The other party smiled gently and nodded slightly at him. The noble Gongzi*, gentle and elegant, was an individual with splendid future prospects. He was no different from their first meeting in his previous life.
(Gongzi: noble son.)
Coming right to his face like this, Li Yuanmin suddenly recalled a few things that happened between them in his previous life.
Li Yuanmin was treated coldly since he was a child, he had tasted the changes in human emotions of the world at a young age. The first encounter in his last life was not only quite stunning, but also the salvation of his dark years.
A person who had been living in bitter coldness since childhood, how can he escape the encirclement of a person as blazing as the sun? He accepted this rare gift from heaven with fear and trepidation, thinking that fate in the end would treat him well. But, with the two getting along day and night, as sensitive as Li Yuanmin, he noticed something was amiss. Although the other person’s glance at him was gentle, it was occasionally forbearing and even a little disgusted. He had hid it so well that he, himself, thought he mistook it.
He later learned that Sima Yu originally had a noble woman that he was in love with. The two people were a talented man and a beautiful woman. They both had feelings for each other, a match made in heaven. He also didn’t know what his Father Marquis Sima Ji had said to persuade Sima Yu, to make him endure his disgust and use his body as a bait to entice Li Yuanmin to enter h*ll.
Li Yuanmin suppressed the urge to sneer at him. He slightly nodded in greeting, then moved his gaze to the other side, not looking over again.
On the high platform, the vote of the four-color jade slips was almost finished. Although the scrolls copied from the four princes have not been signed, the content had long been passed on privately. The marquis and noble descendants already knew what’s going on, so how could they not tell which poems were written by whom?
After a stick of incense, the best token, the vermilion jade slip, was distributed mostly to the Eldest Prince and the Fourth Prince’s dossiers. The remaining two scrolls, one had mostly one color, and a few pieces of vermilion jade slips. While, under Li Yuanmin’s scroll were all black jade slips which stood for the last rank.
Although Li Yuanmin entered the Imperial School late, he did his homework rather diligently. The Imperial Teacher of Five Classics of Confucianism of the Imperial School had hindered him in the face of other princes and never treated him favorably. However, they still encouraged him in private. In his last life, he, for the sake of this Autumn Selection, could be said to have studied diligently. He had endured the hardship to study Wujia. However, the Autumn Selection that he waited for turned out to have this kind of outcome. How could a 13-year-old child know the way things were done? He had no one to rely on. Thus, it would inevitably be a huge blow to him. But at this moment of frustration and despair, Sima Yu, like a Bodhisattva, holding the vermilion jade slip had placed it in front of his scroll.
Li Yuanmin closed his eyes, with a sneer at the corner of his mouth.
Seeing that almost all the officials had finished placing their jade slips, there only remained Sima Ji in front of the wooden pole who was still pacing back and forth. Emperor Mingde saw this and smiled:
“How come Marquis Zhenbei hasn’t decided yet?”
Sima Ji shook his head, looking rather distressed, and sighed:
“Your Majesty, it’s quite difficult for this old subordinate. When it comes to marching and fighting in a battle, this old subordinate is naturally good at it. But, when it comes to this literary stuff, without moving any soldiers, something like this really makes this old subordinate have a headache. From what I see, this is obviously much harder than fighting a battle.”
The officials laughed, and Emperor Mingde was also pleased: “It’s fine, count it as Zhen* making things difficult for you. We have been monarch and minister for many years, so how could Zhen not understand your thoughts? Seeing that you brought Yuanruo here today, he must have come to rescue you. That’s also fine, Zhen also would like to see who Yuanruo wants to be his study companion!”
Sima Ji gratefully paid respect and said: “You Majesty is wise.”
Emperor Mingde smiled and waved to Sima Ji: “Yuanruo, why don’t you go help your father quickly?”
Sima Yu smiled slightly. He stood up and saluted Emperor Mingde. Behind the curtain, there couldn’t help but be a burst of uproar.
Chu Guiren clicked her tongue, and sighed. Facing Empress Sima, she said: “He is worthy of being the ‘The beauty of the Capital’ among the people. The dear nephew of Empress Niang Niang has a majestic appearance, handsome and graceful, that can defeat all the noble children in the capital. Who knows in the future which noble daughter will benefit.”
