When Emperor Xing Wu spoke of washing away misfortunes, Long Xuan weighed the words “your humble son obeys” in his mouth, but then his gaze swept in Luo Wei’s direction. Luo Wei just stood with a respectful mien, his thoughts unknown. However, his face was so sickly pale that Long Xuan furrowed his brows.
“Go quickly prepare,” said Emperor Xing Wu.
“Emperor Father, before this humble son leaves the palace, may he go to where his imperial concubine mother is so he may bid farewell?” Long Xuan asked.
Emperor Xing Wu was of the firm opinion that Imperial Concubine Liu knew about what Luo Wei had experienced. He would not let her meet anyone ever again, not even the son she birthed. “Your imperial concubine mother is sick right now; after you have washed away your misfortunes and come back, go then. “
“Emperor Father, this humble son just wants to take a look at imperial concubine mother once.”
Luo Wei said from the side, “His Second Highness’s filial piety is laudable, but it’s just that His Second Highness recently lost a son. I’m afraid that if Imperial Concubine Liu found out, it would be disadvantageous to her recovery. His Second Highness would be better off kowtowing outside of the Hall of the Blossoming Beauty to request for leave. This would also fulfill his filial duty.”
“Wei Er is right,” Emperor Xing Wu agreed, “Request for leave outside of the Hall of the Blossoming Beauty.”
“Your Majesty,” Luo Wei bowed towards Emperor Xing Wu and said, “The year is approaching its end, and your humble servant has heard that many of the nomads in the south have already arrived near the capital. His Second Highness is leaving the capital, and your humble servant thinks it would be better if he brought more guards.”
“I have my own imperial bodyguards, this matter does not require Yun Qi’s concern,” Long Xuan interjected.
“The bodyguards of the imperial family have lived in the capital for a long time, and don’t know much about circumstances outside of the capital,” Luo Wei continued. “This time the crown prince’s encounter with a blade was a lesson. From this humble servant’s perspective, it would be better to treat His Second Highness more preciously. Otherwise Second Highness would incur not only the worry of a lowly humble servant like this one, but also would render His Majesty and the Empress incapable of passing through this year in the palace in peace.”
“Yun Qi is saying that not only should I bring more people with me, along the road I also have to get in touch with the local garrisons so that if I encounter unexpected misfortunes I will not be caught unprepared?” Long Xuan asked.
“This is the end of the year, and the garrisons in all parts of the country are busy transferring their defenses. This humble servant is afraid that they will make mistakes,” Luo Wei replied.
Emperor Xing Wu then asked, “What does Wei Er want?”
“Before this humble servant entered the palace, he encountered Wei country’s (T/N: a vassal state of Zhou) General Chen Tu Ye outside the palace, and heard that he was going back to his garrison. His journey just happens to run through Yue Province,” Luo Wei said, “This humble servant thought that it would be better for General Chen to escort the Second Prince to Yue Province.”
Long Xuan secretly gritted his teeth–Chen Tu Ye was the younger brother of Qiu Che’s (T/N: recall this is the Junior Official) wife. Luo Wei found a person to watch him along his entire journey. Though he’d already cleared his Luo family’s guilt, he still found Long Xuan a guard who would definitely not be pulled to Long Xuan’s side. Long Xuan did not believe that Luo Wei could so coincidentally encounter Chen Tu Ye outside the palace. To find Chen Tu Ye, he must have expended some effort. “General Chen came to the capital to report his affairs and then return. His garrison is concerned with the entirety of the peace and security of a region. I’m afraid allowing this General Chen to escort me is not appropriate, and would stress the incidental over the fundamental.”
“He’s originally going the same way, and if General Chen begged for this assignment he might still not get it,” Luo Wei showed a puzzled expression, “why would His Second Highness say this stresses the incidental over the fundamental?”
“I’m going to Yue Province for family affairs, and General Chen’s return to the city is a national matter. How can the affairs of the country and the family be messily mixed together?” Long Xuan replied.
An embarrassed look appeared on Luo Wei’s face, and he looked at Emperor Xing Wu with a panicked expression before saying: “His Second Highness’s lecture is to show that Luo Wei thought wrong.”
Long Xuan looked at Luo Wei like this, and knew that this person was acting again. He was just about to speak and continue this play, when he heard Emperor Xing Wu’s voice. “Wei Er also has good intentions. Xuan, you also shouldn’t make everything related to national affairs. Since Chen Tu Ye is taking the same road as you, then just let him escort you to Yue Province.”
“Emperor Father, your humble son is afraid to muster such large forces for this.”
