Chapter 280: The Funeral
By rest, he meant faking his death of course. Long Heng hadn’t actually planned to do that at first, but he realized that none of his enemies would make their move unless he seemed to be dead. Left with no choice, he decided that the best move would be to fake his own death. Song Jiaoyue frowned. “It won’t be easy to “revive” yourself after you’ve faked your death. They will try to stop you at any cost.”
“Hah! I already know of that outcome. When that happens, I will bring my family to Tranquil City and live a secluded and peaceful life, far away from all the turmoil and politics.”
“Tranquil City… It’s not truly peaceful there. The two of you…” Song Jiaoyue wanted to say that Bai Xiangxiu was likely unsuited to the weather there. However, Long Heng was quick to interject, “I trust that my princess consort also loves the city and the lifestyle there very much.”
“Mm. I do love the place.” By this point, it was already too late to complain even if she did hate the city.
There was nothing Song Jiaoyue could do to change their decision, but he couldn’t help but feel that Bai Xiangxiu was being forced into an unfavourable position by Long Heng. At the same time, he also felt that there was no better man for Bai Xiangxiu other than Long Heng. After all, Long Heng was a man with no concubine. He didn’t even have a bed warmer. They also had genuine feelings for each other. Song Jiaoyue was much worse than Long Heng in this matter, as he had quite a few bed warmers and he’d just promoted Yu Se to his concubine after the last journey. All in all, he felt relieved after knowing that Long Heng was fine. “If that’s your decision, I will give you my full support. Unfortunately, the Song family has no choice but to remain neutral if you proceed with that plan.”
Song Jiaoyue was trying to say that he personally supported their decision, but that the Song family had to remain neutral, as he didn’t want to implicate his family in this matter. Long Heng understood the point Song Jiaoyue was trying to make, and nodded in agreement. Song Jiaoyue didn’t need to know their plans in detail, he only needed to know that nothing bad would happen to them. He also understood Long Heng’s intentions since Long Heng didn’t once ask for his help. This was proof that Long Heng knew very clearly how important the Song family was to Song Jiaoyue.
On the 20th of October in the lunar calendar, Prince Li was pronounced dead after succumbing to his injuries.
On the 21st of October in the lunar calendar, people lined up from the Prince Li Manor all the way to the outside of the city gates to bid their last farewell. It was a very bustling day as even the emperor had personally come to bid his last farewell to his loyal subject. After Princess Consort Li ordered the servants to open the coffin, the emperor hugged the coffin tightly and wept. He even said that the country had lost one of its supporting pillars.
On the 22nd of October on the lunar calendar, Princess Consort Li announced that she was carrying the late Prince Li’s child, and wouldn’t be leaving the manor until the child was born. After things settled down, Bai Xiangxiu supported an aching waist that was about to snap into two while leaning on Long Heng, who was disguised as a hidden guard. “It’ll be difficult for you to come back to life now that you’re ‘dead’”.
“We now have to see if they cooperate. Noble Consort Su should be making her move by now, right?”
“She’s been planning her escape for a few days now. Since the emperor wants to take her down, she had no choice but to defect to the enemy nation. The enemy nation has already sent their spies and they’re about to retrieve her. How are you going to handle this?”
“I’ve already promised the doctors’ families that I’ll hand her over to them. I intend to uphold my promise since they’ve helped us with a lot. With Luo Yunzheng and Yu Kuang’s help, why worry that she might give us the slip?”
“She’s crafty and is very good at seducing men.”
“Hah! Who is she supposed to seduce with her current looks?”
“Humph! By saying that, do you mean that you won’t love me anymore if I become ugly too?” Bai Xiangxiu’s temper fluctuated quite rapidly during this pregnancy, growing angry over the smallest matters. It was like she was trying to find a way to pick at everything.
Not for the first time, Long Heng found himself in a minefield again. But he gallantly rallied and replied, “There’s no way! You’re so gentle, kind-hearted, and you have such a great personality too! My love for you will never die even if you become the ugliest person on earth.”
