The desolate silence in the autumn made summer heart fickle and restless and before the arrival of the cold winds, this short beginning of winter would be the most beautiful season. Among the evergreen forest tree, an entourage of people was waving their way through. Walking right in front was a male clad in a black robe walking leisurely with an expression similar to the early winter wind breeze. Behind him was a female in flowery clothes flanked by two females accompanying her. Several tall and might guards were following the pedestrians. With such an entourage, from another point of view, it would seem like wealthy master and mistress who were out to play. Unfortunately the female with the flowery clothes was pregnant and walked impractically and that gloomy face did not look like one would have when they come out to play.
Yesterday they were rushed for almost half a day to get to this residence and after than she played an entire afternoon of chess. And at night she had gotten too excited upon seeing the plum blossom forest that she only fell asleep when it was around Zishi (modern timing 11pm – 1am). Initially she thought that since Yan Hong Tian did not need to be morning court, there would not be anyone who will wake them up, thus she could sleep till around noon before waking up. She did not think that at dawn, Xiao Yu would knock the doors. Seeing that Yan Hong Tian was somewhat aware of it as he calmly got up, she felt annoyed. If he informed that it was required to be up early today, she would have slept early last night and would not be such a condition like now, being supported by Ru Yi and Xiao Yu at both side as she walked.
Even though it was scenic on the way up, Qing Feng did not have the mood to appreciate it as she was scolding Yan Hong Tian in her heart from his head to toe. Before she could vent her anger, she turned and gave a side eye to Xiao Yu. It was indeed true that what kind of master would have what kind of servant. Xiao Yu smiled lightly and was not even at least bothered by her sharp glances. Really good, she can still smile. When they return she would have to hand over her Ji Pin Liu Yue, let’s see if she can still smile then!
Actually the entourage of people did not walk too fast and Qing Feng did not feel very tired. Its just that she did not rest well last night and got up too early so she was a little tired. When Yan Hong Tian stopped, Qing Feng looked up and was immediately awaked by the towering mountains.
As it turns out there was such a large mountain behind the residence, she thought that the residence consist of that one courtyard she saw last night. It would seemed that she had underestimated the Imperial Residences.
Gently breaking away from both of their hands, Qing Feng took a deep breath and felt that the chilly air entering her heart. She instantly felt refreshed and looked up to view the towering peaks. Qing Feng faintly sighed, “Should have come earlier to watch the sunrise.” Now then they started to hike up, it would be in the afternoon when they reached the peak. It would then be idea to watch the sunset.
Lightly glancing at the audacity of this female, Yan Hong Tian laughed, “You still want to watch the sunrise in this condition?”
“I can’t do it?” She knew that with her current condition, it would indeed impossible to climb up to the peak to watch the sunrise but Qing Feng refused to back down from her words, “It would only be slower. It would be just nice for tomorrow morning sunrise!”
Tomorrow morning? She could still say such a thing. Yan Hong Tian went over to her side and whispered to her ears, “You can forget about sunrise. There is something special to see.”
Hike up a mountain and not see the sunrise, then what else was there to see? Seeing that he did not have any intention to continue speaking, Qing Feng raised her brows gently but she did not question. Anyways he had to show it to her to see, so just let him deliberately create a mystifying air.
The entourage hiked up the mountain trail and because of the narrow mountain trail, it can only accommodate two persons walking side by side. Ru Yi and Xiao Yu were no longer able to support her by her side but Qing Feng’s belly was so huge that it made her more clumsy than usual, thus it was very dangerous for one person to help her up the mountain. Qing Feng apparently did not mind it and let Ru Yi support her with one of her hand, while her other hand grabbed onto the stone cliff as support. Ru Yi was shocked and wanted to use both hands to support this brave and stubborn Mistress when the next moment, a tall and large figure took over her position and that restless pregnant female was firmly placed in his arms. Ru Yi silently gave a sigh of relief and took a few steps back. With the Emperor’s protection, her Ladyship would not be in any danger.
Qing Feng had to admit that with Yan Hong Tian’s protection, she did not need to worry about accidentally rolling down. That pair of strong arms firmly supported her and as she leaned onto him, she did not need to use much effort to climb up the stone steps. But even so, after walking about half a Shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) she was so tired that she was gasping for breath. When she looked over to the person beside, his face was not red nor was he panting and even his hair was not in disarray. It was really unfair! But… The side of the face that was focusing in front… Was kind of good looking.
Qing Feng was just had that thought and Yan Hong Tian seemed to have read it as he suddenly lowered his head and when she meets his deep black eyes, Qing Feng’s face redden. Yan Hong Tian’s lips hooked up and that arm around her waist tighten as he said by her ears, “If beloved concubine wants to look, Zhen will let you look upon returning. Now it would be best to look at the feet instead.”
