The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 61
Translated by: Oinkoink
Proofread by: SilkScreen
Chapter 61 – Enter the Palace
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Chu Jinglan immediately left the Imperial Palace after the royal court meeting and as soon as his foot stepped into the King mansion, a solemn-faced Tang Qingfeng greeted him.
“Wangye, it’s not good. Something happened in Yanzhou!”
Chu Jinglan’s complexion changed slightly, he grabbed his (TQF) robe and asked in a deep voice, “What’s wrong?”
“Junwang was attacked by a group of unidentified men in black when he returned to the regional capital city from Liuyue City. He unfortunately was seriously injured and has yet to regain consciousness. Presently, he is being treated in a place of question.”
Releasing his hands abruptly, Chu Jinglan staggered two steps back seemingly a little unstable. Right at this moment, Ye Huaiyang came over from the corridor. Seeing this situation, the pupils of her phoenix eyes constricted as she asked anxiously, “What happened?”
Tang Qingfeng recounted the matter in detail again. Her frowning brows knitted more tightly as she listened then looked over at Chu Jinglan. She merely saw gloominess in his dark eyes as if heavily weighed down by dark clouds while something sharp that impelled everyone present was about to break out. Even Tang Qingfeng was slightly startled yet she was totally unafraid and even instructed them with extreme calmness.
“Ci Yuan, take my seal to mobilize the people of Ye family in Yanzhou. Tell them to immediately send the best physicians and medicines over. Then assign a group of guards from Tianqi Restaurant and must ensure the safety of Junwang Rong!”
Ci Yuan was about to receive the order and leave when he heard Chu Jinglan speak out of a sudden, “No need.”
“Why?” Raising her head, Ye Huaiyang asked questionably.
Chu Jinglan closed his eyes and when he opened them again, they were sober and calm with visible faint traces of suppressed anger within them.
“Since Zhenghe’s men can still pass the message to Wangdu, this proves that he is safe now. After sparing no effort, those assassins will not have another chance since they failed to kill him in a single blow.” Saying that, he then paused, turned his head and instructed Tang Qingfeng, “Take a trip to the city north and tell that person to presently cease contact again.”
City north? Who is he talking about?
With a mind full of doubts, Ye Huaiyang, however, was not in a rush to ask any questions. She merely waited until the group of people rushed away before gently gripping Chu Jinglan’s hand and raised her head to look at him. The drifting gleam reflected in her eyes was full of unspeakable anxiety.
Heat emitted steadily from those small boneless soft hands that eventually warmed Chu Jinglan’s cold numb body up. Coming back to his senses, his fingers moved slightly before he pulled her into his arms while the chin resting on the crown of her head seemed heavier than ever.
Ye Huaiyang had never seen such a dejected Chu Jinglan that her heart merely felt a trace of dull tearing pain which gradually spread to her limbs. She just stood perfectly upright and reached her hands out to stroke Chu Jinglan’s back, rendering him her strongest support while warmly stated, “Don’t worry, Zhenghe will be fine.”
Chu Jinglan did not speak but his embrace slowly became tighter.
Yanzhou is a thousand miles away from Wangdu and has long been impregnable under the control of Chu Zhenghe, which is not easy for Chu Sanghuai to extend his hand over. But despite the odds, he did so and even told Chu Jinglan that although he can’t touch him (CJL) under the court and public opinion, he can target and attack the people around him.
This is a warning and also the price he has to pay for returning to the royal court.
Thinking of this, Chu Jinglan tightened the embrace of the delicate body in his arms even more. Whatever happens, he cannot expose Ye Huaiyang and Ye family to danger.
But the affairs of the world is as such that what you greatly fear will come upon you. Just as they were silently embracing each other, Yue’ya rushed over from the front yard with an extremely beautiful gold embossed invitation card.
“Young Miss, the Imperial Palace has just dispatched someone to send this over, saying that the Empress is inviting you into the palace this afternoon to view and enjoy the flowers.”
In this severely cold late winter, the white plums in the Imperial Garden have long withered and fallen, leaving only bare branches, so what is there to enjoy? The only reason for this was that they could not contain themselves seeing that she hasn’t reported to the palace for so long?
Knowing it’s not good to drag any longer, Ye Huaiyang took the invitation card and intended to go change her clothes in the room. Who knew, Chu Jinglan would suddenly tighten his hold which caused a burst of dull pain on her waist. She looked back and unexpectedly saw a flash of subtle turmoil that lurked within the depth of those dark serene eyes.
“Yang’er, I …”
A sleeve abruptly raised in mid-air, covering Chu Jinglan’s lips.
“Don’t say it. I do not want to hear it.”
She knew what Chu Jinglan wanted to say. Chu Zhenghe was their blood related first cousin whom Chu Sanghuai was still able to get his hands on even under such tight protection what’s more of her, whose position was just within his reach. It is like walking on a tightrope between cliffs whenever she enters the palace that a slightest mistake would lead to bone-crushing death. How can he agree for her to take such a big risk again under such circumstances?
