Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 36 – Raging Flames in Imperial City
Inside the Letter Hall’s guard garrison room, the Meng Fuyao who finally succeeded in joining up forces examined the scholarly, mild man in front of her. She was a little astonished that the Yun family patriarch Yun Chi, who had stood firmly in the Tai Yuan Imperial Court for so many years without being toppled, was this kind of man, gentle to the point of frailness.
Yun Chi had pondered for a long time, thinking about Meng Fuyao’s daring yet crazy suggestion. That tonight the Letter Hall was silently surrounded, he was naturally clear, but since the situation was not clear yet he still did not dare to have any movements. Now that he was required to make the first move, being an old official of the Tai Yuan government, he was very well clear that the consequences of this action would be extremely severe. Even such a calm person like Yun Chi couldn’t help but perspire cold sweat on his forehead.
Meng Fuyao, though, was grinning without care. She poured some tea to drink, then dangled one leg over the other and started to hum.
“I’m always money too little, money too little, counting for half a day only left with a couple jiao notes, without regrets I say that it doesn’t matter, actually I am basically not that strong …”
“Often thinking of, the you right now, who is by my side counting banknotes, but but I, still can’t understand, how much more you have in your pocket, however I still, always believe, you definitely can gift me a diamond ring, the books say the rich view the same moon even a thousand li away, but right now I just want to help you manage those banknotes, I’ve heard many plays of eternal pledged love, but I still want to see you, and the number of digits stored in your bank account …”
Yun Hen and Yun Chi stared at her in astonishment, only feeling that this girl was truly an oddity. The storm was coming, the palace massacre was intense, while a life-or-death crisis was right in front of their eyes – and she was still in the mood to sing these kinds of random stuff?
However Meng Fuyao had already run out of patience. With a slap of the table she asked, “Still not doing it?”
Yun Chi bitterly laughed, and muttered, “Miss Meng, this this …” Eventually he didn’t dare to say the word “rebel” out loud, and only ambiguously said , “Manpower I do have some, and not being able to enter Heavenly Peace Hall, we truly could stir up some trouble here, only this is a serious matter …”
“Very good.” Throwing back her head, Fuyao gulped down all of the tea, then stood up. “That’s exactly what we want, to stir up big trouble. If we don’t stir up big trouble how are we supposed to alarm your family’s boss?” She looked around, then smilingly said, “I’ve heard that the predecessor of the Tai Yuan Imperial Palace was the Yi Empire’s Divine Palace, and before their country crumbled the Yi Empire’s royal family dug out many secret passageways and hidden rooms. I have already experienced one, now I want to experience another one.”
She stood there, and the tea cup in her hand suddenly heavily pounded onto the table surface. With a ka-cha sound, the rosewood surface sunk down a little; only upon closer inspection was it seen that it was that stretch of floor underneath the table that depressed down. Heedless of Yun Chi’s panicked expression, the smiling Meng Fuyao lifted her leg up and kicked. In a rumbling sound the ground surface suddenly split into two, revealing a secret entrance.
“Bring all of your soldiers and people inside the Letter Hall down this secret passage, then, light a fire to burn down this cold palace,” Meng Fuyao straightforwardly said. “Once this fire erupts, whatever you want to do will become much easier.”
“Lighting a fire and burning the palace!” Yun Chi’s eye corner twitched. “This is a Nine Familial Extermination capital offense!”
“Now I know why you’ve been steadily beaten down and successively had your powers removed.” Meng Fuyao cynically looked at him. “You really think too much and do too little, and absolutely can’t understand the principle of winners take all! If Prince Qi kills the Crown Prince, your Yun family will be guilty even if you have no crime, punished even if you don’t deserve it; if the Crown Prince destroys Prince Qi, setting fire to burn the palace, plotting to revolt, will only be the work of the Yan family’s palace guards outside. What would it have to do with you, the diligent and hardworking official?”
Yun Chi’s face color changed. Yun Hen had already left and walked out.
“What are you going to do?”
“This child will bring people to light the fire.” Yun Hen’s head didn’t even turn, as he coldly said, “Not only lighting it here, but other places have to be set aflame as well!”
“The Letter Hall is a cold palace, if a fire started only here, it may not be able to alarm the Crown Prince. Not to mention there are so many people outside, the fire will be extinguished in a blink of an eye.” Yun Hen’s voice was frigid and resolute, sounding like floating ice colliding. It contained the chilled attitude of preferring death rather than giving up his principles. “Father is an old minister of the previous Yi Empire, and in your hands is the Yi royal family’s greatest secret. That imperial palace secret passage map, why aren’t you taking it out?”
“That was bestowed by the previous Emperor! Only when the imperial city collapses and the Emperor is in a calamity can we use it!” Yun Chi rushed to Yun Hen’s side, stamping his foot. “Give your father a blood oath!”
Yun Hen turned his head, his sleeve moving a little.
“Oaths count for nothing!” Meng Fuyao suddenly cut in with lightning speed. “Are you really a political figure? You don’t even know that promises are what politicians use to put bullshit in their mouths?” After hiding her hand behind her back, she walked up to Yun Chi’s side. All of a sudden shooting out her hand, the tea kettle in her hand fiercely smashed onto Yun Chi’s head.
