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Chapter 68 The empress dowager’s harsh conditions (2)

That year, after the battle on Yangdang Mountain, Feng Xie committed suicide by cutting his throat and Ming Yue also committed suicide. Together with the child in her belly, the family of three burned into flames. Not even a whole corpse was left.

Every time she thought about her daughter and son-in-law’s tragic experience and the unborn grandchild’s pitiful fate, Dongfang Lan’s heart burned with thick hatred. Hatred towards Xi Qi! Hatred towards Murong Tai!

Dongfang Lan knew in her heart that Murong Qi Qi was innocent, but was her Ming Yue also not innocent?! Was her unborn grandchild also not innocent?! In this world, there are no innocent people. There are only people involved in right and wrong. Does it even matter if there are innocent people?!

“Princess Zhao Yang saying that, aijia can then be at ease. This time’s tournament between the four countries is being held in the Bei four states. I heard that princess’s fourth little sister is a contestant. Since princess’s whole heart is Cang er’s, then aijia will look forward to princess’s performance at the tournament of the four countries.”

In c60, You Yun was mentioned. You Yun is split into sixteen states. Each of the four countries have four states. It’s the place where the countries connect.

“If princess is really protecting Cang er’s interest wholeheartedly, then this time Bei Zhou should get first place. After Bei Zhou gets first place, aijia will hold the wedding between princess and Cang er. What does princess think?”

It’s old ginger that’s hot. Even Murong Qi Qi wanted to clap at Dongfang Lan’s proposal, not to mention Wanyan Bao Zhu and Mu Yu Die.

Old ginger is hotter than a young one: people with experience are more difficult to deal with

Only when Bei Zhou wins first place, can she and Feng Cang marry. If Bei Zhou doesn’t win, then their marriage would be dashed. Where she came from is where she should go back.

She, Murong Qi Qi, is just a powerless woman without martial arts and without any inner force. She can’t participate in the tournament, but now Dongfang Lan is binding the tournament to her marriage. It’s completely making things difficult for her! It seems that this empress dowager really doesn’t like her!

“Grandmother……”

“Cang er, this is aijia’s biggest concession. Do you understand?” not waiting for Feng Cang to continue, Dongfang Lan interrupted him. This was her bottom line. Even if it’s Feng Cang, she can’t help!

That’s right. Her heart was uncomfortable letting the enemy’s daughter marry her only grandchild from her daughter. This was a very difficult choice for the empress dowager who had lost her beloved daughter. Even if she’s making things difficult for Murong Qi Qi, she also needed to see if Murong Qi Qi was worthy of Feng Cang.

After Feng Cang was interrupted, Wanyan Lie couldn’t bear to see his nephew suffer, so he immediately helped him out: “Muhou, can this matter not be a bit more flexible? Princess Zhao Yang came to form a marriage alliance. This is a matter that all the four countries know about. If we are too harsh, I’m afraid that it’ll affect the relationship with Xi Qi. Besides, zhen sees that this princess is very good and Cang er is also interested in her, why don’t we let them be?! Moreover, princess doesn’t have martial arts, ah……”

“No!”

Wanyan Lie’s plea was like putting oil on fire. Dongfang Lan immediately rejected it. If it wasn’t because she took into consideration that Murong Qi Qi was a princess from Xi Qi who had come to form a marriage alliance, she would have let people beat her out of here. The pain of losing a daughter, a white-haired person sending a black-haired person away, was not a mattter that others understood!

“Aijia doesn’t need a useless granddaughter-in-law. Feng family also doesn’t need an incompetent female master. If princess Zhao Yang is incompetent, then please yield!”

Dongfang Lan’s words spread throughout Taiji Hall. Everyone was silently looking at Murong Qi Qi and waiting for this princess’s reaction. The empress dowager making things difficult was understandable. It’s just that they don’t know if this princess would accept or go back to Xi Qi crying……

Just as everyone started waiting, Feng Cang’s cold voice reached everyone’s ears: “Grandmother, if I can’t marry princess Zhao Yang, I will rather stay alone till I die.”

