This chapter has been brought to you by me, Adnana, and Vivie.
Chapter Seventy-One: Assassin?
After returning to the wang fu, Hua Xi Wan had a comfortable hot water bath before burrowing into her warm blankets. The wang fu’s servants put away every object that was bright, and put out somber-colored objects before the night was over
When Hua Xi Wan woke up in Yan Jin Qiu’s arms in the morning, the entire wang fu had changed. It was like a beautiful woman who took off her makeup. She was still beautiful but not as stunning as she usually was.
Yan Jin Qiu watched as Hua Xi Wan put on a snowy white robe with blue adornments. She even changed her usually preferred coral and precious stone jewelry to jade and pearls. He said, “This month will inconvenience you.”
The time when the Crown Prince died was not a good one. This was the interchange between the old and the new year, and winter thunder had sounded without any cause. When the news reached the common people, it would cause panic among them.
In the hearts of the people, this Crown Prince was probably a calamity. Even in death, he could not pick a good day, and had to bring misfortune to such a joyous day. Wasn’t this purposefully causing everyone to not have a good year?
Xian Wang Fu was peaceful, but that did not mean that it was so smooth in the other fu. For example, Ning Wang, Baron Jing Ping, Min Huai Junzhu and the others had a sleepless night after they returned home. Today, they had to go into the palace to mourn for the Crown Prince. It was a double test of their endurance and mind.
There were officials who put forth the suggestion that because the Crown Prince was of a younger generation, his uncles should not have to mourn for him. The result was that the Emperor had him beaten to death in a fury and said to the court, “The Crown Prince may have been younger, but he was the heir to the throne. He is not the same as other imperial sons. Other than the Empress Dowager and his birth mother, everyone has to mourn for him.”
Maybe it was because he had killed one of the officials, and the Emperor only had this one son no matter how terrible he was—they would do as the Emperor said. In any case, the one who would lose good fortune would be the Crown Prince, not them.
The officials and noble ladies in Jing who were of second rank and above went into the imperial palace to mourn for the Crown Prince. Requiems for the Crown Prince came to Jing on express horses from all parts of the country. Just as everyone thought the Emperor would finally settle down, Qilong Emperor threw out another bomb.
The Emperor wanted to elevate the Crown Prince to Pingxiao Emperor. This caused a ruckus in court. In history, they had seen emperors title their fathers as emperor, but where was the rationale in having a son elevated to being an emperor while his father was still alive?
This was connected to the traditions of the entire dynasty, and the whole court opposed this. Many officials knelt down at the doors to the palace and would not rise in a request for the Emperor to take back his order. Qilong Emperor refused to do so, and thus he entered a faceoff with these court officials.
The paternal family of the Empress, the Fang Clan, and the people who were formerly in the Crown Prince’s camp ran around trying to gather support. If the Crown Prince was titled as emperor, then if the child inside the Crown Princess was male, the Crown Prince would not be heirless.
This was also Qilong Emperor’s intention. He did not want the throne to land in the hands of other people after he died, so what he had to do now was construct a path for the child inside the Crown Princess’ belly.
The neutral factions and the factions supporting the Crown Prince continued mourning for six days for the Crown Prince, and Qilong Emperor started a long fight against the opposing faction. Hua Xi Wan heard how a senior official who had seen two generations of emperors committed suicide against the Eastern Gates. The blood had splattered over the ground and the scene had been extremely bloody.
Returning to the wang fu, she asked hesitantly, “This senior official who committed suicide is not afraid that the Emperor will extract vengeance against his family and descendants?”
“He does not have any children, and he was occupied with writing books in the recent years,” Yan Jin Qiu said dryly. “I heard that this official had once praised in public Sheng Junwang’s conduct.”
Hua Xi Wan rubbed her chin and asked curiously, “You mean that it was Sheng Junwang who instigated this?”
Yan Jin Qiu bent down to press foreheads with her. “What do you think?”
Pushing with her index finger to move his forehead away, Hua Xi Wan rubbed her neck. She had not rested well after going into Zhu Que Palace to mourn. “It’s fine if you don’t say. I’m too lazy to think.”
“So lazy, what will you do in the future?” Yan Jin Qiu smiled helplessly and sat down next to her. “In these one hundred days, I cannot invite performance troupes or storytellers. I have already had the servants go search for some interesting books to help you while away the time. Just endure these next days.”
“This is an accident that cannot be resisted; it is not your fault. I do not feel slighted.” Hua Xi Wan drank a sip of the tea. “Now that the outside is like this, and the people in Jing are anxious, it is good to be relatively low-key.”
Ever since the Crown Prince had gotten into trouble, Princess Rui He who usually looked at people with her chin high had become low-key, much less the members of the Imperial Family like them who seemed to be noble but whom the Emperor was guarding against. She would be satisfied if her paternal family was not pulled into this matter.
“Do not worry, this matter will pass.” Yan Jin Qiu knew what she was worried about and comforted, “Father-in-law is a smart person and will not meddle in this matter. Also, the Hua Clan is a prestigious family that has endured for hundreds of years; people will not easily go to offend them. Do not worry too much.”
Hua Xi Wan forced a smile. “I know that what you say is reasonable, but that is the family that raised me for more than a decade. I do not want my paternal family to become more noble; I just want my relatives to be safe.”
