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Edited by Tnyhy
Chapter 114: No Trivial Hate (Part 1)
“Ouch.” Su Ming Feng screamed out, “Whatever for do you kick me? I just now wanted to warn her but she drank so fast. What can I do?” Su Ming Feng sized Xie Jing Xing, “Speaking of which, the person at the disadvantage is also others and not you, why do you care about it.”
Xie Jing Xing ignored him and sat down in front of the table before questioning seriously, “The matter of the military horses that she spoke about is true?”
Hearing that, Su Ming Feng’s face became ugly and under Xie Jing Xing’s sharp look, he said with a severe tone, “Correct.”
“Why did you hide it from me?” Xie Jing Xing asked pressingly. Su Ming Feng shook his head and said wryly, “The matter was only privately discussed between my father and me and I did not even tell others, much less my Father. This is a matter in which one’s official hat can drop easily, so who will speak of it lightly. I initially wanted to tell you in these days… But how did Young Lady Shen know of the matter? Could it be that they also have some familiar people in the military horses? But the people in the military horses that is involved in the matter, would not in any way speak about it.”
Xie Jing Xing glanced at Su Ming Feng, although Su Ming Feng was considered a person brimming with talent, he has been protected rigorously by the Su family since young, and did not experience any big winds or storm. Speaking of which, there was an endless stream of cards in Shen Miao’s hands and each time it was beyond his expectations. Xie Jing Xing gave Shen Miao a ‘retreat’ strategy, but did not think that Shen Miao would not even use his strategy at all. By aligning with the Su and other families to condemn Shen Xin, it was the very opposite strategy and could actually solve Shen Xin’s immediate predicament. However the Emperor’s mind was unpredictable so even if this time Shen Xin was spared, the Shen family army’s military might will still remain strong, and one day would be regarded as an eye-sore. One could hide once but could not hide a lifetime.
It is just that… Did Shen Miao really not thought of this layer? Xie Jing Xing did not think so.
Seeing Xie Jing Xing being quiet, and that his usual cynical look on his face was replaced by a pondering frown, Su Ming Feng became nervous. He was aware that even though this good friend looked casual, he had a better understanding than anyone on the matters of court. Su Ming Feng questioned, “Is there any problem?”
Xie Jing Xing shook his head, “Just what do you think about it?”
“From the horse illness to become a horse plague, it is indeed very probable. Moreover the matter is so serious, and Father is in charge of the management of the military horses. Once anything occurs, the Su family will have to bear the brunt of it.” Su Ming Feng said, “If Young Lady Shen did not lie to me, I think it is worth a try. Even though it is a bit difficult to persuade Father, but… I will do my best.” After pausing, Su Ming Feng looked towards Xie Jing Xing, “What do you think about this deal?”
Xie Jing Xing’s eyebrows raised, “The biggest winner of this transaction is not you, but you will not be at a disadvantage.” He looked at Su Ming Feng, “Do as she says.”
Su Ming Feng lowered his head and said with some hesitation, “But… To impeach Shen Xin in alliance, she is not afraid that she will outsmart herself.”
“Do not you realise?” Xie Jing Xing said with a smile but not a smile, “She could feel out the Emperor’s mind clearly than you.”
Su Ming Feng did not speak but saw Xie Jing Xing standing up. Su Ming Feng was stunned, “Where are you going?”
“The request for commander.” Xie Jing Xing went back to that previous lazy appearance, “One must let the Marquis of Lin An take a look at it.”
Outside the Su residence’s door, Shen Miao put on her bamboo hat and asked Mo Qing beside her, “Just now in Su Ming Feng’s room, did you feel the presence of someone else?”
Mo Qing was startled, “One did not feel the presence of another, but what did Young Lady discover?”
Shen Miao shook her head. Mo Qing’s martial arts skills were superior, and even he could not sense another person in the room so there should be no one else. But… Shen Miao felt strange in her heart. Then why did Su Ming Feng kept looking towards the folding screen? Even though she did not have any martial arts skills, she had a high degree of observation, and it was more than enough to deal with a young and immature Su Ming Feng.
