TIGR Chapter 25
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 25 Deviant
When Lu Heng said this his tone became tranquil. Although his face was still calm, his eyes turned cold and his demeanor hardened. At a glance, it was clear that he didn’t like this person. Wang Yanqing leaned on the couch halfway and got a panoramic view of Lu Heng’s expression. She didn’t see the slightest trace of coercion and believed it without a doubt.
Even if she felt that calling someone “Thief Fu” was not in line with her character.
Second Brother was in a bad mood. Wang Yanqing lowered her voice subconsciously and asked tentatively: “Second Brother, what did he do to the Lu family. Why did I call him…”
Wang Yanqing paused before saying the inexplicable name: “Theif Fu.”
Lu Heng lowered his head halfway and locked on Wang Yanqing with his sparkling eyes. He looked at her for a while, and said slowly: “Because he has bad intentions toward you.”
Wang Yanqing frowned, feeling that things were getting more and more strange. Lu Heng sighed softly, clenched Wang Yanqing’s hand, and said: “It’s my fault for not protecting you. When I was younger, I took you out to play and accidentally met Fu Tingzhou. He was very interested in you, and I warned him many times, but he didn’t take it seriously and harassed you even more. Later, I rarely took you out, and I tried my best to conceal news of you from the outside. Therefore, except for the relatives of the Lu family, few outsiders know about your existence. But even so, Fu Tingzhou didn’t give up.”
Wang Yanqing’s eyes widened, her pure gaze approaching as she stared at Lu Heng, earnestly waiting for the next words. Lu Heng sighed bitterly, and after a while, he said in an indescribable tone: “You grew up slowly, and eventually, you came of age for matchmaking. I obviously didn’t reveal any intention of you wanting to marry, but he overestimated his abilities and demanded to marry you. What’s more, his promise was not the position of a wife, but a concubine.”
Wang Yanqing let out a soft “ah” as if there was a throbbing pain in her heart. When listening to Lu Heng’s grievances with Fu Tingzhou before, Wang Yanqing seemed to be floating in the clouds. Although everything was reasonable, she continuously felt that there was no sense of reality. However, those last words instantly aroused her emotions. She had no memory and had come to this day relying on her intuition. Since the emotions in her body clearly echoed Lu Heng’s words, Wang Yanqing accepted Lu Heng’s words without hesitation.
That being the case, then this Fu Tingzhou person is very repulsive. Wang Yanqing frowned and said displeasedly: “He stalked a woman after meeting her only once. If he really fell in love at first sight and wanted to marry the woman as his wife for many years, I could still call him affectionate, but he wants to take her as a concubine. How can such a person be entrusted with one’s life?”
Lu Heng stroked Wang Yanqing’s wrist, and when he heard this, he nodded in agreement: “Yes, I think so too. I explicitly rejected him, but he became furious and made a plot against me outside the city. In the chaos, you bumped your head and lost your memory. This kind of person is inferior to pigs and dogs. You used to hate him so much that you called him Thief Fu.”
All in all, the other party was the Marquis of Zhenyuan, and calling him a thief was quite impolite. Wang Yanqing thought she wouldn’t say such rude words, but thinking about what Fu Tingzhou did, she felt that she hated him so much, and it seemed reasonable to call him a thief.
Since this was something she did in the past, Wang Yanqing hesitated for a while before accepting it. She asked: “Second Brother if Thief Fu is so rampant, what should we do in the future?”
Lu Heng just barely contained his laugh, and still holding the image of a perfectly good brother, he sighed and looked at her with sadness: “It’s not a pity for this thief to die, but he caused Qing Qing a lot of suffering. Speaking of which, Second Brother is not good. If I found out earlier, how could it have gotten this bad?”
Wang Yanqing’s face was sullen when she heard this. She stood straight up on the bed, looked at Lu Heng seriously, and said: “Second Brother, don’t take everything on yourself. You are only human, how could you prevent against an attack? It was treacherous for him to actually take advantage of the incense procession, and it was reasonable for you to have been unprepared, Second Brother. My amnesia was an accident. How can I blame you?”
Lu Heng quietly listened to Wang Yanqing’s righteous indignation and cursing. After hearing that, Lu Heng could hardly hold back the smile in his eyes. She didn’t know that the attacking villain she scolded was the “Second Brother” in front of her. Lu Heng sat closer, clenched Wang Yanqing’s hands tightly, and looked at Wang Yanqing with a pair of intoxicated eyes: “Qing Qing has a deep understanding of righteousness, which moves your elder brother very much. It’s fine if you don’t blame me for the memory loss, but I didn’t discuss it with you and directly rejected your marriage…”
Speaking of this, Wang Yanqing’s face became more serious: “Second Brother, what are you talking about? The Lu family spent so much energy raising me and teaching me to read and practice martial arts. Is it because they want me to be a concubine for others? You rejected it well. Even if I heard this, no matter how powerful he was, I would never agree.”
