Substitute Bride (10)
Ling Miaomiao entered the hall in a hurry without hindrance.
The clerk arranged by the palace to hand over affairs has just left. The air is mixed with the aroma of hospitality tea and the soothing spice. A plume of white smoke emerges from the censer, rising up and hovering in the air. The county chief is sitting in a chair. After dealing with the errand, he is wiping the sweat on his forehead casually with his sleeve.
"Wow, my daughter, why are you here?" The county chief’s fat face suddenly appears with a dynamic expression. As if he is suddenly filled with strength, he happily bounces up from the chair and drags the chair to the opposite of the long table, "Come here, are you tired?"
He is pale, and his forehead and nose are covered with dense beads of sweat. He keeps rubbing the sweat with a handkerchief. Such really a sweat-loving person he is.
Ling Miaomiao closes the door, and also closes the window quickly. Then she sits across from the county chief with a serious face and says, "Dad, is that man sent by the palace for disaster relief?"
The county chief is stunned, and feels funny, "Yes. But my daughter, how did you know him?"
"I don't know him." Ling Miaomiao stares straightly at his eyes, "Have you embezzled the money this time?"
The county chief's smile stiffens for a moment, and embarrassment spread on his face.
After a while, he breaks the silence, with an expression similar to panic and pleasing appearing on his face, "My daughter, when did you start to take care of these things?"
Seeing no smile on Miaomiao's face, he patiently reassures her, "You don't have to worry about these things. Dad will deal with them. You don't need to worry about anything..."
"How can I not care about that?" Ling Miaomiao interrupts his father, "Dad, are you really confused or pretending to be confused. It’s dangerous to embezzle the money for disaster relief, don’t you know that?"
"..." The county chief’s expression becomes gloomy, and then a strange smile appears.
With the smile, the county chief is like a lion looking lovingly and forgivingly at the cub with open teeth and dancing claws, "Yes, yes, my daughter says the correct thing. It’s dad’s fault."
He smiles for a while and then says, "Dad has known how much it will take for disaster relief — By the way, the maid told me that this year's yarn comes with knots, I will re-collect a batch..."
Ling Miaomiao looks at his face and becomes in a trance, feeling a sense of powerlessness.
Plucking up the feathers of the wild goose whenever it passes by, that is habitual to the official. Taicang is rich, and it is particularly valued by the emperor, so that the officials here can pluck up more feathers. The county chief certainly doesn’t think that’s serious.
Ling Yu’s mother died early. As a dad, the county chief is kind enough for her daughter. Even if his daughter wants the moon, he will try to achieve it. However, when he is inquired by his daughter, there is a trace of funny other than indulging in his mind —why he smiles? He just thinks his daughter, as a miss who doesn’t even know the cost of fuel and rice, doesn’t understand the officialdom ecology, but is naively teaching him?
"No need." She sighs, her expression looks blue, "You never listen to me, I won't say anything."
"Don't be angry," he goes around to her and makes a funny grimace to tease her, "My baby, smile, don’t be sad."
"I can't smile." Miaomiao turns her head away, her voice trembles deliberately, "Daddy, you know what, I had a dream—" She bits her lips, tears burst out in her eyes, "I dreamed that because of this incident, our family is confliscated by the palace!"
More than two hundred people in the county chief mansion were either captured alive or buried in flames along with her father. Only one was got rid of the disaster, that was she, who was entrusted to Fuyi and Mu Yao. Since that, she was driven onto world, following with the subsequent rights and wrongs.
Of course, someone would die for her.
That was the fourteen-year-old maid, who wore her clothes and shoes, and died in the wet muddy soil, with her face like a rotten apple and her clothes disheveled.
Ling Yu's father is not her father. She could have ignored these things, but she couldn't endure that.
In addition to disdaining, she also feels that something may be wrong.
"Dad, no matter if you scoff at honest and upright, I only know that being poor is better than violent death, and the timidity lives longer than dazzling life!"
The county chief’s expression changes and a trace of anxiety pours into his eyebrows. He wipes his sweat again, and says with a reluctant smile, "Miaomiao, that is just a nightmare..." He hesitates for a moment, but finally changes the tune and ponders for a long time, "Then, my daughter cannot often have a new dress."
"I don't need a new dress," she has a sour nose, "as long as my Dad is OK."
"..." The county chief’s eyes also have a glimmer of water, and then he falls in contemplation. After a while, he asks tentatively, "What else... did you dream about?"
"I dreamt that Ji De betrayed you and took the account book to the palace."
Ji De is the assistant of the county chief, who was working with the county chief when he wasn't arranged to be the county chief. It has been twenty years since Ji De worked with him.
Today, Ji De has white hairs, and has already four sons. His wife and daughter have been living by the county chief mansion, and the two families are of the same breath and branches.
His temperament has been honest, cowardly and easy-going. The original story plot arranged him to betray suddenly, that would have a taste of conspiracy.
Not to mention that in the flaming dark night, he guided the soldiers all the way to find the hall and wanted to catch the county chief alive. The sound of ecstasy and violent sound was really strange, it seemed like he was gone evil.
"Yes? Ji De is weak and cowardly, how could it be possible for him to do such a thing?" The County Chief can't help smiling.
"I don't care, the dream must be real, and you have to prepare ahead of schedule." She doesn't wait for the county chief to respond, and says, "Someone!"
"Miss?" A Yi in gray cloth clothes approaches with her hands falling down. This person is a trusted subordinate of the county chief. On the night when Ling Yu escaped by crafty scheme, he knocked the maid unconscious as per the order of the County Chief, and arranged a scene of substituting one thing for another.
