35 Personal feelings
[the next day]
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suyin had just finished combing her beautiful long hair and tied it up into a topknot with a white tie. with her old outfit still intact, suyin didn't get a chance to take a bath. the night before she went to bed, junli had commanded jiayi to summon her into his room.
junli laid in bed, his long, beautiful silky hair covered his pale, white skin. he turned his head to look at suyin, still resting on the pillow with his hands on his abdomen.
"i already let jiayi know that you are a guest, but everyone will think that you are my medical man. shao feng will be your 'assistant' so that others may not question..." you seem very skilled in taking care of wound care." junli stated. suyin tried to avoid his eye contact, nodding her head.
"true. maybe i should temporarily stay here until you are healed." suyin answered. in reality, she could take this opportunity to start searching for the key for qin fuhua. "thank you, sir junli for allowing me to stay in your manor."
junli lit a small smile, then paused. "would your husband be worried that you are staying in another man's home?"
suyin paused, forgetting that she was 'married' by words to that cold-hearted prince in liaoping for the sake of finding the key. although they are not married in reality, it was just a play so that no one would suspect qin fuhua. "heh heh... actually... i think it's better if i just hide here for now. i do not want him to worry about what had happened. i'll let him know that i'm okay eventually."
part of what she had said was true. she did want to let qin fuhua that she was okay, but she didn't want him to worry about her... that is... if he's even worried!
before she had left the room, junli ordered jiayi to hand her some new clothes that would fit her so that her old clothes wouldn't cause any disturbances if his uncle (jianhong) found her, wearing his servant's clothing.
[author's note: each household, if they were very wealthy, had their clothing for their servants, maids, etc based on how they are treated by their masters. (example given, jianhong's servants wore white and blue basic outfits, but junli's servants have a better quality of clothes). this showed their ownership and wealth. some noble families can only afford common servant clothing though. i am not sure if this is true in reality, but this idea was made up in my mind and if it is true, it is just pure coincidence!]
[the next day]
someone knocked on the door, causing suyin to fly out of her seats because she was supposed to be a "man." she had a cloth to wrap her breasts so that her chest would seem "flat" than curved when you look at her from the side profile.
"come in," suyin called out. she had fixed her hair, tying it into a topknot. with the new outfit on, suyin had a lime green hat with a lime green, silky one-layered robe. although it looked plain, small sewn flower vines with the initial "feng" written on it (in chinese). she turned to see shao feng smiling at her. he was wearing a beautiful darker lime green colored outfit but was plainer since it was a servant's outfit. she could say though, it looked way better than jianhong's choices of his servant's outfits.
"shao feng! you look amazing!" suyin complimented. shao feng smiled shyly. "did you let junli know that we are going out?" suyin asked.
shao feng nodded. "sir junli had requested us to pick up his medicine at the medical shop on the way back." he added.
the pair set out down in the bustling liao ping city to the east side of liao ping, known as the poor side of the city that no one cared to go. most of the people there lived in a cramped home as about the size of a bathroom.
in contrast to the bustling city of liaoping that suyin was introduced, this side of the town was dark, depressing, and quiet. there were still people walking out there and there were small shops selling soup and used items sold for very little money. the atmosphere around the area felt more depressing.
shao feng arrived at a little wooden home with suyin right next to him.
"ma! i'm back."
"is that my little shao?" an older voice called out. shao feng hurried inside as he urged suyin to follow him. the two walked inside the room, with his mother sitting on a chair, boiling some water on a little fire pit.
"ma, i brought a friend with me to help cure you." shao feng said, holding his mother's hand. her eyes were wrinkled. his mother looked like she was in the mid-40s.
"ah, child!" she slapped shao feng's hands, "why did you bring a medical man here for? how can you afford to bring one to me?!" she yelled at her son.
"ma. don't worry, this is my friend." shao feng looked at suyin in the eyes as she nodded.
"don't worry. shao feng is a very good friend of mine. i came here on my own will to see how you are doing." suyin smiled, reassuring the lady.
"i'm thankful for you to be friends with someone like my child." in the home, there were only two chairs in the little home. although it was small, it was warm and cozy enough to feel right at home. the mother slapped her son's hands again.
"go get her a chair, won't you?" she ushered shao feng to get a chair. suyin laughed, "it's okay. i'm here to see how you are doing. do you mind if i check your pulse?"
shao feng's mother nodded. suyin began to feel the veins on her wrist, quietly listening.
suyin could tell that her pulse was fast. too fast that there was something wrong with her. suyin showed shao feng's mother the back of her palm, "may i?" she questioned.
shao feng's mother nodded without hesitating as suyin went straight to feel her forehead.
it was abnormally warmer than usual. "how are you feeling?" suyin began to question.
shao feng's mother smiled at suyin. "shao feng, where are your manners? here. go out and buy us some bread to treat this kind young friend of yours."
"but ma... what about my friend?"
"don't worry about him! just go." shao feng's mother ushered him to go. he stared at suyin and mouthed, "i'll be right back" and ran off to find food.
