When the members of the Feng family heard that Zhang Yuan had come, they felt their heads swell, especially Feng Jin Yuan. Every time that Zhang Yuan came, it was never for something good. For Feng Yu Heng, it would always bring an endless amount of pleasant surprises. On this current night, the Feng family was conducting a funeral and did not know why Zhang Yuan had made this special trip.
No matter what was said, Zhang Yuan was someone favored by the Emperor. If he came, Feng Jin Yuan had to lead the Feng family’s people over to receive him. Moreover, he remembered something very important, thus he anxiously asked He Zhong: “Did Zhang Yuan say why he has come to the manor? Has he come to hand down an imperial decree?”
He was deathly afraid that Zhang Yuan had come to announce an imperial decree. Fortunately, He Zhong shook his head: “I did not hear anything about an imperial decree, nor did I see eunuch Zhang bring an imperial decree.” Feng Jin Yuan let out a sigh of relief. It was good if it was not an imperial decree. Who knew that He Zhong would immediately add: “It’s possible that there were verbal imperial instructions?”
Feng Jin Yuan trembled once more and wanted to begin cursing. What was the difference between an imperial decree and verbal imperial instructions?
Finally, he led all of the children over to the front yard and saw Zhang Yuan standing in the yard with some other eunuchs. Upon seeing Feng Jin Yuan arrive, he did not move aside from bowing slightly and saying: “This servant greets Official Feng.”
Feng Jin Yuan was feeling very resentful. In truth, he looked down on eunuchs because he believed that castrated people were disgusting. They were neither men nor women, and they would die without any children. They could not even be considered people. But it was because these castrated people worked for the families with power, as long as they received the favor of someone in power, these lowly creatures would be able to ascend to heaven. For example, Zhang Yuan was the most typical example.
In the past, when Feng Jin Yuan was still the prime minister, Zhang Yuan would still give him a bit of face. Now that he had been demoted to a fifth-ranked official, he did not even bother saluting him when greeting him. He just maintained his condescending attitude as though it was the damn eunuch that was the true first-class existence.
Feng Jin Yuan was filled with anger, and his attitude became a little poor. Coldly snorting, he asked: “I wonder, for what purpose has eunuch Zhang come so late in the night?”
While saying this, he adjusted his mood. Otherwise, if Zhang Yuan opened his mouth and said “I came to pass along his Majesty’s verbal instructions” what could he do? Also, Fen Dai had just become engaged to the fifth prince. He must not disrupt that matter because he had offended Zhang Yuan.
Thinking like Feng Jin Yuan’s earlier feeling of sorrow caused by Zhang Yuan’s bad attitude was slowly adjusted, thus he was about to say a little more to adjust the awkward atmosphere, but before he could say anything, he saw Zhang Yuan suddenly step forward and sweep his robe before kneeling on the ground.
Feng Jin Yuan was given a fright and thought to himself what had happened. Had this Zhang Yuan found a conscience and knew that he should salute him? The result was that he heard Zhang Yuan say: “This servant greets county princess.” Only then did he know that he was kneeling to Feng Yu Heng, which caused him to flick his sleeve in anger and take half a step back.
Feng Yu Heng stepped forward and helped Zhang Yuan up, saying: “Eunuch Zhang, please get up. You serve father Emperor and have performed great deeds. In the future, you must not salute me so grandly.”
Zhang Yuan then said: “What is county princess saying. A servant kneeling to their master is something deemed righteous by the heavens.” He then raised his head and said to Feng Yu Heng: “The medicine that county princess sent, his Majesty said is very good. He has been saying that county princess is the one that thinks of him the most.”
Feng Yu Heng said: “They’re all health products. Father Emperor should eat them at a regular time every day. As time goes on, his body will naturally begin to adjust. Eunuch Zhang should also help me keep an eye on this. When the supply has almost run out, I will send some more over.” Seeing that Zhang Yuan nodded, she then said: “I wonder, for what reason has eunuch Zhang come to the manor today?”
Feng Jin Yuan had also asked this question, but Zhang Yuan ignored him. Now that Feng Yu Heng asked him, Zhang Yuan immediately said: “It was his Majesty that sent this servant over to tell county princess and the third young miss that county princess should bring third young miss into the palace for the morning court session tomorrow.”
