Chapter 5: A New World

Waking from a fitful sleep, An Fei found herself in the study room again, nestled comfortably on the linen bed.

With a quiet yawn, she stretched her limbs before laying on her left side as she hugged the pillow, occasionally scratching her ears.

There seemed to be a commotion just outside the curtains, the arguing voices both male, one aged and one still relatively young.

It seemed that the Physician Gao had returned, this time with an ardent passion that refused to cower.

“Minister Wei, Minister Wei,” the aged voice heaved a large sigh, the sound of hands brushing against coarse fabric echoing throughout the study.

“Did this physician not tell you repeatedly, do not agitate the fourth miss? She is but a child! One that has only opened her eyes to see the world for the first time fourteen years after birth. And look at what you’re doing! Taking her out for a stroll in the autumn season, did the Lord think such an action qualified as doting affection?”

The shaking of a large cloth could be heard, slightly displacing the curtains.

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“Only with this thin blanket, not even a proper hand warmer or clothing, does the fourth miss appear invincible now that she has finally awoken!?”

“This…” Wei Xuan’s voice could be heard, the man lacking all of his previous vigor and imposing demeanor.

“What should be done? A recovery should be possible, right?”

“What recovery?” the physician snorted.

“What Minister Wei should be grateful about is that the young miss won’t suffer much from this, just a few bouts of dizziness. However, recovery is impossible.”

With his statement, the entire study’s atmosphere became gloomy as the occupants remained silent for a few moments. Opening her mouth, An Fei was about to speak when the old physician spoke again, his voice uncertain and lacking strength.

“Minister Wei, this old practitioner must first apologize…the fourth miss’ condition isn’t that impossible to cure…”

“What!?”

“What did you say!?”

Interrupting the physician’s words were Minister Wei and a female, the matured voice befuddling An Fei for a moment. However, her gaze swiftly hardened, hatred coursing through the scarlet irises as her breathing spiked.

Her body trembling once more, the heart began to accelerate its pulses as her vision began to fall under the scarlet haze.

Having learned her lesson, An Fei pursed her lips together as she clenched the linen blankets nearby, taking deep breaths until the symptoms had fully receded. Fortunately, other than a slight rustle of clothing from her abrupt movement, the rest of her actions were barely imperceptible in sound.

“This physician will say it here now. This old man had returned to my books earlier and after much searching, discovered a method that could possibly treat the fourth miss’s condition with the heart. However,” the physician’s voice became solemn, no longer as passionate.

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“There will be failure every eight of ten attempts. If Minister Wei and Second Madam Luo wishes not to hear, this physician will stop now.”

“Continue. Speak without worries, physician.” Wei Xuan’s voice could be heard, calm and even.

“Second Madam and I wish to heard Physician Gao’s thoughts.”

“Very well,” Physician Gao replied. The slight shuffling of feet could be heard until the aged voice rang out once more.

“This method involves the fourth miss ingesting a thousand-years aged Eight-Petaled Violet Yin Herb, preferably with one with a half-moon glow emanating prior to extraction. This is to resolve the fourth miss’ body being devoid of natural Yin essence; three stalks should complete the treatment, allowing the miss to live comfortably though with a slightly weaker body. However…” The physician’s voice trailed off, as if in deep thought.

“However? Physician Gao, is there a problem?”

“Shuyan, be good and wait patiently. Let Physician Gao think some more.”

Noticing that the physician had ceased to speak, his aged brows locked in deep thought, the Second Madam could not help but urgently call out, prompting Wei Xuan to hurriedly console and quiet the woman.

Placing a finger over her lips to quieten the anxious woman, he motioned for her to remain seated as he strode towards the curtained bed. However, just as his right hand’s fingertips had brushed against the curtains, Physician Gao’s mutter caused him to pause.

“…failure of the treatment can result in the fourth miss falling comatose, or losing a significant portion of her mental function. Another method that brings forth lesser risk would be to find a pure Yin-oriented cultivation manual for the miss to practice with.”

