You Touched Me?
It had to be said that Duan Mu An Guo’s Winter Palace looked magnificent and glorious to people that had never been to Da Shun’s imperial palace, but to Feng Yu Heng, who entered and exited the imperial palace as if it was her kitchen, this was clearly a smaller version of Da Shun’s imperial palace.
Thinking about it, the Duan Mu family’s founding member was extremely familiar with Da Shun’s imperial palace. It was passed down to Duan Mu An Guo’s generation, such that even if he had not been the imperial palace many times, he was still able to clearly remember every detail of the imperial palace.
Feng Yu Heng sneered to herself. Duan Mu An Guo, you have a bold ambition. Just the three northern provinces is not enough. Your appetite really is quite large.
The illusionist group entered the palace through the front then immediately turned left and followed a winding small path. Upon entering the palace, Feng Yu Heng saw Ban Zou dressed up like a guard while holding a spear in his hand. She held in a laugh and lowered her head to continue advancing; however, when she passed by Ban Zou, she forcefully stomped on his foot, succeeding in hearing a grunt from Ban Zou.
She had made use of the Illusory Hall to get into the Winter Palace; however, Ban Zou had used some unknown methods to enter the Winter Palace as a guard. Feng Yu Heng was even more certain of her hidden guard’s abilities.
The illusionists were led to a place called Li Huan Pavilion. This place was apparently behind where the 100 family banquet would be occurring. This was the most convenient place to reach the banquet hall. The woman with the surname Qi said: “Li Huan Pavilion was specially made by lord Duan Mu for our Illusory Hall. It has already been this way for over ten years. To be able to come here today is your good fortune.”
Another middle-aged man also said: “That’s right. Our illusion performance has always been the finale for the 100 family banquet. That’s why you still have time to prepare now. If you want to take a look at the Winter Palace, it is permitted, but limit your range of movement to within 100 paces of Li Huan Pavilion. This is also considered a special treatment that lord Duan Mu has granted us. After you have changed into your performance clothes, you can move as you please.”
The girls heard this and began to cheer. There were even some that gave their thanks to the middle-aged man.
Feng Yu Heng snorted internally, only thinking that there was no such thing as something unconditionally good. For the other side to actually give them this much freedom, there were clearly some ulterior motives.
She then looked at Shen Yu Ning and Zhang Ling Xi and found that the two also had worried expressions. Shen Yu Ning saw her look over, thus she pulled her over and quietly said: “They said that we can take a look at the Winter Palace, but who doesn’t know what sort of ideas they have. I heard the lord Duan Mu’s family’s sons will also frequent these sorts of banquets. For the sons, the thing that they value most is girls, and lord Duan Mu will always be magnanimous in handing them over. Even if the sons do not come, the grandsons will come. Lord Duan Mu himself might even come over. Over the years, it’s hard to say for certain just how many girls have been sent into the Duan Mu family by the Illusory Hall. For him to be able to stay in power for so many years without falling is not without its reasons.”
Feng Yu Heng facepalmed. The knowledge here was too complicated! But it did give her a proper excuse to get separated from the group. She said to the Shen and Zhang girls: “Since we’ve come, either way, there will be an ending. It would be better to wander around a bit. That way we won’t stand out so much if everyone else leaves.”
Zhang Ling Xi faintly sighed and was the first to leave the room, “Let’s go. Xiao Ya is right. Either way, the ending will come. Since we’ve already come, what is the point of arguing.”
Just like this, the three girls also left Li Huan Pavilion then went their separate ways.
Feng Yu Heng saw everyone walk further away, and the closest person to her was 30 paces away. She smiled then quickly walked down a small path.
If she did not guess incorrectly, there should be a small pond if she continued down this path. At this moment, Feng Yu Heng opened up a mental map of Da Shun’s imperial palace then slowly converted it to this Winter Palace. It was just that this small pond would definitely exceed the limit of 100 paces. Feng Yu Heng thought to herself that she did not know if the other girls would be like her and go outside the limit of 100 paces.
If she had not guessed incorrectly, there should be a man-made pond at roughly 150 paces. This pond would be much smaller than the one in Da Shun’s imperial palace, and the difference was that the one in Da Shun had flowing water. During the Winters, it would not freeze over; however, the one in the North was a very thoroughly frozen pond. For such a pond to be frozen would take more than just one day, and it caused everyone that saw it to feel cold.
Feng Yu Heng took a couple more steps forward then passed by some rockery. She suddenly heard a “bang bang” sound enter her ears. It sounded as though someone was working on something heavy, and each strike used a great deal of force.
Puzzled, she looked through some spare pine trees, and she only saw a woman in red clothes. She was holding a pickaxe and was chiseling away at the surface of the ice. Bang, bang, bang, again and again, the sound caused Feng Yu Heng to smirk.
The girl looked to be very slender. Even if it was the Winter time, and everyone was wearing thick Winter coats, this girl was still noticeably in love. It was just that the pickaxe was too heavy, and it was truly too unsuited to her slender frame. Feng Yu Heng watched and felt that this was similar to a little monkey playing with a big hammer. Everytime that she swung it, she would fear that the girl would end up getting flung away or that her arm would break.
