Hell King Sect Series/Yan Wang Sect Series
Singing Spring Melody 咏春曲 Chapter Three
By: Jue Ming 决明
It was five days later when Bao Chun learned that Huangfu has finally gotten out of bed.
Every single day Ruo Xia has been clamouring for her to find the Godly Doctor and cure her. So when she heard that he was in his study, Bao Chun bit the bullet and went over once again.
“Come in.” Huangfu’s deep and lively voice said from inside the room as soon as he heard the knock.
Bao Chun took a deep breath and pushed open the doors despite her blushing red cheeks.
Huangfu sat at his desk, he lazily turned his gaze away from his book and towards Bao Chun. His face was still a little pale, but seems to be in very good spirits. As usual, Nineteen stood silently behind him to the right.
“Don’t be a stranger, sit.” Huangfu raised his hand slightly, gesturing her to sit down.
She followed his gesture and obediently sat down on the chair closest to her, looking a little anxious and overwhelmed.
“Mister Huangfu, are you feeling better?” She asked carefully.
“Thank you for your concern.” Huangfu gave her an unreserved smile, so brilliant and bright that the sun seems to lose its colour in comparison.
“If it’s convenient for you, can you come and take a look at my sister?” Bao Chun was straightforward and stated the purpose of her visit.
Huangfu put down the medical text in his hand, tucked away a few fallen strands of silver hair beside his cheek.
“Have I said I was going to save her?” He asked Bao Chun with a smile, his tone relaxed and at ease as he spoke.
“But ….” Bao Chun was about to speak, but was interrupted by Huangfu.
“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to save her.” He gave a slight chuckle, and Bao Chun was lost in his smile again.
“However, I just now recovered and shouldn’t really be tiring myself out. Miss, I don’t think you can bear to see me puke blood as I treat your sister, right?” Huangfu tried to look more sickly, and put his right hand over his heart. Bao Chun almost felt guilty for the unreasonable request that she was making.
“So, let’s hold off on the question of whether or not I’ll save her and leave it for another time. Your sister can endure a little longer, right?” Huangfu was satisfied with the look on Bao Chun’s face, and cast her another deadly smile.
“Umm ….” His smile hit Bao Chun hard, melting her into a puddle.
“Even better if she can’t endure it, then I don’t have to save anyone.” Huangfu stroked his chin and held back the urge to laugh out loud.
“Huh?” Bao Chun looked at him, not sure if he was serious or just joking.
“Miss, if it’s not too much trouble for you, could you help me by fetching my medicine from the kitchen? Otherwise, my illness might flare up again. Oh, before I forget, the kitchen is around the corner and down the hall.” Huangfu winced slightly, covering his heart, yet still didn’t forget to provide Bao Chun with directions.
“Okay ….” Bao Chun answered, dazed and stupefied.
During their short exchange, Bao Chun only managed to squeeze out six words before getting dismissed and sent away.
Meanwhile, Huangfu leaned back against the chair and couldn’t help but to start guffawing loudly. Such an amusing girl!
“Master, if you don’t intend on saving them, then why not just make them leave?” Nineteen, who for the whole time, stood silently behind Huangfu, questioned his actions. Usually, if The Master doesn’t want to do something, he’s rejections were quick and unsympathetic. But making the exception of letting the two sisters stay was indeed very strange and unusual behaviour on his part.
“It’s been too boring lately, I wanted to have a little fun. Her sister won’t die anytime soon.” Huangfu said lazily, almost like a different person compared to how gentle and elegant he was a few moments ago.
He knew after one look at Ruo Xia that she had a congenital heart disorder. If she takes some medicine and rests well, she can live another thirty to forty years, no problem. As for her deathly pale face, that was simply from chronic malnutrition. To think, she treated such a minor ailment like some sort of terminal illness!
As he thought of Bao Chun his lips curled upwards into an even bigger smile.
She wasn’t the type of girl who stunned people with her beauty at first glance. Her eyes were a little small, her nose was a little flat, they weren’t much to look at when separated, but together, on her small, delicate face, it was rather pleasant and refreshing.
“This little girl wears her heart on her sleeve, just a few sentences and she was at a loss for words, this is so much fun.” Huangfu smiled with his eyes, “It seems that life is going to get pretty interesting lately.”
