Chapter 90: Sounding Out (Part 1)
“With the acceptance of the Mandate of Heavens, the Emperor has decreed that Imperial Concubine Qing from the family Qing, has respectful, harmonious and respectful virtues and is warm, charming, and virtuous. Zhen is comforted that the Imperial ancestral are pleased and she had gave birth to a son. Today, my son is full month old, the name: Zhi and Chu Xiu Palace are bestowed upon him. By the Emperor himself.”
In the third quarter of Sishi (modern timing: 9 – 11am), the morning court has ended and the Imperial Decree was immediately sent into Qing Feng Hall. As the eunuch from Imperial household affairs read out the Imperial Decree in his sharp voice, the main mistress just froze there motionless as she knelt on the floor, unsure if she was overjoyed or was not even listening.
Ru Yi knelt behind Qing Feng and hearing not a single movement for quite some time, she quietly looked up and saw her own Mistress staring at the floor and not the Imperial Decree or thanking for the honour. The steward gonggong from the Imperial household affairs held the decree out but did not dare to call her and gave a perplexed look on how to proceed. Ru Yi tookd a small step forward and softly advised, “Your Ladyship?”
Qing Feng was slightly startled and quickly recovered to her senses and took a while before speaking, “Thanking the grace of the Emperor. May the Emperor long live.”
Qing Feng replied dispiritedly but fortunately she had said her thanks. Wu Gonggong gave a sigh of relief in his hard and quickly passed the decree to Qing Feng’s hands and knelt down to greet, “Congratulations to Imperial Concubine Qing. Congratulations to Prince Zhi.”
Ru Yi supported Qing Feng to the living area to sit down at the main seat. Qing Feng placed the Imperial decree casually by the side table and coldly said, “All withdraw.”
“Yes.” After giving a bow, Wu Rong immediately exited the house. He has been working in the Palace for almost all his life and had served many mistresses but this Imperial Concubine Qing was the most bizarre one he had seen. Today it’s the big day of the Emperor’s bestowment but she had a cold and lethargic expression. It would seem that this was a Mistress that was hard to serve.
When the roomful of people withdrew, only Shen Yao was left in the inner chambers coaxing the Little Prince. Qing Feng was still uncommunicative and just sat that with a unusual cool expression. Her Ladyship had sat overnight, was she not tired? Seeing the Imperial Decree on the side table, Ru Yi lightly smiled and said, “Your Ladyship, the word ‘Zhi’ that the Emperor bestowed is good. It must be meant ‘true love’ (pronounce as Zhi Ai)!”
Qing Feng’s dark expressing eyes slightly raised and her lips slightly arched but it was not like a normal smile. Thinking back on the past few days, he did not even come over to take a glance at both mother and son. True love? Why be so pretentious. Zhi… It also has the meaning of “seizing”, who really knew what his heart was thinking. The most difficult thing to guess was a monarch’s mind and now she did not want to guess. She was waiting. Waitng for Fu Ling to give her an answer.
“Bengong wants some peace. You go in and take care of the Little Prince.”
Ru Yi still wanted to say more things to make her happier a little but Qing Feng’s cold voice interrupted her words, so Ru Yi can only quietly retreated back to the inner chambers. When she just entered, she saw Shen Yao feeding the Little Price. As Ru Yi was still an unmarried young lady, she immediately turn her face the other side and naturally did not see Shen Yao placing something quietly back to her sleeves.
Qing Feng never knew that the greatest suffering in the world was actually waiting. Facing with the eagerness to know the answer yet also scared, as the time pass, she felt more fear. Not even that night in the Imperial Prisons or the attempted suicide at the ruined temple had she felt that life was so difficult.
As the soft voice floated into her ears, Qing Feng’s head snapped up and it was only then that she found Fu Ling standing by her side, looking at her with concern. She had waited for an entire night and it was for Fu Ling to return. At this moment she was standing in front of her, but Qing Feng was afraid and grabbed Fu Ling’s palms for a while before she finally asked, “How was it?”
Ice cold hands and pale white face. Mistress looked so haggard that it was evident that she was up awake all night in fear. She still could not understand why Mistress would want to investigate her own sisters. Even if it was to investigate, why would it be such urgent and in a state of panic?
Fu Ling did not reply for a long time and Qing Feng got anxious, “Was it checked out or not?”
Qing Feng looked like she was nearing a fainting spell but was still pressing urgently about it. Fu Ling swallowed her words of rests and nodded helplessly.
“Will speak in your room.” Qing Feng grabbed Fu Ling’s hands and rush to the side wing of the side courtyard.
When the doors were just closed, Qing Feng impatiently asked, “How was the investigation?”
Fu Ling closed the door properly and supported Qing Feng to sit on the chair. She did not keep her waiting and told her from how Qing Ling enter the Prime Minister’s residence to how she performed autopsy in the great hall and how she help Dan Yu Lan to break the cold case of the lost gold, to the case of the missing heart in the female corpse. Fu Ling carefully said everything she had investigated, “When Lou Furen initially reached Qiong Yue, before she entered the Prime Minister’s residence, she was kidnapped by the villagers and then…”
In the timespan of a night, Fu Ling could only investigate this much and it was already not easy. Qing Feng was most concerned about one thing. “She… Truly did an autopsy… In the Grand Hall?”
“Yes. This servant found the palace maids and eunuchs who were at the great hall holding up the curtains at the event. From their words, Lou Furen was at the great hall… Performing the autopsy for the Princess of Northern Qi.”
