The Marquis Is Innocent - Chapter 43
Chun Niang was stunned.
She indeed heard this name.
When she arrived at the Wei family a few months ago, she made inquiries about Zheng Shu, and at that time, she unintentionally heard something from an old woman who had been working in the Wei family for many years. She was interrupted when she was about to talk about this person after she finished speaking about Zheng Shu in front of the lady.
Chun Niang planned to find an opportunity to tell Xiao Qiao afterward. But then she found out the master started to share a room with the lady after he returned to Yuyang, and their relationship seemed to get better, which made Chun Niang hesitate.
After all, the woman called Su E Huang is an old story from a long time ago. She was a married woman and far away. Since they are getting along well, it seems unnecessary for her to mention it, to avoid annoying her out of nowhere. So Chun Niang hasn’t mentioned it in front of Xiao Qiao anymore. When she heard Xiao Qiao ask, she raised her eyes and saw her eyes moistened by the mist looking at her, hesitated, and said, “Why did you suddenly mention this name? Could it be you have heard something?”
When Xiao Qiao saw her like this, she knew she must have heard something. She leaned her head on her white elbow and smiled, “I do know something. What does Chun Niang know? Tell me first.”
Su E Huang was the eldest daughter of the Su family, the Marquis of Xuanping of Zhongshan, who was a relative of the royal family of Zhongshan. When she was born, the room was full of extraordinary fragrance, as fragrant as the orchid. Her mother sought a fortune teller, who said her daughter had an auspicious destiny.
The Su family was rich and powerful, and the implication of having a daughter with a noble destiny was obvious. The family was happy and loved her like a treasure. Su E Huang lived up to the family’s expectations, grew up with outstanding beauty, and excelled in music, singing like a holy spirit, well-known not only in Zhongshan but also in Luoyang.
The Su family was related to Mrs. Xu, and over a decade ago, when Wei Shao’s father, Wei Jing, was still alive, the two families often visited each other. Su E Huang knew Wei Shao as a child and was concerned about Wei Shao, who was two years younger.
Nowadays, it is common to marry an older wife. It is appropriate to marry a woman older by three or two years. When the two families saw they were a good match, the idea of a marriage was considered. When Wei Shao was twelve years old, a major change occurred in the Wei family, and both Wei Jing and his eldest son were killed in action, leaving the Wei family without a pillar. In the first year, the two families remained in contact, but gradually, they became distant. Three years later, when Wei Shao was fifteen years old and taking charge of the military under Mrs. Xu’s tutelage, the seventeen-year-old Su E Huang married Liu Li, the younger brother of Emperor Xuan. After the marriage, Su E Huang settled in Luoyang with her husband, accessing the palace, and gained the title of ” Madam Yulou”, which is known throughout Luoyang.
Her husband was fond of her. He built a magnificent building for her at the northern Lixi Tower in Luoyang, named Yulou, which is how she got her title.
Chun Niang heard from the old woman of the Wei family about Su E Huang’s past.
Chun Niang didn’t know the sky was jealous of the beauty. The Han Dynasty declined, Su E Huang arrived in Luoyang less than three years, and Emperor Xuan fell ill and died. Emperor Xuan had no heir. He had two brothers, Su E Huang’s husband, Liu Li, and the other is the King of Hedong, Liu Ai. They fight, and the court officials have their stand. The most powerful ruler of Henan, Xing Xun, led an army into Luoyang, claiming Liu Ai poisoned Emperor Xuan. He killed Liu Ai, selected the seven-year-old Liu Tong from the clan as the emperor, and held the dynasty himself. Liu Li was placed under strict surveillance. Liu Li was depressed and died of illness last year. Su E Huang was newly widowed, and she returned to Zhongshan.
” Apart from that, when my husband was a teenager, is there any other connection with Madam Yulou? If you know, don’t hide it from me, you must tell me!
Xiao Qiao asked.
Chun Niang does not want to say more, but can not withstand Xiao Qiao’s pouting, say: “…… this servant did not hear much else …… only listen to the old woman said, that year, the master’s family killed out of the siege, and he was seriously injured. It took six months to recover. Those days, Su girl stayed in Wei family to look after him ……”
Xiao Qiao’s eyes blinked, and mist condensed on her eyelashes as water droplets rolled down.
