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Chapter Ninety Nine Decay
The four candidates who had been bestowed by the Emperor were all taken in. Only after they had become yiniang did the people of the wang fu find out the shocking reality – wang ye had been demoted. Since he wasn’t a qin wang anymore, the allowances in the fu and the number of servants had to decrease. The size of the wang fu had to shrink so some people were going to be thrown out.
Just as the servants were worried for their future, they heard another piece of news. Wang ye had been banned from court, and his salary was to be docked for five years. Additionally, he had to admit his crimes in writing to the public.
The servants who had been reluctant to leave the palace weren’t reluctant anymore. They waited for the notice to come so they could find a new employer. As for the taijian and palace maids who had came out of the Department of Household Affairs, they wanted to go back to the department to be assigned again. They would rather find another master than to serve one who had no future. At the very least, anything would be better than now.
Qin Bai Lu hadn’t thought that such an event would happen. She listened to Ru Hua recite the happenings, and choked for a long time before stammering: “Didn’t he want to divorce me? Now that he’s like this, how can he divorce me?!”
Ru Hua sighed in helplessness. Not speaking of the ego that wang ye had, even if a normal person heard what wang fei had said, they would have been angry. In the beginning when wang fei just entered the wang fu, she rashly sorted out the concubines in the fu. When wang ye said a word, the two started to fight there and then, a subject of much mockery by the servants in the fu.
Now that it was like this, wang ye and wang fei had nothing to say to each other, and wang ye had lost power. Wang fei should be thinking of how to comfort wang ye or secure the people of the houyuan. But she was rejoicing in the misfortune. To keep going like this, would there be any feelings left?
Seeing Ru Hua wanting to speak but kept restraining herself, Qin Bai Lu uttered coldly: “Since wang ye doesn’t want me to manage anything in the wang fu, then whatever happens in the fu, I don’t need to spend the effort for nothing. If anyone begs to see me, just say that I’m ill.”
“Yes, wang fei.” Having served wang fei for almost a decade, Ru Hua was clear about wang fei’s personality. She wouldn’t have appreciated any more conversation. She bowed and silently stood to one side.
But Qin Bai Lu couldn’t remain calm for too long. Because the Qin Family had passed on the news that her cousin had been reproached by the Emperor in front of all the noblewomen. Earlier, she had called in sick to avoid attending Qu Qing Ju’s chrysanthemum banquet, so she hadn’t thought such a thing would happen.
Listening to the cause of the matter, Qin Bai Lu was irritated. No wonder wang ye would speak of her Qin Family’s daughters that way. So it had been because of this. It was also no wonder that her paternal family hadn’t sent in their cards to her. So they had wanted to climb on the high branch that was the Emperor. She was only a failed wang fei, what use did she have?
After managing to clearly figure out the matter, Qin Bai Lu felt her heart becoming cold. Both her family and her husband were like this. She had no hope left in her life. Thinking about the pregnant Qu Qing Ju, she lowered her head to touch her own empty belly. She didn’t understand why all the good things of the world happened to Qu Qing Ju. A good popo, a good husband, a good birth, even more, she would soon have a child.
Who said that the heavens had eyes? Some people lived well and others didn’t.
“Ru Hua, pass my orders, Qu shi is seriously ill. To prevent her from infecting others, she will not live in Xi Ce Yuan. Today, she will move to the Xi Ping Zhai in the western corner to recuperate.” She didn’t believe all the women of the Qu Family would be lucky.
Ru Hua heard wang fei’s sinister order, and shook slightly, “Nubi will send it down right now.”
Coming out of the zhengyuan, she looked at the large building and for some reason, felt a gust of cold enter from her back into her heart.
Qu Yue Su, who had been sick on the bed, watched as the servants of the fu roughly pack up her things and piled them in the middle of the room. She hated Qin Bai Lu for being cruel and hated herself because she couldn’t do anything to the loathsome servants.
After the things in the room were packed up, one of the mamas came up and jerked off the blanket on her, coldly announcing; “Qu ce fei, you should get up. Wang fei has ordered for you to move to Xi Ping Zhai before midnight. Nubi will have to offend you here.” She easily pulled Qu Yue Su from the bed, who was dressed in her undergarments.
Qu Yue Su was seriously ill and couldn’t tolerate her handling. Her body froze and she started to cough. As she covered her mouth, she looked hatefully at the mama, wanting to eat her flesh and break her bones.
“Ce fei, don’t look like that at nubi. Nubi isn’t the one at fault,” The mama waved her hand saying to the other yahuan behind her, “What are you doing standing there? Help ce fei change.”
When Yao Xi carried a bowl of hot medicine to enter the Ce Yuan, she coincidentally saw Qu Yue Su being pulled out of the room by two mamas, wearing a repulsive colored dress, her hair falling messily behind her back, cutting an extremely sorry figure, “What are you doing to ce fei?!” She put the bowl onto the ground and tried to rush forward to push aside the mamas dragging ce fei.
“Yao Xi guniang, this is wang fei’s order, you shouldn’t interfere,” The mama who was in command sneered, “If you make a fuss, I can only assume you are angry at wang fei and deliberately opposing wang fei’s command.”
Yao Xi stilled. She was panicked and angry as she went forward to support Qu Yue Su, coldly asking: “What do you mean mama, that it is wang fei’s intention for ce fei not to be properly attired?”
The mama twisted her mouth and then responded: “Yao Xi guniang should say less. I’m old and can’t hear anything.” She waved her hand for the servants to drag Qu Yue Su away. Yao Xi could only follow.
