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Nightfall - Chapter 139

Published at 20th of April 2018 12:30:04 AM


Chapter 139: The Truth Hidden in Catkin

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Ning Que recalled that little Sangsang kept staring at Third Prince Xie at the announce result day, and then he realized that little Sangsang, just like him, was a mortal who focused on people's appearance. "But why she never stares at me? The reason is quite simple: I am not handsome." Thinking of this, Ning Que said in a gloomy voice, "Generally speaking, a handsome man doesn't have a wise brain, such as that Prince Long Qing".




Putting her head on her slim arms, Sangsang said fascinatedly, "Young master, I just want to figure out how he is born with that face. It's so pretty; I am wondering where he buys his makeup, from Chenjinji cosmetic store or Yuzhiyuan cosmetic store? Well, it would be great if I can take a closer look and even better if I could touch his eyebrows."

Looking at her face, Ning Que remembered that in all those years, except for doing housework, his little handmaiden almost had no interests. Thinking of this, a sense of pity rose from his heart. After a moment of silence, Ning Que smiled and said, "Prince Long Qing is supposed to enter to the second floor of the Academy, if you want to look at him closely I could bring you there. At that time you could cheer for me by the way."

"Good idea!" Sangsang clapped her tiny hands and sat up straight, and then she seriously stared at Ning Que and said, "but I'll just drop by on the way to see him when I am going there to cheer you up."

"You are so sweet, that's my girl."

Ning Que smiled and rubbed her head, and then he walked toward the backyard with his hands behind and thinking, "No matter for my own life or for my little handmaiden's dream, I must try every effort to enter the second floor of the Academy".

...

...

Another spring came. The catkin was fluttering in the air. They were flying above wells in the market street, flying across quiet and luxurious residence at southern city, flying through busy Vermilion Bird Avenue and flying over the high vermilion wall. The catkin naughtily touched the animal-carvings on eave, and then gently fell down, making the wet floor of laundry became a thin blanket.





"I'm wrong, I'm wrong. If his Majesty asked last year and I was a bit braver to admit it, now I will not be in this awkward situation. Right now what I feel is like I see a gold mountain, but I dare not to touch it."

A voice with Hebei accent resounded in the air which was filled with catkin. A deputy commander of Great Tang named Xu Chongshan who was slightly overweight was standing in front of the handrail of the side hall. Gathering his hands in his sleeves, he watched those ministers who were joyfully and haughtily walking out from inperial study, and looked at those copies treated like treasures by them. And then his disdainful eyesight gradually turned into a sight that missing his first lover and his family.

"As you see, I am a boor so why would I play tricks like those ministers? I screwed up everything! I reaped what I have sown. Now that His Majesty likes it deeper, and the more people are involved, the more I am afraid to admit that I lied to his Majesty. As a saying goes, selecting a wrong path would lead you astray."

The young eunuch Lu Ji glanced at the deputy commander, and then he advised in a low voice and said, "Your honor, we have been waiting for months, yet no matter how secret Ning Que hid, the imperial court would dig him out one day. At that time, not only you and me but also our imperial bodyguard office would be sentenced for lying to his Majesty, so what if we... make a gamble?"

"How?" Xu Chongshan snorted and replied, "His Majesty likes it, her Majesty likes it, and those ministers like it, no matter real or fake. Anyway, his Majesty has been disappointed for such a long time, if he finds out that you and I have kept the truth for such a long time, all his disappointment and likes will turn into anger, by then, Ning Que won't get into any trouble, yet you and I will be responsible for it instead."

When talking about important things, the deputy commander lost his accent. Lu Ji didn't dare to interrupt him. He rolled his eyes and thinking, "If that day really comes, then I must be the one who takes the responsibility. This matter... should be solved."

"Lu Ji... who do you think is the most trusted person by his Majesty, in additon to her Majesty?" Xu Chongshan suddenly asked.

Lu Ji shocked for a while, realizing that the deputy commander had already seen through his mind. With a sour face, he bowed, thinking for a long time, and then he replied indeterminately, "The Master of Nation?"


"I don't care what methods you use, but you need to handle this matter properly. Let his Majesty knows who wrote those words through the mouth of the Master of Nation, and keep the bodyguard office out of this at the same time."

Xu Chongshan arranged few words, and then lifted his leg to walk toward the gate.

Taking over this troublesome matter from the deputy commander, Lu Ji definitely unwilling to let him stand out of the trouble. So Lu Ji followed anxiously and gabbled in a low voice, "Deputy Commander, it's always easier talk than to do. What am I supposed to do?"

"If I know how to do it, what's the point to have you here?" Xu Chongshan glared back and angrily said, "As a deputy commander, I am busy dealing with official business, how can I have time to deal with such a little matter?"

"It is not a supernatural soldier or a magical talisman, it's just a section. How could it be so influential? That Prince Long Qing is also a trouble. I actually need to send soldiers to maintain order at Peach Alley. He is just a little more handsome than other men, why all the girls and wives in Chang'an are so crazy about him?"

