“Ah!” Jin Se suddenly exclaimed softly as her face grew pale, her gaze directed ahead.
Hua Zhu Yu turned around, following the direction of her gaze.
A distance away, Ji Feng Li was standing under a plum tree, his face pale beneath the shadows and sunlight. His deep gaze was directed at her, a gaze filled with heartache and emotions.
Slowly, he made his way over, quietly, step by step, until finally he stood in front of her. His hands reached out and pulled her into his arms with every last bit of his strength, locking her in a tight embrace against his chest.
Nestled soundly in his arms, Hua Zhu Yu wished this moment would last a lifetime. But a stirring pain in her belly suddenly caught her off guard, making her dizzy as she broke out in cold sweat all over.
“What’s wrong with you, Bao’er?” Ji Feng Li asked in concern, noticing her strange behavior.
Grabbing the lapel of his robes, Hua Zhu Yu gasped, ” I……I think the baby’s coming!”
Momentarily stunned, Ji Feng Li froze but then it finally dawned on him what was happening and he quickly called for the servants. “Prepare a sedan! Also summon the midwife to Tao Yuan Ju!” Ji Feng Li ordered in a panic.
Hua Zhu Yu had always had a thin build, moreover, she had been taking care of him day in and out, so her health wasn’t at its best. Thus, he was very worried about her giving birth and had already issued a decree to bring the midwife into the palace to be on call.
By the time Hua Zhu Yu was carried back to Tao Yuan Ju, the midwife had already arrived. After several maidservants came to help Hua Zhu Yu into the house, they shut the door tightly behind them.
Ji Feng Li was barred from entering. A bodyguard had brought out a chair for him but he could not sit still, pacing back and forth in the corridor. A’Gui anxiously said, “Your Majesty, you should take a rest. Be careful lest the poison attacks.”
But how could Ji Feng Li possibly rest at this moment. When the first basin full of blood was carried out of the house, his heart felt as if it had fallen into the deepest abyss. By the time the subsequent basin of blood was carried out, he felt as though he was on the verge of suffocating.
“Not good! It’s going to be a difficult birth!” the voice of the midwife exclaimed in alarm inside the house.
“Niang niang(way to address Empress/Consort/concubine) fainted from the pain.”
Hearing this, Ji Feng Li couldn’t bear it any longer and quickly made his way to the door. Seeing this, several maidservants hastily went up to stop him, imploring, “Your Majesty, you mustn’t enter, the delivery room is a filthy place, it’s inauspicious.”
“Get out of the way!” Ji Feng Li coldly ordered, fury rippling in his phoenix eyes.
Frightened, the maidservants quickly made way and Ji Feng Li, forsaking decorum, pushed open the door and entered the room. The strong smell of blood assaulted his nose as the glaring redness penetrated his vision. His breathing momentarily halted and his mind blanked.
Why was she losing so much blood? The blood had soaked her skirt and was even trickling down the bed.
“Bao’er…” he anxiously called out as he rushed to her bedside.
Hua Zhu Yu’s face was ghastly pale and her forehead was beaded with cold sweat, making the hair at her temples stick to her face. Trembling, he took out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat for her and sat by the bed, holding her hand tightly, murmuring by her ear.
After a wave of painful labor contractions, Hua Zhu Yu gradually gained consciousness. When she saw him next to the bed, she smiled weakly and asked, “Why did you come in? Quickly leave.”
“No, I want to stay with you,” he said as he held her hand tightly and leaned down to gently kiss her cheeks. “Bao’er, do you want to listen to a tune?” He tried his best to sound calm but couldn’t help the slight tremor in his voice.
“I want to listen to the Ruo Shui(Weak Water).” Hua Zhu Yu softly replied as a new wave of painful contractions started.
The melodious sound of the flute resonated in the room like flowing water, and the pain, seemingly comforted by the music, subsided a bit.
Her grip on consciousness was becoming increasingly weak and blurred. Only the sound of the flute continued to linger by her ears. With the increasing pain reaching a new height, Hua Zhu Yu held her breath and pushed with all her might.
“Exert your strength, use force, one more time….” She could hear the midwife say.
She continued to push and push and finally the pain in her lower body subsided. She collapsed back on the bed but she could vaguely feel someone’s arms around her, holding her. When she opened her eyes she saw his pale, handsome face which brought a smile to her lips. But slowly her eyes closed once more as an endless darkness enveloped her.
“What’s wrong with her? Did she faint from exhaustion?” Ji Feng Li asked in a trembling voice.
The midwife came over and cautiously said in a shaky voice, “Your Majesty, niang niang….she must’ve fainted from too much blood lost.”
