Chapter 54 Struggling
The most puzzling thing right now was the box of lip rouge that shouldn’t be in the palace.
After thinking for a moment, Liu Zhongming suspiciously answered himself.
“I think it is impossible for Concubine Yu to do such a thing at this time, and it is even more impossible for Huai Wang to do that. Ning Wang did a few rubbish things last year and His Majesty was very displeased. Right now, there are floods and refugees everywhere, and Ning Wang has nothing to do. It’s already very unpleasant, so Huai Wang doesn’t have to do anything unnecessary.”
“What about the other way around?” Qu Chenzhou looked at him calmly: “Huai Wang filled the belly of the refugees and it is a time when he should be praised, but the three Wang Ye’s are being checked and balanced. Your Majesty is not happy to see one of them rising in prestige.”
Liu Zhongming thought about it, and couldn’t help being horrified.
“Shizi, don’t panic. Your Majesty is always suspicious. This time, I just took the opportunity to remind Shizi.”
Qu Chenzhou put down the teacup and looked directly at him. Liu Zhongming’s shock gradually calmed down in his calm eyes.
Before he knew it, Qu Chenzhou had become his reassurance. If this person didn’t panic, he wouldn’t panic.
“Shizi, it’s not a big fire right now. It won’t even burn a few people, and it won’t hinder Shizi.”
“It’s just those who are hiding behind others should be dragged out and revealed.”
“This time the incident happened in Chaoyang Palace. No matter whether the little palace maid reveals anything or not, Concubine Yu will not be held responsible. If Huai Wang can still behave like a saint and not defend himself, I will never trouble him again in the future.”
“Shizi can now open his eyes and take a good look. Let’s see how much Huai Wang can do.”
Liu Zhongming pondered these words carefully, and then asked after a moment of silence: “You mean, even if His Majesty wants to suppress Huai Wang and the lip rouge was indeed found in Chaoyang Palace, Huai Wang can still get away?”
“If you aren’t able to drag him into the eyes of His Majesty, he can indeed have a complete retreat.”
“But in His Majesty’s heart, perhaps a little bit of suspicion had sparked and one day it can burn into a prairie fire.”
Liu Zhongming gradually understood why Qu Chenzhou collapsed from exhaustion the day he met Huai Wang—because there was no effective way to plot against Huai Wang right now.
Seeing that Qu Chenzhou seemed to sigh inaudibly, he couldn’t help comforting him.
“If Huai Wang can find out the ins and outs of these things in the palace, I am afraid that His Majesty will also look at him with another whole level of respect. If he looks at him like this, it is not a complete retreat.”
Qu Chenzhou nodded silently: “Right now, that is all that can be done.”
“But…” Liu Zhongming was still puzzled: “That lip rouge is sold in the market and is not offered to the palace, and the maids don’t go out of the palace to buy things. Could it be the eunuch who buys food? If it’s that, there are traces that can be followed.”
“I can explain this point for the Shizi,” Qu Chenzhou smiled: “That lip rouge was brought into the palace by Ning Wang.”
“The reason…” He bowed slightly and whispered a few words in Liu Zhongming’s ear.
Liu Zhongming was surprised at first, then his face turned blue and red.
He didn’t mess around with these people before, so he only knew that Ning Wang was an idler, but he didn’t know that he was doing such a shameful thing behind his back.
He did it with such peace of mind that he didn’t even feel ashamed when he met him, this was probably not his first or second time.
And Qu Chenzhou looked at the green hat on his head next to him with peace of mind, he might even have contributed to the flames in the middle.
Although Dan Lang was no more than a stranger to him, it was too disgusting to think of how Ning Wang looked at him.
“What?” Qu Chenzhou asked him puzzledly, “Could it be that the Shizi is interested in Dan Lang?”
“You, why didn’t you discuss it with me…let me tell you, I hate others who plot against me the most!”
Liu Zhongming was a little angry, so his words were incoherent, but a thought flashed past and he immediately gave up on deciding who was responsible and asked: “Did Ning Wang ever touch you!”
