Deceived at First
Before imperial concubine Yun went to Heavenly Hall, she was prepared to be deceived. She knew that Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng had entered the palace today. If the Emperor could get hurt under their watch, there was no need for them to continue being together.
But in the end, this was an assassination attempt by Qian Zhou. It was far more serious than the usual cheap tricks that the Emperor employed. Imperial concubine Yun pondered long and hard. She had to go to Heavenly Hall. Even if it was not for herself, it would be for her son.
Of course, she had no intention of actually going in to see the Emperor. She was thinking that she would, at most, stand outside and say a few words through the door. Who knew that before she even got close to the hall, she heard the Emperor say that sort of thing. In anger, she turned around and left.
The palace maids of Winter Moon Palace had become accustomed to imperial concubine Yun not meeting the Emperor, and they were accustomed to imperial concubine Yun calling the Emperor that old man. Hearing her ask this, they quickly replied: “Imperial concubine is overthinking it. No matter who his Majesty curses, he would not curse imperial concubine.”
Imperial concubine Yun rolled her eyes slightly, “Hmph, just being thought of by him is also considered being cursed.”
Just now, the Emperor’s shouts had been very loud, and everyone in Winter Moon Palace could hear them. This palace maid pitied the Emperor and tried to say a few words of advice: “How about imperial concubine sees his Majesty. It’s already been so many years. It’s quite pitiful.”
“Pitiful? Him?” Imperial concubine Yun’s eyes became angry, “He lied to me in the beginning. He locked me up in this cage. What would I see that sort of person for? Don’t bring this subject up again.”
The palace maid retracted her neck in fear and fell silent.
Imperial concubine Yun, however, asked: “Hua’er left the province to handle some business. Is he about to return?”
The palace maid replied: “His Highness the seventh prince has been away from the capital for almost two months. Thinking about it, it should be soon.”
“Un.” Imperial concubine Yun nodded then said to her: “Go to Heavenly Hall and tell Ming’er and Heng not to only focus on catching people. It’s about time to come and eat something. What time is it already? If they don’t eat soon, they will starve.”
At this time, Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng were discussing something related to Ru Jia. Xuan Tian Ming said: “She should be looking for a way to get out of the palace. There are definitely some people from Qian Zhou in hiding. Aside from the attendants that came to the capital with the imperial relative, there should be quite a few mixed in with the citizens.”
Feng Yu Heng pondered a little then said: “Previously, wasn’t there someone that said that Feng Kun used his identity as a child to visit Ru Jia a few times? Thinking about it, he must have said a few things to Ru Jia. The palace took all kinds of precautions, but they never expected that a person that did not look to be older than four-years-old would actually be a dwarf with an adult’s mind. Guess, do you think that she has gotten out of the palace?”
At this time, the officials had already left the palace. Only Feng Jin Yuan remained in the hall. He said that in order to avoid suspicion and express his position, he would remain until Kang Yi was caught and brought into the palace. Xuan Tian Ming did not say anything and left him standing there. As for the conversation between the two, they naturally entered his ears.
When Feng Yu Heng spoke, she made sure to glance at her father. Pretending to continue the discussion, she asked: “Father, you should also guess.”
Feng Jin Yuan lowered his head and did not speak.
Xuan Tian Ming, however, sneered, “It seems that this prince must personally ask. Prime minister Feng, do you think that Princess Ru Jia is still in the palace or is now outside the palace?” After thinking a bit, he added: “If she is outside the palace, take a guess, where is she?”
Xuan Tian Ming had asked, so Feng Jin Yuan could no longer feign ignorance, but he did not know how to respond. He could only say: “This official really does not know.”
“That’s why I said to guess.” Xuan Tian Ming continued to sit in his wheelchair next to the throne. When speaking, he still used his lazy tone, but the meaning behind his words left people trembling. “If you knew, this prince would have directly asked for the result.”
Feng Jin Yuan was given a shock, as he suddenly had a thought. He did not think of whether or not Ru Jia could really escape the imperial palace nor how she did it, but if she truly did manage to escape, she should not have… she should not have gone to the Feng manor, right?
Once this thought came up, his body immediately became covered in a cold sweat. Even worse, he felt more and more that it was very likely that Ru Jia would go to the Feng manor. But could he say it? Of course, he could not. He was still in the palace. There were only old and weak people at home. There was even a pregnant concubine. For the people of the palace to capture Kang Yi was simple, but Ru jJia was hidden. If they truly began searching, there was no need to mention the destruction of the Feng family’s face, perhaps the matriarch and the others would not be able to endure the fright!
Feng Jin Yuan lowered his head until it was practically touching his chest. He did not dare say a single word.
At this time, a palace maid came from outside the hall. It was the palace maid from Winter Moon Palace that had come to invite them back to eat.
After Xuan Tian Ming heard what the palace maid said, he very quickly agreed. He then patted Feng Yu Heng’s hand and said: “Let’s go. We’re going to eat.”
Feng Yu Heng kicked the wheelchair: “Get up. Walk on your own.”
Xuan Tian Ming did not want to, “I’ve become used to sitting in it. I don’t want to get up.”
Feng Yu Heng angrily gritted her teeth, “Just keep pretending.”
Xuan Tian Ming said with great seriousness: “This prince has truly become accustomed to this.”
She was helpless. She could not just keep arguing with him in this hall. After all, he was a prince. Thus she could only grimace and angrily push the wheelchair away.
The palace maid quickly followed behind them, snickering the entire way. His Highness the ninth prince’s personality could only be handled by county princess Ji An!