“You, you……”

Feng Cang’s words made all the anger in Dongfang Lan’s heart get stuck in her throat. She almost suffocated. Wanyan Bao Zhu quickly patted Dongfang Lan’s back.

“Cang gege, look how you made imperial grandmother angry like this……”

Wanyan Bao Zhu hadn’t finished speaking when she felt Feng Cang’s cold glare, making her shiver and immediately shut up. How could she have forgotten Feng Cang’s personality?

“Cang er, you are really too insensible!”

Dongfang Lan didn’t expect that Feng Cang would be so persistent. In this world, is there not every type of women? He actually wants to choose the enemy’s daughter! Is this not wanting to angry her to death?!

“Grandmother, my mind is set. Aside from princess Zhao Yang, I will not marry someone else. Moreover, in this life, I will only have her as my woman.”

Feng Cang’s words were not only an oath, it was also his promise towards Murong Qi Qi.

A whole lifetime, one pair of people? Murong Qi Qi looked up at Feng Cang’s firm face. Did he really mean this? Why? Why did he say that? Didn’t all men in this world have three wives and four concubines? In the past, Feng Xie only had princess Ming Yue as his only woman. Besides, he also made a promise on the wedding day, that in this life, he would only have her as his woman. Could it be that Feng Cang inherited Feng Xie’s commitment to love?

“Very well! Very well!”

Dongfang Lan was very angry. Feng Cang actually used that to blackmail her. Really opposing her!

“You want to marry her? Alright, hand over your tiger tally and peel off your position of wangye!”

tiger tally

Tiger tally: a two-piece object made in the shape of a tiger, used in ancient China as proof of authority. One half of a tally could be issued to a military officer and this would be matched with the other half when verification was required

Dongfang Lan’s words made everyone shocked. Feng Cang has been in charge of the tiger tally for many years. Now empress dowager is being like this, could she be forcing him to hand over the military power? Moreover, peeling him off his position of wangye, doesn’t this mean she’s demoting Feng Cang to commoner status?

The empress dowager and Feng Cang’s deadlock made the whole atmosphere become very tense. The officials were staring at Feng Cang and Murong Qi Qi beside him. They didn’t know what this Nan Lin wang would choose!

Without military power, without the position of wang, he is just a humble commoner who doesn’t have anything. Will Feng Cang, because of this rubbish princess from Xi Qi, give up his high position, wealth and the power he has?

“This, I’ve already brought it!”

Dongfang Lan’s words made Feng Cang chuckle. From his arms, he removed two pieces of a tiger tally.

“Without the person I love, what meaning does being in a high position and having brocade garments and jade mealshas?!”

Brocade garments and jade meals: life of luxury

Seeing Feng Cang really took out the tiger ally, crown prince Wanyan Hong who was watching at one side, aside from being surprised, he was excited. If Feng Cang discarded the military power for a beauty, then he definitely needs to get that military power! Before, Feng Cang relied on the fact that he has the tiger tally in his hand, that’s why Feng Cang didn’t put him in his eyes. If he gets the tiger tally, the first thing he would do is kill Feng Cang!

“Biaodi, why be so persistent!”

Wanyan Hong suppressed, with all his strength, the secret happiness in his voice. However, his eyes kept on staring at the tiger tally in Feng Cang’s hand.

“Discarding your power and hurting imperial grandmother’s heart for a beauty; why do you need to be like that?! At this crown prince’s mansion, there are some newly selected beauties. A while later, this crown prince will let people send them to you. Don’t fight anymore with imperial grandmother!”

“Hehe……”

Feng Cang understood the meaning behind Wanyan Hong’s words very well. He shook the tiger tally in his hand and his mouth revealed an evil, charming smile: “Didn’t crown prince want this tiger tally for a long time? Come and take it, ah!”

Hearing Feng Cang say that, Wanyan Hong reached out to get it, but was stopped by a snap from emperor Wanyan Lie. He retreated.

