Chapter 37: Weird Man
When Qing Feng was in a state of shock, there was a cold and different voice with a slight helpless tone that sounded by her ear, “Do you walk without seeing the road?”
Qing Feng was surprised thus she suddenly raise her head and saw that pair of indifferent eyes again, “It’s you?”
Just like the first time she saw him, he was by her side and just like how he stood in the dark, his facial expression was not seen clearly by her. It is just that this time, he was carrying an ink-black big umbrella and that forever quiet eyes finally looked at her. Unlike that cold pair of eyes, his hands were warm and strong. The temperature from his palm permitted the cold rain and made Qing Feng’s heart jump like the rain and wind outside the umbrella.
The female’s, who was standing in front, hair was half wet and there were streaks of hair that were paste onto her forehead. Her hands was grabbing the dress that were stuck on her calf and her embroidered shoes were so soaked that one can easily squeeze water out of it. Ming Ze felt that it was funny. Why is it that every time he sees her, she always looked like in a sorry state? Actually he has seen her standing in the pavilion earlier on to hide from the rain and did not want to walk over. But he did not expect that she will suddenly rushed out of the pavilion and run clumsily. Seeing her standing firmly, Ming Ze took his hand back and his deep voice asked, “In such a big rain, why are you not staying in the pavilion, where are you going?”
The deep voice with a hint of reproach sounded in her ears again. Qing Feng finally recovered her senses and her eyes suddenly shone as she urgently said, “You are a guard for the Palace right?”
Ming Ze was silent for a while before nodding his head, “En.”
“You just came in from the Palace gates?”
“Which gate are you asking about?” There are two main entrances and four side entrances.
Which gate? Qing Feng was ignorant about it as she did not know which gate her Elder Sister will come in and out from. She was trying her luck since she do not have anyone to ask now. Qing Feng urgently continue, “Don’t care about which gate, did you see the lady who was invited to attend the Empress Dowager’s banquet go out? She is a bit older than me, her face is also scarred, she is about as tall as me…”
“You are asking about… Your sister Qing Ling.”
“Yes! Exactly her!” Qing Feng was also gesturing her Elder Sister’s appearance. She was overjoyed with Ming Ze’s words as it means that he definitely seen Elder Sister. Even if Elder Sister did not leave the Palace, it would be good to know where she is.
“She…” The sound of the rain was too loud thus Qing Feng was unable to hear clearly what he said. Anxious to know the news pertaining Elder Sister, Qing Feng took a step forward and leaned forward…
He had not seriously look at her appearance before. The deepest impression of her was the scars that ordinary people will not be able to bear and that pair of stubborn bright eyes. Upon a close look, he finally understood how the “Three Qing Family Sisters” got famous in all of the six kingdoms. The rain has washed away the powder from her face and wet her elegant outfit. With a plain outfit and no powder, she still looked that beautiful. Previously, Ming Ze did not know that beauty could consist of such sharp features and she was that kind of female. As long as one look at her clearly, one will never able forget.
Ming Ze’s expression started to look weird and was silent for a long time. Qing Feng became anxious, “What happened to her? Say something!” Could it be that Elder Sister encountered some danger? Qing Feng tugged at Ming Ze’s sleeve, lest he change his mind and refuse to tell her any news of Qing Ling.
She was sure impatient. Ming Ze chuckled, “She was picked up by Prime Minister Lou before the rain came down.”
“Really?” That is great, this person really took a long time to answer! She was so worried to death just now and Ming Ze’s mouth showed a faint smile, his cold eyes now tinged with some colour. Qing Feng started ton additional to this night get angry, “Is it fun playing me?”
With slightly narrowed eyes, Ming Ze shook his head and softly sighed, “So you are the type of person who is unable to recognise others’ good intentions.”
“I…” Qing Feng was speechless. Ming Ze helped her when she was at her most difficult time and today, he also told her about her Eldest Sister situation. Even if he was really teasing her, she still should not speak that way. She was indeed ungrateful. Straightening up, Qing Feng slightly bowed and seriously said, “Thank you.”
Her earnest and serious thanks made Ming Ze uncomfortable and he took a step back after she bowed. Even though his body stepped back, the umbrella in his hands was still above her head while he was standing in the rain. Lightly coughing to over up the awkwardness, Ming Ze faintly replied, “Forget about it.”
Qing Feng did not notice Ming Ze’s movements and insisted on explaining, “Many thanks for your information about my Elder Sister safe exit out of here. Her safety, to me, is more important than anything else.” That pair of eyes which he has seen showed a honest and firm look made Ming Ze’s heart palpitate. He envied that she has a loved one that she could cherish that much and also envied Qing Ling who was the person on her mind. This was something that he will never have high hopes for.
