Chapter 189 – A Banquet of Schemes
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Concubine Xiao had issued a decree for seemingly no reason. Ji Yunshu grudgingly accepted the summon. “I shall obey!”
The palace servants left to report the completion of their tasks.
Ji Yunshu looked at Jing Rong. “Today is the day when Qujiang’s general entered the palace. I wonder what are Concubine Xiao’s intentions in summoning me into the palace?”
“If you are reluctant to go, then don’t. This Prince will cover for you.”
“There is no need for that. She might want to discuss the missing girls case.”
“Can you deal with her?” Jing Rong asked.
Ji Yunshu became hesitant. She said, “I can more or less cope with her. Well, last time, I did come out from the palace alive.”
Suddenly, Jing Rong frowned and sternly said, “This time, we enter the imperial palace together. If you dare to leave first like last time, leaving this Prince behind, see how I will deal with you.”
‘Oops!’ She made a faux pas. Jing Rong looked straight into her eyes with an intense gaze that showed just how serious he was. It caused Ji Yunshu to instinctively retreat back a step while nodding. She promised. “If I am late and cannot leave on time, your Highness doesn’t need to wait for me.”
Jing Rong understood her meaning. His expression suddenly turned slightly cold and oppressive. He said to her, “If Concubine Xiao dares to confine you within the palace, this Prince will rush in her palace hall with my people. Carving out a trail of blood if I have to.
‘I’m blushing from shame! Do you have to be so violent?’ Ji Yunshu was rendered speechless by Jing Rong.
“After we’ve entered the palace, I will arrange for several eunuchs to protect you. They will be around Concubine Xiao’s palace hall. If something happens, they can immediately notify me.” Jing Rong added.
“It’s not necessary!”
“It is necessary!” His attitude was very resolute.
They no longer delayed and immediately went to board the carriage. However, Wei Yi rushed out. He tightly grabbed onto Ji Yunshu’s arm and refused to let go no matter what.
“Shu’er, let’s go together!” He pitifully said.
“Wei Yi, I am not going out to play. Be obedient and stay here. I will return very quickly.”
Wei Yi shook his head.
“Listen to me!”
He shook his head again.
Ji Yunshu wanted to stretch out her other hand to free herself from his grip, but Wei Yi suddenly said, “I will not let go of Shu’er’s arm. Because if I let go, I won’t be able to see you again. I am scared! I am scared that I can’t see Shu’er!”
“Shu’er, let’s go together. Is it alright?”
Jing Rong’s voice was suddenly heard from the carriage. “Climb in, and take him along!”
Hearing that, Wei Yi became happy. He hurriedly squeezed into the carriage while shouting several times “You are great, Big Brother!” However, as Ji Yunshu got on the carriage, she glared at Jing Rong. He squinted his eyes to look at her and lazily said, “He wants to go, so let him go.”
“It’s the imperial palace!” Ji Yunshu reminded him.
“This Prince knows!” He lightly replied.
Ji Yunshu insisted on keeping him safe. She looked at Wei Yi. “Wei Yi, go back.”
Wei Yi lowered his head and knew that Ji Yunshu was angry. He reached for her sleeve and tugged at it. “Shu’er, don’t be angry. I’m going back.” He looked extremely pitiful with his lowered head.
Seeing Wei Yi’s pitiful appearance, Ji Yunshu’s heart could hardly bear it. ‘Wei Yi, be patient until I’m done with the Lin Capital case. I promise you that when everything is done, I’ll accompany you more often.’
After Wei Yi got off the carriage, Jing Rong suddenly lifted the curtain and ordered Lang Po, “I don’t need you to go to the palace with me. Take care of Wei Yi. Bring him to eat what he likes and play with him until he is happy.”
“Yes, your Highness!”
After he lowered the curtain, he looked back at Ji Yunshu with a solemn expression and expressed his thoughts, “Since he wants to come, why are you so adamant in your refusal?”
“I am not your Highness. I have no way of rescuing others from danger if something does happen.”
“Why would you say so?”
“Wei Yi shouldn’t be involved in these muddled matters.”
Her reply was very concise, so Jing Rong no longer had a reason to dig further.
Wei Yi watched the carriage gradually getting further away, disappearing into the distance. He was pouting whilst sitting on the stairs in front of the estate. His feet were continuously drawing circles on the ground.
