Chapter 29 Moral Bankruptcy
At the study of the east yard at the mansion of Grand Commandant, the debris of colored glazes and ceramics were scattered all over the floor.
Qin Zhi sat on the armchair and his face expressed his anger conspicuously and exhaustion after a long journey. Suddenly the house kept silent for nearly half an hour and even a falling hair sounded extreme loudly like a thunder.
“What you said just now was true?” Qin Zhi took a deep breath.
“My master, I dare not to tell a lie,” Dou Qing’e said with love and tears, “It was said that I abused the concubine’s daughter and made Qin Yunuan’s hands get chilblain. That’s not true. After the death of Yunuan’s mother, you let me take care of Yunuan and Baochuan, and the whole family knows that Baochuan is spoiled. But this time… due to the mistake of Yunuan, I punished her to wash clothes for several days. To my surprise, Yunuan was too slender and got chilblain just after three days.”
Arrogance, timidity and self-reliance privilege, Qin Zhi disliked all of them, and especially those existed on his children.
“I am asking you that you just now said Yunuan had taken Cold-Food Powder for half a month. Is that true?”
“It is true indeed,” Dou Qing’e explained in a hurry, “Xiu Gu and Cui’e can prove that. Today Yunuan was absent from the welcome ceremony just because she did not feel well. My master, I punished her because I found Yunuan took the banned medicine first. I did not abuse her as others out of the family said.”
Qin Zhi stood up with his hands clasped behind his back. He remembered clearly what the emperor said to him at the court. The emperor praised his loyalty and patriotism for his protection of the Grand Prince. He planned to award Qin Zhi the title of nobility but thought his family was not tranquil and harmonious. A family without harmony would have no right to help the governance of the country. So, the emperor suspended the award. The emperor meant that according to the news in the Royal City, Dou Qing’e abused the concubine’s daughter of family Qin and caused her to get chilblain, which was found by the Emperor at the feast. What’s more, somebody said the crying Buddha at the praying ceremony in Wan’an Temple had something to do with madam Qin.
The Grand Commandant, Chamberlain for Ceremonials, Grand Tutor, should be a great moral example to ordinary people. At the key time, it was reasonable to suspend the award of nobility. But he felt very upset that his reputation and promotion failed by a woman.
However, if the news that concubine’s daughter of family Qin took Cold-Food Powder was spread out, he would get trouble. So, he made up his mind that he must investigate the whole thing secretly before the news came out.
Qin Yunuan wiped out the corner of the desk where there was some medicine juice after she grinded the last bottle of medicine mash. Tong waiting at the door rushed in and shouted: “The third Miss, the master and madam dispatched people to take you there for asking something and those people now were at the door of the yard.”
“Third Miss,” Nurse Liao stood forward to protect Qin Yunuan by instinct. The wrinkle at the corner of her eyes showed her worry, “Miss, let me accompany you to go there.”
“No. It is better for you to stay in the yard,” Qin Yunuan stood up and brushed off some medicine dregs on her skirt, and then tidied her simple and pure butterfly-shaped silver hair clasp. She gave a salute to the nanny, “I feel not very well and let you wait for so long.”
At the south study of Shunchang Courtyard, the bronze stove was settled in the center of the house, where flavored cakes were put inside. The falling drop at the Bronze Water Column Copper sounded harsh and beat the heart of Qin Yunuan repeatedly.
At this moment, Qin Yunuan kneeled down silently. Besides, doctor Chen who was familiar with family Qin was feeling the pulse of Qin Yunuan. He frowned to feel her pulse and looked so discreetly.
When half of the incense was burned, Qin Zhi still kept silent. He asked until doctor Chen asked the drug boy to put away the medicine box, “How is she?”
“Master, miss Qin’s pulse is strong and lasts long, which is a forceful pulse, and caused by over Yang energy and lung-spleen problem. If she had not a weak and cold body, she must take the Cold-Food Powder.”
“Can’t it be the final conclusion?” Dou Qing’e was urgent.
“Mother, I have dispatched Nurse Liao to tell you that I felt not very well today and caught a cold. What kind of conclusion do you want?” Qin Yunuan kneeled down. The freezing floor did not cool her inner drastic emotion. She did not have much affection with her father. But he was her father indeed, and she felt disappointed because her father suspected her just from Dou Qing’e’s words.
“Father,” Qin Yunuan stared at Qin Zhi who sat on the Zen chair, “Father, if you are angry that I did not welcome you at the door because I am sick today, I apologize to you.” And then Qin Yunuan kowtowed politely again.
Qin Zhi squinted, looking at sincere Qin Yunuan through the penholder on the long wooden desk. He asked, “That’s not I am angry at or I won’t dispatch people to take you here secretly.” Qin Zhi thought he was disciplined all the time, but his colleagues in the court knew that his family was not harmonious. If Qin Yunuan did take the Cold-Food Powder, he had to kick her out of the family to protect his good reputation.
