Ch 21 “Even if Crown Prince Older Brother wants revenge in the future, he must find the right person.”
Yizheng Palace Hall.
After enduring the emperor’s thunder and anger, Chang Ke, the commander of the Jingwei Army, stepped forward and whispered the cause of the fire and explosion in the firearms storehouse they found. In the southwest corner, nearing the edge of the city walls, all the people living there was the bottom of the capital, the poor people of the three religions and nine streams. The reason the fire started was that someone’s kerosene lamp overturned and caught fire, burning the house. Last night after You Shi (5-7pm), there was a strong wind, and the wind was so strong that soon all the huts in that area were caught in a sea of flames. The fire spread to the firearms warehouse, which caused the ammunition in the depot to explode.
After the firearms depot of the Ministry of War exploded, the entire inner and outer city in the southwest corner was almost razed to the ground. There were heavy casualties. It was also covered by black clouds and smoke. It was conceivable that Emperor Qianming was furious when such things happened at the feet of the Son of Heaven.
“So you mean to tell me that this was actually an accident, a natural disaster?” Emperor Qianming was furious.
Chang Ke lowered his head deeply: “I was negligent in my duty. The buildings in the southwest outer city were too densely built, far exceeding the regulations. The fire spread too fast. The Jingwei Army failed to put it out in time, and the firearms depot burst into flames. Your Majesty, please punish me.”
At the same time, the officials of the Ministry of Industry changed their expressions. Chang Ke’s words made it clear that the culprit to be blamed was the one who allowed the non-compliance of the housing system in the outer city. The planning of houses, bridges, roads, and ditches in the entire capital belonged to the Ministry of Industry. They were to be blamed for what happened. Shangshu Yang Xuelin hurriedly came out to explain: “Your Majesty, most of the regulations on tile-roofed houses in the outer city have been in use since the previous dynasty, and there has been no major changes in hundreds of years. Now the outer city has a population of 800,000, especially the area in the southwest. Since the time of the first emperor, it has been used to resettle refugees, and the residents are a mixed bag, and families of seven or eight people live in square-inch huts. It is beyond the ability of the Ministry of Industry to disperse them and arrange them properly.”
Yang Xuelin was not a fool, how could he be willing to take such a big scapegoat so easily? Emperor Qianming’s face was ashen, the resettlement of refugees was indeed beyond the control of the Ministry of Industry. The population density in the southwest outer city was not something that happened in a matter of one day, there were cabinet ministers before who had mentioned the hidden dangers to him, but even he, the emperor, couldn’t think of a good solution, so the others obviously had no idea.
Xie Chaoyuan squinted at Xie Chaoqi beside him, seeing his calm expression, as if it had nothing to do with him. He looked at the noisy officials in the hall and narrowed his eyes slightly.
Soon the censor of the Metropolitan Procuratorate came forward and interrupted the dispute, but it was the Yamen of Jingzhao Mansion who was impeached. He said that a few days ago, civilians from the outer city went to the Yamen of Jingzhao Mansion to complain and beat drums, and then they were kicked out: “Today this official specifically brought up this incident because the sufferer who complained and beat the drums was the one who caused the fire in the outer city yesterday, the incident is too coincidental, there may be a connection between them. Please order a thorough investigation, Your Majesty!”
After the words fell, the hall whispered for a while. There was a lot of discussion, and the governor of Jingzhao came out sweating profusely under the cold and stern eyes of Emperor Qianming: “Yes, there was such a thing. The man was drunk, delirious, and talked without care. I thought he was going to make trouble. The court then ordered people to drive him out.”
Emperor Qianming slowly glanced at the ministers with different expressions in the palace, his complexion became more and more gloomy. He didn’t reprimand them anymore, and ordered the three justices to investigate the matter thoroughly, and retreated directly.
After Chen Shi, the sky finally cleared up a little bit, and the faint smell of smoke could still be smelled in the air. Xie Chaoling leaned against the pavilion and casually fed the fish. Today, there were a lot fewer fish that popped up. It was unclear whether it was because it was too cold or because of the lingering smell of smoke.
Xie Chaoyuan stepped forward and helped him stroke the silver fox hair on the collar of his cloak. Xie Chaoling turned around and was a little surprised to see him: “I thought His Highness would come back later today.
“His Majesty was angered and after handing off the matters, he withdrew.” Xie Chaoyuan finished speaking casually, and looked out. The lake was almost frozen, no wonder there were no fish.
Xie Chaoling asked him: “Did a lot of people die last night?”
Xie Chaoyuan reached out and brushed a small piece of yellow leaf on his sideburns, and said calmly: “According to the preliminary calculation of the Jingwei Army, there are more than 2,000 people, most of whom are civilians in the outer city, who were burned to death. There were no residential buildings near the firearms depot, so it was a little better, and some soldiers also died.”
Xie Chaoling let out a sigh of relief: “More than two thousand people…”
Xie Chaoyuan stared at his dark eyes. There was compassion hidden inside, among them brothers, Xie Chaoling really was the one who was most suitable for being a king.
Xie Chaoling frowned: “Your Highness, did you know about this early on?”
Xie Chaoyuan said: “Yes.”
“You told King Huai about the Dongshan Ying, so he designed this, and then the three justices will find out that the fire was not an accident, it was the poor master who was forced by the loan sharks released by the Dongshan Ying since he had nowhere to turn, and had nowhere to ask. He chose to set himself on fire, but in the end he burned the entire neighborhood and blew up the firearms depot.”
