Merry Xmas!!! Extra releases for this happy day :)
Li Ying usually got up early in the morning as he was accustomed to looking through the memorials in the early hours. When almost done, he would dress, have his hair combed, then go to Mingde Hall for a court session.
In the many years of his previous life, his habits never changed. Only during his break would he lie down with Yun Qingci for a while, but he would definitely leave the bed by chenshi (7-9 a.m.) the latest.
He would either read, write, call people to discuss politics, or practice martial arts and swordplay. He never slacked off.
Whereas, although Yun Qingci’s mother was very strict with him when he was a child and had him learn everything he had to, Qin Feiruo still spoiled him more in the end. In Yun Qingci’s memory, he never got up before dawn.
Qin Feiruo didn’t have high expectations for him. He was an ordinary son from an aristocratic family and it didn’t matter if he achieved glory or not. The thing Yun Qingci heard from Qin Feiruo the most often when he was a child was that if he had a girl he liked in the future, he had to be loyal to her.
She asked from Yun Qingci the thing that all men asked from a woman. Prime Minister Yun’s affair with another woman probably hit her too hard. Among the servants in her courtyard, most were female, not because she hated men, but because she felt that men, no matter how capable, were essentially ‘fools’ in their treatment of women. And she didn’t want to associate with ‘fools‘.
Thus, she also forbade Yun Qingci to be a ‘fool’.
At that time, she probably never thought that the child she carefully nurtured, full of loyalty, would fail to meet a girl he’d love. Instead, he would dedicate himself wholeheartedly to one of the ‘fools’ she spoke about.
She only told Yun Qingci not to be a ‘fool’, but did not tell him what to do if he met a ‘fool’.
Before dawn, the fool surnamed Li left in a sedan chair.
Yun Qingci stared blankly for a while, then something about his mother came up in his mind.
One thing that made a deep impression on him was Qin Feiruo asking him to study female crafts. At that time, Yun Qingci was only five years old, and he was very obedient, so he learned whatever he was told. But later he accidentally heard someone talk about it, ridiculing him for learning the things only learned by girls, saying he would grow up worthless in the future.
Yun Qingci’s face went pale. Feeling that he was looked down upon, he overthrew the embroidery frame in anger. This incident reached Qin Feiruo’s ears. She summoned all the servants and maids in the courtyard and then asked Yun Qingci to point out the ones who gossiped.
After that, Yun Qingci was picked up and carried away, and he heard two servants pleading for mercy behind. Qin Feiruo’s cold voice was particularly striking.
“What should a daughter learn and what should a son learn? When I was fifteen years old, I followed my father to kill enemies on the battlefield. No one dared to treat me as a woman. When I married Yun Yu at the age of nineteen, no one dared to say that I could not be a wife. Our emperor once went into the embroidery workshop to thread needles. He had never once considered female crafts to be lowly, so who are you to think that?”
Little Yun Qingci was taken back to his room and placed on the low couch, and the voices gradually became inaudible.
He knew that if his mother wanted to admonish her servants, she would. If it was severe enough, she might even expel them. She was a person who couldn’t stand insults, and she would never tolerate anyone who violated her bottom line.
He was a little afraid that Qin Feiruo would punish him because he overthrew the embroidery frame. When he was anxious, Qin Feiruo came back. She didn’t lecture him but asked him patiently: “Do you not want to learn it because it is a female craft, or because you just don’t want to learn?”
Yun Qingci said that he didn’t want to be a worthless person.
Qin Feiruo touched his head and continued to ask him, “Then do you think His Majesty is a worthy person?”
“Of course!” Little Yun Qingci replied without hesitation. He said in a tender voice, his eyes glowing, “He is the emperor, and he is the worthiest person in the world.”
Qin Feiruo laughed, “Then do you know that he once held a needle with his own hands and embroidered a brocade scarf for the first empress as a token of affection between the two of them?”
Little Yun Qingci showed an incredulous expression.
At that time, he was still too young, and his only impression of the emperor was that he was very powerful and everyone had to obey him. Qin Feiruo’s words instantly sliced apart the emperor’s image in his mind.
“Even if we don’t mention the emperor, your mother has sewn clothes for you with her own hands. Do you think your mother is worthless?”
Yun Qingci shook his head hastily.
Qin Feiruo in his eyes was both a father and a mother. She was gentle and kind, and also majestic and lofty.
He learned from Qin Feiruo that there was no difference between noble and lowly craftsmanship, and there was no difference between men and women. People in this world should not be divided into men and women, because everyone was human.
