Hua Zhu Yu harbored a deep hatred for Ji Feng Li thus she wanted to topple him. Wen Wan however was different, she deeply admired Ji Feng Li so why was she deliberately framing him?
Wen Wan surely knows that treason is a terrible crime and once found guilty he will certainly be put to death. Although Ji Feng Li was yet to be pinned with such crime, how could Huangfu Wu Shuang let him go now that he’s imprisoned? Even if Wen Wan no longer loved Ji Feng Li, could she mercilessly harm the person she once loved?
As Hua Zhu Yu thought about it, a rising chill slowly enveloped her heart, gradually diffusing through her whole body. Though the room was warm, she felt a coldness deep in her bones.
“Oh really?” Huangfu Wu Shuang suddenly exclaimed in a loud voice of surprise.
Hua Zhu Yu looked up and saw him ask in a solemn tone, “Wan Er, are your wounds better now?”
Wen Wan’s brows lightly knitted and she faintly replied, “It’s alright now. I’ve made Your Majesty worry. It’s just that on that day Commander Bao was truly ruthless, stabbing Wan Er in the chest with a spear without the slightest hesitation. At that time, Wan Er had even passed out due to the excruciating pain. On the battlefield, Commander Bao was like a bloodthirsty wolf. He thought that Wan Er was on Northern Kingdom’s side. He even ordered his men to use a dirty cloth to stuff Wan Er’s mouth. It was so painful that Wan Er couldn’t even eat for a few days.”
Hua Zhu Yu couldn’t help but wrinkle her brow as she listened to Wan Wen recount her crimes. Wen Wan was definitely settling scores!
Huangfu Wu Shuang frowned and directed his gaze at Hua Zhu Yu. He was a little surprised and asked skeptically, “Xiao Bao Er, is everything Wan Er said the truth?”
Hua Zhu Yu slowly stepped forward to stand in front of Huangfu Wu Shuang and said, “It’s true that this servant had hurt Miss Wen.”
Huangfu Wu Shuang’s dark eyes sunk, his gaze heavy with a gloomy oppression.
Hua Zhu Yu’s heart slightly shook at his frosty gaze. She still remembered the events of the past. When she was still a musician at Zui Xian Fang(Intoxicated Immortal Square), Wen Wan had inadvertently heard her play the qin. Afterwards, Wen Wan went home and continued practicing her qin till her fingers bled. Because of this matter, Huangfu Wu Shuang captured Hua Zhu Yu and brought her back to Eastern Palace and cruelly made her become a eunuch. This time Hua Zhu Yu had stabbed Wen Wan’s chest with a spear. She really didn’t know if this little demon lord was going to ask for her life. After all, Wen Wan was the person he cherished in his heart.
Hua Zhu Yu wasn’t afraid of Huangfu Wu Shuang but at this moment she couldn’t afford to have a falling out with him.
She calmly met his gaze and replied, “However, Your Majesty may not be aware of the situation at that time. This servant was forced to take such actions due to the situation. This servant knows that Your Majesty cherishes Miss Wen so this servant never intended to place her life in danger.”
After an extended time, Huangfu Wu Shuang let out a heavy sigh and said with his eyes narrowed, “Xiao Bao Er, if not for the fact that you’ve made great contributions, zhen will not easily spare you. You can withdraw now. Zhen and Wan Er don’t want to see you.”
Hua Zhu Yu silently smiled. Huangfu Wu Shuang was no longer an immature juvenile who wanted to take people’s lives as before.
“Still not leaving!” Huangfu Wu Shuang suddenly roared when he noticed that Hua Zhu Yu hadn’t left.
Hua Zhu Yu bowed in respect and turned to leave. As she stepped behind the screen, she heard Huangfu Wu Shuang instruct, “ Remember, if you hurt Wan Er again, zhen will not spare you so easily!”
Hua Zhu Yu’s lips curled into a faint wry smile and she replied, “This servant obeys your command! However, this servant hopes that Miss Wen is a magnanimous person and will not resent this servant.” Once she spoke, she quickly left the room. Outside, it was incredibly cold.
Hua Zhu Yu strode forward, her pace becoming increasingly urgent until she couldn’t help but start running. Once the brightly lit palace was far behind her did she finally slow down.
She didn’t know why but her heart felt somewhat uncomfortable. Because of who exactly?
Before her eyes flashed the bloody scene on the execution grounds, then the gory killing on the battlefield, and the battles within this deep palace….
Her red eunuch attires quivered in the night wind and the cold air slid through her sleeves, pouring in, engulfing her body and heart.
