Chapter Seventy-Eight (Part Two)
Side Chapter: Meng Han Yu
Meng Peng Fei is an old fried dough, Meng Han Yu is a little fried dough.
This day, old fried dough takes little fried dough along on a trip.
Old fried dough – Meng Peng Fei – sets his mind on how to teach little fried dough a lesson, but little fried dough – Meng Han Yu – isn’t an idle one either, always able to make old fried dough hit thin air with a flutter and sway, causing him to grit his teeth at the empty touch. Truthfully speaking, Meng Peng Fei is rather happy at heart, after all, no matter how slippery little fried dough is, he is still his son, his son is so intelligent, how could he not be happy?
*Cough cough*, alright, although he sometimes truly does, really want to beat him.
“Father!” Meng Han Yu lightly pushes open the carriage window, sticking his head out to speak to Meng Peng Fei: “How long left until we arrive ah?”
Meng Peng Fei sits on the horse, back straight, a body of determination, “None of your business.” Voice very formal, but the words coming out of his mouth, not so much.
“……” Meng Han Yu finds that his father is indeed immature, such reckless words……could it be that he’s still bothered about him snatching the wheat cake his mother made this morning? “Father, I just ate two wheat cakes this morning.”
Meng Peng Fei coldly harrumphs, “Just?” What’s meant by just? His wife had only made ten pieces of cakes in total, alright?!
“Father.” Meng Han Yu shakes his head, a face of helplessness, “You sure are petty.”
Meng Peng Fei turns his face, evilly glaring at him, “Brat, that was specially made for me by your mother.”
Meng Han Yu really is speechless this time, and can only half-heartedly nod, “Right, right, right, that was made for you by Mother, I won’t fight over it with you, fine now?”
Meng Peng Fei sounds ‘heng’ from his nose, “At least your tactful.”
“Can you finally tell me how long we have left now?”
“Damned rascal, what’re you in a rush for?” Meng Peng Fei looks ahead, “There’s at least another two weeks.”
“……” Meng Han Yu uncomfortably twists his body, “How could it still be so long, my bones are about to fall apart already!”
Meng Peng Fei gloatingly casts him a glance, “Was it not you who insisted on coming along with me?”
“Then how about……” Meng Han Yu turns his eyes, “I ride the horse, you sit in the carriage?”
“……” Meng Peng Fei twitches his eyes, instantly pushing Meng Han Yu’s head back into the carriage, “Sit back into your carriage!”
Meng Han Yu really dislikes sitting in horse carriages, he had originally expected to valiantly ride a horse like his father, who knew he would instead be sitting in a horse carriage like the delicate ladies –– ah ha, what a joke, should this matter spread to those several rascals on the streets, how could they not make fun of him? This matter must be kept secret, definitely must be kept secret!
So once he arrives at the villa of Mount Qi Yun, Meng Han Yu slips out of the carriage, rather bear with the huge sun, than to remain in the horse carriage.
“Brat.” Meng Peng Fei’s eyes are sharp, noticing his son’s restlessness within an instant, “You remain vigilant now, this is not Yun Ze, not a place for you to mess around in.”
Meng Han Yu stretches his body, “Father, I know, I know to act with propriety.”
A soldier comes forward at this moment, saying the emperor has called for Meng Peng Fei, Meng Peng Fei could only hastily tell him a few words before leaving, leaving Meng Han Yu to stroke his chin, a look of deep thoughts with unknown intentions.
Reality tells Meng Peng Fei, Meng Han Yu may know what kind of a plaything ‘propriety’ is, but very clearly, ‘propriety’ does not know what Meng Han Yu is.
“Meng! Han! Yu!” Meng Peng Fei darkens his face, eyes filled with fury as he looks at Meng Han Yu in the distance, “Come here right now!”
Meng Han Yu grinningly says: “Father, what’s wrong with you, why so angry?”
The vein at Meng Peng Fei’s temple vaguely twitches, he squeezes the words out through his teeth, “What’s wrong? You’re actually asking me what’s wrong?” Whilst saying this, he was approaching Meng Han Yu step by step, like a cheetah ready to pounce.
Meng Han Yu inspects his left and right, taking a few steps back, “What is Father saying, I don’t understand at all ah.” Eyes chaotically darting around, a bright and clever look.
“You little b*stard!” Meng Peng Fei could not hold back anymore, with a few quick strides, he was about to catch him, but it cannot be helped that Meng Han Yu’s body was able to dash to the side, accurately eyeing a huge tree as he rapidly climbs up, agility comparable to a cat.