Now thinking about it, the two teacups on the table were somewhat strange.
Shen Miao tilted her head and threw away all the messy thoughts to the back of her head. No matter if there was anyone behind the screen or not, or what kind of person it was, the words that were to be said to Su Ming Feng were said, and she had an understanding of what kind of person Su Ming Feng was, so the matter would be successful.
After getting back on the horse carriage, Gu Yu asked, “Young Lady, will First Young Master Su help Master and Furen?”
Jing Zhe and Gu Yu were outside and did not know what did Shen Miao said to Su Ming Feng, and only though that Shen Miao went to Su Ming Feng for help. However since the relation between the Su and Shen families were as such, they were unable to feel assured.
Shen Miao nodded, “Will.”
In the previous lifetime the Su family was beheaded for trading military horses, and even though the Heavenly family could not tolerate such an aristocratic family, on the surface they would feign a complete job of tolerance. Other than having the evidence of trading military horses, there was also a recorded offence which was at the beginning of Ming Qi sixty ninth year, the military horses under Count Ping Nan’s management became sick, and there was a small wave of horse plague. It was only later on when the Count of Ping Nan found a veterinarian from the countryside to control the epidemic. Non other than the confidants in the military horses knew of the matter, it was not spread so everyone did not know about it. It was afterwards when the Count of Ping Nan’s residence was confiscated, that the matter was uncovered.
At that time Shen Miao was the Empress and read carefully through the file of the Count of Ping Nan’s offences, and knew where that veterinarian lived. In fact even if Shen Miao did not look for Su Ming Feng, after not long when the little wave of horse plague spread out, Su Yu would still be able to locate that veterinarian and the epidemic would be controlled. The reason why Shen Miao did not want to let Su Ming Lang tell Su Yu about this matter, was to take advantage of the time difference.
Su Ming Feng had to use other reasons to request Su Yu to submit the report, and she can make use of this condition, this was just as good.
But… Shen Miao’s expression darkened. Before Shen Yuan died he had provided the evidence to Fu Xiu Yi and this was inevitably not complete. Fu Xiu Yi actually started to deal with the Shen family now, and this made Shen Miao feel worried. The her right now still did not have enough cards on hand to deal with Fu Xiu Yi head on. The time was not right and there was no opportunity yet, so it really touched on Xie Jing Xing’s words — Retreat.
But, how to retreat was still a problem. By giving way in the face of a superior force and retreating in order to advance. How would one arrange everything else after retreating? That was the question she was worried about.
Because one could not stay out for too long in case it arouses suspicions, Shen Miao quickly returned back to the Shen residence. In the Shen residence, everyone saw her return and thought that Shen Miao came back after complaining to Feng An Ning. Since there were no signs of Shen Xin and Luo Xue Yan returning, and most likely Shen Gui and Shen Wan also said other stuff, so the rest of the people in the Shen family had an expression of watching a good show.
The First household’s people were accustomed of being seen as the enemy by the other Shen’s households, so Shen Miao did not even bother to look at them and went back to the Western courtyard. Jing Zhe and Gu Yu thought that Shen Miao would have a heavy mind tonight, and would most probably sit in front of the table like the night before, but who knew that Shen Miao changed and went to bed early, prompting the few maids to look at one another and get more worried about Shen Miao.
Shen Miao lay on the bed and looked at the four sachets that were hanging at the carved corners, and slowly closed her eyes.
What she could do was done. Now the only thing left was only to wait.
Wait for the Su family to gather the other officials to submit a memorandum and wait for… Emperor Wen Hui’s suspicious heart to erupt.
In the Royal Palace there is the Shu Fang’s Palace, which was different from the other magnificent palaces since it was considered simple and plain. Even the decorations were only some flowers and some paintings. Consort Dong Shu was sitting on a soft couch listening to a tune. The one plucking the tune was a young lady with a round face, she was not considered beautiful but the tune was rather lively. Consort Dong Shu was smiling as she listened. Consort Dong Shu was not considered very beautiful, and in a place where countless numbers and variations of beauties were located, she was considered normal. Even though she was considered beautiful but she did not have a temper, thus was the most obscure of the four Consorts.
