Si Tian Guan Chapter 164

Chapter 164: Nemesis

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The room fell silent for a while, until someone sighed.

Before Qu Chenzhou could even stand up, he was pulled by his sleeve and led to sit by the bedside.

“There’s no one else here, no need to restrain yourself.”

Liu Qingru was about to fetch the teapot from the table, but Qu Chenzhou hurriedly took a few steps forward and poured the tea into the cup.

“Please have a seat.” Liu Qingru beckoned, noticing a hint of redness in his eyes. She sighed once again, “I’ve been hearing about you from Zhongming all this time, and now I finally get to meet you.”

“Your Majesty…” Qu Chenzhou’s gaze fell into the teacup.

In the past, he was willing to swallow the bitterness of the long nights for Zhongming. After living in the palace for these years, Sister Liu had always taken care of him, no less than she did for Zhongming.

He privately called her “Sister.”

On the night of the palace coup, he had planned to take Sister Liu with him. But after spending several years in the Cold Palace, her body had been tortured to the point of frailty. She desperately gave birth to a child, and was unable to bear even the jostling on his back.

He couldn’t save her, and he was ultimately filled with remorse.

Liu Qingru didn’t know what he was thinking. She only noticed the fine beads of sweat forming on his forehead and tried to wipe them with a handkerchief, which he didn’t dodge. Then she slowly continued speaking.

“I’m just an older sister looking out for my younger brother. Seeing Zhongming grow up from a young age, I’m afraid my words might be biased towards him, so I won’t advise you two. If you can live smoothly and take care of yourself, nothing else matters.”

“Zhongming refuses to tell me anything. While I’m in the palace, I only hear rumors and remain clueless. He acts recklessly, so you shouldn’t bother with him.”

“Coincidentally, take this opportunity to visit me more often. While I can’t say this place is entirely secure, it’s still much safer than other places in the palace.”

“But Zhongming’s concerns are valid. The palace is not where you should stay permanently. In such a short time, your influence has become too strong.”

Qu Chenzhou silently nodded.

He knew it too.

In his previous life when he entered the palace, he was lowly and timid, not daring to say anything. He didn’t even know how to please the Emperor, and anyone could bully him. He was simply a convenient tool in the Emperor’s hands.

But this time, not only did he establish an early connection with the Liu family, he was also brought into the palace by Jingchen. Jingchen was on the verge of being granted a title of nobility, not to mention the fact that the Emperor now summoned him almost every day. Even if it wasn’t for divination, they would engage in some casual conversation.

With a more sensitive position, his situation was incomparable to the past.

“Leaving the palace, you won’t attract as much attention as you do here. By then, the Emperor will trust you, and several families will likely try to win you over. Zhongming and the others can conveniently protect you, which is overall much better.”

Liu Qingru handed him the tea, and this time he didn’t refuse.

“Your Majesty, it’s not that I don’t want to leave, but I haven’t figured out a solution yet.”

He lowered his gaze and looked at the teacup. “You should also know that the Emperor made an exception by letting me stay in the palace. Firstly, because he needs me, and secondly, because he fears that I may be swayed by one side or another.”

Liu Qingru furrowed her brow lightly. She also knew that leaving the palace was easier said than done.

The Emperor had always oscillated between vigilance and trust regarding the Si Tian Guan.

While he mostly observed the antics of the previous clowns, with Qu Chenzhou, the Emperor had clearly, unconsciously leaned toward trust.

Except for the underage princes, no other man had ever been allowed to live in the palace as an exception.

“Zhongming said that impeachment reports have gradually surfaced in the court in these two months,” she whispered. “I’ve instructed Zhongming and father to keep a close eye on them, to gauge the situation and see if we can seize the opportunity to send you out.”

If the Emperor manages to suppress these reports, Qu Chenzhou might never have the chance to leave the palace. If the flames burn too fiercely, they might all be reduced to ashes.

Qu Chenzhou managed a faint movement of his lips. “Thank you for your concern, Your Majesty. But for now, I cannot leave the palace.”


“There are only two months left, and the time is too short,” Qu Chenzhou spoke calmly and indifferently, as if discussing someone else’s affairs. “The Emperor’s current dependence on me is limited. I cannot leave yet. I have to wait until he… becomes even more reliant on me!”

He glanced at the time outside and prepared to rise.

“It’s about time, Your Majesty. Please rest. I will come again tomorrow, and if the Emperor asks…”

“Just say you were serving tea,” Liu Qingru interrupted. “I understand, no need to worry.”

Qu Chenzhou nodded, got up to fetch his cloak, and then remembered something.

“Your Majesty, take care of your health. Don’t worry about anything else, the most important thing is to protect the young prince.”

“The divination ‘Clouds obscure the Moon’ is unfavorable, indicating that someone wants to harm the young prince. But Your Majesty, there is no need to worry. From the moment I mentioned this divination in front of the Empress, she herself knew it was difficult and retreated.”

