Someone familiar comes back for a cameo.
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Chapter Fifty Seven Husband and Wife on a Trip Together
The hot springs in the Jing suburbs were located not too far from the city. Qu Qing Ju saw that the nameplate of manor’s front gate had “Fu Lang Manor” written on it. Releasing the curtains, she commented to He Heng sitting beside her, “This name is popular and literary. The meaning is very good.”
“En, this property was bequeathed by fuhuang, and mufei named it.” He Heng tilted his head to smile, “After entering this gate, we would be travelling for quite a while before reaching our residence. There are many crops planted here. Some off-season fruits and vegetables can only be grown near the springs. Much of our fu’s fruits come from this manor.”
The intelligence of the ancients were, as expected, endless. They didn’t have any plastic tarps or greenhouses to plant vegetables. Instead, they used the aid of nature to grow the food that shouldn’t be in season. And their produce were a lot more natural compared to those that grew in the greenhouses.
“There’s a patch of peach and pear blossoms blooming right now on the mountain. After we rest today, I’ll accompany you there tomorrow,” He Heng saw her face was full of admiration and his smile became more visible. “Bai Yun Mountain is very close by. If we have the time, we should go see the Five Estates Monastery at the peak.”
Bai Yun Mountain Five Estates Monastery? Qu Qing Ju felt the name sounded familiar but couldn’t recall where she had heard it. It probably wasn’t anything important. Otherwise, she would have remembered it. She didn’t think about it any further and raised the curtain occasionally to look at the scenery.
The road had been constructed well. It was completely paved with black stone. Large trees were planted beside the road. To her left, some sections of the field were planted with wheat and all kinds of vegetables behind the trees. To her right were several fruit trees. The surroundings didn’t look very symmetrical but Qu Qing Ju didn’t have an obsessive compulsive disorder so she thought it looked rather interesting.
After travelling for a while, the carriage stopped. Qu Qing Ju heard a voice speaking just outside the carriage.
“This humble person Zhang Hong greets wang ye, wang fei.”
Qu Qing Ju stilled for a beat before she understood. This Zhang Hong was most likely the chief steward of this manor. No wonder he had come out to welcome them in the middle of the road. She looked at He Heng and saw the other seemed to think it was normal behavior.
“Steward Zhang doesn’t have to be so courteous. Has everything in the manor been prepared?” Qian Chang Xin smiled insincerely at Zhang Hong as he could see the other’s desire to curry favour, “Today marks the first time wang fei has come to this estate. If you serve them well, naturally there will be rewards. If a mistake occurs, you yourself will receive the punishment.”
“Don’t worry, Chief Steward Qian. Us humble people will serve well, and wouldn’t be remiss in any way,” Zhang Hong didn’t expect wang ye or wang fei to pay any attention to him. He smiled as he retreated to join the other stewards, “Hot water and food have already been prepared on the mountain. It cannot compare to the fu, but it wins at having more of a wild taste. Wang ye and wang fei can taste something new.”
“Smart. Coming out here at this time, it’s good to eat something fresh,” Qian Chang Xin spoke quietly and gave Zhang Hong an appreciative glance before he waved his hand for the procession to move ahead.
As they watched the train of carriages depart, the steward behind Zhang Hong asked: “Chief Steward Zhang, what should we do now?”
“Do now? Hurry and keep up. If any of the people down there do something wrong, we will all be affected,” Zhang Hong’s fawning manner instantly disappeared and he glared at the speaker. He started chasing after the carriages.
The other stewards stared at each other. Wang ye didn’t usually come to the manor. They didn’t know the preferences of wang ye and wang fei. But seeing how tense the chief steward was, they also started running.
After the carriage had stopped for the second time, Qu Qing Ju finally saw the gate of the main building on the property. The building wasn’t as grand as the wang fu, but it had its own sense of style. It was very exquisite, especially the three-level tower located behind it. Qu Qing Ju couldn’t help but look at it more closely.
