TIGR Chapter 81

The Imperial Guard’s Revenge

Chapter 81 Out of the Bath

Wang Yanqing rode the carriage home and Ling Xi and Ling Luan had been long waiting. After seeing Wang Yanqing, they immediately helped her take off the female musician’s outfit.

Ling Xi asked: “Miss, the water is ready. Do you want to take a bath?”

Wang Yanqing said: “I can do it myself. You go and take care of the clothes first.”

Ling Xi and Ling Luan replied yes, left the bathing things indoors, bowed, and left. Because Wang Yanqing wanted to disguise herself as a musician, she sprinkled a lot of powder on her body. She endured it all the way, but now that she had finally returned home, she quickly soaked in the water to wash away the smell of powder and restaurant.

Wang Yanqing was immersed in the water, with her hair hanging casually behind her back, revealing only her slender and graceful shoulders. Her skin was like jade in the mist that water droplets could not cling to. The water droplets streaked down her collarbone and quickly submerged in the water.

Wang Yanqing picked up the water with her hands and spilled it on her arms, thinking about what just happened. She only found out in the afternoon that she would pretend to be a female musician. She only had time to practice two pieces of music, and after barely remembering how to play the guqin, she was taken to the restaurant. There was already a woman in the room when she entered. She was wearing the outfit of a female musician, and she was not surprised to see her. She brought Wang Yanqing a set of clothes and carefully explained to Wang Yanqing how to play the guqin and how to respond if someone spoke to her.

The other party’s tone was calm and steady as if they had experienced this many times. Wang Yanqing didn’t dare to think that this was an Imperial Guard in disguise or was it that she was actually an Imperial Guard spy.

The Ruyi Tower was known as the best in the capital. Naturally, they knew the taboos of high-ranking officials and their families, so how could they carelessly call upon female musicians. Especially for a high-level guest like the Marquis of Wuding, the owner of the Ruyi Tower would be very cautious and choose only a trustworthy woman to entertain the distinguished guests.

Wang Yanqing was a stranger. If the other woman was also a stranger, it would be difficult to gain the trust of the Ruyi Tower boss.

When Guo Xun and the others first entered the private room, Wang Yanqing was very nervous for fear of being called out. Fortunately, the three men were busy talking about court affairs and no one paid attention to her behind the screen. Not long after, Lu Heng arrived, and Wang Yanqing’s heart felt relieved. Only then was she able to observe the behavior of the people in the room.

The music was specially arranged, with the pipa playing the main role. Wang Yanqing only had to echo the sound of the pipa in certain passages, and at other times pluck the lower strings to create more energy. The subsequent plan also went very smoothly. Fu Tingzhou and Guo Xun left the scene one after another, and Lu Heng was able to talk to Xia Wenjin alone. Wang Yanqing sat behind the treated screen and saw all of Xia Wenjin’s expressions.

Lu Heng refused to change seats after entering the private room. The most important thing was the seating arrangement. Guo Xun took the main seat, Xia Wenjin sat on the left, Fu Tingzhou sat on the right, and Lu Heng sat at the bottom. The screen was located on the right side of the room, facing Xia Wenjin, so that Wang Yanqing could see him clearly when he raised his head. While Lu Heng and Xia Wenjin were talking, Wang Yanqing hid behind and quietly observed. After Lu Heng finished asking his questions, he pretended to have a secret conversation and naturally sent Wang Yanqing away.

The whole process was automatic, and Xia Wenjin had no doubts at all. Wang Yanqing didn’t know what happened next. After she went out, she was immediately escorted to the Ruyi Tower’s side exit where there was already a carriage waiting for her outside. The Imperial Guards had cleaned up the road in advance, and Wang Yanqing returned to the Lu household without hitting a stone.

Everything went surprisingly smoothly, and none of the situations they had rehearsed happened. Wang Yanqing thought for a while in the water and felt that the water was a little cold, so she put on her clothes and stood up.

Wang Yanqing was not used to being cared for by others, so for things like bathing and changing, she did them herself. It was almost time to go to bed, so she didn’t wear a tube top. She put on a new middle coat, tied the lapels casually, and went outside to comb her hair.

She sat in front of the dressing mirror and carefully combed her long hair. When she was polishing her hair, she found that a box of balm was missing. Wang Yanqing shouted “Ling Xi” out of habit, and then she remembered that all the maids had been sent out, and they couldn’t hear her even if she called Ling Xi.

Wang Yanqing sighed softly and was about to get up and look for it by herself when a voice suddenly came from behind: “What are you looking for?”

Wang Yanqing was startled when she heard the voice. She quickly turned around and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the figure behind her. Then, Wang Yanqing remembered her situation and quickly stood up while holding her lapels: “Why are you here?”

Lu Heng blinked and said very innocently: “I came because I wanted to. Could it be that I can’t come?”

