Chapter 42 Jin Xiu Ying
“Zhongming, what a coincidence…”
Halfway through the man’s words, he glanced at the situation in the carriage, then let go of his hand, lowering the curtain again. He smiled meaningfully outside the car.
“I said it was a coincidence, but it turned out to be an unfortune.”
Behind the man, another voice asked strangely: “Unfortune? Isn’t it Zhongming in the carriage? Isn’t this Zhongming’s carriage?”
The carriage gradually stopped. Listening to the voice, the two people who were talking have gone from the curtain to the window.
The man who tapped the carriage earlier, raised his voice, and said with a smile, “Zhongming, in broad daylight, playing so wildly?”
Liu Zhongming moved his two fingers away from his throat, and when he spoke again, there was a hint of repression in his hoarse breathing.
“Commander Liao is not tasteful. Rushing into people’s carriagess in broad daylight, are you not afraid that I will report to an official?”
“Which official are you reporting to? Me?” The man looked at the person behind him and asked, “Or Nanya?”
“Commander Liao…” Liu Zhongming’s voice became helpless.
Liao Guangming smiled and the person leaned not far from the curtain.
“Old acquaintance, I know what your carriage looks like with my eyes closed. Today, you are still putting on airs with me? Also not changing to a tied door, is it more fun to play like this?”
The man behind him understood what he meant and couldn’t help but laugh: “Commander Liao, don’t pick on Zhongming. Zhongming is just at the age to love to play. The Commander at this age I’m afraid would have been more frivolous.”
Liao Guangming snorted and squinted his eyes: “Xing Zhi really picked me clean. That person, I don’t know what we are going for today.”
The gauze curtain on the window was lifted a little, revealing half of Liu Zhongming’s face.
“Commander Liao, Brother Xingzhi, what are you going to do?”
“Why don’t we go together? Won’t you know if you go?” Liao Guangming raised his eyebrows and smiled, refusing to speak directly.
“Commander Liao is wrong, how can you tell a person to leave now.” Jiang Xingzhi unfolded his bone fan and shook it gently: “Zhongming still has a good temperament, if it was someone else who pulled the Commander out when the Commander was in high spirits, I’m afraid the Commander would want to kill that person.”
Liu Zhongming also laughed: “Brother Xingzhi gave me a good idea, I will try it another day.”
Liao Guangming clapped the carriage and smiled angrily: “I am a rude person and can’t win over you guys in speech. Zhongming, are you really not going?”
“Where are you going?” Liu Zhongming asked casually, but his toes pointed downwards.
Qu Chenzhou was wrapped in a cloak and motionless. When he was caught off guard and had his acupuncture points pressed, he became numb and itchy, and couldn’t help crooning lightly.
The two outside the car sneered.
“It’s still the same old place on Guang An Street. Next time I’ll let Xingzhi call you – where did you get this toy from, they won’t even let you stop for a moment? It’s fine, you go do your thing. If you don’t do it soon, it’ll be gone.”
Liao Guangming said he wanted to look in, but was quickly blocked by Liu Zhongming’s body. He couldn’t help laughing harder: “Why don’t you want to show it? Is it good stuff?”
“Naked, I won’t let you look.” Liu Zhongming’s wheezing had subsided, and he said casually, “It’s nothing good, thin and boring, and won’t even scream.”
Liao Guangming laughed loudly, “I’ll give you something good another day. Both sides would be fed and I promise he will be very interesting. Once he latches on, he won’t let go.”
He looked up at the sun and bounced off the carriage: “I won’t talk to you, I’ll play with you next time Xingzhi gathers everyone.”
The carriage started to move again. Liu Zhongming nodded to the two of them, put down the curtain, and turned his eyes.
Qu Chenzhou was wrapped tightly by the cloak and pinched by his feet. He laid on the ground motionless, with his eyes closed, but his long eyelashes were shaking from time to time, like an uneasy butterfly.
“What are you afraid of? What do you think I will do to you? You are dreaming.” Liu Zhongming released his restraint and sat on the soft couch seat, feeling pissed, and added: “So ugly.”
Qu Chenzhou didn’t open his eyes. He moved slightly, turned his back to him, and said nothing.
It made Liu Zhongming feel a little fuzzy in his heart. He thought that because of the other party’s temper, he would reciprocate a few words. He didn’t speak so much and it made him feel like he was bullying others.
Or… did Qu Chenzhou feel unhappy after hearing what he and Liao Guangming said?
In a twinkling of an eye, he slapped himself in the heart again – why does he care so much about what Qu Chenzhou thinks?
“Do you have something important to do today?” The atmosphere was a little awkward. He asked a question and before he could hear an answer, he said, “If there was something, change it to another day. Selecting an auspicious day, why not this day. Since we raninto them, let’s go over and have a look and also let me see your ability.”
The carriage circled around the city and stopped at the back door.
Upon hearing the news, the old bustard greeted him diligently, wanting to ask the guest which one to call, but in a blink of an eye, he saw the guest carrying someone on his shoulder. He promptly closed his mouth, opened the room as instructed, served tea, and then retreated.
