Feng Jin Yuan’s words brought about the end of Jin Zhen’s life. In the instant that Jin Zhen was taken away by a hidden guard that had suddenly appeared, no matter if it was An shi or the Cheng shi sisters, they all felt their bodies turn cold. The person that they had married never expressed many emotions, and women were nothing more than tools for him to use, or they were people that provided him with practical help in a collaboration. How could that even remotely be considered a married couple. Once they had no further use, or once they represented a threat to the Feng manor, they could be given up on at any time.
Feng Yu Heng returned to the county princess’ manor, and the servants brought Zi Rui back to sleep. Xiang Rong, however, remained with her. Trembling with trepidation, she remained on edge.
Feng Yu Heng felt helpless and could only bring the girl back to her own room. After getting washed up, she said to her: “Just squeeze in with me. Either way, we won’t be able to sleep for long. We will need to get up very soon to get ready to attend court.”
Just the mention of attending court caused Xiang Rong to nearly break down, as she asked with a somber expression: “Second sister, can I choose to not go? All I did was report it. I don’t think that I did anything important. There is no need for his Majesty to reward me.”
Feng Yu Heng climbed onto her bed and patted the area beside her, gesturing for Xiang Rong to join her. Only then did she say: “Everyone hopes to receive a reward from his Majesty, but why is it that you want to retreat when you have clearly performed a service?”
Xiang Rong grabbed a corner of the sheets and held it tightly, begging: “Either way, I don’t dare go. Second sister, how about I don’t go. Can you put in a word for me? I’m begging you.”
She rolled her eyes out of exasperation, “The Emperor had Zhang Yuan personally come with these instructions. Is there any room for you to say you won’t go? Hah! Where has that fierceness gone from when you bullied the old fourth from the Xuan family with embroidery? Why have you become like a little white rabbit upon getting home?” Feng Yu Heng recalled that scene from the Yu Palace. Xiang Rong held a needle, while Xuan Tian Yi had a sleepy and fearful expression. It was truly too funny.
Xiang Rong was also feeling helpless, saying: “None of you were coming back, and it was so chaotic outside. The servants of the Yu Palace said that before his Highness the ninth prince left, he said that if I was feeling bored, I should teach his Highness the fourth prince how to embroider. I thought that this was an order and thought that his Highness the ninth prince wanted to use this to investigate something. Second sister, I gritted my teeth and did it! I was almost scared to death!”
Feng Yu Heng facepalmed. She knew that she had misunderstood. It turned out that this girl had treated it like an official order and done it. Forget it, she waved her hand and consoled Xiang Rong, “Not going to court is no longer possible. Right now, all you can do is to get some rest. Regain some energy, that way you can be a little more careful when going into the palace.” Thinking a little more, she frankly added: “Seventh brother will definitely also be at court. You don’t want to see him while looking exhausted, right?”
Xiang Rong’s face turned red. Without another word, she dove into the blankets.
Feng Yu Heng laughed, as she finally managed to get the girl to lie down. At this time, Wang Chuan returned from the Feng manor and quietly said to her: “Lord Feng has sentenced Jin Zhen to be buried with the dead.”
Feng Yu Heng did not react much, but Xiang Rong trembled in the blanket. She poked her head out once more, and her eyes were filled with a bit of horror.
Feng Yu Heng gave Wang Chuan a look to leave then lay down at Xiang Rong’s side then suddenly asked in a quiet voice: “Do you feel that I am too fierce at times?”
Xiang Rong did not think that her second sister would suddenly ask this kind of question. At first, she was startled. She then shook her head seriously and said: “No. Concubine mother An once told me that it looked like things were happening consecutively to the Feng family after second sister returned to the manor, but not a single thing was a result of second sister’s initiative. Those people already had the intention to harm people. Unfortunately, they did not have the ability to harm people. In the end, they were ruined by their own plans. Whether they were injured or died, it could not be blamed on anyone else.”
Feng Yu Heng sighed gently. She knew that An shi was smart. That’s why she got along with the mother and daughter. Even after Yao shi was divorced, they did not grow distant in the slightest. Xiang Rong’s words really caused her to feel a little emotional. It was for no other reason than having someone in the manor that truly understood her.
“Let’s sleep!” She turned around with her back facing Xiang Rong, “It’s not that elder sister has a fierce heart. It’s just that some people want too much. But how much they want is unrelated to me. They absolutely should never have made plans involving me. Xiang Rong, remember this. You must not be cowardly and weak. Only by being strong and decisive can you gain control of your own life.”
After she said this, Feng Yu Heng fell into a light sleep. Xiang Rong also closed her eyes; however, she repeated Feng Yu Heng’s words in her mind countless times until she remembered them.
The two did not sleep for long. Xiang Rong felt as though she only closed her eyes for a moment before the two hours had arrived.
She did not have time to feel sleepy. The nervousness from needing to go to court had dispersed the sleepiness. She watched Feng Yu Heng put on her court dress before realizing that she did not have any clothes for attending court. Attending court was a formal matter, and she could not go wearing her usual banquet clothes, right?
Just as she was feeling troubled, Feng Yu Heng handed her a set of clothes. It was a light orange dress that went down to her feet but did not touch the ground. It was neat and did not drag. In the middle, there was a belt of the same color. It was not flashy or fancy. It was inconspicuous and noble. It was truly very beautiful.
Feng Yu Heng told her: “These clothes were originally made for me. Qing Yu had them made for me while I was producing steel, but who knew that I would grow so much in the past half a year. It’s a little too short for me to wear. It’s perfect for you.”
She did not lie. This dress had indeed been made by Qing Yu for her. It was not just one set. There were multiple sets. Originally, she had thought that Feng Yu Heng would wear them during the Summer. Who knew that her master would return from the military camp half a head taller than a few months prior. Qing Yu was so speechless at that time. She could only quietly put all of these clothes at the bottom of a chest. Who knew that they would find a use today.
