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Chapter 93 part 1: Lotus pond lechers moral lesson

    "Biaojie has a good temperament. It is such a hot day and you are actually able to sit still." Seeing Qu Fei Qing hands with the small embroidery needle, her appearance was so serious as she carefully stitched a line of a red peony flower. Le Yao who was standing beside Qu Fei Qing had a goose feather fan in her hand, gently fanning Qu Fei Qing to relieve some of the summer heat. Their appearance was remarkably like those of traditional paintings of beautiful women to Yun Qian Meng. Appreciating this moment of exquisite and beautiful scenery, she made satisfied sound.

    As she was focused solely on her needlework, Qu Fei Qing  had not noticed Yun Qian Meng's arrival. Only just now did she see Yun Qian Meng, who was sweating from head to toe as she entered the inner room. Qu Fei Qing immediately put down the needle and instructed Le Yao to prepare an iced bird's nest soup as she welcomed Yun Qian Meng in herself.

    "You silly girl. You're already here but you did not let the yatou announce your arrival. With this much heat outside, how can you just stand there and do nothing?" Qu Fei Qing pulled Yun Qian Meng to sit down at the summer sleeping mat, picked up a circular fan, and fanned them so they could enjoy the cool air.

    Qu Fei Qing's behavior and style was like that of a lady from a wealthy family. Thinking about Gu laotaijun's decision, she felt cold in her heart, but kept the light smile on her face. But she still spoke offhandedly to Qu Fei Qing, "Is biaojie well? I do not know why biaojie would decide to do embroidery on such a hot day. Careful, or you might ruin your eyes."

    At this moment, it had already passed noon time, Yun Qian Meng saw that Qu Fei Qing's eyes were bloodshot and instantly knew that she had been embroidering for a long time. The eyes would be fatigued after doing such a detailed work. If she did not stop, sooner or later it would damage the her eyes.

    "A few days ago, zumu had entered the palace to see the Empress Dowager and brought a handkerchief I embroidered with her. The Empress caught sight of it, and took to the flowery patterns, so she had me do embroideries of some images of outstanding beauty. As you know, these days a lot of things had happened in the family, so I was not in the mood to do embroidery. Now that older brother has finally recovered and Fu Guo Gong Fu's injustice has been washed away, I have a little free time. I thought I had better start the embroidery to make up for the lost time, so that the Empress won't have to wait any longer." Le Yao came carrying a cup of bird's nest soup which she placed it in front of Yun Qian Meng while Qu Fei Qing was speaking simply and elegantly.

    Yun Qian Meng could not help but be surprised in her heart. Within the Emperor's harem, the most well-known was the Empress Dowager.

    Although the harem changed with each emperor's succession, the Empress Dowager's prestige in the harem was still growing. Even though her position was similar, the Empress of the country was rarely spoken of.

    In addition, these days the Empress rarely socialized with others. Yun Qian Meng felt that the Empress seemed to be conducting herself humbly while Emperor Yu Qian treated the Empress Dowager with this such filial piety and great esteem.

    Although the Empress had come from Ruan shu fei of the Ruan Family, in those days, the Ruan Family had no legitimate xiaojie born into their family. As a result, when Emperor Yu Qian was succeeding the throne, the Empress Dowager and the Ruan Family's Jiang laotaijun who were in charge had worked side by side to appoint the legitimate xiaojie of a branch of the family as the Empress.

    And so, though the Empress was backed by a huge family, but actually, there was not a bit of affection between her and the direct line. On an ordinary day, the conduct of the Empress seemed very low-key, very cautious, and solemn. She absolutely did not allow people to catch the slightest mistake so as to avoid being disowned.

    Yun Qian Meng stood up and walked to embroidery piece which looked like it only lacked the finishing touches. The petals of all the flower peonies embroidered were very realistic, similar to the real flower. They might even attract butterflies and bees to perch upon them. It was very admirable work.

    "Biaojie your embroidery is very exceptional. Meng'er is so ashamed." Yun Qian Meng spoke truthfully. In modern times, Yun Qian Meng could only sew back a button. If she was asked to hold a needle and do such delicate embroidery for a whole morning, it would surely just be a waste of a good materials.

    "What is so difficult? If you want to learn, come over everyday. I'll teach you little by little." Qu Fei Qing said as she laughed. Upon hearing that she would be learning embroidery, Yun Qian Meng's face crumpled and her nose wrinkled. This caused Qu Fei Qing, who was watching her expression, to shake her head and laugh.

    "There are countless young ladies who do embroidery in the Palace. With so many outstanding young ladies to choose from, why did the Empress ask biaojie?" Emperor Yu Qian had succeeded the throne for some years now. Why only now did the Empress see Qu Fei Qing's embroidery? Perhaps asking for the embroidery was just a facade.

    Yun Qian Meng thought that some time ago, Mi mama had mentioned something. That the Empress' family was really vulnerable. Although they were able to produce an empress, the sons marriages were unremarkable that even the Empress was worried.

    Nowadays Emperor Yu Qian relied most heavily on the Qu Family, the Ruan Family, and Chu Fei Yang.