Lu Heng gently raised one side of his eyebrows and asked: “Really?”
“Naturally.” Although Wang Yanqing didn’t remember her past experiences at all, she firmly believed that no matter who she was now or who she was in the past, she would never be arrogant and willing to become a canary in a man’s cage. Even in the name of love.
Lu Heng knew that Fu Tingzhou and Wang Yanqing had a deep relationship and that Fu Tingzhou planned to make Wang Yanqing his concubine, but he didn’t know Wang Yanqing’s attitude. Losing her memory would only make a person reveal who she was and would not change her true personality. If she refused so firmly, perhaps in the past, she was also not willing?
Lu Heng kept thinking about it. He finally showed a genuine smile and said leisurely: “However, based on what I know about Fu Tingzhou, he is not a master who is willing to let people go. He originally thought that you would not refuse, so he gave you the position of concubine. However, if you refused, it would arouse his competitiveness, and he will vacate the Marquis Lady’s position…”
“Second Brother, you don’t have to test me.” Wang Yanqing stopped Lu Heng’s words and said righteously, “A man who is willing to marry after being rejected, how can there be any sincerity? Since I once called him Fu Thief, it means that I already loathe him to the extreme. I would rather live my life with plain tea and simple food. Furthermore, I would never make a fool of myself with a man I don’t like, for the sake of glory and wealth. Second Brother, don’t worry, I will not betray you for the position of the Zhenyuan Mansion’s Marquis Lady.”
These words undoubtedly spoke to Lu Heng’s heart. How much he wished there was someone who would stand firmly by his side no matter what temptation they faced. Unfortunately, even she was not real. Lu Heng sighed secretly in his heart, put on a smile, and said to Wang Yanqing: “I’m relieved to hear you say this. This fellow Fu Tingzhou can’t be trusted, but there are plenty of marquis and earls in the capital. What if others with a lot of money want to marry you?”
“Second Brother!” Wang Yanqing found that Lu Heng was behaving very strangely tonight, and was feeling out her thoughts about some matters about marriage. After all, she is a girl who has never left the chamber. Hearing these words, she was embarrassed and offended: “The people you mentioned have been rich for generations, what scenes have they not seen. I have no talents and no virtues, and my appearance is ordinary. It is strange enough for the Marquis of Zhenyuan to look at me. Other people that were born in the splendid pile, how would they even see me?”
“I don’t agree with that.” Lu Heng laughed and spoke in a rare moment of truth, “Qing Qing is beautiful, observant, skilled in writing and martial arts, and with a gentle temperament. What man wouldn’t like you?”
Lu Heng kept looking at her as he said these words. His eyes were sincere as if he was talking about the most important thing in the world. Wang Yanqing blushed when she was told this and said annoyed: “That’s because you look at me with a brother’s eyes, so everything is good. How could other people be like this?”
“How is it impossible?” Lu Heng said, “A girl that I like all of. How can others not covet her? You have to be confident.”
Hearing these words, Wang Yanqing’s fingers twitched uncontrollably. She didn’t know whether the “girl” in Lu Heng’s words was referring to her as his younger sister or something else. She panicked for a moment, but after her reaction, her face became stern. She tucked away her legs and turned to go to bed: “You always talk nonsense, I am ignoring you.”
Lu Heng smiled leisurely, stretched out his hand in front of Wang Yanqing, and easily blocked her path. Lu Heng spoke: “Okay. If Qing Qing doesn’t like it, I won’t say it. Regardless if it is true or false if someone is willing to use the wealth of thousands of dollars and the honor of being a wife to ask you to marry them, what would Qing Qing think?”
Wang Yanqing’s skirts were stacked on the edge of the couch and she looked back at Lu Heng. Lu Heng didn’t dodge her gaze either, letting her watch. Wang Yanqing was not stupid. This night was the first time Lu Heng mentioned Fu Tingzhou, and later he probed her out with the matter of marriage. Obviously, there was something in his words. Wang Yanqing asked: “Second Brother, are you afraid that I will betray the Lu family?”
“No.” Lu Heng denied with a smile. His eyes resembled a wolf staring at its prey at night, clinging to Wang Yanqing faintly, “I am afraid that you will leave me.”
For Lu Heng, there was no difference between leaving and betraying. Even if he had a younger sister, once she left home and got married, she was no longer trustworthy. What’s more, Wang Yanqing was not even his sister. She is now willing to follow him because of his “elder brother” status. What if she meets someone she likes?