“The water is cold. Get up and dressed. If you continue to soak, you’ll get cold.”
After Chun Niang said it, as if she regretted it, she stopped and urged Xiao Qiao to come out.
Xiao Qiao smiled at Chun Niang, took the towel handed to her, and got up.
That night Mrs. Yuan died. The next day Zhongshan mourned. The funeral was held seven days later. Mrs. Xu stayed until the end of the funeral. Tired from many days and grief, the next morning after the funeral, when she was going to return, she could not get up. Liu Duan was frightened and asked for a doctor. Fortunately, Mrs. Xu was diagnosed with a minor illness. Xiao Qiao served her day and night, and after a few days, she recuperated. Liu Duan was relieved and became more attentive.
Mrs. Xu recuperated for a few days and healed. Almost a month had passed, and she remembered Wei Shao and chose a day to depart for home.
The night before the return journey, Liu Duan hosted a banquet to farewell. Mrs. Xu was tired and did not show up. She let Xiao Qiao attend on her behalf. Xiao Qiao was accompanied by Old Zhong and sat in the center of the main seat, surrounded by the royal family and all the guests.
After the banquet, Mrs. Xu asked Old Zhong in private.
Old Zhong replied, “this servant observed the lady. She is exquisite, with a beautiful appearance. She has the old madam’s elegance back then.”
By the time Mrs. Xu finished her month-long journey and took Xiao Qiao on the road back to Yuyang, the Wei Shao and Chen Xiang armies in Taihang already had several trials and encounters, each advancing and retreating. Yesterday the two armies met in Le Ping, north of Taihang.
In the late spring of April, the endless wilderness of Leping was lush with grass and covered with flowers. In the early morning of late spring, Wei Shao and Chen Xiang’s 300,000-odd men and horses fought together.
In the past ten years, the two warring sides in the north had the largest number of men and the most fierce battle in the field. Youzhou’s Wei Shao and Bingzhou’s Chen Xiang, the two largest warlords in the north, after many years of holding each other, now, both sides seem to have waited impatiently. Each was eager for this last battle to destroy their opponents and achieve their ambitions to unify the north. Both sides of the infantry and horse soldiers are fully engaged. After the formation, the two armies were killing each other. Only physical combat. Schemes and strategies in this wilderness, have no place to use.
The battle started early in the morning, and the silent and beautiful wilderness of Leping turned into a human purgatory. There were dead and injured people struggling in pools of blood everywhere. At the end of the day, it was impossible to tell which were from Bingzhou and which were from Youzhou among the piles of blood.
After a few hours of fighting, Chen Xiang’s soldiers could not support themselves. Some began to retreat and flee.
Chen Xiang’s foundation in Bingzhou was passed down from his grandfather’s generation. It could be said to be deep-rooted, but Chen Xiang was narrow-minded. He used his friends and was fond of listening to slanderous words, his law was unclear, and his army was lax. Chen Xiang was defeated and escaped under the protection of his men. On his way to Jingyang, he got the news that Jingyang had been broken by Wei Shao’s other army. After some discussion, he went south to his old friend, Cao Jin of Hedong. He wanted to take revenge several times, but his strength was not good enough. He died of depression the following year when his old wounds recurred.
The next day, Wei Shao’s army entered Jingyang. Li Dian took over the city’s defense, and Wei Quan pacified the people. He captured Chen Xiang’s family of more than two hundred people, killing all the men and making the women slaves. When Wei Shao entered the government office of Jingyang, his lieutenant, Tan Fu, came to report. He noticed a woman in a group of female prisoners who were different from the others in height and walking in a squirming manner. He became suspicious and recognized her as Chen Rui, the son of Chen Xiang. Chen Rui, seeing he had detected, killed two soldiers who escorted him and escaped, but was caught alive.
Wei Shao, who had not slept last night and was still wearing the bloodstained battle clothes, his eyes were red, and when he heard Chen Rui’s name, he was so disgusted he did not even think about it and immediately let him be beheaded. Tan Fu was about to leave and said hatefully: “Chen Rui this guy, was full of obscene language insulting the marquis. Beheading is cheaper for him!”
