The General's Genius Daughter - LightNovelsOnl.com
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Hua Liting was in a quandary. He was a man who valued relations.h.i.+ps. How could he witness the beheading of his Second Madame with his own eyes?
Old Madame Hua snorted coldly. "Liting, did Mengs.h.i.+ tell you why Second Madame is being executed?"
"It seems to be... that she schemed and tried to make Qiyue leave Hua's Mansion."
"Mengs.h.i.+ is so audacious! How dare she lie to her own father!" The Old Madame heard him and instantly slapped the table angrily. "A few days ago, the Queen held a banquet for Qiyue. The scheming Second Madame tried to frame Qiyue as a foreign spy! She got a bandit to pretend to be a spy and counterfeited the painting of Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead. They used as it evidence to frame Qiyue. Luckily, Qiyue had forestalled this! Otherwise, she would have been executed!"
Old Madame Hua's angry words stunned Hua Liting.
Although he knew there were some unstated reasons, he did not expect Second Madame to be so bold. He had not expected Hua Mengs.h.i.+ to hide the truth from him either!
Their plot to frame Hua Qiyue would make her die if they succeeded!
They were sending her to Hades, not out of Hua's Mansion!
"Second Madame is so vicious. How can Hua's Mansion still let her to stay? If you are thinking of speaking up for her... beg Qiyue instead. If Qiyue agrees, I will not object." Old Madame Hua stared at Hua Liting's silvery hair and the scars on his face. Why should he be so vexed over these matters immediately after his return? Her heart softened and she relented.
Although the Old Madame was unwilling, Hua Liting really wished to beg for his second wife. She would not dissuade him.
"Madame Cheng is too much. I never expected her to treat Qiyue this way. But she's still my second wife... if Qianming returns, I won't know what to say to him. Since Mother would like me to beg Qiyue, I... can only be unfilial. Mother, you'd better take an early rest."
Old Madame Hua nodded, waving her hand to let Hua Liting go.
Hua Liting emerged from the Old Madame's courtyard. He headed directly for Cuihua Court.
Hua Qiyue was teaching Tianci how to write. As she saw his slanted, untidy handwriting, she slapped her forehead in distress. She needed to send Tianci to a good school to learn.
Although knowledge from books wasn't so important in that era, Tianci must still be literate.
"Miss, how did you know that Master would come?" Qiuyun beside her asked in a low voice.
Hua Qiyue smiled faintly. Tianci blinked his large, animated eyes. "Mother, is that grandpa?" "He doesn't seem to like me."
Hua Qiyue paused for a while and put down the writing brush. She shook her head. "Tianci, it doesn't matter if grandpa dislikes you. So long as Mother does. If mother likes you, your days will be happy. If not, will your days be fine?"
Tianci widened his eyes. "Right! Tianci is eating and spending mother's food and money!"
These words dispelled all the pressure from the boy's heart. The sadness in his eyes disappeared. Hua Qiyue heaved a sigh of relief. Tianci was still a sensible boy.
At this moment, Youshui came to report Hua Liting's arrival. Hua Qiyue led Tianci to the grand hall. She saw the h.o.a.ry-haired Hua Liting.
Hua Liting had gone through so much and fought for so long on the battlefields. His aging appearance caused Hua Qiyue to soften her stance.
"Leave us first." Hua Liting dismissed Youshui and the other maids. Tianci was also taken away, leaving just Hua Qiyue and Hua Liting in the hall.
Hua Liting sipped the tea Lv Xin brought to him lightly, quietly observing his eldest daughter whom he hadn't seen for years.
On Hua Qiyue's face and in her eyes were no longer any timidity. She was not submissive, sitting calmly by one side, as quiet as a magnolia blossom.
"Qiyue, I know what has happened between you and Second Madame. Madame Cheng was really too much! She tried to frame a legitimate daughter of the Huas. Heaven will not spare her... but... she's still my second wife, the mother of my son and daughter. She kept the bloodline for our family going. Father knows that this isn't fair to you... but I hope you can spare her once..."
Hua Liting bowed his head, not daring to look into his daughter's eyes. After all, he had made an unfair decision.
Hua Qiyue raised her tea cup quietly and lightly sipped a mouthful of tea. Her unhurriedness was perfectly timed.
"Father, Second Madame was scheming to get me into the dungeons. Are you sure you want to beg for her?"
Hua Qiyue felt quite sad. Although she understood Hua Liting, his words still indicated that his second wife was more important to him than his daughter.
He might be right. After all, Second Madame had borne him a son, the only male descendant of the Hua family!
Changjing Kingdom had always discriminated in favor of males. Of course, this millennium-old, feudal preference could not be so easily changed.
"Qiyue, I have let you down. But... I can't let Second Madame be executed!"
Hua Liting gave a long sigh, his brows knitted together.
Hua Qiyue saw the gray, helpless old man, the father of her present self. She could only keep her complaints buried deep in her heart.
