The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 48
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 48 – Lure the Enemy
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarized.
Within the next few days, the first investigation Pei Yuanshu did at the Yamen General Administration in Jingzhou was the auditor envoy for salt and iron.
Although they had known the stationing of troops Deng Tianguan secretly did before they arrived, it was however difficult to apprehend and unmask this kind of matter, so they could only find another method. It is known that weapons and food are the most indispensable items in a battle. As the number of soldiers increases, the demand for these items will also increase; thus, they should be able to seize him as long as they follow this thread of investigation.
The investigation should not be too blatant. After all, they are still treading on other people’s turf and it will be troublesome if by any chance Deng Tianguan jumped over the wall like a cornered dog*. Therefore, they could only find out the situation with calm composure. As the surrounding area of their residence is full of Deng Tianguan’s informers and people following them stealthily whenever they leave the mansion, Chu Jinglan just brought Ye Huaiyang to go shopping and pretended to amuse himself with his beloved concubine.
[T/N: 狗急跳墙 (Gǒujítiàoqiáng) – a desperate man would risk anything.]
They had caught sight of several blacksmith shops along the way that not only did they not sell many items, the quality also seemed brittle and non durable. At a glance, too many impurities could be seen in the raw materials, which were really substandard. Chu Jinglan had deduced at that time the wantonly confiscation of raw materials by Deng Tianguan was to make weapons. Thus, it was indeed as such from what Ye Huaiyang extricated from the jewelry shopkeeper. Hence, he immediately asked Pei Yuanshu to start investigating without delay.
After Chu Sanghuai ascended the throne, he transferred all the management rights of salt and iron to the royal court. So, there was a post of auditor envoy for salt and iron who was mainly responsible for collection and sales of local minerals. Thus, Pei Yuanshu would have to look through those related account books to inspect this official’s performance. If there is an unreasonable outflow of iron ore, he can track down and find more clues, then substantiating Deng Tianguan’s conspiracy.
Pei Yuanshu had been working through the lamplights until daybreak and by the time he came to report to Chu Jinglan, he had already walked innumerable rounds.
It was pitch dark as ink outside the room while the room was illuminated with just a single candle flame. Both of them sat across the copper furnace with several charcoal remnants burning red within, it continued to radiate billowy heat. With his head hung and eyes restrained, Pei Yuanshu gathered his sleeve slightly that the face that was already profound within the shadow appeared even more hesitant when he heard Chu Jinglan’s question.
“Wangye, this lowly official has carefully checked through those account books and found nothing inappropriate.”
Taking the silver pot from the furnace and with a slight arc of his wrist, hot water gushed out from the spout as Chu Jinglan filled up two glazed teacups successively. He pushed one towards Pei Yuanshu then spoke slowly, “This King knows.”
Pei Yuanshu raised his head due to this breezy tone and asked puzzledly, “Wangye had already speculated it?”
“Deng Tianguan is astute. He would not slip up on this kind of matter, so it’s normal that you can’t find out.”
“Then.. this direction is cut off like this?”
“Of course not. This King already ordered people to probe into the foundries around Jinguan City. News ought to be back soon.” Pausing, Chu Jinglan fixed his gaze on him, “Go back and fix yourself. The shadow guard will escort you to Lingnan tomorrow morning. This King wants you to win Chang Xin over in the shortest possible time.”
Pei Yuanshu almost stood up in shock.
“It will take more than three days to go from here and back from Lingnan. If King Qiyang finds out this lowly official is not here in the course, he will surely suspect that this lowly official has gone to Lingnan, then wouldn’t you and Wangfei be in danger?”
“Therefore, you need to hurry.”
Although Chu Jinglan’s tone was indifferent, it was indubitably resolute and cold, like a dark night invaded by a storm with a sudden flash of lightning where the sky thoroughly brightened which also reflected the perplexed thoughts in Pei Yuanshu’s mind. He rose slowly and cupped his hands with a profound bow.
“This lowly official will certainly not fail Wangye.”
Chu Jinglan nodded slightly then took the brown envelope on the table and handed it to him, ”Read it on the way.”
“This lowly official will comply with your wish.” Pei Yuanshu received it with both hands and tucked it into his lapel, whirled around and stepped out of the room.
