Chapter 109 Part 1: Taking Care of the Ruthless Su Qian Yue

    Finished sorting all the deeds of the house and lands, Yun Qian Meng held up the small wooden box, planning to put them back inside, yet accidentally, she discovered that the small box actually had a two layer design. Her forefinger lightly pressed a small switch on the inner wall of the small box, and the wooden board located right at the middle came away, revealing a secret object which seemed like some kind of firecracker.

    Yun Qian Meng took out one of the tiny concealed weapon inside that seemed like a matchstick, and a long cotton thread dangled from one end. She knew that it must be something that Chu Fei Yang had prepared for her protection, so her face showed a faint smile. Yun Qian Meng arranged all the gifts once more, following which she put them inside the wooden box where she usually kept her important possessions.

    At this moment, Liu Han Yu walked inside the room with a rosy colored cheeks while holding a red invitation card in her hands.

    "Nice to see you, xiaojie!" after Su Qing became the way she was now, aside from the old madam, the most delighted was perhaps the other yiniang. But those yiniang who had only recently entered the household still had shallow foundations, evidently they were nothing compared to Liu Han Yu who already had a daughter.

    Today, Liu Han Yu was dressed in a pink dress, the collar and edges of the skirt were embroidered with delicate peonies, quite suitable for her as it made her appear even younger. The dress matched her rosy cheeks, which in turn, made her more beautiful and attractive. Her charming gestures would also undoubtedly draw a lot of attention from other people.

    "Yiniang, what brings you here today?" Yun Qian Meng smiled and walked to the table, giving a meaningful glance, indicating for Liu Han Yu to take a seat.

    Liu Han Yu sat down, face beaming and hands smeared with purple rose powder as she respectfully presented the wedding invitation. She then replied appropriately, "Xiaojie, this is the wedding invitation sent to our xiangfu from Yuan fu. On the first of the next month, it will be a big day for Yuan fu's gongzi and Wu Guo Gongfu's xiaojie!"

    Yun Qian Meng's heart was slightly astonished at Liu Han Yu's words. It had only been a few days apart when the incident concerning Wu Qin Qin occurred. These two houses had come to a decision for the date of wedding already, and on such short notice. It seemed the two houses did not have a good frame of mind to host this wedding ceremony, yet they had no other choice but to deal with it. They could at least allow these two to immediately get the wedding over with.

    But such invitations must be sent to Yun Xuan Zhi, why would they choose to address it to her?

    Yun Qian Meng opened the wedding invitation and carefully inspected it, yet it merely stated that Yun xiangfu was invited to attend the wedding. There was no indication of how many people were invited, so she curiously inquired, "Does father know about this? Currently, father is the master of the house, yiniang, you must seek father's opinion first."

    Liu Han Yu's brows creased, and she said with some regret, "Xiaojie must not have heard, but the Emperor had appointed xiangye to host this year's autumn examinations. Xiangye is currently too busy in handling the task, so he had me give this invitation to you."

    Hearing her explanation, Yun Qian Meng only nodded her head.

    The Imperial Examinations was held once every three years, and it went without saying the autumn exam usually took place across three days: the ninth, twelfth, and fifteenth days of the eighth month.

    But this year, due to the incident with the Northern Qi during the Qi Qiao Festival, Emperor Yu Qian had consequently given an imperial decree to postpone the dates of the autumn examination, changing them into the ninth, twelfth, and fifteenth days of the tenth month.

    Now, there were only a few days left before the arrival of the tenth month, so it was no wonder Yun Xuan Zhi was rushing about.

    "Since that is the case, then just leave the invitation here. But for the gifts that we will be sending to these two houses, I'm afraid your help would be needed, yiniang." Yun Qian Meng said plainly as she placed the wedding invitation on the table.

    Nodding with a smile, Liu Han Yu then took a glimpse at Yun Qian Meng as if she had something she wanted to say but was hesitating.

    Yun Qian Meng laughed upon seeing her struggle, and said, "Between yiniang and I, is there something you are still hesitating to bring up? That makes it seem like we are unfamiliar with each other."

