Mysteries in the Imperial Harem: Chapter 112
Chapter 112: A Presumptuous Request (Part 1)
As the weather becomes cooler, Qing Feng also became sleepier than usual. Usually she woke up after half a Shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) during her afternoon nap but lately would sleep an entire Shichen and was still unwilling to wake up. After opening her eyes and stretch, Qing Feng looked out the window and saw that the sky had turned red. She actually slept the entire afternoon?
She pushed the quilt away and was preparing to get out of the bed for a walk when suddenly the door was pushed open and Ru Yi ran in. Seeing her awake, she anxious spoke, “Your Ladyship, something went wrong…”
These days she had let Ru Yi take note of that two persons’ investigation, was it that something happened to both of them? Qing Feng’s heart dropped as she quickly asked, “What happened?”
“The Imperial Prison caught fire. Hui Jun… Was burned to death.”
Dead?! Qing Feng was surprised for a moment before she reacted. Suddenly she felt that the air around her had turn cold as the ache in her abdominal started to act up. Qing Feng’s face turn white and her hand was on her belly. Ru Yi was afraid that something would happen to her and urgently said, “Your Ladyship, what is the matter? This servant will go now to invite a physician over.”
“Don’t go!” Tightly grabbing Ru Yi’s sleeves, Qing Feng took several deep breaths and only let go to speak when the wave of pain passed, “Go and bring a cup of hot tea over.”
“Yes.” Ru Yi supported her to sit on the bed before going to brew a cup of hot tea and handed it over to Qing Feng’s hands.
Her hands clutched the cup as it to take the warmth from it as Qing Feng worked hard to calm herself down. Her trembling hands had exposed her heart’s restlessness. The heavily guarded Imperial Prison actually caught fire and Hui Jun died like this. She did not know that Xin Yue Ning had so much power behind her and thus she felt fear for the child in her belly. If she did not have a child, she would have nothing to fear. The worst situation was just death. That two person was not her sisters and if they were really in danger, naturally Su Ling and Lou Xi Yan will protect them. She was not tied down and there was no attachments. But now it was not the same. She had a child and if she was unable to knock Xin Yue Ning off, what can the child do? Thinking of Zhi-er’s death, her heart ached as it is filled with more panic. Xin Yue Ning could even think of such sinister methods, was she able to protect this child?
Qing Feng did not drink a sip of the tea in her hands and it became cold. She just sat there like this blankly for almost half a Shichen (1 Shichen = 2 hours) and Ru Yi dare not disturb her. But just now a palace maid came over to inform that there were some people outside the main door and she thought that her Ladyship would want to see them.
“Your Ladyship…” Ru Yi lightly pat Qing Feng’s should and whispered, “Lou Furen and Miss Qing is here.”
Qing Feng took quite some time before she recovered herself and handed the tea to Ru Yi. She tidied her clothes before saying, “Invite them in.”
Ru Yi led both of them in but Qing Feng felt a little ill at ease as she did not know how to face them. Even though she could feel that they had no ill intentions to her and even had… Good intentions, these two persons were after all not Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister.
This moment was not the time to question the truth so Qing Feng can only use the actions of drinking tea to hid her heart, “Why are you both here?”
“Today we entered the Palace so we took the opportunity to come and see you.” Zhuo Qing’s and Qing Feng’s pregnancy dates were very close and both of their figure were similar but now in comparison, Qing Feng was much thinner. Zhuo Qing asked worriedly, “Are you alright?”
Now hearing Zhuo Qing clearly concerned voice, Qing Feng felt an indescribable feeling and sighed before changing the subject. “How is the investigation of the case going?”
Zhuo Qing shook her head and replied, “Just had a small lead but it is now broken.” Today they wanted to do a deep hypnosis on Hui Jun but to their surprise she was dead.
Even though she knew about the prison fire and that Hui Jun’s death would cause the entire case stall, now hearing it from Zhuo Qing’s mouth, Qing Feng felt disappointment in her heart.
“Heaven’s net has wide meshes and nothing will escape from it so there will always be other clues. Murdering someone to prevent them from divulging a secret meant that that person is running out of patience. The more action he does, it would give me more clues. I will definitely break this case open.”
The clear voice was not loud but it rang soundly. Qing Feng lifted her head up and saw Gu Yun standing by the window with her back against the window frames. The sunset shone from her back and gave a dim glow to her face. She could not see anything but that person revealed a determination as it she could break the case by her words. Zhuo Qing was used to her style and only smiled as she was filled with frustration and belief.
