The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 7

Translated by: Oinkoink

Chapter 7 – Interrogation

In the dead of the night, a quiet shadow flashed into Pingyang Palace in a rush.

As the saying goes, after the autumn rain comes the coldness. The green bricks leading to the front of the palace had yet to dry when the cold wind had already swiftly arrived lifted up those layers of the satin dr*pes hanging in the middle of the palace and also mischievously swayed the small flames of the golden branch lamp which immediately obscured the silhouette of a graceful figure.

A woman sat in front of the bronze mirror under the lamp with one hand holding an ivory comb while the other stroking her silky black hair. Her bearing was gentle and graceful with a picturesque appearance. Standing next to her, a personal palace maid was serving her in removing the hairpin and earrings. It seemed she was about to retire for the night. The door was suddenly pushed open gently when another palace maid squeezed through with quick steps. She walked to the front of the woman and whispered a few words into her ear that made the woman immediately knitted her brows.

“Let her in.”

“Yes, niang-niang[1].”

The palace maid bowed then went out and returned with a gauntly middle-aged woman following behind with brisk strides and appeared shrewd. Though her arrival this late at night was definitely bringing forth urgent matters yet once she was inside the palace, her steps were unhurried and didn’t seem anxious to report the matter. Instead she performed the proper ceremony first. From the look of it, she must have been someone who had gone through many years of arduous hardship in the palace.

“Nubi[2] has seen the Imperial Noble Consort.”

“Forego the formalities.” Bai Zhixuan turned to face her. She was still charming even without make-up on her face but her brows were tightly knitted, “Aunt Hong, what important matter had happened for you to come so late at night? Did Zihao stir up trouble again?”

“This has nothing to do with the third young master. It’s the patriarch who sent someone to deliver a message letting me inform niang-niang immediately tonight.” Saying this, Aunt Hong slightly lowered her head and whispered four words, “The mission had failed.”

Bai Zhixuan’s eyes turned cold. She suddenly slammed the table and stood up. The ivory comb in her hand snapped in two once it was knocked on the white jade narrow table, “What did you just say? Failed again?”

Aunt Hong nodded her head seriously.

The atmosphere unexpectedly turned stagnant and the air had also become thin. Bai Zhixuan’s bewilderment gradually shifted to sullen. Her chest unceasingly undulated before she spat some words out after a while, “Thirty top assassins were unable to take down one King Lan manor. Simply useless!”

“Niang-niang, there was a mishap this time. Who would have expected Ye family to be next door and take part in ….”

“Needless to say!” All of a sudden, Bai Zhixuan raised her hand as she simply didn’t want to hear these excuses. She directly picked the most significant question to ask, “Did they capture anyone?”

Aunt Hong shook her head lightly, “According to the report, the shadow guards had hurled all the assassins’ bodies outside of the city after the assassination was defeated. They have checked. There were exactly thirty corpses and all were our own people.”

Bai Zhixuan exhaled a mouthful of heavy breath while her heart slightly felt at peace. She waved her hand after she pondered for a while, “Go back to the Bureau of Shang, Bengong[3] will have my own stratagem about this matter.”

Aunt Hong knew she must be very upset at this moment and it was indeed unsuitable for her to stay any longer. This was to avoid getting caught by people with ulterior motives who might use this to make a fuss in front of the Queen Mother. Hence, she complied as she bowed and retreated. Two palace maids surrounded her after Aunt Hong left the palace. They were both  confidants that Bai Zhixuan brought with her from the Bai family. Both faces were showing anxieties after they had heard about the matter.

“Niang-niang, what’s to be done now? If the news of our failure is once again spread to the Emperor…” Before she could finish the sentence, a sharp slap swung over that made her realise the slip off her tongue and she hurriedly kept quiet.

“Shut up! You have entered the palace with Bengong for six years, yet you are getting all the more regress! If you still have a loose tongue once you leave Pingyang Palace, Bengong will certainly not keep you!”

Liu’er knelt down with a pale face and repeatedly cried out to niang-niang to spare her life. Bai Zhixuan was getting irritated looking at her and just dismissed everyone out. The room became quiet once the palace door was closed. She wearily kneaded her forehead and leaned prone on the white jade narrow table with her bright eyes half closed while her elegant brows frowned.

Dad, this move you took that year was now truly pushing your daughter to a dead end….

Bai Zhixuan couldn’t help but involuntarily shuddered when she pondered over this. She felt a faint pain on her chest where shocking marks of bluish specks were revealed on her jade-white smooth and soft skin when she lifted the lapel of her top.

