The blood on her hands caused Luan’er to panic! I should have tried harder to stop her from going out today! The Young Miss had clearly been injured, and she should have refused to allow her out today. Seeing that back of her Young Miss’ clothes was drenched with blood, fear and anxiety filled her heart.
Ji Yunshu supported herself against the doorframe with one hand as she raised her pale face to look at Luan’er, “Help me inside.”
Overtaken by panic, Luan’er did not immediately come to the rescue of her master. Upon hearing Ji Yunshu’s voice, she lent her trembling hands and drew her into the dwelling. Luan’er hurriedly readied a basin of hot water and stripped off the bloodied clothes to expose Ji Yunshu’s back.
Luan’er was terrified as soon as she laid her eyes upon the gruesome sight of Ji Yunshu’s back. The wounds which had originally started to scab had re-opened and blood was oozing out.
“Young Miss, I’ll go find a physician,” Luan’er said as she wiped her tears.
Ji Yunshu pulled her back, “Don’t. There’s medicine in the cupboard, so just help me apply it on my back.”
“Hurry.” Her master’s insistence prevailed, and Luan’er obeyed her orders. She wiped off her tears and ran to fetch the medicine and some bandages.
She carefully used the lukewarm water to clean the wounds before she applied the medicine and covered the whole with bandages. She also helped Ji Yunshu change her clothes, a once simple task which took a long time due to her injuries. Ji Yunshu finally managed to lay on her bed, and the pain seemed to have subsided slightly because of the medicine.
Luan’er was carrying the basin filled with bloody water out when she bumped into someone at the door, “Second Young Miss?”
Ji Wanxin stood in the doorway. She had quite a scare at the sight of the basin full of bloody water. “What’s wrong?” She asked Luan’er.
Luan’er threw a worried-filled gaze back towards the room.
Ji Wanxin hurriedly entered only to see Ji Yunshu lying prone on the bed. Hurrying over to Ji Yunshu’s side, she asked, “Yunshu, what’s wrong?”
As she said these words, she gently lifted the blankets. Upon seeing Ji Yunshu’s bandages, the sequences of events which had just transpired seemed to have been reconstructed in her mind. “Your wounds reopened? You should have seen a physician,” suggested Ji Wanxin as she called her own maid to instruct her to go fetch a physician.
“Second Sister, there’s no need to bother a physician for such small wounds. I’ve already applied medicine so there’s no need to trouble yourself,” Ji Yunshu said.
“How would this trouble me? The wounds on your back can get serious if they don’t heal completely…” Ji Wanxin sighed as she clutched one of Ji Yunshu’s hands, a movement which let through some of her anguish. Her hand is so cold! thought Ji Wanxin. Ji Wanxin shot a look at her maid to make her leave.
Once the maid left, she spoke, “You were too stubborn. If you had just admitted your wrongs to father, wouldn’t you be just fine? How could you have withstood that whip? Don’t you remember that the last time you got hit with that whip, you were unconscious for so many days? If you hadn’t held on, right now…” You’d be dead!
The deep affection Ji Wanxin held for her little sister was expressed through her good-looking eyes, which rapidly filled up with tears.
Yet Ji Yunshu’s only reaction to her words was a weak smile, “Lingzhi’s injury caused Third Brother to come over to smash my courtyard. Grandmother dotes on her a lot so she would definitely want me punished too. Lingzhi would probably come over to make trouble for me too. You know that I’m most afraid of little children, so a few lashes of from that whip is a small price to pay for a reprieve from their antics?” Her tone was light, though most of it was due to her weakness.
“There’s no one else here, so why don’t you tell me the truth?”
“I don’t understand what Second Sister is saying.”
“You’re still waiting for Ji Pei, aren’t you?” Ji Wanxin furrowed her brows.
Ji Yunshu had not mentioned that name in two years. Upon hearing it from Ji Wanxin’s, her heart seemed to itch, yet she could not scratch it. She lay her head against the pillow as she turned to hide her eyes.
However, Ji Wanxin seemed to have completely seen through her. Ji Wanxin attempted to persuade her, “Ji Pei has already left for two years, why are you still waiting for him? Perhaps he won’t return at all, or maybe he has forgotten your promise. Yunshu, why are you making things hard for yourself?”
“Don’t speak anymore, Second Sister.”
“I just can’t bear to see you like this. A spoken promise rooted you to this empty courtyard for two years. Was it worth it?” As if feeling that she wasn’t being persuasive enough, she continued, “You clearly don’t want to get married to the Wei family, yet you still tolerate it. If I were you, I wouldn’t wait for Ji Pei anymore and I would leave the Ji family, or even Jinjiang city.”
She spoke with a voice filled with indignation!
Ji Yunshu did not know why she felt like this. Ji Wanxin did notunderstand Ji Yunshu enough; she was not that selfless of a person. The only reason why she waited was because she had promised to.
“Leaving the Ji family is easy. Leaving Jinjiang city is also easy. But… if I leave, how would Ji Pei find me when he returns?” Her voice seemed to come from a deep abyss.
“But your tolerance will only harm yourself in the end.”
There was a kind of unbreakable determination in her voice.
Indeed, Ji Yunshu was too stubborn, perhaps excessively so!
She promised to wait, and wait she would. The two-year deadline wasn’t up yet!
Shaking her head, Ji Wanxin did not know what else to say. A thousand words of persuasion came to her mind, but ultimately, she did not speak any of them. She could only sigh as she tucked in the corner of Ji Yunshu’s blanket, “Get some rest. In a bit, I’ll get Dong’er to send over some medicine and tonics. Focus on recuperating and leave all the other matters aside for now.”
Ji Yunshu assented to all her instructions. Up until her departure, Ji Yunshu’s suffering was still visibly affecting Ji Wanxin’s mood. When night fell, Ji Yunshu was in so much pain she could not sleep. However, her pain did not just stem from the whip injuries on her back; that name, ‘Ji Pei’, also contributed to it.
Ji Yunshu had never spoken to anyone about Ji Pei before. This person was the taboo of the Ji family! No one was allowed to mention or speak about him. Even the eight-year-old Ji Lingzhi never dared to mention him! It was as if this person had never existed. But Ji Yunshu knew well that Ji Pei truly existed. After all, the happy memories that they shared were carved deep into her heart.
That winter, the plum blossoms bloomed vibrantly. Ji Pei stood underneath the plum tree. 'Strong facial features', 'A pleasant face', 'Brimming with elegance' - these phrases described him perfectly.
He broke a stem holding a plum blossom and placed it into Ji Yunshu’s palm. His movements were filled with warmth and gentleness, “Shu’er, promise me that you’ll wait for me. In two years, I will definitely come back with betrothal gifts fit for the perfect bride that you are!”
The Ji Pei from her memories, with his scholarly air, was truly flawless. His gaze, just like the nightly summer sky faintly illuminated by sparse stars, was warm enough to set one’s heart ablaze. That was the person to whom she was keeping her promise for nearly two years ...
Time flew by.
The pain tortured Ji Yunshu for the whole night. She only managed to momentarily slip into a light slumber right before dawn. When she woke up, her pillow was soaked wet, and it was difficult to tell whether they came from her sweat or her tears.
Grenn's Rants Corner
So many ships...