Qing Feng stared at the two as her heart strings were pulled and a thought formed in her heart.
“Ru Yi, go and close the doors and stand guard outside the doors. Do not let anyone near.”
Qing Feng’s tone was very cautious. Ru Yi nodded her head and exited.
Zhuo Qing and Gu Yun exchange glances and guessed that she most likely had something to say so both of them no longer speak. Who knew that once the doors were closed, Qing Feng got up and walk to them and suddenly knelt down in front of them.
Both of them was shocked as Zhuo Qing quickly step forward to support her as she urgently said, “Qing Feng, what are you doing this for?”
Qing Feng knelt down with her big protruding belly and said, “I have a favour to ask.”
Zhuo Qing was also pregnant so she did not dare to use too much force to pull her up. Both of them pushed and pull a few times when Gu Yun’s brows frowned and she used one hand to wrap around Qing Feng’s waist and place another under her arms to pull Qing Feng up from the floor, “Just say what you want to say. You do not need to be like this.”
Qing Feng felt the strength in Gu Yun’s action, like a force firmly pulled her up. She could not resist it. Qing Feng did not think that a female would be able to have such strength and looked surprised at Gu Yun. Gu Yun was calm and cool as she look back at her. Until Qing Feng was the one who broke away, Gu Yun then slowly recovered her hands.
Zhuo Qing saw the exchange but did not say anything. She pulled Qing Feng to a chair to sit and asked, “What is exactly happened?”
Seating properly on the chair, Qing Feng did not let go of Zhuo Qing’s hands as she whispered her reply, “I am very scared.”
Scared? Zhuo Qing was more confused, “What are you scared of?”
“Actually, I initially plan not to have any more children as I did not want my child to be born in this terrifying Palace. Thus I request the Ghost Physician for a medication so that I would not be able to get pregnant but he actually lied to me! The medication that he gave me not only did not make me infertile but had the opposite…”
Qing Feng bit her lips and did not continue on. Zhuo Qing stared at her face for a moment and looked at her belly before her brows gradually frown, “You must not be thinking of aborting the child right?”
“I… Cannot bear to do so.”
Zhuo Qing just gave a sigh of relief when Qing Feng’s next words made her brows tighten up.
“I was thinking, to send the child secretly out of the Palace when he is born.”
Qing Feng kept her head slightly bowed and her voice was rather low but she did not hesitate at all as her fingers got colder. Zhuo Qing voice lowered as she asked, “Why would you think this way?” She couldn’t bear to abort the child but bear to send him out of the Palace?
Qing Feng fell into silence again. Gu Yun reached out her hand to close the half opened window before saying, “Things are not as bad as you think. Actually Yan Hong Tian was not unaware of everything or had not taken any actions. This time he would not be careless. We will do our best to help you and you need not be so pessimistic.” Gu Yun did not know if Qing Feng and Yan Hong Tian had any communication so she did not say it in detailed.
Qing Feng finally raised her head and looked into Gu Yun’s eyes with a little more admiration. This person was really keen. She did not say anything and she already knew her concerns. A touch of a smile appeared on her face as she sighed, “I know that he sent someone to take away the medicine dregs.”
She knew? This answer invertedly surprised Zhuo Qing and Gu Yun. Both of them look at one another and saw a look of observing what would happen next in their eyes, so both of them did not answer to Qing Feng’s words. Qing Feng seemed to also did not require them to say anything as she continued her words, “I also know that he has Zhi-er in his heart and want to seek justice for him. But he is the Emperor and the monarch of a nation, thus his priority is country first, then family. I would not be able to bear another loss. I will go crazy. I will die. This Imperial Palace is like a large fighting ground and every dark area will extend claws. One would not know when that claw will tightly grab onto one’s neck. I don’t want my child to live in this terrible and scary place.”
Feeling that the grip that Qing Feng had on her hands tighten and listening to her inner fears, Zhuo Qing was still thinking of how to comfort her but she saw her pair of bright eyes staring at her as she said in a slight trembling voice, “You are also pregnant at this time, which meant that the Heavens are helping me. I will sent the child out and you will treat it as your child, you and Lou Xi Yan’s child. Alright?”
“How is this possible?!” Zhuo Qing was apparently shocked by Qing Feng’s proposal and just stared at Qing Feng, not knowing what to say as Gu Yun stayed silent.
