The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 78

Translated by: Oinkoink

Chapter 78 – False Alarm

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The moonlight illuminated the earth like white silk. Amidst the silence and stillness of the night, vaguely infrequent voices were heard in a corner of Yuntai Palace.

“What? Lost track of them?”

“Reporting to Niang-niang[1], there were too, too many people on the street. Once those two peoples turned around the corner, they just, just disappeared …” The black-clad man stammered in reply with slightly trembling beads of sweat suspending on his entire forehead.

“Trash! Can’t even keep your eyes on two people, what use does Bengong[2] want all of you for?” The Empress was extremely furious that merely the wide sleeve embroidered with golden phoenix wings was seen unfolded as it swept over the fine china tea set, followed closely by an ear-splitting shattering sound. Surrounded by a cadre of servants who either related or not to this matter, all knelt down uniformly, wishing they could bury their bodies in the ground.

The grand court lady, Jinxiu, who had been listening silently by the side now lifted her head and spoke softly, “Please calm down, Niang-niang. If there is a way to prove that these two persons are King Lan and Wangfei Lan, then it will be considered a lost cause.”

Hearing what was said, the Empress narrowed her eyes slowly then turned to ask the black-clad man, “Did you see the face of one of them?”

“No.” The black-clad man’s voice became even lower, nearly plummeting to the dust, “There is a ghost festival parade in Fengdu tonight. Everyone was wearing a mask but just by looking at the body shape, they do resemble …”

“Absurd! There are plenty of people with similar body shapes in this world. How can Bengong know if you had not trailed the wrong person? What if this is spread out and counter charged by Chu Jinglan, do Bengong and the Emperor still want our prestige!” Over and over again, the Empress rebuked angrily while her sharp slender finger almost poked the black-clad man’s face yet in the interval of a few seconds, she suddenly thought of something and halted her movement, “Bengong asks you, when did you lost track of them?”

“Half quarter past haishi (9pm-11pm).”

As the gong resounded whenever it was haishi (9pm-11pm) in the city, the black-clad man remembered it very clearly. They entered the alley shortly after the gong sounded, only to realize that the two persons had disappeared.

Sweeping her gaze towards the water clock, the Empress seemed to be calculating when her eyes unexpectedly brightened a moment later.

“If those two people are really Chu Jinglan and Ye Huaiyang, their journey by foot cannot be as swift as yours and might not have returned to Yulan Hall at this moment. Go immediately to Spring Courtyard to look for the Emperor’s father-in-law and tell him to falsely claim that there are burglaries in the courtyard then ask Zhang Chi, the deputy commander of the Imperial Guards to search the palace. Also send people to guard the foot of the mountain. Once their whereabouts are found, bring the persons immediately to Yuntai Palace for Bengong!”

“Yes, this subordinate obeys your command!”

With quick steps, the black-clad man went out and disappeared in a flash meanwhile the hall fell into silence. Jinxiu looked down and contemplated for a moment before speaking softly again.

Niang-niang, the Emperor there, do you need to …”

It was fine if this was not mentioned but once it was brought up, the Empress’ face sank and she coldly interrupted her words, “Wait until there is definite evidence so as to avoid Bengong from being blamed for disturbing his pleasure!”

As the saying goes, the delicate flowers all over the palace can be kept off but not the overgrown weeds outside of the palace. Chu Sanghuai has not visited Yuntai Palace for quite a few days. At this very moment, he is probably entangling and finding heavenly pleasure with the Shu[3] daughter of a prominent family whom he recently fancies, not knowing how happy he is now. No matter how intolerable the Empress felt about this, she would still be unlikely to disturb his joyous occasion at this moment. Not only will she receive a reputation for being envious, she might also attract the wrath of thunder.

Jinxiu naturally knew the severity of this, so she persuaded her tactfully, “Then why don’t you go back and rest for a while on the couch, they probably still have to search for a while more and once there is any progress, Nubi[4] will wake you up.”

The Empress is currently pregnant and indeed unable to continue holding out at this hour. So, she just let herself be supported into the inner room to rest.

The night was gradually getting deeper while heavy fog filled the top of the mountain. There was chaos within the ten steps radius which circumstances were unclear. However, the sound of armors’ frictions was getting louder at this moment.

