Chapter 67: Husband, I’ll Wait For You
Zixiao died. Song Liangzhuo was sent to jail for the crime of murder.
There were witness testimonies and material evidence. It was so unexpected that even Song Liangzhou was a little at a loss. Naturally, Song Qingyun didn’t believe it. However, before evidence was found, he had no choice but to imprison Song Liangzhuo. This all happened in the span of a single night.
The next day, Xiaoqi got ready to go home to eat lunch with Mother Song. Before she set off, however, the beautiful missus personally came.
The moment the beautiful missus saw Xiaoqi, she laughed cheerily and pulled Xiaoqi as she said, “Don’t head back anymore. Return to Tongxu with Mom first to wait there, ok?”
Xiaoqi was naturally happy to see the beautiful missus. She tilted her head and asked, “Why are we returning first? Has Husband finished his case?”
The beautiful missus pinched Xiaoqi’s cheek and smiled warmly. “He hasn’t ah, but Mom has to go back to look after your second older sister. Her stomach is growing bigger, so Mom feels there should be someone knowledgeable around just in case. Qi er can also help Mom look after her. Don’t worry, Qi er, your family’s husband will be returning with your dad. He definitely won’t run off.”
Xiaoqi smiled with closed lips. After smiling, she rubbed herself against the beautiful missus’ arm again before saying sweetly, “Mom ah, but I want to go back together with Husband. I already said I was going to wait for him. I can’t break my word.”
The beautiful missus tapped Xiaoqi’s forehead and smiled, “Does it not count as waiting if you wait somewhere else? It’s your husband that wants you to go first. He said something like it’s not a solution to keep staying in an inn, that you’d suffer grievances, so he wanted you to return to Tongxu first. He’ll be done with work soon and will head over right away.”
Xiaoqi blinked her eyes. “How does Husband know that I’m living in an inn?”
The beautiful missus was blank for a moment, then sighed. “Haa, if Qi er’s not willing to accompany Mom, Mom won’t even have anyone to chat with on the way.”
Xiaoqi saw that the beautiful missus seemed a bit sad. After thinking about it a bit, she reluctantly nodded. “Then I need to write Husband a letter.”
Xiaoqi took another entire day to write a letter. The beautiful missus was afraid of arousing her suspicions so she didn’t dare to urge any further. However, she accompanied Xiaoqi the entire day and found excuses to prevent Xiaoqi from going out.
The beautiful missus also stayed in the inn with Xiaoqi tonight. At night, Xiaoqi didn’t sleep well even with someone next to her. For some reason, her heart simply felt heavy and uncomfortable. With great difficulty, she finally fell asleep but moments later, she was jolted awake again by a dream.
Xiaoqi sleepily flipped over and hugged the beautiful missus’ arm, scared to fall deeply asleep again. The beautiful missus had also been awake this entire time. The two spoke sporadically until late in the night before falling into a shallow sleep.
The next day, Xiaoqi woke up again in the dream.
It didn’t count as a nightmare. It was still that expanse of dense fog in which she couldn’t see anything. Xiaoqi heard Song Liangzhuo’s voice, but for some reason, no matter what she did, she couldn’t find him. Xiaoqi ran and ran until she was exhausted and completely covered with sweat, but the fog just got denser and denser without any sign of dispersing.
She slept an entire night, but was as exhausted as if she had run an entire night. Xiaoqi weakly laid on the bed, unwilling to move. The beautiful missus busied herself packing everything. As soon as Shanzi came back from delivering the letter, they were to head off.
Xiaoqi listlessly followed the beautiful missus down the stairs and just happened to bump into Chen Zigong who was hurrying up the stairs. The two hadn’t seen each other for an entire day, and Chen Zigong’s anger had already mostly dispersed. Upon seeing Xiaoqi in a man’s outfit and holding a little bag, he couldn’t help but ask in surprise, “You’re about to leave?”
