Xu Chunmu tightly clenched the edge of the coffin, a hint of anger flashing in his eyes. “Lingcheng Wang, do you even know what you’re saying?”
Jiang Jingan looked at him and found his reaction quite amusing.
He walked over and looked down at Chu Xie’s lifeless body in the coffin, feeling a sense of relief. He pointed at the person inside the coffin and sneered, “I am well aware of what I am saying. But you, do you know what you are doing? Do you think that by sparing him, my aunt and cousin will spare him too? Without a public execution, how can we settle so many grievances? He committed numerous wrongdoings, and now he’s facing the consequences. This is karma in the present world!”
After his words, he walked around the hall, touching this and inspecting that. Finally, he ran his fingers along the edge of the coffin, where a simple white paper flower was placed. He spoke with a tone of nostalgia, “Xu Chunmu, the Northern Changming Army in the northern border reveres you as the Young Marquis. You could have just stayed there and guarded the border. Why did you have to meddle in the affairs of the imperial city?” He continued, tracing his finger along the edge of the coffin, “Chu Xie insisted on supporting this little prince to become the Crown Prince, thinking he could control him like a puppet. But he didn’t realize he was raising a little wolf cub. This step, he made a mistake. It’s all part of the game – win some, lose some.”
“That little b*tch also lost.”
His nails intentionally left a scratch on the glossy black surface, earning him an angry glare from Xu Chunmu.
“Since His Majesty’s illness five years ago, think about how many things have happened in the capital, all thanks to Chu Xie. The Crown Prince couldn’t even leave the Zhao Prison alive under Chu Xie’s manipulation. The new Crown Prince was also selected by this court eunuch. Think about the prosperity and glory of the Great Wei from thirty or forty years ago, the auspicious times when foreign nations came to pay tribute. Now, it’s all been ruined by an outsider! And you’re still sitting here in front of the memorial hall. Xu Chunmu, what are you guarding? If your father and your grandfather knew how foolish you are, would they still dare to entrust you with the three hundred thousand military forces?”
Every word was sharp, and it seemed like he was scolding Chu Xie. However, between the lines, there was a bit of coercion, hoping to make Xu Chunmu reveal his stance.
“I, from the Xu family, will naturally protect our country and our people. We are loyal and fearless!” Xu Chunmu’s face turned green and white as he stood up abruptly, clutching the hilt of his sword. “But this matter is not as simple as it seems, Jiang Jingan. Don’t make yourself out to be so righteous. You just want to become the emperor!”
“If Royal Grandfather hadn’t passed away early, the throne should have belonged to my father!”
Jiang Jingan kicked Chu Xie’s coffin, causing it to move half an inch. He clenched his teeth and said, “Duke Rongguo’s Mansion, a prestigious family for a hundred years, and Chu Xie dared to stab him in the middle of the night! Xu Chunmu, for someone like him, shouldn’t we make an example of him?”
“How do you know that Duke Rongguo’s Mansion is innocent?”
Xu Chunmu held the scabbard and swiftly struck Jiang Jingan’s ankle. It hurt so much that Jiang Jingan immediately withdrew his foot.
“Chu Xie killed Chen for a reason,” Xu Chunmu said with determination in his brown eyes. “He’s not as cruel as you all think. He…”
“Oh, Young Marquis Xu.”
Jiang Jingan laughed and rubbed his ankle. “You won’t listen to advice and insist on guarding this corpse.”
Xu Chunmu remained silent.
“Why are you so stubborn? For the sake of this worthless body.”
Just at that moment, a large group of people arrived at the entrance, crying and shouting before they even entered. The voices were loud, and they gathered at the door.
They were from Duke Rongguo’s Mansion, carrying the body of the Duke and slamming it against the door of Chu’s Mansion.
Xu Chunmu’s face turned pale, and he heard the wailing of Duchess Rongguo outside. The ten-year-old Shizi of Duke Rongguo continued to slam on the door, shouting, “Chu Xie, give me back my grandfather’s life! You villain, you evildoer!”
“Close the door!” Xu Chunmu immediately ordered. “Bolt all the doors!”
Jiang Jingan raised an eyebrow and chuckled softly, “I told you that getting involved with him would only cause trouble, but you didn’t believe me.”
Xu Chunmu looked at him coldly, saying, “It’s just a case of people pushing the blame onto someone else when trouble arises.”
“You, why are you so stubborn and narrow-minded!”