“But I’m not sure if there will be any other tricks later on. I’ll come back later to divine for you, Your Majesty.”

“Also, Huai Wang… he has improper thoughts about you…”

Liu Qingru stepped forward, straightening his collar and putting on his snow hat before speaking. “I know.”

Qu Chenzhou was quite surprised.

“Women’s intuition, you guys wouldn’t understand,” Liu Qingru smiled. “I will be vigilant. If there’s anything useful in the future, feel free to let me know.”

“Chenzhou, I know you have important matters on your mind, but don’t only focus on the three Wang Yes.”

“Sitting in your current position, the people you should observe are not just them.”

“I’ve been in the palace for a long time and seen a lot. Whether it’s court officials or Wang Yes, they are still far from the Emperor. Sometimes they can’t even compare to a whisper by the pillow or a single word from someone close to the Emperor.”

Qu Chenzhou was intrigued. “Please enlighten me, Your Majesty.”

“Pay attention to Yu Dexi,” Liu Qingru escorted him to the door and whispered softly. “He has been by the Emperor’s side for more than ten years, the person closest to him and the one he trusts the most. The closer you get to the Emperor, the more uncomfortable it will make him feel.”

Yu Dexi…

Qu Chenzhou contemplated this in his mind, waiting outside the warm pavilion for a while until he received the edict summoning him.

The cotton curtain lifted, and Consort Xian came out first. When she saw him standing solemnly by the door, she nodded slightly as a greeting.

Consort Xian rarely received summons as she always accompanied the Empress Dowager. Her appearance here could only mean one thing—the matter of Mu Jingchen being conferred as a Wang Ye had been settled.

He followed the palace servants inside and bowed. When he looked up, he noticed that Yu Dexi was not present by the Emperor’s side, further understanding Liu Qingru’s intention.

Similar to Liao Guangming’s previous situation, Yu Dexi’s support and position were centered around the Emperor. Whoever wanted to compete for the closest position to the Emperor and the most trust from him would become Yu Dexi’s opponent.

“Your Majesty,” as the palace attendants were dismissed, he prostrated himself on the ground, holding up the written divinations on floral paper with both hands. “I have not disappointed Your Majesty’s trust. The divinations for the three Wang Yes are here for Your Majesty’s review.”

Things may change, but people often remain the same.

Compared to the Liu family, the Emperor’s guard against the three Wang Yes had only increased, not diminished.

Now that the imperial decree has been issued, Qi Wang’s military power has been greatly reduced. He was left with only five hundred personal guards and was ordered to depart for his fief within half a month, with no permission to return to the capital.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been continuous dispute over this matter in the court. After dragging on for a few months, the dust has finally settled.

While it may seem on the surface that only residual waves remain, privately there were likely many ripples.

The Southern Bureau has been temporarily entrusted to Bo Yan’s leadership, and there was quite a disturbance during the handover at the Ministry of War. The Emperor even ordered the Bai family to transfer one battalion to the capital to merge with the Northern Bureau for city patrols, only then successfully reclaiming the Tiger Token.

With this development, the Emperor’s determination to send Qi Wang away has become even stronger.

At such a time, it was not enough for the Emperor to merely have present stability; he also needed knowledge of long-term peace, and Qu Chenzhou was the best reassurance.

Emperor Yu squinted his eyes and beckoned him forward.

“Read it.”

Qu Chenzhou crawled forward and presented a floral paper. He said, “Qi Wang’s residence is busy, and I dare not delay for too long. Today, the divination for the Wang Ye is: ‘The spear will be leveled, returning west, near the mountains but not the waters.'”

Emperor Yu made a sound of agreement.

This divination was not difficult to explain. The halberd symbolized the Qi Wang’s journey to his fief, passing through the necessary location of Jiping. Since it was a journey to the fief, using the word ‘return’ was appropriate.

“What does ‘near the mountains but not near the water’ mean?” he asked.

Qu Chenzhou quickly answered, “I am ignorant. I have never left the capital and do not know the situation along the way. I speculate that it might mean it is better for the prince not to travel by water.”

“Has Jingde asked you about it?”

“He did, but I dare not speak rashly. I dare not make random guesses in front of the Wang Ye. However, the Wang Ye mentioned…” Qu Chenzhou quickly raised his eyes, his gaze flickering, but hastily lowered his head again.

Emperor Yu opened his eyes. “Why did you only say half of it?”

“Wang Ye asked me to inquire with Your Majesty if it’s possible to allocate another five hundred people to accompany him on the journey…” Qu Chenzhou didn’t finish his words before hearing Emperor Yu snort coldly. He quickly prostrated himself on the ground. “Y-Your Majesty, please forgive me. I spoke out of turn.”

“Another five hundred people? It’s only because he thinks you are obedient and easy to talk to. If it were someone else, they wouldn’t dare utter such words in front of Zhen,” Emperor Yu closed his eyes for a moment of rest, then glanced at him with a sidelong gaze. “What do you think?”

