Chapter 56: Reaching Out A Helping Hand (Part 1)
Qing Feng Hall
The tree that was planted in the courtyard had shaded almost half of the entire courtyard and there was a simple swing hanging for the thick branch, which was swaying with the autumn wind. Under the tree, there laid a female on a couch with both eyes closed. Her face was calm and her abdomen was slightly protruding, like a pregnant female of six months. Two palace maids quietly stood behind her with their heads slightly bowed and even their breathing were careful so as not to disturb their mistress dream.
Qing Feng could not sleep the last night and the news that Fu Ling brought back in the morning only brought her a little peace of mind. From the letters that were found with the rebels, there were many seal from Lou Xi Yan but it was not written by him. A rebellion would jeopardise the nation and it was an capital offence, even though the evidence was not irrefutable, Lou Xi Yan could only continue to be imprison. The Prime Minister manor were closed and quiet, so Elder Sister should still be safe.
Fu Ling hurried into the courtyard and walked to Qing Feng. After some hesitation, she spoke, “Mistress, Prime Minister Lou’s furen used the token and has already entered the Palace by the northern gate.” When Prime Minister Lou’s furen use the token at the Palace Gates, the guards came to report. Prime Minister Lou was just imprisoned and Lou Furen entered the Palace, it would seem that it would be related to that.
The originally lazy look that Qing Feng wore on her face suddenly open her eyes wide and propped herself up from the couch as she urgently said, “Quickly go and pick her up. Bring her to Qing Feng Hall and be careful not to let anyone see.”
“Yes.” Fu Ling slightly bow and quickly left.
Qing Feng got up and the palace maids behind her immediately approached her but she waved her hands so that they would withdraw. Qing Feng stared at the courtyard and her hands unconsciously intertwined and clenched together.
In a short while, Fu Ling lead Zhou Qing into Qing Feng Hall and Qing Feng immediately came forward to greet, “Eldest Sister!”
Once Zhou Qing entered the courtyard she saw Qing Feng, she was still so thin, making her abdomen look much more prominent.
“Follow me.” Taking her hand, Qing Feng brought her inside the room.
Both of them entered the room and Qing Feng gave a look to Fu Ling. Fu Ling nodded her head smartly and gently shut the doors before quietly backing out.
“Eldest Sister, are you still fine?” Both of Eldest Sister’s eyes were slightly swollen and her face was too pale. She has always been gentle and delicate. How much did she suffer in these turn of events? Tightly holding Zhou Qing’s hands, Qing Feng felt emotional.
Gently patting Qing Feng’s hand, Zhou Qing gave a faint smile, “I am fine.”
Qing Feng believed firmly that Zhou Qing intentionally hid her sorrow and gently comforted, “Actually pertaining older brother-in-law case, you need not need to be too worried. Even though Yan Hong Tian is a tyrant, he is not…” Thinking back on yesterday when she was confronting Yan Hong Tian, Qing Feng suppressed the sigh in her heart and continued, “He is not an incapable rule. Older brother-in-law is a Prime Minister of a nation and have been his right hand man all these time. This case is really strange, it would be better to wait and observe the changes.”
Zhou Qing firmly shook her head and replied in a cold voice, “I can wait but Xi Yan’s body cannot wait. If he carry on staying in that prison, before the investigation is completed, he would have been dead. This time, I do not want to sit and wait for death.” She believe that at the end the truth will prevail but she was not willing to wait, especially after seeing Xi Yan today.
Qing Feng was slightly startled. She never saw this kind of persistent and strength in her Elder Sister’s eyes before. In the past, she always believed in fate. Was it Lou Xi Yan that changed her?
Determining that she was serious, Qing Feng did not persuade her again and ask her directly, “What are your plans now? What do you need me to do?” For Elder Sister to look for her, there must be a plan.
Zhou Qing’s eyes swept over Qing Feng protruding stomach and she swallowed the words that she wanted to say. After hesitating for a moment, she then said, “I know that your life in the Palace is not easy. The thing that I request for you to do, you only need to do your best. If it cannot be done, then leave it. The most important thing is to protect yourself well.”
Qing Feng’s heart warmed as she still held Zhou Qing Hands and smile heartily, “Don’t worry, I will be careful. Tell me what I need to do.” She had sworn before that those people who showed kindness to her, she must return it. For those who showed her hatred, she will definitely avenge. For this half a year, Lou Xi Yan has helped her so many times and she did not forget about it. No matter what Elder Sister require her to do today, she would definitely complete it.
Zhou Qing bent slightly and whispered into Qing Feng’s ear.
Qing Feng look shocked as she faced Zhou Qing. She initially thought that her Eldest Sister would request her to intercede with Yan Hong Tian and did not think that she wants… Meeting Zhou Qing eyes, it seems that she has a scheme and was not the simple and gentle Elder Sister she remembered.
Zhou Qing softly asked, “Can you do it?”
Recovering her thoughts, Qing Feng nodded her head in reply, “I will definitely get it done.”
