Chapter 27 Plot Within a Plot. Using Her Illness to Plot
Mo Xuetong’s illness raged. She had a fever that night and was dazed from it.
Her health had always been poor. When they had been in Cloud City, she had stayed behind because of her ill health. She had also been so ill that she could not get up. Even though she had recuperated and had gotten better at the Qin Manor, her health was still weaker than others. She could not bear being submerged in cold water at the beginning of winter. When the maids hurried to help her change and lie down, she fell unconscious.
She only felt her body burning and her entire being felt like a fish being grilled on a stove. Even though she was unconscious, she still felt terrible and felt like dying. She felt as if she could not breathe. After some time, there was a sense of coldness that came from her forehead which allowed her burning body to regain some consciousness. She called out softly subconsciously, “Water, water.”
Someone came immediately to help her out. Cool water slid down her burning throat. It felt like a clear stream and immediately, she felt as if she had escaped from death. She opened her eyes slightly but could not see clearly the person in front of her. Everything before her seemed to be shaking and she could not see clearly. The person’s face seemed somewhat familiar, but her cloudy mind did not allow her to identify the person.
The person placed her down gently and felt her forehead to test her temperature. She was annoyed and swatted at the hand in annoyance. She muttered something, turned around and shut her eyes weakly before falling back asleep.
This time, she did not feel as uncomfortable as before. However, the person pulled her towards the outside edge of the bed. She was annoyed and tried to flip to the inside and even hugged her pillow and fought the person. However, she was still too weak and the person pulled her towards themselves. Something slid down her throat and she opened her mouth subconsciously and drank a few more mouthfuls of water.
When she laid down again, the person did not bother her.
This time, she slept until really late in the day before she opened her eyes weakly.
“Miss, you’re awake? You’re really awake!” There was a happy sob. She knew it was Mo Yu at once.
Mo Yu brought her some water and she took a sip of it. Mo Xuetong asked hoarsely, “What time is it?”
“It’s just been one night. It is noon now. I have already done the blessings for Madam in the morning. I will go again in the afternoon.” Mo Lan said with a sob. She knew that her mistress had entered the water tank because of her. Mo Ye could only take one person with her and her mistress was worried that her injuries would be aggravated.
“Mo Lan… don’t cry. Go, send word to the manor… say that I’m ill and cannot get out of bed. I can’t even pray for blessings for my mother…” Mo Xuetong said softly as she closed her eyes and leaned on Mo Ye who was holding her up.
“Go.” Mo Xuetong did not open her eyes. Her long lashes remained over her pale face. She looked like a porcelain doll. She was so fragile it was as if she was going to break at a touch. However, there was strength in her weak voice that did not allow anyone to object.
“Yes. I’ll get Shuang Ye to send the letter.” Mo Yu turned to leave.
“Come back!” Mo Xuetong opened her eyes forcefully. Her eyes were very clear and she did not look like a patient who had just awoken.
Mo Yu had just reached the door. She turned around to look at Mo Xuetong in confusion.
“Get Qiu Ling to go… Keep Shuang Ye behind…” A faint smile appeared on Mo Xuetong’s dry lips. If she did not keep Shuang Ye behind, then the show could not go on.
Mo Lan knew that her mistress was planning something when she saw that Mo Xuetong was energetic even though she was weak. She hurriedly asked Mo Yu to do as she was told.
In the Mo Manor.
Mo Xuemin copied the “Classics for Women” really quickly. She had finished copying it by the morning. She sent it to Mo Huawen’s study the moment she finished to show that she had not slept the entire night.
Mo Huawen was settling work in the study. Even though he was not a high ranked officer, he was a trusted officer of the emperor and had served Emperor Zongwen before his ascension. As such, he was very trusted by the emperor and seemed to be about to be promoted. Some of the First and Second ranked officers were also very polite to him.
Official documents handed to him to settle were truly useful documents and not random tasks given to the descendants of nobles who had no abilities.
“Father.” He heard the gentle and yet fearful voice while he was being troubled by the documents. “Can your daughter enter?”
He looked up to see Mo Xuemin at the door. He had always been pleased with his eldest daughter. However, she had done a few stupid things recently. He had heard about the incident at the city gates after it happened. He had not even asked what happened when she caused trouble by bringing Sima Lingyun into her sister’s inner courtyard.
Were all these things done unintentionally? Luo Xia had left behind that music score to Tong’er. The only ones who knew about it that were not family was Auntie Fang. Who else would spread the news about it and how did Sima Lingyun come to know about it?
Mo Xuetong bowed tearfully, looking ashamed when she saw Mo Huawen humming and not speak. She did not enter the study and had not even spoken when she already showed how sad she was. She said, “Father, it is all Min’er’s fault. I should not have told Fourth Sister about Third Sister having the music score. I don’t know when Fourth Sister told His Excellency about it and I caused ruin to Third Sister’s reputation. It is all Min’er’s fault.”
“You told Qiong’er about it?” Mo Huawen asked softly.
“Father, if you don’t believe me, you can ask Fourth sister about it. Her maids and my maids were all there. I only brought it up in passing while we were chatting. I didn’t expect it to cause so much trouble. Father, it is all my fault. Please punish me.” Then, she raised the “Classics for Women” that she copied high up above her head.
