This chapter has been provided to you by me, ororomunroe90, vivie, and leecherleechleech.
He Heng is really sincere about Qu Qing Ju. The intelligence of the Emperor and Shu guifei… …
Chapter Seventy Six Truth and Falsehood
After Cheng Wang's wedding, the bustling and rumbling Jing City slowly calmed down. It seemed that no one remembered the imprisonment of the eldest imperial son in Bright Moon Tower nor did they recall the imperial censor who'd rammed himself into a pillar in the court hall. The people who lived in Jing City were the most pragmatic. They would only remember what they should. What they should forget, they definitely wouldn't even remember a hint.
Just as everyone was peacefully living their lives, news came out of the palace. The Emperor was sick. Shu guifei and Jing guifei spent day and night looking after the Emperor but there were still no signs of recovery. Shu guifei even had a professor of the Imperial Hospital beaten to death.
The Emperor was sick, and it was serious. This matter was a sign in Jing. If Shu guifei had not ordered the death of the Imperial Hospital's professor, the news wouldn't have been revealed so early. Upon hearing the news, every family’s immediate thoughts were different. All the senior officials who were held in the Emperor's confidence, such as Tian Jin Ke, had shut their doors and rejected all who came.
There were many who'd tried to find information from Duan Wang Fu. Excluding Qu Qing Ju's family, even the paternal families of Feng Zi Jin, Jiang Yong Yu, and the others had eavesdroppers. These people didn't think it through. What would the paternal family of a qie of a wang fu know? Did they really believe that Duan Wang was an idiot, and would tell such things to a qie, and in this sensitive time, allow the qie to pass crucial information to her paternal family?
The ones who could only beseech the paternal families of the qie clearly didn't have any great abilities. It was also clear that their brains weren't any good. They wouldn't be able to climb up any higher in their lifetimes unless the Heavens willed it.
Qu Qing Ju listened to Jiang Yong Yu report that people had come to seek information from her paternal family and let her sit down below her.
"My father isn't experienced, and doesn't know anything about this kind of a great matter. He could only decline all of them," Jiang Yong Yu presented the letter in her hand to Qu Qing Ju, "This is a list of those who came to visit. My father is timid and took down the names of the people as well as the gifts they have sent. Please have a look, wang fei."
Qu Qing Ju took the letter and placed it to one side. She didn't even look at the contents of the letter. She smiled at Jiang Yong Yu as she promised: "This must have been bothersome for your parent. I will definitely speak of this matter to wang ye."
In Qu Qing Ju's eyes, Jiang Yong Yu was the one who saw the situation most clearly in He Heng's qieshi. She was also the one who had the greatest abilities. She even felt pity for Jiang Yong Yu. If Jiang Yong Yu hadn't been selected as a female candidate to enter the palace, she would have had good life, marrying a son of a normal rich family as a wife.
Jiang Yong Yu wasn't surprised that wang fei didn't read that letter. Based on wang fei's personality and conduct, she definitely wouldn't look at such things. This was wang fei's intelligence at work.
"Nubi's needlework is not yet finished so I will not disturb wang fei any further. Farewell." She had said what she had needed to say. Jiang Yong Yu didn't want to rely on wang fei to gain wang ye's favors. She knew very well now her looks had no chance of being liked by wang ye. It was better to walk behind wang fei at her tempo. She would have much easier days.
Qu Qing Ju didn't detain her, nodding her head and letting Mu Jing to personally send her out.
Jiang Yong Yu came out of the door of the room, and thanked Mu Jin repeatedly in order to reject her escort. In the end, Mu Jin still saw her off to the gate of zhengyuan before turning and leaving.
Ai Lu supported Jiang Yong Yu as they carefully descended the stairs. She turned back to look at the decreasing figure of Mu Jin, and commented in a small voice: "Mistress, wang fei let the most trusted Mu Jin guniang to see you off. It shows that wang fei puts importance on you."
Jiang Yong Yu didn't speak. Not long after, she saw wang ye walking towards her from another direction. Her steps paused and she lowered her head to bow in greeting to wang ye.
He Heng noticed that she was coming from the direction of zhengyuang and asked: "Has wang fei not had her noon nap?"
"Wang ye, wang fei has risen just now," Jiang Yong Yu obediently answered.
"En," He Heng nodded and proceeded to walk in the direction of zhengyuan, not even looking twice at Jiang Yong Yu.
Jiang Yong Yu straightened her body and raised her head to look at the back of He Heng. She suddenly thought, now that the Emperor was seriously ill, if wang ye……
She shook her head. No matter what, she had to respect and honor wang fei. She could see this wang fu very clearly. It had been, from very early on, grabbed by wang fei. Even if other women entered the fu in the future, they would just be wang ye's playthings. Wang ye's love towards wang fei wasn't a pretence.
He Heng carelessly flipped through the list in his hand. Seeing Qu Qing Ju was tormenting the bonsai again, he remarked: "These people are unimportant. Some were subordinates of lao san who'd come to fish. The people of the Jiang Family are very sensible."
