Title : Luo Yu’s & Qin Jianyue’s Story
Author : PurpleLy
THIS IS FAN FICTION!!! Click here to read the full disclaimer
For the next few weeks, Luo Yu’s routines were more or less the same. Breakfast, then training with Old Qi until lunchtime, and continuing to study with Old Qi until dinnertime. Three days out of the week, Luo Yu would spend half a day focusing on methodologies under Ru shijie. Occasionally, it would be a full day if Old Qi was tending to the farmhouse, and Luo Yu would also get to practice martial arts.
Luo Yu took all his meals with Qin Jianyue, and both made it a point to wait for each other. They would chat while they walked to and fro from the courtyard to the dining hall and also while they ate. During this time, Luo Yu was grateful that none of the topics were too personal. He wasn’t comfortable telling people of his background because he was afraid of how they would react.
When they’d recently attended a Mid-Autumn Gathering at Yingyuan courtyard with Gu Ruohai, Su Huaizhu, and Wang Ke, Luo Yu learned of Qin Jianyue’s family ties to the imperial army. At that time, he’d told himself that it was one more reason not to get too involved with this person.
Qin Jianyue was exceptionally respectful and charming. Despite their constant interactions, Luo Yu still couldn’t bring himself to look him directly in the eyes for too long. There was just something in that man’s gaze that made him all discomfited and flustered. It was a new and strange sensation. He didn’t understand why he was reacting this way to another man.
Back when he was in Eluo, there was no shortage of beautiful women or men in the palace. His father, the previous king, had a harem of over fifty concubines and Luo Yu, himself, was the son of a concubine. That accounted for the many, many half-siblings of various ages he had.
Although he had been surrounded by people since birth, Luo Yu didn’t much crave crowds or palace life. He had many older brothers and wasn’t a favourite son, so no one really took an interest in or paid much attention to him. It was also because of that that he was able to pursue his interest in medicine and the healing arts.
Eluo was famous for its witchcraft and reared a number of Gu worm species for various purposes. Though it was usually the royal females who were involved in these matters, Luo Yu found himself curious about their rituals and herbs used. His mother was such a practitioner, and he would ply her with questions about the ceremonies and processes. She would indulge him and answer as best she could.
Today, Old Qi had to go tend to the farmhouse, so Luo Yu would be training under Ru shijie for the whole day. He had been practising a martial art technique called ‘Advancing Owl Shift’ and had progressed to the fourth stage. That afternoon, Ru shijie allowed him to spar against Qin Jianyue, who had also improved on his ‘Spiral Dragon Spinning Clouds’ technique.
Both of them began to fight. Luo Yu made the first attack using ‘Nesting Owlet’ which Qin Jianyue evaded and reciprocated with his ‘Dragon Gathers Rain’. This caused Luo Yu to leap out of the way and fire back with his ‘Hidden Owl Strikes’. Qin Jianyue successfully received his blows using his ‘Never Dragon Wanderer’ combined with a ‘Dragon Skims the Water’.
All of a sudden, Luo Yu shifted his feet a little too late and was about to be hit by Qin Jianyue’s move.
Ru shijie noticed the discrepancy and shouted out, “Careful!”
Qin Jianyue heard this and instantly tried to retract his move, but the momentum of his body was still hurtling in Luo Yu’s direction. Luo Yu stumbled and instinctively stretched out his palm to block. In a split second, he struck Qin Jianyue square in the chest.
They both collapsed onto the ground in a heap. Ru shijie rushed over and helped them up, asking, “Are you alright?”
Luo Yu felt sore on the places where he’d landed, but otherwise, he didn’t detect anything serious. He shook his head at Ru shijie, then glanced over at Qin Jianyue.
Qin Jianyue had slowly pushed himself off the ground to a semi-kneeling position. His head was bowed and he was panting heavily. Without any warning, he coughed out a mouthful of blood.
The sight shocked Luo Yu, who immediately hurried over and put his hands on Qin Jianyue’s shoulders. “Qin Jianyue! Are you alright?!”
Qin Jianyue wiped the blood with the back of one hand and waved with his other, “I’m alright.” But then, he clutched his chest and stifled a groan.
Luo Yu dropped to his knees beside him and started to panic. “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! It was my fault!”
Ru shijie said, “Calm down, Luo shidi. It was an accident.” She examined Qin Jianyue’s pulse and eyed him as she spoke: “You have some injured meridians. It seems you have some old injuries which haven’t healed properly. Luo shidi’s strike must have agitated it.”