Xie Chaoling spoke with certainty and Xie Chaoyuan did not deny it: “I told him the matters and he chose what to do. He can just have had the censor impeach Dongshan Ying, I didn’t expect him to dare to do this, Old Four was very timid in the past.”
Xie Chaoqi, probably after Jiang Shi was gone, went completely insane. Two thousand lives was nothing to him, but it was these two thousand lives and the exploding firearms depot that helped him make a big fuss.
“After the three justices find out the truth of the matter, His Majesty will take the opportunity to go through Dongshan Ying from top to bottom. Chang Ke of the Jingwei Army is the son-in-law of the Lin family and also belongs to the Zhao family. No matter how he tries to shirk his responsibility, with something like this happening, he can’t escape. There is also the Ministry of War, which is also controlled by Zhao’s party members. They are also suspected of dereliction of duty when the firearms depot was bombed. If Old Four does this, in addition to pressing down on Old Two and the Zhao’s seven-inches, it will also destroy the prestige of the third child, who has just been appointed Yang Xuelin’s daughter.”
Xie Chaoling quietly listened to Xie Chaoyuan’s words, bowed his head in silence for a while, and asked him : “Since your Highness knew it beforehand, why didn’t you stop it?”
Xie Chaoyuan disagreed: “Why should I stop it? I can’t stop what Old Four is going to do.”
“…Does Your Highness feel guilty? After all, the incident happened because of you.”
“The incident happened because of Dongshan Ying.” Xie Chaoyuan corrected him calmly.
Xie Chaoling thought about it then forgot it, this matter is really not on Xie Chaoyuan’s head.
He knew Xie Chaoyuan’s nature, and it was impossible for him to feel guilty at all. He didn’t care about other people’s lives, so he wouldn’t put those two thousand lives on him.
“King Huai is still in too much of a rush,” Xie Chaoling said. “He should have waited a few more days before letting the censor come out to impeach the yamen of the Jingzhao Mansion. What happened last night and the censor jumping out today, this is too obvious. Now, His Majesty will suspect that the matter is not a coincidence if he thinks about it for a while.”
Xie Chaoling said this and shook his head: “I just said it casually.”
What he said casually hit the point. Even if Xie Chaoling doesn’t remember anything, he still was the Crown Prince of the Eastern Palace personally selected by Emperor Qianming.
Xie Chaoyuan threw some fish food into the water, a big koi broke the surface, took the fish food away, and quickly sank into the water without a trace. He said: “It doesn’t matter, as long as His Majesty has no conclusive evidence, he can just refuse to admit it. Even if His Majesty is suspicious, he will not make a move on him. The person His Majesty really likes now should be Old Three, and Old Four was just chosen to be the whetstone to polish the knife for Old Three. He will be used to deal with Old Two. While he can still play a role, His Majesty will keep him.”
Xie Chaoling’s eyebrows moved, and he suddenly asked him: “Why does Your Highness never call His Majesty Father in private?”
Xie Chaoyuan smiled suddenly: “His Majesty, for all our brothers, isn’t he king first and then father?”
There is nothing wrong with this statement, but Xie Chaoling still felt a little weird, so he didn’t think about it since he couldn’t figure it out.
“Your Highness is not afraid that King Huai will confess to His Majesty that you are the one who told him the matter?”
Xie Chaoyuan didn’t take it seriously, “Unless he admits to His Majesty that he did it, why would he expose me? Wouldn’t that be acknowledging he did it himself?”
“You just said he used to be timid.”
Xie Chaoyuan smiled and said: “Old Four is quite interesting. When he was young, he was timid and afraid of getting into trouble. He didn’t even dare to crush an ant to death. It was all due to the protection from the first prince, Empress Yuan and his two princess sisters. They are all dead now and he became seriously ill, his temperament changed, and now his lover is gone, so he is completely crazy.”
“His Highness is so disdainful to him, and King Xing is also at odds with him. King Xing is Empress Yuan’s adopted son, why do they disagree? Shouldn’t they be close?”
“Linlang wants to know?” Xie Chaoyuan turned his eyes to him.
Xie Chaoling nodded: “I’m curious.”
“Because the first prince was killed by Old Four.” Xie Chaoyuan let out a soft voice.
Xie Chaoling was stunned.
Xie Chaoyuan said contemptuously: “Back then, the crown prince was wronged and rebelled against, and His Majesty was recuperating in the Dongshan Palace. The former prince escaped from the capital by chance and had already arrived at the foot of Dongshan Mountain. He was almost able to see His Majesty to state his grievances, but at the last moment, the Dongshan Ying united with the capital army. Surrounded by the guards, he had to flee into the paddock in a hurry and jump off the cliff. It was because Old Four was caught by those people first. In order to save his life, he confessed the whereabouts of his brother, not only killing the previous crown prince, but also killing his mother and two older sisters.”
Xie Chaoling really didn’t know what to say for a while. What is this? Even pitiful people have something hateful?
“…Does His Majesty know?”
“Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.”
“Then how does Your Majesty know?”
“If you want to know, there is a way to know.” Xie Chaoyuan raised the corners of his lips lightly.
Xie Chaoyuan’s tone made Xie Chaoling want to beat him up again.
After thinking for a while, he said: “So even though King Xing was leading troops at the border, he found out about it later on, so he is at odds with King Huai and even has enmity… You said earlier that the crown prince fell off the horse and fell off the cliff and you said it was not just. The other person who did it was actually King Xing?”
Xie Chaoyuan looked at him, his eyes paused for a moment: “Actually, I didn’t do anything, and I can’t do anything. Everything was done by Old Three. There is a wrong and a debt. Even if crown prince older brother wants revenge in the future, he must find the right person.”
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