Rebirth of the Excellent Daughter of the Marquis Household - Chapter 56
Chapter 56: Vicious thoughts
Gu Huai Zhong chased after them for a whole night and day, but he did not catch anything except for exhaustion.
He stopped on the road more than once to ask passers-by and roadside vendors if there had been a group of people passing by, among them a beautiful woman and beautiful little girl. Unfortunately, all he got were shaking heads.
It was not until the evening of the second day under the afterglow of the setting sun that Gu Huai Zhong finally stopped the horse in the centre of the official road.
He looked dazedly at the road going south. The road was straight and under the light of the setting sun, it was dyed with a touch of gold, but in his eyes, it seemed so bleak and pale. Gu Huai Zhong had never felt so powerless before. Sparse pedestrians passed by in a hurry with a goal in their eyes. Gu Huai Zhong, on the other hand, was like a person who had lost his way.
He turned over and dismounted, then quietly turned to go back, throwing a reluctant glance at the road heading southward.
They had left so decisively. So straightforwardly and without beating around the bush. His anger gradually turned into disappointment in his night and day of chasing. He should be angry, angry enough to use all his power and mobilise all the relationships he could mobilise to catch the mother and daughter pair who dared to disobey and betray him, and torture them severely, ridiculing them, and giving back the shame they inflicted on him little by little.
Gu Huai Zhong suddenly looked up to the sky and laughed loudly, laughing until he was shaking all over. Twenty years of hard work. When he first saw General Liang upon joining the army, he swore in his heart that he would be like General Liang one day, majestic and commanding thousands of troops with the most imposing manner in the world.
From admiration to approach, he performed well in front of General Liang and gained his favour, staying by his side for him to personally teach him martial arts and the art of war. What General Liang gave him was no different to what a father should have given his son.
He took him back to Jiangnan to visit his relatives and he unintentionally rescued a young maiden who was like a flower, who turned out to be the General’s daughter.
Indeed, from the time he married Liang Huai Yu, he had felt that he had reached the peak of his life and was the arrogant son of the heavens that everyone admired. He thought this himself and returned to the border as a proud young man. However, he cruelly discovered that a son of a poor family like him marrying the general’s daughter was considered a mismatch in the eyes of others. All his military achievements became less important than his unique identity.
At that time, he accidentally saved another girl, a girl who could only cling to him like a vine. Muddleheadedly, he started a relationship with her and when he came to his senses, he panicked. He knew that it was not just Liang Huai Yu he had let down, but also General Liang who had treated him like his own son.
At that time, it was not that he never had the intention to kill Liu Yue. He had squeezed her delicate throat fiercely but she had not shown any resistance and only looked at him calmly.
For some reason, looking at Liu Yue’s eyes at that time, he gradually loosened his hand.
Like him, she had come from a poor family. Did people from humble origins deserve to be trampled on?
As if at the behest of supernatural powers, he left her alive and made her follow him as a soldier, until she realised she was pregnant which made Gu Huai Zhong panic again. After all, it was his own flesh and blood so he could not kill them. He could only secretly send her to a nearby herdsman’s home and raise them.
Exposed to the rigours of living in the wilderness, the conditions of the herdsman’s home were not good. Liu Yue actually did not complain at all and in such difficult conditions, gave birth to a pair of fraternal twins.
This made him ecstatic and at that time, he held his own children with his own hands and felt his heart swell a bit.
He had forgotten that in Jiangnan, there was another woman who had also endured a ten month pregnancy and suffered the pain of birthing, giving birth to a daughter for him.
Gu Huai Zhong’s impression was that that woman was of noble birth brought up in luxury and wealth and lacking nothing. Her daughter would naturally be tended to meticulously while the pair of children born at the border lived in dirty tents and as the herdsmen moved around, they needed to guard themselves from the torment of war. In contrast, his focus was naturally more on this side.
Was he wrong? According to Gu Huai Zhong, he was not wrong at all.
Liang Huai Yu’s situation was too good and Liu Yue had nothing besides himself.
Even he knew about his partiality towards Liu Yue. His fear for Liang Huai Yu also grew everyday. The longer he hid it from her, the more uneasy he became and the more uneasy he was, the more he subconsciously alienated himself from her. At first, he was willing to write letters, but later on, he was not even willing to write a letter to Liang Huai Yu.
After General Liang was shot with an arrow, the military affairs were all entrusted to him. He knew that his father-in-law was deliberately cultivating himself and he was excited. As time passed, he was becoming more and more adept in handling military affairs and his power increased. When he felt the pride that came from the bottom of his heart due to having the power in his hand, he developed a dependence on the power and did not want to give the power back.
