The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 13
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 13 – Secret Meeting
It was another bright moon and starry night and as usual Ye Huaiyang fumbled her way to Chongxiao Pavilion.
She actually didn’t know any martial arts but she was able to come and go between the two tall buildings merely due to her relatively good sense of balancing and her plucky guts. She would continue despite the repeated prohibition from Chu Jinglan. He once demolished the horizontal beam as well as sealed the windows and the doors yet there were inevitable means for Ye Huaiyang to resolve. Both had imperceptibly been contended over these for many times.
Ye Huaiyang had some serious matters to look for Chu Jinglan tonight, but he didn’t seem to be around. She thought it would be better to just wait for a while as she was already there, hence she sat on the low wenge wood side table looking at the decoration in the attic boringly.
It could be said though most didn’t look brand new yet it had the aesthetic perception of classic beauty from the small items of table and chairs to big items like paintings of antiquities or the folding screens. The hollow carvings and the grainy texture lacquerware crafts were particularly exquisite which were all excellently rare products.
Her sight returned to the low table in front after she had a look over. Ye Huaiyang reached out to fiddle with Chu Jinglan’s pen-brush holders when she accidentally caught a glimpse of an unlidded square stone box containing some black ashes which looked as if something had just been burned. She pushed aside the top powdery layer where she picked up a small piece of unburnt shredded paper. She narrowed her eyes unexpectedly after carefully inspecting it for a moment.
Hairpin-flower stationery, this was something from the palace.
After pondering for a short while, she walked over to the side of the railing as she called for her guard and interrogated from a distance, “Did you see what was time King Lan’s carriage left the mansion?”
The guard lowered his head to think before answering quickly, “Young Miss, there seems to be no carriage leaving King Lan’s mansion today.”
Not only did he have an appointment with someone yet he also didn’t ride a carriage, was it possible he could only go to that place alone? Ye Huaiyang turned pale but she didn’t ask anymore as she waved her hand allowing her guard to go back. She returned to the low side table with one hand propping her head, seemingly lost in thought as she gazed at the small fragment. Her train of thought rode with the rising wind drifting all the way to the in-depths of the palace chambers.
At this moment, it was curfew in the inner of the Imperial City. No one was moving about except the patrolling imperial guards. The orderly sound of boots were thumping rhythmically on the green slab stones in pace with the brightness from the torches illuminated every corner were unending all through the night.
The room under the city gate nevertheless was a different kind of scene. Over a dozen soldiers were surrounding the stove having hot pot. The oily broth was still bubbling. Steamingly hot pieces of fresh aromatic tender black mountain goat meat which overflowed with juiciness would be bound to be picked out from the pot with just a casual insertion of the bamboo chopsticks which made them ate to their hearts’ content.
When it was the shift change moment, another group of soldiers walked in from outside while rubbing their hands. Their eyes lit up when they saw meat that without demur, they grabbed the chopsticks and moved forward to snatch. A small cluster of people immediately turned into a big crowd bustling with laughter and jokes. During this unguarded gap, a tall silhouette quietly passed through the side door of the Imperial City and rapidly varnished within the forest path.
The moon was as cold as the water covering all over the long steps while reflecting the familiar yet somewhat unfamiliar slender shadow in the pavilion.
“You are here.”
Bai Zhixuan turned around slowly as she unblinkingly looked at the man in a black outfit that even if he was standing against the light which obscured his facial features, she however could recognized him instantly. The tremor of her heart involuntarily trembled that her indescribable emotions prompted her to get closer where a waft of ice-cold pine rosin drifted into her nose and unexpectedly evoked some remote memories.
He hadn’t changed at all in these many years.
“Jinglan, long time no see.”
Chu Jinglan looked at that peerlessly graceful and elegant face before he indifferently extended a courtesy and said, “Imperial Noble Consort.”
Bai Zhixuan immediately sustained a great blow and retreated two steps when she heard this appellation. Her face appeared ghastly pale upon the reflection from the bright moonlight which seemingly lost its lustre glow and looked rather pitiable.
“You are indeed still resenting me….”
Chu Jinglan sneered inwardly as countless human lives that were dead in the hands of the Bai family floated across his mind. It was with repeated self-restraint that he pushed down the build up blood-reeking pressure before he calmly opened his mouth and asked, “What’s actually is the important matter that Niang-niang invited this King to come in the middle of the night?”
“I, I’ve heard that you are back and wanted to see you…..” Bai Zhixuan stammered as her eyes glistening sparkled, “The northern land is barren and its climate is also quite bad. I have been worrying about your well-being every day and seeing that you are still the same, the weight in my heart has finally been lifted.”
“This King will bid goodbye then since you’ve already seen.”
Chu Jinglan turned to leave when Bai Zhixuan suddenly rushed forward and hugged his waist from behind. The cloak raised up high that instantly obscured the graceful shadows.
“You don’t even spare me a little affection!”
“Affection?” Chu Jinglan turned around and waved her away as he spoke expressionlessly, “There’s not the least bit of affection left between this King and you the moment the Bai family transfer their allegiance to another!”
Bai Zhixuan unwaveringly tugged his sleeve as silvery light rolled down from the corner of her eyes, “It was all the Bai family’s faults, but in the end, those were all the decisions of the clan’s venerable elderly. I didn’t know anything at all. On the night of learning you had been seriously injured, I knelt in front of my father’s door begging him. I’ve cried until my voice was hoarse and knocked until my forehead was broken but he? He sent me into the palace the next day! How was I guilty for you to compare me to them now?”
Her voice was low and choking with emotion that she wasn’t able to finish what she was saying. The delicate and exquisite body was trembling in the wind.
