Chapter 1 (2/2)
The exclamation of a male voice jolted her back to consciousness.
“Miss and I will stay in the same room. Young Master need not send anyone to take care of us.” She recognized the second voice as He Zai’s.
She has to struggle before she managed to open her eyes a crack. The surroundings were unfamiliar – unfamiliar bed, unfamiliar house. Through the half-open door, she could see that it was now night time. There were two men outside the room; one is He Zai, and the other…. is it the disease-stricken He Rong Hua?
“Are you husband and wife?” He Rong Hua sounded alarmed.
“Since you are not, it is inappropriate for an unmarried man and woman to spend the night together in the same room…”
“If someone else were to look after Miss, it will be even more inappropriate. Miss was poisoned while she was in the manor. Unless Young Master can find the culprit, He Zai would not dare to let anyone else get close to Miss.”
“That is impossible! No one in Tian He Manor would do such a despicable thing.”
“It is a fact that Miss was poisoned. Your doctor has confirmed this; the poison has been found in the tea. Or does Young Master believe that your people could not have done this so it must have been Miss who poisoned herself?”
“No, that is not what I mean…” The protest sound weak and even placatory.
“I hope Young Master finds the culprit soon.” He Zai did not speak more and proceeded to close the door in He Rong Hua’s face. He came to the bedside and frowned as he met her eyes. “Miss has been poisoned and has been sleeping for several hours. It is night time now.”
She struggled to sit up despite feeling weak all over. “I know.”
He Zai steadied her gently. “It is lucky that Fifth Gentleman of Cloud Manor is here. He is well-versed in the arts of healing and he is the one who found that Miss has been poisoned. I have fed you the medicine but you will need to rest for a few days.”
She shot him a look. Ignoring her aching body, she moved to the table and snuffed the candle. As the room plunged into darkness, she ordered: “He Zai, come to bed.”
Outside, someone sighed.
“Yes… Miss.” He Zai did not move a muscle.
She closed her eyes and after a while, she heard a set of footsteps stomping away.
“Although your vital organs are not harmed, you will need to rest. It is best not to exert your qi (energy) in the next few days.”
She did not open her eyes and fingered her jade flute. Her breathing was unsteady and her lips were white.
“He Zai, how long have you been with me?”
“It has been ten years exactly.”