TIGR Chapter 18
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 18 Marriage
The corner of Lu Heng’s lip was pulled back as he silently examined Wang Yanqing. Wang Yanqing didn’t take notice of the expression in Lu Heng’s eyes while she was caught up in the memories of the past. The scene definitely just flashed by a moment ago, but when she carefully thought about it again, she couldn’t recall it.
She was at a loss for a long time, thinking until her head hurt, but still, nothing came out. She reached up to hit her forehead, but Lu Heng promptly took her hand, and asked concerned: “What’s wrong?”
Wang Yanqing raised her head as if she had done something wrong, and pitifully said: “Second Brother, I’m sorry, I only remember you telling me to be thoughtful. I can’t remember the rest.”
The tip of Lu Heng’s eyebrows drew down invisibly. What he said? It seemed that Wang Yanqing really didn’t remember it, but so long as she will remember it, she will know that the person in front of her is not her Second Brother at all. Lu Heng’s heart didn’t know whether to relax or be disappointed. He smiled at Wang Yanqing, the end of his eyes twitching up enticingly, as tempting as indulging in a deep lake: “It doesn’t matter. If you can’t remember, then forget it. We still have a lot of time, don’t worry. Besides this, was there anything else?”
Wang Yanqing shook her head, her eyes were cautious and serious. Lu Heng knew that he would have to bear this black mark again. He paused, and while comforting Wang Yanqing, he justified himself: “What you remembered might have been when you got sick when you were eight years old. When I got up in the morning to practice martial arts, you also wanted to follow along. The martial arts lessons were arranged to my standards. Your body was weaker yet you consistently withstood it and fought hard regardless of the pain. After you returned, you fell sick and I let you rest for several days. You didn’t want to and the next day, you insisted on continuing. Then I told you to be thoughtful and not joke around with your body.”
After Lu Heng finished speaking, he himself even believed it. He had read all of Wang Yanqing’s information and knew that she had a serious illness due to martial arts practice when she was eight years old. Lu Heng had processed it now, but the time, cause, effect, and process remained the same. The only difference was that Lu Heng replaced the other person, and turned a very ruthless remark into concern for Wang Yanqing’s body. Whoever listened to it would be moved, even Lu Heng was rather quite touched. All the resilience he had developed in the Imperial Court was used to deceive Wang Yanqing.
Sure enough, Wang Yanqing blinked when she heard these words, and the bottom of her eyes filled with water: “Second Brother…”
Lu Heng stroked Wang Yanqing’s cheek, moved his fingertips towards her two shaken eyes, and gently wiped away the tears from the corners of her eyes: “Why are you crying? There are many more things like this, if you don’t remember, we will do it all over again. Even if you never restore your memory, it doesn’t matter.”
Lu Heng silently added in his heart, if you did regain your memory, I’m afraid you won’t sit here obediently and look at me like this.
Wang Yanqing’s heart was full of emotion. She forgot all of their memories, but Second Brother was neither angry nor impatient, he always guided her patiently. She was so lucky to have such a brother, no wonder she was reluctant to forget him when she lost her memory.
Lu Heng’s gaze lingered on Wang Yanqing’s face for a long time and finally retracted his hand reluctantly. As he should have, he said: “You must be tired after spending a full day today. I’m afraid they will have to search the mountains for a while, and we won’t be able to leave tonight. Why don’t you get some rest first. Second Brother is here to help you, you can rest assured and sleep in peace.”
Wang Yanqing’s expression was a little hesitant when she heard this. She and her Second Brother were childhood sweethearts. Even if they were close when they were young, now they were all grown up. Could they still stay in the same room at night? But Lu Heng’s words were still in her ears, and Wang Yanqing’s inner doubts were quickly overwhelmed by his emotions. Second Brother treated her so well, why would he have other thoughts? He must be caring about her health.