Who wants to look at him?! She was made a joke by him without a good caused. His voice was not soft so all the highly skilled in martial arts Imperial Guards had all heard it and even the two girls who were following behind was giggling and smiling. The more Qing Feng thought, the angrier she became. She did not continue walking and just went directly into his arms and only lifted her legs but not exert any force at all.
Qing Feng’s pregnant self was not at all light and to be this scoundrelly, Yan Hong Tian simply lifted her up to walk and did not even neglect or relaxed her a little. After walking like this for half an incense (around 30 mins), Yan Hong Tian finally brought her to a large stone area and place her down on the platform.
Yan Hong Tian’s smooth forehead finally had a layer of sweat and his breathing started to be disorderly. That made Qing Feng felt better and she looked up to explore where she was at.
This stone platform was not considered large but it was enough to allow around ten people to stand on it. The Imperial Guards were at the bottom of the mountain guarding and there was only her and Yan Hong Tian on the platform with Xiao Yu and Ru Yi standing at the side.
Their current position was not even halfway up the mountain but it was not short neither as one could see far from here. Qing Feng look at the road she came from and could vaguely see the courtyard of the residence, thus she find that even though it takes a long time to come up, it does not seem to be as big as she thought.
“The truly gorgeous scenery is at this side.”
The low voice with a smile came from the other side of the platform. Qing Feng looked back and only then discovered that there was a stone recess. Curious as to what Yan Hong Tian claimed to be a truly gorgeous scenery, Qing Feng went pa.s.s the stone recess and to his side. Reaching by his side and seeing the grandeur of the scenery, Qing Feng’s entire body stiffen on the spot.
“Goodness… So… Beautiful!” Everywhere one look was a vast stretch of green waves like the sea? She had never seen such a vast and dense bamboo forest. The bamboos were swaying with the wind, like the waves on the ocean, so charming but it was not as fragile as them. The tall bamboos were old and had suffered through the violent winds, heavy snow and downpours , like a battle hardened warrior with damaged armour wrapped around them, standing strong no matter where they were. That strength and softness ill.u.s.trate the resilient strength of character which made Qing Feng’s blood heat up as she kept looking.
“Don’t blame the snow for pressuring the branches, for when the sun rises, the branches will extend to the heavens above. Don’t blame the earth for burying the weak joints, for when the shoot sprouts, it would immediately pierce the vaults of heavens.” Standing on top of this platform seemed like one was standing on the top of the sea of bamboos and it made one feel like leaping into its embrace on impulse.
Translator: Basically it means that the suffering one goes through now may be difficult to tolerate and painful but when the opportunity arrives, there would be a chance to go far and amaze everyone. The Chinese poetry is much more elegant. For both verses, the author used 6 words for the first phrase and uses 4 words for the second and third phrases. I pretty much killed the whole poem thing by not following it and paraphrase each phrases as it does not make any sense in English if it is directly translated… And I could not make the translated phrases sound as poetic and elegant as how the Chinese one is… The Chinese poem is posted just in case anyone wants to try making the English translation more poetic.
She was as if bewitched by it and took a step forward. Her waist abruptly tighten and he was trapped in an warm and strong embrace. Yan Hong Tian’s uniquely low voice sounded by her ears, “If one jump down, it would be a wretched state.”
She could hear the faint smile and self-deprecation in his voice and Qing Feng did not know why she asked, “You… Jumped before?”
Yan Hong Tian lightly raised his brows, she actually guessed that he had done such a ridiculous thing. He thought again, usually females like her would have wanted to leap, so what strange in guessing if he had did it before? Looking into Qing Feng’s curious eyes, Yan Hong Tian nodded his head as he smiled.
He really jumped?! That was too insane! Qing Feng excitedly gripped his robes and urgently spoke, “When was it? How did it feel?”
Seeing the female in his embrace looking at him full of worship and wonder, Yan Hong Tian could not help but laughed. Even when he stood at that golden throne being worshipped by the six nations, he did not see any trace of glimmer of that in her eyes. At this moment she made no secret of her desire and admiration. Thinking back on all the frivolous things he did in his youth, Yan Hong Tian smiled, “About ten years ago. The feeling was ‘painfully’ happy! That one leap made Zhen lay on the bed for a month.”
Ah? Listening to him saying the two words ‘painfully happily’ with clenched teeth, Qing Feng could not help but laugh. How was the Yan Hong Tian ten years ago like? Was he a frivolous but cool and bright young adult with a warm sunny smile? Qing Feng looked at that vast forest once again and her heart had a slight sense of desolation.
Feeling that the person in his arms was a little desolated, Yan Hong Tian whispered, “Want to paint?”
“En!” Qing Feng nodded with force as she felt a flame in her chest and was going insane as she thought of drawing the bamboo forest down.