Jiang Jingan, limping and still feeling pain in his heel, patted Xu Chunmu’s shoulder with seriousness. “I told you seven or eight years ago that the eldest of the Xu family is just a glutton for pleasure. He’s undoubtedly out of your league. You obtained control over three hundred thousand troops; what else do you want that you can’t have? But look at what you’ve been doing for the past seven or eight years. Besides enduring hardships in the northern wilderness, what else have you accomplished? All the hard work you’ve done has benefited others, while wealth and glory belong to someone else… Xu Chunmu, if you continue to be so stubborn, you’ll end up ruining yourself sooner or later.”
Xu Chunmu moved the coffin half an inch and adjusted its position without saying another word.
He was a tough nut, and Jiang Jingan had always known that.
Now that Chu Xie was dead, as long as he could suppress or win over Xu’s family members again, the position of Crown Prince would undoubtedly be his.
Today, he just wanted to make Xu Chunmu yield a bit and soften him up. He was rubbing off some of his sharp edges.
“Xu Chunmu, I genuinely admire you. As long as you’re willing to cut off his head, I guarantee you a smooth path ahead. Even your foolish brother, Xu Changling, won’t be able to steal your limelight.”
Xu Chunmu remained silent, making it clear that he didn’t want to continue the conversation.
Outside, the cries grew louder, causing confusion and annoyance among those inside.
The people from Duke Rongguo’s Mansion lined up, intending to drag Chu Xie’s body out and give him a posthumous whipping to relieve their anger.
Not only that, but the widow of the former Crown Prince was also crying outside the mansion, claiming that the former Crown Prince was wrongly accused by Chu Xie, and it was pitiful that the Crown Prince died in such a way.
Jiang Jingan watched Xu Chunmu’s increasingly grim expression, and the smile on his lips deepened.
Knocking on the back door, Zhao Xuan from Duke Yue’s Mansion arrived. Tao Li, who had no doubts about him, opened the door for him. Zhao Xuan, along with a few others, barged in, looking surprised when they saw Xu Chunmu and Jiang Jingan in front of the memorial hall.
Jiang Jingan appeared to be enjoying the show, while Xu Chunmu’s face grew even paler at Zhao Xuan’s entrance.
He asked, “Zhao Shizi, what is the meaning of this…?”
“Little Marquis Xu, Chu Xie was notorious for his wrongdoings, and now that he’s dead… Duke Rongguo’s Mansion indeed wants an explanation. Why not give them one?” Zhao Xuan’s face turned cold, and he turned away from Xu Chunmu.
“Zhao Xuan, do you know what you’re saying?”
Zhao Xuan didn’t look back.
Xu Chunmu seemed lost in thought. He scanned Zhao Xuan and Jiang Jingan back and forth, then suddenly realized.
Duke Yue’s Mansion, which had always maintained a close relationship with Chu Xie, had also been secretly siding with Ningyuan Wang!
Chu Xie appeared to wield tremendous power in the capital.
However, over the years, he had also accumulated a lot of resentment, and many of those around him were just opportunistic followers, ready to turn their backs or even betray him at any moment.
Once he fell from his high position…
Then he became a public enemy, and everyone wanted to beat him with a stick.
Xu Chunmu glanced at Chu Xie with a hint of despair and resolutely shielded the coffin behind him. “Zhao Xuan, after so many years, Duke Yue’s Mansion has benefited greatly from him. You can’t treat him like this.”
“Young Marquis Xu, a wise man knows when to bend the knee. There’s an old saying, ‘when someone dies, all’s forgotten.'” Jiang Jingan exchanged a glance with Zhao Xuan and approached the coffin.
“Zhao Xuan! Zhao Ruolan!” Xu Chunmu shouted sternly.
“I admit that he was good sometimes. But, Xu Chunmu, many of the things he did in the past are truly unforgivable.” Zhao Xuan paused and looked at Chu Xie lying peacefully in the coffin. “When he died, he probably didn’t suffer much. Now, he’s just a corpse. Why not give everyone some closure?”
“You haven’t lived in the capital. Xu Chunmu, don’t be deceived by his appearance. Behind his facade of gentleness, there’s nothing but schemes, and beneath his beauty, there’s a wicked heart. Everyone who could see through him, get close to him, or use him has been killed by him… I’ve spent more than a decade with him, and I know him best… You’ve only known him for a few days.”
“Objectively speaking, he deserved to die.”
Zhao Xuan’s voice was heavy, as if he was entangled in some internal conflict. When he said this, it was as if he was convincing himself.
“He didn’t wrong our Zhao family, but he wronged the people of this world.”