Edited by TnyhyChapter 84: Distrust (Part 2)
As the days passed, it seemed that nothing was happening in the calm Ding capital. With the approaching of the new year, people were busy purchasing new year stuff and even the poor seemed to have some faint joy.
But no matter how happy the days were, there would always be people who were not happy.
In the Palace, Prince Li was walking along the gardens with Prince Xiang.
In the faction of Prince Li, Prince Xiang’s and Prince Chen’s forces were weak and bowed before Prince Li and their attitudes were very respectful. As compared to the Crown Prince’s power where Prince Zhuo and Prince Jing were the tip of the spear, Prince Li was taking the route of doctrine of the mean. His learnings were not of the most outstanding, Consort Mother was not the most favoured but was able to organise things from up till down slickly. No matter if it was the court officials or brothers, they were willing to give him face but in private he was an out and out smiling tiger.
“Sixth Older Brother, these days, one heard that Imperial Father treat Royal Uncle very coldly.” Prince Xiang spoke.
“You have also heard it.” Prince Li smiled. When he smiled, there were small wrinkles at the corner of his eyes, making him look like he had an easy going character. He also had an easy going attitude and chatted with Prince Xiang, “Imperial Father had always valued Royal Shu greatly. These few times Royal Shu had a request to ask and had entered the Palace a few times, but Imperial Father unexpectedly declined with the excuse of being busy with state affairs. Discerning people could see that Imperial Father is deliberately hanging Royal Shu to dry.”
Emperor Wen Hui's treatment to Prince Yu could be described as being extremely benevolent and did the utmost duty. There was once a time Emperor Wen Hui had a favoured consort who offended Prince Yu and her maiden family was also quite powerful, but Emperor Wen Hui did not even say a second word and banished the favoured consort to the Cold Palace. He even told everyone, “Eleven is Zhen’s brother, those who do not respect him are not respecting Zhen.” It was because Emperor Wen Hui would definitely agree to all of Prince Yu’s requests that such a sudden change in attitude would make everyone detect it.
“But why is this so?” Prince Xiang was puzzled, “What had Royal Shu done that provoked Imperial Father? For so many years, no matter what Royal Shu had done, Imperial Father did not even blame him at all. One also did not hear anything about the matter with Royal Shu these days.”
“Do you know what it is that Royal Uncle entered the Palace to request from Imperial Father?”
Prince Xiang shook his head.
“Seventh Younger Brother.” Prince Li patted his shoulder as if he was an older brother admonishing one’s insensible younger brother, “One must pay more attention to the things in the Palace. With such honesty of yours, Sixth Brother would have to worry everything for you.”
Prince Xiang smile shamefully, “I follow Sixth Older Brother and Sixth Older Brother is smarter than me so whatever Sixth Older brother says, it would be it.”
“I heard that Royal Uncle entered the Palace to request on the matter on the Shen family.”
“Shen family.” Prince Xiang suddenly saw the light, “Could it be that Royal Shu angered Imperial Father because of the matter with the Shen family?” He thought for a while before saying, “But Royal Shu is marrying the Di daughter of the Second household of the Shen family. Imperial Father could not be furious just because of the Shen family’s Second household.”
No one could understand Emperor Wen Hui more than his sons. Prince Yu could not have angered Emperor Wen Hui, unless his request had overstepped the proper boundaries. One had lived in the Imperial family for so long, the bottom line of the Emperor was nothing more than power. The Shen family’s Second household had a third rank civil official, Shen Gui, who had no real power and would not affect the overall situation, so Emperor Wen Hui would not be angry with Prince Yu because of that.
“That is correct.” Prince Li said meaningfully, “But Royal Uncle requested to marry the Di daughter of the First household of the Shen family, Shen Miao.”
“So it was like this.” Prince Xiang only understood clearly now, “That Shen Xin has the power of the army and if Royal Shu want to marry the Di daughter of the Shen family, one fear that he has committed Imperial Father’s taboo. But how did Royal Shu suddenly want to Marry Shen Miao? Previously did not he want to marry Shen Qing? Even if Imperial Father take his nonsense, such a sensitive thing like this, Royal Shu would not be this muddled.”
“I also do not know.” Prince Li shook his head, “Even though Royal Shu had overstep the bounds of what is proper for these years, but kept playing his role of a courtier. This time it was excessively absurd.”
“Imperial Father would certainly not let Royal Shu marry Shen Miao. But this time Imperial Father did not explicitly say it to Royal Shu but instead avoided to meet. It seems like there is a warning of sorts.”
