Si Tian Guan Chapter 181

Chapter 181: Familiar Ground

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The doors and windows were all closed, and the room felt a bit stuffy, especially in this summer heat. The scent of the baby made the stuffiness even more unbearable.

The cheeks of several people in the room were flushed.

Emperor Yu seemed completely unconcerned, holding the sleeping baby in his arms, touching the little face, and gripping the small hand with a delighted expression.

Sitting on the side of the bed, Liu Qingru’s eyes were filled with gentleness and affection. After gazing at the child for a moment, she glanced out of the window and suppressed a smile.

“Your Majesty, aren’t you going to let them in?”

“Both of them are full of energy and love to quarrel. Let them wait outside for a while and finish their argument before letting them in.”

Liu Qingru pleaded softly, “This matter is not Qu Sitian’s fault. It was Zhongming’s impulsive decision to chase after the wrong place. Your Majesty’s forgiveness for his recklessness is already a great favor. He should recognize his mistake, and quarreling with Qu Sitian now is inappropriate.”

“They both are not easy to deal with.”

Although Emperor Yu scolded, he appeared to be in a good mood.

“You think Zhen doesn’t know them? Like a needle against a haystack, they can’t stand each other. Whether Zhongming made a mistake or not is yet to be seen. It seems he had preconceived notions that led him straight there. Naturally, Chenzhou wouldn’t back down when he’s in the right.”

“You don’t know, they argued so intensely in the study that I got a headache.”

Liu Qingru chuckled softly, “Your Majesty scolds them, but your eyes show a hint of a smile.”

“Young children… being lively occasionally isn’t bad either, to dispel loneliness.”

Emperor Yu teased the baby in his arms and smiled, “But it’s about time. Zhongming is clever and efficient, but he gets fixated on things with Chenzhou. Tell him one more time, if he causes trouble for Chenzhou again, beware that I’ll send him away with a beating.”

“Your Consort will remember.”

After all, Emperor Yu was getting older. He held the baby for a while before putting him down. He watched for a moment, and the smile on his face gradually faded.

“Qingru, you keep an eye on them, don’t say anything. If Zhongming is smart, he should prepare gifts to thank Ying Er and Bo Yan. Do you know why?”

Liu Qingru lowered her gaze. How could she not know the reason?

Qu Chenzhou’s divination this time was only shared with the Emperor and her. Otherwise, the Emperor wouldn’t have allowed Zhongming to guard the Lijing Palace with troops.

It seemed they got some results.

After Zhongming left, the true culprit, completely unaware, thought they had an opportunity. However, they were pursued relentlessly by the people lying in ambush all around, and Bo Yan arrived hastily to capture them on the spot.

And that woman who was “lost” by Zhongming could be easily explained — it perfectly matched the true culprit’s sudden “return.”

“I know. If it wasn’t for Aunt and Commander Bo Yan, I wouldn’t have been able to safely give birth to Lan Er.”

Emperor Yu tenderly held her hand. “You’ve always had such a good temperament, speaking gently and resolving conflicts. You don’t argue or make a fuss. If it were someone else, I’m afraid they would have bothered me endlessly.”

Liu Qingru smiled gently and lowered her head. “Your Consort does not dare to accept such praise from Your Majesty. Now that Lan Er is healthy and safe, nothing else matters. Your servant is just a woman of the harem and dare not speak on other matters. I only believe that with Your Majesty around, this mother and child has nothing to worry about.”

Emperor Yu’s gaze softened, he squeezed her hand, and called out loudly, “Summon them both in!”

The calls echoed out in succession, and soon, Liu Zhongming and Qu Chenzhou entered the room one after the other.

Seeing Liu Zhongming about to speak again, Emperor Yu waved his hand, “Do not jabber on, otherwise you two can wait outside.”

Liu Zhongming wisely sealed his lips.

“Zhongming, a few days ago, I asked you to take care of Qingru properly. Yet you went to provoke Chenzhou instead. Fortunately, you are resourceful, leaving some people behind and not causing a major disaster.”

Liu Zhongming bowed his head and responded, “I acknowledge my mistake.”

“It’s good that Bo Yan arrived in time. I know you’re not satisfied and reluctant to hand the matter over to him. However, this matter is significant, and Ling He is prudent and reliable. It’s more appropriate for him to handle it.”

Although Emperor Yu didn’t explicitly state it, everyone present understood that since the birth of this child by Noble Consort Liu, there were too many entanglements involving several Wangyes. It wasn’t appropriate to let Liu Zhongming take over.