Whenever Huangfu is nice to the people seeking his help, that meant he was feeling bored lately.
A year ago, there was this young man who caught Huangfu’s interest. Huangfu messed with him so much that he no longer wanted to seek treatment, and stole away from the mansion during the night.
Nineteen started to feel sorry for Bao Chun. She piqued his interest, so that meant there was going to be a whole lot of trouble in store for her.
“What’s her name?” It was rare for Huangfu to ask the name of someone seeking his help.
“Liu Bao Chun.”
“Bao Chun, Baby Bao Chun, Little Bao Chun.” Huangfu enjoyed himself as he intentionally called out her name in an almost loving tone, repeatedly calling out every single nickname he could think of.
It’s a good thing that Bao Chun wasn’t there. If she had heard him speak to her in that tone, she would probably drop to the floor and die of happiness.
“She’s the most interesting one out of all the people who came to him for help. By the way, are there any more people outside kneeling?”
“Countless number of people he doesn’t want to save, but he couldn’t save the one that mattered.” The smile faded from Huangfu’s face, he opened up his right palm, and stared at the dark scar at the centre.
After a long while, he slowly closed his fingers.
✧ ✧ ✧
Huangfu managed to skillfully dismiss Bao Chun ten more times, and Bao Chun got scolded by Ruo Xia ten more times. She felt like she was stuck between the two of them, a loser on both sides, unable to please anyone.
Every time Huangfu smiled at her, as warm as the rising sun, she found herself staring and slipping into a trance for a good long while. But Huangfu’s unwillingness to give her a clear answer on whether he was going to save her sister also really angered her.
And now, after having been defeated by Huangfu’s smile for the eleventh time, she was boiling his medicine for him.
“Little Bao Chun, you failed again?” Every time Granny Li sees Bao Chun kneeling by the stove side, she knew The Master probably volunteered her to come and help.
Granny Li was the old woman Bao Chun saw the other day, weeding in the medicinal herb garden.
Bao Chun held on to the round fan, absent-mindedly fanning at the fire here and there. When it comes to boiling medicinal herbs, the most important thing is to control the duration and degree of heat. So it usually takes her half a day to prepare a single dose, leaving her with no time to ask Huangfu about treating Ruo Xia.
“I don’t think I understand what Mister Huangfu is really like anymore.” Bao Chun complained.
Granny Li smiled at her. She’s cooked here for more than a decade, and still haven’t the foggiest idea about The Master’s true nature.
“Did you know he’s really cute when he smiles? But sometimes his words are so cruel, every time I try to figure out whether he was serious or just joking, he would smile at me … and when I come to my senses again, I’m here, boiling medicine.” She’s really starting to hate herself for having such weak willpower.
Granny Li couldn’t help but laugh, just thinking about Bao Chun’s silly grin makes one wonder. The Master certainly does treat Bao Chun differently than all the other people who came to him for help, although it could be that he was just toying with her, but just by looking at the number of times that he smiled at her in the last seven days, it’s not hard to see that Bao Chun has a special place in his heart.
She just wasn’t sure if this was a good or a bad thing.
“Careful there Little Bao Chun, don’t boil the pot dry.” Granny Li saw that Bao Chun was blanking out again and kindly reminded her.
“Ah!” Bao Chun hurried to remove the pot from the stove, “Ouch, it’s so hot!”
“Be careful.” Granny Li helped to bring the bowl over and let Bao Chun pour out the medicine from the pot.
“Just by looking at it, she knew the medicine was hard to swallow. Just what kind of illness does Mister Huangfu suffer from?” Bao Chun saw that he had to drink this medicine three times a day with his meal and thought, was he really that sick?
Granny Li avoided Bao Chun’s question, “Go now Little Bao Chun, the medicine loses its properties if it gets cold.”
“Oh, okay, I’ll get going.”
Although Bao Chun was really curious about Huangfu’s illness, but getting him to drink this bowl of life-saving black liquid was more important than satisfying her own curiosity.
On her way delivering the medicine, she saw Nineteen bring in two girls she didn’t recognize. One of them was deathly pale, she walked in leaning almost entirely on the slightly older girl beside her. Violent coughs escaped from her thin bloodless lips, making people worry that she might cough out her internal organs.
