Chapter 70: Dilemma
“Imperial Physician had just look through and it was nothing serious.”
Just as Qing Feng finished speaking, there was suddenly a sound sounded from the house. It was very light, like something was knocked over. Such a small sound was actually insignificant but Zhuo Qing felt that the hands that was holding hers suddenly shook. Shui Xin’s bright eyes looked directly at the closed window as if they could see into the house.
“Ru Yi, stop looking and just bring any shawl out. It is not necessarily be that mink one.” Qing Feng’s voice had a little helplessness and laziness in it as she got up slowly and took her hands back from Zhuo Qing, and pretended to smoothern her ruffled skirt and covered the panic in her eyes.
“Cannot. Only the mink shawl is warm enough.” A gentle female voice sounded from inside the house before another few soft sounds, as if one was rummaging for something.
She was indeed a quick-witted girl. Qing Feng was secretly relieved and her expression was much more natural as she smiled, “This girl is really.”
Shui Xin also smiled as she turned her head around. There was a gentle smile on her expression and there was no longer that sharp look but the words she said made Qing Feng’s heart cold, “That sedan was place outside the house which made entering and exiting the house difficult. This servant will get some people to carry it away.”
There are blood stains in the sedan and she must not carry it away! Qing Feng chuckled but not too deliberately, before she casually replied, “Not needed. There is still a banquet at night. Bengong may attend it if my health improves and at that time, it will come in handy. All right, you can retire.”
Shui Xin’s gaze landed on the sedan but she did not say anything and only gave a light bow before exiting Qing Feng Hall.
Even though Fu Ling had shut the main doors of Qing Feng Hall, Qing Feng actually felt more insecure and Shui Xin also gave a smile like she knows something.
Seeing her like that, her heart was inexplicitly frightened. All along she had the feeling that compared to Xin Yue Ning, she was much harder to deal with.
Qing Feng was immersed in her thoughts until she felt her silent Eldest Sister suddenly pull her up and carefully checking her body, making Qing Feng asked questioningly, “Eldest Sister?”
Zhuo Qing did not bother about her and after inspecting once over, she found that she did not have any injuries on her and there was also no problem with her body temperature. After verifying all those, Zhuo Qing’s expression got worse and she asked softly, “What exactly are you doing?”
Qing Feng unconsciously took a step back and softly whispered back, “I did not do anything. I am just tired.”
“Your entire courtyard is filled with the scent of blood and you tell me that there is nothing?” As a forensic doctor, she was particularly sensitive to the scent of blood. Ever since she stepped into the courtyard, she already found it discerning.
There was the scent of blood in the courtyard?! Qing Feng’s face paled as she looked at the tightly shut room and the sedan that was at a distance from them. After her heart settled and she breathed in gently. Other than the faint scent of begonia in the courtyard, one would not smell any other thing. Lightly cough, Qing Feng pretended to be angry, “Eldest Sister, what nonsense are you talking about! Where would there be a scent of blood.”
Zhuo Qing did not say a word and just stared coolly at her. Qing Feng felt guilty but she dare not break the eye contact but facing Zhuo Qing clear and sharp eyes, she was secretly afraid. Since when did Eldest Sister became this intimidating and frightening. Knowing that she cannot continue this stare down as she would inevitably expose herself, she gradually turn her hand softly said, “I am really all right. You… Should go back first. Fu Ling, send Eldest Sister back.” Finishing, Qing Feng walked pass Zhuo QIng and headed into the house. Until she had firmly closed the door up, Qing Feng could then dared to breath.
“Lou Furen, this way please…” Fu Ling’s words hardly landed and Zhuo Qing had already strode to the door. Before Fu Ling had a chance to stop, Zhuo Qing had already opened up the curtains of the sedan and saw the dark red bloodstains.
Fu Ling was worried that when Zhuo Qing saw the scene she would had scream but she instead calmly stepped into the sedan and was careful in not touching anything and stopped in front of the stains and just with a glance, it seemed that she had understood what had happened and exited the sedan.
Zhuo Qing stood at the tightly shut doors and analysing her thoughts. The blood had congealed but was not dried so it should be left there about two hours ago. There was only a small pool of blood in that sedan. If it was entirely from one person, the amount was not fatal. There was also traces of a struggle in the sedan so the injured person should be directly dragged into the house.
“Qing Feng, open the door.” Zhuo Qing’s voice was suppressed to the lowest. She guessed that Qing Feng was still at the other side of the door and that she definitely had heard her.
The person inside was apparently bent on ignoring her. Zhuo Qing frowned, “There is other people in the house right? Who are they?”
“Elder Sister, can you not be involved in the matters today?” After a long time, the person inside finally spoke but the voice was filled with tiredness and pleading.
“Open the door first!” There was indeed something going on. Zhuo Qing’s hands landed on the catch of the door when Fu Ling grabbed her wrist. “Lou Furen, Mistress would not open the door. It would be better for you to leave.” From Mistress concern and protection, she would never drag her own Elder Sister to this mess but Lou Furen is not someone who was persuaded easily. Fu Ling thought for a bit and lowered her voice to speak by Zhuo Qing’s ears, “If others were attracted to here, it would bring Mistress death consequences.”