The Empress laughed: “Life flies by very quickly. To think that Yu’er was merely an infant in swaddling clothes at that time and now, he’s already 16. It is indeed already the time to consider marriage.”
She really loved this first born nephew of her mother’s family. If it weren’t for the fact that her brother didn’t allow it, she would have long suggested to His Majesty to make him became husband of her Princess Fengming already.
Her heart inevitably felt somewhat lost.
On the other side, Wang Chaoluan was also staring closely at Sima Yu. Since he took the four-color jade slips from Sima Ji’s hand, her heart had already been beating violently.
Everything depended on this moment of effort.
Her attention was all on Sima Yu, so naturally she couldn’t pay attention to the others. Thus when the screech of Chu Guiren from beside her came abruptly, she couldn’t recover for a while. Then when she saw what happened clearly before her eyes, she couldn’t help but cry out in fear!
There was confusion and chaos everywhere under the high platform. Everyone screeched one after another and fled in disarray.
A fierce tiger came out of nowhere and leaped on the high platform. It stepped on the wooden poles and broke it to pieces instantly. Fragments of dust flew, while the fierce tiger was creating commotion endlessly, roaring up to the sky.
Wang Chaoluan’s face was drained of blood.
How could the ferocious beast in her beast house come here?
Before she could think of an answer, the confusion in front of her had already become a complete mess.
“Protect the Emperor! Protect the Emperor!” The complexion of the eunuchs accompanying the Emperor changed, and they shouted loudly.
In that split second, the fierce tiger jumped on top of the steps. Emperor Mingde hurriedly rolled down from the Imperial Throne. The Imperial Guards in front reacted quickly, and in a moment they guarded Emperor Mingde closely.
The fierce tiger was abnormally restless. It chased people who were fleeing everywhere on the high platform.
The Eldest Prince and the Fourth Prince had their own official guards to shield them and retreated back. Li Yuanlang was also agile, so he quickly jumped down from the high platform. Only Li Yuanmin was left alone beside the wooden pole.
His heart was pounding, but he didn’t seem to panic much. Unexpectedly, there was a bit of enthusiasm in his eyes.
“Come with me!” The wrist was held by a thin hand. Li Yuanmin looked back and saw that it was Sima Yu. Before he could react, he was wrapped around his waist and jumped off the platform.
Several guards gathered around and protected them to move to a safe place.
The personal imperial army came very quickly, surrounding the high platform with layers upon layers of soldiers. After the leader waved his gesture, the crossbow shooters were in positions.
“Shoot!” A voice rang out.
A large rain of swords flew out, and the tiger uttered a stern roar. It was shot into a hedgehog in an instant.
The fierce tiger fell to the ground violently, blood spread all over the ground.
Li Yuanmin closed his eyes and looked away from the blood stain.
“Are you alright?” Sima Yu was obviously shocked, but still remembered to ask him softly.
Li Yuanmin only gasped for air, and didn’t answer him. He calmly took back his wrist from Sima Yu’s palm.
The situation had already settled down. Emperor Mingde was still in a panicked state, and he could hear the rapid yells behind his back.
“Niang Niang! Niang Niang!”
It turned out that the always timid Beauty Ying had fainted.
“Call the Imperial Physician!” Emperor Mingde brushed his sleeves.
In a short period of time, a group of Imperial Physicians came rushing to the Imperial School.
When He Yunyi hurriedly walked into the Imperial School, he saw the chaotic high platform at first sight. A sturdy tiger filled with arrows collapsed to the ground, motionless, obviously dead.
Groaning sounds in front of the high platform rang one after another. There were palace servants who were injured while fleeing in a hurry, and officials who were frightened and fainted. It was chaotic.
He Yunyi was anxious in his heart, and he moved back and forth. When he saw Li Yuanmin, who was safe and sound under the high platform, he felt a little relieved. The other party also saw him. His face was a bit uneasy, so he turned his face away.
The situation was urgent, and He Yunyi couldn’t think much about it. With the help of other imperial doctors, he carried the wounded to the comfortable position. When passing by the fierce tiger corpse, he smelled a very light and unusual grass fragrance.
His body stiffened. His pupils condensed, and his eyes fell suspiciously on the tiger’s corpse.
“Imperial Physician He?”
