红颜乱: Chaos Of Beauty Chapter 19 (Part One)

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CHAPTER NINETEEN

Storm In The Back Palace (Part One)

Clearly knowing not to but still resorting to such, calling it “courage”, clearly knowing not to but still resorting to such, what it should be called, do you know?

It is called “sin”……

Lou Che places down the brush in hand, gazing down at the official document on the desk, his thinking somewhat blank, constantly thinking back to that night they returned from the palace, those vague words of Gui Wan’s. A bundle of irritation shoots up his heart, and with a sound of “pa––” the document is slammed shut, he closes his eyes, entering deep thoughts, but is disrupted with a wave of hurried steps, gradually closing in from afar, coming to a sudden stop outside the door.

“My lord?” The old housekeeper sounding a little breathless, tentatively calls out.

His eyelids doesn’t lift in the slightest, silent to the point it seemed like he heard nothing, after a while, Lou Che slowly opens his eyes, “What’s the matter?”

“My lord, outside, the Imperial Physician Hall’s Qing Xun, Lord Qin is requesting an audience.” The housekeeper’s tone is still as courteous and respectful as ever, a long waiting time has already become a custom.

The corner of his lips hooking up, tracing a playful smile, Lou Che deeply emits a laughing tone: “Did he say what it’s about?”

“My lord, he says there’s an extremely important matter to report.” His master’s thoughts and mood has always been very difficult to make out, but according to a decade of serving experience in the estate, his master today, definitely cannot be considered to be in a good mood.

“Extremely important?” He softly sounds, accompanied by laughter, those who come here in request of an audience, which one of them dares say it isn’t important, after a moment of consideration, his voice recovers its gentle warmth, “Allow him in.”

The footsteps once again distances away, and a while later, they return with two sets of steady steps, an elderly voice sounds from outside: “This old minister Qin Xun greets Prime Minster.”

The old housekeeper walks up, opening the room doors, Lou Che is still maintaining his leisurely seated position, his elegantly handsome face carrying a smile like that of the spring breeze, yet those eyes containing deeply imbedded chill, does not lighten in the slightest, “Lord Qin please.”

Qin Xun nods his head, slowly stepping into the room, not daring to show any disrespect towards the well refined man in front, he sits a seat down from the first guest seat, only soiling half the chair, as he solemnly sits.

A maid serves up hot tea, the steam gently rising, and its tea fragrance instantly overflowing the room, a ghostly flavour diffusing into the air.

Lou Che takes a sip of the tea in a leisurely manner, under a glance of his eyes, Qin Xun grows restless with great unease, his behaviour so nervous, it gives rise to a trace of suspiciousness, slowly placing down the tea cup, a light sound of collision between cup and saucer lures in Qin Xun’s attention, “With even such clear fragrant tea not suiting Lord Qin’s appetite, could it be something is troubling you?”

Taking a look all around, finding that the housekeeper, the maid, have all withdrawn, only Lou Che and himself is in the room, he unconsciously gulps down a mouthful of saliva, speaking up with difficulty: “Prime Minister Lou, this matter, don’t know whether it’s proper or improper to speak of.”

His smile lines unravelled, eyes appearing even darker, Lou Che slightly straightens his body, revealing an expression of interest, “Exactly what is the matter?”

Extending his hand to wipe away the sweat on his forehead with his sleeve, Qin Xun appears fearful, his heart met with slight struggles. Showing a recollecting expression, he slowly starts speaking: “Prime Minister Lou, two months ago, Lady Consort Ying had a miscarriage, at the time this subject I was the Imperial Physician Hall’s attendant to this, responsible in taking care of Lady Consort’s body. According to the rules, all prescriptions issued from the Imperial Physician Hall should all be disposed of afterwards, that day, I went to find Lady Consort Ying’s miscarriage prevention prescription, only to find that the prescription had actually disappeared, I immediately grew anxious……if the prescription is not to be found, then I’m unable to complete my job, so I could only go to the place where we make prescriptions, hoping to be able to write out the prescription from looking at the situation of the medications, once this old minister I arrives at the place where medication is prescribed, I found that, the placement spot for eucommia bark, had actually been swapped with saffron……” His voice getting quieter and quieter, trembling as he rises to his feet at the end.

Hearing up to this point, Lou Che also couldn’t hold back a change of expression, gloomy and unpredictable, with his brows knitting together, he asks in an icy cold tone: “Are you certain?”

Qin Xun’s entire body violently shudders, hurrying to his own defence: “Of course, this matter, I have already kept everything in my heart for over a month……eucommia bark and saffron are originally two completely different things, I have been an imperial physician for many years, how could I possibly get this wrong? After that happened, I was also very worried, but couldn’t find anyone to speak of this matter to, after that, I went to find the eunuch in charge of assorting medications––Xiao Lin Zi, wanting to ask about this matter, only to find he has been transferred elsewhere, but just three days ago, he suddenly died, even the cause of death had yet to be made clear, and his corpse was towed away.”

Towards this confidential inner court news, he is growing more afraid, the more he thinks about it, unable to swallow down his food, unable to sleep peacefully at night, for two whole months, he has been tortured by this matter, hearing the death news of the medicine assorting Xiao Lin Zi three days ago, he was almost scared to death, thinking it over for half a day, he had only just summoned up the courage today to report this matter to Prime Minister Lou. Regardless of anything else, someone who can take control over this matter, other than the Emperor, Prime Minister Lou is the second ideal option, not to mention, this matter cannot be recklessly reported to the Emperor, afraid that under the dragon’s rage, he too will be dragged into this, in the end, he could only come find Lou Che.

Having thoroughly listened to this entire matter, Lou Che’s face did not actually show any emotions, graceful to the point it seemed as though he didn’t hear any of it. Yet Qin Xun senses great pressure ten times heavier than before, a feeling that makes him dare not to even make a sound of breathing, a cutting ice-like air overflowing from the wordless Lou Che’s body.

