Thousand Miles of Heaven Chapter 61

Ch 61″Crown Prince brother, please don’t forget the promise you made to me that day.”

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The Summer Villa of Jizhou is located northeast of the capital city, over five hundred miles away. Emperor Qianming would spend over a month there almost every summer. If there were no urgent matters in the capital, he did not need to be informed in advance. Therefore, anyone who brought matters before him must have something important to report.

The general of Dongshan Ying knelt on the ground and whispered the matter to the emperor. He handed over the letter with both hands. Emperor Qianming sat still with an unpleasant expression, and Wang Qing waited patiently for a moment before taking the initiative to help the emperor receive the letter.

How could Emperor Qianming not recognize the handwriting of Xie Chaoling? He quickly read the contents of the letter and saw the imperial crown prince’s seal at the end. His face turned pale in an instant.

“How did you get this letter?” the emperor asked sternly.

“I accidentally saw it in General Xu’s tent. After receiving this letter from His Highness the Crown Prince, General Xu kept it hidden under a pile of official documents. Unfortunately, I saw it by chance and took the liberty of stealing the letter.”

As soon as he heard this, Emperor Qianming became even more sullen. Wang Qing reminded him in a timely manner, “Your Majesty, this matter is of great importance. We should clarify it first.”

Of course, it had to be clarified. Although he was furious, Emperor Qianming managed to regain some composure. His thoughts turned sharply. The incident involving the previous Crown Prince was still vivid in his memory. He knew that the previous Crown Prince had been wronged, but without evidence, he could not overturn the verdict. This incident had become the biggest worry of his reign. The same thing was happening again. Even though he was extremely suspicious at the moment, he restrained himself and ordered the participating general who reported the matter to be detained first.

He prepared to issue an edict and return to the capital in advance.

“Your Majesty, it’s not wise to be too careless. If the Crown Prince really has some plans, your premature return to the capital may startle him,” warned Wang Qing.

The Emperor frowned at him.

Wang Qing lowered his head and stopped talking.

In the end, the Emperor changed his mind and ordered the commander of the Forbidden Army, who had come with him, to take a small team and escort Xie Chaoling back to the summer resort.

The commander of the Forbidden Army was the Emperor’s confidant, and sending him to take someone away would at least ensure that the incident of years ago would not be repeated. As for everything else, they could only wait until Xie Chaoling arrived.

The Emperor closed his eyes tightly, hoping that his Crown Prince would not disappoint him.

On the third day after lunch, Xie Chaoling ordered his luggage to be packed and prepared to return to the palace.

There was still an obvious red mark on his neck. When he changed his clothes, Xie Chaoling looked at himself in the mirror for a long time, feeling helpless.

He had repeatedly warned Xie Chaoyuan not to bite the exposed skin, but the little troublemaker insisted on opposing him. Dazed in the moment, he had forgotten to stop him, and this was the result. On such a hot day, there was no way to hide it.

“Well, it’ll disappear in two or three days at most, and there’s nothing important happening in the palace. Why don’t you stay here for a few more days before leaving, Crown Prince?” Xie Chaoyuan smiled and suggested.

Xie Chaoling glared at him and ignored him.

Although there was nothing urgent, the pile of trivial government affairs that accumulated daily was waiting for him to return and handle. He had to leave today.

Xie Chaoyuan grabbed him and casually pointed at a maid, “Bring some ointment that you use on a regular basis.”

Xie Chaoling frowned and hesitated for a long time before finally not refusing.

When the ointment arrived, Xie Chaoyuan personally applied it to him. The ointment was too white, but fortunately, Xie Chaoling’s skin was already fair. It didn’t look too conspicuous after applying it, but the fragrance was a little overwhelming, making him feel uncomfortable. He sneezed twice in a row.

Xie Chaoyuan whispered, “It smells good.”

Xie Chaoling scoffed, “I’m leaving. You don’t have to see me off, Sixth Brother.”

As he left the residence and got into his carriage, Xie Chaoyuan followed him, “Crown Prince Brother, can you give me a ride too? I need to go back.”

Afraid that Xie Chaoling would not agree, he added, “I came here on horseback, but it’s too hot today, and I don’t want to ride anymore.”

“Since it’s hot, why not stay here for a few more days?” Xie Chaoling asked him.

“I said it before, Crown Prince Brother isn’t here, so what’s the point of me staying alone here?” Xie Chaoyuan replied.

Xie Chaoling allowed the person into the carriage.

During the hottest time of the afternoon, after setting off, he quickly became drowsy and leaned his head down against the carriage wall with his eyes closed.

Xie Chaoyuan moved closer, embracing him, and Xie Chaoling rested his head on his shoulder, murmuring, “I’ll send you home first.”

