The Story of the Stone – CHAPTER 30

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CHAPTER 30

Bao-chai speaks of a fan and castigates her deriders
Charmante scratches a ‘qiang’ and mystifies a beholder

Dai-yu, as we have shown, regretted her quarrel with Bao-yu almost as soon as it was over; but since there were no con?ceivable grounds on which she could run after him and tell him so, she continued, both day and night, in a state of un?relieved depression that made her feel almost as if a part of her was lost. Nightingale had a shrewd idea how it was with her and resolved at last to tackle her:
‘I think the day before yesterday you were too hasty, Miss. We ought to know what things Master Bao is touchy about, if no one else does. Look at all the quarrels we’ve had with him in the past on account of that jade!’
‘Poh!’ said Dai-yu scornfully. ‘You are trying to make out that it was my fault because you have taken his side against me. Of course I wasn’t too hasty.’
Nightingale gave her a quizzical smile.
‘No? Then why did you cut that cord up? If three parts of the blame was Bao-yu’s, I’m sure at least seven parts of it was yours. From what I’ve seen of it, he’s all right with you when you allow him to be; it’s because you’re so prickly with him and always trying to put him in the wrong that he gets worked up.’
Dai-yu was about to retort when they heard someone at the courtyard gate calling to be let in. Nightingale turned to listen:
‘That’s Bao-yu’s voice,’ she said. ‘I expect he has come to apologize.’
‘I forbid you to let him in,’ said Dai-yu.
‘There you go again!’ said Nightingale. ‘You’re going to keep him standing outside in the blazing sun on a day like this. Surely that’s wrong, if nothing else is?’
She was moving outside, even as she said this, regardless of her mistress’s injunction. Sure enough, it was Bao-yu. She un?fastened the gate and welcomed him in with a friendly smile.
‘Master Bao! I was beginning to think you weren’t coming to see us any more, I certainly didn’t expect to see you here again so soon.’
‘Oh, you’ve been making a mountain out of a molehill,’ said Bao-yu, returning her smile. ‘Why ever shouldn’t I come? Even if I died, my ghost would be round here a hundred times a day. How is my cousin? Quite better now?’
‘Physically she’s better,’ said Nightingale, ‘but she’s still in very poor spirits.’
‘Ah yes — I know she’s upset.’
This exchange took place as they were crossing the fore?court. He now entered the room. Dai-yu was sitting on the bed crying. She had not been crying to start with, but the bittersweet pang she experienced when she heard his arrival had started the tears rolling. Bao-yu went up to the bed and smiled down at her.
‘How are you, coz? Quite better now?’
As Dai-yu seemed to be too busy wiping her eyes to make a reply, he sat down close beside her on the edge of the bed:
‘I know you’re not really angry with me,’ he said. ‘It’s just that if the others noticed I wasn’t coming here, they would think we had been quarrelling; and if we waited for them to interfere, we should be allowing other people to come be?tween us. It would be better to hit me and shout at me now and get it over with, if you still bear any hard feelings, than to go on ignoring me. Coz dear! Coz dear! -’
He must have repeated those same two words in the same tone of passionate entreaty upwards of twenty times. Dai-yu had been meaning to ignore him, but what he had just been saying about other people ‘coming between’ them seemed to prove that he must in some way feel closer to her than the rest, and she was unable to maintain her silence.
‘You don’t have to treat me like a child,’ she blurted out tearfully. ‘From now on I shall make no further claims on you. You can behave exactly as if I had gone away.’
‘Gone away?’ said Bao-yu laughingly. ‘Where would you go to?’
‘Back home.’
‘I’d follow you.’
‘As if I were dead then.’
‘If you died,’ he said, ‘I should become a monk.’
Dai-yu’s face darkened immediately:
‘What an utterly idiotic thing to say! Suppose your own sisters were to die? Just how many times can one person become a monk? I think I had better see what the others think about that remark.’
Bao-yu had realized at once that she would be offended; but the words were already out of his mouth before he could stop them. He turned very red and hung his head in silence. It was a good thing that no one else was in the room at that moment to see him. Dai-yu glared at him for some seconds – evidently too enraged to speak, for she made a sound somewhere be?tween a snort and a sigh, but said nothing – then, seeing him almost purple in the face with suppressed emotion, she clenched her teeth, pointed her finger at him, and, with an indignant ‘Hmn!’, stabbed the air quite savagely a few inches away from his forehead:
‘You—!’
