Chapter 5: The County Prince
The attendants who had accompanied Jiang Jingan from a remote border region were inexperienced and hadn’t seen much of the world. They were outraged that a mere eunuch would dare to intimidate their esteemed Prince with such arrogance. One of them angrily shouted, “How dare you! You’re just a servant!”
Tension filled the room.
Jiang Yanchi, who had just landed on the rooftop, bent his knees and carefully lifted a piece of roof tile. From his vantage point, he saw a group of people surrounding Chu Xie, ready to draw their knives.
But Chu Xie remained composed and aloof, giving a disdainful glance to the official who had spoken, and calmly ordered, “Take him outside and beat him to death, then toss his body into the woods to feed the wild dogs.”
Seeing Jiang Jingan’s face pale slightly, those people tightened their grip on their knives, ready to strike. However, just as their hands were about to descend, a small dagger sliced through one of their fingers, causing the blade and the bloody fingertip to fall to the ground with a clatter.
Chu Xie had indeed brought his secret guards.
The officials dared not make another move. They watched as Chu Xie’s mansion guards dragged away the offending attendant, who had made the rash remarks. Moments later, a scream pierced the air.
Before their eyes, Chu Xie appeared frail and weak, but his actions had sent shivers down their spines.
Jiang Jingan’s face whitened a few shades as he tried to maintain composure in front of the brazen eunuch.
Chu Xie, with a demeanor as graceful as a blooming orchid, seemed like a rare flower that had unexpectedly blossomed in the dead of night. It made people unable to resist approaching, but beneath that flower hid a venomous snake ready to strike.
“What do you want to say?” Jiang Jingan asked, his voice trembling uncontrollably.
Chu Xie smiled faintly. His expression remained gentle, like a calm breeze, as he approached Jiang Jingan and whispered by his ear.
“I am a servant. Does Your Highness have a life to become my master?”
This statement silenced the room.
Jiang Jingan, trembling, pointed a quivering finger at him. “You… you…”
Chu Xie grinned, displaying his well-practiced corporate smile, his gaze fixed on Jiang Jingan.
A steward from the Duke’s residence who had accompanied Jiang Jingan remained silent since he laid eyes on Chu Xie, approaching the situation with utmost caution.
Jiang Jingan managed to keep standing. Given the current circumstances, the steward had to intervene and placate the situation. He knelt down and performed a bow of apology. “I apologize for the earlier behavior of our attendant. He was impudent and offended Your Excellency. I hope you can consider the face of Ningyuan Wang and our Duke’s residence….”
Seeing that the situation was nearly under control, Chu Xie gradually flattened the corners of his lips.
There was no smile on his lips, but a coldness began to seep into his eyes.
“The last person who wanted to be my master is already imprisoned in Zhao Prison,” Chu Xie said with his hands behind his back, leaning down towards Jiang Jingan’s ear. His breath caressed the man’s ear like a soft fragrance. “Dead—through—and—through.”
This time, the steward from the Duke’s residence looked stunned.
The Crown Prince.
Chu Xie, with his pupils swirling, lowered his voice, which carried a mysterious and chilling tone.
Since leaving the scene, the oppressive chill inside the room gradually dissipated.
Jiang Jingan’s back was soaked in cold sweat, and it took him a while to regain his composure. He asked, “Is this the Zhangyin person?”
The steward from the Duke’s residence, still baffled by the shocking revelation, nodded slowly.
He wiped the sweat from his forehead and continued, “So, these years, life at Duke Rongguo’s residence hasn’t been easy…”
Jiang Jingan thought that with someone like this in the imperial city, perhaps no one had it easy.
“It doesn’t matter. He’s just here to intimidate us, trying to suppress the momentum of the County Prince. Once the County Prince becomes the Crown Prince, everything will be fine… What’s wrong?” The steward asked as he noticed Jiang Jingan was fumbling around. “Did something go missing?”
“My pass… and the official documents… they’re gone!”
Jiang Jingan continued to pat himself down, his face growing paler.
“It’s Chu Xie!”
The County Prince roared in anger and, without stopping, rushed to the imperial city. However, he was intercepted at the city gates.
“May I ask for Your Highness’s official documents?” one of the guards asked.
“I… I’ve lost them.”
“What about the customs clearance pass?”
“Those are gone too… Just let me in for now, and I’ll have my father send them urgently. I’ll make up for it within half a month…”
The guard went back to consult with a deputy and returned, saying, “Your Highness, this is against the rules. Without these two items, you cannot enter the imperial city. It would be best for Your Highness to return to your fief, retrieve the missing items, and then enter the city.”
Jiang Jingan became furious, stamping his foot and yelling, “My belongings are with Chu Xie! Get him out here so I can confront him and find out why he stole from me!”
The guard wore an apologetic expression and advised, “Your Highness, it would be better for you to return for now…”
“Chu Xie, Chu Xie!”
The County Prince shouted angrily across the moat, calling the man’s name.
Unexpectedly, Chu Xie responded as if he had been waiting at the city gate the whole time.
