Rolling Down The Snowy Mountain
Xiao Wan was half-awake when she felt her body hit by a cold wave. The servant girl spoke as she raised the back of her head.
“How is this good? The ninth young miss has fainted. There’s nobody nearby, what should we do?”
Hong Xiu was so anxious she nearly broke down in tears. Feeling that she was the one at fault, she regretfully wiped her tears.
Hong Luan bit her lips, “How about I go down the mountain and find someone? Just staying here isn’t going to help. You’ll stay here to keep an eye on the ninth young miss. I’ll come back after I find somebody.”
Hong Xiu quickly nodded, “Come back soon!”
Xiao Wan knitted her brows while listening to them talk. The voices sounded a little familiar. Her hands felt ice cold, to the point where she couldn’t even move her fingers.
After a while, Xiao Wan finally came to. She felt herself having a splitting headache as she slowly opened her eyes. When she looked around, she saw nothing but white fog, making it impossible to see anything else.
“Young Miss? You’re awake?” Hong Xiu said, pleasantly surprised.
Xiao Wan took a great deal of effort to rub her forehead as she let out a sigh of relief.
“What happened to me?”
Xiao Wan suddenly froze. She noticed that her voice had changed into a young and inexperienced one. She clearly remembered that she had been poisoned by Xiao Ruo. The poison damaged her throat, making it so she couldn’t utter a single word. She turned to look at Hong Xiu, her innocent eyes, full of concern, opened wide on her pretty face.
What happened here?
“Oh no, Young Miss, you didn’t damage your brain, right? What should we do?”
Xiao Wan remembered when she was ten years old she went to light incense at Dazhao Temple with her sisters from the royal holding. Afterwards, she got lost in the back mountains of the Dazhao Temple only to miss her step and roll down the mountain. Xiao Wan ended up losing her memories.
“Little miss, don’t scare your servant. This servant will protect you. Hong Luan already went to find someone to rescue us.”
Hong Xiu cried anxiously, the little miss couldn’t have become stupid, right?
When Xiao Wan heard this, she quickly stood up. She thought that they couldn’t stay here any longer.
“Hurry, we cannot stay here for much longer. We must quickly leave this place.”
“Young miss, what about Hong Luan?”
Xiao Wan’s expression turned cold at the mention of Hong Luan, her once close maidservant, who had long joined with Xiao Ruo. Xiao Ruo had convinced Hong Luan to do all sorts of terrible things to Xiao Wan.
“Don’t mind her. She’ll be fine.” Xiao Wan patted off the snow on her body, and without any hesitation, ran with all her might while pulling Hong Xiu along.
Hong Xiu was puzzled when Xiao Wan turned around and said, “She had already colluded with Fifth Elder Sister a long time ago and deliberately found people to harm me.”
Xiao Wan thought for a bit and added one more sentence at the end.
Hong Xiu exclaimed–naturally she wouldn’t doubt Xiao Wan’s words, “Young Miss, Hong Luan… she’s gone too far! She lost my trust in her!”
Xiao Wan nodded and said, “Hurry, Hong Luan will bring company soon!”
The two people ran in the thick snow. Quite soon, Xiao Wan got tired and started gasping for breath, sweating profusely.
“Young miss, this servant can’t walk any more.” Hong Xiu waved her hands. She truly couldn’t walk any more.
Xiao Wan looked back only to see that their footprints were clearly showing from which way they came from. She shook her head and said, “No, we must hurry up. Our footprints are too obvious! They’ll catch up to us soon! I recall that the main road is just ahead.”
When Hong Xiu heard this, she nodded and gritted her teeth while closely following Xiao Wan.
After walking for about an hour, they reached a cliffside with no way forward. Hong Xiu looked down and couldn’t help but go soft in her knees. It was such a steep slope; she had to wonder if they wouldn’t fall to their death. She couldn’t help but take a few steps back.
“Young miss, I’m so scared.” Hong Xiu sorrowfully said.
Xiao Wan also froze as she turned around and saw a group of people slowly approaching them. Among their figures was Hong Luan’s silhouette.
“No matter. The snow below the cliff is thick, so there shouldn’t be any problems with jumping. In the worst case scenario, we would just be slightly crippled; it would be better to lose a few limbs than to be killed like this.”
