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Chapter 6: Torture, Beaten to Death

    Chapter 6: Torture, Beaten to Death

    Bai Xiangxiu felt a vague tug of familiarity. But everything was happening too quickly, and she couldn't gather her thoughts.

    While she was deep in thought trying to figure it out, the old madame spoke up, her voice icy, "My son has fought life and limb for this country. Now that he's returned, he has to face the schemes of his own family? Absolutely unacceptable! Servants, beat her to death, right here."

    "Old Madame, please spare me! Spare me!!" But obviously no one was going to listen to her.

    A few old biddies 1 immediately came over and held her down. Two adult males wearing servant clothing also came over. They were each holding a rod thicker than an arm. They both looked hesitantly at the old madame for confirmation.

    The old madame spoke again, "No one is allowed to look away. I want you all to witness this. This is what will befall anyone who tries to harm our family. Begin!" The rods started to slam down on the girl as soon as she gave her order.

    The girl screamed and wailed in agony as puddles of blood began to form...

    Bai Xiangxiu felt her mind turning numb. She was most afraid of this kind of scenario. She never thought she would have to witness an ancient torture within the first few days of her arrival.

    A life had been snuffed out, just like that. Yet there was nothing she could've done. She couldn't even avoid listening or witnessing it.

    Although the girl was at fault, she could have just been banished or sent to jail instead. This type of punishment makes me feel sick. As for the old madame and Prince Li, they were sitting at the head seats, calm as a rock. They were even drinking tea.

    This was clearly a man-eat-man society. She definitely did not belong here.

    Bai Xiangxiu had no idea how she managed to leave. To be honest, most of the women there either fainted or vomited at the sight. She was the only one who could walk away. She had even been the one supporting Xiao Shi, who was busy throwing up all over herself.

    Xiao Shi felt a lot better after throwing up. But she thought there was something seriously wrong with her mistress.

    Everyone else was scared out of their wits. Yet, her mistress appeared to have lost her soul. She kept walking forward, but this wasn't the route back to the Winter Garden...

    Bai Xiangxiu didn't know what was happening to her. All of a sudden, she was watching the floor grow closer and closer. Fortunately, an arm suddenly came into view, bringing her up. The hand was warm to the touch, slightly soothing her icy heart. She slowly lifted her head, absentmindedly registering the white brocade worn by the man. Her reaction was automatic, "Thanks".

    Song Jiaoyue had only felt something to be off when he'd reached out to the woman who was teetering on her feet. This woman's temperature was nowhere near a normal human's temperature! She was freezing, and her face was completely bloodless. She didn't even look like a living person anymore.

    He just had the feeling that if she had fallen just now, she might have disappeared. But, for some reason, her forlorn figure looked so familiar. Especially her voice...

    He felt a pang in his heart. "It's you, hmm?"

    But sadly, she didn't seem to notice and continued walking. Xiao Shi could only follow behind her mistress, guiding Bai Xiangxiu back to Winter Garden when the maid felt better.

    Bai Xiangxiu became violently ill the moment she returned. She even started to hallucinate. At one point, she felt like she'd returned to the modern world as a spectator. She saw her unconscious self being transported by an ambulance. She was back in her body in the hospital while a bunch of doctors stood over her. Her parents held her hand, haggard looks on their faces.

    She smiled and reassured them, "I'm fine. Don't worry. I'm really okay.  I just had a nightmare." The ghastly incident just seemed like a realistic nightmare. She didn't want to accept it.

    Her parents were relieved and loudly called the doctor, "Doctor, come! My daughter has awoken!" But by the time the doctor had come over, she slipped back into unconsciousness, back into her realistic dream.

    After the incident, the old madame lectured Long Heng. She told him to get his act together, and stop allowing other women from coming up with inappropriate thoughts. He already had four concubines living in the house. If he would just sleep with them, then other women would naturally lose their motivation to try things like this.

    Long Heng promised verbally but didn't really seem to care. After he left his mother's residence, he went to drink with Song Jiaoyue. Long Heng had barely taken a seat when Song Jiaoyue asked, "I heard that Prince Li just beat a servant to death?"

