Edited by Angel
Chapter 160: Imprisonment (Part 1)
The little red birthmark on Cang Zai Qing’s hidden place was something that a normal person would not be able to see. But what kind of person was Shen Wan? If he believed these unfounded words that easily then he would not have been able to survive so many years in court as an official. He swept a look at the letter that had indicated that the father and son had entered Ding capital and were living in a commoner place in the Eastern part of the city. The letter even indicated the address. Shen Wan shredded the letter quickly and said to the servant beside him, “Prepare the horse.”
Shen Wan would not believe a stranger’s letter but also could not believe Cang Zai Qing without reservations. It would be better for him to see to it for himself.
When the horse carriage reached to the house at the Eastern part of the city as was indicated on the letter, Shen Wan did not get down of the carriage, but rather hid in it before instructing his servants to knock on the doors.
The one that opened the doors was a young boy. Because the boy was too thin, there was a little less childlike innocence in his eyes and more maturity so that he looked like a young male. When Shen Wan saw the boy’s face, he drew in a sudden breath of cold air.
At that moment Shen Wan knew that what was said in the letter was real. There was no other reason except that this boy looked very much like Cang Zai Qing. Even the space between the brows was very similar. However, compared to Cang Zai Qing’s bright and frank worthiness, this child was weak and inferior. No matter what, he also had similar facial features.
Cang family had no other grandchild thus it was not possible for this to be Cang Zai Qing’s younger brother. Shen Wan’s servant also jumped in shock when he saw this boy’s appearance but he still followed Shen Wan’s instruction and asked, “Little brother, do you know where Cang Zai Qing is?”
That boy gave him a wary look, “What do you want to do with my Mother?”
Shen Wan closed his eyes.
Without a doubt what the letter mentioned was the truth. Cang Zai Qing indeed had a husband and son in Liu Province. It was just that one did not know why this was concealed so well. That servant exchanged a few more sentence with the boy before returning to Shen Wan and asking Shen Wan carefully, “Master?”
“Investigate.” Shen Wan said with gasping breath, “Send people to Liu Province to investigate the ins and outs of Cang Zai Qing. It is compulsory to investigate everything very clearly.”
The reason why Shen Wan appreciated Cang Zai Qing was because Cang Zai Qing had a gentle temperament and was talented, moreover she was now pregnant with his child. But if Cang Zai Qing really had a husband and child in Liu Province, then this would become a joke. He had fed other’s wife and was still immeasurably satisfied about it; and since Cang Zai Qing had abandoned her husband and child, she was not as gentle as she seemed on the surface. Shen Wan was actually very picky on certain aspects, on one side he hoped that his wife was able to manage the household well and on the other side hoped that the other party would maintain a fairy-like air. As for everything that happened today, it was as if Cang Zai Qing had become a different person in that moment and made Shen Wan feel disgusted.
In the following few days, Shen Wan seemed to be busy. Every day he would be out and even if he returned to the Shen residence, he would head straight to the study thus Cang Zai Qing did not get a chance to see him. Occasionally when she would send some snacks to Shen Wan, he was not as intimate as before. Initially Shen Wan’s attitude made Cang Zai Qing restless but Shen Wan’s personal servant told Cang Zai Qing that Shen Wan had accepted a tasks these days and was very busy thus he had no time for anything else. Only then was Cang Zai Qing relieved.
However, in actual fact, Shen Wan had received the letter he awaited for from Liu Province.
The content of this letter was exactly the same as the letter from the stranger. Cang Zai Qing had a husband originally and was considered an anecdote at the beginning. When Shen Wan finished reading the letter, he became so angry that he almost flipped the table. The GuiQie that he brought in was another’s wife and now the other party’s husband and child were in the Ding capital. Once this was discovered, one feared that one would become a joke for the entire Ding capital; not to mention the censors who would take the opportunity to criticise him.
