Putting on a big bamboo hat, the strong man lowered his head to concentrate on driving the chariot, two skinny and shriveled dark horses were mounting and running. The low key grayish blue chariot was traveling within the capital city, nobody was looking one glance too much towards it.
Inside the chariot, Bai Yi was half leaning against the window frame, between the thin bamboo curtain, he slightly narrowed his eyes to gaze at the recently parted curtain of the night that revealed the beauty of the full moon. Thinking of Zhuo Qing who was taking those letters to the Imperial palace and had to meet with Yan Hong Tian, his mood was not relax and feeling well. Who could have thought that coming to Qiong Yue this time, he would have this unexpected gain, it was really a satisfaction for everyone!
His hand was striking the window frame joyfully, detecting the stuff that was hidden away inside his sleeve, Bai Yi took it out to see. It was a woman’s calligraphic style that he wrote in the afternoon when Zhuo Qing asked him to. Even though there were only several words, but he could not make it stay at the Prime Minister’s manor.
Just when Bai Yi wanted to shred the paper, the reflection of the full moon came in and the moonlight was illuminating the folded white paper, Bai Yi suddenly felt fishy. Opening up this paper to look at it, Bai Yi’s original face that was still smiling, became cold instantaneously. His eyes bursted forth and produced that fierce and ruthless shady cold ray.
“Fu Yu.” His cold tone and anger’s low roar made the big person stared blankly, and he promptly answered: “I am here.”
“Immediately return to Liao Yue!” That several words bursted forth and came out of the gap between his teeth, showing that person who was inside the chariot was in a rage. Master’s mood was still very good a moment ago, how was it that it was not even half a shichen (1 hr), he would be angry like this?!
Even though the big person was very curious, he didn’t dare to ask anything, and could only answer with a low voice: “Yes.”
Keeping his anger completely with his black eyes that were staring rigidly at the empty paper that did not have any word, his hand was slowly tightened, the veins on his wrist was suddenly raised up, until the hand that was holding the white paper was merging together. Bai Yi ferociously tossed it to the other corner of the chariot.
Very good, Qing Ling!!
Unexpectedly, she dared to scheme him!!
Nobody could make a fool out of him like this!
Next time, if they still had any opportunity to meet, he must make her life worst than dying!
Because of his extreme anger and the red trace of his eyes, he looked fierce and ruthless on his young face, fully unwilling to accumulate his anger, nobody would have any doubt, what he was saying, if there was a next time.
Inside the Imperial study room, the Emperor’s complexion was cloudy and unsettled, the Empress Dowager’s eyes were amazed, the atmosphere was somewhat oppressive and strange.
Using her hand to firmly throw away the stuffs that were on her hand, on the table, Yang Zhi Lan was glaring at Zhuo Qing, she answered with a stern voice: “Aijia has absolutely not seen these stuffs before, and I have no relationship with Liao Yue either. Moreover, the handwriting on the letters are not coming from Aijia’s hand, these stuffs are absolutely forged to frame Aijia!”
Reciprocating Yang Zhi Lan’s emotional movement, Zhuo Qing’s complexion was as before, and she asked: “The Empress Dowager’s meaning is that the handwriting is not yours, and can only prove that these stuffs are forged?”
Yang Zhi Lan could not help but to roar lowly: “Certainly!” She also did not know why this kind of thing could appear, the seal impression that was on the letter was exactly her personal seal, but her seal impression was always kept at the Xi Xia palace hall. How could she get a hold of it, furthermore, Seventh Prince’s seal impression, how did she get a hold of it also?!
Zhuo Qing slowly nodded her head, she was actually looking towards Yan Hong Tian this time, and asked with a cold voice: “Then, why is it that this reason can not be used for Xi Yan’s case?! The letters that the traitors have put forward are really not the Lou’s father and son’s handwritings. According to the meaning of the Empress Dowager, those stuffs must be forged, some fake evidences, why are those sufficient to send a Prime Minister of a country to jail? Moreover, is the member of the Imperial family different than the average official within the court?”
