Chapter 109 Qing Feng’s Palace Hall
Under the red bricks and green roof tiles was a small courtyard area where white chrysanthemum plants were everywhere, it was an early autumn time, the white chrysanthemums were barely spitting out new stamens and pistils (reproductive parts of plants, a stamen is the male part while a pistil is the female part – I found this new knowledge very interesting, the clear bluish green shrubs in the middle were particularly provoking to the eyes. The courtyard could not be regarded as big, but it appeared to have Qing Feng’s faint elegance.
One big tree was in the middle of the courtyard, the tree shade almost covered half of the courtyard, a simple swing was hanging on a thick and solid tree trunk, it was swaying along with the autumn wind from time to time. Under the tree shade, there was a woman who was wearing a palace’s dress and lying on the extremely soft couch. The pair of her eyes were closed slightly, her complexion was deeply calm, her abdomen was bulging slightly to show that the woman was pregnant. Two palace maids were standing behind her quietly, their heads were lowered slightly, even their breathings were cautious and solemn, and did not dare to disturb their mistress’ quiet dream.
The person who was wearing a purple palace dress, whose identity was clearly higher than the other palace maids entered the inside of the courtyard hurriedly. Walking to the front of the woman, she hesitated for a moment, but she still opened her mouth to say: “Mistress, Prime Minister Lou’s Madam took the Imperial tablet and already entered the Imperial palace from the north gate.”
When the Prime Minister’s Madam took the Imperial tablet to appear at the palace gate, the Imperial bodyguard came to announce it. Prime Minister Lou just went to prison recently, and the Madam entered the Imperial palace to request a meeting, she was afraid that this matter could not be disregarded.
The original indolent face of Qing Feng suddenly opened her eyes, supporting her body to sit on the soft couch, she urgently said: “You go and welcome her quickly, bring her to Qing Feng’s palace hall, be careful not to let other people see her.”
“Yes.” Fu Ling bowed to salute slightly, and turned around to leave hurriedly.
Qing Feng got up, the palace maids who were behind her stepped forward to lend their arms to support her. Waving her hand to make them withdraw, Qing Feng watched the gate to the courtyard attentively, her hands were clenching together unconsciously.
Soon, Fu Ling was leading Zhuo Qing to enter Qing Feng’s palace hall, Qing Feng immediately welcomed her up: “Elder sister!”
One Zhuo Qing entered the courtyard gate, she could see Qing Feng, she was still the same thin as before, thus her bulging abdomen seemed to be quite protruding.
“Follow me.” Pulling her hand, Qing Feng entered the inside of the room.
The two people entered the bedroom, Qing Feng sent a meaningful glance at Fu Ling earlier, Fu Ling understood smartly, closed the door lightly, and retreated to go out quietly.
“Elder sister, are you alright?” Elder sister’s eyes were swollen, her complexion was also too pale, she was tender, graceful and fragile in the past, with this kind of misfortune, how could she bear it? Holding Zhuo Qing’s hand tightly, Qing Feng appeared to be somewhat stirred up in emotions.
Lightly patting Qing Feng’s hand, Zhuo Qing faintly smiled: “I am alright.”
Qing Feng determined that Zhuo Qing hid her sorrow deliberately, and she consoled and said gently: “Actually, this Brother in law’s case, you do not need to worry, even though Yan Hong Tian is a tyrant, but he is not an incapable ruler, Brother in law is the country’s Prime Minister, and also his left and right arms. The case this time is really strange, you do not need to interfere and just observe it quietly to transform later on.” Watching Yan Hong Tian’s manner from yesterday evening, he did not look like he was distressed in anger with this matter, she always felt that there was surely some ulterior motives from this side.
Zhuo Qing shook her head firmly, with a cold voice, she answered: “I can wait, but Xi Yan’s health can not wait, if he continues to stay in that prison, I am afraid even if they find out the case clearly, he will lose his life quickly, I can not sit and wait for his death this time.” She was convinced that the truth of this matter would surely come out in the end, but she was not willing to wait, especially after she had seen Xi Yan today!
Qing Feng slightly stared blankly, she had never seen elder sister’s eyes that looked very dedicated and firm with this kind of radiance. She always believed in predestination in the past, was it Lou Xi Yan who had changed her?!
Deciding that she was serious, Qing Feng did not try to persuade her either, she immediately asked: “What are you planning to do now? What do you wish me to do?” Since Elder sister came to look for her, she was sure to have a plan, right.