“Father ah.” Meng Han Yu plucks a leaf and places it into his mouth ,”On such a hot day, don’t let yourself fire up so much ah.”
Meng Peng Fei narrows his eyes, “You damned rascal! Get down right now!”
“Why should I come down?” Meng Han Yu chews on the leaf, “Should I come, isn’t that just asking to get hit?”
“So you know you’re asking to get hit too?” Meng Peng Fei’s lips twitches, “Should you know, then why would you do all those things?”
Meng Han Yu sighs, “Father, I didn’t mean to.”
“Didn’t mean to? Smashing the large celadon vase gifted by the Yun Mi emperor a day ago, setting fire to a Yun Zhan palace maid’s hair a night ago, tearing the brocade fabric his majesty bestowed into shreds yesterday, knocking three teeth out of a Yun Mi eunuch last night.” Meng Peng Fei’s complexion looks worse and worse as he mentions each incident, “Today, you actually dare to kill his majesty’s fishes?!”
Towards all these accusations, Meng Han Yu feels very innocent, “I really didn’t mean to.”
“This old man doesn’t care whether you meant it or not! Come down right now! This old man shall beat this damned rascal to death!”
Meng Han Yu pulls a silly face, “I just wouldn’t come down!”
“Are you coming down?”
“No!” Meng Han Yu smiles, not like his father can climb trees anyway, what can he do?
“Very good, very good.” Meng Peng Fei paces forward, then directly kicks at the big tree, causing all the leaves to shudder at the shock. He yells out towards the guards outside the courtyard: “Come! Stay on guard under this tree! When Young Master comes down, tie him up and bring him to me!”
The guard that had just come over, lowers his head as he responds “yes”, only then does Meng Peng Fei smiles with satisfaction, saying to Meng Han Yu: “Not coming down? Fine, you stay up there then!”
Having said that, he throws back his sleeves and leaves, leaving behind Meng Han Yu to reveal a scheming smile.
‘Father ah, Father, could it be that you don’t know, the majority of guards here gets along very well with me?’
Half a sichen later, Meng Han Yu is already situated at the side of a pond, deep within the forest. He lifts his sleeves, revealing two snow-white arms, fingers nimbly putting a bait onto the hook of the fishing rod, he holds the fishing rod, and fiercely throws the fishing line into the pond, then leisurely sits down, muttering: “Ai~, is it not just few fishes that died, what’s there to be making a fuss over? Fine, I’ll catch some myself.”
Fishing has always been an activity that requires patience, Meng Han Yu who never had patience since young is considerably patient in this matter, but once he caught the tenth fish, he is no longer calm. He uses his thumb and index finger to pick up the little little little little fish on the hook, eyes practically going cockeyed, gloomily saying: “Where’s your grandfather gone, sending a tiny thing like you to fool me?”
The little little little little fish struggles a few times, silently expressing its protest.
“Ai~.” Meng Han Yu kindly returns it to the water, “Little fish, may I trouble you to tell your grandfather, I don’t want to see you, tell it to personally come find me.”
The little little little little fish that had regained its freedom happily sways its body, swimming to somewhere else within a moment.
“Ai~.” Meng Han Yu furrows his brows, surrendering to fate as he once again picks up the fishing rod, “Let’s continue.”
A quarter of an hour later, the originally straight fishing rod slowly curves down, and constantly pulls downwards. Meng Han Yu widens both his eyes, excitedly thinking: ‘could it be that little little little little fish really went finding its grandfather just now?’ He tries pulling the fishing rod, ha, it’s really still sinking! He becomes unbelievably happy, a big fish, this is great!
But you must know, sometimes, when too happy, one can very easily become saddened after the excitement.
For example……if he cannot pull up this fish or something.
“Is this a joke?!” Meng Han Yu’s face turns red, “So heavy!” He takes a breath, then attempts to gather his milk-powered strength to strongly pull –– but, he still cannot pull it up. In this precise moment, he catches glimpse of a blue figure appearing on his left. Looking carefully, it’s an approximately seven or eight-year-old girl. He didn’t think too much right then, stretching his neck to roar out: “Over there, the one in blue, come to me!”
The little girl in blue turns her head to him, seeming to eye him over.
Meng Han Yu extends his hand and waves it about, “What are you dilly-dallying for ah, quickly come and help me, I’ve caught a huge huge fish, quick quick!”
The little girl in blue finally shows some reaction, slowly pacing towards him.
