Chapter 26 The Bastard Plots in the Temple
All was silent that night.
Mo Xuetong woke up early the next morning. Like the day before, she first went for morning lessons with the temple monk and then asked the lead abbot to recite blessing scriptures for her mother. She listened to the chanting until noon and then had a hurried lunch. The afternoon was filled with another blessing activity. Because Mo Xuemin had booked for three days of activity and because today was the main day of activity, she only left the temple at night.
The Buddhist temple was not the main hall of the Repayment Temple. It was used mainly for blessings. As such it was located in a more secluded area. Mo Ye and Mo Lan accompanied her. Mo Ye held a lantern which lit up the path before her while Mo Lan helped Mo Xuetong.
“Miss, Shuang Ye snuck out secretively in the afternoon. Qiu Ling insisted that Mo Yu taught her how to embroider and even asked when Mo Ye joined us. Mo Yu said that Mo Ye was an orphan that you rescued in Cloud City who failed to join her relatives and happened to meet you and so was going to follow you.”
Since Mo Ye was going to accompany Mo Xuetong in the inner courtyard, then she needed a suitable cover. Mo Xuetong had thought up the story of Mo Ye failing to get the support of her relatives and meeting her savior.
Mo Xuetong frowned lightly and said, “Was Shuang Ye behaving weirdly when she returned?”
“Mo Yu said that Shuang Ye has been with them since she returned. The people outside had sent food and Shuang Ye went out once. There are not any odd happenings other than that.” Mo Lan said in a matter-of-fact way.
Mo Xuetong frowned again and took a couple of steps before she suddenly stopped. “Mo Lan, have you seen Sima Lingyun today?”
“No. I heard the little nun say that the son of the Zhenguo Duke and his friends have arranged to meet. He went out to meet his friends in the day so he was not around the entire day.”
How could Sima Lingyun be absent from Mo Xuemin’s plots? Mo Xuetong squeezed the handkerchief in her hand and looked at the path in front of her. It was yet another dark night. It could be the bad weather, or because of the air in the mountains. But other than where the light from the lantern hit, their surroundings were completely dark. It was so dark that you could not see your fingers when you stretched your hand out.
They passed a temple when they suddenly heard voices in front of them. There was more than a single person. There were two lanterns that were held up high and the sounds of men talking could be heard.
Mo Xuetong stopped immediately and looked around her. Even though they were not in the inner courtyard, but the people who were approaching were all men. As a woman of the inner courtyard, she would try to avoid them as much as possible. However, they were walking between two Buddhist Temples. Other than a tiny path to the side, there was nowhere else for her to go.
“Miss…”Mo Lan had also discovered the situation. She suddenly had an ominous feeling.
A burst of light laughter could be heard before they could even react. “Brother Sima, you’ve tried your best to get rid of us. Could it be that you came to meet a beautiful girl? If I had not been smart, you’d have escaped. Don’t even try to get rid of us today.”
“Brother He, Brother Ling, I’m really not meeting a beautiful girl. You all had better return first. It’s so dark, how are you going to get down the mountain?” Sima Lingyun’s slightly anxious tone made them even more suspicious.
“The two of us are not heading down the mountain today. We have to see what kind of beauty she is for you to be so hung up on her. You had to come back to the temple even if you had to travel in the night. The pouch that the little maid sent looks really beautiful and you treat it as a treasure. You won’t even let us see it. Ask Brother Ling, if there isn’t a beautiful girl, would you hurry here so anxiously?” A lazy voice rang.
“It is a happy thing to be meeting a beautiful girl. Look at the lights in the distance, aren’t we reaching the end of the road? Brother Sima, we are brothers, so let your little brother take a look at her? We won’t interrupt your meeting with the girl.” The other man’s shrill voice sounded.
“Miss, there are six people ahead of us. Three of them are child servants.” Mo Ye reminded her. She stood still and her slender figure seemed even longer under the lights.
Mo Xuetong felt a rush of coldness hitting her when she heard that. Sharp fingernails dug into the flesh of her palms.
Mo Xuemin was so vicious!
She was supposed to be praying for blessings for her mother but was caught meeting with a lover. If there was any evidence…
Was she going to take the same path as she had in her past life? Was she going to die wronged again? Red filled her eyes. It was as if the pain she felt that day in the fire was tearing at her…
No. She would not let them succeed. She would rather die than fall into that pathetic state again. She seemed to be seeing that scene of death that brought her sadness, hatred, and pain. She swore to god…
“Mo Ye, how many people can you take with you into the air?” She asked calmly.
“I can only help one person up a tree.” Mo Ye immediately understood what she was planning and answered softly.
“Miss, you go up with Mo Ye. I, I…” Mo Lan gritted her teeth and surveyed her surroundings. She naturally could not let others see her as well. She was a personal maid of her mistress. Even if they did not see her mistress but saw her, her mistress would still be gossiped to have been meeting her lover.
“Mo Ye, take Mo Lan up the tree.” Mo Xuetong’s gaze landed on the edges of the wall and she ordered clearly.
“Your hand has been injured. You can’t catch a cold.” Mo Xuetong stopped Mo Lan from speaking firmly! Mo Lan must not worsen her injuries.
The voices on the path grew closer and closer!
“Brother He, Brother Ling, I’m really not meeting a beautiful girl. The maid is from my manor and the pouch is definitely not some token of love. My younger sister made it for me. Brothers, you all had better get down the mountain. The rooms here are tiny and is not meant to house so many people.” Sima Lingyun suddenly turned around when he saw the lights in front. He held his hand out and said anxiously, half pleading.