She wasn’t aware of how long she was walking before she finally stopped. When she looked up, she had unknowingly arrived at Dan Hong’s Yong Tang Palace. She entered through the gates and walked up to the room. She gestured to the eunuch outside, indicating that he didn’t need to report before she pushed open the doors and walked in.
The smell of medicine enveloped the room. Sitting in front of the fire, Dan Hong was brewing the medicine. Upon seeing Hua Zhu Yu arrive, Dan Hong smiled and berated, “You haven’t come by these 2 days to take your medicine!”
Hua Zhu Yu took a seat leisurely and replied, “These past few days have been very busy, it can’t be helped.”
Dan Hong shot her a chiding glare and said, “If you’re sick, you must take your medicine on time, otherwise how will you get better?”
Hua Zhu Yu felt apologetic as she sat there waiting while Dan Hong cooled the medicine. Once it was ready, she drank the medicine and the bitter taste flowed down her throat, making her frown. Dan Hong quickly handed her a candied date.
Hua Zhu Yu quickly placed it in her mouth and the sweet honey taste immediately suppressed the bitterness. She leaned back in her seat and smiled languidly. “Dan Hong, if I was a man, I’d definitely marry you as my wife. You are truly considerate!”
Dan Hong faintly smiled, a sliver of pain flashed in her eyes as she said,”Yes, if General was a man it would be great. Just… I fear even if General really was a man, you still wouldn’t take Dan Hong as your wife.”
Hua Zhu Yu’s expression turned stiff. She didn’t think Dan Hong had yet to let go of the entanglements in her heart. Sighing softly, she slowly walked over to Dan Hong and said, “Dan Hong, in the future I will definitely find a good marriage for you, a truly ideal husband.”
“General…..” Dan Hong’s eyes suddenly reddened and she lowered her head, no longer speaking.
Standing in the room watching the flickering of the faint candlelight, Hua Zhu Yu suddenly asked, “Dan Hong, that day how did you get your hands on Ji Feng Li’s secret report?”
Dan Hong furrowed her brows and said, “I snuck into the Retired Emperor Yan’s royal study and took it.”
“Did it go smoothly?” Hua Zhu Yu questioned.
Dan Hong replied, “The study was guarded strictly but fortunately I wasn’t discovered. General, could it be that there’s a problem with the report?”
Was there a problem?
Hua Zhu Yu walked over to the window and looked outside. In the quiet night sky the moon was obscured by layers of dark clouds, seemingly wishing to avoid the turmoils of the mundane world.
Though she wasn’t certain, she vaguely felt as though everything was not as it appears to be. She felt there was an obscuring fog overwhelming her, masking her vision, covering her heart…..
It was nearing New Year’s Eve. The Imperial Palace was filled with an auspicious and peaceful ambience. Lanterns and red-colored banners decorated the entire palace, exuding of festivities.
Leaving behind the festive scene, Hua Zhu Yu strolled alone along the edge of the frozen lake. It’s been 2 days since she has gone to wait on Huangfu Wu Shuang. He said he didn’t want to see her so she was enjoying her time off. The demon lord was in a fit of anger, if she went to serve him she’ll surely be punished for no reason. Moreover, she wasn’t in the mood to work these few days.
As she walked along, she noticed a faint light emanating from a lantern on the bridge in the distance. The light was gradually approaching, bringing into view a man dressed in golden dragon robes.
Unexpectedly, Huangfu Wu Shuang was also here. She wondered if she should avoid him, in any case, Huangfu Wu Shuang had said he didn’t want to see her.
Following this train of thought, she proceeded silently to a different path.
“Yuan Bao!” an angry voice sounded and Hua Zhu Yu had to halt her step.
“This servant did not see Your Majesty, hope Your Majesty forgives!” Hua Zhu Yu turned around and said as she knelt down.
“Did not see?” Huangfu Wu Shuang’s voice rung above her head, somewhat of suppressed anger.
Hua Zhu Yu was certain that this demon lord was indeed still angry.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
“This servant remembered Your Majesty did not want to see this servant so this servant wanted to step aside, fearing Your Majesty would get angry at the sight of this servant,” Hua Zhu Yu explained with her head lowered.
Huangfu Wu Shuang humphed in displeasure and his thin lips pursed as he brushed his sleeves stating, “You were probably excited zhen did not want to see you.”
