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Chapter 62: That Night
A pair of black cowhide stepped on a caterpillar that had fallen down from a tree.
The owner of the shoes seemed to feel it dirty, his feet itched. Lifting his foot, he twisted it a bit on the stone pavement.
The pair of shoes looked ordinary, but quite soft and thin. They were definitely comfortable to wear.
In another alley, a middle-aged man was looking sharply in the direction of Ink Garden. Suddenly, he felt another inexplicable threat. This feeling was like when hiding in the bushes to spy on the enemy and a poisonous snake appeared behind him.
This feeling had occurred once before. So he felt this was no accident.
He turned around. He was on the second level of the tea house and there was a flight of stairs behind him.
There was no one on the stairs.
At this moment, his face suddenly paled. He clearly sensed that this feeling of danger originally came from in front of him, but was now in the teapot behind him.
He opened his mouth, wanting to shout. But faster than his vital energy could surge, the tea pot quietly positioned on the tea tray gently shook. A drop of water flew out of the pot, lengthening into a sword that easily penetrated the back of his head and entered his brain. His eyes widened and filled with blood. His body froze there.
No one in the tea house detected anything unusual on the second level. Among the guests at a table on the first floor were some of the middle-aged man’s subordinates, but even they did not detect anything.
Behind this tea house, in another alley, a tall woman carrying a basket and selling flowers was walking by.
This woman dressed plainly. Inexplicably, the people walking by her could not see her face clearly.
The news of this middle-aged man’s death immediately spread to the main tent of the Tiger-Wolf Army.
A young man dressed in casual clothes knelt on one knee. He faced Liang Lian, who was sitting cross-legged in the center, as he described all the details of the moment of the middle-aged man’s death, including his own speculations.
Liang Lian looked coldly at the young man. His eyes were truly apathetic.
He did not like subordinates who added too much emotion and their own speculation when they reported. He also knew that after he killed his advisor who had been with him for many years, this young man was eager to perform and become his new advisor. But even if he did not like this young man, he still had enough tolerance.
The other was loyal enough to him.
“It cannot be Bai Shanshui who killed General Zuo.”
He shook his head and looked at this young man whose expression froze at his denial. He said slowly, “Even at full power, I cannot silently kill General Zuo.”
The young man did not know that what Liang Lian thought was his childish judgement was actually correct. So when he heard Liang Lian’s words, he paled and thought he understood something.
“This wine shop youth is one of Min Mountain Sword Sect’s people right now. They are famously protective. Only those people from Min Mountain Sword Sect have such strength.”
Liang Lian stood up and slowly walked out of the tent. He coughed. As he looked at Changling’s city walls, he said coldly, “Many people want to force me to leave Changling sooner. I can ignore them, but I cannot ignore Min Mountain Sword Sect.”
In the tea garden in the south suburbs.
Most people wanted to know what happened to the middle-aged tea master who had knelt an entire day in the tea garden after Ding Ning left. These people had learned afterwards that the middle-aged tea master and Palace Attendant Rong, who forced Xue Wangxu’s death, had been secret lovers. But they could just speculate as Palace Attendant Rong and this matter itself was too high for most people in Changling.
So after Ding Ning left, no one dared to go into the tea garden to look.
Today, an unsuspecting farmer drove a cow cart into the tea garden. He was Zhang Luyang’s old acquaintance. He raised chickens and geese in Changling’s distant suburbs and each year, he would transport fertilizer to this tea garden. Because he was not in Changling City, he did not know what had happened.
When he entered the tea garden, the farmer suddenly found that no one was living in Zhang Luyang’s bamboo hut. The ashes in Zhang Luyang’s rock stove seemed to have been cold for a long time.
Puzzled, he looked around. When he turned to the water pond where Zhang Luyang usually washed his clothes and rice, he was stunned, and then involuntarily gasped.
He saw many white bones.
These white bones were ordinary geese bones. The meat remaining on them had been cleaned away by the ants, but these fine white bones were arranged into characters on the ground.
This row of white bones formed a date.
This farmer thought for a moment. This was a certain day three years before Emperor Yuanwu’s ascension.
He could clearly remember that three days after this date was the death day of the previous emperor.
This farmer was puzzled that he could not find Zhang Luyang. He left the garden and asked around about Zhang Luyang. When he heard what had happened a few days before, he was in disbelief. Then he naturally mentioned the date made out of bones which had confused him.
No one could help him.
Everyone who heard of this felt that Zhang Luyang may have left behind the white bone characters because he wanted to say something. But no one knew the meaning of such a date.
But Palace Attendant Rong knew. Or rather, in all of Changling, only she and the empress knew.
When the news of the tea garden once again reached her courtyard in the imperial palace, she was no longer standing under the eaves, but woodenly sitting at the window as she trembled uncontrollably.
She clearly remembered this date.
That day, this person had returned and spent the night with the empress in a courtyard in Changling. The empress’ trip had been secret. She had arranged it. Only she knew.
At that time, the empress had actually already been together with Emperor Yuanwu. They had prepared to start a military mutiny against that person and the Ba Mountain Sword Field.
That night, the empress had been extremely tender to that person. But Emperor Yuanwu did not know of that night.
That date represented that day. Maybe many other things had happened but she naturally related it to that night. Because she knew the empress would also easily think of that night.
That person had died.
How had Zhang Luyang knew of what happened that night?
Palace Attendant Rong’s body incessantly trembled. Her robes were soaked through with sweat.
She knew, rationally, she would not talk in her sleep, but now, she started to suspect if she really would talk in her sleep. She did not dare to believe that Zhang Luyang, even if he knew what happened that night, would use this method to retaliate against her.
Yet she was certain that the empress would feel that Zhang Luyang’s words represented that night.
“What does he mean?”
Ye Celeng tiredly returned to her courtyard and looked at the “flower girl” sitting casually on the bamboo chair.
“Deal with Liang Lian and Palace Attendant Rong at the same time,”
Bai Shanshui smiled at Ye Celeng and said, “Everything seems to have become interesting.”