TIGR Chapter 26
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 26 An Encounter
Wang Yanqing already guessed what Lu Heng was going to say as she asked: “You mean the corruption case?”
Lu Heng nodded: “That’s right. You don’t need to do the physical work of expelling the bribe. You just need to talk to those people and ask where the stolen money is.”
Wang Yanqing tilted her head slightly, with suspicion in her eyes: “It’s that simple?”
Lu Heng couldn’t help laughing, he patted Wang Yanqing’s hair, and said leisurely: “Qing Qing, this is not easy for ordinary people.”
It was just asking questions. Wang Yanqing thought that she could do it, so she agreed: “Okay. However Second Brother, making a judgement by facial expression is not without limits. Only by asking the appropriate question can the correct answer be revealed, and often only the first question is effective. I need to get more information before I will be ready to meet them.”
At this time, someone knocked on the door outside. Lu Heng straightened Wang Yanqing’s hair, got up slowly, and said: “No hurry. You rest first and wait until your body is healthy enough to do research again. That should be the concoction of medicine, I’ll go get it. You don’t have to think about it tonight, just sleep at ease.”
After speaking, Lu Heng turned around and left. Wang Yanqing put down her legs and sat down on the couch. She had just straightened her skirt when Lu Heng came back with a food box.
Smelling the familiar fragrance, a trace of reluctance quickly slid across Wang Yanqing’s face. She asked: “Didn’t I just drink a bowl last night, why do you still want me to drink?”
“You have to drink two bowls a day.” Lu Heng put the medicine bowl on the table, stirred it slowly with a spoon, and said to Wang Yanqing, “Don’t linger, come and drink the medicine. You can go to sleep after you finish.”
Wang Yanqing knew it was useless to hide, so she walked to the dining table and sat down. Lu Heng felt that the temperature was good, so he scooped a spoonful and fed it to Wang Yanqing himself. Wang Yanqing was surprised and she quickly glanced at the concoction. She stretched out her hand and said: “Second Brother, let me do it.”
Lu Heng avoided Wang Yanqing’s hand and said: “You must be tired from working in the prison late through the night. I will feed you.”
Wang Yanqing couldn’t grab it, so she could only bite the bullet and drink the concoction. Wang Yanqing was orphaned at a very young age, and she would not have the delicateness to be afraid of suffering and tiredness long ago when she lived under another’s roof. No matter how bitter the medicine was, she could drink it, but it did not mean that she liked medicine. Lu Heng looked at her subtle expression and couldn’t help laughing: “You don’t like it?”
Wang Yanqing swallowed a mouthful of the dark soup, eased the strange taste in her mouth, and said: “No, I’m just not used to this taste.”
“You have to drink even if you’re not used to it.” Lu Heng said, “In the past, I was negligent at home and made your menstrual pain worse and worse. Not only this time, but every time you come to the monthly period in the future, you will have to drink medicine. Usually, there are two kinds of nourishing medicines which are replaced back and forth so they are available every day, so don’t be lazy.”
Wang Yanqing felt a headache just hearing it: “Drinking it every day? Second Brother, this is just a small problem. Many women have abdominal pains when they come to the monthly period. This kind of thing is common, and there is really no need to bother.”
“I don’t care about others, but you must recuperate.” Lu Heng didn’t tell Wang Yanqing that her Gong Han might endanger her children but said in a flat and strong tone, “The medicine will be brought back, and it will be delivered on time, whether you drink it or not is up to you. There is nothing wrong with you being cautious everywhere, but in your own home, there is no need to be so careful. If you feel unwell in the future, tell me quickly, don’t endure it by yourself.”
Wang Yanqing heard Lu Heng’s tone and knew that there was no room for change in this matter, so she could only agree. Lu Heng fed the medicine steadily and quickly, and the bowl of medicine quickly bottomed out.
Lu Heng put down the bowl, picked another plum, and put it in Wang Yanqing’s mouth. Seeing that it was midnight, Wang Yanqing hurriedly urged Lu Heng: “Second Brother, I’m fine here. Go back and rest.”
No matter how close brother and sister were, it was impossible for them to sleep in the same room at night. Lu Heng told Wang Yanqing to keep warm at night, closed the doors and windows, got up, and said: “I’m in the next room, call me immediately if something is wrong at night.”
Wang Yanqing nodded wanting to send Lu Heng out, but he stopped her: “It’s windy at the door and your clothes are unbuttoned. You can’t catch a cold. I’ll just go by myself, go to bed quickly.”
Wang Yanqing could only watch Lu Heng go out. After the door was closed, she realized that Lu Heng’s file had not been taken away, but remained in her room.
She looked at the study through the screen and sighed in her heart. Second Brother trusted her too much. He was like this but he dared to scold her for trusting outsiders.