Hong Xiu’s body’s started to shake with fear as she heard this.
Xiao Wan turned around and pointed to the group of people behind her and said, “See that? If your family’s young miss were to be caught, she would only spend her days inside the monastery. The monastery sure won’t have any chicken legs.”
“Huh?” After hearing this, Hong Xiu immediately shook her head. She could handle death but a life without chicken drumsticks? Hong Xiu inhaled deeply before putting on a brave expression–as if she was about to lay down her life. “My lady, this servant is not scared.”
Hong Xiu closed her eyes as her legs were shaking audibly.
Xiao Wan clenched her teeth and took a leap of faith as she curled her body to protect her head. She closed her eyes and rolled down the mountainside like a huge snowball, getting bigger and bigger as more of the icy snow stuck to her. It was so cold; it made her shudder.
Unable to look outside, she felt a little apprehensive as she descended faster and faster down the steep slope. She was thrown high up then brought down hard repeatedly. Snow filled her mouth and her head was spinning
Xiao Wan felt that all of her internal organs had been shifted. Her hands hugged her face tightly and her entire body felt as if a steamroller was crushing it. From time to time, she would press into a rock and the aching pain was hard to endure. Her entire body was already frozen stiff and had lost sensation.
Only her brain continued to function. She would much rather take a risk instead of being caught.
Not far from there, a horse-drawn carriage dashed forward. The horse-drawn carriage was furnished to the peak of luxury. The pair of horses pulling the carriage were snow white Lion Buckskin horses. The horses’ hair shone beautifully under the rays of the sun. A slightly brown colored tassel dangled from each of the eight corners of the carriage. In the middle of the carriage, there was a piece of high quality jadeite, making people smack their lips in envy as they stared at the grandeur of it.
Out of the corner of his eye, Zhao Qi surprisingly noticed the two huge snowballs flying down. Although he was stunned from the sight of it, he nimbly grabbed his sword and dashed out the carriage, shouting.
“Quickly, protect the lord! Incoming assassins!”
When the person in the carriage heard the voices, he used his slender fingers to raise the curtains and directed his line of sight at the two rolling snowballs growing in size.
The man was dressed in a moon-white gown adorned with complex embroidery made from silver threads of silk. His entire body radiated an aura of grandeur and nobility. His shallow phoenix eyes were slightly narrowed, just as brilliant as the fireworks of March. His sharp eyebrows were slightly raised. He was the picture of elegance; his body tall and straight yet leaning just the slightest bit. His posture was relaxed and languid, but his body still radiated a natural incredibly domineering aura.
His eyes narrowed slightly in coldness and he faintly shot a stare at what he could clearly tell was a girl.
“Zhao Qi, that’s not an assassin.”
Immediately, the man went onto his toes and quickly vaulted upwards to grab onto one of them.
Xiao Wan’s stomach was turned inside out after rolling like that. Her whole body had become sore all over. She clenched her teeth in pain, not able to loosen up.
The man gently held onto the snowball. While standing on his tiptoes, he gently fell to the ground and used his slender fingers to gently dust off the snow from the snowball.
Her tragic face was gradually exposed as the man cleared up the snow little by little. A peerlessly beautiful face which had turned red from the cold. A pair of watery eyes like a pair of shining black gems. Like two stars, clear and transparent, which were shockingly beautiful. It made the man in front of her become extremely stunned for a split second.
Xiao Wan’s head was dizzy. She just saw several figures shaking in front of her eyes, before they gradually solidified into a figure of an extremely charmingly handsome person. His figure radiated with coldness.
“Zhao Zun?” Xiao Wan blurted out. In the moment of shock, her consciousness went black and fainted.
Zhao Zun was surprised. The girl appeared to be only around a ten or so years old, yet how did she know him? A touch of fear had appeared for a fleeting moment in her eyes as if she was scared of him.
“What now, my lord?”
Zhao Qi held another girl. This girl clearly didn’t know martial arts, yet nothing had happened to her even after falling from such a high place. It was truly peculiar.
The man thought, “Let’s bring them back first.”
He normally didn’t want to interfere with other people’s business, but he could not help but be curious about Xiao Wan.