“Probably it is that the patience had whittled away cleanly.” Prince Li smiled bitterly, “It is better for both of us not to talk about these things as it has nothing to do with us. These days Imperial Father does not look too happy, one must not show up and poke.”
“Sixth Older Brother is right.” Prince Xiang nodded.
After the two persons left, a person slowly walked out from the depths of the garden. With light colored boots and jade, it was Prince Ding, Fu Xiu Yi. He had stood in the garden and the conversation between Prince Li and the other was heard by him. He looked at the disappearing back of the two and thoughtfully murmured, “Shen Miao.
In the top floor of the Lin Jiang Xian’s pagoda, Ji Yu Shu placed the letter that Gao Yang finished reading into the burning charcoal to destroy.
“The information has been spread out and Emperor Wen Hui is also suspicious towards that old dog. That old dog has crushed its own foot while trying to manoeuvre a rock and did not even know it.” Ji Yu Shu was somewhat rejoicing at other people’s misfortune.
Gao Yang shook his head, “It is better to be careful. Nothing can go wrong now.”
“I know.” Ji Yu Shu touched his nose. “What is Third Older Brother Xie doing that one cannot even see him?”
“Which day is he not busy?” Gao Yang suddenly sighed, “Do not know if his character is right or wrong.”
“I believe Third Older Brother Xie.” Ji Yu Shu said, “Third Older Brother Xie has such great ability, why are you blindly worried about? He had planned it for so long that even if it was not successful, there is no problems with retreating without any harm. Gao Yang, you really have a heavy mind, you look at our Third Older Brother Xie, even though there so many things in his heart, he is still natural and unrestrained. This is then considered a man!”
It was evident that Ji Yu Shu was Xie Jing Xing loyal follower, that even the meaning between the lines were filled with worship of Xie Jing Xing. Gao Yang rolled his eyes, “Bootlicker.”
“Who is a bootlicker? What’s more, one need to see who the other person is to boot-lick, if it is deserving for me to do so.” He looked at the other in despise, “Like you, I would not bootlick even if you go down on your knees and beg me.”
Gao Yang smile warmly, “Is it? Then in the future do not come over to take medication for whatever reason, even if you go down on your knees and beg me, I will not prescribe any.”
Ji Yu Shu was surprised for a moment and immediately changed the direction of the conversation, “Actually, I previously thought that the youths in the Ding capital are all embroidered pillows, good to look but not good to use and only Third Older Brother Xie is the man. But now I actually admire another person. Other than Third Older Brother Xie, there is someone who is considered a young hero in Ding capital.”
“Oh, you still admire others. How refreshing.” Gao Yang said in a lukewarm attitude, “Who is able to enter your old powerful eyes?”
“It is Shen family Young Lady, Shen Miao!” Ji Yu Shu slapped his thigh, “Damn, I have never seen such a daring female! Even dare to scheme the Imperial family and towards Prince Yu residence, that is a residence of a First Rank Prince but then she want to get rid of it all at once.”
“You have not see before.” Gao Yang scoffed. Previously Shen Miao burnt down her own ancestral hall in a big fire and even dared to use her own life to bet, and it was at that time that Gao Yang felt that Shen Miao was really a madman. They were accustomed to scheme and plan and when taking action it would be cautious but dependable, so at the first glance upon seeing such actions without fear of one’s life, Gao Yang initially had the mindset of watching a show as he was certain that with Shen Miao’s rampage, she would not live for long but he did not expect it was him who judged incorrectly. In every seemingly reckless event, she would be the final winner of it.
Gao Yang sometimes felt very strange. People like them view themselves as exquisite porcelain, unless it was the last resort, they would not risk one’s life if there was no confidence as the opponent was not worth their own lives. But Shen Miao was the other extreme, she treated herself as the hardest rock there was and her opponents were porcelain, and she seemed to have lost nothing but those porcelains up against her were all smashed into pieces.
Not everyone had the courage to treat themselves as a rock but it was because of that, that Gao Yang felt Shen Miao was much more dangerous. And towards an enemy who could grow, the best way was to kill her before she could grow in time. But… Gao Yang was somewhat unsure, what Xie Jing Xing was thinking.
It was not possible for Xie Jing Xing to not see the variables on this girl. If Shen Miao become the obstruction to their plans, it would only mess up the overall of things.
“Previously did she do any brave deeds?” Ji Yu Shu asked in shock and then nodded, “Formidable Great General’s daughter, it is normal to be brave. Even though she does not have any martial art skills and was not brought up by Shen Xin’s side, no one would dare to bully her with this temper.”