Liu Zhongming threw the person on the bed, and went to sit down at the table by the window first, and then instructed: “Come here.”
Qu Chenzhou slowly got out of the cloak, looked at the surrounding arrangements, and came over to the table. As he sat down, he looked at the filled teacup pushed in front of him, and asked abruptly, “Lord Shizi seems like a regular customer.”
Liu Zhongming lifted one eyebrow. He felt like these words had a different feeling than usual. He didn’t understand, but it made him feel good.
“Yes,” he leaned against the back of the chair with a teacup and raised his feet proudly: “Everyone is a beauty, so delicate and soft, who wouldn’t love coming here? Have you been here before?”
“No.” Qu Chenzhou pursed his lips and looked out the window with a teacup in his hand.
Since Liu Zhongming said he wanted to come and have a look, he could guess what he was going to do and it happened that these two would be their targets sooner or later.
This window was facing Guang An Street and the door that can be seen at a glance should be the “old place” just mentioned. They just needed to wait here and wait for a while before dispersing.
Liu Zhongming didn’t believe what he said, but he didn’t talk much about it. He tapped the window with his chin, and when he saw Qu Chenzhou nod, he knew that he was a smart man.
“Yesterday you said that while I was not in an official position, I should stir up the muddy water. What would you like me to do?”
“Sir, after I came back to life, many things have become different from before. I’ll speak and you will listen. If there is any deviation, please point it out.”
Qu Chenzhou rubbed his teacup and thought back carefully.
“There are three Wangye’s in the dynasty now. Empress Tang has a son, Mu Jingzhao, who is named Ning Wang. Ning Wang is arrogant and extravagant. He enjoys the pleasures of life, but cannot handle any big matters. If he ever occupies the top spot, he would be easily influenced.”
Liu Zhongming nodded in agreement.
Ning Wang was Emperor Yu’s only Dizi (son of first wife) and Emperor Yu valued his Dizi very much because of his own background.
Empress Tang originally thought that the canonization of the crown Shizi would be a sure thing, but Ning Wang was influenced by his mother and took it for granted. Being pampered since he was young and not raised well, he had developed a bad temper that cannot be shown in public.
Now even if the Empress urged him, beat him, and scolded him, Ning Wang was unwilling to take another step. When drinking and playing together, he often complained to Liu Zhongming.
No matter what, Ning Wang is also the Dizi, and was the first to be crowned a Wang among the three Shizis. Reportedly on the day of the crowning, the Empress was very angry.
“Ning Wang’s advantage is that, firstly, he is the Dizi. Secondly, the Empress is still in charge of the harem, and thirdly, the Empress’s elder brother is the Shizhong and he is a sharp-edged man. Even Marquis Liu often avoids confrontation with him.”
Liu Zhongming really wanted to argue a few words for his father.
He wanted to say that his father just didn’t want to quarrel, it wasn’t that he was afraid of anyone, but when he thought about it, his father seemed to be taciturn and never fought for anything with anyone.
“Then there is Concubine Ming. Concubine Ming has a son, Mu Jingde, who was named Qi Wang. Concubine Ming was born from a family of military generals, and Qi Wang is often in the army. The weak point is that he has ambition but not the crafty schemes to carry it out. Jiang Xingzhi can also see this point, so he chose Qi Wang as the shield. But Qi Wang’s strengths are also here. It is easy for the emperor to control and see through him, so he is relieved to hand over the Nanya sixteenth guards to him.”
“The commanding power of Nanya sixteenth guards lies in Boyan’s hands.” Liu Zhongming corrected.
“Bo Yan is the deputy, while Qi Wang is the head of Nanya. He is a man with a one track mind. In his hands, Nanya will never do anything disgraceful.”
Liu Zhongming’s heart jumped: “Disgraceful means…”
“Some people in charge of the soldiers are for the country, some people in charge of the soldiers are for the might, and some people in charge of soldiers…” Qu Chenzhou took a sip of tea and sneered: “is to rebel.”
He glanced at Liu Zhongming and continued: “Concubine Ming’s natal family is in the Ministry of War. If it is true, if General Bai is going to send troops, he has to rely on them to give the military talisman.”
“After that is Huai Wang,” He looked down at the teacup, and paused for a moment: “Huai Wang is the last one to be crowned Wang, and his mother is Concubine Yu.”
Liu Zhongming watched his fingers curl up slightly again, and did not say anything. He helped him to continue: “Concubine Yu is gentle and virtuous, she is doted on by the emperor. Huai Wang himself is also diligent and respectful, reliable in his work, and has a good reputation among courtiers.”
“The emperor often assigns him to many difficult matters. Moreover, Concubine Yu’s eldest brother is a salt and iron transport envoy in Yangzhou, and her second brother is an Imperial Censor Zhongcheng, not inferior to the other two.”
“Speaking of which, their family is in charge of the most lucrative errand that goes to the treasury, and they have a lot more in their purse than me.”
After listening to him talking about Huai Wang, Qu Chenzhou paused for a long time before slowly saying: “In the current situation, if the Imperial Concubine gives birth to a Shizi, although the Liu family has a deeper foundation, General Bai has soldiers in his hands, and Bai Shiyan is in charge of the Beiya, the weak point is— the Shizi’s age is too small.”
