TIGR Chapter 54

The Imperial Guard’s Revenge

Chapter 54 Southern Patrol

“Me?” When Wang Yanqing heard this, she was quite surprised, “The southern patrol is a major event in this dynasty. I am not an official, I don’t have a post, and I am not a titled woman. I’m afraid it would be inappropriate to follow.”

It was indeed inappropriate. The emperor’s southern patrol and national affairs could not be ignored, cabinet ministers, guards, and generals must accompany him. After the concubines, palace maids, and eunuchs who served the emperor were counted, the number of people currently in attendance was more than ten thousand. It was not a trivial matter for more than ten thousand people to travel. A slight error could lead to a major disaster. The pressure of safety during the southern patrol was very huge. The officials who accompanied them all tried to minimize their attendants. The officials who were old, frail, and could not walk could bring one or two long entourages, but no one brought their wives and relatives. If Lu Heng brought a woman during this time, no matter how he worded this, it would be too obvious.

But it was a matter of human effort and this kind of thing could be solved. If Wang Yanqing stayed in the capital and was taken by Fu Tingzhou, it would be irreversible. In contrast, Lu Heng would rather take Wang Yanqing by his side at the risk of drawing attention.

Lu Heng said: “It doesn’t matter, other people will also bring maids, I will bring fewer people, add you, and then it will be fine.”

Lu Heng spoke firmly and Wang Yanqing had no doubts, and immediately calmed down. She didn’t want to cause trouble for Lu Heng, and she never made a fuss from beginning to end, but when she heard that she could go with him, her expression couldn’t contain the excitement she obviously felt.

She was ashamed to say it, but in the five months she had been here, apart from Lu Heng, she had no one to talk to in the Lu Mansion. Of course, she would like to go out with Lu Heng.

Having said that, Wang Yanqing became nervous and asked: “What are you going to prepare for the southern patrol? I haven’t packed anything yet.”

As she spoke, she wanted to go back and prepare things, but Lu Heng stopped her and said: “No hurry. The troops are still being ordered now, and they have to prepare for at least two months before they can set off.”

In two months. Wang Yanqing calmed down and asked: “Is the empress in the palace going to travel too?”

“Yes.” Lu Heng nodded, “This is the first time the emperor has returned to his hometown since he ascended the throne, and it will probably be the last time. The emperor wanted to go back to worship at Xianling, and he wanted to present his concubines to the Xingxian Monarch and comfort his spirit up above. Empress Zhang had been confirmed to accompany him, and the remaining candidates have not yet been determined, but it will most likely be Concubine Fangde and Concubine Yanli.”

Wang Yanqing nodded, she thought hard for a while, and finally committed these names and faces to memory. She met these concubines the last time she visited the empress. Concubine Fangde held her face up which was long and slightly square. She looked very rigid, and she had an unsmiling temperament. Concubine Yanli was softer and more beautiful, with round cheeks and a petite figure, worthy of her title.

Thinking about it this way, Wang Yanqing suddenly realized that Concubine Yanli’s performance on the day of her visit didn’t seem right. She stood against a corner the whole time, and frequently raised her hands, squeezed a handkerchief, and stroked her clothes, looking very nervous. Seeing Wang Yanqing being thoughtful, Lu Heng asked: “What’s wrong?”

Wang Yanqing frowned, and after a while, she slowly shook her head: “It’s nothing. I am thinking too much.”

As a young, immature, and helpless concubine, Concubine Yanli was quite nervous when she served Empress Jiang. Wang Yanqing was probably thinking too much.

The emperor was a strong-minded person. After setting the plan for the southern patrol, he immediately started to advance, and actively prepared in three ways. One was to have the imperial envoy carry an imperial verdict to build temporary imperial residences along the southern patrol route; Another was to decorate the Xing Monarch’s old residence in Anlu; Another was to prepare the arrangements for the joint burial promise of the Xingxian Monarch and Empress Jiang.

Everyone in the court was busy with the southern patrol. The Ministry of War arranged matters for the entourage. The Ministry of Revenue issued the money needed to provide provisions, an entourage, and horses. In the end, the emperor was tired of asking and transferred 200,000 taels of silver from his private treasury in Taicang. The Minister of Rites, Yan Wei, presented a detailed plan of the southern patrol, including the date of departure from Beijing, ceremonial rituals, and the inspection process. The days and places to go to, when to pick up the carriage, and how officials, elders, and monarchs would meet along the way, were all written carefully. The emperor was very satisfied with this plan and especially praised Yan Wei in the morning court.

