Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang Vol02 Ch51
“Nice death, long overdue.” Incense filled the air. In the smoke, the Queen of Gui Le had a trace of a sneer as she leisurely replied, “That servant is quite skillful to have poisoned the two princes of Dong Lin and to seduce Chu Beijie. Forget her long friendship with the Marquis of Jing-An, who knew that even the generals of Bei Mo would mourn for her. Hmph, are all the people under the skies crazy?”
“Madam is right.” Le Di stroked his beautifully trimmed beard. “Bai Pingting is indeed nothing, but when Chu Beijie learned of her death, he was deeply hurt. He is now devastated, which is deeply important to the current situation of the four countries.”
“Devastated?” The Queen was stunned for a moment. Her gaze became a little sad. She couldn’t help sigh, “There really seems to be a true hearted man in this world, yet why is it that Bai girl who gets him? If our King had half of the Duke of Zhen-Bei’s heart, then I would be dearly blessed.”
“Madam, don’t pity Chu Beijie yet. There is still something that needs to be done first.”
Le Di pushed open the window, looking left and right before closing it again. He stepped until he was in front of the Queen and lowered his voice, “Madam, do you still remember Fei Zhaoxing?”
The Queen thought for a while, until she remembered. “Isn’t he one of Brother’s subordinates? That time when the King sent people to hide in Dong Lin so they could ambush He Xia and Bai Pingting’s carriages, we sent him to He Xia so…”
“What’s wrong, hasn’t this person been disposed yet?”
“If he was disposed already, then what need is there to feel worried? Having mentioned this, it’s all thanks to your brother who doesn’t live up to expectations.” Le Die sighed, saying, “Your brother’s heart is not hard enough. He simply thought that if they grew up together through childhood, then he would be considered a confidant. He did not find someone to kill him when he came back, only asking someone to give him money so he could hide somewhere far away.”
The Queen’s expression changed, “How could Brother be so muddled? How could he have pity about such a thing? Sigh, even if Brother isn’t thoughtful enough, Father should at least teach Brother a lesson.”
This matter was both important and not. However if it were to blow out of proportion, then it was a national treason that would result in the destruction of their family.
Le Di clenched his eyebrows. “How could I not teach him a lesson? You Brother listened to me and immediately sent someone to find Fei Zhaoxing. However, who knew he was that clever and left no trace behind.”
The Queen secretly thought that both her father and brother were incompetent, but she herself had no choice on the matter. She coldly replied, “That Fei Zhaoxing has always been as slick as ghost since young. If he were suspicious and retreated to the mountains, then how could it possibly be easy getting rid of him?”
“As long as he lives, our worries will never be put to rest. If the King finds him…”
“I know.” The Queen pondered for a while before instructing, “I will send someone to deal with Fei Zhaoxing. Father, go find Brother and tell him to not care about anything, just properly lead the troops and win over the other generals. As long as we have a good grasp on the military power, even the King cannot do anything about our Le Family. Hmph, with such a lesson right under our nose, there is no way we will learn the blind loyalty of the House of Jing-An. They worked hard all their lives, only to be destroyed.”
Le Di nodded, “Madam is right.” He suddenly thought of something else, and he asked, “Does the King already know the news of Bai Pingting’s death?”
“Who else under the skies doesn’t know that, after the generals of Bei Mo mourned for her?” This thought made the Queen very angry, but at least her own father was the only one around, so she didn’t hide it at all. She gritted her teeth, “I don’t know what ability that servant woman has. She certainly isn’t a beauty either. When the King found out she died, he didn’t speak the whole day. I heard the King was planning to give his Order, speaking how her qin skills are Gui Le’s national treasure therefore she is to have the title of Gui Le’s Goddess of Qin as well as a statue erected for her. Isn’t this a joke?”
Le Di was very worried by this, “Madam, the King’s actions seems to be a warning.”
The Queen’s expression slightly darkened as she helplessly sighed. “Of course I know that. Now that the House of Jing-An is gone, our Le Family has become more and more powerful. Look, how many people in the courts who led troops are not nominated by you and Brother? Back then, the King managed to endure the Yangfeng incident, yet today, he dislikes me as the Queen even more for Bai Pingting.”
