The General's Genius Daughter - novelonlinefull.com
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Old Madame Hua heard her and instantly heaved a sigh of relief. Yun Shimo and the others had complicated expressions on their faces. This matter could be made a mountain or a molehill. They did not expect Hua Qiyue to deal with it so calmly.
Did she long know someone was out to get her?
What a shrewd woman!
Yun Shimo quietly sipped a mouthful of tea. A faint smile appeared on his lips. Instantly, the smile coagulated. Why did he feel a sense of joy every time he encountered her problem?
"This is indeed true. I will get someone to fetch the painting of Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead right now!" Hua Qiyue smiled lightly, directing Youshui and Lv Xin to accompany the Emperor's Qi Artists and fetch the painting from under the horse carriage at the parking lot.
The Changlong Emperor heard her and quietly nodded. He swept a cold gaze over at his Queen.
Queen Liu's hand was sweating coldly. She frowned and said, "Your Majesty, this is a difficult problem. Princess Jinghua is so capable. Perhaps someone is trying to frame her."
It sounded like a consolation. The Emperor raised his brows indifferently and stared at Queen Liu with profound eyes. When he discovered that she was behaving no differently, he retracted his eyes.
"Seems like someone was playing tricks under my eyes. That person is so bold!" The Changlong Emperor sneered coldly. Hua Qiyue was a newly promoted Qi Artist and the Emperor valued talents very much. The person who was trying to frame her had no regards for his own life.
w.a.n.g Zhong knelt, a chill emanating from his heart. In spite of everything, Hua Qiyue had behaved so calmly. If they couldn't get her punished this time, they would end up with endless trouble.
She was not a simple woman at all. Otherwise... the Queen would not need to join up with Second Madame!
After 15 minutes, the Changlong Emperor's personal Qi Artist returned with Lv Xin and the other maidservant. Two Qi Artists were bearing a satin suitcase with the stripes of a Fiery Tiger. A Fiery Tiger was a second-cla.s.s Magic Beast of the Magic Beasts Forest. It was a savage beast. Most ordinary Qi Artists below the Dragon Diagram Realm could not subdue it.
Its entire body was full of treasures. Its flesh and bones could be used as medicines and its Crystals were very rare, almost as valuable as a city. Its skin could be made into cloaks or suitcases. A suitcase made out of the skin of a Fiery Tiger could only be opened by its recognized owner.
The company gasped. They did not expect Hua Qiyue to place so much value on the painting of Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead. She spent so much to encase it.
Hua Qiyue went up and placed her palm on the suitcase. Instantly, a gentle sheen enveloped it, like rays from a bright moon. Everyone felt a sense of tranquility.
The suitcase was opened.
A painting was in the suitcase. Hua Qiyue carefully took it out and slowly unfurled it amid the urgent gaze of everyone.
The Changlong Emperor narrowed his eyes and stared at the unfurled painting.
The painting was indeed the painting of Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead, looking identical to that discovered in w.a.n.g Zhong's house.
"Princess Jinghua, this painting looks exactly the same. Do you have a way to authenticate it?" The Queen asked with concern.
Queen Liu's fingers, formerly on her kneecap, suddenly twitched her palm brutally. The expression on her face still looked perfectly concerned, without a slightest hint of pretence.
Hua Qiyue replied respectfully, "Your Majesty, please take a careful look at this painting, the painting of Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead. Why the painter is called the Painting Sage is because of the spirit of his paintings! If Your Majesty were to stare three seconds at the eyes of these eight horses, you will notice that they were almost blinking, as if alive!"
Hua Qiyue's words drew all the onlookers' eyes to the painting. Even the Changlong Emperor noticed the horses' eyes. They were truly alive, almost as if they were blinking.
The painting of Ten Thousand Horses Galloping Ahead from w.a.n.g Zhong's house was different. The eight horses' eyes were like stagnant pools of water, revealing no ripples.
Even those who were not adept at appreciating paintings could tell this at once. Hua Qiyue's painting was genuine. After all, the Painting Sage was known for his life-like reproductions. If his painting could not even match an ordinary painter's, he would not be called the Painting Sage!
"It is indeed so! I did not expect Princess Jinghua to have such a discerning eye. w.a.n.g Zhong, what do you have to say?" The Changlong Emperor's mood instantly improved and he guffawed.
Fortunately, he had discovered that this female Qi Artist wasn't a spy. Otherwise, Changjing Kingdom would lose another talent.
No astonishment could be seen on the Queen's face. A faint smile appeared on her lips. "Well, someone has indeed tried to frame Princess Jinghua. Your Majesty, Her Highness is a talent of our Changjing Kingdom. We must punish the mastermind behind this severely!"
"Of course! w.a.n.g Zhong, what have you got to say?" Chill was all over the Changlong Emperor's eyes.
w.a.n.g Zhong's entire body shivered. He did not expect his plot to be so quickly unraveled by Hua Qiyue.
"Your Majesty! The painting from my house is the genuine one! You can get the Painting Sage to authenticate it!" w.a.n.g Zhong still claimed the contrary. It was the only way to escape punishment.
The Painting Sage was such an extraordinary person, mysterious and almost untraceable. Even the Emperor could not easily recall him.
These words made the Changlong Emperor snicker. "Looks like I have to torture you! Otherwise, you'll think that I am easy! Shui Qianruo!"
After his cold bellow, the poisoner Shui Qianruo walked out coldly. He seemed about to poison w.a.n.g Zhong again. The kneeling Second Madame was now both shocked and frightened. She had accused Hua Qiyue and yet the latter had uncovered her plot. This meant...
Hua Mengshi's face was ashen. She did not know what to do.