If you are enjoying the novel, please be sure to support this translation and get direct access to new releases by reading it at the translator’s original website: https://justforfuntrans.com

The southern patrol was a great time for government officials. They were busy scrambling for power and favor, but the atmosphere among the generals was completely opposite. The biggest problem for the emperor’s southern patrol was safety. For generals, this was a hot potato that could not be thrown or received. It should be done well, but if there was the slightest mistake, they could only wait for their whole family to be exiled.

The Imperial Guards were originally under command of Yiluan. They were the emperor’s ceremonial weaponry and bodyguards, they were the face of the emperor. This is how their clothes came to be garnished in that manner. Later, to control the heroes, Emperor Hongwu continued to delegate power to his own army. After that, he simply dismissed the Yiluan Division and restructured the Imperial Guards. The Imperial Guards changed from the original guards of honor to an independent military service that integrated intelligence gathering, inspections and arrests, and direct harnessing of guards.

But the guards of honor were still in their old business. This time the southern patrol mobilized a total of eight thousand Imperial Guards, six thousand to protect the emperor, and two thousand to serve as the facade guards of honor. Lu Heng was too busy to touch the ground during this time just screening and deploying Imperial Guard staff. In addition, there were six thousand officers and troops that needed to be arranged for the entourage. These were dispatched by military forces of the five cities and happened to be handled by Fu Tingzhou.

This was probably what they meant in the saying, destiny will make enemies meet.

On the sixteenth day of the seventh month, the southern patrol that had been arranged for three months finally began. The emperor led nearly fifteen thousand government, military officials, and guards out of the Forbidden City and headed for Anlu. Even though the entourage was as large as fifteen thousand people, only the core and most important officials were fortunate enough to go out with the emperor. Among the honorable members were Guo Xun, the Marquis of Wuding, Zhu Xizhong, the Duke of Cheng Guo, Fu Tingzhou, the Marquis of Zhenyuan, and Tao Zhongwen, a Taoist priest.

Fu Tingzhou was among the founding fathers, young and dazzling. Nobody said it on the surface, but in private they were muttering, was Fu Tingzhou going to be promoted by the emperor?

While the officials speculated about the holy will, no one noticed that the candidates for the concubine escort had become Empress Zhang, Concubine Fangde, and Concubine Caoduan, so Concubine Yanli was quietly replaced. At the same time, there was another carriage that silently blended into the team.

Fu Tingzhou rode his horse to the right of the carriage, staring at a place quietly. He looked very engaged, and the people who approached couldn’t help but glance in that direction, but except for the rolling traffic, they didn’t see anything else. The messenger was surprised and asked: “Marquis of Zhenyuan, what are you looking at?”

Fu Tingzhou regained his senses and calmly retracted his eyes: “It’s nothing. Why?”

“Oh.” The messenger controlled his horse with one hand and pointed forward, “The Marquis of Wuding is looking for you.”

Today was the ninth day away from the capital. According to the plan, they would be stationed at the Weihui Mansion tonight. Fu Tingzhou found the Marquis of Wuding and asked: “Marquis of Wuding, you were looking for me?”

The Marquis of Wuding responded lightly and said: “We will arrive at Weihui in a while. You should pay more attention when you are in the palace, and not overlook anything.”

Fu Tingzhou nodded: “I understand.”

As he said that, he looked towards the imperial carriage in the center of the team. The emperor’s carriage was escorted by Imperial Guards. Outside the Imperial Guards, there were officers and soldiers from the five cities’ Military and Horse Divisions, and Fu Tingzhou was in charge of the right side of the road. But now, Fu Tingzhou felt that the direction of the guards outside the imperial carriage was not right, and asked with a frown: “Which Imperial Guard is on duty today, and why is the patrol different from usual?”

The Marquis of Wuding was over fifty years old, and his body was not as vigorous as he used to be riding a horse, but from his eagle-like eyes, people could still tell that he was a soldier. His face was wrinkled, and the corners of his mouth were carved with deep lines, which were daunting. His voice was also low and deep, with no emotion: “Lu Heng. Just now the emperor was feeling good, gave up the imperial carriage, and wanted to ride a horse. Lu Heng accompanied the emperor in riding ahead.”

