Since I forgot to put them in the translations last time:
Hóng Shēn (红深) - Red deep
Hóng Měi (红美) - Red beautiful
The constant agony invaded Hong Shen’s unconscious mind, causing him fevered dreams that he could never remember. Dreams of people he had never seen before, of events that never happened. In the end, they splintered apart, leaving him gasping for air and wild with pain.
Damn you, Justice! You tricked me into a trial just so I could die again!
As he regained consciousness once more, the agony seemed to have nullified a little, becoming slightly more bearable. Finally, his thoughts seemed to be connecting, becoming comprehensible again.
What was he doing again?
Something about Justice...and a trial...love…
Right, he was supposed to fall in love within a year. Hong Shen snorted internally. Who needed a year? He would complete it in a day!
He struggled to open his eyes that hadn’t been opened in a very long time, twitching his fingers. Squinting against the bright light, he saw blurry figures rushing around him, murmuring in low voices.
Trying to speak, he opened his mouth, but only a sigh came out.
“Shhh, he’s awake!”
“I told you you were speaking too loud!”
This last voice murmured close to his right, and Hong Shen turned his head, wincing with the pops that accompanied the movement. His unfocused eyes saw long, dark hair around a pale face, and he could barely make out the dark circles under her blurry eyes.
A woman? Perfect, she would do.
She noticed him looking at her and reached out her hand to feel his forehead, and Hong Shen grasped her wrist with a weak grip.
“...Hey, woman,” he rasped. “Fall..in love with me!”
Lian slapped a hand to her forehead, and Youya had a “seriously?” expression on her small face.
“Ta sha ma?” Youya asked, shaking her head.
“He must be stupid, obviously he’s never watched any Disney movies! Doesn’t he know that’s not how you fall in love?” Lian exclaimed, and Youya nodded in agreement.
I wisely kept silent; what would these girls know about love just from watching some movies?
But it still stung a little bit, and I felt a little defensive.
“No need to be rude, nuhai. He’s a criminal who’s never loved before, what do you expect?”
Reluctantly, they conceded to this fact.
There came the clearing of a throat from the doorway, and we all turned to see my younger sister untying her apron.
“Lunch is ready.”
The girls quickly leaped from their beds, squeezing past their mother and following the smell of delicious wantons to the kitchen.
I stood and followed. “Xiexie, meimei.”
She said nothing, remaining in the doorway after I had exited, a shadow over her face.
“I thought I told you not to tell them that story.”
I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, as pain filled my heart. “It is my story to tell.”
She remained silent, and I continued to the kitchen, unaware when she sank to her knees, clutching her apron to her chest as silent tears poured down her face.
Lunch passed quickly, as the girls were eager to get back to the story. They barely let me sit back down on the stool before staring with their wide eyes.
“Ok ok, I’ll continue! Now where was I…”
“...Hey, woman,” he rasped. “Fall...in love with me!”
There was a short silence, and then a gasp, and Hong Shen could feel the muscle’s in the woman’s wrist tightening, though her fingers didn’t move.
“Oh my,” a soft voice said, as though smiling.
The woman smoothly jerked her hand out of his grasp, standing up. “Obviously, he is still delirious. Put him back under.”
The definite masculine voice that came from the woman took a few moments to register in Hong Shen’s mind.
Wait...the woman is a man?! (ʘᗩʘ;)
A blurry figure quickly dumped a bowl of some foul tasting liquid down his throat, holding his nose so he was forced to swallow.
Oh hell, I just asked a man to fall in love with me! Kill me now!
This time when Hong Shen dreamed, he managed to remember one thing - a name.
Who Wang Lei was, Hong Shen couldn’t recall. But it must have been someone who affected him greatly, for him to dream about them.
The pain from his chest seemed to have completely disappeared, to his surprise. He opened his eyes, and after blinking a few times, his vision cleared.
There was a face very close to his.
Startled, Hong Shen reacted with surprising speed for someone who had been lying in bed for a very long time. He shoved the opposing person away, down onto the bed blanket, kneeling on top of their chest, his knee touching their chin.
The person beneath him squeaked slightly, like that of a frightened mouse.
“Who the hell are you?” Hong Shen snarled, his voice out of tune a little.
“P-Prince Hongye! You’re awake!”
The boy’s voice seemed higher pitched, most likely from fear. His black eyes were wide and his dark hair was done up in an ordinary topknot, and yet the golden pendant under his plain grey robes indicated a higher status.
“I asked you a question!” His knee pressed harder.
“Dear me, Fourth Brother seems to be quite energetic today. You don’t even recognize He Qing.”
Hong Shen snapped his head to the new voice, recognizing it's soft tone to be the one from earlier, and noticed a tall and elegant figure by the doorway. The room was fairly small, with only a bamboo mat covered by a wool blanket on a wooden frame, and what could be considered a nightstand to the side. It was lit by torches on the stone walls, casting the newcomer in flickering shadows.
It was hard to tell what gender they were, and with the memory of his most recent mistake involving that subject, Hong Shen didn’t dare to assume. They wore a beautiful satin robe of white with light green clouds embroidered on, tied over with a white sash. Their long fingers held a delicate white fan in front of their face, so only their shining eyes could be seen. Long black hair flowed down their shoulders and back, the front pulled back into a short ponytail. It would have blended in if not for the green jaded hair band that held the hair up.
Fourth brother? Did that mean that he was the fourth in the line of princes?
The boy did call him a prince, after all.
A sadistic glee wormed its way into Hong Shen’s mind. If he was a prince, then he had power. And if he had power, he could get women.
And if he had women, love would come soon after.
The other two had no idea of the thoughts going through his mind, seeing only his cold eyes and blank face.
“And you are?” He asked sharply, keeping his knee planted firmly on the squirming boy.
The person touched their heart, fluttering the fan. “Aiyo, how painful that Fourth Brother doesn’t remember me, either.”
Hong Shen gritted his teeth, wishing he could just shoot the both of them and be done with it. Sadly, he didn’t think guns existed in this era.
The person sighed. “I had hoped you didn’t lose your memory along with your hair color, but perhaps that was too much to wish for.”
For the first time since awakening, Hong Shen took a decent look at himself. He wore a single white robe and there was a line scar over his heart from the wound. His hair reached down to his waist, which explained why his head was uncomfortably warm, and it was white.
What was he, an old man? ヽ(`ㅁ´)/
“Are you surprised? Er-ge will clarify.” The person chuckled. “Why do you think you were named Hongye?”
Also, please remember that in Chinese the last name always goes before the first name; so instead of Hong Shen or Guan Baiye it would be Shen Hong (Deep red) and Baiye Guan (White leaf crown) in English