By her side, there sat a young male who was dressed in a noble robes, looking handsome and with an air of a cool temperament. However the smile on his face seemed a bit warm on the surface. He said to Consort Dong Shu, “This song is played well.”
This person was not other but Consort Dong Shu’s son, the Ninth Prince, Prince Ding, Fu Xiu Yi.
Consort Dong Shu smiled and looked at Fu Xiu Yi before waving her hands, and the person playing the music suddenly paused. Consort Dong Shu smiled, “Well played, go get some rewards.”
A flash of happiness flashed on the face of the young lady playing the music, she then carried her Qin out as she withdrew. Everyone in the Ming Qi Palace know that the servants in Consort Dong Shu’s palace had the most freedom, because Consort Dong Shu was a kind person and treated the servants warmly, just like in this instance, one was only plucked out from the group and still could get a generous reward.
“All withdraw.” Consort Dong Shu glanced at the other palace’s people and they retreated in order when they hear this. In a short moment only Consort Dong Shu and her son were left in the palace hall.
“Consort Mother’s methods of teaching servants are getting better.” Fu Xiu Yi laughed.
“Conferring a favour is better than starting a feud.” Consort Dong Shu smiled, “Consort Mother has told you many times already.”
“Yes, yes, yes.” Fu Xiu Yi sighed, “Unfortunately with this Son’s current position, it is easier to start a feud than conferring favour.”
Hearing that, Consort Dong Shu’s smile slightly faded as she asked, “These days your Emperor Father is worried about the matter of the Formidable Great General. At your end… Is there certainty?”
Consort Dong Shu had all the while not cared about Fu Xiu Yi’s matters, as the Inner Palace is forbidden to meddle in court matters. Moreover Emperor Wen Hui had nine sons, and each one was difficult to deal with. It was better to conceal one’s shame than to publicise them thus now at an unclear period, Consort Dong Shu was not afraid to be a consort who ‘lost favour’.
“Emperor Father originally have the matter on mind so naturally would not let it go easily.” Fu Xiu Yi said, “I have submitted the evidences up, and luckily they were aligned with Emperor Father’s intention, thus it would only be smooth sailing.”
“I know that you have a mind of your own.” Consort Dong Shu lightly said, “But Little Nine, now the situation is tense so you must be more careful. Do not earn credit, let them fight and it would not be late to take action when they get tired from fighting.”
“This son will listen to Consort Mother’s teachings.” Fu Xiu Yi quickly said.
Consort Dong Shu smiled and suddenly thought of something, “The last time when Shen Furen brought Shen Miao into the Palace, you told me to be sure not to let Shen Miao hear our conversation… What was that about?”
The last time when Luo Xue Yan and daughter entered the Palace, Fu Xiu Yi urged repeatedly not to let Shen Miao be present at that time. Thus Consort Dong Shu let Tong Yao bring Shen Miao out.
“What kind of person does Consort Mother make of the Fifth Young Lady of the Shen family?” Fu Xiu Yi asked.
“Her appearance is good and will be a beauty in the future. But her temperament is too gentle, most probably easy to be bullied by others.” Consort Dong Shu looked at Fu Xiu Yi, “Previously one heard that she was in love with you, but it seem that there are untruths in the rumors. Even though she is not smart and intelligent, it was not to the point of being an idiot.”
Fu Xiu Yi smiled gently, “Consort mother is such a critical person but is unable to say any of her bad points?”
Consort Dong Shu was stunned for a moment. On the surface she looked broadminded and harmonious, but was a very picky person inside. This was because Fu Xiu Yi was currently at the age to look for a Furen, and he was ideal himself thus there were many noble families who wanted their daughters to marry in. There were many famous ladies from all the families but Consort Dong Shu could pick them out, and felt that others were not worthy to be matched with her son.
And at the moment with this remark, even if one did not praise Shen Miao, there were no words of despise thus if one carefully think about it, there was some preference for Shen Miao. Among the Young Ladies of the official families, it was the first time Consort Dong Shu gave such an evaluation to a person.
