Chapter 52: Face Smacking Fu Shangjun (I)
When Ling Xiao woke up, any traces of Mo Qi in the place were gone. That First Prince also left just like that.
Fu Yujun stood guard by Ling Xiao’s bed and asked him about the situation as soon as Ling Xiao awoke, causing Fu Yujun to search through the entire household.
He had really found the people who had helped Mo Qi run away.
Two of them were servants in the back courtyard that did odd jobs, one was a kitchen servant while the last one was a bodyguard that looked after the courtyard. The one common point they all shared was that they were all men.
After Fu Yujun and Ling Xiao investigated the entire matter, they found out from those men that Mo Qi and Fu Shangjun already became acquainted with each other seven days ago.
They met at a tavern outside.
Mo Qi had used her beauty and in just a few days, captured the hearts of many men. She used them to take her out to play and eat from time to time.
The bodyguard had taken Mo Qi out to eat at the tavern seven days ago and met Fu Shangjun who frequently visited the place. That Fu Shangjun who liked beauty in the first place, immediately went to make friends with Mo Qi when he saw her heavenly beauty.
After that, with the two having a good impression of each other, Mo Qi made her move and asked Fu Shangjun to take her away, which he gladly agreed. This was later the reason why Fu Shangjun would drop in to ask about her.
Mo Qi could be considered much more careful after her rebirth. In order to hide from Ling Xiao and Fu Yujun, she had never publically got into contact with these men while in the household. On the days when she wanted them to take her out, she would find an excuse to get out.
Furthermore, from what these men said, that Fu Shangju had frequently gave Mo Qi gold, silver, pearls and brocaded silkes, but she had never worn them in the household.
From the beginning to the end, she took on an appearance that made it look like she was bullied and humiliated by people, a cowering and survival-seeking inferior servant look.
It provoked a few men in the courtyard to be distressed for her and love her dearly.
The day Fu Shangjun had dropped in, Mo Qi had secretly asked about what Fu Yujun and Fu Shangjun talked about. Knowing that her departure will be obstructed, Mo Qi thought of how to run away. As such, she went to find these men, who had long loved her dearly, she who received bullying from the people in the house. They all naturally wanted to help her…
What Ling Xiao and his two maids got hit with was the knockout drugs Mo Qi had bought outside, which showed that she had long prepared for this.
As for that bowl of swallow nest congee, Fu Yujun had found a doctor to inspect the remaining bits of it. What they found was a highly toxic poison.
Everything was cleared. Ling Xiao eyed Fu Yujun, his face overflowing with interest, “Do you still feel that this woman is not dangerous at all?”
The little servant had a sneer on his face that seemed to be taunting his foolishness for looking down on Mo Qi. Fu Yujun silently closed his eyes, he felt as if he could no longer show his face anymore.
The ends of his mouth curled down. He did not look at Ling Xiao nor did he reply to his question. Indignantly, he gave an order to have the four men all executed.
Fu Yujun always had a smile in his eyes and rarely had a serious expression, but now, that smile was gone and his cruelty could completely be seen. It was like a beast that got angry, causing Ling Xiao to instinctually tremble.
At this time, Ling Xiao suddenly remembered that no matter how amiable and sensitive this guy seemed, he was still someone who has seized power in the top.
Someone who sits up high, would not allow someone else to disobey them.
Ling Xiao silently closed his eyes and then heard Fu Yujun slowly said, “I heard that you made Mo Qi drink that bowl of highly poisonous swallow nest congee?”
Ling Xiao promptly raised his head and discovered that Fu Yujun had resumed his smiling expression, just that his smile was completely ice cold. It did not hold any of his carefree nature, making Ling Xiao become alert as he felt the danger.
“Why are you suddenly asking about that?” Ling Xiao discreetly asked.
Fu Yujun raised an eyebrow and his eyes narrowed from his smile. He turned around to face Ling Xiao, the golden pieces on his clothes clinking at the sudden movement. Those sounds seemed to beat within Ling Xiao’s heart, making his heartbeat sped up, step by step.
Intuition told Ling Xiao that the Fu Yujun in front of him right now was dangerous.
As he expected, Fu Yujun suddenly opened his eyes and said, “I told you before, you cannot harm her life. I still haven’t asked her what I wanted to know. Do you still remember that?”
