Ch 5 “Does Linlang want to be the Empress?”
Chen Shi (7-9 am).
Xie Chaoyuan went to Emperor Qianming to greet him, and as soon as he entered the door, he noticed that the atmosphere in the hall was abnormal.
The commander of the Imperial Guard was reporting the new progress in the case of the assassination and disappearance of the crown prince. The worker who was detained the day before yesterday confessed that he was bribed to frame Zhao Guogong Shizi and committed suicide in prison.
“According to the account of the worker, he lost money in the gambling den before and owed a lot of debts. He met a fellow villager who sold alcohol a month ago. The other party helped him pay off the gambling debt and gave him another sum of money. He had instructed him to come out and testify that he had seen people around Zhao Shizi assassinate His Royal Highness in the mountains and forests. Thus, this minister went to check that fellow villager he mentioned, and found that the man accidentally fell into the water and drowned the night before yesterday. His family had no idea what he did outside, but Chen found a letter that didn’t really make sense in his home, instructing him to buy off that worker. His wife mentioned that he had a sworn brother in his early years, who later became a successful military candidate and had reportedly entered the palace. He was the only official person her husband could possibly know.”
When the words of the commander of the Imperial Army came out, Xie Chaorong couldn’t help but immediately ask, “The palace? Which palace?”
The commander of the Imperial Guard presented the letter and a portrait to Emperor Qianming: “This is a portrait drawn according to the woman’s description.”
Emperor Qianming frowned and looked at it for a while. The neat square face was unremarkable, so he passed it onto the others. Xie Chaorong couldn’t wait to receive it, but he didn’t recognize anything. However, his twelve-year-old brother Xie Chaoyi came over and looked at it. At a glance, he suddenly said, “I seem to have seen this person.”
Xie Chaorong’s eyes were full of light: “Where have you seen him?”
Xie Chaoyi thought about it carefully, and turned to Xie Chaoqi: “This person seems to be the guard next to Fourth Brother. I have seen him there.”
Xie Chaoqi frowned.
Xie Chaorong gritted his teeth: “Old Fourth!”
The commander of the Imperial Guard presented the second piece of evidence: “I have searched back and forth in that forest several times, and found this thumb ring under the rotten leaves near the place where His Royal Highness the crown Prince was assassinated.”
Seeing what it was, Xie Chaoqi’s expression changed.
Xie Chaorong said sternly: “Okay! It’s really you! This ring was clearly a gift from Royal Father that you asked for before, now what else do you have to say?!”
Emperor Qianming lowered his face and asked Xie Chaoqi coldly, “What’s going on?”
Xie Chaoqi clenched his fist hard: “I don’t know. This thumb ring really belongs to this son, and I had given it to Jiang Shi, my guard, but Jiang Shi would never assassinate the crown prince! Someone must have wronged him. Royal Father, please investigate this matter!”
“It’s clear that you instigated him to frame Zhao Shizi, yet you still have the face to argue!” Xie Chaorong was arrogant. He had held back his anger for two days, and today it can be regarded that this injustice had found its debtor.
Xie Chaoqi clenched his teeth, pushed aside his clothes, knelt down, and kowtowed to Emperor Qianming: “Royal Father, please investigate this matter!.”
There was only Xie Chaorong’s clamor and Xie Chaoqi’s constant kowtow in the hall. The imperial guard solemnly observed Emperor Qianming’s face, and cautiously suggested: “Your Majesty, should you send for this person first and interrogate him face to face before making a decision?”
Emperor Qianming said in a deep voice, “Bring the person here.”
The bodyguard named Jiang Shi had come along with Xie Chaoqi, and was waiting outside the hall. He was soon brought in and went down on his knees: “This lowly one has never done that. I had lost the thumb ring a while back and the letter was not written by myself. I did have a sworn friendship with that person, but later cut off contact because of some matters.”
“Where were you when the crown prince disappeared?” Emperor Qianming questioned him personally.
“Guarding His Royal Highness King Huai hunting.”
“Have you ever entered the forest?”
