Edited by Jelly Mae & Spirit Song
Concubine Xu’s legs went soft. Although there was nothing behind her, she did not dare to look behind anymore. She was assisted by Hongxiu and walked back to the main residence. She collapsed on her bed as soon as she entered her bedchamber.
Hongxiu gritted her teeth to restrain her trembling voice, “My lady, that girl is abnormal. Pay no mind to her.”
Concubine Xu’s face was pale. Even after entering inside, she still felt that her back was cold. She felt as if someone was blowing air down her neck. She immediately felt goosebumps and broke into cold sweat.
She felt that things could not go on like this. She must ask for the eminent senior monk to have a look tomorrow while he was still staying at Imperial Consort Jing’s palace!
After nightfall, the atmosphere began to gradually change. The skies rumbled with thunderous roars as rain fell heavily. The constant booms and crackles from outside had only served to build up her unease.
Concubine Xu was already terrified, now she was also having a hard time sleeping. The sounds of thunder and flashes of lightning made her completely awake.
She did not know how long she had tossed and turned in her bed when suddenly she heard someone knocking on her door amidst the sound of the pouring rain. Though it was neither fast nor slow, the knocking went on periodically throughout this stormy night.
At first, she thought that she might have heard it wrong. After a while, Hongxiu came in with a lamp and said to her, “My lady, there seems to be someone knocking on the door outside our residence.”
It was already late, and it was also raining heavily. Was it possible that something urgent had happened?
It was not like there had never been such a situation before. Concubine Xu did not dare to delay anymore and immediately ordered Hongxiu to open the door. Another palace maid, Luzhu, helped to dress Concubine Xu. Just when Concubine Xu was halfway through her dressing, she suddenly heard a scream from outside. It was unexpectedly Hongxiu’s voice
Concubine Xu’s fingers stiffened and she said to Luzhu, “Go out and have a look!”
Luzhu ran out, and after a while, it was her scream that was heard next.
A resident-eunuch who was supposed to be on night watch had also awoken. Concubine Xu’s face was pale and she tried to belay her fear. She said to the eunuch, “Accompany me to take a look outside.”
The two rushed all the way to the entrance of the main residence.
Hongxiu had fainted and was lying on the ground. Luzhu was crouching down beside her with a frightened expression on her face. Concubine Xu looked at them and was not paying attention to her surroundings until the eunuch next to her trembled and said, “My lady… look outside…”
Concubine Xu looked up.
A flash of lightning fell from the sky, illuminating the barren pomegranate tree in front of the entrance. There was a hemp rope hanging on the branch, swaying back and forth in the billowing wind as if some unseen force was weighing it down.
Concubine Xu felt as if her heart had almost stopped. She screamed at the top of her lungs, “Shut the door! Shut the door!”
The main residence’s entrance was slammed shut, and the sound of ghosts crying and howling resounded.
After a long time, the entrance of the side residence opened silently. Enduring the heavy rainfall, Lin Feilu carried a stool and went under the pomegranate tree. She stepped on the stool, took down the hemp rope, then walked back as if nothing had happened.
Rain continued to pour down.
Qingyan and Yunyou were like sisters to Xiao Lan. They had been dependent on each other these years. Xiao Lan did not treat them as servants and did not make them keep watch at night like other palace servants. Lin Feilu slept in a room by herself and the sound of the rain obscured the sound of her movements. After returning to her room, she changed her clothes and went to bed as if nothing had happened.
Next morning, the main residence was in an uproar.