Let Me Pursue You – Chapter 27
Yuan Ci Xian walked slowly with weak legs, and when she heard him follow, she turned around and said, “Assistant Minister Lu, please don’t tell others that I was frightened by a snake. They all say that the tiger father has no dog daughter, this matter can make my father lose face.”
Lu Shi Qing stood half a step behind, glanced at her, and said nothing.
She turned her head away embarrassedly, but barely took two steps, she heard a faint voice behind her: “Lu is not your esteemed brother, grabbing people’s weaknesses and won’t let go.”
Yuan Ci Xian understood in an instant that Lu Shi Qing was talking about her brother grabbing his weakness and scaring him with dog over and over again.
She smiled sheepishly: “This matter is indeed my brother who’s not right. I have already told him a long time ago. Don’t worry, with me, Yuan Ci Xian, here, no one in Chang’an city dares to bully…”
She was turning her head to look at Lu Shi Qing when she said this, but before the words finished, there happened to be some steps in front of her, and suddenly her feet were empty. She stumbled but fortunately able to stand firm.
Lu Shi Qing knew what she was unable to finish, and sighed: “You should take care of yourself first.”
She pouted: “Then you walked behind me but did not warn me of.”
Just now Lu Shi Qing’s mind was also wandering, so he didn’t pay attention to her feet. Hearing this, he glanced at her and finally walked a step faster.
Yuan Ci Xian was happy to walk side by side with him, and when she was happy, she became radiant: “Don’t underestimate me, I am not timid, I’m just afraid of snakes. It’s all started because of the unrest in Yaozhou. The prince’s mansion has not yet been completed, the city was full of rioters, so I had to live in the wild with my father and mother for a while. My luck is not good, I step on snakes every few days, and one time, I even ran into one that crawled into my bed!”
Lu Shi Qing froze slightly, and blurted out: “Male snake?”
She was taken aback. What does it matter if it’s male or female? He seems to miss the important point.
She said: “It’s already good that I didn’t faint from fright, how do I know if it’s a male or a female? What happened if it’s male snake?”
Lu Shi Qing quickly realized that he seemed to have overreacted, “Oh”, and said, “I heard that male snake more likely to bite people.”
“Really?” She looked at him suspiciously, “So, that one just now…”
Yuan Ci Xian paused in the middle of speaking, clutching her stomach.
Still couldn’t recall it. The previous fainting was not all due to the snake, it was also because of Zheng Zhuo’s terrifying swordsmanship, seeing the snake’s body cut in two, its head broken and its bones smashed to a bloody mess, she couldn’t bear it.
She changed the subject: “Assistant Minister Lu, that’s the reason why I’m afraid of snakes. So what’s the reason for you to be afraid of dogs?”
It’s unknown how much this sentences exposed Lu Shi Qing’ scars, but it was rare for someone who usually good-nature suddenly had a gloomy face and said: “There is no reason.”
This Lu Shi Qing was really moody, one moment sunrise one moment raining, said it was sunny but not sunny.
Yuan Ci Xian didn’t ask any more questions, and when she looked up, she saw that the Main Hall was already in the front, but there seemed to be a rather heavy atmosphere, she couldn’t help being a little taken aback.
A group of civil and military officials were waiting outside the hall with an awkward expression, and there was a circle of imperial children inside the hall. Among them was Zheng Zhuo, who was kneeling with a straight back, and the livid Emperor Huining stood in front of him, pointing at him with his index finger with a look of anger to the point of speechlessness.
Zheng Zhuo bowed his head slightly, and said: “Son knows son has committed crimes, asking father to please punish.”
Emperor Hui Ning seemed to be angry and also found it laughable, but his facial expression looked undeniably furious, clapped his hands and said, “Tell me, where you committed crime?” … where you committed crime?”
