Xia Xun was going to go see Qi Yan, but when he heard that he had woken up, he stopped instead.
After standing for a while, he said to Zhi Gui, “…got it, I’ll go back to my room first.”
He turned around and walked away.
Zhi Gui asked urgently, “Won’t you go in to see the lord? The lord, he—”
Xia Xun said quickly: “I’m not a doctor and I don’t know how to look after patients, so what’s the use of going in?”
Zhi Gui blocked his way. “Young Master, forgive me for asking a question…. Why do you treat the lord alone so indifferently?”
Xia Xun immediately said, “I—”
Zhi Gui did not give him a chance to speak:
“This slave has not spent much time with you, but I can see that you are kind and gentle, always sympathetic to this slave’s difficulties. Your mouth is hard but your heart is soft. You even have so much love for your dog. But only when facing the lord, you are always as cold as frost and speak harshly. No matter how much this slave thinks about it, I really can’t figure out why.”
Xia Xun’s sore spot was poked and his tone immediately cooled down: “How can you know my past with him? You don’t know a single thing about what he has done to me, so who are you to accuse me?”
He left Zhi Gui and walked forward.
Undeterred, Zhi Gui chased after him, asking:
“Young Master! They all said that the lord was wounded by you, and the two stab wounds on the lord’s body are bone deep and hideous. Could they really be caused by Young Master’s hands?”
Xia Xun slowly stopped in his tracks.
Zhi Gui came up to his side and bowed.
“Young Master, it is true that this slave does not know what happened in the past, But I have seen with my own eyes, all these years, the lord was in despair, living a life of no joy. It was Young Master’s arrival that gave him life. No matter what Young Master’s grievances against the lord are, at least when the lord is injured, I implore you to go and see him.”
What Zhi Gui said was reasonable. Even though Xia Xun was hard-hearted, he still could not say “no” to it.
After a few deep breaths, Xia Xun said in a low voice:
“I do not want to see him and I do not know how to face him… I’ll just, just take a look, what can happen…”
He convinced himself.
He was the only one in Qi Yan’s room. Xia Xun stepped over the threshold, heard a sudden rustle and looked up. The night breeze passed by, making the candle flame sway and lifting the bed curtain. Qi Yan looked at Xia Xun through the thin bed veil.
Xia Xun’s thin figure was hazy, like a pale wandering spirit, as if as long as Qi Yan breathed hard, he would be blown away.
Qi Yan’s eyes were full of passion and eagerness, burning brightly, watching him step closer.
Xia Xun came to the bed, protecting the candle flame with his hand. The room was lit again, the previous dark shadows instantly dissipating.
When he got this far, he didn’t know what to do.
He avoided Qi Yan’s eyes, looked around a bit, and saw a bowl of dark medicinal liquid.
He asked, “Is this your medicine?”
Qi Yan did not answer, his eyes watching him intently. Xia Xun pretended to be calm and let him look at him as long as he wished.
After looking for a while, Qi Yan said, reassured, “You look fine.”
Xia Xun said, “I’m not injured, what can be wrong with me?”
Qi Yan smiled to himself and said bitterly, “…before, I always wondered what kind of time you had in prison. Once upon a time I was not able to save you. This time… I finally caught up…”
Xia Xun said coldly: “Wasn’t it you who sent me to prison that time? What use is there to say it now—“
He glanced at the foot of the bed with a few bandages scattered there, covered in spots of blood, and abruptly closed his mouth.
Stunned for a moment, Xia Xun bent down and picked up the medicine bowl, handing it to Qi Yan.
“…drink it, it will be more bitter if it cools.”
Qi Yan was extremely weak. In the past, to drink the medicine, he needed Zhi Gui to feed it spoonful by spoonful to his mouth. He could not even drink the whole bowl at once, had to stop to catch his breath and only then had the strength to continue.
He did not have the luxury of hoping that Xia Xun would do it. If Xia Xun was willing to instruct him to take the medicine, he would already be very satisfied.
He took the bowl of medicine with his shaking hands. The spoon tapped against the wall of the bowl.
