Ch 247 Final – Second Half Part 2
As Yun Zhongyue departed, Yan Ran and the others couldn’t help but exhale a sigh of relief. For a moment, they feared the two would start fighting on the spot.
“Your Majesty, how do you plan to deal with those assassins?” Leng Ruofeng turned to Feng Tingye, asking in a low voice.
“For now, detain them and have someone investigate their background. As for the Astronomical Observatory…” A trace of coldness crossed Feng Tingye’s eyes. “If they are my subjects and can’t keep their mouths shut, and are even deliberately spreading rumors, what use are they? Lock them all up in prison. As for those who are plotting behind the scenes, find every single one of them for me.”
After exchanging glances, everyone knew that Feng Tingye was truly furious this time, so they didn’t dare to have any objections and replied, “Yes.”
Though Feng Tingye issued a stern order to completely suppress the news of the assassination attempt within the palace and only inform a few necessary individuals, there were still some people who couldn’t keep the truth hidden, such as…
“That girl met assassins? Being able to survive with no injuries, she’s really lucky. But that Beauty Bixuan is not so fortunate. Who knows if she’ll die next?” Ying Yue sat in a chair near the window, with his family’s vulture perched on his arm. As he spoke, he played with his pet using fruits from the nearby table.
Ye Shuyan turned to him with a faint look and gestured for the informant to step back.
Ying Yue noticed Ye Shuyan’s lack of response and added, “Speaking of which, the Astronomical Observatory in Ye Country is quite capable. They actually divined a connection between that girl and the plague this time.”
This time, Ye Shuyan’s face finally changed a bit, and he sneered, “Who said we need divination to link that girl to the plague?”
Ying Yue was stunned. Without divination, could it be…
“You mean… someone in the court wants to harm that girl?”
Ye Shuyan reached for the teapot on the table and poured himself a cup of tea, taking a light sip before saying, “The girl has been given the title of Empress for many years and now has two children. Unfortunately, aside from a few courtiers close to Feng Tingye, she has no other faction to rely on in the court. Over time, there must be many people who are envious and are seizing this opportunity to get rid of her.”
“Indeed,” Ying Yue understood, “But how can they be so sure that they can incite those martial artists in the Jianghu to work for them? Aren’t they afraid of turning against themselves?”
Ye Shuyan smiled faintly and looked at Ying Yue, “The most common thing in this world is to follow the crowd. Some things happen too coincidentally and, with a little intention, they become more believable than imagined. Many of those martial artists in the Jianghu have their families involved in the epidemic at the border, and they are under immense pressure. When they suddenly hear this news, they naturally believe it without any doubt. Regardless of their previous opinions, their impression of that girl is now greatly reduced. So, in this world, emotions are always the easiest to sway people.”
“Hmm, using others to do their dirty work was indeed clever, but it’s a pity it didn’t work. With Feng Tingye’s character, he won’t let it go easily, and those people won’t live carefree for much longer.” Ying Yue said.
Ye Shuyan chuckled lightly, “It’s probably not that simple.”
“People often love to follow the crowd, and when many believe something, it becomes real. Feng Tingye is clever, and those old guys are not foolish either. If they have some wisdom left, they should know what to do at this time, which is best for themselves. Moreover… the bigger trouble has yet to appear.” Ye Shuyan said.
Ying Yue was taken aback, and he faintly understood what the bigger trouble that Ye Shuyan mentioned was. He tossed the last piece of pastry to his vulture and said, “So, it’s too early to relax now.”
Ye Shuyan lifted his cup of tea and took another sip, saying, “The real trouble has just begun.”
The assassination attempt on Xia Yuqing caused a huge uproar within the palace. Li Yuan and Yun Xi, who had recently left the palace to stay at the He Mansion, immediately returned upon hearing the news. While relieved that Xia Yuqing and her friends were safe, they also worried about Su Wuduan’s safety.
Upon hearing about Su Wuduan’s situation, Su Linlang and Xu Lao rushed into the palace. Although they usually adopted a laissez-faire attitude towards Su Wuduan, what parents in the world wouldn’t care about their child’s well-being? Now, seeing their once energetic son lying on a bed, their life hanging in the balance, Su Linlang almost flipped the roof of the palace.