Was there someone else here seeking treatment from Mister Huangfu?
Bao Chun remembered that one of the men kneeling outside the mansion from before told her that Huangfu will ask everyone that comes to him a question. Unable to resist her own curiosity, she slowly followed the three outside the study.
“That young girl seems to be in serious condition, Huangfu probably would agree to save her, right?” Bao Chun said to herself. After spending some time with him during the past few days, in her mind, she saw him as a kind-hearted doctor, who will never cruelly refuse to help.
She stood outside the window, it just so happens that from here she could almost catch a glimpse of Huangfu sitting behind his curtains, as well as the look on the other three’s faces. If she lifts her head up to look over, she could see Huangfu’s face.
The look he had on was cruel and emotionless!
Bao Chun’s hands shook with shock, a cold shiver ran up her spine.
No matter how much they begged and pleaded with him, Huangfu seems to only be interested in studying their pain. He sat behind the chiffon curtains, unyielding, his thin mocking lips finally broke the silence, “Why should I save her?”
The coldness in his voice froze the room, the simple question easily gave away his reluctance.
The frigid expression on his face was unfamiliar to Bao Chun, it didn’t seem like him, it was more like the look that Nineteen always had ….
No, Nineteen had a look of indifference, but his … his was a look of cruel heartlessness.
“Please! My sister is sick beyond cure, but she’s only sixteen! Please Mister Godly Doctor! Have mercy and save her! Please!” The older girl knelt in front of him with almost her entire body on the ground, “This is all the money we have saved up, please doctor, have mercy and save her!”
In front of her was a bag of copper coins, they’ve worked hard to save these coins one by one.
“Give me a reason to save her.” Huangfu’s expression was cold and merciless, untouched by the sister’s emotional pleas.
Bao Chun’s fingers were white from clutching the bowl of medicine, but she couldn’t look away from the stranger he had become. Was this stranger really the Huangfu she knew?
“Saving a life is the greatest re—”
“Enough! I’m not saving her.” He hates nothing more than when people try to convince him by saying, “Saving a life is the greatest reward.” He doesn’t need that reward! He has better things to do!
The pair of sisters cried on each other’s shoulders, just as Nineteen was about to kick them out, Bao Chun ran in from outside, stood in front of the white chiffon curtains, and faced Huangfu.
“Why won’t you save her? Look at how she is begging you!” She questioned Huangfu, as if the sisters kneeling there were her and Ruo Xia.
“I don’t want to, I’m not interested, I’m too lazy, are you happy now?” Huangfu raised his hand and opened up his fan from behind the curtains with a sharp click, the sound filled the room.
His voice was very calm, yet it was so chilling for Bao Chun to hear.
“I think that you can’t save her, you won’t save her, you don’t know how to save her, and you don’t have the confidence to save her!” Because she can’t see Huangfu’s face from behind the curtains she won’t be distracted by his smile again. Of course, she also won’t know how irritated he was at the moment. Her only goal was to convince him to save these two girls.
“Prodding me will do you no good Little Bao Chun.” Huangfu saw through her actions, immediately foiling her plan.
“If … if you have the skills to save her, why won’t you do it?” Was she wrong about him? Was the kind-hearted Huangfu that she knew just an illusion? Bao Chun couldn’t help it but yell out, “Then give me a reason for not saving her!”
Just because she’s usually so gentle doesn’t mean that she won’t get angry, especially when it came to matters of life and death. Since he likes to ask questions so much then she’ll do the same to him.
Ha! Using his own words against him, does this little girl have a death wish?
Behind the white curtains Huangfu propped his head up on his right hand and spoke slowly, “Was there a rule stating that everyone who knows about medicine must save people?”
“But you are a doctor ….”
“Who told you that I made a living treating patients? Who told you that I was a kind-hearted doctor? I just so happened to know a little about medicine, I’m not trying to save the world or make lots of friends. What reason is there for me to save her?” Huangfu retaliated with words, each sentence more aggressive than the other.
Bao Chun was made speechless, she was always clumsy with her words, how could she possibly convince Huangfu?
“But they’ve knelt for three days outside ….”