“If you like the Jade Cloud Tower, we could live in there for the next few days.” He Heng smiled as he suggested, “Beside Jade Cloud Tower is the hot springs pavilion. A white jade pool has been constructed there. It’s very easy to soak in there.”
Qu Qing Ju nodded, “Great. A better view of the scenery can be seen from the top of the tower.”
After hearing that wang fei and wang ye wished to live in Jade Cloud Tower, the servants moved everything over. They lit the fragrances, the copper beast stoves and other things in order to heat up the building so that their owners would be warm and happy.
Qu Qing Ju let He Heng accompany her as she walked around the main building of the estate. She found that the carvings and the halls of this estate were finely crafted and held hints of the construction style of Jiang Nan. She even saw a hot stream winding its way through the property. It must have been constructed using the water from the hot springs.
Qu Qing Ju felt that the hot springs that called themselves emperor-level treatment in her previous life were just weaklings compared to what was before her eyes. Look at this hot spring estate that a wang ye had. If it was like this, how much grander would the Emperor’s one be?
“This property is slightly small but it is very exquisite. It’s fine to come out here occasionally.” He Heng didn’t have much interest in the flora and fauna of the estate. He held Qu Qing Ju’s hand and walked slowly towards Jade Cloud Tower, “Over the years, I’ve only come here once or twice and I haven’t had the chance to take a good look around the place.”
“Then wang ye has to stay here with me and play for a few days,” Even though Qu Qing Ju knew he had no intention of interfering with court matters, she still added, “It’s just that this is very far for wang ye to go to court.”
He Heng smiled, “That’s fine. I don’t have many matters to deal with nowadays. After I attend court, I’ll come back here to keep you company.” As he thought of the pre-arranged events in Jing City, the smile on his face dimmed, “I’ll also use the carriage. Even if I have to wake up earlier than usual, I could nap inside whilst travelling.”
Qu Qing Ju laughed at him for being lazy and He Heng pinched her cheek in retaliation. The two held hands as they played the entire way. The servants passing by all lowered their heads, not daring to look at their faces directly.
After the noon meal, the two took a nap before rising and prepared to take a walk outside. Qu Qing Ju sat in front of the mirror and watched Yu Zan familiarly style her hair. She ordered: “These days, you don’t need to take as much care with the hair ornaments. Over here, there’s no need to show my status.”
Yu Zan nodded in response. She picked up the hairpins for Qu Qing Ju and chose a pale yellow short dress for her to wear. Qu Qing Ju tilted her head as she looked at herself in the mirror. There was a hint of the style of the women of Jiang Nan. She smiled and complimented: “Yu Zan’s hands are so clever.” As she spoke, she rewarded each of the four da yahuan who’d accompanied her when she married with a pearl encrusted hairpin.
He Heng also finished dressing at the same time. Seeing Qu Qing Ju’s light and clean appearance, he commented: “Qing Ju is beautiful in whatever you wear, as expected.”
As expected? Qu Qing Ju raised an eyebrow, “Wang ye is always unusually handsome in anything he wears.” He Heng was wearing a moon-colored long robe. He did seem to have some of the looks needed to attract women. She came forward and tickled his palm, “I can’t look away.”
Wasn’t he supposed to say that to her? He Heng smiled helplessly. He took her hand and said, “Let’s go. The rain has stopped. We can take a look at the back of the mountain.”
The entire mountain they were situated on belonged to He Heng. Qu Qing Ju had the feeling that she was investigating her husband’s assets. She and He Heng got on the step-carriage together. They looked at the grasses and trees on both sides. After they reached the back of the mountain, she pointed at the small waterfall that had formed when the water on the mountain first flowed down and exclaimed: “This is like a drawing.”
A green mountain, a thin mist, and the pink peach blossoms blooming in the trees. Qu Qing Ju was moved. No wonder the main male lead in the novels liked to use the scenery to chase after their beauty. Because looking at beautiful scenery made people happy. Even though Qu Qing Ju had been part of the entertainment circle for a long time, she was still dazed by the scenery before her.