“D*mn it! Who injured my son? I will throw him into a pit of snakes to feed them!” Su Linlang’s face turned dark, and she was ready to find the black-clad person who hurt her son.
Xu Lao quickly reached out and stopped her, feeling helpless as he said, “Crazy woman, this is the palace, not your Miao territory. Before you do anything, at least…”
Xu Lao was interrupted by Su Linlang, “What’s wrong with the palace? My son had such a big thing happen here, and I can’t say a few words? If I get angry, I’ll kill everyone in this palace and bury them with my son!”
At this moment, a voice came from the side, “Master, Master’s Wife…”
The two arguing people turned their heads and faced Xia Yuqing, who had a guilty expression, “Those assassins were actually targeting me. Senior Brother blocked that sword for me, and he was actually injured to protect me…”
“No… It’s not Your Majesty’s fault. He… he blocked that sword to protect me. It’s my fault that he got hurt.” Before Xia Yuqing could finish her words, Cui Er had walked out of the room and knelt down in front of Su Linlang and Xu Lao.
“Cui Er (Cui Er Jiejie)!” Everyone around was shocked by Cui Er’s sudden move, wanting to step forward to help her up, but they were stopped by Lu Rui and Li Yuan.
Cui Er pressed her lips together, looking up at Su Linlang and Xu Lao, saying firmly, “Both Seniors, rest assured, if Su Wuduan really can’t make it through this, I will follow him and accompany him on the road to the netherworld. I won’t let him be alone.”
With Cui Er’s words, everyone’s faces changed, looking at her surprised and thoughtful expression, and they recalled Cui Er’s behavior when Su Wuduan fell that day, feeling somewhat emotional.
Before this, who could have imagined that Cui Er’s feelings for Su Wuduan had already been so deep, imperceptibly.
Su Linlang listened to Cui Er’s almost solemn words without any emotional response, hugging her arms and sneering, “What use is your life to me? Will my son come back to life if you die? You want to go with him, becoming a truly unfortunate mandarin duck in the underworld?”
“Crazy woman, can’t you say a little less? I just heard that our son rushed up and blocked the sword for someone else. How can you blame a girl?” Xu Lao, though also worried about his son’s safety, was well aware of his son’s temperament. He knew that if their son managed to survive this, and if they made things difficult for their daughter-in-law like this, they might not get along well in the future.
Su Linlang was not moved and stared at Cui Er for a long time, before disdainfully saying, “That brat is not so easy to die. How can he still be my son if he can die so easily?”
Cui Er was taken aback, looking up at Su Linlang uncertainly.
Su Linlang sighed lightly and took a step forward, pulling Cui Er up, saying, “So, if he can get through this, you two should stop making trouble. Always chasing after each other, aren’t you tired? That stubborn brat, I told him a long time ago to just use medicine, drug them then directly , turning raw rice into cooked rice. Why go through so many twists and turns? But that little brat is just stubborn, insisting on taking step by step, just like his father.”
At this moment, Xu Lao was also unhappy, shaking his elegantly twirled white beard, he roared, “Do you think everyone is as shameless as you, crazy woman? Our son couldn’t catch up with his wife all this time because of your bad influence. How can you still have the face to speak!”
“Hey, old man, can you make yourself clear? What do you mean by shameless? And what do you mean by me influencing our son? If you didn’t keep giving him those bad ideas, he would have married his wife a long time ago. If you didn’t interfere, I might have grandchildren by now.”
“So, it’s my fault?”
“Of course, who else is to blame!”
Watching the two harmonious people turn into Godzilla in the blink of an eye, engaging in a public argument and even escalating into a martial confrontation, the people around couldn’t help but feel awkward.
Two seniors, can you please pay attention to your image in public? Can you save the domestic violence for when you get home? And don’t forget, your son is lying inside the palace right now! Can you stop fighting right outside his door?
“As long as he wakes up this time, we won’t make any more trouble, and we’ll… live well together.”
Just as the two were about to start a fight in front of everyone, Cui Er’s slightly choked voice suddenly interrupted them, causing both of them to stop their actions and turn to look at her.
