Thousand Miles of Heaven Chapter 51

Ch 51 “”Thinking about this.”

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The day after returning to the palace, Xie Chaoling was summoned by Emperor Qianming for questioning.

Emperor Qianming asked about the incident involving Li Huan, “The commander of the imperial guards informed me early this morning that Li Huan was seriously injured and cannot serve in front of the court for some time. I heard that you called a physician to go to Li’s residence yesterday, why didn’t you inform me? What’s going on?” 

Li’s loyal family had sacrificed many loyal and patriotic individuals for the country, and now only one member was left. Therefore, Emperor Qianming showed some concern for Li. Previously, he had promoted Li to the Imperial Guards, which was an exception to the usual practice.

Xie Chaoling calmly replied with his head down, “A few days ago, it was the anniversary of this son’s grandfather and two uncles. Li Huan went out of the city to pay his respects, but was captured by bandits on the way back and was held captive for two days. He had his left ear, right thumb, and toes cut off. I only found out about this the day before yesterday when I left the palace, and then I helped him by sending a physician. I didn’t report it to Royal Father because it’s a small matter and not appropriate to bring up in the court.” 

“How can this be a small matter?” Emperor Qianming was immediately angry upon hearing this. “How can such daring and lawless bandits appear under the feet of the Son of Heaven? What is Dongshan Ying doing?” 

The Li’s ancestral tomb was located outside the city to the southeast, where there were many mountains and frequent banditry, and it happened to be within the jurisdiction of Dongshan Ying. It was understandable that Emperor Qianming would be angry since this was a tragedy that befell the close attendant of the Son of Heaven and a loyal martyr.

Xie Chaoling explained in a low voice: “Commander Xu just took office, and it will take time to hand over various affairs within the Dongshan Ying. He must have neglected these things.”

“Those bandits didn’t appear in a day or two. What did the group of winebags and ricebags do before?” the emperor said angrily.

Xie Chaoling finished what he had to say, shut his mouth and said nothing more.

Emperor Qianming was very annoyed, he held back his temper temporarily, and then talked about another matter: “There have been some bad rumors about you in the court these two days, you don’t have to take it to heart, I will deal with Shen family’s matter as soon as possible.” 

The emperor was even more annoyed. Although Xie Chaoling told him the secrets of what happened back then, just as Xie Chaoling expected, he still wanted Shen family to carry this matter to the end, so he kept procrastinating, but in just these two days, he, the crown prince had just returned, and some people were uneasy again, and began to spread rumors, saying that the crown prince had also been involved in what the Shen family did.

During the battle in the northwest years ago, Xie Chaoling was only eight years old and was just an ordinary imperial prince. What could he have had to do with it? Even with the later corruption scandals in the Ministry of Revenue and the Imperial Treasury, Emperor Qianming absolutely believed that Xie Chaoling had not been involved. However, rumors of Shen family’s double-dealing and the Crown Prince’s dirty dealings spread rapidly in just a few days, and there were even those who dared to directly accuse Xie Chaoling in their memorials, causing him to be roasted over the fire once again just as he had narrowly escaped death and making Emperor Qianming even more angry.

Xie Chaoling himself didn’t take it seriously, and instead comforted his father, “I don’t care what the chief minister says about things that this son has never done. A clear conscience fears no accusation.”

Emperor Qianming was angry and helpless: “You are just too good with words. I know that your nature is pure and kind, just like your elder brother. Your elder brother was killed by those people in this way, and you came back alive with great difficulty. Those malicious words can hurt more than a sharp arrow, and it’s not something you can just brush off with a single statement of innocence. In any case, one should never let their guard down when it comes to others’ intentions.”

Xie Chaoling was taught a lesson: “What Royal Father said is true, and this son knows.” 

On the same day, the emperor sent an imperial doctor to Li’s residence again to show his grace.

Li Huan sneered silently when he heard people from the palace talking about His Majesty and His Highness the Crown Prince’s concerns.

Xie Chaoling made up all the causes and consequences in front of the emperor, not only to protect Xie Chaoyuan, but also to use his affairs to achieve other goals. If he dared to make his own claims and ruin Xie Chaoling’s major affairs, even Xie Chaoling would not let him go this time.

So he could only swallow his anger.

The Owner of the Eastern Palace was also a cruel and ruthless person.

Before the end of the month, it was Empress Dowager Zhao’s birthday, and it was her sixtieth birthday.