Xie Chaoyuan lowered his head and left a slightly dry kiss on the side of his temple.

After they entered the city, they first went to the King Ke’s mansion. By the time they parked, Xie Chaoling had already woken up. Xie Chaoyuan remained seated and asked with a smile, “Do you want to go in and have a cup of tea, Crown Prince Brother?”

“Just get off the carriage, don’t dawdle,” Xie Chaoling replied.

“Crown Prince Brother, you’re so ruthless. As soon as we enter the city, you changed your tune,” Xie Chaoyuan teased.

Xie Chaoling pulled him closer and bit his lips twice. “That’s enough, get off the carriage.”

Xie Chaoyuan clicked his tongue and pressed him against the carriage, kissing him deeply.

Finally, when Xie Chaoyuan got off the carriage, there was a small cut on Xie Chaoling’s lips. Xie Chaoyuan reminded him, “Don’t forget the promise you made to me that day, Crown Prince Brother.”

Xie Chaoling adjusted his rumpled clothes and sat upright, giving him a cold glance before ordering someone to close the carriage door.

Afterwards, on the way back to the palace, Xie Chaoling’s mood remained good. When he got off the carriage outside the East Palace gate, someone hurriedly came out to report, “Your Highness, General He of the Imperial Guards has arrived and has been waiting for you for some time. He says he has an urgent matter to report on behalf of His Majesty.”

Xie Chaoling’s eyebrows jumped and the smile on his lips immediately disappeared. What urgent matter could his father, the Emperor, need to send the General of the Imperial Guards to report in person?

Xie Chaoling stepped inside and let the person in.

The General of the Imperial Guards came in, paid his respects, and then got straight to the point, delivering the Emperor’s decree and asking the Crown Prince to leave immediately and head to Jizhou.

Xie Chaoling remained calm and asked, “Did His Majesty say what it was about?”

“I don’t know, Your Highness. Please come with me at once. Don’t keep His Majesty waiting. I don’t know anything else,” replied the man, who was a confidant of Emperor Qianming and had power over everyone except the Emperor himself. He didn’t even give Xie Chaoling any face.

Xie Chaoling’s mind stirred. “Did my father only summon me? How many attendants can I bring? What should I do if I leave the palace empty?”

The man in front of him repeated, “Please come with me to Jizhou, Your Highness. I don’t know anything else. Don’t keep His Majesty waiting.”

Xie Chaoling sneered. “With your attitude, how can I be sure that what you say is true?”

“Does Your Highness intend to disobey the decree?” the man frowned and asked.

As the two sides were deadlocked, a messenger came in and reported that the King Ding had arrived and wished to see the Crown Prince.

Xie Chaoling immediately allowed the messenger to enter.

Xie Fengzhen looked serious. Having seen the soldiers of the Imperial Guards outside and now meeting their leader here, he frowned tighter and asked, “General He, may I speak alone with the Crown Prince?”

Although still reluctant, the leader of the Imperial Guards retreated at Xie Fengzhen’s request and left with the words, “I’ll be waiting for Your Highness outside.”

“Royal Uncle, do you know what’s going on?” Xie Chaoling asked directly.

“The Emperor issued a secret order for me to monitor any unusual activities in the capital to prevent anyone from taking advantage of it. He sent someone to take you to Jizhou. It’s related to the Dongshan Ying. Do you understand?” Xie Fengzhen replied.

Xie Chaoling’s expression darkened slightly. “I understand.”

“The letter was written by you, but why did you need to stamp it? Xu Shanying is not someone who would not know any better. Why would he keep the letter?” Xie Fengzhen asked with concern.

“I wrote it,” Xie Chaoling said, not explaining further.

He did write the letter, but he didn’t stamp it. He didn’t believe that Xu Shanying would keep the letter as evidence against him. He quickly figured out the cause and effect. No wonder that beast made such a demand and reminded him not to forget.

“Uncle, you shouldn’t have come. Father gave you a secret order, but you came to the Eastern Palace to tell me. If it gets back to Father’s ears, it may implicate you,” said Xie Chaoling.

After all, that Xu Shan was introduced to him by Xie Fengzhen.

Xie Fengzhen didn’t mind and said, “Don’t worry about me. Something is not quite right about this. Have you thought about how to handle it?”

Xie Chaoling looked up, remained silent for a moment, and sighed, “Let’s talk about it when I get to Jizhou.”

Xie Fengzhen seemed to have caught a glimpse of his expression and hesitantly asked, “Crown Prince, have you already guessed what it’s all about?”

“No,” Xie Chaoling smiled awkwardly, “I don’t know either.”

Xie Fengzhen thought he looked strange, but couldn’t ask more at this moment. He reminded him, “You will go with the Imperial Guards to Jizhou. General He is His Majesty’s man and shouldn’t do anything to you. But just in case, I’ll arrange some people to escort you.”

