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Chapter 77 Part 1: The palace on fire, an assassin visits

    Chu Nan Shan walked a few steps but then turned around and inserted himself between Chu Fei Yang and Yun Qian Meng. With a face full of smiles, he said, "Yang Yang, invite this little yatou over to Chu wangfu for dinner. Just now at Rong Xian taifei's palace, yeye was indeed-"

    "Still courteously asking Wangye to get into the carriage." Chu wang's words were interrupted by Chu Fei Yang shooting him a cold look, callous and insensitive words made their way to his ears, "Your body is not well so you should not be walking all over the place."

    Chu wang retracted the smile on his face and pointed a shaking hand at Chu Fei Yang.

    "You...are destroying the bridge after crossing the river Chu wang scolded, "If you did not, in every possible way, seek out benwang, would benwang come here to commit such a sin? Earlier you warmly called out yeye, now you are calling me wangye. Why are you drawing a dividing line between benwang and yourself?"

    Chu wang was red-faced and short of breath but Chu Fei Yang did not even raise an eyebrow at his tantrum. He only turned around to call to the carriage driver in a cold voice, "Jiao Da, bring your zhuzi back home to wangfu!"

    At these words, Chu wang's old face turned very red, his beard shook, but he could not get any words out of his mouth. He just turned slowly, planning to continue to argue with Chu Fei Yang, when he felt suddenly felt heat beside him. It turned out that Jiao Da had already reached his side. His face had a completely awkward expression, but he said in an equally calm voice, "Wangye!"

    "What!" Chu wang looked coldly at Jiao Da yet his attention remained on Chu Fei Yang. With the addition of Jiao Da, Chu wang felt his anger surge up. Chu Fei Yang only looked like he was pleased he was with himself.

    "Please enter the carriage!" At Jiao Da's words, Chu wang could no longer contain his anger. Chu Nan Shan looked accusingly at Jiao Da as if he had betrayed his master.

    Yun Qian Meng at this time had very complicated feelings, "It looks like Wangye and Chu xiang still have some things to discuss. Chennu asks to be excused!" she bowed to the two men and made to depart.

    Chu Fei Yang reacted quickly and shifted his body to block Yun Qian Meng's way. When Chu wang saw this, he rubbed his beard and marched off with with Jiao Da to take the carriage home.

    Yun Qian Meng could not help the anger from showing in her eyes at being prevented from leaving. She immediately raised her head to look at the man and said in a firm voice, "Asking xiangye to please step aside."

    Seeing Yun Qian Meng strongly suppressing her anger, Chu Fei Yang composed himself and removed all traces of his clash with Chu wang. He curved his lips into a smile, eyes twinkling brightly as he looked at Yun Qian Meng, "Angry now?"

    Hearing this, Yun Qian Meng calmed down a bit. She raised an eyebrow as she looked at Chu Fei Yang, smiling coldly. "Chennu does not know what xiangye is talking about." She pushed past Chu Fei Yang and continued walking.

    This time Chu Fei Yang did not stop her but maintained a small distance and walked beside her. He saw that she was now back to her usual calmness and so he collected the smile from his lips. He confronted her in an earnest tone, "It must be disconcerting to have one's fate decided by other's wishes!"

    Yun Qian Meng footsteps stopped, and she casted a sidelong glance at Chu Fei Yang. But he wasn't looking at her. His eyes were looking straight at the road ahead, serene and regal. Yun Qian Meng knew that this man was exceedingly difficult to deal with. She had carefully hidden all her feelings from her face.Yet it did not matter what her words and actions were, if she were pleased or angry, all of it could not escape his notice.

    Comparing their rank and family background, her own was much lower. Yun Qian Meng was very puzzled as to why Chu Fei Yang always inadvertently appears at the right time.

    It seemed that Chu Fei Yang cared for her, Hai wangfu's Hai Tian was talented and good-looking. She could probably attract more eyes of men.

    "There are some things you cannot refuse because of your status. Do not trouble yourself much over my words."  While Yun Qian Meng was looking at the contemplative profile of Chu Fei Yang, his cold reply came into her ears. Before Yun Qian Meng could make a reply, he looked at her with eyes that had some anger, immediately turned around and returned to the palace.

    "Xiaojie, Chu xiang appears to be angry!" Mu Chun who had been following Yun Qian Meng approached. Her worried eyes turned from the retreating back of Chu Fei Yang towards Yun Qian Meng.

    Even though she did not understand the reason for Chu Fei Yang's anger, based on the look he gave her xiaojie just a moment ago, it seemed that it was xiaojie that angered Chu xiang. How... how could this be a good thing? A palace nobleman could not be offended, but a palace minister even more so!

    Mu Chun could see this clearly, how could Yun Qian Meng not know?

    But regarding Rong Xian taifei's sudden invitation to enter the palace, she was wholly helpless and passive. What could he be angry over?

