Chapter 178: Kill (Part 1)
Two days later.
Shen Miao woke up early and Luo Tan had long dressed up. Luo Tan had a lively character and would not be able to sit still in the residence. Ever since the last incident, Shen Qiu and Luo Ling had cut down the number of times the two ladies, Shen Miao and Luo Tan, could leave the house. Even if they were to go out, there would be a long line of guards following them. Shen Miao did not mind it since she was not a real sixteen year old Young Lady and preferred tranquilly so she had no issues with staying in the residence more. However Luo Tan was not used to it at all and once she heard that she could go out to play, no matter for what reason or to do anything, she would always be interested.
Shen Qiu and Luo Ling sighed before letting Shen Miao bring along Ah Zhi and Mo Qing. Ah Zhi and Mo Qing were considered the guards with the best martial arts in the Shen residence but now they had become Shen Miao’s personal bodyguards. Shen Qiu said, “You don’t have to take any grievances. If there are things that you are not willing to do, just leave directly. There is no need for apprehension.”
When Shen Qiu first learned that Shen Miao was going for Shen Dong Ling’s appointed, he was in fact against it. He did not know why but Shen Qiu did not have any good feelings with Shen Dong Ling. Even though Shen Dong Ling was not as obvious as Shen Yue, and lived in peace with the Eldest household during the Shen residence time, one did not know why but Shen Qiu always felt that Shen Don’t Ling was not a kind one. The Second household of the Shen family had committing such a big issue but only Shen Dong Ling and Wan YiNiang were safe and sound. At on the matter of Shen Yue and Shen Dong Ling exchanging of marriage, even though one did not understand what went on, Shen Qiu had always felt that Shen Dong Ling was involved in it.
Perhaps those who had been on the battlefield would have an instinct to be attracted to favourable conditions and avoid calamity as Shen Qiu was not willing have any relations with Shen Dong Ling at all so naturally he was not willing to let Shen Miao get closer to Shen Dong Ling. If Shen Dong Ling had other thoughts on Shen Miao and use Shen Miao to achieve her own selfish gains, that would not be good.
Shen Miao smiled, “I know. There is still Biao Older Sister accompanying me. Nothing will happen.”
Luo Tan was filled with smiles, “Exactly so. If Older Biao Brother really worries, one can come along with us.”
Shen Qiu shook his head, “There are still matters in the army. Moreover it would only block one’s nose if a rough person like me go and appreciate this whatever incense.” Just like civil officials would look down on those rough military commanders, the military commandars did not understand the reasoning and rationale of those civil officials. Shen Qiu did not understand what appreciation was needed for incense, not to mention there were people who would spend hundreds of silver for that one or two liang (1 liang = 50g) of incense. That really amazed him.
Luo Tan said, “Rest assure Biao Older Brother. I will take care of Youngest Biao Sister.”
Shen Qiu put on a straight face and disciplined her, “With your terrible few strokes of martial arts? Don’t know who was the one who even almost lost one’s life the last time and it was thanks to Imperial Physician Gao who worked hard treating for the entire month.”
Luo Tan feared others mentioning about this matter the most and quickly stuck out her tongue before looking at Luo Ling for help.
Luo Ling smiled gently, “In any case, one needs to be more careful. After finish appreciating, return early. The skies will darken early so it is not safe for females.” When he was saying these words, his gaze was fixed on Shen Miao with eyes full of concern.
Previously when the news that Crown Prince had the intention to marry Shen Miao over was spread, Luo Xie Yuan was in a rush to settle a marriage for Shen Miao and the first one who spoke was Luo Ling. There were no bad points of Luo Ling’s character and he was one of them so Luo Xue Yan viewed Luo Ling the best. Afterwards because of Prince Rui’s words, the marriage was suppressed and it was no longer a rush for Luo Xue Yan to find a husband for Shen Miao. However Luo Ling had already expressed his heart to Luo Xue Yan and Shen Xin so he could do some particularly obvious things.
Even Shen Miao who had sat on the top of the Six Palaces, might have gotten used to seeing the hardly concealable affection but she could not turn a blind eye to it and could only evade it slightly, “Understood. Many thanks for Older Biao Brother’s concern.”
Luo Tan urged to leave, “Alright, it is better to quickly set off else it would be good if there are delays during the journey.”
The two of them only then said goodbye and headed off in the carriage.