Unable to withstand the immense pressure within the room, Qin Xun speaks up: “Prime Minister Lou……”

“Lord Qin,” Deeply speaking up, Lou Che side glances Qin Xun, sharp eyes forcing him to lower his head, “This matter, how many people knows of it as of now?”

Sweat once again rolling down from his forehead, yet he can longer sense it, all of his attention gathered on the man in front, with the appearance of a noble gentleman, he dares not to show the slightest of negligence, hurriedly answering: “As of now, this matter is known only to you and I……but, a few days ago when I went to find the prescribed medicine, the medicine delivering eunuch has inquired, and even tried finding the prescription, I’m only afraid those with the intention……is able to vaguely guess it.”

A cold humph sounds, Lou Che lowly laughs, those with the intention? Those with the intention can be found all over that palace, to receive a request from Qin Xun like this, looks like there is already someone who guessed the hidden secret behind all this.

“Lord Qin, this matter, you are half in the correct, half wrong……keep your own mouth sealed, do not allow for others to know.”

Once Lou Che’s words were spoken, Qin Xun immediately knew that his own life has been saved, and couldn’t help but to rejoice, the huge boulder within his heart has been lifted, he can now return and finally get a good night’s sleep, hurriedly bowing down to waist level, dropping a few words of flattery, he hurriedly leaves the Prime Minister Estate.

Waiting for his figure to disappear, Lou Che reveals a look of difficulty, letting out a deep sigh, he stands up, walking into the courtyard, calling out: “Housekeeper.”

As soon as the words were said, in a hidden area of the courtyard, the housekeeper had already walked out, bowing as he says: “My lord.”

“Have someone to send a letter to the ministry of punishments, tell the Minister of Punishments to immediately pay a visit, then send another letter into the palace, in the evening of today, I need to enter the palace, let the one in charge of the inner courtyard Li gong-gong to await for his assignment.” Concise yet strongly given commands, Lou Che appears as though he is ready to face any problems.

After a word of acceptance, he was just about to turn around, when Lou Che suddenly calls him to a stop again, turning his head, he actually sees Lou Che’s eyes set on the garden, after a while of gazing, he asks: “Where’s Gui Wan?”

“Madam went out early this morning, said she will be back before dinner.”

After hearing this answer, he reveals a puzzled expression, unable to see Gui Wan, he immediately feels uneasy, turning around, throwing aside his distracting thoughts, he says: “Go attend to your matters.”

The problem between him and Gui Wan, shall have to wait till this matter is over to solve it, after all, they still have an entire lifetime……

******

Madam of the Qu Zhou rest inn, Fiery Xi Shi, is sat in the horse carriage right now, her mind drifting far away, repeatedly thinking over everything that has happened over the past few months, ever since two months ago, having come across that peerlessly elegant “gentleman”, her destiny seems to have also turned down a weird path.

Just who could that “gentleman” possibly be? Suddenly shows up, mysteriously goes missing. Because of her disappearance, the entire Qu Zhou suffered an official restriction ban, because of this matter, she herself has been speculating for a long time, but has still yet to guess the actual identity of that “gentleman”. A few days ago, she actually received an invitation from the “gentleman”, due to the questions and confusion held in her heart, impossible to solve, she decides to come to the Capital City to see this “gentleman” again.

Ears suddenly catching the noise of carriage wheels coming to a stop, Fiery Xi Shi’s brows lightly jumps, before she even got to speak, a clear voice has already travelled into the carriage: “Is it San Niang of the Qu Zhou rest inn?”

Upon lifting the carriage curtains, Fiery Xi Shi looks outside the carriage, the horse carriage is parked in a secluded street corner, a house with east and west wings connected to it stands before her eyes, a peaceful environment, a faint fragrance of wisteria lingering in the air, it does not look like a luxury noble residence, but an ordinary businessman’s house, at the red lacquer main doors, stands a maid in yellow, bright and delicate, with extraordinary charm and bearings, smiling over at her.

Jumping off the horse carriage, Fiery Xi Shi greets in her own uniquely frank way: “Young lady, this place is……”

Slowly taking a few steps forward, Ling Long performs a simple bow, “Are you San Niang? Please follow me inside first.” Seeming to know that she will follow after her, with a nod of a head, she courteously leads the way forward.

Fiery Xi Shi quickly observes the surrounding environment, before hurriedly following after her. Upon entering the doors, the scent of wisteria rushes into her face, in between breathing, her inhaling and exhaling completely filled with this fragrance, and before her, a scene of purple catches her eyes, circling around the east and west wings within this property, is actually wisteria planted all around. The current season is the perfect time to see the blooming of wisteria flowers, with a blow of the cooling summer breeze, they gently drift down, descending to the ground. Entering this property, is just like walking on purple clouds.

Inner praises arising from the very bottom of her heart, she follows Ling Long and passes by the side wings, arriving at the inner courtyard, where oriole-like singing flows into her ears, her eyes follows the sound, steps coming to a sudden stop, no longer able to move.

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Reluctant to part, reluctant to part, unlimited lingering love confessed through the zither strings, the zither strings sounding cóng cóng like flowing water, resenting my darling’s leave this time, will have no return……[1] The oriole-like singing graceful, resonantly smooth, the back of a woman’s figure faces San Niang and Ling Long, that one person standing alone in the middle of the inner courtyard singing an opera play.

A cool breeze surrounds them, stirring up the wisteria petals, circling around in the air, before slowly falling, like a set of stained clothing descending upon the singing person’s head, shoulders, and skirt. The petals scattered on the ground also appears to have come to life, following the singing person’s movements, fluttering, bouncing, yet the one singing opera does not seem to realise this, dancing on her own, performing waves with her water sleeves, singing in solitude. Although only the back view can be seen, that posture, that charm of graceful beauty like water, bit by bit ripples out from her figure, purity, agility, and elegance, all of which have been woven together into an invisible net, luring the unwitting audience into place.

