Chapter 314: Yuwen Zhi’s Letter
Delivering a letter? To whom was he delivering it by stealth?
Zhao Fugui felt that his father was up to something, that this letter he was delivering for Yuwen Zhi must be about something important. Should he tip the other side off about this? After an intense struggle in his mind, Zhao Fugui eventually gritted his teeth and slipped out of the residential compound, planning to find out where his father was delivering the letter first and then made a final decision.
“The Fang Mansion?” Zhao Fugui was taken aback as he saw his father slink to the Fang Mansion. He was no fool and naturally was aware that the owner of the Fang Mansion was the Eighth Prince’s grandfather.
“What is Master trying to do? Does he want to side with the Eighth Prince, by any chance?” Zhao Fugui’s face took on a vexed expression. He was merely a servant of Yuwen Zhi’s, so his knowledge of this matter was limited, and he didn’t have much acquaintance with the current political landscape, but he did know that this was definitely not a good thing. Given that it was in a stealthy fashion that his father had come to the Fang Mansion, this letter must be about something underhand.
As a result, Zhao Fugui was torn between his father and people of the Ling Mansion, wondering whether or not he should inform the latter.
Ling Zhang took his leave of Yuwen Jin and the others and then returned to the Ling Mansion.
“Childe Ling, a moment ago Zhao Fugui secretly came here to deliver a message, saying that Yuwen Zhi had a letter sent to the Fang Mansion,” said Yao Yi.
Ling Zhang came to a halt, feeling that this was definitely Murphy’s Law at play. Yuwen Zhi couldn’t even stay out of trouble for a single day!
“What about Yuwen Feng? Is he in this as well?” asked Ling Zhang.
Yao Yi answered, “Yuwen Feng has no knowledge of this. It was his personal butler that Yuwen Zhi had deliver the letter.”
Ling Zhang walked into the room and sat down.
“What happened?” asked Ling Zhaowu, stepping inside.
“Yuwen Zhi contacted the Fang family. It would seem he’s taking the Eighth Prince’s side,” replied Ling Zhang.
Ling Zhaowu’s forehead corrugated in a frown. It had been after that matter that he was informed of the complicated situation in the Yuwen family. Yuwen Zhi was Yuwen Tong’s uncle. Although the two of them had divided up family property and been living apart, it didn’t change the fact that there was blood bond between them. Surely Yuwen Zhi was fully aware of what the current circumstances were like? Still, he had decided to side with the Eighth Prince, which was really an unreasonable move.
“Before Yuwen Tong left the city, did he tell you what to do with this uncle of his?” inquired Ling Zhaowu in a very direct way.
Ling Zhang replied in a cold tone of voice, “He wants me to show Yuwen Zhi no mercy if he dares step out of line again. Given the current situation, Yuwen Zhi’s choosing to pit himself against me means only one of us will survive this fight. Since he has a death wish, I shall grant it.”
Now that Yuwen Zhi was determined to worm his way into that net to seek his doom, he would have only himself to blame when he got it.
“Childe Ling, what should we do with Childe Feng?” said Yao Yi.
Ling Zhang slightly furrowed his brows. Yuwen Feng’s stand had always been firm, and he’d never shown the faintest inclination to go along with his family in their evil deeds, but this matter was of utmost importance, so Ling Zhang felt he shouldn’t jump to conclusions. “Let’s sound Yuwen Feng out first and see what his take on this matter is like.”
“Should I go and talk to Childe Feng?” asked Yao Yi.
“Tomorrow there’s going to be a meeting in the Right Prime Minister’s residence. In order to find out about Yuwen Feng’s attitude, the Right Prime Minister probably has invited him as well. Inform Zhao Fugui of it. Tell him to figure out a proper way to tip Yuwen Feng off about Yuwen Zhi’s intention without disclosing anything about our involvement in this,” said Ling Zhang.
Yao Yi had a somewhat sympathetic expression on his face. It didn’t take a genius to see how difficult a position Yuwen Feng would be put in, but this was a life-or-death juncture, and although Yuwen Feng was probably the only member of that branch of the Yuwen family who still cared about their marshal, the time had come for them to force Yuwen Feng to make the final choice.