It would be alright if this was only the case but because he divorced Chen Rou Qiu due to taking in Cang Zai Qing, he had made enemies with the Chen family. Now when it spread out, one would say that he had treated a fish’s eye as pearl. Feelings of regret started to faintly appear in Shen Wan’s heart. Admittedly, it was true that Cang Zai Qing was carrying his child but he had also buried his future career because of Cang Zai Qing. Between love and power, he at the end would valued power more. Moreover how would Shen Wan forget that the female sleeping by his side was another’s wife,
His gaze became solemn for a moment and just as he was about to give out instructions, he saw one of his servants rush in and yelled, “Master, something happened.”
Shen Wan frowned and scolded, “What kind of propriety is such hurriedness?”
That servant tremblingly passed Shen Wan a letter and one did not know what had occurred but his eyes were somewhat evading.
Shen Wan looked suspiciously at that servant. This servant was one who often passed messages between his colleagues.
After reading two lines, Shen Wan’s expression suddenly became extremely green. If one were to look seriously, one could discover it also consisted of some fear.
In the Imperial Study, Emperor Wen Hui was furious.
He violently threw the report in his hands onto the ground. Emperor Wen Hui coldly sneered and the eunuchs by the side dared not even breathe loudly. Millions became corpses when an Emperor was angered. It was especially so that at this moment that one dared not bump to Emperor Wen Hui.
In the report, there were series of items that indicated all the things that Shen Wan had done for the past few years and overall it seemed that it was nothing serious. Afterall, Emperor Wen Hui was one who fought in rain and blood with his brothers for power. But the report was written cleverly as each line highlighted the unusual relationship between Shen Wan and Fu Xiu Yi.
Amongst Emperor Wen Hui’s nine sons, the more assuring ones were the Crown Prince and Prince Ding. The Crown Prince was legitimately born and he had a weak health thus Emperor Wen Hui would unconsciously be relaxed with him. However for Prince Ding, even though he was outstanding, he did not ask about court matters and in addition with Consort Dong Shu as a mother who was not one to fight or snatch, it made Emperor Wen Hui feel comfortable. All the hidden fights between the Princes were being watched by the Emperor and as long they were not overly excessive, he was one who enjoyed the situation where there were numerous mutual checks and balances. After one gained power, one would not be willing to put it down thus watching as his sons grew up and reached the fiercest age, Emperor Wen Hui also became vigilant.
What he hated most was the closeness between the Princes and officials. Although this was an unavoidable fact, as each of his sons had their own supporters. But when this was Prince Ding, a Prince who normally did not fight or snatch, Emperor Wen Hui found it somewhat unacceptable. On the contrary, his anger became worse than it had been in the past.
Fu Xiu Yi’s previous attitude of doing as he liked and his uncaring of the affairs of the world had now became one word for Emperor Wen Hui. Pretence.
“Kill the chicken to warn the monkey.” Emperor Wen Hui said solemnly, “Each and every one is treating Zhen as a fool. Since this is the cause then Zhen will satisfy their wishes.”
It was always a turmoil and temperamental during court as the Heavenly One pressed down on the government. If one had committed a crime, it would be lucky if one was demoted but most often many would implicate nine generations of the family in imprisonment and beheading.
Shen Wan was such a person.
Few days back when the Shen and Chen families were fighting, one had thought that things would gradually smoothen down. However who knew that suddenly a group of officials were sent to the Shen residence for an arrest. The curious commoners enquired and heard that Shen Wan performed poorly and implicated the entire Shen residence but the exact nature of the crime was not clear. However the commoners were easy to coax as they believed it when it was said that he performed poorly. However the smart people could see that this matter was unusual. One had to know that even if performance was truly lacking, it would not implicate the entire residence. This was obviously actions of a crime that would implicate nine generations of the family.
Those commoners who were passing by would look at the Shen residence differently. Not only did they point and talk, the conversation would lead towards the Formidable Great General, Shen Xin. Two years ago, the Shen family people wanted to split up with Shen Xin when he was at his desolate situation and afterwards Shen Xin was struck off from the Shen family. One did not think that Shen Xin had gained blessing out of this misfortune and escaped from this calamity.
