To find out when censor Zhang Yi Qi would visit the brothel, what his entrance route would be, what his departure time would be, and other details, Ning Que had to visit the brothel named Red Sleeve Club repeatedly over the past few days. But since he couldn’t let the others know of his true intentions while still gathering more information, he spent most of his time in the brothel playing and chatting.
He got closer and closer with the lady named Shui Zhu Er. He visited so frequently that even other ladies and servers in the building got used to his presence. Since Madam Jian payed special attention to him, no one dared to say much about him.
But ever since Xiao Cao sent out the fake message from Madam Jian, Ning Que could only hug or hold hands with the ladies in the brothel. He could not do much with the ladies which was why he didn’t pay much. But even a thick-faced person like him needed to give tip to the maids and the servants. Because of the spending, after a while, Sang Sang noticed the large sum of money that was being withdrawn from the shop.
When Ning Que returned that night, Sang Sang questioned his spendings and what he was doing. Ning Que didn’t try to cover up his actions. He explained his intentions to Sang Sang and why he spent his time in the brothel. “Only after I became a regular customer will I not get suspected by the government when some stuff happens in the brothel. If I just visited there just once and coincidentally censor Zhang Yi Qi dies during that visit, the government of Chang An will be suspicious enough to track me down.”
Then he laughed and continued. “After I finish up my business, then obviously I wouldn’t need to waste my time in that brothel anymore and no more money will be spent.”
“Why do I feel like you would miss that place?”
Sang Sang raised her small head and looked at him. She suggested sincerely, “but if you stopped visiting that brothel after the censor died, wouldn’t that attract suspicion from others?”
Ning Que thought about it for a moment and noticed that this would be a problem. But instead of being irritated, he was relieved. He rubbed her head and said “If this is true, then I need to visit that place a few more times after I finished the job. Go check how much money we have left.”
Sang Sang agreed and was ready to do her favorite job in this world: counting money. Suddenly Ning Que thought of something and stopped her. He took out a box of rouge and make-up and after hesitating for a moment, he handed it to her. “This is a gift from Shui Zhu Er of the brothel. She…..is a nice person.”
In actuality, Ning Que had asked Shui Zhu Er embarrassingly for this box of rouge because he wanted to make Sang Sang happy. And his comment on Shui Zhu Er was used to reassure Sang Sang. Otherwise, Sang Sang might think that the gift was dirty because of the jobs of the ladies in the brothel.
Sang Sang took the box of rouge and happiness filled her small dark face. The only expression that filled her eyes was gratefulness. “I’ve heard that the ladies in the brothels have their own unique recipe, some of them are even better than those in the Chen Jin Shop.”
“Do you like it?” Ning Que smiled and looked at her.
Sang Sang’s two arms wrapped around the box tightly and she raised her face to look at him. Although she wasn’t willing to open her mouth to answer him, a trace of smile had already climbed up her face and lips.
After putting the box of rouge with the previously purchased make-up from the Chen Jin Shop together, Sang Sang boiled hot water and washed Ning Que and her feet. Then Sang Sang made two beds of blankets and climbed in after undressing herself. She whispered faintly that it was too cold without the hot stove.
Even as the night darkened, Sang Sang couldn’t fall asleep. She stared at the roof and her eyes were as shiny as a crystal. Suddenly she asked, “Master, that Censor…. when will he visit that brothel?”
Ning Que was silent for a long time. Then he answered quietly, “Tomorrow.”
Sang Sang didn’t know that Chang An was a more dangerous hunting ground than Mountain Min and the Great Plain. Therefore she didn’t worry about her master’s safety. However, she was worried about some other things. She held the corner of her blanket tightly, looked at the other side of the bed and said sincerely, “Master, if that censor is going to die tomorrow, shouldn’t you tell him the reason before he dies?
“True,” Ning Que looked at the ceiling and wrinkled his eyebrows, “In revenge……if he doesn’t even know what I’m avenging for before he dies, it’s kind of boring.”
“Then tell him about it.”
“Because of some reason, then I will represent the Heaven to punish you?……Wouldn’t this line be kind of random and not sincere? Is there any serious, or stylish way to do this?”
Sang Sang wrinkled her eyebrows and thought hard about how to solve this problem. After a little bit, she nodded heavily on her pillow and said, “Master, write a poem.”
“Poem? I’m not good at that kind of stuff.”
“Then can I write one?”
Sang Sang read a poem out loud that she just made up. Ning Que listened closely and then thought about it, finally he said, “this poem is way better than anything I could make up.”
The Tang censor of the Department of Censor, ranked vice sixth official, responsible for investigating officials, and impeaching the corrupted ones. While he didn’t have a rank yet, his power was not insignificant. With such a good position, most people would be satisfied but Zhang Yi Qi was never satisfied. It was because thirteen years ago, he was already a censor who was supposed to have a bright future. However, despite staying in this position for such a long time, he is still just a useless censor.
However, he never dared to even show a hint of dissatisfaction because he knew that the real reason why his path in government was hindered was because he had participated in general Lin Guang Yuan’s case the other year. After that, the speed of his ranking up slowed down. His last gain was seven years ago in the Yan slaughter village case where he moved from being deputy governor to censor. After that, he had not move up even a single rank!
For doing things for the princess and General Xia Hou, he should not have faced such a consequence in return. If these two people at such high positions did not want the past to be known, then they should have found a way to kill him instead of leaving him alive in the Department of Censor. Weren’t they supposed to worry that if Zhang Yi Qi had resentment that he would revealed that thing?
For his dark path, Zhang Yi Qi thought hard for two years until four years ago, he finally understood and felt very cold all over his body.
Making a censor with a bright future suddenly sink, easily breaking the future path that the princess and Xia Hou built for him and not letting anyone see any trace of action, only one person in Tang could do so, that was the Emperor.
In people’s eyes, even though the Tang Emperor was not corrupted, when compared to the previous emperors, he appeared to be somewhat conservative and even cowardly.
It’s kind of crazy to say but the strongest evidence that everyone made this conclusion from was: since Emperor held power, the Empire was not as tough and impolite but rather began to become rational and courteous.
Even though the big reason he was always holding in Tang’s hand, yet a robber who was willing to talk about reasons, would always look cuter in the eyes of hostage and fat sheeps.*
Yet Zhang Yi Qi and most other government officials knew clearly that their Emperor was definitely not a conservative and cowardly person.
It was only because the Emperor loved calligraphy and literature since his childhood that he hid some scholar’s temperaments under his golden dragon robe. Therefore, his personality could be described as somewhat gentle and lazy.
The Emperor’s last name was Li, what flowed inside his body was the Tang royal family’s arrogant and brutal blood. If anyone dared to touch his basis, they would definitely see the true anger of the Son of Heaven.
In Xuan general’s treason case and the Yan slaughter village case, all the sketchy evidence was deleted. The Emperor did not seem to believe his officials’ investigation but without evidence, even he, the one who was sitting on the dragon chair, was too lazy to reverse the conviction. With this, the suspected officials was left with no future in their lives.
The prince was the Emperor’s little brother, Xia Hou was the Emperor’s great General, so the Emperor could bare them only temporarily. In comparison, was the censor, Zhang Yi Qi even a thing?
*Edittour explanation: We decided to keep the sentence in the translation to keep the authenticity of the piece but for those that want a better explanation, it is basically saying the Tang Empire looks “cuter” or weaker than it actually is because the Emperor is too lazy to be more aggressive or to be more involved.