In the horse carriage, Luo Tan said, “Youngest Biao Sister, how do you actually think?”
Shen Miao turned to look at her, unable to make heads or tails of it, “Think about what?”
“Your marriage.” Luo Tan looked at her worriedly, “Even if the Crown Prince’s end is resting at the moment, one day you have to get married. Previously I heard GuMu say that your marriage have to be settled in this year else even without the Crown Prince it would inevitable attract other people since you have good requirements.”
Shen Miao did not speak. The Shen family position was indeed very special. It would be a sharp sword if one used it well but it could attract disasters if one did not use it well. However one thing was certain was that the Imperial family of Ming Qi was restraining their fear of the Shen family and wanted the army in Shen Xin’s hand as they feared that those who had armies would one day turn it towards them.
Thus as the only Di daughter of the Shen family, her marriage meant a lot more. Sometimes she would not have the freedom to act independently and could not decide for her own.
Involuntarily the words that Xie Jing Xing said the other day floated up in her mind.
“When this matter is resolved, I will marry you Shen Jiao Jiao.”
He said it so plainly, as if it was like any other matter and not a promise but there was somewhat of a guarantee. The most important thing was that when he said this sentence, there was an unquestionable feeling, as if he could really do it.
But how could it be possible? One was a Di daughter of Ming Qi’s General and the other was Prince Rui of Great Liang. To put it bluntly, Great Liang was a strong power and with the identity of Prince Rui, it would be considering climbing up if Ming Qi’s Princess married over, much less her. If she really married over then how would the position of the Shen family be like? It was really a difficult thing.
Shen Miao thought deeply and did not expect Luo Tan to push her. She recovered to her senses and heard Luo Tan speaking, “Think of what so deeply that you did not answer to my questions at all?”
Shen Miao asked, “What did you ask me?”
Luo Tan looked at her somewhat grudgingly and said after a moment, “I asked you, among the few people who came to propose, who do you like the most?”
Shen Miao was startled, while Luo Tan was counting with her fingers, “Older Biao Brother is gentle and considerate and one know him through and through. Su Ming Feng has deeply rooted feeling for you and Su Furen also likes you a lot. Feng Zi Xian looked highly cultured and reasonable and with Feng An Ning’s protection, you will live quite well. These three people are all the top young talents.” Luo Tan got closer to Shen Miao and carefully observe Shen Miao’s expression, “Do you not even like a single one of them?”
Shen Miao laughed in spite of oneself, “No.”
Luo Tan sat up straight and patiently guiding, “Youngest Biao Sister, like this you are not right. Even though it is good to pursue perfection in everything, it is not good to have too high demands. These days I have been looking and find that these three are already the top talents in Ding capital. If they were in Xiao Chun City, one feared that Young Ladies would have actually fought for a concubine position. These three people all agree not to accept any concubines.”
She looked at Shen Miao for a while before shaking her head and sighed, “But thinking about it, it was also true. Normally you do not treat these three special so one’s heart was not moved, much less being in love. I read in novels that females whose hearts are moved would have blushed faces and hearts like young deer galloping. The deer in your heart was not yet born right?”
Shen Miao did not find Luo Tan’s nonsensical words funny and said, “What nonsenses are you talking about? Why care about my matters so much? Could it be that you are sick?”
“You don’t say.” Luo Tan stroked her throat, “These days my throat feels a bit tight and one feared that it was that one caught a cold at night. One though of asking Doctor Gao to take a look but one did not see his shadow these few days.” Luo Tan was somewhat dissatisfied, “He is really a doctor with no medical ethics.”
Shen Miao was somewhat speechless. Not mentioning that Gao Yang’s identity was a Great Liang’s official, even in Ming Qi, he was an Imperial Physician after all. Only Luo Tan dared to ask him to take a look of an headache or fever.
At the other end, Shen Dong Ling was in the residence dressing up. Today she was particularly dressed plainly and almost did not put on any powder. She wore a pine rosin coloured long dress and the materially was naturally the best kind. However her jewelry were simple.
Xing Hua looked left and right, “Why is Furen dressed so simple today? Although Furen is born with beauty, isn’t it better to be even more beautiful when one goes out?”
“What do you know?” SHen Dong Ling looked at the beauty in the mirror. She had good features and had the charming features that Wan YiNiang had when she was younger. Even with these simple dressing, it looked somewhat seductive on her. Most probably because she was already a married woman, there was an added inexplicable charm to her.