“Did I beg them to kneel?” Huangfu sneered with a look of disdain. His happy, comfortable life was disrupted by these numerous people coming to him for help, he couldn’t get a moment’s peace. But he wasn’t complaining, so what right does she have to accuse him?
“Miss Bao Chun, it’s best that you don’t provoke The Master anymore.” Nineteen saw that Bao Chun still wanted to fight, so he held her back by the wrist, and shook his head.
“I just want for him to save her ….” Bao Chun’s face twisted with pain, the pain she took on from watching others suffer.
“The decision lies with The Master, it’s not up to you and I.” Nineteen has been around Huangfu for several years, he understood that when Huangfu doesn’t want to help, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve broken your legs from kneeling or cracked your skull from begging, his mind was made up and no one could change it.
Huangfu walked out from behind the curtains, ignoring the surprised looks he got from the two girls seeking help, his gaze fell upon Bao Chun.
The only difference is, he wasn’t smiling.
Bao Chun felt like she was in the middle of a winter blizzard, the icy wind pierced her skin and chilled her bones.
Huangfu looks so … terrifying without his smile!
As Huangfu walked towards Bao Chun she hurried in retreat, stepping back as he approached. All the courage she had when she was debating with him were gone.
“But, seeing that you really want me to help them, I will.” Huangfu’s lips curled upward, but there was no happiness in that smile.
Bao Chun didn’t really understand him, and was delighted, thinking that she had convinced Huangfu, she lifted her little face up, her clear, bright eyes met with his, these eyes she stared into housed too much hidden intentions she did not understand.
Bao Chun’s heart tightened, she watched as Huangfu moved his perfectly shaped lips and said word by word, “Little Bao Chun, I’ve decided to choose between this girl and your sister, if I save her I won’t save your sister, if I save your sister, I won’t save her. This time, it’s up to you to decide, you can think it over and choose wisely.” Then he took the bowl from Bao Chun’s hands and drank the medicine in one go.
“How ….” How was she supposed to choose!?
The sisters kneeling on the floor looked at Bao Chun with pleading eyes, because they know it’s up to her to decide whether Huangfu will save them.
“Miss … please ….” The older sister mumbled quietly, so much hope and desperation were in those two words.
All of a sudden Bao Chun realized, Huangfu did this on purpose, he deliberately set her up to be stuck in this dilemma, he wanted her to take the blame for not saving the girl.
“No, don’t make me choose ….” She looked at the strange yet familiar face, shaking her head with difficulty.
Huangfu smiled, his expression was that of cruelty. “If you won’t choose then I will, I think I’ll pick—”
“NO!” Bao Chun screamed without thinking, interrupting him before he could make a choice. She knew that no matter what his choice was, it won’t put her at ease. She bit her lips, and after a long time she finally said, “I’ll … I’ll choose ….”
Her gaze shifted and fell upon the two sisters, their faces morphed into her and Ruo Xia’s. She was pleading for help while Ruo Xia battled with death, desperately trying to stay alive.
Just one word from her and it’s decided, will she live? Or die?
Ruo Xia waited a long time for this day ….
They are just strangers ….
Ruo Xia is her sister!
They are ….
Huangfu put the empty bowl back in her hand and asked, “Your answer?”
✧ ✧ ✧
Huangfu sat quietly in front of his desk, thinking back to moments ago, the look Bao Chun had on her face when she made her decision.
She really is something special.
So she’s especially foolish.
Isn’t selfishness human nature? She went as far as to sacrifice her own sister to save a stranger’s life, should she be considered as altruistic or idiotic?
If he was in Bao Chun’s shoes and had to make the choice, he would choose to save his own sister without hesitation. After all, those two girls were only strangers, the only thing she’ll get in return is a “thank you”.
Not worth it. It’s really not worth it.
“Nineteen.” Huangfu called out.
“If you were Little Bao Chun, would you save your sister, or those two strangers?”
“I would save my sister.” Nineteen answered without hesitation.
“Isn’t she odd?”
Poor Miss Bao Chun, being called odd by someone as strange as The Master. Nineteen thought to himself.
“Perhaps Miss Bao Chun thought the condition of those two other girls were much worse than that of her sister’s, so she wanted Master to save them first. Afterwards, she can then ask Master to save her sister.” This seems to be the only plausible explanation
But sadly she was wrong, Huangfu has never been a soft-hearted person.