He brought the bowl to his mouth, and in two sips, a large part of the medicine was spilled on his clothes; even his chest bandages were covered with large brown stains.
Xia Xun gave up, sat on the edge of the bed and took the bowl from his hands.
“I’ll do it.”
He scooped up a spoonful of medicine and fed it to Qi Yan.
Qi Yan did not move, frozen on the spot, even forgetting to breathe. He looked at Xia Xun with wide eyes, full of disbelief: “You—“
Xia Xun did not meet his eyes. He looked at the spoon in his hand without blinking, almost as if trying to drill a hole in it with his eyes: “Don’t say anything, just drink.”
Surprised and unsettled, Qi Yan stared at him, drinking the first sip, then the second and the third…
The whole time, Xia Xun was expressionless, single-mindedly feeding him medicine.
Qi Yan looked at him for some more, swallowed the pungent bitter medicine in his mouth and closed his eyes.
His eyes felt slightly hot under his eyelids, his nose was sour and there was faint wetness in his eyes.
Who knows if Xia Xun had seen it or not, but his movements did not pause, and the remaining half bowl of medicine was quickly fed to Qi Yan.
He said to Qi Yan, “Good, now you rest.”
Next, his wrist was grabbed by Qi Yan, and Xia Xun let go of the bowl. It fell on the bed and the spoon rolled to the floor with a crisp sound.
Qi Yan did not seem to hear. He rolled up Xia Xun’s sleeve, his fingers gently rubbing over his wrist.
There was a circle of bluish-black bruises there, left by Qi Yan while he was unconscious.
He asked in distress, “Are these… from me?”
Xia Xun downplayed it. “No, I just fell.”
Qi Yan reluctantly gave a smile that was uglier than crying.
“You’re still the same as before, always saying that you fell. Where exactly do you have to fall on to get such marks…”
He held Xun Xia’s wrist and pressed it to his mouth, saying in a voice full of remorse:
“Why do I always let you get hurt… Why… can’t I be nicer to you…?”
Xun Xia shook his head and firmly withdrew his hand.
“No need for that, in the end… you don’t owe me anything.”
Qi Yan looked at him with fascination, and there seemed to be rippling water in his eyes.
“What if my heart owes you?”
Xia Xun was stunned.
After a while, he let out a long breath and said with a sigh:
“You always say something that I don’t know how to answer. In fact… you shouldn’t keep me by your side, I…”
He did not finish his words and was not prepared to say more.
Qi Yan could not guess what he originally wanted to say. He might have wanted to say “I will not like you”, or say “I do not want to see you”.
But Qi Yan didn’t care anymore.
He reached his hand towards Xia Xun.
“Come here… just a little, let me take a good look at you…”
Xia Xun thought that he should go immediately.
At this moment, the most important thing he should do was to leave the room, take advantage of the night, go far away, go back to Douzhou, thousands of miles away, never see this man again in this life.
He did shift a bit, but he didn’t stand up in the end.
He was compelled by Qi Yan’s words; as if bewitched, he actually came closer to him.
Qi Yan wanted to touch his face, but a sudden burst of dizziness made his eyes roll up. His body suddenly went limp and his hand in mid-air fell down.
Xia Xun caught his hand and held Qi Yan to stabilise him but was pulled onto the bed.
The wind blew in through the window, the candles went out one by one, and the room was plunged into darkness.
Not used to the darkness, Xia Xun could not see anything for a while, and when he could see, he found himself in Qi Yan’s arms.
Even with his consciousness blurred, Qi Yan still managed to put his hand on the side of Xia Xun’s face, so that he did not hit the bed board.
The bed veil gently brushed over Xia Xun’s face, separating him from Qi Yan.
After seven years, through the barrier of the bed curtain, Xia Xun for the first time seriously gazed at Qi Yan’s face.
Qi Yan was too tired to open his eyes and Xia Xun’s gaze became more and more unrestrained. He saw the faint shadows under Qi Yan’s tightly closed eyes; his cheeks were slightly sunken, making his tall straight nose look more prominent.
