I Am Not a Good Person
The saying goes that one must not have the heart to harm others, but it is necessary to protect oneself against them. Based on Feng Yu Heng’s cautious nature, how could she not have heard the gradually nearing footsteps, and how could she not have noticed the person dipping and dodging around behind her. That person had simply squatted down then pushed her back while grabbing her ankle. If this was the real Xiao Ya, perhaps this push would have done the trick.
Unfortunately, this was Feng Yu Heng.
The culprit had watched Feng Yu Heng be pushed into the well, head first with both of her feet leaving the ground; however, for some reason, this person felt more and more flustered. When this person managed to recover, they found that the person that had fallen into the well with half their body under the water, was actually themselves. On the outside, there was a hand holding her wrist. A smiling face looked down at them, causing their heart to tremble.
“Qi family’s young miss, how is the temperature of the water?” Feng Yu Heng had an evil smile on her face and an impossible-to-hide murderous intent flashed through her eyes.
The person in the water was the Qi family’s young miss that had argued with her earlier. If she did not bring up the temperature of the water, it would have been better, but once it was mentioned, the Qi family’s young miss immediately felt the bitter cold seep into her body. The lower half of her body that was in the water became numb from the cold. It was as though it had already been separated from her upper body. There was absolutely no feeling from it.
Her lips and teeth shivered, and her face turned blue. In just a short span of time, a thick feeling of death surged forth. She begged Feng Yu Heng: “I was wrong. I beg you to forgive me, alright?” Her voice was weak and very urgent.
Feng Yu Heng, however, asked her: “If you had succeeded in pushing me into the well, would you have done your best to get me out?” Before waiting for her to reply, she added: “As a person, you must not have the heart to harm others. There was no enmity between us to begin with, yet you insisted on coming over. I am not a good person. How could I allow someone that wished to kill me to continue living?” After she said this, she suddenly let go and straightened out her body, “Qi family’s young miss, may we never meet again.” With a plunk, she fell into the water and fell silent.
She dusted off her hands in contempt, and her gaze became cold. She just thought that the people of the North truly were cruel and fierce. After just a short argument, she turned around and tried to commit murder. Just how exactly did her heart become twisted to such a degree?
At first, she did not intend to argue with a little girl; however, this did not mean that she would allow for someone to threaten her own life. In this man-eating North, let’s see who will eat whom.
Feng Yu Heng looked at the tub then looked at the well. Retracting the coldness from her gaze, she immediately put on a frightened and anxious look and turned around, quickly running toward the backyard. While running, she shouted; “Not good! The Qi family’s young miss fell into the well!”
She ran and shouted, and when she reached the courtyard where Illusory Hall had been training them, everyone was shocked by her shouts. The two girls that had been with the Qi family’s young miss were immediately panicked and urgently asked: “Which well?”
Feng Yu Heng said: “The well that I was fetching water from. I don’t know why she also went. When I turned around, she suddenly rushed forward and ended up in the well. Quickly go and take a look!”
Everyone quickly rushed over. The guards of Illusory Hall also rushed over. A stronger member put a hook down the well then stirred around. After catching onto something, he tied it to the rope in the well and pulled it up.
Everyone looked over. If the person that had been pulled up was not the Qi family’s young miss, who else could it be? The hook had been hook on the collarbone, piercing straight through her. It was as though she was a pig that had been hung up. She had already lost her life.
The surrounding crowd inhaled sharply, and the girls all looked away. They did not even dare to look at the corpse. Shen Yu Ning and Zhang Ling Xi stood on both sides of Feng Yu Heng and comforted her: “Xiao Ya, don’t be scared. She should have gone to an ice well to fetch water; however, she ran over to this side. It’s clear that she wanted to cause trouble for you. Who knew that the trouble would end up taking her own life. That just serves her right.”
These words were heard by the two girls that had been at the side of the Qi family’s young miss. They wanted to argue a bit, but after giving it some thought, they shut their mouths. The two were indeed close with the Qi family’s young miss, and they wanted to use the elder sister that had entered the Winter Palace as support, but now that the Qi family’s young miss had died, there was no need for them to speak out for her.
Very quickly, the woman with the surname Qi also rushed over. Immediately behind her were some elders of the Illusory Hall. But these people were not too surprised by the death of a girl. The woman just waved her hand and ordered the guards: “Wrap her up in a mat and send her back to her family. Give them a bit of money. If the Qi family has any objections, have them come to the Illusory Hall to voice them.”
After just a few words, the matter was considered resolved. It was as though it was not a person that had just died, rather it was a cat or a dog. But after the guards took the corpse away, the woman looked at Feng Yu Heng with a profound gaze then faintly said: “Fu Ya, very good.”
Feng Yu Heng’s expression was calm and just bowed slightly, saying: “Many thanks sister Qi for the praise.”
The woman with the surname Qi nodded, “Since the well was tainted by a corpse, just seal it up! We can forget about the matter of filling up the tub. As for you children, the first ten to have learned how to perform the fire flower trick, come with me to the front hall. As for the others that were lacking, go and look at your options.”
