Is It Love or Hate?
“Young miss!” The person that had come from behind was Wang Chuan. Feng Yu Heng turned around and saw Wang Chuan quickly coming over. After hearing her whisper something into her ear, she furrowed her brow tightly.
“We’re returning to the county princess’ manor.” She did not continue in the direction of Tian Xiang courtyard. She had heard that Xu Jing Yuan had already searched that side. Thinking about it, anything related to Kang Yi would no longer be there. Feng Yu Heng figured that she would just send someone to the government office later.
He Zhong saw that Feng Yu Heng had just returned; however, she left once more in a flurry. He was very curious about what Wang Chuan had said to her, but no matter how curious he was, he did not have the right to know, thus he could only helplessly shake his head, informing the gatekeeper: “Stay alert and pay attention.” He then went to Shu Ya courtyard to report to the matriarch.
Feng Yu Heng brought Wang Chuan back to the county princess’ manor. Only after they returned to her room did she ask: “Say, Xuan Tian Ye’s maternal family has already arrived in the capital?”
Wang Chuan nodded: “Young miss did not return last night. Word of Qian Zhou’s people causing trouble has already spread. This servant did not dare not alert you. Thus I had two hidden guards go out and inquire. One of them went out of the capital. This morning, they brought back news that Duan Mu Qiang has already arrived at the capital’s gates.”
“Duan Mu Qing…” She repeated this name; however, she did not have a deeper understanding of this name. She just knew that it was someone from Xuan Tian Ye’s maternal family. As for the details, she did not know a single one.
Wang Chuan told her: “The current leader of the three northernmost provinces is called Duan Mu Anguo. He is the third prince’s maternal grandfather. Duan Mu Qing was that person’s eldest grandson, and he was the third prince’s cousin.”
“How many of them came?”
Wang Chuan said: “The precise number is unknown because if there were other preparations, they would definitely be hidden in the shadows. But that Duan Mu Qing is in his early 20s; however, he is already the deputy leader of the three northernmost provinces. Together with his grandfather, he manages the troops. Speaking of, the troops of the North were mostly recruited locally. The majority of them are Da Shun’s citizens with Qian Zhou’s blood flowing in them. In truth, the reason his Majesty does not like the third prince is in part because his maternal grandfather took in a concubine from Qian Zhou. That concubine would be the third prince’s birth mother.”
“So it was like that.” Feng Yu Heng always felt that the Emperor truly did not have any fatherly feelings for Xuan Tian Ye. Not only was there no pity, he even hoped that he would be unlucky, get injured or even die. But if it was said that this was a reason, it was not the main reason.
“There is something else.” Wang Chuan furrowed her brow tightly and said: “I wonder if young miss has heard of ghost doctor Song Kang?”
“Ghost doctor Song Kang?” Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “I have never heard of this person. Where is this person from? Is this person also a doctor?”
Wang Chuan said: “It is a famous divine doctor from Qian Zhou. His fame in Qian Zhou is basically the same as divine doctor Yao’s fame in Da Shun. Everyone says that the ghost doctor can bring people back from the brink of death. People have lost count of how many dead people he has saved.”
Feng Yu Heng was a little dazed from hearing this and shook her head: “How could this sort of thing happen? They had exaggerated a little too much. What, do you mean that ghost doctor Song Kang also came to the capital?”
Wang Chuan nodded, “Yes, Duan Mu Qing’s group brought Song Kang. That person always wears a set of black robes. It is very easy to notice him. Thinking about it, he should be here to treat the third prince’s injuries.” Speaking to this point, Wang Chuan was a little regretful, “If we knew about this earlier, it would have been better for young miss to have killed him back then.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled bitterly. If she had truly killed him, perhaps the Emperor would not have this sort of attitude.
“Forget it.” She waved her hand, “If he was going to come, he would have come. We just need to meet them. It’s just a pity that the plan of going to Xiao Zhou will be delayed. Go explain to mother for me later on. I will go sleep for a while first.”
