TIGR Chapter 80

The Imperial Guard’s Revenge

Chapter 80 Negligence

After Fu Tingzhou had this idea, his heart twitched fiercely, and he could hardly control the expression on his face.

He suddenly understood Lu Heng’s intention. Lu Heng brought Wang Yanqing to the banquet and used Guo Xun’s help to force Fu Tingzhou to admit his marriage to Hong Wanqing. Wang Yanqing heard with her ears that he held a “deep affection” for another woman. Even if she regained her memory later, she would not want to stay with Fu Tingzhou anymore.

Even if Fu Tingzhou was just acting on the situation. However, Lu Heng wanted more than that. He pushed Fu Tingzhou step by step until the point of bestowing a marriage. When the emperor issued the imperial edict, Fu Tingzhou would have to marry Hong Wanqing no matter what. He wouldn’t be able to marry someone else. With Hong Wanqing around, Fu Tingzhou and Wang Yanqing would not be able to reconcile.

Fu Tingzhou sneered. Lu Heng was really calculating. Fu Tingzhou even suspected that Lu Heng was responsible for everything going wrong for him during this period and his frequent obstacles in gaining military power.

Fu Tingzhou’s eyes darkened, and he looked at Lu Heng coldly. For his own selfish reasons, Lu Heng disguised Wang Yanqing as a man. He brought her to this restaurant to put her in the public eye, without caring about Wang Yanqing’s reputation or integrity. Is this what Lu Heng called “kind treatment”? Lu Heng was just a selfish person who only thought about himself. What qualifications did he have to speak against Fu Tingzhou?

Since Fu Tingzhou became suspicious, he had been paying attention to the guard outside. Unfortunately, the person was standing outside the screen, with most of their figure blocked by the vase, so Fu Tingzhou couldn’t see clearly.

Fu Tingzhou was so anxious that he didn’t even bother to respond to the conversation at the wine table and Lu Heng saw that Fu Tingzhou’s attention was outside. He remained calm and suddenly said: “I almost forgot that I brought a jar of wine today and left it in the previous room. Tang Qing, go get the wine.”

The youngster outside the room responded vaguely, it was the person who knocked over the thing earlier. He lowered his head with his back facing inside, opened the door, and went out quickly.

Fu Tingzhou secretly squinted his eyes, feeling more and more that something was wrong. It had been so long since Lu Heng entered, why did he suddenly think to fetch the wine? Fu Tingzhou sat for a while, then suddenly stood up and said: “I’m going to change my clothes. You three can go on. Excuse me for a moment.”

Changing clothes was the elegant name for the three emergencies that no one could deny. Fu Tingzhou asked to be excused, but after closing the room door, his eyes immediately turned cold, and he quickly chased in the direction where the youngster left just now.

|| The three emergencies refer to immediate urgencies that can’t be denied. There is some debate on what 3 those include, but going to the bathroom is one of them.

After closing the door, the atmosphere in the private room became still. Guo Xun had long discovered that Fu Tingzhou was distracted. It seemed that Fu Tingzhou became restless after the bestowing of marriage was mentioned. Now, he even used this sort of excuse to escape. Guo Xun’s face turned cold, and he casually found an excuse to leave. He wanted to see what Fu Tingzhou was up to.

Fu Tingzhou and Guo Xun left one after another, leaving only Lu Heng and Xia Wenjin at the wine table. Lu Heng picked up the wine jar and poured wine for the two of them. Xia Wenjin stopped Lu Heng’s movement and said: “Master Lu, I can’t drink as much as you. I already can’t drink anymore. Master Lu, if you have anything to say, just say it.”

Xia Wenjin looked like he had expected this for some time. Lu Heng came here uninvited today and used a trick to distract the two people. Wasn’t it just to talk to him alone? Lu Heng smiled and put the jug aside. He stopped talking in circles and asked bluntly: “Cabinet Elder Xia, the emperor’s audience arranger, Xue Kan, was imprisoned for making false claims about establishing an heir. What do you know about this matter?”

As expected, he came here for this matter. Xia Wenjin held no expression on his face and said cautiously: “This matter has reached all levels of society. So I have generally heard about this matter.”

