It was with just the difference of a night that Prince Yu residence had changed image. The inside and outside were entirely different. Last night it was filled with friends and laughter, and one could almost see the endless stream of horses and carriages at the front gate as guests entered the place with smiles. Now the vermilion coloured main doors were covered with a white seal and the guards at the door had a grave expression, as if they were afraid something brutal would suddenly spring up.
Half of the ‘Joyous’ word was fluttering in the wind alone, till it finally could not withstand the cold and unattached itself from the door to float down onto the floor. An oncoming guard stepped it into the snow and nothing was seen.
There were a number of commoners that were standing in front of Prince Yu residence to watch the commotion and also pointing the finger to blame. Although the event made one sad but there was also a faint pleasure to it. Over these years, Prince Yu’s evil ways were well known and it was the most desirable thing to watch the wicked suffer the consequences.
When Shen Qiu and entourage reached Prince Yu residence, the scene they saw was this. Thinking of the festive yesterday and today’s deathly stillness, the sharp contrast made one suddenly feel a sense of trance. Although Shen Qiu was one who was used to seeing death, he could not help but feel a little the same.
After all not one remained in the entire household and it was really quite miserable.
A Shen Qiu’s soldier went up to the officials at Prince Yu residence door and indicated the reason of their arrival. The guards let them in and the entourage followed Shen Qiu in and were shocked by the sight that they did not utter a word.
The corpse of the servants in the residence were dragged away but the blood trail last night still remained. The remaining blood formed into ice and looked extremely horrible when one take a glance. It was as if the entire mansion was scarlet in colour. Even under an entire night of snow, this was unable to cover up the thick smell of blood. Throughout the entire area of scarlet red, one was able to see the tragic massacre that happened in the snowstorm yesterday night and seemed to hear the desperate cry of the night.
The soldiers were somewhat whispering and Shen Qiu also frowned and suddenly remembered that Shen Miao was beside him. Afraid that she would be frightened, he quickly looked at Shen Miao, intending to comfort her. But who knew that when he turned, Shen Miao’s eyes were calmed and was even more undaunted than his soldiers.
Shen Miao looked at the scarlet scene in front. What was this considered? The blood of the enemies would only make one feel excited but the blood that was spilled during the extermination of the entire Shen family in the previous life was much more tragic than this. She was not moved, had no sympathy and no sorrow, she hated that she could not throw her head back and laugh loudly and make some stabs to Prince Yu’s body.
“Younger Sister…” Shen Qiu asked hesitated, “I want to investigate a little. Do you want to rest in the house?”
Shen Miao looked towards the Southwest corner of the Prince Yu residence and smiled gently, “Yesterday when I was here, one heard from a Prince residence’s maid that there is a tea room to rest. I will head there to take a seat. How about Eldest Brother coming over to find me when everything is done?”
“Over there?” Shen Qiu looked towards Shen Miao’s sight. The trees of the Southwest corner were lush and pruning was done delicately, it seemed that the Prince deliberately renovated the place up to enjoy the flowers and entertainment. He nodded his head, “Let Mo Qing follow you in. Do not run around.”
Shen Miao complied and went with Mo Qing towards the Southwestern area. Today, fearing that the few personal maids would be scared after seeing the blood in Prince Yu residence, Shen Miao did not bring a single personal maid along. Mo Qing was a guard and naturally was not afraid of this.
Mo Qing followed Shen Miao and was somewhat surprised that Shen Miao seemed to be familiar with this place. Where were the corners, where were the corridors, where to go up, everything was clear to her. Even if one were to come here yesterday, this seemed too familiar.
Just as he was thinking about this doubt, Shen Miao had already reached the tea room. This room was set in the flowers and there was a shelf of grape vines. Most likely it was to eat the fruit during the summer when the grapes bear fruit and the flowers were also very elegant. But to use such elegance on Prince Yu, it somehow made one feel a bit weird.
“Wait for me outside.” Shen Miao said to Mo Qing, “I will go in alone.”
Mo Qing was somewhat hesitant so Shen Miao said as she looked at him, “It is just a tea room. If you do not feel reassured, then go with me to take a look.”