    Seeing that violet figure moving further away, Yun Qian Meng involuntarily pouted her red lips. Inwardly angry, she said in a displeased voice, "Let him go!"

    In a daze, Mu Chun watched her xiaojie's retreating back, suddenly unsure at what she could be angry over. She made to catch up and knitted her brows.

    "Xiaojie, shouldn't we wait for Shu'r and Bing'r? Was it not them who caused the Empress Dowager to go to Rong Xian taifei's palace?"

    It was the first time that she was informing xiaojie of Shu'r and Bing'r activities. It wasn't easy for Mu Chun to pay attention to these two people. Especially since they were entering the palace she did not bring the loyal Mi mama with her but instead brought those two. When Cao gonggong wasn't looking she had sent them away to the Empress Dowager. Mu Chun felt that for sure the two of them were hiding something, them and the Empress Dowager.

    Yun Qian Meng's steps did not stop. With Mu Chun's assisted her as she entered the carriage and took a seat. "They will return by themselves, we will leave first."

    If they decided to wait they might be there for a long time. Perhaps the Empress Dowager was greatly concerned about her activities. Until she was finished with her questioning, the Empress Dowager would definitely not let those two return.

    Seeing that Yun Qian Meng was properly seated, Mu Chun raised the curtain and made to command the carriage driver to leave the palace. But in the distance she saw a person on horseback rushing towards them. In no time, the silver-haired man tightened his grip on the reins and stopped right beside the carriage.

    Yun Qian Meng was seated inside the carriage. When Mu Chun remained silent and the sound of horse hooves could be heard, she opened a corner of the curtain and saw Rong Yun He in a light blue brocade riding outfit atop a white horse.

    As soon as he saw her face appear, his face brightened into a smile, "I will escort you!"

    The sunlight shining on the youth's body, along with his bright smile unexpectedly made people gasp with admiration. But remembering what just happened in Rong Xian taifei's palace, in the end Yun Qian Meng pretended not to notice. She was about to open her mouth to refuse, but Rong Yun He beat Mu Chun to the punch and declared to the the driver, "Let's go!"

    He went forward on his white horse and proceeded to the front of carriage, leading them out of the palace.

    Yun Qian Meng silently let go of the curtains and sat back down. The thousand words she wanted to say disappeared into a sigh.

    Before they even reached the palace gates a wave of terrified screams came from the imperial palace followed by the sound of the alarm bells.

    Yun Qian Meng immediately opened the curtains and looked up to see Rong Yun He, saw him turn his head back looking up towards the sky. His formerly smooth brows were now tightly knitted. The hands grasping the reins protruded blue veins. Seeing this, Yun Qian Meng's heart sank. She immediately called out, "What happened?"

    At Yun Qian Meng's question, Rong Yun He recalled his eyes, and returned to his calm expression from just a moment ago. In a soothing voice he replied, "The palace is on fire. The weather is blistering hot. This is not an unusual occurrence."

    Saying this, Rong Yun He nudged the horse's flank with his legs to spur it faster out of the gates. Yun Qian Meng racked her brains to think about the future to come.

    Behind the carriage the air was dense with black smoke. Waves of heat engulfed the area, people choking in the smoke surged running away from the fire. The cries for help and alarm did not stop.

    Yun Qian Meng looked in the direction of the fire. In her head she visualized the palace. Suddenly startled, she looked at where the fire blazed.

    Mu Chun saw xiaojie extend her body out of the carriage and immediately she cried out, "Xiaojie, careful not to fall!"

    As Yun Qian Meng took her seat again, Mu Chun curiously watched her expression, her heart sank. What made her xiaojie become so lost in thought?

    Yun Qian Meng's face was a concentration of graveness. From Rong Yun He's words and manner she found that apparently, palace fires were an extremely regular occurrence.

    Indeed, in this scorching summer day, the temperature outside was unusually high. If firewood or other similar materials were carelessly left out, they could easily ignite under the sun.

    Just now she could not be mistaken with what she saw. The place was emitting smoke right in Emperor Yu Qian\'s Yang Xin Hall. That place was warm in winter and cool in summer. It was also the emperor's living quarters. How could the palace maids be that careless. Summer had just begun and already this sort of thing happened.

    Moreover, everything was peaceful when she had just left those doors herself. There was no indication that a fire was about to start.

    Half a stick of incense later, Yang Xin Hall was unexpectedly aflame. From the size of the plumes one could tell that it was not a small fire. The whole Yang Xin Hall could be completely engulfed.

    This scale of fire, in this ancient civilization, could not become so big in such a short amount of time. There was no doubt that somebody had deliberately started the fire.

    Yun Qian Meng carefully analyzed the situation. Her brows tightly knit. She could not help but be relieved that she did not live in that treacherous harem.

    At this moment, from outside there came a berating voice, "Who is it? Halt!" The carriage came to a slow stop.

    "Rongfu Rong Yun He and Yun xiang Yun Qian Meng who was invited to Rong Xian taifei's palace." Rong Yun He's voice could be heard replying from outside.