“Thank you.” Zhou Qing stood up, “Then I will leave first. Look after yourself.” She was very grateful to Qing Feng but because of this sensitive issue, the longer she say in the Palace, the greater impact it has on Qing Feng.
Qing Feng also immediately got up and hugged her tightly. It was only for a short time and Qing Feng sensibly let go of her hands, “You have to take care too.”
Both of them smiled at one another, there was no need to say more words.
When the room doors were opened, Fu Ling could be seen running all the way from the courtyard and stood in front of them before she panted, “Mistress, the Emperor is heading towards Qing Feng Hall.”
He rarely come over to Qing Feng Hall at this time. Could it be that he is here for her Elder Sister?
Zhou Qing exchanged a look with Qing Feng and both of them came to the same conclusion. Qing Feng’s eyes narrowed as she spoke to Fu Ling, “Fu Ling, take her away from the side door. Quick!”
Zhou Qing did not converse more and waved at Qing Feng before following running after Fu Ling and left from the side door.
“The Emperor has arrived!”
The eunuch’s voice sounded from the courtyard but Qing Feng not only did not go out to receive, she also immediately return to the room and shut the doors.
If Yan Hong Tian was here for Eldest Sister, then by letting him think that Eldest Sister is still in Qing Feng Hall would allow her to have a little more time to get out of the Palace.
In a short time, the doors were opened forcefully by Yan Hong Tian and it was only then Qing Feng slowly got up from the bed and pull the curtain apart before slowly bow and greeted slowly, “Chenqie fell unwell just now and decided to rest a bit thus did not know that the Emperor had arrive and did not receive. May the Emperor punish!”
Yan Hong Tian’s sharp eyes swept across the not very big chambers. Except for Qing Feng with a calm face, there was not another shadow of a second person.
“Where is she?”
Qing Feng pretended to be ignorant, “Who is the Emperor referring to?”
The interior of chambers were empty and it was not possible to hide anyone. Seeing Qing Feng indifferent look, the person was already gone. Yan Hong Tian did not have any intention of chasing and coldly said, “It would be best that you do not get involve in matter pertaining Lou Xi Yan. Zhen has a stand on it.”
Slightly raising her eyebrows, Qing Feng smiled and replied, “Chenqie is already confined in this Qing Feng Palace and what else can be done? The Emperor has worried to much.”
The incident only happened a day before and Qing Mo had already went to the Ministry of Justice and did not found anything so she turn Su Ling’s study upside down. Qing Ling took a trip to the prison and entered the Palace once. He would not believe that she only walked around casually. This half a year, even though there was Lou Xi Yan and Su Ling who was covering for them, he clearly knew what both of them had done.
Now that Qing Ling did not want to wait any longer, what does she want to do? And what she want Qing Feng to do? Yan Hong Tian started to find it interesting. If everything went as he had planed, it would be boring. He knew early on that Lou Xi Yan had strong feelings for Qing Ling but it seems now that Su Ling also lost to the charms of a beauty. How about her? Qing Feng, other than painting, what can you do?
Looking deeply in her eyes, his fingers lightly caressed Qing Feng chin as he smile but yet not smile, “It would be good if beloved concubine do not disappoint Zhen.” Finishing, Yan Hong Tian did not continue to make things difficult and just swaggered out.
When he entered the door, she was able to feel his anger. But now he could leisurely leave, he was indeed very temperamental!
The last look that Yan Hong Tian gave was mixed with interest and complexity, making Qing Feng heart shiver. She forced herself to calm down as regardless of anything, she must do what her Eldest Sister have requested of her.
Shortly after Yan Hong Tian left, Fu Ling also came back. When she entered the house, she saw her Mistress standing in the middle of the living room with a frown like she has been thinking for a long time. Knowing that Mistress was anxious, before Qing Feng asked, she replied, “Mistress, Lou Furen safely left the Palace.”
Secretly relieved, Qing Feng nodded her head but refused to sit down. Even though the method that Eldest Sister thought of would be able to rescue Prime Minister Lou in the shortest amount of time but the process was too dangerous. And that person was Yan Hong Tian’s birth mother. Wouldn’t Eldest Sister plan anger Yan Hong Tian? If it was not done like that, what if anything happen to Lou Xi Yan, Elder Sister… Qing Feng bit her lips and beckoned Fu Ling. When she came to her side, Qing Feng then whispered to her ears, “Go to Xi Xia Palace and find a palace maid by the name of Yao Chan. Get her to come over to the side door of Qing Feng Hall at Zishi (modern timing: 11 pm – 1 am) tonight.”
Fu Ling nodded her head but she could not help but wonder, she was practically together with Mistress for all the time. When did Mistress arrange someone in Xi Xia Palace that she did not know about? Fu Ling was about to leave when Qing Feng softly instructed, “Be careful. Don’t let anyone discover you.”
“Yes.” Fu Ling felt that the thing that Lou Furen was requesting of Mistress must be extremely dangerous else Mistress would not be this worried and troubled.