Mo Qing immediately cup his hands, “Yes.” Finishing, he took the lead and went in with his hand on the sword.
Shen Miao looked at Mo Qing back and was distracted for a moment. In this life or the previous, no matter what identity she had, Mo Qing seemed to always been so cautious and loyal.
The tea room was large and was divided into three areas with screens and each area was very extravagant. It was different from the elegance outside and had the interior design of the Palace. Mo Qing carefully scrutinized the place to ensure that there were no assassins hiding before cupping his hands to say to Shen Miao, “Young Lady just call Mo Qing for anything. Mo Qing will be outside guarding.” Finishing, he walked out.
After Mo Qing left, Shen Miao walked to the front of the table at the front of the tea room. The green flowers and blue based tea set was displayed on the table. It had a good glaze on it and seemed to be from the Palace. Shen Miao took a glance and walked over. After walking past the first folding screen and the second folding screen, she reached the third area of the tea room.
At the third area of the tea room, the walls were filled with calligraphy and paintings. If one looked carefully, their inscriptions all came from famous people. This entire room of calligraphy and paintings was most likely valued at thousands of gold. Shen Miao looked at each individual piece, as if she was appreciating those paintings but her steps stopped when she walked past a painting.
It was a painting of a night banquet and came from the previous dynasty famous great artist, Liu Yan, and what was drawn was a record of a grand banquet of the previous dynasty officials. The maids were beautiful, food was exquisite, fine wine was present and the guests were enjoying. The people were drawn very lifelike and the ink and brush strokes were fine, also had a flair to it and the colours were exceptionally bright. In the entire wall of paintings, this one was not outstanding but Shen Miao was spellbound by it, as if she was suck into the scene.
She stared at the painting of the night banquet for a long time, and after a moment she finally reached out and run her hands along the calligraphy and up to the painting. She slowly explored the paper until she touched the painting of the protagonist of the night banquet, the lapel of the potbellied official.
The lapel was very delicately done that even it was a painting, when one felt it, it was almost as if one could feel the buttons on the jacket.
In fact, Shen Miao had touched it.
There was a slightly raise feeling on her fingertips which was different from the rough texture of the paper. Shen Miao pressed it and only heard a soft ‘ka’ sound.
Accompanying the slight sound, the wall of calligraphy and painting suddenly split in half and a secret room appeared. From the outside, one could only see the long corridor and there was a torch that lit the area which made it as bright as outside.
Shen Miao gently gave a sigh of relief. Without any hesitation, she lifted her skirt and stepped in.
In the deepest of the secret chamber, there stood a coffin that was already opened. After the insides were revealed, it was actually empty while two people stood in front of the coffin. A purple clad person and a white clad person. They were exactly Xie Jing Xing and Gao Yang.
Xie Jing Xing was holding a bright yellow cloth bag. One did not know what it was holding but it looked heavy. Gao Yang laughed, “Prince Yu that old dog actually put the thing in here. If it was not because of the massacre by the Chen family, we would have to take a lot of trouble to find this thing.”
“So one only need to wait for the leaks to appear.” Xie Jing Xing said, “Check if there is anything in the surrounding area.”
Gao Yang complied and went around looking, “Speaking of which, the Old Yu Dog did not even place a guard here. Seeing that this place is so secretive, it seemed that other than him, no one knew of this place.”
“The Fu family are paranoid.” Xie Jing Xing lazily said, “If it was you, would you not hide?”
“Naturally I would hide.” Gao Yang lightly shook his fan and his smile was very gentle and elegant but the words he spit out were scary, “If I was that Old Yu Dog, if anyone were to know about this place, no matter who is it, even if they did not know the secret, as long as that person is able to enter this secret chambers, I would eliminate them. Only the dead can kept secrets. The one thing that that Old Yu Dog did well was this.”
Xie Jing Xing could not be bothered about it and went around looking.
At the same time, Shen Miao was holding a torch, quietly walking in the dark secret corridor. Compared to her usual slow pace, this time she walked more urgently. There was no other reason that she did not know when would Shen Qiu come over, so before Shen Qiu came to search, she had to retrieve that thing.
