Chapter 323: Voyeurism, what does she want to see?
"Why take a bath?" Han Yunxi asked Su Xiaoyu, perplexed.
Su Xiaoyu blinked her innocent eyes as she replied sincerely, "Esteemed wangfei, don't all rich people like you take baths when they get out of bed? To preserve your skin?"
Han Yunxi smiled wryly. "Where did you hear that from?"
"The older beggar sisters told me that. They even say you rich people scatter flower petals in the water and use very, very pricey essential oils for massage," Su Xiaoyu said earnestly, as if she'd seen it happen with her own eyes.
Han Yunxi didn't know what to say. But Su Xiaoyu's words were right. High class nobles of the imperial clan loved their baths-both women and men. If it wasn't for the little girl's words, Han Yunxi would've nearly forgotten about the luxurious hot spring in Long Feiye's sleeping quarters. That was an entirely different realm from Su Xiaoyu's simple 'bath.'
"I like to soak in baths in the evenings," Han Yunxi grinned.
A sly look flashed through Su Xiaoyu's eyes, before she hastened to offer, "Then Xiaoyu will serve esteemed wangfei in the evening."
Han Yunxi smiled wordlessly. She hadn't been sleeping in the study at all, but reading through all the records in the detox system regarding the Beauty's Blood. The results had been disappointing. The written accounts were sparse, and their contents were things she already knew. Beauty's Blood had to be raised in a special female body. Once 300 slow-acting poisons were ingested, the woman's blood would undergo a qualitative change. Common medical principles stated that changes in a person's blood would take their life, but it was obvious that Beauty's Blood was an anomaly to begin with.
Han Yunxi sat on the courtyard swing and decided she'd do more research once she observed the interactions of all the different poisons in Baili Mingxiang's body. Long Feiye should know more about Beauty's Blood too, but there was no telling when he'd return.
Su Xiaoyu settled by Han Yunxi's side and asked, "Esteemed wangfei, Zhao mama said that all the plants in this courtyard are poisonous. Is that true?"
"You don't believe it? Go and touch one," Han Yunxi grinned.
Su Xiaoyu hastily shook her head. "I don't dare."
"Then that's right. Those poisons are hypertoxic," Han Yunxi wasn't joking. If anyone touched the root of those plants with their bare hands, their hands would be a goner.
"Esteemed wangfei, I won't touch them, but I can water them everyday," Su Xiaoyu offered. But how could Han Yunxi leave such a dangerous task to a little child?
"No need, I can take care of them myself."
Han Yunxi was preoccupied with her thoughts, but Su Xiaoyu then asked, "Esteemed wangfei, what kind of poisonous plants are you growing?"
Children were always the curious types, but hadn't Steward Luo taught Su Xiaoyu that servants of the Hibiscus Courtyard should look and listen more, not talk? It was a good thing this girl was staying by her side. If Long Feiye ever ran into her, he'd probably kick her out if she so much as asked a random question.
"Children don't need to know so much," Han Yunxi still felt they were friendly enough for her to add on, "Little Yu'er, do you know what to do if you meet His Highness once day?"
"His Highness Duke of Qin?" Su Xiaoyu suddenly turned nervous.
"Of course. His Highness Duke of Qin lives here too. You'll definitely run into him," Han Yunxi grinned. Long Feiye was such a cold and lofty man. There's no way he'd want to destroy such a little girl too, right?
"They say His Highness Duke of Qin is really scary," Su Xiaoyu said seriously.
Han Yunxi nodded with equal seriousness. "That's right. So if you see him in the future, don't ask him any questions. Understand?"
Su Xiaoyu nodded her head like a head of onion.
When night fell, Han Yunxi really did make her way lazily to the bath. Since Long Feiye was out of the estate these few days, she could use his hot springs without any scruples.
"Zhao mama, make some preparations. I'm going to have a bath!"
"It's a shame that His Highness isn't coming back tonight..." Zhao mama secretly sighed as she readied the things. Su Xiaoyu flitted at her side, eager to help out, however, Han Yunxi didn't usually use things like flower petals or essential oils. Even in her world, the most she'd done was soak in the tub. It wasn't that she couldn't afford it, but things like that took too much time. Zhao mama was an old hand, so as soon as Han Yunxi reached the door to Long Feiye's quarters, she and Su Xiaoyu were already waiting with a pile of things in hand. The doors to Long Feiye's quarters weren't locked when he was out, but there were always no less than 10 guards watching over the place.
Actually, none of Long Feiye's secrets were hidden in his rooms. This was only a place for him to sleep. He hated it when people came in and out as they pleased. If Zhao mama hadn't come with Han Yunxi, she'd be hard pressed to find a way in, much less Su Xiaoyu.
As soon as Su Xiaoyu entered the rooms, she was struck by its extravagant space. Even though the space around them was dusky and dim, the two tall stone pillars standing in the space before them was already an imposing sight. The entire air was filled with His Highness Duke of Qin's irrevocably respectful air. Su Xiaoyu turned docile and didn't say a word the whole way to the hot springs.
Zhao mama gave Su Xiaoyu a big basket of rose petals and had her scatter them in the water, while she herself placed the essential oils on one side. There was also a large bath towel and a set of clean clothes. Su Xiaoyu scattered the petals as she stole looks at Han Yunxi, as if waiting for something. Still, all Han Yunxi did was sit by the edge of the pool without making a move.
