Chapter 112 Part 2: The Plague Spreads, Fei Yang Hurries Over

    That night, Yun Xuan Mo and his wife accompanied the old madam to dinner, then they were escorted back to their courtyard by Liu huwei. The old madam was enraged enough to break quite a bit of precious porcelain inside the room, and not only quarreled as she followed them out her courtyard, but she also had Rui mama to pack up her things to preparing to leave.

    Even after hearing the commotion, Yun Qian Meng did not go over to console her. On the contrary, Yun Xuan Zhi who had always stayed in his study had personally visited the Bai Shun Tang. Yun Xuan Zhi's eyes flickered with anger when he saw all the fragments of the porcelain, and he sneered, "What's going on, mother? Don't tell me that I have treated you unfairly?"

    The old madam was in a fit of anger, so naturally, Yun Xuan Zhi's appearance did not please her in any way, particularly after today when he had contradicted her in front of her younger son. Moreover, after breaking up their reunion, the old madam hated Yun Xuan Zhi even more. She pointed a finger towards the side room and said coldly, "You should take that child away. I am nearly dead, I wouldn't be able to bring up such a precious and noble child."

    The old madam's words only brought a burst of laughter from Yun Xuan Zhi, then he mockingly said, "Mother, you were the one who ran towards Feng He Yuan waiting for Su Qing to deliver her child. I thought that you were longing for your grandchild to be born, so I've handed him over to you for you to bring up. Yet today, you're unexpectedly saying these hurtful words, you are making things somewhat difficult for me."

    "Difficult? How can you have any more difficulties than me? I have supported you two brothers till you got married and started your own families. Do you think it has been easy for me? Now that you are a prime minister of a country, you obviously don't respect your own brother who has been less fortunate than you. You didn't even let them stay long in their seats, and just drove them away. Now, you are being like this towards your own mother, why don't you tell me what you have in mind?" the old madam interrogated as she turned her hand around, fingers clutching her Buddhist beads as she pointing at Yun Xuan Zhi.

    But Yun Xuan Zhi only coldly stared back as the old madam stamped her feet with fury and eyes filled with resentment. This made the originally overbearing old madam's heart to tremble, yet she was still unwilling to give in in front of Yun Xuan Zhi, so she only stare at the older son whom she had always disregarded.

    "Although I'm busy these days, it is not to the extent of being unaware of what happens in my own backyard. Even though Ruo Xue has done something wrong, she is still my daughter. I would have been fine with my own mother disciplining the children, but isn't it a bit too much to beat a child until she is half-dead? Does mother treat Yi Heng and his siblings like that? You are extremely prejudiced, mother! Moreover, I also heard that Xue'er only hurt the back of Yi Yi's hand, but you had those pozi nearly beat Xue'er to death. In this xiangfu, Liu yiniang is the person managing the household while Meng'er is the eldest daughter of the legal wife. When did Yi Yi become the one in charge of the house? Please explain to me the concept of your discipline, mother." At first Yun Xuan Zhi planned to consider the old madam's feelings and sensibilities, she was still his mother after all. Since she was the one who raised him, he would not be able to shed all pretense of his cordiality with the old madam, but she was taking things too far by repeatedly challenging his patience. How could Yun Xuan Zhi not get irritated and flare up with anger?

    After the slew of accusations from Yun Xuan Zhi, the old madam was unable to yell the words that she had intended to say.

    She thought that everything had been taken care of since Feng He Yuan had been filled with her people, yet rumors had unexpectedly leaked.

    What the old madam could not fathom though, was that Yun Ruo Xue had definitely disappointed Yun Xuan Zhi. So she thought that Yun Xuan Zhi would not care about Yun Ruo Xue anymore, yet unexpectedly he was still sorry for the child from that slut, Su Qing.

    The old madam's hatred toward Su Qing became a little bit deeper, she only regretted having a merciful heart when she decided not to finish off Su Qing.

    At the old madam's silence, Yun Xuan Zhi knew that his statements turned out to be true, and that the old madam harbored ulterior motives since she was not able to respond. He then turned to Rui mama, eyes severe and voice cold, he said, "Sort out household matters. From now on, take good care of the old madam. Do not only tell tales all day, or else you will be the first person that I will drive out from xiangfu!"

    Though he was speaking to Rui mama, it seemed more like he was warning the old madam to stay in the back courtyard, or else if they provoked his anger, Yun Xuan Zhi might crush all of Bai Shun Tang.

    The old madam could not remain calm after angering Yun Xuan Zhi, yet she fearing that Yun Xuan Zhi might take his anger out on Yi Heng and Yi Jie, so she immediately eased up her tone, and tried to reconcile them, "Son, you must not blame your mother. When your younger brother's health was unstable, with this many children in the family, mother naturally assumed some responsibilities. But since you are the older brother, you must not harbor grudges against your own younger brother."

    Yet Yun Xuan Zhi only strode out of Bai Shun Tang without a word.

    The words maybe have been too high-handed but Yun Xuan Zhi had had too much experience with them already so now he was already immune to them.

