Chapter 55 Chess Pieces
There was still a distance between the carriage and Nianhua Alley. Liu Zhongming got out of the carriage and walked towards the Nianhua shop by himself without anyone following him.
He knew that place. When he was a child, his brother brought him over to buy candied fruit. He liked the ice snow sweet plums there very much.
The shopkeeper was a kind old man. Seeing that he always bought a lot in one go, he joked that this ice snow sweet plum was not something to be eaten casually, and asked him if he wanted to buy it and share it with a little girl he liked.
He took it seriously, secretly saved a lot, thinking that one day when he met a girl he liked, he could take it out as a betrothal gift. After his brother was gone, he threw away many things from the past, including the bags of moldy sweet plums.
He hasn’t been here for several years since then.
The shopkeeper was replaced by a middle-aged man with a similar appearance to the old man. He carefully wrapped the ice snow sweet plums in a paper bag and sent him out respectfully.
He stood outside the shop, and the door became unfamiliar, and suddenly there was a kind of sadness.
This place didn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. Although it was in a not prosperous place in the south of the city, it was not deserted. There were people coming and going, but it was a bit far from his courtyard.
He turned around, laughing in his heart that he was bored. Those dreams were all shattered and he couldn’t even see how many people appeared in his dream, yet he actually ran over here.
Just because in the dream, the words “Nianhua shop” was heard..
He found a wall at random and sat down. Because moss grew on the slightly damp wall due to the rain a few days ago, it made the moisture permeate through his back.
The long-lost sweet plum flavor spread in his mouth. It was so strong, he wasn’t used to it.
Thinking about it, it wasn’t just him not eating ice snow sweet plums for a long time, but sweets in general had stopped in the inner courtyard, and all the things on the table were deliberately instructed to change their recipe.
Was he too used to that person?
But the dim sum placed there, every time Qu Chenzhou would slip along the wall to touch it, reading the book in one hand and holding dim sum in the other.
When he turned back to look, there was only a table of scraps left, then he felt that it was not a big deal to eat less two bites of sweets.
Suddenly, a branch of plums fell to the ground, making a very soft sound.
A dexterous and light cat jumped down from the wall and looked vigilantly at this uninvited guest. It was a very beautiful little creature with rare eyes, amber on the left and blue on the right.
A bit similar.
He looked twice, laughed out loud, really similar.
Looking at those kind-looking pupils for a moment, he threw the plum over.
The cat’s throat was purring, then after a while, it tried to lick the plum. After letting out a screeching sound, it picked up the plum, and swooped up the wall and disappeared.
Liu Zhongming laughed hoarsely, this appearance that warned others away looked even more like that person.
But thinking about the fact that the things the man said came true one after another, he couldn’t laugh anymore.
It has been five or six days since the Empress fell ill. Yesterday, he had handed his token over to enter the palace again yesterday.
First, since there was His Majesty’s blame, he must not stay out of this matter. Second, when he sees his sister, he can feel at ease knowing that her sister is not involved.
He heard that Huai Wang entered the palace on the day of the accident, and His Majesty had called the Si Tian Gua for fortune-telling. Anyone could guess that if Chen Sitian said something important, the trip between Huai Wang and Concubine Yu would not be so pleasant.
Competing for merit and favor in front of His Majesty was a lively thing. If one spent their thoughts on harming others, let alone the person who had fallen ill was the Empress, where would one put His Majesty’s face?
It is said that there was some commotion at the time, and His Majesty finally summoned Huai Wang directly and ordered Yu Gonggong to stop Chen Sitian from entering the hall.
This reminded him of Qu Chenzhou’s cold words
– if Huai Wang can still behave like a saint and not defend himself, I will never trouble him again.
—— Shizi can open his eyes and take a good look at how much Huai Wang can do.
After Chaoyang Palace was closed, the ledger was in the hands of Huai Wang, and what he had sworn to do was transferred to Huai Wang. Huai Wang’s resolute actions exceeded his imagination.
Nanya was in charge of guarding the palace city, and it was bound to be troublesome. Qi Wang avoided suspicion in this matter, and Huai Wang took His Majesty’s order and went directly to Nanya’s deputy commander, Bo Yan.
When they met by chance a few days ago, he invited Bo Yan to drink some wine. Although the other party complained vaguely, he could understand the details.
The little palace maid died not long after. With such a death, there was no proof, but Huai Wang was even more unwilling to admit defeat.