“Come to think of it, Madam is quite intelligent.” Le Di studied his daughter’s expression as he carefully proceeded, “The King is the sole master of the nation, therefore it is common that he has beautiful women around him. What is it for Madam to be a little more generous and let someone like that Li’er who came a few years ago become a Concubine? Yet, you forced the King to give her to the King of Dong Lin.”
The Queen harrumphed, “How did I not help her? With the King of Dong Lin, she was raised to Concubine Li and even gave birth to a princess. Father doesn’t need to say any more. I am annoyed right now so nothing will work well with me and yet Father still tries to annoy me even more.”
Le Di knew his daughter was jealous and sighed to himself. He still wanted to continue urging her but suddenly heard the sound of footsteps approaching. He quickly stopped the conversation. He sat where he was originally and held the teacup he had yet to drink from. The Queen’s closest maid, Yangrong, called from the outside. “Madam, the King has sent a messenger.”
“Come in.” The Queen allowed the manservant to enter. She drank her tea while asking, “What does the King have to say?”
“Report to Madam, the King has already made his Order. Bai Pingting will be given the title of the Qin Goddess of Gui Le and will have a statue erected in her memory at the Royal Residence main gates in three days. The King said that Madam is to be welcomed that day too, so that the two of you can worship together. This way, an example of how Gui Le women should do can be set.”
Halfway through, the Queen had almost crushed the cup in her hand to a fine powder. She was trembling with anger. Le Di anxiously studied her expression beside her, dearly hoping that his daughter could have some patience.
The Queen swallowed her anger down and chuckled lightly, “Understood. Three days, Royal Residence main gates, correct? Go tell the King that I will prepare accordingly.”
The manservant took her message and immediately went to report back.
Le Di closed the door. When he turned, he saw that his daughter’s expression changed.
“As expected, as expected! It’s that Bai Pingting again, even her soul refuses to give us a rest!” The Queen was grinding her delicate white teeth. “What on earth did she do that makes everyone do so much for her? How could a dignified King, who sent his Order to give a title to a petty maid, explain such an action to Gui Le’s peasants?”
Le Di’s expression was also downcast. He thought even further, “The King plans to do the same thing he did to the House of Jing-An to our Le Family. Although the House of Jing-An is no more, the people of Gui Le have not forgotten them. The House of Jing-An was convicted by the King, therefore he can’t directly use the name of the House of Jing-An. He can only use one of their loyal maids, marking the maid that accompanied He Xia.”
“Father is right.” The Queen had calmed down, and her tone had slowed. She hesitated before bitterly laughing, “But I definitely won’t believe that the King is only interested in raising her status without feeling anything towards Bai Pingting.”
“Hasn’t she died?”
“It’s worse if she’s dead.” The Queen’s long nails left long white scratches in the armrest of her wooden chair. “A man’s heart that cannot have what it wants is the strongest.”
There was nothing less reasonable, but at the same time, there was nothing more reasonable.
Bai Pingting’s death had spread throughout the world.
A maid serving a Ducal Residence had shocked the world.
She was the Qin Goddess of Gui Le, He Xia’s maid, the former highest ranking Bei Mo army official and at the same time, the Duke of Zhen-Bei’s wife.
Although they didn’t have a formal marriage, everyone who met her or the Duke of Zhen-Bei understood she was undoubtedly the sole wife in that indomitable hero’s lifetime.
Bai Pingting was gone.
Where was Chu Beijie?
Where was the former unrivalled general?
The Queen of Dong Lin stared at the people in front of her, taking in a deep breath. She resolutely said, “Genius Doctor Huo, there is no outsider here. There is no need to hide anything, just speak the truth.”
“Report to Queen, the King’s illness…” In just a few months, Dong Lin’s genius doctor Huo Yunan seemed to have aged ten years. White strands had mixed into his black beard. “I’m afraid he can’t last much longer.”
“Tell me the truth, how long does he have?”
“I’m afraid…afraid no longer than seven days.”