    The voice spoke again, the tone becoming more respectful, "Rong gongzi and Yun xiaojie please line up and wait a moment."

    Hearing this, Yun Qian Meng discreetly opened the corner of the curtain, and saw a number of carriages gathered around the gates, waiting to be allowed to exit.

    On ordinary days the imperial guards merely inspected each fu's  insignia and then allowed passage. For some reason today, Wu daren had brought his subordinates to personally guard the palace gates. Those hawk like eyes strictly examined each carriage, not letting go of the slightest particulars. His subordinates were just as rigorous. Regardless of the fact that some of the passengers in those carriages were young noblewomen, not only were they making the women disembark, they also entered the carriages to inspect it carefully. There were even imperial guards crawling under the carriages to scan the bottoms. With this much caution, it was as if they were looking for something very important.

    These women from various fu had come to visit their niangniang. But once they were asked to dismount from the carriages, each of them voiced complaints. Only when they saw the fierce faced commander did they go quiet. As a result, the number of people from several carriages assembled around the palace gates were fairly quiet.

    Rong Yun He brought his horse close beside the carriage and lowered his voice, "The fire from just a moment ago was apparently from an assassin."

    "Assassin?" Yun Qian Meng raised her head and looked at Rong Yun He. She saw that his expression was grave and thought that this must be true.

    Rong Yun He saw that Yun Qian Meng's face held a trace of disbelief and patiently explained, "I heard it just now. It is said that when the fire started in Yang Xin Hall, two yatou were found dead inside the palace. But that assassin has been wounded by Wu daren. Luckily, the emperor was not in Yang Xin Hall at that time. When he heard about this news he was very angry and immediately dispatched Wu daren to seal off the gates and inspect each carriage without exception. The Empress Dowager  did not object to the emperor's decision. Looking at the circumstances, it seems that we will be waiting a long while."

    Hearing the words "Yang Xin Hall", Yun Qian Meng knew that her guess was correct. But the imperial palace had such strict security measures, how did the assassin sneak in?

    And what was the intention behind burning Yang Xin Hall? If he were targeting Emperor Yu Qian, why would he choose a time when Emperor Yu Qian  was not around before starting the fire? The whole situation was so confusing.

    It was quite clear why Emeperor Yu Qian was furious. His own living quarters had been set on fire. He was a country's emperor, it was a slap on the face for him in front of the public. If they did not find the assassin, nothing would quench Emperor Yu Qian\'s anger.

    "How tiresome!" Yun Qian Meng raised her eyes at Rong Yun He.

    He was not sitting inside the carriage like her but directly under the sun in the middle of the day. The summer heat he was feeling was much greater than her.

    Rong Yun He only smiled lightly. He pursed his lips and kept his horse beside the carriage to stand guard. His eyes coldly watching the imperial guards as they searched each carriage.

    Yun Qian Meng let go of the curtain and resigned herself in the carriage with Mu Chun.

    Suddenly she smelled a sweet smell that gave her pause. She calmly, cautiously breathed in the air and then was stunned. That sweet smell was clearly the scent of blood!

    Just a moment ago the curtain was open so it was not as noticeable. Now that the carriage curtains were dropped she could sense the fishy smell much more strongly as if it was inside this very carriage.

    Mu Chun was very alarmed. She had now also discovered the fishy smell. In a moment of panic she had called out in a whisper, "Xiaojie!"

    Yun Qian Meng gestured for her to not speak. Soon those alert eyes began to carefully inspect the whole of the interior carriage. This carriage was sent from the palace to fetch them earlier. Aside from an arrangement of books and a cushions there was nothing else. If an assassin was hiding here, she would have been able to discover him the moment they entered the carriage. What puzzled her right now was where was this smell coming from. If by chance when the imperial guard came and discovered the smell she would not be able to explain.

    Mu Chun moved closer. "Xiaojie, we're inside the carriage...won't we..." in a voice that only the two of them could hear.

    Yun Qian Meng had realized this also. But she had already inspected the carriage carefully and did not find anything strange. If she would only be able to explain it well, it could be that somebody had hid under the carriage or the top of the carriage and had contaminated it with the smell of blood.

    "Say no more. When the time comes we'll figure it out." They did not have to leave the carriage yet and she chose not to tell Rong Yun He to avoid dragging him down with them. When their turn came they would have to act accordingly. Right now they did not understand the situation outside the carriage. Sitting inside the carriage worrying would be no use. She had to steady her heart and come up with a reply fast!

    Mu Chu saw her xiaojie's composure unperturbed and she gradually calmed down. The both of them sat inside the carriage, quietly awaiting their turn.

    At this moment, from outside came a familiar voice, "Asking Yun xiaojie to disembark!" Yun Qian Meng furrow her brows. But she still allowed Mu Chun to open the carriage screen and leisurely stepped down.
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