“I said I would only save one of them, I won’t change my mind. Can’t blame me for killing her sister if she did it herself.” Huangfu lightly tapped the edge of the desk with his right index finger, this was a habit of his when he’s thinking.
“Master, if you insist on doing this then it will kill Miss Bao Chun.”
“If Liu Ruo Xia misses her opportunity at being saved by Master because of this, then Miss Bao Chun will surely blame herself, and if her sister dies from this then do you think Miss Bao Chun can live with herself?” Nineteen has always been very observant, and can easily see through people. Especially Bao Chun, who was clear as water with her straightforward nature
Nineteen was right, Huangfu thought quietly. Someone as pure and kind as her would probably take all the blame for herself.
“But if Master doesn’t care about Miss Bao Chun’s life, then there is naturally no need to mind the nonsense that I just shared.”
“Care about?” Nineteen, what are you implying? Huangfu suddenly laughed and question him. This guard of his is really getting more and more talkative.
“Miss Bao Chun is a person that people can easily take a liking to.” Nineteen didn’t give a straight answer.
“I do not know.”
“Great, you do not know.” Huangfu couldn’t tell either, even he himself couldn’t put a finger on the strange feelings he has towards Bao Chun.
Perhaps when it comes to Bao Chun, he was willing to indulge her more and pay more attention to her, but does that mean anything?
Has he fallen for her? Or was this just a passing fancy?
He doesn’t realize it himself, but as his personal guard, Nineteen has given him enough hints. Is it possible that he expresses more emotions than he knew? Perhaps it’s not a good thing for him to care too deeply for someone.
Huangfu combed his loose silver hair with his fingers, his frustration was rarely seen displayed so outwardly. “Nineteen, go and tell that …. What’s the name of Bao Chun’s sister again?”
“Liu Ruo Xia.” Nineteen was not at all surprised that his master didn’t remember Liu Ruo Xia’s name.
“Right, tell her about everything that happened today.” Huangfu looked up, his usual self again.
“Master, do you mean that you want Liu Ruo Xia to find out that Miss Bao Chun has sacrificed her to save another?” Nineteen was slightly confused, although he wasn’t sure about Liu Ruo Xia’s personality, but judging from how spoiled and entitled she seemed to be when she was with Bao Chun, it’s not hard to guess that there will surely be an explosive family feud between the two.
“Correct.” Huangfu’s gaze shifted downwards.
Bao Chun’s kind and gentle face overlapped with that of another’s from his memory, both universally loved all living things, both so selfless … and both were so stupid.
“The people I hate the most are kind, selfless idiots, doing this will only put me off.” As if to explain his own actions, Huangfu closed his clear, bright eyes, lowered his voice and uttered to himself. “Let me see how selfish you can be, Bao Chun.”
✧ ✧ ✧
From the farthest room of the guest quarters in the Huangfu mansion, came the shrill voice of a girl screaming and yelling, along with the sound of objects hitting the ground.
Ever since she “unintentionally” heard the news from Nineteen, she has been in a raging fit.
“Is your brain broken, or have you gone crazy?” Every curse she uttered as well as every item she threw were all directed at Bao Chun, attacking her straight on, not caring if they hit Bao Chun. “We came here to seek treatment! But you! You chose to save strangers over me! Bravo Liu Bao Chun, bravo!”
“Ruo Xia, don’t be so angry … be careful with your body ….” Bao Chun worried about Ruo Xia’s health as she dodged the items that flew towards her.
“Be careful? I think you’d rather see me die!” Ruo Xia’s left hand clutched at her chest as her right hand attacked Bao Chun.”
“No I don’t, it’s not like—”
“No!?” Ruo Xia finished throwing all the things on top of the drawer yet still felt angry, she saw the tea set on top of the table and in the heat of the moment, threw it at Bao Chun’s head.
Before Bao Chun could react, the ceramic cup hit her on the forehead, blood was visible from under her bangs.
“You think I don’t know? You’d rather save a stranger than your own sister! How can you be so vicious! Qiu Yue always said that you gave away everything to other people, and I finally see it now, you can even give away your sister’s life!”
“I won’t let you die ….” Bao Chun had no way of refuting, she could only quietly comfort Ruo Xia.
