# 55. Plans Come to Fruition "Your servant would like to thank you, Young Master. If your servant could be famous in history in the future, It must be due to you." Fuxiang's eyes were full of affection, and she began to look even more charming. Xu Qi'an knew of course what she was referring to. Since ancient times, There have been many Oirans that have become famous due to poems about them. Any oiran would be ecstatic about this kind of opportunity. There were two types of people in the world who love to compete for fame, Scholars and Oirans. *Your gratitude is exactly what I want…* Xu Qi'an smiled, and showed appropriately put on a little frivolity, "How do you want to thank me?" The room was as warm as spring. He had already drunk a lot of wine, and he began to feel uncomfortably hot after sitting for all this while. So, he took off his robe and put in on the round stool. Fuxiang bit her delicate and plump lips, and shyly said, "Master, the night is still long. You might as well listen to your servant play a song for you to enjoy yourself." Xu Qi'an was taken aback for while, knowing that the other party misunderstood his intentions, smiled and didn't explain. The women in ancient times were graceful. If you came to sleep with them, they would say, "Don't worry, Let this little girl play a song for you." Unlike the girls in later generations, If you go to sleep with them, They would say, "Hurry up!" After patiently listening to the music, Xu Qi'an could admit that this oiran had some talent. She was said to be excellent in both Qin and poetry. He didn't know much about her poetry, but she was a very skilled player. He was a person who didn't understand much about rhythm, but he could calm down and immerse himself in it. Xu Qi'an took a sip of tea to relieve the dryness in his mouth, and started a casual conversation, "Miss Fuxiang is so charming, has nobody tried to buy you?" That wasn't a pleasant topic, and the oiran lady sighed with sadness overflowing from her brows. "How could a woman from Jiaofang Si redeem herself just by saying so? Even if she meets a lover who wants to do so, the Ministry of Rites won't agree to it." In fact, it was too expensive to do it. It was difficult for famous oirans from Jiaofang Si to free themselves, as they are official oirans, and have to go through a lot of procedures and have to get official approval from many places, so the money spent on them is many times that spent on oirans in other brothels. *I still remember that Constable Wang said that redeeming an oiran of an ordinary brothel costs about 500-1000 taels of silver. A oiran from the Jiaofang Si would cost at least double that if not more.* *What is the meaning of 2000 taels of silver?* *It would be my savings of 10 years, and savings done without food and drink. My income is already middling, close to high... Isn't it better to buy a few good looking concubines for this amount of money?* Xu Qi'an calculated mentally, and came to the conclusion: This would be a loss making business. "That's right, It would be impossible to find another with Miss Fuxiang's beauty in the entire Great Feng." Xu Qi'an boasted. The famous oiran chuckled, with happiness blossoming within her heart, "Young master doesn't need to tease me. The number one beauty of Great Feng is surely the Zhenbei Consort, I'm merely a background board in front of her." As she began to refer to herself as I instead of your servant, their relationship also started to get closer, and her tone changed to a coquettish one. Zhenbei Consort? This woman once again. Xu Qi'an heard about the legendary number one beauty in the capital once again. He had examined numerous gorgeous women in his previous life, yet upon witnessing the near-perfect beauty of Xu Lingyue and Chu Caiwei, he struggled to comprehend how stunning the consort would have to be to secure the title of the capital's most beautiful woman. *I'm eighty percent sure it's due to the halo of her status,* He mused. “The king consort was born into a scholarly family in Jiangnan. When she was nine years old, she went to the Jade Buddha Temple along with her parents to burn incense. The abbot there presented her with a poem: *An emergence that would lighten all fragrance, a grace that would cleanse like the sun. The masses below would bequeath a kingdom’s grace, a soul on earth that would draw eye from Heaven’s son.* “From this great uproar, at the age of thirteen she was sent to the Imperial Palace.” Xu Qi’an asked with curiosity: “Then why did she become a king’s consort?”