This chapter has been brought to you by me, ororomunroe90, vivie, and leecherleechleech.
Almost New Years so Happy Early New Years!
Chapter One Hundred and Eighteen
The Qin Family was imprisoned, and the eldest di daughter of the Qin Family who had once been Rui Wang Fei was decreed to be beheaded. Many people were speculating that this outcome, in addition to the fact that Qin Bai Lu had tried to kill the Empress, was related to the previous rumors that had been spread throughout Jing.
But disregarding all that, it was true that the conduct of the Qin Family in recent years had gradually lost the literary and scholarly style of the educated families. There were even some storytellers who said that the present head of the Qin Family was a shame on the ancestors of the Qin Clan.
Some reminisced on the conduct of the Qin shi in the past. When they returned, they used the matter of the Qin Family to teach their descendants so they did not walk the same road as the Qin Family.
When Dai Rong heard that Qin Bai Lu was to be publicly beheaded, she was so scared that she didn't dare to step outside. More than anyone, she knew as to what had really happened. In the beginning, when she and Qin Bai Lu had plotted to wreck the reputation of the Empress, Qin Bai Lu had told her many things about the hougong of Da Long. She hadn't thought that this matter would be uncovered so quickly and that Qin Bai Lu, the mastermind, couldn't even keep her own life.
On the day of Qin Bai Lu's execution, the autumn air was refreshing and many came out to watch. But until the moment just before she was executed, no one had come to send her off.
She looked blankly at her surroundings, and suddenly saw a man on a white horse behind the crowds. She stilled, tears suddenly streaming out of her dull eyes. At thirteen, her heart had moved for this man; at fifteen, she had married him; at seventeen, she had been divorced by him; at the moment before death, the one she saw was still him.
The black cloth covered her eyes. She twisted her head, wanting to have one more glance at him. In the end, she couldn't escape the executioner blocking her eyes. She heard the sound of cursing and mockery. Even though she concentrated, she didn't hear his voice.
That year at the palace banquet, if she didn't encounter him, that would have been good.
The only thing to blame was that at that time, she was too young, and that the stunning beauty of He Yuan had taken her time.
Maybe, who she really hated wasn't Qu Qing Ju or Qu Yue Su. All her hate, it really came from discontent, the discontent she had towards him. If a person could live their life again, she would become a normal woman, marry a normal man. Either rich or poor, but at least she could receive a portion of feelings that belonged to her.
Just like Qu Qing Ju, who had a man that protected her, and someone she could rely on for an entire lifetime.
"It's time, proceed!"
The noon gold sun shone off the blade the executioner raised, scattering bits of silver light. The brawny man took a mouthful of liquor and blew it over the large blade. Then he slowly raised it, and swung down hard.
A smile appeared at the corner of Qin Bai Lu's lips, as though she once again saw the bright youth at the palace banquet. Then, the world plunged into darkness.
The hand that He Yuan held the reins with, tightened and then slowly relaxed. He pulled on the reins to turn the horse, not looking at the executioner's platform. He gave a sigh, ordering: "He Fu Er, get someone to bury her properly."
When people were executed, if there was no family to take their corpse, they would be thrown into a mass burial ground in the end. Although he didn't have feelings for her and in the end, there was only mutual dislike, He Yuan hadn't reached the stage where he could see his former woman die without a coffin.
He Fu Er saw his master's expression wasn't well and hurriedly indicated for the people behind him to collect Qin Bai Lu's body, "Wang ye, the sun is fierce right now. Let's return to the fu."
He Yuan raised an eyebrow at him: "Let's go."
He Fu Er rushed up to take hold of the reins, guiding the horse in the direction of the jun wang fu. When he was going to turn around a corner, he couldn't resist turning back to look at the executioner's platform that was now cleared of the crowd. A person executed at noon. After being shone at by such a strong sun, even the soul might have disappeared.
