Reborn Lady: Unparalleled Daughter of Concubine

Chapter 5 - An Unnatural Death

Chapter 5 An Unnatural Death

The banquet’s ambiance became weird with everyone’s eyes falling on Leng Changxi. On the other hand, Leng Changxi was as calm and stable as an iceberg, neither moving nor saying anything. He placed his right hand naturally on the table, his left one resting on his leg. With a slight tilt of his head, he looked at Empress Chen, as if he had been waiting for her arrangement and her arrangement only.

Empress Chen’s oriental eyes narrowed, and after what seemed to be a long time for consideration, she ordered. “Since there is still unwillingness in his heart, bring him up. I want to hear what he prepared to say to me.” Leng Changxi’s reaction mattered more than what that man would say. It was a test for this new commander who had just made a good figure, to see if he could draw Leng to her side.

Qin Yunuan rubbed her glass gently, sizing up secretly the expressions of Empress Chen and her attendants. The soldier was supposed to be executed miles away from the Plum Garden. Even if he had magic power, it would be extremely hard to escape the strong executor and ran all the way here, which could be really strange.

“What’s on your mind, sister?” Qin Yunzhuang took the rare initiative to speak to Qin Yunuan. She had been observing Qin Yunuan for a while and felt uncomfortable with her occasional look of contemplation. Her smile was as pure and harmless as before, but it made people wonder if anything intriguing was hidden behind.

“I’m just frustrated.” Qin Yunuan blinked. “I’ve only heard of the Meng army before. When did the Leng army emerge?”

Hearing her visionless question, Qin Yunzhuang turned her head with a disgusted look. She fudged with a simple explanation, “It’s just a handful of people who emerged after the battle of East Qin. There’s nothing much to talk about.”

During the conversation, the man who was crying outside Plum Garden was brought up. He was thin and pallid, his hair hanging down loosely. A large prison garment covered his body like an empty shelf as if he could be blown down by the wind.

“Your Highness…Allow Ding Yue to pay respects to you and Prince Ray.” He raised his dirty face and saluted twice. The man froze when he saw Leng Changxi. Crawling on the ground, he murmured, “Leng, General Leng.” He lost the momentum of roaring outside the garden and was as humble as a grain of dust.

Leng Changxi didn’t move. He was like an ice sculpture, except for the indifference and disdain in his eyes. He was not even willing to take a look at Ding Yue, who was at this time, kneeling on the ground.

Empress Chen picked up his armor cover, as a hint that it was time for this prisoner claimed to be Ding Yue to lift his head. “You’re too thin. Why keep screaming to see me and General Leng?”

Qin Yunuan saw Ding Yue seemed to be choked by the words in his throat and appeared to be dodging from Leng Changxi. He just answered abruptly, “Please, Empress, gave justice to me. I have served for fifteen years in the army. For those years I have always been a loyal servant and soldier for the country. On the march this time, the old wound on my back recurred. The pain was so unbearable that I asked a cookhouse maid to change the fresh dressing for me. Mutual affection grew after one or two times, and one day…I failed to control my love for her. General Leng discovered and insisted that I raped her, and he then… gave me the punishment. Rod beating for eighty times.”

Eighty times of rod beating were not like tickling. He could be dead if the executor completed the job seriously.

Empress Chen sighed, “If she loved you till the end of your time, I would never want to see more miserable lovers in the world.”

Ding Yue leaned down hurriedly to the ground, shouting “Your Majesty, I beg you.”

Empress Chen didn’t say much. She first turned to Sima Ray, ” Ray, what do you think?”

Sima Ray prostrated, and then he stood with hands behind his back before speaking. “General Ding served in the army for fifteen years. He could be called a veteran. This soldier had devoted all his life and his hot blood to the country but still was all by himself at his age. There were ancient sayings that even heroes fall for beauties. Moreover, eighty strokes were probably too much for a person like General Ding, who has rendered outstanding service.” He looked at Leng Changxi after finishing his words.” What do you think, General Leng?”

The mother and son performed a nice play. They wrote a distinct guideline for Leng Changxi: We want Ding Yue alive. Watch your attitude.

Leng Changxi couldn’t be clearer in his heart, but his complexion was still indifferent. He raised his eyes to glance at Ding Yue on the ground and said slowly, “I, would give you another chance.”

Ding Yue gave Empress Chen a glimpse. Whatever, his life depended on Leng’s choice. If his tone softened, he might be acquitted on the charges and win Empress’s favor. If he didn’t, he would be a dead man sooner or later. Slamming his head heavily on the ground, he said, “If there’s a word that’s not real, then I deserve an unnatural death.”

“Oh, is that so?” Leng Changxi sneered. “Firstly, there has never been a woman in the Leng Army. Where did you meet that cookhouse maid? Secondly, the woman hanged herself the day after I discovered the incident. If this was love, why don’t you die with her?” Speaking of this, Leng Changxi paused for a moment and continued, “Thirdly, I didn’t give you eighty times of rod. Instead, I give you 200.”

Two hundred! Eighty was already hard to leave him a breath. Two hundred strokes would beat him to death. Three choking sentences hit the keys of Ding Yue’s confession.

