Chapter 139 – Negotiation
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The woman who was called Jing Xuan immediately pouted. She harrumphed but still obediently wound back her whip. However, it didn’t stop her from venting her anger by stomping her feet. “Im- Big brother, why are you always helping other people?!”
‘Big brother?’ It appeared that Jing Xuan was a princess.
Jing Rong didn’t plan to attend to Jing Xuan. He looked at Ji Yunshu and reached for her wrist before pulling her toward him. “Come back with me.” After speaking those words, he pulled her out of the restaurant, leaving behind a flustered and exasperated Jing Xuan who was noisily complaining. She turned around and saw a confused Li Shiyan. She resumed back to her princess attitude and arrogantly spoke to him, “Hey you! Listen well, today I let you off the hook. But if you dare to display such temper in front of me next time, I’ll break your wrist! Do you hear me?”
Li Shiyan didn’t respond.
After warning him, she hurriedly chased after Jing Rong. When she came near her brother, she tugged at him and pulled him aside before whispering to him, “Imperial brother, who is this? Why is he wearing a mask?”
“Why do you care so much about it?”
“I… I was just asking you. It’s been half a year since I last saw you, but you’re still so fierce!”
For Jing Rong, his little sister was always a source of headaches. He frowned but lowered his voice as he replied to her, “Hurry and return to the palace. The next time you dare to secretly slip out of the palace, I will tell your imperial mother about it.”
“Imperial brother, I went out of the palace just to see you.”
“I’m busy. I have no time to care about you. I’ll order people to send you back to the palace.”
Without waiting for Jing Xuan to act willfully, Jing Rong quickly left while dragging Ji Yunshu with him. Jing Xuan could only glare at her brother. However, deep inside her heart, she was very curious about the identity of the man her brother came for. How come when she looked at her brother, it seemed as if her brother actually cared for that man? He even said ‘Let’s go back’. Go back to where?
Meanwhile, inside the restaurant, Li Shiyan was still shocked. That man earlier, wasn’t he the man accompanying Shu’er? As for that person wearing the mask… “She couldn’t be Shu’er, right?” The realization shocked Li Shiyan!
On their way to the Rong estate, Jing Rong didn’t ask anything, and Ji Yunshu also didn’t mention about meeting with Madame Jiang. They both understood it was meaningless to speak because Jing Rong must have already known about Madame Jiang. “Tomorrow is Concubine Xiao’s birthday. You should prepare yourself,” said Jing Rong.
Ji Yunshu nodded.
Jing Rong’s expression sank. “Next time when you leave the estate, you should tell me your whereabouts. I want to avoid mobilizing all the troops within the capital to search for you.”
‘Are you sulking?’ However, Ji Yunshu could clearly hear the concern in his voice. Therefore, she blinked her big eyes and obediently nodded in reply.
The next day, Ji Yunshu followed Jing Rong into the palace. Concubine Xiao’s birthday banquet was held in Tongzhi hall. As soon as they entered, they took a seat and Jing Rong whispered next to her. While listening to Jing Rong, she followed his eyes as he started to introduce each of the present guests.
This event was an unprecedented affair put in place by Qi Zhen emperor since no concubine has ever celebrated their birthday so grandly before. Concubine Xiao was sitting beside the emperor in a dignified manner, dressed in opulence. She was observing the banquet the whole time. Just below, respectively on their left and right, sat Prince Yi, Jing Yi, and the crown prince, Jing Hua. Following their ranks, Jing Rong and several ministers sat below them.
“Doesn’t the emperor have seven sons?” asked Ji Yunshu in puzzlement.
“Three have died.”
“The crown prince, Prince Yi, you, Prince Rong, and who else?”
“Jing Xian, but his health is not good since birth. He rarely comes out; thus, not many people have seen him.”
Their dialogue consisted of a question and an answer. Ji Yunshu nodded to express her understanding but no longer asked. Probably due to her mask, as soon as she took a seat, she attracted numerous eyes. She had inadvertently attracted Prince Yi’s attention whose eyes stealthily observed her, while a mysterious smile floated on his face.