"my, my." shao feng's mother got up slowly, and slowly walked back to her bed as she covered herself with her blanket. "it seems like i wouldn't get away from a doctor like you." shao feng's mother said.
suyin could tell that she was hiding her sickness from shao feng so that he wouldn't worry about her. "has my son caused any problem for you? to beg you to come to help me?" she asked.
suyin shook her head. "no, i came here really on my own. for someone young like shao feng, i don't understand why no one would help him."
shao feng's mother moved her hand inward, urging suyin to come to see her on the bed.
suyin looked at her, with no hesitant, the old lady only smiled in her bed. "my son doesn't know that. he thinks that i'm temporarily sick, but i know that if i tell him that i am dying, i don't think he would be able to handle it." shao feng's mother's eyes were closed, her eyes wrinkled as she slowly spoke on her small, bamboo bed.
"my husband had gone to the war and never came back home when i had shao feng. as time passed on and he continued to grow up, i gave up everything for him. although we were poor and didn't have much, seeing the smile on my son's face was enough for me."
"don't say that. i didn't get to diagnose your illness." suyin softly said, putting her hands on shao feng's mother's hand. she lit up a smile as she opened her eyes.
small, gentle, and fragile hands were laid on top of suyin's. "my body is not young anymore. sometimes when i want to do something, it won't listen. i just can't move the same as i could when i was younger." she stared up at the ceiling.
"i couldn't move my body.... but when i heard my child call my name, it felt like i woke up from a dream." she bitterly smiled, "in my dreams, my husband called me, but as i got closer to him, i woke up to hear my son's voice instead." she turned to suyin.
"the money my dear child had saved up for me... i went to the doctors to tell me that something is wrong with my heart. they said the blood isn't flowing well [note: coronary artery disease; damage or disease in the heart's major blood vessels]."
suyin frowned. "i think you should let your son know. it's best for you and him. what you are doing is selfish and would lead him to have no one in this world after you leave." suyin had figured that there was a possible chance that her heart was not flowing well, based on the irregular heartbeat that she had listened to earlier.
"my son is still young."
"who cares if he is still young! if he knows that his parents chose to leave him all alone without letting him know, do you think that he will ever grow?!" suyin had blurted it out. the feeling of warmth-frustration, pain, anger-- began to boil within her.
"my parents had passed on without ever letting me know. what did i get to do that?" suyin was more upset now as if she spoke to her parents at the moment (her parents back in the present day who had passed away when she was young). "why is it that you do not understand his passion? you don't understand that all he wants to do is for you to get better. if not, why not let him spend all his time with you instead of keeping everything a secret? doesn't that hurt you and him in the end?!"
shao feng's mother did not say a single word. suyin had clenched her hands into a fist, holding her feelings back. it shouldn't be personal to her, but it hit her right on the spot in her heart.
"i'm back." shao feng said, bringing a little white bag as he hurried in.
"shao feng, stay for today and go take care of your mother. i'll let junli know and you can come back tomorrow." suyin ordered. "sort things out here first."
"suyin but i.."
before shao feng could say anything, suyin rushed out of the little home. right as she left, she could hear shao feng's mother.
"shao feng, my dear child... i have something to tell you...."
suyin could feel the heat emitting within her. suyin was the only child but her parents were never there to support her in the beginning. they had always made excuses that they were out busy or at work. through the years of medical schooling and upon the last semester of her graduation, that was when she received a phone call that her mother had passed away from prostate cancer that she didn't know of and her father had gone crazy and killed himself by overdose after her mother's death.
selfish. it was the only word she could think of throughout the whole time that they hid all of the lies in front of her. she didn't get to say goodbye and they never told her anything. on the day of the funeral, her relatives gossiped about her, being a "left-out" child since she had no clue what had happened until it was too late. they believed that suyin was a bad child, despite her being in medical school and even thought that she was forced to be taken care of by her very own parents.
"selfish!" suyin had blurted out of her mouth in front of the crowd near a brothel shop. her eyes were swelled up but because of her anger, she was able to hold back her tears. "s-sorry." suyin had to laugh it off. the crowd of people stared at her as if she was crazy and continued with their own business.
"okay. i have no time to think about the past. it's time for me to get the medicine for junli."
suyin took a deep breath so that she would regain her conscious and feelings. it was important to not be distracted and off-track as she wiped her eyes. she then began to head to the medical shop to pick up the medicine for junli.
a crowd of ladies dressed in very light robes huddled together around jianhong and fuhua (who is disguised as tienzheng). jianhong has been drinking throughout the whole time and fuhua had been feeding him with more rice wine to make him drunk. the stench of alcohol and sweet scents of various types of smell in the brothel would make one dizzy in the place, but not for the men who were the wolves.
"would you like me to massage you, my lord?" one of the ladies asked qin fuhua. he played it cool and smiled at her, staring at her face until he noticed someone walking past the brothel outside.
a familiar, looking person continued to stomp off.
could it possibly be? han suyin?! qin fuhua had distanced himself from the group, heading outside.
