Chapter 22 Constant Dangers
At the East Side Hall, there crowded many noble maidens and young masters and Qin Yunuan had met many of them in the banquet for the Flower Fairy Festival. Now those maidens all sat aside, looking at outrageous Shangguan Yee and calm Leng Changxi.
They all stayed aside, who dared not and had no right to mediate this dispute because one was a general with shining war achievements and the other was the daughter of the Left Chancellor.
“Leng Changxi, I am not those timid people who are afraid of you. You have to drink the cup of tea and have no other choices!” Shangguan Yee put her hands on her waist and turned red in eyes with anger.
She turned back and exactly saw Qin Yunuan standing with Shangguan Rang. She pulled Shangguan Rang closer to her and fawned, “Rang, there you are. Go home to tell our father that it is Leng Changxi that makes difficulties for me on purpose. I make the Tieguanyin Tea kindly for him, but he looks down on me.”
Shangguan Rang felt a little embarrassed and looked at the two maidens back and forth. He felt that he fell down into a wind bellow, both sides of which blew with the cold wind.
“Miss Shangguan, why are you so aggressive?” Compared with impatient Shangguan Yee, Leng Changxi was so calm. He tapped the white-jade Linglong tea board with his index finger and jeered scornfully and coldly, “The tea is obsolete, definitely the stale tea and is fractured, clearly the tea residue. Besides, the water used in the tea,” Leng Changxi tapped the tip of his nose, and turned at the Shangguan Yee, “Miss Shangguan, the water has not yet boiled, right?”
“Rang,” Shangguan Yee turned back and stared at Shangguan Rang with her invocative eyes. When she was alone, she could curse others, but now her brother was here, and she relied more on her brother.
However, Shangguan Rang was an incompetent coxcomb. He was weak in the academy and said, “General Leng, the tea is made by my sister, and it is out of her kind intention.”
Leng Changxi stood with his hands clasped behind his back and turned back, “A cup of tea without being delicate made is the same as nothing. Miss Shangguan, I do not deserve the tea.” His words were not vulgar but made Shangguan Yee lose her face again.
Shangguan Rang now was in a dilemma. He turned back and saw Qin Yunuan who came in with him. He even pushed Qin Yunuan out without any consideration, “Miss Qin Yunuan, please help persuade General Leng.”
There crowded so many noble maidens and young masters, but why did Shangguan Rang choose Qin Yunuan to persuade Leng Changxi? Qin Yunuan thought about it with her lips pursing and her eyebrow frowning gently. All the small acts were perceived by Leng Changxi.
Before Qin Yunuan was about to say, Leng Changxi said in a higher voice, “Young master Shangguan, you are too serious. We all come here praying for our families respectively. Don’t let the situation so embarrassing and just should behave ourselves.”
“Hump, you mean I am a naive girl and break our relationship deliberately? Your elder brother once praised my smartness when I was a little girl. How come you are so different from your brother!” Shangguan Yee was just a spoiled maiden and could not tolerate any unkindness.
Leng Changxi looked gloomy with his sword-like eyebrows curved at a beautiful radian, “Don’t mention anything before twelve years old. My elder brother was ignorant at that time. Don’t make it serious.”
At once, gossips rose around and even Qin Yunuan could not help smiling. She thought Leng Changxi in front of him was so different from other brave generals in battlefields.
At this moment, a monk came and reported, “Great Buddhist’s Hall is well prepared, and the praying could start at once. Please do not miss the good occasion.”
All went there. At the Great Buddhist’s Hall, 16 basins were burning charcoal, which made the whole hall as warm as the spring. 64 rush cushions were put tidily, and maidservants stood outside.
There were five Buddhas in the hall. The Sakyamuni Buddha was seated cross-leggedly in the center, with his left hand placing at his left foot, and his right fingers curling upside as a circle. The whole Buddha statue looked majestic and solemn and the gold body shined with an irresistible stateliness.
The host for the praying ceremony was a strange monk, about 50 years old. He had a benign face and a little bit fat in a red and gold cassock. He gave a salute, “My monastic name is Hui An and my senior fellow monk Hui Neng feels not well today, so he lets me host the praying ceremony.”
“What’s the matter of Master Hui Neng?” Fang Ziying asked, “Normally the ceremony is hosted by Master Hui Neng, and we have some mortal connections with him. It is reasonable for us to visit him today.”
“No, don’t bother,” Hui An answered at once, “He just catches a cold and needs a quiet rest. If you visit him, the situation will be worse due to the cold wind.”
Qin Yunuan and Fang Ziying looked at each other and kneeled down on the rush cushion hand in hand.
The praying ceremony went smoothly. Though Master Hui Neng was absent, Master Hui An hosted it well. His Buddhist preaching was compelling.
“Wish my family be safe and healthy and be promoted smoothly; wish the younger sisters find their right husbands; wish the married elder sisters have a happy family.” Fang Ziying put her palms together very devoutly.
Qin Yunuan followed her and made a vow, “Wish my life be safe and healthy; wish evil people die out. If Baochuan becomes a talent and people around me have a carefree life forever, I will bring incense, candles and red silk here to fulfill my promise.”
While they were making vows, suddenly somebody pointed at the Sakyamuni Buddha statue and shouted, “The Buddha is crying!”
“Yes, the Buddha is crying, with blood tears.”
All got panicked. It was an ill omen when the Buddha was crying.
Qin Yunuan raised her head and found that on the over-3-meter high Buddha, the eyes shed red liquid, dripping down along the lateral gold cheek, which seemed the Buddha was crying.