"You please come to invite Mr. Ji De, now."
"Dad!" Ling Miaomiao frowns and says, "After he comes, you shall lock him in the wood shed until the eighth day of April."
On the eighth day of April, Ling Yu had arrived in Xingzi Town with the protagonist. The time is the most recent time that Ling Miaomiao can remember.
"You girl..." The county chief laughs dumbly, but lets her go indulgently. He picks up a teacup and takes a sip.
"Milord, Miss! Mr. Ji is not in his room." A Yi replies hurriedly, with a quick tone, "I have also looked for him in the garden, but finds nothing. Madam Ji doesn't know where he went too."
Miaomiao and county chief look at each other and see the surprise in each other's eyes.
The eaves split the darkness and light, the rugged ground reflects the starlight, and the dark green moss exposes in the cracks.
The man on the ground is wearing a white old gown, his legs are sitting apart, his temples are white, the forehead is wet with cold sweat, and his expression is frightened and dazed.
The person in front of him is a young man wearing a white short blouse. The edge of scarlet shirt emerges from the white collar. This white collides with red, just like a red plum interspersing on the snow vividly.
He lowers his head and looks down at him, shaking his hair slightly. His skin is so pale that the blue blood vessels of his jaw can be almost seen.
The young man's dark, black eyes are clear. He looks at him with an elusive smile.
"I... I want to know what you want me to say..."
Before he finishes speaking, he sees the young man stretches out his finger and pulls the white hair band on the head. The hair band is long and thin with a loose knot. When he pulls it slightly, the hair band loosens a little instantly.
The young man's eyes are like reflecting the vortex in a flash. The vivid face is quickly transformed into a heavy light shadow. His whole body is pervaded with halo, and the stunning beauty seems to make people head for madness or dead.
His voice is like the string music from the heaven, soft and confusing, "Do you want to be the county chief?"
"I... I want to acquire the power, but..." His eyes straighten.
"Unfortunately, Taicang County already has a county chief, so what should you do now?"
"I... I..." He feels unutterable, beads of sweat flowing down his temples and into the collar. But when he sees the young man's eyes, he instantly loses himself in the endless galaxy-like vortex, "I should... should replace him."
"How to replace him?" The young man guides patiently and systematically.
"I... I inform against him!" His eyes light up sharply, become red, flashing a crazy light, "I have evidence, I have the evidence of his embezzlement of relief funds... This is a felony, he will be dismissed... and at that time, at that time... "
"But bureaucrats shield one another, how can you inform against him successfully?"
"I'm going to... I'm going to request County Chief Chen... he's the deadly foe of the county chief... as long as I hand over the account book to him... he will definitely take revenge..."
"Right." Mu Sheng stands upright with his hands behind his back. He fastens the hair band on his head, and casually lifts his eyelids, "Go."
The man on the ground crawls up soullessly and walks away stumblingly, with a paranoid ecstasy showing between his eyebrows.
When the figure of the white long coat stumbles to the border between light and darkness, the young man suddenly raises his eyes and stops him. He hesitates for a while in situ, then says after eyes blinks, "Come back."
The man stands still, like a puppet caught by ropes. He hesitates with a paranoid and greedy look on his face like a hungry wolf.
Mu Sheng's eyes flash with a trace of disgust. He stretches out his right hand to grab in the air. The man suddenly feels his legs are dragged by an invisible rope, and he is instantly pulled down and dragged back to the front of the young man.
The young man squats down, raises his hand and gives him a slap, "Wake up."
The man is beaten to be muddled. Next second, he shows a crazy look again, and his eyes burst with couperose skin. Mu Sheng frowns, "Wake up!"
But it's obviously futile.
The annoyance in the young man's eyes turns to malicious and insidious. His hand suddenly clasps the neck of the man on the ground, then the man is choked to cough, his eyes protrudes violently, and a hoarse inhalation sound comes from his mouth.
The young man hesitates for a moment.
"Mr. Ji? Are you inside?" A voice comes from a distance. Mu Sheng gets a shock. He hits Ji De to be stunned quickly, and then pushes him into a narrow gap under the bed, and put down the sheets soon.
Ling Miaomiao opens the door comes in. The door of the west wing is not locked. Because of its poor orientation and remote location, the room is always wet and cool, and it seems to isolate the entire room from sunlight.
Gide didn't bring the account book, so he didn't go to give secret information. But he couldn't disappear groundless in the county chief mansion. He must have hidden in a certain place.
All the places in the mansion have been searched, except for this devious room.
Coincidentally, the black lotus is sitting on a hexagonal stool, and is alone in a daze against this gloomy empty house.
If this is a coincidence, it is really that she is a fool!
Ling Miaomiao makes a gesture to the back, instructing A Yi who is in gray to retreat. She enters the room by herself, and closes the door with her backhand, "Childe Mu, you are really at ease."
"What are you doing here?" Mu Sheng's voice is steady and normal, without any emotions.
Miaomiao raises her eyebrows: "I am in my own home, so I can go anywhere I want, but you... how did you have the leisurely mind to come to west wing? Are you thinking about life here?"
"My sister lost a hairpin here when she slept here last time, so I come to find it for her." Mu Sheng lowers his eyes, concealing his expression.
"Well, it is not easy to find a hairpin. But it is not difficult to find a living person." Miaomiao suppresses her anger, and continues, "Mr. Ji is lost in county chief mansion, has Childe Mu seen him somewhere?"