The flickering light in his eyes were cold and dangerous, Ling Xiao lowered his head out of instinct.
Fu Yujun raised a hand and pressed down on Ling Xiao’s shoulder slightly forcefully, “Since you say you remember, you should always carry it in your heart.”
Fu Yujun’s strength wasn’t light and his shoulder ached dully under his force. Ling Xiao gave a muffled groan and pursed his brows in unease.
Taking in the sight of Ling Xiao’s silent endurement, Fu Yujun’s heart started to pound for some unknown reason. He soften his face, relaxed his grip and let go of Ling Xiao.
Ling Xiao stared blankly and raised his eyes to look at Fu Yujun. Fu Yujun looked at himself, also feeling very surprised. However, that surprise flitted by quickly and he only softly sighed. After that, he gazed at Ling Xiao and said, “I will let it go this time. Since she set down that poison herself, she was just asking for trouble. If she is not dead yet, leave her with a hint of life or get the information I want out of her about that secret.”
Ling Xiao’s eyes were filled with doubt at his words and he pursed his lips to ask, “If you wanted to know about that secret that much, then why did you not ask her about it when Mo Qi had stayed here for so long?”
Fu Yujun heard and sneered, looking at Ling Xiao from the side of his eye, “And how do you know whether I asked or not?”
“You asked?” Ling Xiao was surprised.
“Not just once.” Fu Yujun pursed his lips, “When I asked her, I had also tortured her. It’s just that the chamberlain every time was Li Si. That Mo Qi’s mouth was shut tight through it all. But now that I think back, I’m afraid that it was Li Si who was blocking it the entire time.”
Fu Yujun’s face went ice cold as he talked while Ling Xiao’s face became strange as he continued to listen. He said with some bewilderedness, “How come I… never heard about this?”
Fu Yujun gazed at Ling Xiao, his eyes filled with helplessness and love that he himself did not notice, “You would fall asleep in a room after practicing martial arts each time, how would you know what I’ve been doing!”
“……” Ling Xiao thought back and it really was so. Practicing martial arts had no doubt taken all his energy. There wasn’t even time for him to worry about Mo Qi, so how could he pay attention to Fu Yujun?
Ling Xiao nodded his head, slightly embarrassed.
Peering at the little servant’s simple and honest appearance, that final bit of complaint within Fu Yujun’s mind completely disappeared. He slightly shook his head, sighed and straightened his clothes, “Alright, since the matter has already reached this point, let’s go to Hopeful Spring Tavern.”
“?” With a face full of confusion, Ling Xiao was dragged off to the biggest tavern in Shao Country by Fu Yujun— Hopeful Spring Tavern.
The large stage within the building was the most distinguishing feature of this tavern. On a normal day, numerous popular singers and dancers would perform on it.
With wine fragrance everywhere, watching beauties dance wonderfully and listening to their sweet songs is something humans enjoyed above everything else.
As such, this tavern always received everyone’s love and some would even especially spend their time, indulging in sensual pleasures. Loose and casual hedonistic sons of rich parents, with Fu Shangjn naturally included within them.
After they went in, Fu Yujun took a private room on the second floor and brought Ling Xiao upstairs.
Within the private room, they could see the play below through the window. The view was even more expansive.
Fu Yujun ordered a jug of good wine and a few appetizer, absentmindedly looking at the play below while explaining parts of it to Ling Xiao from time to time.
Ling Xiao was fed up with listening to it and interrupted him, frankly asking, “Why did we come here?”
Fu Yujun stared blankly, placed down his wine cup and teased, “I brought you out to take a look at Shao Country’s well known tavern.”
Ling Xiao sneered, “Your household just had that kind of event happen, you wouldn’t have chosen to come now for no reason, if you had a mind.”
“Is there any purpose for coming here?” Ling Xiao asked.
The little servant’s serious face with his brows tight as he thought made Fu Yujun very pleased.
He couldn’t help but lightly laugh and explain, “I am most clear about that Imperial Brother of mine. Although he loves beauties, he just doesn’t know passion and always pursues for something new, especially the things he got ahold of, he doesn’t know how to treasure it.”
