Chapter 7 Whether to stay
In the evening, all of the children were still called out to work. Even the severely injured Xiao Qi and Zhi Xiang were called out together. However, Chu Qiao and Xiao Ba who was severely hurt in the waist, stayed in the house. They slept until late in the evening when the rest of the children returned tired from work. After finally eating dinner, the children climbed up on their beds to go to sleep. Zhi Xiang stayed on the floor by the firewood to keep the fire going and the room heated. The scabs on her face were red and swollen. She looked ferocious like a small snake.
The room became very peaceful and all you could hear was the sound of breathing the children made while gradually falling asleep. Chu Qiao who was wearing the clothes Zhi Xiang had given her, sat up on the bed and spoke in a soft voice, “If you don’t treat that wound on your face, it will leave a scar.”
Zhi Xiang’s face started to become dry by the heat of the fire, but the flames also illuminated her small thin face. This made her eyes appear to be bigger and blacker….she lifted her head to say, “Yue child, a slave does not have medication to speak of. Last time Xiao Qi had to secretly use the medicine Lin Xi brought. We don’t know how big of a risk he took to get it. If the masters were to discover about it, everyone would be killed. This is just a wound on my face… we can not act unreasonably.”
Just then, they heard a sound coming from the bed. They turned their heads to look to discover that Xiao Qi had kicked off the quilt in her sleep. Zhi Xiang rushed to her and put her back under the quilt. She wiped off the perspiration on her forehead before she went back to tend the fire.
Chu Qiao’s mouth move as if she was to say something as she looked at Zhi Xiang but there was nothing she could say to that. This child that was just around ten years old but already had such a heavy burden on her shoulders. The oldest child in the room was ten, the youngest ones were 5 or 6 years old. What do these wealthy Zhuge people want these children for?
Elder sister Zhi Xiang,” Chu Qiao had gotten down from the bed and sat beside Zhi Xiang. “Have you ever gone to the south of the Yangtze River?” she asked in a soft voice.
“South of the Yangtze River?” Zhi Xiang frowned as she turned her head, “Where is the south of the Yangtze River?”
“The Yellow Mountain, do you know it? Or, do you know where the Yangtze River is?”
Zhi Xiang shook her head “ I know about the Red Mountain west of Sichuan and the Red Hill under the Cang Li River. Why are you asking?”
Chu Qiao looked lost in thought for a while before shaking her head, “No reason, I just casually asked. Oh right! Elder sister Zhi Xiang, what is the current Emperor’s name, do you know?”
“The Emperor is the Emperor, how could we call the name of the Emperor? However, I know that out of the black princes that visits this Residence, one of them is the Emperor’s seventh son. He is called Zhao Che, he is our youngest royal prince.”
Chu Qiao’s face became solemn with a sneer at the mention of that name. With slightly narrowed eyes she repeated, “Zhao Che?”
“Yue, what is wrong with you? This time when you came back, you’ve behaved strangely. What did you say to Aunt Song for her to let us off this easily?”
Chu Qiao turned her head and smiled lightly, “I didn’t have to say anything. You shouldn’t worry anymore. That Aunt Song didn’t let us off, but fell into the icy lake and drowned to death. I saw her death with my own eyes. Therefore, if anyone comes to us, we don’t know anything.”
“She died!?” Zhi Xiang was in big shock and cried out loudly.
Chu Qiao quickly covered her mouth, then looked around to see if any of the children woke up. “This matter, only me and you know it. Don’t go around saying it. She was an evil person and deserved to be damned. Dead is dead, we do not need to pay it any attention.”
“Yue…Yue,” Zhi Xiang said as she trembled, “It was not….was it you who killed her, or did she really just fall into the lake? Her son is the former Court House Consul. We can’t afford to make enemies of him.”
Chu Qiao laughed, pointing at her chest, “Do you think that I could have killed her? Well, don’t think about it any more. She did bad things, even if no one tried to kill her, God would have eventually sent her to hell. Go get some rest, you worked hard all the day. “
Zhi Xiang quickly shook her head, “No, I have to tend to the fire.”
“I’ll do it. I am injured and tomorrow I’ll just be lazy. You go.”
