Chapter 184 – The Falling Leaf Will Return to Its Root
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
“With me here, you will not die!” Mo Ruo had assured him countless times before with the same words.
Jing Xian smiled faintly. He closed the lid and placed the box beside him. Then, he lifted his heavy eyelids and looked out through the window. With a weak voice, he said, “Mo Ruo, my life and death is beyond your control. After imperial mother passed away 14 years ago, I’ve been confined behind these palace walls. As days turn to years, I am nothing but a puppet, a clown for all to see, kept alive only by medicine. Even a single step out of this hall, and countless eyes would gaze down upon me, scorning my every move. Up until this day, I can’t say that I’ve lived in torment, but it has become quite tiring.”
‘How bleak!’ For 14 years, he had been confined within this ruined palace hall. In crude words, Qi Zhen Emperor had imprisoned him in this place for life. Even if the crown prince ascended to the throne later, he would have to remain here, destined to never leave this cage.
Mo Ruo grabbed his arm and said in earnest, “Wait until I cure your illness, then the emperor will have no excuse to keep you here.”
“Will there ever be a day when I am healthy?”
“There will. You must believe in me!”
“Mo Ruo, thank you.” Jing Xian’s pale lips stretched into a faint, grateful smile.
“I was indebted to your imperial mother, thus helping you is a must. Besides, before my father died, he did make it clear that I must find a way to cure you. Since that old man entrusted me with such heavy task, I cannot leave him unable to rest in peace in the underworld.”
‘What a filial son!’
Although Mo Ruo was sloppy and had a penchant for wine and beauty, the words he spoke were always truthful, not to mention that this task was handed over to him by his deceased father. “To sum it up, take care of yourself, and don’t concern yourself with other thoughts.”
“I know.” Jing Xian promised. Then, he asked, “That’s right! I heard that imperial father handed over the missing girls case to Jing Rong. How has it gone? Was he able to investigate the truth?”
“He almost died.”
‘Huh?’ Jing Xian eagerly inquired. “What do you mean? Did he get into an accident?”
Mo Ruo shook his head and sighed. “The case is solved, but he is injured.”
“Is it grave?”
“With me here, he is alright, but you know his temper – a one-track mind. Although saving a life is more meritorious than building a seven-floor pagoda, only he would completely disregard his own life to save another.”
Despite the last sentence being vague, which evaded Jing Xian’s understanding, he didn’t inquire any further about the subject. He instead warned, “If he is fine, then that is good. Since the case is solved, Imperial Father will certainly allow him to unseal the coffins. If he can dig out the truth of the Imperial Duke case, his position within the imperial court will rise. But still, you have to remind him that he must not display his talons too early.”
Mo Ruo was puzzled. “Hey, young man, you’ve been cooped up in this palace alone, but your ears have very long reach. All these small and large matters haven’t escaped your grasp!”
“You have to admit that being ignored has its own advantages. It would be too tiring just watching the falling leaves return to their roots, so it’s a nice distraction listening to Bi Lu gossiping about outside matters. It helps pass the time. You also know that Bi Lu doesn’t have much ability, but with old age, he loves gossiping about all matters, both outside and within the palace. Any gossip will make his ears perk up in joy. As he is also terrible at keeping secrets, he would tell me everything, something I happen to enjoy listening to.” It took Jing Xian quite a bit of time to finish his explanation, as each sentence required all his strength to speak.
Next to him, Mo Ruo patiently listened. His curiosity stirred. He sat up straight whilst inquiring, “I really want to know what Bi Luo narrates to you.”
“I said everything that should be said.”
“Ah? Come on, let me hear. I’ve been away from the capital for a while, so I don’t know of any events that have occurred in my absence. Fill me in on the gossip.”