    Originally , Liu Han Yu thought that Yun Qian Meng was only using her to suppress Su Qing, but now that Su Qing had already been set aside, she might now start to focus on her. But judging by Yun Qian Meng's current attitude, the greater part of the worries in her heart had been rid off, naturally the expression on her face also started to relax a bit, then she simply said, "This year, the two sons of the second master will be joining the autumn examination. According to the keeper of the kitchen, starting from yesterday, the old madam had started on her vegetarian diet and pray for blessings for the two gongzi! Today, she had Rui mama go to xiangye's study twice, just to invite xiangye over to have a meal together, but unfortunately, xiangye still hasn't returned to the house, so the old madam was a little bit disappointed."

    Yun Qian Meng only smiled. For the old madam to think of her grandchildren was indeed a meritorious act. However if she did not do good during ordinary days, and without kindness in her heart, it would do her no good doing these hasty last-minute efforts.

    "If it is real gold it will certainly shine, but if it is just mud, it will not be able to support a wall! If my two cousins were really determined, grandmother would surely witness good results even if she were to do nothing. Like pretty but useless embroidered pillows, no amount of goodwill could pave the way for them, they will not get far. Since yiniang has the time to worry about these things, it will be better if you put more effort in managing the xiangfu. If father sees your hard work, he will certainly appoint a good marriage for third meimei." The reason she mentioned the old madam, Yun Yi Heng, and his sibling was because Liu Han Yu was worried that they would achieve great splendor during this year's autumn exam. If that were to happen, Yun Yi Yi's social status would certainly change. If by chance, she snatched away a good marriage from Yun Yan, then Liu Han Yu might gnash off all her teeth.

    But as it turns out, her worries had been a bit unnecessary. Even if Yun Yi Heng and his brother made names for themselves in the examination and were appointed into the imperial court, it still would not be easy for them. Furthermore, since Yun Xian Zhi bore some resentment towards the old madam, perhaps their paths to official careers would not be too smooth and unhindered.

    So rather than worrying about these useless things, it was better to handle the things that were present before her eyes.

    Moreover, Yun Yi Yi had two more years before she reached the marrying age, so Liu Han Yu's worry was somehow unnecessary.

    Hearing Yun Qian Meng's words, Liu Han Yu now saw that she had been frightened too easily. She had been afraid that without Su Qing to antagonize the old madam, the old madam might make her the next target. But now, after Yun Qian Meng explained things for her, her doubts had greatly lessened and the huge worry that had been lingering inside her heart came loose. She then smiled as she stood up to face Yun Qian Meng and pay her courtesy before retreating from the inner room.

    After Liu Han Yu's departure, Mi mama walked inside, greeted Yun Qian Meng, then reported in a low voice about the things Yun Qian Meng had instructed her to do before, "Xiaojie, Xia mama has been sent there."

    Yun Qian Meng fiddled with the red wedding invitation in her hand, when a smile bloomed on her face as she nodded her head.

    But Mi mama was puzzled, so she approached Yun Qian Meng and asked lowly, "Xiaojie, since Su Qing's murderous plot against the furen had already been exposed, why do we need to send Xia mama away? I believe that if we are to send her out, Fu Guo Gongfu might be a better place."

    Yun Qian Meng only smiled wordlessly. If the matter were as simple as Mi mama was thinking, then Su Qing's fallout would probably be ten times, maybe a hundred times more miserable.

    Back then, Yun Xuan Zhi had only landed on the position as the right minister. Based on the influential power of the Fu Guo Gongfu, it should have been an easy task to investigate the death of one of their daughters. But laotaijun, who loved the girl so much, had been unable to thoroughly investigate the matter. And after all these years, she had rarely been in touch Yun Qian Meng. After Ji Shu Yu's statement, numerous suspicions sprouted from Yun Qian Meng's heart.

    Maybe there was someone in Fu Guo Gongfu who had obstructed investigations on Qu Ruo Li's death, and this person had been able to trap Gu laotaijun.

    If they were to send Xia mama to Fu Guo Gongfu, it would be difficult to protect her life. While within the xiangfu, in order to wipe off the proof that Yun Xuan Zhi had spoiled his concubine and neglected his wife, Yun Xuan Zhi might intend to kill Xia mama. Since neither side would back down, she could only send Xia mama to another place to save her life.

