The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 45
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 45 – Confrontation
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarized.
They finally arrived at the capital of Jingzhou, Jinguan City on the first day of winter.
The north has started snowing in November where it’s damp and cold. Jinguan City is located where the mountains converge and is shrouded by cold air all year long which is three times colder than other places. Thus, Chu Jinglan’s old illness recurs after they arrived not too long later, but since he has penetrated into the enemy camp, he can’t take care of it as there are more important things to do.
The big ceremony that King Qiyang put forth when they first arrived was perhaps more extravagant than the arrival of the Emperor with ten miles of ceremonial banners, hundreds paces of red silk, in addition to the endless stream of flowers and fireworks, which was just for superficial appearance. When he personally sent them to the residence, he also enthusiastically invited Chu Jinglan to attend the evening reception banquet. Those who didn’t know the inside story would have thought that a powerful and influential official had come for him to rack his brain just to please him.
The comments of others would not be mentioned for the time being, yet the banquet would still need their attendance. After all, Deng Tinguan’s play has just begun and it’s not good for Chu Jinglan to ruin his show after just arriving here. Not to mention the fact that some things can only be revealed after a long time, so there is no harm for him to first pretend with politeness and compliance.
But what surprised Chu Jinglan was Ye Huaiyang took the initiative to make clear that she didn’t want to go. One must know that since his hand was injured, she has become a clingy imp and has been observing his diet, work and rest every day, even almost following when he showers, saying he won’t be able to take care of himself, so today is rather unusual.
Chu Jinglan naturally wouldn’t think that she would stay in the residence obediently, so he asked bluntly, “It’s late, where else are you leaping to?”
“There’s really no way to hide anything from you.” Ye Huaiyang curled her lips and confessed earnestly, “Ye family also has the farmland business in Jinguan City, so I’ll meet the steward-in-charge to learn more about the situation here.”
“Take the shadow guard with you.” Chu Jinglan dropped these words before he went to change his clothes. Ye Huaiyang was stunned and hummed softly afterwards, her face gleamed like the lustre gems.
Both of them went out together at the hour of youshi (5pm-7pm), where one headed towards Qiyang mansion and the other to the Ye family’s private bank.
As the most magnificent mansion in Jinguan City, those who had been there had complimented it as – indescribably luxurious, but when Chu Jinglan and Pei Yuanshu stepped through the gates, all they saw was the most ordinary sight, as if traces of those had deliberately been erased.
The banquet was held in the front hall where dozens of tables were laid out lavishly and those sitting at the banquet were all notable officials from Jingzhou. Chu Jinglan walked into the hall with his head high when King Qiyang hastily stepped down to greet him.
“Minister Deng Tianguan pays respect to Wangye.”
Those people around followed with their heads bowed and shouted – Your Highness. Chu Jinglan faintly voiced out to forgo the formalities and took his seat. Pei Yuanshu followed in wake and sat at the bottom left seat. The moment the singing and dancing began, maids entered in files with the dishes and the reception banquet officially began.
It was inevitable to drink a cup of wine to warm one up while dealing with many matters in this freezing north and entertaining a guest in the banquet was no exception. Before the performance barely began, Deng Tianguan held up a cup of wine to toast Chu Jinglan with a respectful bearing, as if holding a deep admiration for a long time.
“This minister has long heard of Wangye’s return to the court and has always wanted to pay you a visit in Wangdu, however, mundane matters have tied this minister down, thus never able to do so. Unexpectedly, Wangye was ordered to come for inspection in Jingzhou which is truly fated, so not to mention others, this first cup of wine is to honor Wangye for having to travel over a thousand miles. So, Wangye, let me drink it up first!”
Saying that, he tilted his head and emptied it in a gulp. The wine was very strong yet there was not a drop dripped while he appeared extremely lofty. Faint applauds of bravo from the crowd below could be heard. Chu Jinglan, however, just looked dimly at him without the desire to raise his cup.
“King Qiyang’s good intentions are appreciated by this King, but I’ve suffered some minor injuries on the way here and it’s not fitting for me to consume alcohol. I hope King Qiyang will excuse me.”
Deng Tianguan’s face merely stiffened a bit momentarily when he soon laughed out seemingly unaffected.
“What’s there to be excused. One naturally shouldn’t consume alcohol since there’s injury. It’s thoughtless of this minister. But then again, what’s going on here? How bad is the injury? Do you need treatment from several famous physicians?”