The servants in the residence would sometimes whisper behind and said that Shen Dong Ling had a look of a concubine. The matriarch of big families would have a magnimous and broadminded facial features and were often rounder as it depict fortune and blessing. Shen Dong Ling however had large eyes and sharp chin, as pretty as a fox and this was a typical face of a concubine. Wang Furen and Master Wang were also somewhat vocal about it but Wang Bi liked it thus everything else was ignored.
Shen Dong Ling took a moment to look before pulling out the jade hairpin from her hair and replaced it with a silver one.
When Xin Hua saw it, she stopped her words.
Shen Dong Ling said, “No need to think too much. I am not the protagonist so by dressing fancily, it would only attract the limelight of others. I would not do such stupid things. There would always be opportunities to vie for beauty, there is no difference without this occurrence.”
Xin Hua heard it and said, “Furen’s beauty is from Heavens. Even without competition, one would be the top grade beauty.”
Shen Dong Ling’s expression was happy but what made her happy was not Xin Hua’s flattery. Today was the day where the Crown Prince of Qin would ‘fall in love at first sight’ with Shen Miao and she was only accompanying. The more dirt she had on her face would only highlight Shen Miao and thus ‘fated marriage’ could go off smoothly and naturally.
However since numerous people were needed witness this ‘fated encounter’, naturally it was better if there were more people, thus Wang Bi also went. Like this he could also remind the Crown Prince from time to time and also gain the greatest credit.
Shen Dong Ling stood up and glanced at that invitation. The timing on it was SiShi (modern timing: 9 – 11 am) and it was still early now thus she said, “First eat breakfast with husband before heading to Yi Feng Pavilion. The timing should be just right.”
She did not know that when she was still eating breakfast with Wang Bi, HuangFu Hao had already went out.
The location where the appreciation of incense was held was in Yi Feng Pavilion. Yi Feng Pavilion was a pavilion that was located on the outskirts of Ding capital, around the mountain area. When sitting in Yi Feng Pavilion, looking down one could see serene and deep canyon, looking up one could see the the approaching clear skies. The wealthy people who were particular in elegance would often liked coming to Yi Feng Pavilion to appreciate incense as once the incense was lit up, there would be a light breeze blowing up to the clear skies which give one a sense of vastness.
Although it was current winter, the canyon was wrapped in silver and white, making it particularly interesting when one boil the snow and discuss about scent.
HuangFu Hao looked at the rather beautiful invitation and smiled. It really did sound good to ‘fall in love at first sight’ with an official’s daughter at such a beautiful place like this. However he was only playing a role and letting others take advantage of it.
HuangFu Hao’s guard rushed over to inform that the carriage was prepared and ready for set off. HuangFu Hao frowned and lifted his feet to walk towards the residence doors. No matter what, this invitation had indicated that one must go to Yi Feng Pavilion at ChenShi (modern timing: 7 – 9 am) and it was somewhat too early. He had to get up earlier than usual.
It was just that when an act was put up, one had to do everything thus no matter how unsatisfied HuangFu Hao was, he could only agree to it.
Yi Feng Pavilion was in the outskirts and some distance away from Ding capital thus one had to leave when it was just dawn. Moreover after reaching the outskirts, there would be a good distance of mountainous road to travel but fortunately the wealthy specifically repaired the road for carriages else it would be much more difficult to travel. However even as such, it would take quite a while to arrive at Yi Feng Pavilion.
HuangFu Hao left his guards halfway up the mountain and went forward alone as this was specifically instructed in that invitation, not to bring his guards over. The more guards there are, the more unnatural the ‘fated marriage’ would be. Moreover the Crown Prince would arrive earlier as there are some important things to discuss, thus it would be inconvenient if there were more people.
HuangFu Hao was not a little afraid of any accidents happening. First it was because the Crown Prince would place his guards in this place, thus one did not need to worry about assassins. Second was that the Crown Prince would definitely not take action on him as there are so many people watching. When he left today, everyone in the residence of Prince Qin knew that he was keeping the appointment with the Crown Prince so if anything happen to him, the Crown Prince would not be able to wash his hands off it..
Thus HuangFu Hao calmly left his guards behind and went up alone.
However there was no regret pill in the world and HuangFu Hao quickly paid a hefty price for his own conceited decision.