But whatever it was she had been going to call him never got said. She merely gave a sigh and began wiping her eyes again with her handkerchief.
Bao-yu had been in a highly emotional state when he came to see Dai-yu and it had further upset him to have inadvertent?ly offended her so soon after his arrival. This angry gesture and the unsuccessful struggle, ending in sighs and tears, to say what she wanted to say now affected him so deeply that he, too, began to weep. In need of a handkerchief but finding that he had come out without one, he wiped his eyes on his sleeve.
Although Dai-yu was crying, the spectacle of Bao-yu using the sleeve of his brand-new lilac-coloured summer gown as a handkerchief had not escaped her, and while continuing to wipe her own eyes with one hand, she leaned over and reached with the other for the square of silk that was draped over the head-rest at the end of the bed. She lifted it off and threw it at him — all without uttering a word – then, once more burying her face in her own handkerchief, resumed her weeping. Bao-?yu picked up the handkerchief she had thrown him and hur?riedly wiped his eyes with it. When he had dried them, he drew up close to her again and took one of her hands in his own, smiling at her gently.
‘I don’t know why you go on crying,’ he said. ‘I feel as if all my insides were shattered. Come! Let’s go and see Grandmother together.’
Dai-yu flung off his hand.
‘Take your hands off me! We’re not children any more. You really can’t go on mauling me about like this all the time. Don’t you understand anything —?’
‘Bravo!’
The shouted interruption startled them both. They spun round to look just as Xi-feng, full of smiles, came bustling into the room.
‘Grandmother has been grumbling away something awful,’ she said. ‘She insisted that I should come over and see if you were both all right. “Oh,” I said, “there’s no need to go and look, Grannie; they’ll have made it up by now without any interference from us.” So she told me I was lazy. Well, here I am — and of course it’s exactly as I said it would be. I don’t know. I don’t understand you two. What is it you find to argue about? For every three days that you’re friends you must spend at least two days quarrelling. You really are a couple of babies. And the older you get, the worse you get. Look at you now — holding hands crying! And a couple of days ago you were glaring at each other like fighting-cocks. Come on! Come with me to see Grandmother. Let’s put the old lady’s mind at rest.’
As she said this, she seized Dai-yu’s hand and began march?ing off with her. Dai-yu turned back and called for her maids, but there was no response.
‘What do you want to call them for?’ said Xi-feng. ‘You’ve got me to wait on you, haven’t you?’
She continued to walk away, still holding Dai-yu by the hand. Bao-yu followed a little way behind. They went out of the Garden and through into Grandmother Jia’s apartment.
‘I told you they could be left to themselves to make it up and that there was no need for you to worry,’ said Xi-feng to Grandmother Jia when they were all in the old lady’s pre?sence; ‘but you wouldn’t believe me, would you? You insisted on my going there to act the peacemaker. Well, I went there; and what did I find? I found the two of them together apolo?gizing to each other. It was like the kite and the kestrel holding hands: they were positively locked in a clinch! No need of a peacemaker that I could see.’
There was a burst of laughter from all present. Bao-chai was among these, but Dai-yu slipped past her without speaking and took a seat next to Grandmother Jia. Bao-yu, rather at a loss for something to say, turned to Bao-chai.
‘I’m afraid I’ wasn’t very well on your brother’s birthday; so apart from not giving him a present, I couldn’t even make him a kotow this year. I’m afraid he may not have realized I was ill and thought that I was merely making excuses. If you can spare a moment next time you see him, I do hope you will explain to him for me.’
Bao-chai looked amused.
‘That seems a trifle excessive. I am sure he would have felt uncomfortable about your kotowing to him, even if you had been able to come; so I’m quite sure he wouldn’t have wanted you to come when you weren’t feeling well. It would be rather unfriendly, surely, if cousins who see each other all the time were to start worrying about trifles like that?’
Bao-yu smiled.
‘Well, as long as yon understand, that’s all right. But why aren’t you watching the players?’
‘I can’t stand the heat,’ said Bao-chai. ‘I did watch a couple of acts of something, but it was so hot that I couldn’t stay any longer. Unfortunately none of the guests showed any sign of going, so I had to pretend I was ill in order to get away.’
