(T/N Reminder: please read the warning tags on novelupdates before proceeding!)
Luo Wei fainting sent the Luo residence into chaos.
Some people from the official’s residence went astride horses, galloping towards the palace in a rush to request Imperial Physician Wei’s presence.
The doctor at the closest hospital was also invited over by the senior official’s people.
“Save him, wake him first!” Luo Zhi Qiu anxiously said to the doctor. Luo Wei’s unconscious state drove Luo Zhi Qiu to panic, afraid that Luo Wei would not wake again, but also thinking that his child would not just leave like this.
The doctor pricked in a few needles. “A-Chou,” Luo Wei’s eyes were still closed, but he let out a noise. (T/N: “chou” means ugly. “A-,” pronounced “ah,” is a term of endearment placed before names.)
“Wei Er!” Luo Zhi Qiu anxiously shouted at Wei Er.
“A-Chou,” Luo Wei’s voice was low and hoarse, and his hands raised as if to grasp something in the air.
“A-Chou.” Luo Zhi Qiu asked Wei Lan who stood at his side, “Who is A-Chou?”
Wei Lan shook his head. At this moment, his complexion wasn’t much better than Luo Wei’s. Luo Wei had suddenly fainted, almost taking Wei Lan’s life with him.
“Who is A-Chou?” Luo Zhi Qiu loudly asked the people inside and outside of the room.
Several stewards outside the room looked at each other and shook their heads. Finally, the head steward faced the inside of the room, saying, “Senior official, there is no one called A-Chou in the residence.”
“Young master?” Wei Lan grabbed Luo Wei’s hands as they frantically clawed everywhere. “Young master!” He shouted at Luo Wei repeatedly.
Luo Wei’s hand grabbed Wei Lan’s hand, and gripped it so hard that Wei Lan felt pain.
The doctor’s expression was grave. The movements of his hands stopped, and he built up his courage to tell Luo Zhi Qiu that Luo Wei’s situation was not good.
Fu Hua and Xu Yue Miao had just entered the inner room and heard the doctor’s words. Fu Hua’s legs became soft on the spot and she could not stand. While Xu Yue Miao was supporting Fu Hua, she shed tears. Luo Wei had seemed perfectly fine, and now it was said he was no good; was it real?
“Whatever the case, save him first,” Xie Yu said to the doctor. “You can’t just stand here.”
The doctor replied, “The young master seems to have been caught by a nightmare, this humble one can only try his best.”
Luo Zhi Qiu was filled with anxiety wondering why Imperial Physician Wei hadn’t arrived yet. He had to endure the panic in his heart and say to the doctor, “You try your best, I am not a person without reason.”
After half a stick of incense’s time (T/N: around 5-10 minutes), Imperial Physician Wei arrived while gasping for breath, followed by several other imperial physicians.
No one doubted that Luo Wei’s illness this time was caused by Wei Lan’s painting. After a burst of rushing and muddling about, no one wondered again about who this “A-Chou” was.
Luo Wei just refused to let go of Wei Lan’s hand. Luo Zhi Qiu and the others had no choice but to let Wei Lan stand beside Luo Wei’s bed, and this was also exactly what Wei Lan wanted. He only looked at Luo Wei. He didn’t care about the people and things that had caused him suffering, and he didn’t want to care. If only the person in front of him lived on, he would be satisfied at heart.
Who was A-Chou? Even if Luo Wei woke up, he would not tell anyone who A-Chou was.
This man, together with those unbearable events of the previous life, and even Long Xuan’s huge coffin, were hidden in the depths of Luo Wei’s heart. He did not think of them, but they continued to live in him. They followed him like his shadow, never leaving him for a moment.
In this world, not only were people ranked in three grades, six grades, nine grades, et cetera, but even cats, dogs, mules, flora, and houses were either cheap or expensive, high or low. The Pleasure Compound, in the capital’s red-light district, had a position that was neither high nor low. It fell short of the best but was better than the worst. The people within the Pleasure Compound were only pitiful existences, but even these pitiful people had to have those above and those below.
Winter in the capital that year came very early. It seemed as if autumn had not yet passed when the snow impatiently covered the capital; all sunk into winter overnight.
This was the liveliest night in the red-light district. People came and went amidst singing and dancing and the music of the qin; the sounds of pleasure seeking fell incessantly on the ear.
The Pleasure Compound had always never had the most business, but today there was a large group of people surrounding it. A criminal slave whose clothes did not cover his body was thrown before the gate by the guards of the courtyard.
