First Arc ー Chapter 2 (Part 6): Missing Fate
“Poisoned?” Zhao Yin’s expression changed instantly.
“Yeah. Furthermore, if this humble one’s conjecture isn’t wrong, this kind of poison’s name is called ‘Melancholy’. As the name implies, one who has ingested it will be debilitated and lose much of one’s vital energy. One will be more and more emaciated day by day, ultimately dying silently dying from illness.
Zhao Yin was stumped for quite a while before he anxiously said, “Since you know the poison’s name, do you have a detoxification method?”
“Your Majesty may rest assured. Her Highness Consort who is a noble person will naturally receive help from heaven and definitely safely get through this misfortune. It’s just that……”
“It’s just that what?”
“It’s just that Her Highness Consort has already been poisoned deeply, so it has accumulated within the fetus in her womb. Hence, I’m afraid that this fetus can’t be kept.
Zhao Yin’s whole body shook severely as he said in a quivering voice, “What did you say? Say it once more for This Emperor.”
Jiang Chenyu gazed at Jiang Wanyi nervously. There was a strange voice in her heart that was shouting, “Don’t say it, don’t say it, you definitely mustn’t say it!”
However, the pair of thin lips opened lightly and between the white teeth was unexpectedly icy cold words, “Reporting back to Your Majesty, not only has Her Highness Consort been poisoned, she is also one month pregnant. It’s just that, it has already become a dead fetus now.”
Jiang Chenyu could not help but shut her eyes. For a moment, the palms of her hands broke out in cold sweat like the rain and two words circled nonstop around her mind. They were ー ‘done for’.
Done for. Done for! Done for……
Regardless of how much she was ignorant of worldly affairs, how much she detested the struggles in the palace, it did not mean that she was absolutely unaware of this. When an emperor’s consort is pregnant but then secretly poisoned to death by someone, this matter was like a gigantic thousand-layer wave that rocks the world as it surges upwards. Once the truth was investigated, its implications would definitely be far-reaching. Yet, she just had to be kneeling here right at this moment and witness all the tremendous changes unfolding. It was already destined that it would be hard to extricate herself from the affair.
For a moment, the wind sweeping through the building forebodes the troubles of the storm that lies ahead as coming events cast their shadows before*. It’s a pity that she was totally powerless to ward it off.
*T/n: The first part of the sentence is supposed to be a more direct translation of the original poem infused with a little of the meaning. The second part is an English proverb which is close in meaning.
Jiang Chenyu bit her lower lip and shifted her gaze to Ji Ying who was separated by one curtain once again. In that case, Gentleman, oh Gentleman, what role do you play in this matter?
As expected, as soon as Zhao Yin heard his words, he was enraged and slammed the desk as he said, “This is really preposterous! Who is it? Who dares to poison This Emperor’s beloved consort? Someone come, take down all of the palace servants on duty in Bao Hua Palace. Help This Emperor interrogate properly and definitely get to the bottom of this!”
With this word of command, the palace maids and eunuch instantly knelt across the ground. The sounds of imploring for mercy lingered incessantly in the ears but they were all dragged away by the guards. Only Jiang Chenyu remained kneeling at one side with no one taking notice of her.
Lastly, it was Zhao Yin who turned his head to stare at her and ask, “Who are you?”
“This Subject’s Daughter is Jiang Chenyu.”
“You are Jiang Chenyu?” Zhao Yin’s gaze circulated her once and he seemed to be a little surprised but quickly plastered a solemn face as he said, “This matter has nothing to do with you. You’ve been startled. You should go back.”
Jiang Chenyu did not expect that the Emperor would let her off this easily and hastily kowtowed in gratitude. Just when she wanted to rise, her pair of legs had become stiff and difficult to extend due to kneeling for a prolonged period. When she saw that she was about to fall down, a hand stretched over and steadily supported her.
When she turned around, who she saw was precisely Gentleman.
Ji Ying gazed at Zhao Yin and said, “Your Majesty, let This Humble Subject send Miss Jiang out of the palace.”
Zhao Yin’s line of sight swept across the two people and he finally nodded his head. Hence, Ji Ying supported Jiang Chenyu to leave that place and slowly walk out of the palace gate.
Immense gratitude welled up in Chenyu’s heart. Just when she wanted to open her mouth to speak, Ji Ying suddenly released her arm and cupped a handful of snow with both hands from the balustrade at the side. ‘Sizzle’, the snow had melted into water and was emitting rising spirals of hot mist. He then took out a handkerchief from his chest pocket, dampened it and wrung it dry before handing it over in front of her.
Only now did Jiang Chenyu recall that Xihe had spurted her whole face with blood while after the incident, she kept on kneeling and did not dare to wipe off at all. She could imagine how awful her current appearance was, yet all of it just had to enter his eyes. When she thought until here, she could not help but be very embarrassed and hurriedly took the handkerchief. However, firstly, the bloodstains were already dry and not easy to scrub off; secondly, she could not see exactly where she was stained with blood. Therefore, with one round of her wiping flusteredly, it had conversely caused her originally dishevelled look to become even more chaotic with one strand of red and one strand of yellow, resulting in an extremely sorry sight.
