T/N: Thank you patrons for sponsoring this chapter part.
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 148.1 out of 171
Noble Consort Ning’s slightly changed expression attracted other people’s attention. She politely half rose of out her chair and said, “Older sister, you might have forgotten. Younger sister entered the palace when I was fifteen years old. After twenty years, my memories of my hometown aren’t as good as they used to be.”
Empress Chen fake smiled. A cold layer of frost appeared in her eyes as she stared at Noble Consort Ning. Her gaze seemed like it could penetrate and see through Noble Consort Ning’s inner thoughts. “Is that so? This empress didn’t know that younger sister’s memory was that poor.”
Seeing Empress Chen and Noble Consort Ning going back and forth, the other three imperial concubines noticed that something seemed strange and consciously stepped to the side.
In the end, Empress Chen still had some degree of rationality. She didn’t uncover Noble Consort Ning’s true colors here. She lightly glanced at Noble Consort Ning and said, “This empress is leaving. Younger sisters, enjoy yourselves here.”
“Respectfully sending off Her Majesty, the empress.”
Noble Consort Ning watched Empress Chen’s figure as she walked farther away. Although Noble Consort Ning's expression hadn’t changed much, her nails were deeply sunk into her palms and her teeth were clenched together. She didn’t return to her senses until someone called out to her.
With great difficulty, she was able to force herself to smile and say, “Oh, I’m not feeling well. I’m afraid I won’t be able to enjoy the flowers with younger sisters today. I’m going back to rest first. Younger sisters, sit here and enjoy the view.
The three imperial concubines politely exchanged a few more words with Noble Consort Ning before she left. They only thought she wanted to go back because she wasn’t in a good mood after being stung by Empress Chen’s words. Thus, they didn’t think there was anything serious about this. After all, it wasn’t unusual for Empress Chen and Noble Consort Ning to not get along.
Empress Chen and Wei Luo walked around the lakeside in the western part of the palace. By the time they had walked half of the circumference of the lake, it had gradually become windier, so they walked back to Qing Xi Palace. Although it was spring, there was still a spring chill in the air that couldn’t be ignored, especially the cold snap during the past few days. If they weren’t careful, they might catch a cold.
Zhao Liuli was currently sick for this exact reason. She had been exposed to chilly winds for too long on New Year’s Eve. Then, later on, she had tired herself out too much. She had been bedridden for several days.
Empress Chen had the imperial physicians check Zhao Liuli over. They had all said that there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with the princess’s body. Logically, she should have already recovered from her sickness. She was just feeling depressed and anxious and this was why her sickness had lingered until now.
Empress Chen didn’t have any other ideas. She could only have Wei Luo come to the palace to ease Liuli’s anxiety. She didn’t know what Liuli was secretly worrying about for her to become this distressed.
Wei Luo obeyed Empress Chen’s order and came to Chen Hua Hall. She heard from the palace servants that the princess was in the heated room and started walking in that direction. When she came inside, she saw Zhao Liuli half-lying on the couch near the window with a blanket embroidered with purple birds covering her body. Half of her hair was scattered over her shoulders and her small face was very pale and listless. Since the time that Zhao Liuli’s health had taken a turn for the better, she hadn’t been sick for a long time. Seeing Liuli’s desolate expression, Wei Luo felt her heart aching.
“Liuli, what are you look at?” Wei Luo sat down on a nearby rosewood stool.
Zhao Liuli was startled by the sudden sound. When she hurriedly raised her head, Wei Luo saw that her cheeks had become thinner, which made her limpid eyes seem even bigger.
Seeing that it was Wei Luo, she let out a sigh in relief and said, “Ah Luo, why is it you?”
Wei Luo smiled and asked, “Who else would it be? The empress is worried about your health, so she had me come here to see you.” As she said this, she lowered her gaze and saw the rabbit carving in Liuli’s hand. “Are you feeling better? What’s that? Let me see.”
Zhao Liuli didn’t let go of the carving. The corners of her lips curved up and she said, “Older brother Yang Zhen carved this for me.”
Wei Luo looked away. No wonder Liuli had looked so entranced when she was looking at the carving before. So, she was thinking about Yang Zhen again. Silly girl, she had such a one-track mind. Once she had her mind set on someone, she would never change her mind. Wei Luo couldn’t resist sighing. “I asked Zhao Jie to make discreet inquiries about Yang Zhen’s current situation. Do you want to hear about it?”
Zhao Liuli’s eyes brightened and she impatiently nodded.
Wei Luo said, “He fought with the enemy head-on twice and was awarded for his meritorious service each time. Right now, he’s already been promoted to wei can general. He’ll probably be coming back to the capital soon.”
(T/N: Wei can general is above lieutenant general and below a full general.)
Then, she took out a letter from her sleeve and handed it over to Zhao Liuli. She said, “This letter was written by Yang Zhen. His courage was certainly big. He actually asked older brother Prince Jing to help him deliver this letter since things can’t be easily sent into the palace."
Zhao Liuli accepted the letter. She didn’t have time to respond to Wei Luo’s teasing. She hurriedly opened the letter and read it.
The letter wasn’t long. There were only a few sentences. Yang Zhen didn’t know how to write many words. When Zhao Liuli had come back from class as a child, she would call him into the room and secretly teach him how to write.
After reading the contents of the letter, Zhao Liuli blinked and teardrop after teardrop dripped down from her eyes. A moment later, her tears had dampened the letter.
Startled, Wei Luo asked, “What’s wrong? What did he write in the letter?”
Zhao Liuli rubbed her eyes and spoke in a low, muffled voice, “Older brother Yang Zhen was injured.”
Wei Luo asked, “Is it serious?”
Zhao Liuli shook her head. “He didn’t say.” There weren’t many words in the letter. Yang Zhen had only written that he received a chest wound by the rebel army, but he didn’t say how serious it was. But Zhao Liuli knew that he liked to hide information about himself and rarely let told her anything. The injury was probably very serious. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have written that she should marry someone else if he didn’t come back.
During this recent period, Empress Chan had become more pressuring towards finding her a husband and had rejected all the excuses she had thought of.
If Yang Zhen didn’t come back, what would she do?