Chapter 89: Real Sisters?
It was boisterous in the Imperial Gardens tonight due to the banquet and in contrast, the courtyards of the Inner Palace were much quieter. Ming Ze stood with his back again Qing Feng Hall’s main doors and stared at the still bright moon with a cold look but there was a hint of ridicule in his eyes. In the Little Prince’s full month banquet, the Commander of the Imperial Guards would had deployed them early on thus Imperial Concubine Qing’s and the Prince’s safety and protection naturally need not require him to worry about.
Ming Ze stood that upright for don’t know how long when suddenly an extremely fast black shadow fleet pa.s.s from the short shrubs.
“Who is it?” This black shadow was extremely fast as when Ming Ze looked around alertly, other than the noise from the distance, the rest of the place was quiet as though as no one was there. Just as Ming Ze suspect that he was too uptight when that black shadow flew by. It seems that it was heading to the depths of the Inner Palace. Ming Ze was secretly shocked. This person was actually hidden at the short shrubs all the time but he did not feel his presence at all. This person’s martial arts skills were immeasurability high! Ming Ze did not think too much and gave chase.
After a few take off and landings, he could still see the black clad figure but when Ming Ze chased till near the Empress Dowager’s Dong Sheng Palace, there was no more traces of the black clad figure. Ming Ze calmed down and thought about it. Today it was the Little Prince full month banquet, thus the Palace would be heavily guarded. This person actually could move freely throughout the Palace and his martial arts skills were higher than him, thus if the black clad person wants to avoid him, it would not be difficult. Why would he attract his attention and let him chase him all the way?
Could it be… That the person in black was here to distract him?! d.a.m.n it. Did he fell into the tactic of moving the tiger away from the mountain? Ming Ze had a bad premonition in his heart and dared not stop any longer. He turned around and rush back to Qing Feng Hall.
When Ming Ze reached the doors of Qing Feng Hall, he saw that the main doors were closed and took a breath to leap over the wall lightly and landing just inside of the door. The inside of the hall was as quiet as he had left it and there was only a female standing in the middle of the courtyard with some small clothing in her hands and a look of shock.
At this moment the person that was standing in the courtyard was Shen Yao. After finally recovering herself, Shen Yao timidly asked, “Imperial Guard Ming, what is the matter with you, did something happened?”
After verifying that there was no black-cladded persons within Qing Feng Hall, Ming Ze stared at Shen Yao and asked in a deep voice, “Why are you here?” As a wet nurse, shouldn’t she be by the Prince’s side all the time?
Under Ming Ze’s cold intense watch, Shen Yao took a step back in fright and quickly explained, “This servant did not feel good and since the Empress Dowager had sent over two wet nurse, her Ladyship let this servant rest in the house. This servant stayed in the house in the afternoon and it was the palace maid, Hong-er, who brought food to the room for this servant to eat. You probably was only on duty at night and did not know about it.”
Seeing that her breath was slightly chaotic when she was rushing to speak, it did not seem that she was lying. Ming Ze did not continue pressing on why she would appear at the courtyard now and ask softly, “Did you discover anyone or hear anything just now?”
Shen Yao thought for a bit and shook her head before replying, “No. This servant was sleeping in the room all this time and when the body turn for the good, thought about the Little Prince’s clothes that was drying in the courtyard was not kept, thus came out to bring the clothes in. Then you came back when the clothes were brought down. This servant did not see anyone else and did not hear any sound.”
There was nothing?
Who exactly was that black cladded person? Why did he trespa.s.s the Inner Palace at night? The confrontation tonight was him accidentally disclosed his whereabouts or was it intentional?
Shen Yao saw that Ming Ze did not speak for a long time and the coldness in his eyes also increased, she quickly softly said, “This servant will retire.” And quickly returned to the inside of the house hugging the clothes she was holding.
Ming Ze paid special attention to Shen Yao’s breathing and pace. It seemed like she was not a person who knows martial arts. For her to appear in the courtyard now, was it truly just a coincidence? The doubts in his mind increased and Ming Ze’s eyes unconsciously looked towards the room where Qing Feng stayed in.
Should he the matter be brought to her?
“The incense has gone out.”
