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Chapter 114: Plotting
The page boy caught Jun Huang and dragged her to the room Nan Guyue had been taken to. Once inside, he loosened Jun Huang's outer robe and put her next to Nan Guyue.
Something was missing still. He pushed Nan Guyue into Jun Huang's arms. A smirk found its way to his face. He dropped the silk curtains and left.
Qi Chen was entertaining his guests in the front room when the page boy ran up to him and dropped down to his knees. Qi Chen kicked at him with a frown. "Look around you. Where's your manner?"
The page boy trembled. With a shaky voice, he said, "I – I ran into the princess. She said she was not feeling well. She went to the side building to rest."
Qi Chen shot up to his feet and left for the side building, leaving a whole room of high-level officials to their own devices. Wei Lanying pulled her lips into a sharp grin and looked towards her maid. The maid lowered her head with a smile. "Don't worry, Lady Wei. Everything's set up."
Wei Lanying smoothed a finger over her hair pin and tilted her face up. "Oh? How about we go watch everything unfold?"
She led her entourage of servants out of the room and followed Qi Chen to the side building.
Jun Huang had not drunk much of the tempered tea. She therefore didn't stay unconscious for long. She rubbed at her throbbing temple as she opened her eyes. She frowned when she realized that she was on a bed with someone on top of her. She tilted her head and saw the unconscious Nan Guyue.
Someone was coming. So this is what their plan is, she thought. They want to make it look like I am having an affair with Nan Guyue. What a foul scheme!
She didn't have time to think about what to do. She pulled Nan Guyue's collars closed before quickly getting off the bed and fixing her robe. She opened one of the window to the back of the building and climbed out, slipping away from the scene of a crime she never committed.
Jun Huang had lived in the side building for quite a while. She was familiar with the layout. She managed to leave the compound through the back of the garden. On her way, she saw Qi Chen and a whole group of people making their way to the side building. It was obvious they were here to catch her and Nan Guyue "in the act". Jun Huang huffed out a laugh, her eyes as cold as ice.
She didn't stay long. Once Qi Chen had entered the building, she left without leaving a trace behind. She found a safe place to fix her appearance.
The closer she was to the room, the more excited Wei Lanying got. She could no longer suppress her smile. Anyone who cared to look would be able to see it. Qi Chen, however, was thinking about only Nan Guyue. He had not even looked at Wei Lanying once.
Worried that Nan Guyue might be in danger, Qi Chen barged into the room and saw Nan Guyue lying on the bed. Her dress was placed on her side.
As if trying to announce her existence, Wei Lanying ran up to the bed and exclaimed in a high-pitched voice, "Are you alright, big sister?"
Nan Guyue jerked awake, her heart racing when she saw all the people filing into the room. She soon figured out what was happening. A quick glance to her side told her that no one else was with her. She let out a sigh of relief.
Nan Guyue looked up at Qi Chen and tried her best to affect a calm tone. "What's going on?"
"I was told that you weren't feeling well, so I came to check up on you."
"Thank you for your kindness, Your Highness," she said softly. "I was a little tired, so I came to take a short rest."
Wei Lanying was not willing to give up. She was convinced that Jun Huang must be hiding somewhere in the room. She had to make Jun Huang and Nan Guyue suffer. "Your Highness, Ying'er has a feeling that someone else is in this room, hidden from out sights."
Nan Guyue pointed at Wei Lanying and lashed out, "What are you trying to say?!"
Her reaction only served to stoke Wei Lanying's self-satisfaction. She must be feeling guilty! Wei Lanying thought. Without asking for Qi Chen's approval, she opened the closet with dramatic flair. Then her gaze settled on the window at the back of the room. She walked up to the window and pushed it open. She didn't see anyone when she looked out.
Qi Chen watched her without a word. His expression darkened when he realized that this was all Wei Lanying's ploy to get his attention. Nan Guyue looked over at Wei Lanying with cold eyes. She let out the breath she had been holding when Wei Lanying failed to find anything. "What is little sister looking for?"
"I… I saw a man running into the room. I was worried that he would take advantage of big sister." Wei Lanying put on an awkward smile. Qi Chen walked away with a huff. Wei Lanying immediately chased after him, trying to explain herself. The servants trailed after them, leaving Nan Guyue on her own.
Nan Guyue's bravado crumbled. She leaned against the bed with a pale face. She thought back to what had happened. She had lost consciousness after drinking that cup of tea! Cold sweat broke out from her body. She touched her belly. Thank the G.o.ds that the child was unharmed.
She had relaxed her guard because other people had drunk from the same pot of tea. Could it be that there was a knockout drug that affected only pregnant women?