Fu Tingzhou didn’t say anything but raised his eyebrows slightly. No wonder he felt that the Imperial Guards were walking in the wrong formation. It turns out that the carriage was empty.

It was hard to comment on a matter involving the emperor. Fu Tingzhou smiled lightly and said: “It’s rare that the emperor is in a good mood.”

Fu Tingzhou heard the Marquis of Wuding snort coldly. The Marquis of Wuding prided himself on his high achievements and believed that the military efforts in the capital should be headed by him, but now, a young man in his early twenties frequently challenged his authority. The Marquis of Wuding raised the corner of his lips, with clear disdain on his face: “This is the best. If something goes wrong, how many people will follow him and lose their heads, can he take responsibility?”

Fu Tingzhou lowered his eyes and didn’t answer. To a certain extent, regardless of whether there was a previous grudge or not, the official position would eventually become an enemy. A few years ago, the Marquis of Wuding had said good things about Lu Heng, but now, he became an enemy.

Lu Heng’s momentum was too strong. During this period, two major cases were solved one after another, and he was second to none. There were already many government officials, nobles, and Imperial Guards who dislike him.

Sometimes, getting up and running too early was not a good thing.

The Marquis of Wuding had been calling the shots in the capital all these years. He had long forgotten what it was like to be afraid, and he had no scruples in pointing out a junior. After the Marquis of Wuding finished talking about Lu Heng, he glanced at Fu Tingzhou lightly and said: “Lu Heng dares to be so crazy, it’s because he grew up with the emperor. The emperor is young and mature, but occasionally he needs to talk to his peers. Lu Heng seized the opportunity, you should work harder.”

Fu Tingzhou lowered his eyes, accepting the discipline. After the Marquis of Wuding finished his scolding, he turned his face again and sighed: “I understand the issues, this kind of thing cannot be rushed. You and the emperor have no childhood affection. If you are too hasty, it will only be counterproductive. You must be careful here.”

Fu Tingzhou took the opportunity to say: “The younger generation is young and inexperienced, so I ask the Marquis of Wuding to teach me.”

If you are enjoying the novel, please be sure to support this translation and get direct access to new releases by reading it at the translator’s original website: https://justforfuntrans.com

The Marquis of Wuding was very satisfied with Fu Tingzhou’s move. So with a confident smile on his face, he fiddled with his beard and said: “The officialdom is a cold bench, and you have to be patient to sit in the hall of fame. Sometimes even after stumbling and crawling for ten years, it will still be inferior to one sentence from an old man. When I was your age, I was still running errands in the military camp. You became a Marquis at a young age, and you entered the officialdom smoothly. The starting point was much stronger than that of me and your grandfather. As long as the arrangement is good, your future will be promising.”

Fu Tingzhou realized what the Marquis of Wuding was going to say. He lowered his eyes and stared at the reddish-brown mane, clenching his hands tightly. The horse was restrained by the reins, shook his head uncomfortably, and snorted hard. Fu Tingzhou regained his senses, loosened his fingers, and finally lowered his head and said: “How dare I compare with the Marquis of Wuding. My grandfather died and my father ignores the common affairs. I have no elders to rely on, but I hope that the Marquis of Wuding can instruct me.”

The Marquis of Wuding nodded in satisfaction and said with a smile: “I was right, you are indeed a self-motivated person. But you young people are always thinking of making a difference, you are impatient to lay the foundation. Their scholars had a saying called, self-cultivation then balancing the family then governing the country and the world. We don’t pay attention to these sour words, but the general meaning is similar. You always have to get married first and have your roots firmly established before you can go high enough.”

|| Self-cultivation then balancing the family then governing the country and the world (修身齐家治国平天下) is an old saying. It refers to the concept of self-cultivation and essentially says that those who want to make the world virtuous, should first cultivate their body and mind. Once you are in order, then you can bring balance to your family, country, and the world.

Having said that, the Marquis of Wuding already made his meaning clear. He could support Fu Tingzhou, but Fu Tingzhou must submit his name and position first. Five months had passed since the end of Fu Tingzhou’s grieving period, and so far he had not yet proposed to the Hong family, which inevitably made the Marquis of Wuding think more.

Fu Tingzhou felt a dull pain in his heart when he thought of the carriage he was watching just now. He had always known the matter that gnawed at her heart, but he couldn’t help it. He was not only Fu Tingzhou, but also the Marquis of Zhenyuan. He had to plan for the entire Fu family.

