Feng Jin Yuan’s Left Prime Minister Dream

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Lu Yan had not been the Lu Yan of old for a long time. The passage of life allowed her to gain more clarity with each passing day, and she was becoming more and more resolute with each passing day. Now, death was something that was already final. She was no longer as horrified as she had been at the beginning. She had even gotten accustomed to it. She even joked with the female doctor that had come to give her an injection, as she counted how many days she would have left.

She had accepted it, but her mother, Ge shi, could not accept it. Every time that Lu Yan spoke like this, she would wipe away tears, and her vision would become blurry from crying so much. At the start, there would be some consolation, but she eventually became apathetic. Although she would begin to feel some hope from seeing her daughter’s rosy cheeks, Lu Yan would always take the first chance possible to thoroughly suppress that hope.

Lu Song could also see this change in Lu Yan and let out a sigh, saying: “You know your body best. All that we can see is the surface. Saying it like this, it is to give you a bit of hope, rather than see you make early plans for after death.”

Lu Yan smiled bitterly and consoled her father: “It’s no longer too early. Father, in another half a month, daughter will die. There are a few more than ten days remaining. How can this be considered early? Father is right, I know my body best. At the time of the new year, I was already on my way to see the King of Hell. One foot had already been set through the gates of the underworld, but Imperial Daughter Ji An forcefully dragged me back. In the end, it was Imperial Daughter Ji An that displayed her exceptional medical abilities!” She looked toward Lu Song and suddenly asked: “Father, did you help speak up for the ninth prince in court that day?”

Lu Song nodded, “Indeed, such a thing happened. Recently, father has been working with Lord Right Prime Minister Fung to work on writing examination questions to deal with the officials of the eighth prince’s faction.” Lu Song was the left prime minister, and he had always communicated with Ge shi about some of the happenings in court; however, he never discussed them with his daughters. He did not believe that the little girls would be able to understand the things happening in court. What they were interested in would be nothing more than makeup, perfumes, accessories and fabrics. But ever since Lu Yan had fallen ill, it seemed as though she had completely changed. She had become more astute and was no longer as willful as before. He had also become accustomed to coming over to speak more with his daughter after court was dismissed. He also stopped hiding the situation in court at home.

But Ge shi was still a bit hesitant, asking Lu Song: “Husband, isn’t this openly announcing that you have supported His Highness the ninth prince? I am still a little unreconciled about it.”

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Lu Song shook his head, saying to Ge shi: “This isn’t a matter of being reconciled or not. Instead, it’s just not having any other choice. Presently in court, there are only the two choices of His Highness the eighth prince and His Highness the ninth prince. Regardless of who wins and who loses, just based on His Highness the eighth prince’s attitude towards Yan’er has made it so our Lu family cannot choose that path.”

Thinking of Xuan Tian Mo’s attitude toward Lu Yan, Ge shi felt her heart chill, as she fiercely gnashed her teeth. “Back then, he even asked His Highness the ninth prince to bring back so many nice things. He prepared so many accessories and fabrics for Yan’er, and they were all of the best quality. I thought that he was serious about Yan’er; however, who knew that he would immediately flip after hearing that Yan’er had fallen ill.”

Upon hearing these words, Lu Yan suddenly laughed and said to Ge shi: “Does mother truly believe that he only gave up on this engagement because Yan’er fell ill? How could it be so simple? The reason that this engagement failed is that it was not His Highness’ desire. And the reason that he could send those things back is that he believed that it was something arranged by Noble Lady Yuan; however, who knew that the message that Noble Lady Yuan had sent South would be swapped out by someone along the way. Father supporting His Highness the ninth prince is correct because His Highness the eighth prince and Noble Lady Yuan are people that will swallow people whole. His Highness the ninth prince whipping people is something that is done openly, while His Highness the eighth prince secretly stabs people behind their backs, and he has backstabbed us.”

After Ge shi heard this, she trembled and subconsciously said: “Yan’er means to say that you being poisoned was related to His Highness the eighth prince?”

“Hmph.” Lu Yan snorted coldly, “Even if it’s unrelated to him, it is definitely related to Noble Lady Yuan.” She had been bedridden for over half a month, and she had thought through all of the twists and turns of the situation. She analyzed it for Lu Song and Ge shi: “Noble Lady Yuan was originally opposed to this engagement, thus she would definitely do all that she could from the shadows to prevent it. But the Emperor and the Empress had already spoken, so how could she stop it? The only method is to have one of the people that had spoken up to think of a way for her! Of course, the Emperor could not possibly care about her matters. The only person that Noble Lady Yuan could place any hope in was the Empress.”

“The Empress?” Ge shi was stunned, “You mean to say that Noble Lady Yuan managed to convince the Empress and have Empress back out to help her cancel the engagement?” She suddenly thought of something and rushed to say- “It was the bird nest!”

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Ge shi was shocked; however, Lu Song and Lu Yan had both anticipated this and were not surprised. In truth, to Ge shi, it was not much of a surprise. After all, she had suspected the bird nests before. Although she had called people to have them inspected, all of the doctors had said that there was nothing wrong with them; however, she had never stopped wondering about them. Later on, she did not let Lu Yan continue taking them, and they had been left to the side.

“Mother should not have had no suspicions at all, right?” Lu Yan smiled bitterly, “I got poisoned for no reason at all, and every part of the manor had been examined, with nothing ever being found. As for the things that had entered my mouth, aside from those bird nests, there were no other unusual things. It was so clear, yet mother never suspected anything?”