After a moment, Su Linlang took a step forward and patted Cui Er’s shoulder, saying, “If you can say this to him every day, I believe that brat won’t be willing to die just like that. However, as his mother, there is something I need to tell you. That brat has made many mistakes in the past, and I am partly to blame for not disciplining him well. But I can see that he truly loves you. To be honest, that brat does have many flaws. I don’t expect you to agree with him in everything and tolerate him in everything, but I hope that if you feel unhappy in the future, you can scold and hit him as you wish, but don’t casually say you don’t want him. After all… he is willing to give up his life for you.”
Cui Er trembled all over, her hand hanging at her side tightened slightly, and she nodded, saying, “I understand.”
Su Linlang nodded with satisfaction, and her eyes showed a trace of worry as she looked over Cui Er and glanced at Su Wuduan.
Seeing that Su Linlang had calmed down and didn’t make things difficult for Cui Er, Xia Yuqing and the others couldn’t help but relax.
Xia Yuqing was about to step forward to mediate when they were suddenly interrupted by a eunuch who rushed into the hall.
“Your… Your Majesty, something bad happened!”
“Xiao Shunzhi, why are you here? Did something happen to His Majesty?” Xia Yuqing’s face turned a bit unsightly as she recognized the young eunuch, who was always by Emperor Feng Tingye’s side.
Xiao Shunzhi, panting heavily, swallowed hard and said with difficulty, “No… His Majesty is not in trouble… He is really in trouble…”
“Did His Majesty have an accident or not? Can’t you make it clear? Why can’t you speak clearly? You are really exasperating!” Lu Rui, seeing Xia Yuqing’s face turning pale, stepped forward and spoke with some irritation.
Xiao Shunzhi took a deep breath, finally catching his breath, and said, “Ah, it’s like this. The rumors from the Astronomical Observatory… I don’t know how, but suddenly they spread among the common people. Right now, it is said that the people in the capital are all discussing this matter! It seems that many people have already… believed in those rumors, and the entire capital is in turmoil.”
Xia Yuqing’s face turned pale, and the words of the black-clad assassin from that day echoed in her mind. In this world, there were no secrets, and some things were bound to happen sooner or later.
As the atmosphere in Xiefang Hall became heavy, the atmosphere in Qianqing Hall was not much better.
“These d*mn old foxes dared to act first!” Yan Ran heard the reports from below, slapped the table and stood up, revealing his true nature and began to grumble. However, before he could say a few more words, he was slapped by Shao Zitang, who was impatient.
“Don’t make a fuss!” Shao Zitang’s face darkened, and he gave a meaningful glance at someone sitting above.
Yan Ran, still full of grievances, followed his gaze and finally noticed that there was someone in the hall whose face was a hundred times worse than his.
Before today, Shao Zitang and the others had followed Feng Tingye’s orders and found out that the assassins were indeed relatives of the people affected by the epidemic at the border. Grieving for the misfortune of their distant family members and incited by others, they had lost their reason and followed others’ arrangements to assassinate inside the palace.
However, even though they had captured those restless people from the Astronomical Observatory, they hadn’t had time to deal with the real masterminds among the court officials. Rumors about Xia Yuqing’s involvement with the border epidemic had spread wildly among the common people. If Feng Tingye took action against those court officials now, they might gain the public’s sympathy. Moreover, those who were instigating the rumors might even put the blame on Xia Yuqing, labeling her as a vicious woman who deluded the emperor and harmed loyal officials.
“These d*mn old foxes!” Feng Tingye’s face grew dark, and he gnashed his teeth in frustration. If he had known these old courtiers were scheming like this all along, when he dealt with the Prince Rui back then, he shouldn’t have thought that these people were relatively obedient. He should never have spared them. Truly, kings fear the kindness of women the most!”
“Now, many people in the capital have been incited, though not all believe it. With time, people will believe what they hear. The situation is particularly unfavorable for us,” said Leng Ruofeng, who also wore a solemn expression, his icy eyes revealing obvious concern.
For Xia Yuqing’s sake, her hotheaded husband had become increasingly unhappy. If this situation continued, he was afraid it would lead to even greater chaos.
“The most pressing matter is how to dispel these rumors that are detrimental to that girl and even to Your Majesty and the royal family,” Shao Zitang said directly to the point, rubbing his chin.
Yan Ran, on the other hand, was not as composed as Shao Zitang. He sighed and said helplessly, “It’s easy for you to say, but how can it be so easy? Rumors are dangerous. Who knows what kind of twisted stories those gossipy old women outside have spread?”