The night watchman’s drum was struck heavily and clearly all of a sudden on that long Shili Street. The watchman only knew it was just the beginning of the long second half night, yet who knew for the people in the mansion at the corner of the street where lights were nowhere to be seen, their coming days would be even longer.
Back in the bedroom, Chu Jinglan quietly took off his outer robe in the dark and got into bed when a mass of warmth immediately rolled into his arms with hands and feet wrapped around him. He embraced in passing and asked with a slight surprise, “When did you wake up?”
Ye Huaiyang didn’t open her eyes, just murmuring a few indistinct words, “When you left.”
Chu Jinglan halted a breath without saying anything else. He merely wrapped the quilt around her and closed his eyes too. Yet who knew a voice resounded within the crooks of his arms when she was thought to have fallen asleep after a moment of silence.
“Has Yuanshu left?”
“Left.” He replied flatly, the ending sound seemed to vaguely rise half a tune, “Worried about him?”
The pink lips perked into a beautiful curve when words containing light cheerfulness filled the ears, “A little worried, after all, he is a dork. I won’t be able to explain to Ling’er when we get back if he bungled up.”
“As long as he does what I say, nothing can go wrong.”
“That’s natural. No one in Chu country is as good as my husband in terms of tactical and eloquence.”
Ye Huaiyang’s brows curved up with the smile, like the enchanted slender crescent moon, yet unexpectedly she felt bursts of hot breath spurted over. When she raised her eyes, Chu Jinglan had somehow leaned closer where his handsome facial features were magnified several times, especially those black eyes, like a ceaseless churning whirlpool that slowly sucked away her whole mind.
“In terms of reaping benefits from confusion, none of the noble ladies of the prominent families are your match.”
Chu Jinglan raised his hand and lifted the leg that had somehow wrapped around his waist. The cunningness in Ye Huaiyang’s eyes disappeared and followed by a pout on her mouth, “You’ve let me use up all the money in the money bag, so why can’t I use you once?”
“I have matters to handle tomorrow.”
Pa! The favorable party spoke out sternly with the force of justice and rejected the opposition party’s request for copulation, thus the opposition party quit then directly tossed out the killer recourse.
“Do you have a fetish for broken sleeves*?”
[T/N: 断袖 (Duàn xiù) – an euphemism for homosexuality. Originating from History of Western Han where Emperor Han Aidi needed to attend court and not wishing to awaken his male lover whose head was sleeping on the emperor’s sleeve, he cut off the lower half of his sleeve]
Chu Jinglan’s face turned green after hearing that. His large palm gripped her slender waist abruptly and pressed her firmly down on the bed, “If you speak nonsense again, I’ll have Tang Qingfeng send you back to Wangdu.”
Ye Huaiyang snorted then turned her head to ignore him.
Merely threatening others, what kind of hero is that!
She was so indignant, yet she eventually could not resist the onslaught of sleepiness but was crushed by Chu Jinglan and couldn’t turn around and fell asleep with her head crooked. She didn’t know how obstinate she was. Chu Jinglan leaned over to look at her with a wisp of light-hearted smile and gently adjusted her sleeping position then turned over to lie flat before moving her into his arms again.
A night of good sleep.
In the early morning of the next day, Pei Yuanshu set off while they were still in slumber, leaving Jinguan City quietly under the protection of the shadow guards. They spurred all the way and safely arrived at Lingnan in the evening before rushing straight to the defense camp as soon as they entered the city.
Chang Xin was not surprised by his arrival.
As the secret ally of Deng Tianguan, she knew that someone was sent to Jingzhou by the royal court to investigate. She, however, would never have expected that one of them would appear alone and composed in her camp a few days later, which caused her to not be able to even guess his intentions for a moment.
“Brother Pei, you’re…”
Pei Yuanshu fell on one knee with a thud and said in a deep voice, “Qinghui, I’m too late!”
Both of them were originally from the same hometown. As soon as he opened his mouth and called Chang Xin’s pet name, the misgivings and defenses that Chang Xin had were somewhat gone. She immediately stepped forward to help him up and said, “What is this Brother Pei? Are you trying to overwhelm me with favor?”
Pei Yuanshu shook his head seriously as he replied, “I am just following orders.”