At this moment, untimely sounds transmitted through from outside the door, “The Emperor has arrived___”

Bai Zhixuan was startled, she swiftly fixed her clothes and faced the mirror. She put on a smile before gently going to greet the Emperor. She would have to consider her plan tomorrow as she had no time to think about the matter which was weighing her down.

Outside of the imperial city, King Lan manor was also as bright as Pingyang Palace at this moment.

The woodshed in the backyard had temporarily been converted into a prison cell where the smell of blood would assail the nostrils if one was passing through the door. Looking along the bloodstain, a person was actually trussed up on the beam of the rooftop with his head hanging down that his face was not clearly seen and continuous strenuous breathing sounds could be heard.

“It’s been two hours and still not divulging. This fellow is really tough.”

Tang Qingfeng was holding a flexible whip and retreated a few steps. While he was preparing to dip it into the salty water to lash again, Lu Heng walked over to ward off his hand as he spoke with a smile, “Shouldn’t say he didn’t divulge. Didn’t he already admit to accepting Ye family’s instruction?”

“If so, why isn’t Physician Lu tied me up and sent me to Yamen[4] in the capital city immediately?”

An agile and cold female’s voice was heard from the corner. Ye Huaiyang was unblinkingly staring at him when Lu Heng turned to look. Though there was none whatsoever wrathfulness visible yet her presence was full of arrogance and overbearingness simply unlike a little girl of eighteen. Chu Jinglan was seated next to her. He intermittently whisked the small teacup with a serene look that nobody could perceive what was on his mind.

“Miss Ye, you mustn’t speak as such.” Lu Heng raised the lower hem of his gown and walked towards the side to take a seat. He calmly contented her, “Wangye allows you to participate in this interrogation simply giving you an opportunity to prove your innocence.  As you can see, no matter the soft or the tough methods that we used, this fellow keeps insisting it’s the Ye family. So, how can we just simply trust you, right?”

Ye Huaiyang nonchalantly smiled, but the words she said were impaled with sharpness without the slightest bit of mercy.

“I’ve heard that Physician Lu’s medical skill was once superior to the Imperial Academy of Medicine. When I saw your skill in carrying out the facial surgery on the fake corpse today, I have only just realized that the rumors are not fake, yet I didn’t expect you to have such an adept speech too. You unfortunately didn’t handle this distinctly. The reason he kept implicated me was because you didn’t used the precise method of torture. Once the precise method is used, he will naturally speak the truth.” She turned her head and softly called out after she finished the words, “Ci Yuan.”

Ci Yuan comprehended without explicitly being told. He immediately walked over to the assassin but was hastily stopped by Tang Qingfeng, “This doesn’t conform to the rules.”

Though he did feel the genuine sincerity of the other party when Ci Yuan joined hands aiding the confrontation with the enemies, yet principally he still couldn’t allow him to approach the assassin. After all this was the only lead for them to find out the culprit behind this and should there be any mishap, no one could afford to shoulder this responsibility.

Ye Huaiyang didn’t care about him, instead she directly turned to face Chu Jinglan and stated, “Wangye, I, Ye Huaiyang always do what I say. If this assassin loses his life in my hands today, you can deal with me however you desire.”

Chu Jinglan put down the small teacup with a slight smile, “Ye family is rich and powerful. But despite everything still sending assassins to assassinate this lone King that probably no one will believe even if this matter is to be announced in His Majesty’s presence. The confession of this assassin actually is insignificant to this King as well as Miss Ye’s assurance too.”

Once he finished his words, his right hand swept the lid of the teacup off though unseemingly without any strength but in an instant, it pierced through the air. From the point of view, it actually appeared to be aiming for the neck of the assassin as it hoveringly whirled out!

Ye Huaiyang was alarmed and without a second thought, she threw herself forward where the  complexion of those few people simultaneously transformed.

“Young Miss!”

“Miss Ye!”

Tang Qingfeng and Ci Yuan dashed over from both sides thinking to pull Ye Huaiyang who was in front of the assassin towards them. Who would have expected, they were both restricted by the other party’s actions that Ye Huaiyang nevertheless didn’t move a fraction at all. Within these few brief seconds, the strong wind was already drawing closer when a single passing whizz sound was heard as the flitting teacup lid scratched the neck of Ye Huaiyang before it collided onto the wall then dropping to the ground in pieces.

