Chapter 79 Part 2: Trouble in houfu, harboring evil intentions
When Qu Fei Qing saw that Yun Qian Meng had arrived, tears started to roll down her face. Her voice choked with sobs, called out. “Meng'r!”
When Yun Qian Meng heard her hoarse voice struggling to get words out, she realized that the heat must be dehydrating and noticed that the atmosphere of the room was oppressive. She called Mu Chun who was standing behind her and commanded, “Quickly help biao xiaojie out to the outer room and have her drink some water.”
After saying this, she walked towards the bed and greeted Gu laotaijun and Ji Shu Yu. “Meng'r greets waizumu, jiumu.”
Laotaijun saw that Yun Qian Meng had arrived and that she had showed concern for Qu Fei Qing. Suddenly, all sort of feelings welled up in her heart. She bent down to hold Yun Qian Meng and sighed. “Meng'r has come!”
Only now was Yun Qian Meng able to see laotaijun and Ji Shu Yu's expressions clearly. Both their foreheads were lined with worry and their faces showed fatigue. Compared to Qu Fei Qing, there was not much difference.
But laotaijun was more experienced in these type of things, so in the current situation, compared to Qu Fei Qing, she was naturally more unflustered and cool-headed.
Laotaijun was already getting old, after the vigil beside the bed all night, her body was having difficulties. Even so, when she looked at the state of her own son, laotaijun clenched her teeth and continued watching over Qi Ling Ao, foolishly waiting for him to regain consciousness.
“Waizumu, you have to take you care of your health. Fu Guo Gong Fu can't manage without you.” Gu laotaijun's temples had a layer of perspiration. Yun Qian Meng's heart ached as she looked at this laotaijun keeping watch beside her son's bed, still hoping for him wake up. She took the proffered bowl of ginseng soup from an old mama's hands, scooping a spoonful she brought it to laotaijun's lips and urged laotaijun to open her mouth.
At this moment Ji Shu Yu was also very sorrowful. When she saw Yun Qian Meng coaxing laotaijun she felt gratified. It seemed that Yun Qian Meng's words were sincere and hit the nail on the head.
Right now Zhang Qing was far away in a border station and her own husband was attacked by an assassin. Fu Guo Gong Fu really needed laotaijun's support. Otherwise based on the actions of Qu Yan these past few years, if he found out that two of pillars of the fu were successively unavailable, she feared that he would take the opportunity to snatch away the houfu.
But laotaijun's heart was still clinging to Qu Ling Ao. She shook her head at the ginseng soup and lifted a hand to push it away. Ji Shu Yu immediately said. “Mother, you've already kept watch for one night, have some ginseng soup then return to Rui Lin Yuan to rest. Xifu will stay here, and Meng'r is also here. You can relax.”
Laotaijun understood their good intentions. Even though she had no appetite she opened her mouth to swallow some ginseng soup. Soon after she was supported by mama and yatou as she left Qing Song Yuan.
“Jiumu and biaojie should also rest. Meng'r will keep watch now. I won't let anything happen to jiujiu.” Now that laotaijun finally left to rest, Yun Qian Meng said this with a voice full of concern as she looked at Ji Shu Yu's eyes that were puffy from crying all night.
But compared to laotaijun, Ji Shu Yu was more obstinate. She firmly shook her head, her knees bent as she sat down to take the spot that laotaijun previously occupied. She held Qu Ling Ao's hand which had been placed on his chest and said faintly. “No, if I am not watching him my heart would not be at peace.”
After saying this, Ji Shu Yu fixed her eyes on Qu Ling Ao's face.
Only now did Yun Qian Meng look at Qu Ling Ao. Lying on the bed, he looked like was only asleep. But his pale face and ragged breathing betrayed his real condition. His life was currently in grave danger and he could die at any moment. It was no wonder that Ji Shu Yu did not want to leave his side. The strain and suffering in her heart was a hundred times worse that what she showed in her face. As the marquis' furen, she had to uphold her noblewoman's dignity, she couldn't allow this emergency to ruin her strong front.
When Yun Qian Meng saw that Ji Shu Yu was determined to stay, she did not insist anymore. She quietly stood beside her to keep watch over Qu Ling Ao.
“Furen, houye's medicine is ready!” Ji Shu Yu's personal yatou carried over a bowl of just prepared medicine.