Lu Song also said: “That’s right. Although people were found to examine them, I thought about it before. Something like bird nest would clearly come from inside the imperial palace. Those doctors are not fools. After finding out that those things came from the palace, who would dare to say that there was something wrong with them? Even if they could see something wrong, they would still shake their heads because they don’t want to offend the people in the palace.”

Ge shi pondered for a while then spoke up once more: “I know. The problem being with the bird nests is not a surprise. I am just surprised that Yan’er said it. That it was Noble Lady Yuan finding the Empress, which led to the Empress awarding the bird nests. But why would the Empress help her? Or could it be that the Empress did not think of helping her and wanted to do something about the bird nests herself?”

In regards to this, Lu Yan could not provide any insight, only saying: “Both are possible, but daughter will not be able to wait until the day that the truth comes out. But the truth will eventually be found out. This engagement was orchestrated by Imperial Daughter Ji An. Now that it has been meddled with by someone, even if she had not counterattacked by now, she will eventually settle this debt. That’s why I do not have any regrets and advise father to get closer to His Highness the ninth prince and Imperial Daughter Ji An. There must not be any ties with His Highness the eighth prince. With our family falling to this state, it can’t continue to fall.”

She spoke quite a bit today, and she was a bit tired. After she finished speaking, she fell silent and closed her eyes, gradually falling asleep.

Ge shi helped cover her with a blanket then left the room with Lu Song. The two exchanged a glance and could see the exhaustion in the other’s eyes.

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These series of things happened consecutively in the capital. At the same time in Lan Zhou, Feng Jin Yuan, Yao shi and Fu Ya happily lived their life in a standard courtyard.

On this day, Fu Ya was not present, leaving Feng Jin Yuan and Yao shi at home. Lan Zhou’s prefect, Ji Ling Tian, brought his madam, Jiang shi, over to visit. Ji Ling Tian had brought two tins of tea leaves. Upon entering the courtyard, he warmly said from quite a distance: “The new year has just passed. Thinking about it, the residence is not lacking anything. This official did not know what to bring. After thinking long and hard, two tins of tea leaves were brought. This was actually a gift that was sent from a small country in the South. The taste is different from the tea in Da Shun. It’s very aromatic.”

Jiang shi also greeted Yao shi, as the two held hands and warmly began to chat.

Feng Jin Yuan brought the group into the main hall to be seated, as the servants of the residence prepared the tea. Some small pastries were also placed on Jiang shi’s side. The pastries made in the South were far more meticulous than the ones made in the capital. Each of them was small and exquisite, and their colors stuck out. They looked delicious.

Jiang shi pointed at the pastries and said to Yao shi: “I don’t know if madam is accustomed to eating these. The chefs in the South like to add fresh flowers into the dough, and the pastries that are made all have floral aromas and colors. They’re fine and delicious.”

Yao shi quickly smiled and replied: “But of course! The texture is far better than the pastries made by the best pastry shop in the capital.”

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“Right, right, right!” Jiang shi smiled widely, “Last time I went to the capital, I could not get accustomed to those things in the capital. Each bite felt very rough, and it feels like the dough is very rough.”

Yao shi nodded in agreement; however, she thought to herself that the capital’s high-class pastries were not as fine as the ones in the South, but the ones that Feng Yu Heng brought to her from time to time had far better taste and texture. Even the best chefs in the South could not compare. She did not know where Feng Yu Heng got those pastries. Back then, she had someone ask and heard that the girl had made them herself. She, however, could not figure out when Feng Yu Heng had learned to make pastries. Thinking about it now, of course, that was not her true daughter. How could she possibly know what she knew how to do?

While the women were looking over the pastries, the men began to discuss the matters of the court. Ji Ling Tian did not act distantly, as he cupped his hands toward Feng Jin Yuan and said: “I have always admired Lord Prime Minister Feng’s scholarship. Unfortunately, you were harmed by a lowly person, which caused my lord to lose position and status. When this lowly one heard it, I was shocked for quite some time. But Prime Minister Feng, it could be said that good times will come after hardship. You have come to the South and can live in peace here. His Highness the eighth prince has already sent a message by eagle to have this official take good care of you. In the future, when His Highness becomes the great leader, the position of left prime minister will definitely be left for Prime Minister Feng, and your past humiliations will be washed away with blood!”*

These words caused Feng Jin Yuan’s blood to boil with excitement. The reason that he had happily agreed to come to the South was mostly for this purpose. He had previously been the left prime minister of the court. How glorious was that position? Later on, his official position was lost, and the Feng manor was lost. He had fallen from the top of the court to his current condition. Every time he thought of his glory days, a feeling of no longer wanting to live appeared. If he was still the left prime minister as he had been in the past, how could he have fallen to this situation?

He nodded to Ji Ling Tian and said: “Lord Ji is correct. All of this prime minister’s ambitions were about the care of the entire country and its people. Now that we have been graced by His Highness the eighth prince and not been discarded, we must come to help. In the future, we must help His Highness the eighth prince take care of this country. We must not be plotted against by the lowly people!” Ever since he had come to the South, he had become smug from speaking with Ji Ling Tian. He had even begun referring to himself as this prime minister once more. It was as though he was still the prime minister.

Ji Ling Tian heard this and quickly exchanged a glance with Jiang shi. The two then faintly smiled.

The big fish had been hooked!

*TN: Not sure if the author intended for this meaning, but it’s a play on 一雪前耻, which means to wash away past humiliation until one’s reputation is as clean as snow.

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