Ten days later, Mo Junyu finally found Mo Junyang who was travel-worn at the gate of King Rui’s mansion.
“Junyang, where have you been these days?”
Mo Junyang’s eyes were darkened and he looked exhausted. He waved his hand. “Let’s talk inside.”
Mo Junyu followed him in. For the first time, he saw Mo Junyang so tired, so he was curious.
“Where on earth did you go?”
“What happened in the capital city?”
They asked at the same time.
Mo Junyang rubbed his forehead and repeated his question.
Mo Junyu was curious but had to tell Junyang about the conversation between Ling Ruiyin and him and what he had guessed. Then he expressed firmly, “I definitely don’t love your girlfriend Qingxue. Don’t get me wrong.”
Mo Junyang cast a sidelong glance at him and smiled faintly. “What if you love her? She would never take a fancy to you.”
Mo Junyu was unable to reply.
The crown prince almost spat blood. He managed to swallow it back but couldn’t control himself to complain, “It’s another problem if Qingxue would take a fancy to me. But now, my grandma would either marry her to me or make her engaged to my brother Junzhan. She didn’t even consider you.”
Mo Junyang was surprised. “Mo Junzhan?”
Mo Junyu was waiting for Mo Junyang to be choked or to retort him, but he took another point. He was stunned and then replied, “Yes. My grandma wants Qingxue to be the wife of her grandson, either me or Junzhan. If you don’t figure out a way soon…” She would really make it!
Mo Junyang interrupted Junyu forcefully and didn’t give him a reason.
The crown prince was speechless for the silent attitude of his most capable counselor and then said after quite a while, “Figure out a way. Now my grandma has brought her into the palace.”
It was said that they wanted Shi Qingxue to talk with the empress dowager to kill time, but the truth was plain. Mo Junyu didn’t dare to return to his residence the East Palace in the past ten days for fear that something wrong would happen.
Mo Junzhan went to visit the empress dowager frequently these days, more times than he did in the previous year. He would greet her once in the morning, at noon and in the evening and sometimes after lunch. If Mo Junzhan was not too young, Junyu would think this little brother who didn’t fight for the throne had some secret thought about Shi Qingxue.
He was just a kid, and it must be impossible for him to…
“Junyang, are you all right?” As Mo Junyu spoke, Mo Junyang’s face got darker. He didn’t dare to tell Junyang that Junzhan shamelessly got close to Shi Qingxue every day.
He doubted that if Mo Junyang knew that, Mo Junzhan’s good days would end.
Mo Junyang shook his head silently, as if lost in thought. After a while, he asked, “What happened at the imperial court in the past ten days when I was away?”
Mo Junyu was surprised at Junyang’s sensitiveness and answered honestly, “During the Qingming Festival, Duke Shi asked my father to grant a marriage.”
Mo Junyang nodded. “The marriage of Shi Baoning and Wenren Chi?”
“How did you know it?” Mo Junyu thought he had many spies but he got the news just a few days ago. Mo Junyang was out of the city, and how did he know it as soon as he got home?
It appeared that Junyang knew more than him!
The crown prince was unhappy at this thought…
Mo Junyang replied casually, “I guessed.”
“… Eh.” Mo Junyu hadn’t expected such a perfunctory answer.
Mo Junyu couldn’t complain, and Mo Junyang didn’t want to explain but asked, “So? His Majesty wouldn’t agree so easily, would he?”
Fine, he guessed right again.
Mo Junyu didn’t want to ask how Mo Junyang guessed that and said powerlessly, “Correct. My father found several excuses to delay it. The best reason is that Wenren Chi is already a Rank-4 general, but he is not good enough to deserve Infanta Baoning, so they will talk about it after Wenren Chi wins several battles and gets promoted to higher ranks.”
Mo Country didn’t like to start a fight. Could they fight a battle easily? It was obviously an excuse to delay.
Mo Junyu’s eyes suddenly lit up, and he said mysteriously, “But you know what? Then…”
“Then someone suggested the Shi Army go to the battlefield?” Mo Junyang took a sip of tea leisurely.
Mo Junyu’s eyes widened and almost popped out. His expression showed, “How the hell did you know it?”
Mo Junyang shrugged and asked calmly, “Who?”
Mo Junyu snorted with displeasure. “Can’t you guess?”
Both of them fell into silence and looked at each other for quite a while. Mo Junyu admitted defeat and responded, “Mo Junjiu suggested. You know about the bandits on the Qingluo Mountain. They have made trouble for several years. Although they don’t influence a lot, the government can’t defeat them after attacking for a long time and feels embarrassed.
They don’t need to go to the battlefield to suppress bandits, but if the Shi Army can take back the Qingluo Mountain, they would perform exceptionally meritorious services. They are surely to get promoted. Then my father can’t find a reason to refuse to grant Wenren Chi’s marriage.
My brother Junjiu always wants to please Duke Shi. This time he has found a good chance!”
“Yes?” Mo Junyang gave an indifferent response, with a peaceful expression.
Mo Junyu felt it strange. “What do you mean?”
Mo Junyang didn’t answer. “Did they mention when to leave?”
Mo Junyu was clear about this guy’s stubbornness and didn’t want to ask. He said crossly, “They left yesterday and didn’t wait for you to come back. What a coincidence.”
Mo Junyang was not peaceful anymore and frowned. “Qingxue… Didn’t she know it?”