Yes, he did not want General Liang to recover! In his heart, he even hoped that General Liang would die.
He could not tell anyone what was on his mind as he knew that it was a sin. However, he still told Liu Yue because during those years, Liu Yue was the only one he could confide in.
He even replaced General Liang’s medicine in secret, just in the hopes that he would recover a bit slower. Or even not recover at this point, but just directly resign and return to his hometown to spend his days of old age in peace so that he could firmly control the Liang family’s army in his hands. Ruthlessness was the mark of a truly great man.
The heavens had pity on him and General Liang actually never recovered from illness. He only got worse and in the end, passed away. This made Gu Huai Zhong both surprised and happy.
General Liang’s coffin returned to his hometown. Out of guilt, he could only send a letter saying he was unable to get away. In fact, because of General Liang’s sudden death, there were some rumours that made his heart skip a beat, saying that General Liang had been killed by someone.
He had secretly changed the medicine but it was not fatal. Gu Huai ZHong was afraid that the issue of him changing the medicine would be exposed. With no other way, he sidelined the generals from the Liang family army who were loyal to General Liang. He also secretly wrote to the imperial court, claiming that someone in the Liang family army had deliberately conspired against him. Under Emperor Jing’s arrangements, the Liang family army who used to terrify the Rouran people was disbanded by various means. The generals who were not dead went missing and some loyal sergeants also went missing.
The Rouran people launched an attack at that time and Emperor Jing was uneasy so he actually decided to lead his soldiers personally. Gu Huai Zhong knew his opportunity had come. Sure enough, he became famous with this one battle and climbed up the social ladder from then on.
Thinking back to the past, Gu Huai Zhong felt a chill in his body.
Gu Huai Zhong laughed really loudly. The sound was so loud that all the pedestrians passing by him looked sideways at him. Was this man before them in fancy clothing with a dusty and fatigued face crazy?! Very well, Liang Huai Yu, Gu Yu Qi, proving themselves as his wife and daughter, decisive and bold in action. As females, they dared to make such a big commotion. This was not much worse than what he had done at the border back then. Well, since the mother and daughter were so heartless, then he no longer needed to save anything anymore. From now on, he, Gu Huai Zhong, and Liang Huai Yu and Gu Yu Qi would be irreconcilable!
If they stayed in his Marquis’ residence at the capital obediently, Gu Huai Zhong could still pretend that none of the previous happenings had occurred. Since they were in the capital under his watch, the mother and daughter were completely fettered and it was impossible for them to have any contact with people in the past. Now that the mother and daughter were far away, and General Liang still had remains he had not found, then if they got in touch with those people, he was afraid… The more Gu Huai Zhong thought about it, the more uneasy he felt.
After a long time, Gu Huai Zhong finished laughing. He raised his hand and touched the tears at the corners of his eyes. After the riots that night, the capital must have been thrown into chaos. The mother and daughter had evaded the problems by leaving, but he could not leave. He had to return and face His Highness Prince An’s anger and also His Majesty’s questioning. Even Her Highness the Imperial Princess would be expected to intervene in this matter and including His Highness the Crown Prince, it was likely they would not let him go easily.
He had disbanded the Liang family army back then in disguise, then replaced General Liang’s medicine. Was this his daughter and granddaughter collecting debts from him?
A vicious thought gradually took root in his heart and germinated by his apprehension and fear, it grew crazy like with sunshine and rain.
Liang Huai Yu and Gu Yu Qi had also rushed all night without stopping. When they arrived at the first town in the north, Gu Yu Qi felt that everyone should take a break there.
They did not all enter the town and in order to avoid their pursuers, they stopped in a forest outside the town.
Gu Yu Qi only let Chun Xing and Zhao Wu go into town to buy some ordinary clothing with some silver change. They also bought some dry food, water, and daily necessities such as pots, bowls, bedding, and so on, as well as three large carriages. The carriage from the Ding Yuan Marquis residence carried the emblem of the Ding Yuan Marquis residence and it was too conspicuous on the official road during the day.
When Chun Xing and Zhao Wu came back, the masters and servants changed their clothes and ate some dry food hastily. Then they moved all the baggage to the newly bought carriages and headed on the road again.
When they left, Gu Yu Qi did not forget to make everyone dismantle the original carriage and take all the boards that had been removed. These would be used as firewood along the way and thus all evidence would be obliterated.
To save time, Gu Yu Qi divided the staff into four groups and they took turns resting in the two carriages. The rest of them continued on horseback. Along the way, the people could rest but the carriages would not. They travelled like this for two days in a row until the horses’ reached their limits in physical strength. Gu Yu Qi then chose a forest to rest.