Officialdom was different from studying and practicing martial arts when you were a child. Not everything could be solved with hard work. If there was no one behind the officialdom, no matter how talented you were, you would not be able to take a single step. The people in the cabinet now, when they were first admitted to the imperial examination, which one was not full of blood, high-minded and honest, but after 20 years of ups and downs, they did not recognize their teacher obediently.

Government officials relied on the relationship between teachers and students, military officials relied on blood. Fu Tingzhou was often sorry that Wang Yanqing was not the daughter of a noble family. Even if she was from a different branch, even if only their surname was the same, he would be willing to give up the marriage for her and fight against the officialdom. But she wasn’t.

It really was a pity.

Fu Tingzhou finally smiled lightly and said: “I’ve been busy with the southern patrol during this time, and the steps for a proposal were not prepared, so I didn’t dare to rush, for fear that it would be abrupt for Miss Hong. When the southern patrol is over, I will come to the door in person.”


The emperor rode around, finally having a good time, and returned to the carriage under everyone’s guard. Lu Heng followed behind the emperor, and even if he didn’t look around, he could imagine how many people disliked him and were picking at his faults. Lu Heng sighed secretly, but this kind of thing was unavoidable. As long as he went up, he would inevitably encounter wind, frost, rain, and snow. Only the mediocre were the safest in this world.

The emperor had been nursed back to health by Taoist priests for many years, but his physical foundation was still weak, and he was tired after riding a horse outside. Fortunately, they arrived at the Wei Hui Mansion, and their temporarily arranged palace was just ahead. Lu Heng dismounted and escorted the emperor to the palace.

Lu Heng looked solemn the whole way, but he was actually quite absent-minded. He wanted to see Wang Yanqing. On the way, he was afraid of being seen paying mind to her, so he never walked to Wang Yanqing’s carriage during the day, and could only see her at night. Lu Heng noticed that Fu Tingzhou had been staring at her carriage today. It seemed that Fu Tingzhou already knew of her location.

Lu Heng didn’t know how many times he scolded him in his heart, that fool. Did Fu TIngzhou have nothing else to do, that he can just keep staring at Wang Yanqing every day?

Lu Heng knew the emperor’s body well. He expected that the emperor was tired and had to rest early, so he could also go back earlier.

After entering the palace, Lu Heng couldn’t wait. However, there were many red tapes for officials. Obviously, the emperor was tired, and the officials were also tired, but the Ministry of Rites insisted that officials of the Weihui Mansion and Monarch Zhu Youguo meet the emperor following proper etiquette.

Lu Heng and the emperor patiently waited until the process was over. After the officials of the Weihui Mansion paid their respect and bows, the emperor asked Monarch Zhu Youguo in a meaningful way, and the official only said a few words when a loud voice suddenly came from outside: “Your Majesty, this is injustice! The women are wronged!”

Lu Heng’s mind was sober in an instant. He put his hand on the hilt of his knife, immediately stood in front of the emperor, and said coldly: “Guard the emperor.”

Before the people in the hall could react, the Imperial Guards had already surrounded the emperor in a circle. Everyone woke up as if they were in a dream. People were shouting and running to protect the emperor and it became chaos. The prefect of Wei Hui, Cheng Youhai’s expression was notably ugly.

People shouted grievances outside the emperor’s palace, was this to say that his rule is not fair? Prefect Cheng immediately pleaded with the emperor, blushing, and said: “I am guilty, I don’t know where the troublesome people came from, but I will drive them out.”

However, the emperor waved his hand and said lightly: “She came all the way to the palace hall to voice her grievances, she should really have something to report. First, ask her why she has complained.”

The voice of grievance just now could no longer be heard, likely controlled by the guards or eunuchs. When the emperor spoke, everyone did not dare disobey. Lu Heng silently retreated behind the emperor, and the other Imperial Guards guards received Lu Heng’s signal to change their formation, not blocking the emperor’s sight, but still guarding the emperor from the side. A eunuch stepped down from the throne and walked quickly outside.

After a while, the eunuch came back and reported: “Sir, there are two women outside, they claim to be a pair of mother and daughter-in-law from Hegu Village, Qixian County. The whereabouts of the pillars of their family are unknown. They searched for a long time without success, and when they heard that the imperial carriage was stationed here, they came to complain.”