“Humph! If the Godly Doctor won’t save me, what makes you think you can? Liu Bao Chun, even if I die and become a ghost I won’t forgive you” Ruo Xia screamed those harsh words then turned away from her sister. This devastated Bao Chun.
“I’m sorry … I just felt so bad for them ….” The blood from her forehead dripped down and into her eyes, she slowly wiped it away with her sleeve.
“You always cared more about other people than your family. Good intentions? Don’t give me that crap!”
“Don’t be so angry, I’ll go and beg Mister Huangfu again ….”
Ruo Xia laid down on the wooden bed with her back to Bao Chun and refused to acknowledge her.
Bao Chun sighed, looked at Ruo Xia’s back, then slowly walked out of the room
The moonlight fell on her lonely figure, she has to admit, she did something wrong. She should have been more selfish, at least for the sake of her family ….
Far in the distance she could see the light in Huangfu’s study, recalling the day’s events, she remembers his face, how he looked at her with cruel, unfeeling eyes, asked her to make a painful choice with indifference, that unfamiliar face, that beautiful yet unfamiliar face ….
She couldn’t bring herself to walk forward, she doesn’t have any more courage to ask him again.
Because he had already given her an opportunity, but she didn’t take it. She has no right to be angry with him ….
With her back against the cold marble column, she slid down, burying her head between her knees, ignoring, as her wound stained her white skirt.
“Why? Didn’t she keep on telling herself that she needs to think about her family more? Liu Bao Chun, you idiot!” She mumbled in self-blame.
If only she was the one who was sick instead of Ruo Xia, that would make everything better. It wouldn’t matter whether Huangfu agrees to save her, she wouldn’t have any fears or complaints. Sigh ….
All of a sudden, a gown draped over her head.
Bao Chun looked up, it was the face that she knew so well, the face that she would see in her dreams, that face was now inches from hers.
Huangfu flashed his signature smile, as if what happened that afternoon was all but a dream.
“Why are you sitting here all alone? You’ll catch a cold.” He asked softly, his gentle tone was a far cry from this afternoon’s cruelty.
“Your forehead, it’s bleeding.” Huangfu lifted up her chin and examined her wound. “It’ll be a shame if this left a scar on that little face of yours. Come, let me tend to that wound for you.”
Huangfu tried to pull her up, but Bao Chun sat on the ground, unbudging.
“What’s wrong?” Huangfu’s face looked harmless, he sat down next to her on the ground and naturally put his right arm around her shoulders.
Hum, it actually feels pretty good, her shoulders were a little thin but it wasn’t boney.
“Are you still mad at me for what happened this afternoon?” Huangfu laughed and ask her without an ounce of guilt in his voice.
Bao Chun hung her head low. She didn’t have the right to be mad at him, she’s just wallowing in self-hatred.
“You aren’t talking, so that means you are still angry?” Huangfu asked softly.
“So why are you so depressed? You should be really happy! You saved a life, didn’t you? That little girl is probably hopping around right now, happily humming a cheery tune.” Perhaps Huangfu was just casually mentioning it, or perhaps he was deliberately trying to make her feel guilty.
Bao Chun didn’t answer, she just looked at him. He saw his reflection in her bright eyes, but they lacked her usual lively spirit.
He patted Bao Chun on the head, letting her lean against his shoulder. Bao Chun let him pull her into an embrace without resisting, taking in his scent. He smelled faintly of medicinal herbs.
“Did you get into a fight with your sister? The wound on your forehead, did your sister do this?” Although it was he who instructed Nineteen to tell Liu Ruo Xia what Bao Chun did, but he didn’t expect that girl to go so far and physically hurt Bao Chun like this.
“My wound is nothing in comparison to how much I’ve hurt her …. She must be so disappointed in me, I’m a terrible older sister ….” Bao Chun felt so powerless, but she couldn’t cry any tears.
If I was your sister, I would’ve probably snapped your neck. Huangfu thought.
Being next to him and feeling the heat from his body, the Huangfu she sees right now was the Huangfu she knew so well, the one that was gentle and caring. But where is that cruel and ruthless mask he wore? Which is the real him? Bao Chun was confused and her wound was aching with pain, the more she thought about him the more it hurt.