The fishing rod in hand trembles, Meng Han Yu immediately grabs it with both hands, still loudly yelling, “Come come come, give me a hand, it’s about to come up come up.”
When the little girl in blue arrives by his side, Meng Han Yu once again yells, “Quickly ah, you……” The rest of the words are stuck in his throat.
The little girl’s facial features cannot be said to be particularly exquisite, can only be considered delicate and pretty, but that fair white face has a lovely touch of pink, making people just want to fiercely pinch it several times –– *cough cough*, of course, that is if he didn’t see the character on her forehead.
But, such an unfortunate coincidence, he sees it.
And so immediately bursts into manic laughter, laughing to the point he didn’t even care about the fishing rod anymore, “Hahahahaha, hahahahaha.”
The little girl in blue looks at him, expressionless, beady black eyes showing no feelings.
“Haha, haha,” He runs out of breath from laughing, loosening one hand from the fishing rod to support his waist, speaking disjointedly: “Ah, could it be, could it be you think by writing the word ‘king (王)’ on your own forehead, would make you a tiger? Hahahahaha, I’m dying of laughter, there’s actually someone this stupid, hahahahaha.”
The little girl freezes, calmly walking to the pond side and lowers her head to take a look, then reaches out to get some clean water and cleans the writing from her forehead.
“Hahaha, you’re too funny, hahaha,” Meng Han Yu is extremely happy, “Aiyoyoyo, my stomach hurts to death, say, how could you be so funny, hahaha, I’ve heard of others plugging their ears to steal a bell, heard of others gifting money to have people hit them, but have never heard of anyone writing on their own forehead to act like a tiger, hahahahaha.”
The little girl in blue ignores him, passing by him, about to leave.
“Don’t go ah you, hahaha, fine, I won’t laugh at you anymore, is it not just because you want to be a big tiger?” The corners of Meng Han Yu’s lips intensely turns up, eyes showing no signs of not laughing, finding that this little girl really is unbelievably fun.
The little girl stops in her steps, stilly looking at him, eyes focused.
The fishing rod slightly sinks down and down in this moment, Meng Han Yu hurriedly turns and grabs it with two hands, words still spilling from his mouth, “I’m really not lying to you, I almost thought you were that tiger, oh right, also the most mighty, most formidable big tiger on Mount Qi Yun, come come come, big tiger, give a hand give a hand.”
Meng Han Yu was unable to wait for the little girl to hold onto the fishing rod, but had instead waited for his butt to get fiercely booted.
Then, with a “pu-tong”, he falls into the pond.
Meng Han Yu blankly stands in the water for a few seconds before pointing at the little girl, angrily saying: “You you you, you actually dare to kick Young Master – I! You audacious one, do you know who my father is? My father is Meng Peng Fei! Just you wait, I’ll definitely have my father throw you into the water and have you soak in it for three sichen!”
The little girl remains expressionless, a pair of eyes calmly looking at him, neither happy nor angry.
Meng Han Yu gets even more furious upon seeing this, just as he was about to say more, he was held up by the back collar. He gets a bad feeling, then, turning his head back, indeed……
“You shameful brat still dare to be yelling there!” Meng Peng Fei holds his son up like holding a radish, cursing and scolding: “You little b*stard, I’ve told you not to run around everywhere, not run around everywhere, yet you still bring me trouble, watch how I sort you out once we get back!”
Meng Han Yu shivers, his father has captured him with great difficulty, then he…… ““I I I, Father, it’s her, it’s her who kicked me down!” He points at the little girl, complaining: “Look, I’m completely soaked through!”
“Soaked your head! Watch how your mother will sort you out later!” Meng Peng Fei pushes away his child’s wronged face, turning to say to the little girl: “This young lady, apologies, this damned son of mine has presumably done bad again, I truly am very sorry, very sorry, I’ll teach him a good lesson once I get back.”
Having said that, he one-handedly throws Meng Han Yu over his shoulder, taking long strides away. Meng Han Yu on his shoulder tries hard to swing his short arms and legs around, flopping around whilst yelling: “Stupid fool, stupid tiger, just you remember, don’t let me see you again, if not, I definitely won’t go without teaching you a good lesson, aiyo! Father! Don’t hit my butt! I’ll tell Mother you’re abusing me! Aiyo don’t hit me don’t hit me! It’s swelling up, it’s swelling up!”
The little girl does not utter a sound, silently watching the father and son pair walk further and further away, a trace of smile vaguely surfacing on her delicately fair face.