One step, one sway, one swing of the sleeve, “The person leaves this house empty and lonely, leaving only the sweet memories of the past behind……[2] With a turn of her head, Gui Wan sees the arrival of others, grinning gracefully, the water sleeves spins in circles, leisurely swaying it gently, shaking off the purple petals scattered all over her body, and heads towards the two people, “San Niang has come from afar, yet I have been inattentive.”

Fiery Xi Shi who just had her soul captured by the beautiful scene before her, leisurely sighs, laughingly saying: “To this very day, I really have to give it to you……no wonder you were able to gain control of the words of mouth in Qu Zhou so freely.” She has thought hard for many days, and only then did she understand one of the mysteries, why “gentlemen” found students to discuss literary with, why after she disappeared, Qu Zhou was suddenly hit with a wave of students writing up a petition, thinking about it now, all of this is the masterpiece of the person in front right?

“San Niang is a clever person, as expected I could not hide from you.” Walking to the side, taking off the outer performance gown, Gui Wan does not hold back her praises.

Hearing her admit to it so openly, Fiery Xi Shi was somewhat suspicious, “You……exactly who are you?”

“Who does San Niang think I am?” A trace of teasing, Gui Wan turns her head displaying an expression of humbly asking for advice.

Fiery Xi Shi remains silent for a while, finally giving up, she sighs saying: “I don’t know, could you be someone tied to the palace?” Thinking of her opposing inner palace matters, could she also be one tied to affairs of the palace?

Neither admitting nor denying, Gui Wan laughs it off, sitting down at the veranda, signalling for San Niang to sit with her, only after seeing her seated, did she speak up again: “San Niang, I have matter I would like to request for your help in, don’t know if this is possible?”

“Gentleman, you have everything in your reach, if even you have something you cannot do, how could I possibly help you?” Although not knowing exactly who she is, but she is able to work out, the one before her, is no ordinary person.

“This matter, only San Niang is capable of,” Gui Wan sighs and says, seeming to hold unlimited frustration, “San Niang has an extensive web of contacts, I’d like to invite San Niang to live in this house, recruit talents, gather intelligence, and become the eyes and ears within the Capital City.”

Inviting San Niang here is also of last resort, the net of intelligence within the Prime Minister Estate can only carried out under the command of Lou Che, the things she has to do now, is running in opposition of Lou Che, the only way out, is to cultivate her own wings (assistants).

Seeing Fiery Xi Shi say nothing, Gui Wan indifferently smiles, “What is San Niang afraid of, are you afraid of the unforeseeable future?”

“I am not afraid of the future,” Fiery Xi Shi slowly speaks, suddenly seeming to have thought of something, asking: “What opera play was gentleman singing just now, it was really nice, young masters also knows how to sing opera?”

Seeing her continue to address her as “gentleman”, Gui Wan knows she is one who greatly values feelings and old friendships, not forcing her, Gui Wan smiles and replies: “I was singing {{Peacocks Flying Southeast}}. My mother has taught me to sing opera since young, saying, life is like an opera play, only when you can sing out the feelings within the play, can you face life with a smile, and also cultivate the beauty of actions.”

An expression of sudden realisation is shown on Fiery Xi Shi’s face, secretly speculating, no wonder why this “gentleman’s” every move is able to carry a leisurely beauty, so this is how it was cultivated, she also inevitably grows curious towards her mother, what kind of a mother is able to raise such an extraordinary woman? At the same time, a surge of impulse rushes up her heart, wanting to stay here, is a decision of a lifetime, not to mention she cannot take back her words later.

Seeing her expression appear complex, Gui Wan was also able to vaguely guess her thoughts, continuing to say: “What I want San Niang to do, is only rounding up a web of contacts, it is not anything bad, San Niang has also gotten fed up of being in Qu Zhou, why not try a change of environment?”

Almost completely persuaded by her, San Niang still has some final hesitations: “But my family……”

“Ling Long.” Gui Wan understands what to do as soon as she hears this, softly calling out to the maid beside her. Ling Long walks up front, taking out a stack of banknotes from a box placed at the side, and places it before San Niang, gently saying: “San Niang’s family has already been picked up in Qu Zhou, and shall be arriving in the Capital City in two days, here is thirty thousand liang funding for San Niang, for you to recruit talents and gather intelligence here.”

Completely stunned, Fiery Xi Shi develops a sense of unpredictable feeling towards Gui Wan who is always holding a smile, everything appearing blank before her. With the hardening of her heart, she reaches out and accepts the banknotes, promising: “Rest assured, this matter I will do a good job with it.”

Seeing her accept it, Gui Wan also sighs in relief. Looking at the box beside her, she feels her heart jump and turn, the asset her mother has left her, is beginning to come to use now, to be able to contribute in helping out the Empress in the palace, this should also be her mother’s wish right?

This is also my bottom line, what I can help with, what I can do, this is the bottom line. Secretly sighing to herself, Gui Wan faintly smiles as she looks over the courtyard, yet her vision has lost its focus.

All of a sudden, someone runs up from the entrance, hastily charging in, whispering into Ling Long’s ear, and stuffs a small note in her hand at the same time, Ling Long waves her hand, allowing him to withdraw, before slowly walking up to Gui Wan’s side, passing her the note as she softly says: “De Yu gong-gong’s urgent message.”

Fine jade-like fingers opens up the note, after thinking for a moment, Gui Wan gathers together her smile, voicing out her shock: “Saffron……”

******

“Madam……” Seeing the arriving person, De Yu strokes at his waist belt, neatening out the wrinkles on his outfit caused by a long time of waiting, and then approaches her. Having just been promoted to the head of Zhang Ning Hall, changing from purple robes to blue silk clothing, due to his naturally clear skin, as well as his courteous and refined bearings, his entire being beams with an air of  youthfulness, blooming with radiance.