After she finished speaking, she turned around and left. Shen Yu Ning and Zhang Ling Xi quickly grabbed Feng Yu Heng to follow her. Another group of children also quickly went to follow. As for the other children, they remained in place and did not move.
Feng Yu Heng heard someone behind her loudly say to the girls: “Fire on the ice flower is my Illusory Hall’s most basic illusion. If you cannot even learn this, there is no need for you to remain here. Right now, there are two paths before you. One, you can leave on your own and go home. Two, you can choose to remain at the Illusory Hall to perform chores. You should think about it carefully.”
On this new year’s eve, some people were happy and others were worried. The girls that had passed the test and could stay were naturally happy. Even if they would be unable to learn magic in a short span of time, they would accompany an illusionist as an assistant. But, in the end, their goal was not to become an illusionist. It was nothing more than an opportunity for them to get into the Winter Palace. That was why being able to stay was a good thing.
As for those that helplessly returned home and those that had effectively become servants, they could only pass this new year with bitter expressions.
Shen Yu Ning said to Feng Yu Heng: “Xiao Ya, I heard someone say that not everyone that gets into the Winter Palace can receive lord Duan Mu’s favor. After all, he is old. In the past three years, I heard even more that he does not even have time for all of the concubines in his residence, much less the ones in the Winter Palace. All of these rules are just for show. Second, this also gives him some liveliness. Otherwise, I would not come to take part in this. After all, needing to participate in the selections at 13 years of age, I would go at a time when there are more people. The chance of not being selected would be a bit higher.”
Feng Yu Heng asked her: “Is your family also lacking in money?”
Shen Yu Ning shook her head, “There isn’t a lack of money, but my stepmother is liking me less and less. A few days ago, I secretly heard her discuss with my father about engaging me to a nephew from her maternal family. You don’t know this, but that nephew doesn’t know how to do anything aside from gamble and drink. I don’t want to get married to that sort of person. I would rather spend the rest of my days in the Winter Palace.”
Zhang Ling Xi also sighed, saying: “All three of us have our own difficult experiences. If we really can get into the Winter Palace, we need to support each other. I heard that the brutality of the Winter Palace is the same as Da Shun’s imperial palace.”
Feng Yu Heng helplessly said: “How could a place with many women be peaceful.” Just as she said this, she recalled something and paused before saying: “There really are people that only want to get into the Winter Palace. If they fail one year, they will come again the next year. There are some that have already gone many years in a row.” She had seen someone that was clearly a few years older than her in the Illusory Hall. This thought had come to her at that time.
“But of course.” Shen Yu Ning said, “There are people here that are already 15-years-old. They are already of marriageable age. That means that they have tried for many years yet never given up. Xiao Ya, let’s stay a little further away from those people. I fear that girls that have been unable to get married for many years will have twisted hearts.”
Feng Yu Heng helplessly let out a wry smile. They were just 15-years-old, yet they were already considered older girls by this society. This was a concept that she still could not accept at this point. Tomorrow would be the first day of the new year, and she was truly quite looking forward to that Winter Palace.
Feng Yu Heng had used Fu Ya’s name to get into the Illusory Hall. At this time in the Fu residence, the real Fu Ya was seated at her mother’s bedside as usual. The only difference was that instead of handing her mother a bowl of dark and bitter medicine, the medicine being handed over was the size of a fingernail from a girl’s pinky. Each time, two pills would be taken, and they should be taken twice a day. Apparently, this would be enough to treat her.
Fu Ya handed the medicine to her mother and thought back to the one that had suddenly appeared in the room. That girl looked extremely similar to her, and she was like a deity that had suddenly appeared. Not only did she use a mysterious method to treat her mother’s illness, but she also left behind a number of weird medicines. Even odder, after her mother had been treated and took the medicine, although it was only a single day, the symptoms had truly improved. She could even see some color return to her mother’s face, and the coughing was no longer as frequent as before.
It was just that Fu Ya could not understand. That girl had such great medical abilities, so why did she want to get into the Illusory Hall? People with that sort of ability should be seeking to avoid getting into the Winter Palace, right?
When she became distracted, her mother immediately noticed. The madam said to Fu Ya: “Mother knows that you are thinking about something, but no matter what happens, that girl is our benefactor. Xiao Ya, from this day forward, no matter what happens, you must not sell out this benefactor. You must do your best to help her. Have you remembered this?”
Fu Ya nodded sincerely, “Mother, don’t worry. Xiao Ya has remembered it. As long as mother can get better, even if Xiao Ya will spend an entire lifetime repaying that girl’s grace, Xiao Ya would be willing.”
On the first day of the new year in Song Zhou, everything possible was done to use the joy and festivity to cover up the disaster that had occurred on the 29th. Everyone kept their mouths shut about that fire and acted as though it had never happened. They just wished each other a happy new year and asked around to see which family’s daughter would be participating in the selections for concubine of the Winter Palace.
On this day, Feng Yu Heng followed the illusionists of Illusory Hall and finally arrived at the Western end of Song Zhou then entered the Winter Palace. The one welcoming her was a familiar sight.