He Yunyi sobered up. His Adam’s apple moved, and his face was pale.
“This place has me already, so you go behind the curtain and take a look at Beauty Ying.”
He Yunyi nodded. He moved the person to a comfortable spot, and walked into the tent with the medical box on his back.
Under the command of Marquis Zhenbei, the order on the high platform gradually returned to normal. Emperor Mingde sat on the Imperial Throne, face ashen. On such a big day as the Autumn Selection, he had lost his composure in front of hundreds of officials. How irritating. The officials bowed their heads together. Standing under such an atmosphere, they didn’t dare to stand out.
Very quickly, several personal imperial guards escorted an inner servant to step forward.
The head of the Imperial Guard said: “Reporting to Your Majesty. I have found the person who released the tiger. It is the inner servant of Zhong Cui Palace, Chenxi.”
Emperor Mingde immediately slapped the dragon’s head by the seat. He yelled angrily at the curtain behind him: “The imposing palace, at the feet of the Emperor, unexpectedly sneaking a fierce beast in? Wang Guifei, the person belongs to your palace, how can you explain this?! “
Wang Guifei behind the curtain had already lost her mind. She hurriedly opened the bead curtain and knelt in front of Emperor Mingde: “Your Majesty, although this person belongs to my palace, but this is absolutely not Chenqie’s doings. This matter must have another reason to it.”
(Chenqie: I, speaking from harem members)
Her eyesight twisted immediately. She yelled at the inner servant: “Which palace sent you to frame Zhong Cui palace.”
The inner servant’s legs trembled, his face had long since turned ashen. He plopped down and knelt: “I….. I really don’t know what happened.”
Wang Chaoluan quickly settled her mind and steadied her look. She knew that today’s affairs might not end well. The existence of the beast house in Zhongcui Palace was well known. Originally, the beast house was used to raise rare and exotic animals for people to enjoy, so there was no threat. Only in recent years, have ferocious beasts been captured. Because her Elder Brother was the governor of defense, who was in charge of the Palace’s Forbidden power, thus, this matter was conveniently maintained as a secret. Now that the incident had happened, no matter what, she couldn’t escape the blame. The current plan was to postpone the situation first, then carefully make a plan.
Finally, she softly said: “Your Majesty, this matter is of great importance and must be investigated in detail. I see that this slave is terrified out of his mind already, and can’t be asked anything for a while. Thus, it is not as important as comforting the wounded first. This slave should be detained for the time being, and the interrogation will be carried out in the future.”
Before her voice was over, Chu Guiren’s mocking voice came:
“It is because it concerns matters of great importance that this needs to be investigated carefully on the spot. Lest all the officials mistakenly think that His Majesty is covering for someone.”
As soon as the bead curtain was lifted, Empress Sima had already stepped out slowly with the help of Chu Guiren. The two looked at Wang Chaoluan, who was kneeling, and both bowed in salute to Emperor Mingde.
Wang Chaoluan gnashed her teeth and said: “This matter is unclear, yet you poisonous woman just keep on repeating over and over that it is a cover up, what are your evil intentions?!”
“How can you speak so recklessly like this?” Empress Sima scolded Chu Guiren gently, and immediately helped support Wang Chaoluan up, “Younger sister has always been respectful and controlled, how could she have done such lawless things? There must be a misunderstanding somewhere here.”
“But…” she changed her words: “What Chu Guiren said was also true. This matter is prudent. Today, I am afraid that we will have to find out the truth on the spot. Ben Gong believes that this matter was not Guifei’s doing. And because of this, Guifei’s innocence must be proved in front of all the officials here.”
Wang Chaoluan looked at Empress Sima with a gentle smile at the corner of her mouth, and her silver teeth were on the brink of breaking. She was about to refute a few more words, when Emperor Mingde with an ashen expression spoke up:
“Bring that dog slave closer for questioning!”
Soon, that inner servant was dragged to the front of the imperial court. He burst into tears. He only kept kowtowing: “This slave doesn’t know anything, I don’t know anything, Your Majesty! Guifei Niang Niang, save this slave! Save this slave!”
“Shut up!” Emperor Mingde endured his anger, “You speak! Why did you bring this fierce beast to the Imperial School?”
The inner servant said: “It’s the Third Royal Highness! It was the Third Royal Highness’s order!”