“I’ll go there right now.”
At dusk, Yuwen Feng returned home and routinely asked the servants, “How are Master and Second Young Master doing today?”
“Master sat in his study for a very long time. Second Young Master is in his courtyard house all along,” answered a servant.
Yuwen Feng inclined his head and then went to see Yuwen Zhi. The two of them talked about some affairs concerning the imperial court.
“Is the Eighth Prince still keeping vigil beside the bier?” asked Yuwen Zhi.
“The Eighth Prince lives in a side palace. He’s been keeping a round-the-clock vigil during the past few days. Courtiers are taking turns to wail beside the coffin. The Eighth Prince has been performing the duty alone, for the Ninth Prince is too young to take his place,” replied Yuwen Feng.
“He and the Ninth Prince are the only hope of the imperial household now. The Ninth Prince is still young, so the Eighth Prince has become the pillar of the imperial family. By keeping vigil beside the coffin all along, he’s shown some strength of character. Maybe we can count on him to become a competent ruler of the Great Yue,” observed Yuwen Zhi.
There was a deepening frown on Yuwen Feng’s face as he listened. “Father, the Eighth Prince is still young; the Wan Kingdom and the Luohai Kingdom are eyeing us with hostility; the capital city is vulnerable, and the garrisons in other cities are quite strong. The Eighth Prince is just a ten-year-old boy. I’m afraid he’s not ready for the task of ruling this country.”
Yuwen Zhi looked at him. “Having the garrisons toe the line would be an achievable goal if he has a capable adviser.”
“Father.” Yuwen Feng looked at him confusedly and disapprovingly. “You better than anyone should know what the current situation in the imperial court is like. Once a prince of the Zhou family ascends the throne, our family would sure as hell come to grief. What are you thinking exactly?”
After a few moments’ eye contact with him, Yuwen Zhi replied, “You regard Yuwen Tong as a cousin, but he treats us like dirt.”
“Father, the only way to bring peace to this country is for my cousin to accede to the throne. Please say no more in this regard.” Yuwen Feng rose to his feet, gazing at Yuwen Zhi with a faintly admonitory expression in his eyes. “Although he’s not in this city at the moment, he still has control over the whole city, and each and every single move of ours will come to his knowledge. I hope you’ll stop being a hater. Don’t make any unwise decisions at this point in time.”
“Don’t you dare talk to me like that, no matter how firmly you believe you’re old enough to do it. You hear me?” Yuwen Zhi flintily looked at him, disgruntled.
Yuwen Feng frowned. “Father, I just want you to see that in front of us is a heaven-sent opportunity, that this is the path which the Yuwen family should take.”
The two of them eyed each other coldly for a few moments and then parted in discord.
After leaving Yuwen Zhi’s study, Yuwen Feng became vigilant as he recalled what Yuwen Zhi had just said. The more he thought about it, the deeper his disquiet.
“First Young Master.”
Zhao Fugui standing in a corner called Yuwen Feng’s name as the latter approached Yuwen Qi’s courtyard house.
“What are you standing here for?”
Yuwen Feng was rather displeased to see Zhao Fugui’s sneaky bearing.
“Please forgive me, First Young Master. There’s something I need to tell you, and I don’t want any of Master’s or Second Young Master’s men to see us talking,” said Zhao Fugui.
Yuwen Feng stared at him for a while. “What is it?”
Zhao Fugui looked left and right. After confirming that the coast was clear, he breathed, “Earlier this day Master had my father deliver a letter to the Fang Mansion by stealth.”
Yuwen Feng was secretly startled. “The Fang Mansion? Are you sure?”
Zhao Fugui hurriedly bobbed his head. “I don’t dare lie to you, First Young Master.”
Yuwen Feng pivoted around and started walking away, but after two steps forward, he spun around and said to Zhao Fugui, “Don’t you tell anybody else about this, or else…”Updates by L istnovel.com
Zhao Fugui immediately slumped to his knees, prostrated himself and spluttered, “I don’t dare do that. You’re the only one I disclosed this to. Under no circumstances will I tell it to a second person!”
Yuwen Feng withdrew his frosty eyes and hastened off.