Xiang Rong quickly got washed up and changed her clothes. When they left the manor, Wang Chuan had personally brought the imperial carriage to the front to wait for them.
Ever since Feng Jin Yuan had been demoted to fifth rank, he no longer needed to attend court. The Feng family no longer left the manor at this time. The road was completely quiet, and only the carriages of officials going to court could be seen occasionally passing by would give it a bit of a vigorous look.
Xiang Rong was still nervous, and her hands were tightly balled up into fists, her nails nearly digging into the flesh. Feng Yu Heng did not console her any further. A girl going to court was already something that had never happened in the past. If Xiang Rong was not nervous at all like her, that would be something to worry about.
Finally, the imperial carriage stopped in front of the palace’s gate. The two got out of the carriage, and Feng Yu Heng raised her head to look up. She could not help but quietly admire it.
It was no wonder that the saying went, with money and power, things are easy to handle. In just one day and one night, the gate that had been battered beyond repair by Xuan Tian Ye was already restored. It had regained its former glory and aura, but the new coat of paint still smelled, reminding everyone of the crisis of that night.
Right now, they were heading toward Heavenly Hall to attend the court session. The servants could not be brought along. Feng Yu Heng brought Xiang Rong along and walked toward the palace’s gate. The officials that had also come to attend court all nodded their heads. The more talkative ones would take the initiative to greet her.
Although she was a girl, there was not a single official that dared to disagree with Feng Yu Heng. Not to mention attending court, even if Feng Yu Heng decided to proclaim herself the Emperor, this group of people would not object. After all, she had produced steel and helped with the disasters. As a person, she had already reached the pinnacle of fame within the capital. There was not a single person that felt that there was any problem with Feng Yu Heng attending court. Even if they did not know ahead of time that it was the Emperor that had specifically called for her, they would not say an extra word.
This sort of trust toward Feng Yu Heng also allowed Xiang Rong to benefit from association. Some of the officials that did not recognize Xiang Rong would ask, and someone would immediately reply: “That is county princess Ji An’s younger sister.” The person that asked would immediately fall silent. County princess Ji An was quite amazing. Bringing a younger sister to court was also quite normal.
Xiang Rong’s nervousness increased from the moment that she set foot in the palace. When Feng Yu Heng brought her to the doors of Heavenly Hall, her legs were nearly unable to continue moving. Firmly holding Feng Yu Heng’s sleeve, she repeatedly said: “I don’t want to go in! I don’t want to go in!”
Feng Yu Heng thought to herself that she must not lose courage at this critical moment! Thus she quickly looked around, hoping that she could find Xuan Tian Hua. With him to console Xiang Rong, Xiang Rong would calm down a little. But Xuan Tian Hua and Xuan Tian Ming arrived late. She looked for a long time and could not see them. Instead, there were some soldiers that had brought Xuan Tian Yi toward the large hall.
Today, Xuan Tian Yi was not wearing a golden robe. Instead, he wore a set of plain clothes with cloth shoes, and his hair was a mess. He had cuffs on his wrists and chains around his legs, but there were no injuries to his body. But since he was being held by soldiers, he had lost the glorious look of a prince, and he looked very haggard.
He walked to the front of Heavenly Hall and saw Feng Yu Heng standing with Xiang Rong. He did not feel that it was unexpected, but he looked at Feng Yu Heng and said: “Younger sister is quite skilled. It’s just a pity that you were born a woman.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled, “Fourth brother is exaggerating. If I was somehow a man and happened to end up comrades with fourth brother, fourth brother would not have been reduced to this state.”
She received him with a smile, but her words were capable of causing anyone’s nose to become crooked with anger. Xuan Tian Yi did his best to adjust his mood then decided that he did not want to speak any further with Feng Yu Heng. He turned his head and saw the face full of fear and nervousness. It was Xiang Rong, who seemed to be suffering from stage fright. He said with disdain: “Back in the Yu Palace, you had a fierce expression while waving around that embroidery needle, and you looked so fierce. Now, you have been stopped by a small Heavenly Hall. It’s quite laughable.” After saying this, he raised his leg and stepped over the high sill.
Xiang Rong became angry at this time. This person had begged for mercy on that night more than once. Why was it that he had come back on this day? She angrily glared at Xuan Tian Yi and loudly said: “You’re the laughable one! I wonder who would have so much trouble with learning embroidery. You fell asleep while staying up overnight. You wanted to start a rebellion like this? You have overestimated yourself too much!” She wanted only to fight with Xuan Tian Yi. For a moment, she had forgotten that she had been standing outside Heavenly Hall, too afraid to step inside. Seeing Xuan Tian Yi continue into the hall without turning back, Xiang Rong became even angrier. Lifting her dress, she followed him in.
Feng Yu Heng laughed at this and quickly followed behind her. She heard some quiet discussion from the side, “Sure enough, a distinguished father would have good children. The Feng family’s children really are not ordinary!”
Someone immediately retorted: “Don’t say it like that. Prime minister Feng did not have as good of a personality as his two daughters, and his ability could not compare to county princess Ji An.”
Once this was said, the first person immediately reminded: “Quickly, shut your mouth! What are you saying with prime minister Feng. He is currently just a fifth-ranked official. He is not even allowed to attend court!”
The person that had misspoken quickly shut his mouth and everyone returned to their spots. Feng Yu Heng brought Xiang Rong to stand in the middle of the officials then saw Xuan Tian Hua and Xuan Tian Ming arrive. Before she could greet the two, Zhang Yuan’s voice loudly announced to the hall: “His Majesty has arrived!”