Chapter 228 (Part 1): Encounter
Translated by Gumihou
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“Impossible!” Before Lu Feng Yu could finish speaking, Su Dong Lou had already cut him off. “No way, did you not hear what Duan Tingxuan just said? You have to redress the Duke of Ping’s wrongful conviction whilst keeping King Xiangyang’s rebellion hidden. If you just hand over the book of accounts, how are you going to explain to the emperor why His Lordship suddenly wanted to amass so much silver taels? Was he that short of money? What did he want the money for? Wouldn’t this just cause more trouble? Impossible, no way!”
Lu Feng Yu sneered, “And here you still refuse to admit your own lack of brains. Do you think rebellions could be supported by money alone? Without ample military forces, army provisions and popular sentiment, how could any rebellion happen? The entire world knows that His Lordship enjoys surrounding himself with all kinds of luxuries, and luxuries are incredibly expensive.
Moreover, since Jiang Nan is beyond the direct influence of the emperor, it is no wonder that His Lordship would develop a rather lavish and expensive taste. For the sake of funding his current lifestyle, it is no great stretch of imagination to think that he would spend large sums of money on local officials or those living at the Capital to speak well of him, right? Though this would still damage His Lordship’s reputation, it is still miles better than the intention to rebel, is it not?”
This was actually a good solution. Duan Tingxuan also knew there were imperial councillors and courtiers who collected private money from King Xiangyang. This happened so often that the King was bestowed the nickname God of Wealth among politician. This idea was certainly elegant, by riding on pre-existing facts, they would be able to solve two problems at once.
However, Su Dong Lou still had some reservations, “That solves the matter of the people at the Capital. But, how are we going to explain away our actions to King Xiangyang? If we are to redress the miscarriage of justice for Duke of Ping, there’s no way to keep this a secret from His Lordship. Sooner or later, the emperor would send envoys to reprimand His Lordship for this injustice.”
Lu Feng Yu’s answer was perfectly mild, “So what? If I tell you that the An Ping heir and his official wife personally came into Jiang Nan under false identities for the sheer fun of experiencing the hardships of being ordinary slaves, would you believe it? Would anyone believe it? It is already common knowledge that the heir’s wife is an extraordinary cook who has the little marquis wrapped around her little finger. Therefore, it made sense for the little marquis to exert some extra effort to return his father and mother-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Ping, back to their former status, isn’t it?
Additionally, the fact that the little marquis had cast his investigative eye at Immortal’s Range was something that His Lordship knows as well. It was unfortunate that we became entangled with the little marquis. In order to throw him off the scent, we sacrificed a small secret to protect the main secret. Like a lizard casting off its tail, we allow the little marquis to happily swallow the account book as we escape with the Immortal Range’s secret. In His Lordship’s eyes, we would have done no wrong and made the best of a bad situation. After all, it’s not like His Lordship would actually be bothered by the emperor’s empty reprimand.”
“Amazing, amazing.” Su Dong Lou held up his thumb, he was wholly impressed by this fellow’s genius in spinning tales. Not only was Lu Feng Yu highly intelligent, but he also thoroughly understood King Xiangyang’s personality. This was an absolutely perfect solution that smoothed out every single knot that Duan Tingxuan had brought up last night. Not only would they be able to give an explanation to the emperor and crown prince, but also revive the Duke of Ping to his former status, all the while keeping King Xiangyang firmly in his dreamland. Additionally, Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan’s presence at Jiang Nan was also cleanly and perfectly explained away.
“I’m actually even more concerned for Dong Lou now. Are you sure you can control such a brilliant and cunning person? Compared to Lu Feng Yu, you might as well be a blubbering idiot, ah.” Su Nuan Nuan sighed.
Su Dong Lou shot her a dark look, clearly unhappy about that last remark. However, he soon became cheerful again, “Sister-in-law, do you know? There’s a saying amongst martial artists. ’10 Schemes Broken by One Powerful Strike ’. While I admit that he’s sharp as a knife, venomous as a snake, cunning as a box of foxes, I have immunity against most poisons and with your recipes to keep him in check, I don’t believe he would escape the palm of my hand.”
“You better not be overly confident with yourself. Careful you don’t fall into some unexpected trap.” Duan Tingxuan lazily advised him. He knew that for all of Su Dong Lou’s bragging, he really did have some safeguards at hand. Beyond that, he knew that this foodie was also all too aware of his current situation. Lu Feng Yu, with all his brilliance, would understand that King Xiangyang’s rebellion was destined to be doomed and would dedicate himself to assist the opposing side instead.
Leaving aside the argument of whether he or King Xianyang could actually persuade the fourth prince to go along with their plan, they would still have to ensure the death of the current crown prince. However, the crown prince was not some sickly fellow who overindulges in wine and women. With the crown prince’s only vice, sweet and fattening food, strictly controlled, King Xiangyang’s ambitions were nothing but a ‘Large Biscuit Painted on the Wall ’, not something based on reality at all.
Thus, the group split up and went on their separate ways.
Lu Feng Yu and Su Dong Lou headed back towards Suzhou, Duan Tingxuan left it to them to make up whatever story they like to King Xiangyang. As for Duan Tingxuan, Su Nuan Nuan and Si Ping, they could finally, finally take off the make-up that had been sticking to their faces these past few months. It’s so refreshing to not have those things on one’s faces, ah.
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When the trio reached the foot of Immortal’s Range, they first made a short stop at one of the village stores for incense and paper money. They then travelled up another mountain towards the area where Duan Tingxuan had stopped over before. The mountainside facing Immortal’s Range. The area where Long Pingzhang had left the secret message before his meeting with death.
Si Ping placed the prepared offerings on the ground. Since their time was short, they only managed to prepare a Roasted Wild Chicken, wild rabbit and some steamed chopped meat in a bowl. Duan Tingxuan placed two bottles of good wine on the ground next to the little pot they had brought with them for the incense sticks, and that was it. The little shrine was thus set up.
Duan Tingxuan lit up some incense sticks, while Su Nuan Nuan personally burned some paper money on the side. Her husband swept his long changpao aside and knelt on the ground. His voice was grim as he said, “Pingzhang, we know all about King Xiangyang’s conspiracies now. We also know about his secret trump card. Though things could not be settled immediately, but trust me. I will ensure that everything will be done properly…
Pingzhang, you have with your own efforts, prevented a great catastrophe. I really admire you, but unfortunately I can no longer speak with you or laugh with you anymore. Fate is just too cruel, and though I am grieved by it, I… Pingzhang, in order to maintain this country’s stability, we have to let that King Xiangyang live free and unfettered, for now. Trust that his free and easy time is limited. There will be a time when he loses all power, and I shall personally ensure that he pays this blood debt.”
With that, he bowed three times, and touched the letter he had just read out loud to the fire and watched it burn. When it was nothing but ashes, he wiped the corners of his eyes and murmured, “Pingzhang, if your spirit is here, you can now close your eyes in peace.”
[Gumihou: Goodbye, Long Pingzhang]  10 Schemes Broken by One Powerful Strike – is a variation of 10 Stance Broken by One Powerful Punch… Think, One Punch Man, lol!.  A Large Biscuit Painted on the Wall – A pie in the sky, an idle dream
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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