Qu Chenzhou was stunned for a while. He understood Liu Zhongming’s self-esteem cannot be incited by others. Moreover, he was not willing to be a pawn in the hands of others. He just didn’t expect this question to arise out of nowhere and his heart was agitated for a while.
“Shizi, Ning Wang isn’t that casual with his selection.”
“…” Qu Chenzhou turned his face to one side, then felt a little regretful for a while. He deliberately stopped looking at him: “No.”
Receiving a certain answer, Liu Zhongming finally calmed down. Then, he remembered something and stared at Qu Chenzhou.
Since the day Shi Yan sent the person back, he felt that Qu Chenzhou’s attitude suddenly became cold, and even that smile was from courtesy.
During this time, he was busy with the affairs of the refugees. The two had hardly met each other, let alone spoken a word. The days when he could occasionally make jokes seems to be a long time ago.
It’s just that when he couldn’t help asking questions just now, the indifference that seemed to grow on Qu Chenzhou’s face seemed to crack for a moment inadvertently.
This made him realize that the other party was not so resistant to his concern and tension.
This discovery made him suddenly unable to hide his inexplicable smile, the anger earlier wasn’t even worth mentioning.
It was as if the irritated cat finally recognized him, and was willing to come back to eat a ration of food, rubbing his palm impatiently.
What a wild cat, capricious and annoying, he thought; a wild cat that looks soft and docile, but is actually a thorn.
He wants to tame him.
Qu Chenzhou noticed the gaze that fell on him, glanced at him from the corner of his eyes, and turned his face away, as if a light was on his back and there was an inexplicable anger in his heart.
He was not afraid to look at anyone except Liu Zhongming.
“That’s all for this time. Next time, don’t hide things from me and make decisions without authorization, otherwise I will not forgive you lightly!” Liu Zhongming looked at him as if not letting it go, then asked, “Go on, do you know what will happen in the future?”
If this lip rouge was brought into the palace by Ning Wang, then it will now be the Empress who saw through Ning Wang’s mediocrity and inaction, and framed Concubine Yu under the guise of being sick.
In this way, one of the two Wang Ye’s must fall to the ground.
He wanted to know, in Qu Chenzhou’s eyes, how this farce would end.
“Sorry,” Qu Chenzhou didn’t look at him: “They are too far away from me, and people are unpredictable, so we can only watch as we go.”
“Okay.” Liu Zhongming stood up and warned again: “Don’t do this next time, otherwise I won’t forgive you!”
What happened today was too sudden, he seemed to see a seemingly weak hand slowly stirring beside him, turning a blind eye to the waves, and only pointing to the hideous bones underneath the water.
When he was about to go around the screen, he suddenly turned around and asked, “When you asked me to buy the mass grave, did you foresee today’s refugees?”
“No, Shizi is overthinking things.” Qu Chenzhou blew out the candles outside, and was holding the lamp, planning to wait for him to enter before exiting the door. Hearing his question, he stopped at the door: “I’m not that powerful. It’s just a coincidence.”
Liu Zhongming didn’t know if it was for his relief that he spoke honest words, but looking at the foot that had stepped out of the threshold was a bit annoying.
But he knew that if his exit was retained, nine times out of ten, he would be rejected, thus he just stood there and stared at the foot that had not yet gone out.
Qu Chenzhou also stood still.
“Qu Chenzhou, I’ve always been curious about one thing,” Liu Zhongming asked slowly after a long while, “How could someone like you die?”
He believed that even without these eyes, this person would be able to survive the chaos. He was a firm foothold in the court games, even at worst, he could retreat completely. How can he end up dying without resting peacefully and having to revive his soul from the dead?
Qu Chenzhou looked down at the lamp in his hand, one hand groping for something in front of his chest like habit.
He remembered the moment when all the pain disappeared and hearing Zhongming say – how can people who have no heart die?
How can… he die?
Because of what he said, both his hands were bloody. He was a scumbag and thief who was reviled by the world, and Zhongming was the founding monarch, so he had to die.