For example, Fu Tingzhou. There were too many examples of old feelings rekindling in the world. Lu Heng did not dare gamble.
Wang Yanqing was a little angry that Lu Heng didn’t believe her. Even though they had been together for ten years, Second Brother still suspected her? But when she thought about his position, she thought it was understandable. The Imperial Guards were in charge of supervising hundreds of officials, and what he did was both offending and dangerous. If he hadn’t always been cautious and always thought of the worst possibility when speculating about people’s hearts, how could he have gotten to this point?
After all, Wang Yanqing couldn’t bear to scold Second Brother. She softened her tone and took the initiative to snuggle up to Lu Heng’s side, leaning gently on his shoulder: “Second Brother, don’t worry, I will not leave you. My adoptive father brought me back from the front line, and I was reborn with kindness. I should be filial to my adoptive father for three years. In the next three years, I will not marry, and will accompany you in the Lu family.”
Lu Heng felt the soft and fragrant touch on his shoulders and asked: “What about after three years?”
“Three years later, my elder brother will marry my sister-in-law. At that time, maybe Second Brother will dislike me and want to drive me out.”
Lu Heng laughed and stretched his hand around her shoulder: “How could that be. I wish Qing Qing would accompany me for the rest of my life.”
At this point, the two stopped tacitly. The two of them wore the skin of brother and sister, and no matter what kind of intimacy they held, it could be pushed on to brother and sister. But the two of them knew that they were not brother and sister.
When Wang Yanqing woke up, she was like a baby, ignorant of the world in front of her, and Lu Heng was her only support. She obeyed her inner feelings and trusted her Second Brother unconditionally, but there was always a kind of unease, which made her afraid to entrust all of herself to her Second Brother.
It was better to maintain the current state of intimacy and never cross that boundary. Anyway, the two of them won’t get married within the next three years, and there won’t be a third person among them. After three years, Wang Yanqing’s memory might have recovered, and it would not be too late to talk about longer-term matters.
Lu Heng tried it out and made sure that Wang Yanqing didn’t remember anything for the time being, and that she didn’t have any disagreement with him. Then he slowly mentioned his real purpose: “Qing Qing, it’s okay for you to be like this between you and Second Brother, but when you go outside, you can’t be so gullible. Especially with Fu Tingzhou. This guy is full of lies, and shamelessness, and he will do everything he can to achieve his goals. He can even do things like setting up an ambush on the way to incense. What else does he dare not do? When you return to Beijing in the future, if you happen to meet him, don’t pay attention to this person. If you can’t avoid him, just brush him aside and don’t believe anything he says. He is a very despicable person. If he finds out that you have amnesia, he will deceive you with some inexplicable words. Don’t fall for it easily, Qing Qing.”
Wang Yanqing nodded, keeping Second Brother’s words firmly in her heart, and solemnly said: “I understand.”
Lu Heng scolded Fu Tingzhou, and the inexplicable anger in his heart finally became more comfortable. Over the years, only Lu Heng had plotted against others, and no one had ever made Lu Heng suffer. Now, Lu Heng took the blame for Fu Tingzhou and was scolded. He had been waiting for him for a long time. First, he will collect some interest from Fu Tingzhou, and the rest will be calculated after returning to the capital.
After Lu Heng gave Fu Tingzhou a drop of some medicine, he finally got to the point: “Qing Qing, do you know the current situation?”
Wang Yanqing shook her head. She wanted to straighten up to listen, but Lu Heng held her shoulders discretely, and still had her leaning on her shoulders: “Nowadays it is easy for the Imperial Court to say it is complicated or simple. You should remember that the emperor is not the heir of the first emperor, but was rushed over from the barrier lands to ascend the throne, right?”
Wang Yanqing replied softly. She had heard about the situation, but she didn’t know the details. Now Lu Heng, who had witnessed Xing Monarch’s ascension to the throne, was explaining it to her. Wang Yanqing knew that the opportunity was rare, so she quietly leaned on Lu Heng without interrupting a word.
It was taboo to talk about the emperor’s affairs, so Lu Heng didn’t say much, but he said lightly: “There were so many princes in the clan, but in the end, the throne fell to the fourteen-year-old Xing Monarch. Many people were unhappy. When my father learned of the court’s will, he escorted Xing Monarch to the capital as quickly as possible, but after coming to the capital, his succession to the throne was not smooth. In the beginning, the establishment of Xing Monarch was the intention of Yang Ting, the first auxiliary. Yang Ting prided himself on his merits and wanted to let Monarch Xing ascend to the throne as a son, and wanted to isolate us, the old subjects from the prince’s mansion. In this way, he would be the benefactor of Monarch Xing. Monarch Xing would have no one to use and would only be able to rely on him. Although Xing Monarch was young, he was very smart. He quickly understood Yang Ting’s intentions and refused to enter the palace through the East gate, nor live in the prince’s residence. At that time, the situation was very dangerous. At the critical moment, two people stood up and spoke. One was Zhang Jinggong, the current second assistant, and the other was Guo Xun, the Marquis of Wuding.”