Yan Hong Tian’s complexion became more and more cold because of Zhuo Qing’s aggressiveness, Yang Zhi Lan’s mind got panicky, she reprimanded with a stern voice: “Presumptuous, Lou Xi Yan’s crime is to plot a rebellion to seize the throne, one naturally can not overlook it!”
She could be certain now that this woman absolutely forged these so called letters to communicate with the enemy, she unexpectedly had this ability? Was Lou Xi Yan helping in the dark, or Su Ling. Dan Yu Lan was also standing by their side, with a slightly lowered head and not looking up, with an ‘innocent’ face on the woman’s face after close examination. Yang Zhi Lan regretted it now, why did she not drown at that time!
Zhuo Qing slowly nodded her head, pretended to be ignorance, she asked with a clear voice: “So it is actually like that, the Empress Dowager’s meaning is that ‘plotting for a rebellion is a serious crime, but communicating with the enemy’s country is not’?”
“You!” Pointing her finger at Zhuo Qing and trembling in anger, Yang Zhi Lan was unexpectedly at a loss for words for a period of time, and she did not know how to respond.
Zhuo Qing changed the discussion, and looked towards Yan Hong Tian again, she asked: “Emperor, Qing Ling only wants to know now, these evidences are valid or not valid in the end?”
With his cold eagle eyes that were looking at her, Yan Hong Tian with a firmly cold and dangerous tone, answered: “So what if they are valid or not valid?”
This man’s expression looked like a needle, just looking face to face with him like this, one needed and required to use all of one’s strength. Especially his only words could decide one person’s life or death, that kind of fear that made people only dared to crawl under his feet.
Zhuo Qing was secretly apprehensive, every time she was looking face to face with him, she would recall that night when he almost choke her to death. That nearly dying feeling, when she often thought of it, it would make her throat burning hot. Difficulty breathing and secretly harmonizing her breathing for quite a while, only then could Zhuo Qing answer with a loud voice: “It can be proven if they are valid, the Empress Dowager may have a secret tie with the enemy country, the Son of Heaven (Emperor) breaks the law, there must be a lot of people who are guilty. The Empress Dowager should go to jail even more, and accept the punishment during the investigation. If they are not valid, it seems that the Emperor is negligible if you are showing these evidences like this, lacking truthfulness, Xi Yan can go to jail with these kind of evidences. Even though they can not release the innocent of the crime, but he should be able to return home to recover and cooperate with the investigation. And it is not because of those groundless evidences to imprison him in the prison!”
She would absolutely not cower because she, herself understood for what reason that she fought the battle.
Yan Hong Tian secretly raised his eyebrows, the Qing family’s women were all the same types? She was unexpectedly not afraid of him? Just liked that one woman inside the harem who dared to roar at him. Covering up the interest within his eyes, when he raised his head again, those pair of cold eyes changed direction to look towards Yang Zhi Lan who was anxious and frightened at the side.
Yan Hong Tian asked with a cold voice: “How does the Imperial mother see it?”
Yang Zhi Lan wanted to defend herself, but after thinking deeply for a while, she still closed her mouth, finally, she only answered in a low voice: “The Emperor will make a decision for everything!”
Looking towards the man who kept silent all along and whose lips were unexpectedly holding a shallow smile, Yan Hong Tian asked with a very bad mood: “What wise opinion does Prime Minister Lou have?”
Lightly shaking his head, Lou Xi Yan was calmed and collected just liked before: “The Emperor will make a decision for everything.” He was still a criminal, was he not?
Secretly staring one glance at Lou Xi Yan, Yan Hong Tian turned to look towards Dan Yu Lan and asked: “Official Dan, you have also investigated the gold case for a good few days, what have you discovered?”