“Gossipy old women?” Shao Zitang sneered, his face full of sarcasm. “Are you talking about yourself?”
“Little Tangtang, your mouth is getting worse. Why doesn’t your family manage you? Beware that one day your big mouth will offend someone you shouldn’t, and you’ll be torn to pieces!” Yan Ran glared at Shao Zitang indignantly, gnashing his teeth.
Shao Zitang disdainfully glanced at him. “How my wife and I live is none of your business. As for who can tear my mouth, heh, that person will definitely not be you. You don’t have that ability.”
“Enough, be quiet! What’s the point of arguing at a time like this!” Leng Ruofeng couldn’t stand it any longer and scolded them. A gust of cold wind followed his scolding, causing the two of them to shiver, and their heated brains instantly cleared up. They snorted and stopped arguing.
Leng Ruofeng gave them a sideways glance, then turned to look at Feng Tingye and asked, “Your Majesty, what do you plan to do…”
Before Emperor Feng Tingye could speak, a sharp voice came from outside the door, “The Empress Dowager is here!”
“Why is the Empress Dowager coming at this time?” Feng Tingye’s face changed slightly as he glanced at the people inside the room and walked towards the door.
“I pay my respects to the Empress Dowager.”
“We pay our respects to the Empress Dowager.”
Zhang Sunshi’s face no longer carried its usual kindness and amiability. With a slightly stern expression, she looked at the people and said somewhat irritably, “You may all rise.”
Feng Tingye and the others were taken aback by the slightly displeased tone of Zhang Sunshi. Embarrassment appeared on their faces almost simultaneously.
“Why has the Empress Dowager come? If there’s something, a notification to the ministers would have sufficed. There was no need to trouble yourself like this,” Feng Tingye said with a faint smile, stepping forward to take the hand that Mei Xi was supporting, but he was forced to retreat by a cold glare from Zhang Sunshi.
“Does your mother look so old that she can’t even walk a few steps?”
“…Mother, that’s not what I meant.”
“Not what you meant? Hmph, I thought you already treated your mother as a dead person. Such a significant matter, and you didn’t even inform your mother. If this matter hadn’t become so big, how long were you planning to keep it from your mother?” Zhang Sunshi raised her hand and slapped the table next to her, and the huge muffled sound made everyone present tremble.
Seeing this, Feng Tingye coughed dryly, reminding her with concern, “Mother, it’s alright to be angry, but if you hurt your hand by slapping the table, it won’t be good.”
Zhang Sunshi silently withdrew her hand that she had just slapped. She felt annoyed with herself. She had actually used her hand to hit the table in this hall. The tables here were all made of sandalwood and were quite sturdy. She was used to being pampered and had never encountered anything like this. Unlike Feng Tingye, who practiced martial arts every day like a “rough man,” breaking a table with a wave of his hand was almost like snapping a cucumber!
Thinking this way, Zhang Sunshi glared at Feng Tingye with irritation. If this boy knew, then that’s fine, what was the point of saying it out loud? Didn’t he know he was making her lose face? Was he really her biological child?
Seeing the resentful gaze from Zhang Sunshi, Feng Tingye hurriedly tried to ease the situation. He walked over to her side and gently held her hand, massaging it while smiling apologetically, “I didn’t tell you to avoid disturbing your meditation, Mother. And those old relics on the verge of extinction, I can still handle them.”
This time, Zhang Sunshi didn’t refuse Feng Tingye’s support. Instead, she chuckled coldly when he finished speaking, “You can handle them? If you could handle them, the situation wouldn’t have deteriorated to what it is now.”
Feng Tingye’s actions froze, and a trace of embarrassment appeared on his face. He had to step back two steps and smile awkwardly without saying anything.
Seeing this, Zhang Sunshi couldn’t help turning her head to sweep a glance at Yan Ran and the others. She made the younger generation feel a little ashamed before slowly saying, “Although they are all relics on the verge of extinction, their age and experience speak for themselves. There is a saying you must have heard: A centipede may die but show no signs of death! These old folks are doing their best to threaten you by eroding the public’s trust in you!”
Feng Tingye and the others nodded, and their faces showed some seriousness.