‘Touché!’ thought Bao-yu; but he hid his embarrassment in a stupid laugh.
‘No wonder they compare you to Yang Gui-fei, cousin. You are well-covered like her, and they always say that plump people fear the heat.’
The colour flew into Bao-chai’s face. An angry retort was on her lips, but she could hardly make it in front of company. Yet reflection only made her angrier. Eventually, after a scorn?ful sniff or two, she said:
‘I may be like Yang Gui-fei in some respects, but I don’t think there is much danger of my cousin becoming a Prime Minister.’
It happened that just at that moment a very young maid called ‘Prettikins’ jokingly accused Bao-chai of having hid?den a fan she was looking for.
‘I know Miss Bao’s hidden it,’ she said, ‘Come on, Miss! Please let me have it.’
‘You be careful,’ said Bao-chai, pointing at the girl angrily and speaking with unwonted stridency. ‘When did you last see me playing games of this sort with anyone? If there are other young ladies who are in the habit of romping about with you, you had better ask them.’
Prettikins fled.
Bao-yu realized that he had once again given offence by speaking thoughtlessly; and as this time it was in front of a lot of people, his embarrassment was correspondingly greater. He turned aside in confusion and began talking nervously to someone else.
Bao-yu’s rudeness to Bao-chai had given Dai-yu secret satisfaction. When Prettikins came in looking for her fan, she had been on the point of adding some facetiousness of her own at Bao-chai’s expense; but Bao-chai’s brief explosion caused her to drop the prepared witticism and ask instead what play the two acts were from that Bao-chai said she had just been watching.
Bao-chai had observed the smirk on Dai-yu’s face and knew very well that Bao-yu’s rudeness must have pleased her. The smiling answer she gave to Dai-yu’s question was therefore not without a touch of malice.
‘The play I saw was Li Kui Abuses Song Jiang and After?wards Has to Say He Is Sorry.’
Bao-yu laughed.
‘What a mouthful! Surely, with all your learning, cousin, you must know the proper name of that play? It’s called The Abject Apology.’
‘The Abject Apology?’ said Bao-chai. ‘Well, no doubt you clever people know all there is to know about abject apology. I’m afraid it’s something I wouldn’t know about.’
Her words touched Bao-yu and Dai-yu on a sensitive spot, and by the time she had finished, they were both blushing hotly with embarrassment.
Xi-feng was insufficiently educated to have understood all these nuances, but by studying the speakers’ expressions she had formed a pretty good idea of what they were talking about.
‘Rather hot weather to be eating raw ginger, isn’t it?’ she asked.
No one present could understand what she meant.
‘No one’s been eating raw ginger,’ they said.
Xi-feng affected great surprise and rubbed her cheek mean?ingfully with her hand:
‘If no one’s been eating raw ginger, then why are they look?ing so hot and bothered?’
At this Bao-yu and Dai-yu felt even more uncomfortable. Bao-chai was about to add something, but seeing the abject look on Bao-yu’s face, she laughed and held her tongue. None of the others present had understood what the four of them were talking about and treated these exchanges as a joke.
Shortly after this, when Bao-chai and Xi-feng had gone out of the room, Dai-yu said to Bao-yu.
‘You see? There are people even more dangerous to trifle with than I. If I weren’t such a tongue-tied, slow-witted creature, you wouldn’t get away with it quite so often, my friend.’
Bao-yu was still smarting from Bao-chai’s testiness. To be set upon now by Dai-yu as well seemed positively the last straw. But though he wanted to reply, he knew how easily she would take offence and controlled himself with an effort. Feel?ing in very low spirits, he left the room himself now and went off on his own.
It was the hottest part of the day. Lunch had long been over, and in every apartment mistress and maids alike had succumbed to the lassitude of the hour. As he sauntered slow?ly by, hands clasped behind his back, everywhere he went was hushed in the breathless silence of noon. From the back of Grandmother Jia’s quartets he passed eastwards through the gallery that ended near the wall of Xi-feng’s courtyard. He went up to the gate, but it was closed, and remembering that it was her invariable custom when the weather was hot to take two whole hours off in the middle of the day for her siesta, he thought he had better not go in. He continued, instead, through the corner gate that led into his parents’ courtyard.