Zhuo Qing’s eyes swept past Qing Feng’s protruding abdomen slightly, the words that were already in her mouth were swallowed down again, after hesitating for a moment, she finally said: “I understand that your life inside the Imperial palace is not easy, what I am asking you to do, you only need to strive your best effort to do it and it will be good. If it does not work, then you have to stop, the most important thing is to protect your own self properly.”
Qing Feng’s heart was warm, she had not let go off Zhuo Qing’s hand all along, she answered with a candid smile: “You can be at ease, I will be careful, you can say whatever thing that you want me to do, ok.” She had already vowed before that she would return the kindness that people gave to her, and she would revenge those people who hated her! This half a year, Lou Xi Yan had helped her so many times, she had not forgotten. No matter what elder sister requested anything for her to do today, she would accomplish it!
Zhuo Qing lightly leaned over, and lowly mumbled next to Qing Feng’s ear for a moment.
Qing Feng looked towards Zhuo Qing with astonishment, she originally thought that her elder sister would ask her to go to Yan Hong Tian and plea for leniency. She did not anticipate that she was thinking…… Qing Feng’s surprise eyes looked towards Zhuo Qing’s clear and sharp eyes, she unexpectedly had this scheme, she (QF) actually did not have any impression that she (ZQ) was the simple, gentle and soft’s elder sister.
Zhuo Qing asked softly: “Can you do it?”
Recovering, Qing Feng nodded her head and answered: “I will surely accomplish it.”
“Thank you.” Zhuo Qing got up. “Then, I will leave first, you have to take care of your own health.” She was very thankful to Qing Feng, but this sensitive moment, the longer that she was staying within the Imperial palace, it would affected Qing Feng even more.
Qing Feng also got up immediately, encircled Zhuo Qing’s shoulder and embraced her tightly, but it was only for a short brief moment, Qing Feng let go off her hand rationally: “You take care of yourself also.”
The two people looked at each other mutually and laughed, without any more word.
Opening the door, she only saw Fu Ling who was running all the way from the outside courtyard. Standing in front of them, Fu Ling lowly gasped and urgently said: “Mistress, the Emperor is coming to Qing Feng’s palace hall.”
He rarely came to Qing Feng’s palace hall lately, could it be because of elder sister who came today?!
Zhuo Qing and Qing Feng looked one glance at each other, both of them had the same guesses in each other’s eyes, Qing Feng’s narrowed her eyes slightly and said to Fu Ling: “Fu Ling, send her to leave from the side door, hurry!”
Zhuo Qing did not exchange any conventional greeting anymore, and only waved her hand to Qing Feng, and followed Fu Ling to run and leave all the way from the side door.
“The Emperor has arrived!”
The resounding sound of the palace eunuch echoed from the courtyard’s door, not only Qing Feng did not welcome him, she also returned to the inside room immediately, and closed the door.
If Yan Hong Tian came because of elder sister, letting him think that elder sister was still in Qing Feng’s palace hall, it could give her enough time to get out of the Imperial palace.
Soon, the entrance was pushed open rudely by Yan Hong Tian, Qing Feng got up from the bed slowly at this time, pushed away the curtain and came out, slightly bowed to salute, she said with a normal tone: “Chenqie (I, when a concubine or Empress addresses herself to the emperor) suddenly did not feel comfortable a moment ago, so rested for a moment, thus did not know that the Emperor had arrived and could not welcome. Chenqie asks to be punished by the Emperor!”
Yan Hong Tian’s eagle eyes swept past the bedroom that was not big, apart from Qing Feng’s tranquil face, there was no shadow of another person.
The thousand of dense vegetation was entirely silent during the night, the moonlight casted down the shadow of the mottled of lotuses that were swaying gently. Looking through the slightly yellow paper window outside, the inside room had several twilight yellow candle lights that were not bright at all. One could not see clearly what kind of person was inside after all, and could only see a few shadows. The inner room did not have any bustling and rustling noises either, as if there appeared to have whispering sounds that discussed some conversations.
Prime Minister’s Study Room
“The traitors provided seven sealed letters, there were five with Lao ye’s seals and two with Master’s seals on them. The contents were mostly a scheme to use the traitors to recruit soldiers and buy horses (to raise a large army).”
Even though the sunshine at noon was warm, the atmosphere inside of the study room seemed to be gloomy and cold, the female with cold eyes, was sitting on the master’s seat. Mo Bai had not spoken too many words, the woman’s complexion changed somewhat gloomier and colder.
“Besides the seals, were the notes inspected or not?”
