The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 48 - Proof of Innocence[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:37]
Chapter 48 Proof of Innocence
Fu Chou stared at them, his gentle expression never changing, but there were hints of coldness shooting out from his eyes. The three maids shook all over and heard him say, “Xiang Ying, get me Liang Sheng.”
The forty-something year old Steward Liang arrived in a rush, his face uneasy. Under the sweltering summer day, his forehead was full of cold sweat, he didn’t have time to wipe it away. He rushed forward and bowed, “General, furen.”
Fu Chou cast a sidelong glance at him and spoke without nonchalantly, “Liang Sheng, it’s been a while since you’ve handled the residence’s affairs, how come the servants in this residence are becoming more and more insolent? They dared to talk behind their master’s back!”
Steward Liang froze and then kneeled onto the floor to admit his crime, “This slave did not properly fulfill duties, did not teach them well, and resulted in them offending General and furen. This slave begs General…please punish!”
“You should be punished.” After a moment, Fu Chou looked back at the woman behind him to see Man Yao quietly standing to the side without any expression.
Sometimes, it was a curse to have inner force. The ability to hear was much sharper than ordinary people, and during this past year, Man Yao often heard idle conversations in line with tonight’s gossip, it was not the first or second time this happened. At first, she felt hurt but now all she felt was numbness, she was long used to it. Since she could not seal the mouths of others, then she could only numb her heart so that she would not be hurt. She calmly looked at the three people kneeling and closed her eyes, not saying anything.
Fu Chou walked over to hold her hand and gently smiled, “Furen, how…do you think they should be punished?” He always called her furen in front of others, he would only call her Rong Le when they were alone.
Man Yao was surprised for a moment, not expecting that he would ask for her opinion. A year has passed since she entered the residence, and she spent her days idly. She never meddled in the residence’s matters, unwilling to expend any effort. No servants dared to say anything in front of her either, so ever since she entered, she had never punished any servants, so she had no idea what the rules of the residence were. Moreover, out of these four people, disregarding the two girls on the left and right, one was a trusted steward that had been in charge of the residence for many years; the other was a servant, although, from the contents of their conversation, it seemed like she was once his woman. Since she wasn’t clear on what the rules of the residence were, it would be wrong if she let them off too easy or if she was too heavyhanded.
She frowned and pondered for a while before finally throwing this hot potato back, “General, Rong Le is used to being lazy, I’m not very familiar with the residence’s rules…General should make the decision.”
Fu Chou’s eyebrows twitched and he nodded his head with a smile, turning around he gave an order, “Xiang Ying, take Liang Sheng away, punish him with twenty strokes, deduct three months’ salary. As for these three…mouths full of rubbish, spinning lies, breaking the rules of the residence, we cannot keep them. Drag them to the punishment room and beat them to death.”
“Don’t, please don’t, General…this servant knows she’s wrong, this servant will never dare to do it ever again, may General please have mercy on this servant this one time…General, please have mercy on this servant…” The two girls on the left and right immediately paled and threw themselves in front of Fu Chou, grabbing at his clothes to plead for mercy, only to be wrenched away by two manservants and dragged out from Qing You Garden. The one named Xun guniang collapsed onto the ground, her eyes widening in fear. She knew that the residence had strict rules, and the consequences would not be light since General caught them in the act, but she never expected that the General would actually have them beaten to death for this. In shock, tears filled her eyes and rolled down her face, she forgot to even beg for mercy.
Man Yao was stunned and unexpectedly stopped them, “Hold on.” Since she grew up in a palace, she was naturally used to life and death, but she couldn’t help but be surprised. The General’s residence always gave her a feeling of peace and harmony, and Fu Chou always looked so gentle and elegant, completely unlike a cold and unreasonable person who would take someone’s life on a whim. Right now, he turned around and gave her a gentle smile. She really had difficulty imagining that someone who could smile so captivatingly would be able to give out such a cruel order to take away someone’s life.
Seeing how she didn’t speak for a long time, his eyes brightened a little almost as if he were asking her since she gave up the right to punish, why did she still stop him?
She also knew that she already allowed him to do as he wished, so she shouldn’t interfere, but it was the lives of three people! She arrived in this world four years ago, possessing the noble status of a princess and also compared people’s lives to weeds and grass, but she would never randomly harm anyone or put someone to death. She didn’t consider herself to be a kind person, she just didn’t like seeing something so bloody. But Fu Chou was different, he was a general and lived his life on the battlefield, with a wave of his hand he stole hundreds of thousands of lives. Such a person, how could he possibly be as gentle and harmless as he looked?
One of the girls saw that she didn’t say anymore and like a drowning person who saw a piece of drifting wood, she used all of her strength to escape from the two manservants that were holding her down and held on to Man Yao’s leg, sobbing and begging, “Furen, this slave knows that you are magnanimous and virtuous with the heart of Buddha, please save this servant…this servant knows she’s wrong, please have mercy on this servant, this servant doesn’t want to die…furen, please…” She pleaded for mercy over and over again with a tear-stricken face, placing all of her hopes on the woman she was holding on to.