Brother He and Brother Ling knew that something was up and refused to let Sima Lingyun off.
They were used to philandering. One of them held Sima Lingyun while the other one pushed his hand away with a smile, wanting to walk towards the light. They had not expected the usually proper duke’s son to be meeting his lover in the middle of the night. Was there anything more interesting than this?
“Brother Sima, don’t lie anymore. Look at the sweat on your face. It’s alright. I’ll just take a look. Just a look.” Brother He pulled away Sima Lingyun’s hand which was blocking him and took two steps forward with a smile on his face. A person suddenly rushed up to them and before they could even take a close look, Brother He’s head had been hit. He felt a drone in his head rang and they only sensed a slender figure flash by.
“There’s someone…” Brother He only had time to say that before he fell to the ground.
Sima Lingyun had thought that his ploy was going to succeed. Just as he was faking the jostle between him and Brother Ling, he suddenly felt a sense of unease. He turned around hurriedly. However, before he could see anything clearly, a hemp bag was thrown over his head. He had not had the time to struggle before he was hit several times by a stick. Even though he was skilled, the incident had happened so suddenly and his hands and legs were restricted by the bag. He was no match for his assaulter and fell to the ground.
Brother Ling was so afraid he took two steps back. He was a philandering noble who was good at nothing. He was protected by the three child servants and watched a young servant who held a large rod. With a few strikes, Sima Lingyun stopped moving and he did not even dare to make a sound.
“If you dare to provoke first miss again, you will die.” The servant said fiercely and pulled Sima Lingyun, who had fainted, out from the bag. He crouched down beside Sima Lingyun and rummaged through his clothing. After a while, he took out the red pouch from Sima Lingyun’s clothes.
The servant tore out the pouch and held it in his hands, standing up with satisfaction and smiled coldly at the shaking Brother Ling. He dragged the big rod behind him and waved it at Brother Ling, who was so afraid he retracted backward. Brother Ling did not dare to say anything else. It was late and dark and there was nowhere for him to complain to if he were really hit.
The assailant put the sachet in his arms, dragged the rod behind him, picked up the lantern from the ground, and took several strides towards Brother Ling. Brother Ling thought that he was going to be hit and he trembled, wanting to say a few nice words. However, the servant did not even look at them before leaving.
When the lights moved far away, Brother Ling heaved a sigh of relief. He pushed aside the servant in front of him. He wanted to check on Sima Lingyun, who had been beaten unconscious and the unlucky Brother He who had been implicated.
“Sir, look. That person dropped this.” Sima Lingyun and Brother He’s servant hurried up to save his master when he saw that the danger had passed. Brother Ling’s servant stayed beside Brother Ling. His eyes suddenly shone as he pointed at a sheet of paper on the path.
“Where did that come from? Bring it here.” Brother Ling was angry. He had almost been beaten up by someone for no reason. He had to figure out the reason no matter what.
“It fell out from the pouch His Excellency was carrying. The person dropped it when he touched it earlier. I saw that clearly.” The servant ran over and gave it to Brother Ling in an attempt to court favor.
Brother Ling unfolded the paper and his face paled in anger. He scrunched up the paper angrily and glared at Sima Lingyun who was lying by the side unconscious due to his severe injuries.
“What happened earlier?” On the other side, Brother He, who had been beaten lightly, stood up unsteadily. “Did the beauty hit us?” This person still remembered that matter even though he had been hit.
“What beauty. It’s a bastard. Look.” Brother Ling passed him the wad of paper he scrunched up angrily.
Brother He smoothed out the paper and saw the words on it and immediately grew angry. He tore the paper into shreds and scolded. “Bastard. Bastard. How dare he use me as bait! I’ve been too confident and made a mistake.”
“Let’s go. We won’t let them use us so easily.”
“I’ll head down the mountain and spread the news about their ugly business. Let’s go.” The two brought their servants and left one after another in rage. They ignored Sima Lingyun who laid on the ground, unconscious. The servant was cowardly, and when he saw his surroundings growing darker, he was so frightened that he half dragged and half carried Sima Lingyun away, stumbling as he ran on the path they were on.
As the footsteps disappeared, the place darkened.
After a moment, two figures fell from the tall tree beside the scene. One of the figures stumbled as she ran to the fish tank beside the yard and whispered hurriedly, “Miss, miss, are you OK?”
Mo Ye quickly pulled Mo Xuetong, who was half frozen, out from the tank. She was completely soaked and her face and lips were pale. The clothes she had on were thin and when the wind blew, she was so cold that she almost fainted.
Even so, her clear eyes remained calm. Even though Mo Ye was gifted to Mo Xuetong, she only truly yielded to the beautiful and slender young woman then. Who would have thought that the beautiful and weak woman would be so vicious to herself? It was late autumn and they were in the mountains at night. Winter was approaching, but she had submerged herself into a water tank. Even though Mo Ye knew martial arts, she might not even be able to take it.
She took off her jacket and wrapped it around Mo Xuetong’s slender body. Mo Lan cried badly by the side and used a handkerchief to wipe the water from Mo Xuetong’s face. She said, “Miss, I said I should be the one to enter the water tank, but you refused to agree. Your health has always been poor, how can you bear it.”
Mo Xuetong took some time to find her voice. She said hoarsely, “I’m alright. Your hand… you must not get cold.”
Then, she could not bear it any longer. She collapsed into Mo Ye’s embrace and her body shook, beyond her control.
“Walk slowly behind. I’ll go back first.” Mo Ye saw that something was wrong. After telling Mo Lan that, she ran quickly with Mo Xuetong in her arms.