Gu Yu Qi had long thoroughly memorised everything about ancient China from Gu Huai Zhong’s study. She was even familiar with the markings on all the maps inside. She did not need any maps at all. She herself was a map. From the capital to Kuizhou, the location of the towns, the post station, what specialties there were along the way, she knew it all.
After a break, Da Mei and Xia He cooked a meal together. Gu Yu Qi sat on one side and was a little distracted.
Chun Xing and Zhao Wu were again sent by Gu Yu Qi to the town in front to buy things. She also specially told Chun Xing to remember to buy a herbal medicine called Fadeleaf.
This herb, as the name suggested, had leaves like fallen leaves. Even in the spring and summer, the leaves were also withered yellow.
Chun Xing and Zhao Wu did not understand why Young Miss wanted to buy this rare herb. They had also bought all the Fadeleaf that could be bought in the towns they had passed along the way and specially packed them in a large wooden box. However, Young Miss was always right so they just listened.
The yield of this herb was not high and fortunately it was not widely used as it was a relatively uncommon herb. Although some pharmacies had them for sale, their stocks were also very little. When they met Chun Xing and Zhao Wu, great customers who asked for all of it, the pharmacy owners were very happy. It had to be known that for this herb, not even a jin or two could be sold a year.
“What is Ah Nan thinking about?” Liang Huai Yu tidied herself up a little, then jumped out of the carriage and came to sit down beside her daughter. She raised her hand and gently smoothed her daughter’s loose hairs.
After leaving the capital, her daughter’s worries grew heavier and heavier and she was often lost in thought alone.
This made Liang Huai Yu’s heart ache very much. She only thought that Gu Yu Qi had become depressed because of the bumps along the way. At the age of not even 15, her daughter was like a flower. She was at the age where she should be held in the hands and loved by others, but she had to follow her around. This made Liang Huai Yu wonder sometimes if she had really been impulsive. Maybe Gu Huai Zhong’s decision had been the best for Gu Yu Qi?
“If you want to go back…” Liang Huai Yu’s eyes dimmed, “It’s not impossible.”
“Mother, don’t think nonsense.” Noticing Liang Huai Yu’s downcast expression beside her, Gu Yu Qi was alarmed. She hurriedly grabbed Liang Huai Yu’s hand and said with a smile, “Surely you don’t think I want to go back to the capital and continue acting like the young lady of the Marquis’ residence?”
Liang Huai Yu looked at Gu Yu Qi guiltily, her big eyes full of doubt. Did she not?
“You’re really overthinking.” Gu Yu Qi could not help but laugh and said, “Mother, you know I’ve always longed for a free and leisurely life. In fact, this time, I really admire Mother, leaving the Marquis’ residence with such determination for me, leaving the capital. Of course, it’s certainly good to eat delectable dishes and dress luxuriously in an extravagant life at the capital, but neither of us was happy. Is living meant for just that little bit of extrinsic enjoyment? I just want to live a different life with Mother. We’ll have our own world and in that world, we don’t need to submit to anyone. We’re the kings here! Isn’t this good?”
Kings!!! Liang Huai Yu’s eyes widened, this… this… this… Was this not treason, not rebellion?
“Ah Nan, you…”
Looking at Liang Huai Yu’s terrified eyes, Gu Yu Qi could not help but laugh out loud, “Don’t worry Mother, I have a sense of propriety. I also know that this is just a wild wish.” After speaking, she sighed and her eyes flickered a little, “But I’ll do my best to let us both be free and happy. No one will dare order us around. At the very least, they’ll think it over before issuing orders left and right.”
Hearing what Gu Yu Qi said, Liang Huai Yu was a little relieved. She could not help but laugh, “Ah Nan, what are you thinking in that head of yours? From now on, don’t talk nonsense with such words that could lead to the destruction of nine generations,” she reminded and continued, “Then why were you in a daze just now?”
“I just remembered something,” Gu Yu Qi said with a serious face, “Mother, do you believe that I have an ability?”
“What ability?” Liang Huai Yu asked in confusion.
“I can foresee what will happen in the future.” Gu Yu Qi thought about it and in a tactfully mild way, she expressed that she was a monster who had opened a strange place.
“This…” Liang Huai Yu was obviously startled. She opened her red lips slightly, and could not close them for a long time.
“You don’t believe it?” Gu Yu Qi tilted her head and said. Well, she had done enough in this life, pretending to be a little girl, pretending to be a prodigy, pretending to be a talented girl, now she was pretending to be a soothsayer!!!!
“What did you foresee?” Liang Huai Yu asked cautiously.