How come the Buddha statue could cry! It must be someone playing tricks.
“It’s bad. It is an ill omen when the Buddha is crying. It is definitely true that someone here has offended the Buddha, and this is the retribution.” Someone shouted timidly.
“Just a Buddha statue,” Fang Ziying tried to calm down and said, “It may be that the pigment is still wet, and the air is humid, so the pigment drips down.”
“I am afraid that it is not so.” Li Weijun who kept silent all the time suddenly said to Qin Yunuan and Fang Ziying, “Maybe there is something ominous or an evil monster. Is it Sister Qin Yunuan?”
Qin Yunuan seldom met Li Weijun. Last time at the banquet for the Flow Fairing Festival, Li Weijun came with arrogant Shangguan Yee. But this time she nominated Qin Yunuan. It seemed that her target was Qin Yunuan. If not, then she just did it for the one behind her.
“It may be not so,” Qin Yunuan smiled, “all things have their own rules and…”
“The Buddha is epiphanic and there must be some monsters in his hall!” Before Qin Yunuan expressed her thoughts, a resonant and straight sound came and lingered in the hall, from the host of the praying ceremony, Master Hui An.
All got shocked and looked at each other.
“You, this blind monk, don’t tell bullshit,” Shangguan Yee disliked these monster-ghost things and she shouted outrageously, “People coming here for praying are from noble families in the capital. There is no monster here. If you keep telling lies, I will ask my daddy to punish you.”
“If there does have?” Li Weijun said with a gloomy face, “Master Hui An, go on.”
Half a month ago, Shangguan Yee and Li Weijun still stood on the same side, helping Qin Yunzhuang, but today they were against each other. It seemed that Shangguan Yee had nothing to do with this issue, but this spoiled girl turned back and said, “We all come here for praying but why you keep stirring up troubles?”
“Sister Shangguan, you are wrong,” Li Weijun turned back, “I do this just for all of us. If this doubt is cleared, we all will have no misunderstanding.” And then she urged, “Master Hui An, you are a highly cultivated monk in Buddhism. You must have known the inner truth.”
Master Hui An just closed his eyes and rotated Dragon-eye Buddha Beads. He then said “Amitabha” and opened his eyes, “Is there anybody who was born in May?”
Qin Yunuan got shocked a little but soon calmed down. She looked silent but somebody had known her tension. The so-called almighty and sophisticated maiden would be nervous too.
Leng Changxi was staring at Qin Yunuan sideways. Their eyes jointed in this warm but gloomy air. Leng Changxi’s straight body shined with a solemn coldness, which seemed to make Qin Yunuan trapped in the dark and couldn’t find the exit.
“I remember that sister Yunuan was born in May, right?” At the hall, a ringing sound came, “You are 15 years old on May fifth in the lunar calendar this year.”
Qin Yunuan turned back and found the sound came from Li Weijun, who pointed at her. It seemed that Dou Qing’e tried her best to hurt Qin Yunuan.
Qin Yunuan answered calmly, “I just met you once, but sister Li, you remember my birthday so clearly. I am very surprised and happy.”
“Anybody else?” Master Hui An opened his eyes with Buddha Beads in hands
All shook heads and looked at Qin Yunuan strangely.
Master Hui An held the Buddha Beads and added, “One who was born in February will be the bad sign for her parents; one who was born in May will be the bad sign for her whole family. They are all ill omen.”
Qin Yunuan answered slowly, “It is well-known to us all, but you seemed to get something wrong. The one in February refers to girls while that in May refers to boys.”
Master Hui An walked towards Qin Yunuan, pointing at her, “The one born in May refers to a boy. That is right. But you are female outside while male inside, which is more ominous.”
“You are talking nonsense,” Fang Ziying broke out, “my sister Qin Yunuan was born pure and beautiful. How come she is female outside while male inside?”
Master Hui An seemed to make it profound, shook his head and asked, “Then, in recent days, was there any woman who had difficulty in giving birth at the mansion of Qin?”
Qin Yunuan frowned and nodded, “Yes, a concubine of my father had difficulty in giving birth two months ago, and finally she survived thanks to Ginseng.”
Master Hui An seemed not to predict that Qin Yunuan answered so quickly, and he asked confidently, “Recently, is there any elder brother of you who has not come back yet and your father and even the maidservants in Qin family got hurt?”
Qin Yunuan smiled, “You are right. One of my elder brothers is travelling outside and haven’t told us when he would be back. My father who accompanied the Grand Prince for the south tour in the region of the Yangtze River was attacked by an assassin. He sprained his arm for taking a risk to safeguard the Grand Prince. As for my two elder sisters, one hurt her face in the palace and the other was punished not to go outside for making a mistake. All of your words are right.”
After Qin Yunuan’s words, gossiping was louder but only Leng Changxi kept silent like a fir at night, straight but cold. No one would know what he was waiting for. It might be for the dawn or darker night.
“Humph, you are a real hoodoo,” Li Weijun raised her voice, “This daughter of a concubine hurt the family Qin. Why could she still live in this family?”
“So, the Grand Prince was attacked due to sister Qin Yunuan? It is concerned about the safety of the prince.” Somebody shouted.
Master Hui An just closed her eyes disappointedly, soliloquizing, “Amitabha, it’s sin! Sin!”
“Master, you are right. But Yunuan had something to say.” Qin Yunuan stood sideways with a silent and pure face.