The conversation with Meng Shao Jue last night felt unreal as though it was nothing more than a dream, but such topic of conversation is destined to only be treated as a dream, after waking up from the dream, he continues his own vengeance, I continue my own plans.
The intersection of lives that are not on the same path should just be like this.
Since Ying Lu said she will help me pass on the news, the quicker it is done, the better. I dare not to risk having Ying Lu carrying a letter, and can only tell her the address, telling her to personally pass on the spoken message to Yang Fan.
After Ying Lu had left, the room went quiet, I let out a sigh of relief, the right hand at my chest seems to be able to feel the quick beating of my heart.
An ke Lan, stay calm.
I continuously walk back and forth in the room, my clenched fist sweating without stop, the sticky feeling a little unbearable. Until Qing Ya enters the room and asks me if I’m feeling unwell anywhere out of concern, do I deliberately lie on the soft couch to feign calmness.
“I’m fine.” I say to Qing Ya, also saying it to myself.
Ying Lu very quickly returns, she is clearly very nervous, tightly holding my hands as she tells me she has found Yang Fan, and has passed on my words to Yang Fan as I had instructed.
I feel my entire body lose all its energy in one moment, leaning against her shoulder as I quietly say: “Thank you.”
Ying Lu pauses, then laughingly scolds: “Silly, we’re friends.”
I look at her delicately pretty face and lightly smile, that’s right, we are friends.
As the old saying goes, the moment of waiting is the toughest.
Ying Lu has already passed on my words to Yang Fan, yet the situation on Yang Fan’s side is unknown to me. Is Yang Fan able to rescue Yuwen Rui……? This is undoubtedly the most crucial problem.
However, I very quickly come to realise my own negligence.
“Ah-Lan.” Meng Shao Jue suddenly appears at the doors, handsome face looking very unpredictable.
My hand holding the cup trembles, yet the expression on my face remains unchanging, “En.”
Ying Lu’s expression is extremely unnatural, forcing herself to hook up her red lips as she says to him: “How strange, does Brother not need to accompany Young Lady Hua today? How come you would think of coming here……?”
“Ying Lu, shut up right now.” The look in Meng Shao Jue’s eyes is ice-cold as he says this.
“Brother……” Ying Lu’s eyes turns red, resentfully saying: “Are you not even allowing me to speak about her now?”
Meng Shao Jue’s hands are held behind his back, phoenix eyes travelling back and forth between Ying Lu and I, finally stopping on her, “Ying Lu, where did you go yesterday?”
Ying Lu’s body trembles, “I……I went out to buy some powder and rouge yesterday.” Her composure instead becomes steadier, strongly saying: “Didn’t Brother say that on the twentieth of every month, Xiang Fen Court will release new products? I went to have a look with Xiao Die yesterday, this time……”
“Ying Lu.” Meng Shao Jue’s emotions are unclear in those black beady eyes, “Other than going to Xiang Fen Court, where else did you go?”
Ying Lu innocently shakes her head, “I didn’t go anywhere.”
Meng Shao Jue keeps his eyes fixed onto her for a while, then suddenly hooks up his thin lips into a smile, yet his eyes appear as sharp as a blade, “Ying Lu, I really am starting to regret spoiling you to this state now.”
“Brother.” Ying Lu remains her usual self, firmly saying: “I don’t understand what you’re referring to.”
“Ying Lu,” He approaches Ying Lu, looking down at her, “Whether you are lying or not, you should be clear of this yourself.”
He stands straight as he looks towards me, long and narrow eyes containing complications, “Last night, someone went to the prison cell Yuwen Rui is held captive in to save him, unfortunately, the rescue mission was a failure, and instead, a few people were captured by me, the few that were captured are extremely tight lipped, no matter what, they will not say where they got the information from……but what I have, are ways to make people speak up.” He turns to look at Ying Lu, asking with a smile: “Ying Lu, what did you go to a pawnshop for yesterday?”
“How do you know I went to a pawnshop?” Ying Lu looks at him in disbelief, “You sent people to track me?”
He slightly narrows his phoenix eyes, “There are naturally people protecting you in the shadows.”
“Brother!” Ying Lu takes a few steps back, “Just because of this, you’re suspecting that I was the one who told them? Then how could I know where you’ve kept Yuwen Rui imprisoned?”
“Ying Lu, I’m not dumb.” He shakes his head, saying to me: “The spy in the prison has already been captured by me, you need not waste your breath either, you cannot save him, unless you agree to my condition”
The prison guard has already been captured?
I lightly look at him, “Why is it necessary?” Why is it necessary to persist in something that you shouldn’t persist in?
“You cannot be like that.” Ying Lu walks up to him, her tone solemn.
“Ying Lu, you also wish for Ah-Lan to be your sister-in-law, don’t you?”