    The autumn arrived together with the maple leaves. Early in the morning, Yun Qian Meng declined to attend the wedding banquet with the reason that she was not feeling well. She only let Liu Han Yu instruct the housekeeper to send the congratulatory gifts over to the Yuan fu.

    But just a few moments after the instructions had been sent out, an extremely luxurious horse carriage was parked by the doorway of Yun xiangfu. And the person who stepped down from the horse carriage was none other than the Princess of Northern Qi, Qi Ling'er.

    Liu Han Yu, who had been monitoring the servants preparing the congratulatory gifts, immediately stepped forward and paid the courtesies, while in her heart she was puzzled as to why the Princess of Northern Qi would personally visit Yun xiangfu.

    "We were not aware of the honorable princess's arrival, please accept our apologies!" Liu Han Yu lowered her head, but felt Qi Ling'er staring at her with a shallow smile, so she became even more at a loss.

    "Is Yun xiaojie inside?" Qi Ling'er seemed more amiable and approachable. Even if she was facing a yiniang of xiangfu, her voice still sounded gentle and contradicting her noble status.

    At Qi Ling'er's question, Liu Han Yu immediately replied, "Yes, princess. The eldest xiaojie is not feeling well, so she is resting inside her chambers at this moment."

    The smile in Qi Ling'er's eyes seemed to grow more evident at that. When she spoke, it had seemed to be out of concern, "It must not be something serious, right? If you don't mind, yiniang, please lead the way for me, I would like to visit Yun xiaojie."

    If Liu Han Yu were to refuse, she might end up disrespecting the Northern Qi. If the Emperor were to put the blame on them, not only a minor yiniang like her, but even the entire Yun xiangfu would not be able to endure it. So she hurriedly nodded and personally led Qi Ling'er towards Qi Luo Yuan.

    As soon as Qi Ling'er stepped inside the rear courtyard, Liu Han Yu had instructed a yatou to take the shortcut and immediately report this matter to Yun Qian Meng.

    "Xiaojie, why would the Princess of Northern Qi come visit our Yun xiangfu?" Mu Chun draped a cloak over Yun Qian Meng's shoulders then looked at Yun Qian Meng with confusion.

    Yun Qian Meng sighed. Afterwhich, she took off the cloak and had Mu Chun put it away. Apparently, her plan to visit Rong Shan Tang today would be ruined.

    The arrival of Qi Ling'er was unlikely to be a good thing. But even with Yuan de taifei trying to curry so much favor with Qi Ling'er, she still had the free time to visit Yun xiangfu, which made Yun Qian Meng curious as to the purpose of her visit.

    With these thoughts, Yun Qian Meng just laid back into her couch bed, a scroll in hand and her thoughts wandering as she was slowly flipping through it. When the sounds of footsteps echoed from the doorway, Yun Qian Meng then lazily uttered, "Mu Chun, go see what is happening."

    Mu Chun sounded a response before she turned around. Qi Ling'er was already there with a face full of smiles, so she immediately greeted, "Greetings, Princess."

    "How is your xiaojie?" Qi Ling'er spoke softly, as if she feared that she might disturb Yun Qian Meng's peaceful rest.

    Having heard the question, Yun Qian Meng immediately laid down the scroll in her hand then looked towards the doorway. Qi Ling'er had a foot at the doorstep yet she still had not taken a single step inside, so Yun Qian Meng immediately stood up and said with a smile, "Princess, please come in! Please excuse your chennu's tired face, you might laugh at the sight."

    When Yun Qian Meng personally invited her in, Qi Ling'er slowly walked inside the inner room, but seeing the simple and crude bedroom, she could not help but feel surprised. Somewhat amazed, she said, "I didn't expect Yun xiaojie's residence to be like this."

    Standing somewhere at the back, Liu Han Yu felt her cheeks blush. She feared that Qi Ling'er might share these remarks everywhere to slander xiangfu's reputation.