Seeing Gao Yang was somewhat out of sorts, Ji Yu Shu suddenly thought of something and continued speaking, “Speaking of which, even though it was I who made the news for this matter of the Imperial family, but everything was done in accordance to Shen Miao’s plan. Now to think about it, she is truly scary. Do not know what was wrong with Prince Yu, these days it seems that he had lost his head in anger and actually told Emperor Wen Hui directly he wanted to marry Shen Miao. He obviously knew that Shen Xin had military power in his hands, and whoever marry Shen Miao would become people with evil plans in the Emperor’s eyes. Prince Yu would actually make such a mistake. And that Emperor Wen Hui indeed be suspicious all the way, once a little fire is added, one fear that even upon Prince Yu’s death, Emperor Wen Hui would not bat an eye to it. Like this, this would be the advantage of the Chen family. This plan of Shen Miao interlocks and there was no error in calculation at all.”
“Because she is one without any accidents.” Gao Yang was somewhat rueful. What Xie Jing Xing said was correct, every time when one saw Shen Miao doing a seemingly dangerous thing, at the end she would be able to reach her initial purpose. In her plans, there was never any ‘accidents’.
Gao Yang thought mischievously, if there was a day where he could see Shen Miao panic stricken and become dumbfounded because of ‘accidents’, how happy would he be.
“In short, I think that this Shen Miao, is worthy to be considered a friend.” Ji Yu Shu seriously said, “In addition to my ability to see appearances, she would definitely become a beauty in a few years’ time. An intelligent and beautiful female like this, how can I, Ji Yu Shu, miss?” He exposed a self-considered romantic smile, “I have decided, other than Young Lady Shao Yao, she would be placed in my heart. From now onwards, other than Young Lady Shao Yao, she is considered my intimate female friend.”
Gao Yang simply turned his head away to not look at this stupid fool.
And at the moment the ‘intimate female friend’ of Ji Yu Shu’s mouth was picking and choosing things in a room.
“Younger Sister, you have picked so many things to gift Shen Qing for her dower?” Shen Qiu scratched his head and asked.
Shen Miao had picked from the safe a portion of things that the Emperor had bestowed and was searching for something. Finally she picked out a jade pillow that felt smooth and cooling that even putting it out on display, it was was filled with the lustrous light of jade. It truly looked good.
“Could it possible that Younger Sister picked this to gift to Shen Qing?”
As the day of Shen Qing’s marriage was approaching, the entire Shen family started to worry about Shen Qing’s marriage. A few days back, Shen Yue actually asked Shen Miao what was she gifting to Shen Qing and was coincidently heard by Shen Qui. But one did not see Shen Miao do anything and thought that she finally remembered about the matter today.
“This?” Shen Miao picked the jade pillow and shook her head. “No.”
“Oh.” Shen Qiu asked, “Does Younger Sister wish to use it? This jade pillow looks not bad.”
Shen Miao’s eyes drooped. This jade pillow was called ice silkworm pillow. In her previous life after she entered the Palace, Shen Xin gave it to her as part of her dowry. Much later then she became the Empress and Mei Furen was deep in the Imperial favour, she said that her health was not well on one fine day and had some headache, and insisted on having this pillow of hers. At that time the ice silkworm pillow was given to Wan Yu. Wan Yu did not comply and quarreled with Mei Furen and broke the jade pillow into pieces. Fu Xiu Yi severely punished Wan Yu but after a while, the news of the marriage with the Xiong Nu came.
Now thinking about it, the past were but all old dreams but still able to break one’s heart.
“Younger Sister.” Shen Qui called out worriedly when he saw Shen Miao keeping quiet.
“This is for me to gift another.” Shen Miao said, “As for Eldest Sister’s additional dowry, if Eldest Brother have time then help me to casually pick. If Eldest Brother do not have time, it is the same to let Gu Yu buy.” Her words could tell the thin relationship she had with Shen Qing.
“Oh.” Shen Qiu mumbled. Only when Shen Miao walked out the room he then pat his head, “Silly me. I forgot to ask Younger Sister who she was giving the jade pillow to.”
Outside the room, Jing Zhe also asked, “Young Lady will be giving the pillow to who?”
Since there was future use for the Chen family, there could not be no indication. Favour and benefit, sending charcoal in a snowy weather could gain a faithful ally. The technique of managing people was what she learn from Fu Xiu Yi.
To the younger Chen sister with a chaotic mind, soothing the nerves was undoubtedly a good thing.