Ji Ying sighed softly. Taking away the damp handkerchief from her hand, one of his hand held her chin up while the other hand gently wiped away the bloodstains for her. The skin at the spot where the damp handkerchief and his fingers had reached was ignited with fire and started to burn vigorously. She was both terrified and perturbed, but what she felt even more was an indescribable bashfulness. She wanted to shift her eyes upwards to look at him but was scared that she would come into contact with his gaze. Thus, she could only droop her eyelashes and look at this lapel as tender sentiments gradually emerged in her heart.
He was very……gentle.
He was so so……gentle.
How lucky was she in this lifetime to be able to form marital ties with such a gentle man? Sure enough, she had good fortune right? Jiang Chenyu’s heart sweetened and she could not hold herself back from raising her gaze to look at Ji Ying’s face. Who knew that it was also at that moment that Ji Ying released her and withdrew his hands as he said, “It’s done.”
Seeing that he was about to toss the handkerchief away, Jiang Chenyu hurriedly shouted, “Wait! That handkerchief……let me bring it back home and wash it clean before returning to Gentleman.”
Ji Ying said, “It’s just a handkerchief, you don’t have to go through the trouble.” In the end, he had still thrown it away.
Her heart turned cold, as if there was something that had also been thrown away along with that handkerchief. In order to dispel this kind of strange feeling, she hastily switched to another topic, “Umm……Consort Xihe is a good person who is blessed by heaven, so nothing will happen to her……right?”
Ji Ying indifferently uttered a “yeah”.
She could only speak again, “Just now……I was really very scared. She suddenly vomited blood and I was frightened until I couldn’t move……” she laughed embarrassedly while speaking clumsily but in the end, she was still unable to continue speaking.
So awkward. An indefinable awkward atmosphere suffused the air between him and her. Although she was unclear what exactly the matter was, she could subtly detect that something had happened.
Right at that moment, a soldier mounted on a horse rushed in from outside the palace hall gates and stopped in front of them before dismounting from the horse and bending his knees to pay his respects. “Marquis, something has happened!” That was a burly fellow around forty years old who was dressed in a gray coat. He had thick eyebrows and large eyes and a rugged profile. Only his pair of eyes were bright and piercing. The top of his left eyebrow was even tattooed with a small red three-clawed dragon.
Ji Ying raised his eyebrow. “What’s the matter?”
The burly fellow made a few glances at Jiang Chenyu. Even though he had some hesitation, he still said it out, “Pan Fang has single-handedly run to the Xue Residence to make a ruckus.”
“I heard that……I heard that when his fiancée went to the Xue Residence for storytelling, Xue Su had……sullied her.”
What? Jiang Chenyu widened her eyes. Pan Fang? The Pan Fang she had met the other day? Wasn’t his fiancée Young Lady Qin? Oh my heavens! Oh my heavens……
A tinge of anger flashed across Ji Ying’s eyes. “I’ll go to the Xue Residence now.” He turned his eyes to glance at her then added on, “Zhu Long(Zhū Lóng), send Miss Jiang back to the Right Prime Minister Residence.”
Without waiting for her response, he lifted the lower hem of his robes and leapt onto the horse the burly fellow had ridden here. The fine horse raised his hooves and neighed before it galloped away.
On the other hand, the burly fellow called Zhu Long cupped his fists towards her and said deferentially, “Miss Jiang, this way please.”
Although Jiang Chenyu was worried, she also had no other way, so she could only follow him to return to the residence first. After arriving at the residence, when the family servants saw her each and every one of them carried a strange expression and appeared as if they were scared witless.
The series of incidents that happened today had made her short-tempered. Now that she saw the servants forgetting their manners like this, she could not refrain the ire which was aroused from within and said in a stern voice, “What has exactly happened? Wo Yu, you say!”
Wo Yu said in a quivering voice, “Miss, today afternoon, the marriage proposal card pressed under the ancestor’s memorial tablet on the altar, suddenly, suddenly……”
Huai Jin helped her resume, “A gust of wind which had been leaked in from somewhere blew the candlestick down which burned that marriage proposal card……” After she finished speaking, she took out an object from behind her and trembled severely as she handed it over in front of Jiang Chenyu.
The folded lavender card already had one corner burned off and it just happened to split the silver White Marsh picture into two from the middle and had also thoroughly burned away the character ‘Ying’ from that phrase, ‘Ying’s Rangoon Creeper’.
Wo Yu sobbed softly at one side, “Miss, what should we do? After the marriage proposal card has entered the house for three days, if anything strange happened, it would be viewed as inauspicious and marriage must not go through……”
Marriage mustn’t go through ー
Marriage mustn’t go through ー
These four words were as heavy as a mountain that pressed right down on her head and expanded by countless number of times as they drifted to entangle with those words that have surfaced in her mind innumerable times today ー
31 pages for Chapter 2 alone T^T