Dan Yu Lan secretly grumbled, was this matter not Su Ling who was the leader to investigate this, he only provided assistance?! Why did the Emperor not ask General Su?! Slightly leaning his head, Dan Yu Lan looked towards the side of Su Ling, who would have thought that Su Ling unexpectedly leaned his body ruthlessly and arrogantly, and pretended not to see his line of sight. Dan Yu Lan could not find any methods, could only resigned to his fate and stepped forward one step, and he answered: “Reporting back to the Emperor, besides several letters that the leader of the traitors provided, there was no other evidences that were given for the Prime Minister’s father and son. And within the seven sealed letters, one sealed letter was dated two years ago, and it was the official seal of the old Lou’s general that he is using now, but the official seals of the various generals were changed once about one year ago. The letter from two years ago was unexpectedly using the seal that was changed one year ago, this doubtful point was very big. Secondly, one of the leader of the traitors, Yu Xiang, was from the town of Wu Xian (county), from 24 years old to 30 years old, was already an Imperial bodyguard for the residence of the high official with the Ministry of Appointment, Li Hong Min. After he departed, he unknowingly left some tracks, during the interrogation, Yu Xiang did not admit that he was a general from the Li Daren’s family in the past, and his words were flickering and really suspicious.”
Dan Yu Lan’s speaking voice just left, Yang Zhi Lan’s complexion already changed again, at this time, Gao Jin who left to go to the Prime Minister ‘s manor, came back. Standing in the middle of the palace hall, Gao Jin answered realistically: “Reporting back to the Emperor, Seventh Prince departed the Prime Minister’s manor immediately after Madam Lou entered the Imperial palace, there is no trace of him now.”
“What a coincidence?” Yan Hong Tian was speaking while looking towards Zhuo Qing, Zhuo Qing put an innocent face towards him. Yan Hong Tian looked towards Yang Zhi Lan again, Yang Zhi Lan lightly coughed and answered: “Emperor, this is surely Liao Yue’s plan to drive a wedge between us, Bai Yi has certainly anticipated this earlier, he will observe and escape when the opportunity is there. Those so called letters should not be trusted!!”
Having a secret tie with the enemy country, she could not take this criminal charge upon herself, moreover, the Yang’s family could not take it upon themselves!!
Slowly nodding his head, Yan Hong Tian said with a clear voice: “Since the Empress Dowager also believes that these letters should not be trusted, then the so called Lou clan father and son’s rebellion plot, can not be brought up either. This very day, Zhen will grant that the Lou clan’s father and son be released from prison and return to the family, and restore their official posts.”
“Thank you, the Emperor.” Zhuo Qing secretly relaxed her breathing, and walked to the side of Lou Xi Yan. Tightly holding his hand, Lou Xi Yan would return to hold her hand, he smiled gently and softly. Lou Mu Hai who was always the spectator in the main hall, appeared to somewhat understand, but he also appeared not to underhand it clearly, but this was good, as they could finally go out.
Yan Hong Tian suddenly had another deep thought and looked one glance at Yang Zhi Lan, he pretended to ask distressingly: “Oh right, in light of the Imperial mother’s consideration, the other Daren should not have any objection, right?!”
Yang Zhi Lan was shaking all over, secretly clenching her teeth, she could finally smiled and answered: “The cabinet ministers will admire the Emperor’s brilliant.”
Did she not know that her own smile was so fake? Raising his head ineffably in his mind, Yan Hong Tian suddenly was slapping the table, he lowly roared with a deep voice towards Dan Yu Lan: “The case has not been concluded yet, Official Dan still needs to continue to investigate thoroughly. This stealing of the state treasury, setting up the loyal and good officials by the rebels and traitors, Zhen will punish them severely!”
Yan Hong Tian’s sudden anger was somewhat subtle and ineffable, but the officials were already used to this a long time ago, Dan Yu Lan cupped his hands as always: “Yes.”
“Withdraw, ok.” Waving the sleeve of his garment, Yan Hong Tian did not look towards them any more.