“That’s more like it.” Bai Xiangxiu switched from gloom to bloom in an instant, as did the atmosphere around them. Long Heng however, was incredibly depressed. When did he become the kind of person that could say all sorts of nauseating things just to please his woman? He must have gone crazy!
Bai Xiangxiu couldn’t care less whether Su Yun lived or died, because the world would just keep on turning. But after causing harm to so many people, Su Yun deserved to be punished. Bai Xiangxiu had no say in her punishment, nor could she save the woman from it. Nevertheless, Bai Xiangxiu truly had no energy to care about the matter even if she wanted to. The child was truly making her suffer. It wasn’t making her puke, nor was it giving her a lot of pain, but it was sapping her energy like mad. She’d lost her appetite for food because almost everything had become tasteless.
Lately, Long Heng had been quite obvious with his movements in the shadows. However, he still remained cautious even though the emperor was a little preoccupied with Su Yun’s matters. Bai Xiangxiu also learned of Su Yun’s escape route because the latter was unfortunate enough to speak of it to a maid that she trusted. Su Yun wanted to escape and was even going to bring a maid with her. Of course, none of her loyal servants from the palace would be left behind. She’d already come up with a plan, to disguise herself as a eunuch to escape the palace in a crowd. This was a very common escape strategy found in novels, so it was no surprise that Su Yun would use such a plan.
After Bai Xiangxiu told Long Heng about it, he placed some men at the outskirts of the capital to intercept their escape.
Time moved very slowly on the fated day. Bai Xiangxiu hadn’t received any updates even though her neck had grown sore from all the craning she did during the wait. Long Heng had taken matters into his own hands because they’d received news that the enemy nation had dispatched some very powerful experts. His wounds hadn’t fully recovered yet, and those three men (Long Heng, Yu Kuang and Luo Yunzheng) were quite literally oil and water. There was a possibility they might duke it out before they managed to capture Su Yun. If that was the case, Bai Xiangxiu would surely run into the wall headfirst. The men only returned upon nightfall.
Hearing sounds outside her room, Bai Xiangxiu immediately put on her shoes and her outer set of garments. However, a huge pet animal-esque thing leaped straight at her before she could even reach the door to greet them. Unfortunately, it was kicked aside while it was still mid-air. Long Heng’s cold voice hung in the air, “Go be crazy somewhere else.”
Yu Shū felt incredibly sad. He was only able to appear once in a blue moon and was finally able to see big sister Bai, yet he couldn’t even manage to hug her. “Uhh… Yu Shū?” Bai Xiangxiu didn’t even need to look up. She knew instantly knew that a full moon graced the night with its luster.
“What’s wrong with him? It’s pretty obvious that something’s off just by looking at him.” Luo Yunzheng walked in, dumping a person onto the ground like a sack of potatoes. He began to examine Yu Shu with a curious look on his face. Unfortunately, Bai Xiangxiu had no time to explain everything, because she finally noticed that the three men had brought Su Yun with them. Su Yun looked incredibly miserable. Her frightening face was revealed for all to see, and her slightly curly hair stuck to her face from the mud spattered over it.
“Is it snowing outside?”
“No. The doctors’ families were the ones who doused her with water and beat her almost to death. She insisted on coming to see you with her last breath.” Luo Yunzheng glanced at Bai Xiangxiu. He hadn’t a clue why this woman had wanted to see the princess consort so much.
Bai Xiangxiu nodded. “All of you, leave us a moment!”
Long Heng took out a very thick rope and tied one end to Su Yun’s neck and the other to a nearby pillar. This way, she won’t be able to escape far. Even if she did, she could easily be pulled back or hung to death straight away. As for why her limbs weren’t tied up at all…
Bai Xiangxiu looked curiously and noticed that none of Su Yun’s fingers were still in one piece. Her nails have all been yanked out, and her blood had already solidified into dark red chunks. Her fingers weren’t the only things that were subject to torture. There didn’t seem to be a spot on her body that was left untouched. Bai Xiangxiu glanced at Su Yun’s feet and noticed blood flowing out. Bai Xiangxiu couldn’t tell what exactly had happened to her feet because of her shoes, but one could easily guess that it probably wasn’t anything better than what had happened to her hands.