“Son was ordered by father to take charge of the Jinwu Guard on behalf of second brother, and was in charge of patrolling and guarding around the Wangji Temple today. Bus son made an omission, and didn’t notice the red snake lurking in the grass. This is the first crime. Father has repeatedly instructed to avoid killing on the day of worship ritual, but son lost his hand for a while and caused the snake to die, which is the second crime.”
“Without rhyme or reason, where can such a fierce viper come from?” Emperor Huining took a deep breath, raised his eyes and saw Yuan Ci Xian and Lu Shi Qing standing in front of the hall gate, then beckoned to them, “Come. Zhen heard from the guard that you two were there at that time. Ci Xian, you tell, is there anything suspicious about this matter?”
Yuan Ci Xian let out an “oh” in her heart, and understood the whole thing.
A few days ago, the Second Prince committed a crime, Emperor Huining stripped him of many powers, and ordered Zheng Zhuo to temporarily take charge of Jinwu Guards. Once Zheng Zhuo gained power, it made people envious and jealous, so he was plotted against today.
Those who plotted against him predicted that he would be charged with two crimes, but they didn’t know that he had already prepared himself for it, and he beat them at their own game.
Zheng Zhuo knew Emperor Huining very well. He knew two things.
First, in fact, the emperor did not believe in Buddhism that much, kill or not kill, it just for the world to see. What he hated wasn’t the snake that died during the Yulan Basin ceremony, but the person who revealed it to the world.
The few Jinwu guards around Zheng Zhuo didn’t really belong to him. When such things happened, they hurriedly reported it to the emperor, wishing that the whole court would know. But they didn’t know that their actions really violated the taboo of the emperor.
Second, with the emperor’s suspicious nature, he must turn around and thought about everything, so he must have guessed the conspiracy. Therefore, after the incident, instead of arguing, Zheng Zhuo persistently took the blame on himself. In this way, it would undoubtedly win the love and sympathy of the emperor, and it could also show that he had no intention of competing for the position of the crown prince.
Right now, Emperor Huining just didn’t want Zheng Zhuo to be so humble, and wanted to seek justice for this son and catch the mastermind of the incident.
This beating at their own game trick was really powerful, Yuan Ci Xian only thought of the conspiracy layer, and did not think deeper. So what she did before was really unnecessary.
For the time being she and Zheng Zhuo were on the same boat, and since she already understood about this matter, she naturally wouldn’t expose anything in public, so she said in a low voice: “Your Majesty, Ci Xian was so scared by the red snake just now, and didn’t pay attention elsewhere…” After saying that she glanced at Lu Shi Qing, “Why don’t you ask Assistant Minister Lu.”
She was just a girl, Emperor Huining understood, so he asked Lu Shi Qing again, and listened to his answer: “Your Majesty, at that time this official is far away from His Highness and County Princess, also didn’t see anything. It’s just that the red snake was really ferocious, if it’s not removed, afraid His Highness and County Princess will encounter disasters. This official think this is the so-called “urgent matter”. Although killing is a taboo, but how can it delay human lives? Of course, His Highness’s failure to inspect the crisis has put Your Majesty, the imperial clan and the whole civil and military officials of the court who are in Wangji Temple today, caught in a potential threat. It is indeed negligent of duty. Therefore, this official think that Your Majesty should punish His Highness by half, and pardon half.”
Although still unable to catch the real culprit, these words hit the nail on the head, piercing Emperor Huining’s heart, and gave him a moderate solution.
Yuan Ci Xian glanced at Lu Shi Qing, and felt that this person was not simple. Since the Huihu caravan incident, it was not that she had never try to test his attitude towards the court politic, but she had always seen him concealed it tight, including now. He had always been like a loyal courtier who only thought about the emperor, he resolved the embarrassment for him with a few words, and used tactful methods to advise him not to investigate the case in public…
As for who was Lu Shi Qing’s choice for the crown prince, or whether he supported one, it was really impossible to tell.
In this way, the stalemate was resolved. Emperor Huining nodded and said: “What Assistant Minister Lu said is reasonable, let’s do it like this for now.”