Upon hearing that, Luo Yu was almost close to tears. “Shijie, how can we help him?” He clutched Qin Jianyue’s hand.
Qin Jianyue looked up at Luo Yu’s face, and he gave a wry smile, “Luo Yu, don’t worry.”
Ru shijie reached into her belt for a small pouch tucked inside. She opened it and took out a pill which she handed to Qin Jianyue. “Swallow this first. It will ease some of the pain. I’ll go get Old Qi. Let him examine you and provide us with his diagnosis. For now, you should rest quietly in your room.”
Luo Yu helped Qin Jianyue stand up and supported him into his room. He brought Qin Jianyue over to sit on his bed and checked his pulse himself.
Once he’d discerned the beats, he frowned and said, “Ru shijie’s right. You do have some old injuries. How did you get injured?” He sat down next to Qin Jianyue and carefully pulled open his lapels to inspect the place he’d struck just now. There was a large blue-black bruise in the centre. Seeing that made him feel even worse.
Qin Jianyue didn’t stop him and replied, “Probably some fight I don’t recall. Maybe that’s why I didn’t tend to it and it didn’t heal well.”
Luo Yu gingerly placed a hand on Qin Jianyue’s chest and asked softly, “Does it hurt?” From the appearance, it must hurt a great deal.
Qin Jianyue held Luo Yu’s hand over his chest and replied gently, “Yes, it hurts.”
Touching the warm chest and being covered by his warm hand, Luo Yu’s eyes darted up instantly. Qin Jianyue was looking at him tenderly. Immediately, Luo Yu could feel Qin Jianyue’s heartbeat beneath his chest—the same firm chest he’d spied when they were in the hot spring together.
Luo Yu’s heart began to pound, and he muttered, “I-I’m so sorry I hurt you.”
Qin Jianyue: “It was an accident. I don’t blame you.”
There was a long silence in the room as neither of them spoke.
Luo Yu’s senses were heightened just then. He could feel his whole body getting warmer. He detected the heady male scent from Qin Jianyue’s body, he could hear the pounding of his own heart as he stared at the handsome man facing him.
He swallowed and looked away from Qin Jianyue’s piercing gaze. Realising that his hand was still being held, Luo Yu immediately stood up.
He stuttered, “Y-You should get some rest. Old Qi will be back soon. He’ll know what to do.”
Qin Jianyue: “Luo Yu—”
Luo Yu didn’t look at him and hastened to the door, saying, “I-I’m sorry. I’ve to go now.” Then he quickly slipped out and closed the door behind him. He walked back to his own courtyard and paced around. Ru shijie had gone to find Old Qi at the farmhouse. He knew he should probably stay with Qin Jianyue, but he was having such mixed feelings at the moment.
The instant he saw Qin Jianyue throw up blood, he felt so terrible inside. His actions had caused him to be hurt. But being alone with that man and in such close proximity was positively overwhelming and made him have strange thoughts—thoughts he’d never expected to have.
Luo Yu shook his head. He couldn’t think of that now. He’d injured someone! What kind of healer was he?! That’s right! He should be thinking of ways to heal Qin Jianyue!
Injured meridians. Hmm…… generally, injured meridians like Qin Jianyue’s required months of consuming decocted medicine and daily acupuncture before they could heal. Did that mean Qin Jianyue had to suffer a prolonged treatment and only be able to start training again in a few months time? All because of what he’d done?
Didn’t Old Qi say something in passing a while back when they were picking herbs in the forest? Yes, he was mumbling that if only all herbs were so easy to obtain as weeds and had cited a few examples of rare herbs.
One such herb he’d mentioned was a perennial flower known as ‘chuan bei mu‘* which was greatly sought after in the Jianghu as it was highly effective in healing and invigorating meridians in a short time. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be farmed and only grew sporadically on steep cliff faces. It also had to be harvested when it was in bloom, and it only bloomed for two days before wilting.
(*This is an actual herb that’s used to aid cough and respiratory issues. I’ve tweaked it for storytelling purposes 😅)
Old Qi told Luo Yu that he’d managed to harvest ten in all the years he’d been in Lesser Jade House. Luo Yu took a deep breath and headed out of the courtyard. He didn’t think of anything else, only that he needed to find that herb for Qin Jianyue.
He hastened to the chain bridge, and once he arrived, he carefully peered over the cliff edge. Luo Yu painstakingly scanned the rock face. He didn’t know if he was lucky or if fate was playing with him because he instantly noticed a tiny hint of yellow on the side of the cliff not too far away from where he was.