Gui Wan clear off rouge and powder, in a body of ordinary palace outfit, a simple glazed hairpin inserted into her done up hair, exhibits the elegance of washed away magnificence, seeming to be hiding her nervousness as she thinly smiles, stepping through the Xuan Yu Doors, having looked all around, with no sighting of other figures, she finally speaks up: “Gong-gong, your note was saying, Consort Ying’s miscarriage had something to do with saffron?”

Lightly nodding his head, De Yu walks up to Gui Wan’s side, standing shoulder to shoulder with her, looking at them from afar, they do not look out of ordinary, lowering his voice, he speaks next to Gui Wan’s ear: “Madam, Prime Minister Lou has already entered the palace through the Xuan Ji Doors, currently investigating at the Imperial Physician Hall, your presence within the palace right now is of utmost inconveniences, do you want to change into a different outfit first?”

This De Yu’s thinking is indeed very thorough, Gui Wan thinks to herself, secretly entering the palace this time, her objective is to investigate this case before Lou Che, of course she needs to avoid the eyes and ears of others, smiling, she turns her head to the side, a face of cunningness, wondering: “What will be good to change into?”

“Dress as a palace maid……” De Yu seems to carefully look over Gui Wan, shaking his head, “Not too suitable, better to just dress up as a gong-gong.”

“Are there no other choices?” Acting as though it was unintentional, Gui Wan thinly smiles as she asks.

……

After a while, stepping out from the side hall of Zhang Ning Hall, Gui Wan finds it difficult to adapt to her outfit as she pulls at the clothing, seeing De Yu’s intently watching her, she cannot help but to laugh, asking: “Is it looking too strange?”

Awkwardly turning away, De Yu takes a step back, slightly lowering his head, humbly saying: “No, Madam.”

Stepping down the stairs, looking left and right, Gui Wan asks the person beside her: “What people has Prime Minister Lou seen after entering the palace?”

“As soon as he entered the palace, he summoned Li gong-gong, then went to the Imperial Physician Hall, and then respectively entered the medicinal herbs room as well as the side hall used to decoct the herbal medicines, right now, they seem to have headed to the prohibited area of the palace.” Faithfully reporting with concise details, not a single point missing.

Gui Wan lightly knits her brows, “Really is making sure not a single drop leaks out, this is bad……” Lou Che link after link, linking connections together as he investigates, how is there possibly any other places he can set his hands on?

“Madam,” Noticing Gui Wan’s look of difficulty, De Yu reminds, “If Prime Minister Lou has already found something right now, then he would not have to continue investigating further. Not to mention there is a lapse of two months between the happenings of this matter, some of the clues have been blurred, everything still requires planning in a long-term perspective.”

Giving him a look full of praises, Gui Wan nods in agreement, remaining silent for a moment, before speaking yet again: “Consort Ying’s miscarriage two months ago, other than Imperial Physician Qin, were there no other attending imperial physicians?”

“There was, there was also Imperial Physician Zhang, unfortunately a few days after the matter, he already retired and returned home.”

Originally a problem with answers they are already unsure of, thus becomes even more complicated and confusing as of now, Gui Wan only feels as though a scene of boundlessly white fog lies before her eyes, carefully thinking it over, she lightly asks De Yu: “Regarding this matter, what do you think the chances are of it being the Empress’ doing?”

De Yu sinks into deep silence, not daring to answer this question with casual ease, after careful consideration, he speaks up: “Little chance, the Empress at the time was already affected by the ‘Hu Guo Temple’ crisis, under semi-house arrest in the palace, there should be no energy spare to do this.”

Although this was also the answer she held deep inside, to hear this from someone else seems to add a cetain confirmation to it, thus feeling like hearing a different answer, her heart grows slightly put to ease, but cannot refrain from giving rise to doubts, exactly who could have possibly acted so recklessly in the back palace?

The two of them talk as they walk, although they came across a few eunuchs and palace maids along the way, there were actually no fright, no danger. Wandering into the back palace courtyard, a little eunuch runs up, whispering a few words into De Yu’s ears, and quickly leaves. De Yu turns his head back, seeming to speak with concern: “Prime Minister Lou has now headed to Jing Yi Palace to see Lady Consort Ying.”

Gui Wan indifferently smile as she listens to his report, secretly full of praises, she has indeed not found the wrong person, this person works very cautiously, and also understands how to accommodate to circumstances, give it a little more time, and he will definitely become the dark horse[3] within the palace. Unfortunately the news that made its way into her ears, is not in fact anything pleasant, Gui Wan softly mutters: “Lost the opportune moment……”

“Madam, there’s still one more place, we can go take a look.” De Yu’s refined face appears concerned, and thus advices.

“What place?”

“All medicine concocted for an imperial consort, will require having another to taste it first, thus an extra bowl would be prepared, only after the taste tester has consumed it without any problems, would the medicine be sent to the imperial consort.” Someone who often taste medicine all year round, should already have become familiar with the medicinal properties, why is it that they didn’t realise the medicine contained saffron?

“Your meaning is……”

“The one who taste tested Lady Consort Ying’s medicine, should be at the side hall of Yu Gan Palace.”

“Let us quickly go then.” A beautiful smile blooming like a flower, Gui Wan’s feelings of joy emerges, in that sweet moment, a bewitching charm is hidden within that extremely elegant beauty, making De Yu fall into a trance upon seeing it, pulling himself together, Gui Wan had already walked a few steps ahead, he hurriedly follows after her.

They had only just arrived in front of the corridors of Yu Gan Palace, when De Yu suddenly jumps forward, desperately calling out in a low tone: “Madam, ahead.”

Gui Wan instantly glances over, walking over from not too far away is actually Lou Che’s party, with him were also the likes of a few officials and eunuchs following behind, a chill overcomes her heart, didn’t think that even this place, did not escape him, simply not a single leakage. At the same time she was slightly panicking, the disguise she’s in can get past others, but cannot possibly slip by Lou Che’s eyes. Fortunately this spot is the corridors’ turning corner, they don’t seem to have looked over here.

