TIGR Chapter 13
The Imperial Guards Revenge
Chapter 13 Adultery
After being interrupted by Lu Heng, Wang Yanqing thought for a while before regaining her own thoughts: “When she repeated Liang Rong’s itinerary it seemed okay at first glance, but when she spoke, her eyes couldn’t move at all. If someone truly thought back to what happened half a month ago, their eyes would float up and down, but she had no movement and no pause in answering. Therefore, she had no recollection at all. This was a statement she made up in advance. But when I asked when Liang Rong was reading that day…”
Lu Heng wanted to laugh again, but Wang Yanqing’s eyes swept over to him, so Lu Heng put on an innocent face and blinked: “I’m listening, why did you stop?”
Wang Yanqing stared at him unhappily and said: “Her gaze floated up and she blinked faster. This was her reaction when she thought back, and she blinked quickly, indicating that she was not calm. Most of it was because I asked a question she hadn’t expected. She couldn’t think of anything for a while, so she pretended to be angry and avoided answering.”
When Wang Yanqing said these words, Lu Heng was not surprised at all. Instead, he asked: “How do you know she was pretending to be angry? What if she was really angry?”
Wang Yanqing glanced over disdainfully and said: “If she was really angry, she would have exploded when I ask that. But she thought for a moment, before hitting the armrest and then asking back angrily. Second Brother, when you are angry and cross, do you act first and then speak?”
Lu Heng thought for a while and found that what Wang Yanqing said was reasonable. When someone got angry till they could not take it any longer, they would hit the table in anger, get up and start yelling at the same time. But Liang Wen Shi clearly was out of sync. It seemed that she was indeed pretending to be angry.
Lu Heng thought that this trip was very valuable, he learned a lot of interesting things. In the winter, the wind was strong, and Wang Yanqing’s hair was dispersed by the cold wind, it hung with her rabbit fur, trembling pitifully. Lu Heng leaned sideways, arranged the hair on her shoulders, and said: “Qing Qing is aware of the slightest drop of water, which holds my utter admiration. However, didn’t you say one thing wrong?”
Upon hearing this, Wang Yanqing became solemn and looked at Lu Heng seriously. Lu Heng pushed her hair behind her, touched the fluffy rabbit fur on her collar, and said: “I never curse when I’m angry.”
Wang Yanqing was stunned, and she responded a moment later with anger and exasperation. She seriously analyzed the case for him, but he was laughing at her! And Lu Heng had no awareness of doing anything wrong. He seemed to find this fun and kept pulling the rabbit fur on Wang Yanqing’s cloak. Wang Yanqing took a step to the side with a cold face, avoiding Lu Heng’s hand.
Lu Heng sighed inside. It seemed that Qing Qing was not a person who liked to joke around, and she would be annoyed if he continued to tease her. Lu Heng stopped for a while and withdrew his hand, his face suddenly became serious: “According to your analysis, at least on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month, Liang Wen Shi knew that Liang Rong was dead. This case has nothing to do with the eldest Miss Liang so far, but not long after the murder, Liang Wen Shi said that the eldest Miss Liang had committed adultery. It seems that this Miss Liang probably knows something. Let’s go and ask Miss Liang. ”
Lu Heng changed from joking to serious in an instant, and Wang Yanqing was a little unaccustomed to it. She nodded subconsciously and immediately realized that Lu Heng had said that he wanted to investigate the adultery case as early as when they had just come out of Liang Rong’s house. In other words, at that time, Lu Heng already understood all of this?
Then she still chattered on and gave him such a long analysis. Wang Yanqing was silent. When Lu Heng realized that Wang Yanqing stopped speaking. He glanced at her twice and quickly guessed what Wang Yanqing was thinking: “Qing Qing, don’t be hard on yourself. The investigation of a case is not a matter of one person, and it often requires evidence from multiple angles to determine the ultimate culprit. The clues you provided are also a very important part.”
Wang Yanqing thought about it too. It was rare for Second Brother to ask her for help and she tried her best. Even if she couldn’t keep up with Second Brother, it was still worth it to be able to confirm that Second Brother’s speculation was correct.