Mo Junyu was happy in secret. “I know you frown mainly because of Shi Qingxue.”
However, he looked calm as usual. “Of course she didn’t know, and nobody would tell her. You know how naughty that girl is. If she knows that my father refused to grant the marriage of her brother and sister and made things difficult for her father, believe it or not, she would make a fuss. Even if my grandma wants to make a match for her, she hasn’t asked her yet. She said she would wait for that girl to realize it by herself…”
He made it clear that even Ling Ruiyin knew that Shi Qingxue looked obedient and thoughtful but was stubborn indeed. If she made a decision, even God’s words would be ineffective.
Mo Junyu stopped sighing and glanced at Mo Junyang. “What? Do you want to tell her?”
This was a great chance to leave her a favorable impression.
Mo Junyang shook his head quickly without hesitation, but then he kept silent again. “She… Nothing can be kept from her.”
Mo Junyang’s words were pretty close to the truth. Shi Qingxue had stayed in the imperial palace with Ling Ruiyin for about ten days, and she couldn’t stand it anymore. She tried every means to ask for the permission to go back home. Then she didn’t find Shi Junhe at home and knew that he had led the army to the Qingluo Mountain.
Before Dong Hui could finish her words, Shi Qingxue was anxious and turned to run out.
“Qingxue, where are you going?” Dong Hui grabbed her daughter and didn’t allow her to run away as soon as she returned home.
Shi Qingxue was in such a hurry and said subconsciously, “Don’t stop me. I am going to see Mo Junyang!”
Dong Hui heard that and her face darkened. She was more unwilling to let her go. “Qingxue, have you forgotten what you promised to me?”
She had promised to keep her distance from Mo Junyang.
Shi Qingxue instantly explained. “No. I have something important to tell him. I have no other intentions. Don’t worry too much.”
Dong Hui didn’t believe her words. “What is it?”
Of course it was about her father suppressing bandits. Shi Qingxue couldn’t tell Dong Hui that in the previous life, both Shi Junhe and Wenren Chi died on the Qingluo Mountain.
The nightmare came again. It would be late if she didn’t take action.
“Mother, listen to me. It’s easy to defend but hard to attack the Qingluo Mountain. The bandits there are cruel and blood-thirsty. Even if the Shi Army goes there, it is not easy to win, and…”
And she found many suspicious clues when she thought back. The Shi Army was brave and skilled in fighting but would get half the results with double the effort on the deep mountain and thick forests, and they shouldn’t be sent to suppress bandits. Even if Shi Junhe couldn’t conquer the Qingluo Mountain, he shouldn’t have been strangled…
There were so many puzzles. She couldn’t help but doubt if somebody intended to harm her father.
Hearing Qingxue’s words, Dong Hui was almost scared to death but still refused to let her go. “Even so, why would you have to go to see His Excellency?”
Shi Qingxue responded swiftly, “He can surely help Father!”
Dong Hui suddenly laughed and asked, “Not to mention that His Excellency has no power. I just ask you. Why would he help us?”
Shi Qingxue was petrified. She had never thought about this question, so she went silent.
“Fine. Your father has much experience on the battlefield and it is easy for him to suppress bandits. Since you have come back, just stay at home and rest assured. Don’t go anywhere.” Dong Hui restrained her worry and gave her order.
She was still worried and said, “I don’t allow you to contact His Excellency. He is distant to our family. You should maintain some distance from him.”
Shi Qingxue was unwilling to obey and said anxiously, “Mother, listen to me. Father would be in danger on this trip. If we can’t find a solution, I am afraid…”
Dong Hui’s expression changed, and she howled, “Shut up!”
Shi Qingxue shrank her neck and trembled.
It was her first time to hear Dong Hui shout so loudly, and she could say nothing.
It was quiet in the room, and all the servants were scared and knelt down.
Mammy Zheng noticed the unusual situation and comforted Dong Hui, “Madam, Lady Qingxue sincerely cares about His Lordship and didn’t mean to say something unlucky. Take no offense at a child’s babble. His Lordship would surely come back safely.”
Dong Hui finally looked better but didn’t want to say more to Shi Qingxue. She ordered coldly, “Zheng, keep an eye on her. Without my permission, she can’t leave the Luotong Boudoir.”
Shi Qingxue was locked up in the Luotong Boudoir and it was useless to ask for mercy. She couldn’t even go out to see Shi Baoning, so she was worried and uncomfortable.
“Xia Mang, what should I do?” Shi Qingxue was restless like the ants on a hot pan.
Xia Mang didn’t know the reason and said, “My Lady, you know His Lordship’s capability. It’s a piece of cake for him to suppress bandits.”
Ignorance was a fortune. Everybody thought how the bandits could defeat the well-known Shi Army, but nobody knew that Shi Junhe was ruined by it.
Shi Qingxue was so worried that she almost shed tears. “The Shi Army is not good at attacking on the mountain, and the Qingluo Mountain’s landform is weird. I am afraid that Father will…”
Before she finished her words, Xia Mang covered her mouth and said nervously, “My Lady, it’s a taboo to say something unlucky when they are on the battlefield. Haven’t you seen Madam’s angry face last time? Don’t make this mistake again.
Moreover, Madam ordered to keep you in the Luotong Boudoir. Who dares to let you out alone?”
If they didn’t say that, then it wouldn’t come true?
Shi Qingxue didn’t believe that, but Xia Mang’s words reminded her.
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