For people who wanted to see a picture of He Heng, this one’s the one I like the most (out of the limited number of historical male pictures I have that doesn’t have fantasy elements.) He’s handsome but not the same as He Yuan which was in the text.
This chapter has been brought to you by me, ororomunroe90, and leecherleechleech.
Chapter Fifty Three Road
When Qu Qing Ju visited the Zhong Jing Palace, she had taken many things with her. When she left, she still had many things with her. The bystanders looked on and marveled at the maternal and filial love between Jing guifei and Duan Wang Fei.
Qu Qing Ju looked back at the servants who had accompanied her to the palace. They all had their hands full. She couldn't help but sigh. From a certain perspective, Jing guifei was a really good popo in the Da Long Dynasty. Intelligent, beautiful and she's able to prioritize what was important. This kind of woman, if she's placed in a novel, would most definitely be the main character. It was a pity that she had met a man like Qing De Emperor.
Even though she needed to be careful around Jing guifei because her popo was too smart, she still was a much better popo compared to Shu guifei. If she was a normal popo, she would have pushed her to have children immediately rather than telling her not to rush. Even in Qu Qing Ju's previous life, this kind of conduct wasn't something many mother-in-laws would do.
But this kind of popo might not like an erxi who was too intelligent. Their current form of interaction was good enough.
Inside Zhong Jing Palace, Ding mama returned from seeing Duan wang fei off. Walking in front of Jing guifei, she reported in a small voice: "Niangniang, wang fei has left."
"En," Jing guifei nodded. She sighed and remarked, "Heng'er has set his heart on her." Otherwise, he wouldn't have implicitly asked her not to make things difficult for Qu Qing Ju.
"It's a good thing that wang ye and wang fei have deep feelings for each other," Ding mama came up to massage her shoulders. She said in a light voice, "If it was like the pair at the other fu, wouldn't they have become a laughingstock of Jing City?"
"You are right," Jing guifei laughed, "Qu shi is still young. It would be best for her child if she gives birth a year or two from now. If the mother is too young, the child would be born sickly and that would be alarming." If her son and daughter-in-law were fighting like the pair at Rui Wang Fu, then that would be really worrisome. Her own erxi might be simpleminded and naïve but it was infinitely better than having a wang fei like Qin shi.
"Niangniang is highly principled," Ding mama said, "It is wang fei's great fortune to have a popo like you."
"In the beginning, ben gong didn't like her unworldliness. But upon closer examination, despite being somewhat stupid, she isn't disagreeable. As long as they maintain their good relationship, ben gong will not become a villain," Jing guifei smiled as she shook her head, "But it is remarkable that Heng'er sing her praises to me."
Ding mama had served Jing guifei for many years and knew that niangniang was very good to wang fei. She naturally followed her lead as her mistress discussed the attributes of wang ye and wang fei. And the fact that niangniang keeps saying wang fei was stupid … …
Such a stupid wang fei and yet niangniang still protected her. If that wasn't affection, then what else could it be?
Not long after Qu Qing Ju came back to the fu, He Heng returned home. When the two met, she first mentioned the gifts that Jing guifei bestowed and sighed in admiration: "Niangniang is so good to wang ye. She remembers you at every turn."
When He Heng heard this, he smiled and remarked: "Didn't you already know that mufei is good to me? Why are you mentioning it today?"
"There is a phrase "love the house so love the crow". Wang ye is that house, I am that crow," Qu Qing Ju passed on the words that Jing guifei said to her, "If it wasn't for wang ye, why else would niangniang care so much for me?"
Hearing that, He Heng couldn't help but laugh, "You, you."
Qu Qing Ju heard him laugh in response yet he didn't confirm nor deny her statement. She smiled as she asked: "It's still early today. Why don't I accompany wang ye in playing a match?"
The smile on He Heng's face instantly froze. He Heng looked at the smiling Qu Qing Ju. Who was really accompanying who?
In the end, He Heng endured the pain as he played one round with Qu Qing Ju. The process was a tragic sight but the ending was very beautiful. As to what kind of beauty, one could examine the evening meal that was eaten two hours later than usual and the hot water that was sent to the zhengyuan soon afterwards.
The Commander of the Imperial Guards was perhaps the busiest person in Jing City over the last two days. He, along with his subordinates, had tossed many bullies and gangsters into the prisons. Right now, not only did he have to think of ways to suppress the rumors spreading in Jing but he also had to ensure that he didn't offend any of the major powers.
He didn't know what the Emperor was thinking. Even though there were countless voices opposing his actions in the Royal Court, the Emperor still allowed Rui Wang to freely leave the wang fu. He was even allowed to enter the Imperial Palace without any restrictions. That had disappointed many at court and cooled many hearts.
Thinking about the mess, he couldn't help but sigh. He turned to order the subordinates behind him: "Keep investigating in the city and see if there are any more rumor-mongers."
"Yes, Sir!" The Imperial Guards instantly separated into several troops and entered the alleyways.
Commander Sun raised his head to look at the sky. The weather wasn't very good. It looked like it was going to rain. As he was about to enter the palace, he saw a sedan moving not too far away. Behind the sedan, there were several people carrying luggage. It looked like a procession of dowry chests but the sedan in front was blue in color, not a red-flowered one. There were also only two strong men carrying the sedan.