He still acted like he did nothing wrong and threw the question back to Wang Yanqing. Wang Yanqing choked, biting her lip, and said: “It’s already this hour…”

It was dark and still at night and Lu Heng appeared in a lady’s chamber. Did he think it was appropriate? Lu Heng also looked out at the sky, nodded, and said: “Indeed, it’s already this hour, you should brush your hair quickly, it’s time to go to bed in a while. You just called Ling Xi, what are you looking for?”

This matter was like trying to save face with someone who didn’t care. Wang Yanqing had no choice but to reply: “A box of balm. I guess Ling Xi would have kept it in the Duobao Pavillion.”

Lu Heng obediently went outside to look for it in the Duobao Pavilion. As soon as he went out, Wang Yanqing immediately took out a long coat and hurriedly tied it around her body. After she finished dressing, Lu Heng came in pinching something: “There are several kinds in the Duobao Pavilion. I didn’t know which one you wanted, so I picked a bottle of one that I liked the smell of. Is it okay?”

Wang Yanqing glanced at it and nodded: “Yes.”

Wang Yanqing wanted to take the hair cream, but Lu Heng refused to give it to her and said: “It’s hard to apply it on the back of your hair, I’ll do it.”

Wang Yanqing quickly refused: “How can this be done…”

“You helped apply my medicine, so I’ll apply hair cream for you. It’s only polite.” Lu Heng ignored Wang Yanqing’s refusal, held her shoulders, and pushed her to sit on the dressing stool, “This is nothing. I will have to learn it in the future anyway, this can be practice in advance.”

Lu Heng’s tone was soft, but his attitude was very firm. Wang Yanqing did not dare to speak loudly. If the maid was called in, it would be even more embarrassing to come upon this scene. Before she could react, Lu Heng pushed her to her seat. Wang Yanqing sighed slightly, knowing that she couldn’t defeat him, so she allowed it.

Lu Heng unscrewed the box, and a light scent of vegetation filled the inner room. Lu Heng used his fingers to take a chunk of ointment, picked up Wang Yanqing’s wet hair, and applied it carefully.

The aroma spread and the quiet smell became stronger. Lu Heng spoke while applying: “When I first opened it, I felt that the smell matched your body fragrance. Now it seems that it is too polished instead, it destroys your original delicate fragrance.”

Wang Yanqing blushed after hearing his words. She didn’t feel the smell on her body, but she was embarrassed to ask Lu Heng how he smelled it. She pretended not to hear this and asked: “When did you come back?”

Wang Yanqing expected that he would not come back so soon because he had to socialize with the Marquis of Wuding and others, so she went to shower and change. Lu Heng was actually back a long time ago. He heard that she was taking a bath, so he went to change clothes first and then came to her room to wait for her. When he saw Wang Yanqing not coming out for a long time, he thought she was asleep and almost asked someone to go in and assist her.

But Lu Heng was afraid that she would be embarrassed, so he said: “It didn’t take long, you came out just as I came in.”

Wang Yanqing’s heart tightened after hearing this. He arrived earlier? Wang Yanqing bit the inside of her lower lip with her teeth and said angrily: “Why didn’t you call me when you came?”

The washroom was built in the back wing of Wang Yanqing’s bedroom. Outside the wing was a square corner surrounded by screens and curtains. There were wardrobe chests and baskets inside, and it was a place for changing clothes. There was a dressing table to the west of the screen and a bed to the south. The front of the bed was also blocked by a landscape folding screen. Outside the folding screen was a set of small mahogany curved-legged tables and chairs.

The entire bedroom space was not open but divided into various functional areas with floor-to-ceiling covers, screens, and curtains. Just now, Lu Heng did not enter the bedroom but was waiting in front. After Wang Yanqing came out, her sight was blocked by the partition and she didn’t purposefully look out, so she didn’t notice that there was someone there. By the same token, Lu Heng was sitting outside and couldn’t see what was going on inside.

However, when Wang Yanqing thought about changing her clothes inside while Lu Heng was sitting outside, she still felt something was wrong. Lu Heng did not argue and nodded calmly: “Okay, I’ll pay attention next time.”

Next time?

Wang Yanqing’s eyebrows moved slightly. She didn’t mean it that way, but several past experiences told her not to try to reason with Lu Heng. He would only try and keep taking a mile with each inch, so Wang Yanqing pretended not to hear. Lu Heng picked up a strand of wet hair, applied balm on it, and put it on the other side. Wang Yanqing picked up the ivory comb, slowly ran it through the long hair in front of her, and asked: “Brother, why did you back so soon?”

Lu Heng said casually: “Where is the fun in drinking with a group of men?”

It was far better to go home and watch the beauty take a bath.

Wang Yanqing held a strand of black hair and said unexpectedly: “I saw you chatting and laughing at the banquet, joking, and talking to everyone, so I thought you had a good chat.”