With their fingers sticking closely, the two people were stepping on the night scene, walking to the bluestone trails to reach the Imperial palace gate quietly. The night wind was brushing their hairs and tangling them. Holding firmly, that pair of always cool and slender hand, Zhuo Qing nevertheless thought that her heart was full and warm at this moment.
“Xi Yan!” So actually, calling out someone’s name softly, he could response to you immediately, this was unexpectedly a type of happiness.
Lightly caressing the back of her hand that was warm, soft and exquisite with his forefinger, Lou Xi Yan slightly smiled, he answered with a soft voice: “Qing-er, we return home, ok.”
“En.” Returning home!
The moonlight used their figures to drag the long and hazy gaps, the shadows appeared to fold together, it was not clear whether it was one person or two people. Looking from a distant, they appeared to lead along each other’s hand like this, walking all along, until…… the end of their lives.
Lou Mu Hai looked at the two people who were interlocking their hands at a distant place, his heart could not help to be trembling slightly, was this just what Xi Yan was saying to be in love with one person for all this life?! Maybe…… he was right, ok. That girl was barely enough to be qualified, ok.
Looking at that couple who seemed to only have eyes for each other’s sweetheart, his mind was trembling, not only Lou Mu Hai. Su Ling’s heart also raised an indescribable jittery, because his mind flashed through a beautiful shadow now who liked to exchange blows with him.
At the outside Imperial place gate, there were four parked chariots, looking that they were coming out, a trace of a petite but strong and healthy figure was coming out of the side of the chariot. Walking to the front of Lou Xi Yan and Zhuo Qing, and looking that they were holding hands with happy and smiling expressions, Gu Yun relaxed her breath, and she smilingly said: “You finally came out, the performance that I put with a lot of energy was not in vain either.”
Lou Xi Yan nodded his head slightly towards her, smilingly said: “Many thanks to Miss Qing, wrong, I should call…… younger sister in law.”
This word younger sister in law made Gu Yun and Zhuo Qing to roll their eyes, they were not sisters, ok?! In addition, if they would regard their ages, Gu Yun was still a few months older than Zhuo Qing…… Gu Yun waved her hand, mockingly said: “No need to express thanks, this was the first time that I put on a play, I also hoped to be the last time.” Being able to see when other people were lying and being able to lie on her own were two different things?! She thought that her own acting was simply clumsy!!
Casted a side long glance at her, Zhuo Qing lowly scolded and said: “I also hope that it was the last time that my shoulder was pinched and broken into pieces by you!” The energy of this woman’s hand was stronger than a man!! She was in tears at that time!
Shrugging her shoulders, Gu Yun answered: “It was called a good performance!” She was actually nervous as she was rarely telling a lie, if it was not for Qing, she would not put on this labor calmly!
Recalling Bai Yi’s pair of hidden and shady eyes that were sincere behind them, Gu Yun asked somewhat anxiously: “Are you sure that boy will return to Liao Yue?” Leaving and hiding at some places in the capital city, what matter could come out.
Zhuo Qing’s clear eyes raised slightly, she lightly smiled and said: “If he is not stupid, he should already know that he was being fooled.” Bai Yi was a cautious and timid person like that, he was sure to find out that paper that he wrote with some words, were already taken away. She only wanted him to know how he felt being fooled on his own, if he was not in Liao Yue, with regards to them, they would not feel relieved either.
“That is good.” Qing was speaking like this, she was sure to anticipate it somewhat.
Zhuo Qing looked one glance at Su Ling who was behind Gu Yun, she asked in a low voice: “Are you returning to the Prime Minister’s manor with me or……” After all, Yun and Su Ling seemed to quarrel seriously before, if Yun did not want to return to the General’s manor, she could actually stay with her. She was afraid……
“She is the General manor’s person!” Sure enough, Zhuo Qing’s words had not finished yet, Su Ling’s cruel and untamed eyes were glaring at her angrily, even though the moon was out during the night, Zhuo Qing could feel and suffer a deep chilliness, and his cold, firm and stubborn’s voice also declared Gu Yun’s position.
