Yun Qingci slept very heavily that night. When he woke up, he found a shallow vial with a transparent cream at the head of his bed.
He remembered that this was the holy healing medicine that Li Ying wanted to apply on him in the pavilion. He had refused it yesterday, but it was sent over again at night.
Braving wind and snow late at night, with the purpose of delivering medicine?
If he hadn’t had any bad ideas, then he must have seen a ghost.
He put on a padded coat, got up and went to the desk, opened the drawer, and took out a dark wooden pendant. Although it was made of wood, it was heavy to touch and the carvings were complicated. It used to be cleaned carefully; the surface was very smooth and there was no dust accumulating between the curves.
Li Ying had personally cut it from red bean wood and carved the veined patterns himself. It had a wavy texture and the carvings combined water, waves, stars, the moon, a phoenix and other elements to form a landscape character, which was Yun Qingci’s ‘ci’ character.
Li Ying had the other pendant with the same style, with many elements and a dragon to match his phoenix. The landscape character they composed was his character ‘ying‘.
He had also sandwiched a magnet between the two wooden pendants. As long as they were put against each other, they would be merged together, and it took a lot of strength to separate them. When he first gave them to Yun Qingci, the wooden pendants were stuck together. At first, Yun Qingci thought it was a single item, until Li Ying took his hand and helped him separate the pendants, giving him one part and taking the other.
It was a token of love that Li Ying had given him when they were newly married.
Yun Qingci couldn’t bear to wear it, and didn’t let Li Ying wear it often, fearing it would be lost, but he often liked to hold it in his hands, engraving every inch of it into his bone and blood.
The one who owned this pendant held the highest power over the Qing Division, was its highest superior, and it was Yun Qingci.
He used a special cyan horn incense for his daily contacts, but this time he had been driven out of the palace in a hurry and did not take it along. Of course, he couldn’t go back to the palace to pick it up, so he could only use this pendant.
It would take some time to replace the token connected to the Qing Division. He would need to slowly and completely remove Li Ying from his life.
Yun Qingci put the wooden pendant on his waist and rang the bell. On this cold day, he did not go to accompany his father and brothers to have breakfast, but had a meal in his room.
After dressing up, he went out and met Yun Qingsu: “Are you okay? Xiao Hou has come to pick us up to go to the ice rink. You’re just in time. Today, second brother will also go with us.”
Yun Qingci followed him obediently and said, “Where is Dad? ”
“Dad has gone to Bazhenju. There is a porcelain set he likes at the auction today. He put his eyes on it a while ago. He has to take it.”
Yun Qingci knew this little hobby of his father’s, but this time his father was going to be heart-broken. He remembered very well that Grand Commander Qiu set up several obstacles on his father’s way, such as a carriage that could not be moved and a woman crying in the middle of the road. By the time his father arrived, the porcelain set had already been sold.
It was not that Yun Qingci deliberately paid attention to the Prime Minister’s mansion, but the Qing Division was very dedicated. They monitored all the ministers, gathering every possible information on them, including their good and bad relationships with each other.
Today’s Qing Division wasn’t yet as terrifying as it would be later, but the net had been cast, and its development was just a matter of time.
Yun Qingci was not going to tell his old father about this matter. The more his father was upset now, the more satisfied he would be when he’d receive the perfect porcelain Yun Qingci would fire for him in future.
He rode the carriage with his brothers with peace of mind, found a great place to sit in the viewing pavilion, grabbed a handful of melon seeds and nibbled slowly.
The young men on the ice rink had a vigorous posture, and a lot of spectators shouted for them from the tribunes. Yun Qingci couldn’t hold back. He got up and walked to the railing and enjoyed the view with his eyes wide open.
In his previous life, he really lived like a ghost. There were many men with long legs, slim waists and handsome faces in this world. There were many men younger than Li Ying. Why did he chain himself to a single tree?
Someone followed him, touching his hand with something warm. Yun Qingci looked down and saw that it was a hand stove.
Lin Huaijin said, “Take it while you watch, don’t freeze.”
Yun Qingci paused. Li Ying was right. Lin Huaijin was the son of his aunt. He should be careful and avoid suspicion.
He didn’t answer, but called for Yinxi and asked him to bring the ear mufflers sewn yesterday, and handed them to Lin Huaijin: “I’ll return this to Xiao Hou.”
“Did you really sew them?“ The corners of Lin Huaijin’s mouth rose, but when he took the ear mufflers, he saw the white gauze on Yun Qingci’s wrist and his smile faded slightly. “Actually, there was no need to hurry.”