From the way Wei Lanying had acted, it was obvious that someone must have been on this bed with her. Who could it be?
She sat unmoving for a good while before getting off the bed. Her hand came in contact with something cool to the touch. It was a green jade pendant. It looked awfully familiar. She must have seen it somewhere.
It was Jun Huang's. Nan Guyue had seen Jun Huang wear this jade today. Moreover, Wei Lanying had always hated Jun Huang. This did seem like something Wei Lanying would do to get rid of the two of them with one swift attempt.
Nan Guyue breathed at a deliberate pace as she put on her dress. She pocketed the jade and left the room, making her way to the front building.
Jun Huang only realized that she had dropped her jade pendant when she was right at the door to the front building. She was going to search for it when Qi Chen showed up. She cupped her hands in greeting.
Qi Chen helped her up. He noticed that she wasn't wearing anything on her waist.
"I remember that brother Feng is partial to green jade," Qi Chen said in feign nonchalance. "Why aren't you wearing one today? Also, where have you been? I haven't seen you all day."
Jun Huang knew what he was implying. "When I arrived, I saw the princess busy at work even in her pregnant state, so I volunteered to watch over the servants for her," she said in a dignified tone. "My robe was dirtied in the process. I went to clean it, but the stain didn't completely come off. And I've lost my jade. I tried to search for it, but to no avail."
Qi Chen considered Jun Huang. There was indeed a stain on her robe. It was left there when Jun Huang dropped her teacup.
He waved a servant over. "The celebration is going to start. You might not have the time to return to your house. You should change your clothes in my room. Don't worry about your lost jade. I will give you a couple new ones in a few days."
Jun Huang cupped her hands in thanks. If she had turned Qi Chen down, he might take it personally. "Thank you, Your Highness," she said. She followed a page boy to Qi Chen's room and changed. When she walked out, the page boy handed her a white jade pendant, saying that Qi Chen had asked her to wear this for the time being.
The celebration started. It was luxurious, but ultimately meaningless. Qi Chen took Jun Huang to meet all the guests. When that was finally done, she told him that she was tired. Qi Chen didn't stop her from leaving.
Jun Huang had been lucky. She dodged the blow by a hair. But she might not be as lucky next time. A shudder ran down her spine. She sent a message to Nan Xun, asking him to meet her.
It wasn't the first time Jun Huang asked Nan Xun to come visit, but she had never been as urgent as she was now. Worried, Nan Xun rushed to Jun Huang's place. From her dark look he could tell something must have happened during the celebration.
Before Nan Xun opened his mouth to ask, Jun Huang told him everything that had happened. Nan Xun had not been there himself, but his heartbeats grew erratic as he listened.
"I asked you to come because I need your help." said Jun Huang. "I need to know who this foul culprit is. They have tried to destroy both me and Nan Guyue with such lowly trick."
"Do you have a suspect?" Nan Xun asked.
She nodded. "It's probably Wei Lanying. Nan Guyue and I have both made her lose face recently. She might have done this in retribution."
"We won't fall for the same trick. She isn't going to try again. I'm just worried that she might refuse to give up until she gets to me. I don't have time to deal with her."
Nan Xun nodded. "Don't be too worried. I'm take some time to look into this matter. I'm going to make sure she's too preoccupied to bother you."
Nan Xun's determined tone was comforting. Jun Huang took a deep breath and chuckled. "We are most likely not the only people trying to teach Wei Lanying a lesson. Nan Guyue is stubborn and difficult, but she is a cherished child in her family. She has never taken such abuse. I'm sure she wants nothing but to take Wei Lanying out once and for all."
"This is Northern Qi," said Nan Xun. "It's not so easy for her to eliminate someone."
Jun Huang smiled. It was time for her to offer Nan Guyue some a.s.sistance. Wei Lanying clearly had a death wish; Jun Huang might as well grant her what she had asked for.
Nan Guyue was the crown prince's princ.i.p.al wife. It wasn't easy for Jun Huang to have a private meeting with her. When Jun Huang was trying to find a way to arrange a meeting, Nan Guyue sent a message to Jun Huang through a maid.
The maid, who Nan Guyue had brought here from Southern Mu, approached Jun Huang and said, "The princess asked for a meeting with you, gentleman Feng."
Jun Hunag narrowed her eyes, a smile tugging at her lips. Everything went as she had expected. "Take me to her, please."
The maid nodded and led Jun Huang to a tea house located in the west part of the city. The tea house seemed inconspicuous, but only the rich and the powerful could afford to come. She heard that some people even spent thousands of gold taels just to have a cup of tea here.
Qi Chen had taken her here once. She never came on her own accord. Nan Guyue was smart enough to find a place that was remote and less known. The tea house was perfect for private conversations.