This male is truly weird, his slightly narrowed eyes was as if he was looking at her but also looked like he was distracted. Did he hear her speak or not? Qing Feng frowned and continued, “In addition to this night, I want to thank you for the many times before that you have extended your hand to help…”
“Previously I did not help you anything so you do not need to thank me.”
Ming Ze seemed reluctant to mention the past events and Qing Feng also did not want to elaborate. The rain got bigger as if the dense rain formed a large net. The lightning flashed across the skies and the thunder roars accompanied the lightning. Under the bright lightning, Qing Feng only realised that Ming Ze have already place the umbrella over her head but he stood out in the rain and wind. He… Was not burly but very tall. The night wind was cold but her heart was indescribable warm. Qing Feng smiled and loudly said, “My… Name is Qing Feng.” He could say Elder Sister’s name so he must know her name, but Qing Feng wanted to tell him personally her name.
A lightning flashed by and the smile on her face was dazzling bright. Ming Ze’s heart felt an earthquake and his eyes darken as he coldly replied, “Your Ladyship better head back earlier. This humble one will retire.”
Leaving that sentence, Ming Ze put the umbrella into the hands of Qing Feng and headed off in big strides towards the direction of Qing Feng’s back.
“Hey!” Qing Feng watched helplessly as he left in such a hurry. It was like she was slap in the face. This was the first time she was being ignored like this that even Yan Hong Tian, whose eyes did not move away from her. He was just a guard but he ignored her again and again. On what basis should he be this arrogant! Qing Feng was angry, frustrated but was also a bit confused and disappointed. This mixed feelings made her stand in place while she stared into the rainy night at the cold back view, as if she has forgotten to leave.
“Mistress…” Fu Ling held the umbrella and ran over and saw Qing Feng standing alone in the rain holding an ink-black umbrella and her eyes focusing in one direction with a look of discontentment but there was a trace of… Grievance? Fu Ling look towards the direction she was focusing at . In the long palace trail, other than the misty fine drizzle, there was nothing at all.
The rain was getting bigger and bigger and the umbrella can no longer stop the drifting rain and cannot block the night wind. Fu Ling shouted, “Mistress, you are drenched. Let’s quickly head back.”
The ten fingers tightly held the large umbrella until her fingertips are white before she recovered her sight and walked away.
The heavy rain poured down as the lightning and thunder filled the skies. In this kind of bad weather, every family has already shut their doors and there were very few people on the road walking. There was only a slightly plump figure walking through the cloak of rain. With a woven rush raincoat and bamboo hat covering the person up tightly, the person turned a few times in the alleys and stopped at the back door of some household before knocking loudly twice and the back door immediately opened.
The arriving person walked into the backyard familiarly and stopped outside a small house. After knocking on the door, that person immediately push the door open and walked in. In the house, the person who arrived took off the bamboo hat and it was a sixty over years old man. Even though he was wearing a dark uniform of a patrol personnel and was almost drenched till he looked as if in a sorry state, he still bend his body over and greeted, “Daren (title of respect toward superiors).”
The male nodded his head to the old man and coldly asked, “What does Dan Yu Lan want to do?”
The old man dare not delay and step forward a few steps before whispering to his ears, “Answering Daren, half a month before, there was a bounty hunter who killed a person. The decease was Yang Lu. Not sure how but Dan Yu Lan was able to link it to the gold case and within these few days he has accessed the files and documents about the gold case that happened three years ago. It would seems that he wants to retrial it.”
The thunder was roaring outside the house as the rain heavily pelt down and the old man’s voice was almost drown by the sound of the thunder. The young male’s brows furrowed as he crooned, “To think that the case from three years ago would be overturned by him.” It was fortunate that he was out of the capital investigating else the gold would not be able to be transported out of the capital.
The old man pleasingly questioned, “The case of the gold was mentioned and it seems to involve the Prime Minister’s and General’s mansion. Does this humble person need to…”
“Don’t create more problems!” The male lowly scolded and snapped back, “This does not involve you, naturally there will be someone taking care of it. Dan Yu Lan’s energy will be focused on the gold case and the substitution of army rations needs to close the case quickly. Don’t complicate the matter!”
The old man expression turn pale and showed a look of distress. He only replied after a long time, “Daren… This case has been reawaken and reviewed again by the Tixing Department (where punishment or torture or interrogation or etc. are carried out) The file and the offender has also been transferred to the Tixing Department. This official is truly… Powerless.”
“Useless person!” That male stared at the old man and lowered his voice, “There are no new doubtful points and no new witnesses or evidence. How can he still review?”