“Brother!” Ying Lu slaps away his hand, “You cannot treat Ah-Lan like this, it’s you who wishes to marry someone else, then why can’t you let her go?”
His eyes darken, “Ying Lu, you don’t understand the matters between grownups.”
“Yes, I don’t understand! I just know that if you like someone, then you should put all your heart into treating her well, and not go marry someone else whilst saying you love her!” Ying Lu roars: “Brother you’re too selfish!”
“Selfish?” Meng Shao Jue finally gets angry, “Very well.” He coldly says: “I am able to not take your role in this matter into account, but from today onwards, you must obediently stay in your room, not to take a single step out.” Having said that, he throws back his sleeve and leaves, leaving Ying Lu to grit her teeth at his back figure.
“Selfish!” Ying Lu kicks away a stool as she resentfully shouts this: “Brother is too selfish!”
“Ying Lu.” I lower my eyes, “Forget it.”
“Ah-Lan, I’m sorry, Brother, he…….”
“He’s not wrong.” I shake my head, “He and I are originally not people walking along the same path, such a situation was already to be expected.” So what if the information was sent out? In the end, nevermind not being able to rescue him, instead, the Pang Jia Pawnshop has been exposed……no one can be blamed for the failure this time, not like we’re the heavens, it’s not possible to include everything in the calculations of scheming.
Ying Lu dejectedly lowers her eyes, “What to do now……?”
“Ying Lu, it’s alright.” I comfortingly say: “The bridge can be crossed once we get to it.” But when will we be able to reach this bridge? I cannot possibly know.
“Young Lady.” Qing Ya knocks on the door, “May you return to your room for a rest sooner.”
Ying Lu resentfully glares at Qing Ya, “Don’t need you to come usher me!”
Qing Ya’s face remains unchanging, “Gentleman asks of Young Lady to quickly return to your room.”
Ying Lu’s hands clenches into fists, just as she was about to start cursing and scolding, I come to stop her. I say: “Head back for now.”
“I’m alright.” I spread my lips into a smile, “Afraid your brother really is angry this time, you should be more obedient for now, it’s my fault for dragging you into this.”
“What are you saying?!” Ying Lu deliberately acts fine as she pats my shoulder, “I’ll be leaving first then, see you again another day.”
I say “alright”, although I’m afraid to know that this ‘another day’, will not be in the foreseeable future.
Ying Lu is put under house arrest, and I once again stay in the room, day after day, going back to the lifestyle I had when I was first captured.
There is a phrase called ‘no path to take’.
En, it seems that I currently have no path to take.
But when Xiao Hei carries a white piece of note in its mouth, wiggling its bottom in running towards me, I come to understand, what is meant by ‘the heaven’s will always leave a door open’ and…..‘a running pig is like a fairy’.
Ying Lu’s note says she has been put under house arrest, other than her own courtyard, she is unable to go anywhere else, with two maids at her sides at all times, with no freedom at all. I respond to her note telling her to be more obedient these days, dutifully stay in for a few days and all will be fine. Ying Lu then says, this is the first time she has been locked up since young, it sure is a new feeling. I say it’ll be fine once you get used to it, there’s a first for everything.
She and I uses this ‘pig messenger’ to exchange words with one another, and to resolve the blankness and helplessness in both our hearts.
Until the third day, when Ying Lu angrily writes: “Heng, Brother can continue to keep me locked up tomorrow if he’s so capable, either way, it’s not like I want to go to that rubbish imperial palace!”
My hands trembles as I hold the note: “Imperial palace? Su Qi’s birthday?”
Ying Lu replies: “It’s the emperor’s birthday tomorrow, this future empress, the younger cousin of mine, is naturally on the list of invites as well, just that, who is to know that I don’t even want to be this empress’ older cousin? Have always despised the very sight of her since young!”
I laugh at this lass’ childlike behaviour, whilst a thought rapidly flashes past my mind.
Ying Lu will be attending Su Qi’s birthday tomorrow…..
I have forgotten about Su Qi.
Meng Shao Jue capturing Yuwen Rui and I, Yuwen Rui being imprisoned in a secret prison, and I have been put under arrest in the Prime Minister Estate. The one interrogating Yuwen Rui that day was an official, which also means that the matter of Yuwen Rui being imprisoned here is known to Su Qi, and the matter of me being captured, should also be known to Su Qi, or maybe not. But there’s one thing I can be certain of, Meng Shao Jue most certainly didn’t tell Su Qi that I have once offered to exchange Yuwen Rui’s life with the treasure maps. Meng Shao Jue kept hold of this information for his own selfish means, so that I can only be forced to agree to his condition, but should Su Qi come to know of this information……
Su Qi would promise me, because he is the monarch of the nation.
I hold the brush as I scrawl the words onto the paper: “Ying Lu, think of a way to tell Su Qi I’m in the Prime Minister Estate, and……I have what he wants.”