The deputy commander of the Imperial Guards, Zhang Chi, has always been on friendly terms with the Wang family, so as soon as Wang Jian gave words, he immediately led his men to Yulan Hall at frightening speed and arrived in just merely a quarter of an hour. Standing still in front of the Hall, he let his soldier bang on the front door.

“Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock—”

Come to speak of it, today is the Ghost Festival and it’s now middle of the night. The heavy muffled sound seemed abrupt and terrifying. Not knowing if the servant who kept watch at night was frightened as there was no astir sound for a long time. Zhang Chi became impatient that he personally stepped forward to knock hard on the door twice and spoke with his voice raised, “Imperial Guard is here to search, open the door now!”

It took a long time for an extremely timid voice which was muted like a mosquito to came out from inside the courtyard, “Who is outside who actually has the audacity to make a racket here in the middle of the night and what should the crime be for disturbing the quiet dreams of Wangye and Wangfei?”

The words were meant to condemn, yet the effect was lost due to the inferior momentum of the voice. Zhang Chi revealed a disdainful smile when he heard that and continued to shout in his hoarse voice, “Spring Courtyard has been burgled and someone had seen the culprit coming this way. For safety’s sake, requesting Wangye and Wangfei to cooperate!”

There was another moment of silence inside but straining the ears, a few guards seemingly with high martial arts skills were heard coming over and the person who answered back had immediately turned into a man.

“Boldly ask if your lordship is here by decree to search?”

Zhang Chi choked and realized at once that this person was not easy to deal with, so he snorted heavily, “The defense inside and outside the vacation palace is originally the responsibility of our Imperial Guard and now, there is a burglar who should be caught and dealt with. If even such a small matter within the duty needs the instructions of the Emperor, wouldn’t it be disturbing the monarch intentionally?”

“Then please forgive this humble one for not being able to open the door. Yulan Hall is the residence of Wangye which is within the ninth-ranked official rules. No one can trespass unless with the Emperor’s imperial decree.”

“You–” Zhang Chi did not expect him to bring up the monarchy rules that his face immediately turned ashen.

The person who spoke was none other than Lu Heng, who held the post of an imperial physician in the Imperial Palace for quite some time and have long been familiar with these complicated palace rules, so it was effortless dealing with them. Coupled with his calm voice, it gave others a sense of composure which was hard to refute.

Yet the more he was like this, the more dubious Zhang Chi felt. Watching helplessly that he had dawdled for a while here, he was afraid it was inappropriate to delay any longer and must go in as soon as possible. Thinking of this, he gave a meaningful glance at the soldier next to him and said to Lu Heng, “Since Wangye is not cooperating, then this commander can only order people to force open the door. Once the burglar is found, this commander will apologize to Wangye!”

After the words faltered, seven to eight soldiers bearing a log on their shoulders forcibly slammed the door. The force of the blow was not small as a subtle splitting sound immediately resounded from the horizontal door beam. Lu Heng’s face changed slightly, promptly signalling the shadow guards to come over to brace the door while he himself took a few steps back and looked into the courtyard, as if looking for something anxiously.

“Give me more force!” Zhang Chi ordered loudly, seemingly determined to win.

Another violent impact where an obvious jagged crack appeared on the horizontal beam while the shadow guards were on the verge of not being able to ward off anymore.

Damn it!

Lu Heng cursed inwardly. Then without care about the situation behind, he raised his foot and rushed to the direction of the bedroom but who knew he ran into someone at the corner and saw that it was actually Yue’ya when he drew the person back.

“Physician Lu, it’s all done!”

Although these words were somewhat without rhyme or reason, Lu Heng’s face shone brightly like the cold front on the edge of the moon, distance yet sharp. He then walked back without the slightest hesitation. The moment his steps stopped in front of the door, only a crack sound was heard as the door beam broke into two while the imperial armies rushed in with clatters.

“My apologies.” Zhang Chi nodded his lower jaw at him then shouted loudly, “Search!”

Lu Heng stood still on the same spot and looked at him, his eyes were indecipherably gloomy.

With the sound of metal grating against each other, a dozen or so imperial guards instantly rushed into the inner courtyard, seemingly looking for the burglar yet moving towards the bedroom without leaving a trace. At this moment, the door in the middle opened all of a sudden and standing under the eaves of the staggering light and shadow was a tall figure with his hands clasped behind his back whose whole body was emitting bitter coldness.