It was also from Qin Feiruo’s words that Yun Qingci was able to form an appearance of the current emperor, that is, Li Ying’s father. Later, he made a drawing of a person with kind eyes and ambiguous in terms of whether it was a man or a woman. It made Qin Feiruo laugh and say that the portrait looked very similar.
The drawing was later seen by Li Ying, and he lowered his head, holding down his laugh for a long time. He also showed it to his father. The Emperor laughed and touched his beard, saying that although the looks didn’t look much alike, the spirit still came through.
Yun Qing’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment, and he chased Li Ying for half an hour to hit his head.
Later, he asked Li Ying, “Did your father really embroider a scarf for the previous empress?”
“Maybe.” When it concerned the previous empress, Li Ying’s attitude was very cold: “I don’t know.”
He didn’t like the previous empress, because Empress Dowager Zhang always said in front of him that the emperor didn’t love her and loved only the previous empress. Yun Qingci suspected that Empress Dowager Zhang had said a lot of bad things about the previous empress to Li Ying, because Li Ying’s face was very cold every time she was mentioned. Sometimes he showed a very uncomfortable expression, completely unwilling to be asked about the matters related to the previous empress.
Yun Qingci closed his eyes. Thinking about it, he fell asleep.
Although his mother was gone, his father was still here. It was almost the New Year. He needed to take time to see his family.
After sleeping, Yun Qingci took a bath and sent someone to check on Ruan Lian. After confirming that his injury was not serious, Yun Qingci reported to the palace that he was leaving for the Prime Minister’s mansion.
To Yun Qingci’s surprise, Qiu Yang was also there and came out to greet him together with everyone in the Prime Minister’s mansion.
Prime Minister Yun had just returned and was still dressed in his official robe. He led Yun Qingci inside, sat him in the hall and only then did he start to ask, “What happened that you’re free to come here today?”
“Did father receive the porcelain that was sent before?”
Prime Minister Yun frowned when it was mentioned and said, “I got it. It’s very good, very good.”
He looked very content. Yun Qingci smiled and said, “It’s good that father likes it.”
Prime Minister Yun patted his hand and said, “Come with your father.”
He called for Yun Qingci kindly, and the latter hesitantly followed him to the study. Soon, Yun Qingxiao joined them and closed the door.
As expected, Prime Minister Yun began to ask him what happened in front of Zhang Mansion that day, and Yun Qingxiao also sat there with a solemn expression.
Yun Qingci concealed the fact that he encouraged Li Ying to shoot the arrow, and said, “His Majesty saw Zhang Siyong deceiving the people.”
“Even if he really saw it, he shouldn’t have used such a heavy hand. Really, nothing else happened?” Prime Minister Yun asked him.
Yun Qingci shook his head innocently.
“This is weird.” Prime Minister Yun asked Yun Qingxiao: “Can you tell what’s different about His Majesty recently?”
“Speaking about it,” Yun Qingxiao said. “First and foremost, his attitude towards the Zhang family and the Yun family has become particularly obvious. Killing Zhang Siyong is just one of the facts. Today, he proposed to transfer the commander-in-chief token to take charge of the military camp.”
Yun Qingci was taken aback for a moment: “Isn’t today the last court session of the year? Why bring it up?”
“It is precisely because it’s the last court session of the year that he slapped the matter on the table. Even if the ministers have opinions, they will have to wait until next year to express them. Whether that was praise or a kill, I don’t know.”
Prime Minister Yun sighed: “His Majesty’s heart is unpredictable.”
He glanced at Yun Qingci and said in a deep voice: “If you don’t figure out why he wanted to kill Zhang Siyong, this position of commander-in-chief will be a hot potato. If Qingjue takes it, I won’t feel at ease.”
Yun Qingci pursed his lips. He could understand his father’s worries. The Yun family had been loyal for generations. By Prime Minister Yun’s generation, there had been two prime ministers in it. They say that a tree has deep roots. Nowadays, his elder brothers dare not find a wife from a family that was too powerful, lest they be splashed with the sewage of forming a party for personal gain.
The late emperor was on very good terms with Minister Yun back then and had already given him supreme favor. Such a family, despite its glory, was walking on thin ice.
Now the positions of second and third brothers were achieved with their own abilities, and they were content with it. This sudden generosity of the monarch would only make the loyal Yun family feel like they are on pins and needles.
Everyone noticed that Li Ying had changed.
So, when did it happen?
Yun Qingci’s eyes flashed, and it felt like a ray of bright light fell through a crack, unraveling the mystery in his mind.
Yun Qingxiao said, “So, why did he suddenly change his attitude towards the Yun family and the Zhang family, and when did he start to change?”