“Replying to Shizi, fate is fate, that’s all.”
“What about this lifetime?”
“I want to try to struggle again.” Qu Chenzhou answered this question with Liu Zhongming’s own words.
The lantern drifted away and Liu Zhongming was wrapped in darkness. The tiredness of the past few days came over him and he was too lazy to get rid of the wick.
“Time is also fate”, these words seemed to be appropriate for anyone. When you are in the blue sky, the spring breeze are horseshoes, and when you are disappointed, you sigh that your fate is not good.
At this point, he still admired Qu Chenzhou quite a bit.
In the middle of the wind and waves, he just stood on the shore and looked at it, feeling that the wind was blowing in his face; while Qu Chenzhou who had been up and down in it once, still had the energy to fight again.
He asked himself what he would be like if he were in such a situation, all alone. He probably would have died early, but he didn’t know why Qu Chenzhou was doing this.
Because of the hatred for Huai Wang? Or something else?
There definitely won’t be answer to these questions, and his only slim hope was to turn to those chaotic dreams.
“The day after tomorrow… at the Nianhua shop…” Who was talking to him?
Maybe when he was free, he should go to the Nianhua shop to have a look.
But this was not important, the important thing was that he was about to gradually move towards the center of the vortex with the water waves stirred up by Qu Chenzhou.
Let’s try to struggle together.
He thought that next time, he must say these words to his face, or at least hold that hand again.
When such a thing happened suddenly in the palace, he didn’t dare to go too far, for fear of being unable to come back in time due to trouble, so he sent a reliable steward over, and especially instructed that the rainy season was gradually entering, so be careful.
If the rain brings landslides on the mountain and kills people, he was afraid that both his father and sister will be affected.
When thinking of those eyes, this worry suddenly became negligible. He inexplicably believed that if something unexpected happened to him in the future, that person would definitely remind him in time.
Just like in front of the Qisheng Building that was about to collapse.
Thinking about it this way, he somewhat understood why His Majesty was so inseparable from his Si Tian Guan.
He felt that there seemed to be some clues in his mind, like spider silk wafting in the air. He was about to catch a complete line, but the pen touched the ink stick that was not taken out in time in the inkstone.
And the spider silk was broken.
Dan Lang was so frightened that he hurriedly knelt down at the table: “Master Shizi, forgive me!”
This was the first time Liu Zhongming allowed Dan Lang to serve in the study. In the past, he didn’t let his servants help him grind his ink, it was Qu Chenzhou who did it well, so he was happy to use his ready-made ink.
Although this person always said that he had never served others, his ink was his favorite. No matter the thickness or the fineness, it made him even more certain that the other person had studied under the same discipline as his teacher.
Regrettably, there were hundreds of his fellow students, and they were scattered everywhere, so it was impossible to find out.
“Get up.” Liu Zhongming put down his pen and moved his fingers. After writing most of his homework, it was time to take a break.
Dan Lang walked behind him, kneading his shoulders with his dexterous fingers, and was blocked by him – he was not an old man, so how could his back be sore to that level?
However, this obedience made him obsessed, thinking about when Qu Chenzhou could be so sensible. The thought passed away in an instant—maybe when he was dreaming.
Just as he was thinking, someone outside the door whispered: “Master Shizi, there is something going on over there with Little Brother Qu, please come over.”
“En,” he replied with a sullen face, and instructed Dan Lang: “You wait here, I’ll be back in a while.”
Out of the corner of his eye, there was a hint of joy on Dan Lang’s face.
“You said…” Liu Zhongming met the person in the east wing, and after waiting for a cup of tea, he couldn’t help but talk to them, “Do you think he is too stupid to find that thing.
The map had just been drawn halfway when Qu Chenzhou stopped writing.
He changed the red string today and used a wooden hairpin to simply pull his hair up into a bun.
“I think it depends on whether Shizi is smart enough to put things in the right place.”
Liu Zhongming glanced at him, this person was really annoying.
But looking at the top of his head, he decided that for the sake of the hairpin, he won’t lower himself to argue with this person.