The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 72
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 72 – Punishment
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarized.
Chu Sanghuai’s face was gloomy for a moment after receiving the news yet he did not return to the campsite immediately. Instead, he wandered around in the woods hunting a lot of prey before leisurely strutted his horse back half a day later. It was already nightfall and standing in front of the tent was a group of people who had been waiting for a long time, including Chu Jinglan, Xie Miao and Xie Yuan, as well as some guards and the palace attendants.
Except for Chu Jinglan, the faces of the others were not very good.
When Chu Sanghuai walked closer, everyone knelt down successively to pay their respects like cleaved bamboos and his line of sight was lowered suddenly. Appeared in front of him was the lifeless white-fronted tiger which impaled in the middle of its forehead a white feathered arrow with no other traces of struggle. Upon seeing this, the corners of Chu Sanghuai’s mouth hooked up slightly revealing a little cold profound smile.
“It has been a long time since We have seen Younger Brother draw a bow and unexpectedly it’s still this accurate.”
There were no ripples or billows on Chu Jinglan’s face when he spoke in a flat voice, “A trivial skill, this minister does not deserve your praise.”
“Younger Brother is too modest.” Chu Sanghuai walked over and pulled the arrow out to examine it in his hands for a while without letting them got up, “We remember back then the late emperor used to praise you for this too and you have also live up to the expectations, taking the beast’s head each time just like today.”
The blood gradually trickled out of the tiger’s forehead, staining the freshly budding grass. The fishy smell that assailed the nostrils was very unpleasant but no one cared to cover their noses. Even the palace attendants who stood silently with their heads hung low sensed another deep meaning of the Emperor’s words as they quietly raised their eyes to look at Chu Jinglan, waiting to see how he would respond.
The bright eyes of Chu Jinglan constricted slightly. As half of his face was shrouded in the shadow of the bonfire, his emotion was obscured and no one could discern clearly but the words out of his mouth were enunciated clearly.
“Your Majesty, this minister can’t remember much about the past. Taking the head of the beast today was by accident and not how superb this minister’s skills is.”
The harsh dense dark eyes of Chu Sanghuai were outlined with the slightly raised eyebrows. His entire person submerged into the night when he turned his body again when the lower hem of his clothes fluttered against the wind and the penetrated gloomy coldness was inexplicably chilling that even the fire could not iron out. Yet at this moment, the sound of kowtowing could be heard suddenly from the side which was so heavy that even the soil was somewhat indented.
“Reporting to Your Majesty, it was all caused by the carelessness of this humble minister who alarmed the tiger and even involved Wangye in a dangerous situation. This humble minister can’t escape the blame hence implore Your Majesty to penalize.”
The look of Xie Yuan, who was by the side, instantly became extremely ugly while both his hands clenched within the sleeves as he tried to hold back not to go forward and drag Xie Miao away.
This idiot, does he know what he is talking about? It does not matter if he takes the blame himself but don’t ever implicate the Xie family!
“So, speaking of it you are indeed guilty.” Chu Sanghuai turned around quietly yet his gaze was directed at Xie Yuan and spoke with a faint smile, “I wonder what Minister Xie deems should be done with your nephew?”
Xie Yuan’s heart thumped that he quickly ambled down and said, “This minister is apprehensive, my nephew almost killed Wangye and should be punished as a crime. No doubt this minister can’t bear it but the law of the land is in force and as a veteran official of two reigns who also received valued enlistment by the Emperor, how can this minister show partiality in such matters? But my nephew’s fault has a great deal to do with my failure to teach him well, so this minister asked Your Majesty to be fair and allow this minister to suffer on my nephew’s behalf.”
After saying that, he kowtowed and crouched down without getting up.
Xie Miao’s expression did not change after listening to these words but his eyes gradually sank.