Concubine Xiao’s birthday banquet in Tongzhi hall was currently at its best with music and dance. Then, Concubine Xiao leaned closer to the emperor and whispered something in his ear. Their eyes from time to time drifted to Ji Yunshu. After the dance and music stopped, everyone raised their cup of wine and loudly cheered, “Long live to the emperor! We wish Concubine Xiao happiness, longevity, and good health!” Of course, Concubine Xiao spoke a few polite words in response.
Qi Zhen emperor smiled, then looked at Ji Yunshu. He asked Jing Rong, “Is this the talented person you spoke about?”
Jing Rong got up and lowered his head in respect. “Yes, his surname is Ji.”
“Teacher Ji?” The emperor laughed while observing Ji Yunshu. He then asked, “Do you have the ability to investigate the Lin Capital case?”
Ji Yunshu got up and imitated Jing Rong by lowering her head. “This humble one is but a small painter. Prince Rong values me, but I really am not considered an extraordinary talent.”
“Contrariwise, you have eloquence,” said the emperor.
At this moment, Concubine Xiao suddenly shifted her gaze to Ji Yunshu. She didn’t speak a word for while before faintly saying, “Recently, I heard that many girls from distinguished families have disappeared within the capital. The capital governor and the Supreme Court had investigated for such a long time yet there are still no clues. Since Prince Rong has carefully chosen Teacher Ji to help investigate the Imperial Duke case, you are surely an outstanding person. How about we hand over this case to Teacher Ji?” When she was done talking, she glued herself next to the emperor and wrapped herself around his arm. In a soft voice she continued, “Your Majesty, this Concubine suggests that we test Teacher Ji. Afterall, the Imperial Duke case involves the imperial household. We cannot just rely on Prince Rong’s judgment. So, how about using that series of missing cases to test him? What do you think, your Majesty?”
Ji Yunshu had to admit that, to be able to survive in the harem up until now, Concubine Xiao didn’t just depend on tricks; her IQ also contributed to most of the part.
When the emperor heard her speech, he mused for a moment before nodding. He stated, “Concubine Xiao is right.” Then, he continued while looking at Jing Rong, “Jing Rong, we think that suggestion is good. Let Teacher Ji investigate those missing cases. If he can solve it, we will believe that he has the ability to investigate the Lin Capital case.”
Jing Rong’s expression was slightly awkward as he glanced at Ji Yunshu. He knew that she accepted to travel to the capital only for the Imperial Duke case. Yet, now she had to investigate another case. This was completely unanticipated.
‘According to this woman’s temper, she will unlikely agree to my Imperial Father.’ Unexpectedly, Ji Yunshu detoured around her banquet table and walked until she was in the middle of the hall. She pulled up her robe a bit and kneeled. Both of her hands were clasped in front of her. A strong determination could be seen in her gaze. “Since your Majesty and her ladyship, Concubine Xiao, will let me investigate those missing cases, then this humble one will take over those cases. However, this humble one would like to add a condition.”
‘A condition?’ Everyone was flabbergasted. Since ancient times, no one has ever dared to negotiate with the emperor. It appeared that this person didn’t want to stay alive!
Jing Yi smiled even more when he heard Ji Yunshu’s words. He swirled the cup of wine in his hand. He wanted to carefully watch the scene unfolding before him. As for the crown prince, with his simple mind, he watched the drama in front of him with an extremely disdainful smile. He thought to himself that this person was provoking his father’s ire and should be beheaded. In fact, it was best if Jing Rong was beheaded along with him.
As for Jing Rong, at this instant, he was carefully observing his father’s expression. The emperor’s expression greatly changed several times. First, his expression became overcast, next a smile smoothed his face. Finally, he showed curiosity and asked Ji Yunshu, “What condition do you want? How interesting! Tell me. What is your condition?”
Ji Yunshu raised her head and indifferently spoke, “If this humble one can solve the missing cases, I hope your Majesty will send an edict that will allow us to open the coffins of the victims involved in the Imperial Duke case.”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Oh! Ji Yunshu really know how to grasp onto opportunity. She might as well fulfilled Madame Jiang request at the same time. Two or three birds with one stone!