“Then that’s good.” Lu Heng stared at Xia Wenjin closely and said, “Not long ago, Xue Kan confessed that he presented the memorial after receiving the suggestion from Cabinet Elder Xia.”

Xia Wenjin’s heart skipped a beat. Did Xue Kan really say that? Or was Lu Heng deceiving him? Xia Wenjin’s mind was full of thoughts, and finally, he cupped his hands with a look of solidarity on his face: “Those who are innocent can only be innocent. I am as loyal to the emperor as the sun and the moon, and I have a clear conscience. If Master Lu doesn’t believe me, you can arrest me, and I won’t say anything.”

Lu Heng glanced at Xia Wenjin and smiled with an unclear meaning: “Cabinet Elder Xia doesn’t seem to be afraid at all. Could it be that someone is supporting him?”

Xia Wenjin was disdainful and scoffed: “I am a solitary official who does not form factions or gain from corrupt dealings. If there is a mastermind, he is also Confucius and Mencius.”

Lu Heng raised his eyebrows and nodded with a smile: “Cabinet Elder is noble and clean living, I have benefited from the advice. However, Head Auxiliary Zhang is certain that it was Cabinet Elder Xia who instigated it. Why is that?”

“I still say the same thing, I’m just a solitary official.” Xia Wenjin said, “This is all I can say. Whether Master Lu believes it or not has nothing to do with me.”

Lu Heng’s eyes swept over Xia Wenjin inch by inch, with an implicit scrutiny. Xia Wenjin held his head high, with an expression that meant he wanted to say he didn’t commit anything. Lu Heng clapped his hands and said to the female musicians who played a minor tune behind the screen: “This is not your business, please get out.”

The musicians stopped, stood up, bowed to Lu Heng and Xia Wenjin, and walked away holding their instruments. Seeing him send everyone away, Xia Wenjin thought Lu Heng had something to say. But after that, Lu Heng still went around in circles, feeling him out, but had nothing new.

Xia Wenjin wasn’t sure what Lu Heng wanted to do, so he didn’t dare to be careless and carefully watched his moves.

On the other side, a person named Tang Qing hurried downstairs with a sullen face after emerging from the room. Fu Tingzhou followed and shouted “stop”, but the other party did not stop, instead they sped up when he heard his voice.

Fu Tingzhou was even more suspicious, and he took three steps at a time to catch up. Seeing this, the other Imperial Guards hurriedly stepped forward to stop Fu Tingzhou: “Marquis of Zhenyuan. What are you doing?”

Several Imperial Guards stood in front of Fu Tingzhou, blocking his path. Fu Tingzhou tried several times but couldn’t get past, so he said with a serious face: “Get out of the way.”

“Tang Qing went to get wine on Master Lu’s order. If the Marquis of Zhenyuan has anything to say, you might as well wait until he comes back.”

“Tang Qing?” Fu Tingzhou sneered when he heard the name. It was pronounced the same as Wang Yanqing. This name was probably casually made up by Lu Heng. Fu Tingzhou nodded and said, “Since Master Lu has issued an order, I can’t stop him. Ask him to come back quickly. I have something to ask him.”

Fu Tingzhou stopped as he spoke, turned around, and walked back. The Imperial Guard breathed a sigh of relief and said: “Many thanks, Marquis of Zhenyuan.”

Before they could finish speaking, Fu Tingzhou suddenly shot back, pushed them away, and rushed through the middle. The Imperial Guards realized that they had been tricked and quickly caught up: “Marquis of Zhenyuan, this is the banner of the Imperial Guards. What do you want, chasing one of our people?”

Fu Tingzhou and the Imperial Guards chased and blocked each other, causing quite a stir. “Tang Qing” heard the sound, picked up their clothes, and ran away. Fu Tingzhou saw their movements and became more and more sure that they were not a man. Fu Tingzhou pushed through the crowd and chased them, followed by several Imperial Guards with blades. Waiters passing through the upper floor were so frightened by the formation that they clung to the wall, not daring to breathe. When the restaurant owner heard that something was wrong, he hurried up and asked: “What’s going on?”

It was a pity that neither Fu Tingzhou nor the Imperial Guards listened to him. Fu Tingzhou chased the slender figure, turning left and right, but when they ran into a corridor, the person suddenly disappeared.