This kind of foreseeing into the future was so mysterious that even Liang Huai Yu dared not to just nod her head and say that she believed her daughter.
“I foresee that in about half a month, a rare disease will break out in the Qi dynasty.” Gu Yu Qi said this with a long sigh, “So this daughter has been collecting Fadeleaf along the way.”
Liang Huai Yu was shocked, “Is this real or false?”
“Really!” Gu Yu Qi nodded solemnly, “In another half of a month, Fadeleaf will become more expensive than gold.’
“That…” Liang Huai Yu wanted to blurt out, are we going to tell other people about this, telling others to prepare early? But halfway through the question, she saw the strange expression in her daughter’s eyes and swallowed the rest of her words.
Yes, her daughter’s current identity was someone expelled from the Marquis’ residence and could not be exposed. If they still spoke with great fanfare that a plague was about to happen, that the price of Fadeleaf would become extraordinarily expensive, then would they not just be making trouble for themselves? Forget about being treated as a lunatic, if someone harboured evil intentions, then it would be terrible if everyone shouted.
“Mother, I didn’t buy all this Fadeleaf to make money, but for use.” Gu Yu Qi said, “If Mother believes in me, just wait and see.”
“Alright.” Liang Huai Yu was sceptical at first, but Gu Yu Qi spoke so decisively and it convinced her. Although her daughter often made and did rebellious remarks or actions, none of them had been unreliable.
On this side, the mother and daughter were heading north and collecting Fadeleaf where possible.
Gu Huai Zhong also returned to the Ding Yuan Marquis’ residence on the night of the third day. The first thing he did when he returned was to send a message to all the imperial family members and nobles at the capital, saying that Liang Huai Yu had burned to death in the fire in the Marquis’ residence and Gu Yu Qi’s whereabouts were unknown.
This was a decision he had made after careful consideration as he walked down the road.
His and Liang Huai Yu’s divorce papers were in the capital mayor’s house and Gu Yu Qi had broken her relationship with him in front of the capital mayor. No matter where they were now, those two people were a disgrace to his Ding Yuan Marquis’ residence. He could not stand the so-called “inquiries about his well being” after returning to the capital. He predicted that after Liang Huai Yu took Gu Yu Qi away this time, they would definitely remain anonymous and not show up so easily. Liang Huai Yu’s time in the capital had not been long and she had just become famous after going to the Winter Hunting Festival with him. However, because of Gu Yu Qi’s illness, not many people had seen Liang Huai Yu’s real face. Those who had seen it would be from noble families at the capital and with nothing to do, they always stayed at the capital, when would they run around the world? Hence, the chance for a noble at the capital to meet Liang Huai Yu again would be very rare.
He had been chasing southward for a long time without finding the whereabouts of the mother and daughter. This proved that the mother and daughter were not ready to go back to Jiangnan at all. Since they dared not go back to Jiangnan, they must fear his revenge and at least, they would not show up any time soon.
This was enough time for him to quell the rumours in the capital.
As for that capital mayor, he pondered back and forth and in the end, he sent someone over with a large sum of money. The purpose of giving money was naturally to conceal the contents of the divorce papers, and to claim that Gu Yu Qi was rebellious and wanted to break their father-daughter relationship.
The capital mayor originally wanted to secretly spread the contents of the divorce papers and wash away the humiliation of being abused by Gu Huai Zhong that night. Yet, for the sake of money, he chose to keep it a secret for now, at least for the duration of his term. As for his future after he was transferred from being the capital mayor, he would not be able to guarantee it.
Since he had robbed the horse of the sergeant at the city gate, he had to go and give a greeting to the governor’s office. Gu Huai Zhong had already planned it out on his way back. He first found out that His Highness Prince An was still at Hu Guo temple and had not returned, so he decided to go to the palace and see Emperor Jing.
As soon as he saw Emperor Jing, he fell to the ground and cried with tears and snot.
Emperor Jing had received a report from the patrol guards that the Ding Yuan Marquis had broken past the city gate secretly, robbing a horse. In the past few days, articles of impeachment against him had flown all over the sky and even Emperor Jing was upset. However, when he saw Gu Huai Zhong crying chaotically as soon as he came, Emperor Jing became a little curious.
“My dear Official Gu, what’s wrong?” Emperor Jing hurriedly made someone help Gu Huai Zhong who was pretending to be about to faint from crying. He also asked someone to give him a seat.
Gu Huai Zhong’s wailing was just testing Emperor Jing. Seeing that he had given himself a seat, he knew how things stood. The kindness between himself and His Majesty was still there and he would probably listen to what he had to say.