    When Yun Xuan Zhi left, the old madam's expression turned gloomy. She called for the wet nurse in the side room and scolded, "Starting tomorrow, only feed this small bastard twice a day. If I find out that you fed him more than that, I'll cut off the organ that you use for eating!"

    The wet nurse had never seen such a vicious mistress before and was suddenly frightened. She knelt to the ground with a plop, as she replied in the affirmative, not even daring to rebel against the old madam.

    Feeling gratified, the old madam turned around and went back to the inner room.

    The ninth day of the tenth month was originally the day when the people of Northern Qi would depart from the capital, but Qi Jing Yuan had not experienced Western Chu's autumn examination  before, so he explained to Emperor Yu Qian his intention to stay for a few more days.

    With regards to this request, Emperor Yu Qian had agreed after appropriate consultation with the civil and military officials, in addition to Rui wang still being kept hidden by Qi Jing Yuan in an unknown place.

    By the time there was only one day left before the autumn examination, Luo City, a city which was a thousand miles away from the capital, sent an urgent report saying that the plague had broken out and that it was already spreading all around its surrounding cities and towns, with casualties already reaching over ten thousand people.

    When the news decimated, everyone in the capital immediately grew alarmed. The inns that were entertaining guests from the foreign lands were even more worried and scared, fearing that they might have accepted some exam candidates that had come from the cities and towns from the perimeter of Luo City.

    In order to hold the imperial examination and welcome the envoys from Northern Qi, everyone was already quite busy. In addition, the plague caused the the imperial court officials splitting headaches, and for a while, they had no idea of how to handle it.

    "Luo City has been sealed off; people may enter but they are not allowed to leave. As to the concrete details of the plague, up until now the administrators are still trying to fully understand it. These useless people are too used to boot-licking that during crucial times, each and every one of them avoids their responsibilities. Sealing off the common people of my country within the walls of a ghost town, while they themselves escape from Luo City. Come, send out my orders. For those officials from Luo City who have neglected their duties and disregard the lives of the common people we shall dispatch the soldiers." Inside Yang Xin Palace Hall, Emperor Yu Qian was looking at the reports that had already piled up in front of him like a mountain. He immediately stood up anxiously, and continuously paced back and forth.

    "Your Majesty, our top priority right now is not beheading officials, but assigning people to Luo City in order to investigate the truth. If we aren't able to find out the cause of disease soon, I'm afraid it is not only Luo City that will turn into an empty city, but perhaps all of Western Chu will not be able to endure the calamity." Yun Xuan Zhi patiently persuaded Emperor Yu Qian.

    After all, even if they were to kill all the currently existing officials, still would still need to dispatch new officials to provide support. Perhaps by that time, everyone would all be dreading death, and nobody would be willing to proceed. If they were forced to go to Luo City, those officials were likely to harbor resentment, and might eventually caused unnecessary trouble. Would that not give the people of Northern Qi an opportunity to take advantage of the situation?

    As Emperor Yu Qian reflected on Yun Xuan Zhi's analysis, his furious heart calmed down a bit. He also knew that even if they were to behead all the officials in Luo City, then the common people would lose their chances of survival. He calmed himself, then faced the group of officials, "My beloved officials, if you have any other methods, speak them. I shall let you all speak freely."

    Even with Emperor Yu Qian's assurance, everyone still refused to talk.

    For these officials who lived like princes, the most important thing for them was protecting the wealth and rank of their families. The lives of those ordinary people were nothing to them. Moreover, they would not want to give up the power and status they already attained by throwing their own lives for the sake of commoners.

    Facing the questioning gaze of Emperor Yu Qian, the group of men only lowered their heads, and nobody responded to the task.

    "Emperor, benwang is willing to go to Luo City. Please grant your approval." Chu Nan Shan entered Yang Xin Palace Hall, with Chu Fei Yang, wearing a grave expression, following close behind.

    "No!" without a thought, Emperor Yu Qian turned down Chu wang's proposal.

    After which, Emperor Yu Qian personally stepped down from his dragon throne, pulling over Chu wang's hands as he prudently said, "Chu wang is our Western Chu's treasure. How can I allow you to go to such dangerous place? Besides, with Chu wang keeping watch of the capital, those people from Northern Qi would not dare to be too impudent, and I can sleep peacefully."

    But Chu Nan Shan was determined; his eyes showed unwavering determination as he said in a clear voice, "Many thanks for Your Majesty's empathy! But the imperial court had supported me for many years, I shall naturally provide my services to the imperial court in return. I had travelled with the late emperor in the past, so I can't bear to see the common people suffer from hardship and calamity. Now that such things have occurred in Luo City, how can I just sit around and watch? Emperor, please grant your permission for me to proceed to Luo City."

    His words moved Emperor Yu Qian, but thinking about the people from Northern Qi who were still in the capital, and that Chen wang having dealings with Northern Qi's crown prince and his men, Emperor Yu Qian would not allow Chu wang to leave the capital. But before he could refuse, Chu Fei Yang had unexpectedly interjected.

    After a glance at Chu wang, Chu Fei Yang said, "Emperor, I wish to follow Chu wang to Luo City, and wish for your approval."

