TBIC Chapter 3: Trip to Qingzhou
The autumn of ten year’s Zhanghe.
There will be a selection in another six months.
The imperial order will likely reach each prefecture by the beginning of new year.
Mu Xi Yao didn’t dare to resist fate.
Moreover, she didn’t want to end up unable to reincarnate, thus she made the preparations ahead of the time.
With her deliberate grooming, her chief maidservants Hui Lan and Mo Lan had gained modest knowledge about medicine.
They coped well with situations that needed emergency treatment.
Although they weren’t versed in medical knowledge, and also couldn’t check one’s pulse nor write prescriptions, but they could identify almost all the common poisons.
Maidservant of second rank Chun Lan was literate, proficient in mathematics and could manage daily tasks.
Inside Yingshui Pavilion, maidservants of second rank and higher were all children of household servants.
Furthermore, they all have signed death contracts.
Xiyao made them all practice the extracted first part of health regime scripture, as well as forbidding them telling it to others.
After half a year’s time of practice, everyone had more agile movements and fitter bodies.
It was impossible for them to catch cold from an ordinary cold air or trip over while walking.
Xi Yao was fully aware that inner yard was like a battlefield.
Even the most brilliant general couldn’t fare well without small soldiers.
Obviously, the empty fort strategy wasn’t Mu Xi Yao’s cup of tea.
This demoness was highly capable, but she didn’t like to be pushed around by others.
Nor the soul or the spiritual item, that held no grudge against her, had come to a good end.
Not to mention those black-listed people that will emerge one by one in the near future.
They have been firmly on her mind for a long time.
Mu Xi Yao had consumed the spiritual pill.
Also, with the assistance of women benefitting’s health regimen scripture, her mind was sharper and those pair of beautiful eyes of hers became more black and shiny.
The sweet appearance of them gleaming with tears made one’s heart unable to stop the itchiness.
In the previous life, her figure was already shapely.
Nowadays, it was even more curvaceous.
As Xi Yao would put it, an enchantress～.
The imperial palace.
Sixth prince’s study.
Zhong Zheng Lin finished reading reports.
He leaned his back against a soft chair and casually stretched his long legs.
He used one hand to smooth his furrowed brows and the other to tap on the table.
Wei Zhen, who was nearby attending, became even more quiet.
Seeing the cold air his highness was emitting, he knew that someone was going to be in trouble.
As Zhong Zheng Lin’s personal attendant, who had been accompanying him since he was six years old, Wei Zhen was naturally well acquainted with his highness’s habits.
He was just gloating at the bottom of his heart, guessing about who was the one to bump into his highness’s hands.
Shortly, he heard a deep male voice over his head saying, “Tell Ye Kai that we are departing to Qingzhou in three days.”
He was about to reply when outside chief-steward Tian Fu Shan requested for an audience.
Tian Fu Shan was distant relative of Zhong Zheng Lin’s consort-mother consort Shu of Tian clan.
When sixth prince was seven years old, he was specially assigned to him by imperial consort Shu, to manage daily affairs in the prince’s household.
Tian Fu Shan was honest and dutiful, shrewd and capable.
Moreover, he was trustworthy.
Hence, Zhong Zheng Lin entrusted him with important tasks.
“Your Highness, where should be meal served” Tian Fu Shan pondered and then added, “Concubine Kong had sent your highness a soup to the front yard during the day.”
Zhong Zheng Lin acted indifferently, but Tian Fu Shan was certain his highness was displeased.
Indeed, he heard, “Serve it in study’s outer room. Have concubine Kong study the conduct properly.
She isn’t allowed to leave the inner yard without a permission.”
She was directly put under house arrest.
Lady Kong was captivating, yet had no favor.
It was well-known that sixth prince had only two chambers.
She’s been here already few months, serving two-three times per month, yet she wasn’t allowed to conceive.
In the meantime, she could only spend her days alone in her quarters.
The other bestowed concubine was lady Wu.
She was on the contrary well-mannered, but her personality was wooden and lacked a charm.
She fared even worse than Lady Kong.
She had served only twice in these few months.
Everyone in the household knew she was an invisible person.
When Zhong Zheng Lin’s brothers learnt that he was still being stern and aloof, indifferent to beautiful maidens, even after gaining the sexual experience, they all laughed at him for his disability to enjoy the experience.
Later, under the pressure of sixth highness’s imposing aura, they never again mentioned about his inner yard affairs.
On the road to Qingzhou, servant Ye Kai steadily drove the carriage.