There was no wind or clouds tonight, the moon was bright and the night was as quiet as water. At the side door of Qing Feng Hall against the wall, there stood two slender figure who was using the shadow of the lush tree so that even with the bright moonlight, it would be hard to find them in a moment.
Fu Ling whispered, “Mistress, Zishi (modern timing: 11 pm – 1 am) has passed.” Qing Feng’s heart was restless. What if she don’t dare to come? Just at that moment, a shadow appeared on the palace road before it hastily ran over. At almost the side door, no one stood forward but hid at the nearby bushes to observe the surroundings. Fu Ling thought to herself that this person was indeed cautious.
Fu Ling walked out a little and the moonlight fell on her. When Yao Chan say her, she ran over and once she got nearer, Yao Chan discover than under the shadows of the tree, there was an elegant figure standing by the wall.
Yao Chan quickly stepped forward a few steps, “This servant greets Imperial Concubine Qing.”
Qing Feng did not beat about the bush and said quietly, “Bengong have something for you to do.?
“Your Ladyship, your orders will be followed.” Before she came here, Yao Chan had already thought it through, Imperial Concubine Qing let her go at that time was because she was someone in Xi Xia Palace and wanted to use her.
“Bengong wants one thing from Xi Xia Palace.”
Yao Chan kept her head bowed and did not speak while she listen quietly.
After a while, she could feel that the person in the dark bend down slightly and got closer to her before gently spitting out the words, “The personal seal of the West Empress Dowager.”
Personal seal?! Yao Chan was so shocked that she looked up to Qing Feng and saw that pair of cold yet bright eyes looking back at her. Yao Chan felt as those there was a heavy knife on her neck and plop down on her knees but dare not speak loudly and could only anxiously suppress her voice, “May your Ladyship have mercy. This servant, this servant is only a low ranked palace maid beside the Empress Dowager and would not have the opportunity to have access to the seal. And these two days the Empress Dowager would be in the Palace. Even though this servant wants, it is not possible to retrieve it.”
Saying that she wanted to but not possible to retrieve it meant that she knew where it was located? Qing Feng mood got better, “You need not worry about that. Tomorrow at Youshi (modern timing: 5 – 7 pm) the West Empress Dowager will definately leave the Palace. As long as your action is fast enough, no one else will discover. You only need to bring the seal out and there would be someone outside. In only just the time of an incense stick, you can put the seal back in place.” She only need to affix the seal on some pages, it would be quick…
Yao Chan was almost prostrating on the ground and shook her head aggressively, “This servant really don’t know where the Empress Dowager’s seal.” She thought that Imperial Concubine Qing wanted her to monitor everything in Xi Xia Palace and report to her if anything happened but she did not think that her Ladyship would want the seal!
Qing Feng was not in a rush as she smiled and lightly coughed. In the quiet night, the melodious voice sounded faintly, “Yao Chan, you will be leaving the Palace soon but Wang Wu still have to work in the Palace. Think about it carefully before answering back to Bengong.”
That night that man abandoned her and ran away but she would rather die then confess. It would seem that this man was the most important person in her heart. Did she think that if she did not say, no one else would know? She only need to look up the people who are interacting with Yao Chan and then find out the duty roaster of the guards on night duty. How hard was it to search that person out?
Watching Yao Chan prostrating on the ground with shorter breathe than before and trembling body, Qing Feng knows that she would definitely win.
“This servant… This servant will definitely think of a way to get the seal.” Her strong words but crying words firm up Qing Feng’s confidence and thus she waved her hands gently and responded, “Withdraw.”
“Yes.” Yao Chan did not dare to stay longer and quickly slipped away from the side.
“Send someone to watch over her. If she makes other movements…” The words next were not necessary to say but Fu Ling have understood, “If there are any movements, kill.” Her heart tightened slightly but she was able to still reply like usual, “Yes.”
Qing Feng raise her hand and pat Fu Ling’s before saying warmly, “Let’s go back.”
The flash of apprehensiveness and sadness in Fu Ling’s eyes did not escape Qing Feng. Fu Ling was attentive, discreet and was very loyal to her but she was good natured and has an cool exterior but warm heart. This was a very good quality to have but in this Inner Palace, being softhearted was more dangerous than being slow-witted. Both Empress Dowager were dissatisfied with her, the Empress’s forces and actions were vicious and harmful and even though the other concubines have yet to pull anything on her, they must be waiting for a good opportunity to do so. She did not have much power and if some one catches on any of her mistakes, it would be beyond any redemption.
Fu Ling and her, known as mistress and servant but have supported each other all the way. In her heart, she had already added her as her family outside her sisters. However what kind of person was Fu Ling? She was someone who refused to bow to anyone, her character was definitely higher and to get her to do sordid things, she must felt pain and that would undermine the relationship between them. Qing Feng also could not bear for Fu Ling to become so vicious and ruthless, after all, not many people were true to her.
Qing Feng sighed silently, she’s short of a clear minded and ruthless person…