“Madam,” In a moment of haste, De Yu acts quickly within times of emergency, pulling Gui Wan’s hand, gently saying, “Follow me to Yu Gan Palace for shelter.” The two people follows the corridor, arriving at the main hall of the Yu Gan Palace, they did not think too much, and push opened the doors, stepping inside.

The Yu Gan Palace was built by the late emperor who was luxurious by nature, usually used by the Emperor to rest here and deal with certain matters, forbidding the ordinary people from disturbing, right now it is very quiet, not a single person is here, the interior of the hall adopts a design of natural lighting, sunrays beaming into the room, glass crystals, also used to attract the outside lighting inside. Gui Wan has seen countless treasures before, but upon entering this room, she still falls into a dazzling feeling, indeed exquisiteness that rivals nature, such design as resplendent as jade, as magnificent as gold.

Not allowing for her to fully appreciate her surroundings, a voice suddenly sounds from outside, seems like someone is entering the hall, Gui Wan was absolutely surprised. This place does not allow for casual intrusion, exactly who could be coming here right now? And how is she to explain her reason for being here? Turning her head back, she faces De Yu’s deeply serious expression, the two of them exchange glances at loss, whilst the sound of footsteps and voices is already getting closer and closer.

The main doors of Yu Gan Hall opens with a “zhi––” sound.

Three palace maids files in, the first one seemingly shocked as she speaks up: “Why have the curtains not been drawn in the hall, how do you get the job done, could you have forgotten Nanny’s scolding last time?” The two palace maids behind, dares not to answer, submissively responding to her, not long later, the glass crystals are covered by the curtains, the brightly lit hall just now suddenly turning absolutely dark.

Crouching between the wall and the dragon throne, Gui Wan carefully breathes, her eyes rolls to the side, seeing De Yu, he also holds a trace of nervousness, inevitably finding it laughable, she reveals a slight smile, secretly rejoicing, their luck really isn’t bad, this is the renowned gorgeously magnificent palace, even the distance between the dragon throne and the wall holds an air of particular grandness, actually able to hide two people. If she is the emperor, she’s afraid that the first thing to do every day, will be to check whether anyone is hiding behind this seat.

The inside of the hall suddenly becomes as dark as night, falling into dark hours, the sound of the palace maid’s footsteps seems to be walking in circles in the palace hall, other than that palace maid with an especially fierce tone, the other two did not utter a single word, finally waiting till they stopped busying, the opening of the doors sounds again, and only then did Gui Wan sigh in relief, a supporting hand placed on the ground, she raises her knees, was just about to stand up, when the three palace maids suddenly halts in closing the doors, lowering their bodies as they kneel on the floor, speaking in unison: “Greetings Lady Consort Li.”

Secretly lamenting, Gui Wan felt begrudged at heart, yet she could only lower her body once again, withdrawing into her original spot. Since Consort Li and others are stood in the hall, and Gui Wan could not possibly poke out her head to watch, only a few words vaguely drifts past her ears. After waiting for a while, the closing of doors, once again sounds, and peace is finally restored in the hall.

The silence continues for a long time, and they did not hear anymore sounds, De Yu has also just let out a sigh in comfort, recalling how they found this spot in a moment of panic just before, it can be considered a frightful situation but no danger, a smile slowly climbs his face, he gets up first, before extending his hand to help Gui Wan up. The two of them meet eyes, in face of the current situation, they both find it rather funny, lightly laughing out loud.

Smiles running deep, Gui Wan glances from the corner of her eyes, finding De Yu seemingly looking at her in a daze, gathering her smile, she turns around saying: “Let us quickly leave whilst we can now.”

With her light reminder, his heart receives a shock, nodding his head, he keeps his movement light, making his way to the doors, his hands has just caught the door handles, when sound of footsteps can once again be heard, retracting his hands, he looks back at Gui Wan, Gui Wan also appears grave, with unspoken understanding, the two of them can only choose to go back the usual place, hiding away.

Annoyance rising, Gui Wan laments, could it be that they have hide behind the dragon throne all day today? Matters of the back palace is rapidly changing, wasting half a day of time, don’t even know what other tremendous changes could occur……just when she was deeply thinking this, someone had already entered Yu Gan Hall, the sound of a gentle women’s voice can be heard: “Did you get the job done?”

Gui Wan was suddenly shocked, this voice is clearly Consort Li’s, why would she leave and come back?

“Lady Consort, this servant I have already sent the poisoned wine over. But, ran into Prime Minister Lou along the way, this servant was scared……so……Lady Consort please show some mercy ah……” The one answering seems to be a palace maid, her voice right now actually carrying a crying tone, sobbing for mercy.

Hearing up to here, she can vaguely guess what is going on, Gui Wan busily listens on attentively, but what followed was just silence, only the palace maid’s weeping can be heard, still suppressed, seeming to not dare cry out openly, such sound overflowed the entire space. All of a sudden, the palace maid suppresses a quiet cry, this sound drills into the chest, overwhelmingly shrill, actually sounding even more shocking than that of crying out loud, hearing this also made Gui Wan’s heart jump, not knowing what exactly happened inside the hall, yet the miserable cries of the palace maid, bitterly crying in pain, soundlessly, continuously, tumbles past her ears.

“Cheap servant, can’t even carry out such simple task, what’s the point in keeping you?” Upon hearing Consort Li’s voice right now, it sounds like her tone has turned twisted, the usually gentle voice has actually changed into a sharp tone.

The palace maid’s voice gradually decreases, struggling movements has also decreased, as though all have returned to the usual calm, all of a sudden, an ear-piercing sound can be heard, on contact of a surface, presumably the silent woman’s nails vigorously scratching against the floor, followed by Consort Li’s low cry like that of a being scratched by a cat, screaming out: “Cheap servant, how daring of you……” Carelessly kicking at the palace maid, only then did the large hall once again calm down.