After New Year’s Eve, Empress Dowager Zhao moved to live in the other palace in Beihai outside the palace. This time, to celebrate her birthday, no matter how resentful Emperor Qianming was to his mother, he couldn’t make it too ugly. The birthday banquet was still arranged and was in the other palace in Beihai, far less lively than before.

The emperor took a group of people and did not go there until two days before the birthday banquet.

Xie Chaoyuan walked up to the pavilion facing the water and looked ahead, as if admiring the scenery.

Wang Rang whispered behind him: “The empress dowager intends to give her great niece to King Ning, but Imperial Concubine Zhao refused and wanted King Ning to marry Lin family’s daughter. Now the two sides are at a stalemate, and the quarrel is causing some unhappiness. I guess the Empress Dowager will take this opportunity to mention this to His Majesty at the birthday banquet the next day.”

Xie Chaoyuan laughed and said, “The Empress Dowager really has such an idea.” 

On that day, he said casually, it would be better to ask Xie Chaoyi to marry his cousin Wanniang, but now the Empress Dowager Zhao really had that idea.

Although Empress Dowager Zhao and Concubine Zhao were both daughters of the Zhao family, they had different thoughts. After Xie Chaorong’s downfall, their current hopes were all on Xie Chaoyi. Due to the incident where Zhao Xiuniang and her father revealed their true nature, there has been a rift between the Zhao and Lin clans. Lin will support Xie Chaoyi because his wife is a Lin clan member. Concubine Zhao wanted them to continue supporting her younger son and was naturally thinking of marrying another Lin clan member. Meanwhile, Empress Dowager Zhao only wanted to find a good granddaughter-in-law to have a stable position in the future harem, and Zhao Wanniang was the most suitable candidate. 

“The Empress Dowager is getting on in years and still has to spend so much energy and effort calculating these things. It’s a bit pitiful. She probably doesn’t even know why the Emperor is so disrespectful to her now. Why don’t I help her? As for the things King Xing done, I will send someone to tell her.” Xie Chaoyuan said slowly and calmly.

Wang Rang responded in a low voice: “What’s more, Princess Leping bribed a soldier guarding the second prince to give the second prince the chronic poison.”

Xie Chaoyuan raised his eyebrows when he heard that, but it was not surprising. After Xie Chaoling escaped, the people focused on Xie Huizhen, and that kid was really wild, and dared to poison Xie Chaorong. However, Xie Chaorong had now been banned, and the chronic toxicity of the medicine was not obvious. After a long time, he will really slowly be poisoned to death.

Xie Chaoyuan let out a soft snort, and ordered in a cold voice: “Send a message and ask someone to change the medicine given by Princess Leping, and change it to something more powerful, but don’t really poison Xie Chaorong to death, save his dog life, he is still useful .”

Even if Xie Chaorong was seized and imprisoned, he was still the emperor’s son. Once the incident happened, Xie Huizhen would not be able to escape. Didn’t Xie Chaohui have “deep affection and righteousness” for the former crown prince? Since he was the only precious son left by the former crown prince, Xie Chaohui will have to take the blame himself.

It was drizzling outside the pavilion, and Xie Chaoyuan’s long-awaited figure appeared in the veranda ahead.

Xie Chaoling walked out of the veranda, and the servants behind him immediately held up an umbrella for him. He walked up the steps, and walked towards Xie Chaoyuan.

“Does Crown Prince Brother drink tea?” Xie Chaoyuan asked him.

“Why is sixth brother here alone, looking at the scenery?”

Xie Chaoyuan looked at him, and lightly opened his lips: “Waiting for you.”

This place was not far from the emperor’s bedroom. Xie Chaoling had just came back from his greetings and naturally would pass by this area.

Xie Chaoling turned his eyes away: “I won’t drink the tea, let’s go together.”

They walked forward side by side, Xie Chaoyuan held an umbrella, and the servants followed a few steps behind.

Xie Chaoyuan suddenly laughed, and Xie Chaoling looked sideways at him: “Why are you laughing?”

He said: “A clear conscience fears no accusation. One who has not done anything wrong naturally does not care about what others say.”

“Really.” Xie Chaoyuan said softly, stopping in his tracks.