Yun Shimo's lips curved upward slightly. Hua Qiyue was really not simple. She had realized someone would frame her during the evening banquet and had even guessed correctly that they would do something to the painting.
"No, no... I'll talk, I'll talk! Second Madame... was the one who made me do this. Because Princess Jinghua is now highly valued by His Majesty and Old Madame Hua. She has lost much power in Hua's Mansion..."
w.a.n.g Zhong broke out in cold sweat. He could never forget how this eminent poisoner made him yearn for death despite being alive!
The company heard him and all turned at once to stare at the incessantly shaking Second Madame, Madame Cheng.
Third Madame too broke out in cold sweat. Anyone who tried to deal with Hua Qiyue so far had met with a miserable end.
Hua Xiaoyi also kept quiet. Second Madame had been identified. The mastermind was as expected.
"No! Your Majesty, I'm framed! It's not me, but..." Madame Cheng's face was ghastly pale from fright. All her erstwhile calm had disappeared.
It was a matter of grave importance. If Madame Cheng was convicted of her crime, even Hua Mengshi would be implicated.
Hua Mengshi also walked out and knelt to beg for mercy. "Your Majesty! My mother is never such a wicked person! Please discern the truth, Your Majesty!"
w.a.n.g Zhong gave a cold snicker. He casually pulled out an embroidered purse from inside his sleeve. Old Madame Hua looked and her gaze turned cold instantly.
How could she not recognize it? It was the embroidered purse of Second Madame. She saw her carrying it when she paid the Old Madame her respects at the courtyard a few days ago.
The exquisite needlework was Second Madame's. Old Madame Hua knew her needlework intimately.
"Your Majesty, this embroidered purse was given to me by Second Madame! It contained one thousand taels of silver banknotes when she gave it to me!"
Everyone gasped in astonishment.
There was always infighting within big families, but this was the first time anyone dared to put on a show before the Emperor. Second Madame was really itching to be beheaded!
The Changlong Emperor heard him and instantly turned furious. "Old Madame Hua, do you recognize this embroidered purse?"
Old Madame Hua stood up and replied in a plaintive voice, "Yes... Your Majesty. This embroidered purse is indeed Second Concubine's... Madame Cheng, you disappoint me greatly! I have neglected Qiyue for so many years. Now that her talents have been discovered, you people tried to frame her! Your Majesty... please adjudicate this matter!"
Old Madame Hua said coldly.
Hua Mengshi kept pleading for Second Madame but Second Madame herself kept quiet. She stared quietly at the supremely n.o.ble Queen above.
Empress Liu did not look at her but stared gently at the Changlong Emperor instead. "Your Majesty, this matter must be severely dealt with! Kill the chickens to warn the monkeys! A Qi Artist is an important talent of Changjing Kingdom. They cannot be so casually framed and taken advantage of!"
"What queen mother said is true. Father, Second Madame is a jealous woman. She tried to frame an important Qi Artist of our kingdom. She deserves a thousand deaths!" The First Prince, Huangfu Changyu, also nodded.
The atmosphere at once tensed up.
Hua Mengshi and Second Madame were deathly pale. Second Madame kept kowtowing in fear. "Your Majesty, I have been framed... I..."
Queen Liu frowned and said, "Second Madame, why did you do this? If you implicate Second Miss, your losses will outweigh your gains."
Second Madame heard her and her face turned as white as paper. She stared with teary eyes at Hua Mengshi. She never dreamt that she would tumble in the hands of Hua Qiyue!
Everyone stared at the kneeling mother and daughter coldly. Hua Mengshi's face was tear-stained and she looked piteously attractive. But compared to Hua Qiyue's importance, her beauty could not withstand a blow.
"Your Majesty... I... admit my guilt! It was I who tried to frame First Miss... w.a.n.g Zhong... is that great burglar of the martial arts world, Li Mu. Since First Miss became Princess Jinghua, Mengshi's status in the mansion has been sliding. Even my authority has been undermined! So I hated the First Miss with a vengeance and came up with this plot to remove her... Please don't blame Second Miss, Your Majesty... I planned all these behind her back. She was not involved at all..."
Second Madame kept knocking her head on the ground, kowtowing noisily.
"Mother!" Hua Mengshi's face was deathly pale and she started to shriek. She had cleverly discerned something faintly in her voice. Yet she could only weep wildly and do nothing else.
"Second Madame, I did not expect you to be so vicious. Qiyue is the legitimate daughter of Hua's Mansion. And yet you dared to deal her such a cruel hand..." Old Madame Hua heard her and was so angry that her eyes rolled upward and she pa.s.sed out.
The servants supported the fainting Old Madame Hua. Hua Qiyue frowned slightly. The Queen had shoved all the blame to Second Madame. And her words carried a threat.
It made Second Madame admit everything.
"If this is the case, men, drag Second Madame to the dungeon and behead her tomorrow!" The Changlong Emperor gave a loud order. Hua Mengshi felt her head swim. Their ploy was so perfect, the Queen so clearly behind them... And yet...
How did Hua Qiyue know beforehand that they would do something to the painting? And that the painting at Cuihua Court was a counterfeit?
Second Madame glanced silently at Hua Mengshi. "Shi'er, you... you must live on."
Her words made Hua Mengshi's heart throb with pain. She gave the Changlong Emperor a heavy kowtow. "Please be merciful, Your Majesty... please be reminded that this was my mother's first mistake. Please, sire, exempt her from death. Mengshi begs you..."
The two guards went up and dragged Second Madame away. Hua Mengshi stared at the expressionless Changlong Emperor and turned quickly to kowtow heavily to Hua Qiyue.
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