In the late autumn evening where it was quiet and comfortable and a wisp of begonia fragrance floated in from outside the window. It was exceptionally quiet in the room. Three female. Three different thoughts. This kind of silence gradually evolved into a pressurising environment. Other than Gu Yu constant deadpan expression, the other two female’s expression was somewhat subtle. Finally Qing Feng slowly withdrew her hands back under Zhuo Qing and her voice was no longer agitated, “I know that this would make things difficult for you. It is alright if you do not agree. When the time comes, I will think of a way to find a baby girl to sneak into the Palace and get the child out.”
“You may not necessarily give birth to a son. Don’t be too sensitive…” Zhuo Qing really did not understand her stubbornness but Qing Feng was not willing to listen to her and interrupted her words.
“Even if it’s a daughter, I want to send her away!”
Gu Yun crossed her arms in front of her chest and cautioned, “Your actions are too risky.”
“Better than suffering from others!”
The corner of Qing Feng’s lips hook up but Zhuo Qing could clearly see the resolution in her eyes. It would be pointless to discuss anything else with Qing Feng today. Zhuo Qing lightly cough and carefully relied, “I need to think about this matter.”
“Alright. I will wait for your news.”
Qing Feng did not continue entangling on this issue and called Ru Yi in to send both of them out. The house once again fell into silence and Qing Feng held onto the warm jade that was constantly by her side. After she heard the news of Hui Jun’s death, her heart was filled with fear, anxiety and worry. For her to raise such a request today, perhaps it because of that two person inadvertently revealed their tenacity and determination. These two persons were not her familiar sisters but could give her the sense of security that her Eldest Sister and Youngers Sister could not give.
After calming down to think, by sending the child out of the Palace would perhaps free her from the endless fear. She could send the child out of the Palace but once outside, she still could not protect him. But if she were to pass to Qing Ling, with both of their relationship, Qing Mo will not just be a bystander and with Lou family and Su family protecting, this child would be safe.
But… If Yan Hong Tian knew about this matter, how would it become? Perhaps he would want to strangle her.
Qing Feng’s anxious heart was tangled and Zhuo Qing and Gu Yun did not fare any better. Both of them walked all the way in silence until they were out of the Palace gates. Gu Yun only whispered her question when walking on the bustling streets, “How do you see it?”
Zhuo Qing smile bitterly, “She is being once bitten, twice shy. With her stubborn character, as what she said, even if we were not to agree, she would still proceed with it but the question is who will the child be handled over to.”
Gu Yun’s brows slightly raised as she laughed, “Well, what are you plaining to do now?”
“I need to discuss with Xi Yan.” She totally did not expect that Qing Feng would have this kind of idea. This was definitely not a trivial matter. Even though she wanted to help Qing Feng, she was unable to decide by herself how to help her.
“Definitely need to discuss.” After all this was a child, a life and moreover this child was Yan Hong Tian’s.
Both of them initially only wanted to take the opportunity to see Qing Feng and did not expect that such a thing would happen. Gu Yun shook her head and decided to put this problem away before asking, “What is your view on the Imperial Prison catching fire?”
“Hui Jun was indeed burned to death but from the morphological of the corpse, even though she inhaled a lot of smoke, there was no signs of struggle so most likely before the fire was set, she had already fainted. There were no signs of injury on her head and neck areas, so she was not knocked out. There were some remains of food in her stomach and currently the food was not yet identified but the likelihood of finding a drug that causes unconscious is high.” Zhuo Qing quickly give a conclusion from a forensic point of view because as compared to Qing Feng’s problem, this was much easier.
“I also had investigated the site of the crime and found that the fire origin was very near the location of Hui Jun’s cell. It was obvious with the traces of arson. To leave traces of arson and to drug her, it seems that there are some traces of desperate actions. This indicated that the direction that we are investigating is correct and the person behind the scene is now panicking. Oh yes, do you remember that Hui Jun mentioned before that that year she went to the Empress’s palace to find the letter and she actually found it. She was seized in Yi Lan Palace before directly held in the Imperial Palace, so with that it would meant that that letter most probably in Yi Lan Palace, just that we do not know where she hid it.” When Gu Yun spoke about the case, she was always in high spirits and get excited.
Zhuo Qing was not as optimistic as her, “After so many years, would it still be there?”
“I will first investigate the two leads, the fire and the guards and would explore Yi Lan Palace when there is an opportunity. You need not worry about the case.” Gu Yun used her shoulder to gently bump Zhuo Qing’s and whispered, “For the other matter, it would bother you the most. Who ask you to be the Eldest Sister~”
Zhuo Qing rolled her eyes at her. What time was it already, this woman still have the time to poke fun at her!