“It’s him.” As soon as people saw the criminal slave, they began to discuss with each other left and right.
It was quite funny. The most famous name in this Pleasure Compound wasn’t that of some famous actor, but that of a criminal slave whose lower limbs could not walk anymore. People could not remember the origins of this criminal slave, but only knew that what this slave feared most was this red-light district’s most despicable and most dirty person–or perhaps thing.
“Why is an eye blind?” Someone looked at the criminal slave and asked others.
The criminal slave’s left eye was covered with a dirty cloth whose color was no longer discernible. Only after a closer look could one see that the cloth was soaked with blood, caked blood that had touched ash.
“I didn’t expect that he didn’t die yet,” someone looked at the face of this criminal slave with a face full of disgust, “I really don’t know why he is still alive?”
Half a month ago the Pleasure Compound, which had never been graced by the presence of nobility, welcomed a few dignitaries with extraordinary bearing. At that time, the criminal slave was serving a mastiff dog, his performance also to provide amusement for those bored pleasure-seekers sitting in the lobby eating and drinking. Unexpectedly, the nobleman who headed his group directly walked in front of the cage holding the criminal slave. The boss was so frightened that he hurriedly asked people to pull away the mastiff, and stood at the side not daring to speak.
The nobleman looked at the criminal slave for a long while, and suddenly became angry. Without warning, his hand shot out, digging out the left eye of this criminal slave. Everyone, including the group of noblemen who had tagged along, was scared stiff. They couldn’t say whether it was the criminal slave’s miserable scream, or the nobleman’s bloodstained hand, or the criminal slave’s features muddled with blood that frightened them.
After the nobleman committed this violent act, he turned around and left without a word. Only a member of his entourage delayed his steps and gave the frightened boss a lot of silver, instructing him to heal the criminal slave and saying that he should not be allowed to just die like this.
The boss was a vicious and merciless man, but he had sympathy for the criminal slave. This criminal slave was sent to him by the government. When he came, both his feet had already been destroyed and his hands were badly damaged. The wounds on his body layered upon each other, and one could not find a single unmarred inch upon him. However, there was his beautiful face, prettier than the faces of the attendants within his compound. This criminal slave was also well-behaved, serving any kind of person. If they gave him only brutes who would toy with him, he would obediently submit. What food they gave he would always eat, and if they withheld sustenance he would not seek it. When there were no customers, the slave would shrink in the corridor, motionless, like a dead man. When he endured ferociously painful beatings, only then would he groan once. When he was cursed at, he would lower his head and accept. Since the boss had taken this criminal slave from the government’s dungeons, he hadn’t heard the slave speak a single word. The boss also wanted to be a bit good to this slave, but government orders could not be ignored. This person offended an important official, and could not experience any happy days. The boss could not afford to provoke that official and feared the government, so he could only suppress his sympathetic heart and exert the utmost force to torment this criminal slave.
The criminal slave lay on the ground for half a month, and the government sent him high quality medicine just to keep him from dying.
On this day, the boss came to change the slave’s medicine and asked the slave with good intentions, “Who did you offend after all? This person wants you to live and suffer, and won’t even let you die.”
For the first time, the criminal slave actually lost his temper. He waved a hand and knocked over the medicine bowl the boss was holding.
The boss was annoyed, thinking that the criminal slave was unable to recognize others’ good intentions. He immediately called people over to drag the criminal slave out to the street.
“This person doesn’t need money today, anyone who wants to play with him can play,” the boss said to the onlookers standing at the gate.
“Such a dirty person. We’re afraid to get sick!” someone loudly exclaimed.
Amid the guffawing sounds of laughter, the criminal slave lay curled up on his side in the snow. He didn’t try to cover his body, which was exposed for all at the scene to see. He had long ago lost his sense of shame.
“Let A-Chou come!” someone shouted at this moment.
Everyone turned around. At the foot of the wall situated outside of the crowd, a beggar sat. His whole body festered, and none dared to come close to him. He came to the red-light district a few days ago to beg. This beggar could not speak. Everyone called him A-Chou.
“Come here,” the boss beckoned to the beggar called A-Chou, pointing at the criminal slave on the snow. “This person is yours to play with for a few days!”
Translating the angst-riddled flashbacks is really tough. When I’m only reading I can flash past those events, but when translating I have to ponder over the words a bit more. I stopped in the middle of this chapter multiple times.
Imagine that unimaginable pain and humiliation. It truly takes a protagonist to come out on the other side politically adept and fabulous, girl.