Wang Yanqing went to the study room to check the lights, and after making sure that nothing was overlooked, she washed up and fell asleep. As for the file on the desk, she didn’t even look at it.
Second Brother trusted her so much, and she naturally wanted to return the same sincerity.
Early the next morning, the west wind whistled, the sky was overcast, and the wind was blowing with fine snowflakes. Lu Heng walked towards the main hall of the government office. An Imperial Guard followed behind Lu Heng and said: “Commander, the brother who collected the evidence has returned, saying that the traces of the Liang family match Liang Bin’s testimony.”
Lu Heng nodded and said: “All traces have been checked, so we can proceed to finalize the case. I will write the judgment myself, and you will sort out the evidence.”
The Imperial Guard clasped his fists as he should have. It took only three days from the discovery to the investigation of this case. The Imperial Guard was amazed and said: “The commander is really like a god. There is no case that can’t be solved in your hands. Commander, who was that woman yesterday? It was so amazing that Liang Bin confessed without a single instrument of torture.”
Lu Heng heard this question but didn’t answer. He just said: “Hurry up and organize the files. Before I go back to Beijing, I want to see the complete finalized document.”
After hearing this, the Imperial Guard was respectful, cupped his fists, and turned to leave. He was about to leave when he was stopped by Lu Heng again. The Imperial Guard turned back and saw the commander standing in front of the majestic and solemn government office. A flurry of snowflakes passed behind him, making his red splattering so bright and abrupt that the Qilin seemed to almost jump out. In winter, everything was gray, except for his bright and flamboyant dress. He didn’t know if it was snowing in dark light or if it was hard to see from a distance. The Imperial Guards always felt that their commander was secretive, and the expression on his face was elusive: “The investigation process is confidential. Secretly revealing it to outsiders is the same as leaking private plans, do you understand?”
|| Qilin (麒麟) refers to a mythical Chinese animal. Picture a cross between a dragon and a horse.
The Imperial Guard was in awe when he heard this, and said with dignity: “This subordinate understands. What happened yesterday will not be disclosed to anyone. After this, I will regulate my subordinates and ensure that they never reveal what they should not say.”
Lu Heng nodded slightly and said: “Then go.”
After confronting his manpower, Lu Heng went to inspect the progress of the palace bodyguards. This case was brought up by him and the emperor, and he was the one who guaranteed it to be overturned. The new file must be written to perfection without any holes. It just so happened that he was going to stay in Baoding for a few more days. He wanted to take advantage of this time to write the Liang Rong case and the adultery case, and then take it to the capital himself, so as not to be caught in the middle.
In just a few days, two files have to be sorted out, and the task was not trivial. Lu Heng personally wrote the judgment of Liang Rong’s case, and then called someone to check the file. The time unknowingly reached noon. Lu Heng glanced at the sky, handed over the rest to his subordinates, and walked to the backcourt by himself.
Officials all over the country maintained the previous dynasty’s structure of resting in the back. The offices in the front and living space in the back. Wang Yanqing lived in a guest room in the backcourt. When Lu Heng arrived, Wang Yanqing had already changed into a silver-blue coat and skirt. When she heard footsteps, she turned from the couch and saw Lu Heng pushing in the door as soon as she turned her head.
Unconsciously, a smile appeared on Wang Yanqing’s face. She put down what was in her hand, and quickly walked towards Lu Heng: “Second Brother.”
Lu Heng patted off the broken snow particles on his clothes, and said to Wang Yanqing: “Fortunately, we didn’t set off today, or else it would have snowed as we just left the city, and you would be tired on the way.”
Wang Yanqing helped brush off the snow and said: “I am not a person molded from clay, how can I be so delicate? Second Brother, is it snowing a lot outside?”
“It’s not too much, but it is still windy today. It is estimated that it will be almost gone in two days, just in time for us to hit the road.”
Lu Heng untied his cloak, revealing the complete Qilin inside. Wang Yanqing wore a light outfit today, but Lu Heng’s outfit was flamboyant. After the two sat down, it turned out that Lu Heng’s color was more intense. Wang Yanqing sat sideways beside Lu Heng, her light blue coat was illuminated by Lu Heng’s arrogant official uniform, and she seemed to be stained with a touch of bright color: “Second Brother, you are too careless. You forgot to take the file with you yesterday.”
Lu Heng glanced at the bookshelf and said with a smile: “Qing Qing is attentive, please help me look after it.”
Wang Yanqing said with a serious face: “Those are court documents, and many of them are still confidential. I am not in court. What kind of person would that make me?”
Lu Heng’s eyesight was outstanding, and he recognized at a glance that the things on the table remained the same, and hadn’t been moved. Lu Heng smiled lightly and said: “I trust Qing Qing. Did you take your medicine today?”