    "Mm." Prince Li was quite irritated by the maid's scheming.

    "The Old Madame still acts so swiftly and decisively, but she frightens the lovely flowers from your rear court." He described his encounter with Mistress Xiu. "I can't believe you let them watch. You should learn to be tender towards women."

    "Tender towards women? When women decide to become vicious, even men cannot compete with them. During my time in the battlefield, the enemy camp would often send a lot of beautiful women into our camps to pose as military prostitutes. Did tenderness help those men who died beneath them? Jiaoyue, you've always been too softhearted towards women."

    Long Heng rarely spoke so much, but his tone was so bitter that Song Jiaoyue was stumped for words. He quickly lifted his wine cup and changed the topic, "Let's not talk about this anymore. Let's drink instead." The two of them rarely saw each other, so they toasted each other with their cups and drank.

    Long Heng was a bit drunk by the time he returned to his residence. But when he recalled how Song Jiaoyue had to be carried back to his carriage, he felt he'd still done quite well.

    When he arrived in his study, a pageboy handed a towel to him, "The Old Madame has left orders that you must attend to one of the four mistresses tonight...."

    Slap. Long Heng irritably slapped the towel down on the table. Could force even be employed in a matter like this? He paced around the room like a caged beast before he remembered what Song Jiaoyue had said earlier, "Let's go to the Winter Garden."

    Honestly, he wasn't that familiar with the buildings in the princely complex. He'd only heard of the Winter Garden, and that only recently too. The pageboy rushed to light a lantern and led the way. The two of them headed towards Winter Garden, winding their way through the halls. The route was a bit off the beaten path, but the view more than made up for it.

    When they arrived at the Winter Garden, they saw outsiders rushing in and out. The pageboy quickly stopped one of them, questioning, "Who are you people? Why are you in Mistress Xiu's garden?" It's so late at night!

    The pageboy, stopped at the door, responded, "We're from the medicine hall in the complex. Mistress Xiu has fallen ill. The physician is here to take a look at her."

    "What illness?" Long Heng frowned. She's truly sick? She couldn't handle even a small fright? And she said earlier she wanted to whip a corpse, so that was just all talk hmm!

    "The... the physician hasn't came out yet... your servant greets the Prince." The medicine pageboys had finally realized who was standing in front of him and sank to their knees. It had been too dark to tell earlier.

    Long Heng wanted to leave immediately, but as the male head of this residence, he felt that he should at least show some concern. Therefore, he waited until the physician emerged. The physician fell to his knees as soon as he caught sight of him. It took a while before Long Heng could get the physician's diagnosis, that Mistress Xiu was only ill due to excessive fright. She would be fine after taking some calming medication.

    But actually, the physician didn't dare say that Mistress Xiu had had no pulse when he'd initially arrived. He had no idea how she ended up reviving again.

    "Mm." Long Heng responded casually and ordered his pageboy to send some nourishing items. He then decided to return.

    He quickly forgot about the incident. Although Mistress Xiu had a stunning face, he'd never been interested in beautiful women. Long Heng could never forget that the more beautiful the female assassin, the more men they were able to kill.

    As for Bai Xiangxiu, she finally felt less groggy a few days later after falling sick. She was woken up by a very weak voice.

    "I'm so thirsty. I really want to drink water, Master. I want to drink water."

    "Water..." She subconsciously murmured.

    "Mistress Xiu. You're finally awake! You want water, right? Just a moment." Xiao Shi rushed to pour a cup of water for her mistress. She carefully propped her mistress up and fed her a cup of water. Xiao Shi's anxiety only lasted until her mistress had finished the cup, and then promptly burst into tears, "You nearly scared your servant to death, Mistress!"

    Bai Xiangxiu sat up and looked around the room. She knew right away that she hadn't been transported back. When she looked at the cactus, she said, "Give it some water as well."  She had been so dizzy these past few days. She couldn't recall when she'd last watered it.

    1. Old, married female servants who are usually very stockily built
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