Keeping her away from himself is the only way to ensure her absolute safety.
But how could Ye Huaiyang be willing? It was not easy for them to become close at all and act in tandem, she will never leave Chu Jinglan at this moment.
“Don’t worry, I’m merely going to report some incident to the Empress. Nothing will happen as I’m well aware of the situation.” Clinging on Chu Jinglan’s shoulders, she laughed lightly with a relaxed stance. “What’s more, I have not had enough of this good life yet, so how could I willingly leave you?”
Facing this appearance of hers, Chu Jinglan really could not do anything although he knew that her intentional glib was to pull a fast one, so he could only sigh deeply and say, “Yang’er, this is not a matter to be fooled around with.”
“I know. Don’t you trust the way I do things?” Ye Huaiyang smiled then stood on tiptoe and leaned close to his ear with enticement amidst her bewitching eyes, “When I come back tonight, let’s have a try at the beauty shower…”
After saying that, she slipped out of Chu Jinglan’s embrace, winking at him when she stood a few steps away. She then walked gracefully back to the room. Standing on the same spot, Chu Jinglan could neither smile nor frown. His heart is full to the brim with lingering love while the previous thought that swiftly flashed past had long been engulfed by the tide of love and no longer materialized.
Isn’t it easier said than done for him to let her go?
The haze has dispersed a little after the hour of weishi (1pm-3pm) while the round slanted sun shone on the west with thousand rays of golden light piercing through layers of clouds and spilling across mother earth, appearing to paint the wet bluestone road with specks of light. Though there is not much warmth, it does at least make people delightful to see it.
Ye Huaiyang entered the Imperial Palace at this moment.
After doused by misty rain, the gilded frivolous green East Phoenix Palace appeared more solemn and spectacular. When she reached outside the palace, a court lady came forward to lead the way. They then walked unhurriedly to the centre of the hall. Under their feet were white jade tiles engraved with patterns of subtle petals, which made the delicate court lady appear pure and refined when the gaiting small steps seemingly treaded on blossomed lotuses. She wondered how the Empress is like when she walks across.
To be able to sit steadfastly in the East Palace for so many years, the Empress must have had a bit of the uncommon means, too.
She arrived in the inner hall amidst her dimly discernible train of thoughts. Once the court lady retreated after making a curtsy, Ye Huaiyang stepped forward with her restrained gaze. She then performed the bowing ceremony towards the figure behind the heavy silk curtain but before the honorific title was called out, she was startled with terror by the silhouette of a brilliant gold robe appearing from behind the curtain.
This is not the Empress.
The breath which could not be breathed out nor swallowed was choked in her throat instantly. Within a few seconds, countless possibilities of that person appearing here drifted through her mind. The person has already arrived in front of her before everything could be clarified.
“Why, so unexpected to see Us that you are unable to perform the courtesy?”
Ye Huaiyang hurriedly bent over and lay on the jade floor tile then respectfully spoke, “Chenqie pays respect to Your Majesty.”
“Chenqie?” Chu Sanghuai raised his lips and smiled but the smile did not reach the bottom of his eyes. “You have quickly adapted to your status. It seems the life of Wangfei Lan is much better than those of the Ye family’s matriarch.”
Clenching her palms tightly, Ye Huaiyang tactfully proved her innocence, “Even if Chenqie is unwilling, she still cannot go beyond the rules and etiquette of the Imperial Palace. If she persists on such a shameful claim, she will offend Your Majesty and be guilty of a crime that deserves ten thousand deaths.”
The corners of Chu Sanghuai’s lips tucked up slightly and his long, narrow eyes fixed on her, moving from the high-coiled bun to the smooth forehead. After pausing for a few seconds, he suddenly said, “Raise your head and look at Us.”
Ye Huaiyang did as instructed but her phoenix eyes still hung low that faint gray shadows like lightly quivering feather fans cast below her long eyelashes.
“Why don’t you dare to look at Us?”
“Your Majesty’s prestige is sacred. Chenqie does not even have enough time to evade, how could Chenqie deserve to look directly?”
“Oh? Is that truly the case?” Chu Sanghuai’s voice rose slightly when he unexpectedly stepped forward to clamp on Ye Huaiyang’s lower jaw and lifted her head up abruptly, “Or is it because of guilty conscience that you do not dare to look at Us?”
Enduring the pain, Ye Huaiyang spoke softly, “Chenqie doesn’t understand …”
“Fine! We will explain it clearly. Why did Pei Yuanshu tell Us that King Lan also brought other forces when he captured and killed King Qiyang yet there was not a word mentioned in the letter that you sent to the Empress?”