Wang Yanqing stood in the cold wind all afternoon today. She was probably affected by the cold wind. Her body was tired and her lower back was achingly sore. Seeing Wang Yanqing’s tiredness, Lu Heng took a pillow, put it on the couch, and helped her lie down.
Wang Yanqing was also indeed really tired and took the opportunity to lay down. Seeing that she was a little cold, Lu Heng took his cloak and draped it on her carefully. Wang Yanqing looked at Lu Heng’s close dark blue sleeves and asked: “Second Brother, did you already know the truth about Liang Rong’s death?”
Lu Heng didn’t answer her question and said: “The body hasn’t been found, so everything is just a speculation, there is no truth yet.”
Wang Yanqing was slender, and only a small wisp bulged out from under Lu Heng’s wide cloak. She was afraid of the cold, so she buried her face in the fluff of the collar of the cloak, the black fluff was soft and flamboyant. She leaned her face on it, spanning no bigger than a palm.
She turned her face, looked at Lu Heng carefully, and said: “You don’t have to lie to me. When you came out of Liang Rong’s study, you probably guessed the same.”
The night was cold and the wind was howling. Between the cold official documents and the lively beauty, Lu Heng decided to choose the latter. He sat on the edge of the couch, and as his fingers slowly passed through Wang Yanqing’s hair, he said casually: “Qing Qing, if you ask these questions, will you still be able to sleep in a while?”
Wang Yanqing shook her head. Although she didn’t speak, she fixed a pair of clear eyes on him. Lu Heng helplessly sighed and said: “I wanted to let Qing Qing sleep for a while, but since you want to listen, how can I as a brother refuse. As soon as I entered Liang Rong’s room, I felt that something was wrong. He had many books hidden on the bookshelf, and every kind of ink, paper, and ink stone laid out on the desk. It could be seen that he usually liked to read books, which is different from those rich sons who pretend and put up facades. For such people, the most commonly used place was the couch table, but surprisingly it was empty. I thought it was too deliberate, so I went and took a look. I didn’t expect to hit the right spot. The brushes on his desk were neatly arranged by thickness and length, and the paperweights were placed perfectly horizontally or vertically, but the brushes on his inkstone were not washed. A careless person would leave the used pens for washing the next day. However, a person who compulsively pursued cleanliness would not. It could only be said that when he put down his pen, he only left temporarily, and did not think about going out or sleeping. The so-called statement that Liang Rong went out to visit friends by Liang Wen Shi and the Liang family members was nonsense.”
While listening, Wang Yanqing recalled the daytime scene. She also looked at Liang Rong’s desktop, but she didn’t pay attention to these details at all. Unexpectedly, the seemingly simple desktop actually hid a lot of information.
Wang Yanqing continued to ask: “Then what?”
“I knew then that Liang Rong probably encountered an accident. A collection of books can best reflect a person’s character. I went to the bookshelf to check and found that the books on it seemed messy, but they were actually organized by dynasties. There was only one that was missing, however, the Song Collection which I found in the miscellaneous notes of the Yuan Dynasty.”
Wang Yanqing was lying on her side on top of the pillow with her chin propped up on Lu Heng’s cloak, and the light seemed to cast a layer of glaze on the two of them. In contrast, the whiter Wang Yanqing’s chin was, the darker Lu Heng’s cloak was. Lu Heng’s slender fingers slowly played in Wang Yanqing’s hair. She ignored the hands and asked in surprise: “Those books were not serious knowledge, but travel journals. Second Brother, how do you even know about these?”
Nowadays, all kinds of things were popular. The imperial examination was serious learning, but the rest was all heresy. In any matter, Wang Yanqing had never read any of those books, and she had no idea what they spoke about. However, Lu Heng found the oddball dynasty in one glance at the pile of books.