Gui Wan’s heart runs cold, although Gui Wan was able to see this Consort Li is far from gentle as she appears to be at first glance, but she definitely did not think she would be vicious to such extent. Gui Wan herself is not a kind-hearted person, she too also plays with political trickery, at times of need she will also treat human life like grass, but to be directly face this right now, her heart still leaps up in anger.

Consort Li ah Consort Li, wait till I leave this place, I’ll make sure you will suffer this tenfold.

This open and empty grand hall does not restore its previous brightness and extravagant beauty, instead it carries a suppressive gloom, no sound can be heard any more, nor was there the sound of Consort Li leaving. Gui Wan turns to look at De Yu, he also appears doubtful and aghast, seeming to not dare believe the truth he has just heard.

Could it be she need to deal with a corpse? This thought had just leapt over Gui Wan’s heart, when Consort Li’s voice can be heard again, her voice this time, tones down a lot, seeming to lose her composure, her voice trembling, speech incoherent, muttering to herself: “What to do? What to do……he would definitely want me dead……no, no……I don’t want to die……” In the end, she too was actually carrying a weeping tone.

Her panic and helplessness disperses into the air, Gui Wan carefully listens to her disorganised words, suddenly feeling suspicious, didn’t think that behind Consort Li there’s also an accomplice, that’s not right, rather than saying accomplice, it is more like a mastermind. Carefully taking this into consideration, Consort Li may be jealous of Consort Ying, but it has not reached such extent to strike a murderous blow. Listening to Consort Li’s tone, the one behind this may terribly be one who stands above Consort Li, her thoughts starts spinning, Gui Wan tries to think what person holds this condition.

To have both, power as great as the skies, and also able to easily access the back palace? Just exactly who……

“So this is where you are……” All of a sudden, an additional voice sounds within the grand hall, the indescribable gentleness in this voice, contains a long drawn out tone of luxurious laziness, a playful tone like playing hide and seek with someone, within this idle tone, there actually harbours a devilish nature, seeming as though eerily distinctive  coldness lies behind those words.

No noise……still no noise, Gui Wan feels as though even her own heart had stopped beating, her breathing becoming a heavy burden, in a moment of panic, she looks at De Yu, but only sees a bean sized droplet of sweat slide down from his forehead, heart in fright, Gui Wan feels her spine run cold.

Just when exactly did the owner of this voice enter? Before Consort Li came in, only she and De Yu gong-gong were in this grand hall, and when Consort Li came in accompanied by her maids, this person clearly wasn’t here, the hall’s doors were already closed, before this voice sounded, there were no sound of the doors opening, how could someone have possibly shown up so suddenly within the grand hall?

Not to mention this voice is very familiar, exactly where did she hear it before? Gui Wan remembers from learning opera plays with her mother since young, people’s behaviour and voice, can all form a visual memory, why does this voice actually feel so familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time? Such distinctive voice, anyone who hears it will not be able to forget, so why is it that she’s finding it difficult to recall?

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The floor sounds “putong”, Consort Li seems to have already dropped to her knees, losing all her senses as she cries out: “I don’t want to die……don’t want to die……” The arrogance and tyrannical behaviour towards the maid just now has completely disappeared, right now appearing absolutely pitiful and tragic.

No longer caring for Consort Li, Gui Wan’s heart constantly pounds, silently struggling, waiting for this person to speak again.

Time passes by bit by bit, the hall sinks into silence, Consort Li’s one draw one twitch of uneven breathing and depressive weeping, setting off a strange atmosphere within the silence, her patience is gradually fading within this atmosphere infected with sorrow, yet that man no longer speaks again.

Gui Wan’s tensed feelings did not calm down along with the silence in the hall, instead, her nerves tightens the more it is stretched, her rational chord is being highly raised, a feeling like that of the heart jumping up to the throat, her knees have long lost all it feelings, her arms have also turned numb, she subtly adjusts her breathing, allowing her crazily beating heart to calm down a little.

“Done crying?” A shallow laughter diffuses into the air, like a naughty child’s mockery after he’s seen enough drama.

Consort Li does not seem to dare say anything, only suppressing weep after weep, suppressing it into a barely audible sob, after while later, did she finally answer: “It is this cheap servant’s incompetence……I……I already……tried my best……” Even her words of pleading sounds delicate, such lowly attitude, weak and wretched to the point it’s able to evoke sympathy from anyone.

“Did your best?” A voice like that of a ghost sounds again, clear like a light breeze blowing over the lake’s surface, “Since matters have already gotten to this point, you carry on trying your best in doing a final thing.”

Such warm and gentle voice, entering the ears, instead makes Gui Wan feel her hair stand on end, a cold chill washing over her heart.

Consort Li seems to be stupefied, the sound of weeping suddenly stops, a little while later, a sweet and gentle laughter sounds, one word one cry, laced in unlimited desolation, “I just knew it……towards her, you still……you heartless person, you’re a demon……”

The one who was called a demon did not get angry and instead laughs, gentle like the curve of a willow branch, filling the entire hall.

“Three years ago……that day three years ago, it was you who plucked a flower from the peach tree for me, saying face wins over the peach blossom, it was really beautiful at that time ah……that peach blossom……why? It has once again reached the season of blooming peach blossoms, yet you feel no sentimental attachment, do you have no heart?” The words of complaints grows a little shrill, like the struggling before death.

“Three years ago, your face indeed won over peach blossoms, but now, do you need to take another look in the mirror?”

Consort Li once again sinks into silence, all of a sudden, another sound of clothes and something heavy plunging to the ground can be heard within the hall again, just when Gui Wan was absolutely startled, a round of clapping resounds throughout the hall.