If you are enjoying the novel, please be sure to support this translation and get direct access to new releases by reading it at the translator’s original website: https://justforfuntrans.com

The emperor looked at Prefect Cheng indifferently. Prefect Cheng’s face was completely white, and he was sweating coldly. He immediately knelt on the ground, and said: “This minister is negligent.”

The emperor did not break out in anger, but asked: “What’s going on?”

How could Prefect Cheng know about a pair of unnamed mother and daughter-in-law from a certain village in a certain town under its jurisdiction. His throat got stuck, and he couldn’t say anything else, so he could only repeat: “This minister is negligent, please forgive me”.

All the ministers in the palace hall had their eyes down to their noses and their noses pointed to their chests. For a moment, you could hear the sound of a pin drop. In the silence, a pair of footsteps sounded from far to near. Chen Yin walked in quickly, and when he saw the emperor, he hurriedly knelt down and bowed: “I am late to protect the emperor, I deserve to die.”

The emperor was relatively calm towards Prefect Cheng, but when he saw Chen Yin, he couldn’t control the anger on his face. The emperor scolded: “As the head of the Imperial Guards, you are responsible for the safety of the palace, but you don’t even know when someone approaches the palace. Today it is a pair of mother and daughter-in-law, but what if it was an assassin?”

On the one hand, the emperor was angry with Chen Yin for not taking care of the palace, and on the other hand, he was even angrier at Chen Yin’s neglect. The Imperial Guards were the emperor’s minions and arms, but when the danger occurred, Chen Yin was not even by the emperor’s side.

What was the use of such an arm?

Chen Yin had nothing to say, he could only bow his head and listen obediently.

The emperor scolded Chen Yin angrily, and the other officials did not dare to get in trouble and pretended not to hear. Lu Heng’s eyes swept over the scene quietly, his eyes pondered for a while, and he stepped forward and said: “Your Majesty, I am willing to share the worries of the Commander of Chen Du and investigate the grievances.”

When Chen Yin heard Lu Heng’s words, he suddenly raised his head, and the cold light in his eyes could not wait to tear Lu Heng apart. Lu Heng didn’t even want to cover it up, he brightly stepped on him and climbed up. Head Auxiliary, Zhang Jinggong’s expression turned subtle, and when Second Assistant Li saw Zhang Jinggong’s face, he came out and said: “But the southern patrol itinerary has been arranged. Tomorrow, we will set off to Cizhou, how will Commander Lu investigate the case?”

Lu Heng calmly said: “Hearing of injustice and ignoring it would be detrimental to the name of the Holy Emperor. I just want to share the worries for the emperor.”

The emperor did not speak. Zhang Jinggong looked at Yan Wei, the Minister of Rites, and asked: “Yan Wei, will staying in Weihui affect the subsequent plan for the southern patrol?”

Yan Wei was thrown a hot potato when he was inattentive. He seemed to recall, but in fact, he quickly weighed the emperor’s expression. The emperor cared about his reputation. He didn’t say that it was not allowed, as he would not care about delaying for a day or two. And after nine days of traveling straight, the emperor might be tired too and would like to take a rest here for a while.

Yan Wei considered the gains and losses and finally said cautiously: “On the eighteenth day, the emperor simplified the rest of the itinerary. If he stays for a while, it should be fine.”

Zhang Jinggong’s face darkened, and he asked again: “In your opinion, how many days can it be delayed at most?”

Yan Wei was dripping with sweat. No matter what he said or did, someone would be offended. In the pause, Lu Heng took the initiative to clasp his fists and say: “I remember that in Master Yan’s original plan, we should have been stationed in Weihui on the twenty-eighth, and departed for Cizhou on the twenty-ninth. I can find out the truth before the twenty-ninth, and not delay the southern patrol.”

The officials in the palace hall, regardless of whether they were government or military, were all watching from the wall, and their faces changed when they heard this. Today was the twenty-fifth, and the sun had already set, so Lu Heng only had three days to complete his plan. Only three days to find out the truth in an unfamiliar place, how dare Lu Heng be so arrogant?

Yan Wei seemed to hang his head, but in fact, he was quietly looking at the emperor from the corner of his eyes. The emperor’s face was calm, he nodded lightly, and said: “Okay. So that’s settled. If there is nothing else, you all can go.”

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