But what Gu Yun said wasn’t wrong as she was vexed. Qing Feng threw such a problem to her that she ate very little during dinner. Lou Xi Yan was very busy recently but especially rushed home to accompany his wife for dinner. At the end Zhuo Qing kept feeling ill-at-ease as if her thoughts were at somewhere else.
Till dinner was finish and both of them returned back to the room, Zhuo Qing still had a very distressed look. Lou Xi Yan pulled her down to the bed to sit and he half-squatted on the floor and held Zhuo Qing’s hands to ask him in a warm soft voice, “What is the matter? You have been like this since returning from the Palace. Is the case very difficult?”
Lou Xi Yan’s hands all along was somewhat cold and as Zhuo Qing’s palms were covered by familiarity, she sighed and replied, “I am not worried about the case. She is continuing investigating the case and there is nothing to worry about. I am worried about Qing Feng.”
Lou Xi Yan smiled alluringly and waited for her to continue. Zhuo Qing look at Lou Xi Yan’s gentle gaze and said difficultly, “Today… She begged me for a matter.”
This request should be very difficult, else she would not be so hesitant about speaking it. Lou Xi Yan gently grasp Zhuo Qing fingertips as he smiled, “What matter is it?”
Zhuo Qing saw encouragement in Lou Xi Yan’s eyes but thinking of Qing Feng’s proposal, she felt helpless. Zhuo Qing shook her head and said in distress, “She want to wait till after the child was born and exchange it with a baby girl before sending it out of the Palace as… Our child…”
Zhuo Qing carefully watched Lou Xi Yan. As expected, even the usually calm person like him also froze at that moment. Fortunately it was only for a short while as Lou Xi Yan softly asked, “You agreed?”
“No. I wanted to discuss with you.” Zhuo Qing mouth twitched, if she had agreed, she need not be so troubled now!
“You want to help her?” Other than being a little surprised in the beginning, Lou Xi Yan looked the same as always and Zhuo Qing was unable to guess what he was thinking. She did not bother to guess and said what she had in her mind, “Even if I do not help her, she would still do it. At that time, no one will know where she put the child up at.”
Lou Xi Yan was silent for a moment before he said, “This matter need not need to worry in advance as it is still two months away from both of your delivery. Even if the exchange was to be carried out, a suitable child is required.”
Lou Xi Yan’s reaction was far too little and Zhuo Qing could not believe it, “You… You don’t disagree? That is Yan Hong Tian’s child…”
Zhuo Qing’s pair of large eyes stared at him, making Lou Xi Yan unable to laugh or cry, “I did not agree. It is as you said, if you do not help her, we would not know where she would send the child to. The next time when you enter the Palace, you must think of more ways to persuade her.”
“I will do my best.” Zhuo Qing was pessimistic about this. She did not have too much time to spend with Qing Feng but she understand her character clearly. It would be extremely difficult to make her compromise.
Gu Yun was busy with the investigation in the Palace and Zhuo Qing was busy advising Qing Feng but in the half a month, both had little success.
These days Lou Xi Yan would be so busy that he only returns near midnight. Zhuo Qing did not rest and sat on the couch to wait for him. Normally even if she waited, she would take a book out to read as she wait but today, she just sat there with a worried look.
“How is it?” Lou Xi Yan entered the room and took off his outer robes. Zhuo Qing shook her head and helplessly said, “She is very stubborn. When entering the Palace these two times to visit her, she was not willing to say more to me.”
It was already early winter and the weather was turning cold. Zhuo Qing wore little which made her protruding belly obvious. Lou Xi Yan walked over and help her up the couch and sat on the bed. He pulled a blanket over her belly and legs before saying, “Since it is so then promise her then.”
Lou Xi Yan spoke casually and Zhuo Qing stared at him as she asked, “Are you serious?”
Lou Xi Yan sat beside Zhuo Qing and hugged her from behind. He let her lean against his embrace and whispered back, “It is better for the child to be by our side than living somewhere else. But this matter must be done in great secrecy. Let me go search for the baby girl that to be exchange in the Palace.”
Lou Xi Yan even thorough thinking about the problem of the baby girl. Zhuo Qing believed that he was serious and thought about another thorny problem, “And Yan Hong Tian, he…”
Zhuo Qing only mentioned Yan Hong Tian when the hands around her waist tighten slightly. The same gentle voice sounded by her ears, “It’s alright. I am here.”
Zhuo Qing’s heart warmed. For her, the world’s best words of love was in fact not ‘I love you’ but ‘I am here’. No matter what the situation, facing what kind of person, there would be one person that would be standing with you together. No one will hid in the wings of the other and only need to face the wind and rain with you.