    The Ruan Family was the Clan of the Empress and naturally beyond one's scope to entice. Chu Fei Yang behavior was rather difficult to understand, so he was also not good. Only the Qu Family's legitimate xiaojie, educated and well-rounded, gentle and virtuous, was the most suitable to entice.

    It was hard to imagine that of all the unremarkable women in the Palace, the Empress was inclined to properly analyze people.

    As Yun Qian Meng's stared at the large peony flower, her eyes grew cold as her hands gently brushed across the big red peony flower...

    "Ah... " Unknowingly, a fingernail had accidentally hooked into the middle of the largest peony flower. Accidentally pulling out a length of the red thread, Yun Qian Meng quietly cried out. Immediately worried, she blamed herself and looked towards Qu Fei Qing, hurriedly uttering, "Biaojie, this is all my fault."

    Qu Fei Qing heard her cry before and had immediately stood up to hurry to the embroidery. Seeing the long thread, her eyes also somewhat panicked.

    But in Qu Fei Qing's eyes, Yun Qian Meng was not one who was so careless and impulsive. Especially after hearing that this embroidery was for the Empress, Yun Qian Meng had suddenly become greatly interested and asked a lot. Qu Fei Qing's panic abated and she turned calm eyes towards Yun Qian Meng to immediately ask, "Did you think of something?"

    "Has biaojie already known about it?" Yun Qian Meng replied with a question as her eyes flashed with untold wisdom.

    Qu Fei Qing actually had a helpless and reluctant smile. "How can I not know when the Empress has so obviously expressed her goodwill? Give me a hand and quickly help me. Recently, I've actually been doing a great deal of thinking, but after all she is the Empress. I absolutely cannot disregard this matter. She casted a hook, but actually failed to catch anything. Besides, for the Empress Dowager's sake, she would not take me. She also needs to realize that I am not as good as the rumor say and stop with her assumptions."

    "Actually, biaojie doesn't have to worry. Do you not have the Empress Dowager? You are her niece, how could she not have planned your future?" after having said so, both Yun Qian Meng and Qu Fei Qing understood that these were just words of comfort.

    Yun Qian Meng was certain of one point. The Empress's Family had no actual power and Empress Dowager would absolutely would not marry off the legitimate xiaojie of Fu Guo Gong Fu to that family.

    In fear of the Empress Dowager's intervention, the Empress was very unlikely as to go so far as to make things difficult for Qu Fei Qing regarding the peony embroidery.

    "I had Le Yao look into this matter. Did you know that Ruan gongzi always relies on his elder sister who entered the palace as the Empress. It's enough to make him act tyrannically like a street thug. It is also said that he spent his youth pursuing women from ordinary families relentlessly which angered Jiang laotaijun who then had him confined. If she had not, I do not know how many women would have been ruined by him." Qu Fei Qing took out embroidery tools and cut off the red thread that had been pulled out. She then fixed the pattern by connecting the two ends together and concealed the excess thread beneath the rest. Brushing over it softly, it looked as if it had been no different from before.

    Only by careful examination beneath could one see that there was a difference there that showed the tiny flaw that had ruined Qu Fei Qing's efforts. Yun Qian Meng's eyes held some remorse, but Qu Fei Qing just faintly smiled as if she did not mind that such high quality embroidery had now became low class embroidery.

    "Is that true? Ruan gongzi could be compared to that Yuan Qing Zhou of Yuan Fu. If those two get together, who knows what terrible things will happen. Luckily, there are already grudges between the two families to put an end to the pair of troublemakers." Yun Qian Meng jokingly said when she thought of the similarly ignorant and incompetent Yuan Qing Zhou.

    "Humph, these rich and powerful families are actually quite deep so as to hide their disgusting affairs. I actually envy Jiu Xuan **ai, who was disillusioned to the human society long ago and escaped these kinds of quarrels. Although it seems hard, but that is the real freedom from men." Qu Fei Qing looked out  the window, the scorching sun shined right onto her face as she listened to the sounds of the frogs. Her words had faintly revealed her heart's true desires.

    For biaojie to have unexpectedly said such a thing, Yun Qian Meng's heart leaped in alarm as she walked to her side. With her her eyes looking out the the peaceful clouds above, she solemnly said, "Biaojie how do you know that Jiu Xuan **ai had no troubles? Even the king of heaven does. As long as she has on the Western Chu land, then she a part of Western Chu's people. Naturally, that means she is unable to escape society's trifles. Moreover, Pu Guo An is one of Western Chu's most famous temples, every year the Imperial Harem go to pray and pay respect to Buddha. How could Jiu Xuan **ai not be there in person? Therefore, biaojie should not think of these trivial matters. If one's heart is free, the place doesn't matter."

    Qu Fei Qing actually laughed for a moment, because of the way Yun Qian Meng had stated it. "I was just saying it, don't get so worked up. While daddy still isn't cured, how can I have those thoughts?"

    After saying that though, Qu Fei Qing's eyebrows drooped and her face appeared to be really concerned.

    Seeing her this way made Yun Qian Meng's mood became even more serious. If only they could find Jiu Xuan **ai's stolen box of hu ge, otherwise laotaijun would have to let Qu Fei Qing marry into the Hai wangfu.

