Luo Wei was not released by Emperor Xing Wu until he had eaten dinner in the Hall of Eternal Light.
During this period the Marquis of Jingyuan, Li Yuan Cheng came to see Emperor Xing Wu and spoke of a lot of official matters. Then he took an indirect approach to inquire about the tenth prince’s matter of still not having been named.
“For a child not yet a month old, what’s the hurry?” Emperor Xing Wu said with a cold expression, “Why, I as a father am not yet anxious. But you lot can’t wait?”
Marquis Li hurriedly knelt and didn’t even dare speak, again apologizing humbly to Emperor Xing Wu.
“I heard the Empress say that your wife is going into the palace every day these days,” Emperor Xing Wu continued in a frosty tone, “is a titled lady like her planning to enter the palace and serve as Imperial Concubine Li’s wet nurse? Or is your Li clan afraid that the Empress won’t take good care of Imperial Concubine Li?”
Li Hou knelt on the ground and stated that he had committed a mortal crime.
Li Hou had already claimed his guilt, but Emperor Xing Wu did not let him go. He said, “If you know your faults then change, don’t make me repeat myself! Don’t think that I am not aware of your machinations and thoughts!”
Luo Wei did not know that since the last time he had been at the Hall of the Gracious Phoenix and scolded by Imperial Concubine Li, Emperor Xing Wu had not gone to see Imperial Concubine Li again. He had not even bestowed the tenth prince a name. Originally upon seeing that the tenth prince had been born, Emperor Xing Wu was overjoyed. All who assumed that the tenth price would receive imperial favor, though they currently soaked in schadenfreude, pitied this tenth prince. Though the fourth prince Long Yue was born of only a palace maidservant, he received his name from Emperor Xing Wu only a day after birth. Now this tenth prince was actually not better off than the fourth, and Imperial Concubine Li’s face could be considered completely lost. (T/N: Chinese meaning of face = respect, dignity, social standing).
Marquis Li was scolded by Emperor Xing Wu and perspired cold sweat. Though the saying went that both thunder strikes and dew after rain were a monarch’s kindness, he still could not bear Emperor Xing Wu’s change in temper.
“You still won’t retreat?” Emperor Xing Wu shouted.
Marquis Li hurriedly asked for leave. Before leaving, he glanced at Luo Wei sitting at the side. Could it be that because Imperial Concubine Li had offended this third young master Luo, she and the tenth prince had lost favor?
Not at all understanding the situation, Luo Wei nodded to Marquis Li in consolation.
“Wei Er go for a meal,” said Emperor Xing Wu to Luo Wei. “Don’t ask about matters that have nothing to do with you.”
Marquis Li stood outside the Hall of Eternal Light and exhaled. How should he proceed? Marquis Li could not fathom how to begin.
Luo Wei ate a medicated diet. The smell made him want to vomit, but he forced himself to eat a bowl.
Emperor Xing Wu again ordered for Luo Wei to receive supplements from the palace, and then let Zhao Fu escort Luo Wei out of the palace.
Wei Lan had been waiting outside the palace. When Luo Wei came out in a soft sedan, he came over to welcome Luo Wei.
“Take your time on the road young master, this humble slave will not escort you further.” Zhao Fu bowed to Luo Wei.
Luo Wei’s hand bumped against Zhao Fu’s, and a silver banknote entered Zhao Fu’s grip.
After Wei Lan helped Luo Wei enter the carriage, he tried to give Luo Wei medicinal pills.
“I just ate a medicated meal,” Luo Wei waved his hand at Wei Lan again and again, “I can’t stomach anything more right now.”
“It will be fine after a while.” Luo Wei lay down halfway. “Lan, I will sleep for a while.”
Wei Lan covered Luo Wei in a quilt. “Have a rest young master, Wei Lan will be here to watch over you.”
“Okay,” Luo Wei closed his eyes. He was nauseated by the bowl of medicated food he’d eaten. He couldn’t sleep, so he just closed his eyes and thought. What should he do after Long Xuan entered Yue Province? Who would Long Xuan meet after arriving in Yue Province? He wouldn’t think about court officials for now. However, he did have to consider those military leaders with soldiers under their command.
“Young master,” Qi Zi called from outside the carriage, which had completed about half its journey.
“What is it?” Luo Wei asked with his eyes closed.
Qi Zi stood outside the carriage window and said, “Official Qiu and General Chen are ahead.”
What a coincidence. Luo Wei sat up and said, “Welcome them up. I am their junior, and in any case have to greet them.”