But attempting to kill the Empress, she really had courage. No wonder the Emperor would give out such a decree. She really did it to herself. It was lucky that wang ye had divorced her a long time ago. Otherwise, even the jun wang fu would have been affected by her.
Dai Rong didn't dare to go to the place where Qin Bai Lu had been executed. Hearing that Qin Bai Lu's corpse had been collected by people from Rui Jun Wang Fu, she sat restlessly in her room. If someone walked outside her room, she became so scared that she would tremble.
The Emperor would even order to execute a daughter of a noble family like Qin Bai Lu. If he found evidence of her participating in the rumors, what would be her outcome, and would the country of Jing also be involved?
She now regretted working together with Qin Bai Lu. How dumb was she to believe the words of a woman who had been divorced by the Imperial House?
After taking a drink of cold tea to suppress the terror in her heart, as the teacup left her lips, Dai Rong saw her maid push open the door and come in with a face full of panic to report: "Princess, His Majesty the Emperor of Da Long summons you and Crown Prince."
The teacup in her hand dropped to the floor. Dai Rong stood up in fright. Through the doorway, she could see a taijian of Da Long standing outside. She staggered and forced out a smile: "Wait for me to change……"
"Please, Princess, don't waste time. Emperor and Empress are both very busy. Princess should hurry to enter the palace." Qian Chang Xin walked inside, his face expressionless as he whipped the duster in his hand, "Princess, please."
Dai Rong recognized him as the personal taijian of the Emperor of Da Long and didn't dare to offend him. She forced a smile and followed Qian Chang Xin out of the room. When she went outside, she saw Tu Er was also wearing his normal clothes, his expression unwell.
"Crown Prince, Princess, please," Qian Chang Xin raised an eyebrow, "Don't make the Emperor wait."
Seeing Qian Chang Xin's attitude, the uneasiness Dai Rong had inside grew even more until she couldn't seem to breathe.
When they had entered the Imperial Palace and they followed Qian Chang Xin and the others into Tian Qi Palace, Dai Rong could hear the sounds of the Emperor and Empress talking from outside the door. After Qian Chang Xin went in to report, the sounds of conversation stopped. She walked in amidst the cold stares of the palace maids and taijian in the surroundings.
Qu Qing Ju was playing with a kaleidoscope. Seeing Dai Rong and Tu Er enter, she handed to the kaleidoscope to a palace maid and resumed a proper sitting posture. After the two made their greetings, she only drank tea silently, allowing He Heng to converse with the two of them.
"Zhen heard that Hu Guo Princess was very close to Qin shi, what does Princess have to say?" He Heng looked coldly at Tu Er and Da Long. Just one sentence was enough to frighten the two into kneeling on the ground. He looked at the two people kneeling in front of him, his expression still ugly, "In the past, the country of Jing was one of the subordinate countries that Da Long put importance on, but your conduct has made zhen extremely disappointed."
When Tu Er heard the words, his face became scared. He quickly made a full bow, replying: "The honored His Majesty the Emperor, my Jing's loyalty to you can be seen by the heavens. Please, Your Majesty, don't lightly believe the rumors!"
"Whether or not it's just rumor, both of you should know very well" He Heng thought about the rumors that had gone through the city of Jing and what Qin Bai Lu had done, his brow furrowing, "Zhen only wanted to hear how the country of Jing will give my Da Long an explanation."
Tu Er's forehead already had sweat forming. He gritted his teeth and gave a kowtow: "Your Majesty, we are willing to increase our tribute by two-tenths to show our loyalty to Da Long."
"My Da Long doesn't lack for those kind of things," He Heng coldly sneered, "If zhen's Empress and the court officials had been harmed by the rumors, even if the country of Jing was flattened, it still wouldn't calm zhen's anger!"
"Please, Your Majesty, don't be angry!" Tu Er's sweat slid down his face to land on the ground but he didn't dare to raise a hand to wipe. He went forward two steps, begging, "Chen's sister is ignorant, please, Your Majesty, have mercy! Please have mercy!"