Hua Zhu Yu’s brows knitted in puzzlement. Truly a monarch’s mind was difficult to fathom. Serving a monarch was like serving a tiger. She did as he had ordered yet he still wasn’t satisfied. A cold chill suddenly ran down her back as she wondered if he actually wanted to make a move against her. Like the saying goes, once the birds are gone, it’s time to put away the bow(meaning=to discard a worthy person once he has served his purpose). She helped him ascend the throne and now Ji Feng Li was about to topple, he could very well………
Just as the atmosphere was becoming tense, Huangfu Wu Shuang suddenly burst out laughing.
Hua Zhu Yu looked up in surprise and saw him grinning merrily, inciting her annoyance.
“Xiao Bao Er, on the battlefield are you really like a bloodthirsty wolf, truly that brave?” Huangfu Wu Shuang asked.
Hua Zhu Yu suddenly recalled that these were the words Wen Wan had used to describe her. She knitted her brows and slowly replied, “On the battlefield, if you’re not brave, you can be killed by the enemy at any time.”
“That’s true. Xiao Bao Er, in fact zhen isn’t angry. Don’t know why but zhen can’t seem to be mad at you. But zhen had to let you be the bad guy for these two days. Without you serving me, zhen feels quite unaccustomed,” Huangfu Wu Shuang slowly said.
“Hmm,” Hua Zhu Yu sounded as she nodded her head.
Huangfu Wu Shuang suddenly gave an order to the other servants, “Everyone can withdraw. Zhen has matters to discuss with Xiao Bao Er.”
When everyone else retreated a far distance away, Huangfu Wu Shuang walked closer to Hua Zhu Yu and said in a low voice, “Xiao Bao Er, zhen had long wanted to ask you something.”
“What?” Xiao Bao Er asked, somewhat puzzled. Huangfu Wu Shuang was not one to hum and haw.
“Zhen had heard that the Left Chancellor treats you quite well. You shouldn’t have any other feelings for him right? Originally, zhen did not believe it but these days, seeing you not yourself, is it really due to Left Chancellor’s matters?” Huangfu Wu Shuang asked.
“No!” Hua Zhu Yu quickly replied without hesitation. “Your Majesty, who did you hear this from? It is merely a baseless rumor. Xiao Bao Er has a deep hatred for Ji Feng Li, how could I…. moreover, though Xiao Bao Er is a eunuch, I’m still an upright man. There certainly must be people who can’t stand to see Your Majesty favor Xiao Bao Er and wants to sow discord.”
Witnessing Hua Zhu Yu’s indignation, Huangfu Wu Shuang relaxed a bit and said, “Xiao Bao Er, zhen believes you so quickly stand. If it’s not true then tomorrow follow zhen to the prison cell. Having a little wolf like you along, zhen won’t be afraid! Lets go, back to the palace!”
Upon hearing this, Hua Zhu Yu’s expression stiffened then she faintly smiled and slowly caught up to Huangfu Wu Shuang as they went back.
Within the capital, the prison in the Ministry of Justice department was the most heavily guarded, it was easy to enter but difficult to leave.
Upon entering the prison, she noticed the eerie coldness in the air. Proceeding down the long pathway, there were a few burning oil lamps on the wall, the faint light swayed restlessly like a ghost. Although it was daytime, within the prison it was dark and dingy. Perhaps because Ji Feng Li was detained here, it seemed to be even more strictly guarded.
The head official of the prison apparently was not anticipating that Huangfu Wu Shuang would pay a visit. Upon his arrival, the head official anxiously ordered the prison guards to light the torches every ten feet and at once the path was brightly lit.
Huangfu Wu Shuang coldly humphed and proceeded forward with his hands clasped behind his back while Hua Zhu Yu followed closely behind him.
The torches illuminated the walls made of cold stone. This place was indeed worst than a normal prison, even Nei Cheng Yuan could not compare. There was even a rancid odor within the prison, making one feel nauseous.
Finally, they stopped in front of a prison cell. Rely on the light of the torch, they looked through the bars and vaguely saw a person lying on the bed in the far corner.
“Open the doors!” Huangfu Wu Shuang ordered.
The prison guard reached for his keys and quickly went to open the heavy iron door. Huangfu Wu Shuang entered with Hua Zhu Yu behind him.
Once inside, they saw Ji Feng Li in his prison attires lying on the cold stone bed. On his body hung metal chains. Upon closer inspection, Hua Zhu Yu realized that the chains not only shackled his hands and feet but it also clamped on his shoulder blades and pinned against his shan zhong accupoint in front of his chest.
The shan zhong accupoint was vital for a martial artist because it was important for employing internal strength. Once it has been sealed, no matter how high the martial artist’s internal strength was, he could no longer use it, leaving him weak and defenseless. Moreover, to have someone damage this accupoint would result in serious injury. There was no need for other weapons.