Though the night was dark and one couldn’t see clearly, he could sense it from both the hands that were clutching his sleeves.
Seeing the somewhat relaxed expression on his face, Bai Zhixuan felt happy that she immediately lifted her sleeve up.
“I’ve tried many ways to probe for your information after entering the palace, but was blocked by them. My imagination started running wild that I fell into despair, believing that you might have died from the severe injuries and wanted to follow you yet I was saved by them every time….”
Chu Jinglan’s eyes dropped and noticed the three hideous scars overlaid on the fair wrist. Looking at the extent of the skin distortion, he knew the injuries were not light at that time. His eyes flickered and were somewhat moved. Bai Zhixuan keenly observed and immediately gripped his robe to get closer.
“I know many things are irreversible but can you please give me a chance to atone for the Bai family?”
Chu Jinglan was silent for a moment and his expression was no longer as cold as before. He didn’t push her away again but merely asked indifferently, “How do you want to atone?”
Bai Zhixuan hurriedly said, “I will do whatever you want me to do, even if you take my life, I will never balk.” She paused between discourse as sorrowness emerged on her face, “Only…only Zihao is still young, please don’t make things difficult for him….”
After all that was said, it was still about the incident on the day of viewing the tide.
The rumor had been circulated for so long and would have already flown into the Emperor’s ears. Even if it wasn’t enough to make him lose trust in the Bai family, it eventually would still have some impact and in addition to the assassination failure, the Bai family had a very difficult time recently, thus the appointment tonight.
“Do you think the entire incident was planned by this King?”
Bai Zhixuan didn’t speak but she evaded her gaze a little.
“Since you don’t believe this King, what’s there to say anymore!”
Chu Jinglan suddenly flung his sleeves, lifted his foot towards the path he came earlier. Bai Zhixuan instantly caught a sight of flitting pain when he turned around. With a stratagem in mind, she ran after and grabbed him without any hesitation as she spoke in a tearful voice, “Jinglan, I didn’t mean that. I know that you will certainly not do anything to Zihao as you used to dote on him very much. I am just afraid….just afraid you might unwittingly fall into someone’s trap!”
Though her words were vague, it undoubtedly targeted the Ye family.
Chu Jinglan was motionless yet there was evidently a little change in his expression as if he was recalling something. Bai Zhixuan looked at him from the side and became more certain of what she had had in her mind – he indeed didn’t know everything was plotted by the Ye family!
Even though she had her answer already, she still had to solemnly hold Chu Jinglan back. Chu Jinglan fortunately didn’t stay much longer, he left after squeezing her hand. She eagerly watched his back before her tearful face abruptly lit up when he suddenly turned his head back.
“This King will justify this matter to you.”
Bai Zhixuan nodded. The eyes brimming with tears made her seem very miserably pitiful, yet once Chu Jinglan had thoroughly disappeared at the end of the path, she gradually wiped the tear stains from her face and coldly smiled.
Chu Jinglan ah Chu Jinglan, you are still as gentle and soft-hearted as you used to be.
The night was flowing slowly like water while the moon unknowingly had fled within the clouds where stars had also disappeared without a trace. Only several glimmers left around the corner of the street lit the way home.
There were two glazed lamps hung outside the doorman’s room of King Lan mansion with oblique shadows as moths quietly lay under the lamps. Two silhouettes gushed by breaking the silence in the courtyard.
Chu Jinglan walked all the way through the trestle bridge and the water pavilion. After entering Chongxiao Pavilion, he threw his robe aside. Tang Qingfeng subconsciously caught it but heard him say coldly, “Throw it.”
Tang Qingfeng felt relieved though he dared not say much. When he saw the way Chu Jinglan treated Bai Zhixuan in the palace earlier, he almost thought that his master was still yearning for that seductress. He knew he must be wrong after seeing his master’s reaction now – he wasn’t even willing to touch the things that she had touched as he inevitably must have abhorred her to the extreme.
But why did Wangye pretend not to know and deliberately led Bai Zhixuan to deal with Ye family? He couldn’t figure it out for a long time. When he looked up, the person was gone thus he had to swallow the words into his stomach as he touched his nose and left.
On the other side, Chu Jinglan came to the attic alone. The enshrouded coldness had yet to dissipate when he saw Ye Huaiyang soundly asleep on the short table. His face became colder to the freezing point when he reached out and lifted her up.
She unhurriedly woken up, rubbing her eyes first then looked at him dazedly seemingly having insufficient sleep with her head vertically knocked onto his shoulder. He impatiently extended a hand to brace against her. Looking face to face for a long while, she suddenly quipped, “Don’t stare at me so coldly, it’s already very cold in winter.”
The suddenly implored stars in his eyes were breathtaking, “This King has forbidden you to come here from Lingyun Pavilion again, do you take this King’s words as a puff of wind passing through the ear?”
“If I don’t come over, how do I know you still have the leisure and mood for rendezvous with a beautiful woman in the middle of the night?” Ye Huaiyang unexpectedly pressed near his chest and sniffed then lightly laughed out, “Not bad. Didn’t bring the woman’s scent back.”
Chu Jinglan’s eyes completely lost the temperature after hearing what had been said.
What exactly did she not know?
He no longer talked to Ye Huaiyang as he drastically turned her body and pushed her to the side of the railing then closed the door. Prior descending the stairs, he somewhat heard her whisperingly complaint, “I am still sleepy, how can I crawl back? Just let me walk out from the door….”
With a blackened face, Chu Jinglan heavily flung the door shut and left.
 a puff of wind passing the ear (耳边风 – Ěrbiānfēng) – unheeded advice/turn a deaf ear