Jing Xian squinted his eyes. He felt somewhat tired. He retracted his morbidly white fingers back into his sleeves. Then, he slowly spoke to Mo Ruo. “The past two days, the rebellious people from Qu Jiang have been arriving at the Capital. Remember to warn Jing Rong that the investigation of the Imperial Duke has to wait until after the situation at the borders has stabilized. He must not go to Lin Mountain to unseal the coffins during this period if only to avoid attracting imperial father’s anger.”
Mo Ruo didn’t hear any interesting gossip, so he felt somewhat disappointed. He patted his thigh, got up and said, “Never mind! I’ll pass your warning to him. Have a good rest. I will come visit you next time. In the meantime, ease your mind and recuperate. One day, you will be able to leave the imperial palace.”
Jing Xian indifferently smiled in reply. His eyes closed as he said, “Imperial mother once said that the falling leaf will return to its roots, but where does it belong in the end? Is leaving the imperial palace the answer? If… that happens… one day…” His voice became more and more weak and soft as he gradually fell asleep on the rocking chair.
Mo Ruo lightly sighed. He thought to himself quietly that Jing Xian is probably the only prince in this world that would be in such a miserable state. Mo Ruo took a thin blanket and covered Jing Xian before leaving the room.
When he left, he called Bi Lu and instructed the latter. “Carefully attend to the Sage King. You have to remember that you must not let him drink any medicine from the Great Hospital. Follow my previous prescription. Make him drink everything accordingly. Do I make myself clear?”
Bi Lu nodded. “This old servant understands!”
Mo Ruo glanced at the dilapidated courtyard, then spoke again. “Is this place even fit for people to live? No matter what, he is still a prince. Go fetch some people to repair this place and refurbish it.”
“Yes, yes, yes…” Bi Lu agreed.
After Mo Ruo glanced once more inside the room, he reluctantly left.
The closure of the missing girls case was arranged to be announced through a written post by the capital governor. Next, he was obligated to report to the Supreme Court, but first, he had to head to the Rong estate and deliver the announcement post, so that it could be double-checked by Prince Rong.
Inside a pavilion.
“The Supreme Court can conceal the situation and leave the case on hold, so that after your injuries have healed, you can report directly to the palace as Prince Yi did.” The governor spoke frankly. It was clear that he agreed to let Jing Rong claim all the credit for this case. If Qi Zhen emperor was pleased, he might bestow rewards! Perhaps as the capital governor, he would get a share of it.
Although bandages were wrapped around Jing Rong’s head and hands, his appearance remained overbearing as always. His sharp falcon-like eyebrows knitted together and his eyes were like a raging volcano. He picked up his teacup and took a sip. Then, he placed the teacup back down before speaking. “There is no need. Let the Supreme Court handle it. Another thing, that Gan Chouliang should be re-examined. As for how… Although he didn’t kill anyone, he destroyed the corpses and evidence, which is tantamount to the same crime.”
“Yes, this humble official understands.”
“You may withdraw.”
The capital governor saluted Jing Rong, then he rolled up the announcement post. He was about to leave when urgent footsteps could be heard from afar. With a dignified appearance, a runner stood outside the pavilion.
“Your Highness, an incident has occurred.”
“What is the matter?” Jing Rong asked solemnly.
“Miss Ruan is missing!”
Clang! The teacup in Jing Rong’s hand dropped noisily on the table.
Meanwhile, a young servant girl in the East courtyard entered a room while holding Ji Yunshu’s clean clothes. Then, she gave a folded paper to Ji Yunshu.
“Teacher Ji, is this note yours?”
Ji Yunshu was perplexed as she received the note. “This is mine?”
The girl nodded. “This fell off from your other clothes.”
“It’s from the clothes you were wearing when you were injured.”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Uh-oh! It was too good to be true. Miss Ruan disappeared. Did Mei Xiang’er fake her death? Or did her brother survive? Find out in the next chapter.
It looks like the investigation of the Imperial Duke case can only begin after the next arc. So, the next arc is probably “Qu Jiang’s envoy”.