“Give it to me.” Yun Qian Meng turned around to receive the warm bowl of medicine. She used the spoon and stirred it gently to help the medicine cool down.
The smell of the medicine permeated the air in the room.
“Xiaojie, please let nubi take look.” At this moment, Ying Xia who had taken a whiff of the medicine stepped forward and whispered into Yun Qian Meng's ear.
Yun Qian Meng raised her eyes and saw that Ying Xia looked very grave. Her brows were knitted and those usually smiling eyes stared fixedly at the bowl in her hands. She then understood that there was something strange about the medicine and immediately handed it over to Ying Xia.
Ying Xia pulled out a silver hairpin from her hair and gently stirred the medicine before she carefully pulled out the silver hairpin. The tip had turned green. Yun Qian Meng was suddenly astonished and seized the hairpin from Ying Xia's hands, lifting it into the light and carefully examined it. “How concentrated is the poison?”
Ying Xia saw that Yun Qian Meng's expression was full of killing intent and quickly replied. “Based on the reaction of the silver hairpin, the concentration of the poison is weak. Taking it a few times wouldn't be fatal. Only a person proficient in poisons can detect it. But houye's body is currently seriously hurt, if he had taken that poison, two times would be enough to take his life and nobody would be wiser.”
“They are so impatient to take my fujun's life!” Ji Shu Yu had realized the situation clearly and vehemently said this. She immediately made to stand but her body was so weak she swayed, scaring Yun Qian Meng who immediately advanced to support her. She said with concern. “Jiumu please watch over yourself. Whoever it is that wishes to injure jiujiu, Meng'r will not let them prevail.”
Ji Shu Yu looked at Yun Qian Meng's face full of protectiveness for her family and the anger in her heart subsided a little. She took Yun Qiang Meng's hand in hers with some gratefulness and said in a tone full of sadness. “That was the original reason mother asked them to leave, since both side plotted for the juewei, it was decided that they live separate from the main family. I did not expect that san laoye and si laoye had set their eyes on this houfu's position. Now that fujun has been hurt, with their impatience, they come throw stones at a person who has fallen down the well!”
Yun Qian Meng saw that Ji Shu Yu was worked up, she knew that the matter of her uncle being attacked by an assassin was extremely upsetting, so she led her jiumu to a table to sit down. She said in a placating tone. “Jiumu, don't be so anxious. Heaven helps the worthy, jiujiu will be fine. This yatou of mine knows some things about the art of healing. Later, let her have a look at jiujiu's prescription. If she finds something amiss let us get other physicians to make a new prescription. The assassination attempt on jiujiu was a situation we had no control over, but we have full control of the matter of preparing medicine. We won't allow anyone to exploit any weaknesses. I ask jiumu to please relax and not let this matter affect your health. If those vile people found out, isn't it that when friends feel sorrow enemies will feel happy? But tell me, which physician did you call today?”
Ji Shu Yu saw Yun Qian Meng's calmness and it warmed her heart. She suppressed the rage and grief in her heart and carefully explained the events from last night. “Last night Chen wang sent people over to search through this area and had even sent some soldiers to go through the other buildings. Later in the night, when your jiujiu came out of the study to go to this room to rest, he saw a figure on the way. Your jiujiu hadn't even made a sound yet and that person already raised his sword. Unfortunately your jiujiu was not able to dodge the strike and received a direct hit. In the confusion after your jiujiu collapsed that shadowy figure fled the scene. Mother immediately called for Nie taiyi, but Nie taiyi has been sick with a cold for days now and is in bed himself. The steward had no choice, fujun's injury was couldn't be made public, so he could only go to a small medicine shop and get a doctor from there, who would have thought that it almost cost your jiujiu's life.”
Saying this, Ji Shu Yu could not help but shed tears in her heart. If Meng'r had not made the discovery, Qu Ling Ao would be a corpse right now.
Yun Qian Meng listened attentively to Ji Shu Yu's words and felt that the events seemed to be too coincidental.
Nie taiyi conveniently got sick today!
The person behind the scenes apparently knew that Fu Guo Gong Fu would keep this matter secret. Aside from Nie taiyi they would not call for any other doctor.
But even if Fu Guo Gong Fu wouldn't call for an imperial doctor, the capital had many hospitals. How did that person know which hospital the steward would go to? Did somebody follow the steward? It was such a short period of time, how could any one bribe the doctor?