The eunuch’s cries rang and Gu Yun immediately stopped even though she had three more arrows in her short crossbow. Even it was so, the left side of the lake surface was obviously dimmer which indicated who the winner was.
“There are still twenty-eight left on the left side.”
“There are still forty-one left on the right side.”
The results are obvious. Gu Yun not only won the eight guards but also won by a large margin.
With the short bow in her hand, Gu Yun look back towards Yan Hong Tian, seating at the main seat who was staring at her deeply with slightly narrowed eyes, and laughed, “Emperor, this means I have won over the eight of them correct?”
In the large garden, not only the hundreds of officials were surprised but stared with admiration at the lean figure standing by the lakeside in the breeze, even the Empress Dowager smiled in satisfaction, “Indeed a female better than the male counterparts!”
Xin Yue Ning teeth was clenched so tight. Even though what was done today was in accordance with Shui Xin’s arrangement, but she was mad that this ugly female was under the spotlight! Seeing the interest growing in Yan Hong Tian’s dark eyes, Xin Yue Ning urgently said, “Emperor, the weapon she use is different from the guards, thus doesn’t it seemed opportunistic and unfair?” If it wasn’t that weird crossbow, she would not have won so easily.
Fair? She was to talk to her about fairness? Glancing at the brawny man standing beside her with arms thicker than her thighs, Gu Yun laughed sarcastically, “To do a good job, an artisan needs the best tools. Even on the battlefield, it is not possible for the Empress to request the enemy to use the same weapon as you right? I only choose what was favourable for myself only. Not only that, in the beginning, it was agreed that the compet.i.tion was about who can sink the most number of floating lanterns and that would be the winner. It did not indicate what weapons me or the guards would be using. Or was it under the eyes of the Empress, having eight brawny guys to defeat me, a female, is considered fair?”
When the words were spoken, the hundreds of official were immediately sent abuzz. When they look up, the eight brawny guards were standing by Gu Yun and she was almost drowned beside them. With such poor contrast between them, the word fairness immediately had become a joke. Xin Yue Ning was very embarra.s.sed and there was still anger in her heart but she dare not throw a temper.
The extraordinary splendour of Gu Yun did not escape Yan Hong Tian’s eyes. Yan Hong Tian suddenly laughed and exclaimed, “With regards to the wipe out of the pirates in the East Sea, Zhen appoint Qing Mo as an Military Counsellor to follow the army in the expedition.”
“Emperor!” Hundreds of sitting officials gasped together. It was still alright for Qing Mo to follow the army but to go as far as to appoint her as a Military Counsellor? This was indeed ridiculous. Since ancient times, there was no basis for a female to be a Military Counsellor!
The hundreds of official opposed and questioned but Yan Hong Tian was already accustomed to it and majestically said, “A monarch’s words are not jokes.”
The words of a monarch’s words were not jokes shut everyone up. The words that the Emperor said, how can it be a trifling matter?
Gu Yun magnanimously replied, “Thanking the Emperor.” Thus Gu Yun not only could follow the army expedition but also had a t.i.tle of a Military Counsellor to go along with it.
After that, there was still eating and drinking in the Palace banquet but the hearts’ of the hundreds of officials were secretly observing. The Emperor’s face is inscrutable, the Empress was livid but she restrained her emotions, General Su seemed to be filled with anger but unable to vent it out and the youngest daughter of the Qing family who was just in the spotlight was very calm. But the most puzzling to everyone was that of Imperial Concubine Qing–
She gave birth to a Prince for the Emperor and her blood sisters did not fall short and obtained Prime Minister Lou’s and General Su’s favour and sits as their official wife. To have a Prince and both Lou and Su families as support, in future at the Inner Palace, afraid that even the Empress Dowager and Empress have to restrain with her but why did she have an expression of dire and fear?
In such a not so harmonious atmosphere, the banquet ended with Empress Dowager’s excuse of “the Little Prince is tired”. Yan Hong Tian took the lead to get up but saw Qing Feng still staring blankly while she was sitting on the stool. As his eyes stared down, he noticed that that two hands were tightly grasping one another and was slightly shivering. Yan Hong Tian’s brows frowned and he walked over to her. With one hand holding her chin, he lifted her head up and asked softly, “What’s the matter?”