The commander of imperial guards, Yan Cheng Zhou took along with him two bodyguards.
Together they followed the carriage while riding on a horse.
Wei Zhen reached the city of Qingzhou beforehand to make the preparations needed for his highness to settle down after he arrives.
During this trip to Qingzhou, everyone was dressed up in common clothes, looking decent enough to seem like a gentleman from a wealthy family having an outing.
Zhong Zheng Lin was sitting inside the carriage.
His left hand was grasping the scroll he was reading, while his right hand was holding silver needle of the gentleman mountain.
He carried the tea to his lips, took a sip and then moved it away to play with it.
What a great provincial governor of Qingzhou.
Accepting bribes while in the capital city.
After being appointed to a post outside of the capital city, suppressing three ministries, engaging in secret communication with the regional commander and colluding about the transport of tribute grain.
He thought that he was secretive enough, but the crown prince had already noticed him.
Previously, he has intentionally let him off, waiting for a moment to catch him red-handed, so that he could pull out all the grasshoppers hung on the rope.
Crown prince regarded first prince as nail in the eyes and thorn in flesh.
The two fought each other at the imperial court, outside the court, they also didn’t cease to cross swords.
This time, crown prince will certainly use this opportunity to suppress first prince and noble consort Li’s party and along with it cut off his shu brother’s money road so that he won’t have any additional money left to fight with him.
Zhong Zheng Lin was fully aware of the difficulties inside, as well as that he acted as crown prince’s tool.
Crown prince was unwilling to reveal this case so soon as he didn’t want to make enemies for himself.
He was also afraid that if he made a big commotion around the case, he would attract attention to himself and thus making his siblings wary of him and having them join up the forces against him.
Therefore, he, the cold-faced prince, had to take on these worries on his behalf.
As someone, who was a member of the crown prince’s party on the surface, it was only natural that he had to obey his orders and work for him.
Wasn’t this the reason why Yuancheng Emperor groomed him to be the crown prince’s aid In that case, he should be an obedient son and do well his job.
However, it was hard to tell who schemed on whom.
The purpose of this trip to Qingzhou was for that provincial governor, Guo Jian Ping.
The carriage arrived to Qingzhou.
Each of them acted separately.
Zhong Zheng Lin freshened up and took a rest in a courtyard that was prepared for him beforehand.
He left all his tasks for tomorrow.
When he was free in the evening, he took Wei Zhen with him to Juxian House to dine and also to familiarize with the place and people while being there.
Today, Mu Xi Yao together with lady Yu was invited by lady Ceng, the assistant brigade commander’s wife, to their estate as guests.
Mu Xi Cheng was betrothed so she remained in her chamber.
Mu Xi Ting was well aware of her status, hence she rarely went out with di mother.
Mu Xi Yao was pleased to be the only one as it was more convenient.
Placing her among young ladies was like putting a fish back into the water.
Since she was just twelve years old, younger than most of the present aristocratic ladies.
She looked sweet yet simple-minded.
Her voice was soft and gentle and when she spoke, it made people feel fond of her from the bottom of their heart.
This woman was never conscious of herself being thirty years old.
She only knew that if there was a benefit, no matter if it was by righteous or foul means, she had to squeeze out as much of the benefit as she could.
Nobody would mind having a good reputation and many valuable connections.
After the banquet ended, Xi Yao again started to cling to lady Yu, asking for milk cake from Juxian House.
The truth was she was interested in the liveness outside.
She was thinking about taking a bit of stroll on the way there.
How was it possible for lady Yu to not know what she was thinking about.
She tapped her forehead.
Giving her the consent, she got into the palanquin.
Afterward, Mu Xi Yao headed toward the west of the city.
Zhong Zheng Lin was sitting inside the box of the second floor, his seat was placed by the window.
He leisurely sat there, with the teacup in hands, recuperating.
Just as in the past, Wei Zhen carried a serious face.
He stood there in silence, remaining a one-step distance from his master.
Both master and servant were quite used to this kind of interaction.
But the outsider would unavoidably consider it too cold.
Downstairs, a girl’s soft voice could be heard.
Obviously, its owner was quite pleased.
In the autumn’s evening, the girl’s voice was sweet, carrying a hint of warmth.
It was a very pleasant sound to the listener’s ears.
Zhong Zheng Lin turned his eyes and looked down.
He managed to only catch a glimpse of fair hand putting down the curtain of the palanquin, slowly disappearing into the distance.