The Xi Ping Zhai’s name was better than the room. Yao Xi knelt by the bed with red eyes, looking at her mistress who was unnaturally flushed, kowtowing as she said: “Zhuzi, nubi will ask for wang ye to come, wang ye will save you.”
“There’s no need to go, wang ye won’t come,” She looked at Yao Xi who was crying in hurt, smiling, “Don’t cry, everyone has to make the journey.” She had been ill originally, and after suffering such an ordeal, she wouldn’t survive.
“Zhuzi, don’t say that, you will get better,” Yao Xi went forward to grasp Qu Yue Su’s hand, “Nubi will go make medicine for you, you’ll get better after eating it.”
Qu Yue Su shook her head. In a daze, she seemed to have seen the beautiful lanterns at the riverside at the Lantern Festival, the bustling and tight crowds, and Qu Qing Ju and the Emperor holding hands. She muttered: “That originally belonged to me, it’s mine … … Qu … … Qing Ju, why … …”
Her voice gradually grew smaller and finally faded in the silence of the room. Yao Xi looked at the motionless person on the bed and cried out loud.
“Wang fei, Qu ce fei of Xi Ping Zhai has passed.” Ru Hua entered the room and saw wang fei was reading a book by the window. She went forward to report in a small voice, “Yao Xi, the servant of Qu ce fei, hopes to see wang ye.”
Qin Bai Lu flipped a page, her head not lifting as she rejected: “Let her go beg He Fu Er, I can’t make the decision.”
Ru Hua saw that wang fei didn’t want to speak and could only retreat. Looking at Yao Xi waiting at the door, wearing plain clothing and her bright red and swollen eyes, she revealed a conflicted expression, not knowing how to tell her.
“Wang fei said that she hasn’t been in charge of the household recently. If you want to see wang ye, then go find Chief Steward He,” Ru Hua furtively looked at the surroundings and quickly stuffed a pouch filled with silver into Yao Xi’s hands before acting normal as she returned to the zhengyuan.
Yao Xi slowly stood up. Looking at the pouch in her hand, she walked blankly towards the main building. No matter what, zhuzi had served wang ye for a length of time. Would he not even let the person be properly buried after death?
He Yuan had a beautiful woman in his arms as she served him wine. As he became drunk, he let another beauty play the zither to raise his spirits. He drank until he was almost senseless, and couldn’t even see clearly.
“Wang ye, Qu ce fei has passed away.” He Fu Er reported at his side, “Yao Xi, who served ce fei, asks for an audience.”
“Who is Qu ce fei?” He Yuan placed a kiss on the face of the beauty in his arms. As the woman laughed, he frowned, “Gone is gone, why tell ben wang?”
“Wang ye, Qu ce fei is Empress’ half-sister,” he Fu Er saw that wang ye was drunk and could only pour tea as he added, “Many people are looking from the outside.” No matter how it really was, they should make it appear better.
“The meimei of the Empress,” He Yuan pushed away the beauty in his arms, rubbing his forehead to clear his mind. He took a long draw of the tea He Fu Er handed over, “If that’s the case, then make sure the servants won’t slight her, and bury according to protocol.”
Not slighting yet according to protocol. That would be difficult. He Fu Er thought but didn’t show any of it. Thinking about whom to appoint to carry out the affair, he praised, “Wang ye can take care of her, it’s her good fortune. This one will get someone to do so.”
He Yuan sneered: “If she wasn’t Empress’ meimei, ben wang wouldn’t have spent the thought.”
He Fu Er changed: “The fact that Qu ce fei had a jiejie who is the Empress, it is her good fortune.”
“Alright,” He Yuan gave a yawn, “According to you, then isn’t it the Empress’ misfortune to have a sister like her?”
He Fu Er laughed dryly. He knew that wang ye was drunk and didn’t dare to reply.
“Leave,” He Yuan once again gathered the beauty beside him into his arms, “don’t disturb ben wang.”
There were many women in Rui Wang Fu. It wasn’t a major matter for a ce shi to die but this ce shi was the Empress’ meimei. So they had to find someone to report it into the palace. The news first passed to the Department of Household affairs, then the department would report to the Empress. But, according to emotional reasoning, this matter should have been reported to the Empress directly. Yet, according to protocol, Qu Yue Su was only a ce shi. Such an unlucky minor matter shouldn’t ever have passed to the Empress. In the end, He Fu Er pondered for a long time before finding a circular way.
Qu Qing Ju had been perplexed upon hearing that the junior supervisor of the Department of Household affairs had asked for an audience. At the moment, she wasn’t in charge of palace affairs so why was the supervisor running to her?
When she finished reading the announcement of death that the supervisor had presented, she felt conflicted inside. She held the letter, but didn’t know what to say. In her impressions, Qu Yue Su was a talented and beautiful woman. She could have married into a good family, but she had to run with her ambitions and picked a wrong path, ruining her life.
If she hadn’t become a concubine of Rui Wang Fu in the beginning, and instead married a son of a noble family, then she wouldn’t have lost her life.
Weakness could harm one’s life, that was the original Qu Qing Ju. Greed could ruin a woman, that had been Qu Yue Su. The former was pitiful, the latter was lamentable.
“Empress,” the junior supervisor of the Department of Household Affair saw the Empress’ expression wasn’t well and his heart jumped. He didn’t know what the Empress was thinking.
“You are excused,” Qu Qing Ju put down the letter in her hand, waving her hand, “Huang Yang, take some people with you to Rui Wang Fu, and burn some incense for ben gong to Qu ce fei, and add some paper money and candles.”
It was lamentable as a concubine, but as a wife, how many women were happy?
In this era of one wife and many concubines, women were fated to sacrifice themselves in history.