    Yun Qian Meng smiled unconcernedly, then explained, "This is my late mother's residence. Father and yiniang have already insisted too many times to rebuild Qi Luo Yuan, but Qian Meng really misses mother. I didn't want to break a single grass, wood, brick, or tile in this place, so its original appearance has been preserved. What brings you here today, princess? Qian Meng is feeling unwell today, please do not blame me for not being able to personally go out and welcome you, princess."

    Yun Qian Meng then led Qi Ling'er to a seat, and had Mu Chun pour her a cup of newly steeped tea.

    Qi Ling'er's eyes were still scanning Yun Qian Meng's inner room, then carefully watched the other's expression. Yun Qian Meng's face did not have even the least bit of grievance, so she laughed and said, "I came here today because I wished to attend Yuan fu's wedding reception together with you, Yun xiaojie."

    Mu Chun and the others were all dumbfounded at Qi Ling'er's explanation. The Princess of Northern Qi was not particularly close to their xiaojie, why would she invite their xiaojie to go to Yuan fu? Moreover, Yuan fu was not very far away from where the emissaries stayed, but the princess had purposely headed to Yun xiangfu first. How strange indeed!

    Yun Qian Meng looked at Qi Ling'er with the same smiling expression, seeing them look back with a sincere gaze, she said a little embarrassed, "Qian Meng appreciates your kindness, Princess! But Qian Meng is not feeling well today, it will be truly inconvenient for me to go out, please forgive me, princess."

    Qi Ling'er did not grow angry at the refusal, but said sadly, "I know that I am somehow forcing Yun xiaojie. But, among the other xiaojie, the one that I seemed to have gotten along with so easily other than Princess He Shun of Hai wangfu, is you, Yun xiaojie. But the date of my departure from Western Chu is near, Princess He Shun evidently wanted to stay with her family for a few more days, so she will not be attending the wedding reception today. That's the reason I boldly came to xiangfu, please do not refuse, Yun xiaojie. Besides, we only need to show our faces, sit for a little while then come back. It will not consume too much of your time."

    Qi Ling'er then slightly lowered her head, her newly trimmed and delicate brows slightly knitted in distress that even Yun Qian Meng felt pity for her when she saw them.

    Liu Han Yu and the others were just anxiously waiting as they stood to one side for fear of offending Qi Ling'er that could bring death to xiangfu in the future.

    Letting out a soft sigh, Yun Qian Meng was fully aware that if she did not agree to accompany Qi Ling'er, the Princess would not give up so easily. Faced with no other choice, Yun Qian Meng reluctantly nodded, afterwhich she allowed Mu Chun to drape a thin cloak over her shoulders before they both stepped out of Qi Luo Yuan.

    As soon as Yun Qian Meng agreed to go to the Yuan fu with her, Qi Ling'er's face instantly beamed with happiness, and she immediately had the palace maids to help Yun Qian Meng up to her own phoenix carriage.

    Yun Qian Meng only pointed towards the congratulatory gifts that had been placed by the doorway of xiangfu, then smiled and said, "Qian Meng knows that the princess' good intentions should not be refused. But we still have some congratulatory gifts which need to be delivered to the Yuan fu, please forgive me for not being able to take the same carriage with you, princess."

    Following the direction of Yun Qian Meng's finger, Qi Ling'er saw the already prepared gifts. Although her eyes showed a trace of disappointment, she could only nod, then went over and sat inside her phoenix carriage.

    Meanwhile, Yun Qian Meng instructed Mu Chun, Ying Xia, and the others to move the gifts onto a carriage. Afterwards, she told the coachman to follow behind the phoenix carriage, slowly heading towards the Yuan fu.

    "Ying Xia, did you find anything peculiar with them?" Yun Qian Meng immediately asked once they were inside the horse carriage.

    Ying Xia's head slightly bent at an angle as she thought about the details, her eyes flickered and she immediately approached Yun Qian Meng, whispering a few words into her ear.

    Yun Qian Meng's expression suddenly sank and a cold smile involuntarily rose up as she instructed, "Once we reach Yuan fu, you three must follow closely behind me, don't stray."