With the permission of His Majesty, it was understandable for Bo Yan to cooperate with the investigation, but someone had repeatedly interfered in it.
Bo Yan didn’t dare to offend either side, and he didn’t dare to tell Huai Wang that someone had obstructed him secretly, like a mouse in the bellows.
Liu Zhongming could figure out that it must be Ning Wang, or it should be said to be someone on the Empress’s side, who was in the middle of it; but he didn’t know whether the Empress’s elder brother, Tang Shuxin, knew about it.
Fortunately, Bo Yan didn’t bother for too long, and soon facts surfaced, and everyone was brought before Emperor Yu, all interrelated, no one can choose not to believe it.
First, the Jin Wuwei guard, who were guarding the Xiping Gate, confirmed that when Ning Wang entered the palace, there was a tangy aroma on his body. However, he was a man after all, so when they smelled the lip rouge in the porcelain box again, they did not dare to confirm easily.
Afterwards, he met Ning Wang’s palace maid in the chasing veranda. This time, he was sure that the smell on Wang Ye’s body was the same as the lip rouge.
Then came the eunuch guarding at the corner gate between Chaoyang Palace and Kunning Palace, saying that Ning Wang wore different clothes when he left the palace than when he entered the palace.
Emperor Yu didn’t mind watching tiger fights on the wall, but he wasn’t happy to be fooled by others. He immediately went to Kunning Palace in person, didn’t care about the Empress getting up from the sickbed, kneeling on the ground, crying and begging, and demanded people to find the washed clothes.
The court clothes that Ning Wang changed into at Kunning Palace.
When Liu Zhongming came out of the palace yesterday, he saw Zuo Xiao guards being ordered to enter the palace by King Xuanning.
He hadn’t had time to inquire about what happened after that. It must have been another vigorous farce, but the aftershocks of the previous storm had not yet passed.
What Ning Wang will say later, he was not interested in guessing, but he could think of what will happen in the palace.
Jin Wuwei and the two palace servants seemed to be telling the truth on a case-by-case basis, so that Huai Wang and his Royal Mother could be spared the injustice, but Emperor Yu had two things that were most taboo in his life.
One was when people are not filial, and the second was when the people around him were not loyal to him.
No matter how the matter of Ning Wang ended, the three of them dared to stand on the side of Huai Wang blatantly, they definitely will not be able to survive.
Within a few days, Huai Wang was able to pick three people to die for him. It was horrifying to think about.
He was thinking like this, so it was not difficult to imagine what His Majesty thought in his heart.
But Huai Wang couldn’t help but do this. Whether it was Yu Dexi’s search of the palace, or Bo Yan’s replacement of Jin Wuwei, it was better than being bitten by the Empress.
What’s more, if he didn’t make a move first, Chen Sitian on Ning Wang’s side was likely to tilt the balance in Emperor Yu’s heart.
The lesser of two evils, that’s all.
Liu Zhongming now understood why Qu Chenzhou said that this time he couldn’t touch Huai Wang, that he was just dragging the person hiding in the shadows to bask in the sun.
With such a “bask”, Huai Wang will probably be left out in the cold for a while.
However, he was afraid that it was not only Huai Wang who would be left out. Ning Wang was not a tough person. Even if there was the might from the Empress side, being frightened a few times, he would move immediately.
He just didn’t know what Ning Wang would say. If Dan Lang was revealed, what will happen next?
Although it was clear that it would not affect him no matter what – after all, Qu Chenzhou told him not to spend money, so everyone present that day could see clearly that Dan Lang was not what he wanted to buy, Instead, it was something that Cao Shi Lang wanted to give away. The person who hosted the event was Jiang Xingzhi, so it had nothing to do with him – but this feeling was very bad.
He was just a chess piece in Qu Chenzhou’s hand, and each step was involuntary.
The person in charge of chess didn’t plan to tell him where the next move was, nor did he consider his mood and willingness to make this move.
Even if he repeatedly warned that he did not like being calculated.
No one wanted to be a pawn.
But Qu Chenzhou was as cold as a stone. With only his own goal in his eyes, he walked forward silently and firmly, never turning his head to look around.
He was only in a daze for a moment, and the dominance fell into the hands of Qu Chenzhou unknowingly. The other party had no plans to discuss with him and just took the responsibility that should have been for the both of them and went ahead first.
He, Liu Zhongming, was just a fancy looking shell.
It was an ignorant shell that was held up and attacked from all sides. Its only function was to protect the person inside, so that that person will not be easily spoiled by Pan He, Du Quan and the like.