He turned to the guards and ordered, “Verify the identities of these two people. ”
The guards nodded and replied, “Yes.”
In the carriage, the man’s half-squinting eyes never left Xiao Wan. His face carried an indiscernible smile, which disappeared soon after.
Hong Luan followed the footsteps left by the two people the entire way,only to stand on the hillside, frozen with shock.
A man behind her was shaken as well. “The ninth miss couldn’t have jumped, could she?”
Hong Luan’s body could not help but shake when she glanced down the white snow that bore no traces whatsoever. The footprints of the two people stopped here. They couldn’t have grown wings and flew off, could they?
Hong Luan shook her head, “Search for them down below. Perhaps they fell down due to bad footing.”
The man nodded in response, as that was the only logical explanation there was. He turned back to the people behind him and said, “Follow me down and search with me.”
In the brightly illuminated Ministry of Right, the old madam insisted in sitting inside the ministry hall, clutching a garland of Buddhist prayer beads while chanting “Amituofo” non-stop.
As First Madam Fan slowly approached, she took a few steps back after hearing the chant. Her eyes concealed ridicule in them.
Hearing movement, the old madam raised her eyes and asked, “Any news?”
Madam Fan shook her head in disappointment.
“I have already sent several guards to Dazhao Temple over and over again. There’s just no trace of Little Ninth.”
The old madam heavily sat back and waved her hand. “You are dismissed if there’s nothing else. Send more people. We must find Little Ninth safe and sound.”
Madam Fan nodded her head and quickly retreated.
At Zhao Manor
“My lord, the girl’s refusing to take medicine and her fever hasn’t gone down still, also, she’s starting to spew gibberish. What should we do?”
Zhao Qi was unwilling to make a move. He was simply troubled. Forcing medicine down the mouth of such a delicate little girl was something he could not bear to do.
When Zhao Zun heard him, he put down the book in his hand, stood up, and strode his way into the room Xiao Wan was in.
Xiao Wan was burning up to the point that her face was steaming red, like a hazy mountain. Her small scarlet lips curled up and her skin was like coagulated fat, so tender to the touch that there would be moisture leaking out. Droplets of sweat were on her forehead, and her eyebrows were knitted, as if she was having a nightmare.
“My Lord, she is the ninth young miss belonging to the Right Ministry. Two days ago, this miss went to Dazhao Temple to light incense, but accidentally got lost, and fell down due to bad footing.”
Because he thought she was an assassin, Zhao Qi had almost executed Xiao Wan. It was really by coincidence, since Xiao Wan wouldn’t have had a positive outcome if she were to land in Zhao Zun’s hands.
His lord and the Minister of Right had a very infamous relationship. The minister was loathed by many in his time under royal employ, for he had committed various misdeeds. And now, his daughter had now landed right into their hands. Before Zhao Qi could react, his gaze went wide.
One of Xiao Wan’s arms was exposed, which had just had medicine applied. Her white, porcelain skin had purple interlacing through it, most likely caused by the tree branches cutting her skin. How could such a fine arm have this bruise? It was so out of line; it was truly irksome.
“Bring a box of the scar cream.”
Zhao Zun ordered as he approached the bed, holding the bottom of the small bowl of medicine. He fed the medicine one spoon at a time in an extremely gentle fashion. Zhao Qi thought that his eyes were playing tricks on him just as he was leaving. He hurriedly rubbed his eyes but saw the same scene.
Xiao Wan closed her lips as tightly as she opened her eyes. When the spoon went to the left of her mouth, she turned right. When the spoon went the other way, she immediately turned right. She just wouldn’t take the medicine. It dripped along her cheeks slowly, the brown concoction sliding down her snowy white skin. This looked strange to Zhao Zun. He even wiped the corners of the Xiao Wan’s mouth again and again, but he was starting to become bothered by this.
Zhao Zun grabbed Xiao Wan’s jaw, forcing her mouth open before shoving the medicine down her throat.
The result was Xiao Wan spitting more than half of it out of her mouth, making her face redder while pulling Zhao Zun’s sleeve like a crying child throwing a tantrum…
“Cough Cough …”
TLC: Armored Raven
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