Chapter 23: Who Taught You to Say That?
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Something big happened in early October.
The eldest son of the Earl of Pingnan, Su Mingfeng, suddenly fell seriously ill and had to recuperate at home. The Earl of Pingnan felt sorry for his beloved son and stayed at home with his wife to take care of Young Master Su. The matters at the military ranch were temporarily put aside. His Majesty gave some things to express his condolences and asked a new person to take over.
The citizens in the capital sighed at this. Young Master Su had made great contributions not long after he entered the government. Just as he was about to rise to the top and his future was bright, he suddenly fell seriously ill. If he was for three to five years, he would probably lose his place in the imperial court.
The common people looked at it this way, but the people in the imperial court didn’t. Some smart people said, “How is this illness? He is clearly trying to get himself out of trouble. I originally thought that the Su family was about to go down. I didn’t expect them to see the situation clearly and take drastic measures to save themselves.”
When these things reached Shen Miao’s ears, she was standing in the courtyard trimming the branches and leaves of the begonias. She had been studying at Guangwen Hall for the past few days. Because of Young Master Su, everyone had a new topic of conversation, so they didn’t pay much attention to her.
“Miss, you really like these flowers now.” Gu Yu smiled and said, “These begonias look really good.”
The dark red petals of the crabapple flower looked lively on the austere autumn day. When she was the empress, she was busy keeping the situation under control, helping Fu Xiuyi rope in powerful officials, going to the State of Qin to be a hostage, and fighting with Consort Mei. Most of the time, she lived in political battles and had no time to enjoy a leisurely life.
“Do you know why the begonias are blooming so colorfully?” she asked.
Although Gu Yu did not understand why her Miss would ask such a question, she still smiled and replied, “These begonias were brought back by the chief butler. I heard that they are very precious. Madam also praised it before. It’s this kind of begonia that looks especially good on autumn days.”
Shen Miao shook her head gently.
Just like the gloomy and grim place in the palace, however rare and expensive the flowers were, once they were planted in the soil of that place built upon blood and skull, they would not thrive.
Since the Su family already understood this, what would they do?
At the Earl of Pinan’s mansion.
Young Master Su’s courtyard was tightly guarded. Other than his personal servant and family, no one else could enter. From outside, people could only smell the heavy Chinese medicine wafting out. Old Master Su shut his door to all the outsiders.
As Su Mingfeng’s good friend, Young Marquis Xie naturally had to visit him.
The Xie family’s carriage stopped outside the Su family’s mansion. The servants were struggling to move the herbs down from the carriage. The herbs were all stored in boxes, which was enough to show how much Young Marquis Xie cared for his friend.
In the study, Su Mingfeng was dressed in green clothes. Apart from being a little thin, his expression was still as energetic as ever. There was no sign of him being seriously ill.
Opposite him, the young man in embroidered clothes frowned and asked loudly, “Are you hiding from trouble?”
“That’s right.” Su Mingfeng looked at his good friend and sighed. “Now that you’ve seen the Su family’s momentum getting better and better, the Su family has already lasted for several generations. In terms of position, we really shouldn’t be promoted anymore. However, not only did His Majesty not suppress us, he even supported us more.”
“And you just made a great contribution,” Xie Jingxing reminded him.
“It’s precisely because I made a contribution that Father and I were overjoyed and forgot the hidden danger behind it. Rewards will bring us more disaster than anything else. I believe you understand what I’m saying. The Su family was originally in the middle of the hierarchy, so it was inevitable that we couldn’t see things clearly. Now that we’re suddenly enlightened, we have no choice but to stop. It’s really dangerous.”
“That’s good.” Xie Jingxing nodded. “But you have to stay at home for a few years for nothing.”
“I only hope that the Su family will be safe,” Su Mingfeng said. “Let’s not talk about me. How about you? The Su family and the Xie family are bound together for good or ill. The Su family has already decided to pull back from the cliff. Your Xie family…” He did not continue.
Xie Jingxing raised his eyebrows. “If I don’t join the government, what can he do to me? He has to care about the opinion of his subjects.”
Xie Jingxing was different from Su Mingfeng. For the sake of the Su family, Su Yu had sent his son to become an official early. However, Xie Jingxing did not become an official.
“You’re so far-sighted.” Su Mingfeng couldn’t help but laugh.
“I wasn’t trying to guard against him,” Xie Jingxing said lazily.
It was true that he was not trying to guard against the royal family. He simply didn’t want to do what his father told him to.
“However,” he frowned and suddenly changed the topic, “how did you suddenly figure this out? I reminded you several times before, but you didn’t take it seriously.”
Su Mingfeng lowered his head in shame. “I was just being too cocky at first, so I didn’t think so much. This time, it’s all thanks to my second brother.”
“Your second brother?” Xie Jingxing, who was originally leaning lazily on the chair, sat up straight when he heard this. A strange look flashed across his eyes. “That chubby meatball?”
It was not news that Su Minglang was a fool. How could he remind the Su family of these things? Was Su Minglang not in his right frame of mind?
Su Mingfeng told him the whole story. In the end, he said, “If it weren’t for Second Brother’s accidental remark this time, we might have been involved in something catastrophic.”
“Accidentally?” Xie Jingxing muttered to himself.
At this moment, he heard a tender voice. “First Brother, Mom asked me to bring you some snacks.”
Su Minglang walked in with a plate of pastries that looked like flowers. He was round and fat like a meatball, and there were many cake crumbs at the corner of his mouth. It was obvious that he had already eaten a lot on the way over.
Over the past few days, because of his unintentional reminder, the Su family had changed their strategy. Even Old Master Su, who was the most dissatisfied with him, felt that his younger son would definitely be of great use. Madam Su even made a lot of delicious food for him. In just a few days, Su Minglang had gained a lot of weight.
Seeing that Xie Jingxing was still there, he couldn’t help but lower his voice. For some reason, he was always a little afraid of this friend of his brother’s.
Su Minglang placed the snacks on the table and said, “Brother, I’m leaving.” He turned around and was about to run when his collar was grabbed.
He turned around and saw the young man in luxurious clothes squatting down and touching his head gently. His peach blossom eyes were smiling and lively, but his eyes were extremely cold.
He asked, “Who taught you to say that?”
Su Minglang’s eyes widened.
“If the cunning hare dies, the hound will be cooked,” said Xie Jingxing.