Chapter 64 General Jiang After Bath
Because the matter was so great, at the end of the discussion, Lian Chen still couldn’t agree with Lian Ding’s suggestion and he decided to think about some other methods. Chivalry, loyalty and friendship... these sounded like attractive for young people like Lian Ding. But for sophisticated old people like Lian Chen, these are empty words as drifting clouds.
Lian Chen had met with Qiu Feng before but still can’t believe him; Qiu Yelan, a person who remained doubtful about Ruan Qingyan’s origin, was even more reluctant to take risks.
“Have you ever heard of this guy, Qiu Feng?” Qiu Yelan asked Chunran and Xiaran on the way back to Prince’s Mansion of Xihe.
Both of them nodded, “Although the Iron Master Qiu only appears for recent few years, but his reputation is so great and spreading so fast that even the stadholder of Jiao Zhou wants to recruit him. However, because nobody knows his origin and he could hardly be met with... so finally, the stadholder gives up.”
“How about his accent? You know that people’s accents are different from each other in different villages in the south?” Qiu Yelan frowned slightly. When Lian Chen said that the origin of Qiu Feng was unknown, she felt uncertain. But now, even the stadholder of Jiao Zhou neither couldn’t make a thorough investigation of his unknown background, so it was beyond unclear, but suspicious. Unless it was in the era of war and in a state of anarch, otherwise, the government’s power should definitely be the greatest and most extensive.
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Xiaran said, “But his accent is just simple authentic Mandarin.”
“...” Qiu Yelan felt speechless.
Chunran proposed, “Why not go back to General’s Mansion and ask the young master? He met with and made friends with lots of people when he was in the south. He knows people of all sorts, so he may hear on the grapevine and know some private information.”
“Cousin is getting sick and recuperating now. Moreover, the palace exam would be on Mar. 15th. I don’t want him to get distracted.” Qiu Yelan shook her head, “No matter how much the dowry is, how could it be compared with cousin’s prospect?”
Su He couldn’t help asking, “Can we ask General Jiang to help?”
“If Jiang Family get involved, I’m afraid Empress Dowager Gu won’t sit back and watch,” Qiu Yelan kept shaking head, “besides, I just picked up and sent back a cat of him, and he has already returned the favor.”
Even though she said like this... When Su He and other servants were all settled at night, Qiu Yelan got up quietly, changing her clothes into a neat dark one, then left the room through window and went straight to the wall next to Jiang’s residence....
A moment later, stroking her chest, she hid in one room in Jiang’s residence and sighed for her adventure, “It’s just one of their residences, even if it’s inhabited, how could they go so far as guarding so carefully? Fortunately, the zombies of my previous life were smarter and moving more swiftly than these Kungfu masters.... Huh... I was almost found by them just now.... I’m so weak now!”
Wiping the cold sweat, Qiu Yelan felt her in a dilemma, “How could I forget that I even don’t know where Jiang Yashuang lives! This residence is so big! If I keep searching like this, I may be witnessed... and I couldn’t just kill people optionally like in my previous life.... If I retreat, it’s so hard to give up after making so great effort....”
When she was thinking deeply and weighing the pros and cons, a sound of footstep just came from the outside gallery, and then a girl whispered softly, calling out liquidly, “Jiang Tan!”
Qiu Yelan suddenly awoke and realized: Isn’t this Jiang Tan Jiang Yashuang’s trusted subordinate？
As her expectation, Jiang Tan’s voice sounded in the court, calling the girl “Your Grace He.” It sounded like he was pretty surprised, “Your Grace, haven’t you slept yet? Is it because you haven’t used to the bed here?”
“I don’t care about this,” the girl’s voice was sweet and crisp, but also showing her nimbleness, “I just greeted Madame and went to sister Qizheng to chat for a while. I am about to go back! It’s so late now, so why are you still here?”
“Xixiang ink which is used by the nineteenth young master runs out. But following the old Master’s instruction, he hasn’t finished practicing calligraphy today yet. So, the young master asks me to go to the warehouse to get some while he is practicing sword fighting,” Jiang Tan explained, “and I’m going to send the ink.”
