Jing Sheng knocked on the door and entered. Noel was sitting on the bed, leaning back against his pillow and reading a magazine. He looked up from the magazine and seeing Jing Sheng, his face brightened up. He exclaimed, "Miss Jing!"
Jing Sheng gave him a small smile. She put down a container on the table and then sat down on a chair beside the bed. "Noel, how are you feeling now?"
Noel smiled at her. "I'm better. I wanted to leave the hospital, but the doctors won't let me leave yet. I guess I have to wait another week."
Jing Sheng looked down. Her arms were trembling as they gripped on her clothes. She mumbled, "You shouldn't have done it."
"Pardon?" Noel didn't understand what she meant by that.
Jing Sheng closed her eyes and said clearly, "You shouldn't have suffered because of me."
Noel couldn't understand why she said that. Normally, people would thank others for saving their lives, but she looked different. He tried to ask, "What do you-"
She interrupted him. "All these years, what did you gain…. what did you achieve by protecting me?" Her voice shook when she spoke.
"Y-you!" Noel's eyes grew wide. He had a feeling that she found out about his deeds to protect her all these years.
"I want to say 'thank you for saving me' but I can't. I cannot imagine what you went through doing all this for me." Her tone was full of guilt.
Before Mu Lan left, she only said a few things to her, then, Jing Sheng figured out the rest of the things from Noel's journal in his room. She knew that it wasn't the best thing to find out, but she still did. His love and his devotion for her was so strong, she couldn't think of anything else except for the words he written in his diary. Her heart was ripped apart imagining how hard it must be for him to face his one-sided love and protect her every day and night.
Noel gritted his teeth. "Who told you? How did you find out?"
He never meant for her know, he was fine with bearing everything as long as she was taking the medicine. He knew how much it would affect her if she discovered his feelings. He had known that he might never be able to tell her; but it was fine for him. As long as she was living the way she wanted, he could bear with it. But now he was angry. He was mad at the person who told her about it, making her suffer like this.
At that moment, in Qi Ying's study room, Mu Lan sneezed.
Qi Ying asked, "Xiao Lan, are you cold?"
"I'm fine." Mu Lan rubbed her nose.
"Someone must be cursing you right now. Hey, did you do anything to anyone recently?" Yan Su asked feeling amused.
Mu Lan tried to recall. Then, she said innocently, "No one in particular."
Back at the hospital, Jing Sheng was having hard a time to control her emotions. She couldn't hear what Noel was saying. All she wanted to say, it came out all at once. "Every time you protected me, every time you saved me, you had to suffer. You were in pain…"
Noel protested, "No, I wasn't! I never felt pain when I helped you. I always felt happy that I could make you safe, and that will never change."
Jing Sheng stood up abruptly and screamed, "But you will gain nothing! You can have nothing. I cannot give you anything."
"I don't need anything. As long as I can see your smile, that's all I need." Noel smiled at her gently. His tender look showed how much he cared for her.
"You…!" Jing Sheng couldn't say anything. Her eyes turned red and tears formed in her eyes. She mumbled, "Noel, let's end this here."
"Miss Jing-" Noel couldn't hear her properly. He was about to say something when she interrupted her again.
"Don't ever help me. Don't ever come in front of me. This is my final wish." Jing Sheng's tone was firm. She thought, 'As long as he doesn't see me, he will have a good life without sacrificing anything. That's all I'm able to do to repay him.'
And just like that, she left; leaving behind the man whose head was down, expression was paler than before. A dull pain that was killing him slowly.
While Jing Sheng was walking on the street, she clenched her clothes over her chest tightly. She was having a problem breathing properly. She felt like something was eating away her heart. The aching was killing her.
She was grateful that it ended that way. If she didn't read his diary, she wouldn't have figured out her deep feelings for him.
When the she was a bride who was being tortured by her in-laws and her husband was neglecting her, only one person truly cared for her and was gentle with her. That person helped her in every aspect, gave her hope to go on in the hell, always gave her courage. Without her knowing, she fell for him. And she discovered her feelings when she read his diary. Because, she had the same kind of affection and adoration for him.
It that sense, Mu Lan was right when she told Mu Liang that the vulnerable girl would definitely fall hard for that knight in the silver armor. She was correct in analyzing Jing Sheng's innermost feeling.
Three days later, Mu Lan found out what Jing Sheng talked about in the hospital. She put her both hands on her head. "What should I do now?"
She was in Qi Ying's study room. She was spending more time in here. She already recovered completely and was practicing her art. Whenever she had free time, she was hanging out with her friends.
Yan Su leaned back on the sofa. "So, what are you going to do now? Are you quitting?"
Qi Ying said, "I think we should stop meddling into this. This is going too deep. I think we already hurt Noel and mother-in-law more than we can imagine."
Mu Lan looked out of the window. She was thinking.