Zhang Sunshi looked at them and sighed lightly, “Ting Er, do you still remember what the late emperor said to you back then, what an emperor must never lose?”
Feng Tingye’s expression changed, and he remained silent for a moment before replying, “The Way and the people’s trust.”
“Now, those old relics are trying their best to use the loss of the people’s trust to threaten you!” A cold light flashed in Zhang Sunshi’s eyes.
Feng Tingye’s eyebrows raised slightly as he looked at the side profile of Zhang Sunshi and smiled lightly, “Mother is so clever and resourceful, do you have any good ideas then?”
“Now, at this time, you remember to seek help from your mother? What were you doing earlier?” Zhang Sunshi’s merciless scolding made Feng Tingye unable to keep up his facade, leaving him with no choice but to fall into an embarrassed silence.
Seeing him like this, Zhang Sunshi didn’t want to make things difficult for him any further. She sighed lightly and asked, “The rumor about the Astronomical Observatory, is there any truth to it?”
Feng Tingye hesitated for a moment and chose to be honest, “The Astronomical Observatory did indeed divine the stars, suggesting that the plague is related to the birth chart of the Empress. However, Mother, you know that the Astronomical Observatory is just a bunch of freeloaders, uttering nonsense. How can they be accurate?”
Zhang Sunshi remained silent and only glanced at Feng Tingye, contemplating for a while before she said, “I have a way to resolve your current predicament.”
“What method?” As Zhang Sunshi spoke, everyone in the room became curious and gathered around.
“Son, you…” Zhang Sunshi looked at Feng Tingye with a serious expression, enunciating each word, “Take Qing Er to the ancestral temple for a celestial ceremony.”
“The ancestral temple ceremony?” The people gasped in surprise, looking at each other in shock, their faces filled with astonishment as they gazed at Zhang Sunshi.
“Mother, do you also believe those rumors and think that Qing Er…” Feng Tingye’s face became extremely unpleasant. He was caught off guard by Zhang Sunshi’s suggestion.
Zhang Sunshi gave him a reproachful look and said, “You said it yourself. How can you fully believe what the Astronomical Observatory spreads? I was thinking that the current plague has caused such a commotion. If it continues to spread like this, even if Qing Er has nothing to do with it, she will likely be blamed. In that case, it’s better for you to take the initiative and turn the situation around. Offer prayers in the ancestral temple, and it must be a celestial ceremony held inside the temple.”
As Zhang Sunshi spoke, everyone was briefly stunned but soon came to a realization. The ancestral temple was the residence of the emperors of the Ye dynasty after their passing. If Xia Yuqing could safely offer prayers inside the ancestral temple, it would mean that she received the blessing of the imperial ancestors and couldn’t possibly bring calamity to the country and its people. The baseless rumors would naturally fall apart.
“The Empress Dowager’s suggestion is indeed excellent. However, once those old foxes learn about it, they won’t just accept our intentions so easily,” Shao Zitang pondered for a moment and shared his thoughts.
“They naturally won’t accept our intentions easily, but do you plan to accept theirs so easily?” Zhang Sunshi looked at them with a smile that was not quite a smile.
Everyone nodded with faint smiles, understanding what they needed to do.
“By the way, how is the plague at the border? You hid such a big matter from me, I don’t know if I should praise you or scold you.” Zhang Sunshi shifted her attention to the plague at the border. After all, that was the source of everything, and as long as the plague was resolved, many things would become much simpler.
Feng Tingye smiled faintly, “I can’t really be blamed for this. Even if I had informed you earlier, Mother, there would be nothing you could do, and it would only add to your worries. However, you can rest assured that as soon as I received the news, I immediately sent Divine Doctor Su to the border. Over the past two days, I have received reports from the border that Divine Doctor Su has found a method to treat the plague. We are just waiting for all the medicinal materials to be delivered, and then we can save and control the epidemic.”
Zhang Sunshi felt relieved. “That’s good. The celestial ceremony shouldn’t be delayed any longer. It’s best… to coordinate it with Doctor Su’s control of the epidemic. Do you know what to do?”
The decision to hold the celestial ceremony in the ancestral temple was made. That evening, Feng Tingye returned to the Xiefang Palace and mentioned the matter to Xia Yuqing. She fell silent for a moment but eventually agreed.