The Queen was stunned by this. It was a long time before her floating spirit could be collected in her body again. Her backbone could no longer support her body after hearing this news, causing it to soften. She could only lean against the back of the chair to support herself. With the final thread of hope, she seemed to be praying at this famous doctor of Dong Lin that could direct the fate of a person’s life and death. “Is it possible to lengthen those few days to a few months?”
“Queen.” Even though Huo Yunan did not want to, he had to say it clearly. He steeled himself and said, “All methods have been used. After the King, there’s…”
“Madam, Madam!” The conversation was suddenly interrupted by a maid running into the room. She bowed at the queen before hurriedly saying, “Madam, the King has awoken and is looking for Madam.”
The Queen suddenly stood up, yet her sight blackened. She toppled, almost stumbling.
The maid and Huo Yunan exclaimed simultaneously as they both reached out to support her.
The Queen rubbed her temples and gained her footing, “It’s fine.”
Her face was very pale and so were her lips.
Ever since she heard the news of Bai Pingting’s death, her face never recovered its colour once.
Everything was ruined.
In Bai Pingting’s belly, there was the blood of the Royal House of Dong Lin.
Until now, the King and the Duke of Zhen-Bei had not had any males.
How did this happen? How on earth did this happen?
Back when Bei Mo and Yun Chang’s three hundred thousand threatened their borders, why had they not expected such a fate today?
Her body and mind were almost shrivelled from her regrets. More problems kept surfacing before her. What karma did the Royal House of Dong Lin have with Bai Pingting in their past lives? This was too entangled, unable to be cleared.
She hurriedly rushed to the bedroom where the man she had accompanied for all her life rested on the bed.
He too was once a hero of indomitable spirit. He was like the Duke of Zhen-Bei, who could wield a sword, chug down alcohol immediately and laugh heartily.
“King, I am here.” The Queen sat by the bed, lightly holding onto his hand.
He was so thin, so thin that his bones could be seen. So thin, it made her heart ache.
The Queen’s nose was sour and she couldn’t stop her tears flowing. “What does the King need?”
The King of Dong Lin’s eyes were already blank and without light.
“Where is Brother? Has Brother returned?” His voice was hoarse as he asked.
“I have already asked someone to look. The Duke of Zhen-Bei will return soon.”
The King of Dong Lin raised his head with difficulty as he looked at his own wife. “Queen, if you want to cry, cry.” Although his voice was hoarse and without energy, it was enveloped in warmth. “I understand in my heart that Beijie will never return.”
“Bai Pingting, Yun Chang and Bei Mo’s three thousand that pressured the borders, as well as the Order to transfer the general of the Dragon Tiger Barracks. We…” He gasped for breath, “Our three countries used our military power to drag his wife to her death.”
“It’s all my fault…”
“No need to blame yourself.” The King of Dong Lin held onto his Queen’s hand. He squeezed it fiercely for a moment, as if seeming to transfer his final strength into his wife. “Queen is not to be blamed but the arrangement from the skies. The things we worried the most about have finally happened. Brother has always been stubborn, and I hoped that I could scrape him into being a little more indifferent. If anyone’s at fault, it is me.” He then turned around, gasping has he ordered, “You can all go. Senior Official, please guard the door.”
“Yes.” Chu Zairan had been guarding by the King of Dong Lin’s side. He had a great many experiences and knew the King of Dong Lin was about to say his farewells. His tears couldn’t help fall as he slumped down, knocking his head onto the ground. He then strided out of the room, closing the door behind him.
In the bedroom, only the King and Queen of Dong Lin remained.
“Queen, open that jade box at the head of this bed. Pass the Order in there for me.
The Queen took out the Order and softly advised, “King is unwell, so no need to be worried by national affairs right now. Leave this to the Senior Official to deal with, okay?”
The King of Dong Lin shook his head slowly. “Open it.”
The Queen saw that his attitude remained firm, so she didn’t insist further. She opened the Order and lowered her head to read. She read the headline, which said “Order to make the Queen in charge of the politics” in wide words. She was deeply shocked and said, “King, absolutely not…”
“This is my will.”
“King, the Duke of Zhen-Bei will definitely return. He is the King’s own brother and is part of the Dong Lin Royal House. There is no way he could give up his country for just a single woman.”
