Published at 7th of November 2020 06:38:47 PM
After a period of deafening silence, the person who had poisoned the food in the kitchen said with care, “That Hua clan daughter was raised to be unruly and willful; she does not have the least bit of forthrightness typical of someone from an influential clan of generals spanning generations . This subordinate truly did not expect… truly did not expect she would go as far as to use such a shameless tactic, and deliberately make things hard for people . ”
What “getting dizzy from the smell of meat?” Why didn’t she just say she grew up drinking dew?
It once again grew quiet in the room . All of a sudden, the sound of hurried footsteps could be heard from the outside . The man that had been responsible for poisoning the food straightened up his clothes, expression one of deep concern . He pulled open the door a crack, just wide enough to fit half the width of a person .
Soon after, he saw a few yamen bailiffs carrying the unconscious Lin Huizhi up the stairs . He could not help but think it would be great should the Hua clan’s two children infuriate Lin Huizhi to death . That would save them a lot of trouble .
What a pity that Lin Huizhi was a civil official with a hard life . A strong civil official . Even if he was angered to the point of fainting like prior, and had to be carried by the yamen bailiffs, he was still harping about loyalty, righteousness, and benevolent integrity while unconscious .
But as a civil official, to be carried by someone like this could be considered a disgrace to one’s scholarly dignity .
“Leader, what should we do now?” asked the man who had poisoned the food . He closed the door . Turned to face the other man sitting by the side of the window .
“What else can be done? Naturally, we must leave at once . ”
“If we don’t leave, don’t tell me we should remain here and make them suspicious of us?!” Expression darkening, he had thought that his schemes were superior to others’, yet never had he expected he would fail in his task here .
Hua Liuli did not have a proper rest all night . The bed in the posthouse was old and narrow . Even though she had a brocade quilt, she still felt uncomfortable to the max .
She tossed and turned for a good while . When she was finally somewhat sleepy, a shriek erupted from downstairs out of the blue . Hua Liuli flipped over the quilt in a flash . Put on a robe and her cloak . Then she made her way downstairs .
“Why are you screaming so early in the morning?” said a yamen bailiff, who had also been woken up by the shriek . He was about to curse a bit more when he noticed Hua Liuli in the same corridor . And he quickly swallowed those words .
The moment Hua Changkong had left his room, he caught sight of his younger sister standing in the corridor, her fine black hair not yet tied . Without delay, he approached her and helped pull the hood of the cloak over her head . In a soft voice, he said, “What happened?”
“O-outside are many dead sparrows,” said the posthouse official, face pale . “Yesterday, this official threw the food that had been overturned into the courtyard…”
Hua Changkong’s gaze darkened a hint . In large strides, he stepped through the front door . And he saw the corpses of numerous sparrows closely packed on the ground . Moreover, some food that were frozen stiff .
The food his younger sister overturned yesterday had been poisoned .
“It wasn’t this lowly one¹ who did this! This lowly one had nothing to do with it!” said the cook . He had followed them outside, and was scared silly as soon as he had caught sight of the scene . He rushed to shake his head . “This lowly one has worked as a cook in this posthouse for more than ten years, and my forefathers were clean and good people . This lowly one dares not do such a thing . ”
“T-t-this…” Once the inspector official had seen this sight, his legs grew completely soft . If that official who had committed a crime had truly died here, everyone who worked at the posthouse would fall in dire straits .
“Third Elder Brother, what happened?” asked Hua Liuli, who had followed Hua Changkong outside .
In no time at all, Hua Changkong rose to his feet, hiding her behind him, not letting her see such a nauseating sight . “Don’t look . Or else you’ll lose your appetite . ”
“This is truly frightening . ” Hua Liuli patted her chest, sporting a “I’m very delicate” appearance . She turned around and made for the inside of the posthouse . “I’m most afraid of these dirty things . ”
Hua Changkong adjusted her cloak . “Return to your room and have Yuanwei help tie up your hair . I’ll have someone tidy up the courtyard . ”
“Alright . ” Having left in a haste, Hua Liuli had worn little . She felt somewhat cold from the wind . She returned to her room, lying in bed for a while, before her servant girl coaxed her out to freshen up .
The next time she went downstairs, everyone else had nearly finished breakfast . Hua Liuli took a seat by the side of a table . Looked at Lin Huizhi . She purposely acted picky with the food .
Before she even took two bites, numerous complaints left her lips . But no matter how picky she grew, the Lin Huizhi who sat in the corner didn’t speak .
By the time she had finished eating, Lin Huizhi still hadn’t approached to lecture her . Hua Liuli could not help but think, could she have angered this official who had committed a crime to the point of falling ill?