She took a few more steps forward and stood at the side of the frozen pond. There was only one-third of the pond between the two. She did not know who this girl was, but to be able to appear in the Winter Palace and to dare to arrogantly chisel away at this ice, it should be some favored concubine.
Looking around, she did not notice any servants accompanying her. It seemed that this was the only girl that was here. She had a very serious expression on her face, and she would carefully take a look after every swing. She would then shake her head in dissatisfaction and continue her work.
Feng Yu Heng simply chose a rock and sat down. Crossing her legs, she rested her cheeks in her hands. She could not really tell how old this girl was, but she felt that she looked to be 17 or 18 years of age; however, she acted as though she was 12 or 13 years of age. She would occasionally wipe away some sweat, and she would look to be over 20 years of age. But she was very pretty, to the point that even Feng Yu Heng would compare her to the late Feng Chen Yu, and she still felt that this girl was a bit better.
She became curious and could not help but ask her: “Hey! What are you doing?”
The girl suddenly tossed the pickaxe. Having been frightened, she quickly looked around. When she finally saw Feng Yu Heng, she patted her chest and exaggeratedly said: “You scared me to death! Are you a person or a ghost?”
Feng Yu Heng laughed, “Of course, I am a person.” The girl’s voice was not very fine, but it did sound quite charming. She always felt that it was a little familiar, but she could not recall where she had heard it before.
“If you’re a person, then it’s easy to deal with.” The girl picked up the pickaxe and waved to Feng Yu Heng: “Come here.”
Feng Yu Heng was uncertain but still got up and walked over. The two stood on the ice roughly five paces from the shore. The girl’s ice-covered eyebrows could finally be seen up close. Feng Yu Heng’s mind warmed up, and she suddenly felt as though her starry-eyed infatuation could not be controlled. That irrational feeling that she had felt when she had first met Xuan Tian Ming had come once more. She raised a hand and quickly felt the girl’s face then sighed, saying: “Your skin is really good.”
The girl was dazed and loosened her grip, causing the pickaxe to drop to the ice with a “clang,” nearly smashing her foot. She took a step back and stared at Feng Yu Heng as though she was a criminal. After a while, she finally managed to say: “You touched me?”
Feng Yu Heng nodded: “Un, I did.” What then?
The girl looked a little sorrowful. After standing and thinking for a while, she quietly picked up the pickaxe once more and continued to dig at the ice.
Feng Yu Heng could not understand: “Hey, you just called for me to come over here. I came, but you just want to watch this?”
The girl stopped and thought for a while before turning and leaving. Not long later, she returned with another pickaxe.
“This ice pond is used by Duan Mu An Guo to raise fish. The fish inside here are from Qian Zhou’s Four-Colored Lake. The fish is very delicious. Come, let’s make use of our time. With an extra person, there’s a little more hope. We’ll dig up a fish and have someone cook it. I can guarantee that you’ve never had such a delicious fish.”
The girl looked at her as though she was an oddity: “Are you ill? Did you not hear what I just said? The fish in this pond are especially expensive. There is a limit to how many fish can be caught from the Four-Colored Lake each year. Also, they are only enjoyed by Qian Zhou’s imperial family. For Duan Mu An Guo to catch five or six fish each year is already quite good. How could any servant dare to come and dig them up? This is all a secret. A secret, do you understand? I already sent away all of the servants nearby.”
Feng Yu Heng did not understand. Is this considered secretly? The sounds of her actions could be heard from really far away. Was there any point to burying her head in the sand?
This was what she thought, but she still swung the pickaxe a couple times. The two went back and forth and very quickly managed to dig up a hole. The girl looked into the hole and said: “Soon. After a few more times, we will be able to strike water, and I will begin fishing.”
“Fishing?” Fuck, she really ran into a crazy one. Feng Yu Heng thought that this woman shouldn’t be a crazy person, right?
At this time, voices came from the direction that she had come from. It seemed to be Shen Yu Ning shouting: “Xiao Ya! Xiao Ya!”
As though she had found amnesty, she tossed aside the pickaxe and pointed behind her, saying: “Someone is calling me. I need to go.”
The girl nodded, “Go, go, don’t let them come this way. Quickly a couple steps.”
Feng Yu Heng really did run a couple steps until she saw Shen Yu Ning. She was still wondering what that girl’s identity was, but she was not given too much time to think. Shen Yu Ning said to her: “We need to go and prepare. Lord Duan Mu could not bear to wait and wanted to see our performance ahead of time. Xiao Ya, why did you come so far? Quickly come back with me.”
The two trotted back to Li Huan Pavilion. The woman with the surname Qi was already telling the new girls about what to pay attention to during the performance. Seeing Feng Yu Heng return, she asked with a bit of dissatisfaction: “Why are you so late?”
Feng Yu Heng quickly said in a low voice: “I walked a bit further while not paying attention. Sister Qi, please do not blame me.”
“Oh?” The woman raised an eyebrow, “You went a bit further, then did you see anyone?”
Feng Yu Heng pondered a little then shook her head, “No.”
“Then stand over here.” Her tone carried a bit of disappointment.
This performance would have three illusionists and the ten girls acting as assistants in the back. They were colorful clothes, while Feng Yu Heng wore green.
After two sticks of incense in time, everyone arrived at the back entrance of the banquet hall. It was also at this time that Feng Yu Heng finally understood what the so-called “100 family banquet” truly meant.