“Queen…” The King of Dong Lin’s voice was suddenly very soft as he strained to focus his eyes. He looked at the Queen, “Forget the Order. Come, sit by my side.”
Hearing such gentleness, the Queen’s heart broke even more. She obediently sat next to him. When she saw the King of Dong Lin reach out, she hurriedly brought her own hands to hold his.
“Queen, I have a question.”
“King, please ask. Anything is fine, I will answer.”
The King of Dong Lin’s voice was getting quieter and quieter. Looking very feeble, he murmured, “This is not a military or national affair. It is simply a personal question that I have wanted to ask Queen for a long time, but it’s a little stupid. Now it has come to this, if I don’t ask, I will never be able to hear the answer.”
The Queen turned her head, quietly wiping away her tears. She softened her voice, “Please ask, King.”
“Queen, our marriage was arranged by the former king. As a result, our fate as husband and wife were sealed, without any obstacles.” The King of Dong Lin raised his head and studied the Queen, asking, “If we were like Chu Beijie and Bai Pingting, born between enemy countries and in positions directly opposing each other, would the Queen…still be willing to stay by my side for an entire lifetime?”
The Queen thought for a long time, before lightly spitting out one word, “Yes.”
An entire lifetime.
Yes, she would, except it would be hard to do.
Even if the highest power interfered with them? If born as enemies, yet love attracted them, who would be the first to betray the other?
Was country more important, or would love be unbearable and one would head straight for their beloved’s embrace?
Fortunately, they were not Chu Beijie and Bai Pingting.
But what if they were?
What if this misfortune had fallen on them?
The Queen closed her eyes, clutching tightly onto her husband’s big, bony hand.
Yes, although it would be hard, like comparing the lightning in the skies and swords.
But, she would.
“We are in enemy countries,” The King of Dong Lin said.
“In positions directly opposing each other.”
“For an entire lifetime?”
The Queen was silent for a long time.
But she still spat out the one word, “Yes.”
The King of Dong Lin sucked in a deep breath. Winter was almost over, and the air brought a scent of Spring. Its coldness pleasantly swelled in his chest.
Yes, she would.
He closed his eyes.
A blessed smile played on his lips.
Several days later, Ruohan’s messenger had arrived at the Songsen Mountains again.
The snow on the ground had already melted,while small green buds of grass had popped out from the earth. Winter had not yet fully come, but everyone’s hearts were full of joyful longing.
The messenger not only brought the finest herbs Ruohan had collected from everywhere but also brought greetings from the King of Bei Mo.
“This millennium old ginger is a gift from the King.”
Ze Yin accepted it gratefully as he bowed in the direction to the distant Royal Residence.
The messenger was also one of Ze Yin’s former subordinates. Once he had conveyed his message and finished his gift delivery, he couldn’t help asking with concern. “Main General, is Missus…feeling better?”
Ze Yin shook his head slightly, his expression sad. “If there was just a little sign of improvement, then I would be much less worried. This is a sickness of the heart, meaning it’s not easy to cure.”
After Pingting was buried, Yangfeng held the luminous jade hairpin as she stood at the grave for a whole night, getting sick soon after.
The hairpin had flashed in the darkness as the undertakers covered it with yellow mud.
“Pingting’s death started with me.”
Pingting was such a clever person and clearly broke free, leaving He Xia and Chu Beijie. She had ridden a horse, alone, to reach Bei Mo. She wanted to look for her, to forget her previous misfortunes. Yet she herself had just kneeled, said a few words and swept Pingting between the gaps of the Bei Mo army and Chu Beijie.
The two armies had confronted each other, angry and ready to murder. Everything had started from there.
It had then spread to the dense forest of a hundred acres, to the Royal Residence of Dong Lin, to the secluded residence, to the Prince Consort Residence of Yun Chang, and finally in the snowy terrain of the Songsen Mountains.
Why did such a leisure and cheerful person like Pingting meet with such fate that even her bones were missing?
Yangfeng couldn’t forgive herself.
All sorts of misfortunes she was the cause yet Pingting was the effect.
“Yangfeng, my beloved wife, do you still remember our child?” Ze Yin carefully supported her upwards. “You can’t leave Qing’er. You promised me that you will always be with me in our lifetime. Cheer up and drink this medicine.”