She did not want to see her father in a quandary. She pondered for some time and worry appeared on her face. She spoke quietly. "Father, if you can't bear to see her die, go and beg His Majesty. I will not stop you."
Hua Liting heard her and he lifted his gaze joyfully. "Qiyue, it's so hard on you! I have let you down. I will make up to you... in the future!"
His rough hand went into his robe sleeve and he took out a pair of jade earrings, shaped like a crescent. "Yue Er, this is an heirloom of our family. I shall give it to you as a compensation."
Hua Qiyue focused her sight and saw that the earrings were blood-red in color. They looked stunning and yet carried a hint of coldness.
For some reason, Hua Qiyue found the earrings familiar.
"Come, don't reject this. I've always want to give you this, but I'm afraid someone might get his hands on it when I'm not around... I am useless. I couldn't protect you well."
Hua Liting gave another long sigh. Hua Qiyue took the Red Crescent Jade. Her heart warmed a bit. Hua Liting must still love her very much!
"Father, please don't feel guilty. I can understand your feelings. Second Madame was rash and silly. Everyone in Hua's Mansion has been hoodwinked by her. But I must make myself clear. If Second Madame or Second Sis try their schemes again, I shall be heartless!"
Hua Qiyue muttered. This was the most she would allow.
Hua Liting nodded. Of course, he would not allow Second Madame to kill again.
Hua Liting was about to leave when Hua Qiyue asked him to stay for a moment. "Father, if you want to save Second Mother... you have to leave for the palace tonight or you'll be too late."
Hua Liting turned and looked at his solemn daughter with perplexity. "Qiyue, what do you mean?"
"Sometimes, father, you don't need to know too much. Just follow what your daughter says."
"Qiyue, it's almost seven. How can I still disturb His Majesty?" Hua Liting would not take Hua Qiyue's words to heart. Hua Qiyue saw his reaction and shook her head slowly.
"Father, it's better for you to heed my advice."
Although Hua Qiyue said this rather gently, Hua Liting thought that she was barking an order. A state general used to giving orders on the battlefields, heeding a young girl?
After all, only the Changlong Emperor could give him orders. Hua Qiyue was only his daughter. Hua Liting did not feel good.
"Qiyue, rest early!" Hua Liting said no more, turning around to leave.
Hua Qiyue kept on shaking her head. Hua Liting would not heed her advice. So let's leave everything to Heaven then! She was not a G.o.ddess. She would not go in person to save her former a.s.sailant just to please Hua Liting.
At this moment, the Queen was in the Imperial Garden, playing chess with Xiaohuan.
Xiaohuan was the Queen's favorite maidservant thanks to her abilities. Like the Queen, she was an excellent chess player.
They were embroiled in chess, exchanging pieces ruthlessly. A black shadow suddenly appeared behind the Queen Liu.
Queen Liu suddenly stopped. Finally, she put down the chesspiece in her hand and looked quietly at Chongxiao.
"What has happened?"
"Hua Liting's back. He will see His Majesty tomorrow. Perhaps... His Majesty will pardon Second Madame."
Chongxiao said quietly. The words revealed the worry in his heart.
"Yes. Hua Liting is quite a darling of His Majesty. After all, he is a state general who have served so long on the battlefields, injured for a few hundred times... If he speaks up for Second Madame, she will surely be spared from death. Then..."
A chilly gleam darted out from Queen Liu's beautiful eyes, slanted like a phoenix's. "Chongxiao, you know what to do, don't you?"
Chongxiao nodded. "Yes, Your Majesty. I will do it now!"
His figure streaked away and disappeared.
In the dungeon, Second Madame was shutting her eyes in quiet repose. Nearly five days had pa.s.sed since she was imprisoned here. There was still no news. Madame Cheng knew that she would not be able to leave unless the returning Hua Liting had intervened.
All kinds of stenches were in the dungeon. From time to time came the convicts' abuses, curses and weepings.
At this moment, Madame Cheng suddenly felt a strange quake from below the ground. She lowered her head and suddenly saw a tunnel appearing beneath her.
Madame Cheng widened her eyes and almost screamed. An arm extended and waved. A cold gleam of light darted toward her throat.
Blood spurted out like a gus.h.i.+ng spring, spraying her entire cell.
That hand, after confirming Madame Cheng's collapse and demise, threw down a dagger. Then, it disappeared from the dungeon.
The tunneled ground returned to its former state...
The next day, news of Madame Cheng's suicide reached Hua's Mansion. Old Madame Hua kept silent while Hua Liting grieved, shocked. He dashed into Cuihua Court and took Hua Qiyue to task.
"Qiyue, how did you know that your Second Mother will commit suicide yesterday?" Hua Liting roared angrily, his eyes bloodshot.
Tianci was so terrified that he took Hua Qiyue's hand, afraid that Hua Liting would suddenly hurt his mother.
Youshui, Lv Xin, Qiuyun and the other maids all blanched in terror.
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