Qu Qing Ju was carefully trimming out a rabbit's ear. Hearing He Heng's words, her hands stilled. She hadn't thought He Heng would mention what was occurring outside to her. Was it that he really thought of her as one of his people so he didn't even disguise his words?
"Does wang ye mean that san shu has secretly done something?" She put down the scissors. After washing her hands, she said, "Wang ye, how about I tell you a folk tale?"
"What tale?" He Heng saw Qu Qing Ju's expression was solemn and waved his hand to let the all servants leave the room. He smiled as he urged, "Let me hear it."
"An old man had two sons in his family. The old man was partial to his youngest son and always wanted to give the good things to his younger son. Afterwards, when the old man was seriously ill, the younger son assumed that the old man would leave behind the family property to him. One day, the younger son heard a neighbor say that his father secretly gave the good things to his brother. The younger son was angry and went to argue with his father. Who knew that he managed to cause the old man to die. The younger son was very regretful. A while later, he finally found out that what the neighbor said was a lie, but the deceased was already gone and regret was useless." Qu Qing Ju gave a sigh, "Don't you think that this younger son harmed himself. It isn't a good thing to believe what others say."
He Heng smiled and replied: "I've actually heard this story before. Qing Ju and I really are two hearts linked as one."
Qu Qing Ju smiled and talked about some other matters with him before he hurriedly left. She knew inside that what He Heng wanted wasn't her idea but her attitude. This man had ambitions but he didn't want the person in his bed to not have the same stance as him. But he was very satisfied with her as the person in his bed, so he had said what he did to try to feel her out.
She hadn't been here for one year, but she now understood what was power, and the magnitude of power. With power, a woman could divorce her husband. Without power, one had to kowtow and bow to another.
She looked at the letter He Heng had left behind. Qu Qing Ju reached out to take a look and slowly folded the list, handing it to Mu Jin and told her to carefully hide it away.
Mu Jin looked worriedly at her. By now, Jing City was a mess and it was unknown what could happen, "Wang fei……"
"There's no need to worry. Tell the others to proceed normally, but if there is anyone who dares to talk nonsense, throw them all out of the fu. No one is to be spared." Qu Qing Ju commanded with a calm face, "The qieshi in the fu cannot pass messages to the outside. If anyone disobeys, report it to me."
"Yes," Mu Jin saw wang fei seemed to be confident and slowly lowered her heart back to its place.
"Niangniang," A palace maid frantically ran in front of Shu guifei. Seeing that everyone in the room was a confidante of Shu guifei, she spoke: "Nubi just managed to get some news from Xiao De Zi in Tian Qi Palace. Today, when it was Jing guifei niangniang's turn at care, the Emperor praised Duan Wang in front of many people."
Shu guifei had been lying on the recliner since she was massaged by a maid. She instantly sat up when she heard the report, her expression changing as she demanded: "The Emperor is awake?! What did he say?!"
The palace maid knelt down with some fear, replying; "Nubi heard that the Emperor praised Duan Wang for his conduct, and generosity for being similar to Xiandi ."[i]
"Xiandi?" Shu guifei furrowed her brow. Xiandi had been considered a wise ruler by many. The Emperor deeply respected Xiandi and had always exclaimed that he himself wasn't a wise ruler in comparison, and that if Xiandi didn't have him as the only son, he most definitely wouldn't have succeeded the throne. She had heard it many times. Shu guifei understood the position Xiandi held in the Emperor's heart. Now that the Emperor was comparing Duan Wang to Xiandi, what did it mean?
That year Yuan'er was born, didn't the Emperor say that Yuan'er's brows were similar to that of Xiandi? Why was he now praising that whore Wei shi's son?
"Go summon His Highness Rui Wang to the palace. Say that ben gong is sick from exhaustion due to constant attendance and let Rui Wang do his filial duty at the Emperor's bed."
The yahuan, who was still kneeling on the floor, hesitated but then eventually, silently retreated. At this time, niangniang was telling the outside that she was ill due to exhaustion from attendance. Wouldn't the others assume that she wasn't willing to constantly attend the Emperor? But then again, she was just a low ranking palace maid. Guifei certainly wouldn't appreciate someone like her voicing an objection. Furthermore, the Emperor had always favored guifei so it probably wasn't a major matter.
In Tian Qi Palace, Qing De Emperor woke up from his dreams. Smelling the faint scent of medicine in the room, he fell into a short daze. When he looked outside his canopy, he could only see an indistinct figure sitting outside. She must have been keeping watch over him all this time. His heart warmed and he couldn't resist speaking, "Beloved fei, why haven't you gone to rest yet?"
"Emperor, you are awake?" The canopy was raised and Jing guifei's tearful yet joyful face appeared in his vision. He suddenly understood. The person who'd been keeping watch was Jing guifei, not Shu guifei. In an instant, he was slightly afraid. Twenty three years ago, when he had fainted due to illness, who had been the one crying by his ear?
