Let Me Pursue You – Chapter 28
It was also strange to say that a living being was killed at the Yulan Basin Ceremony, and soon afterward, disasters really fell on Great Zhou. A few days later, at the end of Seventh month, the imperial court received the news that heavy rains in Huainan had caused sudden flooding, destroying countless farmland and houses, especially in Shuzhou.
Emperor Huining originally put off Zheng Zhuo’s punishment and planned to catch the conspiracy’s mastermind. But when the news of the flood spread, the ministers and the common people were wagging their tongues, saying that such an indiscriminate disaster was caused by Sixth Prince who angered the Heaven. No matter what, this matter couldn’t be suppressed anymore, and an explanation must be given immediately.
Therefore, the old emperor had no choice but to declare to the outside world that the accident on the Yulan Basin ceremony was indeed caused by the improper arrangement of Sixth Prince and his reckless actions. Now he took back the control of Jinwu Guards in his hands, and punished him for the next whole year by ordering him to go to Wangji Temple on the fifteenth of each month, to chant scriptures behind closed doors, praying for the blessing of Great Zhou, and repaying the evil deeds of killing.
In the eyes of the courtiers, such punishment was not small.
Chanting scriptures was originally harmless, but the stipulated date was tantamount to depriving Zheng Zhuo of the opportunity to participate in the big court meeting every month. Not to mention the Jinwu Guards – this support-army was not only responsible for His Majesty’s travel safety, but also in charge of day-and-night inspection and security of the palace and the capital city, and could be said to be the most important part of defending the capital. Zheng Zhuo’s political achievements, which had finally improved, returned to nothing.
In Chang’an City, many people privately spread that the Sixth Prince was a joke, he lost the power in his hands before it even warmed up. But Yuan Ci Xian knew that it was not the case.
How could the emperor not be aware of such an obvious framing scheme? However, this decision was made out of desperation. This action, on the surface, seemed to be a punishment, but in fact it made Zheng Zhuo get the rarest thing, the emperor’s heart. If Yuan Ci Xian’s guess was correct, the old emperor would quietly make up for this son after gave explanation to the world.
Not to mention, being in charge of the Jinwu Guard seemed to be a glorious job, but a wise person knew that this job was practically harmful but not beneficial. The left and right Jinwu guards each have a general, who used to be directly under the emperor. Until a few years ago, Emperor Huining ordered the second prince to supervise them on the grounds that he was getting older and could no longer personally handle the military affairs.
But in fact, for many years, the second prince had been the outsider of this support-army, and had never been able to make the Jinwu Guard obey him.
How could the suspicious old emperor really delegate such important powers. And the reason for this was because the first prince was so ambitious and even wanted to pull him down from the dragon seat as soon as possible, so the emperor wanted to let the second prince to be a chess piece for check and balance.
Since the second prince had worked so hard for so many years, but still couldn’t get rid of the fate of being a chess piece, why should Zheng Zhuo try in vain? It was really a good thing that he lost the right to be in charge, so as to avoid being treated as chess piece by the emperor, and to avoid being envied by the rest of the princes.
Yuan Ci Xian really admired Zheng Zhuo and Xu Shan’s plan. It seemed Zheng Zuo did not lack the character of enduring hardship to accomplish his ambition, nor the wisdom of foresight, and had a background that made the emperor more at ease because of the lack of power of his maternal family, so why he didn’t succeed in the end? The Thirteenth Prince ascended to the throne, so what kind of ending did he get?
Yuan Ci Xian couldn’t help but sigh. Right now, it seemed that the Yuan family could neither provoke nor help Zheng Zhuo. The road in the front was really too difficult to walk.
In mid-autumn, the hot spell gradually died down, and the sky cooled down slightly. On the day before the fifteenth of Eight Month approached, Zheng Zhuo visited Lu Shi Qing in Yongxing Lane, and said that the Mid-Autumn Festival was approaching, so he brought cakes as gift.
In fact, the two seldom met in private. Mostly during the New Year holidays and the other reasonable days could they walked around in the open. This time Zheng Zhuo came, of course, not to give gifts, but to discuss matters with Lu Shi Qing face to face, and to put it into practice for him.
