Accepting the Gift
Murong Yu Jian excitedly tells them that he wants to go retrieve the two Ye Ming pearls for Yun Qian Yu. Murong Cang permitted him as he walks to the Imperial Study, followed by Gong Sang Mo. Nobody knows what they talk about, they talked for quite a long time. Even the head eunuch Li Jin Hai has been sent out.
When Gong Sang Mo steps out of the Imperial Study, he is carrying a brocade box. Other than him and the emperor, nobody knows what that box contains. Li Jin Hai who has been in the palace for a long time can vaguely guess what the box contains. He thoughtfully looks at his back profile; it looks a lot more relaxed at this moment compared to it's usual indifference.
His straight back, his dancing hair, his billowing sleeves; everything tells Li Jin Hai that Xian Wang is in a good mood right now.
Li Jin Hai shakes his head; living in the palace for so long taught him that some things are better left unknown. He enters the Imperial Study to serve his master.
After leaving the Imperial Study, Gong Sang Mo did not return to Yun Qian Yu's palace and heads straight back to Xian Wang Manor.
The night is calm and quiet in the capital but underneath that thin layer of serenity, there lies hidden waves of storm.
Every single household that night is filled with hushed whispers. The silhouette of people chatting in low voices can be seen through their windows; discussing about the latest big news.
The next morning, everyone finally gets the full news.
Something happened in Hu Wei Camp outside the city! Even Rui Qinwang who personally tend to it could not solve it! The common populace who entered the city at night said that whilst they didn't know what truly transpired, they saw a great fire in Hu Wei Camp. It was said that the fire consumed half of the camp. They also heard the fierce sound of men fighting. Rui Qinwang entered the city this morning in a pitiful manner.
There is also that matter regarding the Vice-Minister of Work's mother. She suddenly fell ill yesterday; even the imperial physicians were helpless. This morning, a funeral banner was hung in their residence as the sound of weeping fills the entire house. The entire funeral is a messy affair in Bai Manor.
Prime Minister Tian's matter is a funny one. He clearly sprained an ankle; a day or two of rest should be enough for him. But last night, two of his concubines fought for favor. The fight got physical and they ended up accidentally breaking the prime minister's leg. The prime minister cannot even get out of bed now.
The Great General Liu on the other hand became a new laughing stock in the capital. He had been anxiously searching for his missing son outside the city, but turns out that his son had been busy getting drunk in a courtesan house. He ended up fighting with a foreign merchant in the streets, witnessed by the entire city. The Great General Liu ended up vomiting blood out of anger and is now bedridden.
The common populace can only sighs, why is everything happening at the same time? The people from Rui Qinwang's faction are the only one who didn't react; they know this is just for show. They are doing this to threaten that Hu Guo Princess.
Only when they got to the morning court did they finally realize that everything has been real. Everything was not for show. Vice-Minister of Work Bai Yong Zhi, Prime Minister Tian and Great General Liu are all absent.
Murong Cang who is shrouded in his black robe that is embroidered with golden thread sits on his dragon seat while peering down at the pale and lethargic Rui Qinwang. He secretly sigh in his heart; Yun Qian Yu, that girl is really something. Her method makes even this treacherous nephew of his turn to this degree! New born calf indeed doesn't fear the tiger ah! However, since that girl's gift is here, there is no reason for him to not to accept, correct?
He angrily reprimands the courtiers and not a single one of them dares to refute him. All the facts are in front of their faces; there are so many mishaps on top of that, how can they refute him?
Everyone from Rui Qinwang's faction surreptitiously glance at him.
Rui Qinwang feels particularly depressed, but he can give no explanation. He only knows about the three of them right before the morning court commences. By then, it was too late for him to come out with any counter-attack. Other than Bai Yong Zhi's mother's illness, everything else were fake so how did everything turns out this way? Someone must have done something.
He suspiciously look at his own uncle, Murong Cang who is sitting in the throne. That old thing didn't have much time left so he had always been relenting towards him. He actually dares to offend him today? Don't tell him that everything that happened last night happened because of that new Hu Guo Princess. No matter how powerful one is in martial arts and medicine, there is just no way for one to be that calculative. If Yun Valley really have that ability, don't tell him they already cured that old man's poison?
While he plays that guessing game on the sideline, Murong Cang has already received Yun Qian Yu's big gift.
"Scholar Lu Zi Hao!"
"Chen is here!" Lu Zi Hao steps out and bows in front of him.
(TN: Chen (臣)is the way ministers addressed themselves.)
"Draft a decree!"
"Zun Zhi!" Lu Zi Hao made his way towards a desk on the sideline. He picks up a brush before waiting for Murong Cang's decree.
(TN: Zun Zhi (遵旨) means 'In compliance with Your Majesty's order.' I have no idea how to write that in English without making it sounds awkward TT. Any idea anyone?)
"Vice-Minister of Work, Bai Yong Zhi lost his mother last night. He is to mourn for three years and can come back to the court after. Prime Minister Tian has been unhealthy, he is to recuperate and come back once his injury heals. The Great General Liu fails to educate his children. He couldn't even keep the peace in his own family; how can he keep the peace in this entire land? He is to be relieved of his Great General position and is punished to reflect for three years. His military power is to be taken back. He is not allowed to leave the capital without a decree."
Each and every word in his decree is equivalent to a heavy strike in the hearts of the ministers. All three involved comes from Rui Qinwang's faction, the emperor is clearly slapping him in the face.
The courtiers can all sense the change in the atmosphere. They secretly guesses inside.
