Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 27 – Chance Occurrence Along a Narrow Path
An hour later, with her dress tied at the waist, Meng Fuyao sneakily flipped out of the large bathroom’s skylight.
Just then, inside the bathroom and by the toilet stool, Meng Fuyao in front of her only two audience members half-cried and half-told a “love-sick woman seeks her husband for a thousand li but was forced into the royal palace to be a concubine, her pregnant body suffering from her Highness’ abuse and soon forced abortion” love story that was both tragic and touching, with endless tears that was so miserable it moved the listeners. Fuyao acted out this play absolutely perfectly, using emotion-filled moving narratives and meticulous plot with vivid details to tell of the grief of her husband disappearing, the bitterness of her trek while pregnant, the cruelness of her forced capture into the palace, and the tyranny of her evil male lead. The appearance and attitude of a pitiful small concubine’s misery was fully and thoroughly portrayed, resulting in the two listeners of the story to stream with hot tears, and immediately volunteer themselves to help her escape from that devil’s clutches.
Thus one palace maid substituted her to sit on the toilet stool, while the other calmly went out the door to reply to the Zhan Bei Ye who had come to rush her. “Madame’s stomach is not well, she will come out later.”
The palace maid who had heard that dramatic play, facing the violent domestic abuser of a male lead, naturally had some strangeness in her eyes and tone of voice. The male lead naturally felt something amiss, not understanding where the other side’s hostility was coming from. But he would’ve never guessed that unwittingly, he had already been labeled as a “robber of ordinary women, forcer of abortion”, the title of an unrivaled loser.
The Meng Fuyao who had ruined his reputation naturally completely lacked in any sort of repentance or self-consciousness. After crawling out of the window, she sprinted the whole way out. Hiding when seeing anyone and entering when seeing any door, very soon she had left the range of Qingyun Hall. However, after running a long distance, Meng Fuyao realized that when turning here and there, all of the palaces seemed to be about the same, but the main entrance was nowhere to be found.
She had gotten lost.
Seeing a vacant palace courtyard in front, Meng Fuyao crouched on the ground while tugging at her hair, silently cursing the Tai Yuan imperial palace for not being built by the rules. From her experience in studying history and archaeology from her previous world, the imperial palace had three layers, with the Main Court in the center – if she directly went outwards from the Qingyun Hall, she should be able to walk out of the palace gates. Yet from what she could see now, it looked like she had ran into the inner city.
She was wearing palace maid clothes right now. Those two maids in the restroom had extra changes of clothes, lending one to her, and ever since then no one had investigated her. Meng Fuyao was planning to find a low status eunuch to ask for directions, when suddenly she smelled a wisp of a delicate fragrance she recognized, drifting from behind the corner of a corridor.
This aroma she was extremely familiar with, like peonies mixed with herbs plus high-grade borneol. Carefully sniffing, her face changed at once.
It smelled like the perfume that Pei Yuan often used!
Silently shouting not good, Meng Fuyao turned around wanting to escape. Behind her jade pendants jangled, and a red-clothed person came around the corner of the hallway. At the side was another person, that person walking while smiling, “If Princess needs to go to the Letter Palace, this old slave will lead the way.”
“No need.” Sure enough, it was Pei Yuan’s cold and arrogant voice, containing several more degrees of condensed chill than in the past. She faintly said, “I won’t bother steward Jin to personally go, I will just call for a palace maid.”
Bitterly complaining in her heart, Meng Fuyao stiffened her back like a painting, hiding herself behind a patch of shrubbery. Just when she had moved a little, the steward Jin behind her had already loudly called. “Hey, you come here!”
Fuyao froze in place, in a flash her mind turning over thousands of ideas. To run, or not run? If she ran, her true qi had already been sealed by that damned Zhan Bei Ye, so she basically couldn’t run far at all. If she didn’t run and was recognized by Pei Yuan, once she saw that Fuyao had not died yet, she would instantly guess that the wounds on her face were the handiwork of yours truly. Once that time came, even if she wanted to die, she was afraid it would not be so easy.
Grinding her teeth, Meng Fuyao inwardly hated on herself for escaping at this time. Although Zhan Bei Ye might have restricted her freedom, at least he didn’t harm her life. Well now everything was great, she didn’t even have confidence to preserve her small life.
This moment of hesitation, seen by Pei Yuan’s eyes, had already caused her to be angry. The veiled pair of eyes chilled, and with a cold voice she said, “Eunuch Jin, these servants underneath you seem to be more and more disobedient. Even the calls of you inner court steward, they dare to ignore.”
Eunuch Jin, losing face in front of the princess, also excitedly flared up. With a stomp of his feet and a high-pitched shout, “This little hoof, what palace are you from? How little manners! Go to the disciplinary hall for thirty staves!”
Ordering me to go for a beating?
The moment Fuyao heard she was overjoyed, hurriedly bowing to show her acceptance and lifted her legs to go. Before she even walked two steps, behind her Pei Yuan suddenly icily said, “Wait.”
Helplessly Meng Fuyao stood still, her fingers digging into her palms. Some sweat gradually gathered in her palms.
Pei Yuan suddenly stopped speaking, and the surroundings quieted. A stare that was almost tangible landed on her back, piercing through all disguise like a knife and inspecting her once while cutting through flesh and scraping away bone.
Meng Fuyao’s back also gradually became soaked in sweat.
It was unknown if it was the icy gaze, or because of the chill of the deep autumn wind, but layer after layer of cold seeped into her. Meng Fuyao only felt that something like a snake was crawling on her back, the wet coldness containing an abnormal, poisonous smell.
Behind her, Pei Yuan laughed all of a sudden, then said to Eunuch Jin, “Steward Jin, this palace maid looks a little slow and is also disobedient, but that still doesn’t deserve to be punished with a beating. How about letting her use her service to redeem her errors, and serve me this time. You should go work on your tasks. Today is his Highness’ birthday, and later he will set off from the Palace of Heavenly Peace to attend the banquet. It would not do for you not to be present.”
“Princess is caring, this old slave will naturally do as you will.” Eunuch Jin flattered while retreating. With this, inside the desolate courtyard’s radius was only left two people, Pei Yuan and Meng Fuyao.
Inhaling a breath of air, Meng Fuyao put on a face full of flattery, and turned around.
The words “Greetings to the Princess” had not yet rolled off her tongue before, opposite her with hands clasped behind her back, Pei Yuan barely lifted her feet and had already drifted over like a floating cloud.
Seeing that even the sect’s “Flying Cloud Sail” technique had been used by Pei Yuan, Meng Fuyao’s heart instantly sunk.
Sure enough, Pei Yuan stopped in front of her with a polite smile. Yet her eyes contained veiled chilly light, like flashing lightning that will pierce through the heavens in the future, hidden behind murky clouds.
She slightly tilted her head. With the syllables biting on the tip of her tongue, one word at a time, she briskly yet piercingly said:
“Meng, Fu, Yao.”Footnotes Three layers: Emperor’s city, inner city, outer city Herbs commonly used in Chinese medicine Ancient insulting reference to a woman A stave is one strike of a staff or stave