With a bang, Yun Chi fell to the ground along with the sound. Meng Fuyao dusted off her hands, chuckling, “Very good, he fell very cooperatively.”
Yun Hen’s eyes flashed some surprise, although he was not angry, only softly sighing, “Why go so far?”
Meng Fuyao twitched the edge of her mouth, and shook her head. “Do you plan to personally pummel your ‘loyal to greater good unwilling to be expedient’ foster father, then shoulder all of the guilt from the crime of being unfilial? Is it worth it? It’s better to just let an outsider act for you.”
Yun Hen was silent. Meng Fuyao had already stooped down and started searching around in Yun Chi’s bosom, very quickly palming out a piece of silk. Unfolding it and inspecting it, Meng Fuyao continuously sneered, “Tai Yuan Imperial Palace underground secret passageway map, such an important thing, and your pop actually kept it right on his body. Do you still dare say that he truly didn’t approve of our crazy idea?”
Yun Hen turned his head away, clearly not willing to answer the question. The more Fuyao looked the more gloomy she got. She could help others, but she disliked being used by others like a fool. Yun Chi this old traitor was really cunning – it was plain to see that the plan in his heart was the same as theirs, and even the secret passage map was intentionally waiting in his bosom for them to take, yet his whole mouth was full of evasion and hesitation so as to let his own resolute and loyal foster son “rashly act, coerce foster father, steal the secret map, and intend to revolt”. In the future, just in case someone investigated criminal responsibility, he could just absolve himself cleanly and push his treacherous adopted son out as the scapegoat.
Yun Hen assuredly knew, yet he pretended he didn’t, and even really planned to shoulder all the responsibility onto himself. Seeing this, Meng Fuyao was burning with suppressed anger.
Because her mood was bad, her actions were a bit more ruthless, and she specifically choose a brass tea kettle. Even though her true qi was sealed, the power of her body physique was not lost; with this attack being extremely fierce, Yun Chi most likely was going to get a concussion.
It would be good if he got struck into a fool, who told you son-of-a-bitch to fake! Meng Fuyao maliciously thought.
Right now, it was You hour, first half-hour.
Prince Qi faintly smiled as he mentioned the famous throughout Tai Yuan performer troupe.
Fang Minghe’s great army was currently yelling for the palace gates to open ———-
“Burn, burn harder!” Meng Fuyao scurried here and there while ordering the soldiers of the Letter Hall, at the same time kicking open a door and using her hand to pull off a soldier’s blanket, lifting the guy up naked. “What are you doing still under a blanket! Go start a fire! Thirty two burning locations, I want you guys to immediately light it up, or else I’ll push you outside!”
Outside was three thousand enemy palace guard troops, waiting for Heavenly Peace Hall to shoot a signal before eliminating the opposite side from their roots. The Letter Hall guards all knew that there would be a great change tonight, a life-or-death, survival-or-destruction moment, and there actually was no one that objected to the treasonous commands. All of them silently yet swiftly prepared flammable materials, scooped out vegetable oil, and readied the torches …
The servants inside the Letter Hall were sent out through the secret door, sent to hide in the empty rooms of the West Six Palaces. The Emperor’s concubines were too few, and the unoccupied houses in the West Six Palaces too many. Meng Fuyao ordered another group of soldiers to disperse over there, telling them to burn any empty houses they saw, then went to find a place to hide herself.
“Ok, we can only do this much.” Meng Fuyao dusted her hands, faintly smiling, “As long as the Crown Prince can charge out of the imperial city, his eighty thousand subordinate guards are right there in the city, and will have more favorable positioning than those capital city troops rushing over from the outside. At that time if the two sides engage in a great battle, Qi Xunyi most likely won’t be able to gain an advantage.”
“I’m just afraid that the Crown Prince can’t rush out of the hall.” Yun Hen’s eyes were a bit anxious. Meng Fuyao shook her head, laughing, “We’ve already done this much, if he still can’t grasp the time and be alerted to the danger, then even if he dies he deserves it.”
Yun Hen was silent, his cold eyes flashing with an inexplicable luster.
The paper windows behind suddenly burst into a radiant red glow, and following that the red light greatly brightened – the various fire locations had already started burning. Because the fires were lit with careful, deliberate planning, in almost an instant the soaring flames roared throughout the entire Letter Hall like dragons, raging between every palace wall, hallway, and pillar.
Windows deformed in the blink of an eye, and the hallway pillars gradually distorted. The bright scarlet of the firelight shot upwards into the cloudy sky, shining red on the ash-colored heavens above the imperial city.
The shocked exclamations from the palace guards outside the Letter Hall could be vaguely heard, and then the shouted orders and the sounds of the large doors being kicked open traveled over.
With a grab Meng Fuyao pushed Yun Hen down the secret passage, and she jumped down as well. The secret door was closing, and the moment before the palace guards charged in the door, Fuyao suddenly extended her fingers and made a smug hand gesture.
Two fingers separated, shaped like a scissor.
- jiao, 角, is 1/10th of a Chinese Yuan. The equivalent of a dime in US dollars.
- “Heart Too Soft”, 《心太软》, is a Chinese song. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shcUdsHyyeI
- “Smiling Face”, 《笑脸》, another song. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZbzd7h_5lQ
- Execution of you and nine categories of people related to you (pretty much your entire family): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_familial_exterminations