While talking, they arrived at the embroidery building. Lu Heng halted, stopped outside the embroidery building, and said to Wang Yanqing: “Qing Qing, it’s not convenient for me to go ahead, can you do it alone?”
Wang Yanqing nodded. She had learned Chinese boxing and had the power to fight against adult men. What’s more, these inner house girls? Lu Heng put a whistle in Wang Yanqing’s hand, looked into her eyes solemnly, and said: “You must, by all means, be careful alone. If you encounter something, ring this whistle immediately and I will come in to find you. Don’t try to be extra brave, understand?”
This whistle was a unique way of contact between the Imperial Guards. Wang Yanqing put it in her sleeves, raised her head, and smiled at Lu Heng: “Second Brother, why have you become so careful recently? I’m fine.”
The speaker was unintentional, the listener was intentional. Lu Heng stared blankly and immediately realized that Wang Yanqing was talking about Fu Tingzhou. She had no memory, but some cognitions still remained in her subconscious mind. For example, Fu Tingzhou would leave her alone in the past, and he wouldn’t have instructed her carefully and insistently as how Lu Heng did. Therefore, Wang Yanqing subconsciously felt that Lu Heng had changed.
Lu Heng couldn’t explain it, so he acknowledged the change, smiled, and said: “You are not well yet, I can’t rest assured. I’ll wait for you here, go ahead.”
Lu Heng’s eyes were like autumn water, staring at her gently and calmly, like regardless of when Wang Yanqing came back, he would still be here. Wang Yanqing glanced back at him and said softly: “Then I’ll go?”
Lu Heng nodded, his gaze never leaving Wang Yanqing. Wang Yanqing thought to herself about why Second Brother had recently been acting so motherly, which was numbing, but she moved forward with more stability because she knew that someone had been following behind her.
When Wang Yanqing gradually approached, there were two women on guard outside the embroidery building. They had already discovered Wang Yanqing and Lu Heng. At this moment, when they found that Wang Yanqing was still approaching, they shouted from a distance: “Madam has an order. No one is allowed to approach the embroidery building. Where have you come from and what are you doing here?”
Wang Yanqing stopped at the door and said generously: “I followed Lord Chen Yuxuan of the Imperial Guards Thousand Households in the capital to the Liang family for mourning. Thousand Households Chen sympathized with the Liang family’s experience and sent me to talk to Miss Liang.”
After Wang Yanqing finished speaking, she was met by two women with flat and unmoved faces, she motioned to the maidservant behind them: “My trip was approved by the three elders of the Liang family and Madam Liang. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Madam Liang’s maid.”
Liang Wen Shi sent a maid to follow Wang Yanqing and Lu Heng, but the maid was very afraid of Lu Heng, and followed behind, not daring to approach. Seeing Wang Yanqing gesturing towards her now, the maid hurriedly lowered her head, not daring to glance in Lu Heng’s direction, and ran to Wang Yanqing’s side in a hurry. Just a few steps away, the maid panted as if she had been in a battle: “Madam asked her to come.”
Liang Wen Shi’s maid testified and the two old women had to let her go even if they were reluctant. The maid took the opportunity to follow Wang Yanqing, closely clinging to her. Wang Yanqing glanced back, not paying attention to the maid’s insignificant plans, and entered the house with a face like this was a common event.
The embroidery building had two floors, the first floor was the reception hall and the storage. The second floor was where the eldest Liang Miss sat, slept, and lived. The rumor about the adultery of Miss Liang had long been detained. So after Wang Yanqing came in, she immediately became the focus of everyone’s attention.
Every time Wang Yanqing took a step, someone followed. Wang Yanqing thought about what to ask like this, Liang Wen Shi’s maid stared at her, how could Miss Liang reveal her true thoughts. Fortunately, a maid followed, and it was not Liang Wen Shi’s, but it was much more confusing. Wang Yanqing silently said sorry to Second Brother in her heart, then suddenly turned her face cold and said: “I was ordered by the Liang family and Thousand Households Chen to come for questioning. After that, Thousand Households Chen will write a letter and submit it to the commander of the Imperial Guards in the capital. If there is the slightest mistake, the commander will be blamed in the future, can you bear that responsibility?”
