Edited by Jelly Mae & Spirit Song
No lamp was lit in the room. Only weak rays of light were coming from the lanterns that were hanging on the eaves. Lin Feilu was sitting on her knees. When she saw that Concubine Xu was awake, she slowly leaned over toward her ear and whispered, “Concubine Xu, she said she is waiting for you.”
Concubine Xu’s eyes widened in horror and big beads of sweat rolled down from her forehead.
Lin Feilu smiled and jumped off the bed. She picked up the fire piston next to her, turned around and asked with concern, “My Lady, are you afraid? If you are afraid, I will help you light up a lamp.”
(T/N: A fire piston is an ancient firestarter. It consists of a tube of paper that is very rough. It generates sparks by friction. You can read more about it here.)
Concubine Xu shrieked with her hoarse voice, “Hongxiu! Hongxiu!”
Hongxiu fainted from shock last night, and she was even more ill than Concubine Xu. But when she heard Concubine Xu’s screams, she forced herself up and walked over. Concubine Xu said weakly, “Get her out! Make her leave!”
Hongxiu said immediately, “Fifth Princess, please.”
Lin Feilu left the room with a skip in her step.
Concubine Xu recalled her words, she was sweating profusely as she said in fear, “Hongxiu, light up a lamp!”
Hong Xiu lit a lamp which gradually filled the room with light. Concubine Xu’s fear finally dissipated a little. Hongxiu brought a pail of hot water to wipe off her master’s sweat, then left to decoct her medicine. Just as Concubine Xu was reclining on the bed to rest, she suddenly stopped when her eyes were unintentionally drawn to the lamp.
On its clean and blank lampshade, slowly, words began to appear on it.
She thought her eyes had gone bad. So she closed her eyes, rubbed them, then looked at it again. Traces of a brown handwriting appeared out of thin air and the message was beginning to be distinguishable.
There were four words written distortedly: I’m waiting for you.
This time, Concubine Xu could not even scream. Her eyes rolled back to white and she passed out completely. When Hongxiu came back after preparing the medicine, the main residence was once again turned upside down. At this moment, Lin Feilu walked back to her room and took out a brush from her sleeve.
On the desk by the window, the sour oranges she picked yesterday were squeezed dry of its liquid, then put into a small bowl.
Lin Zhanyuan had nothing to do so he ran into Lin Feilu’s room. He grabbed the orange and gave it a few bites. He immediately pulled a distorted face because of its sourness as he stuck out his tongue, “Sour! Bah! Bah!”
Lin Feilu patted his head, “This is not for eating.”
Lin Zhanyuan looked like a curious baby, “If not for eating, what for?”
Lin Feilu took a piece of white paper, dipped the brush into the orange juice in the bowl, then drew a smiling face on the paper. The white paper soon absorbed the juice and nothing could be seen. Lin Zhanyuan looked on eagerly. Lin Feilu took the white paper to the candlelight on the bedside and waved to him, “Come here, let me show you something interesting.”
Lin Zhanyuan happily ran over and watched on as his sister put the white paper close to the candle as its light slowly warmed it. A smiling face gradually appeared on the blank paper.
He clapped his hands with joy, “Painting! It’s a painting!”
Xiao Lan came in with hot water and said with a smile, “Feilu, don’t play with fire with your brother.”
Lin Feilu obediently nodded. She tore the white paper into pieces and threw it out along with the oranges.
After that day, Concubine Xu was bedridden. The maids and eunuchs in the main residence gradually got better, but Concubine Xi’s condition did not improve as she was wrecked with delusions. Without the protection of Noble Consort Ruan, no one was there to save her from her own self-made purgatory.
Everyone in the Imperial Palace said that she was merely facing retribution for her countless sins. Even Noble Consort Ruan was afraid of being implicated, so she prayed in secret and recited Buddhist Scriptures for a long time.
Without Concubine Xu around to give them trouble, Lin Feilu’s days in the side residence had finally improved. At least now they could receive their fair share of allowance and supplies. Lin Feilu was finally living a life where she could eat meat every day. The only downside from this incident was that everyone was keeping their distance from Mingyue Palace. Thus, Mingyue Palace became more and more isolated from the rest of the Imperial Palace.
Yunyou was also worried. Everyone said that Mingyue Palace was cursed, so she was also inevitably afraid. Xiao Lan did not think the same. She told her maids, “As long as you haven’t done anything wrong, you don’t have to be afraid of ghosts knocking on the door. Don’t worry about it.”
She had always been fond of peace and quiet. She harboured no desire nor greed. Her only wish was for her two children to grow up safely. Now, this situation was exactly in line with her wishes.
For Lin Feilu however, this mob-killing was just a warm-up exercise.
She estimated that one of her key targets, whom she had gained 30% favorability with, was about to come to visit her very soon.
Sure enough, a few days later on a quiet afternoon, when she was playing jianzi with Lin Zhanyuan in the courtyard, there was the sound of gradually approaching footsteps coming from outside the mottled palace walls. There was a series of anxious calls, “Fourth Prince! Your Highness! Don’t run away, wait for us! That place is not going to run away anywhere!
(T/N: Jianzi or Chinese Hacky Sack read more Here.)
Then she heard an arrogant voice who protested with displeasure, “Is there any place in this palace that this prince can’t go to?”