“What did you say?” Feng Jin Yuan suddenly let out this cry, and his voice was full of disbelief. It had to be said that the Emperor wanting to see Feng Yu Heng was not odd. Even if it was for Feng Yu Heng to attend the morning court session, he would not find it strange; however, how was it related to Xiang Rong? What sort of joke was this?
It was not just Feng Jin Yuan that had doubts. The others were also doubtful, especially Fen Dai. She suddenly felt as though she had been born at the wrong time. Feng Chen Yu had finally died, Feng Yu Heng had finally completely flipped against Feng Jin Yuan, and she had finally received some acknowledgment of her position from her father. Who could have expected that Xiang Rong would charge out in the middle of the path. If Xiang Rong received some sort of grace during the morning court session tomorrow, was there any point in continuing to live?
Everyone stared wide-eyed at Zhang Yuan. Zhang Yuan cleared his throat and first nodded to Feng Yu Heng. He then looked around and paused his gaze on Xiang Rong before saying: “His Majesty said that if it was not for the third young miss noticing early on that something was off in the capital and reporting it, perhaps the chaos from last night would have devolved into a disaster. Third young miss has granted the capital with her grace.”
Only then did Xiang Rong understand why she had been summoned to court, but she still could not suppress the perturbed feeling in her heart. Although she had gone into the palace, it was either for banquets or to enter the inner palace. The matter of going to court was always something that was handled by men. Women would not even think of going there. But the Emperor had allowed her to accompany her second sister to attend the court session together. She could not stop herself from feeling nervous and did not know what she should say.
Fortunately, Feng Yu Heng spoke up in a timely manner to make a statement for her, but she said: “Would eunuch Zhang report to father Emperor and say that Heng will definitely bring third sister with me into the palace tomorrow.”
Zhang Yuan said: “That’s good. Then this servant will not stay too long and will report back immediately.” After saying this, he finally remembered Feng Jin Yuan and bowed slightly to him, “Official Feng, I’ve disturbed you.” He then turned around and left the Feng manor with his group of eunuchs.
Feng Jin Yuan was still hung up on “third young miss has granted the capital with her grace” and was unable to pull himself away. He only just found out that the chaos of the previous night was only subdued without turmoil because the always cowardly and quiet third daughter actually participated, and she had played a critical role.
Feng Jin Yuan felt a sudden anger surge forth, as he suddenly thought that if Xiang Rong did not report this, would the third prince, Xuan Tian Ye, not be the current emperor sitting in Heavenly Hall? And based on the many years of collaboration with Xuan Tian Ye, he, Feng Jin Yuan, would definitely not have fallen to this degree.
Upon thinking of this, the anger at the bottom of Feng Jin Yuan’s heart grew from a small flame into a roaring fire. Looking at Xiang Rong, his eyes were filled with murderous intent. Xiang Rong frowned and took a couple steps back, as a cold sweat broke out on her back.
Feng Yu Heng, however, spoke up at this time, saying: “Father really must thank third sister properly. If it was not for her noticing and preventing this disaster, once that third prince and fourth prince rose to power, the first to be removed would be the Feng family. Father is currently just a fifth-ranked official, and the family no longer has the daughter with the aspect of the phoenix, nor does it have the wealthy Chen family. To the third prince, you are just a worthless chess piece. You clearly know so many of his secrets. Think about it carefully. If he ascended the throne, who would be the one that would want to get rid of problems at the roots.”
Feng Jin Yuan was given a start, as his sensibilities returned to him. Immediately following this came waves of fear.
What Feng Yu Heng had said was correct. Once the third prince ascended the throne, the first to be eliminated would be the Feng family. As for the fourth prince, he was already an enemy of the Feng family. Him collaborating with the third prince was nothing more than a plan. By the end, no matter who schemed against whom, the Feng family would not have a good ending.
Thinking like this, the hatred that he had felt toward Xiang Rong was calmed. Feng Jin Yuan sighed in his heart and did not speak; however, he heard Feng Yu Heng ask: “The carrying of the hearse on the day after tomorrow…”
He immediately understood her meaning and quickly changed his mind: “That is naturally something that should be done by the son and daughter of the first wife.” With these words, he had voided the earlier promise to Fen Dai.