Actually, these maids didn’t know how big the commander was, but only the three words “the Imperial Guards” were needed to deter them. Madam Liang and the clan elders tried to win over Thousand Households Chen from the capital in every possible way. Thousand Households Chen was still on the same level as the master, and he is already so majestic. How exceptional would it be if it was Thousand Households Chen’s superior?
The maids were all scared. They were serving in an Imperial Guard family, so they knew even more how much they could not offend these people. Among the Imperial Guard, superiority was the most important. The orders of superiors were absolute authority, and often one sentence could determine life or death. If they provoked Wang Yanqing, Wang Yanqing could go back and complain in front of Thousand Households Chen. When that moment comes, then Madam Liang who is Liang Wei’s widow would have no problem getting rid of these maids.
Seeing that the maids were frightened, Wang Yanqing put on a softer expression and said: “However, I also know that you are acting on orders, and there is nothing you can do. Well, let’s compromise. I go in and talk to Miss Liang, and you all can stand outside the door and listen so that when you return, you can report back, and I can also complete Thousand Household Chen’s account. How does that sound?”
Human nature was such a strange thing, if Wang Yanqing talked to the maids in a kind voice, they would never give a good face, but if Wang Yanqing scared them first, and then released a little kindness, the maids would be very grateful, and feeling that Wang Yanqing was a good person.
The solution given by Wang Yanqing was reasonable, and the maids had no other ideas, so they agreed: “Okay. But Miss, our Miss mixed with people to commit adultery. After being caught by Madam, she went a little crazy and often talks nonsense. Only ask about matters of the day of the adultery, don’t ask anything else. If the miss is irritated and goes crazy, the elders and Madam will blame us.”
“Oh?” Wang Yanqing asked softly: “Did Miss Liang go crazy? What’s going on, have you requested the doctor?”
The maids looked at each other in dismay, and with hesitant expressions: “How can a woman who has not yet married do such a thing. How can she still have the face to request a doctor? The wife asked for an exorcism charm, but unfortunately, it was useless. The wife repeatedly told us not to talk to the miss. If the miss talked nonsense, we are supposed to report it to the Madam immediately.”
Wang Yanqing made a sound of response, pursed her lips and smiled at the maids, and said: “Thank you for letting me know. Thousand Households Chen is still waiting in front, so I will go first.”
Wang Yanqing carried her skirt upstairs. She looked around calmly and found that the second floor was not very big. What appeared before her was a set of water chestnuts, plentiful paintings of flowers and birds, and a mahogany table and chair. Standing beside it was an embroidery instrument and a guqin. Behind that, there was a closed room separated by a wooden slider, likely the sleeping quarters. All the furnishings were slender and small, and from the first glance, it was obvious that they were made for a woman.
The wooden slider was firmly closed, and Wang Yanqing turned her head and spoke to the maids behind her: “Wait here, I will go in and find Miss Liang.”
Wang Yanqing brought out Lu Heng’s reputation which scared people. Sure enough, the maids were subdued. They obediently stopped outside the wooden partition slider and did not follow inside. Wang Yanqing stopped in front of the thin wooden slider and knocked lightly: “Miss Liang, I have been asked by your father’s old friend to ask you a few questions.”
After Wang Yanqing finished speaking, there was still no movement inside. Wang Yanqing waited a moment and said softly: “I’ll come in then?”
Wang Yanqing didn’t wait for the eldest Miss Liang’s response and pushed in the door. When she came in, she found that the lighting was very dark. All the draperies were pulled, and the air was heavy and gloomy. There was a figure sitting behind the curtain of the bed, like dead wood, and it didn’t move for a long time. Wang Yanqing knew that this was Miss Liang. She didn’t rush to approach, but stopped outside the curtain and said softly: “Miss Liang, don’t be afraid, I’m not a bad person. I am Thousand Households Chen’s servant in the capital. Thousand Households Chen and your father, Liang Wei, are old friends. He was very sad when he heard that your father passed away. Today, he made a special trip to the mansion to offer his condolences and he let me come to the backcourt to see you.”
The person on the bed was spiritless, but when she heard Liang Wei’s name, she finally moved, making people aware that she was still a living person: “Did you know my father?”