On entering his mother’s apartment, he found several maids dozing over their embroidery. Lady Wang herself was lying on a summer-bed in the inner room, apparently fast asleep. Her maid Golden, who was sitting beside her gently pounding her legs, also seemed half asleep, for her head was nodding and her half-closed eyes were blinking drowsily. Bao-yu tiptoed up to her and tweaked an ear-ring. She opened her eyes wide and saw that it was Bao-yu.
He smiled at her and whispered.
‘So sleepy?’
Golden pursed her lips up in a smile, motioned to him with her hand to go away, and then closed her eyes again. But Bao-yu lingered, fascinated. Silently craning forward to make sure that Lady Wang’s eyes were closed, he took a Fragrant Snow ‘quencher’ from the embroidered pouch at his waist and popped it between Golden’s lips. Golden nibbled it dreamily without opening her eyes.
‘Shall I ask Her Ladyship to let me have you, so that we can be together?’ he whispered jokingly.
Golden made no reply.
‘When she wakes up, I’ll talk to her about it,’ he said.
Golden opened her eyes wide and gave him a little push.
‘What’s the hurry?’ she said playfully. ‘“Yours is yours, wherever it be”, as they said to the lady when she dropped her gold comb in the well. Haven’t you ever heard that saying? — I’ll tell you something to do, if you want a bit of fun. Go into the little east courtyard and you’ll be able to catch Sunset and Huan together.’
‘Who cares about them?’ said Bao-yu. ‘Let’s talk about us.’ At this point Lady Wang sat bolt upright and dealt Golden a slap in the face.
‘Shameless little harlot!’ she cried, pointing at bet wrath-fully. ‘It’s you and your like who corrupt our innocent young boys.’
Bao-yu had slipped silently away as soon as his mother sat up. Golden, one of whose cheeks was now burning a fiery red, was left without a word to say. The other maids, hearing that their mistress was awake, came hurrying into the room.
‘Silver!’ said Lady Wang. ‘Go and fetch your mother. I want her to take your sister Golden away.’
Golden threw herself, weeping, upon her knees:
‘No, Your Ladyship, please! Beat me and revile me as much as you like, but please, for pity’s sake, don’t send me away. I’ve been with Your Ladyship nigh on ten years now. How can I ever hold up my head again if you dismiss me?’
Lady Wang was not naturally unkind. On the contrary, she was an exceptionally lenient mistress. This was, in fact, the first time in her life that she had ever struck a maid. But the kind of ‘shamelessness’ of which — in her view – Golden had just been guilty was the one thing she had always most abhorred. It was the uncontrollable anger of the morally out?raged that had caused her to strike Golden and call her names; and though Golden now begged and pleaded, she refused to retract her dismissal. When Golden’s mother, old Mrs Bai, had eventually been fetched, the wretched girl, utterly crushed by her shame and humiliation, was led away.
But of her no more.

*
Embarrassed by his mother’s awakening, Bao-yu had slipped hurriedly into the Garden.
The burning sun was now in the height of heaven, the con?tracted shadows were concentrated darkly beneath the trees, and the stillness of noon, filled with the harsh trilling of cicadas, was broken by no human voice; but as he approached the bamboo trellises of the rose-garden, a sound like a suppressed sob seemed to come from inside the pergola. Uncer?tain what it was that he had heard, he stopped to listen. Undoubtedly there was someone there.
This was the fifth month of the year, when the rambler roses are in fullest bloom. Peeping through the fragrant panicles with which the pergola was smothered, he saw a girl crouching down on the other side of the trellis, scratching at the ground with one of those long, blunt pins that girls use for fastening their back hair with.
‘Can this be some silly maid come here to bury flowers like Frowner?’ he wondered.
He was reminded of Zhuang-zi’s story of the beautiful Xi-?shi’s ugly neighbour, whose endeavours to imitate the little frown that made Xi-shi captivating produced an aspect so hideous that people ran from her in terror. The recollection of it made him smile.
‘This is “imitating the Frowner” with a vengeance,’ he thought, ‘- if that is really what she is doing. Not merely un?original, but downright disgusting!”
‘Don’t imitate Miss Lin,’ he was about to shout; but a glimpse of the girl’s face revealed to him just in time that this was no maid, but one of the twelve little actresses from Pear?-tree Court – though which of them, since he had seen them only in their make-up on the stage, he was unable to make out. He stuck out his tongue in a grimace and clapped a hand to his mouth.