So with Fu Xiu Yi reminder, Consort Dong Shu was also shocked.
It was obviously just an ordinary young girl, so how could one be unable to find something bad to say? But other than being stiff, there was really nothing wrong.
No bad points, no ambitions, calm eyes like a woman. Consort Dong Shu’s heart jumped in shock. This and herself… Or one could say her disguised self, was not it exactly the same?
“One think that Consort Mother can also see it.” Fu Xiu Yi smiled, “This Young Lady Shen is a master in concealment.”
Consort Dong Shu looked at Fu Xiu Yi puzzled, “You are saying she is acting? At such a young age, not to say if one can act, even temper cannot be contained.”
“Consort Mother.” A strange light flashed in Fu Xiu Yi eyes, “I have seen her making a fool of herself in public, seen her appearance of not knowing shame and showing adoration, seen the murderous air when she shot three arrows to Gentleman Cai that he could not come down the stage, and now you even saw her blank and stiff appearance. Does Consort Mother think that with this many appearances, which one is truly her?”
Consort Dong Shu’s hand holding the teacup tightened.
For a person to have thousands of appearances, and each one be so lifelike as if each one was all one’s character, this concealment was just too scary. The most scary part was that she has only reached marriageable age not too long ago.
Fu Xiu Yi lowered his head. He did not mention that he had also seen that during the Palace banquet when Shen Miao was looking at him, her eyes were unable to suppress the look of hatred. That kind of deep rooted hatred, was not the kind of hatred that a young girl would feel when love became hate. That kind of hatred was as if one’s soul was trembling in anger, and could not wait to tear him apart.
There were many areas of suspicion.
“Consort Mother, the Shen family is a variable even if they remained. Now the country cannot be changed anymore.” Fu Xiu Yi suppressed his voice, “Young Lady Shen may not be as simple as we thought. The roots must be dug out to eliminate the grass. It is the best if it ends before it starts.”
“So this time the Formidable Great General will not escape from disaster?” Consort Dong Shu asked.
“That is not so.” Fu Xiu Yi smiled, “The Shen family is the head of the influential aristocratic families and by getting rid of the Shen family now, would only cause more variables. But after recalling the power from the Shen family, they will gradually decline and when the time is right, one only need to eliminate with one stroke.”
“What is there are any changes in between?” Consort Dong Shu looked at him, “Perhaps the Shen family still have other hidden cards, what if they were to safely go through it? One fear that you will be implicated if they found out it was you who submit the report.
Fu Xiu Yi shook his head and it was obviously still a kind smile but his eyes were ruthless, “The charge of lying to a Monarch is huge. No matter how remarkable abilities one possesses, one would not be able to let the Shen family return safely. It is just that…” He said lightly, “This is originally me probing them out.”
“Probing?” Consort Dong Shu was somewhat doubtful.
Fu Xiu Yi looked at his fingertips, “That is right.” Previously Shen Yuan mention to him to pay attention to Shen Miao, and Fu Xiu Yi did not pay it to mind. Later a series of things happened, including the extermination of the entire household of Prince Yu of the First Rank, and Shen Yuan’s death. All that, made him realise that Shen Yuan’s words might be true.
Shen Miao was an unmarried female and no matter what, she would not be able to handle such big matters. There was only one possibility, that was there was someone behind Shen Miao. Fu Xiu Yi could not help but be on guard against the person with such abilities behind her.
This time the Shen family fell into misfortune and Shen Miao was left along, and that was what he proposed to Emperor Wen Hui. But Fu Xiu Yi’s motive was to see what this person, who had hidden so deeply, and that Fifth Young Lady Shen, who played him in her palms, would use what solution to break out of the predicament. And who exactly was helping her?
But no matter what method was used, it was not possible for Shen Xin to retreat safely. Fu Xiu Yi squeezed his palm. The fat meat was already in one’s mouth, there was no reason for one to spit it out.
The Shen family was destined to perish in the history books of Ming Qi. There was no doubt about it.