As soon as he came to ask this, Wang Yanqing sighed secretly and nodded: “I did.”
Lu Heng stared closely at Wang Yanqing and asked: “Really?”
Wang Yanqing was doubted and felt a feeling of unhappiness in her heart. She pursed her lips and said indifferently: “If Second Brother doesn’t believe me, just call someone from the kitchen and ask them.”
Lu Heng smiled and held Wang Yanqing’s hand, immediately saying: “I’m just worried about you. How could I not believe you?”
Speaking like this, Lu Heng thought to himself that he wanted to send someone to the kitchen to inquire secretly. However, seeing that she had taken the medicine, Lu Heng put down his worries and explained: “The case is not over yet, I have to watch them and write up documents. So I may not have time to accompany you to eat. Eat well by yourself and don’t be a picky eater. I’ll try to come back as early as possible in the evening.”
Wang Yanqing nodded and agreed. She hesitated for a moment and asked: “Second Brother, are you still busy with yesterday’s case?”
“Yes.” Lu Heng didn’t hide it, and happily told the truth, “The investigation was only part of the case, and there are still many procedures behind it. Especially since this case was reported in front of the emperor, even more so, it cannot be sloppy. You can rest at ease. After the snow melts in two days, I will sort out the files and take you back to Beijing.”
Wang Yanqing should be fine. She could help by accompanying Lu Heng to investigate the case, but once it involved the internal process of the Imperial Guards, she didn’t understand. With Lu Heng doing this kind of thing, Wang Yanqing was not worried at all. She drank her medicine and ate on time every day, as she waited quietly for the snow to stop.
Three days later, Wang Yanqing’s monthly period was completely gone and the snow on the road was not enough to be afraid. Lu Heng, with a more bloated carriage than when he came, as well as the beginning and end files of the Liang adultery case, set off for North.
Sitting in the carriage, Wang Yanqing heard a rhythmic creaking sound as the wheels rolled over the stone pavement. The carriage seemed to stop for a while, followed immediately by the sound of a salute which was submerged in the vast sound of the wind as they started back up.
She knew they were out of town. Wang Yanqing opened a gap in the curtain and looked at the towering Baoding Mansion Wall behind her speechlessly. If it wasn’t for their intervention, Liang Fu’s false charges of adultery would never have been appealed. Maybe Liang Rong’s body would not be discovered until next spring. At that time, Liang Fu would have been dead for a long time, and Liang Bin’s Thousand Households would have also been settled. The truth would stay in Jiajing forever stored in the beginning of the bitter winter of the eleventh year.
Wang Yanqing lowered the curtain of the carriage and sat down again, holding the hand stove. She turned her back to Baoding Mansion as they gradually moved away. In front of her was a more magnificent and solemn city that had been waiting for them for a long time.
On the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, Lu Heng and his party arrived in the capital. The capital was different from Baoding. The team entering and leaving the city gate was very large. The subordinates went to the front to show their token as Lu Heng stayed in the team, waiting to enter the city.
Chen Yuxuan followed behind Lu Heng and reported: “Commander, Guo Zhenfu sent a secret report, saying that those people still refused to confess. The first assistant has already sent people to pressure us twice, asking the Imperial Guards to release him.”
Lu Heng was not surprised at all, and asked: “Anything else?”
Chen Yuxuan looked embarrassed, looked at Lu Heng’s face carefully, and said in fear: “There are people… challenging the commander, saying that you left without permission and neglected your authority.”
Lu Heng smiled softly. The Imperial Guards and the government officials were natural enemies. It was not unusual for those officials to challenge him, but this time the movement was so fast. Was there someone inside the Imperial Guards also fueling it?
Lu Heng was about to say something when his eyes swept to one place and suddenly stopped. Chen Yuxuan was waiting for Lu Heng to speak when he suddenly found that the commander was looking in one direction with a meaningful expression on his face. He also stopped and restrained his horse back.
A man wearing a pure sable fur cloak, riding a date red horse, approached slowly. When he reached a position three steps away from the team, he sighed softly, held the reins, and swept his gaze over everyone, particularly the carriage stopped behind him. In the end, he smiled, and the noble nodded gently to Lu Heng: “Master Lu, it’s been a long time.”
Wang Yanqing sat in the car, waiting bored. Amid a buzzing sound, a voice suddenly passed through the noisy crowd and the heavy carriage. Faintly discernible, it made its way to Wang Yanqing’s ears.
This voice… Wang Yanqing felt something and she opened the curtain of the car looking toward the source of the voice.
|| Translator’s Note: Aahhh! FTZ and WYQ are finally meeting, what do you think will happen in the next chapter?