“Huangfu, why did you become a doctor?” She asked him, when her real question was, “Why did you become a doctor and refuse to save people?”
“I never thought of myself as a doctor. It was by mere chance that I studied medicine.” Huangfu answered, gritting his teeth on the last sentence. He turned to Bao Chun’s depressed face, “You actually wanted to ask me how I was able to be so cruel and refuse all the people that come to me for help, right?”
Bao Chun looked him in the eye and nodded in honesty.
“It’s simple, because I’m a selfish, selfish man.” Huangfu pointed to his heart and smiled contentedly. “If saving that girl today made me happy then I would have saved her, but saving people is a hassle to me, so why make it difficult for myself?”
“But everyone has compassion ….”
“Wrong. Most people have compassion, but I am not like most people.” Huangfu held her hand in his and studied it. Her hand was almost half his size, but it didn’t have the fair and soft skin a girl’s hand should have. Thick callouses formed on her palms from years of hard work, while brutal rays of the sun wreaked havoc on the back of her hands.
“I don’t understand you ….” Bao Chun muttered under her breath. He spoke so confidently, smiled so harmlessly, yet underneath that face was a selfish soul that she cannot agree with.
Huangfu held her hand and rubbed it against his cheek. Having heard the four words muttered by Bao Chun he chuckled and said, “Do you want to understand me?”
I do. But it’s too hard. A voice inside Bao Chun’s head answered.
“Am I an idiot?” Bao Chun suddenly changed the topic and quietly asked.
“Only a little.” It’s pretty good that you are self-aware.
“I … I want to become more selfish ….”
“Oh, really?” Huangfu raised an eyebrow. She’s finally getting it now, a worthy student indeed.
Bao Chun spoke softly and the words flowed out of her, “I knew it gets especially cold during the night, and that cotton blanket can keep Papa and Qiu Yue warmer, but Aunty Chen’s house burned down, their family of six was shivering in the haystacks. It took me so long to find two withered stalks of wild herbs, that was our only food, it could have lasted us several days. But Uncle Li begged me as he held on to Xia Cui, the girl was already dead, dead people didn’t need food ….” She didn’t care whether of not Huangfu understood what she was talking about, with her head on his shoulder, she started to pour her heart out to him, telling him all the things she regrets doing.
“I didn’t know what my family would eat after I gave away the food to Uncle Li, I didn’t know when our next meal would be …. My youngest sister Dong Xue, she starved to death on a cold winter night when she was eight. Papa said that when people starve to death, they’ll stay a hungry ghost in the underworld, unable to feel full no matter how much they eat ….” Bao Chun’s eyes swelled with tears, she doesn’t want Dong Xue to be a poor, hungry ghost, eternally suffering from starvation. But her family has always lived hand-to-mouth, they were lucky to be able to offer her some fruits, what way was there for them to prepare a generous feast of offerings to compensate poor dead Dong Xue.
She started whimpering, her lips quivered as if wanting to say more.
She was drowning in regret and self-blame ….
Huangfu’s heart tingled with inexplicable sorrow and grief.
He knew that Bao Chun was an overly nice person, but he didn’t know it was to this extent.
He doesn’t like seeing Bao Chun always putting others before herself, her emotions revolving around the experiences of others.
Happy because someone else was saved, depressed because of someone else’s suffering. But where did she put herself? She could give up Liu Ruo Xia’s chance of being treated. She could also give her own life to save Liu Ruo Xia. He doesn’t know why, but it doesn’t matter who it is, others have always been more important than herself. The only thing he knew for certain was that the first thing she sacrifices was always herself, Liu Bao Chun.
After her family, after everyone else in the world, was a tiny little space she allowed for herself. But that space was as tiny as a grain of sand. She cherished others, but others did not necessarily cherish her.
As for him, he only wanted her to be a little selfish, to care more about herself, and to protect herself a bit more.
“It’s alright, it’s okay, what’s done is done, don’t think about it anymore.” Huangfu patted her on the back, and stopped her from thinking about past misfortunes.
Bao Chun’s suffering was due to all the weight she has on her shoulders, she’s reluctant to put them down but they’re also unbearably heavy. And he, will take those weights off from her thin, fragile shoulders one by one.