This matter was planned so well that there were no gaps, it made one suspicious. Yun Qian Meng furrowed her brows perplexedly.
“Jiumu, we must eliminate all the suspicion people in the fu. Regarding the matter of jiujiu's medicine, if jiumu trusts Meng'r, let this matter be put into the hands of Mengr's yatou.” When Yun Qian Meng thought how that the medicine from before was prepared by her aunt's dowry yatou, Yun Qian Meng could only temporarily suspect it was someone from those present.
Ji Shu Yu approved of Yun Qian Meng's words, especially since it was Yun Qian Meng's yatou who discovered the poison in the medicine. If that yatou had evil intentions, she wouldn't have pointed the matter out. She nodded her head in agreement.
“Furen, laotaijun is asking you to go to Rui Lin Yuan. She said that er laoye, er furen, san laoye and san furen have come to the fu!” laotaijun's personal yatou announced from the outer room.
Yun Qian Meng and Ji Shu Yu locked eyes, both understood the meaning behind each other's looks.
It looked as if this matter was linked to Qu Yan and the others. This matter was strictly kept secret by Fu Guo Gong Fu. The Empress Dowager herself did not yet know, how could they know so fast? They even came so early in the day.
“Who let them in?” When Yun Qian Meng asked this question, Ji Shu Yu could not help but look at her in bewilderment, not understanding what she meant.
“Biao xiaojie, the steward led both laoye and furen in.” The yatou replied respectfully. Yun Qian Meng's brows knitted at this response.
Yun Qian Meng relaxed her brows and smiled at Ji Shu Yu. “Meng'r will go together with jiumu to see the other two jiujiu and jiumu.”
Ji Shu Yu was naturally happy to have Yun Qian Meng go with her. She did not know why, apart from laotaijun, fujun, and her own children, Ji Shu Yu unexpectedly had the most confidence with her by her side, she could feel calm, so she nodded.
“Ying Xia, Yuan Dong, you two keep watch here. Do not let even a housefly in.” Yun Qian Meng commanded.
The two people saw that not only was Yun Qian Meng giving them a very important task, she was also testing their loyalty. They immediately proclaimed that they understood. They did not dare be remiss.
Yun Qian Meng personally supported Ji Shu Yu as they exited the inner room. They saw Qu Fei Qing sitting in the outer room with a look of hate on her face. She must have heard every word of their earlier conversation.
When she saw the two people come out, Qu Fei Qing suddenly stood up from her chair and coldly asked. “Mom, Meng'r, does this matter really have anything to do with san shu?”
“Fei'r, we don't have any proof. Even if we know who the perpetrators are, we can't just accuse them or else they could make a false counterplea. Understand?” Ji Shu Yu saw her daughter's excited expression and immediately lectured her in a low voice.
Yun Qiang Meng who was standing beside her had already transformed all her hostile feelings into a smile. Ji Shu Yu sighed in her heart, when will Fei Qing be more like Meng'r. When that happens she would have nothing to worry about.
When Qu Fei Qing heard her mother's words her eyes turned red and she was about to open her mouth to argue, but she saw Yun Qian Meng slightly shake her head, so she suddenly bit her lip to suppress her words.
“Biaojie, let us all go together to see those four noble visitors.” Yun Qian Meng smiled as she walked towards Qu Fei Qing, pulling her hand, they left for Rui Lin Yuan.
“A small leak can sink a great ship.” As soon as they had stepped out of Qing Song Yuan, Yun Qian Meng whispered these words into her ear.
Just now her aunt's expression was full of worry for her cousin excessive naivete. Yun Qian Meng had invited her to go with them to Rui Lin Yan to toughen Qu Fei Qing up. After all, her father would not be able to protect her for her entire life. Qu Fei Qing had to learn how to survive. Living in a large yuan, a good and honest heart was not enough. If one did not want to be bullied by others, one had to learn how to protect herself.
Ji Shu Yu understood Yun Qian Meng's intentions. From her tired eyes rose a look of praise.
The three people had yet to set foot in laotaijun's room when they heard the voice of an aggressive and overbearing voice. “Today mother's complexion is not good. What could have happened to make you this way? Erxi will have somebody come over to examine mother and make a prescription.”