Both of them were court officials. Wang Yanqing lowered her voice and asked: “Then what?”
“Zhang Jinggong publicly impeached Yang Ting and supported Xing Monarch’s ascension to the throne in the name of the emperor, while Guo Xun brought the manpower and directly supported Xing Monarch with the army. Oh yes, you may not know that Xing Monarch’s birth mother, Jiang Shi, the Princess Xingxian at the time, was also the daughter of Guo Xun. Guo Xun used to be a subordinate of Princess Xingxian’s father and he still has such a relationship with the Jiang family.”
Wang Yanqing understood. No wonder the Marquis of Wuding is now calling the wind and rain in the capital. He is the well-deserved head of the nobles. It turned out that he was a great hero who supported the emperor back then. It is easy to add icing to the cake, but it’s hard to deliver charcoal in the snow. This credit alone was enough for the Marquis of Wuding to eat well for a lifetime.
“After Xing Monarch successfully ascended the throne, the following year he quarreled with Yang Ting about whether or not he should give the emperor’s biological father, Xingxian Monarch, the imperial title. Zhang Jinggong’s party supported the emperor and agreed to give Xingxian Monarch the imperial title. Yang Ting’s party strongly opposed it and demanded that the emperor recognize Xiaozong as his father and only call Xingxian Monarch his uncle. He did not even let the Jiang Princess Xingxian enter the palace, and be given the title of Empress Dowager. This time it involved a wide range of issues, which was later disputed at the great ceremony. The cabinet scholars, the six ministers, the department officials, and the students of the Imperial Hanlin Academy all supported Yang Ting. Yang Ting’s son even brought more than two hundred officials to kneel outside the Zuoshun Gate, shouting for Emperor Xiaozong, shaking the door with his loud cries, his voice shook the court. How could the emperor willingly receive threats. He immediately ordered the Imperial Guards to arrest the troublemaker and put him in jail, and beat him if he didn’t obey. On the days when the situation was the most severe, a total of one hundred and thirty-four people were beaten to death in front of the Zuoshun Gate on the spot, with blood flowing like rivers.”
Wang Yanqing held her breath unconsciously. She was nervous when she heard this, however, in those days Lu Heng and Lu Song were both experienced. No wonder the emperor trusted the Lu family so much. The friendship between them was much better than Yang Ting’s support.
Wang Yanqing cautiously asked: “Who won in the end?”
“Naturally, it was the emperor.”Lu Heng laughed and said meaningfully, “The emperor was young and intelligent, full of poetry, books, and opinions. How could an official have good fruit to eat when he was working against him? After the Yang family was released, the Yang Party dismounted one after another, and was replaced with the current chief assistant, Yang Yingning.”
Wang Yanqing snorted softly: “Also surnamed Yang?”
“Yes.” Lu Heng nodded. They also felt that this was extraordinary. The emperor was afraid that it was not his fate to commit a Yang, so when he finally sent away Yang Ting, another Yang Yingning came. Lu Heng ran his fingers through Wang Yanqing’s hair and said slowly: “Yang Yingning didn’t publicly support Yang Ting back then, but his stance was more old-fashioned. He spoke to members of Yang Ting’s party several times. He even wrote a letter some time ago saying that a great ceremony would be a waste of money for the people. He ordered all officials to reconcile, and once again asked the emperor to forgive the sins of the officials. The emperor did not show his thoughts, but it didn’t take long for impeachment to rise. Some people said that the officials in the court accepted bribes from eunuchs. The emperor was very angry and ordered me to investigate the case strictly.”
Hearing this, Wang Yanqing frowned: “Who wanted to impeach?”
Lu Heng smiled without saying a word, wrapped Wang Yanqing’s hair around his fingertips, and twirled it slowly: “How do I know about the things inside the cabinet? All I can do is share my worries for the emperor.”
Wang Yanqing got up from Lu Heng’s shoulder, and this time, Lu Heng didn’t stop her. She looked at Lu Heng steadily and asked: “Did you find out?”
“I have an idea, but I need more evidence.”Lu Heng looked at Wang Yanqing with a smile, and asked: “Qing Qing, would you like to do me one more favor?”
|| Author’s Note:
Lu Heng: I’m shameless and even scolded myself.