    Thinking about what happened last time at Hai wangfu, Yun Qian Meng only felt a chill from the soles of her feet all the way to her head.

    If Hai wang did not have such inclinations, that would be quite fortunate, but if he did, regardless of success or failure in the future, biaojie would not have a good end.

    Raising her head to gaze upon Qu Fei Qing, her appearance that was elegant and beautiful. Yun Qian Meng was very aware the of the reasons Gu laotaijun had declined the engagement before, she needed to find the missing box of hu ge.

    Turning the circular fan in her hand, Yun Qian Meng immediately smiled and said her farewell, "I've already been here for half of a day, I should probably return."

    As she was about to leave, Qu Fei Qing eyes immediately had a look of reluctance. She held onto Yun Qian Meng's hand to stop her. "Have dinner first before you go."

    Yun Qian Meng shook her head and told Qu Fei Qing there was no need to send her off as she left with Mu Chun at her side.

    "Return to xiangfu." If they were to  directly go to Tian Fu Lou now, it would have been too times in a day already and it would only arouse people's suspicions. It would be better to just send Mu Chun over after a while so as to avoiding unnecessary troubles.

    Along the way, Yun Qian Meng closed her eyes to think quietly as the carriage rode on at a slow pace. Eventually, they arrived at xiangfu.

    Mu Chun helped Yun Qian Meng into the fu and onto a soft sedan chair. They barely entered Qi Luo Yuan's garden when Yun Qian Meng hurriedly stepped off of the sedan and walking briskly towards her inner rooms.

    Seeing the ink stick that she had been using earlier for practicing writing characters. The writing-brush and the blotting paper were still lying there, they had not been put away yet. She walked to the table, took up brush and dipped the tip into the already prepared ink. She grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a few words before folding it urgently and gave it to Mu Chun, "Pass it  over to Jiao Da, he knows what to do."

    "But if nubi left then there would be no one to  serve xiaojie." Now that the people who served Yun Qian Meng were all gone, Mu Chun felt somewhat anxious and dilly-dallied because she did not want to leave.

    "Quickly go, then come back." For Yun Qian Meng's eye to be so fierce, Mu Chun understood that what was written on the letter was an important matter. She had no other choice but to bite on her bottom lip and trott out of Qi Luo Yuan.

    Mu Chun, like a burst of wind, rushed in entering Tian Fu Lou and quickly reached the third floor. At that moment, Rong Yun He, who was sitting in the second floor's private room calculating this month's receipts, lifted his eyes by chance to see Yun Qian Meng's yatou in Tian Fu Lou once more. He immediately waved to beckon the shopkeeper over and muttered in his ear, "You must personally send some supplements to the third floor. You need not do it immediately."

    The shopkeeper was surely a wise man. With very little prompting, he immediately nodded and gave a bow of courtesy to Rong Yun He before quickly leaving the room.

    "General, xiaojie asked nubi to hand this over to you." Though Jiao Da was Chu wang's personal bodyguard, but he was still a general of Western Chu with an outstanding reputation. It had been Chu wang who had nurtured him, and to show his gratitude, he had been willing to leave his military post to stay by Chu wang's to protect him as his bodyguard.

    Jiao Da took the folded fine paper but just as he opened it slightly, he suddenly sensed someone approach them. Immediately, in a cold voice he said,"Who is it?"

    Mu Chun was startled by his sudden noise. She turned to look, out only to find Tian Fu Lou's shopkeeper carrying a cup of tonic. Wwhole face smiling, he fluidly and naturally walked over to them. "This is what xiaojie had had me boil before she left."

    As he was talking, the shopkeeper's shrewd eyes took the opportunity to hide behind the tray in his hands and quickly swept over the paper in Jiao Da's hands.

    Having heard what was said, Jiao Da still did not make a sound, but his eyes cautiously looked towards Mu Chun. Seeing her nod her head at him, he slightly let down his guard.

    The shopkeeper, believing that he was allowed through, had intended to push the door open and enter the side room, but a broadsword blocked his path.

    "Giving  it to Mu Chun is fine."Jiao Da vigilantly said. Since he had promised Yun Qian Meng to protect these people, he naturally would not let outsiders get close to the room.

    This shopkeeper had been very taciturn in his approach. With his whole face smiling, perhaps he was  harboring ulterior motives since he seemed to be particularly attentive in this matter.

    Upon seeing this, Mu Chun did not wait for the shopkeeper to decide. She grabbed the tray herself and immediately said, "Many thanks to shopkeeper. You can go now."

    The shopkeeper's character was considered to be very persistent, but meeting Jiao Da, who was even more difficult to deal with and had a sword in hand, he naturally could not be careless and obliged to slowly leave the third floor.

    After the shopkeeper left, Jiao Da opened the lid and cautiously looked at the tonic. Mu Chun only nodded so he let her enter the inner room, while he put away the note and continued to guard the door.

    The shopkeeper quickly stepped into the private room. Seeing Rong Yun He standing in front of the window, he quietly started to say, "Shaoye!"
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