Chapter 93: Concern
“Xiao Yu.” The low voice suddenly rang out in the big hall which made Xiao Yu, who was staring at the withered leaves outside the window, feel a moment of loss. The palace maid standing behind her pointed towards the direction of the Emperor and Xiao Yu quickly replied. “This servant is here.”
“Tonight’s dinner will be at Qing Feng Hall.” Yan Hong Tian was still looking down at the memorandums but there was a hint of pleasure in his deep voice.
Xiao Yu gave an knowing smile and replied, “Yes.”
After that it was followed but another long silence. One could only hear the rustle of the wind outside and the flipping of memorandums. Xiao Yu looked at the sky and softly reminded, “Emperor, it is almost Youshi (modern timing: 5 – 7 pm).”
“En.” After finishing the batch of memorandums on hand, Yan Hong Tian stood up. He had not gone to see them for quite some days and according to Qing Feng’s temperament, even if her lips did not say it, her heart would not be comfortable. Thinking of the look that she would most likely give it to him, Yan Hong Tian’s mood went up.
The severe winter was almost here and soon it would be night, thus it was very cold outside. Xiao Yu brought the robe to Yan Hong Tian’s side when Gao Jing walked in quickly, “Emperor, Dan Daren request an audience.”
Yan Hong Tian’s sharp brows slightly wrinkled. The hand that was holding on his robes paused for a moment before he sat back down and replied, “Announce.”
“Greeting the Emperor. Long live the Emperor.” Dan Yu Lan had a stern expression on his face and a look of concern on his brows as he was carrying a report in his hands. Yan Hong Tian’s eyes swept to his hand with the report and asked as he drank the hot tea with a cold tone, “What is it that requires an audience?”
“Regarding… The case of the army rations.” Finishing, Dan Yu Lan did not speak more and handed the report to Gao Jing, which Gao Jing then presented it to Yan Hong Tian.
“Commander Su had already did a stocktake of the military granaries and the details are indicated in the report. In the case on Lin Bo Kang conspiring with the southern merchants, the southwest area belonged to the Lin family. They have all along been earning their livelihood through trafficking cloth and food and most of the food were sold at areas with famine or to neighboring small countries. There are at least millions of silver that were entered their accounts and is considered to be quite powerful in the south.” As Dan Yu Lan spoke, he was observing the Emperor’s expression. As Yan Hong Tian flip the pages of the report, there was not any changes on his face as he stared at the report with his bottomless dark eyes.
“Leave the report and withdraw first. Tomorrow morning after the morning court, then come over with Su Ren to the Imperial Study.”
“Yes.” Dan Yu Lan’s thoughts turned, surprised that why did the Emperor not ask more about the case? That report clearly recorded the shortages and grain varieties of the various military granaries. After the inventory audit, many of the granaries had shortages and most of the newly enlisted soldiers were even supplied with rice from the lowest grade. As most of the soldiers were children of poor families, they were happy to be able to eat from the army rations and naturally would not care about the quality of rice. If it was not because of the investigation, no one would have probably noticed about it.
When Su Ren handed the report over to him, he who was usually good-natured was also jumping in rage and the Emperor actually did not raise any difficult question. This case on the army rations was instructed by the Emperor to dig deep but to dig into how deep, he was unable to guess.
Dan Yu Lan had withdrew earlier on but Yan Hong Tian sat before the case and did not get up again. Xiao Yu and Gao Jing, who wait by the Emperor’s side for many years, naturally knew that at this time the Emperor’s heart was not as calm as how he looks. Seeing as the skies grew darker, both of them looked at one another but no one dared to go up to remind.
This time Yan Hong Tian sat down for more than two shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) and Xiao Yu had already reheating the soup for four or five time. She bit the bullet and walked to the side of the table to cautiously say, “Emperor, please have some Ginseng soup.”
Yan Hong Tian’s dark eyes slightly raise and that gaze was as sharp and cold as a knife. Xiao Yu was so scared that she shivered and some of the soup spilled onto the tray. The spoon fell off the bowl and onto the tray with a ‘clink’ and the sound resonated in the quiet hall. At the same time Yan Hong Tian also recovered from his thoughts.
Seeing Xiao Yu kneeling on the ground stunned, Yan Hong Tian then flung the report in his hands aside and softly spoke to Xiao Yu, “Get up.”
As he said, he also picked up the bowl of Ginseng soup to drink. Xiao Yu slightly looked up and when she saw Yan Hong Tian’s face was as per usual, she then stood up and stand by the side.
As he was drinking the warm Ginseng soup, Yan Hong Tian then remember that he said that he would be going to Qing Feng Hall for a meal tonight. He looked over and saw that the skies had already turned dark. Yan Hong Tian’s sharp brows once again frowned.
Xiao Yu thoughts were clear and when she saw the Emperor frowning as he held the bowl of soup while looking out, she understood his thoughts. She softly spoke, “This servant had earlier informed Qing Feng Hall to say that the Emperor will not be going over for the meal.”
Yan Hong Tian gave a low “En” sound as he drained the bowl of soup before he picked up that small report. The Emperor had already been in the Imperial Study for the entire day settling national affairs and if he continued on, they did not know what time it would be. Xiao Yu thought a while and said, “But… Prince Zhi seems to have caught a fever. In the afternoon Imperial Physician Wang and Imperial Physician Lin went over to provide diagnosis and treatment.”
Sure enough before Xiao Yu’s finished talking, Yan Hong Tian immediately turn around and asked her, “How was it?”
“It is not of a serious matter.”
“What is the shichen now?”