The young lady He then said, “Oh, wait... fine, forget it. You call Caiqi or Caiying to come here tomorrow. I got some very nice ink this time when I left Jing City. Let cousin try it.” Obviously, she formerly wanted Jiang Tan to take it to Jiang Yashuang on his way back, but then thought that it was so late and it was not appropriate for Jiang Tan, a manservant to get her residence. So she changed her mind.
Jiang Tan smiled and said, “The nineteenth young master just said, after your grace back, you must bring something for him.”
“He’s almost an adult now. How could he still look forward to what I bring to him like a child as before?” That young lady He laughed, “Go back and tell him, so that he won’t make a blind guess and could concentrate when practicing calligraphy. If the old Master found him absent-minded, he would be punished and has to rewrite it one more time.”
After Jiang Tan greeted and left, the young lady He and her servants also went away, Qiu Yelan hurriedly walked out of the house and chased after Jiang Tan.
Following Jiang Tan, she smoothly went to a small independent courtyard near the lake.
Before she entered, she had already heard the sound of brandishing a sword.
Qiu Yelan thought for some time, then went around the courtyard and climbed over the wall to get in. Entering the courtyard, the sound of the blade breaking through the air became clearer. She looked out from a dark corner of the wall. In the court, Jiang Yashuang’s long sword danced into a silver light. He played it so well as his defense was like water-impermeable. But Jiang Tan was absent. Maybe he went to the study room to put down the ink. Two maids in colorful dresses serving in the gallery, and they probably be Caiqi and Caiying Jiang Tan just said to the young lady.
“So... how long will his practice take? Well, Jiang Tan just said that he hasn’t finished practicing calligraphy. Maybe find the study room first.” Qiu Yelan withdrew her head.
The yard was not very big, so it was easy to get to the study room. Not long after, Qiu Yelan got into a room full of books.
At this time, Jiang Tan had left the ink on the table and left himself. She hid in a corner in the dark and began to wait. At the same time, she was preparing the words which she may have to say later to convince Jiang Yashuang to help more or less.
After a while...
“How could he still haven’t shown up? It is already midnight, and Darui didn’t have an Imperial Exam for warriors. How could he be so hardworking?”
And another while later...
“There’s no sound in the yard. Why nobody shows up? Is there more than one study room?! So where are the others?”
Still a while later...
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“Not anymore! There must be a problem that he hasn’t been here for so long. I almost fall asleep if I keep waiting here... Let me go out and find him!”
Qiu Yelan silently crept out of the door, looking around, and saw a light in a room. The light illuminated the outline of the bookshelf, and the corner of her mouth twitched, “There is another study room!”
But when she sneaked in from the rear window, she found that Jiang Yashuang was not here either. But the three layers red-sandalwood-made Fushou bed, which was not far from the bookshelf, made her realize that here should not be a study room but a bedroom instead....
Noticing this bed, Qiu Yelan thought of several times of experience that she was blocked together with Jiang Yashuang, so she thought, “It’s too ominous, I’ll leave now!”
She walked out of the bedroom cautiously. There was a compartment outside without lights... and the point was, she was walking and knocking a person!
The man responded astoundingly fast, reaching out to cover her mouth!
The next seconds, Qiu Yelan bent her knee, slamming into his crotch!
At the same time, her two fingers reached out like a halberd, poking directly towards the man’s eyes!
But both movements of her attack didn’t work. The man seemed to notice the unusual situation. With his other hand grabbing her wrist and lightly pressing her vulnerable point, Qiu Yelan suddenly became sore and weak, and almost fainted in him arms— following Jiang Yashuang’s helpless words, “I just took a shower inside and I found you in my bedroom. So, I want to put on a robe here and then go in....”
... At this time, the two people were too close, even without a word, Qiu Yelan could feel a strand of long hair with wet water, brushing her cheek.
“... I’m sorry!” Qiu Yelan was embarrassed secretly and whispered. Why did she forget that he would take a bath after practicing sword fighting？
Jiang Yashuang let go of her hands and coughed with embarrassment, “You... go into the room first. I haven’t... fastened my outer belt....”
Obviously, he used both his hands just not only because he felt wrong, but also for he had to pull his robe.
Qiu Yelan went back to the bedroom embarrassedly. After a moment, Jiang Yashuang, whose face looked like a beautiful jade but was faintly blushing at the moment, came in.
