To balance out the sweetness of the last chapter, here’s something spicier. He Ming isn’t as naive as he seems. He just knows his limits very well.
Chapter Thirty Six Strife
On the eighth day of the first month, the Royal Court opened once again. The carriages and sedans that moved through the city lessened and peddlers gradually filled the streets again.
But just as the court opened, a grand case was pushed out. There was an official who accused Rui Wang of putting out high-interest loans in Jiang Nan, of participating with the salt governance and casinos. Once this came out, it instantly caused huge ripples. On the third day as this incident grew larger and larger, this official suddenly accused Rui Wang of having a guilty conscience and threatening his family. After he finished, under the gaze of the entire court, he rammed himself into the gold coiled dragon pillar with his head for an instant death.
This was akin to throwing water into boiling oil. The explosion rocked the entire Jing City. The emperor was so angry he fainted in the Royal Hall. For a time, each person in Jing defended themselves, afraid they would be involved.
In Duan Wang Fu, Qu Qing Ju flipped through the ever increasing states of calling cards. She furrowed her eyebrows and ordered: “In the future, if somebody asks for a meeting, just say I am sick, and wang ye is busy with his duties, not in the fu and cannot receive guests.” At this time, He Qi was locked in conflict with He Yuan. Duan Wang Fu didn’t need to involve itself.
Enough smart officials in Jing should have already found that the dead official was connected with Ning Wang. Ning Wang was also fighting with Rui Wang at this time. Everybody was content to look at the spectacle. Why involve themselves?
Mu Jin nodded to show she remembered. Seeing wang fei’s face was dark, she informed: “This morning, people from Chang De Gong Fu came. They said that lao taitai missed you.”
Qu Qing Ju gave a disdainful smile. She marvelled: “When I was at Chang De Gong Fu, I didn’t see that lao taitai missed me. To think they would think of me now.” She just didn’t like the conduct of Chang Dee gong Fu, “Right now, they don’t have anyone at court. They just want to use lao taitai as an excuse to find information. Tell the messenger that I received a cold a long time ago. Now when I get cold, I will get sick.”
Since the reputation of Chang De Gong Fu was already terrible, she didn’t mind adding more negativity. Either way, the news that Liang shi abused the daughter left behind by the first wife was already out there.
“This is good, it will stop those shameless people from trying to associate themselves,” Yin Liu added some smokeless charcoal to the copper lion basin in the corner. She said with righteous fury, “Nubi is just afraid if you let them a bit, they will try to paste themselves onto in the future.”
Qu Qing Ju heard this metaphor and couldn’t help but smile, “You’re thinking too much. Chang De Gong Fu might be shameless but they wouldn’t dare rush to fawn.” With the Duke of Chang De’s personality, how could he bear to shame Liang shi. As to Liang shi, she didn’t want to see her even more. The only person that might sincerely want to have good relations with Duan Wang Fu was Qu lao taitai. But it was a pity she was old and she was no longer the ruler of Chang De Gong Fu.
Mu Jin looked at Yin Liu, forbidding her from saying what she shouldn’t say. Yin Liu was more and more brash recently. Even if wang fei was kind, she shouldn’t use wang fei’s favour and forget her own boundaries.
Under Mu Jin’s stare, Yin Liu knew she broke protocol and quickly shut up, not daring to talk nonsense.
Watching the movements between the two, Qu Qing Ju smiled but didn’t speak. Yin Liu’s personality was a bit too brash. Letting Mu Jin teach her a bit, it was to prevent her from being harmed by this personality.
In Rui Wang Fu, He Yuan smashed a teacup with a dark face: “He Qi made such a good play this time!” Thinking about that official that performed suicide on the pillar in the Royal Hall, He Yuan felt his anger reach a peak. At what time did he need to threaten a minor official?! But now that the incident has reached the point of no return, fuhuang had to calm the others and actually rescinded his qualification to attend court. Even more, he couldn’t leave his wang fu.
He never was at peace with lao da, but due to fuhuang’s partialness for him, he had never lost much at the Royal Court. He hadn’t expected that this time he would suffer such a large fall.
“Wang ye, this incident is most likely complicated. As to what to do, the most important is to clean up what was going on in Jiang Nan,” A subordinate persuaded, “Now that this has been uncovered and revealed by Ning Wang, the emperor will definitely send somebody to Jiang Nan to investigate. As long as there is no proof, then it will still be fine if a few more people die.” He actually understood inside that no matter if wang ye could pick himself out of this incident, his reputation would be damaged.
People usually believed bad news, not good news. When it was time and there was proof that this incident had nothing to do with wang ye, in the eyes of others, it was the emperor that wanted to protect wang ye and purposefully absolved wang ye. In this case, wang ye had done these things in the first place.
“It’s fine if a few more people die?” He Yuan smiled coldly as he looked at his subordinates. He looked at another subordinate, “Gao Duo, who do you say that fuhuang would sent to investigate in Jiang Nan?”
The retainer called Gao Duo didn’t rush to speak because He Yuan called on him. He ruminated for a while before replying: “Wang ye, you are the most favoured of the emperor’s sons. This to you, it is the biggest factor in your favour. By now, Ning Wang’s actions are getting bigger and bigger. This is increasing the emperor’s wariness of him. If this one hasn’t guessed wrong, the emperor will send Cheng Wang and an official that the emperor favors to Jiang Nan.”