Ci Yuan merely felt his heart stopped beating for a moment as he rushed forward in large strides to support Ye Huaiyang without any care for etiquette. He immediately grabbed and raised her lower jaw to carefully examine her neck after wiping off the bloodstain. Under the brightness of the candlelight he didn’t make a sound for a while but was in fact felt extremely tense.

“I’m fine.”

A soft low voice was heard from his bosom and Ci Yuan instantly felt relieved before letting go of his hand. Soon, a soft tender hand came up where she borrowed his strength to pull herself up slowly.

Though the wound was not deep, traces of blood still flowed out nonstop but Ye Huaiyang didn’t wipe it off, instead just letting it drip onto her lapels. In addition to the previous abrasions on her arms, her entire clothes was now stained with blood. She lowered her head to look when her pink lips slightly perked up that under everyone’s astonished gazes, she walked to Chu Jinglan’s side before pressing closer the side of his face and whispered, “Wangye, you’ve already seen both of my lifetime’s most embarrassing moments.”

Both?

Chu Jinglan acutely caught that word but before he was able to figure it out, he saw her agilely turned around and said, “Ci Yuan, get to work.”

Ci Yuan didn’t reply but abruptly walked to the side of the assassin then stood still. Silvery light flashed from his hand. Ten long needles as thick as the ox’s hair instantly plunged into the joints before the assassin bursted out an inhuman howl. His eyes rolled back with the excruciating pain but before he almost passed out, Ci Yuan unexpectedly pulled the needles out. The assassin slowly took a breath that his forehead continuously oozed out beads of sweats seemingly like he was fished out from the water and feebly hanging from the beam.

Lu Heng finally understood why Ye Huaiyang had said they didn’t used the precise torture method when he saw this excruciating torture but such method would surely liable putting a person to death. Just when he wanted to get up to stop the torture, he realised Chu Jinglan hadn’t utter a single word.

He had tacitly consented.

Lu Heng frowned. He wondered if Ye Huaiyang’s action of desperately fighting to shield the life of the assassin had caused Chu Jinglan to lower his guard. Ci Yuan nevertheless didn’t stop his action when he started another round of torture. Their ears were once again pierced with the blood-curdling scream which tingled their heads.

Ye Huaiyang didn’t speak too. She just stood next to Chu Jinglan and looked at Ci Yuan’s work, neither stopping nor extorting a confession seemingly just for the sake of causing torment to the assassin. Tang Qingfeng stared fixedly from the side but inwardly he felt somewhat crumbling.

It was really doubtable to get a confession from the assassin this way!

He however completely underestimated Ci Yuan’s skill. This was merely the starter.  The moment those needles dug into the lower jaw and the temples of the assassin, his fortitude fell apart just like the flood breaching through the dam that there would no longer be any turning back once it was out of control.

“Stop, stop… I beg you…”

Ci Yuan extracted half of the needles while the other half were still left within the body of the assassin, “Speak, who ordered you to assassinate Wangye and framed the Ye family?”

The assassin’s lips quivered as he feebly spat out a name. Though the voice was very weak, it was still clearly transmitted to the ears of everyone present.

“Bai…Xizhi…”

Ye Huaiyang’s face turned frosty after she had heard what was said. She involuntarily clenched her fists. For someone who rarely showed her emotions in front of others, she actually didn’t hide her intention to kill.

Goddamn this Bai family! Harmed him six years ago and now still wanted to do it again. I will definitely not let you off!

After much deliberation, she suddenly turned around and stood in front of Chu Jinglan with clear and bright eyes. Her every word was eloquently spoken with mouthfuls of resolution, “Wangye, I want to collaborate with you.”

Chu Jinglan looked at her closely as he observed every detail. He asked only after a long time, “What kind of collaboration?”

“Getting rid of Bai Shi together.”

She had spoken in a soft voice, however the words she had spoken were earth-shaking. Lu Heng who didn’t say a word for a long time, finally couldn’t help but to cut in, “Miss Ye, even if the assassin had given Bai family up but this doesn’t mean we can trust you.”

“It doesn’t matter. Wangye can take the time to think over it as I am not in a hurry.”

Ye Huaiyang pulled back the silk wrap which unknowingly was wrapped around Chu Jinglan’s body before she gracefully strolled out. She even turned her head to glance at Chu Jinglan with sparkling starry eyes that reflected his appearance in the dark.


[1] Niáng-niáng (娘娘) – mainly to express a respect. For example: the honour of the ancient harem.

[2] Núbì (奴婢) – this servant 

[3] Běngōng (本宮) – the self-proclaimed master of the palace in ancient times.

[4] Yámén (衙門) – official government responsible for hearing cases.

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