“Are you saying, that Mo Qi would be spurn by your Imperial Brother? Even with her appearance?” Ling Xiao had doubt written all over his face. Mo Qi’s appearance was rare in this world.
Fu Yujun lightly drank a mouthful of good wine and asked, “Do you think my Imperial Brother and I have lacked in seeing beauties?”
“……” Ling Xiao went silent, then asked, “Then why did we come here?”
“Do you know why my Imperial Brother likes coming here?” Fu Yujun posed a question instead of answering.
Ling Xiao shook his head and Fu Yujun looked down. On the stage below a woman was now dancing. He observed the dancer’s movements, asking Ling Xiao, “What do you think of that woman’s dancing?”
Following his question, Ling Xiao looked down, only to see a woman dressed in colorful red dancer clothing, with exquisite heavy makeup while dancing lightly and gracefully on stage.
Her dance carried charm and allure, her waist moving with beautiful movements. Without anyone noticing, everyone’s eyes are attracted to it, but Ling Xiao still just indifferently watched, shaking his head silently within his mind.
This woman’s dance had too much enticement, not enough liveliness, her luring attitude was too clear and it looked deliberate and cumbersome.
Although he thought that way, Ling Xiao did not show any of it on his face and only agreed with Fu Yujun, “Pretty good.”
Fu Yujun turned back to look at him and lightly smiled, “Your standards are pretty high for just a little servant, but this is Shao Country’s number one dancer in the number one tavern, Hong Ye. In your opinion, it is only ‘pretty good’?”
Ling Xiao immediately corrected himself when he heard that, “Good, very good.”
Fu Yujun sneered and reached out to pat Ling Xiao’s head, then shoot him a helpless glance.
“This woman is the one that Imperial Brother has his interest in the longest, it’s already been three years.”
“Wha…” Ling Xiao was astounded.
“For the most part, the reason why my Imperial Brother likes to come to this tavern is because of her.”
“And you’re saying your Imperial Brother does not have lasting feelings despite of this?” Ling Xiao looked at the woman some more.
He only saw that woman’s eyes turned charming and her dance becoming more provoking, unexpectedly obtaining some more grace. Ling Xiao blinked his eyes in doubt.
He then heard Fu Yujun say, “The reason why Imperial Brother would do so, is because this woman had refused him. He had simply never obtained this woman.”
“Huh?” Ling Xiao caught sight of something within the crowd. It was the woman-obsessed First Prince, Fu Shangjun. It looks like Fu Yujun was correct, this Fu Shangjun probably would not be attracted by Mo Qi. That Mo Qi had just followed after that Fu Shangjun, yet the man himself even had the mood to come watch a dance.
It looks like he also didn’t need to worry about Mo Qi using this prince for anything. This prince did not take Mo Qi seriously from the beginning.
It’s just that… Ling Xiao blinked his eyes in doubt. Why did it look like this female dancer’s dance was becoming more livelier the more she danced?
The amorous feelings within her appearance and attitude grew, her eyes overflowing with spring while gentle feelings filled her entire body. A red flush was on her cheeks that even the face powder couldn’t hide.
It was simply too different from the dance before.
Ling Xiao knitted his brows in suspicious while he observed the female dancer, only to see her staring in one direction from beginning to end. He couldn’t help but follow her gaze.
His sight suddenly collided with a pair of serene and deep double-pupil eyes, startling Ling Xiao. The place the dancer was looking at was the private room on the opposite side of their room. The one sitting within it had an entire body dressed in black with golden embroidery, a handsome yet expressionless face and a sturdy body. It was Mu Country’s Emperor, Mu Chong Xuan.
Ling Xiao widen his eyes in surprise. He stood up from the unbelievable sight, foolishly staring at the Mu Country’s Emperor.
“What’s wrong?” Fu Yujun was startled by Ling Xiao’s sudden movement.
Ling Xiao suddenly returned to his senses and closed his eyes, then he looked back at that spot. He wanted to take a second look to see if it was real.
But when he looked back, there wasn’t anyone there…
Was it… his imagination?
Ling Xiao frown and Fu Yujun felt that Ling Xiao’s face was strange so he couldn’t help but also stand up and follow his gaze. He didn’t find anything strange in the place Ling Xiao was looking at and he couldn’t help but laugh, “You little servant, why are you suddenly so frightened? What’s wrong?”