“Was it what they have personally witnessed? Dan Yu Lan did not step forward to help at all?” Qing Feng asked quickly and anxiously which can be seen as aggressive. Fu Ling saw Qing Feng grasping the arms of the wooden chair and felt that it was not quite right but dared not hid anything from her, “They witness it themselves. This servant also interviewed them individually and the details of it matched up. Dan Daren only stood by the side and did not say anything or step up to help.”
It was indeed true? She had heard earlier that Eldest Sister performed an autopsy in the great hall but she never once believed it and always thought that it was Dan Yu Lan who let Eldest Sister to put up a show of doing it but not actually doing it so as to appease the Prince of Northern Qi. So it was just her who was kept in the dark.
Taking a deep breath, Qing Feng cautiously asked, “Qing Mo… How about Qing Mo?”
“The General’s residence is very strict and impartial. Miss Qing also rarely go out of the residence and make contact with others, so it was not easy to investigate. It was fortunate that Miss Qing’s reputation in the Su family army is high and according to the commander of guards of the General’s residence, when Miss Qing entered the residence, she had a competition with General Su Yu on training of the new recruits and came out victorious.”
Training the troops? Since when did Mo-er know how to train the troops? Recalling the beautiful archery skills of Qing Mo, Qing Feng only felt her head buzzing. If it was autopsy, it could be explained that Eldest Sister was born intelligence, read up in medical books and was self-taught. But martial arts skills were not possible to excel overnight right? If this Qing Mo knows martial arts, then she was definitely not her Mo-er!
After deliberating over, Qing Feng then asked in a trembling voice, “In the hearts of everyone in the General’s residence, how is her… Martial arts skills?”
Mistress was indeed a good elder sister. She must be worried about her own Youngest Sister being wronged in General’s residence. Fu Ling smiled, “Miss Qing’s martial arts skills naturally is not comparable with General Su Ling, but it was difficult to find an opponent in the General’s residence. It was said that General Su Yu had also lost to her before.” After investigating for the entire night, she had to admit that the famous reputation of the three sisters of the Qing family that spread to the six nations was indeed well-deserved.
Fu Ling was sincerely praising but the colour of Qing Feng’s face was getting paler as she spoke. Actually this result had been swirling in her mind since last night but she kept telling herself that it was absolutely impossible. Now that Fu Ling told her that Eldest Sister could perform autopsies and Youngest Sister had martial arts skills, were these versions of them still her sisters?
If they were not, who exactly were they?
“Mistress?!” The energy in Qing Feng’s body seemed to have left and Fu Ling had to support the fallen her. At this time Ru Yi’s voice suddenly sounded, “Your Ladyship…”
After no response after a long time, Ru Yi raised her voice louder, “Older sister Fu Ling, are you in?”
Fu Ling was supporting Qing Feng and cannot go out to open the door. As the door was locked just now, Fu Ling could only shout her reply back, “What’s the matter?”
“Prince Zhi seem to be in some discomfort and his entire body is burning up…”
“My child…” Qing Feng who was leaning in Fu Ling arms suddenly sat up straight and quickly got up. She rushed to the door to open and urgently spoke, “What is wrong with him?”
Ru Yi jumped in shock and very quickly replied, “Prince Zhi seemed to be sick as his body is hot. Please quickly go and see.”
Qing Feng anxiously ran back to the house. Just as she pushed open the doors, she heard the child crying out. Qing Feng took the child from Shen Yao’s hands as her heart ached. The little fellow body was already burning up, in addition to how he was crying, his entire face turned red. Qing Feng placed her face against the child’s little head and felt a surge of heat hitting her.
“Why is it so hot? Wasn’t he alright just now?!” Since last night, she kept thinking about the matter on Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister and only carried the child just now. This was all because of her not taking care of the child. A night of torment and including the remorse she felt now, tears finally welled in her eyes.
Seeing her like this, Ru Yi and Shen Yao was shocked that they got down to their knees, “This servant deserves dead. The Little Prince was almost asleep but don’t know why he suddenly cried. This servant only then touched his forehead and discovered that his body was burning up.”
Fu Ling lightly took the child’s pulse and found that the pulse was a little strange. However a child’s pulse was normally relatively weak and Fu Ling did not take the pulse of a child before and can only comfortingly say, “Mistress need not worry so much. It could be that a cold was caught during the full month celebration and would not be serious.”
Fu Ling was a female medical attendant. If she say it was not a problem then it should be fine. Qing Feng’s heart quickly calmed down and she asked, “Are the Imperial Physicians called in?”
“Lan-er had already gone to invite. This servant will go and take a look.” Ru Yi quickly got up and exited. It seems that it was not enough to only invite Imperial Physician Lin and should also invite Imperial Physician Wang. If anything happen to the Little Prince, all of their heads would not be enough.
After carrying the child and coaxing a while, it seems that even though his body was quite hot, it was good that he was not crying. Qing Feng’s perturbed heart at least settled down a little. As if suddenly thought of something, Qing Feng softly called out, “Fu Ling…”
Fu Ling bend down and Qing Feng whispered into her ear, “Go and invite my Eldest Sister over. Go do it now.”
“Yes.” Fu Ling quickly nodded. Lou Furen can perform autopsies, perhaps her medical skills area also very high.
“Wait.” Just as Fu Ling was about to exit, Qing Feng said, “Just say that I miss her a lot and ask her to enter the Palace. Do not tell her about the Little Prince’s fever.”
Why not tell Lou Furen? Since last night till today, Fu Ling had a belly full of questions but seeing Mistress’s nervous attitude, she would not get any answers.
With her son in her arms, Qing Feng look at that quiet but reddish little face as she listened to his slightly fast breathing and the slightly panicky heart since yesterday night seemed to slowly calmed down.
Even though others were filled with certainty, she still dare not and did not want to believe Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister was as what they said. So… She must test it out to be satisfied!