Yan Hong Tian headed towards outside of the concave stones and gave a look to Xiao Yu. Xiao Yu nodded her head and brought out the four treasures of calligraphy and arts from the bag and placed it on the small stone table individually.
Seeing the different painting supplies on the stone table, Ru Yi was secretly amazed. For older sister Xiao Yu could be Qiong Yue’s first female official, she indeed had exceptional qualities. She had long aware of the different masters’ interests and minds.
After making sure there was no mistakes, Xiao Yu loudly said, “Your Ladyship, the painting supplies are ready.”
Xiao Yu actually brought painting supplies? Qing Feng looked back puzzledly and saw the paper, ink and brushes. Not one of the things were not the best quality. Qing Feng sighed, “Xiao Yu. Xiao Yu. How would one would not love you when you being this considerate? Wonder if the Emperor would be able to part with this favourite?”
Yan Hong Tian put on a face of dismay as he smiled, “This cannot do. Without her, the entire Zhen Yang Palace will be in a mess.”
These two masters really had nothing to do that they used her to pa.s.s time! Xiao Yu did not bother about them and just turn around. Previously it was Gao Jing who will be in the Imperial entourage and it was not easy to actually come out to walk, she must take the opportunity to enjoy this rare scenery.
“Emperor, your female official’s temper is not little at all but Bengong like it even more.”
“This is nothing. There are times where her temper is even bigger than this.”
The more the two persons behind were talking, the happier they got. Xiao Yu secretly clenched her teeth and turned around to bow before softly sighed, “Both masters, isn’t this letting Xiao Yu feel ashamed? If so, next time Xiao Yu would not dare to be this ‘meddlesome’ anymore!”
Yan Hong Tian and Qing Feng looked at one another and laughed, so it seems that it was quite interesting to occasionally tease others. It was a fortunate thing that both of them know when it was enough and stopped, thus Yan Hong Tian continued to lean against the stone cliff to appreciate the beautiful scenery. Qing Feng went to the stone table to pick up the brush and lightly dipped into the fragrant ink. Before the tip of the brush landed on the fine white paper, Qing Feng’s heart suddenly felt empty and the picture of blue waves and green bamboos instantly blurred in her mind.
Bamboos naturally did not have hearts, was it because of that that it did not have distracting thoughts? Thousands of years have pa.s.sed but it was still standing between the mountains and would eventually become a vast bamboo forest? How about… That person? If a person did not have a heart then did it mean that there are no more desires?
After picking up the brush a few times, she put it down. This was the first time that her mind was filled with such beautiful scenery but she had no trace of how to start in her heart.
“Be careful your Ladyship!”
When she off in another world, she heard Ming Jian’s, who was standing on the mountain trail, shout and pieces of large rocks had roll down towards her. She had no time to think as she quickly stepped back. But she did not think that the stone table was the at the far left of the platform and behind it were the stone steps. As Qing Feng backtracked, her foot stepped into mid-air…
A sharp scream pierce the quiet mountain forest and every happened too quickly. The Imperial Guards were at the base of the mountain and they had no time to react to sudden turn of events. Ru Yi and Xiao Yu were injured by small pieces of rocks and fell onto the platform and when Yan Hong Tian, who was standing in the stone valley, turned around, he could only see Qing Feng’s figure rolling down the stone steps.
“Qing Feng!” Yan Hong Tian immediately flew over to rescue but he was too far away. Qing Feng still rolled down very quickly.
At this time, an even faster shadow overtook Qing Feng and covered half of her body. It protected her and tumbled a few more steps before stopping.
Ming Ze released the hand around the waist to look at the person in his arms and urgently say, “How are you?”
“I… Pain… So painful…” Finally she recovered from the fainting, Qing Feng only felt pain in her entire body. She wanted to open her eyes when she felt a warm spreading from her forehead and her eyes. In a short time, even with everything red, she could vaguely recognise the owner of the voice… Ming Ze.
When she gradually got back the feeling of her body, she finally realised that her entire body was in pain but the most painful part was still her belly. A surge of hot liquid was flowing out of her body and the almost unconscious Qing Feng stiffen as one of her hand clutched her stomach and the other gripping on the arm of the person beside as if it was able to ease a little fear in her heart.
“Child… My child…”
The person in his arms kept moaning lowly and her long fingernails pierce the flesh on his arms. Seeing that frail face filled with blood, Ming Ze’s heart started to feel waves of pain. If she was not protecting her belly, she would not have hurt until like this.
Ming Ze only felt that his arms were lightened and Qing Feng was already carried away by another pair of stronger arms.
Yan Hong Tian carried Qing Feng and ordered the guards following behind to summon for the Imperial Physicians as he rush down the hill.
Ming Jian saw Yan Hong Tian rushing down the hill but was not in a hurry to follow. He walked to the platform and propped Xiao Yu up, “Are you alright?”
Gently moving her ankle, Xiao Yu shook her head, “Just a slight sprain.”