This old man was well into his years . But his broadmindedness did not resemble what was typical of his age . He wouldn’t miss such an opportunity to cause trouble for her .
Once Hua Liuli had thought of this, she saw that old civil official get up and approach her . Her brows twitched . She beckoned to the guards in the lobby, making them stand behind her, giving her more courage .
When quarreling, the most important thing was to have a lot of people and a very imposing manner .
Lin Huizhi’s emotions were complicated to the extreme . It was very inconvenient to walk around with shackles on his feet . After every two steps, he would have to pause . After every three steps, he would breathe heavily . Finally, he stood in front of Hua Liuli .
Before she could speak, he suddenly saluted to her in a grand manner .
Hua Liuli’s expression went through a great change . What was this old man trying to do? Was he saluting so grandly on purpose to give her bad luck?
Unable to win against her in a quarrel, he used such a contemptible method instead?
“Many thanks to Young Lady² for saving my life yesterday . ” In order for him to become a third-rank official in the court, while he would possess his own selfish motives and position, he wouldn’t be an idiot .
After he had roused early in the morning, he learned that someone had tried to poison him to death . Furthermore, they had tried to poison him after the Hua clan’s younger generation appeared . Lin Huizhi then grew aware of the many layers of conspiracy hidden in the background .
If he were to die, the originally simple conflicting political views of the court would transform into intense and deep-seated hatred . The literati were arrogant . Because Hua Yingting had achieved a grand victory against Jinpo Country, the common people held him to high prestige . If the two sides fought, it would definitely throw the court into great chaos . And in the end, one would fear that all of Great Jin would be affected .
What a good plan that killed a few birds with one stone . It must be the conspiracy of an enemy country .
Yesterday evening, the action of the Hua family’s servant overturning his dishes not only saved him . It also saved everyone who could have been involved .
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Although Lin Huizhi disliked warlike people, that didn’t mean he would forget this favor .
Now that he looked at Hua Liuli again, he felt that although this young lady was a bit arrogant and willful, had a bit of a sharp tongue, had a bit of a bad temperament, and was a bit picky and argumentative, she still had her good points .
Lin Huizhi thought for a moment . For example, she was beautiful?
If a scholar wanted to praise a person, they could find flattering words . Therefore, despite the fact that Lin Huizhi was filled with complaints regarding Hua Liuli, his benefactor, he was still able to say some words of praise and appreciation .
Hua Liuli was speechless .
In the end, the most impressive people were the civil officials, able to turn her act of deliberately making trouble for him into her being perceptive to the finest detail . She was astute in her handling of affairs, saving a person while they were in the midst of a calamity . Even she herself had almost believed his words .
“Sir³, no matter how many pleasant-sounding words you speak, you still won’t have any meat . ” Hua Liuli lightly wiped the corner of her mouth . “It’s useless . ”
Lin Huizhi paused, expression somewhat stiff . “This old man did not have this intention . ”
“Since you didn’t have that intention, then you don’t have to speak any further . ” Hua Liuli turned her head, gesturing to the guards behind her . “Escort this Sir . Remember, you must watch over his meals carefully . ”
She simply could not allow him to eat even a bit of meat . She wanted to make him die from wanting to eat it⁴ and protect him in passing, so that others wouldn’t so easily kill him .
Lin Hiuzhi fell into a daze . A good while later, he once again bowed toward her with his hands held in front of him . “Young Lady is righteous . This old man cannot compare to Young Lady . ”
Hua Liuli glanced at him . Seamlessly moved a bit to the side . Then she rose to her feet and said, “Third Elder Brother, we should be on our way . ”
If they didn’t leave, then this old fellow would continue to salute to her .
She was young and could not accept such grand salutes from an elderly person .
“Alright,” said Hua Changkong who was sitting at the side, all smiles and nodding . He did not call into question Hua Liuli’s conduct at all, so much so that he even thought Lin Huizhi’s praise of his younger sister stood as the old man’s redeeming quality .
Once she had entered the horse-drawn carriage, Hua Liuli looked at the bowing and scraping posthouse official who was sending them off at the roadside . And the shabby posthouse behind him . She opened a box in the carriage, took out a brocade pouch of money, and threw it at the posthouse official . “Within a radius of around 150 kilometers⁵, your posthouse is in the worst shape compared to the rest . Use this money to renovate it well . ”
She truly feared that if the snow and wind were too strong, it would cause the posthouse to collapse, killing innocent people .
“Many thanks to the noble personages . Many thanks to the noble personages . ” In just a brief night, such a huge thing had happened . The posthouse official had long since been frightened to death . He had feared that this picky noble person would cause trouble for him . Never had he imagined that the other party would not say a thing, and even gave him money to renovate the posthouse . How could this be an ordinary daughter of a noble family? She was obviously a celestial fairy who had descended from the heavens .