The disaster situation in Huainan had been initially alleviated, but this time Shuzhou was hit particularly hard. In order to avoid chaos in the area, the imperial court planned to send an official to give comfort and supervise the disaster relief. This burden fell on Lu Shi Qing’s head.
He would leave for at least two months, and if something unexpected happened to Shuzhou, afraid it would be longer, and naturally he had to explain some things to Zheng Zhuo.
After the two finished discussing serious matters in the study, Lu Shi Qing mentioned the Yuan family reluctantly: “I have nothing else to say, it just I have to go to the south, which means that ‘Xu Shan’ is not in Chang’an. If the Yuan family sends me news, I won’t be able to show up, and you have to find a way to fool through.”
Zheng Zhuo felt that his worried expression was funny, and asked, “Why? County Princess is not only pestering Assistant Minister Lu, but also Mr. Xu?”
Lu Shi Qing glanced at him: “You don’t walk in my shoe. If you’ve been entangled by her, you’ll know how terrible it is.”
Zheng Zhuo laughed loudly: “I’m not so lucky.” He added, “But to be honest, I’m not like you who was born with strange throat, and can’t imitate Mr. Xu’s voice. If I’m exposed at that time, my face will be ugly.”
“Anyway, I leave this matter to you, and it’s your responsibilities if you don’t handle it properly, it has nothing to do with me.”
He said it heartlessly, but Zheng Zhuo was not annoyed, nodded and said: “Okay, you can go south with peace of mind, and I will take care County Princess over here for you.”
Lu Shi Qing choked, and shot a sharp gaze: “For me? Save your breath!”
Zheng Zhuo seemed to be enjoyed other’s misfortunes: “You shouldn’t leave it to chances. When you return to Chang’an this time, it will be the end of the year. I don’t think County Princess will give up in a short time. Just wait until Diannan Prince come to the capital, then get ready to propose marriage and eat his old man’s fists.”
Lu Shi Qing’s face was darkened, but Zheng Zhuo still enjoying it: “Your boxing skill is not good enough, I’m afraid you won’t be able to pass Diannan Prince. You should come back sooner after finishing your work, then I will teach you a few tricks and train you.”
“Zheng Zhuo.” Lu Shi Qing gritted his teeth and said, “It will be fifteenth in a few days, you should recite your scriptures first, and if you don’t know the characters, I can also teach you.”
Zheng Zhuo couldn’t stop laughing, punched him on his shoulder, and said: “Alright, I’m leaving. Have a safe journey.”
On the 13th of Eighth month, Lu Shi Qing packed up his luggage and left Chang’an three days earlier than the date ordered by Emperor Huining. Before leaving, Xuan shi asked him to stay at home for Mid-Autumn Festival and set off afterwards, but he insisted on leaving on that day, citing the urgency of the disaster.
But in fact, the disaster situation had eased long ago, and Shuzhou would be fine without him. He didn’t want to be in Chang’an for the festival, because he was afraid that Yuan Ci Xian would come to his house. How could she not come to disturb him at such a good time. If she persisted in pestering him then, wouldn’t it be troublesome.
Early in the morning, Lu Shi Qing fled out of Chang’an City, drove for two days, passed several mountain roads, and entered the boundary of Shangzhou on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
He went to Huainan this trip, on the surface was for disaster relief, but secretly he was ordered by Emperor Huining to take on more important errands. To avoid publicity, he kept everything simple and took a carriage that was not very conspicuous, even for the entourage he only brought Zhao Shu and Cao An.
Due to the rain in the past two days, the trip was delayed, and they were late to enter the city that night. Lu Shi Qing wanted to keep a low profile and didn’t intend to deal with local officials, so he couldn’t ask people to open the city gate after the curfew, and decided to endure it and sleep in the wilderness.
Of course, it was only Zhao Shu and Cao An who used the sky as a canopy, he himself didn’t eat the wind and sleep in a clean and tidy carriage.
The two chose a flat terrain near the river, where there was no threat of natural disasters or wild animals to settle down. One ran to gather firewood to make a fire, and the other began to clean up the surrounding area.
They were in the mountains, mud and weeds were fine, but their Master absolutely could not bear the animal’s excrements.
The bright moon in the sky reflected on the sparkling river surface, even if there was no fire, the surroundings were bright. Occasionally, the wind blows, and the trees in the distance were rustling, it sounded very refreshing.