“General Leng, didn’t he just say eighty strokes? How could it be…so inconsistent, so suddenly?” Sima Ray seemed to feel unfair for Ding Yue. The Ding family was a helpful instrument for Empress in the army and might also be a capable assistant for her political foundation. Although Ding Yue was only a distant relative of the Ding Family, it was always necessary to be nice to the Dings.

“Don’t be so emotional, Prince Ray.” Leng Changxi rubbed his white jade cup slowly. The liquid in his cup was warmed by the temperature of his fingertips, sending off intoxicating fragrance. “The man said just then. If he had said anything untrue, he deserves an unnatural death. I can’t predict nature, but I can at least help with an unnatural death. Changing the punishment was to his wish.”

Qin Yunuan sighed in her heart. It seemed that Leng Changxi was a tough guy. Under the disguise of giving people another chance, he planned to expose the fact of this crime. In this way, even Empress Chen could do nothing.

Ding Yue was making eye contact with the Empress repeatedly. Qin Yunuan felt the inextricable relation in the palace. Empress Chen had already reached her hands out too far. However, Qin Yunuan felt that she might have encountered an impeccably rival this time.

Empress Chen closed her eyes slightly. After a while, she opened her mouth, “Even so, today is supposed to be a good day for the Flower Fairy Festival banquet. I’m afraid it would be inauspicious if it’s stained with blood.” Besides, she promised Ding’s family to protect him.

Now that the great prince Sima Ruo was supported by his uncle, Meng Hua, who was a descendant of the Meng Army and enjoyed high authority. The Ding was not high in status enough, but they have deep roots in the army.

“Simple.” Leng Changxi raised his eyebrows and responded firmly, “I could bring Ding Yue back to the barracks in the suburbs of the Royal city. We would enforce military law there. He will never stain your highness’s banquet.” His attitude was uncompromising, though he used respectful words.

The light in Sima Ray’s eyes dimmed down. Then those eyes sharpened and sized Leng Changxi up. Leng was about the age of his own. He was correct and hardly put a foot wrong in his words and deeds. Ray felt it hard to take advantage of him.

Sima Ray met Empress Chen’s misty eyes again in his thoughts. It seemed that they thought of the same thing.

“That’s good.” Empress Chen nodded, not even giving a glance to Ding Yue, who was obviously on her side. She didn’t intend to use up all her efforts to save him. It was more like a test for Leng Changxi’s attitude. It would be great if he was saved. Otherwise, the Dings would also be satisfied if she gave one of his family members an exalted sinecure. But…”

This Leng Changxi was ruthless indeed. Young but sophisticated and decisive, his manners reminded Ray of the Emperor as he sentenced the death of everyone in Weiyang Palace.

Ding Yue screamed as if he had lost his mind when he heard that there would be no exemption, but his punishment would be aggravated to two hundred times of rod beating. “Empress, your highness, you can’t do this. You are…” He didn’t finish his words before the maids covered his mouth up with silk cloth and dragged him out. Ding Yue widened his eyes. The woman promised to save his life before. She was holding that list of generals in Ding’s family and smiling fearlessly, like a flower blossom.

“Too much noise.” Empress Chen sighed, covering her mouth with a handkerchief. The banquet went on. But Imperial Concubine Yun on the side couldn’t help but grin. Her voice was a bit harsh that it gave everyone goosebumps.

“Sister, what are you laughing about?” Empress Chen asked carelessly with her head down as she picked up the butterfly crackers in those fine, blue and white porcelain saucers.

Imperial Concubine Yun smiled gently, “I just thought that this play was really good. Those unaware might mistook it that this was your arrangement.”

“This sister really knows how to joke.” Empress Chen chuckled. “I won’t be able to put on such a wonderful show.”

The banquet continued with typical singing and dancing. Through the ribbons of those dancers, Qin Yunuan observed Leng Changxi. There was always some uneasiness in her heart. “Does he know her trick of changing flower sachets? Will he show any hint at the banquet?”

Such fears lasted until the incense burned out. Leng Changxi stood suddenly after a song ended and saluted to Empress Chen. “The banquet is fabulous. I would like to linger for a little while longer, but I have important things to be done. Please, excuse me.”

Empress Chen smiled and nodded. She would never want such a person to stay here longer. Qin Yunuan was also suddenly relieved.

Leng Changxi turned around, his eyes quickly swept across the noblewomen at the banquet. When his eyes met Qin Yunuan, his pupils narrowed, and a flash of inspection flowed through. Qin intended to turn a blind eye at him, but in avoidance of gossip, she held her head up and met with his eyes boldly. The two looked into each other’s eyes for a moment and moved away. Nothing seemed to happen.

As soon as Leng Changxi left the feast, Qin Yunzhuang said to Qin Yunuan immediately, “I just saw General Leng peeking on you for a few times. Could it be that…” Her intention was clear without finishing the sentence.

“Not true, my sister.” Qin Yunuan pointed at the bit of rouge that she placed deliberately on her neckline and laughed. “I’m an unscrupulous joke to General Leng.”

Everything Qin Yunzhuang did was in vain, so she just said, “Are you ready for the draw later?”

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.