Jiang Shi suddenly stopped talking, lowered his head and clenched his fists tightly. Xie Chaoqi anxiously answered: “With me, we went in together.”
Emperor Qianming looked at him coldly: “But were there others?”
“You two went in together and no one else followed? How long were you in there for?”
Xie Chaoqi’s expression became inexplicably flustered, and he faltered: “No, not long, about two hours.”
“Did you two go to the woods and do something shameful? Why are you so guilty?”
Xie Chaorong sneered unceremoniously: “Two hours? You went in for two hours without taking other people? Old Fourth, this is not like your style. Aren’t you most afraid of dying and always having a lot of people when going in and out? How could there be such a coincidence that on the day the crown prince had an accident, you only brought such a person into the woods?”
Xie Chaoqi kowtowed again: “Royal Father, please investigate this! Jiang Shi was really wronged, the thumb ring was lost before this and he had told me long ago. Someone must have stolen the ring and used it to frame him. Royal Father, please investigate this!”
It was the first time that Xie Chaoqi was so panicked in front of everyone. Xie Chaoyuan, who had been silent for a while, suddenly said: “The worker died in prison, and the person who instigated him fell into the water, but left that letter, it is too coincidental.”
When he said these words, Xie Chaorong glared at him fiercely. Xie Chaoyuan didn’t care, anyway, he only had this virtue, to say whatever he thought of.
Emperor Qianming frowned and the commander of the Imperial Army hurriedly explained: “This minister is incompetent. The worker tore off his clothes and hung himself and was out of breath when this minister found him.”
“What do you think?”
Xie Chaoqi was still kowtowing and shouting injustice. Emperor Qianming got a headache from the quarrel and asked others for their opinion, but listening to his tone, it was obvious that he was not sure whether this was really done by Xie Chaoqi’s instigation.
Xie Chaorong hated that Xie Chaoqi could not be convicted. Zhao Changming and his son begged Emperor Qianming to investigate the matter thoroughly. The others also reminded Emperor Qianming that there were still doubts in many matters, and it was best to postpone things for later discussion. The first priority was to find the crown prince.
Emperor Qianming was so annoyed that he ordered Jiang Shi to be taken down and all the other people to be driven out.
When going out, Xie Chaorong glared at Xie Chaoqi fiercely, and said harshly: “You just wait for this king.”
Xie Chaoqi looked extremely ugly.
The rest of the people left one after another, and Xie Chaoyuan came out one step behind. Seeing that Xie Chaoqi was reluctant to leave, wanting to go in and intercede with their father, he casually reminded him: “Royal Father is having a headache now, I think Fourth Brother, you might as well go back first. Staying here now will make him even more unhappy and no one will dare kill your guard casually, so you don’t have to worry so much.”
Xie Chaoqi raised his reddish eyes when he heard the meaning of Xie Chaoyuan’s words: “That day, you saw it.”
He said it with certainty.
Xie Chaoyuan smiled and didn’t deny it: “Fourth Brother, don’t worry. If you don’t tell Royal Father yourself, I won’t tell.”
Xie Chaoqi sneered: “Aren’t you and Old Second in the same group?”
“Fourth Brother don’t accuse me wrongly,” Xie Chaoyuan said with a face full of innocence, “How could I be with Second Brother? Don’t think I am on his side just because I gave him two people. You heard it that day. He asked me about it, so if I didn’t send it to him, wouldn’t his pettiness make him want revenge? I don’t dare to offend him.”
“…Huh.” After hesitating, Xie Chaoqi walked away.
The corner of Xie Chaoyuan’s mouth smiled, and he brushed off his sleeves carelessly, and motioned to Wang Rang: “Let’s go, we’re going back too.”
On the way back to Ting Song Zhai, he saw the autumn flowers blooming brilliantly in the garden. Xie Chaoyuan ordered someone to pick some. Wang Rang reminded him: “This flower won’t last for two days after picking it, if Your Highness wants to grow flowers, the servants will bring some people to transplant them to Ting Song Zhai.”