“No need,” Xie Chaoling refused him, “Uncle, don’t get involved in this matter. If Father finds out, it will be even more difficult to explain. As you said, General He is Father’s man, and Father must have his reasons for sending him. I’ll just be careful.”

Xie Fengzhen couldn’t persuade him and had to let it go. “Don’t overthink it. When you face your Father, admit your mistake. The more you argue with him, the more unhappy he’ll be. Just get through this hurdle first.”

Xie Chaoling nodded, “I understand. Thank you for the reminder, Your Highness.”

Afterwards, the commander of the Forbidden Army entered the room again and reminded Xie Chaoling once more, “Your Highness, please leave with me as soon as possible. We can still reach the posthouse before dark if we leave now while the city gates are still open. His Majesty ordered me to bring you over as soon as possible, and I dare not delay.”

“May I bring a few people with me?” Xie Chaoling asked.

“The palace attendants who serve Your Highness can come.”

Xie Chaoling didn’t say anything else, “I will have my people pack our things, and we will leave in two quarters of an hour.”

He didn’t bring too many people with him, leaving Liao Zhi to watch over the East Palace while bringing only four eunuchs who served him closely on a daily basis.

Before leaving, he took the short knife that Xie Chaoyuan had given him from the wall and put it in his sleeve.

King Huai’s residence.

It was already dark outside, and Song Shi was kneeling outside the main hall, clenching his fists tightly and trembling slightly.

At the end of the fourth watch, Xie Chaoqi finally agreed to let him in.

As soon as Song Shi entered, he knelt down again, no longer as calm as before, pleading with Xie Chaoqi, “Your Highness, please save me!”

Xie Chaoqi was impatient, “Speak straightforwardly.”

Song Shi handed over a note he had received from a carrier pigeon an hour ago. The note had only two lines instructing him to reach the north city station before dawn and intercept the leader of the imperial guards on the way to Ji state, and then abduct the crown prince.

After reading the note, Xie Chaoqi asked in a deadpan, “Where did this come from?”

“…It was sent by the King Ke’s man.”

With a loud “smack”, Xie Chaoqi lashed his whip across Song Shi’s face, sending him crashing to the ground with a bloody mark on his face. Trembling with pain, Song Shi bit his teeth, not daring to say a word.

“Great, you are indeed King Ke’s man,” Xie Chaoqi gritted his teeth, wishing he could skin the man alive.

Song Shi clenched his fists and said, “I am King Ke’s man, but he wants me dead. He ordered me to abduct the crown prince and will definitely hand myself over after. He wants to pin the blame on you for the kidnapping and assassination of the imperial guard leader.”

He had been restless these days, knowing that Xie Chaoyuan would never let him go. But he didn’t expect that Xie Chaoyuan would dispose of him so soon. He realized that Xie Chaoyuan was pushing him to his death.

But he didn’t want to die.

“Please, Your Highness, save me. As long as you promise to protect me, I will do whatever you want me to do. I suspect that King Ke has planted more than one spy around you, and he has known about the previous incident for a long time. I know how King Ke’s men communicate with the outside world, and I can help you expose them.”

Xie Chaoqi sneered. The news of Emperor Qianming sending the leader of the Forbidden Army to take the Crown Prince to Jizhou couldn’t be kept secret. By now, it’s probably already spread throughout the city. Xie Chaoyuan had a good plan in mind, but he also wanted to take advantage of the chaos to harm him? It’s not that easy!

Song Shi continued to plead desperately, while Xie Chaoqi lowered his head and stared coldly at the note in his hand. This thing couldn’t even count as evidence, so even if Song Shi didn’t listen to him, Xie Chaoyuan couldn’t do anything to him.

“So you were arranged by King Ke to get close to me from the beginning, and you’re not Jiang Shi’s brother at all,” he said softly.

Song Shi’s voice abruptly stopped, and he crawled on the ground, afraid to answer.

Then you can go and die.

Xie Chaoqi didn’t say this out loud, “First help me remove the spies in this mansion, and let me see what you’re capable of.”

The Residence of King Ke.

Xie Chaoyuan sat on the couch, playing chess alone with a lamp lit. After four o’clock, Wang Rang came to report: “There has been no movement from the King Huai’s Mansion, nor any news from that Song Shi or anyone else.”

“No need to wait anymore. Song Shi is useless. We’ll deal with him when we get the chance and follow the other plan as previously discussed.”

As for Xie Chaoqi, his current situation was slightly better than Xie Chaorong’s, who was stripped of his title and imprisoned. A dog of a bereaved family, why bother caring? Without any more spies, it’s over.

After Xie Chaoyuan gave his instructions in a calm voice, he made a move on the chessboard with ease.

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