Chapter 235: Changes in the Female Lead
Song Jiaoyue and the others didn’t remain idle while Bai Xiangxiu was off. Song Jiaoyue had first sought out Ji Zhangshu, because the woman who had entered the palace to become a concubine had originally been his. Ji Zhangshu had likely had a chance to meet with her before she entered the palace.
When they found him at All Leisure Tavern, it seemed that Ji Zhangshu had been stripped of his official position, and the Ji family was in decline. It was evident that this was blatant revenge for something. The man had ended up drinking himself into a stupor by the time they’d arrived. One of Long Heng’s trusted aides dragged him into an alley. The thick smell of alcohol made Bai Xiangxiu furrow her brows, “Wake him up.” There was no way to ask him anything when he was like this!
Ji Zhangshu was sober enough after a bucket of cold water had been dumped over his head. He was startled at the sight of Bai Xiangxiu. Only after he saw Song Jiaoyue behind her did he remark, “So it’s you two. Haha, have you come to mock me?”
“Who has time for that kind of thing? I only want to ask you what’s going on with Lin Qianzi.” Bai Xiangxiu had actually always had a bad impression of this Ji Zhangshu. He had been unconditionally good to the female lead in the novel, but he was rather cowardly. Besides plotting a few small schemes behind people’s backs, he didn’t dare do anything else against any of the other supporting male characters. Furthermore, he didn’t dare fight them for the female lead. Well, even if he wanted to, his martial arts weren’t capable enough. Besides the fact that he had read many books, there wasn’t anything special about him. But… how should this be worded? His feelings towards the female lead were true, and for that reason alone, he was a better man than Duan Yunying.
“She’s very good. Now, she’s a Noble Lady and has gained the emperor’s favor!” Ji Zhangshu slumped dispiritedly on the ground. He seemed to have nothing to do with that woman, but a deep sadness welled up in his eyes.
What did she do to you before she left? Or do you know why she’s with the emperor now?”
“You want to ask how she seduced the emperor?”
“Cough, yes,” Bai Xiangxiu coughed softly. Speaking of this in front of the ex-husband was a bit embarrassing, and she hadn’t thought that he would bring it up first.
“I don’t know how she gained the emperor’s favor, but she came to see me before entering the palace. She’d completely changed by then. Her former self was fresh, pure and adorable, so weak and delicate that it seemed she could be blown away by the wind in an instant. But now, she applies a lot of makeup and is so beautiful that one cannot take their eyes off her. However, she will never be the person that she used to be.”
“Oh? Can one person actually change that quickly?”
“From her words, it seems that someone is teaching her how to do these things. That’s how she gained the emperor’s favor.”
“What else did she say?”
“She didn’t mention who it was, but her words were quite cold. Men are all extremely lowly. If women are sincere to them, men will abandon them ruthlessly. But if women keep ahold of their hearts, then the only person hurt will be the men. Haha, I didn’t know that when I fell in love with her, she saw it as a base, pathetic crime.”
Bai Xiangxiu closed her eyes, “There’s only one person who would teach her that. The very same person who told me the same in the past.”
“Who is it?”
“What?! That woman actually came to the capital?” Song Jiaoyue wrinkled his brow. He had only heard of the monster-like woman with an unending series of tricks up her sleeves. However, he didn’t know that Long Heng had ruined her appearance and forced her to flee from the battlefield. “Can this be a political play to throw the court into chaos and give the enemy country the chance to make a comeback?” This worried some.
“No, this is purely motivated by revenge. The last battle with her, the enemy commander used her as a shield against Long Heng. As a result, her face was ruined, but she managed to escape.”
“What? Then how did she find Lin Qianzi?”
“Perhaps it wasn’t the woman herself. But only she could say something like that, discounting a woman who had been hurt by a man.” Bai Xiangxiu could not determine whether this mysterious new player was Su Yun based solely upon these words. But if it was in fact her, Bai Xiangxiu would have be even more careful.
Ji Zhangshu could see that they wanted to deal with Lin Qianzi, so he said, “She can currently use the emperor to harm others. The emperor was behind the revoking of my family’s official position. I have no government position at the moment, but I rather feel that living like this is more freeing. I can drink whenever I want, and can ignore everyone else’s eyes.”
Bai Xiangxiu felt this man had really lost his will to fight. “Why must you be so miserable for a person who is not worth your love? That’s when you truly have no future.”
“And didn’t Madame Bai head for the border territory for Prince Li even when criticized by the world? Didn’t you choose your actions because of your love? To be willing to go through anything for them?” The meaning of his words were not lost on anyone present. Everyone was the same fool for love, so what was the point of laughing at him for being a fool?
“Everything I do for Long Heng is worth it. He will remember what I do for him and reciprocate. However, Lin Qianzi will never do that. Since she has never placed you in her heart, she won’t feel heartbroken no matter how much you sacrifice for her. Why don’t you learn from Luo Yunzheng, and go about your life? Being like this will only lose face for you and your family.” Bai Xiangxiu didn’t look back as she left with Song Jiaoyue. Song Jiaoyue waited a beat before reminding her, “If we want to know who the person backing Lin Qianzi is, the Lin family will know. But the current Lin family…”
“What’s happened to the Lin family?”
“Nothing much. They’ve merely borrowed the emperor’s favor to rise again, that’s all.” He recounted the events of the Lin family for Bai Xiangxiu. It turned out that Lin Qianzi had ruined her family’s name quite thoroughly, causing stacks of petitions censuring Minister Lin to be sent to the emperor. The emperor had wanted to demote Minister Lin, but it was at this time that Lin Qianzi had somehow gained the emperor’s favor. He quite favored her, and spoke no more of demoting Minister Lin. The officials at court didn’t dare offend him by bringing it up either. The Lin family’s current prestige was greater than it had been in the past.
“Is that so? Now I feel blessed that I’m just a little concubine. If I was Long Heng’s main wife, then I would’ve implicated my entire family.” Bai Xiangxiu’s analysis was correct. A marriage was a union of families, and if anything happened, both families were usually affected.
“Don’t worry. Nothing will happen to the prince. We will definitely find where he is being confined soon,” Song Jiaoyue comforted her. Although she was very strong, in his eyes, she was still a woman in the end. Moreover, they still hadn’t found where Long Heng was being imprisoned since entering the capital. His captors had seemingly vanished into thin air. It seemed things had been planned far in advance.
Bai Xiangxiu nodded her thanks. When she returned to her room, she sat next to Huo’er and asked for news of the old madame and Xiao Lin. “They are doing well. Old Madame is currently reading the letter you sent. She finds it odd that she can’t just send a letter back out to Mistress so that Mistress will know everything. Also, she’s crying, because she has found out that Mistress’ husband has been taken.”
“I see, it must be very arduous for her!” She had been put under house arrest and now her son had been secretly taken.
“She’s just said, ‘We must all be strong for the little prince’.”
Bai Xiangxiu suddenly felt the old madame to be quite the amazing woman. When Long Heng’s father had passed, she had taken the reins to raise her son all by herself. It wasn’t as if she was unaware of the filthy happenings of the rear court either. Protecting Long Heng thus far had already been a long and arduous road.