Lin Haihai violently fell on the ground. It was as if her entire body had been crushed by the wheels of a car. She opened her eyes, but the blinding sunlight caused her to close it right away. The old woman’s voice entered her ears. “Take a deep breath and allow the power I have given you to run throughout your body.”
Lin Haihai was anxious and yelled, “Can I still return? What will happen to you? How can I save you?” She was trying her best to shout, but in reality, her voice was as faint as a mosquito.
The old woman’s voice echoed again. “Don’t worry about me. Make good use of my spirit pearl. The Bodhisattva of Compassion once told me that a person of high rank would lend me a hand during my stage of transcendence. In terms of the process or result, it is beyond my control. If ultimately I fail to become an immortal, I will enter the path of Dao. But you cannot return. You may freely travel between different points in spacetime, except for the 21st century. Otherwise, there will be an overlap and the result would be inconceivable. This mistake isn’t something you common people can take on. You must keep this in mind.”
Lin Haihai attempted to open her eyes again, but her eyelids were as heavy as mountains. Eventually, she fell into a deep slumber. After an unknown amount of time had gone by, she was awakened by loud conversations. Lin Haihai tried to shift her body a little and felt a powerful energy force inside of her. It must be the result of the spirit pearl.
Lin Haihai kept her eyes closed and silently eavesdropped on the conversation.
“Sister Guihua, can you pass the message onto the prince and request him to get another physician for Young Miss? Young Miss has been sleeping for five days now. She hasn’t consumed any food or liquid. If this continues, what will happen to her?” a low voice begged. It sounded like it belonged to a fifteen or sixteen-year-old.
Is she referring to the princess consort? Lin Haihai recalled that the old woman had mentioned the original body owner committed suicide not long after her wedding. She was the princess consort. This girl must be her personal maid.
Another deeper female voice responded, “Xiao Ju, I don’t think the princess consort will wake up. She jumped down from such a high place. There’s no way she could have survived.” A heavy sigh followed.
Xiao Ju quickly countered, “No! See, Young Miss is still breathing! Several days ago, she spoke. I vaguely heard her speak.” Xiao Ju began to sob quietly.
“The physician said it was a dying flash. It is common prior to demise. You should make some preparations. Aaiii, honestly, our prince is at fault. The princess consort didn’t do anything wrong. How could he give her a divorce document on the third day after the wedding? Women definitely have a hard life!"
After she spoke, Xiao Ju started to wail. “How am I going to explain to my dead madam? Madam specifically entrusted me to take good care of Young Miss. Lord knew Young Miss wouldn’t be happy in this marriage, yet he still forced her to comply. Young Miss suffered so much and I was definitely well aware. But Young Miss kept it to herself, and I didn’t dare to mention it. Deep down, I was secretly hoping the prince would cherish Young Miss. Who would’ve thought…?”
Xiao Ju’s cries were getting more and more extreme. Lin Haihai couldn’t take women’s tears, especially this mournful type.
If I don't open my eyes soon, Xiao Ju will probably commit suicide and die with her lady!
Lin Haihai was a bit confused. How come the prince wanted a divorce though? Based on what Guihua said, the princess consort didn’t do anything wrong. I thought people from ancient times couldn't forcefully divorce a wife unless she breached one of the seven clauses? Oh well, I'll eventually find out why.
The moment Lin Haihai opened her eyes, she saw pink canopy bed curtains looming above her. She swept her eyes around the room and noticed the tidy and elegant environment. At the very end of the bed was a dressing table to the right. On the window ledge was a pot of orchid. The windows were closed.
In front of the colored glass screen was an old-fashioned square table that could fit eight. A woman in her early twenties was standing by the door and the younger maid was sobbing next to her.
Lin Haihai’s heart was touched. What a sensible child.
“Xiao Ju!” Lin Haihai’s voice wasn’t loud but was enough to frighten the maid. Xiao Ju froze and turned around robotically. When she saw Lin Haihai gazing at her with wide eyes, she cried and raced to her. “Young Miss, you’re finally awake! Did you know that you nearly scared Xiao Ju to death? I thought you'd never, wuwu…” Then, Xiao Ju plopped down beside Lin Haihai’s bedside and started to bawl her eyes out.
