Save Her, I Beg You
Bai Fu Rong’s body swayed, nearly falling to the ground. The cup on the table was knocked onto the ground, causing Bai Ze to let out a “huh” sound. The knocking sound became even more urgent, “Bai Fu Rong! Open up the door!”
Bai Fu Rong steadied herself then took a deep breath. Managing to stabilize herself, she raised her voice to say: “Stop knocking. Even if you knock, I won’t open it!” Her voice sounded as it did in the past; however, she had to force her voice and expend a great deal of effort to shout it. “Don’t bother me. I want to sleep. Quickly leave!”
Her words were very impolite, but this sounded similar to how Bai Fu Rong should sound to Bai Ze, thus he did not suspect too much, only muttering “Good intentions are not repaid in kind” or something to that effect before leaving.
Only then did Bai Fu Rong let out a sigh of relief, dropping into her chair. She then felt a fishy sweet taste surge up from her chest. Despite desperately trying to hold it down, some blood still trickled out of the corner of her mouth.
“With this sort of suffering, I fear that I won’t be able to survive six days.” She sighed bitterly and supported herself back to the bed before falling asleep.
However, this did not last for long. At ten past midnight, the sound of a hawk came once more. Bai Fu Rong reflexively opened her eyes, and a hatred surfaced in her eyes. But even if she felt hatred, she had no choice but to climb out of her bed and quietly put on her clothes. She also put on the bamboo hat that she usually wore before quietly walking to the back window. There were no soldiers stationed there, allowing her to get out.
The problem was that she was no longer as agile as before. Even hopping out of a window, she moved slowly like a 60- or 70-year-old person. After three attempts, she finally managed to get out through the window. As a result, she lost her balance and fell on the snow and ice, making it so she could not stand for a while.
Bai Ze had received an order from Xuan Tian Ming to keep an eye on Bai Fu Rong and to take note of all of her movements. When the hawk first appeared in the sky, he knew that Bai Fu Rong would definitely go out on this night, thus he wrapped around to the back window to stand watch.
Bai Fu Rong falling caused Bai Ze to feel odd. At first, he laughed for a while at how clumsy she was. She wasn’t even able to get out of such a low window smoothly. After that, he began to worry that Bai Fu Rong had injured her leg on the ice. After all, she had already twisted her ankle before, so she had never recovered fully. But after a little while longer, he began to feel anxious because Bai Fu Rong lay on the ground like a dead person, not moving at all.
Just as he was no longer able to hold back and wanted to go forward to inspect the situation, Bai Fu Rong finally moved a little; however, the voice that spoke sounded old, saying: “That fall hurt like mad.” There was nothing wrong with what she had said, but that voice sounded irregular to Bai Ze. In that instant, he really wondered if the person in the snow was Bai Fu Rong.
Finally, that person stood up once more, and Bai Ze watched her stagger forward, stopping from time to time to straighten out her back. The feeling that she was not Bai Fu Rong became even more profound.
He forcefully held back his curiosity and quietly followed behind her. Finally, after walking around for an hour, the person ahead stopped in a small alley.
There was still a person in black clothes waiting there. Bai Ze recognized it as the man that Bai Fu Rong had been in contact with along the way. Seeing that Bai Fu Rong came, the other person immediately said: “Master has a new mission for you. He wants you to kill imperial daughter Ji An within five days.”
“What?” Bai Fu Rong seemed to have heard an extremely funny joke. Laughing while coughing, she finally managed to steady her breathing before saying: “Have you gone crazy? A-Heng is so powerful. How could I possibly kill her? They really do indulge in the wildest fantasies!”
The other person said: “After all, you and her are old friends. She has a lowered defense against you. The opportunities will naturally be greater. Don’t worry, after this matter is concluded, master will agree to all of your requests.”
Bai Fu Rong shook her head, “If I really did anything, regardless of whether it succeeds or fails, I will immediately lose my life. Could it be that you believe that I can successfully escape after killing A-Heng? Stop dreaming. I won’t kill A-Heng. I already told you that my father is a person from Da Shun. I am a person from Da Shun. I, Bai Fu Rong, will not betray my country nor my friends. I still have a few days left to live. I don’t care. As for my father, I will repeat what I have said. If he dies because of this, that is how his life should be. His own experiences cannot be blamed on anyone else.” As she spoke, she turned around, visibly exhausted, “Leave. Don’t come and look for me again. Next time the hawk calls, I won’t be coming out. Tell your master that I will not acknowledge that person as my uncle.”
Watching Bai Fu Rong turn around and leave, Bai Ze still retreated immediately despite the confusion about her voice. He maintained a certain distance from her until they returned to the North entrance of the prefectural office.
Bai Fu Rong was walking slower and slower, and Bai Ze had a strange feeling. He felt that the person wearing the bamboo hat was not Bai Fu Rong at all. Instead, it was some aging elderly person. Every single step seemed to expend a great deal of energy, as she would occasionally stop to straighten out her back or stretch her legs.
This sort of strange feeling continued until a strong wind blew. Bai Fu Rong did not have the strength to hold down the bamboo hat, and the bamboo hat was lifted straight from her head. Bai Ze, who had been retreating slowly, was suddenly frozen in shock. Staring straight at the person that was facing him, he opened his mouth in shock.
Unfortunately, Bai Fu Rong could not see that it was Bai Ze. Her vision had already deteriorated a great deal. The distance was no more than three paces, but Bai Ze was still too far from her.
