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Warning for slightly graphic descriptions of blood below.
Seeing the bloodstains on my robe left me stunned.
The area by my thighs was bloated with a kind of pain that was hard to describe. My hands were propped against the stone table. I was already having trouble standing steadily, but then Fang Hua started taking a few steps towards me.
I backed up a few steps. At this critical juncture, I dreaded him doing something that’d be hard for me to bear. Yet Fang Hua just took my hand and pulled me closer. “Stay still and don’t move.”
He gave me a gentle look, rolling up his sleeves as he bent down and smoothed out my robes with his hands.
My entire body shivered, and goosebumps rose on my skin. There was a gushing sensation from my stomach, and then something got wet. It was extremely shocking. I had no words beyond widening my eyes to stare at his innocent gaze.
He withdrew his hand to rub at the blood on his fingertips. The next words only added fuel to the fire. “You’re bleeding so much. It must be a severe injury.”
So he concluded.
Without stopping to wipe his hands, he stuck out two fingers and suddenly jabbed me in various places to seal my pressure points. My breath was fragrant with the scent of alcohol, but his movements made me swallow my words again.
“How is it? Better?” His face revealed an expression of thoughtful concern as he continued to observe my body.
I stood stunned for a while. “I don’t really feel anything.”
Looking down, I observed on various places of my snow-white robes were scattered three to four red fingerprints, clearing marking out the locations of various acupuncture points.
“Fang Hua, how can you just carelessly decide to stop the bleeding? Hurry up and unseal her.” Han Zichuan stood on one side, anxious yet impatient as he felt me all over.
“How come?” Fang Hua asked.
“Yeah, how come?” I asked dully. “I feel a lot more comfortable now.”
“Don’t ask about so much nonsense, after all…” Han Zichuan’s neck had turned red. He looked away and roughly grabbed Fang Hua’s hand, using it to cover me up. Fang Hua’s eyes rounded into a smile, and he instantly unsealed my pressure points.
“It really seems like he’s unreliable for these kind of things. I don’t even know how your yifu raised you until now.” Han Zichuan sucked in a breath, giving me an extremely odd look. He pinched my fingers between his own and said in a very low voice, “Go with me to the house, you clueless little spoon.”
But Fang Hua held me back, a little sad.
I was hesitant.
Han Zichuan’s eyebrows knitted as he rubbed his temples with one hand. It seemed like he was trying to think of something. His mouth twitched, uncertain of whether he should laugh, yet the look he gave me was firm. He leaned in to whisper in my ear, “You’re a girl, and yet you need a boy to teach you about these things.”
I blinked a few times. A coldness filled me up, and I became a lot more clearheaded. In fact, I was even beginning to understand him a little. In the end, I somehow left Fang Hua standing there and ignorantly followed Han Zichuan into my room. My clean and tidy quarters had a faint fragrance to them, mixed with the fresh scent of bamboo.
With his back to me, Zichuan wrung dry a handkerchief and brought it over with a basin of hot water. He looked at me once and said in a low voice, “Go behind the folding screen and clean yourself off, then change your clothes.”
“Oh.” I stood there unmoving, staring at his face. The areas around his eyes, as well as the base of his ears, were both tinged with red.
He stared at me in disbelief. “What are you clicking your tongue for? Are you going or not…”
“You haven’t told me what kind of illness this is. How come yifu can’t cure it but you can?”
“You’re just asking me while knowing the answers.” But finally, he came out and said two words.
“Ah…I didn’t hear it, say it a little clearer,” I said with a smile.
“Your period came.” As before, the words were feeble and weak, but a little louder. He bit his lips and refused to say anymore, a little angry as he looked away. “Now hurry up, go change.”
I held back my smile and slipped behind the folding screen.
I quickly washed down my body, but couldn’t resist peeking at Han Zichuan.
He was taking out numerous robes from my wardrobe, picking left and right as he arranged them on a low table. Raising his head, he looked around a few times before taking a knife out of nowhere and cutting my new clothes into strips of cloth.