Death consequences? Zhuo Qing’s hand which wanted to break the hold from Fu Ling stiffen. What exactly kind of thing that would have death consequences? Who is the hurt person in the house? At this moment she hated that she was not Gu Yun and could not analyse the clues to find out the truth. She knew Qing Feng stubborn character and she had experience it before. So it was not useful to be in a stalemate like this. Shui Xin just left, was it that she had seen something?
After ensuring that Zhuo Qing understood the severity of the matter, Fu Ling release her hold on her hands, “Lou Furen, please.”
This time Zhuo Qing did not persist and just stared at the closed doors before following Fu Ling out to the courtyard.
Fu Ling walked two steps and saw that Zhuo Qing did not follow her and stopped instead. She heard Zhuo Qing spoke in a soft clear voice, “Fu Ling. I will only ask one question. The entire thing that you are doing today, is it…. An act that offend Heavens and reason?” Zhuo Qing initially wanted to ask “is it an act that will harm and take a human life” but at the last moment she changed her words. In her heart, she did not believe that Zhuo Qing was a person like that.
Fu Ling looked astonishingly at Zhuo Qing with a frown but it quickly disappeared before she replied, “No, you should trust Mistress.”
Zhuo Qing’s hanging heart since she saw the pool of blood, finally settled down a little. It was good that there was not such a thing. Maybe it was related to her previous job, she respect every single life but she knew how difficult to survive in the Inner Palace and yet she did not wish that Qing Feng’s hands would be stained by blood.
Two persons walked all the way and neither spoke any words. When they almost arrive Gan Yang Hall, Zhuo Qing slowed her pace, “Gan Yang hall is just in front. You can return.”
Thinking about the state of chaos in rooms of Qing Feng Hall, Fu Ling nodded her hand and gave a bow. Just as she was about to leave, Zhuo Qing suddenly stopped her, “Wait. If she have any difficulties, send a message to me in the Prime Minister Residence.”
Fu Ling looked up quietly and took a glance at Zhuo Qing. Her firmly pursed lips finally loosed as she replied, “Yes.”
Fu Ling went back but Zhuo Qing stood there for a long time and did not went back to the celebration grounds. Should she tell Lou Xi Yan of these matters today and would it be useful for him to know the matters of the Inner Palace? Unfortunately Gu Yun just woke up from her injuries and she was unable to discuss it with her. It would seem that she had to wait and observe. Zhuo Qing laughed to herself, she now learned how to wait and observe…
After Zhuo Qing left, Qing Feng leaned against the door for quite a while before she recover. This was her first time feeling the pressure from her Eldest Sister. This was something that never happened before but at this moment Qing Feng did not have the energy to pursue this matter. After calming herself down, she immediately entered the inner chamber and told the mid-wife who was standing by the screen and coaxing the child, “Without Bengong’s instruction, not one word can be revealed to anyone about today’s events.”
The mid-wife naturally dare not speak more and replied repeatedly, “Rest assure your Ladyship.”
“Pass me the baby and you can leave first.”
“Yes.” The mid-wife carefully hand over the baby to Qing Feng and followed Ru Yi out the house.
When she went back into the room with the baby, Lin Feng was keeping his medical equipment and the sweat on his head showed how much energy was used during the treatment just now. Qing Feng asked softly, “How… Is she?
Lin Feng gave a sigh of relief as he spoke, “Very weak but the critical period has passed. This official will go back to make another round of medication and send it over in a while.”
Lin Feng carried the medical chest and left, and soon the entire house quieten down. Qing Feng’s heart also became quieter as she thought of how to handle the present matter on hand.
The celebration was about to end and there was only about one over shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) till the dinner banquet. If Shui Xin told the Empress anything and that made the Empress come over then the matter would not be avoided easily. Should she first confess to Yan Hong Tian about the truth, but what should she do or say so that he will be able to accept the matter and not be enraged? Seeing the sweetly sleeping baby, and looking at that person who circled the doors of death, Qing Feng was thinking of the next steps she should take.
After Qing Feng thought it over but yet to sort out a sure-fire plan, Chen Zhen woke up. Maybe it was because after she had taken some medication and had some rest, even though her face was as pale as death, her spirit was much better than the last two times.
“Wu-er, support me up.”
Even though Wu-er was unwilling, under the gaze of her mistress, she could only support her up so that she can lean against the head of the bed.
“Qing Feng, sent me and the baby back to the Cold Palace.” A clear and cool voice faintly sounded. Qing Feng’s brows knitted, “You still want to go back?” Could it be that she want to raise the child by herself in the Cold Palace?
“En.” (Means yes)
Qing Feng don’t understand, “Now the baby is safely born and moreover its a prince. You only need to wait till the end of the celebration and find a chance to tell Yan Hong Tian about the details. He should believe you and once he is willing to protect you, you will be secure.”
Chen Zhen smiled bitterly as she shook her head, “Do you remember what I said, you don’t understand him and don’t understand the Inner Palace?”