“Both of you help them down the mountain.” After pa.s.sing Xiao Yu and Ru Yi to the two guards behind, Ming Jian expression grew colder as he went up the road to climb up the mountain. Xiao Yu looked up at the direction which Ming Jian headed, there were no gravels on the smooth stone walls and there was no rain during the past few days, how would there be such a large rock falling from the mountain? Xiao Yu somewhat understood in her heart.
Qing Feng could not see anything but could feel that the person who was carrying her and running madly had become the most familiar man. Even though the pain made her entire body feel weak, she still wring her hands tightly around Yan Hong Tian’s neck and kept on repeating one sentence all the way, “Child… Yan Hong Tian, help me… To keep this child…”
“Zhen will not let anything happen to you and the child.” Yan Hong Tian cannot differentiate it was blood or tears on his neck but they were enough to burn into him!
The palace roads had always been cooling during the morning and one could hear clearly the chaotic footsteps. A early forties man with hands clasping and unclasping in front of him. Even though he look dignified, his feet was moving at the speed of wind as he headed towards the Palace gates. The two medical attendants following him was carrying two large medicine chests and dared not fall a step behind.
The man was too enthralled with his thoughts that when he turned into a corner, he almost crashed onto the oncoming female. The unhappy female’s voice coldly sounded, “What is this walking without looking.”
The male looked up and saw the female looks and quickly got to his knees to greet, “This lowly official greets the Empress. May your Ladyship have innumerable fortune and safety.”
Xin Yue Ning’s swept her eyes over to the man and discovered that he was an Imperial Physician. Seeing his hurrying expressions, Xin Yue Ning became curious and asked, “Such a hurry for what?”
“Replying to your Ladyship, Imperial Concubine Qing accidentally fell down the stairs at Shu Chuan Courtyard and the Emperor summoned Imperial Physicians for treatment.” The male’s heart was extremely anxious but dared not offend the mistress of the Inner Palace. He only answered carefully while hoping to get out of it earlier.
Qing Feng fell down the stairs? Xin Yue Ning’s heart beat wildly as she urgently spoke, “Other than you, who else were also summoned over?”
“There were also Imperial Physician w.a.n.g, Imperial Physician Li and Imperial Physician Lin.”
“The Emperor actually summon four Imperial Physicians this time. It seems that… This fall of Qing Feng’s is indeed not a light one. Xin Yue Ning was secretly delighted and did not make things difficult for him, “That being the case, then you should quickly go.”
“Yes. Yes. This lowly official will retire.” The male got up quickly and walked away faster than previously, almost running as he leave.
Xin Yue Ning looked at Shui Xin who was standing quietly beside and just as she wanted to ask, she thought about something. Lightly coughing, she said, “All of you can withdraw. Shui Xin, support Bengong to walk around.”
After waiting for the rest of the palace maids to walk away, Xin Yue Ning excitedly asked, “You did it?”
Shui Xin did not reply but she nodded her head slightly. Xin Yue Ning’s mood was instantly good, “You did well! Bengong will now go to Shu Chuan Courtyard and see Qing Feng will feign until when!”
“It would be best for mistress not to rush out now.” The gentle voice was like a bucket of iced water poured on her. Xin Yue Ning sullenly asked, “Why? If Bengong don’t go, what if Qing Feng hoodwink herself out of it?” That Qing Feng was very cunning and the Emperor was vulnerable to her temptation. If she did not take her to task this time, the next time it would not be as good as this chance!
“Mistress must keep calm and do not get excited. Now the four Imperial Physicians are heading over, and one of which is Imperial Physician w.a.n.g, who only specially treats the Emperor. If Imperial Concubine Qing truly do not have a child in her womb, one would not be able to hide. On the contrary, if you were to rush over excitingly to bring her to task, it would only make the Emperor suspicious. It would be better to report it to the Empress Dowager and head there with the Empress Dowager…” When Shui Xin said till here, she did not continue. Xin Yue Ning was not a slow witted person, after thinking about it for a moment, she understood Shui Xin meaning and laughed, “Great idea! Heading there with the Empress Dowager so even if the Emperor wants to flip out, he would not be able to do so. If Qing Feng’s stomach is fake, then without the need for Bengong to do anything, the Empress Dowager would never let it live down. At that time even if the Emperor plead for her behalf, it would be useless!”
“Now head towards Dong Cheng Palace.” Xin Yue Ning was bend on exposing Qing Feng and cannot wait for a moment at all, thus she pulled Shui Xin along and hurried towards Dong Cheng Palace. Mistress had set her mind that the baby in Qing Feng’s abdomen was no longer there but Shui Xin felt that there should still be a baby there. She was more concerned if that baby of Qing Feng’s would be saved or not. If it was not saved, that person, who was protecting her in the background, would feel anguish right?