She stooped down to try and pick the bamboo hat back up, but the wind was too strong. After trying a few times, nearly grabbing it each time, it would be blown away by the wind.
Bai Fu Rong helplessly shook her head and stood up once more. No longer going to pick up the bamboo hat, she did her best to move faster, wanting to return to her room sooner. Just like this, she continued to walk forward as though she did not notice the person immediately across from her. Just like that, Bai Ze stood in place, staring at her. His face was filled with shock and pain.
Finally, Bai Fu Rong stopped walking. At just two paces away, she finally realized that there was someone ahead, and she was finally able to recognize Bai Ze through the wind and snow. For a moment, she practically thought that she was in a dream. In this dream, that scene of a young man picking her up in the mountains after she had twisted her ankle appeared once more. Because she had to be carried back to the camp, she tightly wrapped her arms around his neck. Although she was filled with horror, her heart felt warm.
However… now was different.
Bai Fu Rong covered her face with her hand in panic, trying to hide her face. She did not want Bai Ze to see her face. Even if she died, she did not want for him to see her current appearance.
Unfortunately, Bai Ze had seen it clearly in the instant that the hat had been blown away. He spoke with a trembling voice, calling out: “Bai Fu Rong?”
She was startled and shook her head, “No.”
“Then who are you?”
Then who was she? She also had no clue.
Just like that, the two stood in the snow for who knew how long. Finally, Bai Fu Rong’s body could no longer endure the strong winds and the falling snow. The fishy sweet taste that she had forcefully suppressed earlier surged up once more. She no longer had the strength to suppress it and suddenly coughed up a mouthful of blood, spraying it onto Bai Ze’s chest.
Bai Ze felt that his chest seemed to have been forcefully hit by something formless, the pain nearly causing him to tear up. Although the person before him was old and withered, he could still recognize that she was Bai Fu Rong; however, her eyes rolled back, and she fell straight forward.
The horror in Bai Ze’s mind had reached its peak. He held Bai Fu Rong in his embrace, the feeling that appeared was similar to when Xuan Tian Ming’s legs had been pierced in the mountains of the Northwest. It was not just horror. It was despair.
“Bai Fu Rong, don’t die.” He sniffled then picked her up. He then quickly rushed toward the manor, kicking the gate open. The soldiers standing guard at night heard the commotion and gathered around, believing that there was an enemy attack. When they saw clearly, they found that the person that had barged in was Bai Ze. Bai Ze was rushing along while shouting: “Princess! Princess, help!”
In the army, Feng Yu Heng was called many different things. The soldiers called her imperial daughter, Wang Chuan and Huang Quan called her young miss, ghost doctor Song Kang called her master, Xuan Tian Ming called her dear wife, but the only one to call her princess was Bai Ze.
Feng Yu Heng had not yet slept, and Xuan Tian Ming was holding her while listening to her tell the story of what had happened over the past few months. She had just reached the part where she had met Qing Le on the boat and how Qing Le had left behind a handkerchief with a hibiscus flower embroidered on it. Suddenly, the sound of someone shouting “princess” entered her ear.
Xuan Tian Ming was extremely unhappy, “Bai Ze, that brat’s really becoming more and more unruly. Does he not understand what it means to avoid arousing suspicion at this sort of time?”
Feng Yu Heng rolled her eyes at him, “What suspicion is there to be aroused that needs to be avoided? But this is also a city that we have just taken from the enemy. It should be the case that we will receive reports from the army at any given time.”
Xuan Tian Ming accepted it and got out of bed while muttering: “Wife is correct.” While putting on his shoes and socks, he said: “Based on the sound of it, it sounds like there is something urgent.”
Just as he said this, there was a “bang” sound, as the door was pushed open. Following the entrance of a cold wind, Bai Ze entered while holding an old woman.
Feng Yu Heng was given a fright, asking in confusion: “Who is this?” After asking this, she felt that something was off. She had known Bai Ze for quite some time, and this guy had never lost his composure. As for the present… Feng Yu Heng’s heart suddenly trembled. As she looked at the old woman once more, a mysterious feeling of familiarity surfaced in her heart.
She quickly took a couple steps forward. At the same time, Bai Ze dropped to his knees before her, urgently saying: “I’m begging princess, save her. I’m begging princess, please save her!”
Before Feng Yu Heng could speak, Xuan Tian Ming recognized the person. Even if he had developed an understanding of Bai Fu Rong, he could not help but feel surprised upon seeing this sight. “Bai Fu Rong? How did she become like this?”
Once the words Bai Fu Rong were spoken, the last of Feng Yu Heng’s “hopes” were wiped out. An indescribable heartache filled her heart. Regardless of Bai Fu Rong’s identity, regardless of whether or not she had sold her out, just based on the previous feelings of friendship, seeing the current Bai Fu Rong disturbed her mind.
“Princess, save her!” Bai Ze placed her on the ground and began to kowtow to Feng Yu Heng. While doing this, he said: “There is indeed a problem with the identity of the Bai family’s young miss, but this subordinate has followed her for a few months and personally watched her rather become like this than sell out princess. She did not do anything to try and damage Da Shun either. Not only this, if it was not for her pointing Qian Zhou’s people down the wrong path at the beginning, princess’ trip to the North definitely would have been many times riskier!”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, her expression solemn. Patting Bai Ze’s shoulder with her left hand to calm him down, she reached to feel Bai Fu Rong’s wrist. After this examination, she could not help but be extremely shocked once more, “How could it be like this?”