Chapter 268 – The Cargo of Lanterns
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The next morning.
Ji Yunshu went out. She planned to make a trip to Yuhua Pavilion, but halfway, she changed directions and went to the Rong Estate.
Upon her arrival, the servants at the estate told her Jing Rong was in the rear court.
Hey, hey, hey! What make you think that I came to find him?
However, she still went there despite thinking otherwise. When she reached the rear court, she saw Jing Rong standing in a corridor, fiddling with the decorated lantern in front of him.
He looks way too idle.
Ji Yunshu was about to come over when she noticed Lu Jiang’s arrival. She decided to stay put.
“Your Highness, the gifts were all prepared and can be delivered to the imperial palace in two days,” Lu Jiang reported.
“The presents for the Emperor have been handled meticulously.”
“That’s good. When the time comes to move and lift them, make sure that nothing is damaged or my imperial father will blame us. Carelessness will cost us.”
Lu Jiang nodded. “This subordinate understands.”
Ji Yunshu was a bit puzzled. What gifts did he choose that need to be moved and lifted? How big could it be? It sounded like a grand present the way he said it. Was there a need to make it into a big deal?
At that moment, Lu Jiang’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Your Highness, Old General Li hasn’t left his residence for the few past days, and no one came to visit him. Nothing out of ordinary could be found.”
Old General Li? Ji Yunshu perked up her ears at the mention of the name. She hid to the side and continued to eavesdrop.
Jing Rong took down the lantern and surveyed left and right before throwing out his question. “And afterwards?”
Lu Jiang continued, “Although there was no movement on Old General Li’s side, his son Li Gang…”
“During that time, Li Gang went many times to Fangshui to privately meet the boss of the lantern shop whose surname is Zhang. This year, a great number of lanterns need to be set up for the banquet venue, and the goods have been delivered yesterday. Coincidentally, the lanterns came from Fangshui, even more strangely, all of them came from Zhang’s shop.”
Jing furrowed his brows tighter.
His finger poked the lantern and accidentally pierced through the paper cover, creating a hole on it.
He gently placed it to the side and put his hands behind his back. He focused his mind on analyzing the situation. “If it is like you say, Li Gang is secretly helping his father. The current matter might be related to Imperial Father’s birthday. In that case…”
He narrowed his eyes.
Lu Jiang inquired, “What are your Highness’ thoughts?”
“Li Gang didn’t go to Fangshui earlier or later, but he had to travel there during this time. This is too much of a coincidence. It must be related to the lanterns delivered yesterday. If I’ve guessed correctly, there must be a problem with those lanterns.” He then asked Lu Jiang, “Who is responsible for the security of Imperial Father’s birthday this year?”
This Zhang Bo was a good man who Jing Rong had contact with. He was a 4th rank official working for the Dispatch Bureau. A man who could adapt himself to the situation. A good example – The year before, he was sent to the battlefield to fight against invaders as valiant general. After his return to the capital, he was put in charge of the security of the palace.
Jing Rong pondered for a bit before voicing his thoughts. “Imperial Father’s birthday is in two days. Tomorrow, they will begin putting up the lanterns. This Prince will go find Zhang Bo today.”
Lu Jiang had no other opinion.
After a while, Jing Rong gestured. “You may leave first.”
“Yes, your Highness!” He retreated.
After Lu Jiang left, Jing Rong looked over with a cold demeanor and shouted, “Come out!”
Ji Yunshu popped her out of her hiding place and slowly walked to him.
Jing Rong watched her come over and a gentle smile thawed his icy expression. Curious, he asked her, “Did you hear everything?”
“This matter has nothing to do with you.” He bluntly stated.
She didn’t respond but continued to walk until she was by his side. Her black eyes moved to his face, and she asked him in a serious tone. “Do you think Old General Li’s purpose has to do with the Emperor’s birthday?”
“I don’t know, but it might be possible.”
“In fact…” Ji Yunshu hesitated. She chose her words carefully before continuing. “When Shi Zijin came back yesterday, she happened to pass by the convoy which were transporting the goods into the capital. By accident, her sleeve was stained with sulfur. At that time, I thought it was firecrackers, but now that I heard your conversation, I am not so sure.”
His expression became solemn. He asked her in a grave tone, “Do you mean that those carriages might be the ones transporting the lanterns from Fangshui?”
“Those lanterns contained sulfur. In other words… they are transporting explosive powder!” Jing Rong concluded – even he was surprised by his conclusion.
Ji Yunshu paused then added, “It’s only a guess.”
Although it was only a guess, he believed her because he knew how intelligent she was. Her analytical mind was much more thorough and nimble than a normal person. Not to mention how sharp her nose was.
“In a moment, I’ll go see Zhang Bo and inform him about the lanterns. If there is really a problem with them, we will do as planned.” He stated.
He calmly said, “This will depend on Old General Li’s attitude.”
His words were unclear, but Ji Yunshu didn’t probe him further.
She was about to say something else, but Jing Rong cut her off. “I will handle this. You don’t need to get involved.” This wasn’t up for discussion – It was an order.
Ji Yunshu nodded obediently.
Following her agreement, Jing Rong looked at her puzzled, “You said that Shi Zijin went through the gates, where did she go?”
When he asked her, he watched attentively if she didn’t mind the question. Ji Yunshu couldn’t tell him she sent Shi Zijin to follow Su Ziluo, so she lied. “I sent her out to buy me some roasted sweet potatoes.”
“Roasted sweet potatoes?” Jing Rong was astonished.
“Yeah. The roasted sweet potatoes from the grandma at the gates is delicious.”
“I didn’t expect you to have that kind of taste.”
She didn’t respond.
Jing Rong’s expression quickly changed to a flirty one, sporting a charming smile. “Why did you come at this time? Did you miss me?” he uttered, full of affection.
Ji Yunshu rolled eyes at him. “I came to pick something up.”
“Paint.” She blurted out.
He didn’t believe her. “Why didn’t you send Lang Po instead of coming yourself?”
Oi, oi, oi! Are you done? Ji Yunshu refused to answer his question. She turned around and went to East courtyard, not without saying, “Why don’t you hurry and go to Zhang Bo before they set up the lanterns? If there is a problem, it won’t be too late to resolve it.”
Jing Rong’s eyes were filled with tenderness as he watched her leave.
Very good! If he could bicker and stay like this with her for the rest of their lives, it would be perfect.
Soon after, Jing Rong went to the Dispatch Bureau to meet Zhang Bo.
“Prince Rong, what may I do for you?” Zhang Bo asked.
Jing Rong didn’t like to speak in a roundabout fashion. He directly went to the main topic. “This Prince heard the lanterns from Fangshui had arrived. Is that true?”
“Yes, your Highness. The cargo came yesterday.”
“Is it possible to let me see?”
Zhang Bo didn’t understand Jing Rong’s sudden interest in the lanterns. “Why does your Highness want to inspect the lanterns?”
Were the lanterns that pretty? Could it be that the Rong estate doesn’t have any lanterns?
Grenn’s Rants Corner
I suddenly imagine Jing Yi and Ji Muqing blasting off again… not XD