Qin Yunuan just lowered her head politely, “I don’t know what mistake I have made and why you, my father turned so angry at me on the first day you come back.”
“Miss Qin Yunuan, if you do not tell the whole thing, your father and I will punish you badly. Don’t blame us.” Dou Qing’e sat aside, holding a warm stove. Now she was not upset but arrogant, confident, determined.
Qin Zhi still sat on the Zen chair without a word. He interlocked his fingers and pondered. After a trade-off, he said slowly, “If you do not confess, Yunuan, there will be a bad consequence.”
Qin Yunuan straightened her back further, “I am innocent, always following rules, and I have done nothing bad and dirty. There is no need for me to confess.”
“Fine!” Dou Qing’e was exactly waiting for this moment, “Since you are not willing to say anything, master, see? You have left some leeway already, but she did not accept it. Please allow Xiu Gu to search her yard with our maidservants. She must have nothing to refute if we find those dirty things.”
Qin Zhi looked at Qin Yunuan for a while just like looking at a criminal, and then nodded, which meant he accepted the suggestion of Dou Qing’e.
Xiu Gu heard the order and went out. Qin Yunuan pretended to be surprised and asked timidly with her big eyes, “Father and mother, do you suspect me to take the banned medicine Cold-Food Powder?”
“The answer will be clear just later.” Dou Qing’e said with some imperceptible delight. She thought she would be very annoyed if the concubine’s daughter and her younger brother were not kicked out of the family.
It was hard to wait for the result. The leaves on the withered Chinese parasol tree in the backyard behind the study were blown off and fell down straightly. The sound was beating each heart of the people here. When the incense was burned up, Xiu Gu led some nannies who attended the yard to come and report.
“Master, madam, we have searched all the food and place which can hide things, and we have not found the Cold-Food Powder.”
The old doctor following Xiu Gu also nodded, “Right, I checked all and found all food is clear.” Qin Yunuan had ordered Nurse Liao to handle with the porridge she had this morning. So, they did not find anything. She left Nurse Liao, Tong and Maner to stay at the yard, because she wanted to observe the searching crowds so as to avoid the things in the yard were moved.
“But,” Xiu Gu added and Qin Zhi moved forwards for listening clearly, “We found some bottles of medicine in the makeup box in miss Qin Yunuan’s room. The cork is so tight, and we take them here to check in front of master and madam.”
Xiu Gu took those bottles back just because she recognized at her first sight that those bottles were the ones that had been given to Lvliu according to the order of Dou Qing’e. Those bottles contained Cold-Food Powder. Xiu Gu and Dou Qing’e looked at each other and both of them thought things would be done.
“Security, open the two china bottles.” Dou Qing’e waved her sleeve with great power.
“Wait,” Qin Yunuan suddenly stopped, “Mother, my father is still sitting in this house. Why don’t you ask him and make an order without the permit of the master? You have no such right.”
Dou Qing’e looked at Qin Zhi dully and wanted to explain something for herself. She saw Qin Zhi nodded uneasily, which meant he allowed the order by Dou Qing’e.
“See?” Dou Qing’e now was inflatable, “Today, I want to show to master that you, the third daughter of the family who had never gone out, was unfilial. According to the rule of the family, anyone who takes Cold-Food Powder, will be kicked out of the family.”
“Mother, you believe strongly that I have taken Cold-Food Powder, but what if I have not taken it?” Qin Yunuan said with her determined eyes, which seemed to be provoking Dou Qing’e, specifically her promise.
Now Dou Qing’e was gambling. She believed if she opened the bottles, the situation could be changed. She said with her congestive eyes, “If not, I will worship the Buddha and abstain from meat and wine for one month in my room. Xiu Gu, open it!”
Xiu Gu opened it quickly and the aroma of herb medicine came out. Xiu Gu poured out the bottle onto a plate. It was not the white Cold-Food Powder, but some thick green medicine mash clinging in the mouth of the bottle. Xiu Gu turned to be very embarrassed and Dou Qing’e clenched her clothes tightly. All was not going smoothly as her expectation.
Dou Qing’e looked at Qin Yunuan unbelievably. The weak and incompetent concubine’s daughter showed her grievance and tenacity. She knew that she was tricked. Dou Qing’e made a conclusion quickly. She was the one who always made a trick to others, but now…
Qin Zhi felt a little bit disdained to her, and said slowly to Dou Qing’e, “This, is what you called Cold-Food Powder?”
Doctor Chen came forward immediately and took a little medicine mash, stiffing and saying: “Master, the grinded medicine mash was made of Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort, radix cyathulae, radix angelicae, corydalis tuber, red flower, clove, menthol, and borneol.”
“What is it used for?”
“My master, this is a folk prescription in Qingzhou,” Doctor Chen bowed his fist, “For external application, it can promote blood circulation to remove blood stasis, and strengthen bones. It is a good prescription to cure spraining and swelling.”