Xiaoqi yawned and nodded while hugging the beautiful missus’ arm. “I’m heading home first.”
“When you have time, you should have a proper talk with the bad green plum. She’s already yours, so you have to take care of her for a lifetime. I’m only telling you this because I’m treating you as pretty much a friend. She seems to have also made mistakes, but being able to change for the better once learning one’s wrong is the greatest thing in the world ah. This is what my husband said.” Xiaoqi lifted her eyes to look at Chen Zigong with a very earnest expression.
Chen Zigong pressed his lips together. “Song Liangzhuo, he…”
The beautiful missus interrupted him and said, “Is this Young Master Xiaoqi’s friend? We’re heading back to Tongxu right now. If you have time, you can come to Tongxu to play.”
Chen Zigong shifted his line of sight to the beautiful missus and saw that even though her face carried a smile, her eyes were coldly pressuring him. Haa, it’s also good. It’s other people’s affairs so he has no business meddling.
Chen Zigong nodded. The beautiful missus pulled Xiaoqi’s hand and went downstairs. When Xiaoqi got to the bottom of the stairs, she turned back again to say, “You have to go find the bad green plum, ok? You’re her husband; you can’t ignore your own wife.” After she finished speaking, she looked at the guests that were sitting in a circle around the table at the side. Her steps paused a moment before she waved and followed the beautiful missus out of the inn.
Chen Zigong looked at that back figure and spaced out a bit.
Back then, when he heard about Zixiao and Song Liangzhuo’s past, he came up with the idea to send Zixiao out of wang fu to fulfill their wishes. Even though he said it’s to ‘fulfill their wishes’, it would be more accurate to say he wanted to watch a show. He wanted to see how thirsty that woman was for status and power and also wanted to let her taste the flavor of never being able to obtain them. At the same time, he also wanted to see if Xiaoqi, this type of tactless girl, would be able to contend against a girl with nine crooks and eighteen bends like Lin Zixiao.
He purposefully brought Xiaoqi up when Lin Zixiao was leaving the fu. As for what his intentions were, even he himself wasn’t sure. Yesterday, he was thinking that if Lin Zixiao really had no other roads to walk on, there was no harm in letting her return to the fu and looking after her for one lifetime. The situation of Hao wang fu wasn’t so bad that they couldn’t afford to support one woman. The only thing was that he had spared her life despite the fact she dared to use fragrance to muddle his judgment, so she should also pay a price for the things she did. He planned to have her live the rest of her life in solitary in the separated courtyard.
He never imagined that in one night, everything changed. She actually died?! And the person that killed her was her ex-lover?!
“Perhaps there’s some conspiracy.” Chen Zigong shook his head and sighed, then returned to his room.
Xiaoqi continuously yawned. Leaning against the carriage, she was a little absent-minded.
It was already deep winter. After Xiaoqi sat a while, she started feeling cold. The beautiful missus pulled out a thick blanket and wrapped it around her. She worriedly felt Xiaoqi’s heated palm and said, “Could it be that you’re expecting? Why are you this sleepy?”
Xiaoqi lowered her head, shocked. Rubbing her stomach, she smiled. “That’s true ah. I was just thinking my stomach felt weird. I even thought I was really growing a bug.”
The beautiful missus laughed. “Even if you’re pregnant, you wouldn’t feel it this soon. Qi er is talking drivel.”
Xiaoqi laughed gently. She lifted a corner of the carriage window to look outside, then pouted. “Ruoshui should be getting married. Shouldn’t there be red squares stuck up on the streets?”
The beautiful missus opened her mouth but didn’t know how she should explain.
Xiaoqi rubbed her stomach again and chuckled. “I said that I’d snatch her blessings, but I won’t be able to anymore, what a pity. Husband even said that he would keep watch for me. Haa, Mom ah, I shouldn’t have left first. I should be accompanying Husband.”
Xiaoqi forced a smile, then turned her face away and closed her eyes as she leaned against the carriage.