[^1] Fuxiang stretched out a slender jade hand, her orchid-flower fingers picking up a porcelain bottle, pouring out some protective wax, and began to treat her qin. She answered “Nineteen years ago, in the great victory at Shanhai pass, the Zhenbei king had the second highest merit, so His Majesty gave that number one beauty to him.” The Zhenbei King was the current reigning Emperor’s little brother, so gifting beautiful women was by no means strange. After all, even if that woman had a beauty that outshone all beauties, the reigning monarch has his heart on Daoist cultivation, and did not touch women. What Xu Qi’an was curious about was another thing: “Who had the highest?” “Duke Wei. Back then, Duke Wei was the field marshal of three armies. If he wasn’t a eunuch, then the consort wouldn’t be a consort any more.” Fuxiang laughed, “What I’ve said to you tonight, Master, is a rather blunt retelling. Once you leave this hall, please don’t retell it.” About Duke Wei, if any ordinary commoner were to say anything, then no one would mind, but after all she was a worker in a state enterprise. *So it was him…* Xu Qi’an had a realisation. This Wei Yuan, he had heard about time and time again. He was too famous. Even though he was just a eunuch, but his talents were unparalleled, with the literary talent to govern a country, and the martial prowess to suppress unrest. If he hadn’t lost his cock at a young age, getting a *Zhuangyuan*[^2] merit and becoming the prime minister would have been an easy task. The two of them chatted back and forth. Xu Qi’an was well experienced in the art of leading questions; he had learned this through much hard work in the interrogation room. After meandering through different topics for ages, their conversation finally reached onto Zhou Li. “This person is a womaniser, a scoundrel, not a spot of culture within him. I don’t like him; every time if he’s at the drinking games, I pretend he’s not there,” Fuxiang said, “The Jiaofangsi is controlled by the Ministry of Rites, and he’s a son of the Deputy Minister of Revenues, so I’m not scared of him.” Xu Qi’an made a somewhat interested expression, laughing “From what do you call him a womaniser and a scoundrel, is not seeking carnal pleasures a basic human desire?” “This would step on a secret of in official circles,” Fuxiang hesitated, and said softly, “The only reason I know some, is that I’ve heard other officials talk about it. If Master Yang wants to know, then I’ll tell you, but please don’t tell anyone else.” A kittenish but also pleading tone. Xu Qi’an made as if he was shocked by the good treatment, and expressed that he was just curious, and would never tell anyone else. “This affair started around the time of the Lantern festival. That Zhou Li is an unreasonable person; during the lantern show, he saw a girl that he liked, and taking the opportunity in the commotion of the festival, went up to her in a greatly disrespectful manner, and even had his people beat her bodyguards. “Who would’ve known that that woman had some background, being the Weiwu Marquis’s *Shu* daughter[^3]. Originally, if it was just a Shu daughter, then things wouldn’t be an issue, but the problem was that Shu daughter’s mother was the Marquis’s main wife’s sister. “With this blood relation, that Shu daughter was liked by the main wife, and had similar treatment to his Di daughters. The only thing she lacked was a rank on paper.” Xu Qi’an secretly clenched his fists, “How did he deal with him?” “The Weiwu Marquis took a lawsuit to the throne, the deputy minister of revenues sent a book in defence, and the two of them fought for many days. Eventually, the Emperor’s decision was: Deputy Minister Zhou did not teach his son well, and is docked a year’s salary, and must repay the Weiwu Marquis five thousand taels of silver. Zhou Li would be placed under house arrest for three months, and if he were to reoffend, a most severe punishment will be meted out.” *If he were to reoffend, a most severe punishment will be meted out…* This phrase was like a lightning bolt in Xu Qi’an’s mind, setting off sparks. *Zhou Li had been drooling over Weiwu’s daughter for a long time… because earlier when he lost out, was beaten, he feels resentful, and again had the idea to pursue the Marquis Weiwu’s daughter…* All the information collected about Zhou Li earlier came together in an instant, like a foundation stone, making way for him to lay bricks and tile roof. *Thus he sent people to kidnap Marquis Weiwu’s daughter, and hid her in a private residence somewhere out in the city, planning to violate her… and then kill her to remove evidence… mm, this is reasonable.* *Of course, the main aim is to frame him and pull Zhou down, there’s no reason to kill an innocent girl. Let’s let this be the overall plan, the details can be worked out later. I’d have to talk to Erlang. We must make it seem natural, a perfectly appropriate action for Zhou Li…* Seeing Xu Qi’an staring into space, Fuxiang called to him, and her lips pursed slightly, complaining coquettishly “Will Master sit here with me for the whole night?” *Oh, I still can’t lose my virginity, if I can’t sit all night, am I meant to do all night?* --- [^1]: It is worth to note that the title of King is outranked by the title of Emperor, and “King” was usually bestowed upon other (male) members of the royal family. [^2]: Top scorer in the imperial examination [^3]: 庶 *Shu* and 嫡 *Di* is an important concept in Chinese family lineages — A Di child is a “direct descendant”, someone born from a person and their main wife. A Shu child is a “secondary descendant”, someone born from a person and their junior wives, or concubines. Usually, Shu children had no right of inheritance.