“Mistress, Lord Zhuang is here.”
Shi Sheng was just about to go to bed when Tao Qin suddenly ran in from outside with a slightly anxious look on her face.
“He can come and go in the imperial harem as he wishes?” Shi Sheng was surprised. ‘This Lord Zhuang is pretty nifty huh!’
Zhuang-fu had been constantly sending her letters like before, but Shi Sheng either gave him an infuriating reply, or none at all.
Since all his spies by her side had been cleared out, Zhuang-fu could no longer sit still. Naturally, he’d sneak into the palace.
Since he wasn’t supposed to be here, Zhuang-fu was clearly very cautious. Even after he entered the room, he still looked around carefully.
“Xiao’qiong.” Seeing Shi Sheng sitting on her recliner without any intention of greeting him, Zhuang-fu couldn’t help but snap with a dark face.
“Mistress…” Tao Qin seemed a bit afraid of Zhuang-fu, as she urgently tried to convey what she was trying to say with her eyes.
Shi Sheng raised her gaze slightly, speaking in a calm voice, “Isn’t Father afraid that His Majesty will find you sneaking into the palace in the middle of the night?”
Zhuang-fu’s expression relaxed, probably due to thinking that Shi Sheng was showing concern for him.
“Father is here to see you.” Zhuang-fu moved forward a few steps. “Have you been well?”
“Wouldn’t you know the answer to that, Father?” Though the people in her palace had been dismissed, Zhuang-fu’s spies were still placed in the area surrounding it.
Zhuang-fu frowned. ‘I felt like something was off with this daughter before, but now it seems even more so. Could she be possessed?’
Zhuang-fu examined Shi Sheng with subtlety, asking her in a probing manner, “Xiao’qiong, do you still remember what you told Father when you were young?”
Shi Sheng bolted upright, her calm gaze fixed to Zhuang-fu. “So what if I do, and so what if I don’t?”
Zhuang-fu’s frown grew deeper. “Xiao’qiong, don’t forget your task.”
A malicious grin broke out on Shi Sheng’s face. “Did you really think Yuwen Xun was that dumb? He’s been guarding against you from the start—how could he have touched me?”
“You said he’s been on guard from the start?” Zhuang-fu revealed his surprise.
“Well duh. Why do you think I haven’t gotten pregnant after so many years in the palace?”
Zhuang Qiong hadn’t told Zhuang-fu about Yuwen Xun never touching her because of embarrassment, so Zhuang-fu had always thought it was because she hadn’t been working hard enough to get pregnant.
Zhuang-fu’s expression turned grave. He hadn’t expected Yuwen Xun to have been guarding against him from the start.
Yuwen Xun hadn’t shown any hint of wariness towards Zhuang-fu in court…
‘He pampered Zhuang Qiong a lot too… So just when did he start guarding against me?’
Zhuang-fu calmed down. “What happened these past few days?”
Shi Sheng shrugged. “Someone framed me, another took advantage of it. That’s pretty much it!”
The person doing the framing was Shu Fei, while the one taking advantage of it was Yuwen Xun. Since both of them wanted her dead, they didn’t need to liaise beforehand to co-operate in achieving the same goal.
It was just a shame that Shu Fei hadn’t counted on Ming Jin suddenly appearing, as well as Shi Sheng’s unpredictable actions.
“Don’t be reckless. Wait for my news.” Zhuang-fu spoke before leaving hurriedly.
Yuwen Xun had given orders to not disclose his bet with Shi Sheng. Those present that day were either his confidantes or had been silenced, which was why Zhuang-fu wasn’t aware of this matter.
He’d only entered the palace today because of Shi Sheng’s abnormal behaviour. But the matter Shi Sheng revealed gave him no more time to ponder on what was wrong with her.
‘If Yuwen Xun truly is in the know, then he must’ve laid out secret plans after so many years of pretending otherwise. This is extremely detrimental to the Zhuang Clan. I have to return to discuss this with the others.’
“Mistress, you?” Tao Qin hesitated to speak, her expression complex. ‘Mistress’ actions lately have been much too out of the ordinary.’