He stared for a beat before realizing that some major personage was taking a ce shi. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been such a big procession. But the amount of dowry that was being carried wasn't befitting of a ce shi at all.
"I heard that the person inside is the san xiaojie of Chang De Gong Fu?"
"Yes, it's that fu's xiaojie."
"Such a good family but now she's become a ce shi. It's such a sin."
"What do you know? Look at that person being taken into Rui Wang Fu, how can any normal person compare?"
Since the topic had changed to Rui Wang, the people who had come to see and gossip about the procession all scattered. They only hated that they couldn't walk any faster and that their mouths had been idle enough to discuss the matters of Rui Wang Fu.
Commander Sun sighed. He had an irritated expression on his face as he watched the common people ran away. Rui Wang's current reputation had almost reached a point where he was seen as the boogeyman by the public. The Emperor might have done all he could to protect Rui Wang but in the hearts of the common people, Rui Wang's reputation had fallen drastically.
Commander Sun turned his head and saw Ning Wang riding towards him on a black horse. He wore a black robe embroidered with silver patterns and had a sincere smile on his face. His heart tightened. The fact that Ning Wang and Rui Wang were at odds was an open secret at court. He was currently doing his best to protect Rui Wang's reputation. Ning Wang greeting him openly like this, did he have ulterior motives?
"Wei chen greets Your Highness Ning Wang," Commander Sun walked in front of He Qi's horse and made a bow. He asked, "Does Your Highness Ning Wang have anything to ask of wei chen?"
"Just saw Commander Sun here and came over to say hello," He Qi played with the horse whip in his hand. He raised his chin in the direction of the blue sedan, "Is that the qie that lao san took?"
Commander Sun lowered his head: "Your Highness, wei chen doesn't know."
He Qi stared steadily at Commander Sun. From his view, he could only see the other's deeply lowered head and bent back. This leading commander of the Imperial Guards was a very smart person. Otherwise, fuhuang wouldn't have put him in charge of the post.
"There are things in Jing that the commander of the Imperial Guards doesn't know?" He Qi twirled his horsewhip, looking unconcerned, "Lao san is really filial. He knows that fuhuang's body isn't good now so he took a qie to flush away the bad luck. This filial love is really moving, don't you think so, Commander Sun?"
Commander Sun couldn't help but give a dry laugh. His Highness Ning Wang was outwardly complimenting Rui Wang but everyone could hear the sarcasm. Since when did taking a qie ensure that "the bad luck would be flushed away"? The father was still ill but the son didn't hesitate in taking a qie. If a normal person acted this way, it would have been a cause for castigation by others.
It was true that Rui Wang shouldn't have acted this way. The Emperor was worried about his matter yet he himself had no qualms about taking a qie. That heart of his was really broad and as a son, his conduct was truly unfilial. Because the Emperor favoured him, no one dared to openly criticize him. Consequently, it fell on him, as the commander of the Imperial Guard, to think of ways to protect Rui Wang. Otherwise, he wouldn't know how to explain the situation to the Emperor.
After earnestly thinking about it, Commander Sun could only give a bark of laughter, "Whatever wang ye says." He was only a little commander of the Imperial Guards. How can he afford to play word games with the higher-up wang ye?
"Ha," He Qi smiled, turned his horse and trotted away.
At Rui Wang Fu, Qin Bai Lu was standing near the Gate of Drooping Flowers, watching the blue sedan being carried into the Xi Ce Yuan. Her face dark, she said to the yahuan behind her: "In the end, wang ye really did take her in."
The yahuan comforted her: "Wang fei, Qu shi is only a ce shi who will not be written into the genealogy book. You don't have to worry about that kind of person."
"Don't worry?" Qin Bai Lu smiled icily, "If she was only a normal person, why did wang ye go to the Lantern Festival with her?" She had fought and vented but in the end, wang ye was still the same and acted even colder to her. At that time, she knew that to wang ye, she was no different from any other woman in this fu.
Qin Bai Lu's expression became bitter just thinking about it. She had been proud for so many years. Only after she'd married, did she realize a certain man could crush her pride into the ground and grind it to dust. However noble she was as a daughter of the Qin Family, how could it ever compare to the status of an imperial son?
Qu Yue Su, who was currently being hated and envied by Qin Bai Lu, wasn't as well off as the other had imagined. She sat on the bed and looked at the pink bed curtains and blankets. The only thing that was red in color was a pair of burning candles. There were no matrons of honor, no lotuses or peanuts, no red headdresses, not even the exchange of the wine cups. The surroundings were silent. The only people present in the yard were the two yahuan of the wang fu who stood guard outside and the yahuan who had accompanied her into the room.
Yao Xi saw her xiaojie's face didn't look healthy. She said in a small voice: "Xiaojie, nubi heard that wang ye had set up a few tables in celebration today. He must not have left yet."
Knowing that Yao Xi was trying to comfort her, she smiled bitterly and said: "I'm just a ce fei. Would anyone of significant status come to such a banquet?" With Rui Wang's status, would he be willing to personally receive those who didn't have a prominent status?
She had chosen this road. Whatever ending she got, she asked for it.