Ling Xiao returned to his senses and glanced at Fu Yujun, but stopped himself before he said anything. In the end, he thought about it a bit and silently shook his head.
It was best he did not talk about something he did not see clearly.
Thinking, he shifted the subject, “You said that the First Prince had wanted this female dancer for a long time, so how is he still able to keep calm?”
From what Ling Xiao knew, this First Prince wasn’t a man that was so respectful of another person’s wishes.
Fu Yujun laughed when he heard that, “You don’t know the other peculiar thing about this tavern. All the singers and dancers of this tavern only sell their skills and not their bodies. Reportedly the boss of this tavern is a famous person of Jianghu, not fearing to go against the dynasty’s officials. As such, he doesn’t accept anyone’s debt.”
“Even if it’s the First Prince?”
“Even if it’s Imperial Brother.”
“Ha.” Ling Xiao felt it was quite absurd and laughed, “This is your Shao Country, the whole Shao Country is your royal family’s, but there is unexpectedly a tavern that your royal family cannot buy!”
“You guys still permit the existence of this tavern?” Ling Xiao was suspicious.
Fu Yujun lightly sighed, “Half of the money earned by this tavern is given to the dynasty. Shao Country isn’t well-off in the first place, and this tavern makes a lot of money. Besides the principle of this tavern, normally, this tavern is quite respectful to the royal family. Imperial Father is also reluctant to shut them down. Furthermore, Imperial Father never liked Imperial Brother running amok in the first place.”
“Imperial Brother is also afraid of this matter being found out by Imperial Father.” Fu Yujun only said this one line in the end.
“That’s why this tavern is fine.” Ling Xiao suddenly realized.
Fu Yujun nodded.
Ling Xiao asked, “Then what are your thoughts on the matter?”
Fu Yujun gazed a smile that was yet not a smile at Ling Xiao and did not reply. Ling Xiao was quite clear on Fu Yujun’s thoughts. Things that could not be controlled always made people feel uneasy. Perhaps this Fu Yujun had already began investigating the history of this tavern.
He was curious so he asked Fu Yujun,“Then what have you found out about this tavern?”
Chatting to this point, Fu Yujun’s face turn somewhat embarrassed and he shook his head, depressedly drinking his wine then answered, “The only thing I found out so far is that they are all not people of Shao Country, yet there isn’t any evidence.”
“……” Ling Xiao went silent, they really don’t know anything at all.
He has always felt that this tavern is a great danger to Shao Country. Ling Xiao thought of that and he shook his head, having this intuition that told him he shouldn’t think about it any deeper. He switched the subject, “Then just why did you come here? To do what?”
“To confirm a matter.”
Ling Xiao contemplated, thinking back at that First Prince Fu Shangjun who was watching the performance down stairs and connected, “Don’t tell me it’s to see if that First Prince will still come to watch that famous dancer’s performance?”
Fu Yujun smiled and nodded, “As long as he comes, it is a proof of two points. The first point is that Mo Qi is not present in his heart, she is just his plaything. The second point is that he still does not know of Mo Qi’s poisoned state. Otherwise, even if it’s a new plaything, he would not be so heartless if he knew it was poisoned.”
“There’s another point.” Ling Xiao continued, “What if… after Mo Qi escaped, she didn’t go to the First Prince’s house?”
Ling Xiao thought of the Mu Country Emperor he just saw, a feeling of unease in his heart.
Fu Yujun raised an eyebrow and watched Ling Xiao with some suspicions. This little servant had the same thoughts as him, they both thought that Mo Qi had no one to rely on in Shao Country. Besides Fu Shangjun, she had nowhere to go. So why did this small servant suddenly raise this possibility?
Fu Yujun thought and wanted to ask when suddenly, noises came from the first floor.
Ling Xiao looked down and to his surprise, discovered Fu Shangjun dragging the dancer, Hong Ye away. Fu Yujun and Ling Xiao exchanged glances and turned around to go down the stairs at the same time.
Li Si is name for an unspecified person, like just calling someone ‘Tom’, ‘John’, etc.
Jianghu is just the name for the martial art’s world.