His face was haggard, his lips were pale and chapped; even his hair had lost its lustre.
He clearly looked sickly.
Sensing Xia Xun’s gaze, Qi Yan smiled softly with his eyes closed: “Are you looking at me?”
Xia Xun paused and said: “What? Are you a young girl for me to look at you?”
The smile on Qi Yan’s face became brighter. He slowly raised his hand and pressed his palm against the side of Xia Xun’s face.
“Unfortunately… I don’t have the strength to open my eyes,” he said weakly, “Just let me touch you…”
His fingers swept across Xia Xun’s brow, his dry palm feeling slightly rough. Xia Xun did not move and let him touch, just breathing in and out, his warm breath brushing over Qi Yan’s palm.
Qi Yan strained to move his upper body, slowly getting closer to Xia Xun, resting his forehead against his ear.
“…Have I ever said that you are really good looking?”
Xia Xun snorted.
“Don’t you look in the mirror? It’s more appropriate to say that about yourself.”
Qi Yan shook his head very slowly.
“No, in my heart, you really—”
His lips opened and closed, as if he was saying something, but Xia Xun did not hear a word. Qi Yan had tiredly lowered his head, using Xia Xun’s shoulder as a pillow and drifted off to sleep.
Most of his weight rested on Xia Xun, and in a short while, half of his body went numb.
He raised his eyes, looking at the night sky through the half-open window. The moonlight poured in and he raised his hand as if to catch a ray of it. The moon shone on his hand, like silver-white lakewater.
The gauze curtain fluttered and undulated in the wind like a tide, and Xia Xun went to sleep peacefully in the moonlight.
Early the next morning, before Qi Yan woke up, Xia Xun quietly left.
He went back to his room; Zhi Gui was waiting for him. She wore a simple dress, no jewellery, her hair in a simple bun and a small bundle on her shoulder.
Xia Xun immediately realized that Zhi Gui was leaving.
She knelt on the ground and kowtowed to Xia Xun, holding the jade belt hook that Xia Xun had given her high above her head: “Thank you for your help along the way, this slave is grateful and will never forget it, so I come to say goodbye to you. But this jade hook is too valuable, I dare not accept it, please take it back, otherwise this slave won’t be able to sleep and eat. This slave should rely on herself, earn her own living and can’t accept such a big gift.”
Xia Xun took it and told her to stand up.
“Don’t kneel to me, and don’t call yourself a slave, you are no longer a slave.”
Zhi Gui refused to get up.
Xia Xun asked her, “Aren’t you going to pay your respects to Qi Yan?”
Zhi Gui said, “The lord has not yet woken up, so this slave will not bother him. From now on, the lord will have Young Master to accompany him and will have no more worries.”
Xia Xun was speechless for a moment.
Zhi Gui bowed deeply to Xia Xun.
“After this slave leaves, I hope that Young Master will take care of himself. This slave wishes you a peaceful life and eternal glory!”
Xia Xun picked her up.
“Don’t say such words, just take care of yourself, go now, it’s time for you to go to your family.”
Zhi Gui took her parcel and, despite being reluctant, finally left.
What she didn’t know was that when Xia Xun helped her, he quietly slipped the jade belt hook into her travel bag.
Looking at her back, Xia Xun murmured:
“You’re all leaving, why are you still so polite? Without money, you can’t even eat, how can you have the strength to earn your own living.”
A few days later, Chu Anyu’s interrogation of the archers was declared over and the confessions obtained were enough to convict Duke Chen.
Taking into account the crime and Duke Chen being a royal relative, Chu Anyu had to escort these people to the Judicial Review Court, and Qi Yan also had to return to the capital with the evidence.
3 thoughts on “Guanshan Muyu Chapter 45”
Qi Yan: Xia Xun, you’re killing me
Qi Yan: But Xia Xun, you’re also the only one who can make me want to live
To be honest, I have a faint dislike for Zhi Gui. An annoying character imo.
It’s not that I dislike her… but I don’t like her either. She has her own truth but I don’t feel much sympathetic about her 🙂