“Qing’er…” Yangfeng’s eyes turned slightly.
“He keeps on crying for his mother. Yangfeng, don’t blame yourself any more. Even if you ruin your own life, what can it do to bring her back? She will definitely disapprove of your actions up in heaven. Come, drink some medicine and get better soon.” Ze Yin held the bowl of warm medicine in his hands and tested it first before giving bring it to Yangfeng’s lips, “Drink, just think of it for Qing’er.”
Yangfeng’s chest felt empty. The image of Pingting’s remains and her loney grave in the snow floated in her mind, not stopping for a single moment. After Ze Yin’s words, a glimmer of sanity due to motherhood returned to her eyes at the mention of Qing’er.
She slowly raised her eyes and looked at her husband.
This person was once the Main General of Bei Mo. His face seemed distressed. It was heartbreaking.
It was all because of her.
She sadly sighed and opened her lips.
Ze Yin heard her drink down the medicine and was delighted. “This is a prescription that Ruohan sent to search for. It’s been boiling for a long time now, so drink slowly and don’t choke.” He supported Yangfeng with one hand, the other holding the bowl. When he saw that Yangfeng had indeed drank the entire bowl of medicine, half of his worries were put to rest. He finally softened his voice, “Ruohan also said that this prescription needs to be given for a whole week…”
His words had yet finished, when Yangfeng shook in his arms. She suddenly straightened up, as she gurged out on the side of the bed. All of the black soup that just entered her stomach was spilled all over the floor. Yangfeng seemed to have spit out all of her internal organs too. Her face was very pale.When she finally managed to raise her head, she began to fall straight down towards the bed.
“Yangfeng!” Ze Yin hurriedly grabbed onto her. He saw her eyes were tightly closed in his arms and her usual warm face had no trace of colour. His heart ached so much he had no idea to do, almost bringing him to tears. “My wife, what was that for? Does your heart only have Bai Pingting and not have Qing’er and me?”
Yangfeng had difficulty breathing. Hearing Ze Yin’s voice, she opened her eyes slightly. She bitterly smiled, “Of course I do. However, this sickness of the heart is too deep and can no longer be saved by medicine. We were brought up together and are like sisters, yet I…I killed her.”
“Don’t cry, don’t cry any more. Already so sick, such grief will cause…” Ze Yin’s large rough hand gently wiped away the tears on her face but ended up wiping much more than expected.
His heart was both anxious and upset. His tiger-like eyes couldn’t help become red.
Yangfeng burst into tears and wheezed for a long time. She lifted her head again, looking at Ze Yin bitterly, “It’s not that I don’t feel bad about father and son, but just look at me. It seems that I’m about to accompany Pingting soon. The royal courts are just as dangerous as the battlefields, I don’t want Qing’er to follow the same road Pingting and Chu Beijie took. You have to promise to stay in this secluded forest and keep it, so that you will never leave this mountain and Qing’er will never come across such things. …Promise me.”
Ze Yin listened to her words, which sounded ominously like her dying will. His entire body broke into a cold sweat and he could only hug Yangfeng tightly. He urged, “What rubbish are you sprouting? I won’t promise, I won’t promise anything!”
“Husband, I won’t last until spring.”
“I can’t accompany you to admire the flowers or sew clothes for Qing’er…”
“I am going to see Pingting and beg for her forgiveness…”
“Rubbish! Rubbish! Don’t say anymore!”
Ze Yin hugged tightly onto Yangfeng, restraining his sobs. He suddenly heard some rapid footsteps from outside the house and apparently there was someone running wildly in the corridor. His uneasiness suddenly became as he growled, “Who’s out there? Are you all deaf, did I not say not to disturb Madam?”
The door curtain rose, and a manservant ran inside. His expression was very strange as he wiped his sweat while saying to the furious Ze Yin, “Main General, someone wants to see you.”
“I’m not seeing anyone! Scram!”
“Madam needs silence. Whoever it is, just scram!”
“S-S-She…” The manservant was frowning, as if he didn’t believe what he was about to say at all, “She said that she was Bai…Bai Pingting!”