‘Good job I didn’t speak too soon,’ he thought. ‘I’ve been in trouble twice already today for doing that, once with Frowner and once with Chai. It only needs me to go and upset these twelve actresses as well and I shall be well and truly in the cart!’
His efforts to identify the girl made him study her more closely. It was curious that he should have thought her an imitator of Dai-yu, for she had much of Dai-yu’s ethereal grace in her looks: the same delicate face and frail, slender body; the same
… brows like hills in spring,
And eyes like autumn’s limpid pools;

— even the same little frown that had often made him compare Dai-yu with Xi-shi of the legend.
It was now quite impossible for him to tear himself away. He watched her fascinated. As he watched, he began to see that what she was doing with the pin was not scratching a hole to bury flowers in, but writing. He followed the movements of her hand, and each vertical and horizontal stroke, each dot and hook that she made he copied with a finger on the palm of his hand. Altogether there were eighteen strokes. He thought for a moment. The character he had just written in his hand was QIANG. The name of the roses which covered the pergola contained the same character: ‘Qiang-wei’.
‘The sight of the roses has inspired her to write a poem,’ he thought. ‘Probably she’s just thought of a good couplet and wants to write it down before she forgets it; or perhaps she has already composed several lines and wants to work on them a bit. Let’s see what she writes next.’
The girl went on writing, and he followed the movements of her hand as before. It was another QIANG. Again she wrote, and again he followed, and again it was a QIANG. It was as though she were under some sort of spell. As soon as she had finished writing one QIANG she began writing another.

QIANG QIANG QIANG QIANG QIANG QIANG QIANG…

He must have watched her write several dozen QIANG’s in succession. He seemed to be as much affected by the spell on his side of the pergola as the girl herself was on hers, for his eyeballs continued to follow her pin long after he bad learned to anticipate its movements.
‘This girl must have something on her mind that she cannot tell anyone about to make her behave in this way,’ he thought. ‘One can see from her outward behaviour how much she must be suffering inwardly. And she looks so frail. Too frail for suffering. I wish I could bear some of it for you, my dear!’
In the stifling dog-days of summer the transition from clear to overcast is often sudden, and a little cloudlet can some?times be the harbinger of a heavy shower. As Bao-yu watched the girl, a sudden gust of cool wind blew by, followed, within moments, by the hissing downpour of rain. He could see the water running off her head in streams and soaking into her clothes.
‘Oh, it’s raining! With her delicate constitution she ought not to be outside in a downpour like this.’
In his anxiety he cried out to her involuntarily:
‘Don’t write any more. Look! You’re getting soaked.’
The girl looked up, startled, when she heard the voice. She could see someone amidst the roses saying ‘Don’t write’; but partly because of Bao-yu’s almost girlishly beautiful features, and partly because she could in any case only see about half of his face, everything above and below being hidden by flowers and foliage, she took him for a maid; so instead of rushing from his presence as she would have done if she had known that it was Bao-yu, she smiled up at him gratefully:
‘Thank you for reminding me. But what about you? You must be getting wet too, surely?’
‘Aiyo!’— her words made him suddenly aware that the whole of his body was icy cold, and when he looked down, he saw that he was soaked.
‘Oh lord!’
He rushed off in the direction of Green Delights; but all the time he was worrying about the girl, who had nowhere where she could shelter from the rain.

*

As this was the day before the Double Fifth festival, élégante and the other little actresses — including the one whom Bao-yu had just been watching – had already started their holiday and had gone into the Garden to amuse themselves. Two of them, Trésor — one of the two members of the company who played Principal Boy parts — and Topaze — one of the company’s two soubrettes — happened to be in the House of Green Delights playing with Aroma when the rain started and prevented their leaving. They and the maids amused themselves by blocking up the gutters and letting the water collect in the courtyard. When it was nicely flooded, they rounded up a number of mallards, sheldrakes, mandarin ducks and other waterfowl, tied their wings together, and having first closed the courtyard gate, set them down in the water to swim about. Aroma and the girls were all in the outside gallery enjoying this spectacle when Bao-yu arrived at the gate. Finding it shut, he knocked on it for someone to come and open up for him. But there was little chance of a knock being heard above the excited laughter of the maids. He had to shout for some minutes and pound the gate till it shook before anyone heard him inside.
Aroma was not expecting him back so soon.