Qing Feng seemed to have suffered a great shock and jumped up. That pair of large frightened eyes stared at Yan Hong Tian. Yan Hong Tian was surprised, what was the matter with her? Wasn’t Qing Mo unscathed at the end of it?
It would forever require courage to be able to look at Yan Hong Tian directly and now she did not have it. Qing Feng finally recovered herself from the scrutinising pair of black eyes and took a step back struggling. She avoided Yan Hong Tian’s hand and replied softly, “It is tiring today. I… I want to go back to rest.” Finishing Qing Feng hastily bowed and let Ru Yi carry the child from the old mama and with Fu Ling’s support, headed towards the direction of Qing Feng Hall.
Seeing that seemingly elegant, but in reality panicked, back view, Yan Hong Tian was filled with interest that there was a rare smile appeared on his lips. What exactly made his usually fearless beloved concubine become so fearful?
Along the way back, Qing Feng’s hands was gripping Fu Ling’s arms tightly. The strength was so large that Fu Ling could only repress the pain back by biting her tongue. As the entourage reached Qing Feng Hall, Qing Fell pulled Fu Ling and caught a hold of Ru Yi and the three of them entered the house. Qing Feng then tightly closed the door and leaned against the wooden door. Under the dim light, they could not see her expression but could hear the sounds of her gasps.
Fu Ling went forward to support her and anxiously said, “Mistress, what is wrong? Where do you feel uncomfortable?”
After a while, when Qing Feng manage to settle down her mind, she whispered, “Ru Yi, carry the baby into the room and take good care of him.”
Ru Yi naturally could tell that Qing Feng was being strange but as long as Fu Ling was here, it would not be her turn to accompany. Ru Yi replied obediently, “Yes.” And carried the baby into the inner chambers. After a short while, lit two lamps swiftly.
With the candlelight shining through the screen and into the living area, Fu Ling finally could see Qing Feng’s expression. She stood up straight but the strength seemed to be supported by the door and her eyes were closed while her hands were hanging at the side of her body. At this moment, as compared to when she just entered, she seemed to be calmer.
“Let me calm down a bit.” The slightly hoa.r.s.e voice made Fu Ling swallowed down all her questions and she could only accompany her quietly at the side.
Qing Feng find that her mind was very confused, with everything that happened during the evening, she was clueless. What actually happen in the entire year? She need not believe what others were saying but today, she herself saw it with her own eyes that Youngest Sister had a valiant style and could have the capability to beat eight. How was this the naturally coward and weak Youngest Sister of hers?! Thinking back to the few meetups with Eldest Sister’s and Youngest Sister’s, their speech, their characters, their facial expressions, their…
A nameless fear invaded her heart, were they the sisters that grew up together and got along with her for tens of years? The doubts that she dare not share with anyone keep popping up and she could not settle her heart down in any moment if these doubts were not answered!
“Fu Ling!” Qing Feng suddenly screamed and Fu Ling who was standing by her side quickly responded, “This servant is here.”
What? Before Fu Ling can react, Qing Feng suddenly grabbed onto her hand, pull her to her side and whispered to her ears, “Help me… Help me investigate…”
Fu Ling could not hear what Qing Feng was saying due to her supressed trembling voice and could only question, “Investigate what?”
“Investigate… Qing Ling and Qing Mo! Exhaust all contacts and channels to investigate. I want to know everything that they did after they reach Qiong Yue! The more detailed it is the better!”
Investigate Miss Qing and Lou Furen?! Fu Ling had never imagine that Mistress’s fear and panic was related to investigating her own sisters. Why was this so?
“Must be quick! The soonest!” She really cannot wait, she want to know the truth!
Fu Ling had never seen Qing Feng like that and had a belly full of questions but did not know if it was the correct time to ask. She supported her to the wooden chair by the side before consoling her, “Alright. This servant will do it immediately, you mustn’t be anxious.”
Seeing her sitting quietly on the chair, Fu Ling gently gave a sigh of relief and quietly exited.
Qing Feng felt as though all the energy in her body had been siphoned off and her hands tightly wring round her arms. She suddenly felt so cold, as if the cold was borne from her heart.
If they were truly not Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister… No. It would not be. It was not possible…
Father, mother, Feng-er was very fearful…