This chapter has been brought to you by me, Adnana, and Vivie.
- 狀元 zhuangyuan, 榜眼 bangyan, 探花 tanhua: literally “top thesis author,” “eyes positioned alongside” and “flower snatcher”; they are respectively the graduate ranked first, second, and third overall in the triennial imperial examination
Chapter Seventy-Two: Panic
Because Qilong Emperor was not in a good mood recently, he only went through the motions at the court session held every fifth day. He had a fight over elevating the Crown Prince as emperor posthumously, and there was no conclusion reached at the end of the session.
After Yan Jin Qiu came out of the palace, he was preparing to return to the wang fu when he and the other members of the imperial palace were surrounded by the people who were opposed to elevating the Crown Prince. He listened to the examples they stated about the traditions passed down by his ancestors, but while he had a smile on his face which hid his true thoughts, no one would feel dislike when they saw him listening in concentration.
The members of the Imperial Family were slightly depressed. They were originally idle members and did not like to participate in these matters. But now they were surrounded by these people. They were unable to leave, but if they didn’t, they would offend the Emperor. This was an undeserved calamity.
After being hindered at the palace gates for an hour, just as everyone was about to leave, a blade-carrying guard dressed in silver-patterned black robes ran over with a panicked expression. Everyone frowned inwardly. These were robes that only the captain of a qinwang’s guard could wear. Which family had something happen?
“Wang Ye, Wang Fei was the target of an assassin in the wang fu. The assassin has been captured.”
The courteous smile on Yan Jin Qiu’s face immediately disappeared completely. He said harshly, “How is Wang Fei?”
“Because her two maids protected her with their lives, and the guards arrived in time, Wang Fei is temporarily safe. The taijian who led the way for the assassin and the assassin have been killed.”
“Return to the fu immediately.” Yan Jin Qiu could not spare the attention to exchange courtesies with the people around him. Without saying even a word of farewell, he hurriedly got onto the carriage and had the driver return to the fu.
However, no one was offended by his lack of politeness. No one in Jing was ignorant about how much Xian Wang loved Xian Wang Fei. If something really happened to Xian Wang Fei, Xian Wang would really be impacted.
But in broad daylight, someone had sneaked into a wang fu for an assassination, and there had been a taijian who led the way—this was outrageous. If it wasn’t that Xian Wang had been stopped at the palace gates for an hour, then was the one to be assassinated Xian Wang?
It seemed that this assassin’s primary target was not Xian Wang Fei but Xian Wang. However, Xian Wang was a gentleman and never tried to promote himself. Who would be so ruthless as to kill Xian Wang?
They were all people in politics, and in this little span of time, all of them had a list of possible culprits in their minds. On this ranking, Sheng Junwang was the zhuangyuan, the Empress’ paternal family, the Fang clan, was the bangyan, and the present ruler… the tanhua.
After something like this occurred, the officials did not keep the members of the Imperial Family any longer. If something happened in the homes of these imperial members, then the officials would be pulled in as well.
Not an hour later, the news that Xian Wang Fei had been the subject of an assassination attempt spread through half of Jing. When Qilong Emperor heard of this, he was so furious he smashed one of his most preferred tea sets. He was very suspicious that the person who had acted at Xian Wang Fu and the person who had poisoned the Crown Prince were possibly comrades-in-arms. However, he did not have the evidence. While he had possible candidates, he could not act.
Every time this occurred, he would be especially angry at the previous emperor. The other hadn’t just been wary of him—he had bestowed metal scrolls to the other two sons. Wasn’t that telling the people of the world that the previous emperor had been worried that he, the present emperor, would act against his brothers? Ma gonggong looked at the porcelain pieces on the ground and didn’t move. It was as though he did not know that someone was having a temper tantrum right beside him.
Outside the palace, Yan Jin Qiu hurried back to the wang fu. When he stepped through the gates of the wang fu, he did not look at the guards who were kneeling behind the gates, and strode towards the main yard. When he walked into the yard, he saw that the servants were moving busily but they were not in chaos. He raised the beaded curtain and walked into the inner rooms. He saw Hua Xi Wan lying on the bed, the best external injury doctor taking her pulse. The furnishings in the room showed signs of having moved, and there was a faint tang of blood.
Waving his hand to release the servants of the room from bowing, he lengthened his stride to walk next to the bed. Looking at Hua Xi Wan’s bloodless face, he said, “Grand doctor, how is Wang Fei?”
“Wang Ye, do not worry. Wang Fei’s wound is deep, but fortunately, it did not harm any of the major vessels. However, it is cold now, and the speed of healing will be relatively slow.” The grand doctor took his hand away and then started to write out a prescription. As he wrote, he said, “This time, there is no harm, but it was very dangerous. If the wound was just a bit more to the side, even before this subject could arrive, Wang Fei would have died from blood loss. This subject has written three prescriptions: one for wound recovery, the second for blood replenishment, and the last to be applied topically. Wang Ye, this subject hopes you will order the servants of your fu to take the utmost care.”
Zi Shan bit her lower lip and asked in a small voice, “This servant has overstepped but asks the grand doctor, will there be a scar left on Wang Fei’s arm?”
“It is impossible to not leave a mark behind.” The grand doctor knew that for these noblewomen, a scar would not be beautiful, but this wound was very deep and it was winter. “During the period of healing, eat less spicy food. After it heals, wash it using cow milk, pearl powder, and a restorative salve. It will have some effect.”