Mo Huawen saw that she seemed to be speaking the truth and looked haggard. Her eyes looked bloodshot. She had copied the classics so quickly and he knew that she must not have slept to do that. He thought of how she had always been obedient and sensible, and had always been generous. The servants in the manor would praise her occasionally. She would not do something to frame her younger sister.
“Come in.” His expression softened and he nodded.
“Yes, Father!” Mo Xuemin was helped up by Mo Jin. Her body shook slightly as she stood up and she almost fell.
“What’s the matter?” Mo Huawen asked.
“Father, it is nothing. Perhaps I am a little tired.” Mo Xuemin said, her face pale. Mo Jin helped her into the study and she curtsied to Mo Huawen again.
Mo Huawen looked at his obedient eldest daughter and the doubts in his heart faded. He put down the official documents in his hand and asked, “Min’er, why have you come?”
“Firstly, I have come to ask Father to review the Classics for Women I copied. Next, I am really worried for Third Sister. She has gone to pray for blessings for mother. I am afraid that she has just arrived and would not know what to do. I would like to ask Father to allow me to fetch her. We can help each other out if anything happens.” Mo Xuemin said with a gentle smile and looked at Mo Huawen sincerely.
She looked like a kind elder sister who was afraid that her younger sister might get into trouble. The last bits of doubt Mo Huawen had disappeared completely.
“Don’t worry. Even though Tong’er is young, she is very sensible. Nothing will happen.” Mo Huawen comforted her gently.
“No, I would still like to go. I can seek blessings for mother as well. The blessing is something that Min’er has prayed for from Buddha. If I don’t go, it would be disrespectful towards Buddha. Now that Third Sister is here, I can go and place a stick of incense before mother together with her. Mother will definitely like that.” Mo Xuemin said persuadingly.
Mo Huawen felt sad for some reason as he looked at his sensible eldest daughter and thought of his deceased wife, Luo Xia.
“Old Sir, bad news. Third Miss fell ill at the Repayment Temple. She sent news that she won’t be able to return today.” The servant ran inside to report.
“Tong’er is ill?” Mo Huawen stood up suddenly. He naturally knew that Mo Xuetong’s health had always been poor. However, he did not expect her to fall ill after two days in the mountains.
“Father, Min’er has to go now. Third Sister is alone on the mountain and is ill. There is no one to look after her. Shall Min’er go to take care of her?” There was a trace of satisfaction in Mo Xuemin’s eyes. According to the plan, Mo Xuetong had already met Sima Lingyun. People had seen her meeting up with Sima Lingyun last night. Mo Xuetong would not be able to refute that no matter what.
She was definitely thinking of a plan on the mountain. She had to hurry up there before Mo Xuetong thought of something. Then, the matter between Mo Xuetong and Sima Lingyun would not be able to stay hidden no matter what. This was the reason why she wanted to head to the mountains.
“Alright!” Mo Huawen answered quickly. This made the hatred in Mo Xuemin’s eyes grow.
The carriage was already waiting at the back door. She could leave when Mo Huawen agreed.
“Miss, should we take the maid along?” Mo Jin pointed at the maid standing by the door as she helped Mo Xuemin up the carriage.
“That’s the maid that sent the message?”
“Yes, she only said that Third Miss returned really late last night and then something serious seemed to have happened inside the master bedroom. There was someone crying and then it was really busy. She and the other maid that Auntie Fang sent were led to another room and were locked inside. They don’t know what exactly happened. They only saw that the lights in the Third Miss’s room were lit all night. Then, Third Miss’s personal maid told them this morning that she was ill and told them to report it to the Manor.” Mo Jin already knew that Mo Xuemin was going to ask about this and had asked about it beforehand.
“Useless, she can’t even find out clearly about such a small thing. Just let her stay here.” Mo Xuemin waved her hand impatiently, a vicious look crossing her eyes.
The horse carriage traveled quickly, leaving behind the maid called Qiu Ling where she had been standing earlier.
Mo Xuemin hurried to the Repayment Temple in four hours. She got off the horse carriage hurriedly and hurried inside. She even knocked into a man on her way in. Luckily, Mo Jin reacted quickly and helped her so she did not fall to the ground. The man apologized profusely. Mo Xuemin was focused on Mo Xuetong that she did not even bother with the person and did not even look at him before going to the guest house of the temple with the help of Mo Jin.
“What’s the matter? Did you do it?” A flippant looking young man appeared when Mo Xuemin neared.
“How can I not get things done when I do them?” The person who had knocked into Mo Xuemin was a somewhat sly looking man. He held up a pouch and shook it in his hands, looking satisfied.
“Alright, give it here.” The flippant man reached out to take the pouch.
The pouch was jerked back into the sly looking man’s hands. He said, “We talked about this. Give me the money and you’ll get the goods. 20 taels of silver and no less.”
“Relax, who would skim your money. Here. 20 taels of silver. Quick, give it to me.” The flippant looking young man took out the money from his sleeves and handed it over impatiently. Then, he snatched the pouch over.
The sly looking man smiled happily when he received the silver. He nodded and said, “Many thanks, Sir. If you have such business again in the future, look for me.”
“Yes, I’ll scram immediately. Give me a shout when you eye another young miss in the future.” The sly looking man smiled brilliantly and fled from the temple, disappearing without a trace.
The flippant looking young man kept the pouch in his chest. Then, he turned to follow Mo Xuemin to the temple courtyards.