Chapter 164 – Scapegoat
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Seeing that Yan Weiyi was scared speechless, Jing Rong smiled with great satisfaction, yet his appearance seemed incredibly evil. “Teacher Yan, no need to panic. If this Prince actually slipped shiban poison inside the tea, you wouldn’t be sitting here like this now.” After declaring that, he switched his tone to a puzzled one. “Anyway, this northern tangerine tree was grown by you. Even if you are poisoned by it, you should also know how to detoxify the poison, no?”
Yan Weiyi knew that he was caught red-handed. Everything that he did was all known by Jing Rong. He raised his gaze from the cold tea and asked, “If your Highness has anything to say, why don’t you make it clear?”
“Good! Since you said so, I will get straight to the point.” Jing Rong leaned forward before speaking. “Although you and I have never crossed paths, your fame has spread to my ears long ago. At that time, you were a civil official at the imperial court. However, you were removed from your position for corruption charges.”
“What about it?”
“Not long ago, your son, Yan Su, took the position of assistant minister of the Ministry of War. He also happened to receive my orders to lead the investigation of the ‘Concealed Weapons’ case. Who would have thought that all the puppets’ strings ultimately lead to your son? Your son was convicted, and the Emperor unleashed his fury by sentencing him to be beheaded in public for the crime of rebellion.” Jing Rong put an emphasis on the words “beheaded in public”. While he spoke, he also carefully observed Yan Weiyi’s expression.
His last sentence was like a stab to Yan Weiyi’s heart, whose animosity had instantly vanished from his countenance.
Jing Rong continued without pause. “Teacher Yan must feel that if I didn’t trace up to him and investigate, perhaps, he would have escaped this ordeal. However, the Heavens doesn’t follow people’s will. No matter how much one schemes, something will ultimately go awry in the process. In a sense, you should understand this principle more than I do. After all, you were a junior clerk in the Ministry of Justice.”
Yan Weiyi’s hostility bursted out, revealing itself completely without any concealment across his face. “Your Highness has been talking in circles for awhile; I believe what you want to talk about is the matter on Liang mountain, am I right?”
“Hum…” Jing Rong smiled as he slightly nodded.
“I also believe that you already knew everything pertaining that, is that correct?”
Contrariwise, Yan Weiyi let out a sigh of relief, then he continued to ask. “So, are you going to send me to the Supreme court’s prison? Will you charge me with the crime of attempted assassination on a prince?”
“There’s no need for that.” Jing Rong curled his lips. “I already gave my order to Lu Jiang to lead a few people to your garden. At this time, they should be very busy uprooting all your northern tangerine trees.”
“Such a toxic thing shouldn’t be left alone, or it would only bring more harm than good. Your trees will receive the punishment in your stead,” Jing Rong spoke flippantly without a single pause.
Yan Weiyi’s face was as dark as the bottom of a pot. Although those northern tangerine trees are used to manufacture Shiban poison, the main point was that those trees were his precious treasures. Each seed took years to sprout and grow, but all his hard work went down the drain with just one word from Jing Rong. It would be a lie if he said it didn’t hurt him. He choked on his saliva while his complexion turned ashen. In contrast, Jing Rong’s smile was even more radiant.
Jing Rong stated, “It’s impossible for you not to understand the words ‘being used’, right? The only reason you wanted to kill me is because of your son’s ambition. A valid reason, I have to admit. However, why do you want to act as a scapegoat for others?”
‘Acting as a scapegoat for others?’ Naturally, the ‘others’ referred to Jing Yi.
Yan Weiyi kept quiet. He vaguely understood Jing Rong’s meaning.
Jing Rong unhurriedly picked up the cup of tea and poured the contents on the ground before he continued to speak. “Since you are merely a scapegoat, this Prince has no reason to kill you. Those trees can be considered as your scapegoat. Therefore, I will no longer pursue this matter. Besides, there’s a saying that fits this situation aptly: killing the chicken to warn the monkey. Lord Yan, after receiving this lesson, you will not repeat the same offense in the future, right? After all, although that person lent you a hand to assassinate this Prince, having a common enemy doesn’t mean that it’s alright to become the other party’s pawn, don’t you think?”