Qu Qing Ju looked at the sorry state of Tu Er. Even Tu Er was calling himself a subject in front of them. It could be seen that Tu Er had no other solutions left. She hadn't wanted to join this matter, but He Heng had to call her over. Reality proved it, she didn't like seeing others kowtowing to her.
"Your Majesty, all the wrongs are this subject's wrongs. It was this subject that was greedy for the wealth of Da Long, and has nothing to do with the people of Jing. Please, Your Majesty, spare the people of Jing. Dai Rong is willing to endure all of the punishment," Dai Rong thought about how poor the country of Jing was. They couldn't bear the pressure of a tribute that was two-tenths higher. Even if she didn't want to admit it, she had to confess that she had done something wrong, "Please, Emperor, spare Jing. Jing is a poor place. Our people have no more strength to endure war and increased yearly tributes."
Hearing that, Qu Qing Ju looked again at Dai Rong. At this critical time, this Hu Guo Princess wasn't stupid to the bone and finally knew how to protect her people.
In reality, how many people in the world could resist the temptation of wealth and prosperity?
He Heng looked indifferently at the pair of siblings, entirely unmoved. This was between countries. His priority was protecting the interests of his country before he had the time to divide some sympathy to other people. He was the Emperor of Da Long, not the Emperor of the country of Jing.
Their standpoints were different, so how would there be sympathy?
"Since Princess knows that the country of Jing cannot stand zhen's rage, then why do such a daring thing?" He Heng threw what had been discovered in front of the two siblings, "If zhen ordered the army to Jing, it is for your crimes, Hu Guo Princess."
Dai Rong didn't dare to look at those things, only fearfully begged: "This subject was possessed, this subject is willing to be punished. Please, Emperor, spare the people of Jing." She didn't want to think about it. If Da Long really sent their army, how would mother and the people of Da Long look at her. Would it be disappointment? Anger? Or would it be hatred?
"Emperor, this subject is willing to use her life to apologize for the offense. Please, Emperor, spare the innocent people!" Dai Rong knelt with a straight body, looking at the exceptional yet ruthless Emperor. There was no sign of the initial seductiveness on her face now. She looked at Qu Qing Ju who had been silently drinking tea and walked towards her on her knees. Dai Rong gave a heavy kowtow, "This subject was ill-mannered and offended the Empress. Please, Empress, give punishment."
Qu Qing Ju looked down at Dai Rong for losing her composure in her greed for prosperity, was offended by her and Qin Bai Lu for spreading rumors to slander her. But right now, Dai Rong seemed to have given everything up, and became the country of Jing's Hu Guo Princess, willing to use her death to make up for her mistakes rather than harm her people.
People who knew their wrongs were more soothing to the eyes than people who stubbornly didn't change even into death. The most important factor was that Dai Rong was a princess of the country of Jing, and not one of Da Long's citizens. One Jing was easy to deal with, but if other subordinate countries started to rebel due to this matter, then even if it wasn't hard for Da Long to deal with all the countries, it still wasn't a good thing.
An unnecessary war happening to the common people, it was a disaster.
"Emperor, why don't we send a letter to the Queen of Jing about the matter and let her give an explanation to our Da Long?" Qu Qing Ju put down the teacup and opened, "The matter has already passed, I don't want a war to start because of me."
He Heng sighed: "But if the rumors had really caused bad consequences, then what?"
"I know the intentions of the Emperor," Qu Qing Ju smiled, "I'm a lazy person. I don't like to care about what's happening at court, but I know one thing, the people are the ones who suffer in wars."
A beat later, He Heng nodded: "Zhen understands what you wish for. This matter will be handed to the Queen of Jing so she may give an explanation to Da Long."
The historian at the side recorded the actions of the Emperor and Empress, "The tenth month of the first year of Jia You, the princess of Jing offended the Empress, the Emperor was angry and wished to raise an army against Jing. The Empress urged against, saying that the people suffered in war. The Emperor heard this, and the anger disappeared."