The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 5

Translated by: Oinkoink

Chapter 5 – Investigate

Apart from the inner of the imperial city, Wangdu was one hundred and eighty square which spread all over the place that was distinctively warp and weft with stone roads that ran through like cobwebs extending to all corners which were accessible from all directions.

Since the royal court and the government offices were mostly situated at the north of the city, many of the nobilities would reside within the vicinity of the inner square with the exception of Chu Jinglan. His mansion was located at the far end corner of the city wall, perched on a high terrain and far from the market. Therefore, his neighbourhood was sparsely populated as well as peaceful and quiet. Inside his mansion, there was a Chong Xiao pavilion towering on the south-east corner adorned with glazed roof tiles, vermilion ridges and high-raised eaves where the east main room faced the mountain and the west room could reach the clouds that such an incomparable scenery was probably not avail even in the imperial palace.

Next door coincidentally had such a pavilion too which was located next to the wall that was almost the same height as Chong Xiao pavilion which was so closely built that one could reach with an outstretched hand. Chu Jinglan was not very happy with this situation thus he rarely went up since his return.

Lu Heng thought not to abandon and left such a great place vacant, he moved all those extra books up there where he neatly arranged them all and turned the place into a decent library.

“Ai, I am truly idle.”

He brushed the dust off his hands then turned towards the long narrow balcony. As he was bored stiff viewing the scenery, he suddenly caught sight of the shadow guards below in the courtyard bowing and followed closely by a man in black who marched towards the study. He changed his mind and immediately went down the pavilion.

Before Lu Heng could knock on the study door, Chu Jinglan’s voice was already heard from inside the room, “Come in.”

He pushed the door in, immediately perked up a smile and asked, “Qingfeng, what news have you brought back?”

Tang Qingfeng took out a small piece of note from his bosom which was addressed to King Lan without the sender’s name or lacquer-sealed. He knew by the handwriting who had written this note but before he was able to inquire about the content, Chu Jinglan took the note and directly dropped it into the brazier which instantly turned into ashes, too late for him to stop.

“You can at least read the content before you burn it, why are you so anxious…”

Lu Heng looked at him grudgingly, yet Chu Jinglan didn’t raise his head. Under his hand was the painting of the poem ‘river on a spring night’ that was almost completed with merely an incomplete corner at the top where a moon should be. He took up a brush and dipped in the colour ink before he slowly drew out a circle.

“Don’t you know what the content was?”

Lu Heng didn’t speak for a long time. He indeed was aware just like Chu Jinglan. This small note was given to Tang Qingfeng by the imperial deputy prime minister, Gu Yong and the content was nothing but a request to meet Chu Jinglan.

The previous emperor was in power, he had always attached great importance to admonition of his officials. Being the old minister, Gu Yong was in charge of the imperial censor, he had an upright, distinctive of the good and evil as well as outspoken nature hence he was very much valued by the previous emperor. The previous emperor had even intended for him to assist Chu Jinglan in governing the country. Gu Yong had repeatedly requested to meet since Chu Jinglan returned, yet was rejected again and again thus there could presumably be many other considerations. 

Seeing that these two people were not talking, Tang Qingfeng who was forthright asked, “Wangye, you are still not meeting him this time?”

“The more sincere he is, the more I can’t meet him.” Chu Jinglan replied meaningfully then he abruptly changed the topic, “Ah Heng, how’s the investigation on the assassinations?”

Lu Heng handed over an organized file he compiled to him and the corners of his mouth were raised with a rather strange smile, “I’ve been gathering the information concerning Ye family again these past few days and have learned that it was not quite the same as what we collected in northern land. You wouldn’t have expected that the head of the family is not Ye Huaili rather his younger than him by eight year-old sister, Ye Huaiyang.”

Ye Huaiyang?

A delicate and stunning face came into Chu Jinglan’s mind, the profoundly unparalleled facial features that the contour seemed within reach while thousand words seemingly hidden beneath those unrestrained eyes which longed to speak. 

It was actually her.

They merely had met once without much interaction yet Chu Jinglan knew the woman that threw off the punishment with just a few words as well as making a fool of everyone was Ye Huaiyang, he however didn’t show any astonishment, only indifferently said, “Go on.”

“She has groomed a group of skilled martial art guards specifically used to gather intelligence and surveillance duties that operated from Tianqi restaurant in the suburbs. I’ve already ordered the shadow guard to look into it and believe there will be results soon.”

Tang Qingfeng who was standing by the side wanted to say something but hesitated.

Chu Jinglan shot him a glance, “Just speak out.”

He stalled before responding, “This subordinate thinks she was unlikely the manipulator behind the scene. Why would she say those words in the restaurant if she really wants to hurt Wangye? It would really be a bit too superfluous to be pretentious.”

Lu Heng ironically said, “She is indeed not the one behind the scene as all of us are well aware who wants to kill Wangye. This isn’t regarded as strange anyway. There were innumerable succession groups of assassins when we were in the north. Now in Wangdu, he can command people under him as he is afraid to attract any unnecessary trouble. As one who is loyal and devoted to the country, why won’t Ye Huaili rush forward to prove his patriotism? As the head of the family, would Ye Huaiyang disagree with Ye Huaili if this relates to the interest of Ye family?”

Tang Qingfeng was completely rebuffed and unable to utter a word instantly. A moment later, he saw Lu Heng chuckled as he stroked his chin.