Rui Qinwang continues standing there lividly; the emperor is really going against him.
After seeing his son who fainted after getting hit, he was furious and decided to threaten Yun Qian Yu. He originally thought he could use that incident to impeach Yun Qian Yu and takes away that Hu Guo Princess title in one swoop. But he never thought it will bite him back; all of his efforts to cultivate those powers are in vain.
Things haven't ends; Murong Cang's eyes falls on Rui Qinwang.
"Rui Qinwang neglects his duty for Hu Wei Camp. The entire camp slacks off and are undisciplined. They gathered to drink wine and got into a brawl. They didn't immediately put out the fire and that fire ended up killing and injuring a lot of soldiers. Is this Hu Wei Camp worthy of protecting the capital? Your tiger seal shall be retrieved for now and one year worth of your salary will be deducted."
"Your Majesty, don't you think this punishment is too heavy?"
"Right. It was not intentional on Rui Qinwang's part."
"Please reconsider, Your Majesty! Rui Qinwang is the only imperial heir, no one else inside this hall is more worthy to be in charge of Hu Wei Camp."
Rui Qinwang's faction can no longer endure. Hu Wei Camp is in charge of protecting the capital; Rui Qinwang cannot bear to lose such a huge authority.
"The only imperial heir? Are you telling zhen that zhen's grandson, Murong Yu Jian is not of imperial blood?"
Duke Rong immediately steps out and accuse the crowd. He begs the emperor to clear the deceased crown princess' name.
That official finally realized his mistake, he immediately kneels to admit fault: "Your Majesty, this official was wrong!"
Even though Yu Jian is just a little child to them; one that is bound to be pushed aside sooner or later, they should never openly acknowledge that idea.
Murong Cang laughs coldly, "Zhen never realize how unreliable you people are!"
"Chen begs for Your Majesty's mercy! Chen did not mean it that way!" The group of ministers kneels before kowtowing.
"If you didn't mean it that way, then in what way did you mean it? It is exactly because Rui Qinwang is zhen's nephew that he needs to receive this punishment! The crime of a royal is a crime nonetheless; and he is a wangye at that!"
Rui Qinwang's eyes turns cold! Do you think you can protect that little Yu Jian just by taking away the Hu Wei Camp? Even your sons could not win over this king, much less your little grandson! Just dream on, you old fool!
The Hu Wei Camp was on fire because of those soldier's internal conflicts. The people he cultivated with great care either suffered from heavy injuries or dies. The number of people he can use now is very little. The camp will need to be nurtured from the very start. To do it all over again will require a lot of effort, might as well cast it aside! Wait until the camp is stable once again before placing one of his people to be in charge.
He bows before handing over the tiger seal, "Informing Your Majesty, this official admits fault."
Li Jin Hai steps forward and receive the tiger seal.
Murong Cang laughs coldly on the inside but maintain an angered expression on the outside. He waves his sleeves and angrily leaves the morning court. Duke Rong too leaves the morning court with a bitter face.
Lu Zi Hao, the scholar, looks at the four edicts. The tip of his lips curls. Now that he lifts his hands, he does it with flair ah! He picks up the edicts and walks towards the courtiers with leisurely steps. He pays his respect to them before walking out of the hall.
He mumbles to himself, "Aiya, four edicts. My feet are going to break from exhaustion today."
After that, he turns towards a court official and says, "Official daren, are you going to the Prime Minister's manor to visit him? Let's go together!"
Everyone within Rui Qinwang's faction looks at Rui Qinwang; none of them dares to acknowledge Lu Zi Hao.
Only Hua Man Xi lazily walks out of the crowd, "Brother Lu, let's go together."
"Alright, Hua shizi."
"Just call me shizi if you want to; can you skip out on the 'hua'? It sounds like huaxin!"
(TN: huaxin (花心) = playboy/unfaithful/fickle. LOL ><)
"Alright. Then from now on, I shall address you as Xi shizi."
"Sure. It sounds better than Hua shizi."
The crowd watches Hua Man Xi who is dressed in a red robe. The corner of their lips uncontrollably twitches. He is going to offer his condolences while being dressed like that? It is a funeral, not a wedding.
The two people's silhouettes wander farther and farther away. All the other neutral officials have also left, leaving only Rui Qinwang's faction.
They surround Rui Qinwang as they bombard him with questions.
"Wangye, what is going on?"
"Weren't they just pretending? Why did it turn real?"
Rui Qinwang glares at the crowd. These bunch of idiots, is this the right place to be asking those questions?
The crowd understand his meaning; they all got quiet before following Rui Qinwang out of the hall.
Rui Qinwang turns around and looks at the magnificent hall; he secretly sneers on the inside. Did you think you managed to cut off my arms? You will be disappointed, uncle.
After drinking Yi Xiu Pill, Yun Qian Yu sleeps for the entire night and wakes up early the next day. Her qi has gotten better, her inner energy is also 10/23 points recovered. As she eats the delicious breakfast prepared by Hong Su, she listens to Feng Ran's report about last night and everything that happened in the morning court today.
Gong Sang Mo is wearing a pale blue robe, his hair arranged high in a white jade head gear. His eyes glitters like stars as he steps in leisurely with his white boots. He walks in slowly with his hands tucked behind him.
Upon entering the hall, the first thing he sees is Yun Qian Yu; whose face has recovered that pinkish healthy glow. She is wearing a blue dress while sitting in front of a table, eating her breakfast. Her satiated expression makes Gong Sang Mo's face turns warm.
Translator’s Note: Chapter 20 is sponsored by Lauren!