“Impudent! Who gave all of you the nerve to actually dare barging into this King’s bed chamber”

Walking behind, Zhang Chi’s face changed dramatically hearing this voice. He took two to three strides into the courtyard. As soon as he saw the cold jade-like face of Chu Jinglan, cold sweat oozed out at once.

Unexpectedly, King Lan was really here …

Before he was allowed to ponder, Chu Jinglan had already taken a step towards him. Like an acute sharp cold blade out of its sheath, the imperceptible massive pressure shrouded above his head stifled every inch of his body.

“This King is asking you a question. What should the crime be for trespassing into Yulan Hall?”

Zhang Chi trembled and replied involuntarily, “There are burglars roaming about in the palace, this humble official is here … “

“You came to this King’s bedchamber to capture the burglars.” Chu Jinglan’s black eyes narrowed slightly as his furiousness was even more obvious. Zhang Chi merely felt like being scraped by the ice blade where amid the coldness spread subtle fear. He opened his mouth to explain when an exquisite female voice abruptly cut into the condensed atmosphere.

“Hmph, what a rotten place that even a domesticated dog of anyone can charge in.”

Zhang Chi turned his head to look. Ye Huaiyang was standing at the door of the room on the left with clothes draped over her shoulders. Her delicate face was noticeably languid as if she had just been woken up by some noises but the words she spoke were full of sarcasm which not only targeted him but was aiming more at Chu Jinglan.

“You say it again!”

Obviously discerning what had been said too, Chu Jinglan turned to launch an attack at Ye Huaiyang but who knew she was not the least bit scare at all. Sneering at him, she turned to enter the room when the hint of disdain that flashed in her eyes was clearly seen by Zhang Chi.

The people outside have been saying that the affection of these two is bad and he finally has the enlightenment today. Not only were they sleeping in separate rooms, there were not even concessions talking to each other. That Young Miss of Ye family is relying on her family’s power to straddle on top of King Lan’s head, acting atrociously without scruples which really caused him to gasp in amazement.

Let them be as these are not important. Lord Wang had asked him to take a look if these couples were in Yulan Hall and he had the answer already. He must think of a way to extricate himself as soon as possible, it will not be good if this disturbance reaches the Emperor. Thinking of this, he quickly knelt down on one knee and apologized humbly to Chu Jinglan, “Wangye, this humble official was reckless and had disturbed your rest, requesting you to pardon my offence.”

Chu Jinglan flicked his sleeves abruptly and said, “You barged in so disrespectfully and wanted to cover it up with just a word of disturbance?”

Dripping with cold sweat, Zhang Chi momentarily regretted greatly of his impatience for barging in. He merely thought about catching them in the act so as to report back to Wang Jian but he did not expect Chu Jinglan to be really in the hall and it’s not easy to clean this up now.

“Wangye, this humble official …”

“Take your people and get out of this King’s sight.” Chu Jinglan glared at him coldly, as if sharp prongs interspersed in his line of sight that stabbed him painfully. “This King will settle the whole account with you at the Emperor’s place early tomorrow morning!”

“ … Yes, this humble official will take my leave.” Zhang Chi gritted his teeth and retreated. In a flash, the dark armors that stained with the remnant light of darkness immediately camouflaged into the night.

The imperial guards came and went in a hurry as they retreated from Yulan Hall like the ebbing tide. Once the heavy closing of the courtyard door was heard, Chu Jinglan’s dark eyes flashed where he turned around and stepped into the room on the left. The moment he entered the door, a nimble and delicate body pounced into his arms. He stroked that cold spine in passing and placated her with softly spoken warm words.

“It is fine now, don’t be afraid.”

Ye Huaiyang shook her head gently and whispered, “I’m not afraid of Chu Sanghuai killing me. I’m just afraid that I can’t continue to be by your side.”

“Don’t give way to foolish thoughts.” Chu Jinglan kissed the top of her hair then spoke in a warm and soothing voice, “With your husband here, he can’t touch you.”

[1]  娘娘 (Niáng niáng) – a kind of respect for women in Chinese . It is generally used to address queens , concubines , princesses and other royal and aristocratic women.

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

[3] 庶 (Shù) – children borned from concubines

[4] 奴婢 (Núbì)  – this servant / self-address of female maidservant

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