Ninth Imperial Glorious Phoenix Chapter 9

Chapter 9: The Blueprint

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Mingzhu remained indifferent and cold, “If you can’t bear to live with this disgrace, I can’t force you to stay. But when you leave, it’s best to take your son with you, so he doesn’t cause trouble outside and harm people’s lives while blaming me.”

Geng Momo was greatly surprised, her lips trembling as she struggled to speak, “What did Miss say?”

Mingzhu yawned, turned and walked away lazily, “Can’t understand? It seems you’re getting old and deaf. Not only can you not serve me anymore, but you probably can’t handle other tasks either. When I go back, report to my mother, Geng Momo can retire.”

Before Geng Momo could say anything else, Su Lan and Su Mei had already helped her down, quietly persuading her, “Miss is angry now. Why not leave and come back when she’s calmer?”

Initially, Geng Momo wanted to scold these two maids to vent her anger, but seeing Mingzhu’s departing figure, she didn’t dare. Feeling both embarrassed and angry, she retreated.

Food was brought from outside. Mingzhu lazily picked some tender vegetables with an ivory chopstick and ate them absentmindedly. After drinking half a bowl of delicious soup, she rinsed her mouth and asked Su Lan, “Was that shoe not found?”

Su Lan whispered, “It’s either fallen into the abyss or been picked up by someone from the Ying Wang Mansion.”

Mingzhu affirmed, “Of course, it didn’t fall into the abyss.” She remembered clearly that after Zhang Huan knocked the shoe away, it hung on a protruding rod under the winding walkway. With a skilled person and a hook and net, it could be retrieved.

Su Lan quickly ordered someone to handle it. Seeing Mingzhu looking out the window, ready to paint, she and Su Mei prepared the brushes, ink, and paper. Mingzhu was still going to draw that crossbow blueprint, burning it after drawing, and drawing it again. After finishing, she washed her hands and asked for tea. Seeing her in a good mood, Su Lan took the opportunity to say, “Miss, Geng Momo may not be perfect, but she has always served you diligently.”

Mingzhu took a sip of tea and said, “It’s all for her own sake.” With the help of her rebirth, she knew that Geng Momo and her son had done many evil deeds under her name, tarnishing her reputation. Half of her bad reputation came from Geng Momo. As the mother and son hadn’t caused a big scene yet, she quickly wanted to strip Geng Momo of her power.

Su Mei came in and said, “Miss, the woman who went to investigate has returned. She says she couldn’t find that shoe. She asked if you remembered wrong?”

Mingzhu pondered for a moment and ordered, “Prepare some silver. Someone will come tomorrow to settle the score. Also, tell them my things were stolen.” If the shoe wasn’t blown away by the mountain wind, then it was taken by someone from the Ying Wang Mansion. Wanting to trouble her wouldn’t be so easy. She firmly claimed that the shoe was stolen. Let’s see what he will do.

Su Lan understood and eagerly offered, “Do you want to search the mountain?” 

“You’re so bold! Would you dare to search His Royal Highness, Ying Wang? Just spreading the word would be enough.” Mingzhu thought of Yuwen Chu’s petty nature and couldn’t help but grit her teeth in anger. Indeed, the Yuwen family bred men with petty minds, both difficult and detestable. 

Behind the Jade Emperor Pavilion, nestled against the mountain, there was a quaint retreat. It consisted of a two-story bamboo building and several cottages, elegantly hidden amidst lush greenery and clouds, resembling a beautiful fairyland. Yuwen Chu resided on the second floor of this building. At this moment, he was carefully examining a drawing. If Mingzhu were here, she would surely find this drawing very familiar. 

The paper depicted a huge crossbow, with various intricate parts meticulously drawn. Next to it were tiny annotations detailing dimensions and materials. Unfortunately, the most crucial part was left blank… Yuwen Chu put down the drawing and asked Jing Song with a puzzled expression, “Is this the drawing you took from Ban Jian?” 

Jing Song couldn’t discern his emotions and hurriedly replied, “Yes, that kid drank too much and passed out. I found it in his pocket. There should be no mistake. He treasures it, wrapping it in three layers of oil paper.” 

Yuwen Chu asked, “Are there any omissions?” This kind of large, intricate crossbow depicted in the drawing, if the full design could be found, would be an extraordinary weapon. Whether it was to ascend to a higher position or to strengthen the country, it would no longer be an unattainable dream. 

Jing Song shook his head confidently, “None at all.”

Jing Song was always efficient in his work, so if he said there was no oversight, then there definitely wasn’t. Yuwen Chu calmed the boiling excitement and enthusiasm in his heart, carefully smoothing out the curled corners of the paper. He had only intended to investigate whether Fu Mingzhu’s broken engagement was related to Ban Jian, but he hadn’t expected to come across such a treasure. This wasn’t an old document; it was newly made and given to Ban Jian by Fu Mingzhu. Did this mean that the Fu family had the complete blueprint of this powerful crossbow? What would the Fu family do with such a thing?

Having followed Yuwen Chu for many years, Jing Song could guess that he must value this piece of paper greatly, so he suggested, “Why don’t we wake up that lad and ask him some questions? He seems naive and easily swayed.”

Yuwen Chu shook his head, “No need for now. Let’s keep an eye on them and see what they’re up to.” After carefully storing away the blueprint, he called in the person waiting outside to give a report.

Zhang Huan came in hesitantly, holding the satin shoe, his dark face slightly flushed. “Your Highness, what should we do with this shoe?”

Yuwen Chu glanced at it without much interest, “Just toss it into a corner.”

Zhang Huan couldn’t understand. He went to all the trouble of getting this woman’s shoe, only to casually throw it away in some corner? But that woman was really despicable enough. He had never seen such a fierce and arrogant woman before. He couldn’t help but feel indignant and said, “Your Highness is truly magnanimous. That woman dared to disrespect you like that. Her hand should have been chopped off. Just hiding one of her shoes is letting her off too easily.” 

Yuwen Chu remained expressionless and didn’t respond. Jing Song gave Zhang Huan a meaningful look and said, “Just leave it be. Why so much nonsense?” 

“Oh,” Zhang Huan scratched the back of his head, bowed to Yuwen Chu, and was about to leave. Suddenly, Yuwen Chu said, “Don’t lose it. Leave it to Zhu Changsheng to handle.”

Upon hearing this, Zhang Huan chuckled, “I wonder how much the Fu family is willing to pay to redeem this embroidered shoe.”

Zhu Changsheng entered afterward, smiling, “What’s all this commotion about?”

Zhang Huan went up to him, put his arm around him, and said ingratiatingly, “Old Brother Zhu, according to His Highness’s previous instructions, whoever comes up with a money-making idea gets a share. If we can exchange this embroidered shoe for silver, I want a cut.” The Fu family was wealthy, and Fu Mingzhu was deeply loved. At this moment, with her breaking off the engagement with Linan Wang, the Fu family would surely spare no expense to protect her reputation. If they could profit from this situation, it would be a windfall for them.

Zhu Changsheng gave him a cold look, “Was this your idea?”

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