When these words were spread into Shen Miao’s ears, Shen Miao only smiled without any care. Luo Tan clenched her fist tightly and said angrily, “This is the saying that ‘it is not that things are not known but it is that the time has yet to arrive’. At the beginning they tread all over Eldest Bo and BoMu, and if they knew that they would end up like this, one fears that they would be so furious.”
Luo Ling thought for a moment before shaking his head, “What crime did the Third Shen Master commit that warrant such great fanfare?”
Shen Miao said, “Since His Majesty mobilised so greatly, he must have behaved atrociously. This matter has nothing to do with us.”
Luo Tan nodded her head, “Indeed. Let just wait and watch a good show.”
Shen Qiu looked at Shen Miao in a melancholy mood and did not say anything. After Luo Ling and Luo Tan left, Shen Qiu did not leave and pulled Shen Miao into the room. Seeing that the doors were locked, he then asked Shen Miao, “Younger Sister, is the Shen family’s matter your doing?”
Shen Miao did not know whether to laugh or cry, “Eldest Brother, why do you always hold me responsible for everything? His Majesty is the one dealing with ineffective people. I do not have the ability to interfere with Third Shu’s work.”
Shen Qiu’s head somewhat ached and he pressed his forehead and said, “Younger Sister, Eldest Brother knows that you have some matters that you are unwilling to tell others. But the matters of court are not as easy as you think. Sometimes it looks like you are winning but perhaps there would be changes in the variables in the future and would implicate you instead.”
He nattered on before Shen Miao said helplessly, “Eldest Brother, to tell you the truth, this matter has nothing to do with me. Shen Wan is imprisoned because Chen Rou Qiu stabbed him in the back. When Chen Rou Qiu and Shen Wan fought endlessly, did you think Chen Rou Qiu would take it lying down?”
This time it was Shen Qiu that was surprised as he asked, “Chen Rou Qiu?”
“Chen Rou Qiu, after all, lived with Shen Wan for so many years and knew about Shen Wan’s matter like the back of her hand. If she were to really stab him at the back, it would be much easier than ordinary people.” Shen Miao continued, “Shen Wan was harmed by the person by his pillow side and implicated the entire residence. What has it got to do with me?”
When Shen Qiu heard it, he first pondered about it carefully before looking at Shen Miao suspiciously, “How do you know of the matter so clearly?”
“I have been hoping all the time for them to be in misfortune, naturally one had sent people over to watch their every move.” Shen Miao had mixed with Xie Jing Xing too long that her words also consist of some sense of fearing nothing in Heavens or Earth.
Normally Shen Qiu would see Shen Miao with a dignified appearance; this was the first time seeing her being like this. One did not know why but he felt that this was somewhat familiar. He then shook his head and interrupted his wild imagination, “Even if one monitored them, this matter is too much of a coincidence.” His eyes widened and he looked ridiculous, “Younger Sister, could it be that you are the one pushing the waves and adding to the billows behind the scenes?”
Shen Miao laughed, “It is whatever Eldest Brother thinks then. Anyways, I did not have a hand in those matters at all.”
Shen Qiu’s face crumbled, “Why is your courage this big? This is a matter that pierces through the skies.”
Shen Miao interrupted him, “Why has Eldest Brother become so womanishly fussy. It is just a small matter. The Shen family deserves to fall to such a state. If Shen Wan had done his job well, how would others be able to catch his weakness? If he was in perfect harmony with Chen Rou Qiu, then how would one be provoked successfully? One first has to think of what one does wrong before pointing at others, correct?”
Shen Miao’s words made Shen Qiu dumbstruck. It was not until he was sent out from the courtyard before Shen Qiu recovered himself. He smacked his head and recovered. Shen Miao was obviously twisting words and forcing on the logic. One did not know where she learned all these things, as it was just too daring of her to play with the Monarch and Officials on the palms of her hand, but she said as though she was innocent. Shen Qiu was surprised. When did Shen Miao learn all these confident nonsense? Moreover one seemed to have seen these kinds of gestures and attitude before.