Queen of Flowers Chapter 155
(Before split chapters: 67.1)
Feng Liao lay halfway on the bed, as Yong Ruo sat on its edge. He started telling her about what happened after they parted.
As they used mausoleum sacrifice as an excuse to let Feng Liao leave Beijing, he brought a whole ceremonial brigade with him.
But he was less than a hundred miles away from the capital when he sneakily left the mass, taking only his confidants, including An Zimo and Su Mingjian with him. First, he used an imperial decree to transfer 500 of the Mingzhou general’s elite soldiers to himself, then set off to Tongzhou so he could investigate this case.
The person who slew good men and took their achievements, as well as colluding with the enemy to betray the country was precisely the General of Tongzhou, Wu Renxin.
In the past 10 years, Wu Renxin has allied with the Tulu people to the north, not only smuggling food and weapons to them, but also avoiding conflict with them, instead slaying peasants who live in border villages and using their heads to get rewards from the court.
Currently, all the officials in Tongzhou are allied with Wu Renxin, and those who aren’t have already been transferred to other cities or been dealt with.
These years, even though there have been many rumors in Beijing and Tongzhou about Wu Renxin’s misdeeds, no one has ever gotten proof of it.
Thus, Feng Liao was sent to Tongzhou by the emperor to find out the truth behind this matter.
After Feng Liao and company had gone to Tongzhou, they first did some investigation in secret, and retrieved some witnesses.
Then. they split up. An Zimo pretended to be a plain-clothed Imperial envoy, and went to the razed and abandoned villages for investigation. He was using the ‘打草驚蛇’ method (intentionally misstepping to make Wu Renxin reveal himself).
The flustered Wu Renxin ordered his elite soldiers to masquerade as Tulus to kill An Zimo and shut him up for good, but instead, he fell for An Zimo’s trap.
The men were caught by An Zimo. He intentionally let two run away so they could report to Wu Renxin.
Now, Wu Renxin was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Panicking, he decided to secretly leave Tongzhou with his remaining elites, hoping to side with the Tulus officially or become bandits. However, they were caught by Feng Liao, who had garrisoned the 500 elite soldiers under his command outside the city gate in wait for Wu Renxin.
After that, personnel of the Mingzhou general escorted the criminals to Beijing, and Feng Liao hurried to the Ancestral Mausoleum.
When the sacrificial ritual was complete, Feng Liao left the brigade once more and rushed to Beijing, only to be poisoned in the process.
Yong Ruo asked, “Was it one of Wu Renxin’s subordinates who did it, or was it someone else?”
“I don’t know,” Feng Liao replied, “But one thing’s for sure: my peaceful days are over.”
Yong Ruo sighed in her heart: That’s for sure!
She said sadly, “Wangye, do you regret it? Do you regret accepting this errand?”
Feng Liao held her hand tightly, smiling cheerfully, “No, I don’t! As long as I can be with you forever, no matter what hardships I may face, I will be able to endure!”
Yong Ruo smiled back at him, but in her heart she felt even more sorrowful.
If I could be with you forever, I would also be satisfied.
But, I don’t know how many of these good days together we have.
Where did Feng Liao eat those ‘dirty food’?
Yong Ruo had some notion of the truth, but not a shred of evidence.
Although Feng Liao was impatient to go back to Beijing, he was incredibly careful.
When he had to stop for the night, he would stop at a relay post if there was one, or a time-honoured inn otherwise. From the time he enters an establishment to when he leaves, everything is scrutinized carefully by his guards, from the food to even the bath water.
This is an incredibly secure watchguard, yet Feng Liao still got poisoned.
As Feng Liao was the only one poisoned, everyone else was fine, Su Mingjian thought the suspect to be something that Feng Liao had eaten but the others hadn’t.
On the day he started vomiting, he had eaten a bowl of chicken noodles.
Although the noodles were made under a guard’s supervision, the chicken soup was boiled for an entire night. It was also watched by an on-duty patrol, but everyone was exhausted after marching for multiple days. A guard could’ve fallen asleep on duty due to exhaustion, or even worse, there was a mole among his guards.
The problem was, there were no witnesses to this, so Su Mingjian could only deduce this slowly.