“What’s so fun about washing dishes? I don’t find it the tiniest bit entertaining,” Xuanji remarked with a long face. “I’m feeling rather sticky all over. You leave first, I’m going to heat up some water to take a bath.”
“Let me do it.”
“No, you’ll burn up the whole kitchen.”
In reality, the ‘rich boy’ in Xuanji’s eyes was not so incompetent. After some time had passed, the kitchen was still standing tall, yet to be engulfed in flames. Rather, it was far too quiet, drawing Xuanji’s suspicion as she decided to head back inside to take a look.
Entering the kitchen, her gaze landed on the man standing silently in the room, his eyes attentively fixed on the stove.
Laughing, Xuanji said, “I told you to just let me do it.”
Long Fei Li glanced her way before wordlessly heading outside.
Seeing his response, Xuanji wondered if he was angered by her words. She headed out after him but he was nowhere in sight.
As she was contemplating where he had gone, he suddenly returned in quick strides.
Xuanji was just about to open her mouth and question him but he swiftly headed back into the kitchen before she could even utter a single word.
Xuanji followed him into the kitchen. To her surprise, he had started to boil the water, using dry grass and firewood to start the fire, his movements quickly and meticulously.
With such a handsome face, dressed in white robes, he was actually kneeling down on one knee doing such a laborious task. As Xuanji watched on, she felt he was truly out of his element. But a smile rested on his lips as if he had accomplished a grand task and was feeling quite proud of himself.
Seeing this, Xuanji couldn’t help smiling and remarked, “So dirty.”
Without thinking much, she squatted down next to him and raised her hand to wipe the ash off his face.
As her hand extended towards his face, he looked up and took her hand in his. In the still night, the sudden crackling of the fire alarmed Xuanji. Before she had the chance to settle her nerves, she found herself in a tight embrace, nestled within his arms. Flustered, she broke away from him and pointed at the stove, asking, “How did you know how to make the fire?”
“I went to the Village Chief’s house and asked.”
Not knowing what else to say, Xuanji got to her feet and quickly headed outside.
At the center of the room was a big barrel filled with water, curls of steam rising from its surface.
Xuanji glanced at Long Fei Li and said, “I want to take a bath.”
“Long Fei Li, I want to take a bath.”
“What I mean is you should get out!” Xuanji said, exasperated.
“Which part of you have I not seen?”
In the next instant, all and anything that could be thrown had been flung towards his direction.
After she was finally alone in the room, Xuanji moved to undress. As she headed towards the barrel, a flashing blue light along with a buzzing tremor in the direction of the bed attracted her attention.
Standing outside, leaning against the thin door, Long Fei Li could clearly hear her getting into the bath. As his thoughts focused on this, his throat suddenly felt dry. She was clearly his woman, someone he had the rights and liberty to touch….
Spending the past few hours with her, eating, washing dishes, boiling water, he couldn’t help but recall her unreserved smile that reached her eyes. Seeing her happy, he too was happy.
When she had taken that jump off the cliff, she may not have had any regrets, but she must’ve harbored resentment. Though she had lost her memory, she still seemed to have an unclear aversion towards him. What if she hadn’t lost her memory then? If that’s the case, it’s best that she had forgotten the past. They could have a fresh start once they returned to the palace.
Abruptly, a cry of panic within the room jolted Long Fei Li from his thoughts.
Startled, he quickly pushed the door open. Xuanji was standing in the barrel and as soon as he entered, she instantly threw herself in his arms.
Caught off guard by her actions, he stood rooted in place. She was in his arms, her tender body bare and fragrant…. his throat tightened and he hoarsely said, “Xiao Qi.”
He could feel her trembling frightfully in his arms. He followed the direction of her gaze and looked down towards the ground….it was that box?
Frowning, he recalled she had been hiding this item close to her body. When he had regained consciousness, he had found this item on her, along with a small journal and a map that was tightly wrapped within a fine tarpaulin fabric, thus preventing them from being damaged by the sea water.
The map was of Western Liang while the journal was blank. But the strangest item of all was this small box, seemingly some sort of instrument, similar to the instruments employed by the Imperial Celestial Academy to calculate celestial events. Though he found it odd at that time that she had carried such objects, he did not have the mind to dwell on it given that she was still unconscious at the time. But now it seems that things were not so simple after all.
What had frightened her was this item? She had panicked like this once before in Chu Xiu Hall. What exactly was in this box?
Added to the fact that she was aware of the Bai family descendant’s location, it seems she carried many secrets, secrets beyond which the young daughter of Minister Nian would know.
Just then, Xuanji was holding this small box as she got into her bath. She had forgotten what it was called, but she knew she had to lift this box up high from the water to prevent it from getting wet.
She even remembered how to play with it when an unexpected photo suddenly popped up.
It was a photo of a red coffin, the lid slightly open.
Underneath was a body, whose face was covered by a veil of bright red silk. Though it had been ages, the dye of red was as resplendent as can be, giving the illusion that if one were to just lift the veil, the person underneath would come back to life.
Beneath the photo was a text: Empress Yihui’s identity is very odd. Two female corpses were discovered and the process of reconstructing Empress Yihua’s appearance is currently underway.
Spooked, Xuanji had thrown the box away.
“Don’t be afraid, I’m right here, I won’t let anything hurt you,” a man’s steady voice issued by her ear.
Long Fei Li carried her in his arms and placed her on the bed before striding over to retrieve the small box on the ground.
Seeing this, Xuanji quickly ran over towards him without regards to her currently exposed state, she snatched the box from his hand, shaking her head as she said, “Long Fei Li, you can’t see this!”
The look in Long Fei Li’s eyes grew solemn and he faintly asked, “Why?”
“I don’t know why, I just know that you can’t see it,” Xuanji said with a vexed expression.
Hope everyone has had a happy Thanksgiving and was able to spend quality time with friends and family!