After Gu Yun looked distracted, she turned around to hop into the Prime Minister manor’s chariot that was behind Zhuo Qing, then she said this sentence out: “Crazy person.” (See below).
Even though he did not know the meaning of the sentence, but he could absolutely know that was not a good sentence! Su Ling’s complexion was dark, and unexpectedly he also jumped to follow her into the chariot. Soon afterwards, there were punching and kicking sounds from the inside of the chariot, there were some kicking sounds in the chariot that was not big…… Zhuo Qing swallowed a mouthful of saliva, she said to Lou Xi Yan who was behind her: “How about…… if we walk home, ok.”
Lou Xi Yan raised his eyebrows lightly, looking at that chariot’s canopy that was kicked out, somewhat anxious, he asked: “Is Miss Qing really alright?” But General Su did not usually understand to have any tender or protective feelings towards women…..
“This……” Hesitating for a moment, Zhuo Qing forced a smile and said: “She should be alright, right……”
A group of people went out of the Imperial study, Yan Hong Tian waved his hand, and all of the palace maids and palace eunuchs withdrew out, the big palace hall looked even emptier, quieter and colder.
Yan Hong Tian with a gloomy face sat at that place indifferently and did speak anything either. Yang Zhi Lan was somewhat at a loss, her heart was hanging in the air, not knowing what he wanted to speak to her or just wanted to simply sit for a moment. This one son, she was always unable to figure out what he was thinking?
About a quarter of hour later, Yan Hong Tian still had not spoken yet, nevertheless, his face were more and more gloomy, yang Zhi Lan was somewhat unable to endure and slowly getting up, she sighed slowly and said: “Having this matter out today, the Emperor is sure to look wounded and angry, it is better to rest a bit earlier, ok, Aijia is also somewhat tired.”
Yang Zhi Lan walked to the middle of the palace hall, Yan Hong Tian’s cold voice suddenly came through from behind her: “What the Imperial mother wants to talk to Zhen is only this sentence?! The Imperial mother has not explained anything about today’s matter?”
Feeling sluggish in her feet, Yang Zhi Lan turned her body around, and she answered perfunctorily: “This is the evil scheme from Liao Yue to set the Prime Minister up first, then frame Aijia. It is very repulsive, what more does Aijia need to say?!”
“Is it? Zhen can not believe it like that!” Yan Hong Tian suddenly got up to approach her step by step, his muffled voice, apart from his regular icily arrogant manner, it was somewhat puzzling even more: “Does the Imperial mother want to take revenge on Prime Minister Lou or take revenge on me with this kind of matter?!”
With her hands that were trembling, Yang Zhi Lan hurriedly put her hands on her back, secretly harmonizing her breathing for a while, she could only looked her son’s eyes to answer: “Aijia does not understand the Emperor’s meaning.”
Did not understand?! Yan Hong Tian sneered, she already did the deed, but was still afraid to admit it?!
Yan Hong Tian was looking at this woman who could only deceive him, sneeringly said: “Strictly speaking, towards the Imperial court and towards Zhen, the Lou’s family is like having necessary arms. When you did these matters, did you ever think for the state of the country, did you ever think of Zhen? You are Zhen’s birth mother, for the past many years, Zhen let you do whatever you wanted, and turned a blind eye, but it seemed that it was Zhen’s mistake. If it was not for you who connived at and ganged up with Wu di (younger brother) during that time, how could he decide to plot a rebellion and seize the throne later on?!”
Yan Hong Tian did not mention Wu-er which was good, once he mentioned him, Yang Zhi Lan looked like an insane person, that was her eternal pain in her heart, it had been tormenting her incessantly for the past many years! No longer taking into consideration the so called status, and pointing her finger at Yan Hong Tian, Yang Zhi Lan shouted: “Are you criticizing me that I can not educate my children? It is true that I really can not teach my sons, otherwise I will not produce another henchman who is a cruel, vicious, and blood thirsty’s bastard from birth!!”