"Emperor, what is it? Are you not comfortable?" Jing guifei's face was full of fear. She turned to let the servants call for the taiyi who were keeping guard outside before kneeling by his bed and sobbing, "Emperor, you really scared qie. If you really had something wrong, where would that leave qie?"
"It's not that serious," Qing De Emperor coughed. He reached out to pat the arm she had on the bed, "Heng'er is already grown up. Why are you still crying like this?"
"It's that since Heng'er has grown up, qie has nothing to worry about. But if you … … qie would have no meaning in life," Jing guifei saw the taiyi had come in and stood as she wiped the tears running down her face. She feigned dignity as she ordered, "Take care in diagnosing the Emperor's pulse. If you don't take care, your fate will be the same as the taiyi who was beaten to death by Shu guifei."
"Niangniang, please don't worry," The taiyi bowed to Qing De Emperor before reaching out to feel his pulse. A long time later, he slowly released a breath, "Now that Emperor has wakened, it's more than half the road to recovery. But there was too much anger in the recent past which caused the body to weaken. Additionally, the state affairs have increased exhaustion, allowing illness. A short period of rest is all that's needed."
"You are telling the truth?" Jing guifei didn't care that the taiyi was still present as she sobbed. Smiling as she gasped, "Thank the heavens and earth, thank the heavens and earth."
The taiyi looked at this scene and felt deeply moved. Didn't they say that Shu guifei was more favored than Jing guifei, but why was it that Jing guifei was the one who had kept watch over the Emperor, and would cry from sheer joy due to the Emperor's body taking a good turn? Thinking to there, he couldn't help but shake his head inside. The Emperor didn't cherish the woman who had a true affection for him, but favored that tyrannical Shu guifei. The Emperor had really wasted Jing guifei's affections.
"Quick, write out a prescription for the Emperor," Jing guifei ordered as she wiped her tears, "After the Emperor recovers, ben gong will reward you greatly."
After the taiyi left, Jing guifei took a bowl of porridge from a palace maid and served half a bowl to Qing De Emperor. Seeing that Qing De Emperor's complexion had improved, she remarked: "Seeing Emperor like this, qie is reminded of twenty three years ago. That time, qie was kneeling at your bed, and was sobbing and begging the heavens at the same time. Qie endured until fainting but didn't see you awaken." She grimaced, "But now that qie has finally seen you awake personally, it truly is the Heaven's blessing."
"Twenty three years ago, you ……" Qing De Emperor's expression changed. He looked at Jing guifei's fragile complexion. A beat later, he gave a long sigh, holding her hand as he observed, "Zhen sees that you are exhausted, go to the side room and rest for a bit."
"Do as you are told. If you are still worried about zhen, zhen will let someone wake you after four hours. This is zhen's decree." Qing De Emperor's voice was resolute.
Jing guifei could only helplessly stand and walk out of the main hall. Only when she had lied down in the side hall did a sliver of a smile reveal itself on her lips. Shu guifei, that good sister of hers, always left these kind of opportunities for her. They made her felt that if she didn't take advantage of those opportunities, it was letting down her good sister.
Twenty three years ago?
At that time, the seriously ill Emperor didn't have any brothers, only distantly related cousins. She, along with the other feipin who didn't have children, who hadn't been crying to the heavens to not take the Emperor's life?
In the main hall of Tian Qi Palace, Qing De Emperor stared in a daze as he lay on the bed before he asked a taijian standing in the corner: "Where is Shu guifei?"
"Emperor, last night, after Shu guifei attended to you, she caught a cold. At midnight, she was supported by the palace maids back to her palace to rest and recover from her illness."
The person speaking was the chief steward of the taijian. He informed in a small voice, "This morning, a servant came to report. They said that Shu guifei niangniang was exhausted and most likely will become weakened if she doesn't rest and recover."
"Then when did Jing guifei niangniang start to attend zhen?" Qing De Emperor's expression was slightly cold.
"Jing guifei niangniang was in attendance starting from when she had heard you fainted," The chief taijian peeked at the Emperor's expression and carefully continued, "This morning, Jing guifei niangniang fainted once from exhaustion but niangniang wasn't willing to leave. Nucai didn't dare to persuade too strongly so niangniang hadn't closed her eyes for two complete days."
"En, zhen knows now." Qing De Emperor closed his eyes. Just when the chief taijian thought he had fell asleep, he once again spoke, "Let the Imperial Kitchen simmer the lily yam pigeon soup for Jing guifei. Zhen remembers that she likes this one."
The chief taijian hurriedly confirmed before retreating. After he came out of the door to the main hall, he looked at the horizon dyed red by the setting sun. This sky was most likely going to change.
In the quiet main hall, Qing De Emperor let out a sigh. Had he been wrong all these years?
[i]先帝: previous emperor