“The Wang and Xie have been unyielding. Bai Shi gains the profit, so the Ye family that stayed neutral and was neglected will take advantage of this by moving up the same direction as the monarch’s intentions. The situation in Wangdu is getting more and more interesting.”

“No matter what, investigate Tianqi restaurant first.”  

Chu Jinglan closed the file then placed it on the table, obviously didn’t want to make any groundless guess. They didn’t discuss anymore of this matter as both of them understood his gestures. Just when it quieted down, Lu Heng once again resumed his unrestrained appearance and making fun of whatever was said that nobody could see through what he was actually thinking.

“I haven’t been back for six years and really missed those snacks in the city. Qingfeng, come accompany me for a stroll and I will buy you a good meal!”

After that, he stretched his arm out as he half-dragged and half-pulled Tang Qingfeng out the door. Tang Qingfeng’s dark face anxiously turned red as he couldn’t even make his salute before he was out of the room.

“What’s with this dragging. I am not going. If both of us are out, who would Wangye look for if he has some instruction to give?”

Lu Heng said with a laugh, “Didn’t he already instructed just a moment ago? Besides, there are so many servants and shadow guards in the mansion, why are you still worried he has no one to dispatch?”

“But I still won’t go, there’s nothing interesting in Wangdu.”

Tang Qingfeng turned his head, just as stubborn as a donkey that couldn’t even be dragged away. Seeing this, Lu Heng merely raised his brows and asked again, “Really not going?” 

There was no response at all this time.

“I will go by myself then. I’ve heard that Tianque restaurant on Xuanwu Street has this pretty good dish called crispy golden sparrow which is simply perfect with the pickled mustard rind as accompaniment. I will go try. If I am fortunate, I might be able to grab two more and bring it back for both of you.”

This time Tang Qingfeng evidently heard the hidden meanings of his words that he immediately backhandedly grabbed him then asked, “What are you doing going to Ye family’s restaurant?”

“Didn’t I just say I am going to eat.” Lu Heng replied innocently.

For someone who usually never paid attention to his meals and now was going so far to Tianque restaurant simply for the sake of a snack? Who would have believed! This fellow is definitely thinking of going to fish for information. Leading him around in such a big circle without stating the facts, this was truly infuriating.

Tang Qingfeng stared at Lu Heng unhappily as he spoke out a moment later, “I’ve changed my mind and will go with you.”  

Lu Heng smiled as he had obviously anticipated this and didn’t say much. He clasped his hands behind his back then walked towards the outdoor of the mansion. Tang Qingfeng just wanted to figure out the mystery among it, hence he didn’t care much about the rest and chased after him with large strides.

Just as they stepped out of the mansion, a flatbed cart piled with several big bundles of fresh bamboo shoots which seemed to be still stained with moist soil passed by the front door. The two men stopped to gaze for a while and as expectedly the cart entered the side door of the adjacent residence. This was already the third time they had seen it. 

“The owner next door is rather strange to have bought carts of bamboo shoots for meals almost every few days…” Tang Qingfeng muttered.

Lu Heng narrowed his eyes and asked, “Have you checked who lives in that residence?”

“Yes. It’s supposed to be a young miss from some noble family living here for recuperation. She moved in three months ago.” Tang Qingfeng paused as his thick black brows unconsciously creased up, “As there aren’t other residents in this square, I was unable to find out the name. The shadow guards were also not able to get close as there are guards everywhere in the courtyard.”

Three months ago? Wasn’t that when they set out for the return to Wangdu? The more Lu Heng pondered over it, the more he felt strange, hence he turned serious and exhorted, “Find a way to check again. After all it’s only separated by a wall. If it’s sent over by that person….” 

Tang Qingfeng already understood the severity before he finished the sentence. He immediately beckoned a few shadow guards over as he attentively briefed them and waited for them leaving separately to execute the matter before he turned around again.

“Let’s go.”

Lu Heng nodded then both successively boarded the carriage.

The sound of the wheels turning was gradually further away when the neighbour’s vermillion front door abruptly opened. A lake-blue shadow walked out beautifully with a subtle yet somewhat carefree manner. The sight of the simple facial gestures were practically too eye-catching.

“Ci Yuan, what did they just say?”

Ci Yuan bowed and replied, “Reporting to young miss. They said they are going to Tianque restaurant and also to investigate you.”

“Let them investigate then. There’s no need to hide since it will be known sooner or later.” Ye Huaiyang arched her lips into a smile, without a care when she turned back to the courtyard and softly called out, “Ling’er, didn’t you want to go shopping? It’s almost time. Come out quickly. You can come back to play with Lan-lan again later.”

At once, a lovely voice responded from inside, “Oh, I’ve forgotten the time! Seventh sister waits for me, I’m coming out at once!”

The one answering was the daughter of Ye Huaiyang’s elder paternal uncle, Ye Huailing, who was younger than Ye Huaiyang by two years and the youngest in the family. She was extremely lively and if she went into action, she was not the least inferior than a man. Before her words waned out, she had already spurred out the front door like a rabbit with an absolutely pleasant jingling sound emitting from the swaying of the pisces jade piece tied on her waist band. 

Ye Huaiyang pulled her into the carriage when the two striking figures of red and blue disappeared in the line of everyone’s sight. Ci Yuan lifted the lower hem of his robe and seated in front of the carriage before he turned and asked, “Where are we going, young miss?”

Ye Huaiyang slightly raised her lips, “We’re going to Tianque restaurant too.”

“Yes.” He swung the reins and lightly shouted as the horse immediately raised its hooves running straight ahead.

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