“Vicious and blood thirsty’s bastard?!” His head just liked it was being punched by a person, the buzz was echoing, his heart was tightened just liked a ruthless hand that was tormenting it, apart from the pain, he did not have any other feeling. Yan Hong Tian suddenly laughed heartily before the woman whose finger was pointed at him and cursed him as a bastard, that was exactly his birth mother!! This one conniving younger brother tried to seize the throne and fond of this woman who was unexpectedly his birth mother!!
Good! Good!! Yan Hong Tian walked staggeringly to the side of the table, supported himself on the cold table, the next words that he spoke out was as hard and ruthless as the bluestone table: “Since Zhen’s birth mother is assessing Zhen like this, Zhen will really do something that I can do! Those officials who have added fuel to the fire and taken the side of the evil doers, and because they have framed the loyal and good officials, so they will be put to death!”
She seriously believed that he did not know that she fostered a secret alliance in the Imperial court, Yang’s clan occupied one quarter of the seats in the Imperial court. In order to make up for her pain and mourning of losing a son, he already tolerated her so much, but this still came about in the end, precisely because of her bastard sentence?!
Yan Hong Tian’s red eyes, and frantic shouting finally made Yang Zhi Lan return to rational, she already did not have Wu-er, if she did not have the Yang’s family, what did she still have?!
“You can not do this……” Her words just came out, but Yang Zhi Lan discovered that her own words were quite funny, what could he not do, as he could kill his own younger brother, what could he still not do!
Falling to kneel on the ground exhaustingly, Yang Zhi Lan tiredly said: “This whole thing was Aijia’s own plan, it did not have any relation to the other people. If you let the Yang clan’s people go, you can do whatever you want to do, ok!” Even if he wanted her to die, she would not care, she simply did not want all of the Yang’s family to be sinners.
Yan Hong Tian looked coldly at the woman who was kneeling on the ground, several strains of white hair were already on her temples, her beautiful face was eroded by the years in the end, leaving behind a trace of aging. Her empty eyes seemed to be soulless, how could he still fight with this kind of her?!
Turning his back around so he did not look at that sad face that made him angry unknowingly, Yan Hong Tian sighed lowly and said: “The Imperial mother always likes Buddhism, it will be better to stay (the actual words are to keep watch beside the coffins) at the Imperial cemetery in Mount Qingcheng, to seek peace of mind and longevity, ok.”
Yang Zhi Lan was somewhat stupefied so she lifted her head, watching attentively at that tall, straight and indifferent’s back. For a very long time, she finally got up slowly, and in a mocking speech, she said this sentence: Thank you for the Emperor’s favor!!”
Yang Zhi Lan left the Imperial study step by step, the bright and splendid radiance left her gradually, just liked her life.
Qiong Yue’s Year 134, and on the 9th month, two major events happened, first, the traitors from Xi Bei colluded with Liao Yue to set Lou Xi Yan up, the Criminal Prison Division, Dan Yu Lan saw it through in the end. The traitors’ evil schemes could not prevail, hereby, the gold case was settled. Second, the West Empress Dowager would permanently stay at the Imperial cemetery, to keep watch and pray the blessings for the Yan’s clan ancestries.
The actual words that GY was using is 神经病 shenjingping, which meant literally a person who has a mental disorder. This words are pretty much used in the modern time so people in the ancient time would not understand what she was saying. And thus, the next paragraph explained that SL didn’t quite understand what she was saying, so he could only guess that whatever words that she said.
This was the second longest chapter in this book (over 6,500 Chinese characters) as the longest chapter will be the final chapter (over 8,600 Chinese characters). There were a lot of “reasons”, I suppose on why YHT became the person like he was. For those of you who really hate YHT’s character in this book, I hope this chapter will soften your hearts a little bit and can understand why he needs to be “ruthless” to be an Emperor. And to be fair, he is definitely a good Emperor. He knows which officials are loyal to him and will use those loyal officials to make his country better. He’s definitely one of the good Emperor as he really cares about his country.