"hey, hey! where are you going?!" jianhong exclaimed, ushering fuhua to come back.
"i'm going to get some air. you enjoy your time with the ladies." qin fuhua said, heading outside of the brothel.
he quietly followed the person in a lime-green robe. "that couldn't possibly be."
all of a sudden, he could see her eyes shimmering as if she wanted to cry. "selfish!" the crowd all watched her as well as qin fuhua calmly within the crowd. she sluggishly chuckled it off and bustled off into the medical shop.
"finally, i found you." qin fuhua softly said, observing her.
after suyin got out of the shop to pick up the medicine, she hopped off back to junli's manor, not knowing that qin fuhua was secretly tailing her along the way.
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suyin felt like she was being watched and followed, feeling tense as she made a sharp turn. as qin fuhua tried to race after her, he noticed that she was running away from him.
"that idiot!" qin fuhua had said in his head. with her running and making all of the fuss, it would only cause a commotion around the shopping district.
he flew up the roof tiles and began to fly towards her, picking her off of her feet.
"awh, get off of me!" suyin struggled, her feet wriggling in the air as qin fuhua carried her up to the top of a random building. suyin was facing in the front of qin fuhua, so she back to elbow the sides of his chest but didn't feel any pain from her fight.
suyin paused right after she heard him speak. it was strange that the owner of this voice sounded... concerned and sincere since he was always a cold-hearted prince. she stopped struggling as time froze in place.
the two words that popped up in his mind were those two words. he couldn't let go of her when she had such a sad yet painful expression on her face when she screamed out in the crowd like that.
holding her like that, qin fuhua finally let suyin go so that she could see who it was.
"qin...fuhua?" suyin softly whispered, staring at his beautiful eyes. those were the eyes that suyin remembered. suyin could not see his identity (tienzheng) which was a special mask that qin fuhua's master had given him to hide his identity. she was the only one who couldn't see it at all. she could only see his true self, so it was hard for her to know whether or not she should call him that.
his eyes were not sharp nor they were not fierce. suyin had noticed that his face was relaxed, his eyes were fixed straight to her own eyes. qin fuhua gently held her shoulders and leaned in closer to her. this time, his face was visibly closer to her face now and she could smell the orange fragrance scent coming from him.
qin fuhua was not mad at her. no way. his eyebrows slowly lifted as he softly spoke to her. "i said, what's wrong?" he repeated the same words that he had said earlier but this time, softer. it was nearly the same tone he used to speak to his sister, but it was a sterner and direct.
"huh...what?" suyin had to shake her head for a second to regain her consciousness. she was so focused on his handsome face that she forgot to answer him. "i..uh.."
qin fuhua let go of her shoulders. from afar, qin fuhua was taller than suyin, so he had to look down on her while suyin stared up to look at his face.
"i um...i'm okay." suyin couldn't look at his face when she said that. she knew it was a lie and for some reason, she just couldn't lie to him.
"liar." qin fuhua commented.
"i just..i..." suyin couldn't say anything but stutter. all of a sudden, she felt a caress on her head. she lowered her head, surprised at his action as he tenderly stroked the top of her head with his hands. it was a couple of seconds but for suyin, it felt like time had stopped between the two of them. the way that qin fuhua acted at the moment was not normal. she felt her head and then tip-toed to feet his head. "are you okay?" suyin questioned.
"where are you staying?" qin fuhua asked as he stopped caressing to know how she was doing.
"i'm staying at er..."
if qin fuhua knew that she was staying at junli's place, he would drag her out because it would ruin his name. "i'm staying at my friend's place! he's my savior who helped me escape from that one pighead's place."
"pighead...?" qin fuhua paused for a second to think about what suyin had said. "then that's good. are you being a little hero again, troublesome one?" he questioned, looking up and down on her outfit.
"y-yeah! how did you know it was me?"
it came to him that the master had foretold him about a beauty who would come to his path during his journey. a woman with a scent of magnolia blossoms. suyin was the only person in his life that only had this scent and it was very peculiar for him to smell another woman's scent (since he could care less about other ladies and it was always a perfume, not themselves).
"someone made a scene and i decided to see who it was and found you." he stated. suyin smiled at him.
"it was really... um... nothing to worry about." she pointed down at the ground. "can you send me back down? i have to go back to send the medicine back to my friend." suyin uttered.
qin fuhua narrowed his eyebrows which now seemed normal to see this face of his for suyin. he carried her princess-style and jumped down from the rooftop in a second, causing suyin to scream internally in her head. a bit dizzy from the sudden blood rush as qin fuhua let her down, she was about to fall when he quickly held her wrist.
"are you sure you'll be okay?" qin fuhua asked.
it took a couple of seconds for suyin to get all the blood back to normal in her head as she nodded to reassure him.
"yes. don't worry. i'll be back as soon as i retrieve the key." suyin reassured. she waved at him and hurried down the pathway and made another sharp turn.
"retrieve the key?" he was the only person (besides jianhong) who knew that the servant had possession of the key, so how did suyin know where to go?