This secret chambers were originally found by Fu Xiu Yi. The conversation between him and Peng Lang was inadvertently eavesdropped by her. At that time Pei Lang had copied a blueprint and told Fu Xiu Yi that the switch to Prince Yu secret chamber was the lapel of the host of the painting of a banquet. That time Pei Lang also said, “That thing is in the secret chambers. Your Majesty can investigate.”
As for what the ‘thing’ actually was, Shen Miao did not know as she only heard from Pei Lang’s and Fu Xiu Yi’s tone that the ‘thing’ was very important to Fu Xiu Yi. Thus when Shen Miao mentioned about exterminating the entire household, other than not to leave future trouble, it was also for this matter.
If the entire household was not exterminated, perhaps there will be one among the people left in Prince Yu residence that knew about the secret chambers, and this would in turn invoke trouble. Now that the everyone in Prince Yu residence were all dead, presumably this secret would not be found out for the time being, after all the Fu Xiu Yi in the past life only knew about the matter when he ascended to the throne.
As long as that ‘thing’ was very important to Fu Xiu Yi or was beneficial to him, one must never let Fu Xiu Yi attain it. Either obliterate it or send it to Fu Xiu Yi’s enemies’ hands, at least that ‘thing’ would be an advantage when dealing with Fu Xiu Yi in the future.
This was the motive of following Shen Qiu to the Prince residence today.
Shen Miao headed into the corridors of the secret chamber. The corridors snaked around and were much longer than she had imagined. In another bend, suddenly her eyes saw light and the narrow corridor led to a hall where the rows of torches were lit, brightening the entire place up.
And in that chamber, there laid a coffin and in front of the coffin, there stood two people.
Shen Miao had yet to move when she heard one of them snapped, “Who is it!”
That voice was very familiar and she did not have time to distinguish when she saw two figures violently rushing over, and then saw two familiar faces in the fire.
Xie Jing Xing. Gao Yang.
What did Xie Jing Xing come here for? Was not Gao Yang from the Imperial Medical Institution, so why was he mixed up with Xie Jing Xing?
Even the usually calm Shen Miao was also secretly stunned and her brain was momentarily thrown into confusion. Those doubts that were hovering early on in her heart took root, but it was as if there suddenly was an exit in a bout of lightning, something seemed to have broken out.
“Shen Miao!” Gao Yang’s eyes were of surprise too but it was towards Xie Jing Xing as he said, “Do it!”
Shen Miao’s eyes kept on staring and she only felt dizzy as he could not see past the figure in front. Her body was shoved heavily and she hit the stone wall behind which made her suck in a mouthful of cold air due to the pain. Immediately after that, a long hand grabbed onto her throat as Xie Jing Xing’s handsome face inched closer.
Xie Jing Xing almost pressed Shen Miao entire body against the stone wall. His ice cold coat touched Shen Miao’s face and his hand was also ice cold. They were clearly some bright and burning brows and eyes like the sun, and the curves of his lips made one fascinated but his sight was so sober that it was almost cold.
“Shen Miao cannot be left alive.” Gao Yang rapidly said, “The matter is of grave importance and it is her bad luck to die here. Leave the body here and let us get out. No one will find out. Third Xie, you must not be soft-hearted, do it!”
Shen Miao looked towards Xie Jing Xing. The hand that was holding her neck was slender and looked good, but there was a blatant and fierce force that was firmly fastened on her neck.
The purple clad youth’s eyes got darker under the light and the charm was like drawn out from a painting. The more moving his appearance was, the more brutal the smile was, it was as if the cat had caught the mouse and its eyes revealed only indifference and the intention to kill.
He really wanted to kill her.
Shen Miao looked at him motionlessly and the pair of clear eyes were brighter than the melting of the first snow in spring. That encompasses the lack of joy and sorrow, was able to reflect another’s life.
Xie Jing Xing’s eyes slightly moved and suddenly his lips pulled into a smile as his other hand gently covered Shen Miao’s eyes. He slightly looked down and moved closer to Shen Miao’s ears, as if it was whispers among lovers, and said softly.
“Do not look at me, I will not be able to bear.”