    Not just Emperor Yu Qian, but all the officials inside the main hall looked at each other in dismay. They failed to understand why regarding a matter everyone else shirked responsibility from, the grandfather and grandson of the Chu family were willing throwing away their lives.

    Despite Chu Nan Shan and Chu Fei Yang's excellent martial arts skills, even the strongest of fighters would not be able to defeat a plague.

    Among the onlookers, Yun Xian Zhi was the most anxious. Meng'er had just been bestowed marriage to Chu xiang. If something bad were to happened to Chu Fei Yang, then Meng'er would become a widow, and people might consider her to be an ill-fated husband killer. Then perhaps in this lifetime, she would not be able to remarry.

    With great difficulty, he had kept his younger brother under control only because of Meng'er's marriage. How could he allow this crucial moment to go wrong.

    Yun Xuan Zhi immediately spoke, "Wangye and Chu xiang worrying about the nation and the common people is naturally a good thing. But if in case we allow Western Chu to lose its two pillars, it would be a great loss for Western Chu! Please consider things carefully before taking action, wangye, Chu xiang!"

    A faint and hot anger had already appeared on Emperor Yu Qian's face as he out right rejected the two men's request. "I forbid you! Fei Yang, you are a major examiner of the military provincial examination, how can you just leave at this moment? Besides, you and Chu wang are the pillars of Western Chu, I absolutely will not allow you to go to Luo City!"

    Chu Fei Yang only smiled as he unhurriedly responded, "Emperor, I have a candidate who can take my place as an examiner for the military provincial examination."

    "Who?" Emperor Yu Qian knew that Chu Fei Yang was already resolute once he had seen the smile on the man's face. Perhaps even if he tried his hardest to stop them, it would only be in vain, so all he could do now was ask who it was.

    "I believe Qu Zhang Qing will be able to assume the important task. Qu Zhang Qing was my subordinate before, he is cautious and careful, his martial skills had flourished in the battlefield, he cannot be underestimated. I believe he will certainly be able to assume the position as the examiner for the military examination." Chu Fei Yang spoke all he had on his mind.

    "Qu Zhang Qing! He is indeed not a bad choice. But I'm afraid with his position, he wouldn't be able to withstand the situation." Emperor Yu Qian evidently knew Qu Zhang Qing's abilities, but Qu Zhang Qing was only a third rank assistant of the Minister of War, compared to Chu Fei Yang's first rank Minister of the left, the discrepancy was much too far.

    Yet Chu Fei Yang only glanced at Chen wang who remained silent before he smiled and said, "Emperor, if you fear that Qu Zhang Qing will not be able to handle the situation, why don't you also invite Chen wang to assume the position of the examiner of the military examination? This way, not only will they be able to sort out the hard working students, but also quiet the crowd's mouths. What do you think, Your Majesty?

    Emperor Yu Qian staring at his smiling eyes and suddenly understood Chu Fei Yang's intentions.

    The imperial examinations take a few months time to complete due to the autumn test, assembly test, and palace test. If Chen wang and Qu Zhang Qing were to assume the position of the military exam major examiners at the same time, they would need to be together for a while. And since Qu Zhang Qing would be staying by Chen wang's side, Chen wang was less likely to act rashly.

    Chu Fei Yang and Chu wang only needed a short amount of time to suppress the plague, so that matter would be solved quite soon.

    Emperor Yu Qian could not help admire Chu Fei Yang's meticulousness, since he had actually thought of such a great idea.

    "But..." Nothing in the world was permanent, though Emperor Yu Qian trusted Chu Fei Yang's ability, the plague was still quite scary, and he was deeply worried that Chu Fei Yang might get infected.

    "Emperor, I will certainly practice caution." Chu Fei Yang knew Emperor Yu Qian's worries, so he was quick to reassure him.

    Since there was really no way to convince Chu Fei Yang and Chu wang otherwise, Emperor Yu Qian took a deep breath, immediately turned around and sat back down the dragon throne. In a deep voice, he ordered, "I hereby order Chu wang and Chu xiang to rush to Luo City tomorrow. The two of you shall choose the physicians that will accompany you on the way."

    "As Your Majesty commands." Chu Fei Yang and Chu wang cupped their hands into their fists and responded.

    Chen wang only stared at Chu Fei Yang coldly, seemingly trying to see through his thoughts.

    Being idle, Yun Qian Meng itched to do something with her hands, so she had Mu Chun prepare some brocade so she could learn some embroidery from Mi mama, yet the embroidery needle did not want to obey her hands. For the whole day, everyone else had already embroidered a peony, but the brocade in her hands only had four leaves embroidered onto it. The appearance was crooked and the needlework was dense in some places, while sparse in others, making it quite unsightly.

    She lifted her head after feeling the soreness in her neck, only to discover that the sky was already dark. Yun Qian Meng then sent Mu Chun and the others away to rests, as she continued the challenge the small embroidery needle in her hands.

    "What is this? Why does it look so strange?" A black figure suddenly covered the candlelight from Yun Qian Meng's eyes.

    Yun Qian Meng lifted up her head and saw Chu Fei Yang, wearing the black suit and standing next to hers, waist bent and looking down at the embroidery in her hands.
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