Ze Yin and Yangfeng , suddenly wide-eyed, were both shocked.
How was this possible?
Even though Ze Yin had been on the battlefield for many years and encountered all sorts of unusual situations, he was so dazed that he had no idea for the longest time what to do. He shouted, “Hurry, hurry and welcome her in!”
“Husband…” Yangfeng nervously leaned in his chest.
Hearing the news, it felt like her disease had retreated thirty miles. Yangfeng’s eyes had gained some fresh colour as she timidly stare at the door curtain.
Ze Yin’s eyes were as big as round as saucers too. He couldn’t help feel worried and secretly thought that if she was a fake, she would deal significant harm to Yangfeng’s heart. No matter who the imposter was, he would chop her up into pieces immediately.
Yet who had such courage to pretend to be Bai Pingting in front of Yangfeng?
Not to mention, it was strange how an imposter would know the location of their secluded residence.
During his uneasiness, there was already movement in the corridor. The curtain then began to slowly rise.
Yangfeng’s five fingers tightly grabbed onto Ze Yin’s clothes as she forced herself to look at the doorway. As the curtain lifted, the light sprinkled through the doorway enter the room. It dazzled the people inside and Yangfeng could only see little flowers before a face became printed into her eyes.
“Yangfeng, why are you sick?” That gentle voice was very familiar.Just hearing one word was enough to make people cry.
Yangfeng’s caught her breath as she studied the face before her very carefully. She finally exhaled, saying, “Oh god…” The single breath wrestled out the rest of her energy, and her body softened as it fell back into Ze Yin’s arms.
Pingting was taken aback. “Yangfeng! What’s wrong?”
The two people hurriedly shouted over and over again, and the servants brought over a warm towel. The towel was placed on Yangfeng’s forehead. She slowly woke up, her eyes pinned on Pingting as if afraid that just a blink would make her disappear. Her voice was soft as she exclaimed, “Pingting, you’re still alive? Oh God, for once you are merciful.”
“Did you all think I died? No wonder when the servants looked at me, their gazes were all weird.” Pingting’s face was apologetic, “It’s all my fault for not keeping the promise of three days. You and Zuiju were all worried to death that I wasn’t found, right? Where’s Zuiju? Bring her over so her worries may be put back to rest soon.”
Pingting hesitated. “Did she not come to you?”
Ze Yin and Yangfeng had a very strange expression. They shook their heads together.
Pingting knew that something was wrong. She hurriedly asked, “If you didn’t see Zuiju, didn’t send help into the mountains, didn’t find my traces, how did you guess I was dead?”
“We found a woman’s clothes and bones torn to bits by wolves at the foot of the mountain, alongside the luminous jade hairpin Yangfeng gave you. Yangfeng knew that…”
“Oh God…” Pingting had completely stiffened. She covered her mouth as her eyes widened. Several moments later, she gave a piercing cry of grief, “Zuiju!”
The storm on the Songsen Mountains seemed to replay.
As if in a trance, Zuiju turned around, holding onto her silver needles. The tip of the silver needles gleamed alongside the glowing snow. It got brighter and brighter as if this single needle could light up the entire world.
After the brightness, the world suddenly became dark. Pingting felt immense fatigue, her field of vision becoming blurry. Her knees then collapsed as she fell towards the ground.
Yangfeng was startled. “Pingting! Pingting! What’s wrong?” She struggled off the bed to look.
Ze Yin was terrified she would trip and supported her, “Yangfeng, be careful…”
“Don’t worry about me, go look at her! Hurry!”
Ze Yin picked up the fainted Pingting, ordering, “Doctor, bring the doctor over!”
“Hurry hurry, bring the best ginseng here.”
“Madam, that’s for you…”
Now that Yangfeng had seen Pingting, the root of her illness was gone and so she was much better. She creased her eyebrows, “How could I be sick when Pingting is still alive? Hurry!” She ordered them. Only until she saw the servants bring out the ginseng did she finally relax. After all, she was sick for a long time and suddenly felt her heart jump too much. Her limbs were drained of energy. She feebly instructed a small maid, “Go, boil my medicine too and then give it to me.”
Yeah, all were still alive.