Gu Huai Zhong complained to Emperor Jing while wiping away his tears, saying how ruthless his wife was and how unfilial his daughter was. Due to his daughter accidentally offending His Highness Prince An, he wanted to take his daughter to apologise to His Highness Prince An but Liang Huai Yu actually blamed him for not knowing how to take care of their daughter. She quarrelled with him and in the end, their arguments reached the divorce stage and in his temper, they went to the capital mayor’s house. As a result, because of the divorce, his daughter hit him in front of the capital mayor. In a fit of rage, he expelled his daughter out of the family. How was he to know that the rebel girl was actually angry and resentful and would go back and set a fire? It seemed like Liang Huai Yu was burned to death in the fire. Now that unfilial daughter had absconded in fear of her crime.
He put on an ambiguous appearance in the presence of His Majesty. He knew in his heart that Liang Huai Yu was not dead. If he said it was the truth, then it would be criminal to deceive the Emperor. So he only said that Liang Huai Yu was probably burned to death, because she disappeared after that. He took the horse to chase after Gu Yu Qi so he offended the sergeant of the city’s horse patrol division.
This bitter complaint stunned Emperor Jing. From his position high above, he only knew that the Ding Yuan Marquis’ residence was on fire and that the Ding Yuan Marquis took his horse out of the city overnight. How could he have known there were so many twisted and bizarre stories in it? After listening to it, even Emperor Jing did not know what to say. Yun Ke was his son and he had just received news that Yun Ke had been accidentally injured at Hu Guo temple. This injury was probably because of Gu Yu Qi. A little girl could actually hurt his prince. It was likely that Gu Yu Qi had caused a lot of trouble. However, he felt it was weird, why did Yun Ke not explain the reason for his injury? Could it be he deliberately wanted to cover up something for Gu Yu Qi?
He could not help but think back to Gu Yu Qi. Was that not the direct daughter of the Ding Yuan Marquis who was very outstanding a few years ago? Yun Yi and the Crown Prince had both mentioned that girl intentionally or unintentionally in front of him. However, he had not expected this girl to be so loyal and good on the surface, but to be so rebellious in her bones. This time, even Yun Ke was provoked. One small girl had gotten involved with three of his sons. Emperor Jing had to guard against this.
He could not wait to issue an order to pursue and kill Gu Yu Qi with all of his strength… Bring back this rebellious girl to the capital to pay her last respects. Gu Huai Zhong’s legs softened when he heard these words and he immediately knelt down to His Majesty, begging His Majesty to please take their mutual affection in consideration and let Gu Yu Qi go, after all, Gu Yu Qi was still his daughter.
This time, his weak legs were not fake; his legs were truly weak.
Gu Huai Zhong actually wished that Liang Huai Yu and Gu Yu Qi died now. All his shame was due to this mother and daughter. They had been ruthless and unintentional, so why did he still have good thoughts for them? However, killing the mother and daughter could only be done in secret and the emperor could not be allowed to intervene. If the emperor intervened, a lot of things would be revealed. He could not be exposed.
Emperor Jing looked at Gu Huai Zhong who was kneeling in front of him crying like a child and he felt a little unbearable. It was his daughter after all. Emperor Jing felt that Gu Huai Zhong was already very pitiful, having his wife die and losing his daughter in one night. If he ordered his daughter to be hunted down, he would feel a bit sorry for this Ding Yuan Marquis. After all, he was the one who carried himself out from death. Either way, he had saved his life and he had done so more than once…
After thinking about it, he sighed. He comforted Gu Huai Zhong with a few words, then let him go back. However, since Yun Ke was injured by Gu Yu Qi, he still fined Gu Huai Zhong three months’ worth of salary. Impunity should not be blocked by imperial censors.
Emperor Jing touched his slightly swollen forehead. It was not easy for him as the emperor either, alright?
Gu Huai Zhong left the palace and got on the carriage of the Ding Yuan Marquis’ residence. Only then did he wipe away the tears from the corners of his eyes. His eyes were full of coldness. He had deliberately defamed Gu Yu Qi. He just wanted to give everyone an impression first that Gu Yu Qi was a ruthless, heartless woman who had no regard for family. In the future, even if Gu Yu Qi and Liang Huai Yu found out something, no one would easily believe them. Of course, he would not give them the chance to find out something they should not know.
“Someone come,” he said in a deep voice to the confidant following the carriage.
“Marquis,” the little servant came over and responded.
A token was handed out from the carriage, “Go and contact them. This Marquis needs them for something.” The little servant took the token from his hand and responded. Then he urged the horse forward and left the carriage behind.
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