TIGR Chapter 30
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 30 Self-Recommendation
The night was dark and the wind was loud. Unexpectedly, South Fusi was bustling with noise and activity. Searching homes was something everyone liked to do, and South Fusi quickly gathered their manpower. Lu Heng walked into the fire-lit government office and said to Wang Yanqing beside him: “Qing Qing, the scene at a house raiding will be very chaotic, and I’m afraid it won’t be finished without a full night of searching. You are still recovering, so go back first.”
Wang Yanqing was embarrassed to hear this. They knew exactly what Lu Heng meant by recuperation.
Some time ago, on account of her period, Wang Yanqing’s work and rest were strictly controlled by Lu Heng. She couldn’t sleep too late, drink cold water, or eat too little. Now that her monthly time had ended, she could finally relax for a while, but now Lu Heng had begun to control the next cycle.
Wang Yanqing glanced around quickly. Fortunately, the people around were in a hurry and did not notice the conversation between Wang Yanqing and Lu Heng.
Wang Yanqing was very moved by Second Brother’s concern for her, but he was too concerned.
Wang Yanqing lowered her hood, coughed lowly, and said: “Second Brother, I’m fine.”
Lu Heng shook his head: “You can’t be sloppy. I’ll send someone… Forget it, it’s not too far to go directly. I’ll take you back.”
Wang Yanqing was startled: “Second Brother, you still have to go search…”
“You’ve already asked for the location. The gold and silver jewels are there and they can’t run away.” Lu Heng stopped Wang Yanqing’s words, his tone was very firm, “I will send you back to the house.”
The Imperial Guard’s manpower was almost assembled, they were just waiting for Lu Heng’s word to set off. However, Lu Heng called Guo Tao and exchanged a few words. He asked Guo Tao to take them and go first, while he took Wang Yanqing home and arrived later.
Guo Tao gave Wang Yanqing a surprised look after hearing this, and quickly lowered his head after realizing that he was being rude, so as not to offend the Commander in his matters. The Imperial Guards were used to doing things like raiding homes. Guo Tao could handle it with the others, he just slipped up. Commander Lu, the one who was most keen on playing tricks and grabbing credit, was actually giving the credit to others.
Lu Heng ignored the scrutinizing and probing gazes, tightened Wang Yanqing’s cloak, and took her away. Lu Heng insisted on having Wang Yanqing go home. On the one hand, her body was in urgent need of recuperation, after spending an evening in the cold wind, all her previous strength would be wasted; on the other hand, he did not want her to see his dark side.
The Imperial Guards were notorious, but for those who had not really experienced it, it was difficult to imagine how dirty the knife known as the bloodiest in the Ming Dynasty was.
Up until now, Wang Yanqing’s view of Lu Heng was still positive. Although he was sometimes violent, he was generally a good person. She didn’t see any of the things Lu Heng really did when extracting confessions, interrogating, courtyard flogging, and raiding. Lu Heng didn’t care about the strangeness that flashed in his heart, he obeyed his inner thoughts and sent Wang Yanqing away first, and then went to pillage the house. Lu Heng did not care about Zhao Huai’s money, but if Wang Yanqing saw through his character in advance, and then suspected him, delaying the plan to kill Fu Tingzhou later, it would not be worth the gain.
With this idea in mind, Lu Heng thought he should send Wang Yanqing back to the Lu Mansion. As for why he didn’t send someone to escort her… that was because this was the capital, and Fu Tingzhou was watching. What if Fu Tingzhou took Wang Yanqing away while he was not prepared?
This possibility had to be prevented. That idiot Fu Tingzhou was in a hurry to do everything.
The Lu Mansion was the mansion of Lu Heng’s family after they moved to the capital. It was not far from South Fusi. Lu Heng and Wang Yanqing rode horses and soon saw the gate of Lu Mansion. Lu Heng dismounted and wanted to take Wang Yanqing in personally, but he was stopped by Wang Yanqing: “Second Brother, your business is important, go find what Zhao Huai has hidden. It is just two steps, I’ll just go in by myself.”