“Being selfish is the easiest thing in the world.” Huangfu lifted up Bao Chun’s tear-stained face, he couldn’t help it but to kiss away those pearl-like drops of tears. “Tomorrow, I’ll personally teach you that selfishness, is human nature.”
Oh man @[email protected] this was the longest chapter yet! Took a bit longer but here it is. Let’s just say a certain someone isn’t being very likeable in this chapter.
Lots of Chinese lessons in the footnotes today, have fun reading if you are interested.
This certain isn’t the happiest chapter in the book. I got a little emotional as I was doing the translation, I have some very strong feelings towards starving kids. I’ve always made sure that I don’t waste food or things in general, since there are actual children and adults out there in the world that live in starvation and have very little to keep them comfortable. Let’s all be more aware in our daily lives. Be the change you want to see in the world, right Mr.Gandhi? 😉 See you all in the next chapter!
As always, please like, comment, and follow if you’ve enjoyed reading!~ Ciao! <3
1 Original words here being 救人一命，胜造七级浮屠 jiù rén yī mìng, shèng zào qī jí fú tú, which translates to “there is greater merit in saving a single life than in building a seven-story Buddhist stupa”. This get a little bit into religion, while Buddhism did not originate in China it was and still is a HUGELY popular religion in China. Long story short, in Buddhist beliefs there is something called 功德, which translates to merits and virtues, you do good deeds to “save up” these virtues, this will influence either your current life or your after you reincarnate (reborn after death). Building a seven-story Buddhist stupa or 浮屠 earns you a lot of merits and virtue, but it use up a lot of your money, manpower, and time. But saving a human life if more important than all of that, hint hint, life is more precious than anything else in the world! This line is usually used to convince people to save a life or when complimenting a person for saving a life. Here is a 浮屠 —>LINK you don’t get the same structures if you search for Buddhist stupa or Buddhist tower. If you are reading this and I have made a mistake, please correct me if I am wrong in explaining your religion.↩
2 Original words here being 过江之鲫 guò jiāng zhī jì, this literally translates to “carp crossing the river”. This means numerous and chaotic. The story behind this four-character idiom was that the Eastern Jin Dynasty was built in the south of the Yangtze River, influential and privileged family of scholar-officials from the North all came to the South. People back said that “more well known individuals crossed the river than carp”. C-A-R-P not C-R-A-P!↩
3 Original words here being 壮士断腕 zhuàng shì duàn wàn, this literally translates to warrior cutting off his hand at the wrist, it can also be written as 壮士解腕 zhuàng shì jiě wàn, with the same meaning. This was basically the story of a warrior who got bitten by a venomous snakes (venomous not poisonous, venomous toxins are injected, while poisonous toxins are delivered through either ingesting it or through touch) to stop the toxin form spreading, he cuts off his own hand at the wrist. This is used as a metaphor for when people do things or are faced with a decision, they act quickly without hesitation. In a “cut your losses early” kind of way.↩
4 Original words here being 南柯一梦 nán kē yī mèng, the story behind this four-character idiom came from a story about a man during the Tang Dynasty who had a dream that he became the new governor in this kingdom, but when he woke up he realized that it was all a dream and the kingdom he dreamt of was the aunt hill beneath the large ash tree. This was later used as a metaphor for happy illusions and all those good stuff. Similar idioms are 黄粱一梦 huáng liáng yī mèng OR 黄粱美梦 huáng liáng měi mèng. I won’t bore you with the explanations.↩
5 Original words here being 孺子可教 rú zǐ kě jiào, which means “the young man is worthy to be taught”. The story behind this is that of 张良’s. Zhang Liang was a famous strategist and statesman in the early Western Han dynasty. He met an old man when he was young and the old man thought that Zhang Liang could be taught, so he gave Zhang Liang a book that helped him to become an advisor to the first emperor of the Han Dynasty. Read the story here —>LINK and just search for the term “shoe”, trust me. An antonym for 孺子可教 is 朽木不雕 xiǔ mù bù diāo, meaning one cannot carve a rotten piece of wood.↩
6 To learn more about 饿死鬼 or hungry ghost please click the link here —>LINK it’s a little different from what Bao Chun’s papa said, but his version is also well known in China.↩
7 This is what a feast of offerings looks like —>LINK↩