Fu Yin wanted to ask Mo Li whether she had tidied Lu Qi’s study room when she walked in. Although Mo Li was a new servant and was unfamiliar with things, she was very genuine and Fu Yin could get along well with her.
Mo Li quickly hid her hands behind her back and reported, “I cleaned everything and did not break anything.”
Fu Yin had not noticed Mo Li’s actions and she checked the room and praised, “Not bad. Everything is in place, you have improved.”
With a smile, Mo Li walked out to get a tea pot.
Fu Yin sat down and a man entered with a letter. He claimed to be a subordinate under Lu Qi with an urgent letter for him. Fu Yin accepted the letter on his behalf and was just about to put it with his other documents when she saw a signature mark on the corner of the letter. She recalled Lu Qi telling her before that most letters with this mark was an urgent military matter. Fu Yin could not help tearing the letter carefully apart.
The letter reported that Hong Yide was with Yan Zifang and if they did not act quickly, the consequences to the Lu family would be severe.
With the letter in her hands, Fu Yin was extremely nervous. She lifted her hands up and down repeatedly as she pondered over what she should do. Unconsciously, she rubbed her belly. Eventually, a cold glare passed through her eyes and she burned the letter. She had entered the Lu family with a resolve and would now honour it.
Suddenly, a roar of laughter came from outside the door.
“Fang Wuling thought that he could take advantage of me since I am not fully recovered. He challenged me to a fight and lost miserably. That brat’s waist is as thin as a pair of chopsticks. Even if I lost my two arms, I can also beat him.”
Lu Qi had returned.
Fu Yin maintained a calm face as she greeted him at the door. “You returned home so late but still challenged someone to a fight? Imperial Physician Zhang had already cautioned that you should rest more to fully recover.”
“Aiya, I have to listen to your nagging after going out for a whole day. But your voice is like birds chirping, it is so refreshing.” Lu Qi lifted Fu Yin off her feet and twirled her around.
Fu Yin was not in a good mood after what she had done. Sensing her mood, Lu Qi was concerned and immediately asked her what was wrong.
“With you around, who would dare to bully me?” Fu Yin forced a smile.
“Oh right, I brought something for you.” Lu Qi reached into his shirt and took out a box for her. He said, “This is a beauty cream that is popular in Chang’an. People said that youth would be eternal if you use it everyday. It is women’s favourite and the best gift a husband can give to his wife. With this, you can be my pretty lady forever.”
“Forever?” Fu Yin could not help feeling bitter as she repeated his words.
“Why do you look so unhappy? Laugh a bit. This precious thing was almost wiped off the shelves by Prince Han. Apparently Consort Han loves this and he buys it to make her happy. It wasn’t easy for me to get this box.”
“...I am not worth you treating me so well.” What has she become? A servant, a murderer who is going to continue to harm others?
“Silly girl.” Lu Qi thought she was being humble and reassured, “I want to treat you well my whole life.” She is the only one in his heart and she could make him happy.
During the morning court session, the Emperor was having a splitting headache.
In the Cangshan Mountain case, Fan Zhang refused to confess although it had been proven that Hong Yide was the sender of a letter found during a search in Fan Zhang’s residence. On the other hand, Cao Yuan had admitted that he had not reported things properly to Lu Qi because they were on bad terms. But he denied colluding with Hong Yide. The case could not be concluded but because Fan Zhang and Cao Yuan were both implicated, so the position of Army Commander was empty and the Emperor did not have anyone suitable in mind.
The Emperor first asked Prince Zhou, who recommended Zhong Yutang. Empress Zhangsun had already warned the Crown Prince that he could not allow Zhong Yutang, a man biased towards Prince Zhou, to occupy the position. As such, he raised a past issue against Zhong Yutang and recommended Linghu Deguan instead.
The Emperor finally accepted the Crown Prince’s suggestion.
Prince Zhou observed the Crown Prince and Lu Yunji exchanging a look. He suddenly added, “From what I have investigated about Cangshan Mountain so far, it was committed by the rogue man Hong Yide. However, I remember that Duke Chen had reported that he killed Hong Yide before. How can a man be revived and appear in Chang’an to commit such a heinous act?”
Lu Yunji kneeled down and admitted, “Your Majesty, I have committed a crime. In the past, I defeated Hong Yide’s rebel troops and wiped the battlefield clean. I found Hong Yide’s body but his face had been cut numerous times by a knife. But the corpse’s body figure was similar to Hong Yide, he wore the same clothes and even had Hong Yide’s identification tag on him. It appears now that Hong Yide had faked his death and I was foolish enough to fall into his trap and reported to Your Majesty that he was killed. Please punish me severely for my crimes!”
Grand Prince Liang accused, “Duke Chen, you are a meticulous man but you were tricked by Hong Yide. Who would believe your words? Perhaps you had not killed him but you were greedy and wanted to reap some benefits from the battle so you lied to His Majesty that you killed him to receive a promotion and rewards.”
Prince Zhou was surprised to see the sudden rift between the Lu family and Grand Prince Liang.
Lu Qi quickly defended, “Your Highness, my father has already confessed his crimes to His Majesty. Why must you accuse us?”
Grand Prince Liang rebutted, “What is wrong with me accusing him? If you don’t give me any face, I will not give you any either. What goes around comes around.”
With hatred in his eyes, Lu Yunji bowed his head towards the Emperor and begged. “I have committed a crime. I am old and foolish and I could not even recognize a body. Please punish me Your Majesty.”
Yan Zifang added, “Your Majesty, he is not foolish but a greedy man who wanted Hong Yide’s wealth. He took Hong Yide’s wealth for himself and took an unrecognizable corpse to fake Hong Yide’s death.”
Shocked, Lu Qi yelled, “Yan Zifang, do not accuse us of such nonsense!”
The Crown Prince was Prince Zhou’s enemy and he naturally stood on the side of Lu Yunji. He pleaded, “Imperial Father, Yan Zifang has a grudge against Duke Chen and he is not an upright person as he was once a pirate. His words cannot be trusted. However, Duke Chen is loyal and honest and he is a pillar of support for our country. If he is punished, it would demoralise other subjects.”
Yan Zifang was prepared and he said, “Hong Yide is my witness. He told me personally that Lu Yunji took his wealth and let him go in the past. The leak of the route taken at Cangshan Mountain was also revealed to him by one of Lu Yunji’s men. If Your Majesty does not believe me, you can interrogate Hong Yide who is locked in my residence. You can then decide what to do with Lu Yunji.”
Lu Yunji started to panic and anger filled his eyes. He swore, “The heavens is a witness to my loyalty. I was tricked by Hong Yide and did not collude with him. I fought against him numerous times on the battlefield and his hatred for me runs deep. He must want to destroy me.”
The Emperor no longer hesitated and he ordered men to capture Lu Yunji and Lu Qi. He then asked Prince Zhou to take charge of interrogating Hong Yide.
The Crown Prince could not accept this and he chimed in, “Imperial Father, this matter involves a loyal servant of our country. Prince Zhou is still young and inexperienced, I am afraid…”
The Emperor was already in a bad mood and he knew what the Crown Prince wanted. He snapped with impatience, “Afraid of what? Just because he is inexperienced, does that mean you are more capable than him?”
The Crown Prince did not dare to speak up further and he stared at Prince Han. Prince Han normally took a side stand for court matters and did not want to be involved in this matter. The Crown Prince was frustrated. Prince Han was normally clever with his words but he remained silent at such a critical moment. How infuriating!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hmmm. Evil fighting against evil. Who will win?
I highly recommending watching episode 31 if you guys are confused. The drama does a better job organizing the sequence of events to prepare you to what's to come later!