Chapter 174 – The Influence of the Ji Family Reaches Far and Wide
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
“If you were a man, everyone would fight over you to welcome you to their house as a guest.”
Jing Rong nodded. “With your intelligence, not only can you deal with dead people, you also have strategies meant for the living. Of course, this is a matter that everyone would want to fight over you for.”
“What about your Highness?” Ji Yunshu stared at him. Her eyes were pensive as she asked him, “Does your Highness desire to receive me as an honorable guest and help you climb the ladder?”
‘Climb the ladder?’ When Jing Rong heard these words, he wryly smiled. “I am not Jing Yi.” Unlike Jing Yi, he didn’t want to involve himself in the court fight, not to the point where either the opponent died or he died! He didn’t want the situation to ultimately turn into one where both he and his opponent would be harmed.
Ji Yunshu smiled, but she said nothing.
Under her hands, the painting on the lantern was complete. On the white paper covering the lantern, the red color glowed as each dot had bloomed into resplendent plum blossoms with pinkish gradient petals on the branches with everything interlacing with each other.
She took the lantern with her as she left the room and carefully hung it on a bamboo pole at the corner of the house. Then, she admired it for a moment before lowering her gaze and spoke in a faint voice, “Sometimes, there are too many matters that I can’t do anything about. The heavens have arranged a road for me, and even if I do everything to detour it, I will still end up treading on that road regardless of my thoughts and my will.”
After listening to her words, Jing Rong stayed quiet.
Ji Yunshu turned around and fixed her gaze on Jing Rong before adding, “Your Highness, the moment you were born, you were destined to be caught in this whirlpool of bloody fights. Even if you do not wish for it, you will still end up caught in schemes. The fight for the crown prince’s position has always been an inevitable matter.”
“Therefore, you feel that I might become similar to Jing Yi one day?”
“I don’t know!” She swiftly replied. She truly didn’t know, but she knows that as a prince, his life would never be a sea without waves. Once again, she turned her back to him, and under the eaves, she raised her head to look at the lantern she hung.
Jing Rong silently stepped forward and wordlessly stood beside her. During this moment of serenity, none of them had the intention to spoil it.
However, far away in Concubine Xiao’s residence, an upsurge of turmoil rose!
A teacup shattered loudly on the floor. Concubine Xiao was overwhelmed by fury. Her expression was terribly ferocious as she glared at the broken chinaware on the floor.
On the side, Jing Yi was seated in a calm manner.
“It was out of my expectations. Jing Rong’s strategy had reversed the situation in an instant.” She spoke with extreme anger.
Jing Yi glanced at his mother. He was also angry, but his anger burned steadily, only betrayed by the clenched fists hidden under his sleeves. “Imperial Mother, since the situation is like this, don’t let the anger harm your body.”
“How can I not be angry?! With this matter, Jing Rong is on the rise! From now on, his words will have more weight in front of the emperor. Whereas, your influence will be smaller.”
“Aren’t you overthinking? In the end, this is only a case. Imperial Father will unlikely favor him with just that. However, this matter made me wonder. When the Ministry of Justice interrogated Gan Chuliang, I was at the scene, and it was impossible for Jing Rong to drill into any gap.” Jing Yi was vexed.
Concubine Xiao’s powdered face twisted into contempt. “Let’s not guess at how he did it. In the end, he is only a bastard with a lackluster maternal clan.” Every time Concubine Xiao thought of Jing Rong’s birth mother, she could only grit her teeth in anger!
Long ago, Concubine Xiao and Jing Rong’s mother, Concubine Zhao, entered the palace together. However, due to Concubine Zhao’s foxy charm, she had captivated the emperor who fell head over heel for her. Unfortunately, she attempted to poison and harm the unborn child of Empress Xuanshu. Her punishment was her exile into the cold palace where she ultimately hung herself with a white silk, unable to endure the passing years slipping away in such place.
Concubine Xiao was full of hatred. She hated how her status couldn’t equal to the deceased Empress Xuanshu and the deceased Concubine Zhao despite being the most favored one in the harem. Those women were thorns; deeply embedded thorns in her bone that made her suffer all day long!
Jing Yi got up and lowered his head with solemnity. “Son knows that imperial mother does everything for my own good. However, please be assured that I know what I must do.”
“Ah? Let me hear what you have to say!”
“Even if Jing Rong resolves the missing girls case, it only allows him to unseal the coffin to investigate the Imperial Duke case. If there was an accident in the meantime, he cannot shoulder the responsibility. Besides, the case is 14 years old. The investigation will absolutely not be easy.” Jing Yi squinted his eyes which coldly glinted.
Concubine Xiao took into consideration her son’s words. Then, she lightly sighed. “If it was before, I would not believe in his success. However, he now has that Teacher Ji. I already met him and had sent out an olive branch, but he gave me no agreement nor a rejection. I even went as far as probing him, but in the end, he neither chose Prince Rong nor us. His reply was to not choose anyone. This man’s mind is truly elusive.”
“There’s something that I want to inform you.”
“What is it?”
Jing Yi lifted his eyes and stated, “That Teacher Ji is, in fact, the concubine born daughter of Ji Shuhan, the head of the Ji family in Jinjiang.”
“What?” Concubine Xiao was greatly shocked.
Ji Shuhan wasn’t a well-known person, but his two sons, Ji Li and Ji Huan, were famous in the capital.
Concubine Xiao frowned at the inconceivable news. “He is Ji Shuhan’s daughter? In other words, she is a woman?”
‘Oh heavens!’ Then, she recalled her encounter with Ji Yunshu. ‘That person wore a silk gown and had the bearing of a refined scholar with a soft tone.’ She should have guessed the other’s gender earlier.
Jing Yi continued, “Son also investigated her background and found that Miss Ji has been expelled from the Ji family. Thus, she can only follow Jing Rong to the capital and help him with the Lin Capital case.”
“She was expelled from her family? Why?” Concubine Xiao questioned.
“Imperial mother must have heard that Ji Li and Ji Huan had recently departed from the capital and returned to Jinjiang. The reason being a succession of death in their family, starting with their brother committing suicide in prison and their grandmother, Old Madame Ji, passing away from illness.” He paused a bit before adding, “The root of this series of misfortunes were attributed to Miss Ji.”
Concubine Xiao was in a daze from hearing all of this. “I have heard about the Ji family mourning, but is it all related to Miss Ji?”
Jing Yi nodded and related in detail everything pertaining to the story for his mother.
After listening to her son, Concubine Xiao’s expression became incredibly tranquil. After she mulled over it for a long while, she got up and slowly walked forward while frowning. She spoke out her analysis, “As expected, every single member of the Ji family is a difficult character. That Old Madame Ji was respected by the previous emperor. During the time Ji Shuhan was in office, the emperor also thought highly of him. Now, his two sons are successful with one being Army Supervisor Yi’s left secretary and the other being personally granted the title ‘Chang Lin General.’ In addition, The position of crown prince’s consort has been granted to the Ji family’s main daughter by Empress Xuanshu when she was alive. And now, there’s Ji Yunshu that appeared. The Ji family’s hand really reached far and wide. There’s one at the crown prince’s side and another at Jing Rong’s side.” She was more unreconciled than jealous.
Jing Yi didn’t say a word.
As for Concubine Xiao, her eyes glinted with an ominous light. She snorted. “Since that Miss Ji cannot be used, then she cannot remain here!”
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