Lin Haihai warmly smiled and lightly patted Xiao Ju on the head. “Silly girl, how could I bear to leave you? Don’t cry. Pour me a cup of water. I’m thirsty.”
Xiao Ju lifted her head. Aside from grievance and sorrow, an undeniable joy could be seen across her tear-stained face. Xiao Ju pressed her hand on top of Lin Haihai’s forehead like a mother. “Are you feeling unwell anywhere? You haven’t eaten in so long. You must be hungry. I’ll go boil some millet congee for you!” she exclaimed.
Xiao Ju got up and poured a cup of water. Then, she lifted Lin Haihai and allowed her lady to lean against her for support. Lin Haihai gulped down the water and secretly smiled.
Right now, she probably had enough strength to slaughter several tigers. She was only acting like this because she didn’t want to worry Xiao Ju.
The older maid came over from the door. She was flabbergasted to see a conscious Lin Haihai. Deep down, she was happy because she felt sorry for Lin Haihai’s tragic situation. The maid went up to Lin Haihai and curtsied. “This servant Guihua greets Consort Lin!”
Lin Haihai smiled. “There’s no need to be so formal. Guihua, please tell the prince that I’m awake.” Guihua made a sound of assent and excused herself.
After Guihua left, Lin Haihai sat upright. She had some questions for Xiao Ju. Lin Haihai gestured Xiao Ju over so the maid put down the bowl and sat down on the stool in front of the bed.
Lin Haihai probed, “Even if I get better, the prince still wants to divorce me. Xiao Ju, why don’t we head back home?”
Xiao Ju frantically opposed, “No! We can’t! Young Miss, did you forget how First Madam treated you? If you returned home without your title, First Madam would definitely torture you! Have you forgotten those days you lived in agony?”
Lin Haihai was stunned. She honestly knew very little about her current identity. In this unfamiliar era, she had nothing aside from her medical knowledge and the old woman’s spirit pearl. If she was thrown into the streets, she had nowhere to turn to aside from her parents’ home.
Based on what Xiao Ju said, my body's past owner must be the child of the second wife. I have a weak status in my family home. When I was betrothed to the prince, the first wife was already outraged and bitter. If I lose my title now, who knows what would happen to me? But if I don't go home, there’s no way I could survive without any money or skills. In this feudalistic society, women are men’s objects. They have no control over their lives. A sentence from a man could determine a woman’s fate for the rest of her life.
Lin Haihai crinkled her brows. If I want to survive, I must maintain my title. But why does the prince want to divorce me?
Lin Haihai couldn’t figure it out and decided to directly ask Xiao Ju. She sat upright and gazed into Xiao Ju’s eyes. “Xiao Ju, do you know why the prince wants to divorce me?”
Xiao Ju had a grim expression. “People’s tongues are wagging in the residence. They say the prince has always been fond of Minister Chen’s young miss. They are childhood sweethearts. Miss Chen is a beauty that could captivate even birds and beasts. The prince seriously likes her a lot. But who would’ve thought that the prince would go hunting and get bitten by a poisonous snake? We happened to bump into him and saved his life. To show her appreciation, the empress dowager sent down an imperial edict and ordered the prince to marry and take you in as a princess consort. When Miss Chen found out, she refused to consume any food or water. Her goal was to get the prince to divorce you. Young Miss, you were so ashamed that you climbed up onto the rooftop of a pavilion and jumped off. Xiao Ju thought you would never…” At this point, Xiao Ju burst into tears again.
Lin Haihai wiped the tears off Xiao Ju’s face and consoled her. “Silly, I’m fine now!” Then, she paused. “Has my father come to see me at all?”
Xiao Ju gave Lin Haihai an odd look. “Young Miss, the Lord has been sick. He hasn’t been able to get out of bed for the past two years. How would he come visit you?”
Lin Haihai quickly tried to conceal her mistake. “Look at me. After being in a coma for several days, I’ve forgotten everything.”
Sigh. Looks like I can’t rely on my family.
Xiao Ju didn’t notice Lin Haihai’s abnormality. They were both concerned about the future. The master and servant spoke no more. They were each preoccupied with their own thoughts.
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