Lu Heng laughed lowly, circling Wang Yanqing’s hair around his fingertips: “I haven’t seen it before either, I just know about it. It is impossible for a person of Liang Rong’s character to misplace a collection of books so it must have been another person who casually moved the books from the table to the bookshelf in a hurry. I took out the book and found water stains on it after turning a few pages. The water stains were light and the edges were browned, it was likely tea. I speculated that before the incident, Liang Rong was tired of reading at the desk, so he put down his pen and moved to the couch to lie down and read. Later, the murderer entered the house and accidentally knocked over the tea while committing the crime, wetting the book. The murderer was flustered and hurriedly mixed the books into the bookshelf so that no one would find out that he had been there. Out of lack of confidence, he cleaned up everything on the couch. I went to the side of the couch to check and found that the ash on the coffee table was different from the study table. Obviously, someone went in and wiped it later. If it weren’t the place where the crime occurred, why would the murderer be so concerned?”
Wang Yanqing nodded. No wonder Lu Heng stayed by the couch for so long. It turns out that he was reconstructing the scene at that time. Wang Yanqing asked: “So, the scratches on the edge of the couch are also related to Liang Rong’s death?”
Lu Heng sighed lightly and said: “You can’t draw conclusions too early before seeing the body. However, those scratches were thin and deep, with slight rolling marks. According to the thickness, they should have been fingernails. There are traces of dampness on the couch under the legs of the table. The teacup should have been placed on the study table at that time, but it was knocked over. The tea soaked the book, and part of it flowed down the legs of the table and to the couch. Although the table was wiped several times, they forgot to clean up below the couch. According to these traces, Liang Rong should have been killed while lying on the couch. He struggled before dying and scratched the edges. The muffled sounds that Liang Fu heard could have been the movements of Liang Rong’s struggle.”
After Lu Heng finished speaking, he coiled Wang Yanqing’s hair and casually added: “Of course, this is just my guess, and for the specific evidence, we will have to wait for the body to be found.”
“This is already very powerful.” Wang Yanqing responded with admiration. She thought of herself and said with discouragingly: “I went to the study with you, but I only saw the surface and found nothing, unlike Second Brother. Even the process of committing the crime has almost been sorted out. Second Brother has such a strong detection ability, why do you still need me?”
Lu Heng let out a low laugh, moved his palms up, rubbed the top of Wang Yanqing’s head, and said: “Qing Qing looks at me highly. Case handling is based on experience, the more you see, the more you will eventually notice. This is unlike Qing Qing who is exceptionally gifted at seeing small details.”
“You are coaxing me again.”
Lu Heng lowered his head and saw the beauty lying beside his legs, with jade-like skin and black hair scattered on the edge of the couch, with a few strands tangled on his clothes. This was a completely trusting and defenseless posture. She lowered her eyes, biting her lip slightly. She still felt guilty for not being able to help him.
Lu Heng suddenly understood why Fu Tingzhou had hidden her for ten years. If he had such a “younger sister”, he would have kept her carefully and placed her properly so that outsiders would not have the slightest chance.
“How could that be?” Lu Heng said slowly, his fingers lingering from her hair to her cheek, slowly sketching the arc of her profile, “Solving a case is not the work of one person. The investigation, interrogation, and arrest all have their own responsibilities. You have your usefulness, you just have to believe in yourself.”
“Really.” After Lu Heng finished speaking, he covered Wang Yanqing’s eyes with his palms and said, “Other girls listen to the stories of talented and beautiful women before going to bed. You instead ask about all about these murderous things. I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow, you should go to sleep.”
Her eyes were covered by Lu Heng’s palm, his breath still lingered on her nose. Moreover, he was sitting not far from her and had a very strong presence. Wang Yanqing felt very at ease for no reason, closed her eyes, and unexpectedly even slowly fell asleep.
Wang Yanqing’s breathing gradually evened out. Lu Heng withdrew his hand and watched her silently under the light. He originally thought that it was unsafe for Wang Yanqing, a girl, to stay in an Imperial guardhouse full of men, so he let her stay in his room. Thinking about it now, maybe staying by his side was the least safest place.
