308 Chapter 3Thank you readers!
The quiet, almost relieved sigh seemed to drift in from afar. Moments later, a guard was reporting: “Your Highness, she’s fainted.”
Jin Siyu turned back to look at the woman laying in the straw, her forehead tight over her closed eyes and her face covered with crystalline sweat.
Jin Siyu’s eyes moved slowly downwards, stopping at the edge of her sleeve before he reached down and flipped the cloth back.
A figure emerged from the darkness, clasping his hands and bowing to Jin Siyu before he said: “Your Highness, this woman is quite strange. Has she really been struck stupid by the head blow?”
Jin Siyu quirked his lips as he replied: “We will see. No more questions today. Let us begin again tomorrow, and if tomorrow fails we will continue again the next day. I will have my answers.”
“I do not believe that Your Highness needs to waste such efforts.” The man smiled as he replied. “She is just a woman, her Kung Fu is ruined and her hands are crippled, what trouble can she make? If Your Highness does not protest, perhaps it is easier to leave her for the camp’s Red Tent.”
The Red Tent brothels for the army camp.
“Fine.” Jin Siyu agreed easily. ƒ𝓇ℯ𝑒𝒘𝐞𝚋𝓃𝚘𝚟e𝚕. 𝒄𝗼𝐦
But the man who had made the suggestion was not finished, and he hurriedly added: “Your Highness, this minor minister has reconsidered. The woman’s identity is still unknown, and if we place her in a complex situation, we cannot be sure what problems she might cause. Perhaps it is best for Your Highness to spend some more effort and keep her around to interrogate.”
“What should we ask her?” Jin Siyu cocked an impatient brow, “She killed so many of my Da Yue soldiers; so much so that even cutting her into pieces is not too heavy of a punishment. I do not think we need to continue questioning, just drag her out and execute her.”
“The woman’s identity is still unknown.” The man smiled again as he answered. “Even if she truly lost her memories, perhaps we can recover them with the right treatment. She may be important to Tian Sheng, and she may even have military intel. Killing her would be waste.”
Jin Siyu thought over the matter and reluctantly agreed, “Then keep her prisoner for now, and after we figure out her identity we will decide.”
The man smiled again before begging his leave. Jin Siyu watched as the strange man departed, his eyes gleaming — this man was a new military counsellor dispatched by His Majesty, a military inspector disguised in an advisory role. After the great defeat, even though the Imperial Court still chose to favor him publicly, Jin Siyu knew he had lost some of His Majesty’s trust.
As he thought back to the Battle of White Head Cliff, darkness pooled in the depths of his eyes. The supposedly 17 year old Wei Zhi had made a daring attack with a mere three hundred sacrificial troops, destroying all of Jin Siyu’s triumphs and almost ruining the foundation he had so laboriously built.
It was said that Wei Zhi had been killed by a stray arrow in the night, but his corpse had never been identified. Too many corpses had been mutilated by enraged Da Yue soldiers, and in the end he simply chose two youngish bodies and hung their heads on the city gates to save face and bolster morale. He had been defeated, but at least the enemy general had been slain, and so he could still maintain his position.
Jin Siyu stood silently, his hidden fingers clenching once more, his knuckles cracking with the tightness of his fist.
Early Winter was sweeping into the northern lands with snow on the horizon. The wind was harsh and cold, howling like the dying roars of warriors.
Images; leaping fire… neighing stallions… the gleaming light of rising and falling blades… blood spilling and spurting without end… a chaos of footfalls and they were encircled… protected only by hills made of flesh and bone… a figure smiled coldly in the distance, moon white sleeves fluttering over a black horse… snow was suddenly falling… and she kneeled by lonely graves in the deeps of a woods…
She moaned, stirring.
A pair of hands were instantly there, wiping her sweat with a fine silk handkerchief. A happy voice chirped: “The girl’s awake!”
Rapid footsteps brought with them an unfamiliar aroma, comforting masculinity.
She lay on something soft, and a smooth blanket covered her. A quite fragrance filled the air, and she could barely hear the tinkling of chimes in the wind.
She did not need to see to know she was no longer in the dungeon.
She stilled, her eyes shut as she quietly organized her thoughts.
A rather secretive chamber in a mansion of wealth… the room is sealed… someone sits beside me… they smell expensive… the contained breaths of experts around us… further off, gears turning… poorly assembled, or poorly maintained.
“If you’re awake, why don’t you open your eyes?”
The man’s voice was gentle, but of course she would never be deceived by that.
She opened her eyes and looked at the princely-robed man, staring blankly for a moment before recognizing him. She carefully lifted her bloated, bandaged hands and gestured weakly before saying: “I’m in pain. I don’t want to talk.”
Jin Siyu paused, surprised again by this woman’s words. He looked at the returning sheen of sweat on the woman’s forehead and thought of her head injury, her battle wounds, her internal injuries, and then her torture — what a pitiful woman. His heart softened, and he nodded to the servant girl to gently wipe her sweat away.
“A new place today?” The woman murmured as she shut her eyes, enjoying the soft ministrations of the servant girl. She spoke lazily: “I have to tell you, I still remember nothing. If you get mad and angrily throw me into the dungeon, I’ll have to trouble you to hurry or else I might fall asleep, and it’ll be even more painful when I wake again.”
Jin Siyu could not help a smile, though he quickly hid it as he replied in an indifferent voice: “You seem to want to be tortured.”
“I just don’t want to have to go back to torture after enjoying a few good days.” She replied. A frown crossed her brow and she opened her eyes once more, “You’re not going to send me there? Can I make a request then? Do you have food? I’m hungry.”
Jin Siyu paused once more. As a noble prince, he had met his fair share of women, but truly he had never known anyone like her. She was both heroic and casual, bold and prudent, cunning and honest. She spoke truths as if they were lies, and lied as if they were truths. She was lazy and shameless, but still carried herself with an awe-inspiring nobility.
Truly a special woman, complex beyond compare.
He gestured for the servant girl to bring some warm porridge. She ate with great enjoyment, fully focused on the simple meal and asking for seconds. The prince watched her eat for a while before finally saying: “Later I will send you to the Red Tent.”
The servant girl trembled, but the bedridden woman paid him no mind. “Aiya, bring it back, I’m not finished.” She focused on the returned food before casually asking: “What is the red tent?”