Chu Qiao sat quietly on a small bench. From time to time she would tend the fire. Her face became red as her body shook. She looked around her. Seeing children in this small decrepit room, made her whole heart turn sour. Unfortunately, what could she do? She came to an unknown dynasty and was trapped in Jing Yue’s small body. All her martial art skills were lost. She was also of a low status. Aside from attending herself, how would she have time to rescue other people? She was only still alive today because of Lin Xi’s kindness by bringing her food for three days. She must leave here quickly.
Chu Qiao slowly closed her eyes calming her mind. One must do what one can. The present her did not have the strength to carry such a big burden.
When dawn arrives, Chu Qiao will slowly leave through the door.
The roosters cried at daybreak, the weather cleared, and the children all got up on time. Putting on the servant’s clothes, they began to prepare for the day’s work. Chu Qiao watched them depart. They were smiling, but at the same time, were somewhat sad.
Taking out some stolen food, Chu Qiao looked at the deathly still Xiao Ba who was still unconscious on the bed, she then forced herself to turn away.
Although her martial art skills were gone, she still had an astute mind. Although Chu Qiao wasn’t as good as 003, she was still a level 9 field super-secret agent. She received the special training of the national soldiers. In Zhuge’s residence, although it was large, they weren’t wary of a short , without stature eight years old. With her strong logic, analysis ability and her sense of space, the residences were like an unprotected playground for her.
Less than 30 minutes after she quietly left the house, she arrived at the main gate. It was relatively guarded with alert guards that could be seen everywhere. The Zhuge family was different from other aristocratic families just looking at who Zhuge was friends with. Zhao Che, Zhao Cui, and other royal children could often be seen around him. Chu Qiao straightened her back like a small tree, rectified her clothing, puffed out her chest, and walked up to the grounds.
“Halt!! Do you court death? Is this a place that you can wander about aimlessly?”
A tall guard suddenly stepped forward. His whole face was ugly and fierce looking. His stature was fat. Chu Qiao stopped her footsteps to raise her small tender white lovable face. Her big beautiful black eyes looked up. With a childish voice she spoke to him sweetly. “Big brother, I was ordered to go meet the old master. If I don’t get there at the hour, it’s my head.”
The guard frowned as he sized Chu Qiao up. He wondered when did the old man secretly change his preference. When did he start to prefer a girl who has not yet grown?
Confused he asked, “Who told you to go? Do you know where his residence is?”
“I have the address,” she turned around to rustle through her bag and pulled out a white piece of paper. She then murmured as she gestured with her white tender hands, “From the house, go all the way to the third intersection, turn left in front of the Floating Fragrant Restaurant…….”
“Well,” the guard impatiently shouted,”Who told you to go, how come no one is taking you?”
The child replied innocently, “Aunt Song told me to go. She was supposed to take me, but after crossing the stone bridge, she wasn’t careful. She fell down and broke the surface, I think she sunk down. So I guess she can not lead me.”
“What!?” The guard cried out loudly in great surprise, holding Chu Qiao’s shoulder. “You said WHO fell from the stone bridge!?”
“Aunt Song, the backyard steward.”
The guard snapped and suddenly slapped her face many times, then cursed, “You little BASTARD, how come you didn’t say this sooner!? Someone come, AH! Come with me to save her!”
Chu Qiao was knocked to the ground. With her ears still buzzing, she watched the guard quickly dash away looking frazzled. Her mouth started to slightly rise, bringing out an indifferent sneer.
That slap….she will remember it.
Standing up with the bag in her hand, she turned back to the gate. The gate was the height of three people, inlayed with gold vermillion. Both sides were occupied by a stone lion statue. This signified their military strength. Their eyes were of red lacquer, to ward off evil spirit from passing through the gate. The words ‘Zhuge Residence’ was engraved on the gatehouse, the letters were made of gold and jade. The magnificent view was dazzling.
Chu Qiao made short steps. She expended a lot of effort to cross this threshold. One foot was outside and the other one was inside gateway. The bright sunlight hit her body and it seemed that even the air was clearer. From then on, it would be another starting point of her life. The humiliation she suffered, the tears that she shed, she would always remember. She would slowly look for ways to survive on this earth. Quietly waiting to have the power to fight back one day.
Chu Qiao shook her head, tightened her lips, took a deep breath, and lifted her foot. This was the first step necessary to leave this rotten cage.
Just then, a familiar, ear piercing scream rang out across the sky.
In shock, Chu Qiao quickly turned back !