The carriage slowly galloped towards the city gates. Xiaoqi still couldn’t help but ask in a soft voice, “Mom ah, what else did Husband say?”
The beautiful missus was stunned. “Qi er…”
Xiaoqi lifted her eyes, her gaze filled with never contained before determination. “Mom, something has happened to Husband, hasn’t it? I’ve been feeling uncomfortable since the night of the day before. My heart feels uncomfortable. The people in the inn talked about some Young Master from an official’s family that killed someone. Mom, were they talking about Husband?”
The beautiful missus sat over and hugged Xiaoqi as she said, “Liangzhuo didn’t want to make you worry. He said that he would definitely come out good and well and go find you. He didn’t kill anyone.”
Xiaoqi’s tears instantly dropped down. “I want to stay with him.”
“He’s worried about you. Qi er should believe in him. He’ll be alright really soon.”
“I want to stay with him.” Xiaoqi stubbornly repeated.
“I want to stay with him.” Xiaoqi closed her eyes as she leaned against the carriage. “Mom, let’s go back. Otherwise I won’t feel well. My heart will feel heavy, heavy to the point I can’t breathe. I won’t cry and I won’t make a racket either. If he didn’t want to let me know, then I won’t try to find out. Wuu, don’t make me go so far away. If something happens, I can’t even be the first to find out.”
The beautiful missus hugged Xiaoqi and patted her. “Don’t cry, our family’s people are fated to be blessed with fortune and wealth. Not to mention, things like framing others have always collapsed in light of facts.”
Xiaoqi wiped her tears, then obstinately lifted her chin and said, “There’s no way my husband would kill anyone.”
The beautiful missus sighed. Looking at Xiaoqi’s slightly swollen eyes, she thought for a bit. In the end, she chose to turn and head back to Song fu. If Xiaoqi was pregnant, she wouldn’t be able to hold up to the torment of a dozen days on the road in any case.
The atmosphere of Song fu was heavy. The moment Xiaoqi got down the carriage she ran straight inside, but was pulled to a stop by the beautiful missus. The beautiful missus looked towards Xiaoqi’s belly. Xiaoqi blanked out for a moment, then lightly stroked her underbelly as she slowly walked in. When she saw Mother Song, Xiaoqi said with a smile, “Mom, I came back to wait for Husband.”
Mother Song’s eyes were slightly swollen, she had probably already cried. When she saw Xiaoqi and the beautiful missus come back, she was a bit shocked. The beautiful missus pointed at Xiaoqi, then had Qiu Tong invite a doctor.
“Mom, don’t be scared, Husband will definitely be fine. Even I don’t feel like anything will happen to him, so he’ll definitely be fine.” Xiaoqi paused for a moment, not knowing what to say. She then rubbed her chest and continued, “Mother-in-Law Mom, you can ask my mom. My senses have always been very accurate.”
The beautiful missus smiled. “Jiejie can believe Qi er this one. It’s indeed true that her senses have not been wrong before.” Even though she has never seen them before.
Mother Song forced a smile. “This calamity is a matter of course. Once we struggle through it, everything will be well.” (because of the belief that there’s a balance in the world)
The doctor took Xiaoqi’s pulse and only said that this type of pulse seemed to show that she had become pregnant. Since it had only been a couple days, he didn’t dare to give a definite diagnosis, but the fact that Xiaoqi’s period has stopped was an indisputable reality. Xiaoqi herself didn’t pay attention, but Qiu Tong had been paying attention this entire time. Now that it was brought up, she was the first to conclude that Xiaoqi was expecting.
Everyone automatically changed ‘seemed’ to ‘definitely’. This news also brought some cheer to Song fu. At the same time, in the government prison, it was a completely different scene.