Xie Chaoling looked at him, Xie Chaoyuan leaned slightly, leaning closer to Xie Chaoling’s ear: “Crown Prince Brother, he also has a very bad character.” Xie Chaoling said calmly,

“I don’t understand what Sixth Brother is saying.”

“Crown prince brother says this every time he pretends to behave.” Xie Chaoyuan laughed in a low voice.

The rumors against Xie Chaoling outside were first spread from the Hanlin Academy.

Most of the people in the Hanlin Academy were fans of the old Eastern Palace. No matter how much Xie Chaoling imitated the former crown prince’s advocacy of Confucianism and Taoism, and respect for corporals, Empress Li’s background as a military officer still made those sour scholars naturally repulsed, so they didn’t like Xie Chaoling. But the first crown prince was different. Empress Yuan came from a prestigious family, and the Crown Prince had even more of the qualities of a sage. When the Crown Prince was still alive, the prestige of the Hanlin Academy was much greater than it was now. Those people had always wanted to “set things right” and they pinned their hopes on another son of the Empress Dowager, Xie Chaoqi.

But in fact, it was Xie Chaohui who had a better and closer relationship with the former crown prince. The real crony of the former prince was Xie Chaohui, and who they should be supporting, but now, Xie Chaohui had surrendered to Xie Chaoling.

“Even His Majesty was deceived by you. Pure and kind, just like the former crown prince?” Xie Chaoyuan sneered, “What does crown prince brother think?” 

How could a truly pure and kind person burn down the tomb of his own mother just to deceive others? His crown prince older brother would use all means to achieve his goal and deceive everyone.

Xie Chaoling said calmly: “Why is Sixth Brother so clear about the conversation between myself and Royal Father? Did Sixth Brother really put someone to keep an eye on father?”

“Didn’t crown prince brother already know about it? What, are you going to denounce me in front of His Majesty?” Xie Chaoyuan looked at him with a smile.

Xie Chaoling shook his head slightly and continued walking forward.

Xie Chaoyuan’s behavior was clearly out of arrogance, because he expected that he would not really expose him in front of the emperor.

Not only this matter, but Xie Chaoyuan’s identity alone, if he intended to reveal it, it would be enough for Xie Chaoyuan to die without a place to bury him.

But he didn’t want to.

“It’s still early,” Xie Chaoyuan said suddenly, “Crown Prince Brother, accompany me around, you don’t have to go back so early.”

After that, without waiting for Xie Chaoling’s consent, he ordered the people behind him: “Just wait here, this king will take a walk in the garden with His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.”

Then he turned around and asked Xie Chaoling, “Would Crown Prince Brother like that?”

Xie Chaoling raised his chin arrogantly: “Let’s go.”

They walked together to a more remote place, their large sleeves inadvertently rubbing against each other while walking. They didn’t speak anymore, there was only the sound of rain falling.

Passing by a rockery, Xie Chaoyuan suddenly reached out and grabbed Xie Chaoling into the cave beside him. Before Xie Chaoling could make a sound, Xie Chaoyuan covered his mouth and pressed him into his arms forcefully.

Xie Chaoyuan leaned closer, and whispered in his ear: “His Majesty is outside.”

Xie Chaoling’s black eyes widened, with fleeting surprise in them, and the eyelashes trembled slightly, the rainwater from outside was still hanging on them.

This place was indeed not far from Emperor Qianming’s bedroom.

Xie Chaoling quickly calmed down. He could already hear the voices of the emperor talking to his servants outside, and they gradually faded away.

The little b*stard laughed in his ear, carrying the heat of his breath.

Xie Chaoling’s eyes passed by his shoulders and landed on the umbrella that had been dropped by the entrance of the cave… Fortunately, their father didn’t see it.

“What is crown prince brother thinking?” Xie Chaoyuan asked him in a deep voice.

The sky in the cave was dim and covered by the sound of rain, as if it could hide all those things that could not see the sun.

Xie Chaoling turned his head sideways, touched Xie Chaoyuan’s lips lightly, and said hoarsely: “Thinking about this.”

Xie Chaoyuan’s eyes were dark, and he pressed him against the mountain wall, kissing him fiercely and hotly.

Lips and tongues entangled. The sticky, greasy, watery sound became longer and longer with the sound of rainwater hitting the bluestone slab outside.

The umbrella at the entrance of the cave was repeatedly washed by the rain, and the bright winter jasmine flowers on the umbrella surface were in full bloom, spring in full swing.

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