“Father! Stop hitting me!” Meng Han Yu tries his best to cover his butt, voice piercing his lungs as he shouts: “My butt’s about to split into two!”
Meng Peng Fei rolls his eyes, “Your butt is originally split into two anyway.”
Meng Han Yu turns blank for a moment, then continues to scream at the top of his lungs, “My butt’s about to split into four!”
“Into four? Let me tell you, should you have acted recklessly just now, your butt would’ve become flower petals!”
“Ey?” Meng Han Yu stops screaming, “What about just now?”
“Do you know who that little girl just now, is?”
“Hey, how am I supposed to know who she is?” Meng Han Yu doesn’t think much of it, “From the looks of it, presumably a fool.”
Having just said that, his head receives a fierce knock by his father. “Father!” Meng Han Yu really gets teary-eyed this time, “Why did you hit me again?”
“I’m hitting you for your lack of knowledge! What fool? That is Yun Mi’s Fifth Princess!”
“Ah my butt! You damned brat, causing trouble for me everywhere you go, I must beat you to death today!”
“Ey? Father, don’t ah, I didn’t know ah, don’t hit me ah!”
“Didn’t know? I’ll beat you until you know today!”
“Father you’re taking revenge!”
Meng Peng Fei wickedly laughs, “Yes I’m taking revenge, what of it?”
Meng Han Yu, you best pray for yourself.
Meng Peng Fei did not hold back at all this time, directly beating Meng Han Yu to lie in bed for five days and five nights, just like that, when sitting in the horse carriage upon returning, his butt was still vaguely stinging –– you all know, a young child’s memory is extremely good, and very easily hold grudges –– Meng Han Yu is of no exception.
Meng Han Yu had long engraved the memory of the little girl in blue into his brain, hundreds and thousands of times, heng, Yun Mi’s Fifth Princess? What’s so great about that? To actually dare to kick him into the water, actually causing him to get captured by his father, actually causing him to get beaten to the point of not being able to get out of bed for so long!
Thinking up to here, he touches his own butt, secretly making up his mind, the next time he sees this Fifth Princess or whatever, he will definitely get a good revenge, let her know that he – Meng Han Yu – is not one to mess with!
After returning from Mount Qi Yun, the struggle between Meng Peng Fei and Meng Han Yu still continues, the Meng Estate is still filled with laughter and shouting just like before, but on a certain night, when Meng Han Yu returns home after having enough fun, what he faced was an empty Meng Estate, in ruins.
Meng Han Yu originally didn’t think much of it, but once he sees the broken objects along his path, he becomes aware that something’s not right. He runs all the way to his parents’ bedroom, finally, frantically running into his sister’s bedroom, then sees……his sister’s wet nurse, eyes opened in resentment as she lies on the ground, brown coloured clothing covered in blood.
In that moment, Meng Han Yu’s breathing halts, slowly covering his mouth with his hands, preventing the exclamation from escaping his lips. He slowly approaches the corpse, lips slightly trembling……
Why did the wet nurse die?
Where have Father, Mother and Ying Lu gone?
Where have the people of the estate gone?
When he was out, what had happened in the estate?
Who is to tell him, exactly what went on?
Meng Han Yu squats down, shaking hands prepared to shut the wet nurse’s eyes, but sensitively finds that the wet nurse’s eyes were set dead onto a box. A thought flashes past his brain, quickly getting up and running to the box, he furiously opens it!
He sees his always smiling younger sister, currently curled up inside, eyes tightly shut, face pale. He reaches out touch her face, so cold.
“Ying Lu, Ying Lu.” Meng Han Yu quietly speaks up, “It’s Brother, Ying Lu, wake up.”
Ying Lu’s eyes remains shut, deeply quiet as though sleeping.
“Ying Lu, don’t scare Brother, open your eyes, alright?” Meng Han Yu’s voice carries fear, slightly shaky, “It’s Brother ah.”
Just as he reached out to carry Ying Lu out of the box, he hears the sound of footsteps coming towards them. His eyes appear startled, immediately closing the box, and swiftly hiding into a cabinet at the side. He looks through the gap to see someone enter the room, the burly figure very familiar looking.
His hands clenches tightly, it’s……Lieutenant Meng? Is he not battling at the borders?