Daren’s meaning is… The dead cannot testify?! The old man suddenly became aware and nodded while he complimented, “Daren is brillant, Daren is brillant!”
The blooming of the peonies was over and the flower were withered. The floral scent that was surrounding the Qing Feng Hall also faded away. Fu Ling carried the freshly brewed medicinal concoction into Qing Feng’s room and knocked on the door. There was no response after a long time, Fu Ling softly open the room door and only saw the slim and lean figure sitting alone at the round table in a daze.
That night after coming back drenched, Mistress indeed was infected with a cold but fortunately it did not became serious. The Emperor did not visit Qing Feng Hall and was indifferent to her. The Empress Dowager also did not summon for her. Mistress almost did not get out of her room door and most of the time, like now, she would sit by the round table and look out of the window. The big umbrella, which appeared during the rainy night, was silently standing under the windowsill, sometimes made the Mistress stared dazedly.
Fu Ling gently place the bowl of medication in front of Qing Feng and said, “Mistress, drink the medicine while it is hot and rest early.” Qing Feng slowly raise her head, lazily took the bowl and drank the concoction reluctantly. Her brows started to furrow, not sure what was she thinking about. After that night, Mistress often appeared restless and listless. Could it be due to… That umbrella? Fu Ling tried asking, “Mistress, which palace does that umbrella belong to? Your servant can return it back.”
Qing Feng cast a sidelong glance at the ink-black big umbrella as she thought about the cold look that Ming Ze gave when he left and coldly snorted, “No need, just leave it there.” He was an unfathomable mystery and temperamental person, he would not care about a broken umbrella. With her mood getting irritated, Qing Feng waved her hands at Fu Ling and said, “All right, the hour is late. You need not serve. Go and sleep.”
“Yes.” She only mentioned about that umbrella and Mistress did not remained listless and actually gotten angry. Fu Ling dare not ask more but know that between the owner of the umbrella and Mistress, there must have been some relationship. Clearing up the medicine bowl, Fu Ling quietly withdraw.
The night got later and the entire room was so quiet that one can only hear the candle crackled as it burns. Qing Feng lazily lay down on the table and her eye unconsciously fell onto the ink-black big umbrella again. She thought for a long long time but she still did not understand. She only told him of her name. Why did his expression change? She only wanted to thank him, thinking that knowing a person like him in this ice cold Imperial Palace, and this could make him angry? If he doesn’t want to provoke her then why does he keep appearing at her side. What exactly did she do to offend him? Ming Ze is truly a weird man.
There was a sudden sound of noises that rang out outside the hall. Qing Feng look out of the window towards the gradually slanting moon, it was almost Zishi (modern timing: 11 pm – 1 am) and the various palaces and halls should be resting up. Qing Feng pushed the room doors open to look and the sounds of uproar got louder. The eunuch and palace maids in Qing Feng Hall were gathered at the main door, stretching out their necks out and trying to catch a look. Qing Feng walked to the middle of the courtyards and loudly asked, “What is happening outside to cause such noises?”
Fu Ling shook her head and replied, “The sounds seems like it is coming from the east side, not sure what has happened. Lan-er has already gone to find out.”
The East? Most of the concubines live in the west side and the south side. An accident in the east… Could it be the Empress Dowager? Qing Feng was silently speculating when Lan-er just came back. When she saw Qing Feng at the courtyard, Lan-er face was even paler. Qing Feng asked, “What had happened?”
Lan-er pursed her lips lightly and only after a long time then softly replied, “Princess Chao Yun… Attempted suicide.”
Attempted. Suicide?! How. How is this possible? Princess Chao Yun, the Empress Dowager’s precious darling, the Emperor’s blood younger sister! Everyone in the hall broke a cold sweat and Qing Feng’s heart also trembled and she anxiously asked, “What is the situation now?”
“Fortunately, the palace maid found her in time and she was rescued. The Emperor has summoned seven or eight Imperial Physicians to Qing Xuan Hall to treat her. As of now, I am not sure if the Princess have passed the danger period.” Lan-er only dared to enquire about it outside Qing Xuan Hall and once she knew that the Princess attempted suicide, she was terrified.
Princess Chao Yun… This is a trick of harming oneself to gain others’ sympathy or is she truly in despair and no longer feel attached to this world? Qing Feng thought a while and whispered to Fu Ling’s ear, “Fu Ling, go to Qing Xuan Hall to check up on the situation. Report back on the information you found.”
“Yes.” Fu Ling nodded her head and rushed out of the hall.
The more Qing Feng thought, the more afraid she got. No matter for what reason did the Princess have to attempt suicide, if she really have any mishap, the Empress Dowager will definitely blame it on them sisters. She must be alright, or else…