But Qu Qing Ju’s happy mood didn’t stay for long because an incident occurred.
“Wang ye!” This voice was so deeply tragic that a person’s heart would break upon hearing it. She looked behind her and saw Yun Qing wearing a slightly faded cotton dress and standing on a rock slightly behind them. Qu Qing Ju was even able to see the tears of excitement that came down her face.
Was this estate that Yun Qing was sent to?
He Heng didn’t think anyone would have the nerve to interrupt their admiration of the scenery. He frowned as he looked over at Yun Qing, blind to the tears on her face. He asked harshly: “Who let her in? Weren’t you ordered to guard this area and not let anyone in?!”
A steward hurriedly ran over and knelt with a bang in front of them, “This humble person greets wang ye, wang fei. Please forgive us. She is this humble person’s wife. Just now, she came here to deliver food to this humble person, and accidentally came in. It was this humble person’s slip. Please, forgive this humble person’s wife.” He started kowtowing.
Qu Qing Ju lowered her head to look at the man dressed in the blue clothing of a steward. He was short and slightly plump, beads of sweat running down his forehead as though he was very worried for Yun Qing.
Yun Qing didn’t attend to the man pleading mercy for her. She came forward a few steps to kneel in front of them, wailing tragically: “Wang ye, nu has finally seen you.”
Qu Qing Ju saw that He Heng’s expression was ugly but he didn’t seem to want to speak to the woman. She could only scold: “Outrageous, how can you speak so in front of wang ye?”
Yun Qing’s face paled. She stared with fear at Qu Qing Ju. This was the woman who’d sent her out of the fu and married her to a short and fat man. Now, she wasn’t a pure woman. How could wang ye want her now?
“Nu forgot on account of seeing wang ye. Please forgive me, wang fei.” Yun Qing gave another bow. She didn’t speak any further but continued sobbing, her thin shoulders slightly trembling and appearing very pitiful.
The short and fat man who had been begging for mercy on her behalf stopped in a daze after hearing her words. He hadn’t thought that the woman he was protecting with all his heart would say such … … unrestrained words. His face started to change over and over, feeling extremely embarrassed.
He Heng frowned in irritation, looking visibly sick of the whole matter. His left index finger impatiently tapped the handrail.
“As a woman who is now married, you should pay more attention to how you speak,” Qu Qing Ju saw that the steward Wang Dong was still in a daze and added, “Steward Wang, take your wife and leave.” She didn’t understand what Yun Qing was thinking. A man had sent her away. Naturally that meant he no longer had any interest in her. Why do something like this and make her future days harder?
Wang Dong woodenly made a kowtow and pulled Yun Qing along as he started to walk, not caring as Yun Qing tripped and stumbled behind him.
After he pulled the other to a place where he couldn’t see wang ye and wang fei, Wang Dong silently released Yun Qing’s hand. Yun Qing said resentfully to Wang Dong: “Move, I don’t need you controlling me.”
When she had finished, she felt a pain burning on her face. Wang Dong had hit her. Yun Qing stared wide-eyed in disbelief. This weak and cowardly man dared to hit her?!
“Shameless!” As he spoke, the slightly plump face of Wang Dong didn’t have any expression. None of the gentleness and emotion that had appeared in the past was visible now.
Yun Qing stilled. She saw Wang Dong turn and walk away, refusing to look at her again. Her mind fell into a sea of emptiness.
He Heng felt that his ears were finally clean. A beat later, he revealed a satisfied smile as he pointed in the other direction and informed: “There’s a very big mouth over there, the pool is even bigger than the one in the pavilion. But the surroundings are not good so only an open hot spring was constructed. When the weather warms, we could play there like ducks.”
Qu Qing Ju glanced in the direction that Yun Qin left in. She smiled, nodded her head and announced: “Then, I’ll have to take a look.”
To want something that one could never receive, that person’s life was fated to be a tragedy.