Yan Weiyi was very clear on the meaning is hidden deep between Jing Rong’s words. Jing Yi knew that Yan Weiyi wanted to take revenge for his son. They both have a common enemy, so they would side together. Yet, Yan Weiyi’s hatred had blinded him and he was repeatedly used more than once by others. In the end, the one who would end up being accused as the mastermind will only be him. This move of Jing Yi was as masterful as before!
“Thank you very much… for your reminder.” Yan Weiyi slowly enunciated each word.
Jing Rong took out a round jade pendant from his sleeve and put it on the table before pushing it across him. “I’ll trouble Teacher Yan to give back this jade pendant to its rightful owner. Next time, before doing anything, it’s better if you don’t leave behind such obvious evidence. Although this jade pendant doesn’t mean anything, it’d probably cause a lot of problems if this thing is presented in front of the emperor.”
Although Yan Weiyi didn’t understand how Jing Yi’s death guard was in possession of this jade pendant, he could follow the vine to get the melon. In the end, who knows if this was due to Jing Yi’s negligence or the stupidity of those death guards?
Yan Weiyi took the jade pendant; His heart was in turmoil from all those revelations.
From the very beginning of their meeting, Jing Rong only spoke in half-words about this matter, and never once did he mention Jing Yi’s name. Yet, his vague words had caused Yan Weiyi to be stumped for a long time.
Yan Weiyi left the Peach Blossoms Spring when he was finally able to compose himself. After Yan Weiyi’s departure, Lang Po, who had been standing guard outside of the pavilion, came in. With prudence, he inquired, “Why did your Highness let him go?”
Jing Rong’s freezing gaze surveyed the peach blossoms trees in the distance. His sword-like eyebrows knitted together as he spat out, “There are way too many vermins. Killing all of them one by one would take forever. The best way to deal with them is to let those vermins… kill each other.”
After Yan Weiyi left the Peach Blossoms Spring, he directly rushed to Prince Yi’s residence.
In the meantime, the news about the safe return of Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu, as well as the new progress in the missing girls case, reached Jing Yi’s ears.
The teacup in his hand broke in half as it was dropped on the table. Jing Yi maintained his calm appearance, yet he appeared more stern than usual. “I didn’t expect for them to escape death. Not to mention, they ended up finding a clue for the missing girls case.”
‘What a miscalculation!’
He cold voice was heard again. “What is going with Yan Weiyi? Such a big opportunity, yet he couldn’t kill them. Damn trash!”
Dou Quan stood in silence beside him.
At this moment, a pageboy outside announced, “Your Highness, Teacher Yan has come.”
Jing Yi’s expression sank as he nodded to his servant.
A moment later, Yan Weiyi walked in while donning an expressionless face. After he reached the center of the room, he clasped his hands to salute Jing Yi.
“Your people are truly far from being competent. A great opportunity has come to naught.” Jing Yi snorted.
“It was my fault not handling the matter to the best I could.”
“Forget it. This Prince will not hold you in account. Be more vigilant. Don’t repeat the same mistake next time!”
‘What do you mean by ‘there will be a next time’?’ Yan Weiyi was extremely displeased. He was made into a scapegoat and all his northern tangerine trees, which he painstakingly grew with his own efforts, had been uprooted by Jing Rong. He was in fury with nowhere to vent and, unexpectedly, Jing Yi still had the gall to say “Don’t repeat the same mistake next time.” That man still wanted to use him again!
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Let’s see how many plot and sub-plots are currently ongoing.
1. The missing girls case (part of the main plot: the Imperial Duke case)
2. Qujiang causing unrest at the border (sub-plot related to Li Shiyan and **secret**)
3. Jing Rong’s poisoned bodyguards (Throne fight sub-plot)
4. The Ji family’s feud (sub-plot related to Ji Yunshu)
Did I miss one?