Lu Shi Qing waited boringly in the carriage, ready to wait for Zhao Shu to clean up slowly, then asked outside: “Zhao Shu, how is it?” After a while he hadn’t hear an answer, so he had to patiently call again, “Zhao Shu.”
Zhao Shu’s voice sounded slowly: “Master… I, I saw a fairy girl!”
“…” This moment seemed inexplicably familiar.
Lu Shi Qing froze for a moment, frowned and said, “This is a wilderness, what nonsense are you talking about?”
“Master, I’m not lying, Lancang County Princess is really here!” After he said that, he yanked open the curtain of Lu Shi Qing’s carriage.
Caught off guard, Lu Shi Qing raised his eyes and saw Yuan Ci Xian standing on the bank of the river, dressed in a moon-white cross-collared robe, with hair tied into men’s bun, and carried a bundle on her back.
The scroll he read to pass the time slipped down to the small table, causing a crisp “thump”.
Then, he heard her say with a smile: “Assistant Minister Lu, it’s me, what are you getting so excited about?”
Not excited, but frightened.
Lu Shi Qing got out of the carriage, and before he reached her, he said coldly: “What are you doing in Shangzhou?”
He didn’t even use an honorific, and Yuan Ci Xian who should be angry still smiled brightly, she lifted the bulging bundle on her shoulders: “I came to accompany you on Mid-Autumn Festival.”
He stood in front of her and said seriously, “You followed me for two days just to accompany me on Mid-Autumn Festival?”
“Yes.” She nodded, “Aren’t you moved?”
Lu Shi Qing really didn’t like his whereabouts to be pried on, not to mention that he was on official business, so he didn’t have time to play around with her. The last time she tampered with the flatbread, he had endured it and not pursue the matter, and now that it happened again, naturally he got annoyed. What’s more, her heart was too big, she followed him alone for two days, and it’s unknown where she slept at night, truly not afraid of encountering bad people.
He frowned and asked, “Yuan Ci Xian, what’s your intention in pestering me so much?”
Yuan Ci Xian guessed that he would be unhappy, but there was a saying ‘’, no matter how much he reprimanded her, she just kept smiling, she believed that he would not bear to be angry with her for too long.
She replied: “Assistant Minister Lu, I’ve pestered you for so long, can’t you still not see? I like you!”
Lu Shi Qing really choked. She had indeed pestered him for a long time, but this was the first time she expressed her feelings to him.
As a result he froze on the spot, feeling as if the moonlight above his head were sprinkling on his face, causing his whole body to suddenly become radiant, so light that he was about to fly.
He suddenly thought that in the countryside of Chang’an, it was also such a night with a bright moon and few stars. She squatted in the wilderness to scold a stupid dog. What caught his eyes were the gorgeous lips, the slender neck, the snow-white skin, and the deep ravine.
He lied to her that wearing a Huihu skirts would cause her to be interrogated by the Jinwu Guards, and told her to wear a veil to cover her front. In fact, he just thought that this alluring scene should not be seen by other people.
Lu Shi Qing stopped thinking about it, feeling extremely agitated for no reason.
Why he always could not be angry with Yuan Ci Xian under the moonlight?
He twisted his eyebrows until there was “11” line in between, only then his attitude became better, and said: “Lu is on an official business and cannot be delay, let people send County Princess back to Chang’an.”
Yuan Ci Xian knew that she had already succeeded halfway, and continued to grind him: “No way. I’ve been chasing you for two days, and I’m so tired I can’t move anymore. Besides, there’s no woman in your entourage. Did you tell me to stay with other men so late at night?”
What “other” men… this seems inappropriate.
Lu Shi Qing took a breath and asked, “Did County Princess really come alone?”
“Really!” After she nodded, she suddenly waved her hand and said, “No, I’m not alone. I also brought something you don’t like…”
Lu Shi Qing suddenly had a bad premonition in his heart, and just as he was in doubt, he suddenly saw behind her, a shadow with an enchanting posture appeared in the open space illuminated by the moonlight.
It was very big, and its neck was pulled back frivolously. It’s a dog.
He laughed angrily, pointed in that direction and asked: “Yuan Ci Xian, you brought this thing to accompany me celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival?”