After these words, the deputy commander left with a flick of his sleeves. A faint compliance of him could be heard, "What a messy world!"

...

...


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The peach flowers in Chang'an city haven't in a full bloom, while the flowers in Jingyuan graveyard at suburb have just got numerous pinky flower buds. The graveyard located among forests and mountains. People who had the right to bury here mostly were officers or rich businessmen of Tang Empire. Now it was a good time to have an out in spring and visit graves. Dense puffs of gray smokes were following graves and in front of a flame prevention screen was a warm heap of piling up ashes from the burning of paper money.

A slender middle-aged man in a gray robe stood at the highest place of the graveyard, silently watching the movement below. He didn't walk down from it until people in front of the stone grave left there.

Looking at the introduction of censor Zhang Yiqi, the middle-aged man in a gray robe kept silent for a moment, and then he came to the tomb. His right hand slowly touched the newly cut grass and his palm was very close to the root of the grass but not completely touched it.

This man was called Lin Ling. He was a martial arts expert and a psyche master in a seethrough state. He acted under the order of General Xia Hou to investigate the truth of the death of Zhang Yiqi and arrived at Chang'an in early winter. During the half a year, he read many files about the three homicide cases with the help of his friends in Military Ministry and went to the smithy at the east of the city and also went to the pavilion at south several times. As for this graveyard, it was his fourth time to come here.

There were few questionable points in the last two homicide cases, but a case without a murder was the biggest questionable one. Yet this martial arts master couldn't find out any connections between these two cases. What's more, he was under the command of General Xia Hou to investigate secretly. So before he found any conclusive evidence, it was inconvenient to get in touch with relevant departments in court, and naturally, there was no way to get help from governments, such as the Chang'an local government.

As for the file about Censor Zhang Yiqi, Lin Ling has read it over and over again, yet he still couldn't find any questionable point. This case was more like a traffic accident which happened when an aged censor escaped from the brothel in a hurry because of his fear of his wife than a murder. However, what he didn't know was that because of the censor's wife was hard to get rid of, this file was so convincing that even experts from the court couldn't find out any questionable points.

If Lin Ling were others, he would leave Chang'an as no evidence could be found after months and submit his results to northeast Military Ministry. Yet Lin Ling was different from others. He was a man in a seethrough state and a soldier in Tang. Before being completely confirmed, he had enough perseverance and patience to preserve, not to mention that he knew better than anyone else that General Xia Hou and Military Counselor Gu Xi would never accept any vague conclusion.

Before departure, the Military Counselor Gu Xi had urged him that among the three homicide cases, the case of Zhang Yiqi was the most crucial one. In fact, the general didn't let him investigate whether the three cases had a connection but rather to make sure that the death of Zhang Yiqi was really a traffic accident and no questionable points were left.


"Suburb of Chang'an, graveyard for the rich..." Staring at the tomb, Lin Ling slightly raised his eyebrows, and sighed in an imperceptible voice, "now that I can neither ask Chang'an local government to open the coffin of Zhang Yiqi and check his body nor open his coffin by myself, then how could I find out if there are any problems with the death of the censor?"

Although he got nothing and seemed to be caught in a dilemma, he never thought of leaving, instead he became more determined. He stept back a few steps and raised his blue robe to sit down on the ground.

What he did next would consume his practice a lot since it's more like searching a tiny stone hiding in the grass. Worst still, he himself didn't know whether there was a tiny stone. However, he still made up his mind to do it, because only in this way could he persuade himself to leave Chang'an.

Thus this strong man from northeast board army sat down among tombs, letting the catkin gently fall on his lapel and letting the young peach buds look at himself mockingly. He sat from morning to the afternoon. His shadow became short by the ramp length, and his face was getting paler.

A long time passed. Lin Ling slowly opened his eyes and glanced at the tomb not far away from him with a great shock. His eyes looked puzzled but relieved, because he had confirmed something or confirmed something he suspected.

Gently rising sleeves to wipe the sweat that was about to drip from his eyebrows, he struggled to stand up. Holding his wrist because of tiredness, he deeply breathed the air mixed with the smell of smoke above the tombs and slowly walked toward the Chang'an city.

On the second day, the tranquility of the tomb of Zhang Yiqi was disturbed once again. The people who came here were neither his ferocious wife who was in flood of tears nor his plump concubine who had no tears at all, but Lin Ling and several runners of Chang'an local government.

Today Lin Ling didn't wear his blue casual clothes but his military uniform, in which he seemed very doughty. Lin Ling turned back and bowed to a local government runner, gently said, "Your honor, since I am already willing to sworn this with my life, may I ask when could we open his coffin?"

The runners scattered to make a room, then Shangguan Yangyu, the prefectural magistrate of Chang'an city, came over with his eyebrows frowned.

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