After the Hua clan’s brother-and-sister pair had left, Lin Huizhi asked the yamen for brush and paper . He wrote a letter and had a guard from the posthouse send it to the capital .
The Hua clan’s brother-and-sister pair was very righteous . Although they bore resentment toward him since he had impeached Hua Yingting, when they saw his life in danger, they abandoned their former emity and dispatched troops to accompany him to his place of exile . Such righteous hearts caused him to blush with shame .
Could it be… that he had actually been prejudiced against the Hua clan’s army? Was he the one in the wrong?
Hua Liuli had been picky all through her journey, taking many stops along the way . As such, Lin Huizhi’s letter had reached the capital before they did .
In the minister estate⁶, the Minister of Revenue⁷, Cao Jinbo, was in the middle of discussing official business with his assistant minister, Zuo Yunde . Then he heard from the servants that a letter from one of his good friends had arrived, and he had his servants bring it to him .
“Oh dear . ” Once Cao Jinbo had the letter in his hands, he did not immediately open it . Rather, a bitter smile spread across his lips . “This time, the political views of Huizhi and I did not align, and we had an unpleasant argument . ”
He felt somewhat afraid of opening the letter .
Huizhi insisted on believing that General Hua repelled the enemy forces of Jinpo Country and seized the latter’s city because he was militaristic . While Cao Jinbo himself approved of General Hua’s actions to an immense degree . As such, Huizhi had continued trying to persuade him to the other side . In the end, because of this matter, Huizhi had argued a bit with him in court .
One would fear that in this letter, the words written did not convey the emotions of one missing one’s friend .
“Sir, for the sake of requesting forgiveness for Sir Lin, your honored self went about everywhere . If Sir Lin knew of your actions, he would understand your honored self’s painstaking efforts,” said Zuo Yunde consolingly . “Your honored self and Sir Lin have been friends for decades . How could such a friendship be affected by such a little thing?”
“It’s not that you don’t know Huizhi’s temperament . He’s a stubborn person . If he decides on something, even eight horses can’t drag him away . ” Cao Jinbo sighed . In the end, he took his time opening the letter .
Zuo Yunde knew that the two had an argument a few days ago due to conflicting political views . With Sir Lin’s temperament, this letter most likely scolded the minister . A moment later, he already thought of a few ways to console Minister Cao .
He waited a moment, yet Minister Cao did not speak . Then he looked at the other party’s expression again . It seemed startled and doubtful . As if some preposterous things were written in the letter .
“Sir?” Zuo Yunde thought, could Sir Lin’s letter have angered him silly?
“Yunde . ” At a loss, Cao Jinbo set the letter down . “Do you think with Huizhi’s personality, he would speak against his own convictions if someone were threatening him?”
“Sir… what do you mean?” Zuo Yunde was unable to make heads or tails of this .
“For example, highly praising the children of the person he hates the most?”
Once he had heard those words, Zuo Yunde laughed dryly . “Then we’d probably have to see who it was . ”
“For example, General Hua’s children?”
“Absolutely impossible!” After he had said this, Zuo Yunde felt he had been too direct . Felt he had answered too quickly . He also believed that Sir Lin was petty to the max . Therefore, he said with tact, “General Hua’s children grew up in the frontier, and were brought up personally by General Hua and General Wei . Their way of handling things is definitely influenced by their parents . With Sir Lin’s temperament, he probably won’t admire such members of the younger generation . ”
He definitely wouldn’t have praised them highly . Even in death he wouldn’t . It would be more normal if he voiced all the faults he found in them from start to finish .
With Sir Lin’s temperament, one would fear he would rather slam his head against the wall and die than praise the Hua family .
this lowly one: 小人 . A term of self-address that’s very humble, and used toward those of higher status . Young Lady: 姑娘 . This is different from “Young Miss” (小姐) . Typically, outsiders called unmarried girls “Young Lady” unless these girls were from influential families . In that case, outsiders would call them “Young Miss . ” Not sure why he’s calling her “Young Lady” instead of “Young Miss . ” Sir: 大人 . A term of address for officials . die from wanting to eat it: If it wasn’t obvious, she doesn’t mean this literally around 150 kilometers: Original was “a few hundreds of li . ” Recall that a li is equal to half a kilometer . If we assume “a few hundreds” is approximately 300 li, then that’s around 150 km . minister estate: 尚书府 . If this wasn’t already obvious, it’s an estate of a minister . Minister of Revenue: 户部尚书 . The highest-ranked official in the Ministry of Revenue . The Ministry of Revenue was in charge of gathering census data, collecting taxes and handling state revenues; there were two offices of currency that were subordinate to it .