    "Yes!" Mu Chun, Yuan Dong, and Ying Xia already anticipated this banquet would be just like the Feast at Hong Gate, as they nodded their heads and wore grave expressions.

    After a long while, the phoenix carriage and the horse carriage of Yun fu finally reached Yuan fu's gates.

    The doorway of the Han Guo Gongfu was already flooded with an endless stream of horses and carriages. All kinds of guests continuously came by to congratulate them, and the housekeeper of the Han Guo Gongfu was making the appropriate responses as he stood there in the main entrance, receiving the congratulatory remarks from all the guests.

    The arrival of Princess of Northern Qi's phoenix carriage had attracted everyone's attention. Those guests slowly came to a halt as they turned and looked at the phoenix carriage, eyes opened wide, wishing to personally see the graceful bearing of the number one beauty of Northern Qi.

    Quite unexpectedly, Han Guo Gongfu dispatched two flexible palanquins, one stopping beside the phoenix carriage, and the other by xiangfu's horse carriage. After Qi Ling'er and Yun Qian Meng transferred to the palanquins, both of which were quickly carried inside to the inner courtyard of Han Guo Gongfu, the people looked away with disappointment.

    Although Yuan Qing Zhou and Wu Qin Qin's wedding ceremony would be held today, the guests were being sorted. The front yard of Han Guo Gongfu received the male guests, while the backyard was especially prepared for receiving the female guests.

    When Qi Ling'er and Yun Qian Meng arrived at the backyard, there was already quite a number of xiaojie and furen inside, all of them talking endlessly with relaxed expressions, creating a merry and joyful scene.

    "Oh! The Princess has arrived!" after Qi Ling'er was spotted, everyone started to approach her pay their courtesies. And from sitting quite a ways away, Su Qian Yue approached, her face beaming. "If you don't mind, you can sit beside me, Princess."

    Su Qian Yue then gave no further explanation as she and her yatou escorted Qi Ling'er and Yun Qian Meng towards the direction where she was previously seated.

    "Please sit down, Princess, Yun xiaojie." Su Qian Yue let Qi Ling'er take her upper seat, and she also let Yun Qian Meng take the seat in the middle, before she herself sat on a lower one. Such unusual behavior from her caused Mu Chun and the two others to look at each other for a moment, then they looked at Su Qian Yue with more caution.

    "I've heard that Yun xiaojie's cousins will be joining this year's autumn examination." Su Qian Yue started a conversation with Yun Qian Meng when the three of them had settled down, her behavior seemed to be a bit strange.

    Yun Qian Meng responded according to the situation, and appropriately replied, "Su xiaojie, you gather information was quite fast and abundantly."

    Su Qian Yue flashed a shallow smile at that reply, afterwhich she lifted up the wine cup in her hand, faced Yun Qian Meng, then slowly said, "I hereby wish that Yun xiaojie's cousins will able to pass the exam brilliantly."

    Yun Qian Meng looked at the wine cup before her, yet she did not lift it up, and only plainly replied, "Qian Meng is not quite feeling well today, I'm truly too indisposed to drink wine. please forgive me, Su xiaojie."

    "Yun xiaojie, it is just a cup of osmanthus wine, it will cause no harm to your body. After Su xiaojie's sincere remarks, please do not decline it, Yun xiaojie."

    Out of the blue , before Su Qian Yue could urge her to drink, Qi Ling'er actually interjected with a smile.

    Su Qian Yue did not wait for Yun Qian Meng to decline once again, she took the lead to drink the wine, then smiled as she looked at Yun Qian Meng, waiting for her to do the same.

    Yun Qian Meng felt embarrassed at the two before her being cordial, so she could only reluctantly lift her head and drink the wine. She then somewhat uncomfortably covered her mouth and gently made a gesture as if she wanted to vomit. Wrinkling her brows as she swallowed down the mouthful of wine, she then slightly sighed, "Princess and Su xiaojie, please do not pour any more wine for Qian Meng. Qian Meng's capacity for liquor is not good, I'm afraid I might be lacking in manners in front of the everyone."

    Upon seeing Yun Qian Meng drink the cup of wine, the two only looked at each other and smiled, then they responded by nodding their heads at the same time.
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