The Eternal Sanctum - Chapter 3
The person who had entered was a woman in her thirties. An oval-like face with a pointed chin, small dimples gracing her mouth and dark hazel irises, the woman was a mature, beautiful lady.
Dressed in a light purple spring garb of an ancient clothing style, she stepped into the room holding a wooden tray. On it, An Fei could see a steaming clay bowl with a lid, the faint smell of freshly cooked porridge seeping through.
However, none of it mattered to An Fei.
Not that the woman before her was similarly dressed in a historic fashion, not that the objects before were suspicious and reeked of antiquity, and definitely not because the room only permitted entry.
All that remained in her mind was a persistent chorus of screams and howls of anger, each profaning her demise.
“Get out! I don’t have such a daughter like you!”
“You’re only some wench your father picked up from some illegal brothel. Don’t even try claiming the family name of An!”
“Hah! Because Father decided to grant you a family title, you think you’ve attained solace? Dream on! You are merely a servant, not a treasured Miss like Yan Yue!”
“Because of you, Yan Yue missed her chance of marriage. You say you wanted to help her? I see that you merely wanted to step on her head, thinking any sparrow picked from who knows where can become a phoenix by climbing onto a higher branch!”
“Father truly dotes on you. Since it’s going to be like that, then I’ll take everything away. Your marriage with the Gong Family, your academical achievements and glory, your possessions, all will belong to Yan Yue! As for you, learn your place and kill yourself already!”
Her mind fleeting into a spiral of memories, An Fei’s vision warped as the scarlet haze deepened, a fierce heat pulsing in her chest. Her fingers curling into fists, the nails digging into the soft flesh of her palm, the girl began to tremble fiercely as her eyes blazed with an unearthly fury.
“This doesn’t seem to be faring well, this mustn’t be sustained any longer. Contacting the Old Emperor and begging for an Imperial Physician seems to be the last…huh?”
Quietly grumbling to herself, the woman sat near the bed, removing the lid of the clay pot and setting it to the side.
Suddenly, she heard a faint sound in the room, causing her to instantly stiffen and look around, her gaze darting through the room, leaving no stone untouched.
Hearing nothing even after a few moments, the woman frowned in confusion as she continued to portion out a small bowl’s amount of rice porridge.
“What was that just now? Didn’t I instruct Xiao Ling to watch over? Those servants, when will they stop gossiping?”
As another intelligible mumble sounded within the room, the woman stopped her movements, placing the spoon onto the tray. Holding the tray on her lap and focusing her attention, the woman could hear the soft rustling of fabric, that of silken cloth.
Alarmed, she slammed the bedframe with her left hand, her powerful voice resounding in the room and accompanying the solid strike of palm on wood.
“Who!? Show yourself!”
“…I’ll kill…I’ll kill…”
Hearing the whisper for the third time, the woman closed her eyes, silently searching for the source of the sound. Her head turning towards the bed, the woman opened her eyes to find the curtains of Moon Silk before her.
Tilting her head in puzzlement as she gazed at the faint patterns of peonies and orchids spanning across the silvery brocade, the woman suddenly snapped her hand to her mouth.
Her pupils constricted in shock, she hastily placed the wooden tray to the side, pulling open the curtains to reveal An Fei’s figure.
“You’re awake…you finally woke up…”
Her vision clouding over, a sour sensation filled her nose, the woman reached for the girl, her voice quivering from emotion.
“…my daughter finally wok-huh?”
Feeling her arms slapped away, the woman raised her head in bewilderment, her gaze focusing on the girl’s figure. Upon seeing the blazing fury and hatred struggling to free itself within those delicate eyes, the entire body shaking from anger, the woman could not help but lurch back in surprise.
However, she quickly recovered and rushed forward, reaching out to grab the girl with both arms.
“Fei’er, Fei’er, what’s wrong?”
“Get! Out! I don’t want to see you ever again!”
A voice no louder than a mosquito’s whine entered the woman’s ears, softly scratching at the heartstrings.
However, the alarming contents gained the woman’s attention as her pupils constricted, and she instinctively applied force into her arms to shake the girl in panic.
“What do you mean by that? What made you so…ah?”
Snapping back to her senses as clarity returned to her mind, the deep-seated worry gradually ebbing away, the woman abruptly flinched, letting go of An Fei’s arms. However, fear welled within the woman’s heart as she heard the soft thump of a body falling onto the bed, her gaze anxiously searching around.
Finding An Fei’s figure hidden among the fox fur bed and silken blankets, the woman hurriedly fished the girl out only to find that she had fainted.
“Xiao Ling! Xiao Ling! The physician! Call the physician! Get the Master here as well!”
A panicked cry shook the entire place, throwing the residents into an unexpected and completely unforeseen storm.
“Lord Wei, the young miss…there’s really nothing this old one can do. Such symptoms as these, only the imperial physicians would have a clue.”
When An Fei awoke, the first thing she heard was an aged voice, clearly depressed and helpless.
Blinking twice and craning her head, she found herself atop a different bed, one of clean linen. The curtains were of a soft, light pink and frilly fabric, completely obscuring the outside from view.
Struggling into a curled position as she hugged the pillow, An Fei focused her attention onto what was happening outside. It seemed that there was…an argument?
“Physician Gao, there’s really nothing that you can do?”
Another voice could be heard, dignified and elegant, a well-concealed imposing demeanor carried within. As An Fei continued to eavesdrop, she heard slight thudding sounds and the rustling of coarse cloth.
“This one doesn’t dare. Lord Wei, this old thing will not dare to deceive. The Young Miss’ condition, there’s absolutely nothing similar in this old one’s knowledge, but it’s simply impossible for someone to survive under those symptoms!”
The aged voice seemed to be pleading, the words hurried and agitated.
“Why is that so?” The elegant speaker questioned, calm and collected. “All you say is that she can’t survive, that she won’t last long. That’s all you have said for over a decade, and what has been happening?”
“The Young Miss’ life is merely retained due to the Heavens pitying her,” the aged speaker refuted fiercely.
“An irregular pulse that stops for a breath for every three, who could possibly survive for so long? Not to mention that since the Young Miss was born, she had yet to consume anything other than a small bowl of porridge a day! What do you mean, ‘why is that so?’!?”
“Lord Wei, you know as well, the Young Miss will only have a chance to life if the Jianghu’s prestigious medicinal practitioners treat her. But in this Nan Jing? Impossible! Because of the Old Emperor’s decree, this is why this old one states that it is impossible! Please understand, my lord!”
“…alright. This minister understands fully. Thank you, Physician Gao.”
The elegant voice could be heard once more, this time accompanied by a weary sigh. Whist laying on the bed, An Fei could hear muted footsteps, diminishing in volume with each step.
Not long after, she could hear a set of footsteps, and the curtains of the bed were slowly pulled apart by a pair of sturdy hands. Raising her head as light entered her vision, she could see the outline of a man in his mid-thirties gazing at her.
Dressed in a scarlet, antique minister robe with ‘Yong’ printed on the chestplate, the man possessed handsome traits, the tranquil expression combined with the silent imposing aura making quite the appearance.
Seeing the girl clutch the pillow to her chest as she warily stared at him, the man released a light chuckle. Reaching out to clasp her small hand, his voice was warm as he spoke.
“My daughter, it’s been hard on you. I’m your father, Wei Xuan.”
AN: A new father and mother… but didn’t that grandfather promise her that she didn’t have to meet anyone from that family again…?
Liked it? Take a second to support Clouded Jade’s Hotpot on Patreon!