Qiu Che and Chen Tu Ye had just finished their free and unfettered discussions within a pleasure house, and were ready to return to their residence. They didn’t expect to meet Luo Wei on the road.
“Yun Qi greets Official Qie and General Chen.” Luo Wei got off the carriage, a conspicuous smile on his face as he courteously cupped his hands in greeting at Qiu Che and Chen Tu Ye.
“Yun Qi is too polite.” Qiu Che dismounted his horse even faster than Chen Tu Ye, and walked to the front of Luo Wei in a few steps, laughingly saying, “Yun Qi is returning to his residence from the palace?”
Luo Wei replied, “Yun Qi and his elder brother made a big mistake this time. I am just returning after begging for forgiveness at the palace.”
Qiu Che whispered, “Don’t worry, His Majesty has already given punishment. If there is no further blame then all is well. How is your health? Is Yu Xuan’s injury serious? I just returned from the Western Mountains, and have not yet visited your family’s residence.”
“My second brother’s leg injury is frightful, but he didn’t hurt his bones.”
“This is great luck!” Qiu Che hurriedly replied.
“Yun Qi is even better off,” Luo Wei said with a smile. “I inconvenienced uncle Qiu and made him worry. Yun Qi feels very apologetic.” (T/N: translated 伯父, pronounced bó fù, as “uncle.” The literal translation is “father’s older brother,” but it generally is a term of respect for an older man.)
“This kid, you call me uncle but still act so politely?” Qiu Che patted Luo Wei’s shoulder. “This body of yours also gives others a headache, you have to recuperate well!”
“Yes,” Luo Wei agreed. He looked at Chen Tu Ye, who stood aside without talking, and said, “Yun Qi also acted on his own initiative today and found an errand for General Chen. Yun Qi is really afraid General Chen will blame him.”
As soon as Chen Tu Ye heard Luo Wei speak these words, his expression darkened and he asked, “What errand did the third young master find for this humble one?”
At this time, Luo Wei adopted a clueless expression again and said, “His Second Highness is going to Yue Province to wash away misfortunes. Yun Qi was afraid that something would happen to him on the road, so he proposed to His Majesty that General Chen escort the Second Prince to Yue Province.”
Chen Tu Ye’s expression darkened farther. A stately general who defended his country had to act as an imperial bodyguard? “I…”
“This is a good errand,” Qiu Che scrambled to interrupt Chen Tu Ye, and said to Luo Wei, “Yun Qi’s recommendation, Tu Ye must appreciate this kindness.”
Luo Wei smiled and cupped his hands again in salute. “The weather is cold, and Yun Qi will not bother these two gentlemen on the street. Yun Qi will take his leave.”
“I still have to appreciate his kindness?” Chen Tu Ye said to Qiu Che after Luo Wei’s carriage traveled far away, “Brother-in-law, you aren’t drunk?” (T/N: the brother-in-law used is for one’s older sister’s husband).
Qiu Che’s face no longer held any traces of a smile. Luo Wei had given him a knife. “We’ll go back to the estate. I have something to explain to you.”
“I really have to serve as a bodyguard for the Second Prince?” Chen Tu Ye asked.
“Do you think everyone has the opportunity to receive the emperor’s errands?” Qiu Che asked his brother-in-law. (T/N: the brother-in-law used refers to the wife’s younger brother.)
“Then I’ll handle the errand well,” Chen Tu Ye looked at Qiu Che’s solemn expression and became serious himself.
Qiu Che smiled again, “Let’s go, I want to instruct you on how to complete this errand.”
In the carriage, Wei Lan handed Luo Wei a cup of warm water and asked, “Isn’t this Official Qiu the Senior Official’s opponent?”
Luo Wei allowed the water to reach his lips, but didn’t drink it. He replied, “Who said this to you?”
Wei Lan looked at Luo Wei’s expression. He wanted to say Luo Ze again, but if he did then that would be equivalent to tattling. “No, no one told me.”
“It’s my second brother again?”
Wei Lan shook his head.
“There’s no one other than him.” Luo Wei knew that it was Luo Ze without thinking.
Wei Lan pointed to Luo Wei’s cup.
Luo Wei took a sip of water.
“Then why did the young master call him uncle?” Wei Lan asked Luo Wei after seeing him drink the water.
“It’s just acting,” Luo Wei put down the cup and said to Wei Lan. “Lan, don’t think that enemies will meet each other with red-eyed gazes. Sometimes the more that two people act chummy when they meet, the more likely it is that they’re enemies.”