Yan Jin Qiu lightly gathered her into his embrace. “I know.”
The two people’s words both contained other meanings. Fortunately, the two had reached an implicit agreement and eased each other’s fundamental worries.
Because of the chaos at court, even if Yan Jin Qiu was a wang ye who was idle, he also became busy. Hua Xi Wan decided to close the gates of the wang fu and refuse all visits. Hearing that the Hua Family had not participated in the matter, she sighed in relief.
Their Hua Family was a normal prestigious family. They had a bit of a good reputation, but they never pursued obtaining a shining reputation that would endure for hundreds of years. As for persuading the Emperor through suicide—the Hua Family would never do such a thing. They would choose a more reliable path and pursue the safest outcome.
The sky which had been cloudy with snow finally cleared after a few days. Hua Xi Wan lay on the chaise and saw the bright sun, so she finally decided to take a walk outside.
The winter sun fell glitteringly over her body. Even though it was not especially warm, it was slightly warm. After Hua Xi Wan made a round inside the inner compound, and was preparing to return to her rooms, she heard a ruckus sound in the direction of the study. Her brow creased. “What is happening in the study?”
If Yan Jin Qiu was in the fu, she would not bother with attending to this matter. But now, there were sounds in the study, and as the wang fei, she had to take charge.
“Wang Fei.” The guard at the study saw Hua Xi Wan come with servants and had a conflicted expression. But with such loud noise, he could not conceal it even if he wanted to.
“What is going on inside?” Hua Xi Wan stood next to the door and saw several brawny guards surrounding two people. Her brow arched and she said, “Move aside.”
The guard did not dare to stop her and silently moved a step back. Hua Xi Wan walked into the yard. When she saw the scene inside clearly, her brow furrowed further. The person surrounded by the guards was a nondescript male who was dressed in the clothing of the manservants of the fu. The color of the clothes was stained brown, and he seemed very disheveled. He had a knife in his hand and was holding it against the neck of another person.
Hua Xi Wan recognized the person being held as hostage. He was a taijian of Yan Jin Qiu. However, because there was Mu Tong around, this taijian was not one whom Yan Jin Qiu used frequently.
“Wang Fei, this person is a spy who was captured in the fu a few days ago. He actually managed to escape today.” The guard walked next to Hua Xi Wan and said, “What do you think…”
Hua Xi Wan did not ask where this person had been held before. She carefully examined the spy and the hostage surrounded by the guards, silence all around.
“Wang Fei, this one is innocent. Wang Ye has set up a secret jail and has tortured this one many times. There are also other people being held under the study. It is hell. Please have mercy and release the innocent people.” The spy saw that he could not escape and decided to go all in when he saw the wang fei who was beloved by the wang ye appear. He tried to cause a split between the couple. “The person who lies beside you is not a gentleman—he is a bloodthirsty demon. Do not be fooled by him!”
Hua Xi Wan tilted her head and said to the guard, “Close the gates.” After the gates to the yard were closed, she turned back to look at her servant girls who had followed her in. She lowered her face slightly. “Other than my personal servant girls, imprison everyone else. This will be resolved when Wang Ye returns.”
No matter how truthful the spy’s words were, what he had said could not spread. Otherwise, all of Xian Wang Fu would be over. Therefore, she had to make such a choice.
Hearing this, the guard sighed in relief. What he had been most afraid of was that the wang fei would believe the spy’s words and not care about any other matter. Then it would really be troublesome for Xian Wang Fu.
“What, you do not believe me?” The spy had a crazed expression. He looked at the people around him. “How about I tell this beautiful wang fei what that gentlemanly wang ye does?”
“Why should ben wang fei listen to your waste of words?” Hua Xi Wan smiled coldly, “What I want to know is the relationship between you and this taijian you are holding hostage. Otherwise, how could you coincidentally escape and then take him as hostage?”
Hua Xi Wan’s eyes swept harshly across the taijian who was trembling and snorted. “You act very afraid, but you have been cooperating with the spy all this time. After being held by him for so long, there isn’t any mark on your neck. Are all kidnappers and hostages such good friends?”
After she said this, Hua Xi Wan turned to the guard and said, “You shall take care of this matter. Keep your mouth shut.”
Bai Xia and Hong Ying went forward to open the gates to the yard and then followed in exiting after Hua Xi Wan. The other junior servants girls were also locked up inside.
After walking a few paces, Hua Xi Wan heard screams coming from inside the yard. Hua Xi Wan increased her speed to return to her yard. Then she smashed a few objects on her shelves, flipped the table, and messed up the decorations in the room. Then she steeled herself and cut a relatively deep wound on her hand. She said word by word, “Bai Xia, there is an assassin.”
Many people had heard the ruckus just now. The situation in Jing was so tense and many people were watching Xian Wang Fu. Since it had occurred, it would be better to add to the chaos.
“Someone come, catch the assassin! Wang Fei is wounded!” Bai Xia prepared herself and cut a wound on her leg. Blood immediately started to flow and then she splattered the blood on her own body and on Hong Ying. “Catch the assassin!”
Hong Ying hit her head on the corner of the table and then messed up her hair and clothing. She covered Hua Xi Wan who was sitting on the ground with her body and screamed in a high tone, “Assassin!”
Translator Ramblings: Hua Xi Wan Acting Company is on stage once again.
You guys are so good at catching all the subtle hints now.