“Lao si?” He Yuan raised an eyebrow, “lao si is always cowardly and has no ideas, there’s no need to worry there. The only problem is the accompanying official.”
“At the Royal Court now, there are four officials that the emperor trusts the most. The first is the Marquis of Xiang Qing, Tian Jin Ke who is also the Junior Minister of Justice. But this man is Duan Wang Fei’s uncle so the emperor won’t send him. The second is the Minister of Defence, Luo Chang Qing, but this man is Cheng Wang’s future father-in-law so the emperor would have even less an likelihood of sending him. The third is also the person already responsible as Chief Examiner for this year’s examinations, the Great Scholar Lu Jing Hong. Taking away these three, the only one remaining is the Minister of the Right Wei Wen Guang. And this person might not be the most able, but he is very perceptive and good at pandering to the emperor’s desires.” Gao Duo performed a bow and said in a meaningful tone, “Wang ye, all that this one has surmised, all of it rests on the premise of the emperor’s partialness for you.”
He Yuan finished listening and sat in thought on the chair. The franticness on his face gradually calmed: “Mr. Gao’s meaning, ben wang understands. You can all leave.”
Hearing the change in what wang ye had called him, Gao Duo left with a calm expression along the other men. After them came out of zhengyuan, he smoothed the scraggly hairs on his chin and smiled as he bore the jealous stares of the other subordinates as he walked out of the wang fu.
In the front hall of Tian Qi Palace, He Heng and his three brothers stood at the bottom. Beside them there were some officials. Maybe it was that the expression on Qing De Emperor’s face as he sat on the dragon chair was too ugly but their faces were one heavier than the other.
There were more than one hundred complaints from the court to investigate Rui Wang. Even if Qing De Emperor had the desire, he couldn’t suppress it. His already old visage became even more ancient. Looking at the sons and officials under him, he said in helplessness: “The incident of Rui Wang, zhen still has suspicions. We shall wait for it all to be investigated before making a decision.”
Even though everybody knew this was true but at this time, they couldn’t do anything other than shout “Emperor is wise” and start arguing over who to send to Jiang Nan.
“Stop, zhen has an idea about what you are all talking about. Zhen will send down a decree personally tomorrow at court. You can all leave.” Qing De Emperor may have understood in his heart that these accusations were true but he couldn’t bear to punish his favourite son so he distraughtly threw everybody out.
He Qi’s face didn’t look well as he walked out of the front hall. He didn’t look at He Heng and He Ming before he swept away. It could be seen just how angry he was.
He Ming blinked at da ge who had rushed away and turned to look at er ge standing by his side as though he was waiting for him.
“It’s late, us brothers should return too,” He Heng’s smile was casual, “si di walk with er ge?”
“Er ge first.” Hearing this, He Ming politely let He Heng to go ahead.
“Us brothers don’t have to follow these rules,” He Heng patted his shoulder and walked first. But it was unknown whether on purpose or not, but he almost always was walking abreast with He Ming.
When the two reached the gate to the palace, they met He Yuan as he came out of a carriage. He Yuan was wearing a jewel-blue satin robe. He looked more serious than before, even his face was a few shades whiter.
The three performed greetings. He Yuan looked at the two and asked: “Is er ge and si di preparing to leave the palace?”
He Heng was clear inside that He Yuan, at this moment, should be in his fu and not be appearing at the palace gates but said with a normal face: “Yes, of course.”
“Then didi will say farewell first,” He Yuan revealed a hint of mirth on his face, “Er ge and si di, take care.”
“San ge, too.” Because He Yuan didn’t usually pay him attention and suddenly being mentioned, He Ming’s face showed a hint of surprise. He instantly smiled and returned a greeting, “Didi won’t disturb san ge anymore.”
He Yuan nodded and started in the direction of Tian Qi Palace with large strides, accompanied by a taijian. The jewel-blue back of the figure seemed a bit fretful.
Seeing this scene, when He Heng looked at He Ming, the smile on his face grew fainter. When the two separated to get on their carriages, He Heng patted his shoulder: “Si di, take care of yourself.”
He Ming smiled and bowed with two hands raised in a fist: “Er ge, take care.”
Looking at the horse-drawn carriage that was imprinted with the characters of Duan Wang Fu travel out the palace gates, He Ming entered his own carriage. After the curtain was let down, the smile on his face slowly disappeared. His eyes were filled with helplessness and pain.
Once he came out of the carriage and as He Heng stepped into the gate, he saw a paper luan flying in the sky as he raised his head. His eyes narrowed and he frowned as he looked at Ming He behind him: “Find out who is doing it, in the future, no one in the fu is allowed to fly such a thing.” In the previous dynasty there had been people who used flying luan to pass messages to the outside. Right now, it was a tense time in Jing. He didn’t want spies in his Duan Wang Fu.
“Yes,” Ming He beckoned to the taijian behind him. They quickly retreated and competed to use the quickest speed to find the person flying the kite.
In zhengyuan, Qu Qing Ju smiled at the flying beautiful luan. She turned and remarked to Mu Jin: “Look, isn’t there people who use such tactics?”
Mu Jin smiled warmly: “Wang fei is all-knowing.”
But who was it that was so stupid that they would do such an idiotic thing at this time?
 朕: (zhen) the royal I or We