Feng Yu Heng returned to her room to rest. Wang Chuan then went to Yao shi to explain that they could not go to Xiao Zhou for the time being.
As for the Feng manor’s side, An shi and Xiang Rong were unable to sleep soundly. Especially Xiang Rong, as she rolled around back and forth in bed. In the end, she just sat up in bed.
Her former servant, Mei Xiang, had collaborated with the third prince to harm Yao shi. This caused her to be beaten to death by Feng Yu Heng. Now, the manor had bought a new servant from the outside. Her name was Shan Cha. She did not understand the affairs of the Feng manor. Not long after she was brought back, she was sent to the temple with Xiang Rong. They only just returned to the capital a few days ago.
Seeing that Xiang Rong could not sleep, Shan Cha thought that the disturbance in the manor from the previous night had scared Xiang Rong. She was a little anxious and asked her: “Third young miss, if things really are not good, just invite a doctor to come and see you. It would not be good for you to be frightened.”
Xiang Rong smiled bitterly, “I am not that cowardly. In this family, if there isn’t something happening every day, it happens every three to five days. I’ve become used to it. Help me get a cloak. I will go chat with concubine mother.”
Shan Cha took care of Xiang Rong and covered her in a cloak then followed her over to An shi’s room. When they pushed the door open and entered, An shi was also chatting with her maidservant, Ping’er. Seeing her come, Ping’er helplessly said: “Third young miss must have thought the same thing as concubine mother. Because of this, she could not sleep.”
Xiang Rong walked over quickly and arrived at An shi’s side, urgently asking her: “What is concubine mother thinking of?”
An shi had her sit down then sighed and directly said: “They rushed to bring you back from the temple quite quickly this time. I keep feeling that something is the matter.”
Xiang Rong heard her mention this and said: “I was unable to sleep because of this. Concubine mother, at that time, I thought that it was possible that it was because second sister was returning, and the family did not want sister questioning them, causing a fuss. Only then did they bring me back. But when I think about it now, when that incident with Lady Yao occurred, second sister was no longer as close with us. The family should not be worried about that.”
An shi nodded then asked: “I also thought of this. Now, it seems that the family has another arrangement.”
Xiang Rong was worried about this, “What sort of arrangement? After such a large incident, they shouldn’t… keep thinking of me, right?”
An shi, however, did not believe this to be the case: “I was thinking that it was likely because of your eldest sister reaching the age of marriage. Turning 15 is a big occasion, and everyone in the family must be present. You are also eleven. Xiang Rong, there is something that you must prepare yourself for.”
Xiang Rong was shocked. The thing that she was most worried about and did not want to mention was stuck in her throat. Only with a great deal of effort could she manage to say: “Is it about an engagement for me?”
An shi did not speak, only nodding a little. Xiang Rong then fell silent.
She had grown up in the Feng manor. How could she not understand the implications of such a thing. For the family, the daughter of a concubine was used to improve relationships and gain power. The Feng family was already going to put in a great deal of effort into her and Fen Dai. Bringing her back was for this purpose. After what had happened the previous night, perhaps going to seek power could not be more normal! But, this power, where would it come from?
The mother and daughter pair sat there in silence, neither one speaking.
This day was completely calm, as the women slept in the manor. At court, the Emperor only said that he would be handing over control of Qian Zhou’s matter to Prince Yu and county princess Ji An before moving away from the topic, no longer bringing it up. He even treated Feng Jin Yuan as he did usually. It seemed that there was no influence from Kang Yi, and this caused Feng Jin Yuan to have worried for nothing.
It was just that on this day, something else big happened in the capital. The deputy leader of the three northernmost provinces, Duan Mu Qing, entered the capital and went straight to the Xiang Palace.
Everyone believed that Duan Mu Qing would rest for a day before going to greet the Emperor, but after the morning court session came to an end, Duan Mu Qing still did not appear in front of the wide-eyed officials.