Shi Sheng looked at Tao Qin. “Scared? Maybe I really am possessed. If you’re scared, you can just leave.”
Tao Qin lowered her head, answering in a muffled voice, “Mistress…this one was just curious.”
“Just take it as me being sick of being manipulated by others, so I decided to manipulate others instead.” Shi Sheng waved a hand, speaking indifferently, “Or you can just treat me as a different person entirely.”
Tao Qin stared dumbly at Shi Sheng, not coming to her senses for a good long while.
The next day, De-gonggong brought a group of imperial guards to wait outside her palace early in the morning.
Shi Sheng asked with impatience written all over her face, “What’re you guys up to so early?”
De-gonggong’s fingers were arranged in an orchid hand as he spoke in his high-pitched voice, “Yun Jie Yu, today is the final day.”
“You crazy ah? Do you have a fucking handphone? Do you think you can get the news from Jinbei today?”
De-gonggong was a bit confused. ‘What’s a handphone?’
Though he didn’t know what it was, he still understood what she was trying to convey.
It took three days and nights to travel from Jinbei to the capital. De-gonggong hurriedly sent someone to ask Yuwen Xun what to do.
Having had his IQ belittled, Yuwen Xun was feeling very grumpy. He told the guards to continue surrounding the palace and, at the very moment news arrived, to drag Shi Sheng out and execute her.
In the afternoon, the originally pleasant weather suddenly turned stormy. A heavy downpour began without warning.
“This…did Yun Jie Yu predict correctly?” The imperial guards surrounding Shi Sheng’s palace couldn’t help but mutter.
“Do you guys think Yun Jie Yu’s a devil?”
“Didn’t Master Xu Kong say she wasn’t?” It was clear that this batch of guards had been present in the Hall of Proclaimed Peace back then.
“Then is she really an expert that can divine the future?”
“We’ll know in 3 days…”
After 2 consecutive days of heavy rain, Yuwen Xun was starting to have doubts in his heart.
On the third day, an urgent messenger arrived in the middle of the night to deliver news to the capital.
There had been a torrential downpour at Jinbei, causing dams to collapse and a flood to ensue. The commoners had to flee their homes.
The rain started from the 5th day of the countdown, but the real flooding began 3 days later. Adding on the time it took to send news to the capital, it had already been 6 days of floods.
Yuwen Xun clutched the letter whose contents had been slightly marred due to being soaked with rainwater, his eyes dark. ‘She really got it right…’
Despite the late hour, the entire capital was in a state of disarray.
Though the imperial guards outside Shi Sheng’s palace remained, some of them had already been withdrawn.
“Mistress, you really predicted the future.” Tao Qin had been a bit out of sorts the past few days. After hearing the news, she grew even more panicked.
She didn’t know just who this Mistress in front of her really was.
Shi Sheng propped up her lower jaw, watching the light drizzle outside the window, not giving Tao Qin a reply. Only silence and flickering candlelight filled the room.
After a long time, Shi Sheng turned around and placed a token down in front of the girl. “Tao Qin, leave the palace.”
“Mistress?” Tao Qin was surprised. ‘Mistress is chasing me away? No, she might not even be my Mistress…’
Tao Qin struggled internally for a moment, but still picked the token up in the end.
She made her way past palace after palace, watching as the outer gates grew closer and closer.
As long as she stepped out of these gates, she’d be free. But…
Tao Qin suddenly halted. She stood in the darkness, watching the sedans entering and exiting constantly. In the end, she lifted her foot…and walked towards the gates.
Little Fairy: I want beef-flavoured votes today.
Little Angels: You think this a restaurant?
Little Fairy: *acts cute* But I wannit~
Little Angels: You’re actually acting cute? Scared.
Little Fairy: Why can’t I act cute? Don’t I look adorable to you guys?
Little Angels: Didn’t you always say you were dashing?
Little Fairy: What? Can’t I be adorable for today?
Little Angels: …It’s the first time seeing such a shameless author who uses forced logic. Have some votes for your shamelessness.