Lu Heng put his hands on his knees and stared into the light in a trance. He was twenty-two years old this year. This age was young for officialdom, but it was too late for starting a family. Because he had not married, there were a lot of private speculations in the capital. There were many rumors such as homosexuality, impotence, and abnormal practices in the bed that could be heard everywhere. Some people even said that it was because he had done a lot of wicked things, so he did not have an heir and would be doomed to die alone.
Lu Heng knew about it all, but he was too lazy to pay attention to it. He didn’t marry a wife, simply because he didn’t want to get married. It happened that he was in grieving this year, so he used it to his advantage and pushed it back again.
The benefits of not marrying a wife were very realistic. He didn’t like to be restrained by others, let alone expose his weaknesses. A family would establish a target open to everyone. If his wife’s family was intelligent, then it would be tolerable. However, if her father was sluggish, it would in turn drag him down. Moreover, the emperor was suspicious and the party dispute was still fierce. He didn’t want to destroy the balance he had finally established because of a woman. Most importantly, Lu Heng believed from the bottom of his heart that he could not trust other people in this life.
He couldn’t even trust the parents who gave birth to him. How could he peacefully sleep beside another strange woman and expose all of his words and deeds in front of her? He fought and schemed on the Imperial Court with the emperor. He was the minister of South Fusi where he had to fight and scheme. He didn’t want to go return to a home where he would still need to fight and scheme with his partner.
Most of the wives he would marry were also noble ladies whose father and brothers held great power. This kind of noble lady was brainwashed by her family since she was a child, and she would always think about her parents’ family. Lu Heng had a special status, and it was most unacceptable to leak news. He merely thought that sharing a bed with a woman who shared different views, feeling each other out, the interest would slowly die.
There were many advantages of not marrying a wife, but no advantages of marrying a wife. Lu Heng knew himself very well. Since he couldn’t trust, he might as well not marry. But now, he felt Wang Yanqing’s shallow breathing, the faint warm fragrance on his body, leaning on his leg in a completely trusting gesture, and thought, maybe having a wife may not be without benefits.
Obviously, in the beginning, he just wanted to use her and Lu Heng knew the essence of deception. To convince others, he must first convince himself. He imagined that he really had a childhood sweetheart who had been with him for ten years. As if Wang Yanqing came to their house at the age of seven and studied martial arts together with him for ten years. What would they look like when they interacted? Lu Heng imagined this in his heart and then treated Wang Yanqing consequently.
After a long time of immersive acting, he would feel that it was true. Later, Lu Heng couldn’t help but think that it would be great if he really had such a sister. This would be a rare person he could trust, he wouldn’t need to worry about her betrayal, wouldn’t need to worry about her not having a purpose, and wouldn’t need to worry about her not being used to the Lu family. When she became an adult, the two of them would get married naturally, and even the titles of their parents would not need to be changed.
It would have been nice if his father had really adopted her in the first place. Unfortunately, there was no if.
His father was an Imperial Guard. He was cautious, indifferent, and suspicious. From the very beginning, he would never have brought anyone back home. Born into such a family, Lu Heng was destined to never trust another person for the rest of his life.
He straightened the fluff beside Wang Yanqing’s face, got up, and went to the other side to read the official documents. The others were in the Baoding Mansion, but the matter of the capital prison was still waiting for him. The emperor’s patience was running out. The corruption case of Zhang Yong and Xiao Jing must be resolved as soon as possible.
As for Wang Yanqing, she now mistakenly thinks that he is her Second Brother, so she pleases him in every possible way. Once she knows the truth, she will definitely face him with swords. All the warmth at this moment was candy wrapped in poison. The more she trusted him now, the more she would hate him when her memory is restored in the future.
And looking at her, it won’t be far from this day.
Lu Heng spoke inwardly. It’s a pity.