His words were sharp, each word containing a cold sharpness that prickled numbness at people’s scalp. Those white creepy fingers stabbed Ye Huaiyang’s skin like ice prisms which froze up inch by inch as coldness spread along her blood, bringing sharp stinging pain.
Ye Huaiyang, however, did not fall for the trap. She knew Chu Sanghuai was probing her.
Not to mention that Pei Yuanshu agreed not to divulge his suspicion to Chu Sanghuai, even if he did not promise, both of them were by the mountain stream at that time and did not see the Shence Army at all. According to Pei Yuanshu’s impartiality and uprightness, he would not talk nonsense without basis. Thinking about this, Ye Huaiyang suddenly raised her eyes and feigned surprise as she said, “How is it possible?! Except for the shadow guards, Chenqie did not see anyone else at that time!”
“Is that so?” Remaining calm and composed, Chu Sanghuai caressed her satiny face and said with a sublime smile, “Then one of you must be lying.”
Ye Huaiyang resisted him stroking her face. Recalling that it was these hands that made Chu Zhenghe unconscious till now, her fury intensified even further yet her face was indifferently calm. She needed to keep her composure to deal with him perfunctorily.
“How could Chenqie dare to deceive Your Majesty about such an important matter? If Your Majesty does not believe, let Lord Pei come and confront Chenqie.”
The Emperor looked at her steadily when the thread of conversation charged all of a sudden, “You have taken quite an offence.”
With great alarm, Ye Huaiyang did not know how the emotion she utmostly tried to restrain could be discerned by him. At once, she felt he was unfathomable to the extreme. Her mind shifted at lightning speed. She understood any strong defence at this moment would only create a counterproductive effect; then it would be better to follow his words with the possibility of winning his confidence.
“Your Majesty surely has heard this verse: ‘don’t use someone that you doubt but fully trust the one you use.’ The rest of Chenqie’s life is ruined in King Lan’s hands and only wish to help you eradicate him as soon as possible to regain Chenqie‘s freedom. Yet you suspected Chenqie’s loyalty due to the very few words of Lord Pei, so how could Chenqie endure this? Is there anyone in the world who would deliberately sacrifice their reputation and trap themselves in this situation?”
The more she spoke, the more agitated she became while her anger could not be disguised either. She looked at Chu Sanghuai with an almost piercing gaze, which was regarded as treason and heresy. But who would have expected Chu Sanghuai to open his mouth and laugh. His voice was hoarsely low and gloomily cold, sounding like the dark tone of Hades that chilled the heart.
“That day was really a pretence when you wept beautifully in this hall.” He stroked her rosy neck slowly. A layer of thin ice seemed to cover every place he touched which made her snowy smooth skin tremble, “Fiery and forthright like the fire, this is the true colors of Ye Huaiyang.”
Ye Huaiyang raised her head gently at those words. Her eyes were calm but her heart was trembling violently. Yet before she could open her mouth, Chu Sanghuai spoke again.
“Regrettably, you used the wrong move at that time. We hate weeping and wailing women the most, the more you are like this, the more We will promise you to Chu Jinglan.”
He thought she was pretending to be weak in order to evoke their pity, thus avoiding the fate of marrying Chu Jinglan.
Ye Huaiyang secretly breathed a sigh of relief yet her spoken tone was even more unyielding, “Since Chenqie arbitrarily conjured such a thought, Chenqie is willing to accept this punishment. It’s useless to think about it as everything is already an accomplished fact. Chenqie will surely spare no effort to get rid of King Lan for Your Majesty and set things right.”
These words made the dragon’s heart of Chu Sanghuai extremely pleased. He seemingly didn’t expect that under the pressure and humiliation, Ye Huaiyang could still be so composed. She even viewed the situation so thoroughly and could actually blend in perfectly with his desire and devotion, accordingly this caused no ground for him to suspect her anymore.
“Ye Huaiyang, you are very smart and quite cunning. Why haven’t We noticed it before?”
Chu Sanghuai approached slowly, the tip of his nose almost touched her neck. Inexplicably, the faint scent of elegant orchid made her incomparably alluring. Remaining motionless, Ye Huaiyang’s hands were tightly clenched within her sleeves and pained her like the knife cut when nails sunk deeply into her palms.
Be patient, she must not fall short at this juncture.
“However, you must firmly bear in mind that these methods should not be used at the wrong place, otherwise, your Ye family will be the second Bai family.”
Trembling, she spat out a few words in a low voice, “Chenqie will keep Your Majesty’s instructions in mind.”
Satisfied, he released his hand but the vestige force of his palm caused Ye Huaiyang to fall on the ground. When she got up from the cold floor, the bright yellow figure was concealed by the curtain.
“Go back. There is no need for you to do anything presently. We want to personally have some fun with Our good younger brother.”
 We/Our (朕 – Zhèn) – used by a royal person in proclamations instead of I
 臣妾 (Chén qiè) – I, your servant (self-appellation of a lower-rank female)