Ji Feng Li felt his head abuzz. He was lightheaded as if he was about to collapse. But he tried to remain conscious and coldly ordered, “Summon the Imperial Physician! Bring all the Imperial Physicians here. You must save niang niang! Otherwise, zhen(how the Emperor address himself as I) will bury you all with her!”
He knew that at this time he could not afford to lose consciousness but that darn poison was attacking again. To remain by her side, he tried his best to endure the pain.
An hour passed, then two.
A’Gui went to his side and reported, “Your Majesty, niang niang is out of danger.”
Hearing this, Ji Feng Li could finally put his mind at ease as his surroundings began to spin and darkness shrouded his vision.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
Hua Zhu Yu didn’t know how long she had been unconscious but this time, she really didn’t want to wake up because only at this moment, when she was fast asleep could she be together with him, live and die as one, never to separate. This time,no one was going to separate them.
She was floating in the dark, half-awake, her whole body enveloped in mist. There was no light, only darkness, an eternal darkness. She thought she might be dead. She could sense that Ji Feng Li was not that far away, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t catch up to him.
When two people died, couldn’t they meet on the road to the Yellow Springs(Hell)? Why couldn’t she see him? She felt her consciousness was drifting mindlessly as her body suddenly grew light. In the darkness, she was desperately searching for him, calling out his name, time and time again but it was futile as there was only darkness ahead.
Unbeknownst of how much time had passed, Hua Zhu Yu could vaguely hear someone murmuring by her ear.
“Bao’er….don’t sleep…wake up!”
“Bao’er, I’m here, right here!”
“Bao’er, if you dare to die, even if I have to go to hell, I will bring you back!”
“Bao’er, please, wake up!”
Whose voice was this that sounded so grief-stricken and desolate?
Whose arms were holding her in such a warm, firm embrace?
Slowly, her eyes pried open and her vision grew clearer. What greeted her was the sight of his handsome face.
She looked at him in surprise, almost unable to breathe. She had finally found him! Looking at his eyes full of emotions, a radiant smile blossomed on her face.
Her hand reached out to softly caress his face as she said in a dream-like voice, “I live, you live; I die, you die. If I ascend to heaven, you will never go to hell; if I go to hell, you will never ascend to heaven. Wherever I am, you will follow me, but you can’t go when I’m here. This is what you said, do you remember? But I remember, so don’t think you can leave me… . we will hold hands and step down to the Yellow Springs together.”
He lifted her chin with his hands and gently wiped the tear marks on her cheek with his thumb and gazed at her deeply.
“Bao’er, I’m not dead, nor are you!” His soft voice resonated in her ear.
The eyes that were gazing up at him widened and her extended hand reached out to touch and pinch him. He’s not dead! She leaned her head against his broad chest and felt his powerful heartbeat again and again. He was really alive!
Bao’er, my poison’s resolved!” He whispered in her ear happily as he held her hand tightly in his, locking his fingers with hers. “A man had found Lan Bing and told him that the ancient poison could be resolved with the blood of our child’s umbilical cord. A’Gui had tried it and it really worked! It was true!”
Unexpectedly, the blood from a child’s umbilical cord was the antidote to the ancient poison she had transferred to him from her body.
“Who was that man?” Hua Zhu Yu asked in a low voice. It seems only the person behind the poison incident would know how to resolve it.
“It was a monk attired in monk robes and straw shoes,” Ji Feng Li whispered.
“Really? It must be an esteemed, senior monk then,” Hua Zhu Yu whispered.
Both of them were aware of who it was but neither decided to say it aloud.
Ji Feng Li pulled Hua Zhu Yu closer in his arms, enveloping her in his warmth, coaxing her to sleep.
But suddenly, the cry of a baby erupted in the room.
Hua Zhu Yu was startled by the sound. She pushed Ji Feng Li away and tried to get up, exclaiming, “The baby, our baby’s crying!”
Ji Feng Li hugged her waist and pulled her back into his arms, whispering, “It’s alright, the baby’s only practicing crying.”
“Eh!” the baby cried out, seemingly in protest to the parent’s neglect.
So who exactly was this old man?? I really wished they had said it aloud but the author kinda left it up to us readers to speculate. I think it must be Hua Mu. I think he’s probably still alive since he faked his death once already, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he did it again. Moreover, HZY had sent her guards to send Hua Mu’s body to the temple after he was presumed dead. And then the old man was wearing monks attire so I think its Hua Mu. What do you guys think?? Also, I feel like the author totally rushed this ending, like his poison was resolved so easily lol