The Yulan Basin ceremony was hastily concluded halfway, and Emperor Huining issued several decrees in a row to deal with the aftermath. After it finished, he returned to the palace early on the ground of fatigue, and called Yuan Ci Xian and Lu Shi Qing to accompany him.
Yuan Ci Xian, this witness, knew that the old emperor would not let her off so easily. When she arrived at the Zichen Palace, she was given a seat, then heard him asked: “Ci Xian, Zhen want to ask, why you happened to go to the South Temple Gate earlier, why did you suddenly looking for Zhen’s Sixth child?”
She had already prepared the answer to this question, and she believed that whatever testimony she gave to His Majesty, with Zheng Zhuo’s train of thought, he would definitely collaborate with her story.
She hesitated for a moment, took out a jar of ointment from her sleeve, and said, “Your Majesty, Ci Xian wanted to send this to His Highness. During the ceremony at the Daochang, I saw that His Highness’s hand was burned by the incense ash, so I lent him the ointment once. At that time, I wanted to give it to His Highness, but His Highness declined. Because there were so many people around, I didn’t insist on it. After the ceremony was over, I thought it would be better to give it to His Highness.”
“But Zhen heard from the guard that you wanted to have a private word with Sixth child. Since it was to deliver ointment, why hide it?”
Yuan Ci Xian couldn’t help but sneered in her heart. The old emperor clearly already checked everything. He invited her to Zichen Palace in kind manner, but interrogated her like a prisoner, obviously he didn’t trust her much.
She hesitated again when she heard the words, and glanced at Lu Shi Qing on the other side: “Your Majesty, you have to ask Assistant Minister Lu about this!”
Lu Shi Qing glanced at her, probably saying: ‘What does it have to do with me.’
She snorted: “Halfway through, Ci Xian realized that I was being followed by Assistant Minister Lu, how could still dare to give the ointment to His Highness? His Highness and I are only cousins, but there is no guarantee that Assistant Minister Lu will not misunderstand, so I had to ask for a private word with His Highness, and then secretly give him the ointment.”
Lu Shi Qing choked. What a bull? She didn’t even notice him following her, okay!
That’s not right, when did he follow her!
Yuan Ci Xian continued: “That ointment, I also gave one to Assistant Minister Lu before. If he sees me giving the same thing to His Highness, he must be unhappy. Your Majesty, you’ve made me expose myself.”
This trick of diverting the misfortunes to other really worked, and Emperor Huining was speechless for a moment. He looked at Lu Shi Qing for a while, and asked: “Yes, Zhen hasn’t asked Zishu yet, you tell, why did you go to the South Temple Gate? Is it really as Ci Xian said, you were following her?”
Lu Shi Qing did follow Yuan Ci Xian, but it wasn’t for any romantic reason. But because he saw that she was in a hurry to find Zheng Zhuo, and he was afraid that she would guess something and broke their plan.
But he couldn’t tell the truth right now, so he deliberately smiled uncomfortably: “Your Majesty, afraid the term ‘following’ is not accurate enough. It was County Princess who was sneaky first, and this official just went to investigate for your safety.”
In this situation, the more Lu Shi Qing refused to admit or the more he found excuses, the more he would lure Emperor Huining to think about some love story.
Hearing this, the old emperor, who was in a very bad mood, couldn’t help but laugh. He looked at Lu Shi Qing, then at Yuan Ci Xian, and said to the eunuch beside him: “These two children! Look at these two awkward children!” With a sigh of relief, he said, “Enough, enough, you two go back, let Zhen carefully consider this matter.”
Yuan Ci Xian went out with Lu Shi Qing, all the way to the outside of Danfeng Gate, where they should part ways.
Seeing the guards standing far away, she smiled and leaned into Lu Shi Qing’s ear: “Assistant Minister Lu, don’t you have to thank me for covering up for you in front of His Majesty? I know you didn’t go to the South Temple Gate because of me. You tell me what exactly is your purpose?”