Prime Minister Yun said, “It seems that he changed together with Xiao Ci.”
The two of them stared at Yun Qingci together, as if trying to pry him open and look inside him.
Yun Qingci shrank back and said innocently: “I, I just thought it through all of a sudden, can’t I?”
“So, why can’t he see things through all of a sudden?”
“…” How would I know?
When he walked out of the study, the winter sun was shining, and in the yard, Qiu Yang and Yun Qingsu were throwing arrows into a pot.
“He came to our house two days ago to steal the porcelain, and I caught him.” After Yun Qingsu said this, Qiu Yang let out a chuckle: “It was not stealing, it was borrowing. My father wanted to see what it was all about.”
“Then I detained him, and Grand Commander Qiu came to our mansion in person. He said that he wanted his son, but in fact he came to see the porcelain set.” Yun Qingsu sarcastically said to Qiu Yang: “It seems you’re less important than the porcelain in the eyes of your father and elder brother.”
Qiu Yang didn’t argue with him. He was a dandy person and his family didn’t pay much attention to him. Since his eldest brother lost that bet and had to call him ‘eldest brother’, Qiu Xian treated him more and more unfavorably, nitpicking on him every day. If he were caught in a brothel, he’d probably be skinned alive.
It was just as well that the patrols in the city needed more people because of the approaching New Year, so Qiu Yan donned some armor and joined the city guards straight away, ready to do some serious work and not give his big brother an excuse to catch him.
As a result, something even worse happened, and his team captain turned out to be Yun Qingsu.
When Yun Qingci figured out what was going on, he didn’t pay much attention to it.
He was still thinking about Li Ying’s transformation at the same time as his. When the emperor hurriedly came to the Prime Minister’s Mansion that day, Yun Qingci had wondered if Li Ying came from eight years later, like him.
But at that time, he believed that if Li Ying was reborn, he would definitely attack the Prime Minister’s Mansion. After all, with his methods and the memories of his previous life, absolutely no one in this life could stop him.
However, what if after he eliminated the Prime Minister’s Mansion in his previous life, he realized that the Prime Minister’s family had never threatened his throne, and the Zhang family was actually more threatening?
Wouldn’t it be an explanation for all this?
But this could only be used as a hypothesis, because Li Ying’s attitude towards him was too strange. If Li Ying was really reborn, his chess piece had no meaning. Why should Li Ying keep him?
Whether it was the case or not, he had to test it out again.
Yun Qingci was standing on the veranda, deep in thought, when there was a sudden movement beside him. He turned his head and found Qiu Yang wandering in front of him.
Meeting his gaze, Qiu Yang quietly looked away and said, “You…”
Yun Qingci looked puzzled.
Qiu Yang took a step back. He was still a little afraid of Yun Qingci. After a long while, he said, “I heard Ning Yi say that his mother recently went to a temple.”
Yun Qingci nodded and asked, “Then what?”
“It was Guanyin Temple.”
Yun Qingci seemed to get the idea: “What else?”
“She begged for a talisman and sent it to the palace.”
It was obvious who in the palace received it.
Before he was reborn, Yun Qingci heard that Ning Rou had actually come prepared when she invited Li Ying for a drink. She wanted to conceive a child, but since Li Ying didn’t choose her token, she could only resort to this method.
This was why Yun Qingci was so angry when he rushed into the Full Moon Pavilion that day and openly threatened her. He hated that others regarded Li Ying as a kind of upper-level resource and would do whatever it took to achieve their goal.
Now that she was beaten up, she still didn’t repent.
However, Yun Qingci suddenly felt tolerant of her boldness.
If Li Ying was really reborn, it would be impossible for them to respect each other as husband and wife. For him to have a child would be like making a good move in advance.
“Why are you telling me this?”
Qiu Yang leaned against the pillar, scratched his chin and said with a flat face: “Because you’re good-looking, is that a problem?”
Yun Qingci raised his eyebrows. Qiu Yang’s face turned pale immediately, and he stepped back involuntarily, saying, “I’m kidding.”
Yun Qingqi had lunch at the Prime Minister’s Mansion, but did not stay much after that and rode back to the palace.
As the imperial escort marched through the East Gate of the Forbidden City, from a distance, Yun Qingci saw a black-clothed, black-haired man standing in front of Chaoyang Palace.
Yun Qingci sat straight in the carriage, as they stared at each other for a moment.
That hypothesis came up again. If Li Ying was like him, if he was from eight years later…
He twisted his fingers unconsciously, his joints turning blue, and his bright eyes widened slightly.
Then suddenly shrank again.
Please by all means, don’t be him, Li Ying.