Qing Feng’s face darken and she did not reply her words. Chen Zhen also did not mind and continued talking, “Perhaps now you understand him a little but you still do not understand the Inner Palace. As long as that crime is not investigated thoroughly, I would still be a criminal so it is impossible for me to bring the child out and would be brought up by the concubines. At this moment, there is only one Imperial Concubine, which is you, in the Inner Palace but you are also pregnant so the child would not be adopted by you and would eventually end up in the ends of the Empress. You are also a mother, you should know the pain of being separated from your child, much less sending your child to the Empress, which is akin to sending a lamb to the tiger’s mouth.”
Qing Feng had thought about those things just now and replied, “It is not necessarily be the Empress. It can be brought up by the Empress Dowager.”
Chen Zhen laughed, “You should have heard about Imperial Concubine Shu.”
“En.” The Qing Feng Hall now was originally Imperial Concubine Shu’s place so she naturally heard of this Imperial Concubine Shu.
“She wass the daughter of a Ministry of Defence high official, who followed her elder brothers to practice martial arts. Her health and bother was definitely much better than both you and I but she died during childbirth…” Chen Zhen did not continue speaking but Qing Feng was smart and naturally guessed that there would be some consprirsy behind the difficult birth. Qing Feng did not answer and continue to wait for her to carry on her words. Seeing the irony and similar fear in Chen Zhen’s eyes, she took every long time before she continued, “That child was given to the Empress Dowager to rear. After two months… The child died. Died of heat stroke.”
Yan Hong Tian till now only have one son, so Qing Feng already guessed that that child must have died. But to only be gone after two months, she was unable to tell what it feels like and her heart felt some muffled pain.
“Children are too fragile.” Chen Zhen’s lips evoke a hint of sneer, “Let alone in the entire Inner Palace, even it is not heat stroke, it would be some other accident. There are just too many accidents in the Palace.”
Both of them were silent. Perhaps the baby was hungry as it started to lightly twist around. Qing Feng passed the baby into Chen Zhen’s hands as she advised, “Hiding in the Cold Palace is not the answer. Even if you are not found out in these couple of years, the child will slowly grow up. What will you do then?” Proving that the child belongs’s to Yan Hong Tian after so many years would not be that easy. And also what if then the Empress had any killing intentions? She would definitely be anxious for his death.
Lovingly carrying the child, Chen Zhen’s heart soften and her mouth unconsciously raised and formed a gentle smile. She did not bare to keep her eyes off the little precious in her arms but she looked at Qing Feng and replied, “I believe that the Inner Palace will not remain like this forever.” Even though she could not fully read the mind of the Emperor, but she knows that the Emperor would definitely not let the Empress do whatever she wants in the Inner Palace. There would definitely be changes in the Inner Palace and the appearance of Qing Feng may have fasten the effect.
Chen Zhen’s gaze was mixed with a little weirdness that before Qing Feng could understand, Chen Zhen had once again lowered her head and watched lovingly at the child in her embrace.
Seeing this adult and child, Qing Feng felt weak and sighed, “It is not possible for the Inner Palace to change overnight. Once you and your child is discovered and without Yan Hong Tian’s protection with the Empress’s means, you would be sliently…”
Tightening her arms around the baby, Chen Zhen suddenly interrupted Qing Feng’s words, “That is something I am resigned to.”
“You…” Qing Feng wanted to say something else but when she open her mouth, she was rendered speechless.
“I have been in the Palace for eight years and favoured for five. It is naturally not entirely based on luck to be able to fight with the Empress for so long. If I was not not pregnant, my mind would be attentive and she would not be able to catch me off guard and push me out easily.” As she was speaking, Chen Zhen suddenly raise her hand and grabbed Qing Feng’s wrist as she spoke with persistent and som patience, “Qing Feng, I know I have owed you a lot today. As long as you do not hand me and my child over and protect us thoroughly, the influence and power I have in the Palace will all be yours.”
All be mine?
Qing Feng’s brows knitted tightly. She naturally know that it was very difficult to hold on to power in the Inner Palace. By taking over the influences and power from Chen Zhen, it would make it much easier to deal with the Empress. But neither will she be blindly optimistic. Chen Zhen herself should be aware that the so call influences and allegiance was in fact dependent on her noble position. Now she was in the Cold Palace and there was almost no opportunity to turn the situation around. As for those who took orders from her would then find another for backing. At this moment if Chen Zhen did not bring them out, she would not be able to control them any more. As long as she takes over, it would meant that she owed her a big favour. If she did not take over… She was also going to give birth soon. With her current power, would she be able to protect herself and her child?! Qing Feng weighed her heart a lot before she clenched her teeth and replied, “I promise you.”
Qing Feng’s promise made Chen Zhen’s heart relaxed and her body immediately soften. Wu-er quickly supported the mother and child as her heart was secretly jumping for joy. Over all these years, mistress had always defended and not attack and Qing Feng temperament was totally different. If in the future she gave birth to a son, there would be something to fight with the Empress and as such, her mistress would be relatively safe.