“Without doting grace, could it be that even one’s self-respect and body all have to be brought out in a show of humiliation?” Such scorning contains a frost cold tone, spitting out vicious words, yet her voice itself is infinitely gentle, like the whispering of sweet nothings between lovers.

Her sobbing sounds once again, the difference being, her crying contains laughter, crazily, insanely, murmuring: “That’s right, you will never feel sentimentally attached, you are a heartless person……ha ha ha ha, you even murdered your own child, how could you possibly have a heart?” Bitter laughter continues to sounds from Consort Li’s mouth.

“Oh? How are you so certain that is my child, and not Lou Che’s vile spawn?”

A view of darkness before her eyes, such boundless absence, Gui Wan abruptly freezes, unconsciously lifting her numb hand, resting it on her chest, feeling the slight beating, and only then did she believe the entire truth she had just heard, the one speaking is actually the current emperor–––Zheng Liu.



Gui Wan is singing songs from a Yue Opera called Peacocks Flying Southeast or Kǒng Guè Dōng Nán Fēi / 孔雀东南飞. Many are familiar with the story of the Butterfly Lovers, but this internationally lesser known story is yet another famous tragic love story, similar to that.

A Peacock Flying to the Southeast was a tragic love story of a young man named Jiao Zhongqing and his wife Liu Lanzhi. Although the newly weds loved each other very much, Zhongqing’s widowed and perhaps morbid mother could not stand Lanzhi coming between her and her son. Eventually she broke up the marriage. The young couple’s dream of coming together was shattered when Lanzhi’s mother and brother forced her to marry someone else. As a protest, they took their own lives, fulfilling their vow of living together in the other world.

[Credits: http://people.wku.edu/haiwang.yuan/China/tales/kongquedongnanfei.htm]

[Link to a translation of the complete narrative poem – Peacocks Flying Southeast]

Personally, I’m not exactly a fan of Chinese opera, or opera in general 😄 but I think the lyrics of the songs are worth reading into…it’s pretty hard to imagine someone learn to sing songs of such emotional depth from a young age

[1] The first song sang by Gui Wan here is called Reluctant To Part.

[2] And the second song is called The Person Leaves This House Empty And Lonely.

[3] The dark horse or the hidden talent, is called cáng long wò hǔ / 龙卧虎 in Chinese, literally translating to hidden dragons and crouching tigers, referring to talented people remaining in the shadows.

And finally he’s here…with Zheng Liu the emperor, introduced in a different light to the impressions we initially got of him, it’s needless to say he’s not a very nice person, and definitely isn’t as weak as he made himself out to be.

So much going on in this chapter, and more to come too, but for now, what do you guys think?

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60 thoughts on “红颜乱: Chaos Of Beauty Chapter 19 (Part One)

  1. “The problem between him and Gui Wan, shall have to wait till this matter is over to solve it, after all, they still have an entire lifetime……”

    Can I give him a couple slaps??? D:.<

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The emperor?? Haha well I hope you’re a little more prepared now, if I say Ye Li frustrates me, I’d say the emperor utterly disgusts me…but let’s just allow all that to unravel in the story…

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      1. At the beginning when they entered the place and the eunuch told her that the emperor uses it, I had a feeling that he was definitely gonna appear in this chapter somehow, but then probably because I was so anxious to find out who it was, I busted through this so quickly that the reveal ended up shocking me so much

        I mean I guess it’s not really so surprising coming from that royal arse, but you’re right, now i’m just disgusted by him!

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      1. I know! But the sad part of it is that GW is starting to find happiness with LC despite what has happened! Arg, please someone slap some sense into LC!

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        1. And Lou Che is already aware of her feelings, probably why he had in him to say such thing, just that she was hesitant in actually accepting it. But do rest assured, his visit to the palace this time is for the better 🙂 If not for that one needless phrase, he would probably get so much more love after this lmao

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          1. Pause! Looks back! Did you just say LC already knows her feelings? Did i miss something? From what i can remember LC knows that GW do not have any feelings for him other than civility with each other. That is why LC started to hate it whenever GW calls him “Lord Husband”

            As for the emperor, i thought that he was okay that LC keeps on meeting consort Li. Cause he didnt stop LC’s meeting with consort Li. I thought, he understands that consort Li likes LC.

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            1. I think he sort of got an inkling, back when Gui Wan was abducted to the Nu, and during their reunion in the tent, Lou Che spoke of the boundary line or circle he made to “not fall in love” with one another throughout their marriage, that’s when he comes to realise that he had already unknowingly wandered out of that circle, whilst Gui Wan is still hesitating to step out of it, so I believe he is aware that the feelings are there, it’s just a matter of whether Gui Wan is willing to accept these feelings, and accept him

              Consort Ying** lol I was worried that bringing in another consort will get people confused haha, there’s also a Consort Yin too buts she isn’t really a significant character…and yes the emperor doesn’t stop Lou Che from meeting Consort Ying and is also more than aware of Consort Ying’s feelings for Lou Che, but he was never “okay” with it, I think Lou Che’s words to Consort Ying really made the emperor sound like a saint, whilst I’d say he’s the complete opposite…all of this you will come to understand better in the next half of this chapter though 🙂

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  2. The emperor absolutely not a gentleman. I still don’t know his motives to forced consort li did the evil thing,instead punish consort Ying for adultery for example, but for sure he is hypocrite. Probably he fear Lou Che too.

    Poor GW got entangled with him too.

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    1. The complete opposite to his initial image, the image the commoners hold of him is also quite laughable to if you think about it now. His motives would be explained in the next chapter, and it also becomes clear just how scheming he is.

      Gui Wan really is in the wrong place at the wrong time, it kind of frustrates me that she had to take it upon herself to enter the palace to investigate :/

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  3. I’ll join that line to slap LC also. LC better watch out….the emperor is evil and manipulative. It’s a good thing that GW overheard their conversations so she can be on guard. Thank you for the update. Really enjoying this story and your wonderful translation.