“In this way, the four of your families are evenly matched. With each other as constraints, no one can dominate. This is what the emperor would most like to see.”
Liu Zhongming could think of the words behind the “so” – so before his sister conceives, he will start to remove a few.
“Chenzhou, did you miss one?”
“His Seventh Royal Highness. At the beginning of last year, Qi Wang made a foolish trick, and the emperor almost made his highness a Wang. But since the emperor had this thought, who knows what will happen in the future.”
“Jingchen…” Qu Chenzhou smiled: “Some things will change, but people will not change, Jingchen will not be a threat to Shizi.”
Liu Zhongming slowly repeated these two words in his heart. Although he was used to calling the Seventh Highness this way when he was a child, when it came out of Qu Chenzhou’s mouth, he somehow felt uncomfortable.
So intimate… Could he really be a Shizi?
This thought flashed through his mind, but what he asked was, “So Qi Wang?”
Among the three Shizis, if they were picking out soft persimmons, comparing things, then it would be Qi Wang. Seeing Qu Chenchou nodding, he asked again: “If Qi Wang is gone, who will Nanya be handed over to? Boyan?”
“I don’t know yet. The future will have to be taken one step at a time,” Qu Chenzhou glanced at him, splashing him a spoonful of cold water (rain on his parade): “Don’t expect it to fall into the hands of the Bai family or the Liu family, Shizi, the emperor will not do this.”
Liu Zhongming was embarrassed. Remembering the question he had spoken to Bai Shiyan during New Years, he suddenly asked, “Do you know Pei Dutong? It is said that he was in charge of both the Nanbei Ya and Jinxiuying at the same time.”
“Pei Xiao? I know, but I have never seen him. He was long gone when I entered the palace. It is said that he pulled the Jinxiuying up with one hand. If the Shizi wants to know, why not ask General Bai or Marquis Liu?”
Liu Zhongming was helpless. His father didn’t talk to him about family affairs and his uncle said that he was not familiar with Pei Dutong. Naturally, there was no way to ask about these things, but he had a rough estimate regarding Qu Chenzhou’s age.
And the other party repeatedly said “enter the palace”, which was confusing him. Was his previous guess in the wrong direction?
The two of them had their own thoughts and stopped talking. After sitting for more than half an hour, they saw a carriage parked at the door, ready to pick up people.
After a few people left, Jiang Xingzhi came out, but he only wandered about at the door and was blocked by the carriage, thus one could only see a bit of the top of his head.
Qu Chenzhou was about to lean over to push the window open a little further, but was kicked at the ankle. He looked up and saw Liu Zhongming shaking his head at him, so he had to sit down.
Guang An Street was not wide and they say here unobstructed or covered. If a person below was willing to raise their heads, they would be able to see them.
Jiang Xingzhi exchanged a few words with the people, then got into the carriage and left. Another person came out from the door, it was Liao Guangming.
The moment he saw his face clearly, Qu Chenzhou’s pupils shrank suddenly, as if immersed in ice water, and shivered. It was cold all around, as cold as the Star Gazing Pavilion that night.
Although it had been a long time, he could still hear the man speaking tragically in his ear.
“Qu Sitian, why are you so obsessed? It’s just a divination, speak.”
“What is Liu Shaoqing’s (Shaoqing = little high ranking official; Liu Zhongming) divination today? The emperor is still waiting, speak and then we can both report back completing our mission?”
“Don’t you usually speak very quickly? What happened today?”
“Speak! Speak! Speak!”
He couldn’t move at all, he was in a state of disorientation from the pain, barely discerning anything. In a trance, he heard himself breathing heavily: “Chi…”
He regained a sense of reason in the roar, biting his tongue fiercely, but a hand quickly entered his mouth and opened his teeth.
“D*mn, he still has the strength to bite his tongue! Another bottle!”
Someone asked fearfully: “Commander Liao, this is the third bottle. This won’t do, what if he dies? It would be hard to explain to the emperor.”
“If he doesn’t say anything, no one will have anything to explain to the emperor! Pour it!”
He struggled like crazy, but his mouth was pinched open again, and the cold medicine was poured into his throat, turning into a hot fire in his blood, surging and burning.
His mind was burned a little bit, His throat was strangled and the only bit of clarity was swallowed up and he was released again at the edge of suffocation. He heard his voice suddenly out of control.
“Chiqi offends Ziwei…”
Qu Chenzhou’s eyes were blank. The chair under him rattled and a hand suddenly placed on top of his head, pressed him down.
His chin slammed against the table, resting on another hand.
“Don’t be afraid, look at me!” The opposite Liu Zhongming also crouched on the table, slender fingers inserted in his hair, looking into his eyes: “Calm…”
The author has something to say: Now you understand Xiao Qu’s circumstances back then when he said the divination [The emperor had Xiao Qu regularly given some unstable factors to fortune-tell]
The reason why Zhongming was able to escape the disaster was because Xiao Qu asked him to wait for him in front of the Nianhua shop, so when they encircled the Anding Marquis Mansion, he was not at home