“This is just a trivial matter, how is it mustering large forces?” Emperor Xing Wu suspected that Luo Wei was finding Long Xuan trouble, but when he thought about it he was only asking for Chen Tu Ye to accompany Long Xuan on the road. This would not provoke any great disaster, so Emperor Xing Wu took pleasure in going along with Luo Wei’s request, “Go prepare to leave, and remember to pay your respects to your mother. Don’t let her worry about you.”
Long Xuan had to obey.
Luo Wei watched as Long Xuan exited the hall. The gazes of the two did not meet again, but each was well aware of the other’s thoughts.
“We Er,” after Long Xuan left, Emperor Xing Wu bid Luo Wei to be seated, and then said, “Wei Er, for one Chen Tu Ye you can cause trouble for Long Xuan?”
Luo Wei’s eyes shifted.
Emperor Xing Wu continued, “”You make such petty considerations with me?”
“Your Second Highness is a person who loves to be clean, but Chen Tu Ye is a rough man. Luo Wei heard that this man hasn’t taken a bath for months.”
“So you had this rough man go accompany Long Xuan?”
“Chen Tu Ye’s martial arts are strong,” Luo Wei’s voice became smaller and smaller. “This humble servant is thinking,” his voice trailed off until he couldn’t be heard anymore.
Emperor Xing Wu laughed, “You’ve grown up another year, but still have a child’s disposition!”
When a person is partial towards another, he often cannot see the other’s true colors. This was the case with Emperor Xing Wu. Though he knew that Luo Wei designed the destruction of the Liu clan and found the damning account book, causing blood to flow from Yu Province’s official sector like rivers, Emperor Xing Wu only believed that these were coincidences. He didn’t think that these were the results of Luo Wei’s meticulously drawn schemes. In Emperor Xing Wu’s heart, Luo Wei was still a smart youngster who loved his fathers and brothers, and venerated his mother and sister-in-laws. In Emperor Xing Wu’s purview, he would never hold an unfavorable thought towards Luo Wei.
Luo Wei also crafted a child’s innocent expression in a timely manner, but as he did so he was thinking–after Chen Tu Ye took Long Xuan on his journey, and after Long Xuan arrived at Yue Province, how should he arrange it then? Yue Province’s governor was Liu Shuang Shi’s disciple, so Luo Wei would not be able to get involved. Maybe Qiu Che had his methods, but Luo Wei could not be at ease resting his hopes on another person.
Emperor Xing Wu ordered Zhao Fu to call Imperial Physician Wei so that he could measure Luo Wei’s pulse in front of him.
Imperial Physician Wei arrived shortly. When he saw Luo Wei, he almost glared. He clearly warned the young master not to leave his house and recuperate properly. How could it be that when he himself just returned to the palace, this person would also be here?
Luo Wei hurriedly smiled at Imperial Physician Wei. “I didn’t expect Imperial Physician Wei and I to meet again so soon.”
Imperial Physician Wei restrained his anger and paid respects to Emperor Xing Wu. Hearing Emperor Xing Wu ordering him to take Luo Wei’s pulse, he quickly walked to Luo Wei and used one hand to do so, while asking Luo Wei, “Does the young master still experience a stifled feeling at the pit of his stomach?”
In front of Emperor Xing Wu, Luo Wei said everything was fine.
Imperial Physician Wei measured Luo Wei’s health and felt something completely different. Just as he wanted to speak, he saw Luo Wei giving him a pleading look and shaking his head. Only then did Imperial Physician Wei realize that this third young master did not want the emperor to know his sickness was grave. Imperial Physician Wei did not dare to deceive his monarch, but he also spared some thought to accommodate Luo Wei. He ended up informing Emperor Xing Wu that Luo Wei’s condition was not good, but did not add the three words “extremely not right.”
At the same time, Long Xuan walked alone to the outside of the Hall of Blossoming Beauty.
It had only been a year, but this place had changed its appearance. In the cold wind, Long Xuan even saw withered yellow grass sway with the wind upon the palace wall of the Hall of Blossoming Beauty. The broken glazed tiles exposed the gray brick wall and the empty gate without a single other person. This place had already become a Cold Palace (T/N: “Cold Palace” = place that houses disfavored/reviled concubines).
Long Xuan knelt on the snowy ground that had no one to sweep it, knocking his head three times upon the ground in front of The Hall of Blossoming Beauty. Luo Wei, you said we must fight to the last gasp, Long Xuan spoke to Luo Wei, who was still in the Hall of Eternal Light, within his heart. I want these rivers and mountains, and you say that that’s my wild ambition. Yes, it is, but it is also my aspiration, and it is also the only way for this mother and her two sons to live on. But you don’t understand.
Tuala, thank you for the Ko-Fi :*