After the head guard had shouted that sentence, the only thing that could be heard was the sound of raindrops against the ground.
Gu Xinglang replied, “Could it be one of the female devotees who came to the temple to fast?”
Xianzong didn’t really think much of this son-in-law of his, and he replied, “The Junior Master of the Eternal Life Temple is here right now, would the State Preceptor allow any female devotees to fast in the temple? Little rascal Gu, were you this brainless during your battles?”
At this moment, Yu Xiaoxiao suddenly cried out “Yi~”
Xianzong thought that his dear daughter was about to defend Gu Xinglang, and he angrily replied, “What now, is Zhen not even allowed to talk about the Gu Family’s little rascal?”
Yu Xiaoxiao looked behind the rest of the party and commented, “That person looks like the evil Minister Zhao.”
Xianzong, Gu Xinglang and the palace guards all turned around to get a better look.
Yu Xiaoxiao continued saying, “He really looks like him right?”
Xianzong said, “Why are you looking at me like that? That person really is Zhao Qiuming.”
Yu Xiaoxiao wrinkled her brow, she had just met this unscrupulous prime minister last night, how was it, that in the span of just one night, this unscrupulous prime minister looked as if he had aged 10 years overnight?
From a long way off Zhao Qiuming had already caught sight of Xianzong with Yu Xiaoxiao, and he could not suppress an internal cry of dismay. He had been waiting at a teahouse not too far from the Safeguard Temple (Huguosi), the Zhao sisters were still nowhere in sight when he had suddenly heard the bone-chilling sound of thunder. Prime Minister Zhao could not wait any longer and instructed his entourage to follow him as he ran toward the Safeguard Temple. He was worried that the Zhao sister flowers had been unable to meet Xianzong and had instead fallen prey to the eldest imperial princess.
Xianzong could also see that this prime minister of his had suddenly aged overnight, and with a quick glance at Yu Xiaoxiao, he said, “This must be due to your immense worry for your children!”
Deep inside her heart, Yu Xiaoxiao could not help saying, That’s right, this fellow has his mind set on killing his son!!
Zhao Qiuming stopped about 10 paces from Xianzong, and without a second’s hesitation at the damp and muddy ground, he knelt to the floor, and greeted Xianzong with a bow, “This subject greets Your Majesty!”
Xianzong replied, “Stand up and speak.”
Zhao Qiuming remained on the ground as he turned to bow to Yu Xiaoxiao and Gu Xinglang, saying, “This official greets Your Royal Highness and the Princess Consort.”
Yu Xiaoxiao imitated Xianzong’s reply and imperiously said, “Get up before you speak.”
Zhao Qiuming had no hopes that the Eldest Imperial Princess would be courteous with him, and after giving thanks for the imperial grace, he got to his feet.
Xianzong asked him, “Why have you come here?”
Zhao Qiuming explained, “Your subject heard that Junior Master Fenglin was unwell and that Your Majesty was bringing the Eldest Imperial Princess and the Princess Consort to visit him. Your subject felt a sense of unease, and thus I decided to come and check on things.”
Upon hearing this, Yu Xiaoxiao tsked and answered, “Why does Wen Fenglin being sick make you uneasy? Tsk, Imperial Father, I’ve told you many times before, Wen Fenglin and Consort Zhao are…”
“Shut, shut your mouth!”Xianzong sharply rebuked his daughter saying, “That is impossible, from now on I don’t want to hear another word of this!” She always tried to put a ‘green hat’ on him, Xianzong really had no idea as to what that daughter of his had in her mind?!
Zhao Qiuming gingerly asked Xianzong his next question, “Your Majesty, the Junior Master he’s…?”
Xianzong replied, “The Junior Master is alright, he was just startled by the lightning just now, and feels a bit under the weather.”
Prime Minister Zhao was not a fool, and hardly believed this excuse, why on earth would the Junior Master of the Eternal Life Temple be afraid of lightning strikes?
Yu Xiaoxiao too tried to shoo Zhao Qiuming away as she added, “Wen Fenglin is fine, you can go home now.”
Zhao Qiuming carried on speaking, “Your Majesty, your subject’s two other daughters are also here at Safeguard Temple today. They came to fulfill their vows, and I am worried about both of them.”
The moment Prime Minister Zhao mentioned the fulfillment of vows, everyone with the exception of Yu Xiaoxiao ‘the outsider’ understood what he meant. Fulfillment of vows before the Buddha really had to be done according to the day and time one mentioned while wishing for something before the Goddess of Mercy. It was imperative that one return to the temple to fulfill their vows.
Xianzong had heard of these two sisters from Consort Zhao herself and nodded in understanding before saying, “In that case, you should go check up on your young ladies, Zhen does not require your presence here now.”