The elderly woman had barely finished speaking when from the side, Qu Yan said in a loud voice. “Quite right, mother is old. She has to take better care of her body. I don't know how da ge and da sao are taking care of mother. It's so late and they still haven't come to pay their respects! If I or si di lived in this fu, we would thoroughly wait upon mother.”
When Qu Fei Qing heard them mention a doctor, as if as a pretext to harm her own grandmother, as well as seeing this pair of husband and wife fabricate accusations against her own parents, it made her eyes turn red with fury. But this time she did not have the urge to charge in angrily and only showed a cold smile. She and Yun Qian Meng stood on either side of Ji Shu Yu supporting her by the arms and entered the room as the yatou at the door opened the curtains.
“San jiujiu, san jiumu, it's Meng'r's fault! Meng'r came today to pay respects to zumu very early in the morning, making zumu get up so early. Now she looks so tired.” Yun Qian Meng said this as she entered the room with a smile on her face. Her eyes gazed fixedly at the four people beneath laotaijun, sweeping a look over their appearances, Yun Qian Meng couldn't help but smile coldly. They really could not let go of even the tiniest sliver of chance. Clearly they knew that her uncle was severely wounded, and they deliberately brought up her uncle, using false pretenses to expose this matter. These vicious hearts were indeed too contemptible.
Those four people did not expect to see Yun Qian Meng at this moment so they looked at her in astonishment. Qu Yan was the fastest to regain his composure. His eyes held a smile, with a face full of tenderness and a warm tone said, “I did not know that Yun Qian Meng has come to know how to be respectful! When last time Jing Qing came back from houfu she praised you so much! I and your jiumu could not believe it but now we can see that it is really the case. But Meng'r, you came to houfu so early, were you able to pay your respects to the old madame in xiangfu?”
Qu Yan's words were meandering and circuitous. Slyly mocking how Yun Qian Meng appeared to be currying favor with the powerful and influential laotaijun and being indifferent to the old madame whose status could not compare to laotaijun's. He was hinting at how Yun Qian Meng was forgetting her own family name. Clearly she was the descendant of the Yun's, yet she came to ingratiate herself in Fu Guo Gong Fu.
His word sounded innocent enough. But if one were to mull over it carefully, things ran very deep. Yun Qian Meng's own uncle is the houye, but when it came to the ability to take advantage of people, Qu Yan was better. It was no wonder that when waizumu made him leave Fu Guo Gong Fu after marriage, or else jiujiu would have been plotted against much sooner!
“Meng'r is very filial. Moreover, Meng'r is Ruo Li's child, so she is houfu's child. She holds a dearer place in my heart than even Zhang Qing and Fei Qing.” Laotaijun couldn't bear to see people speak badly about Yun Qian Meng.
She was already unhappy when Qu Yan and the others arrived earlier, but after hearing Qu Yan say such things, laotaijun was furious.
When Qu Fei Qing heard laotaijun's words she immediately rushed to Yun Qian Meng's side, intimately pulling her arm and saying with a smile. “What zumu said is true! Meng'r is clever and lovable and sensible. Naturally she'll become the favorite in people's hearts! Why aren't the other meimei here? It stands to reason that while they don't live in the fu, they also cannot break the rules, paying respects to zumu is a major event, how can they be like this and not follow the rules?”
Tan shi saw that today the da xiaojie was unexpectedly eloquent. Those shrewd eyes swept over Yun Qian Meng, then put on a fake smile. “Jing Qing, that child, was not careful and caught a cold. She might pass the illness to laotaijun, so she didn't come. Now, we've been here for a long time, how come we still haven't seen dage? Dasao, where is houye?”
Ji Shu Yu had come prepared, she only smiled at Tan shi and spoke in a gentle voice. “Dimei today, why did you come to be concerned about fujun's business?”
At these words, Tan shi's face blanched, inwardly gritting her teeth. She wanted to slap Ji Shu Yu in the face. What concern? But if other people hear her say these words, she would get a reputation for being a woman that did not have any sense of propriety.
Thinking it over, Tan shi cast a worried look at Qu Yan, but saw that his face was composed. Only then did she slightly relax, but it took her a while to be completely at ease.
“Mother, it's like this. These days son's official business has met with a problem. I wanted to consult with houye. Let Xiang Lian and dimei stay and keep mother company with conversation to relieve the boredom. Son and si di will go to Qing Song Yuan to find houye.” Qu Yan said this, and passed a look to Qu Fu. Both of them stood up together and made to leave.