The Regent’s Secret Chapter 66

Chapter 66

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The rain continued to pour down in the night. Zhao Heng paced back and forth in the Listen Rain Hall, waiting for the eunuch to report that Wei Che had arrived.

When he finally heard the news, he stopped his steps and looked up slightly as the bamboo curtain was lifted. Wei Che entered with his hair in a topknot and kneeled down to pay his respects.

Zhao Heng waved his hand to stop the courtesy and asked, “What is the situation?”

Wei Che stood up, but before he could answer, Zhao Heng saw the expression on his face and his heart sank. It seemed that his suspicions were correct.

“I followed Li Yi to the teahouse early in the morning and saw with my own eyes that someone mixed something into the tea, which Li Yi drank. He should have been poisoned within one or two hours, but nothing happened when I followed him to Pan Palace and watched him finish his lecture and return to his small courtyard. A whole day passed, and nothing happened.

Zhao Heng slowly walked to the window, and the sound of dripping water droplets echoed in the corridor. The raindrops brushed his face, and he raised his left hand to signal Wei Che that he was fine.

Wei Che looked worriedly at the emperor and knew that he needed time to sort out his thoughts. At this moment, he had no intention of saying anything else and respectfully retreated.

Zhao Heng stood at the window for a long time until Liu Shunzhong came to urge him to rest.

He turned around and saw the painting of the crane and bamboo that still hung in the room, and sighed.

Li Yi, what should I do with you?

Li Yi did not know that his good student had already been completely suspicious of him. When he came out of school that day, it was still early in the day, and he thought for a moment before turning to a Temple of Benevolence not far from Pan Palace.

Just as he arrived at the door of Yangji Hospital, a man rushed out and almost collided with Ping An. The man hastily apologized and was about to leave when he suddenly stopped in his tracks.

Li Yi and Ping An were also stunned when they saw the man’s face clearly.

Zhu Jing, the former champion of the imperial guards and one of the Eastern Palace Prince’s attendants, was a top figure among the noble children. Ten years ago, Zhu Jing was in his prime, with a soaring spirit and a handsome appearance. Whenever Li Yi remembered him, he always felt that he was the most dazzling person he had ever seen in his life.

From his features to his physique, it was indeed him, but Li Yi dared not recognize him.

The man in front of him had not yet reached middle age, but his hair was already white, and he wore a rough cloth Ge suit, a blue cloth hat on his head, and straw sandals on his feet. His entire demeanor had changed drastically, as if Zhu Jing, who was once the precious sword in the palace, had now become a rusty kitchen knife that could be casually discarded in a thatched cottage, with its blade rolled up and covered in rust, and even the scabbard was nowhere to be found.

Only his eyes, which were once clear and bright, had become deep and resolute, as if the blacksmith had tempered the blade a hundred times, and its shape was no longer important, only its unyielding sharpness.

“Your Highness…”

Li Yi was startled by this soft murmur and shook his head hastily. Looking around to see that no one was paying attention to this place, he hurriedly said, “This is not the place to talk.”

Zhu Jing also regained his senses, “I just came out of the hospital. If the young master doesn’t mind, I can take you to a nearby dilapidated courtyard to rest.”

Li Yi nodded, with Zhu Jing leading the way, they took a winding path and arrived at their destination. Li Yi pushed open the gate of a courtyard where a group of people had gathered, but the scene inside was not as chaotic as he had imagined. The households were neatly arranged with their belongings in order.

In the open space of the courtyard, there was a pile of vegetables and fruits being dried, and on the other side, clothes were hanging out to dry. Two men were seen working together to push a cart, and they paused when they saw Li Yi. The elder one was Lu Sui, the only companion of the Crown Prince who never entered officialdom, and the younger one was Jiang Heng, the young son of the Duke of Jin, who was not yet sixteen years old.

They were both saved by Li Yi from execution to being exiled to a distant border.

After a few shouts from Zhu Jing, about twenty men, women, and children came out and knelt down before Li Yi. With just one glance, he could tell that they were all old acquaintances of the Crown Prince. 

After the tea was served, Li Yi sat down and Zhu Jing explained, “When the New Dynasty was established, the Emperor issued a general amnesty, and those who were banished to the borderland and returned to the capital were only a few of us.”

Li Yi nodded and exchanged greetings with everyone, including Lu Sui and Jiang Heng. After leaving behind the gold and silver he had brought with him, Li Yi bid farewell and left.

As soon as Li Yi left, Zhu Jing, Lu Sui, and Jiang Heng sneaked away from the crowd and gathered in a room. 

Jiang Heng, who was the same age as Li Yi, could not contain his excitement and said, “We’ve been waiting for this opportunity since we found out that His Highness was going to the Temple of Benevolence. Today went so smoothly. We had agreed that if His Highness still cared for old feelings, we would tell him everything. But now that you’ve both seen His Highness in person, you can’t even say a word?”

Zhu Jing looked at Lu Sui, and Lu Sui explained, “It’s not that we changed our minds, but we could see that His Highness was not in distress. The rumors outside are getting more and more intense, and you’ve heard them too. My idea is to find out the truth about His Highness and Su Wang before taking any action.”

Jiang Heng jumped up and said, “I don’t believe it! His Highness and I have been playing together since we were young. How could you two understand His Highness better than me? How could he willingly submit to such butchers? It must be that Su Wang who forced him. Isn’t it true that he still refuses to go to his Mansion? It’s all because Su Wang insists… insists on finding His Highness!”

Zhu Jing gestured for Jiang Heng to calm down and said, “I don’t believe that His Highness is that kind of person either, but he doesn’t seem to be in distress. This is what we find strange. Since His Highness knows that we are here, there’s no need to act hastily.”

Lu Sui nodded in agreement and added, “That’s exactly the point. I have a bold idea, and please don’t get angry when you hear it. If it turns out that His Highness and Su Wang are really… it could be a heaven-sent opportunity.”

Zhu Jing was a person who had served as the champion envoy of the imperial guards. He was extremely sharp in these strategies. Jiang Heng still listened in confusion and said, “Are you saying that if we can take advantage of this opportunity and make His Highness an insider, asking him to help us remove Su Wang, it will be a great way to remove the obstacle to the restoration of the country?”

Lu Su looked admiringly at Jiang Heng and said, “It is precisely because we trust His Highness that we don’t need to worry about the truth or falsehood of this matter at all. Let’s first work out the plan and then cooperate with His Highness. We will set a trap and kill Zhao Yuan. “

At this point, Jiang Heng finally understood and said, “Then what are we waiting for? We should still speed up our contacts with all the relevant people. We should not startle the snake by hitting the grass. When everything is ready, we can strike with one blow. If we let that Zhao Yuan guy go to the battlefield, I’m afraid no one will be his opponent. We should eliminate him first, and then we can achieve most of our goals.”

The three of them discussed the new plan for several days and began to prepare for it intensively.

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