Xie Yuan’s words sounded grand and righteous. Those who did not know the inside story would believe he is a person of integrity and cherish the junior members of his family but in actuality, he is not. The first reaction of a normal person is usually to exonerate the crime for the junior and even if they can’t, they must try their best to reduce the punishment. He, however, did not argue for Xie Miao at all in his whole statement, instead he determined the crime of Xie Miao’s recklessness to do harm and the last sentence was very much a superficial one – if the Emperor is really fair, how would he be allowed to suffer on Xie Miao’s behalf?
After all, he is an old fox who is cunning to the extreme.
The few people present basically knew fairly well but no one exposed him. Chu Sanghuai was even more stirred up by the sense of excitement. He was then seen putting and wavering the arrow in his hand on Xie Miao’s shoulder where the sharp-edged of the metal arrowhead rubbed back and forth on Xie Miao’s carotid artery as if it might cut open the skin where frantic blood would gush out at any time, making the fine hairs of those who watched stood up.
“Minister Qie has a point there but We feel that since Younger Brother is fine, there is no need to punish him severely.” Chu Sanghuai turned his head to look at the tiger then seemingly came up with an unexpected idea and spoke with a relaxed smile, “This way then, this tiger is originally a trophy that younger brother should receive, but the skin is tainted with soaking blood which is already useless. Why not let Xie Miao make up a skin for younger brother.”
The combination of this statement and his actions immediately startled Xie Yuan that cold sweat covered his entire body — is it possible he is going to skin Xie Miao?
He was not to be blamed to think so. Previously a little eunuch accidentally broke a vase in the imperial study room and his flesh was cut off precisely while he was still alive until he died. There were also many other cruel punishments similar to branding with red-hot metal or death by dismembering the body which could be regarded as not novel. After all, the imperial harem has always been dark and Xie Yuan has never minded even when he heard it. He did not expect at all that it would actually be used on the frontline minister now and immediately felt a little anxious. If others are to know his nephew has been meted out with death penalty in front of him while he fails to stop it, how can he still muddled along in the royal court from now on?
Within the flash of lightning, Xie Yuan spoke sharply without much thought, “Your Majesty, please …”
“Your Majesty, since this minister accidentally shot this white-fronted tiger, this minister naturally dares not ask for any prize. As Your Majesty’s pleasure has been disturbed and knowing myself is guilty, asking Your Majesty to punish this minister instead.
The calm voice of Chu Jinglan rang out in everyone’s ears, as clear as the cutting wind and resoundingly powerful. Xie Miao could not help but raise his eyes to look, only to see his awe-inspiring appearance like facing the hundreds feet abyss without a slightest fear. Unconsciously, his state of mind became solemnly calm too. Just when he was about to plead his guilt again, Chu Sanghuai threw the arrow to the side with his lips curled.
“What’s the matter here? Each and everyone of you is coming forth to plead your guilt, was it not just killing a tiger?”
The three of them did not speak whilst the stifling silence permeated the vast lawn.
Chu Sanghuai’s smile became even more profound as he looked at them for a long time and said, “How about this, We will think of a compromise for you guys. The reckless behavior of Xie Miao has harmed a royal kinsman, so his official rank will be downgraded two levels while Younger Brother has been subjected to fright by this, it will be better to recuperate properly at home and recently not to have participated in political governing.”
The air seemed to have ceased flowing. Xie Miao’s face stiffened slightly but Chu Jinglan was actually expressionless. They were about to kowtow to express their gratitude when Chu Sanghuai spoke again.
“Oh yes, the trophy still has to be claimed, otherwise it will not be appropriate.” He snapped his fingers to summon two palace attendants and instructed, “Go get two crystal cups and fill each with the tiger blood for Wangye and Lord Xie to rid off their bad luck, so as to save them bumping again into this sightless beast during the hunt a few days later.”
The two men were vaguely transfixed before they kowtowed immediately to express their gratitude, “Thank you, Your Majesty for your kindness.”
Wanting them to drink blood in front of so many underlings was already a naked humiliation yet it was still indispensable to express their gratitude because this was already considered the best outcome.
Chu Sanghuai watched as both of them drank up the cup of stinking tiger blood. The long and narrow eyes of his shone slightly whilst a wisp of sublime smile slipped out from the corner of his lips at the same time. He then directly went to lift the tent and entered with a somewhat carefree gaits.