Hearing that, Chang Xin looked as if she had been struck by lightning, her expression muddled, “Was it the Emperor… who asked you to come?”
“That’s exactly it.” Pei Yuanshu’s eyes were profoundly lasting and full of unshakeable determination, “Bai family has been covering Bai Xingzhi up in Wangdu before his disaster messed Lingnan up, hence no one knew what was happening here at all which caused the Emperor to mistakenly think you are committing a retrograde against the Emperor. When the truth came to light later, the Emperor was obstructed again by the power of the Bai family to execute only Bai Xingzhi. After that, he restrained his emotion until he uprooted the entire Bai family a few days later. As a matter of fact, he now sent me over immediately.”
Chang Xin was still in a state of confusion, “Why are you sent here?”
Pei Yuanshu heaved a deep sigh, as if sighing of her unawareness of the Emperor’s intention.
“I’m undoubtedly here to appease and commend you. Previously, the Emperor was compelled by the Bai family which caused you grievances. Now that the Bai family has been removed, it is necessary to return your innocence and reputation. You have to understand the Emperor’s difficulties. After all, the mountains are long and the rivers are far*, while a great deal of matters have been hindered by the traitorous ministers which inevitably caused someone so loyal and devoted like Qinghui to feel wronged that even the Emperor feels pained.”
[T/N: 山长水远 (Shān cháng shuǐ yuǎn) – long and arduous journey]
Chang Xin was ruthlessly shocked as she asked incredulously, “The Emperor… really said so?”
“How else can it be fake?” Pei Yuanshu stared at her, as if blaming her for not being aware of the courtesy. Seeing that she honestly did not believe, he took out a letter from his lapel, “Here, see for yourself. An official letter of commendation issued under the current province. I’m afraid there is no one else that has this honorable favor in this Chu country.”
Chang Xin hurriedly opened the letter and carefully read it several times before feeling dumbfounded.
How could this be? Didn’t the royal court ignore her. She has always been defeated by the Yi tribe for so many years. Although these were all Bai Xingzhi’s sinister plot, the Emperor did not trust and value her even after Bai Xingzhi’s death. She once thought she had been abandoned by the royal court and would be relieved of her position in due time. As it turned out that all this was the Emperor’s last resort to get rid of the Bai family. She was truly muddle-headed…
So muddle-headed to the point of being cahoots with Deng Tianguan.
At this moment, Chang Xin’s heart was already in a mess and didn’t know what to do. Watching clearly from the side, Pei Yuanshu further added fuel to the flames.
“Look at you, you’re so excited that you can’t even speak. It’s okay, there are no outsiders here so I won’t tell the Emperor that you didn’t kneel down to express your gratitude.”
“Brother Pei, I…” Chang Xin reacted. His amusing words almost made her laugh a little, yet it couldn’t wipe away her worries that her face looked particularly torn.
“Alright, I won’t say anything more. Take care of yourself. I’ll go back to Jingzhou first.”
Pei Yuanshu patted her shoulder and about to leave when she reflexively grabbed him and said, “What are you going to Jingzhou for?”
“I was ordered to inspect the officials.” Pei Yuanshu smiled, but his expression was somewhat bleak, “I don’t know when the next meeting will be but I will rely on you to protect our home here.”
Others would definitely not be able to make sense of the profound meaning of his words, Chang Xin, nevertheless, understood in an instant. She had long heard from Deng Tianguan about their real purpose of going there and knowing Pei Yuanshu’s ability, he would definitely find out something. When the time comes, Deng Tianguan would certainly not let him go, thus entering Jingzhou again would be meeting his doom!
She subconsciously stopped him.
“Don’t go back, just go directly to Wangdu!”
Pei Yuanshu laughed in spite of himself and said, “You’re all grown up now but still talk like a child. Wangye is still waiting for me in Jinguan City and I haven’t even completed the task to come find you first. If I’m late, I will get a scolding.”
After saying that, he flapped his sleeves about to walk out. When his hand barely touched the tent, a low cry suddenly resounded from behind, “Don’t inspect anymore, Deng Tianguan will kill you!”
Pei Yuanshu was motionless, his back still facing her while half of his face was buried under the faint shadow a serious wry smile appeared.
For a pond full of fishes, to pick which to catch and when it will take the bait, Wangye had truly reckoned it well…