Chu Xie adjusted his cloak and looked at Jiang Jingan from a distance of several yards, his gaze fixed on the Prince.
Seeing the person he was shouting for, the County Prince’s momentum naturally weakened by three points.
“Chu.. Lord Chu, we just met at the relay station earlier. Did you happen to pick up my pass and official documents?” Jiang Jingan shouted, now pleading. “I have an urgent matter that requires me to enter the city. Please, I beg you to return them to me.”
Chu Xie appeared somewhat puzzled, tilting his head slightly as if he were carefully examining the man’s face.
After a considerable amount of time, he asked politely, “May I know who you are?”
Jiang Jingan and the steward from the Duke of Rongguo’s residence exchanged glances, their faces turning ashen.
“Little Highness, perhaps you lost it carelessly on the way. Without the royal pass, we truly cannot allow you to enter. How about returning to your fiefdom once more?” one of the guards respectfully suggested. “The round trip would take about a month, which isn’t too long. Returning sooner will allow you to come back sooner.”
Jiang Jingan stomped his foot, watching Chu Xie’s figure grow smaller in the distance.
Duke Rongguo’s residence.
A tea cup shattered on the floor.
“What? The County Prince was stopped from entering the imperial city?”
The steward explained the situation in detail, and the Duke’s wife wiped her tears with a handkerchief while sobbing. “Alas, my nephew has a one-track mind, how can he compete with that cunning eunuch? What should we do now? My nephew can’t even enter the city, let alone present himself before the Emperor… Today, I also heard, I heard that the one in Zhao Prison has already—”
“Woman’s talk!” Duke Rongguo angrily rebuked, “Stop talking nonsense! Do you want things to get even messier?”
After scolding her, he kicked the steward who had relayed the information, leaving the man bent over in pain. “Useless idiot! I’ve told you to be cautious around Chu Xie and people from the Duke Yue’s family. How could you let the County Prince suffer such a setback!”
If the County Prince had to return to his fief to retrieve the missing items, it would take at least a month for a round trip. If they rushed to deliver the pass, the fastest they could manage would be twenty days.
Twenty days had too many variables, and they had no idea what tricks Chu Xie might pull during that time.
“Quickly, have Ningyuan Wang create a duplicate jade pass and official documents! On this end, we’ll have to take it one step at a time within the imperial city.”
The Duke sighed deeply, thinking that Wei was on the verge of destruction under the hands of this eunuch.
“Host, you’re amazing!”
The system kept shouting in the host’s mind, and the sound of fireworks and cannons played in a loop. “You’ve delayed for at least twenty days. We can use this time to figure out how to push the protagonist into the position of Crown Prince! Wait a moment, the plotline might get updated… Let me upgrade it…”
In the absence of immediate worries, one should plan for future troubles.
Chu Xie couldn’t help but think about the ending where he was brutally chopped into 108 pieces in the marketplace four years from now.
It was too tragic. Unbelievably tragic.
Chu Xie thought, what kind of grudge or hatred did he hold to be sliced into 108 pieces?
“Ding~ Initiate main plotline: Force the protagonist’s birth mother, Duan Se, to her death.”
I seem to have heard something strange.
Chu Xie suddenly felt a pang in his heart.
“…Wait, wait a minute, what did you just say…”
System: “…Forcing, forcing to death…”
So, it turned out the protagonist was holding a script with boundless magical power in which he had to offer his birth mother as a sacrifice to the heavens?
“This is insane!” Chu Xie jumped up abruptly.
So, those 108 slashes were because of this?
Chu Xie, who was originally trying to ensure that the puppet Crown Prince maintained his position, ended up killing his own mother.
During their time together, Chu Xie couldn’t see anything else about this young Highness, but he could tell that the young Highness had a deep affection for his birth mother. After being imprisoned for over a decade in the Cold Palace, they had finally regained their freedom, only for the mother to die…
This meant that those 108 slashes would definitely be unavoidable.
This plotline was absurd.
Chu Xie suddenly had a brilliant idea.
“Is there still a special medicine in my inventory?” Chu Xie asked.
“It only works for poison and doesn’t heal your inherent weakness. Host, do you want to use it? It won’t cure your frailty.”
System: “What does host want to do?”
He spoke with a roll of his eyes. “Let’s follow the plot then. I’ve thought it over, and since Duan Se isn’t suitable to stay in the imperial city anyway, it’s better to fake her death and get her out of here for some peace. Managing one idiot is easier than managing two…”
“But the special medicine is the only gift you received when you came here. Do you really want to use it on a cannon fodder like Duan Se? She’s just a paper-thin character anyway.”
Chu Xie thought about the tears streaming down Duan Se’s red eyes when she was crying and how she looked like an ordinary mother when she lost her child. He shook his head like an old man and said, “I said I’d save her.”
“If that dog b*stard really takes power four years from now and tries to chop me into 108 pieces in the marketplace, only to discover that his mother is still alive…”
Chu Xie thought to himself.
“He should be able to change it to beheading right?”
“…Or, if that’s not possible, hanging…”
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