Wang Yanqing looked at the woman through the drapery. She was petite, without makeup, her hair was unkempt, and her cheeks were sunken. Judging from her frame, she should have had a round and jade-like figure, but after experiencing the blows of the death of her father, and the adultery, in just a few days, she shed so much weight.
Wang Yanqing sighed slightly in her heart. She put her hands in front of her and greeted Miss Liang with blessings and said: “I don’t know Thousand Households Liang, but my master and Thousand Households Liang knew each other and became close friends at first sight. After hearing about what happened to Miss Liang, he was very sorry and sent me over to ask if he could help.”
As soon as Wang Yanqing came up, she stated her intention and emphasized that she was sent by Liang Wei’s old friend and had nothing to do with Liang Wen Shi’s family. Miss Liang was on the verge of collapse when she suddenly saw a young and beautiful woman, who was polite and well-spoken. Her inner defenses were unknowingly dispersed. Miss Liang blinked, her eyes suddenly filled with ache, and tears fell: “Did Eldest Brother find you?”
Wang Yanqing’s eyes moved slightly. Unexpectedly, the eldest Miss Liang had been counting on Liang Rong to save her. It seemed that she didn’t know Liang Rong had already been killed one step ahead of her. Furthermore, a sheltered woman was accused of adultery and put under house arrest by her stepmother. If she didn’t have the hope that her brother would come to save her, how could she persist for so long?
It was a pity that her brother could no longer help her avenge her, and she herself was sentenced to death by the government for adultery. If Lu Heng hadn’t intervened, she would have been executed soon.
Wang Yanqing smiled at the eldest Miss Liang and silently closed the distance between the two: “Miss Liang, we are also looking for Liang Rong’s whereabouts. Can we sit down together and talk slowly?”
Miss Liang nodded subconsciously and then realized that the room was sloppy, there was no tea or water, and it was not in a state to treat guests. She was in a daze at first and then smiled bitterly: “I have been living day and night upside down these days, in a daze, and even forgot the basic etiquette of hospitality.”
In the past half month, Miss Liang’s world had been turned upside down. She changed from the carefree attitude of a military officer’s daughter to one called an adulterer by everyone. For a long time, she was not sure whether she was still alive. Looking back on the previous days now, it felt like a dream.
Wang Yanqing moved an embroidered stool, sat down in front of the eldest Miss Liang’s bed, and softly comforted: “Don’t be sad Miss, I understand your situation and I don’t mind these things. How should I call you?”
After the two of them got closer, Ms. Liang’s tone gradually softened: “My name is Liang Fu, but just call me Afu.”
Wang Yanqing nodded and said: “Afu, Thousand Households Chen was very angry after hearing the rumors outside. Thousand Households Chen said that the Liang family is upright and Liang Wei was also a soldier who stood on the top of the world. His children would never do anything unethical. Thousand Households Chen didn’t want his old friend’s bones and blood to die in vain. As soon as he came from the capital today, he hurriedly sent me to find out the truth. Afu, Madam Liang said that you have committed adultery with another. Is there anything else about this?”
Liang Fu’s emotions were very fragile now, and she couldn’t stand the slightest provocation so Wang Yanqing’s words were slow and careful. She watched Liang Fu’s face as she spoke, adjusting her tone and wording according to Liang Fu’s subtle expressions.
Wang Yanqing’s words may seem simple, but in fact, every sentence was designed for Liang Fu’s current psychological state. She first used her name to get closer, then gained trust from Liang Fu by praising Liang Wei, and finally clarified that she had just come today from abroad and had nothing to do with Madam Liang. Unknowingly, Wang Yanqing pulled Liang Fu into her group, suggesting to Liang Fu that they were on the same side.
Liang Fu’s attitude gradually softened, and when she heard this, her eyes were wet, and she choked: “I didn’t.”
Her throat was hoarse, her voice was teary, and she could hardly say a complete sentence, so she kept repeating: “I didn’t.” Wang Yanqing continually looked at her patiently and gently, and when Liang Fu’s mood calmed down, she said softly: “I believe you. What happened that day?”
|| Translator’s Note: Hi amazing people! I am finally settling down into summer break and I will try my hardest to release two chapters a week! Have an amazing week!