Chapter 7: The First Attempt

“Servants! Just what are you doing!? Hurry and get the Fourth Miss cleaned up! Are you going to stand there until she fuses with the earth!?”

With Wei Xuan heralding a shrill cry of anger towards the people nearby, the servants quickly rushed forward to pick An Fei from the ground.

Bowing respectfully to the anxious minister, they quickly ushered her into a secluded region of the Flowing Winds Residence, where a private bath lay waiting.

The male servants departing swiftly and closing the door, the maids stripped An Fei of her clothes, the latter slightly wincing when the cloth rubbed against her sore limbs.

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Alas, she could no longer care about such a thing as a greater problem awaited her attention.

Splash!

“AH!?”

They threw her in!

Not slowly dipping her into the water, but throwing her like a package!

And they dare leave!?

The girl shook her fist underwater as she saw the servants heave sighs of relief as they dusted their hands and carried the soiled clothes laying on the ground, closing the door shut as they left. Leaning against the wall of the bath, An Fei could hear several voices resonating from outside.

Pressing her ear against the stone surface, she discovered that the voices belonged to the maids earlier. One was domineering and bold, the other soft and submissive, as if belonging to a seductress.

“Do you…think we’ll be caught?”

“Hmph! Don’t even worry about that. That girl who’s supposed to be the new Fourth Miss, is a complete idiot. I bet she won’t even be capable of tattling to the minister!”

“But…she’s still a Fourth Miss…”

“So what? Eldest Young Master was the one who gave us the order. Don’t tell me, you think some addled Fourth Miss is superior to our Young Master?”

“…Sister Cuiwei is right. Let’s hurry and finish our task then. Hopefully Master won’t notice something wrong, all we need is three hours of time!”

“Then what are you standing there, saying nothing? Hurry, get the tools!”

Hearing the maids’ discussion, An Fei silently scoffed.

Only eight days in, and someone was out to drag her life down into a misery. Although, she couldn’t help but frown as she looked down at her body.

Scrawny.

Definitely unable to do any running.

While she could humph and laugh at her own predicaments, she also was incapable from resolving them.

“Hah~”

Relaxing her body and slumping against the wall, An Fei groaned in comfort as the hot water slowly eased her muscles, gradually soaking away her exhaustion and leaving behind an inexplicable comfort. Leaving just her head above the water, she began to slowly survey the bathing house.

The entire building covering the bath was five meters wide and three meters wide; a bathing house intended for a sole person’s use. The walls and ceiling seemed to be made of birch wood, the bathing tub’s perimeter outlined with a smooth stone.

Lamps hung from each corner, producing a slightly dim lighting that eased the mood. When An Fei prodded the tub’s bottom with her right foot, it also seemed to be of the same stone material. It was a pity however, that she could feel that the ground had a relatively moderate incline.

She, who was barely a hundred and fifty-five centimeters of height, would probably be only able to stand at the shallow fringe. Feeling relaxed enough, An Fei began to swing her arms, lightly stretching her limbs in the water.

They truly were useless at any physical activity.

Such was her evaluation at her own strength and endurance, for merely folding and unfolding her arms for three sets was more than capable of exhausting her reserves. However, she could only lay back and gaze at her own body in both admiration and sorrow.

Skin tone and texture like hers would have conjured up a massive storm in China if exposed to the public, with males flocking from all directions seeking to gobble her up. Alas, the fact that the body she was admiring was hers, also implied that An Fei wasn’t in her familiar world.

Thinking back to her somewhat happier and joyful childhood days, a tear trickled down her cheek.

“Grandfather…”

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Her soft voice called, her right arm reaching towards the sky. In the slightly hazy air, the humidity partially obscuring her vision, An Fei envisioned her grandfather standing before her, that same warm and loving smile on his aged face.

She seemed to have returned to her memories, the young girl playing with the elder in the hospital, slowly growing in age per snapshot.

Until, memories of the water channel in the sewer system appeared in her haze, her own voice pounding against her mind.

The shrill screams proclaiming her desire for revenge, the defaming cries that had remained locked within at that time, the courage of voicing them missing.

‘Why did you curse me as well!? The only person I trusted, the only person who displayed love and care to me, why? That dammed mirror, couldn’t you let someone else suffer from its devastation!?’

When she thought of her thoughts back then, guilt arose within An Fei as she broke down into muffled sobs, salty tears merging with the still pool of water.

“Grandfather…I…I disappointed you…I-I…I’m sorry-“

Bang! Click.

The sudden striking of metal on wood interrupting her cries, the sound of a padlock being attached following soon after. Jerking her head to gaze at the door, An Fei could hear the maid’s voices once more.

“Let’s go. Sister Wei has already set the southern edge of the bath on fire. If we don’t leave now, we might get implicated as well!”

The sounds of fleeting footsteps echoed in the silent bathing house, An Fei’s gaze continuing to remain on the door. A long moment later, she raised her hand to brush off the remaining tears on her face, her countenance returning to one of indifference.

“Fire?” she mused.

“If it’s simply a plain fire, then they must hope to smother me to death. But if it’s one by oil, then that would be a problem…”

Poking her head over the tub’s edge, she peered around the floor of the bathing house, only to return back in disappointment as she couldn’t find any rags nearby. The servants had indeed performed their task with meticulousness and diligence!

Not even the smallest shred of fabric was anywhere!

With a sigh, she submerged her body even further to rest just below her nose. Breathing in deeply, she was soon able to faintly detect the smell of charred wood, causing the girl to pout.

Her eyes scanning the entire bathhouse, she discovered that one of the corners was aflame. However, the damp wood delayed the flickering flames from expanding at a quick pace, yet An Fei’s eyes narrowed at an odd feature of the fire.

The flames were the cheery orange that she remembered seeing, but instead a pale blue. Though the damp birch wood indeed persisted at keeping the flames at bay, the blue flames merely caught the stone floor on fire.

Streaks of fire blazed towards the bastion of water in the bathing tub like snakes slithering on the ground. Within mere moments, the bathtub was the only region not scorched by the flames in the entire bathing house.

Less than a meter away from the blue flames, An Fei could feel the scorching heat glance across her face, sending the girl recoiling with a pained hiss.

Turning around, she quickly swam towards the center of the pool of water, lying on her back as she struggled to keep afloat.

“A death of burning alive…doesn’t seem very appealing,” she mused with a light laugh as she gazed towards the ceiling.

“Although…where will this take me next? Will…I be able to see grandfather again…?”

Suddenly, the girl snapped out of her daze, her right hand reaching towards her neck. Clenching the fingers into a fist and raising it above her eyes, she could dimly see a pendant clasped in her hand.

A pendant with a mirror of smooth cobalt, the surface of embossed platinum. Gazing at the object in surprise and wonder, she turned it to stare at the back, only to find small words etched onto the cobalt protective casing.

“The Courts of Tian Xia reside…the <Sanctum of Eternity> awaits…Heaven Colludes, the Divine Palace sunders…the Forefather…?”

As the girl numbly read, the soft voice barely audible amongst the roar of flames, everything changed. A brilliant glow exploded from the reflective surface of the mirror, causing An Fei to firmly shut her eyes.

After the time to brew a cup of tea had passed, she opened them to find a massive surprise.

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