Chapter 223 – You Are My Dearest
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Jing Rong couldn’t help but smile slyly seeing her scared kitten-like appearance. He got up and walked to Ji Yunshu but sat down next to a table at the last minute. He focused his attention at the two teacups on it, taking one and pushing the other toward Ji Yunshu. Then, he lightly tapped on the table, indicating that she should sit down too.
Ji Yunshu shook her head. “There’s no need.”
“If you don’t sit down how can we have a good talk? Or do you want me to take with you in bed again?”
“Of course not.”
“Then, sit down. I don’t like looking up at people when talking.” His arrogance was plain to the sight.
‘Oi, oi, oi! What an inflated ego!’ Ji Yunshu was reluctant to move from her spot, but in the end she still walked to the chair and quietly sat down. However, she continued to monitor that evil man from the corner of her eyes.
Jing Rong was planning to have a serious talk with her. He turned around his teacup before he started talking. “Kong Yu and I share some similarities.”
Ji Yunshu stayed silent.
“Since she was a child, what she has been the most afraid of is to be a burden to others. She knows that I will stop at nothing to cancel her marriage. Therefore, she deliberately told me she was willing to marry the Qujiang King.”
Ji Yunshu kept quiet and continued to listen to his explanations.
Jing Rong paused for a moment. He took a sip of his tea before continuing, “She knows my thoughts and correctly guessed the idea came from you.”
“You mean the suggestion I made to marry her?”
“Yes. If I did ask my imperial father for her hand, he would surely have exploded in anger. The consequences of provoking my imperial father were never light. Even if such actions would help Kong Yu get away from this marriage, I wouldn’t be able to escape from punishment. You know how my imperial father is very suspicious of people.” Paranoia was a common problem among emperors.
Ji Yunshu empathized with him. She was the one who came up with the plan. Although it wasn’t the only feasible one, she insisted on it. However, as Jing Rong said, if he did go through with it, the consequences could be disastrous. A heavy punishment meant he could lose his prince status. A light one meant he could be punished with a dozens strokes of a cane.
Once she thought again, she realized that her plan to save Kong Yu was the most stupid one. Fortunately, Kong Yu was as intelligent as Mo Ruo described. She was able to avert the calamity that could have befallen Jing Rong.
She frowned as the realization hit her. Meanwhile, Jing Rong continued, “These years, I haven’t clarified my intentions for Kong Yu to my imperial father. If at this critical moment during the banquet I were to utter such words, the consequences wouldn’t be as simple as we might expect. If I didn’t meet her before the start of the banquet, I fear that you might be implicated after I go through with the plan. We haven’t started investigating the Lin capital case; I can’t let anything happen to you!”
“So this is the real reason you refuse to take her as a wife?” Ji Yunshu asked in shock.
“Yes. I didn’t want to give my imperial father a reason to criticize me and implicate you too.” His reasons were very clear.
Her heart quivered from his words, and it made her feel guilty to propose such a bad plan.
“Now, do you still think I’m heartless?” Jing Rong inquired.
“You know that you don’t need to give thought to me.”
“I can’t do that.”
She didn’t say a word.
“To me, you are my dearest.”
She merely lowered her head, unsure of how to respond.
Jing Rong got up; his body straight like a plank. He muttered a bit, then earnestly spoke to her. “Yunshu, bear in mind that no matter whether I have to dive through water or tread through fire, I will protect you without a doubt, so nothing happens to you.” Upon finishing those words, he left the room.
After the door closed, Ji Yunshu remained seated with her mind completely blank. Only when the door opened again did she finally snap back to reality. She looked up and saw two servants entering, each holding a candle in their hands.
“His Highness has ordered us to bring these lit candles, so Teacher can see clearly and avoid stumbling in the dark.”
“Put it there.”
“Yes.” After putting down the candles, they silently left.
With the addition of two candles, the room was much brighter. Sometimes, the light flickered as the flames swayed from the wind blowing through the window.
Ji Yunshu sat for a long time in front of her table. Unconsciously, her thoughts geared back to the tassel Su Ziluo had. A doubt she once had finally germinated.
‘Is Su Ziluo Ji Pei? But didn’t they say that Su Ziluo’s legs were paralyzed five years ago, unless- His legs are fine. Then, he has always been Su Ziluo.’
That certainty grew the more she pondered. The thoughts swirled and filled her mind, leaving her unable to sleep the whole night. When dawn came, she immediately departed to the relay station. She needed to see Su Ziluo and clarify her doubts. However, when she arrived, she was told he wasn’t in the relay station.
“Where did he go?” she asked.
The soldier was reluctant to speak with her, so he replied in a concise manner, “He didn’t say anything when he left.”
She could return to the Rong estate.
When she came back, she heard from Lu Jiang that Jing Rong had entered the palace. The Emperor had summoned him first thing in the morning. Then, she learned that his summon also included Su Ziluo.
Inside the imperial palace.
Regarding the death of General Yuchi, the case was a trending topic which was heavily debated in court, and all the important officials were dispatched to take care of the aftermath.
Su Ziluo went to Zhangzhi hall to attend the meeting as the representative of Qujiang. He appeared calm and wore his signature’s smile. The kind of faint smile that left an odd feeling with its beholders as they couldn’t decipher his mood from such an impersonal smile.
Qi Zhen swept a glance at everyone in the hall. When his eyes fell on Su Ziluo, who sat on a wheelchair, he was shocked. The two princes on his side also noticed his reaction and they glanced at Su Ziluo. The Crown Prince Jing Hua revealed his disdain; Prince Yi merely narrowed his eyes which held only inquiry; and as for Jing Rong, he remained expressionless.
Despite his lack of expression, his eyes continued darting toward Su Ziluo. ‘Is that man really Ji Pei? But Yunshu said he isn’t.’
At that moment, Qi Zhen announced the start of the meeting. “An unexpected accident has occurred which we will handle with fairness. We will not let General Yuchi’s death remain unclear!”
Su Ziluo raised his weary eyes and slowly spoke. “Then, how does your Majesty plan to handle this matter?”
“If the killer is really Secretary Ji, we will handle it according to the laws of our Great Lin without bias.”
“Does your Majesty mean payback with one’s life?”
“Apart from killing the culprit, anything else?” Su Ziluo’s tone became heavy. Nothing could be deduced about his true intentions.
Qi Zhen was caught off guard by the other party’s words. He became more certain that the man was far from simple. “Teacher Su’s meaning has eluded us. Today, our Great Lin’s imperial court is in full attendance. If you wish to say anything, feel free to do so.”
“Isn’t the most important thing at present to find the murderer? Afterward, I will be able to notify my king about the matter and let him decide on the follow-up. In the end, I am merely a small military officer and have no authority in making decisions on such important matters.”
He shook his head slightly and carried on smiling.
Qi Zhen knew that man’s objectives were far from transparent.