Tugging the corners of his lips, Chu Jinglan said, “I’ve just ran into several unsightly robbers and it’s just a minor injury, appreciated King Qiyang’s concern.”
“That’s good, that’s good.” Deng Tianguan smiled and retreated back to his seat with glittering eyes.
As a matter of fact, he had already heard about the attack on Chu Jinglan from the spies and had even thoroughly identified the identity of those assassins. Fortunately, Chu Jinglan did not suffer any major incident, otherwise he would not be able to defend himself if Chu Jinglan died in his territory. However, the current situation is not much better now that Chu Jinglan has arrived in Jingzhou alive as he is bound to ferret out his covertly stationing of troops and forging of armors. Hence, he probably will have to expend more effort to conceal his plan.
Chu Sanghuai is not Chu Sanghuai for nothing. This is really an ingenious plan of killing two birds with one stone by putting both of them in a deadly situation, merely unbeknownst how Chu Jinglan will confront it.
Looking at Chu Jinglan again, Deng Tianguan saw that he didn’t move his chopsticks much, so he asked with concern, “The northern cuisine is a bit on the sweet side, is Wangye not use to it?”
This question seemed to have precisely jab the switch of a certain memory that Chu Jinglan was actually somewhat stunned.
“No alcohol, beef, winter bamboo shoots, seafood and other stimulant food, also no spicy or greasy stuff. I will ask Pei Yuanshu intently when I come back. If you did not abstain from those foods, I won’t sleep in the same bed with you at night.”
That’s really funny, is it possible that he is begging her to sleep with him? Who is the one that brazenly stays in bed all night with the quilt rolled up and refuses to move, who shivers and squeezes into his arms for warmth when he gets to bed?
Though he mocked about that in his heart, Chu Jinglan still merely picked those lighter dishes to eat when facing the table full of delicacies.
Deng Tianguan called out to Chu Jinglan again before he regained his senses and casually pulled out an excuse, “The singing and dancing in Qiyang mansion are really fascinating that this King actually forgot my whereabouts while enjoying it from afar.”
“Wangye is fallacious.” Deng Tianguan looked at the dozen or so alluring dancers on the dance floor with a plan in mind.
“By the way, I have not made an introduction to King Qiyang since entering the banquet. This is Official Pei Yuanshu of the Department of Appraisal and Merit, who came to Jingzhou with this King this time to inspect the local officials.”
Deng Tianguan followed his hand’s gesture looking at Pei Yuanshu, then nodded his head in greeting, “Lord Pei.”
Cupping his fists, Pei Yuanshu returned the salutation, “This lowly official pays respect to King Qiyang.”
“Needless to be polite. I have somewhat heard of Lord Pei’s clear reputation. Since you’ve come to Jinguan City, just treat this place as your own home. No matter if it’s official or private matters, do feel free to bring up anything you need and I will command all the officials in Jingzhou to render you their utmost support.”
Pei Yuanshu replied with an indifferent expression, “Thank you King Qiyang, this lowly official is truly grateful.”
Both of their speeches were full of bureaucratic tone which was nothing more than a harmless attempt to test the depths of each other in front of everybody. Everyone knew that King Qiyang will not truly cooperate with them and that this Lord Pei, who has been transferred from the Imperial Censor to the Ministry of Officials only before his departure is not one with good intent thus everything is merely for a good appearance’s sake.
Chu Jinglan, however, was not part of this, yet he tensed up the nerves of the several officials present when he opened his mouth.
“In that case, Lord Pei will report to Yamen tomorrow, the information there presumably has been prepared?”
His tone revealed a touch of arrogance and strength. A burly man in military uniform on the right was about to stand up and refuted him right away but was stared down by Deng Tianguan, who once again turned back flashing a perpetual smile.
“I have instructed them to gather the files when I’ve learned of Wangye’s coming a month ago. They are now neatly stacked in the storage room of Yamen at Wangye’s disposal.”
“Very well.” Chu Jinglan held up the tea cup and gestured amidst the air with lingering sharpness in his eyes as he closely seized every expression on Deng Tianguan’s face, “This King has heard about the seething discontent of the common people while passing through Lingnan a while ago. Thanks to King Qiyang sending troops to assist General Chang in suppressing the situation to achieve today’s calmness and tranquility. This King thereby thanks King Qiyang with this cup of tea instead of wine.”
“This minister doesn’t deserve this.” Deng Tianguan bowed his head as he responded and silently finished his cup of wine. His demeanor and action were all meticulous, just like the surface of a frozen lake in the middle of winter without a crevice to exploit.