These were private rooms and both sides were lined with closed doors. They must have hidden in one of the rooms. Fu Tingzhou was not afraid of offending anyone, so he pushed through each room to check. People inside were having a feast when suddenly their door was knocked open and they turned around in shock and anger. Fu Tingzhou ignored the cursing voices behind him and swept around with a cold face. The restaurant owner was standing behind, crying in his heart, but he had to put on a smile to appease the disturbed customers.

Fu Tingzhou arrived at a hinged door and noticed that there was a small crack down the side. Fu Tingzhou squinted and pushed open the door in front of him. The wooden door hit the door frame and made a loud clang, which was very scary in the silent room. The person inside was collecting wine and when they heard the noise, they turned around and looked at Fu Tingzhou in surprise.

“Marquis of Zhenyuan, what is the matter?”

He was slender and fair-skinned. From the back, he could look like a man or a woman, but when he spoke, his voice was definitely that of a man. When Fu Tingzhou saw this person’s face, his eyebrows furrowed, and he immediately searched around the private room.

The Ruyi Tower specialized in the business of high officials and nobles. The private rooms were elegantly arranged, but there was no space for hiding people. Everything in the room was clearly displayed.

Fu Tingzhou quickly searched, but the private room was empty, with no sign of anyone hiding. Fu Tingzhou frowned. His guess couldn’t be wrong, but Wang Yanqing wasn’t here. Could it be that someone else swapped places in the middle?

The Imperial Guards from behind also followed. They had inexplicably fallen far behind when Fu Tingzhou was on the chase. Now that Fu Tingzhou entered the private room, they caught up one by one. The Imperial Guards surrounded the door, watched Fu Tingzhou circle the private room, and asked with a sneer: “Marquis of Zhenyuan, this is Master Lu’s private room. If you are rummaging around like this, are you suspicious of our master?”

Fu Tingzhou found nothing and looked at the young man carrying the drink with an unkind expression: “If you have a clear conscience, then why did you run when I called you?”

The young man held the wine and said innocently: “Master Lu asked me to get the wine. I was afraid that my master would be impatient, so I ran quickly.”

The Imperial Guards at the door made a fuss: “The Marquis of Zhenyuan’s standards are too high. You control the sky and the earth, and you still want to control how people run?”

After being reprimanded, Fu Tingzhou’s face turned ugly. But after all, he was the first to be in the wrong. He glared at Tang Qing coldly and was about to leave when he ran into Guo Xun in the corridor.

Guo Xun stood at the door. His eyes swept over the group of people and asked with a cold face: “What are you all doing?”

Why did Guo Xun come out too? Fu Tingzhou frowned secretly and said lightly: “Lu Heng’s wine was left unattended. I was afraid that someone might have tampered with it, so I came here to take a look.”

If you thought about it carefully, this excuse was completely illogical. When the wine was served, Lu Heng would also drink it. Even if it were poisoned, it would not be done so obviously. Guo Xun glanced at the room behind him but did not say whether he believed it or not, and said calmly: “Since everything is okay, then let’s go back.”

Fu Tingzhou, Guo Xun, and Tang Qing, who held the wine, returned to the Wuding Mansion’s private room. Lu Heng was sitting across from Xia Wenjin. When he heard the door being opened, Xia Wenjin stood up and cupped his hands in a bow: “Forgive me, Marquis of Wuding. I drank too much. I might lose my composure if I sit down again, so I will leave first. Continue, please don’t let me disturb you.”

When Guo Xun heard this, he naturally tried to persuade Xia Wenjin to stay. Guo Xun and Xia Wenjin exchanged pleasantries, but as soon as Fu Tingzhou entered the room, his eyes fell on Lu Heng. Lu Heng sat at the table, drank all the wine in his glass, and then stood up slowly. Lu Heng noticed Fu Tingzhou’s gaze. He first glanced at Tang Qing, who was carrying the wine. Then he faced Fu Tingzhou with a nod and smile.

Fu Tingzhou narrowed his eyes and was very sure that Lu Heng did this on purpose, but for the moment he couldn’t figure out how Lu Heng conducted the switch, so he could only hold off an attack for the time being. Guo Xun tried to persuade Xia Wenjin for a long time, but Xia Wenjin was determined to leave. So Guo Xun had no choice but to let him go.