Feng Fen Dai was so depressed that she wanted to die. If it was not for her maidservant, Dong Ying, reminding her the entire time, she really might have rushed over at Xiang Rong and scratched her face. Everyone said that this girl looked more and more like Feng Yu Heng. As she saw it, not only was she similar in terms of appearance, she was just as much of a bully. With this sort of elder sister in the family, would she be able to live happily?
Fen Dai’s resentment was very plainly shown on her face. Feng Jin Yuan saw it but did not say anything. He was able to understand Fen Dai’s current feelings. Not to mention Fen Dai, even he felt a little irritated. With just one Feng Yu Heng, he had had enough. If Xiang Rong was added on top, he really did not know how much longer he could control this family. Or perhaps it could be said that the Feng family was no longer under his control a long time ago.
Feng Jin Yuan and Fen Dai exchanged a glance and understood the feelings of the other. As for Xiang Rong, she moved a little closer to Feng Yu Heng with a face full of worry. Feng Yu Heng patted the back of her hand and gave her a comforting look. She then pulled Zi Rui along and brought his younger siblings back to the mourning hall.
No matter what the situation, they still needed to stand vigil for the matriarch, but since they needed to attend the morning court session, Feng Jin Yuan informed his wives to take over during the night.
During the first half of the night, the people standing vigil all had thoughts of their own. They were clearly all family, but they did not say a single word.
When the Cheng shi sisters, An shi and Jin Zhen arrived, Fen Dai did not linger. She quickly had her maidservant help her return to Yu Lan courtyard.
An shi had heard earlier that Xiang Rong was to attend the morning court session and felt very worried; however, because she had never been to the palace, she did not understand the rules of the palace. She did not know what advice she should give, thus she could only tell her: “You must listen to your second sister. You cannot speak too much, and you cannot look at too much. Do you understand?”
Xiang Rong nodded, “Concubine mother, don’t worry. I have remembered it.” She said this to put An shi at ease, but her palms were ice-cold. A sheltered young miss was suddenly called to court. Xiang Rong’s heart was about to leap into her throat. She knew that if it was not for Feng Yu Heng accompany her, she would rather die than go to court.
When An shi arrived, the servant behind her carried a large number of mourning clothes. Feng Yu Heng’s gaze landed on those clothes, and some confusion filled her mind.
An shi was about to tell Feng Yu Heng to take care of Xiang Rong in court, but when she turned her head, she saw the inquiring look in Feng Yu Heng’s eyes and could not help but ask: “Second young miss, is something wrong?”
Feng Yu Heng pointed at the mourning clothes and asked: “Are those newly made?”
An shi nodded, “They are newly made because the elder madam’s passing was sudden. The manor did not have any time to prepare. Aside from the ready-made mourning clothes that were purchased for the servants, the clothes for the manor’s young master and young misses were specially made, thus they were delayed by a few days and only just arrived.” She said this while shaking her head, “Fortunately, the funeral lasted five days. If it ended today, they would not have made it in time.”
Feng Yu Heng said: “The craftsmanship is good, and the embroidery thread is also quite good.”
Because the matriarch believed in Buddha in her lifetime, white lotus flowers were embroidered on the mourning clothes. Hearing Feng Yu Heng mention in, An shi quickly said: “The embroidery thread was brought from this concubine’s tailor shop. At that time, it was still raining heavily. Perhaps the elder madam was feeling depressed because she could not leave the manor, as she suddenly said that she wanted to embroider an image of Buddha. She insisted that this concubine go retrieve the thread. There was nothing that this concubine could do and could only brave the rain and go to the shop. Oh right, sister Jin Zhen also accompanied this concubine on that trip. It was really dangerous that day. On the way back, we crashed into a girl’s carriage. It was truly very dangerous.”
Feng Yu Heng squinted her eyes. She was able to envision the scene of the carriages crashing. There was also the so-called “girl” that An shi had mentioned. In her mind, the image of Yu Qian Yin immediately appeared…