It was when he was far away that Zhao Fugui pulled himself up and twisted his head around to look at Yuwen Qi’s courtyard house and then in the direction of Yuwen Feng’s receding back, a somewhat anxious expression on his face. People of the Ling Mansion had instructed him to sound Yuwen Feng out and see how he would react, but what kind of reaction was this? He didn’t dare explicitly ask Yuwen Feng’s opinion, because if he did that, Yuwen Feng would have him executed.
With this in mind, he had no choice but to stealthily follow in Yuwen Feng’s wake.
Yuwen Feng had originally wanted to question Yuwen Zhi about this matter, but he came to a halt in the doorway of the study.
In the distance, Zhao Fugui stalking him hurriedly hid himself in a corner at the sight of this, stealthily peeping.
In the Fang Mansion.
“What does Yuwen Zhi mean by this, Your Lordship?”
On the table in front of Fang Quan was a letter. A couple of people were sitting around it, all of whom were close personal friends of Fang Quan’s and were working with Fang Quan in assisting the Eighth Prince to succeed to the throne. They gazed at the letter from Yuwen Zhi, suspicion washing over their faces.
“Everybody in this city knows what Yuwen Tong is up to. Instead of giving counsel to him, the Yuwen family are actually telling us that they’re in support of the Eighth Prince?”
“It’s definitely a trick. Yuwen Zhi thinks we’re fools?”
“Well… it might not necessarily be a trick. Think about it. Previously, because of the matter of Yuwen Qi, Yuwen Tong and Yuwen Zhi had a falling-out; afterwards, Zheng shi informed on Yuwen Tong, accusing him of concealing banned items, almost causing Yuwen Tong to be brought down; and then Yuwen Tong and Yuwen Zhi immediately divided up family property and lived apart, and their relations reached a quite ugly end, so Yuwen Zhi isn’t really on good terms with Yuwen Tong. If Yuwen Tong does manage to take the throne, he might not treat Yuwen Zhi nicely.”Read latest chapters at Listnovel.com
“Yuwen Zhi is a member of the Yuwen family after all. We should regard him as an enemy, whatever the circumstances. Besides, Although Yuwen Zhi has fallen out with Yuwen Tong, Yuwen Feng seems to exist to do Yuwen Tong’s bidding, and Yuwen Feng is Yuwen Zhi’s biological son. Surely you don’t think Yuwen Zhi would choose us, a group of outsiders, over his own son?”
“Speaking of Yuwen Feng, as the Assistant Minister of Rites, he wields even greater power in the department than the Minister of Rites. If we draw him over to our side…”
“Stop dreaming. Let me tell you something – even if Yuwen Zhi and Yuwen Feng somehow become sworn enemies of Yuwen Tong and are not even on speaking terms with him, I still wouldn’t dare put a shred of trust in them. All of them have the Yuwen family’s blood coursing inside them, and they all bear the same surname. What with these two facts alone, I believe it’s inadvisable to have them on board, Your Lordship.”
Fang Quan listened to their arguments without making any on-the-spot comments.
In fact, Fang Quan’s thoughts on the matter were in line with the latter speaker’s. He didn’t believe that Yuwen Zhi really wanted to side with the Eighth Prince, because apart from anything else, Yuwen Zhi was a Yuwen, Yuwen Tong’s biological uncle!
“I’ll send some men to keep close watch on the Yuwen family first. This is a crucial moment in the pursuit of our cause. We can’t afford to make even the slightest mistake. As for how to reply to Yuwen Zhi, I’ll write him a letter, pretending I don’t understand what he means,” said Fang Quan.
The others present in discussion all quieted down. “Lord Fang is right. No matter what, we must not make any mistakes at this point in time. It’s best if we just ignore Yuwen Zhi’s overtures. Still… Your Lordship, may I ask if you’ve ever considered the Jiang family?”
“Although the Jiang family haven’t been receiving visitors, Jiang Shennian is the former emperor’s uncle after all. They and the Eighth Prince are of the same blood. It’s true that the Jiang family have come down in the world, but they still have their contacts. On top of that, the Jiang family are far more trustworthy than Yuwen Zhi, aren’t they?”