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    1. Haha the llne sure is growing 😄 Lou Che may actually be more aware than you think, as for Gui Wan, I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing she overhears all this, this extremely top secret information regarding the inner palace affairs, can put lives at risk :/

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  4. I don’t know if emperor genuinely loved consort ying but because all “betrayals” it turned to hatred …. or he never truly loves her from at the first time, it just admiring beauty instead. Can’t wait for next chapters for revelations hahahaha

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  5. Ahhhhh so the Emperor is a bastard and he is not as what he seems. He seems to know the relationship between his Consort and LC. I wonder if his real character is the reason why LC is afraid about the prophecy that GW will enter the palace. Will the Emperor do something to GW to hurt or control LC, after knowing LC’s feelings toward GW as a warning or revenge?

    The Emperor seems more and more like a complex and cruel person.

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    1. That’s the best way to put it 😄 And oh he knows all too well, and after he managed to take Yao Ying away in a blink of an eye, Lou Che has good reason to be weary of the emperor.
      And well, all I can say in answer to your questions, is that the connection between the emperor and Gui Wan will take off in a very unsettling way, be it to manipulate Lou Che, be it for other reasons, it’s just very unsettling

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      1. After reading the next chapter, I guess my speculations really fit. He took one girl away and now he’s trying to manipulate the other to get to LC. I wonder if LC is even aware about this. Well, he is probably aware as LC and the consort DID seem to have some sort of relationship before the Emperor took her as his consort. However, will LC realize that the Emperor is now toying with GW too before it’s too late?

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        1. Not to mention both Lou Che and Gui Wan have their own individual battles to face with the emperor, and the problem here, is whether Gui Wan herself is willing to let Lou Che know of all this, particularly when she sneaked into the palace herself without his knowledge

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  6. Wow. What a twist. Didn’t know the Emperor is so cruel and heartless. He appears to be weak in front of others. Thank Goodness GW sees his real character now. LC is not any better. He might not have a lifetime with GW if the prophecy of GW entering the palace becomes true. Thanks for the update. Can;t wait to read Part 2.

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    1. Exactly, now imagine being in Gui Wan’s position, I’d much rather Gui Wan does not see any of this, and remain as far away from him as possible lol
      Whether Lou Che mentioned that to console himself, or because he’s really that confident, his one phrase sure got everyone fired up 😄

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  7. Does that mean that the emperor was in the grand hall already and saw Gui Wan and De Yu enter, yet concealed his presence until the confrontation with Consort Li? I wonder how else he could have suddenly appeared. Regardless, I have a feeling that this will lead to the first of a long line of entanglements between Gui Wan and the emperor – perhaps he will discover her hiding behind the dragon throne and begin to show interest towards her and desire her as one of his own. I’m really scared because of the phoenix prophecy surrounding Gui Wan. I hope the emperor stays far, far away from her!!

    Thank you xia0xiao1mei, I enjoyed reading as always! 🙂

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  8. I hope they wont get caught by the emperor though how woud that be possible when the emperor seemed to be already inside from the beginning of time. The emperor sure was evil. He killed his own child. How can he think that she was carrying LC’s child when she’s already inside the back palace, not like they can just easily meet and go to one corner and make babies. He’s loony in the head is my i think.

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  9. Whoooooaaaa
    Exciting development!
    Firstly, I couldn’t agree more with those who want to slap LC. He’s such a disappointment.
    Secondly, I did not see the thing with the emperor coming. This is very exciting. The emperor is obviously very cunning and evil. His love for consort Ying is probably all pretense, and he probably wants to put his claws in LC at some point.. I can’t wait to see how it develops. Perhaps the emperor even wants to frame the empress for this, since he’s dissatisfied with her.
    And gah, I just feel like GW is awesome and should be with general Lin!! But she’s married and has developed feelings for LC already.

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    1. More will be explained in the next part of the chapter, concerning the emperor and consort Ying, but the most pitiful part about the empress, is that I don’t even think the emperor cares enough to even be disatisfied with her
      Gui Wan may have developed feelings for Lou Che but she still cannot help but to oppose due to him siding with Consort Ying whilst she feels compelled to help the empress

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  10. Why is everyone being so kind to Lou Che by only slapping him? *straps him to explosives and presses the remote control*

    There! Now Gui Wan can be with General Lin.

    Lou Che’s assumption that he will have a lifetime with Gui Wan immediately conjures up an image of An Zi Wu from Mulberry Song. I bet An Zi Wu thought he had a lifetime with Sang Ge after he defeated the tyrannical emperor, too, and look what happened.

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    1. Hahahahaha if that’s the case, I invite you to a game of angry birds 😄 😄 😄

      That’s so true, but at least Gui Wan wouldn’t simply be waiting for him, that girl has her own business to attend to lol

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  11. …and the plot thickens. I thought it was Prince Duan, but who knew it was the emperor himself. Thank you for the new chapter, I’ll be waiting anxiously to know what happens in the next chapter 🙂

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    1. Your welcome ^_^ yep the plot thickens and the political battles grows even more intense lol half a story in and he finally reveals his true nature, it’s no surprise it’s such a big shocker haha

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  12. Every times Lou Che puts Gui Wan’s matter second, Gui Wan always ended up running into troubles. Just because she is your wife and think you both will have a lifetime together, let’s see how much you will ended up regretting. Huff huff

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    1. To be fair, Gui Wan had secretly ran off into the palace without Lou Che’s knowledge this time, so even if Lou Che wants to help her, it’ll be difficult to, particularly when she is deliberately hiding from him also :/
      Hahaha that “lifetime” comment really will be death of Lou Che 😄

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  13. Although i did not guess to what extent the Emperor was evil, i never thought he was a good person. anyone who could turn his back so definitely on his wife for the mistress, ready to kick her to the curb, can only be described as heartless. Before I thought he was a stupid heartless bastard. Now I see he is a psychopath.

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