What was he doing?
“Here, take this.”
A set of clean robes and a long length of silk, as well as two strips of cut cotton cloth, were dangled over the folding screen. I stared at them, not quite understanding, and stuck my head out to ask him, “What’s the silk and strips of cloth for?”
“Stick it inside.” He gave me a look full of loathing, and rolled up his sleeves. “Do you need me to help you?”
I hurriedly replied, “No need, no need, no need….”
Quickly, I shrank back behind the folding screen, pulling at the strips of cloth as I scratched my head, puzzled.
I didn’t get the point.
Why did they turn out like this?
After the time it takes for an incense stick to burn, I could only silently look up at the skies…
My robes fell to my elbows as I lifted my trousers in the air. Han Zichuan leaned down and used his dexterous hands to tie the length of silk around the waistline with a knot.
So it was like this. The length of silk was kept in place inside around my waist, and the strip of cloth was stuck between it and tied to both ends. Though it slipped around a bit, it could still stay in place with a bit of effort.
Han Zichuan was really amazing.
Now, I understood.
I looked up at him with a reverent expression.
“Before I came here, I saw a lot of females at the imperial court. They all knew a lot more about this than you. Still…I’m not sure if this is quite how they did it.” He took the chance to tie my belt, shaking his head quietly. “This is from what I managed to piece together. Clueless little spoon, you have to learn it yourself in the future. It’s not proper for boys and girls to mingle, I’m not some Fang…” As soon as he said this, the door slammed open.
Fang Hua stood there, his countenance serene and elegant, but the indifferent gaze in his eyes carried a touch of depression as he shifted his gaze to the two of us. I stood dazed, and my usual call of yifu was suddenly stuck in my throat.
I quickly straightened out my robes.
“Fang Hua, you came.” Han Zichuan grabbed me by the shoulder and took me to greet him.
His eyebrows were long and dense, but his mood changed in the blink of an eye. When he raised his head again, his expression was gentle and mild, and he smiled. “I brought some pills over, though I’m not sure if they’ll be useful.”
As it turned out…
I glanced over, and saw that his arms were loaded with medicine. Fang Hua’s heart still had intentions to look after me. I was his only foster son.
My heart started thumping.
Han Zichuan seemed to have read my mind, because he placed his hand on Fang Hua’s shoulder next, and steered him outside. “There’s something I need to tell you…”
The two of them didn’t speak for very long.
When they finished, only Fang Hua returned, his expression as if in a trance. I don’t know what Han Zichuan told him, but it gave me a measure of uneasiness.
“I’ve embarrassed you for all these years, Shao’er. I wasn’t a good yifu at all. There were so many things caused by my oversight.” His face was pale and wan, his expression a bit faint. But the look in his eyes was as gentle and soft as a woman’s when he pressed a hand upon mine. It felt as if a string was being plucked very tightly in my heart as I looked at him rather helplessly.
Actually, Fang Hua shouldn’t say things like this…
He took care of me because of a request from someone who passed away–his only friend. Perhaps he raised me as a boy because he picked up the wrong person from the start. If that was the case, the easy and comfortable life I led for the past ten years was good fortune I took from another.
Perhaps, Fang Hua was already aware from early on. Otherwise, why would he bring back this Han Zichuan?
The scene I saw with them playing the qin together, and the painting I once saw in his study, were similar…my heart suddenly sank with a growing bitterness.
“Yifu, Han Zichuan is…”
He raised his head, looking at me in surprise, before bending down with a smile. The mole at the corner of his eye was a dark red that seemed to grow darker, formed in the shape of a teardrop…a startling sight.
Slowly, he replied, “He is a very special person.”
 spoon (?) ?shao, remember that Fang Hua named our MC Shao’er, but the character for ‘shao’ means “spoon”… two words ?Zichuan was whispering the words for ‘period’, which in their time period was called ?? (kui shui) or ?? (yuejing). He uses the former here. painting…in his study ?you can read about the painting in chapter 7.
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