Inside Heavenly Hall, aside from the palace workers left behind to stand watch, only Feng Jin Yuan remained. Right before leaving, the two that had gone to eat did not even glance at him, as they casually passed by him. Feng Jin Yuan felt that his position as the prime minister was the most awkward one in history.
But some people were like that. When things went poorly, they did not reflect on themselves. They had to find a reason in someone else. Like the assassination attempt by Qian Zhou, he believed that this was entirely forced out by Feng Yu Heng! Things were clearly fine. Qian Zhou’s people had sent the dowry, and the matriarch was very happy. The ten million taels of gold that they had extorted were sent to the county princess’ manor. As long as he paid attention to not offend Feng Yu Heng, the future would have been very smooth.
Unfortunately, Feng Yu Heng had just returned to the capital, yet she had managed to force Qian Zhou into attempting an assassination! No wonder that old man Zi Yang had said that she was the star of disaster for the Feng manor. Now, it seemed that it was the truth.
Feng Jin Yuan completely ignored why Qian Zhou had brought someone pretending to be the imperial grandson to Da Shun. He only knew that Kang Yi was done for and Ru Jia was done for. Although the Feng manor had escaped this crisis, who knew if some sort of mistake would be found, and they too would be taken care of. Qian Zhou, his mind began to drift to that ice-cold place in the North. He actually began to think to himself: if Qian Zhou had the power to fight with Da Shun, would that be a good way out for the Feng family?
While he was giving way to foolish thoughts in the palace, on the other end, a large group of imperial guards had left the imperial palace and gone straight to the Feng manor.
The people at the Feng manor had already washed up and gone to bed. The matriarch had already taken a bath with help from granny Zhao. She was about to get into bed to rest, but she felt that it was a bit early. There was also the chirping of the cicadas that was even more irritating, causing her mind to be uneasy.
Granny Zhao saw that she was a little uncomfortable and suggested: “How about we go for a walk in the yard. The Summer days are long. It’s a bit early to be sleeping right now.”
The matriarch heard her mention going out for a walk and furrowed her brow, saying: “Why go out into the yard in the night? There are too many mosquitoes.”
“Then how about we go sit by the lake for a while?”
“The wind on the lake is cold.”
Granny Zhao knew that the matriarch was just uneasy. No matter what she said, it was not right, thus she simply remained silent. She just continued moving the fan without saying a word.
That night in the Feng manor, it was not just the matriarch that was uneasy. Kang Yi was also uneasy. Xia Chan just watched her pace back and forth inside her room. She repeatedly inquired with her servants whether or not her nephew returned to the posthouse after going into the palace. But none of the servants left the manor. Aside from some news that was brought back, they did not know a single thing.
Who knew if it was because of Kang Yi’s influence, but Xia Chan began to feel a little panicked. This servant was, in the end, the matriarch’s servant. She was very thoughtful and always thought that the grandson of Qian Zhou had gotten lost. To then blame it on Yao shi, there was quite a bit odd about it, thus she used an excuse of going to fetch pastries to leave the courtyard.
Upon leaving the courtyard, Xia Chan ran straight to Shu Ya courtyard, but before she could get halfway, she heard a large noise coming from the front yard. It sounded like a lot of people. She was curious and ran over to take a look. Only then did she find that it was a group of soldiers that had entered, and they were all dressed like the imperial guards surrounding the county princess’ manor. She thought to herself that it was not good and turned around to find the matriarch.
Not long later, everyone in the Feng manor was gathered in the front yard, and Kang Yi was tied up and taken out.
The matriarch nearly dropped to the ground, requiring granny Zhao and another servant to support her so she did not fall. As for Kang Yi, she had fallen silent. She only kept her head down and did not say a word. Even if the imperial guard used a bit of force when pushing her, she would only frown a bit at most. She did not say a single word.
The arrest of Kang Yi was led by the second prince personally leading soldiers to the manor. Facing the trembling members of the Feng manor and the trembling white faces of the females, he put on a kind expression and calmly explained to the matriarch: “The envoy of Qian Zhou has caused trouble, and they attempted to assassinate the Emperor inside the imperial palace. Father Emperor has already ordered for the capture of all people from Qian Zhou within the capital, including the manor’s madam.”
Once the matriarch heard this, her heart immediately froze. She had felt panicked the entire day, fearing that something was about to happen, but she never thought that such a large thing would happen.
“Your Highness.” She spoke up, her voice trembling, “Where is Jin Yuan?”
The matriarch only worried about how her son was at this time. Also, if Kang Yi was the enemy, what was the Feng family considered?
The second prince understood what she was thinking and consoled her, saying: “Elder madam, do not worry. Prime minister Feng is fine. At the time, the Feng manor sought a marriage in order to prevent an alliance between Gu Shu and Qian Zhou, which led to Prime minister Feng marrying Qian Zhou’s eldest princess. Now that this has happened, it naturally will not be blamed on the Feng manor. Moreover, county princess Ji An has successfully produced steel. That is a meritorious service for Da Shun. In order to give face to county princess, the Feng family will be protected.” After he finished speaking, he did not look again at the Feng manor’s people. Turning around, he waved to the soldiers behind him: “Return to the palace!”
The large group of imperial guards took Kang Yi and left the Feng family’s gates.
The matriarch was truly unable to endure and fell to the ground; however, she heard Feng Chen Yu fiercely say: “Feng Yu Heng, it’s her again! Just how far will that star of disaster oppress our Feng family?”