It was out of Song Liangzhuo’s expectations that a higher-up arrived so soon. The person that came was Inspector General Li. Rumor was that he had already left the capital long ago to patrol, yet in such a perfect coincidence, he came to Ruzhou. This helped further confirm Song Liangzhuo’s suspicion: Fu Dejia of the Fu family was definitely linked with this tragedy.
The moment Inspector General Li arrived in Ruzhou, he heard about this murder case related to a young master that came from a fourth-ranked official’s family and headed straight to the government office. The moment Inspector General Li arrived, for the sake of avoiding arousing suspicion, Song Qingyun suspended his term of office. He didn’t even have the privilege to casually enter the prison for suspects anymore.
Song Liangzhuo’s situation was very bad. Originally he was just imprisoned in ordinary jail, but as soon as Inspector General Li took over, it changed to death cell. This action of his couldn’t help but cause Song Liangzhuo to suspect that he had some relation with the Fu family or, probably more accurately, the noble imperial concubine(rank/title of a concubine).
Inspector General Li carried out the interrogation personally. The location was in the death cell. Song Qingyun was obstructed outside and anxious to the point that his forehead was covered with sweat. They weren’t in the capital so if something happened, he wouldn’t even have the chance to promptly ask for an imperial decree.
Song Liangzhuo was tied up on the metal frame as he looked coldly towards the person sitting in front of him.
Inspector General Li’s middle finger gently tapped the armrest of his chair as he slowly started to speak, “As a past top scorer in the palace exam, as the county magistrate all the citizens of Tongxu love and respect, as a big, fourth-ranked official’s only son, to commit a crime of murder, aren’t you worried about dragging your family down?”
Song Liangzhuo indifferently replied, “I didn’t kill anyone.”
Inspector General Li nodded. “You have the opportunity to defend yourself. However, there is human testimony and material evidence. Those things aren’t things you can quibble about. This official interrogated all those witnesses and everything points to the fact that you had first had a dispute with the deceased. Moreover, a witness has testified that he saw you hold a dagger and stab it into the deceased’s chest. You only hastily let go after you saw someone pass by. Is this true?”
“It’s not true.” Song Liangzhuo lowered his eyes. “Or perhaps it should be said that it was just an idea.T/N In the middle of it, I had been knocked unconscious by someone. When I woke up, I discovered… the person was already dead. I was just checking the wound and getting ready to carry her to find a doctor.”
Inspector General Li stroked his beard as he laughed. Then he stopped his laughter and said, “For the time being, listen to this official talk about the course of events in which you committed your crime. You had a period of emotional dispute with the deceased, then you were later abandoned by the deceased. That’s why, in your depression, you decided to take the palace exam to gain scholarly honor. During your term of service as an official, you got to know your current wife, Qian Xiaoqi. However, your feelings towards her weren’t deep. Later, you returned to Ruzhou, and unexpectedly encountered the deceased again. The deceased wanted to rekindle old affection with you, but you didn’t dare to repudiate your wife due to the Qian family’s money and influence. Or perhaps it was because you wanted to use the same method as back then to let the deceased get a taste of what it was like to be abandoned.”
Inspector General Li got up and clasped his hands behind his back. He took a couple steps, then continued, “The investigation has found that the deceased intercepted you in the middle of the road that night, wanting a definite reply from you. You refused to give it. The deceased begged you persistently. Later, words got ugly and a conflict started. You resented her for the humiliation she caused you back then and was also angry at her shamelessness for wanting to once again retrieve the overturned water. So in your anger and resentment, you used the dagger to kill this person you both loved and hated. Say, are this official’s words correct?”T/N2
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Ocelot
T/N – “it was just an idea. In the middle of it…” SLZ thought about killing Zixiao?!! The passage seems to say so, but it seems so unexpected, so I’m gonna leave the passage here for people that also know Chinese. 「不實。」宋良卓垂了眼簾，「或者說，只是表象。中間我被人擊暈，醒來時發現……人已死。我只是檢查一下傷口，準備抱她去尋郎中。」
T/N2 – Hell no!
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