Lu Heng also saw the opportunity and excused himself. Lu Heng wanted to leave, and no one asked him to stay. Guo Xun also didn’t want to eat at the same table as an intelligence chief, so he sent Lu Heng out with just a few polite words. Xia Wenjin and Lu Heng left one after another, and the private room where they had just been toasting glasses in a lively atmosphere suddenly became deserted. When Guo Xun came back, he saw Lu Heng’s jar of wine sitting on the table which hadn’t even been opened, and sighed: “Lu Heng specially sent someone to get the wine, but he left without taking a sip. If he had known this, why go through the trouble.”

The speaker was unintentional, but the listener found meaning. Fu Tingzhou was instantly awakened. Yes, since Lu Heng planned to leave, why did he need to ask someone to get the wine? In retrospect, the timing of the guard knocking over the item was also very suspicious. Then just as Fu Tingzhou became suspicious, there was a commotion outside. The person who bumped into the thing happened to be a slender guard with a good-looking face.

It seemed that he was deliberately attracting Fu Tingzhou’s attention and luring him out.

Fu Tingzhou suddenly thought of something, his expression suddenly changed, and he walked quickly behind the screen. There was no one behind the screen. Originally, there were two women playing music here.

It was the two female musicians.

Fu Tingzhou woke up from a dream. Yes, there were too many flaws for a woman to be disguised as a man. You could see it with just a little attention. But if she appeared directly as a woman, no one would be suspicious.

Wang Yanqing was here indeed, but she did not disguise herself as a man, instead, she took the role of a female musician. Wang Yanqing didn’t know how to play the pipa, so she was the person who played the lute just now.

Fu Tingzhou followed his memory and looked at the place where the guqin was placed. Sure enough, he found that something was wrong with the screen in that area. From the outside, the figures inside were vague and unclear, but from the inside, every move outside could be clearly seen.

The Ruyi Tower was an average restaurant, they would never be so bold to do such a thing. Fu Tingzhou put his fingers on the screen, and sure enough, he felt the traces of splicing.

It seemed that Lu Heng knew the time and place of Guo Xun’s banquet in advance, and tampered with the screen. He then asked Wang Yanqing to pretend to be a musician and enter the venue early to play music. Fu Tingzhou, Guo Xun, and others could hear the music when they entered. They were like vases on the wooden shelves and the calligraphy and paintings on the walls. They were decorations in the room, and no one paid much attention to them.

Afterward, Lu Heng deliberately put out some fake smoke to make Fu Tingzhou leave, then took the opportunity to ask the female musicians to retire, so that Wang Yanqing could leave quietly. Even when those Imperial Guards chased and blocked him in the restaurant, Lu Heng intended to intensify Fu Tingzhou’s suspicion and delay time for the real Wang Yanqing.

Fu Tingzhou regretted it. It turned out that there was only one step between him and Qing Qing, but he didn’t notice it. He hated Lu Heng for being cunning, but in the end, Fu Tingzhou didn’t care enough about Wang Yanqing.

If he had gotten to know Wang Yanqing better over the years and invested more energy around her, how could he not hear Wang Yanqing playing the lute? Every time Lu Heng succeeded, it was like a slap in Fu Tingzhou’s face, telling him how neglected she had been.

Fu Tingzhou stopped inside the screen and didn’t come out for a long time. Guo Xun noticed something was wrong and asked loudly: “What’s wrong?”

Fu Tingzhou was awakened, quickly gathered his thoughts, and walked out from behind the screen with a calm expression: “Nothing, I just want to take a look.”

There was no one behind the screen, so what was there to see? Guo Xun stared at Fu Tingzhou suspiciously. There was no one else here, so Guo Xun stopped covering up and asked directly: “Is there something between you and Lu Heng that you are hiding from me?”

Fu Tingzhou flatly denied: “No.”

He denied it so quickly, Guo Xun lost even more trust. Guo Xun said calmly: “That’s good. War is imminent, you should be able to distinguish what is most important, right?”

Fu Tingzhou clenched his fists tightly and finally said: “I understand.”

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