Gaining a Good Friend
Once she returns to Shi San Suo, Tian Qi carefully analyzes the situation. Something is not right. The emperor went straight for her belt; that means he is now aware that her belt has problem. Her falling into the water at that timing will definitely appear off.
With that in mind, Tian Qi’s heart jumps.
She tenses up for a while. Since the emperor already lets her go back here unharmed, it must have means that she is safe for the time being. If the emperor decides to deal with her one day, there is nothing she could have done anyway. She can only wait for it.
Sure enough, the thing she has been waiting for arrives soon, later.
She is still considered lucky; she thought the room is too warm so she opens the window to let cool air in. From the opened window, she can see a eunuch leading Sheng An Huai from the distance. Another man follows them from behind; carrying a case. That man has a beard on his face so he clearly is not a eunuch.
Even Sheng An Huai is ordered to act. Seems like the emperor has made up his mind and ordered his confidante to get rid of her. She circles in her room in fear, faintly hearing the sound of conversation drifting closer and closer. “Is it this room?”
Another voice replies, “Yes it is.” And then, there is a knock on the door.
Although her mouth says everything is up to the heaven, Tian Qi is not the kind to simply sit by. She quickly jumps out of the window before closing it down. And then, she lies underneath the window, listening to whatever is happening inside her room.
Sheng An Huai continues knocking on the door. When nobody answers, he pushes open the door.
The room is empty. Sheng An Huai is careful in nature, so he makes his way to the bed. The quilt is spread open and when he presses his palm on the bed, it still feels warm.
That means the person hasn’t left for long.
Seeing Sheng An Huai not happy, the eunuch that leads him there laughs as he speaks, “Chief Sheng personally coming to see Tian Qi is really that brat’s fortune. He had only returned back, I wonder where he went to. Wonder why you are here to see him. If you don’t mind, I will relay whatever message you have to him. You are so busy with imperial matters, we cannot let that brat drag you around. If the emperor gets upset because you are not around, even a hundred Tian Qis are not enough to bear that sin!”
Sheng An Huai slowly recovers his expression, “It is nothing big. Tian Qi’s ancestors are virtuous; the emperor personally decreed to have a physician to check his illness. That’s why I brought people over to his place; I just didn’t think he would be out.”
Tian Qi who is lying under the window slowly pats her chest upon hearing that. Lucky he is not here to bestow her death. But even so, she must not let a physician check her. Once he finds out she is not a real eunuch, death will be knocking her by the door.
Her heart that has calmed down, quickly jumps again. She feels like her recent days are plagued with trouble. Later, she must take an incense and smoke her place up to drive bad things away.
Sheng An Huai and that eunuch chats inside. After waiting for a while, he doesn’t dare to wait anymore and quickly return to Gan Qing Palace, telling the physician to continue waiting.
Tian Qi who is sitting while leaning against the wall, ponders for a while. She gets up and returns to her room. Seeing the physician, she does not give him the opportunity to question her; she questions him first, asking what he is doing there.
The physician explains everything first before asking her who she is and when Tian Qi will return.
“My name is Wang Meng. Tian Qi has just went out. Wait here for a while, I will look for him and bring him back here.”
After saying that, she turns around and goes to Wang Meng’s place and directly drags the sleeping him out of his blanket. Wang Meng rubs his eyes and stares at her in confusion.
Tian Qi grabs him by the collar and drags him all throughout the journey, “Your body looks weak so I found a physician to check you up. Later, don’t you say a word. Just let him check you.”
“I am a physician myself, though.”
Wang Meng has always been one that finds it hard to refute people. He is the kind that simple accepts other’s courteous words without any question at all. With Tian Qi’s slightly forceful and imposing manner, he listens to her and shut his mouth.
Just like that, she drags him back to her chamber like a robber. Seeing the physician, Tian Qi points at Wang Meng and says, “The person is here, please give him a check.”
The physician checks Wang Meng’s pulse, tongue and eyes before pressing a few points in his stomach. In the end, he shakes his head, “Your kidney and spleen are not in good condition. You need to recuperate slowly. There is no rush, though.”
Wang Meng lowers his head, “I know. But buying medicine requires money.”
The physician sighs, “I can see that you are in a bad situation. Never mind. This is the emperor’s order after all. I will give you a couple of good medicine, go and fetch them in the physician’s courtyard. It will be for free.”
Wang Meng stares at him with bulged eyes, “You are saying that———“
At this moment, Tian Qi covers his mouth before turning to the physician, “We will have to trouble you. Please prescribe a little more.”