“Regardless of the outcome, I will be the one to decide. You must not stir up trouble. Do you hear me?”


Liu Zhongming took a step back, his peripheral vision catching Qu Chenzhou being called forward.

“Chenzhou, Zhongming has been pampered and spoiled since childhood. He has a bad temper and is used to being unruly. You’re more sensible than him, don’t argue with him. If he bullies you, let me know, and I’ll stand up for you.”

“Your will shall be obeyed.”

Emperor Yu raised his gaze and saw Qu Chenzhou hesitating to speak. He couldn’t help but furrow his brow, “What do you want to say?”

Qu Chenzhou suddenly knelt down, “I beg Your Majesty to intervene on my behalf!”

“What’s the matter?”

“A few days ago, I gambled with Shizi at the gambling house,” he slightly turned his head to glance at Liu Zhongming, “I won a property from Shizi, but he still hasn’t handed over the property deed to me. I implore Your Majesty to intervene on my behalf.”

Liu Zhongming didn’t interrupt, he just saw Emperor Yu’s smile remaining unchanged on his face, but his eyes lost some of their amusement.

“Chenzhou has grown up, thinking of earning property to marry a wife? Or do you want to move out of the palace?”

Qu Chenzhou’s voice paused, choked with some emotion, “To Your Majesty, I won Qisheng Building… it’s where I was once sold…”

The icy frost in those cloudy old eyes melted away, and Emperor Yu couldn’t help but laugh, “You, how did you also become so stubborn? Zhongming!”

Liu Zhongming breathed a sigh of relief.

If Chenzhou was going to leave the palace in the future, he would need a well-prepared place to stay, and the best place would be Qisheng Building.

That place was where Chenzhou had endured humiliation for over a decade. Anyone would understand why Chenzhou wanted to acquire Qisheng Building. It was the only thing the Emperor wouldn’t dispute with Chenzhou over.

“Your Majesty, Qu Sitian made a bet with me, it’s unfair,” he grumbled, “I’m not satisfied.”

Qu Chenzhou calmly raised his head, “But Shizi agreed to my bet on the spot and willingly lost.”

“Did I agree?” Liu Zhongming began to make excuses, “Is there any evidence?”

“There’s no evidence, but many people present can testify. Is Shizi unable to accept defeat?”

“Nonsense, how could I…”

Seeing that the two of them were about to argue again, Liu Qingru reprimanded, “Zhongming! In front of the Emperor, you must not be insolent!”

Liu Zhongming obediently shut his mouth and listened as Emperor Yu began to speak, scolding him.

“Zhongming, did you really accept Chenzhou’s bet and lost to him that building?”

“Yes… but I…”

“What ‘but’? A man’s word is his bond,” Emperor Yu grabbed a handful of golden melon seeds from the table and threw one at Liu Zhongming, “Even Jingzhao knows that reneging on a bet is unacceptable. You’ve been making money every year, do you really want to be stingy over this?!”

Liu Zhongming felt wronged from the scolding, “Your Majesty, you’re really biased towards him.”

“Outrageous,” Emperor Yu was almost amused to anger, “I am upholding justice here. Listen, within three days, hand over the property deed to Chenzhou.”

“I… will obey.”

As he reluctantly agreed, he heard Bo Yan’s loud announcement from outside, “Your Majesty, Ling Shaoqing has urgent matters and is waiting outside the Imperial Study.”

Behind Emperor Yu, the gazes of Liu Zhongming and Qu Chenzhou briefly met.

There would be no other possibility for the results of Ling He’s investigation.

Only Huai Wang.

Driven by Liu family’s single-minded pursuit of the murderer, these past ten-odd years, numerous miscarried fetuses in the palace had found their suspected culprit.

Regardless of whether it was true or not.

Huai Wang and Consort Yu probably never thought that one slip-up would lead to them being labeled as the culprits.

To onlookers, this might be the Emperor’s temporary measure to appease the Liu family, but the truth of the matter was known only to Huai Wang himself.

For the first time in decades, the signboard of Qisheng Building was removed and turned into a piece of charred wood in the fire.

The blacksmiths, their bare arms exerting strength, poured molten iron from the furnace, casting a new plaque. This plaque was no small matter and shouldn’t be underestimated. The two characters on it were personally inscribed by the current emperor with his imperial brush.

Qu Mansion.

Qu Chenzhou casually held the reins, enjoying this stroll on the street. He liked the new scenery he had never seen before, and now he could leisurely appreciate it.

