After watching Chu Yu leave, Rong Zhi sighed, and turned to head towards the pavilion. He pushed the door open and saw Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan seated behind the table side by side, but when he walked close, he saw that the bamboo scroll on the table was upside down.
Seeing Rong Zhi return, Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan both stood up and bowed: “Thank you so much, master Rong, for warning us two.” As a matter of fact, although Chu Yu’s first guess had some errors, it was close to the truth. Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan, living at this palace, were discussing how to topple the princess’s position and regain their freedom.
Rong Zhi’s residence was solitary and remote, and plus because he liked quietness, the Princess of Shanyin removed all guards nearby, and even ordered that no one disturb him for no good reasons. Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan were both scholars; originally, they came to Rong Zhi’s place just to borrow and read literature and scrolls, but after some time, they slowly perceived the resentment and depression in the other’s heart.The two had same feelings and same hopes, so they got along well. After that, when they came here, they conspired to rebel.
Although they were good-looking, because they weren’t willing to fawn over the princess, plus Huan Yuan’s special background, they were very unfree in the palace. Not to mention going out the palace, even just somewhere within it, they were required to report beforehand. So Rong Zhi’s residence was actually the safest place for them.
In the beginning, the two didn’t tell Rong Zhi about their plan. Any opinions they exchanged were only spare words and broken sentences, even using motions and implied meanings. But later Jiang Yan realized that Rong Zhi had already found out about their secret planning, so worried that Rong Zhi would tell on them to the princess, they decided to tell him everything, and invited him to join their revolting plan.
At that time, Rong Zhi had on an indifferent expression, only saying, “Whatever you are doing, has nothing to do with me. I will neither tell on you to the princess, nor will I help you. No matter if you succeed of fail, bear the results yourselves. And look out for yourselves.”
After that, every time the two conferred, Rong Zhi will voluntarily leave and read in the woods, indicating that he didn’t want to participate in their business, but let them work it out themselves. But he also set up a mechanism under the bluestone in the woods, so that once someone comes, in the time he needed to get up, he could unnoticeably send out a warning to them.
Huan Yuan thought, that by doing these, Rong Zhi had already proved his deviation.
Rong Zhi said in a casual tone “I have already told you a few days ago, the princess seems a bit different. Today she didn’t see you at the banquet, and she actually found over here. I don’t know what she is planning. This is what I’ve said before, and I still say this now.”
After lightly giving some instructions, Rong Zhi turned to leave. But Huan Yuan strided up to block his path, and said sincerely, “Master Rong, please stay. Huan Yuan has something to talk over with you.”
Rong Zhi stopped his steps. His gaze was sharp: “Please speak.”
Huan Yuan hesitated for a second, then made up his mind and said, “Brother Jiang and I have been planning in secret, and master has been concealing us and didn’t report; this kindness Huan Yuan will forever remember in his heart…… But master, have you ever thought, that even though master never participated, one day, whether we succeed or fail, perhaps master can not be clear of all responsibility.” After saying this, a smile appeared at the corner of Huan Yuan’s lips, “Master is very favored by the princess, but letting us revolt and even secretly providing help and warning for us, I’m afraid the princess wouldn’t allow.”
Even though by doing so, it is kind of returning a favor with avengement, to win over Rong Zhi’s support, Huan Yuan could only suppress the guilt in his heart for now. Rong Zhi was extremely powerful in the inner court of the princess’s palace and his position was very honorable. Whether big or small affairs, as long as he wished to, he could all interfere at will. Not exaggerating, he could almost cover the sky with one hand. If he helped them, their doings would be so much more convenient.
When Huan Yuan said these words, he was already prepared to bear Rong Zhi’s anger. But after waiting for a moment, all he saw was Rong Zhi’s very casual smile.
His expression was soft and aloof, but after this smile, it showed slight sharpness: “You are threatening me?” His tone was low and gentle, but there was a vague sternness and power. Making Huan Yuan shudder.
Forcefully confining the rising fear in his chest, Huan Yuan said submissively, “Your servant is only making such a suggestion under desperation. Master Rong, please don’t be offended.”
Rong Zhi loosened his expression and smiled faintly, “My position on this matter will stay the same. I tell you the truth, Huan Yuan, the reason why I don’t report you and Jiang Yan’s plot to the princess, is because I don’t think you will be able to waver the princess any bit. When your scheme fails, you are welcome to push all responsibility onto me. Then you will see, that I won’t be blamed for this at all.” He seemed smiling and stern at the same time; his expression was loose and light, but his voice had a hidden nobleness in it, “I know but I don’t tell, is only because I’m too lazy to do that, not because I want to shield you. Please do not think too much of it.”
His series of remarks both struck and destroyed, hurting people without speaking profanity but was extremely cynical. They made Huan Yuan speechless; his white face blushed with anger, but it simply couldn’t break out. He could only swallow the depression into his chest.
Gritting his teeth, Huan Yuan flung his sleeves, and spit: “Brother Jiang, let’s go.”
The two figures went through the bamboos and buttonwoods one after the other, leaving Snow Shower Garden. Neither of them noticed, that on the cornice of the top floor of the pavilion, two gazes were looking at them the whole time.
All the way until Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan’s shadows disappeared into the woods, did Chu Yu withdraw her gaze. She looked at the ground seven to eight meters below her, and smiled softly, “Okay, they left. Yue Jiefei, take me down.”
A while ago she had made up a fake scene of leaving, but immediately returned, making Yue Jiefei take her back, and then overhearing the conversation between Huan Yuan and Rong Zhi. This was the truth that she really wanted to know. Just now, to avoid clashing right into Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan, Yue Jiefei brought her up here with a jump, like a short moment of riding on the clouds. Chu Yu finally experienced herself that QingGong1 really existed in the world. Now, she was going to “fly” again.
Yue Jiefei held Chu Yu’s waist, and lightly brought her down. She didn’t even see what he did, but like a huge bird, they dropped down softly from the cornice and tuned mid-air, changing their route, entering the bamboo grove. After landing on the ground, Yue Jiefei immediately let go of Chu Yu; his movements were very disciplined and courteous, but Chu Yu guessed that he was afraid that the beast in her would suddenly come out and tarnish him, therefore he was so careful.
Although she was misunderstood so frequently, Chu Yu didn’t intend to explain. Time will tell; after some time, others will notice the change in the “princess”.
After Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan left, Rong Zhi picked up the books and scrolls the two had put down. But he then heard the slight sound of garments slicing through the air. Frowning, he hurried to the window, and saw Yue Jiefei and Chu Yu landing in the bamboo grove.
Chu Yu balanced herself, then turned and met Rong Zhi’s gaze. She was neither surprised nor hurried, but very naturally shot him a beaming smile, then turned and walked out the garden.
Rong Zhi shook his head softly, muttering in his heart that Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan didn’t know, but they have failed already. So much painstaking planning was just the small struggling game of a plaything in the princess’s eyes. Only that Chu Yu’s manner these past few days were so out of his expectation, making him a little confused.
…… But just a little, nothing more.
1. QingGong: (just in case you don’t remember this from ch.6) 轻功, a skill which allows one to jump really far/high, almost like flying. Supposedly part of the ancient Chinese Kung Fu, but more likely made up… We don’t know if it really existed or not.↩