The physician thinks for a while; if he prescribe too much, people will be able to dig it out. Why should he bring trouble to himself? With that in mind, he prescribes him two months worth of medicine. “The prescription is roughly like this. After taking it, observe your own body for a while. You are still young. Taking all these in a longer period of time will make it easy for you to recover in a couple of years.”
Wang Meng is unable to make a sound since his mouth is being covered by Tian Qi; she forces him to nod his head.
After sending the physician away, Tian Qi pats her own chest in relief. She gets over yet another hurdle. These past few days have been too unnerving, she keeps circling around death.
Wang Meng is not happy, “Just what is happening over here?”
She seizes him by the shoulder, “Good brothers must share their joy and hardship. The crime of deceiving the emperor; part of it is yours, the other half is mine!”
“Deceiving the emperor!” Wang Meng’s eyes are bulged out.
“Don’t worry. Only the heavens and you and I know. This is nothing big. You even get free medicine, what a joyful matter!” Tian Qi flicks the prescription paper. “Later, I will get you the medicine.”
“Even though I am boarding a pirate’s boat, I still want to know everything clearly.”
Tian Qi explains the simpler version of the story to him.
Wang Meng thinks it is weird, “A physician checking you is a good thing. Why didn’t you just take it?”
“I was just thinking for you!” Tian Qi cooks up yet another lie.
Wang Meng half-believes her and half-doesn’t.
Tian Qi realizes she is being too much. She rummages through her box; there are 135 liang of money left. She gives 100 liang to Wang Meng.
Wang Meng is a little surprised seeing the number on that bill note. Honestly, not a lot of eunuchs can save money like Tian Qi. Even though Wang Meng himself is in a pretty good Ya Men Department, he doesn’t have that many spare cash.
“What do you mean by this?” Wang Meng returns the money to Tian Qi.
Tian Qi places it back into his palm, “Use it to buy medicine. If you add it with the one the physician prescribed, it should be enough to last you a year. Once I made even bigger money a year later, I will give you even more!”
Wang Meng’s nose turns a little sour, “Why do you treat me so well?”
(TN: His nose turning sour means he is touched/is about to cry.)
“You saved me. I took advantage of you today, so I must repay your grace. This money is not enough to repay you.” Tian Qi honestly admits.
After beating the gong for another month, Tian Qi begins her new duty as the supervisor eunuch of ‘Dou Zhi Jian’.
This is not the place where one can reap much benefit. This is the reason why Tian Qi had an easy promotion in the past. Whilst the others cannot wait to run from this department, she stepped forward to volunteer herself. She was just like a silly lamb inching closer to a tiger; it was her own idea so she cannot blame anyone.
Actually, the Dou Zhi Jian wasn’t like this in the past, this department was once on par Si Li Jian and Nei Guan Jian. It used to have it’s own heyday. That was in the past, nowadays, they are in charge of clearing the road if the emperor goes out.
In front of the imperial carriage, there is always two lines of eunuchs beating the drum and announcing: The emperor is here! The emperor is here! Move over!
Tian Qi is doing just that!
Even though they still have the chance of approaching the imperial carriage, the chance of showing your face in front of the emperor is really low. You may have heard of people getting into the limelight because they have good brain or sweet mouth, but have you heard of anyone catching the emperor’s attention because they beat the drum crisply?
Besides, Tian Qi has no intention to garner attention due to the trouble she has gotten lately. That’s why she beats the drum in a neither loud nor soft manner.
Even so, she still catches Ji Heng’s eyes amongst the crowd.
The morning court takes a long time, by the time they disperses, the sun will already be up. The eastern part of the sky is bright and full of glow. The color of the sky is in beautiful scarlet, like the cloud is being set on fire. There is a thin layer of golden light in the clouds, it looks so vibrant and vivid. The sun looks like a piece of iron pill that has just been taken out of a furnace; it burns, giving off a kind of warmth amidst the cold morning air.
The entire world warms up.
The carriage travels past the imperial gate, heading for Ci Ning Palace. Ji Heng sits on his dragon chair with his back on the rising sun.
Ji Heng sweeps his eyes on the people in front before falling on a particular direction.
The green official garment, the slender body, the tiny waist, the straight brush-like posture. Her head is raised as she hits the gong; even her fingers are slender and fair, almost transparent even. The sunlight falls on her finger, almost as though lighting her fingertips up. It is very eye-catching, so hard to look away.
She is very focused on that simple action; her back is straight like bamboo.
Ji Heng suddenly has an idea. Such a good servant must be placed in the front line of imperial duties.