Lu Heng glanced at Ling Xi and Ling Luan behind her and no longer insisted. He nodded and said: “Okay. After you go back to the house, drink a bowl of ginger tea, and go to sleep when your body warms up, don’t wait for me.”
Lu Heng said these words in view of Wang Yanqing, but he was not speaking to Wang Yanqing at all. Ling Xi and Ling Luan bowed their heads and silently responded to the commander’s words. Lu Heng explained a few more things and saw Wang Yanqing enter the gate with his own eyes before turning around and mounting his horse. He took the reins at will, and the black horse, like a human being, let go of its feet and galloped off in the other direction.
This night was a sleepless night for many people. It was colder and heavier, and the huge capital was shrouded in darkness, silent like a cemetery. In this dead silence, the sound of horseshoes passed through the street, awakening many from their dreams. Many people hurriedly put on their clothes and got up. Through the heavy night, they only saw the light of the fire in Zhao Huai’s mansion, the Minister of Rites, like a wandering dragon, which lasted for a long time.
The people of the Zhao family heard the Imperial Guards calling at the door in the dark night, and they opened the door trembling. Before they could ask any questions, the Imperial Guards pushed them away. The Imperial Guard infantry quickly guarded the gates of Zhao’s house, and the Zhao family hid behind, shouting angrily and helplessly: “This is the mansion of the Minister of Rites, what are you doing?”
But no matter how resentful they felt, it was useless. They could only watch these human-faced devils drive straight in, rummaging through boxes.
Outside the mansion, a dark horse stopped unhurriedly in front of the main entrance. He was wearing a crimson flying fish robe and a pure black cloak. The large area of red and black collided, making it look strong and outlandish in the night. Guo Tao held on to the long knife and hurried to the front of the steps. He clasped his fists at the person on the horse: “Commander, the study room has been fenced off, the Zhao family are all in the house, and not a single one has run away.”
Lu Heng nodded and did not speak. He turned over and dismounted neatly. Zhao Huai’s relatives were being rushed to the main hall at this moment. The Imperial Guards opened the door wide, and the cold wind was blowing in from the night. All the female relatives who only wore middle clothes hugged themselves and shivered.
The Imperial Guards guarded both sides with a knife but did not move, as if waiting for someone. The third Miss Zhao raised her head bravely and saw a man striding in among the procession of Imperial Guards holding their weapons. He was tall with long legs, and skin as fair as jade. He had sword-like eyebrows and star-shaped eyes, and he looked calm and arrogant when he walked in, dressed in red clothes. The third Miss Zhao immediately knew who he was.
The famous smiling tiger in the capital, the living King of Hell, and the young Imperial Guard who took over as the commander — Lu Heng.
His skin was originally very outstanding, but after appearing in such a place, for no reason at all, he appeared eerie. The third Miss Zhao knew that this person was dangerous, but she stared at him as if she had been bewitched, unable to look away. Madam Zhao noticed that her daughter had been staring at something outside, and thinking that her daughter was frightened by the Imperial Guards, she hurriedly hugged her daughter.
Lu Heng walked into the main hall, his gaze slowly sweeping across the crowd. His gaze seemed to have real weight, and everyone who was seen bowed their heads, especially the residence women, whose bodies couldn’t stop trembling. Lu Heng looked around, and asked in a faint tone: “Is everyone here?” ”
“Yes. All of Zhao Huai’s wives, concubines, children, and servants gathered here.”
“Good.” Lu Heng nodded, flicked his sleeves, and walked out with his hands behind his back, “Don’t let any of them go. Come, check the study room.”
When Lu Heng came in just now, Madam Zhao kept using her body to block the third Miss Zhao, for fear that Lu Heng would see her young and beautiful daughter who had not yet left the cabinet. After Lu Heng left, the third Miss Zhao finally stuck her head out of her mother’s arm and asked: “Mother, what happened, what are they going to do to our family?”
Madam Zhao’s face contained sorrow and she pitifully looked at her delicate flower of a daughter: “Daughter, they are here to check on your father.”
“Father?” Third Miss Zhao widened her eyes, very puzzled, “Didn’t you say that father was alright?”
Madam Zhao shook her head and refused to say a single extra word. She also hoped that as the Head Auxiliary said, Zhao Huai was all right, and these evil ghosts were just scaring people. She vaguely knew what Zhao Huai had done, but the details were not clear. Zhao Huai was the one who acted alone, and his wives and concubines had to follow him without any questions. Even Madam Zhao didn’t know where the money was hidden.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why they escaped the claws of the Imperial Guards.
When Lu Heng stepped into the study, the Imperial Guards had already opened the door and were gradually inspecting the walls and floors. Lu Heng took a quick glance around and asked: “Have you found anything?”
Guo Tao looked at his subordinates, and an Imperial Guard Thousand Households reported: “Commander, all the bricks are solid at present, and no interlayer has been found.”
Lu Heng glanced around slowly. Zhao Huai’s study room was surprisingly large and the air was cold and overcast. It could be seen that charcoal was never burned here. The house was filled with wooden shelves, each of which was seven feet high and two and a half feet wide. There were six layers of wooden shelves, and each shelf was full of hardcover books.
Lu Heng said with certainty: “It must be here, search carefully. Even if the house is demolished, you must find it.”
The Imperial Guards in the room clasped their fists together: “Yes.”
The Imperial Guard’s spies had explored the study before, but time was tight at that time, so they hurriedly looked and left without finding much information. After all, the capital was so big, and no one dared to ensure that the gold and silver would be hidden somewhere. If an unannounced visit was fruitless, they marked this place off the map and hurried to find the next location.
But now, the commander said to look through the study with utmost attentiveness. They didn’t know where the commander’s confidence came from, but when the commander spoke, no one dared to neglect him and they quickly spread out to start searching after receiving the order. In any case, the study room was so big. Brick by brick they would pry it open until even a mouse had nowhere to hide.
When a military officer knocked on the floor tiles, he casually muttered, “This dog government official has so many books, so densely packed, he can’t even squat.”
When Lu Heng heard this, the tips of his eyebrows curled slightly. He walked to the bookshelf, picked up a book, and looked at it. This was one of a set of books, placed in a hardcover gift box. The cover was hard, the packaging was very particular, and the storage was very new. Lu Heng turned two pages, suddenly raised his eyes, and looked back.
The bookshelves in Zhao Huai’s house were very lavish, and it could be felt that they were made of high-quality hardwood. There were three rows of books on the floor, two rows were placed along the wooden frame, and one row was in the middle. These books were the most expensive hardcover books on the market. They were carefully framed and put together in one set, and there were matching brocade boxes outside. Lu Heng looked at it for a while and put down the book in his hand. He pushed aside the outermost things and looked at the middle row of brocade boxes covered by shadows.
With so many books at home, it was reasonable to be a book lover. However, would a book lover buy a flashy boxed book with no traces of page flipping and store a line of books in an area that was completely blocked?
He picked a box at random but didn’t open it up. Lu Heng raised his eyebrows, a smile already appeared on his face: “Stop searching, this room doesn’t have an interlayer. Open all his books. He emptied them and hid things in them.”
Hearing Lu Heng’s words, everyone was shocked. A Hundred Households pushed a book to the ground with the handle of his knife. The brocade box cracked, and golden square bars fell out of it. Everyone was overjoyed when they saw this and immediately rushed to the bookshelf, scrambling to move the books.
Lu Heng patted the ash on his sleeve and said lightly: “Gentle, this is a book after all. Guo Tao, take out the booklet and start counting.”