Lieutenant Meng looks around the completely messed up room, furrowing his thick brows as he deeply says: “General……have I come too late?” He looks at the wet nurse on the ground, and suddenly walks towards the box, frightening Meng Han Yu to almost cry out loud. Lieutenant Meng walks up to the box and stops, thinking for a moment, he reaches out to open it, but did not expect someone to jump out from the cabinet at the side, fiercely kicking at his leg, “Not allowed to open!”
When Lieutenant Meng hears this familiar voice, he abruptly stops his counterattack motion, calling out in surprise: “Han Yu!”
Who knew Meng Han Yu would look at him with alertness and resentment? Spreading open his arms to guard the box behind him.
Lieutenant Meng ignores his alertness, single-handedly lifting him into his arm, “Han Yu, you’re still here, that’s great!”
Meng Han Yu uses all his efforts to struggle, throwing out his fist and kicking his legs, “You let go of me!”
“Han Yu, you must calm down!” Lieutenant Meng seizes both his hands, “I know you’ll find it very difficult for you to accept such a huge issue happening to the Meng Estate, but you must calm down.”
Only then does Meng Han Yu stops, raising his head to look at Liuetenant Meng, slowly asking: “Uncle Meng, please tell me, exactly what happened to the Meng Estate?”
Lieutenant Meng is slightly surprised, but tells him the truth, “His majesty had made a decree this morning……saying General is in cahoots with the enemy, betraying the nation, the entire household is to be arrested, and beheaded in three days.”
Meng Han Yu appears to have been struck by lightning upon hearing this, “His majesty……made the decree? Father in cahoots with the enemy, betraying the nation?” He hooks up the corners of his lips and forces a smile, “Uncle Meng, you’re joking with me, right? How could Father possibly be in cahoots with the enemy and betray the nation? Father is Yun Ze’s most formidable general, no?” And also his majesty, his majesty who has always been full of smiles, his majesty who pampers me more so than Father, how could he possibly set a decree to arrest and behead the entire household?
Lieutenant Meng just solemnly nods, “Han Yu, we all know your father is innocent, but with evil ministers in power right now, the empress covering the sky with one hand, nevermind evidence, whether the imperial decree was even personally set by his majesty or not, is unknown……”
Meng Han Yu grabs Lieutenant Meng’s wrist, “Then let us go find his majesty, let us go and clear Father and Mother from the accusations, let us go and rescue them!”
“Han Yu, you need to calm down!” Lieutenant Meng grabs his shoulders, “The palace is currently searching everywhere for you and your sister, we need to find somewhere to hide first!”
“We need to save Father and Mother!”
“The most important matter right now is to protect you and your sister!”
“Then……” His eyes turns red, “What about Father and Mother?”
Lieutenant Meng sighs, “We’ll……have to make a long-range plan.”
Meng Han Yu and Meng Ying Lu were hidden away in a safe place by Lieutenant Meng, but the so-called long-range planning to save the family……Lieutenant Meng knows, there is practically no hope. So three days later, after disguising themselves, Lieutenant Meng takes Meng Han Yu to appear amongst the crowd, quietly watching the scaffolding in the distance.
Meng Han Yu sees his always valiant father currently kneeling on the ground with his back straight, the white prisoner clothing covered with dried blood, raggedly exposing each and every whip, and burn mark on his skin, his persevering face full of unyielding attitude, but when he meets eyes with his mother, there would be traces of tenderness. His mother is still as beautiful as ever, just that her face is pale, fragile as though the wind can blow her down, his mother’s eyes contains no fear, only containing faint satire, when she meets eyes with his father, it would become so tender and loving.
These are his parents, the parents that had always pampered him, and loved him.
Amongst the crowd, some people would occasionally curse at the officials and executioners on the scaffolding, but those people’s faces are still so stiff, the voice reading the imperial decree is so cold and rigid, not carrying the slightest of feelings.
“Han Yu, don’t look.” Lieutenant Meng reaches out to cover Meng Han Yu’s eyes, but he just pushes it away with determination, coldly watching his father and mother on the scaffolding.
He sees, sees his father’s and mother’s eyes that remained calm all along, his father and mother smiles at one another, he sees them vaguely reveal their sorrows, he sees……
A scene of red.
Lieutenant Meng worriedly looks at Meng Han Yu, but sees him with a calm face, eyes unblinking, gaze set dead onto the red blood on the scaffolding.
The youngster in this moment, is no longer that mischievous and trouble-making Meng Han Yu he is familiar with.
Nor is there anybody called Meng Han Yu in this world anymore.
Many years later he and her had met again, she is still her, and he, had long not been the original him anymore.