“No, it’s enough to have Langjun play for two days. Anyways, it’s time to return to the capital in a few days.”
Xie Chaoling really liked these flowers, and he happily asked people to put it in a vase to raise them.
In the past, there were very few colors in the East Palace. Only later when Xie Chaoling was about to get married did he raise some precious flowers and plants in the backyard. Xie Chaoyuan felt that his brother should not be so depressed now.
“Your Highness has been gone for a long time today, what happened?” Xie Chaoling asked smoothly.
Xie Chaoyuan stretched out his arms and pulled Xie Chaoling to sit on his lap.
Xie Chaoling was used to his clinginess and didn’t bother to struggle. Seeing that Xie Chaoyuan seemed very happy, he said, “Your Highness is in a good mood today.”
“Ah, I saw a play.”
He described it all in a few words.
After listening, Xie Chaoling thought for a moment and said, “So it was the Crown Prince who was stabbed and fell off the cliff and disappeared. Both the Second Highness and the Fourth Highness are suspected. The evidence points to the Fourth Highness, but in fact, His Majesty is more suspicious of the Second Highness and his maternal family? “
“What does Linlang think?” Xie Chaoyuan asked with a smile.
“You know that the Fourth Highness did not do it?”
Xie Chaoyuan approached his ear and suppressed his voice, with a smile in his tone: “I was also hunting in the woods that day and I saw Old Fourth and his guard in the woods having a love affair.”
He deliberately emphasized the last two words, and the heat from his breath went straight into Xie Chaoling’s ear. Xie Chaoling raised his hand and rubbed his ear, muttering, “Your Highness’s brother is also the same as Your Highness, with special hobbies.”
“This king is not the same as him,” Xie Chaoyuan disagreed, “Linlang will find out by trying it.”
Xie Chaoyuan was inferring something.
Xie Chaoling changed the subject: “So, did Your Highness see who assassinated the Crown Prince?”
“I didn’t see.” Xie Chaoyuan said calmly.
Xie Chaoling thought thoughtfully: “No matter who did it, if the Crown Prince really fell into the water as you said and left no bones, then His Majesty will not let His Fourth Highness be charged with this crime. Not only His Majesty, but also the forces behind the Crown Prince. They won’t let the Second Highness’s family dominate. His Majesty will keep the Fourth Highness to check and balance his Second Highness, after all, His Fourth Highness is the son of the empress, and there are the forces of the old east palace behind him.”
“My Linlang is really smart.” Xie Chaoyuan praised him. He actually didn’t say too much, only a few words, yet Xie Chaoling had already analyzed the situation in court all by himself.
“How about you?”
Xie Chaoling looked at him: “Your Royal Highness is also a prince.”
Xie Chaoyuan smiled and said, “My mother is a dancer from a small country in the southwest, and my adoptive mother’s background is not high. Linlang thinks I can compete with them?”
“How could Your Highness be such a self-deprecating person?”
Xie Chaoyuan raised his hand, and his fingers slowly rubbed Xie Chaoling’s jawline: “Does Linlang want to be the empress?”
Xie Chaoling shook his head: “How can it make sense for a man to be the empress?”
“If this king says it makes sense, then it makes sense,” Xie Chaoyuan’s smile faded, and the gloomy expression resurfaced, “Linlang, I never do anything I’m not sure about.”
If he wants something, he will obtain it, including the person in front of him.
Xie Chaoling didn’t answer, he just twisted a branch and picked out a flower he had arranged and handed it to Xie Chaoyuan.
Xie Chaoyuan stared into his eyes.
Xie Chaoling teased him: “Why are you overthinking? Don’t the flowers look good? Your Highness, don’t be stern, just smile again.”
Xie Chaoyuan didn’t move. Xie Chaoling laughed first. Xie Chaoyuan grabbed his wrist, pressed him into the couch, and kissed him.
Xie Chaoling knew that he couldn’t break free, and closed his eyes obediently.
The petals were crushed on the chests of the two, and the fragrance was refreshing.
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