Wei Shao had gone inside, but when he heard this, he stopped and asked Tan Fu to bring the man. Tan Fu got the order and escorted Chen Rui.
Chen Pang was captured in the battle of Shiyi at the beginning of the year. Chen Rui managed to escape from the grave, and after back to Jingyang in distress, he never mentioned his failure in front of Chen Xiang and blamed Chen Pang.
Chen Xiang and Chen Pang were not born to the same mother. Chen Pang had the credit of guarding Shiyi for many years and won the people’s hearts. They often praised Chen Pang. Chen Xiang had long been jealous of his brother, and now Shiyi was lost. He was already angry with him, added with Chen Rui’s confession, instead of blaming Chen Rui, he believed him and was determined to take back Shiyi to wipe out the shame of the past. Joining forces with Xue Tai, they planned to defeat Wei Shao with a single blow. Chen Rui was ordered to lead 10,000 soldiers and horses to defend Jingyang. Unexpectedly it was a failure. Le Ping was defeated, and Jingyang was taken.
When the city was breached, Chen Rui had no way to escape. When he saw a group of camp prostitutes, he had an idea to mix himself in as a woman. He looks feminine and disguised as a woman. At first glance, he looks like a woman, but his walking posture is strange and attracts the attention of Tan Fu.
Chen Rui is still wearing women’s clothing with a flower on his head. His body is tied up. His mouth has been slapped by Tan Fu and is swollen. In front of Wei Shao, he refused to show any softness, standing straight and cursing: “Wei Shao, you Yuzhou thief! This Grandfather fell into your hands, if I frown, Grandfather will do turtle crawl! Previously, you ruined my business, and now you’ve taken my city. I’ll become a ghost and eat your flesh!”
Wei Shao walked towards him. His gaze was sinister.
“Come, come! Kill me!”
Chen Rui knows there is no way to live today. His heart struck, only wanting to have some fun, laughing: “You think Qiao girl still your wife? Her heart is with me! When I brought her into the city, I spent the night with her as a couple of happy gods! I’ve had numerous women in my life but she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met! The tofu-like feet, even a bite is soulful! Qiao girl was intoxicated by me. She said Wei Shao was incompetent and did not give her any pleasure. She could only have sex with me! Ha ha! After sleeping with a beautiful girl, even if I die, I am also a flirtatious ghost under the flowers, it is worth it……”
Wei Shao’s five fingers clenched into a fist. The veins bulging up. He punched and hit Chen Rui’s chest. Crisp “Kacha” bone cracking sound, Chen Rui’s several sternal bones broken. He flew out, smashed into the wall behind him, and fell to the ground.
Chen Rui vomited blood from his mouth, lying on the ground panting heavily, his mouth muttering vaguely.
The veins on Wei Shao’s forehead were rippling, and his red eyes were staring at Chen Rui on the ground, and he said to Tan Fu: “Cut off the root of his offspring and plug it into his mouth!”
The night before leaving, Su E Huang came again to say goodbye to Mrs. Xu, but she did not see her in person. Old Zhong told her politely that the old madam was in poor health after her illness and had to leave early tomorrow, and she had rested. Su E Huang asked about Xiao Qiao, and Old Zhong said the lady returned from the palace banquet and was drunk, unfit to see guests. Old Zhong will convey it on her behalf. At that time, Su E Huang was smiling and didn’t look strange. She chatted with Old Zhong for a while and left.
The next day, Xiao Qiao departed on the road with Mrs. Xu. Liu Rui, the king of Zhongshan, with a group of civil and military officials, sent Mrs. Xu far away from the city. The journey went smoothly, and they arrived at Yuyang a few days later.
After two days, on an ordinary afternoon, Xiao Qiao was summoned by Mrs. Xu and found Mrs. Zhu was also there.
Mrs. Zhu was smiling and looked happy. It was the first time after a long time Xiao Qiao had seen such a look on her face.
On top of the desk beside Mrs. Xu’s hand, there was a scroll of silk. She told Xiao Qiao that her husband, Wei Shao, had taken Jingyang a few days ago and would return in a few days after winning the battle.