He was just out of the bath, with his dark, waist-length hair incompletely dried. He spread it on his shoulders, wet and soft, smooth like silk under the light. Inside of his dark green, wide-sleeved and peacock pattern clothes, a snowy white underwear was partly hidden and partly visible. All these made her handsome eyebrows and eyes are as bright as the beautiful forests and lakes after the rain, but with a bitter smile on his face. However, seeing Qiu Yelan lowering her head timidly, he shook head again, sighing, “Sit down and talk.”
“I was really sorry just now.” Qiu Yelan’s face showed her pain and self-blame, as well as her positive attitude of admitting the mistake.
Probably because it was not the first time things become embarrassing when encountering her, even though Jiang Yashuang was a bit shy, he had used to it, too. He said with a little helplessness, “Just an accident, and you don’t know I’m in the compartment... so did you come because of something hard to handle?”
“... I would like to ask granduncle to talk to my uncle Qiu Mengmin about the dowries of my grandmother and mother,” Qiu Yelan was now in no mood to prepare for her words, and she just said straightforwardly, “but I don’t have the dowries’ list — the one collected by Lian Family is in Lanxi and granduncle is a little worried about whether it could be delivered or not.”
She snapped two silver notes on table without any useless words, “Whether you could make it successfully or not, these are my small gifts.” Although after she sneaked into the room in secret, Jiang Yashuang’s nice attitude showed that he was well-cultivated. But it would be unreasonable if she paid nothing every time when she needed his help and bothered him. What was the old saying? The benefit-based relationship would be the most stable!
Jiang Yashuang glanced at the silver note but didn’t accept it. He calmly asked, “Who is the master of Mrs. Fan and Xiuyan?”
Qiu Yelan wondered for a moment before she remembered how he knew it. She couldn’t help but glanced at him, Jiang Yashuang subconsciously turned his head, and coughed with embarrassment, “I incidentally remember it when I heard your words on that day.”
“It’s my aunt Qiu Yuqing and aunt Princess Yang.” Qiu Yelan was worried that he might feel embarrassed, so she turned to be serious, hurriedly sitting properly and looking straight.
Jiang Yashuang pondered, “I do have some servants, but... they are all monitored by Empress Dowager.”
“One of my cousins, who is in my granduncle’s family, recommends a person and it sounds great, but I don’t know the details of that guy.” Qiu Yelan knew that he was telling the truth — the two Empresses’ war seemed to be temporarily suspended, but it was more likely that they just turned the battlefield back to the imperial harem. So, even if Prince’s Mansion of Xihe knew Lian Family’s dowry list, if they want to do something, it is estimated that they would only utilize the power of Prince’s Mansion.
But if Jiang Yashuang did something and led to Empress Dowager Gu’s misunderstanding.... In Qiu Yelan’s plan, she wanted Qiu Mengmin to give back these two dowries silently, but without raising a colossal uproar as the matter of Madame Lu.
So she didn’t insist but turned to her second-best choice, “I think that Jiang Family has eyes and ears everywhere, so I come to ask you about it.”
Jiang Yashuang lowered his head, “Keep going.”
“It’s a master in the south, called Qiu Feng.” Qiu Yelan hadn’t finished but she saw Jiang Yashuang shaking his head, “I haven’t heard of this guy before.”
He thought for a while, “Tomorrow I’ll ask servants to go back to the Mansion of Marquess Qin and ask for this, maybe someone over there knows.”
Speaking of this, he suddenly said, “In fact, if you don’t believe this Qiu Feng, there is another way to get that list into Jing City successfully.”
Qiu Yelan asked in no time, “What’s that?”
“Ask someone to take this to the north of the city,” Jiang Yashuang walked to the bookshelf, taking out a bluestone token from it, and said an address, “this is another stronghold of ‘Tianya’.”
He explained, “Although ‘Tianya’ specializes in assassinations, as long as the rewards are considerable, they would be willing to accept some other errands. Their credibility has always been good, and they will definitely make it as long as they accept your order!”
Seeing Qiu Yelan’s hesitant look, Jiang Yashuang whispered, “Their principals are very savvy, so the government has failed several times of secret exterminating operations.... Of course, this is also because they are very useful sometimes.”
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