The crowd below was somewhat unable to contain their paroxysm of anger when facing Chu Jinglan’s naked sarcasm and provocation as one must know they have been rampant in Jingzhou for a long time. Enjoying the dance and having his meals composedly, Chu Jinglan, however, seemed unaware; no one dared to be impudent by the infinite aura and imposing power hidden within his tall awe-inspiring body.
Fortunately, there was no more talk about these sensitive matters. After three rounds of wine, Chu Jinglan and Pei Yuanshu left the banquet on the pretext of exhaustion from the journey when the Jingzhou’s party that had been tolerant for a long time finally erupted.
“Master, he is just a disgraced Wangye. Why should you bear such forbearance with him?”
The one who spoke was the burly man just now. He is Jingzhou’s direct army commander under the Deng clan whose status was beneath one person and above ten thousands, hence he naturally couldn’t tolerate Chu Jinglan’s flaunting of might, but once his words were out, he was reprimanded by Deng Tianguan.
“What do you know!”
Rendered speechless, he said unconvincingly, “Although this subordinate is a military commander, I still know the reasoning of not allowing a foreign monkey to run wild in my own territory. What would others think if this gets out?”
Deng Tianguan laughed furiously as he stared at him and asked word by word, “Since you are a military commander, you should know about the battle at Lingxiao Pass ten years ago?”
“I know, wasn’t that the battle where a certain general of our royal court raided the enemy’s camp with two thousand troops at night and successively slayed three great generals of the Yi tribe?”
Deng Tianguan coldly spat out a sentence, “That person was precisely Chu Jinglan.”
The burly man choked violently with a face full of incredulity and it took half a day for him to stammer out two words, “But he …”
“Doesn’t look like it?” Deng Tianguan snorted, his eyes seemed to have immersed in the cold night with a little inscrutable gloominess, “Will he still be Chu Jinglan if you can easily and clearly see through him? I’m here today to make it clear that he’s not an easy person to deal with, so all of you must brace yourselves and if there is a least bit of mishap, don’t blame me for my harsh punishment!”
Seeing that everyone was in stern anticipation, only then did Deng Tianguan’s eyebrows smoothened out. He took another sip of wine before turning to the head steward and instructed, “Pick four prettiest dancers and send them over to him.”
The head steward, of course, understood who he was talking about and immediately went to make the arrangements.
As such, when Ye Huaiyang returned to the mansion an hour later, she was greeted not by the reticent and extremely respectful shadow guards, nor Tang Qingfeng who was on night duty, but rather a group of warblers and swallows that were making incessantly noises.
“Imperial guard Tang, we are here under the orders to serve Wangye. If you don’t let us in, how will we explain later?”
“That’s right. Which family’s guard is as insensitive as you!”
“In my opinion, why don’t one of us sisters resolve him on the spot, hee hee …”
All along Tang Qingfeng doesn’t know how to handle women, let alone four of them together. He was already sweating profusely when a thin shadow appeared at the corner of his eye right at this moment. Turning his head to look, he then immediately rushed over as if seeing a savior. Since that person was dressed in men’s clothing, he merely stood by the side and whispered a verse – you’re back, without other words again.
The four women also turned to look and noticed it was just an anonymous rosy-faced young gentleman, hence they covered their mouths and laughed disdainfully. Unexpectedly, that person glanced over with a sudden hint of impatience flashing in those chilled phoenix eyes, like a thin blade illuminated under the moonlight, dauntingly bright and covered with frost.
The laughter stopped abruptly.
“Tang Qingfeng, you can’t even handle four women properly and intentionally keep them for me to see?”
Tang Qingfeng immediately knelt down as he bitterly said, “This subordinate is incompetent, requesting for chastisement!”
Shooting a quick glance at him, Ye Huaiyang didn’t permit him to stand up as she merely turned her head and said to Ci Yuan, “Tie them all to the backyard woodshed then throw them out early tomorrow morning.”
The four women were shocked and about to open their mouths to question her boldness of doing this. But before half a sound was uttered, their acupoints were unexpectedly tapped and could only watch helplessly as each was being carried away without even a chance to struggle.
“Yes, this subordinate knows.”
Tang Qingfeng watched Ye Huaiyang walk into the room before raising his hand to wipe his sweat away when in just a few seconds, certainty hit him — he would rather be rough with women in the future than to ever piss Wangfei off.
 Yámén (衙門) – official government responsible for hearing cases.