Lang Po approached him and spoke to him in a soft and fawning tone, “Young Master Wei, how about going with me to eat tanghulu?”
Wei Yi shook his head. “I don’t want. I want to wait here until Shu’er comes back.”
“Isn’t better if we go in?”
“I said no! I’m waiting here.”
“Young Master Wei…”
Lang Po was interrupted by Wei Yi. He pouted his mouth, then teardrops fell down from his glistening eyes. He raised his head and looked straight at Lang Po as he asked, “Do you think that Shu’er hates me?”
His question came abruptly, catching Lang Po off guard. The corner of his mouth twitched. If someone asked him about anything related to the military, it would not be a problem for him to answer, but to ask him about matters of the heart, he was truly lost. He shrugged and felt helpless. “Young Master Wei, you are making thing difficult for me.”
Wei Yi lowered his head and watched his own cleaned shoes that continued circling the dirt on the ground.
After entering the Imperial Palace, Jing Rong hastily went to the hall where the negotiations would take place. Before he left, he nagged her over and over again to be careful. She repeatedly nodded at him. The same palace maid who welcomed her last time was there guide her to Zhangzhi hall once more. What caused Ji Yunshu to be surprised was the announcement of her arrival, even a seat was arranged for her in the main room. Some seats were occupied by gorgeously dressed young ladies, and each one of those ladies is considered to be a beauty with their own standard.
Ji Yunshu was puzzled. ‘What kind of drugs did Concubine Xiao take?’
Those women watched as she arrived, looking at the half-mask upon her face that gave her a touch of mystery. All of them showed curiosity towards her and sized her up.
They all wondered if she was beautiful or ugly underneath that mask. What’s more, some of them lowered their heads bashfully. Others would blush at the mere sight of her, while a few would smile at her coquettishly, and the rest were biting their lips, wishing they had the courage to throw themselves in her arms.
Was this the effect of solving the missing girls case? It unexpectedly gave her quite a bit of renown and attracted numerous butterflies. She quickly avoided looking straight at those flirty and charming gazes and walked to the middle of the room. She clasped her hand and courteously saluted. “Greetings Concubine Xiao!”
Concubine Xiao showed an amiable expression full of smiles. Her tone was gentle when she spoke. “Teacher Ji, you don’t need to be so polite. I have set up a small feast for Teacher. I hope you won’t blame me for taking the initiative.”
‘Ah? You’re setting a feast for me? What is this situation?’
“This humble one failed to understand your Ladyship’s meaning.”
“You have solved the missing girls case. The whole capital knows that you are a prodigy, and many of our young ladies admire you. This Palace was thinking that since you will need to marry sooner or later, why not gather the talented ladies from scholarly and reputable families today. I believe that their abilities could be a good match with yours.”
‘What?’ Concubine Xiao was acting as Ji Yunshu’s matchmaker. Ji Yunshu’s palms became laced with sweat. ‘What is that woman wanting to do?’
Ji Yunshu bowed. “Many thanks for her Ladyship’s kind intentions. This humble one is born in a humble home and does not dare to overstep one’s status.”
“Since ancient times, people haven’t feared the bitter cold, they instead only fear the Wisemans heartlessness. Teacher has my utmost admiration. Since you have solved the case, the emperor has highly praised you. In the future, your career will progress by leaps and bounds.”
“Your Ladyship overpraises me. This humble one appreciates your kindness. As for my career, it is too early to say.”
She declined Concubine Xiao’s invitation to her camp again.
The corner of Concubine Xiao dropped a little, yet she still patiently spoke. “Don’t be too anxious to decline this Palace. Take a seat and let’s chat.”
Ji Yunshu had no other alternative. She had entered too deeply into the tiger’s cave and couldn’t easily escape.
She sat down while feeling uncomfortable under the curious and longing gaze affixed to her body. Suddenly, she heard a voice. “Teacher Ji’s appearance is generous and you are also blessed with a clever mind. Your face must be magnificent. Why don’t you take off your mask?”
The women at the feast all nodded in agreement while imagining her looks.
Concubine Xiao inwardly laughed sinisterly. She immediately followed suit. “Since everyone agreed, why don’t you take off your mask?”
It actually turned out to be a banquet of schemes.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Concubine Xiao is too devious. Her schemes ran very deep. Pretending to be ignorant of Ji Yunshu’s gender, planning a matchmaking party and forcing her to take out her mask. I don’t think it is as simple as revealing her gender to the public.