‘I wonder who it can be at this time,’ she said. ‘Won’t someone go and answer it?’
‘It’s me!’ shouted Bao-yu.
‘That’s Miss Bao’s voice,’ said Musk.
‘Nonsense!’ said Skybright. ‘What would she be doing visiting us at this time of day?’
‘Let me just take a peep through the crack,’ said Aroma. ‘If I think it’s all right, I’ll let them in. We don’t want to turn anyone away in the pouring rain.’
Keeping under cover of the gallery, she made her way round to the gate and peered through the chink between the double doors. The sight of Bao-yu standing there like a bedraggled hen with the water running off him in streamlets was both alarming and —she could not help but feel very funny. She opened the gate as quickly as she could, then, when she saw him fully, clapped her hands and doubled up with laughter.
‘Master Bao! I never thought it would be you. What did you want to come running back in the pouring rain for?’
Bao-yu was by now in a thoroughly evil temper and had fully resolved to give whoever opened the gate a few kicks. As soon as it was open, therefore, he lashed out with his foot, not bothering to see who it was — for he assumed that the per?son answering it would be one of the younger maids — and dealt Aroma a mighty kick in the ribs that caused her to cry out in pain.
‘Worthless lot!’ he shouted. Because I always treat you decently, you think you can get away with anything. I’m just your laughing-stock.’
It was not until he looked down and saw Aroma crying that he realized he had kicked the wrong person.
‘Aiyo! It’s you! Where did I kick you?’
Up to this moment Aroma had never had so much as a harsh word from Bao-yu, and the combination of shame, anger and pain she now felt on being kicked and shouted at by him in front of so many people was well-nigh insupport?able. Nevertheless she forced herself to bear it, reflecting that to have made an outcry would be like admitting that it was her he had meant to kick, which she knew was almost certainly not the case.
‘You didn’t; you missed me,’ she said. ‘Come in and get changed.’
When Bao-yu had gone indoors and was changing his clothes, he said to her jokingly:
‘In all these years this is the first time I’ve ever struck any?one in anger. Too bad that yon should have been the one to get in the way of the blow!’
In spite of the pain, which it cost her some effort to master, Aroma was helping him with his changing. She smiled when he said this.
‘I’m the person you always begin things with,’ she said. ‘Whether it’s big things or little things or pleasant ones or unpleasant ones, it’s only natural that you should try them out first on me. Only in this instance I hope that now you’ve hit me you won’t from now on go around hitting other people.’
‘I didn’t mean to kick you, you know,’ said Bao-yu.
‘Who said you did?’ said Aroma. ‘It’s the younger ones who normally see to the gate; and they’ve grown so insolent nowadays, it’s enough to put anyone in a rage. If you’d given one of them a few kicks and put the fear of God into them, it would have been a very good thing. No, it was my own silly fault. I should have made them open the gate and not gone to open it myself.’
While they were speaking, the rain had stopped and Tresor and Topaze had left. The pain in Aroma’s side was such that it was giving her a feeling of nausea and she could eat no din?ner. At bedtime, when she took off her clothes, she saw a great black bruise the size of a rice-bowl spreading over the side of her chest. The extent of it frightened her, but she for?bore to cry out, Nevertheless even her dreams that night were full of pain and she several times uttered an ‘Aiyo’ in the midst of her sleep.
Although it was understood that he had not kicked her deliberately, Bao-yu had felt a little uneasy when he saw how sluggish Aroma seemed in her movements; and when, during the night, he heard her groaning in her sleep, he knew that he must have kicked her really hard. Getting out of bed, he picked up a lamp and tiptoed over to have a look. Just as he reached the foot of her bed, he heard her cough a couple of times and spit out a mouthful of something.
‘Aiyo!’
She opened her eyes wide and saw Bao-yu. Startled, she asked him what he was doing there.
‘You’ve been groaning in your sleep,’ he said. ‘I must have hurt you badly. Let me have a look.’
‘My head feels giddy,’ said Aroma, ‘and I’ve got a sweet, sickly taste in my throat. Have a look on the floor.’
Bao-yu shone his lamp on the floor. Beside the bed, where she had spat, there was a mouthful of bright red blood. He was horrified.
‘Oh, help!’
Aroma looked too, and felt the grip of fear on her heart.
The outcome will be told in the following chapter.

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