“Regardless of whether it’s the same group of people,” Gu Xinglang pointed at the table, then glanced at his buddies and said softly, “We’ll find out when we go to the mountain.”
Li Yuanle nodded. “I passed by Ruyun Mountain on my way here. There were a lot of visitors and businessmen on the roads at the foot of the mountain, and everything seemed normal. It's evident that this group of bandits are only hiding in the mountains, and they don’t dare to stir trouble outside. I’m guessing that there aren’t many of them.”
“There’s no need to be afraid even if there are many.” One buddy said, “There should be quite a large number if we gather the soldiers under us, would be fail to take down a bunch of pirates? What I don’t understand is, why would they come near the capital? And those soldiers around here - are they all blind? How could they allow these people near the capital?”
Li Yuanle looked at Gu Xinglang and asked, “Who gave this token to the Princess? What is his intention?”
Could he tell them that his wife gave half a pig’s head to a purported pirate, and this purported pirate gave her the token in return and invited her to Ruyun Mountain? Gu Xinglang knew that his wife wouldn’t lie. But if he were to tell this to them, this group of brothers probably wouldn’t believe him.
“You can’t say?” A buddy asked Gu Xinglang.
“There’s nothing much to say anyway.” Gu Xinglang replied, “The Princess got it by chance. I was just about to discuss this with my Eldest Brother. Now that the few of you are here, I won’t have to trouble my Eldest Brother anymore.”
His buddies all nodded their heads. All of them were people who licked blood from army swords. To enter a mountain to raid a bandit stronghold was a small issue.
“Perhaps I’m just overthinking things.” Gu Xinglang toasted his brothers with tea, in place of wine. “If there aren’t bandits in the mountains, then we can just have a good day of fun.”
The brothers all agreed in unison. Clinking their glasses, they started to drink their fill of the alcohol.
At this time, in the side room, Yu Xiaoxiao told Wang momo, “Momo, if it’s not raining tomorrow, you should join Xiao Gu and I on our trip to Ruyun Mountain.”
Wang momo’s face was sullen as she said, “Why do you want to go to the mountains again?” Had this Princess of hers finally had enough of her craziness in the capital, and was going to start her craziness in the mountains outside the city?
Yu Xiaoxiao said, “The deputy boss and his underling said that there’ll be plenty of fat rabbits if we go to Ruyun Mountain now. Fat rabbits!”
Yu Xiaoxiao’s focus was on the fat rabbits, but Wang momo’s was on the words “deputy boss and his underling”. “Your Highness, wait a moment,” Wang momo asked Yu Xiaoxiao, “When you went out today, not only did you get to know a Brother Niu, you even met a deputy boss and another man? Please tell your servant about these two men.”
“Oh, I went to buy a pig's head…”
“Stop telling me about this pig's head. Talk about the men.”
Yu Xiaoxiao felt that Wang momo’s menopause wasn’t simply torturing Wang momo herself. She was also being tortured at the same time. She had gotten acquainted with the deputy boss precisely because of the pig's head. If she didn’t talk about it, how was she going to tell the story? “How about we start talking about your menopause first?” Yu Xiaoxiao tried communicating with Wang momo, “It’s important to be cheerful. Actually, it’s not important who I meet. More importantly, Wang momo, right now, you should probably find a….”
Xiao Zhuang and Xiao Wei shouted in unison, “Your Highness!” They couldn’t allow the Princess to continue, otherwise, they were certain that Wang momo would immediately, at this moment, seek death.
Wang momo looked at the Princess that she nursed from young, and suddenly wiped tears from her eyes. She had let the Queen down. Look at how the Princess had turned out to be?
Xu Xiaoxiao shut her mouth. She hadn’t even gotten to the main point and she had already made Wang momo cry. Actually, she understood the pain of singlehood; after all she’d been in the same situation before, having been single for more than ten years. She silently handed a handkerchief to Wang momo, as she added another goal to her life - apart from not walking down the path of becoming an Empress, she was going to help Wang momo find a partner!
