastard.

The bitter taste was unbearable and there was a hint of chicken soup in the taste.

Not again. She wouldn't have the poison again.

Her abdomen became rigid and in great detest, she hoicked it out. The medicine sprayed into the air and perspired onto Grand General's face. He jolted in alarm, fisting his hand in rage, ready to punch her.

"Obnoxious!" he lowly growled his eyes thunderous.

Her heart began to thud in panic. He was an awakened vicious predator who she just drove to the edge. Any mistake, he was going to snap. If he decided to hit her sorry self, she didn't have enough strength to defend herself.

Beastly anger overtaking him, he stood up and violently hit the wooden bed frame which cracked in defeat. "Who are you to spit on the―"

He abruptly stopped mid sentence and the defeaning tense mood was washed by a sigh from him.

The Grand General made a throaty sound and as if nothing happened, he grabbed a white cotton cloth from his robe and wiped himself then a few drops that dribbled by her mouth. Just like that he was back to his usual self, seating again by her. It was disturbing how he could change so fast from one mood to the next.

Again, she felt it. She was not really safe with him.

"Why is Little Fox behaving like a child?" He looked down at her like she was a complex book he could not figure out.

Why did she? He was right.

But she could not help it, the medicine tasted like chicken soup, or was it the trauma that brought out the fear? She was afraid of going through the same experience that was taking place right now. She'd rather just wait it out until the pain disappeared like the other times than risk it.
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"It's hot. I will drink it later," she lied.

"Alright." He turned to the physician kneeling behind him. "Cool this medicine for her," he instructed and they quickly obeyed.

They disappeared with the medicine, giving her relief. It would buy her time.

Li Lian noticed that his knuckles were bruised but she wouldn't mention it. She was still walking on thin ice around him. "Why do you always wear black?" she opted to address his outfit instead.

Black Leather cuffs. Black robes. Black boots.

He checked out his outfit and smirked. "You like me this dark and dangerous?"

A tint of red darkened her cheeks. "Just curious." She shook her head.

"I wear this, whenever I go out to practise." His thumb erased the remnants of tears that stuck to her cheeks. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of it. He saw it, and she hated that.

The physician rushed back in, interrupting him.

'So fast?'

The Grand General examined the medicine and took the spoon again. He tasted a bit of it to ensure that it was indeed cooled. Weirdly, it was. When the spoon landed on her lips, she shook her head vehemently.

"Too cold." Another lie.

The Grand General sighed, exasperated.

"What is in this Grand Physician?" He unhooked a silver pin from his hair and dipped it into the liquid. Silver was used to test for poison. If the pin changed color, it signified the presence of poison. Was he suspecting that someone wanted to poison her?

"Only herbs, Grand General." The physician bowed.

No color change. He placed back the pin in his hair and reached for the spoon. Li Lian was surprised to see him take the medicine instead of feeding her. So, he had tested the medicine for himself instead of her. Selfish bastard, what was so important about him?

Suddenly, she saw him lower himself to her and she squirmed. She stubbornly stretched her hand to his chest so he could keep his distance but she was no match for the stone of weight before her. He continued to come down, and her hand bent to his pursuit.

Was he about to kiss her?