She was still a dirty woman that was not comparable to even a prostitute just a moment ago, but now she became the furen that was magnanimous and virtuous with the heart of a Buddha. Man Yao sneered, people’s personalities were just so. She sighed.
Fu Chou shot a look and the manservant rushed forward to drag that girl a way. Fu Chou wrapped his arm around her shoulder, his voice exceedingly clear and tender, asking, “Why did furen sigh? Are you bothered because they’re too loud? Xiang Ying, quiet them down.”
Xiang Ying assented and immediately used his fingers to tap the acupoints on the two girls’ throats, and the surroundings immediately became silent. Only the sounds of their pants could be heard.
The evening breeze gentle blew, a suffocating feeling filled the lungs. Seeing Fu Chou’s nonchalant smile, Man Yao couldn’t help but feel unsettled inside.
Fu Chou tilted his head, “Furen has something to say…feel free to speak.”
After thinking for a bit, Man Yao spoke slowly, “General, they…they were just speaking nonsense, it’s fine to just punish a little to prevent repeats, there’s no need to take their lives?” She naturally understood that what these three people discussed were not just her sore point, but also a humiliation that a man would never want to be exposed by others.
Fu Chou’s warm smile never faltered but his gaze darkened. Staring at her for a while, he suddenly laughed, “Alright, since furen…already said it, then as a husband, how can I go against furen‘s words? We’ll keep their lives, drag them away and mute them.”
When the two girls on the ground heard this, they immediately fainted and some people dragged them away.
Man Yao froze. Turning them into mutes meant that their tongues would be pulled, never able to talk again.
Xun guniang had a deathgrip on a tree and refused to let go, streaks of blood were left on the rough bark. She broke into heartbreaking sobs, “I won’t…General, you cannot treat me this way, I’m different from them…”
Fu Chou had his usual smile on but his eyes turned to frost and walked closer to her. He grabbed her chin and asked in a light voice, “Oh? How so?”
Seeing his handsome face, Xun guniang began to stutter, “I-I…one night of love, endless devotion, General and I had…had…”
Fu Chou: “Had what? Speak.”
“Had one night…of love…”
“Is that so?” Fu Chou smiled. Xun guniang suddenly couldn’t finish, her heart quickened at the sight of his smile, beating so quickly it was going to jump out of her chest. She didn’t hear how his tone was emotionless and cold.
A flash of light glinted in Fu Chou’s eyes and his fingers forcefully gripped her. With just a ‘ka-cha’ sound, the woman widened her eyes in shock as her eyes bulged out in pain. She cried out tragically, her jawbone was crushed. Her mouth hung open as she looked in disbelief at the man in front of her who still had that same gentle smile on his face. Her tears were like a broken string of pearls, continuously rolling down her face.
Fu Chou let go of her and the woman sank to the ground, her face as pale as paper, her body convulsing as she was unable to make any sounds.
Man Yao’s heart turned cold and subconsciously frowned, “General, you, why did you do this? She…she’s still your woman.”
Fu Chou turned around. His eyes were dark and unfathomable, she couldn’t tell what he was feeling, or maybe, he didn’t have feelings in the first place. “My woman?” He sneered, turning around to look at the woman on the ground who was in torturous pain yet did not bleed, “This General is also curious, when I was half-conscious, when did I touch you? How about this…” He stretched out a hand to point at two random people, “You two, help me check this woman, did I truly touch her? Take her into the room.”
Xun guniang‘s body shook, she was so frightened she was speechless, her eyes were full of despair. She clamored to stand up, ramming her head towards the stone table. However, before she could get near the table, she was already held down by the two manservants and dragged into a room nearby.
Shrill cries pierced the dark skies, causing people’s hearts to tremor, a sinister aura filled the garden.
Man Yao stared at this husband in name of hers in shock, only to see his handsome face graced with his usual tender expression, looking like nothing happened. She couldn’t help but grip her hands. Although it was a hot day, she couldn’t help but feel a chill entering her body, starting from her head and feet, ending at her heart as a fierce stab. She shivered.
In the time it took to drink a cup of tea, the door to the room opened. Someone brought out a white sheet that was stained with a couple drops of blood.
Fu Chou calmly swept his gaze over it and then turned around to look at her, silently telling her that he and that woman never had relations. Man Yao pursed her lips, looking calm and unaffected on the surface, but she was extremely restless inside. To outsiders, everything Fu Chou did today was for her. He could’ve done it in secret, but he did all of this in front of her, why? Was it really just to prove that he was innocent? She wasn’t actually bothered, but even if she were, what did those few drops of blood prove? Or maybe, he was using this opportunity to remind her? Why not some other day, why today of all days after learning that Zongzheng Wuyou had returned to the capital?
Fu Chou waved his hands at them and smiled gently, “Furen, it’s already nighttime, let’s go back and rest. Xiang Ying, I will rest at Qing Mi courtyard tonight, you don’t need to follow.”
Man Yao shuddered, her body immediately froze.