Bai Luochu let out a long sigh and said, “I don’t think I can hide anymore. Tomorrow, His Majesty will probably summon me to the palace to ask for an explanation.”
Cai Ling piped up. “What should we do? If His Majesty blames Mistress on the grounds of deceiving the Emperor, the whole clan will be executed!”
Pei Qingfeng blamed himself for the matter. “If there is no other way, I will explain the situation to His Majesty. I am a prince after all and if I am to plead to His Majesty, it might be of some use.”
“Your Second Highness, aren’t you looking too highly upon us? The general's residence is no longer the same as before. Even if the Master and Madam are still around, if such a huge hat were to smash down, they wouldn’t be able to block it. Furthermore, my Mistress is an orphan right now. Even if you are to plead for her, how is it possible for His Majesty to do you a favor?!”
“Even if that is the case, can’t I give it a try? How can I do nothing?!”
“It’s because of your mouth! You are the one who caused all the trouble!”
Cai Ling and Pei Qingfeng quarrelled with each other and Bai Luochu developed an intense headache. She was no longer able to listen to them and she yelled at the top of her lungs, “Shut up! Both of you!”
Cai Ling and Pei Qingfeng were both shocked and when they saw that Bai Luochu was angry, both of them kept their mouth shut.
Bai Luochu looked at Cai Ling first and reprimanded her, “Cai Ling, you have been serving by my side for so long now and I have never once reprimanded you. Today, you dare to raise your voice at a prince… I know you are concerned for me. However, you can’t behave so rudely. If outsiders learn of this, they won’t criticize you. They will criticize me! I have never treated you as a servant, but you still need to be careful when speaking to others. Today, it’s the Second Prince and we get along rather well. He won’t punish you because of that. However, if you speak like that to the other princes, your head won’t be attached to your shoulders right now!”
Cai Ling had never seen Bai Luochu so angry before. This was the first time Bai Luochu raged at her and she felt extremely afraid. Her eyes turned red and tears almost fell. She sobbed, “Mistress, this servant is just… is just… worried for you. I have been too rude and rash, I hope for… Mistress’ forgiveness.”
When Bai Luochu saw that Cai Ling was feeling wronged, a sour feeling filled her heart. However, if she didn’t reprimand Cai Ling today, the punishment that she would receive in the future might cause blood to flow.
“Do not commit the same mistake again. Go back today and copy the Heart Sutra several times and calm down.” Bai Luochu’s voice became softer and she meted out her punishment.
Cai Ling didn’t say anything and quietly acknowledged her punishment.
“Luo Chu, why should you…” Pei Qingfeng was thinking of dissuading Bai Luochu from punishing Cai Ling. However, before he could speak, she interrupted him.
“I’m not done with you. You want to defend others even though you’re in trouble! What a kind-hearted guy. Your body has yet to fully recover and you are already quarrelling with someone else. Did you not think about how my efforts would be wasted if your wounds were to reopen? If that were to happen, another crime would land on my head. With both punishments landing on my head, I will really be dead.”
“Moreover, the Second Prince and Third Prince are brothers in name, I am also His Third Highness’ fiancée. If you help me now, what will others think of it? Even if I am shameless enough to ignore everyone’s opinion, what will the reputation of the Cloud Water Nation’s imperial clan become? You and I will then be crowned with the title of ‘adulterers’. You are a prince, His Majesty won’t do anything to you. However, I am just an orphan! I will definitely be executed by His Majesty in secret!”
Pei Qingfeng naturally understood the rationale behind her words. However, he was really worried for Bai Luochu. “Whatever it is, it won’t be good for you to go alone.”
“I have my plans. There is no need for you to worry.” Bai Luochu explained and wanted to dispel the two individuals’ concerns.
“What do you mean? Will it be safe for you to go alone?” Pei Qingfeng couldn’t understand.
Bai Luochu took a deep breath before explaining, “All the successive generations of great military generals have always been alone. When my father was still alive, there was no one to help him. If I am to obtain assistance from anyone in the imperial court or imperial clan, His Majesty will become more suspicious. Furthermore, I told the Emperor I had no intention to stay in the capital city. If I were to reveal my connections to the officials in the imperial court, won’t His Majesty become more suspicious?”
“You are right. Emperor Father is getting more and more paranoid. I forgot that the general’s residence cannot have ties with the other officials. It seems like this method isn’t going to work. Since that is the case, you will only be able to fight this battle alone. Have you prepared your excuse? If His Majesty summons you now, it will be bad to go unprepared.” After having this conversation with Bai Luochu, Pei Qingfeng felt that everything was reasonable and wanted to help her think of the next step in the strategy.
Bai Luochu wasn’t flustered at all. She felt rather at ease and sat down to drink a cup of water. “Among the Thirty-Six Stratagems, injury is a form of trickery. I might not be able to go over with my body covered with injuries, but it will be enough. Our Emperor is a person who cares about his reputation. If he wants to punish me, he must be able to silence everyone present.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter