TIGR Chapter 38
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 38 A Missed Opportunity
Lu Heng protected Wang Yanqing behind him. Although the movement was not big, it was very strong. When the man saw Lu Heng’s statement, he didn’t dare to stare at Wang Yanqing again, but he was not reconciled and said with a strange expression on his mouth: “I have always heard that Master Lu is not close to women, but I didn’t expect the rumors to be untrustworthy. It is clear that Master Lu has brought a beauty for an outing and is very happy. Where did Master Lu find such a beautiful woman? Master Lu has ways, why don’t you introduce them to me?”
The man’s tone was wretched and obscene, and Wang Yanqing kept frowning as she listened. She remembered Lu Heng’s name for this person and held back her displeasure. She used Lu Heng’s figure to cover her body and turned around, not wanting to look at such a person at a glance.
Lu Heng’s face smiled calmly, but the smile did not reach the bottom of his eyes at all. He understood Zhang Heling’s hidden intention and his eyes narrowed dangerously,
Zhang asked for an introduction, who did Zhang Heling think Wang Yanqing was? Lu Heng sneered coldly in his eyes and said slowly: “Duke of Chang Guo, this is a family member. She is the only daughter in the clan and without sisters. I am afraid that I am unable to act as the mediator for the Duke of Chang Guo.”
When Wang Yanqing heard Lu Heng’s words, she was slightly surprised. Why did Second Brother not say she was the adopted daughter of the Lu family but used the vague description of a family member?
As soon as Zhang Heling heard Lu Heng’s tone, he knew that he had crossed the line. Seeing that Wang Yanqing was young and beautiful, he had never seen her in the capital before, so he thought she was a beautiful and thin beauty that Lu Heng had found from somewhere, and he made some lewd jokes presumptuously. Unexpectedly, she turned out to be Lu Heng’s honorable woman.
Now that he had entered the Lu family’s door, it was not for him to judge. Zhang Heling looked embarrassed and said with a stiff smile: “It turns out that she is of Master Lu’s family. When did Master Lu take a wife, why didn’t we know?”
“I don’t want to trouble the Duke of Chang Guo with my family affairs.” Lu Heng glanced at Zhang Heling lightly and said, “There are still some urgent matters at home, so I won’t disturb the interest of Duke Chang Guo. Duke Chang Guo please continue, I will leave first.”
After Lu Heng finished speaking, he didn’t wait for Zhang Heling to react and left to protect Wang Yanqing. The two types of people passed by, Lu Heng was tall and slender, standing alone, while Zhang Heling had a big belly, and his followers were like clouds, the contrast was very sharp. It was obvious that Lu Heng was the only man on his side, but his aura was much stronger than Zhang Heling, who was shouting back and forth.
Zhang Heling craned his head unconsciously to look beside him and Lu Heng stood as a guard beside Wang Yanqing, his sleeves blocking his view of her. Zhang Heling only saw the swaying of a red dress, but he didn’t see the beauty’s face at all. Zhang Heling couldn’t help but jump, feeling that he was being targeted by Lu Heng, but no matter how angry he was, he didn’t dare to go forward and yell at Lu Heng.
Since the early death of Emperor Zhengde and the enthronement of Emperor Jiajing, the Zhang family had become a castle in the air. Although Empress Zhang still wielded the prestige of Empress Dowager in the palace, the situation of the Zhang family was completely incomparable with that during the Hongzhi and Zhengde years.
Zhang Heling was the younger brother of Empress Zhang. Although he was a prince of the state, he was different from the Marquis of Wuding and the Marquis of Zhenyuan, who relied on military merit to seal their position as Marquis. Their family turned out to be pure, and their father, Zhang Luan, passed the exam as a scholar, but he failed again and again. Without even fame, there would naturally be no achievements in his career. The Zhang family could only make a fortune by relying on their women.
Zhang Luan was mediocre in intelligence but gave birth to a good daughter. The Zhang family was very lucky and she was chosen as the crown princess. In the same year, the Chenghua Emperor died of illness and Madam Zhang did not experience a palace fight and became the queen smoothly. Emperor Hongzhi loved his wife, Empress Zhang, very much. Although he was an emperor, he was monogamous like common people, and there were no concubines in the harem.
Empress Zhang gave birth to two sons and a daughter, but unfortunately, the last two children did not survive. Only the eldest son successfully lived to adulthood and was established as the prince early on, who later became Emperor Zhengde.
Empress Zhang’s days in the palace were very comfortable, and the Zhang family soared into the sky as a result. During the Hongzhi period, Zhang Luan was named the Marquis of Shouning. After Zhang Luan’s death, Zhang Heling was named the Marquis of Shouning. His younger brother Zhang Yanling was first named Count of Jianchang and later named Marquis of Jianchang.
After the death of Emperor Hongzhi, Empress Zhang’s son ascended the throne under the name of Zhengde. Although Emperor Zhengde did not give as much to the Zhang family as Emperor Hongzhi did, he was kind to them. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Emperor Zhengde died early and did not leave any heirs, so he could only choose a vessel king from the imperial clan to carry on the family. This lucky person was Emperor Jiajing. After Emperor Jiajing ascended the throne, to show his respect to Empress Zhang, he named Zhang Heling the Duke of Chang Guo.
There were two high officials in the Zhang family, and while it looked extremely prestigious, apart from Empress Zhang, the Zhang family had no political capital, so much so that it was inferior to the Lu family who carried no title at all. To put it bluntly, the Lu family and the talents of the Marquis of Wuding and Zhenyuan were in the same circle. The men in the family had been in charge of the army for generations, and the women were connected by marriage for generations. Comrades-in-arms and relatives were intertwined. This was the true aristocratic origin.
Lu Heng was a little more special than those people. Their family was a generation of Imperial Guards, and they didn’t have as many relatives and friends as the Marquis of Wuding, but their lethality was much greater.
Zhang Heling, the Duke of Chang Guo in name only, was nothing more than a wealthy idler in the capital. How dare he compete with the first-class real-power high officials in the imperial court? Many families in the capital were planted in Lu Heng’s hands, and the Zhang family was not what it used to be, so they had better forget about it.
However, Zhang Heling still felt that he had lost face in front of everyone. After Lu Heng walked away, he spat angrily on the ground and cursed a few words. When he recovered his prestige, he was satisfied and went out to another place.
On the day of the Lantern Festival, how could Zhang Heling be missing from such a lively day? Zhang Heling threw a big banquet, and entertainment programs followed one after another. After he finished eating in the restaurant, he had to go to another place, and continue the show.
Fu Tingzhou was thinking about Wang Yanqing and was so anxious that he didn’t have time to pay attention to the others. He just wanted to quickly get rid of Hong Wanqing and go to Wang Yanqing. On the road, Hong Wanqing pointed out the lively roadside to him several times, but Fu Tingzhou ignored her. After a few times, Hong Wanqing also felt spite and stopped talking.
Fu Tingzhou took Hong Wanqing back to the team from the Yongping Marquis Mansion at the same speed as a marching army. Hong Wanqing said that she was afraid and asked Fu Tingzhou to escort her, so Fu Tingzhou did just that and served as an escort.
Chen Shi and the Madam Yongping Marquis deliberately created space for the newcomers, and deliberately led people away from Fu Tingzhou and Hong Wanqing and went another way. Seeing Fu Tingzhou and Hong Wanqing coming back, the servants of Yongping Marquis’s Mansion felt that they had come back too early, but they still smiled and greeted them warmly: “Marquis of Zhenyuan, third Miss, you are back. We were inattentive just now, somehow we went astray, and we couldn’t find you again. Madam Marquis was also worried that the third Miss would be kidnapped by thieves, but fortunately, the Marquis of Zhenyuan was there.”
When Madam Yongping Marquis and Chen Shi heard the movement, they also looked there. Everyone had ambiguous and inquiring smiles on their faces, and one favored maid deliberately asked Hong Wanqing if the lanterns on the other street looked good. Hong Wanqing curled the corners of her lips stiffly and her smile was very reluctant.
When the person beside her walked away, he was absent-minded, and when he came back, he just wanted to get away. How could Hong Wanqing have time to look at the lanterns? Especially in light of the situation.
Madam Yongping Marquis didn’t know her daughter’s psychological activities. However, when she saw Fu Tingzhou and Hong Wanqing’s awkward atmosphere, she only thought that the young people were thin-skinned and nervous. Ignoring Fu Tingzhou’s hints of wanting to leave several times, she pulled Fu Tingzhou and said: “Thanks to the Marquis of Zhenyuan today, otherwise, I wouldn’t know where to find my daughter. Zhenyuan Marquis, did you encounter any accidents on the road?”
Fu Tingzhou wanted to leave as soon as Hong Wanqing was delivered, but Madam Yongping Marquis wouldn’t let him go, so he could only answer patiently: “No.”
“There are so many people over there that we can even hear the sound in our street. What’s the excitement over there?”
Fu Tingzhou never noticed anything on the street, and said casually: “It was nothing, just a dragon dance.”
“There was actually a dragon dance?” The Madam Yongping Marquis exclaimed in surprise and hurriedly asked, “Our third Miss is clumsy, she didn’t cause trouble to the Zhenyuan Marquis did she?”
Fu Tingzhou’s answer was always so concise and to the point that Madam Yongping Marquis couldn’t keep asking if she had nothing to say. Madam Yongping Marquis covered her lips and smiled. She turned her head and said to Chen Shi: “The third Miss has been squeamish since she was a child, the sisters in the family can’t bear hardships, and she is tired after walking two steps. Now that I have seen her follow the Zhenyuan Marquis so far and watch a dragon dance, even my mother won’t believe it.”
Chen Shi smiled and said: “The girl has grown up, of course, it will be different. It’s time for us mothers to let them go.”
The Madam Yongping Marquis smiled but did not refute. At this time, people gathered around to talk to Madam Yongping Marquis, and Fu Tingzhou couldn’t wait any longer, so he simply walked up to Chen Shi and said directly: “Mother, I have other things to attend to. I have to go first. I will leave Xing Yan behind, wait a while, and let Xing Yan escort you home.”
Xing Yan was the most capable bodyguard around Fu Tingzhou, and he was almost always inseparable from him. Hearing that, Chen Shi was anxious and hurriedly asked: “Today is New Year’s Day, it is lively everywhere. Where are you going?”
Fu Tingzhou knew that his mother didn’t like Qing Qing, so of course, he couldn’t tell Chen Shi that Qing Qing might be in the capital, and he just said: “Some private matters.”
Fu Tingzhou refused to say it, but seeing his expression, Chen Shi immediately guessed that it must be for Wang Yanqing again. Chen Shi was angry in her heart. Today, the Hong family was here, but Fu Tingzhou left everyone to find Wang Yanqing, the nuisance, for what? Chen Shi deliberately stopped him and said: “Madam Hong told me just now that the Duke of Chang Guo is hosting a banquet just ahead, and he packed a whole restaurant. Madam Hong felt that it was too rude to not inquire, and planned to let the young masters of the Hong family go in to say hello, why don’t you go with us?”
“The Duke of Chang Guo?” When Fu Tingzhou heard the name, he frowned and said, “This person doesn’t need to make friends, don’t get too close to the Zhang family. It’s getting late. Mother and sister, go back to the house as soon as you finish your fun, I’ll go first.”
Chen Shi’s eyes widened, but before she had time to speak, Fu Tingzhou had already walked up to Madam Yongping Marquis and paid his respect: “I have other business, so I will leave first.”
After that, without waiting for Madam Yongping Marquis’ reaction, he turned around and left.
The Madam Yongping Marquis was stunned together with the maids beside her. After a while, Madam Yongping Marquis smiled and asked Chen Shi: “The Marquis of Zhenyuan left in a hurry, is there something wrong in the Mansion? If you have anything to do, Old Madam and you, just go, don’t let us delay your efforts.”
Chen Shi was embarrassed, she couldn’t explain, so she had to take advantage of the situation and leave.
As Madam Yongping Marquis and Fu Tingzhou were talking in front, the girls followed behind their head mother. They were embarrassed to get in front of the foreign man, so they pulled Hong Wanqing to make fun of her. The words of the concubine-born sisters seemed to be flattering, but in fact, they had hidden scheming. Usually, Hong Wanqing pushed back when she heard these words, but today, she was inexplicably tired, and she couldn’t raise the strength to fight them.
A group of young ladies and maids were chatting, when they suddenly saw Fu Tingzhou leave, then the Zhenyuan Marquis Mansion also left. The ladies of Yongping Marquis Mansion were puzzled and asked hurriedly: “What happened?”
The Madam Yongping Marquis asked someone to gather the young ladies to be careful not to get lost. Hearing the ladies’ questions, Madam Yongping Marquis said lightly: “There is something in the Zhenyuan Marquis Mansion, so they left first.”
The ladies of the Yongping Marquis couldn’t hide their disappointment when they heard this. They had been in the house for a long time, and they rarely saw foreign men, especially such a young and promising unmarried man like Fu Tingzhou, who was a good son-in-law in anyone’s eyes. Fu Tingzhou left and walking around suddenly lost half of its fun. The Madam Yongping Marquis pretended not to know the thoughts of the common ladies. She pulled Hong Wanqing to her side and asked in a low voice: “How was it between you and the Zhenyuan Marquis?”
When Hong Wanqing heard her mother’s question, her eyes turned sour, and she almost burst into tears. She raised her head and was about to say something when her eyes suddenly swept past two familiar figures not far away.
Hong Wanqing was stunned, and Madam Yongping Marquis turned back, only to see the rolling crowd, heavy lights, and shadows. She turned her gaze and asked her daughter curiously: “What are you looking at?”
Hong Wanqing came back to her senses and quickly shook her head to say it was all right. Seeing that Madam Yongping Marquis couldn’t ask anything, she didn’t remember and even forgot the topic just now.
After her mother left, Hong Wanqing was half a step behind, and she couldn’t help but look back in the direction where Fu Tingzhou had left. She didn’t know if this counted as good luck, but Fu Tingzhou was in a hurry to find someone, and he didn’t have the patience to listen to them so he went back the same way he came. However, if he stayed a little longer, or if he changed direction, he would meet the adopted sister he was thinking of.
Lu Heng was also convinced. Tonight, he seemed to have an indissoluble bond with Fu Tingzhou. First, he accidentally bumped into him when he was wandering around. Later, he changed directions urgently, and he almost bumped into him again. Fortunately, Fu Tingzhou was one step ahead, and they just missed him.
Lu Heng seemed to go out alone, but in fact, he was always accompanied by his attendants. The spies kept reporting the surrounding situation to Lu Heng. Lu Heng planned the route, quietly preventing Wang Yanqing and Fu Tingzhou from meeting, and returned to the house without any disturbances.
After walking outside until the middle of the night, Wang Yanqing was also tired. When she returned to the mansion, she breathed a sigh of relief, and with the help of the maid, she removed the heater, sheath, and other items, revealing the light clothes inside. Wang Yanqing cleaned her hands, walked to Lu Heng, who also changed into casual clothes, and asked: “Second Brother, who is that person we met today?”
Lu Heng was wearing a light gray round neck robe, sitting under the lamp worthy of a long jade stand, shining brightly. Lu Heng took a sip of tea and put down the tea cup. He pulled Wang Yanqing to sit opposite him and said nonchalantly: “The Duke of Chang Guo, Zhang Heling, is a fool.”
“Second Brother.” Wang Yanqing stared at him and said truthfully, “To you, everyone is a fool.”
“To say he is a fool is to flatter him.” Lu Heng snorted lightly, and added, “He is the younger brother of Empress Zhang.”
When Wang Yanqing heard this, she blinked and understood a little more. Seeing her understanding, Lu Heng continued, “As a woman, Empress Zhang has been extremely honored and favored in her life, which is unprecedented. Her father was originally just a scholar, relying on his cousin’s official position, his daughter was able to participate in the draft. Coincidentally, the daughter of the Zhang family was selected and became the crown princess in the palace. In the same year, she became the queen smoothly. Immediately afterward, the Zhang family rode on her success. Emperor Hongzhi…”
Lu Heng paused as he spoke, with an intriguing expression on his face. Upon seeing this, Wang Yanqing asked: “What happened to Emperor Hongzhi?”
Lu Heng lowered his eyes and smiled. He picked up the tea cup, leaned back on the chair and slowly swiped the tea foam: “His Majesty Hongzhi was a very filial emperor. He was gentle and respectful, diligent and kind. He did not miss a single day from the morning, afternoon, and classics banquets. He only had Empress Zhang as his one wife and took no other concubine. He also took special favor to the family behind Empress Zhang. After Empress Zhang gave birth to the prince, Empress Zhang’s father, Zhang Luan, asked for the title of Marquis in the name of the empress’s merit. Even when the officials objected, saying that there had never been such a precedent before, the Hongzhi Emperor still agreed. Later, Zhang Luan died, and Empress Zhang’s younger brother, Zhang Heling, inherited the title of the Marquis of Shuning. Another younger brother, Zhang Yanling, was named the Marquis of Jianchang. The Zhang family’s clan, proteges and even adopted sons were all awarded high-ranking positions. In the Hongzhi Dynasty, the Zhang family was full of glory and no one could stop them.”
When Wang Yanqing heard this, she couldn’t help but frown. How a husband treats his wife was a matter of his own house, no one else’s business, but this was not the case for the emperor. Because what the emperor gave out was often the blood, sweat, and tears of the people and the wealth and power of the state.
Wang Yanqing couldn’t help but ask: “Was there no objection?”
“Of course there was.” Lu Heng said, “People were dismissed by Emperor Hongzhi just because they refused to write articles for the Zhang brothers. At a banquet, when Emperor Hongzhi changed his clothes, the brother Zhang Heling borrowed the emperor’s crown to wear. When Emperor Hongzhi came back, he didn’t say anything. A few days later, Zhang Heling wanted to wear the emperor’s crown again, but one eunuch couldn’t put up with it any longer so he reprimanded him and was actually blocked by Empress Zhang.”
Wang Yanqing frowned as she listened. She couldn’t believe that this was actually happening in the palace: “Openly peeping into the imperial curtain at the banquet… If this spreads out, wouldn’t it be a big disaster?”
Lu Heng smiled lightly, playing with the emotion: “What calamity could there be? On the contrary, the eunuch who reprimanded Zhang Heling’s brother fell into bad luck. Empress Zhang was offended, she was very angry, and complained to Emperor Hongzhi. Emperor Hongzhi did not hold the brother Zhang Heling accountable, but ordered the Imperial Guards to imprison the troubled eunuch. Within two days, the eunuch was instructed by Empress Zhang and was put to death in prison.”
It happened in the prison of the Imperial Guards, no wonder Lu Heng knew so well. Wang Yanqing understood why Lu Heng’s attitude was subtle when he mentioned Emperor Hongzhi. The crown was a ritual vessel and could not be worn casually. The brother Zhang Heling, however, wore the emperor’s crown. Regardless of his parents’ family, how did Emperor Hongzhi do nothing in the face of domineering descendants? Zhang Heling and his brothers did this in front of the emperor. Would they be restrained when they treat ordinary officials and common people?
For Empress Zhang, Emperor Hongzhi only married her in this life, and he did not dote on other women all his life, so he was of course a good husband. But for others, it was not determined whether the Hongzhi Emperor was good king.
Wang Yanqing understood why Zhang Heling was so unruly when he saw her today. With such an Empress sister condoning him, there was nothing he couldn’t do. After the death of Emperor Hongzhi, Empress Zhang’s own son ascended the throne. It was completely predictable how lawless the Zhang family would be.
If it weren’t for the sudden death of the Emperor Zhengde, they would have been out of control forever.
Wang Yanqing thought for a while and asked: “After that, why did Zhang Heling’s title become Duke of Chang Guo again?”
“That was a matter of the court.” Lu Heng said, “When His Majesty first came to the capital, Zhang Heling welcomed the emperor on behalf of the Empress Zhang. In the first year of the emperor’s ascension to the throne, Empress Zhang mentioned the grace of his support. In order to thank Zhang Heling for his work in welcoming the throne, the emperor wpromoted Zhang Heling to the Duke of Changguo.”
Wang Yanqing replied softly and she looked closely at Lu Heng. Lu Heng noticed her gaze and flicked her with a smile: “See what I do.”
Wang Yanqing knew that her guess was right. At first, the Zhang family was able to live the dream of being an uncle of the country. Today, all power resided with Empress Zhang. How could the child emperor hold them with gratitude? As a result, the Zhang family and Empress Zhang hit the iron plate.
Lu Heng told Wang Yanqing generally about the cause and effect which were powerful, and he didn’t talk much about the rest. He said this, firstly, because he met Zhang Heling, fearing that Wang Yanqing would suffer at the hands of that old lecher. Secondly, because Empress Jiang was seriously ill, and the palace could not tell what was going to happen. Lu Heng couldn’t take care of the family all the time and he reminded Wang Yanqing now so that she could prepare in advance.
In the end, Lu Heng said lightly: “The Zhang family is not a good, you should stay away from them.”
Lu Heng also told against Empress Zhang with these words. Wang Yanqing felt helpless, thinking to herself that Second Brother really dared to say it. At the same time, she also understood that the Lu family and the Zhang family were not the same. No matter how Lu Heng actually felt about the Zhang family, on the bright side, he couldn’t have any good feelings towards the Zhang family, or he would poke a nail in the emperor’s eyes.
Wang Yanqing secretly reminded herself that in the future, when she sees the Zhang family, she will detour, and not cause trouble to Second Brother. Seeing her so serious, Lu Heng couldn’t help but smile. He pinched her cheek and said: “It’s just a small matter, you don’t have to be nervous. A mere member of the Zhang family can’t affect me.”
“Second Brother!” Wang Yanqing tried to break his hold with a solemn face, “I’m not a child, why are you pinching my face?”
Lu Heng turned a deaf ear, Wang Yanqing’s strength was insignificant to him. He still rubbed Wang Yanqing’s face, and slowly retracted his hand when he had satisfied himself enough: “You will always be a child in front of second Brother. But you are too thin, and there is no meat on your face, you need to eat more in the future. Otherwise, when you meet outsiders, they will think that I am treating you harshly.”
Wang Yanqing finally got rid of his hand, hurried away from Lu Heng, and rubbed her face. When she heard Lu Heng’s words, she paused for a moment. She hesitated and then asked: “Second Brother, when you saw the Duke of Chang Guo today, why didn’t you just say that I’m your younger sister?”
Hearing this, Lu Heng looked at Wang Yanqing with a half-smile: “Qing Qing wants to be the lady of the Lu family so much?”
Wang Yanqing thought it was strange that he couldn’t say it: “Then what?”
|| Author’s Note:
Lu Heng: Tsk, my younger sister didn’t pursue it that much.
2 thoughts on “TIGR Chapter 38”
OMG! Thanks for the night mode. You guys rock. And also, thanks for the update! Excellent work as always.
The intrigue is so complex 😵💫
Thanks for the chapter