“That’s what made it boring.” Lu Heng said, “Who cares about their sons and grandsons? My own children have not yet been born.”

Whenever Lu Heng was around, so long as he wished, there would never be a moment of awkward silence. He knew a lot of information, had a good memory, was good at talking, and could take care of everyone. It was very comfortable for the person being cared for, but it was not interesting for Lu Heng.

Every word was calculated and considered, and he couldn’t listen in a relaxed manner or speak freely. It was surely not as good as letting him be calm for a moment. Lu Heng put balm on her hair, took the comb to Wang Yanqing’s hair, and asked: “Do you think that Xia Wenjin spoke the truth today?”

Wang Yanqing thought for a while and said: “It may not have been the truth, but he probably didn’t lie about Xue Kan.”

Ordinary people held expressive emotions, but for higher-ranking officials, it was more difficult to judge their thoughts based on their expressions. Wang Yanqing carefully recalled Xia Wenjin’s reaction tonight and said: “When you mentioned that Xue Kan confessed, although he quickly controlled the expression on his face, his eyebrows still rose, indicating that he was also surprised. Later, when you tested whether he spoke the truth, his face pretended to be correspondingly angry and passionate, but his eyebrows remained smooth. The raised eyebrows showed that he was not under pressure. If it was he who instigated Xue Kan, even if he trusted Xue Kan’s character, he would surely not be without pressure.”

Lu Heng nodded. That was similar to his judgment. Wang Yanqing made her decision based on Xia Wenjin’s expression while Lu Heng relied on logic. There was no need for Xia Wenjin to do such a thing. The eldest prince was still young, and there were several pregnant concubines in the harem. No one knew what would happen in the future. Why should Xia Wenjin jump out so early? This was more likely a charge deliberately fabricated by Zhang Jinggong to eradicate the others.

Xia Wenjin may have been sure of this, so he felt confident.

Lu Heng collected Wang Yanqing’s hair neatly behind her back, held her shoulders with both hands, and leaned over to look at her in the mirror: “The emperor only asked me to find out what happened. I have no time to care about who is who. Tomorrow, I can go and meet with the emperor.”

Wang Yanqing nodded but she didn’t move. Her intuition told her that this was not what Lu Heng wanted to say. Sure enough, Lu Heng paused and then said: “You also heard what Fu Tingzhou said today. What do you think will happen if the emperor bestows him a marriage with the Yongping Marquis Mansion?”

Wang Yanqing found Lu Heng’s question indescribably strange and she said flabbergasted: ” Then that’s good, he and the Marquis of Wuding each have what they need, and he is a perfect match for Miss Hong. They are a good couple in every sense of the word. Brother, what do you ask?”

Something seemed to flash across Lu Heng’s eyes, something dark and mysterious, with unknown meaning. After taking another close look, Lu Heng’s eyes were soft and clear, looking at her gently without any haze. Wang Yanqing thought to herself that it might have been the reflection in the bronze mirror, and she might have seen it wrong.

What did Lu Heng want to ask? He wanted to ask her whether she would blame him. When Wang Yanqing regained her memory and realized that he used a trick to force Fu Tingzhou to marry the daughter of the Hong family, completely ruining the path of Wang Yanqing and the man she had feelings for. But then Lu Heng thought about it and realized that the matter was already done. Assuming that there was affection and Wang Yanqing got upset, would Lu Heng stop?

Lu Heng knew that he wouldn’t. Therefore, there was no need to ask this question.

Lu Heng looked at Wang Yanqing and smiled. He stretched out his hand to touch her cheek, and looked into her eyes through the mirror: “Qing Qing, what if I ask for our marriage to be bestowed?”

Wang Yanqing was slightly startled and then suddenly realized that this was what he wanted to ask. No wonder he was so abnormal just now. Wang Yanqing pursed her lips and said: “But your period of filial piety has not passed yet.”

Lu Heng raised his eyebrows, not knowing whether to be happy or sad. The good thing was that she didn’t refuse but was worried about him keeping filial piety. The sad thing was that he really had to keep his filial piety.

The more Lu Heng thought about it, the more frustrated he became. The skin under his palms was like resin, the beauty in the mirror was like jade, but he couldn’t do anything. Lu Heng didn’t feel relieved, so he simply leaned over and bit her cheek hard. Wang Yanqing laughed and ducked away, saying: “Don’t make trouble, there is even hair cream on your face.”

At just the right opportunity, Lu Heng moved his position, grabbed Wang Yanqing’s lips, and plundered them fiercely. He put one hand around Wang Yanqing’s shoulders and drew her towards him tightly. Wang Yanqing pushed every part of his body with her hands to no avail until she almost suffocated from the kiss.

Lu Heng stopped, also gasping for breath. He leaned into her neck, his breath sounding heavily at the tip of Wang Yanqing’s ear: “Okay, you said so. We will get married after my filial piety is over.”

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