Soon enough, Zhao mama finished her preparations. "Esteemed wangfei, this old servant will be waiting behind the screen."
Han Yunxi had never needed full servicing while she was taking a bath. Even though they were all females, she wasn't used to being waited upon. When Zhao mama saw that Su Xiaoyu was still loitering on the side, she grew unhappy. "Little girl, what are you spacing out for?"
"I want to wait on esteemed wangfei," Su Xiaoyu said earnestly with an honest look on her face.
"There's no need. It's enough if I have Zhao mama here," Han Yunxi waved a hand as she prepared to take off her clothes, but Su Xiaoyu simply stood there immobile.
"This isn't how a servant should act. There'll be things for you to do in the future, go on and leave," Han Yunxi said rather helplessly. It looked like this little girl was determined to pay her back for her kindness.
Zhao mama didn't think that far. She simply pulled Su Xiaoyu out. "Go on, go on. Don't drag your heels."
Su Xiaoyu could only follow Zhao mama out resentfully. As soon as Zhao mama closed the screens, she murmured, "Little Yu'er, go tell Chu Xifeng to tell His Highness that esteemed wangfei's tired from soaking in the bath and wants to sleep here tonight..."
Su Xiaoyu's eyes widened. "Zhao mama, you're telling a lie."
"Don't speak nonsense!" Zhao mama huffed back.
"Esteemed wangfei clearly just..."
"Don't you think I understand esteemed wangfei after serving her for so long? Are you going or not?" Zhao mama asked.
"But...but I don't know who Chu Xifeng is. How am I supposed to find him?" Su Xiaoyu was at a loss. Zhao mama had been too excited and forgot that little detail. There was no way the girl would be able to find Chu Xifeng, so she simply went herself.
"Stand guard here. Don't run about, understand!" Zhao mama said seriously.
"Mm!" Su Xiaoyu nodded her head.
Zhao mama was still worried and lowered her voice even further. "Little girl, it's not that I want to scare you, but if you dare to wander about as you please...you might be dead before you even know it!"
Su Xiaoyu was stupefied. "I don't wanna stay here anymore. I want to look for Chu Xifeng!"
"As long as you don't wander about, you'll still have esteemed wangfei here. What are you afraid of?" Zhao mama was amused. She discovered that it was rather fun to have a little girl as a companion.
Su Xiaoyu's face was full of fear. She crossed her legs and sat by the screen before saying, "Zhao mama, hurry back!" Seeing this, Zhao mama set her worries at rest and left in high spirits.
But as soon as she was gone, Su Xiaoyu rose to her feet. Her fearful expression had long disappeared, to be replaced with a steady calm that belied her actual age. She pressed her ear to the screen and listened carefully to the sounds within. When she caught the splash of water and was sure Han Yunxi had entered the pool, she carefully lifted a corner of the screen. Of course, she knew there were guards around too, but none of them besides Long Feiye would dare peek on Han Yunxi bathing. Past a chink in the screen, she could see a charming sight. The rose petals covered the bath like a sea of flowers while mist rose in the air. Han Yunxi had piled her hair on top of her head. Her face looked thinner and more exquisite than usual as she soaked in the water, which came up to her chest. The water ripples lapped against her skin, occasionally revealing a hint of her pretty collarbones.
"A rare beauty!" Su Xiaoyu murmured truthfully. It's a good thing I came instead. If it was master, wouldn't he be having a nosebleed by now? Still, it would have been impossible for her master to enter this place. Su Xiaoyu stared at Han Yunxi, trying to search for something on her body. Unfortunately, Han Yunxi didn't move much beyond leaning against the pool and falling asleep. By the time Zhao mama returned, Su Xiaoyu was still sitting as before with her legs crossed. Her expression was very serious, just like a child gate guardian. Zhao mama had failed to find Chu Xifeng, so her fib had no way of reaching His Highness Duke of Qin's ears.
"You didn't run off, did you?" Zhao mama asked on the side. Anyone who could enter the Hibiscus Courtyard was usually someone trustworthy. She'd scared this little girl so much just then that there was no way she'd slip away.
"I didn't!" Su Xiaoyu replied honestly, before she asked, "Zhao mama, why is esteemed wangfei soaking for so long?"
As soon as she spoke, there was the sound of water from beyond the screen. Han Yunxi had gotten out of the bath. A sinister look flashed past Su Xiaoyu's eyes. Damned Zhao mama, of all the times to come back! I've wasted a perfectly good chance!
It was easy enough to persuade Han Yunxi to take another bath, but she didn't know if she could make sure Long Feiye wasn't around the next time!
Han Yunxi came out from the screen after getting clothed. Taking a bath really had revitalized her spirits. It'd been some time since she visited the Han Estate as well, so she should make a trip there too. Little Yi'er must be missing her by now.
Zhao mama cleaned up the flower petals from the ground as she silently grumbled to herself. Where had that rascal Chu Xifeng run off to now of all times?
As a matter of fact, Chu Xifeng had just returned from Pill Fiend Valley with His Excellency Pill Fiend's words.
"Tell Long Feiye he can come at me whenever he likes!"
Chu Xifeng repeated the message verbatim, and Long Feiye laughed coldly in response. "Then we'll set out immediately."