“This tiger tally is Cang er’s. No one else can get it!”

Wanyan Lie fiercely glared at Wanyan Hong once. This darn thing who didn’t live up to expectations. Even at this time, he’s fanning the flames and thinking about things he shouldn’t be thinking about.

“Even if you have the tiger tally, but you also need to have the ability to move them!”

Wanyan Lie’s words completely dashed Wanyan Hong’s idea. He knew that what fuhuang said was true.

The army of Bei Zhou had been single-handed built by Feng Xie. Later, when it got into the hands of Feng Cang, it entered a new level. Everyone only listened to Feng Cang. This tiger tally, to some extent, it’s nothing more than an ornament. Even if you took the tiger tally, if the great general didn’t see a letter personally written by Feng Cang, he wouldn’t listen to you. This also made Wanyan Hong hate Feng Cang even more.

The empress dowager didn’t hide her dislike towards Murong Qi Qi. This let Murong Qi Qi have a better understanding of this empress dowager’s personality.

The founder of Bei Zhou, Wanyan Zhi, was once the great general of the previous Qin. Being the general’s wife, Dongfang Lan also came from a family of generals. She did things neatly and had a straightforward personality. Joy or anger showed on her face. She was a hundred times stronger than those people, who with a smiling face, would stab you in the back.

Now, Dongfang Lan put down those words in front of all the court to trouble Murong Qi Qi. Her being so open and straightforward made people admire her. Even Murong Qi Qi felt that Dongfang Lan is a cute grandmother. She likes people who are straightforward, even if that person doesn’t like her.

Seeing Feng Cang come up for her, made Murong Qi Qi felt very grateful and also very touched.

One side was the grandmother who brought him up. The other side was the woman he had only known for a few days. No need to mention the ‘fate’ between Murong Tai and Feng family. This matter, no matter if it’s in the terms of emotions or logic, Feng Cang shouldn’t have come forward. Doing that, no matter what the outcome would be, it’ll only damage the affection bound by blood between them.

After all, blood is thicker than water. Besides, Dongfang Lan was an elder. If Feng Cang formed a wall between him and the empress dowager, people would point at Feng Cang for being unfilial. They would accuse her even more.

Instead of that, she should just openly accept the bet. If Dongfang Lan loses, then with her straightforward personality, she would not embarrass herself. She would not make things difficult for her (MQQ). Besides, she doesn’t want to see Feng Cang put in a difficult position. She doesn’t want to see his frowning expression……

Just as many people were wondering about the result, Murong Qi Qi smiled and bowed at Dongfang Lan: “Thanks empress dowager for giving bengong this opportunity. Bei Zhou will surely get the first place in the tournament between the four countries. Also, bengong will definitely become a good head of the household!”

At this moment, the tolerating aura on Murong Qi Qi disappeared. It’s replaced by incomparable confidence, making people surprised for a moment. And the originally intense atmosphere was dissolved by her smile.

Seeing Murong Qi Qi change the humble ‘I’ into the confident ‘bengong’, Dongfang Lan knew that this princess Zhao Yang accepted this agreement.

Humph! Her courage was great. Not only did she accept, but she also dared to look at her (DL) straight in the eyes! Because of Murong Tai’s daughter, Feng Cang fell out with her, his grandmother, in front of everyone. This woman has good means!

Now she’s being so bold. Could it be that this was the real her? No matter if she really can do as her arrogant words declared, but she dared to accept. Such courage and valor was not bad.

Originally, Dongfang Lan didn’t want to make things difficult for Feng Cang. Now that Murong Qi Qi accepted the bet, it gave her a good way out of this situation.

“Then aijia will wait for princess Zhao Yang’s good news.”

Murong Qi Qi’s eyes, full of spirits, made Dongfang Lan startled. Who did that pair of eyes resemble? Why was it so familiar? Dongfang Lan thought for a long time, but she couldn’t recall who in her memories also had such a beautiful pair of eyes.