“It’s okay.” Yun Qingci curved his eyes. In his previous life, he was too paranoid and ignored the kindness of too many people. Now he hoped to live in harmony with everyone.
A good reputation was also helpful for building a more stable position for him.
Lin Huaijin tentatively handed out the hand stove again. Before he could say anything, a person squeezed in between the two of them. Yun Qingxiao stuffed his hand stove into Yun Qingci’s hands and said, “It’s windy here. Go back and sit down. ”
He always looked calm, as if not caring about anything, but there was no way to question anything he said.
Yun Qingci obediently took the stove and returned to his chair.
Yun Qingxiao continued to stand beside Lin Huaijin. “He is still the Lord Empress,” he reminded.
Lin Huaijin clenched his hands on the ear mufflers and whispered, “I know. ”
Yun Qingxiao patted him on the shoulder and returned to Yun Qingci’s side.
Not all the spectators in the pavilion were able to remain calm. For example, Yun Qingsu had already rushed to the railings and clenched his fists to cheer for the players he thought were promising. Qiu Yang, not to be outdone, squeezed next to him, yelling even louder.
Yun Qingsu glanced at him and said, “Which one are you cheering for?”
“Which one are you cheering for? ”
“The one wearing a red scarf.”
The two of them suddenly looked at each other. After the game was over, Yun Qingci walked down the pavilion and was deeply confused seeing his fourth brother and the young master of the Qiu family together.
“Sister-in-law!” A crisp voice of a young man came from the side. Yun Qingci stopped, and a young man with a red scarf and his face painted black jumped up to him happily.
Yun Qingxiao immediately stepped forward and stopped him.
“I, I’m Old Six…” The boy’s eyes were extraordinarily white on his black-painted face, and Yun Qingci finally recognized him from his skipping and hopping: “…Ah Yan?”
Yun Qingxiao also recognized him: “Prince An?”
Li Ying’s sixth brother, Li Yan, painted his face black and secretly mixed into the game on the private ice rink.
Yun Qingci frowned. Li Yan couldn’t wait to jump over and open the box in his hand: “Although it is a private venue, this year’s prize is not bad. It is a pair of white jade little birds, sister-in-law, look!”
He excitedly raised the trophy in front of Yun Qingci.
Li Yan and Li Ying were both the descendants of the previous emperor from the second empress. The first empress had died during childbirth, and the second one was the current Empress Dowager. She gave birth almost on the same day as the first empress, but she was much luckier than the first empress. After giving birth to Li Ying, she was enthroned as the new empress.
A few years later, she gave birth to a pair of twins, Li Yan and Li Fu.
In his previous life, Yun Qingci had a good relationship with Li Yan and Li Fu. When he was thrown into the Cold Palace, Li Yan ran to Li Ying to plead for him, but Li Ying was cruel and dragged him out to hit him with forty boards.
When Yun Qingci committed suicide, Li Yan was probably still bedridden, recovering from his injuries.
But now that Yun Qingci was not going to treat either Li Ying or the Empress Dowager well, it was naturally impossible for him to treat Li Yan as he had in his previous life.
Yun Qingci glanced lightly and said with a smile: “It’s really good, Ah Yan is amazing.”
Li Yan didn’t notice his estrangement and handed over his trophy without hesitation, saying: “If my sister-in-law likes it, I’ll give it to my sister-in-law.”
Li Yan hadn’t left the palace yet to live in a personal mansion. This time he sneaked out to go to the ice rink to participate in the competition, but if he took back the prize, it would definitely be discovered and he would be punished. It was better to give it to Yun Qingci.
He wanted to be closer to Yun Qingci. Everyone said that Li Ying was magnanimous and benevolent, but in fact, there was not much kindness in him. He was merciless in disciplining his younger brother. For many years, Li Yan had no way to ask for help – until Yun Qingci appeared and finally rescued him.
Li Ying was very obedient to Yun Qingci before the marriage, and even more so after the marriage. In the past few years, once Li Yan wanted to be lazy and sneak away, he would run to Yun Qingci to hide, because Li Ying almost never lost his temper in front of Yun Qingci.
Even if for the past year they were quarreling continuously, Li Ying would always give in to Yun Qingci in the end.
Li Yan wanted to please him, but Yun Qingci did not accept it.
All Li Ying’s submissiveness to him had ulterior motives, and all his concessions had to be paid back later. Yun Qingci didn’t want to get involved with Li Ying for unrelated people, and he didn’t want to take care of his family affairs anymore.
“Ah Yan got it by himself, don’t you want to keep it?”
Yun Qingci pushed the pair of jade birds back into Li Yan’s hands, with a gentle and serious expression: “This is your trophy, and everyone who loves you will be proud of you.”