“Third quarter of Haishi (modern timing: 9 – 11 pm)”
Yan Hong Tian suddenly got up and Xiao Yu seemed to know that he would be going out as she immediately picked up the robe that was placed at the side for him to wear. Yan Hong Tian slightly arranged the robe and strode out of the Imperial Study. Hao Jing followed right behind Yan Hong Tian and as he left, he gave a thumbs up to Xiao Yu. Xiao Yu rolled her eyes at him but she was secretly relieved.
It was another night. Ming Ze was used to doing night duty and like to be on duty at night as it was quiet. But after he discovered the appearance of the black cladded person, he was particularly vigilant. Every little wind or movement of leaves would peak his attention. Just like now, in the quietness of the palace road, there seems to be someone walking quickly in the dark. Ming Ze lowly called out, “Who is it?”
Seeing that there was no answer from the oncoming person, Ming Ze’s hand grasped on the sword on his waist. As the shadow gradually approached, it was as if there was two person coming over. Ming Ze squinted his eyes to look and with the not fairly bright moonlight, he finally saw clearly that the person was actually… The Emperor?
It was almost midnight, why did the Emperor come over at such a time and did not let anyone announce? Ming Ze had doubts in his mind but he did not speak and just half knelt on the floor to greet.
Yan Hong Tian was very satisfied with his vigilance and only slightly raise his hand. Without saying anything, he enter Qing Feng Hall.
The winter nights were just too cold and seeing that the night was late, the eunuch that was on vigil sat on the edge of the stone steps as he leaned against the railings to shelter against the wind. When he heard footsteps in the courtyard, he looked over. That one looked scared him so much that he quickly knelt down on the floor, “Em… Emperor!” Once he thought that he did not inform that the Emperor had arrive, the eunuch quickly wanted to call out.
“Withdraw.” The deep voice sounded from behind and the eunuch withdrew his hands and quickly retreated down the stone steps.
Fu Ling was on night vigil tonight and after investigating the entire of last night with the things she needs to do in the day, she herself was exhausted. The noises outside the door was soft and she was not able to hear it until there was knocks on the door before Fu Ling was awakened. Fu Ling was puzzled for a while but she still quickly opened the door.
When she opened the door, the person in black robes standing outside was the Emperor. Fu Ling could not help but be surprised, “Emper…” Yan Hong Tian shook his head and Fu Ling immediately became silent.
There was only a small oil lamp that was lit in the living area of the room. As the light was very weak, Fu Ling quickly lit the lamps and when she look back, Yan Hong Tian had entered the inner chambers.
When Fu Ling brought the oil lamp to the side of the screen, she saw the Emperor standing by the bed looking at the one big and one small figures. Fu Ling thought a bit and at the end did not entered. She just placed the lamp on the small stool at the side of the screen and quietly withdrew.
The bed was large and wide but this mother and side was by each other side tightly together. Qing Feng slept on the outside, on her side as one of her hands lightly rested on the child’s feet. The little fellow was wrapped tightly and only his face was exposed. That two little hands was at the side of his face and as he slept, his head was face towards the direction of his mother.
Yan Hong Tian was staring on the two person laying on the bed and a wave of warm currently gradually flowed throughout his heart. Yan Hong Tian sat down at the edge of the bed and gently touched the little fellow’s forehead. It was a little warm but the temperature was not considered high. It was just that he had walked all the way over and his hand was too cold thus when he just touched, the little fellow on the bed shivered and that two hands that nested on his chest unconsciously moved.
Looking at that light movements of the small clenched fist, Yan Hong Tian could not help but to think of that small little hand and footprints painting in the Imperial Study. He had a thought and gently grabbed that little hands in his palm to compare. His little palm was not even as long as his finger. The corner of Yan Hong Tian’s lips unconsciously lifted as he held that little hands in his palm. It was warm and incredibly soft. Yan Hong Tian was immersed in this moment when the little fellow seemed impatient and moved even in his sleep. Yan Hong Tian was afraid to wake him up and had to let go. He helped to tuck him up and that little fellow’s little hand waved twice in the air before he stopped. Yan Hong actually felt a little relieved when that happen.
Yan Hong Tian looked down at the female sleeping beside him. He had came here for a while but she still slept deeply without sensing at all. Under the warm candlelight, the colour of her face was not very good. The dark circles under her eyes were very loud that even though she was sleeping, one could sense that she was exhausted. Yan Hong Tian gently tucked the hairs that covered her face to the back of her ears. As she laid sleeping at her side, the two scars on her face was directly facing him. Usually when she was angry or laughing, Yan Hong Tian did not care about these two scars but now when she was quietly sleeping, that two scars looked particularly ferocious, damaging Qing Feng’s perfectly alluring face.
Staring at the two unsightly scars, he could not help but sigh. This woman was truly vicious. She was not even lenient on herself and would rather die than to beg for mercy. But to her sisters and son, she showed thousands types of tenderness. He did not want to admit but had to admit that this version of her made him feel fascinated and he wanted her tenderness in the palm of his hands.
Fu Ling thought that the Emperor would rest here tonight and did not think that after a little over half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours), the Emperor came out and Fu Ling rushed forward.
“What had happened?” The Emperor was slightly indignant but every word that was said was very soft, like he was afraid of waking the person inside. But from Fu Ling’s ears, her heart could not help but shivered uncontrollably and she replied with great difficulty, “It seems that Prince Zhi caught a cold during the full month yesterday and started to run a fever today. The Imperial Physicians had come over to review and said that it was not a serious problem. Mistress have been taking care of the Prince and afraid was.. Tired out.”
“Take great care.”
Until Yan Hong Tian’s figure disappeared from the house, Fu Ling then dare to look up. Quietly entering the inner chambers, she noticed that Mistress and the Little Prince was sleeping soundly with an additional blanket over them. Fu Ling smiled, the future days should be better than before.