Sensing her unease, Feng Tingye didn’t offer empty words this time. He stayed by her side, holding her hand tightly as they slept through the night, giving Xia Yuqing a sense of security.
The news of the celestial ceremony spread throughout the capital quickly, just like the baseless rumors. As expected, many who had been fearful of Xia Yuqing due to those rumors were now taken aback by the sudden announcement. They began to doubt the rumors’ credibility. However, there were also many who viewed it as a spectacle and eagerly looked forward to witnessing the Empress’ presence for the first time.
When Ye Shuyan and his group heard the news, they were initially surprised but soon became intrigued.
“I never expected Feng Tingye to use this move. Isn’t he afraid of playing himself into a big mess?” Ying Yue said with a touch of schadenfreude, standing behind Ye Shuyan.
Ye Shuyan glanced at him and said, “This shows his intelligence. He doesn’t believe in gods and spirits, and indeed, gods and spirits are not real entities. Those that can be manipulated by those with an agenda are merely coincidental.”
“Meaning…” Ying Yue inquired.
Ye Shuyan narrowed his eyes slightly and said, “It’s just a competition among various parties, a lively spectacle. Why not go and watch the fun?”
“Of course, such a show can’t be seen every day,” Ying Yue replied with a light laugh.
On the day of the celestial ceremony, the streets of the entire capital were bustling with excitement. The people flocked to witness the current Emperor and Empress. The area around the ancestral temple was especially crowded, with thousands of people gathered to witness the event.
Xia Yuqing wore a magnificent gold-trimmed attire, listening to the loud noise from all sides. She couldn’t help but tighten her hands held in front of her.
Sensing her nervousness, Feng Tingye silently reached out and held her slightly cool hands, whispering, “Don’t be afraid. I am here.”
Xia Yuqing was stunned for a moment, but when she turned to look at Feng Tingye’s unusually serious expression, her fluctuating heart calmed down slightly. She took a deep breath and held Feng Tingye’s hand as she slowly stepped out of the luxurious sedan chair.
The noisy surroundings suddenly fell silent. The two figures that emerged from the sedan chair were striking. The man was dressed in a majestic dragon robe adorned with golden dragons, and his jade crown gently swayed, emitting a crisp sound with each movement, exuding an air of demonic charm and arrogance. The woman next to him wore a gold-colored gown that matched the color of the man’s robe. The bright phoenix and hundred birds on her gown complemented the numerous golden dragons on the man’s robe, making the woman look extraordinarily beautiful and dignified. From afar, the two of them seemed like a pair of celestial beings descending from the heavens, arousing envy and admiration from onlookers.
Feeling the eager gazes from the people around, Xia Yuqing felt a bit embarrassed and wanted to lower her head. However, Feng Tingye’s grip on her hand prevented her from doing so.
Feng Tingye’s gaze remained fixed on the steps ahead, not staring at Xia Yuqing. Nevertheless, Xia Yuqing could feel his warmth through their entwined fingers.
“Let’s go,” Feng Tingye said indifferently without paying any attention to the envious looks from the officials and noble ladies around them. He led Xia Yuqing up the imposing stairs.
The long, elegant golden robes flowed gracefully over the steps. They proceeded together, side by side, appearing solemn and dignified, exuding grace and intimacy.
“Mm-hmm…” Halfway up the steps, Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but chuckle.
“What’s the matter?” Feng Tingye was taken aback and asked with some confusion, though his footsteps did not falter. After all, there was a group of ministers on the other side of the steps, observing them intently, eager to catch any mistakes they might make.
“It’s nothing.” Xia Yuqing wore the most relaxed smile she had in days. “I just suddenly remembered the time when you crowned me Empress. You also held my hand like this and led me under the gaze of all these people, guiding me to the highest position.”
A tinge of nostalgia appeared on Xia Yuqing’s face. In the past, she had only pursued a carefree life, never thinking that one day she would walk by the side of such a man, standing at a high place together and overlooking the world that belonged to them.
Feng Tingye smiled and said, “The highest position by my side, it used to be yours, it is yours now, and it will always be yours. No one else will take that place.”
Xia Yuqing’s fingertips trembled slightly, and a faint smile appeared on her lowered face. “With your words, it’s more than enough.”
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