Mo Bai answered with a heavy tone: “They had already inspected them, they were not Lao Ye and Master’s handwritings, but the Ministry of Appointment’s government official, Li Hong Min and the Imperial historian and senior official, Yang Ze Xi who acted as the ceremony official, insisted due to plotting a rebellion to harm the country, a crime of harming the Imperial court, they could not have any trace of indulgent and negligent, so they advocated to take Master to be imprisoned immediately.”
Zhuo Qing deeply breathed, and picked up the green tea that was on the table, lightly pursed her lips, and covered up her angry mind, Zhuo Qing looked towards Jing Sa, and continued to ask: “Does the Ministry of Justice have any information?”
“Dan Daren had already interrogated the criminals firmly, but the two people stuck to their statements, the emissary master was Master.”
“Kuang dang!” (Sound of something being thrown down). The teacup was thrown down severely from above, Zhuo Qing who was grasping the teacup on her hand was annoyed and slightly trembling. As a result, the matter appeared to oppose against her, Zhuo Qing waved her hand agitatedly, and said: “You all withdraw first, ok, I want to calm down a bit on my own.”
“Yes.” Mo Bai and Jing Sa silently retreated out.
Inside the quite study room, the tea was dripping from the low table to the ground, Zhuo Qing lightly kneaded her temple, her exhausted face was extremely haggard.
Bai Yi walked past the front of the study room, he had not gone inside for a very long time, he was still considering whether or not this time was Zhuo Qing’s most helpless and weakest time. Nevertheless, Zhuo Qing’s tired and low voice echoed from the inside of the study room: “Bai Yi, accompany to sit with me, ok.”
Bai Yi “oh” and entered the study room, and sat down on the chair next to Zhuo Qing, but he did not say any urgent word.
A few moments later, Zhuo Qing who was silent from the beginning to end, slightly closed her eyes, it seemed like she was thinking to herself, seemed like she had another sort of idea and then said: “The human nature is greedy and shameless, I have thought it countless of times and flaunted myself as a noble, virtuous and righteous, but during this moment, I am somewhat perplexed whether the principle is important or my heart is actually more important? If I choose to execute a trick action for my own selfish reason, what is the difference between me and them?”
What was the meaning of her words? Did it show that she was swaying?! Bai Yi felt somewhat fishy, but he could not say anything either. Hesitating for a while, he only followed along her words and said: “Ling-er jiejie (jiejie is elder sister), the Imperial court is always a dangerous place, sometimes, you do not want to harm other people, but it does not mean that other people will not wish to harm you. More often, no one will care about other people’s lives or death, in order to benefit themselves, this is just the Imperial court, Prime Minister Lou’s livelihood.” It was also his livelihood, but he could not say this last sentence to her.
Zhuo Qing suddenly opened her eyes, watching attentively at Bai Yi, and with a cold voice, she said: “Do you really believe it like this?”
Facing the quick witted pair of eyes like this that seemed able to see through people’s feelings, Bai Yi’s heart unexpectedly jumped eagerly and anxiously. Restraining his mind secretly, Bai Yi answered as always: “En, you seem to want to help him sincerely, you will have to sacrifice someone’s life, ok.”
Looking at him calmly, for a very long time, Zhuo Qing withdrew her line of sight, after several sniffing and sighings, she said: “Maybe, you are correct!”
Once she left her line of sight, Bai Yi could only relax secretly, what was wrong with him, it was only one female’s line of sight, but a moment ago, he was unexpectedly flustered……
“I went to see Xi Yan today, it was very dusty inside of the prison cell, and made him unable to breathe, thus, his old illness already relapsed, they still made him sleep on the rice straws! I can not make Xi Yan to continue staying in that kind of place!” Zhuo Qing stroke in between her forehead lightly, she sighed and said with a tired and perplexed voice: “The Ministry of Justice’s investigation is at a standstill at the moment, many of the officials in the Imperial court are also not willing to forgive, I do not know what I should do that is good for everybody either.”
I wanted you not knowing what to do, and to have anxious heart as if it was burnt! Zhuo Qing’s kind of reaction, made Bai Yi somewhat absent-minded and his mind was shaken momentarily. Hiding a smile in his heart, but his face did not show anything, he even loosened his reigns (in order to grabbed the moment later) and said comfortingly: “I hear that Dan Yu Lan is an expert in solving a case in Qiong Yue, this case needs some time, the truth will come to light in the end.”
Pausing for a moment, Bai Yi looked one glance deliberately at Zhuo Qing, he sighed concernedly and said: “But…… Prime Minister Lou’s health is not well, I am afraid that he can not wait very long.”