The Imperial Guards took out a shelf of books, opened the covers, and sure enough, the paper inside had been hollowed out and replaced with yellow gold bars. Zhao Huai used the book as the outermost layer to cover it up. In fact, there was gold inside. No wonder the Imperial Guard scouts came several times, but each time they returned without success. Who would have thought that Zhao Huai did not use a secret room or the wall, but directly placed the gold out in the open.
The Imperial Guards moved the books all night, working until dawn, before finally taking out all the gold bars.
Lu Heng glanced at the sky, tonight, he didn’t need to sleep. After he changed his clothes, he would go to court. He was afraid that he would wake her up if he went back to the house now… Forget it, he would go to South Fusi to change.
Lu Heng walked out, and when he reached the Zhao family courtyard, a young girl staggered out and shouted hoarsely: “Master Lu.”
Lu Heng paused slightly, and in this moment of effort, the girl had already rushed in front of Lu Heng. Her long hair was scattered, and she was wearing a thin coat in the winter, shivering in the wind. She raised her eyes and looked at Lu Heng pleadingly: “Master Lu, what crime did my father commit?”
Lu Heng knew that this was Zhao Huai’s daughter. She seemed to be hidden behind Zhao Huai’s Madam just now, which made her the daughter of the Zhao family. The Zhao family members were originally detained in the main hall by the Imperial Guards, but the Imperial Guards were busy checking Zhao Huai’s embezzlement of silver. After one night, the guards couldn’t help but relax, so she ran out.
Lu Heng looked at the girl’s helpless eyes, unmoved, and said: “You dare to come and plead with me without knowing what crime your father committed?”
It had been revealed. The third Miss Zhao clenched her fingers, completely abandoning the restraint of a chamber girl, and begged almost humbly: “I know my father has made a big mistake. I am willing to serve Master Lu for the rest of my life without asking for anything. Can Master Lu open up and spare my father’s life.”
The third Miss Zhao was raised in a deep chamber, carefree, but not brainless. Her father had been taken away for half a month, and the Imperial Guards directly came to their door tonight. Her mother kept reassuring her that everything was fine, but she was so flustered that she instinctively felt that something was wrong. Suddenly, the voices from the study room became louder, the Imperial Guards moved back and forth, whispering that they had found it, and her and her mother’s faces turned ashen together.
It was over. Her father was really corrupt and was found out by the Imperial Guards. Her mother fainted at the time, and when the servants saw that the Zhao family was done for, they took the opportunity to steal things, and many concubines even shouted that they wanted to be released from being concubines. The third Miss Zhao didn’t even know how she got here that night. She was flooded by the cold wind all night and finally realized at dawn that if she wanted to save their family, she could only beg that person.
—— Lu Heng, who brought people to investigate the Zhao family.
He was the emperor’s most trusted person and the commander-in-chief of this operation. Whether her father was more corrupt or less and the crime was heavier or lighter, it was simply decided by his words.
The third Miss Zhao knew that she was pretty good-looking, and she admitted that she had studied piano, chess, calligraphy, and painting for several years. The madams who came as guests often joked that they wanted to have her as their daughter-in-law. She was only sixteen, and many people had come to propose marriage. As long as she could impress Lu Heng, no matter what method she used, even her body, she was willing.
After the third Miss Zhao finished speaking, she felt nervous for the first time. She was a little embarrassed to look directly into Lu Heng’s eyes, but when she thought of her father whose life and death was unknown, she forcibly broke up her reserved, pleading, humble, and pitiful look at Lu Heng.
She used up all her dignity as a daughter to say those words to him, but the third Miss Zhao found that the smile on Lu Heng’s face had not changed.
He has a pair of brilliant eyes, shimmering, naturally affectionate, and much more delicate and beautiful than ordinary men. The eyes were obviously good-looking when he smiled, but at the moment, she didn’t feel any warmth at all. Instead, she seemed to be stared at by a bright and colorful poisonous snake, where any breath would produce the illusion of death.
Her heart suddenly jumped.