After Feng Jin Yuan got out of court, he was a little curious and thought that Duan Mu Qing really was bold. Was this not making it clear that he did not view anyone as the ruler? Could it be that he was going to copy Qian Zhou and tear at the Emperor’s face?
Who knew that after he returned to the manor, just as he stepped in the gate and before he could enter Pine courtyard, a gatekeeper quickly chased after him, telling him: “Master, there is someone called Duan Mu Qing that has come to visit.”
Feng Jin Yuan stopped in his tracks and felt his heart go “thunk.” He thought to himself that anything he feared would happen ended up happening. Duan Mu Qing did not enter the grand imperial palace, and he did not go to dignify the courts. Why did he come to the Feng manor?
But while he was confused, he had already come in. It would not be good to chase him away. He turned around and began walking back. While walking, he said: “Invite him to Peony courtyard’s main hall.”
The gatekeeper added: “He also named the eldest young miss and second young miss as people that he wished to see.”
“Hm?” Feng Jin Yuan pulled his eyebrows even tighter, “Why does he want to see them?”
The gatekeeper shook his head, thinking to himself: how could I know?
Feng Jin Yuan no longer asked as he walked briskly to welcome him in the front yard.
When he arrived, Duan Mu Qing had already arrived in Peony courtyard’s main hall under the guidance of He Zhong. A maidservant had brought him some tea. Taking a sip, he tasted it then shook his head, “Compared to the tea made in the North using melted snow, the taste is far too lacking.”
At first, Feng Jin Yuan still had some friendliness toward Duan Mu Qing, especially during the two months he was away in the North, he had received quite a bit of help from the Duan Mu family. But at that time, he and the third prince, Xuan Tian Ye, were on the same team. He, Feng Jin Yuan, was the court’s prime minister. Not only did he contribute a number of ideas to Xuan Tian Ye, he also contributed quite a bit of money. The Duan Mu family attached a great deal of importance to Feng Jin Yuan.
But now, the third prince had become a cripple. Looking at the Emperor’s attitude, that truly caused Feng Jin Yuan’s heart to freeze and caused him to completely understand that without the Emperor’s support, even if the third prince had a great external power, it was ten times the effort for half the effect. To obtain the desired throne, aside from a coup, there was practically no other path that could be taken. But once they attempted a coup, even if it succeeded, that position would not be stable or well-liked. In the worst-case scenario, it would not recover for many decades.
Moreover, he could only lie in bed. For him, the throne was completely out of the question.
Feng Jin Yuan thought of this and felt his heart tighten. Xuan Tian Ye’s injury was from a whipping received from Feng Yu Heng. Duan Mu Qing had come here, but he should not have come to get revenge for his cousin, right?
He gritted his teeth and determined that there was no chance of forming an alliance, thus there was no need for him to be fake and exchange pleasantries. He entered the hall and replied to Duan Mu Qing: “Those tea leaves are the best that the central region has to offer. I wonder why deputy leader would hold tea made from melted snow in such high regard?”
Duan Mu Qing heard this and began to laugh. Turning his head, he looked at Feng Jin Yuan and said: “When I was coming, I wondered what sort of attitude Prime minister Feng would use to greet me. Now, it seems that there is no purpose in speaking any further. Prime minister Feng, with things as they are now, the friendship that we had has now become enmity.”
Feng Jin Yuan sneered and sat in the head seat, “What sort of thing is deputy leader talking about?”
“Is Prime minister Feng unable to understand?” Duan Mu Qing slowly said: “It’s fine if you don’t understand. Whether we are friends or enemies, it does not matter. Even if we are enemies, we can once again become friends.”
While saying this, he pulled out a note from his pocket and had a servant bring it to Feng Jin Yuan. At the same time, he said: “Prime minister Feng, This lowly official came today on my cousin’s behalf to request an engagement to the manor’s eldest young miss, Feng Chen Yu.”