“However, finding such a manual is akin to plucking clouds from the sky with a bamboo stick, not to mention the government strictly regulates the distribution and collection of cultivation-related artifacts. Additionally, the fourth miss would require a considerable amount of talent to practice such a technique, another hurdle that can’t be determined for certain.”

“…I understand, Physician Gao.” Wei Xuan spoke, fatigue evident in his voice.

“Thank you for giving the two of us hope. While both are items of legend, never having been physically seen for the past several millennia, this Minister will do his best to find them.”

“That would be for the best,” Physician Gao responded. “Keeping the young miss satisfied and content should be a priority as to prevent her health from declining any further.”

“…This, would there be any problems with normal activities? At this age, she should be partaking social outings and convenes to establish a social connection-“

“Absolutely not.” Physician Gao interjected, cutting off Luo Shuyan.

“The fourth miss’ health is far too fragile to handle such events. It is best to have her safely rest inside the manor, where inopportune events can be limited as possible.”

“But-“

“I understand,” Wei Xuan cut in with a heavy sigh. Turning to the physician, he respectfully saluted before gesturing towards the door.

“I’ll escort you out. This way, please.”

Instantly, the aged physician began to profusely decline, initiating a polite conflict on proper social convention with Wei Xuan. Until he had departed from the courtyard, An Fei could still hear the old physician’s grumbles of Wei Xuan’s magnanimity.

Thereon, Luo Shuyan had been quickly chased out from the study with a few flowery words, and the only sound that could be heard in the study from then on was the soft, inked brush gliding across the parchment, and the shifting of leather scrolls. After an hour, An Fei had simply gone to sleep, unable and unwilling to care about anything else.

Today marked the eighth day since she had woken up to find herself in this odd environment. To her utter defeat, An Fei was forced to acknowledge that this was indeed, a vastly different world than the one she was accustomed to.

No matter where she searched, who she asked, not a single one could pass on the impression that this was a staged prank. One or two acting in a manner could be achievable, but three hundred?

Absolutely not!

“Young Miss, the kitchen staff has sent the afternoon meal.”

A young servant maid greeted her respectfully from outside the room, proceeding to carry in a wooden tray with a set of silver utensils. On the tray, An Fei could see an earthenware pot of porridge, and a plate of fresh spring rolls, the distinct aroma arousing her appetite.

Noticing the young girl’s gaze fixated on the tray, the maid chuckled before placing it down next to the bed, expertly picking up a roll with the chopsticks, bringing to An Fei’s mouth.

“Young Miss, please.”

Struggling to maintain her dull-witted appearance and not roll her eyes to the heavens, An Fei clumsily opened her mouth, accepting the spring roll. Chewing on it with great relish, enjoying the taste of well-seasoned beansprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and a large assortment of vegetables, the girl couldn’t help but reveal a look of bliss, causing the maid nearby to burst into peals of laughter.

Scoffing inwardly whilst being fed by the maid, An Fei earnestly thanked the chef who had been mindful enough to not fry the wrapping, instead replacing it with warmed rice paper. If it had been the traditional fried wrapping, she could ensure that her ruse would have been given away on the spot.

She, An Fei, was inhabiting the body of a fourteen year-old girl who had woken for the first time a mere eight days ago. There really couldn’t be any complaints about how everyone in the manor treated her as an infant.

An Fei couldn’t mind, as long as she didn’t have to live on the run again. As long as that was avoidable, she was perfectly content on living the lifestyle of an overindulged and pampered Young Miss.

Suddenly, she stopped chewing, her face displaying a confused expression as she pondered on a matter that had just sprung to her mind, completely ignoring the maid’s surprised and curious glance. The thin line of vegetable juice trickling was similarly disregarded as that thought, once summoned, simply refused to leave.

What was this girl’s name again?

An Fei had yet to hear anyone say it, even her Second Uncle, no, Father, Wei Xuan.

Young Miss this, Young Miss that, Fourth Young Miss this, Fourth Young Miss that.

Should she go by that then?

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