After quite a while, did Dongfang Lan recover from the daze. Perhaps it’s because of Murong Qi Qi’s decisive performance; perhaps it’s because of that pair of familiar eyes, but Dongfang Lan didn’t make any more trouble for Murong Qi Qi.

“Aijia is tired. Aijia will go back first, you continue……”

After Dongfang Lan’s departure, joy and serenity was restored. Dancers and singers performed. The feast was going well. Nothing seemed to have ever happened.

Murong Qi Qi was sitting. While admiring the dancers, she tasted the delicious food. She looked as though nothing had happened. So calm that it made Feng Cang appreciate her even more. It’s just that the tournament between the four countries was no trivial matter. Today, she accepted in front of all the officials. If Bei Zhou didn’t win, then would he lose her?? What should he do?

“Wangye, is the dance not good? Or is it that these delicacies are not to your taste?”

Murong Qi Qi’s small hands reached out in front of Feng Cang’s eyes and waved.

“You were already in a daze for quite a while.”

Murong Qi Qi’s concern made Feng Cang smile. Immediately, he held Murong Qi Qi’s hand.

“Qing Qing, do you know what the tournament of the four countries is?”

“Don’t know,” Murong Qi Qi shook her head. Her answer almost made Feng Cang bite his tongue. His pair of phoenix eyes couldn’t help but get bigger and stare at Murong Qi Qi. Seeing that nothing was wrong with her demeanor, Feng Cang finally understood that Murong Qi Qi really didn’t know anything. A girl who doesn’t have martial arts, how could she understand this?!

“Qing Qing, you don’t know and still dared to accept grandmother’s conditions. If Bei Zhou lose, then don’t we have to separate……”

This foolish woman. Should he say that she is like a newborn calf who isn’t afraid of the tiger or what?!

If just now he insisted, empress dowager wouldn’t have formed a wall with him in public. She would’ve surely accepted them. But Murong Qi Qi stopped him. He listened to her and didn’t continue to dispute with empress dowager. Feng Cang knew that Murong Qi Qi did that so that he wouldn’t get the name of being unfilial. Her thinking for his sake, made Feng Cang understood Murong Qi Qi’s care even more.

Obviously, she’s the one who had suffered the most injustice, but she took everything down. This little woman, ah! Really has an unyielding spirit. Even he couldn’t help but admire her!

“Don’t I still have wangye? Having wangye, I’m not afraid!”

Murong Qi Qi’s answer was half truthful, half lies, but this answer made Feng Cang feel extremely gratifying. She was being like this because she had him! Immediately, a sense of manly pride entered Feng Cang’s heart. She trusted him so much and saw him as her big tree; how could he let her suffer any grievances?!

Feng Cang took Murong Qi Qi into his embrace. He rubbed his chin against her black hair. His heart felt very sweet. It turned out that the feeling of being relied on is so good, ah! If so, he’s willing to hold the sky for her and let her rely on him for a lifetime.

“Qing Qing saying that, I’m really happy. Qing Qing, rest assured, I will surely get the first place for you! The position of Feng family’s female master is certainly yours!”

Feng Cang’s doting words sounded at Murong Qi Qi’s ears.

This man was so determined. His words sounded as an oath, making people feel very warm. Just now, when Dongfang Lan made things difficult for her in public, her answer was also for herself. It’s not really for the position of Nan Lin wangfei. Now that this man gave a vow to her, it made a certain place in Murong Qi Qi’s heart slowly become soft.

Looking at Feng Cang’s eyes that were full of love, Murong Qi Qi became somewhat sentimental. How should she respond to his efforts? She had never understood this and hadn’t tried before. Now after facing his tenderness and passion, she felt somewhat helpless. She didn’t know what she should do……

“What is Qing Qing thinking about?”

Murong Qi Qi being in a daze fell into Feng Cang’s eyes. He couldn’t help but pull her little nose and put on a sad face.

“Could it be that I don’t even have the slightest attraction to Qing Qing? I’m in front of you and you still went into a daze. This is really too much! Could it be that inside Qing Qing’s heart lives another? That’s why even if I’m here, I still cannot catch your interest?”