Sure enough, his speaking words had just left, Zhuo Qing’s heart that was already anxious incessantly became more tense, she urgently said: “This is exactly the cause of my worry! Bai Yi, tell me what I should do?!”
The fish took the bait! Bai Yi pretended to ponder over for a moment, then answered: “You want to use the quickest way to save Prime Minister Lou, you must shift the attentions of those cabinet ministers. Take hold of the fire to implicate Su Ling, Prime Minister Lou is only a victim and should be able to come out quickly.”
Zhuo Qing clearly did not approve it too much: “Su Ling and Xi Yan are the officials responsible for the military and civil governments, even though their usual contacts are not too often, but they are both acting as the Imperial government officials. Each plans for his own political scheme, he is unlikely to frame Xi Yan either, this reason is somewhat far-fetched, this will also not sufficient to shift the attentions of those cabinet ministers.”
Bai Yi raised his eyebrows secretly, this woman really had some brains, otherwise he would not think it was worth continue playing with her! Raising a trace of simple smile on his face, Bai Yi smiled and said: “Ling-er jiejie, you know that as a General, what is the easiest thing that could make him unable to dispute an accusation?”
“What is it?” Zhuo Qing asked.
“Having a secret tie with the enemy country. With this accusation, he is able to frame Prime Minister Lou!” Bai Yi used as much quiet and natural voice as possible when he spoke, he was making Zhuo Qing to loose her alertness for his most advantageous weapon.
“This…… is out of the question.” Zhuo Qing actually shook her head firmly. “The accusation of having a secret tie with the enemy country, that can indeed cause the death of Su Ling, moreover, I can not forge any evidence that he is having a secret tie with the enemy country either!”
As if he was already anticipating that she would say like this earlier, Bai Yi explained and said: “Ling-er jiejie can be at ease, we do not want to get General Su Ling to fall into death at all, everything is only a stop-gap measurement, the so-called having a secret ties with the enemy country only requires to forge several secret relationship letters between Su Ling and the other country, that can be done. As far as an evidence, I can find a method!”
Zhuo Qing chased after and asked: “What do you want to do?”
“I can make several forged letters, you think of a way to take a hold of General Su’s seal and stamp it on the letters. I will stamp the other seal on the other part of the letters, even though it is not as convincing as to the Imperial father’s seal, but we do not want to put General Su to death anyway, my seal should already be enough.”
The important thing was on how to get Su Ling’s seal, he was talking so much to coerce Qing Ling to do this thing, that was because she could use her younger sister to take the seal, nothing more!
Zhuo Qing lowered her eyebrows to think deeply, but still shook her head in the end: “I think this way is not proper, on one hand, you are still in Qiong Yue, once I use and hand over those so-called evidences, you will be in danger. You help me wholeheartedly, I can not harm you! Secondly, it is absolutely impossible to take this important stuff like the General manor’s seal!”
“The secret letters do not need the General’s seal, it can do with only Su Ling’s ordinary and private seal.” Bai Yi shrugged his shoulders excitingly, with his simple-minded appearance, he smiled gently and said: “This past few days that I am in Qiong Yue, thanks to you and Prime Minister Lou who are taking care of me, being able to help you two, I am also very happy. As far as my concern, you do not need to worry, after everything is ready, I will just return to Liao Yue, they will not have any way to apprehend me. Moreover, it is exactly because I am staying at the Prime Minister’s manor, you can explain it even better, that you find these letters from my traveling bags. Anyway, I will already leave at that time so the dead can not testify.”
“This…… I…… let me think about this, think about this again!” Zhuo Qing rubbed her fingers incessantly to show her contradictory and impatient heart. Looking that she was going back and forth inside the study room, Bai Yi’s dark eyes flashed through a trace of faint complacent and happiness.
She was already flustered, he only needed to add a little more fire once again, he was still afraid that she would not give in obediently?! “Ling-er jiejie, you do not need to be anxious, if you feel that this method is not good, we can think again slowly, maybe we can think of another way to help Prime Minister Lou. Prime Minister Lou is worthy to be helped by the heaven, he can surely stay put!”
Bai Yi captured the thing that Zhuo Qing care most in her heart, he really mentioned Lou Xi Yan, Zhuo Qing who was originally anxious and undecided, rapidly clenched her teeth and said: “Just do according to what you have said! Then write the letters now!”
The words used for brother in law is Jiefu (姐夫) in pinyin. The actual meaning for the words is actually older sister’s husband but I’ll use brother in law instead. I love it that Qing Feng calls Lou Xi Yan “Jiefu” instead of Lou Xiang (楼相 – PM Lou) as the appellation is a lot more intimate.