Li Yan’s bright eyes widened, his breathing hitched, and the young man’s blood surged, as he said, “Then Royal Brother…”
Yun Qingci said solemnly: “Ah Yan is a capable person and has the right to choose what he likes to do.”
Li Yan blushed.
He had never dreamed that Yun Qingci would say such things to him. He agreed with him, supported him, and understood him.
Not only Li Yan, but everyone around also showed strange expressions.
Yun Qingci who had always been changeable like a wind and hysterical, seemed to be reborn overnight, becoming mellow and flawless, like pearls and jade.
Qiu Yang stared at him.
Yun Qingci in the past was beautiful, of course, but his beauty was sharp and scalding. Now Yun Qingci restrained his arrogance, like a cat shrinking its claws, soft like water, gentle and harmless.
“Go back early, don’t play too late.“ Yun Qingci didn’t forget to advise: “Pay attention to your safety.”
He passed by Qiu Yang and saw the other party’s stupid expression.
He couldn’t hold back and gave him a look.
How could the Qiu family and the Yun family be even considered comparable? Grand Commander Qiu and Prime Minister Yun had a lifetime rivalry. How could such a stupid Qiu Yang be worthy of being the son of his father’s bitter enemy?
Qiu Yang shrank in fright, and Yun Qingci boarded the carriage.
He knew Yun Qingxiao was reliable and would definitely arrange some guards to ensure Li Yan’s safe return to the palace.
Yun Qingsu was also startled by his brother’s expression and cautiously asked Qiu Yang, “Did you provoke him?”
Qiu Yang: “…me, how would I dare?”
Although Yun Qingci was born beautiful, it didn’t stop him from being a poisonous scorpion. Unless Qiu Yang had suffered from a brain disease for ten years, he would never take the initiative to provoke Yun Qingci.
Yun Qingsu could only agree: “That’s true.”
Yun Qingci returned home, ready to listen to the complaints of his old father, and even thought about how to comfort him.
Usually he had nothing to say to his father, but today he could use the opportunity to express his good will. The carriage stopped in the yard, Yun Qingci took a deep breath and went out…
There were several guards from the Forbidden City guarding the mansion. In the hall his father looked restrained as Li Ying sat in front of him, sipping tea.
On the table between the two of them, there was the porcelain set that shouldn’t have been here.
At this moment, Qiu Yang returned home with his head drooping. Before he could enter the door, a teacup suddenly flew out and broke, scaring him out of his mind.
Grand Commander Qiu roared the lines that should have belonged to Prime Minister Yun: “Lao Fu stared at that porcelain for half a month! Prepared so many stumbles for Yun Yu, but in the end Lao Fu actually made a wedding dress for another! ……Don’t be angry, how can Lao Fu not be angry?! I don’t even know who bought it!! ”
At the Prime Minister’s Mansion, Yun Qingci followed his brother into the front hall to greet the guest.
Li Ying said kindly: “No need to be polite.”
Yun Qingci’s gaze fell on the table, and with an inexplicable anger, he looked at his father: “This is…? ”
“His Majesty brought it.” Prime Minister Yun was obviously a little embarrassed. He did like this porcelain very much, but it was given by Li Ying. Now he neither could accept nor decline it.
“Ah, that’s how it is.” Yun Qingci smiled and said solemnly: “Congratulations to my father for this excellent product.”
Li Ying smiled back, as if expecting praise: “I…”
Yun Qingci spoke again: “The child’s injury has not healed, and he is a little tired, so he wants to go back and rest first.”
Li Ying shut up, and Prime Minister Yun had no choice but to say, “…Then, you go to rest.”
Yun Qingci walked out of the front hall without looking back.
Good Li Ying wrecking his plans.
Suddenly a plainclothes eunuch glanced at his waist. Yun Qingci looked at him, their eyes met, and they quickly looked away.
Yun Qingci continued to move forward, pulling down the wooden pendant on his waist.
He walked all the way back to his courtyard, and a voice quickly came from beside him: “Lord Empress.”
It was the spy he left by Li Ying’s side, called Yuanbao.
Originally, he planned to wait for the Qing Division to come and contact him, but he didn’t expect Li Ying to bring someone to him directly. Yuanbao probably saw the wooden pendant on his waist and thought it was something urgent, so he hurriedly followed.
Yun Qingci did not hesitate: “Is there anything abnormal in the palace recently?”
“Not in the palace, but His Majesty…”
Before he said a few words, there were footsteps suddenly coming, and the man wearing a mysterious robe embroidered with gold thread and dragon patterns appeared at the end of the corridor.
Yuanbao went silent at once.