Die Feng thought for a moment and answered, “Your Highness, it’s most likely around the third night watch(11pm-1am).”
Hearing this, Xuan Ji’s heart grew anxious but she tried to maintain a calm appearance and stated, “You all should rest for the night, I’ll go to bed too.”
Die Feng and Cui Ya quickly cleaned up and then retired for the night.
After they left, Xuan Ji went to the window and opened it a sliver to peer towards Die Feng and the other servants’ resting quarters. Seeing that the lights were all out, she turned around and blew out the candles in her room. She then went back to the window. After listening to make sure all was quiet outside, she then made her way to the door and quietly slipped away.
Bi Xia Palace.
She was here at last. When Die Feng told her it was the third night watch, she had made up her mind to come.
The last time she was here, she was with Yu Zhi but they had never actually entered the palace and had only been standing outside. Now that she was here by herself, a little fear crept in her heart as she stared at the palace walls infested with moss and overrun by vines, leaving only the eaves of the rooftops clear from view.
All around it was dark as ink, only a sliver of light escaped from the large doors. Inside, the courtyard was also a miserable sight to behold, the trees and moss had grown uninhibited, there was also a bamboo rack with some clothes hanging from it. In the darkness, it could not be seen clearly but one could tell that the color of those clothes had long since faded.
Here once lived a woman that served the former Emperor. In the future, perhaps one of Long Fei Li’s women would take residence here. Just the thought alone, Xuan Ji couldn’t help but slightly tremble.
On the ground, there were weeds growing here and there, broken vats and tiles along with straws of hay. She moved carefully so as not to accidentally fall into the dry well that Cui Ya had told her about. As she walked further in, there was a pile of hay on the ground that looked a little out of sorts. That must be where the dry well was.
Cui Ya had said that when she left that day, she took some straws of hay to cover up the mouth of the well. Originally, she wanted to cover it up more carefully but she heard a voice coming from the main hall so she left in a hurry.
That little yatou was indeed cautious, Xuan Ji thought.
But there had been something on Xuan Ji’s mind that she found odd about this matter. Even if this was an abandoned well, this place was still visited by women in the cold palace, so why hasn’t the corpse been discovered?
That’s to say, after the corpse was thrown into the well, the mouth had been covered with hay. It must be well known that this well had long dried up. If not by accident, no one would deliberately lift the hay to discover what’s down below.
But covering the mouth with some straws of hay was by no means a great plan to keep the corpse hidden. The person who threw the corpse down there must’ve known this. According to Cui Ya, this well was shallow. Though the well was not very deep, Xuan Ji thought the bottom of the well must be very wide. With the limited lighting, even if the hay had been moved aside, it may not have been possible to see the body of the corpse.
Though Cui Ya had been frightened that day, curiosity got the best of her and she had taken a quick glance at the corpse. Though the bottom of the well was dark and she was gripped with fear, she could still identify several features of the corpse within that short amount of time. She said that the corpse belonged to a young and beautiful female with clothes that were decorated and lavish.
If Cui Ya could identify those things, that means the corpse had not yet decayed beyond recognition, it must’ve been a new corpse.
As the matter became clearer, Xuan Ji couldn’t help the heaviness in her heart that was increasing by the moment. She involuntarily wrapped her arms around herself as a shiver ran through her body. At that moment, a voice suddenly came from the main hall, almost like a cry but not precisely.
Xuan Ji was frightened out of her wits and nearly cried out in unison. What Cui Ya heard that day was probably the voice of this woman. It wasn’t a ghost, but she sounded even more miserable than a ghost.
When Xuan Ji left her room, it was around the third night watch and it took her quite some time to walk all the way here. She did not dare to dally any further as she looked around and tried to find a good hiding spot.
Next to the clothes hanging on the bamboo rack were several tall stacks of hay and behind it were the towering shadows of trees in the background.
The haystacks were wide enough to hide a few people behind them though it was certainly not a very safe hiding spot. But with the pressing time, Xuan Ji bit her lips anxious when the sound of footsteps could be heard heading towards the courtyard. Listening to the sound, there must be no less than 3 or 4 people coming this way.
Xuan Ji could feel herself break out in a cold sweat. She was gripped with immense shock as she immediately dashed towards the haystack to hide.
As soon as she was hidden, the door leading to the courtyard was pushed open. She placed both of her hands over her chest to calm her pounding heart as she dared not to make a single movement.
The light voice of a man could be heard, “The three of you guard outside.”
Several men responded.
It’s him! It’s really him!
Xuan Ji’s legs began to shake.
Overhead, the moon was not full but it’s light still trickled down like water, illuminating the surroundings in a hazy light.
He was only a few steps away from her, she could even hear his quiet footsteps as he paced back and forth.
Xin Yi had not arrived. He was waiting for her, here at the fourth night watch, he waited for the woman whose name was embroidered on the brocade pouch he kept by his side.
Xuan Ji’s heart was racing anxiously and she found it almost difficult to breath. But besides the anxiousness, there was another emotion and she couldn’t help but bitterly smile.
Suddenly, a voice came in from the door, “Your Majesty, please forgive me, Xin Yi is late again.”
The voice was firm yet light. It gave the same feeling as Long Fei Li’s voice, but softer, with a hint of a smile.
This voice was somewhat familiar…. Xuan Ji froze in shock as the image of that beautiful person appeared in her mind.
How much time has she spent guessing Xin Yi’s identity? Was it someone she knew or was it someone she didn’t?
But how could it be her?
She suddenly couldn’t be sure, she knew what she wanted to do next was dangerous but she couldn’t control her rising curiosity.
Clenching her teeth, she quietly moved her head away from behind the haystack to get a clearer view.
Beneath the moonlight, she was greeted by the sight of the two of them embracing one another quietly. Although she could only see a vague side view, their silhouettes were as clear as day.
The cries that Xuan Ji hears in the cold palace, I think just belong to a woman who has been banished there. Most of the time, in the dramas they kind of portray some of those women as having gone crazy so I think it was just a crazy lady making those sounds/cries in the middle of the night.