“Many thanks, Grand Doctor.” Zi Shan curtsied gratefully. She recalled Hong Ying and Bai Xia who had been moved by the younger servant girls to a room, and that a doctor had been called. Inside, she sighed in relief. No matter what, it was fortunate that all three of them were fine.
After the grand doctor left, Yan Jin Qiu sat for the majority of an hour by the bedside. Seeing Hua Xi Wan still asleep, he asked, “Why has Wang Fei not awakened yet?”
“Wang Ye, Wang Fei’s wound is deep. The grand doctor used opium in order to sew the wound closed. The grand doctor said that the wang fei would sleep for at least four hours before waking up,” Zi Shan carefully replied.
Hearing this, Yan Jin Qiu did not press any further. He didn’t dare to touch that arm wrapped in bandages. He carefully held Hua Xi Wan’s unharmed hand. After sitting quietly for a while, he stood and said, “Serve Wang Fei well.”
“Farewell to Wang Ye.” Even though Wang Ye had not said anything, Zi Shan felt there was a presence of fury around Wang Ye. This unspeakable anger caused her to become even more careful.
Yan Jin Qiu sat in the study and looked at the captain of his guard who was in front of him. He said expressionlessly, “Speak, what happened?”
The captain narrated the events, the origins of the matter, the appearance of Wang Fei, Wang Fei’s response and the last result.
“Wang Fei said that only this can perfectly disguise the matter, and… lower the Emperor’s wariness of you.” The captain hadn’t thought that Wang Fei and her two servant girls could achieve such a level. When he had charged into the inner compound with the guards, if he didn’t know that there were no assassins in the fu at the moment, he probably couldn’t have helped but believe that there were really assassins in the fu based on that scene.
It wasn’t just the guards in the fu; the servants of the fu also saw Wang Fei sitting on the ground covered in blood. The two servant girls were also wounded. Even though they were in an extremely terrified state, they did not forget to shield Wang Fei behind them. The room which had been so exquisite and beautiful was a mess, and it could be seen how dangerous the situation had been at the moment.
Then they quickly “caught” the assassin disguised as a manservant and the taijian from behind the fake mountain next to the inner yard. This caused everyone in the fu to believe that Wang Fei had been the subject of an assassination attempt.
Originally, the escape of that spy had been detrimental to him, but after “Wang Fei was the target of an assassination,” they had come out of their reactive state because Xian Wang Fu was a victim just like the Crown Prince, and not the culprit.
Yan Jin Qiu sat on the chair. After a long silence, he said, “Go down, and every one of you go take ten strikes with the staff before cleaning up the matters of the fu. Ben wang is going to watch over Wang Fei.”
“Yes.” The guard released a breath on the inside. It was fortunate that Wang Fei had been determined and decisive to not do anything detrimental to the fu. Otherwise, it would be very troublesome to him.
“Captain, nothing happened?” The guards kneeling outside the study saw Wang Ye leave and the head guard also walk out. They asked carefully, “Did Wang Ye say anything?”
“Wang Ye is worried about Wang Fei’s wounds right now. He only said a punishment of ten strikes for each of us. What else can he say?” The captain frowned. “Don’t waste words—go receive your punishments.”
The hearts of the guards landed. Ten strikes with the staff was not a harsh punishment. Having let the spy escape this time, not just ten strikes, they would deserve even twenty.
“Wang Fei and her two servant girls are really the best among women. They are this—” a guard raised a thumb “—as expected of a granddaughter of a martial family. Not many can compare to her.”
The captain glanced at him coldly and the person hurriedly closed his mouth. He finally remembered that no matter how valiant Wang Fei was, she was still the wang fei and not someone a guard like him could talk about.
However… Wang Fei really was unspeakably beautiful. No wonder Wang Ye treated her so well. If he was able to marry someone this beautiful, not just abstaining from taking concubines, he would be willing to have ten years taken off his lifespan.
Yan Jin Qiu would glance a few times at the bed after flipping a page, and then glance and then flip a page. In reality, he did not know what he was reading. When he heard that Hua Xi Wan had been targeted by an assassin, he knew that the terror he felt was not an act, but his true emotion.
He had thought that Hua Xi Wan was slightly fierce, slightly lazy and spoiled, but he never thought that she had such a daring side. He knew that she had done this for him, for Xian Wang Fu.
This woman might not be gentle enough, might not be well-read enough, she was even lazy and did not like to take charge, but she had done this for him—what did he have to be dissatisfied with?
Maybe she did not have him in her heart, but that did not mean that it could erase the things she had done for him.
Staying with her made him feel even better than torturing that spy. He was a person who paid attention to his own feelings. So if he was good to her, and better to her, what was wrong about that?
He knew that there were people in Jing who said he liked beauty, and those who said he was afraid of his wife, but so what? A truly strong person did not care what other people did. He understood what he wanted.
The woman on the bed was his. From body to heart, everything could only be his.
He bent down and gave a light kiss on the corner of Hua Xi Wan’s lips. The smile on his face was endlessly gentle.
Her lips were even more fragrant than the blood of his enemies.
Translator Ramblings: I’ve never searched about the effects of ground pearls … … I wonder what’s the rationale.