Xie Yuan also rose to his feet and looked profoundly at Xie Miao before leaving immediately without saying a word.
The remaining two people were regarded to have a narrow escape yet their expressions were different. Xie Miao turned to look at Chu Jinglan, trying to find some clues on his face but Chu Jinglan just indifferently waved his sleeves and went away without even having a brief eye contact with him.
The twilight was getting denser and the round moon was suspending high while Yu Lan Hall was still brightly lit.
Not knowing how many loops Ye Huaiyang had walked in the room and just when the floor tiles were about to be trampled by her, the sound of door bolt turning was finally heard from outside that she hurriedly rushed out and bumped into a familiar chest.
“Don’t panic.” Chu Jinglan’s voice wavered heavily yet reassuringly from the top of her head, “I’m back.”
Ye Huaiyang’s heart was back in place. She could not help taking a few deep breaths before suddenly noticing the smell of blood that she bent down at once and vomited. With his eyebrows wrinkled, Chu Jinglan summoned Yue’ya immediately to take care of her while he quickly went back to the room to wash up.
“Wasn’t you fine in the evening, so why are you vomiting again?” Pinching the silk handkerchief, Yue’ya wiped away the filth then turned sideways and brought her a cup of warm water to rinse her mouth. Intense anxiety was still between her eyebrows, “Young Miss, you aren’t pregnant, right?”
A thin shadow stopped its tracks immediately in the corridor.
“Don’t talk nonsense.” Ye Huaiyang scolded softly, her voice was a little weak.
“Why don’t you let Physician Lu take a look at you. How can you keep holding on like this…”
Ye Huaiyang did not say a word. Straightening up, she walked in as she evidently wondered if Chu Jinglan was fine. Yue’ya pouted when she saw this but she could do nothing about it, so she just packed up to go out and closed the door tightly.
With the sound of splashing water, Chu Jinglan emerged then came out from the bathing pool and just wrapped casually in silk clothes while droplets of water still dripped on his chest. Ye Huaiyang then walked over and buried herself in his arms. Without a care of getting her face wet, she rubbed against his chest just to smell the refreshing soap scent which eased her mind a lot.
“Are you hurt somewhere?”
Recalling the smell of blood just now, Ye Huaiyang opened up his clothes to look around but her hands were caught and pressed on his chest as he spoke in a low voice, “No, it’s just the beast’s blood.”
“That’s good.” Her tense nerves finally relaxed. Only then did her legs and feet felt sore while her whole body was weak.
Chu Jinglan knew she must have been very anxious, so he simply took her to sit down beside the round side table then reached out to stroke her back to let her calm down slowly.
“What actually was going on today? How did you run into that tiger? Did Xie Miao attract it?”
Once her mind calmed down a little, Ye Huaiyang questioned endlessly like continuous firing. Chu Jinglan only answered concisely after he had kissed to soothe her up, “Xie Miao is just a scapegoat. The hidden malign manipulator is someone else who is coming after me.”
“Then … Chu Sanghuai just let you guys off the hook?”
Chu Jinglan smiled as if nothing had happened while caressing her satiny cheek, “Xie Miao is demoted and I also need not participate in the political governing recently.”
Ye Huaiyang raised her elegant eyebrows with traces of anger spilled out of her eyes when she seemingly thought of something all of a sudden then promptly took out a nail-cap-sized paper ball from her sleeve and placed it in Chu Jinglan’s palm as she said, “Tianqi Restaurant just delivered the news, take a look quickly.”
Unfolding the paper ball for a look, the pupils of Chu Jinglan’s eyes constricted slightly before he chuckled and said, “Help truly rendered in the nick of time.”
“Of course. Would anyone under me can’t do their job well?” Ye Huaiyang smiled proudly then narrowed her phoenix eyes immediately, “Should Qingfeng there take action?”
Chu Jinglan nodded in silence.
 We/Our (朕 – Zhèn) – used by a royal person in proclamations instead of I