However, a buzzing still lingered in his ears, the shrill cries of women seemed to reside within, never fading away.

The crime of plotting against the heir to the throne was enough to bring any Wangye eligible for that position to their downfall, let alone targeting the child of Noble Consort Liu. And not to mention that this case involved the deaths of several stillborn children.

But Consort Yu stepped forward and shouldered all the blame.

Perhaps out of compassion or perhaps because he didn’t truly want this son to be harmed, the emperor demoted Consort Yu to Song Zhaoyi, while Huai Wang was confined to his residence and prohibited from going out without permission.

A slight cold smile tugged at the corner of Qu Chenzhou’s lips.

If Lan Er grew up in the future…

He thought that he should have Liu Zhongming teach his child. Balance was indeed the way of an emperor, but if anything was overdone, only bitter consequences awaited.

The Emperor wanted to firmly control everyone, but in the end, it was like drawing water with a bamboo basket.

Judging from the current situation, with Lan Er just born, Huai Wang under house arrest, and Jingchen of no consequence, only the newly empowered Ning Wang was thriving. The Empress Dowager was probably already feeling restless.

He dismounted in front of the vacant gate and raised his hand to stop the stout soldiers who had followed him, entering alone.

The servants, slaves, courtesans, scholars, and others who used to inhabit Qisheng Building had all been dismissed, leaving only the tidied Qisheng Building behind.

Steward Lin was waiting near the decorative screen, and as soon as he saw Qu Chenzhou, he intended to say something, but his tears welled up first.

“Little Qu…” He wiped his tears with his sleeve, hastily changing his words and tremblingly preparing to kneel down. “Qu Sitian…”

“Steward Lin,” Qu Chenzhou supported him. Even if he had a heart of stone, it was softened by these tears. “Steward Lin, I’ve come back.”

“It’s good that you’re back, it’s good that you’re back.”

Steward Lin didn’t know how to respond, he just kept wiping his tears.

Qu Chenzhou handed over a handkerchief, “Don’t cry. In the future, I’ll trouble Steward Lin to manage the mansion for me and accompany me around.”

Although he had lived here for a while, he had been mostly confined to the backyard. When he looked up, all he could see were insurmountable walls and unreachable skies. This was the first time he had calmly and leisurely walked around Qisheng Building like this.

Steward Lin wiped away his tears and hurriedly explained for him.

“When Shizi was repairing it, the general structure wasn’t changed. When you were still living here, the first floor was the hall, and the second floor was the wing rooms.”

“Here is the tea house. There used to be a calligraphy masterpiece by a top scholar displayed here, but it was destroyed when the building collapsed. The Shizi ordered it to be thrown away.”

“The back area is the guest rooms.”

Walking further back, Steward Lin stopped talking, but Qu Chenzhou was familiar with this part.

In the past, a room in the dilapidated West Courtyard had been set aside for them, partitioned by worn-out cloth to create a narrow space. He had spent over ten years on that damp and cold bed.

Seeing him move slowly, not speaking, Steward Lin was afraid he might be pained by the memories. He asked softly, “Will you be living here from now on?”

“I don’t know.”

Qu Chenzhou’s gaze swept over the once familiar surroundings. Although there had been some changes during the renovation, he remembered everything about this place.

“Then… how do you want to renovate this place?”

“Level it all, rebuild.”

Qu Chenzhou stopped under a tree in the courtyard and looked up at the canopy that covered the sky.

In the winter when he was nine years old, he had been hung from this tree, his face disfigured. Perhaps some root of this tree had once eagerly drunk his blood.

“And this tree, cut it down too.”

Destroy everything from the past completely.

Qu Chenzhou didn’t linger any longer, exiting through the courtyard gate. He mounted his horse and watched as craftsmen poured in, beginning work from one corner. Some climbed up the wooden structure, taking iron hooks that were thrown up to them.

Dozens of iron hooks were attached to ropes, descending like a heavenly maiden scattering flowers from above.

With rough voices, they shouted a rallying cry. The tightly connected tenons emitted creaking and cracking sounds. The wooden structure swayed like a giant tree in a gale, gradually leaning and finally collapsing amidst the cheers of the crowd.

“It’s down! It’s down!”

The urgent report from Yunnan County flew on an express route and landed on the desk in the Imperial Study, even Yu Dexi held his breath, secretly watching Emperor Yu’s complexion turn iron blue.


The Thousand Child Pagoda in Yunnan County, struck by lightning during a heavy rain, had completely collapsed.

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