Qu Chenzhou used him with ease.
Sometimes he thought that if the new owner of Qisheng Building was not him, it might not make much difference to Qu Chenzhou.
As long as Qu Chenzhou was willing to take the lead, he could grasp anyone’s weakness and use it for his own use.
And he, whether it was for the Liu family or his brother, had to rely on the other.
Every time he thought of this, he would be depressed for a long time. The pride and self-confidence he used to rely on in the past was shattered by the other, and stepped on with disdain.
He didn’t know where the road ahead was, and he didn’t know how to melt a heart made of iron and stone, he even had doubts about their cooperation.
If one day he was smashed to pieces, would Qu Chenzhou leave him without hesitation, leave without looking back?
What is the difference between him and His Majesty now?
But sometimes he couldn’t help but wonder, what has this person experienced? Why did he develop such a cold and withdrawn character? Was the palace so scary?
Liu Zhongming put his hand in his hair, and was very troubled when something fell at his feet, startling him.
It was a dead mouse.
He looked up in amazement, and saw the arrogant cat looking down at him disdainfully from the top of the wall. It bowed it’s back, jumped to the other side of the wall, and disappeared.
“Thank you gift?”
He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He picked up a tree stick and planned to move the mouse away. Unexpectedly, the mouse was just cheating death. He was stabbed by the straw stick and rushed across the street with a squeak, causing a panic in the crowd.
Following the scream, Liu Zhongming inadvertently saw a wine shop not far from the opposite side, with two words written on the plaque – “Nourishing Clumsiness”.
These two characters were written vigorously and forcefully, and they did not seem to be written by an ordinary literati.
It took him a while to remember, no wonder these two words sounded familiar – the wine shop that Qu Chenzhou spent thousands of taels on without authorization was here.
He only sent someone to take care of it, and he didn’t even bother to come and see it in person.
Is it a coincidence that it was actually in Nianhua Lane?
Ever since he was sitting here eating sweet plums, he thought about going to the Nianhua shop to have a look before going back. He remembered that there should be some salty snacks in there and he planned to take some back with him.
Now that he saw the “Nourishing Clumsiness” Wine Shop again, he was thinking about which one to go first, when he saw the servants who had stayed by the carriage hurrying over with the steward of his residence.
“Shizi,” the steward saluted and invited him to the carriage: “Something happened, please go back and have a look.”
“Is it Chenzhou?” He remembered the situation when his Royal Mother went to his courtyard before, and his dissatisfaction and complaints disappeared, and he panicked: “What happened to him? Did my Mother go over again?!”
“It’s not Little Brother Qu, something happened to Dan Lang.” The housekeeper trotted after him, and continued without stopping: “After you went out today, Little Brother Qu and Dan Lang also went out together.”
Liu Zhongming’s heart sank.
Since he let Dan Lang get the fake account, he listened to Qu Chenzhou’s words, and temporarily confiscated Dan Lang’s waist token in order to stabilize Jiang Xingzhi’s side.
If Dan Lang was able to go out today, he must have been invited by Qu Chenzhou to go out.
“Dan Lang will die.” This is what Qu Chenzhou told him long ago, is it today? Why die? What is Qu Chenzhou’s goal?
The unpleasantness that had just been suppressed and fooled came up again.
“As a result, Little Brother Qu came back in the afternoon alone. He said that after they went out, they split up. Not long before, he saw Dan Lang had met the Madam.”
“Dan Lang had never been to the mansion and didn’t know the Madam, so maybe he was not polite to her. Little Brother Qu said that he only saw Madam suddenly get angry and ordered Dan Lang to be taken away. Looking at the direction, it should be back to the Marquis mansion.”
“Housekeeper She heard what he said, and immediately sent someone to go the mansion to inquire about the news. It was said that Madam closed the doors and did not let anyone in, and listening to the voice inside, Dan Lang probably has more omens than luck.”
“So he sent me to look for you to go back immediately. Or…”
Liu Zhongming’s face was ashen, as if he was thrown from the cliff into the abyss, and his worries about Qu Chenzhou turned into a great mockery of him.
The person he worried about played with him like a marionette.
“Return to the courtyard!” He stepped into the carriage and pinched himself fiercely in his sleeve: “I’ll go and ask him!”
The author has something to say: I’ve considered whether to bring this cat back, but it’s over after he passed by. I’ve never raised a cat, and I have no experience.