He hurried over until he was directly over it. It was a solitary yellow flower, with the drooping bloom about three centimetres tall and growing out of the cliff wall.
Without hesitation, Luo Yu quickly dropped to his knees and then lay on his stomach. It looked like he could grab it if he stretched out his arm, so he reached out as far as he could. Just as his fingertips brushed the flower’s petals, he felt the ground beneath him give way a little.
Perhaps it was due to the pressure from his body that a few chunks of rocks loosened underneath Luo Yu’s chest, tumbled down the cliff, and caused Luo Yu’s upper body to lurch downwards.
He thought he heard someone yell his name from far away, but he couldn’t care at the moment. The flower was just within reach! Now one of his fingers was able to touch the flower stem. Just a little more, and he would be able to pluck it.
Luo Yu held his breath and remained as still as he could, despite his pounding heart. He could see that below him was a sheer drop.
He heard his name being yelled again; this time it was much nearer. The voice sounded familiar, but he was afraid to turn around or even reply. Then it happened.
The ground below Luo Yu’s torso started to break apart due to his weight. He felt his body tilt even more. Without any consideration, Luo Yu made a swipe with his hand just as a huge wedge of soil underneath him crumbled. In that instant, he felt his legs being grabbed.
Qin Jianyue was hanging onto Luo Yu’s legs with all his might. He was just about to haul him up, when all of a sudden, he felt both his arms being powerfully towed. He was forcefully dragged backwards just as the cliff edge collapsed.
Qin Jianyue didn’t even have time to react to who had come to their aid at the last minute. All he did was quickly gather Luo Yu in his arms and hold onto him tightly.
Luo Yu was frozen in shock; his face was completely white and his hands were stiff. The portion of the cliff where he had been lying on earlier had completely subsided. There was a good chance that he would have fallen down with it if he hadn’t been rescued.
Behind them, Old Qi was the first to speak: “If Ru shimei and I hadn’t been passing by, we’d be naming this cliff after the both of you!”
Ru shijie stepped in front of Qin Jianyue and Luo Yu who was still paralysed from the earlier trauma. Then her gaze dropped to Luo Yu’s right hand. She reached down and picked up his wrist, holding it up to show Old Qi. Grasped tightly in his hand was a small yellow flower.
Old Qi eyed the flower, then exchanged a knowing look with Ru shijie before releasing a sigh and shaking his head.
The group moved further away from the cliff edge to a safer location. Since the sun was going to set soon, Ru shijie and Old Qi began to cordon off the area before repairs could be done the next day. In the meantime, Qin Jianyue had released Luo Yu and was sitting with him beneath a tree.
Luo Yu didn’t dare look at Qin Jianyue, but he could feel his unwavering gaze on him. He didn’t know if he was furious at his actions or if it was something else. Neither of them spoke.
When Old Qi and Ru shijie had completed their task, all four of them returned to Shuang Ju Garden. Old Qi took the flower from Luo Yu and left. Ru shijie had informed him of Qin Jianyue’s condition. They’d been on their way back from the farmhouse when they happened upon Qin Jianyue and Luo Yu at the chain bridge.
Ru shijie then turned to Luo Yu and gave him a dressing down. Luo Yu hung his head low as Qin Jianyue stood silently at the side. While she didn’t condone his rash actions, she’d understood Luo Yu’s reasons behind it and admonished him before telling both of them to clean themselves up and rest for the remainder of the day.
“Have a soak in the hot spring. It’ll calm your nerves, and the heat will help Qin Jianyue’s bruising somewhat.” Ru shijie said.
Sometime later, Luo Yu and Qin Jianyue had taken Ru shijie’s advice and were sitting quietly next to each other in the hot spring pool. It was already evening now, and the lamps had been lit, providing some meagre illumination in the small courtyard.
They both hadn’t uttered a single word to each other until now.
Luo Yu had been experiencing one alarming situation after another and was still trying to shake off the after-effects. His mind kept going back to the day’s events, and a jumble of ‘what ifs’ were persistently floating around in his thoughts.
He heard Qin Jianyue beside him shift in the water, and he turned a little to look over.
Qin Jianyue’s eyes were closed as if he was in meditation. Seeing this, Luo Yu’s gaze dropped to the large bruise on Qin Jianyue’s chest. It was just above the water line and was starting to turn a red-brown colour.
In the end, he couldn’t stand it anymore and called out softly, “Qin Jianyue?”