Another half a month has passed.
Zhong Zheng Lin had settled the matters in his hands.
He just had to return to the capital to make a report.
He was going to set up for a return to capital the day after tomorrow.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s subordinates were all well trained, capable of carrying out important tasks.
In Qingzhou, only one person knew that Great Wei’s sixth prince personally came there for already several days and was about to be involved in a major case.
Mu Xi Yao brought with herself Mo Lan and two others servant girls to Cuizhu house, looking over zither manuals.
She selected a cyan colored bamboo flute.
She intended to give it to Mu Jing Zhi as a return gift after he came back home in the New Year.
She gained so many little things out of blue.
This woman slowly came to a realization, that there was a necessity to deepen the siblings’ relationship and hence stabilize the revolutionary front.
Mu Xi Yao practiced zither, yet Mu Jing Zhi was solely fond of flute.
Her brother served in the army.
Right, it was hard to tell if he’ll ever become a high official of some region.
Moreover, a parental home was a woman’s backing on establishing herself in an inner yard.
Therefore, from time to time she would express her admiration, then use the old trick of blinking her eyes at him to completely captivate her elder brother’s heart, who had a sister complex.
It was simply too fundamental!
Coming out of Cuizhu house, Mu Xi Yao inadvertently lifted her eyes.
Coincidentally, in a few meters distance, she caught a sight of the back of a man attired in blue-green garments.
For a moment, it was as if she was struck by a lighting.
Of course, the one who felt dumbstruck wasn’t her but the original soul’s obsessiveness that has reacted too intensively.
Mu Xi Yao was such a revengeful person.
She immediately realized who that man was.
Even if she was to die, she won’t forget.
She slightly narrowed her eyes and stood still for a moment.
Even Mo Lan who stood behind her didn’t notice her change of mood.
Mu Xi Yao called them (Mo Lan and others), turned her back to him and left.
Her elegant and graceful figure and lithe steps attracted people’s attention.
She seemed to be in a cheerful mood when entering cosmetics shop.
She let Mo Lan and little servant girls make the purchase.
Yet, entirely different thoughts occupied her mind.
Inwardly, she fiercely promised to make fool of Zhong Zheng Lin.
She will enchant him till he will lose his five po’s and three hun’s.
She will forcibly turn the pathetic second female lead into the pampered female lead.
Furthermore, she will give birth and raise more than three little buns to thoroughly fulfill Mu Xiyao’s dream from the former incarnation.
If she could not accomplish it, she will pay with her own life! Right.
If she was unable to fulfill the wish, she won’t be able to reincarnate and will become a wandering vengeful spirit.
Wasn’t it like losing a life
Therefore, whoever was ignorant enough to cause her troubles, irritate her and prevent her from climbing up the ladder to success, will become her archenemy.
Even death couldn’t change this fact!
Zhong Zheng Lin had Ye Kai following him.
As if sensing something, he suddenly turned his head.
He only saw a young girl’s back.
She possessed a unique charm and slender, willowy build.
In a blink of an eye, she entered the cosmetics shop.
Ye Kai saw his highness turning around his body.
He didn’t understand why the handsome yet expressionless face of his highness just now suddenly turned around to look back.
Not daring to ask, he just followed him, moving along with him.
 Death contracts mean contracts, which are not redeemable
 The empty fort strategy refers to a strategy, that involves using reverse psychology and luck to deceive the enemy into thinking that an empty location is full of traps and ambushes, hence inducing the enemy to retreat
 Make one’s heart itch is an idiom describing making someone feel extremely happy
 Imperial princes born of concubines could call only Empress mother (empress-mother), their birth mother were called consort-mother by them
 Imperial consort Shu – Shu isn’t the name of Zhongzheng Lin’s mother.
It’s her title, which means virtuous
 Two chambers in this context means two women, that attended to his needs (concubines) as chamber here means a place were women resided
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Amen and Peace!
 Silver needle of the gentleman mountain is a yellow tea from Junshan island
Grasshoppers hung on the rope is an idiom meaning that everybody is in one boat
 Nail in the eyes and thorn in flesh is an idiom meaning irritation, impediment – thorn in the side
 In Chinese religion it was believed that one person had ten souls – three huns and seven pos.
Three huns stands for three principles of social order (relationship between ruler-subject, father-child, husband-wife), seven pos can either stand for seven apertures (in the head, eye, ears, nostrils and mouth) or seven emotions (joy, anger, sorrow, fear, worry, grief, fright)