“No, there’s no one in my heart.”

Feng Cang’s beautiful face coupled with his pitiful eyes, plus the sadness in his voice, made Murong Qi Qi’s brain temporarily stop working. How did a man grow up beautiful enough to be able to damage a country and cause sufferings to people? Really devilish beauty, ah!

Murong Qi Qi’s answer made Feng Cang happy. Her gaze, without any guards, told Feng Cang that these were Murong Qi Qi’s true words.

“Since inside Qing Qing’s heart there’s no one, how about let me live there? Only let me live there; live for a whole lifetime!”

Feng Cang’s words were full of temptation, like magic. And Murong Qi Qi, as if being possessed by a demon, nodded: “Alright.”

After saying ‘alright’, Murong Qi Qi suddenly woke up. What did he ask just now? And what did she answer? She actually said ‘alright’? She actually lost her soul in front of him……

Feng Cang wouldn’t allow Murong Qi Qi to go back on her words. Immediately, their fingers intertwined. His eyes were firm.

“If a gentleman says it, a fast horse would gallop with a single strike of the whip. Since Qing Qing promised me, Qing Qing must do as you say. From today onwards, Qing Qing’s eyes and heart can only have me like how I feel about Qing Qing! We will grow old together while holding each other’s hands. I don’t ask for us to be born in the same year, same month and same day, but we will die the same year, same month and same day. Qing Qing, what do you think?”

If a gentleman says it, a fast horse would gallop with a single strike of the whip: a gentleman’s words is as good as gold. 

A series of changes; Murong Qi Qi did not catch up yet. When she came around, she had found that she went onto Feng Cang’s thief ship. Everything was to blame on Feng Cang having such a beautiful face, making her lose her soul and opening her mouth to promise.

“Wangye, I’m a little girl, not a gentleman……,” Murong Qi Qi lowered her head.

“Can it be that Qing Qing wants to go back on your words? They say being fickle is a woman’s nature. Can it be that Qing Qing is also someone who will go back on her words?”

Feng Cang’s beautiful eyes locked onto Murong Qi Qi’s pretty eyes. The grief in those beautiful eyes made Murong Qi Qi surprised. Her heart also felt pain. Why, whenever she sees him being sad, she will feel heartache? Never before has she had such feelings. Why did they appear?

Murong Qi Qi’s ‘silence’ made Feng Cang feel pain in his heart. Could it be that he is moving too quickly, that’s why she is so hesitant?

“Qing Qing, I was too anxious. I’m sorry!”

Feng Cang softly apologized.

“You don’t need to put those foolish words I said in your heart. In the future, I will not force you again! I can wait patiently; wait for the day Qing Qing opens your heart to me; wait till you accept me!”

Feng Cang just finished speaking when Murong Qi Qi’s tears fell. Looking at that, Feng Cang was now more startled. Immediately, he reached out to wipe her tears.

“I’m sorry. Everything is my fault. Don’t cry anymore. Qing Qing, don’t cry!”

“Feng Cang, why are you so good to me? Why?”

Murong Qi Qi choked and asked the question that’s been bothering her.

Aside from her adopted father, there was no one else who treated her so well. She and Feng Cang had only known each other for one to two months, but he had been so caring and gentle. All in all, she somewhat couldn’t continue accept it anymore.

“Qing Qing……”

Murong Qi Qi’s question made Feng Cang go silent for a moment. Then, for the first time, he said his inner feelings: “If I say, from the first time I saw you, I fell in love with you, would you believe it?”

Hearing the word ‘love’ coming from Feng Cang’s mouth made Murong Qi Qi very surprised. Because of the surprise, she’s even more confused.

“Wangye believes in love at first sight? But that day on the carriage, I didn’t do anything in particular that would attract people……”

Footnotes:

2. Er: term of endearment

4. Zhen: I, used by emperor

7. Fuhuang: emperor father, what the emperor’s children call the emperor
8. Bengong: I, used by females of the palace


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