“It is an overstep, Your Majesty…”

“I am asking you a question!”

“Yes…” Qu Chenzhou straightened his posture, biting his lower lip as he pondered. He answered softly, “Your Majesty, I have little knowledge. In the past, I was afraid even to step out of the main gate, let alone venture out of the capital. Thinking about Qi Wang going so far away, he feels fearful and wanted to bring more people with him… It’s just a natural human reaction.”

Emperor Yu looked at him for a moment, then couldn’t help but chuckle and rebuke, “So small-minded. Do you think Jingde is like you?”

Qu Chenzhou nodded obediently with his head lowered.

“In the end, you’re just a child.” Emperor Yu looked at the floral paper and, somehow, uttered such a sentence.

“Replying to Your Majesty… I am seventeen years old this year, no longer a child.”

“I wasn’t talking about you,” Emperor Yu laughed and scolded, motioning for him to continue, “What about the other two?”

“Huai Wang Ye, Ning He, and Wu Yu.”

Qu Chenzhou tried his best to keep his voice calm and normal, but that seemingly gentle face was so close, like a heated iron.

He had to exert all his strength to suppress himself and not throw himself hysterically forward.

If a malicious divination could bring about the downfall of Huai Wang, he would do so without hesitation. But he was well aware that, unlike the Liu family, it was not only the Song family that openly or secretly supported Huai Wang in the court.

The tragic fate that befell the Liu family would not repeat itself on Huai Wang.

“Qu Sitian,” that voice called him again, “Is your hometown Changshui Town?”

With just this one question, he understood. Huai Wang was investigating him, testing him.

And among the three Wang Yes, only Huai Wang had no divination. This further confirmed that Huai Wang had entrusted more matters to others and was the nemesis of his divinations.

Moreover, upon learning that he performed divinations every five days, Huai Wang cleverly avoided him at critical times. Otherwise, in the previous world, he would not have been unaware of major events such as the palace coup.

Although he doesn’t know exactly what Huai Wang intends to investigate, his mind is meticulous, and he wouldn’t casually inquire about Changshui Town for no reason.

Qu Chenzhou paused for only a moment, listening to Emperor Yu’s nonchalant response of “Hmm,” not daring to distract himself any further.

“Ning Wang… The divination for Ning Wang is ‘Drunk in wine, intoxicated by the red enchanting flower. Upstairs and downstairs vie for laughter and strength.'”

“Drunk again, enchanted by the red flower! This beast…” Emperor Yu suddenly became angry, sweeping the tray off and his face suddenly turned red. He wanted to say something more but ended up coughing severely, struggling to catch his breath.

Qu Chenzhou was greatly alarmed, disregarding everything else, and hurriedly got up to search in the small cabinet next to the couch. He managed to find the porcelain bottle that Yu Dexi usually carried and brought it to Emperor Yu’s nose, letting him smell it.

“Your Majesty, please calm down.”

He hurriedly helped Emperor Yu breathe easier against his chest. He turned his head and saw the chief eunuch and palace maids rushing over, about to withdraw, but Emperor Yu motioned for him to stay with a wave of his hand.

The chief eunuch skillfully presented a lacquer box, watching as Emperor Yu swallowed the vermilion pill before leaving one by one.

Qu Chenzhou supported Emperor Yu to sit back, and from the slightly opened mouth, he smelled the pungent odor of the pill.

“Those few actions just now,” Emperor Yu reclined half-sitting, beckoning him, “felt quite comfortable. How did you do it?”

“Your servant… can give you another massage.” Qu Chenzhou knelt carefully beside the couch, straightening his body, and lightly pressed his hands from the collarbone to the coccyx, massaging back and forth.

While in the separate courtyard, the house physician saw his weak physique and taught him several techniques, some of which were folk remedies. Although they were methods known to the palace physicians, no one would dare to use them, especially since the physicians knew what additives were put into the pill the emperor consumed.

Qu Chenzhou closed his eyes, and while his fingers continued to massage in an orderly manner, his heart pounded loudly. The force had gathered from his upper arm to his elbow and was about to flow to his fingertips.

The elderly man’s body was right in front of him, and it was only a thought away to take action.

However, in an instant, his hand slackened, leaving Emperor Yu’s chest, and slowly moved to massage his legs.

When Yu Dexi lifted the curtain and entered, he saw Emperor Yu lying on his side, emitting a very soft snoring sound, sleeping soundly.

Qu Chenzhou knelt beside the couch, focusing on massaging Emperor Yu’s feet.

Author’s note: As for what Qu Chenzhou was about to do just now, it will be revealed in the next chapter. When writing up to this point, I think the main theme of this story might be: Children should be filial to their elders and not always focus on inheritance. You never know, the elderly might be deceived by some massage boy. LOL

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