Zhao Qiuming caught a glimpse of the fallen wall behind everyone else, and instinctively asked, “Your Majesty, why has this section of the wall fallen?”
Xianzong irritatedly shot back, “Why are you asking Zhen? Would Zhen know why this part of the wall has fallen? Do you think that Zhen built this Safeguard Temple?”
Xianzong’s sudden fit of frustration seemed to have frightened the Prime Minister as he hastily tried to plead his wrongs, “Your subject deserves to die (for insinuating that).”
“Alright, alright.” Xianzong impatiently waved a hand at Zhao Qiuming, saying, “You should not stress yourself out over the affairs of your children, after all, how long more can you worry over them as a father? Zhen heard that yesterday you even shed tears before Consort Zhao, right? Do you feel that Zhen has ill-treated your daughter?”
“Your subject does not dare to think so!?!” Zhao Qiuming scrambled to get back on his knees as he defensively explained, “Your subject merely feels guilty before you, Your Majesty! Your subject truly deserves to die Your Majesty!”
“Your subject deserves to die-deserves to die,” Xianzong muttered, “How many lives do you think you have that you die from? Go! Go and look for your daughters, stop crying in front of Zhen, if you really regret what you did, then why did you do it in the first place?”
“I mean… It’s not like he is a fortune-teller,” Yu Xiaoxiao mumbled under her breath, “How would he know that this day would come?”
Xianzong turned to look at Gu Xinglang, “And why are you still here?”
Gu Xinglang quickly replied, “Your Majesty, your subject wishes to report something, the Junior Master, he’s…”
“You don’t need to trouble yourself with the affairs of the Junior Master.” Before his son-in-law could finish, Xianzong cut in and dismissed him with a wave while saying, “Go on, hurry up and take LingLong with you.”
Gu Xinglang still wanted to speak, “Your Majesty…”
“Zhen wants you to get lost!” Xianzong saw that Gu Xinglang wanted to continue talking, and he furiously shouted, “Get! Lost! Can you understand me?”
“Why are you shouting?” Yu Xiaoxiao pulled Gu Xinglang behind her in defense, her brow furrowed as she looked at Xianzong. “We haven’t done anything wrong, why do we have to get lost?”
Xianzong was tongue-tied as his anger grew, “Do you really want zhen to list out all your wrongdoings one-by-one?”
Yu Xiaoxiao was not about to give up without a fight as she shot back, “What wrong have I done? Tell me.”
Xianzong paced on the spot as he sighed internally, this really was too frustrating! In other words (of a modern context), the Emperor was too weary to care anymore!
The head guard glanced at the rubble by his feet, thinking of the two young ladies that had yet to be extracted from underneath, and he could feel the a twitch in his face muscles. Had His Majesty and the Princess already forgotten about the trouble he was dealing with right now? Ah, hang on a second, the head guard turned to look at Zhao Qiuming as a scary thought took form in his mind, Prime Minister Zhao’s two daughters… Prime Minister Zhao’s two daughters, oh my lord! The head guard felt like another bolt of lightning had struck his head, the two under his feet right now wouldn’t happen to be the two young ladies of the Zhao Residence would they?!
Gu Xinglang knew that he could not allow this Imperial father-daughter duo to start fighting here, if they really ended up exchanging blows, His Majesty was no match for his dear wife. As for the effect it might have on her name, when news of how his wife had struck not only her father but her ruler as well, he could foresee that this dainty wife of his would definitely drown in the saliva of the people berating her. “Your Majesty!” Gu Xinglang shouted at Xianzong with a raised voice.
Xianzong jumped in shock before answering, “Why’d you have to shout so loudly? No-Hang on, why haven’t you left?”
In order to prevent Xianzong from cutting him off again, Gu Xinglang quickly said, “Your Majesty, Xiao Zhuang and Xiao Wei managed to rescue two Eternal Life Temple monks from the ruins of the pill furnace buildings, and one of them had been in charge of making the Junior Master’s medicine.”
Xiangzong clasped his hands behind his back as he stared at his son-in-law, “And...?”
Gu Xinglang continued, “The Junior Master’s medicine can’t be found, and they didn’t bring a lot of it this time. It might be hard for them to quickly cure the Junior Master’s illness.”
Xianzong was quite happy when he heard this, he had always felt that unluckiness ought to be a shared burden, if Wen Fenglin was sick then he would let him remain that way. After all, he had no qualms about supporting this sissy of a monk for the rest of his life ah!
It was at this moment, that the head guard had run over to Xianzong. He shot a quick look at Zhao Qiuming who was still kneeling on the ground, as he tentatively reported to Xianzong, “Your Majesty, Prime Minister Zhao’s daughters are underneath that fallen wall.”
What on earth?!
~End of Chapter~
A/N: I offer up this third update, the fourth part will be up in an hour’s time, just worried that the system might only decide to create it on the spot.