“Your Highness,” Just as Yu Xiaoxiao was adding this to her life goal, the voice of the Gu family butler travelled in from outside.
“What’s the matter?” Yu Xiaoxiao asked.
Xiao Wei walked to the door and opened it.
The butler didn’t enter the room. He simply stood at the door and reported to Yu Xiaoxiao, “Your Highness, the Eldest Young Master instructed this servant to pass a message to Your Highness. He will be going with the Marshal to the palace to thank His Majesty for his grace, so they will be back slightly later.”
“Alright, I got it.” Yu Xiaoxiao said, “Tell Eldest Brother, I’ll leave the pig….”
“The Princess has received the message, you may retreat.” Wang momo spoke five times faster than her Princess, as she shot the instructions at the butler.
The butler was startled by Wang momo, and he snuck a look at Yu Xiaoxiao. Was it really alright for a servant to cut a Princess’ words like that?
Yu Xiaoxiao could only shrug apologetically at the butler. Helping Wang momo find a partner was a matter that couldn’t be delayed any longer.
An hour later, in the palace, Cuiyu hobbled into Chuqing Palace. After Xianzong had ordered for her to be sent to the Shenxing Department to be punished, Cuiyu was inflicted with wounds all over her body. Her hands were swollen and her legs were in a limp. However, Consort Zhao was still sick in bed, so she didn’t dare to rest in bed to recover. She would force herself to serve Consort Zhao everyday.
Consort Zhao was lying in bed when she heard footsteps. When she opened her eyes and saw that it was Cuiyu standing by her bed, her gaze was hopeful.
Cuiyu’s face was sullen as she whispered to Consort Zhao, “Your Highness, after His Majesty returned to the palace, he played chess with the Grand Advisor in Lanshu Pavillion. Head Eunuch Jing said that His Majesty doesn’t want to meet anyone now.”
“So you didn’t get to see His Majesty?” Consort Zhao didn’t look at Cuiyu anymore, as her gaze shifted to the top of her bed, her tone chilly.
Cuiyu replied, “Your Highness, Head Eunuch Jing told this servant to go again after two hours.”
Consort Zhao didn’t reply. If she was going to continue losing favour, the eunuch Jing Zhong would certainly find another master for himself. A bitch could be heartless, an actress could be immoral, but an eunuch wasn't any better than any of these two types of people.
Cuiyu hesitated for a moment, but told Consort Zhao anyway, “Your Highness, this servant has heard that His Majesty had already decreed for Gu Chen and the Prince Consort’s two brothers to be reinstated to their positions.”
Consort Zhao had already heard about this from Zhao Qiuming. She didn’t expect someone as forgetful as Xianzong to actually have such a good memory with regard to the Gu family’s matters. “This is what Yu Linglong is capable of,” Consort Zhao said coldly, “Has Gu Chen brought his two grandsons to the palace to give their thanks?”
Cuiyu answered, “Not yet.”
Consort Zhao lightly rubbed her flat belly, her heart shot with pain. That bitch Yu Linglong not only caused her to lose favour, she even caused her to not be able to bear children anymore. She had gone into hell, how could she let this bitch still stand on earth? “Go and tell Jing Zhong,” Consort Zhao ordered Cuiyu, “When the Gu grandfather and grandson enter the palace to give their thanks, let him ask Gu Chen where Gu Xingyan went.”
Cuiyu was stunned for a moment, “Your Highness, isn’t the Second Young Master Gu coming to the palace to thank His Majesty?”
“Why are you asking so much? Consort Zhao replied coldly, “Go and look for Jing Zhong. If he refuses, tell him this - there are certain things that I didn’t say, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten about them. Everyone would have times when they stumble. Let him think over my words carefully.”
“Yes, Your Highness.” Cuiyu didn’t dare to ask any further. Noting the instructions, she retreated from the palace and headed towards Lanshu Pavillion again.