Chapter 290 – The Landscape of an Empire
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Dou Quan, who was standing outside the hall, had heard their entire conversation. He entered, “Why does your Highness want to drag Yan Weiyi into this?”
Jing Yi slighted his head, an evil smile spreading over his face. He picked up the teapot and began to pour into his already full teacup, watching it overflow, tea dripping all over his desk. His actions were sick, twisted! Jing Yi spoke, “Yan Weiyi is a threat; once he escapes this Prince’s control, he might expose this Prince’s involvement with Jing Rong’s poisoning, but if we tie him to the Crown Prince’s ambush, then it will turn into the Crown Prince tried to kill Jing Rong. Hence, Yan Weiyi must die so that he can forever keep his silence.”
“This servant is foolish.”
“Now, all we have to do is wait for three days.” Jing Hua placed his teapot down gently, staring at the overflowing tea puddle on the patterned wood, dripping down the corner of his desk, spreading drop by drop across the floor, as if he was a master painter creating the landscape of an Empire…
In the next three days, Ji Yunshu never left Bamboo Creek Garden. Mo Ruo had made one prior visit, mentioning that Jing Rong was still in prison, but Ji Yunshu avoided him, instead focusing on investigating the remains. She stretched a gloved hand into a coffin, an acrid odour wafting into the air. With the constant exposure to air, the bones’ initial musty tang had evolved, now emanating an awful stench comparable to a damp gown that had been stuffed into the bottom of a trunk. It couldn’t be helped – the rain had not stopped over the past few days, and with the cheap, shoddy coffins in which they were stored, it was reasonable that it would smell this horrible.
Ji Yunshu continued to study the remains as if she was possessed. Mo Ruo got no response out of her. Exasperate, he grabbed her arm, “Are you listening to me?”
“I’ve heard it all.”
“Jing Rong is still in prison, but that foxy old general has already escaped far from the Capital, and you’re doing this? Leaving everything alone?”
Ji Yunshu freed herself from his grasp. Her gaze turned cold. “I’ve said before, stop investigating this matter; Prince Rong will be alright.”
Mo Ruo grabbed her arm once more, pulling her to stand right before him. He asked sternly, “Miss Ji, you should understand my temper – I’ve never meddled in useless affairs; even if someone were to die before my eyes, I wouldn’t even try to save him, but Jing Rong is different. We grew up together – I can’t just watch him rot in prison without doing anything. You were the one who said it, that you would find the evidence proving his innocence, but what are you doing now? Can looking at these rotten skeletons save him?”
With that, Mo Ruo kicked over a coffin, the remains it held splaying all over the floor. Ji Yunshu pushed him away, kneeling down to pick up each bone carefully, “These remains are the key to solving the ‘Lin Capital Case’ – once they have been damaged, the paintings would be affected as well.”
Mo Ruo was sorely disappointed, “Jing Rong would move mountains and even die for you, but what about you? You speak about caring about him, but now you could care less whether he lives or dies, only pouring over the ‘Lin Capital Case’?” Mo Ruo left huffily.
Ji Yunshu held the scattered remains in her hands, eyes reddening. She took a deep breath, an attempt to keep her tears from falling as she carefully placed the remains back into the coffin, trying to maintain her calm composure.
Shi Zijin, who was hidden, witnessed the whole exchange. Although she had inflicted many cruel and harsh acts of torment as a killer, she could not help but feel sorry for Ji Yunshu, especially when she was fully aware of what Ji Yunshu had been through!
In those three days, Jing Rong remained in prison looking after his wounds, while Jing Yi was nowhere to be seen.
On the day of the Crown Prince’s grand wedding, Jing Rong was brought to the Supreme Court Prison, awaiting trial. Jing Rong’s trial had been pushed back after the fire and the Crown Prince’s wedding, and the Supreme Court had now temporarily taken over the case. With a Prince held within their cells, the Supreme Court was also afraid and had Lord Yu, the Supreme Court Vice-chancellor, take charge of the case.
Lord Yu put on his official robes and headed out to meet Jing Rong. He even had someone prepare some fine wine and dishes. Lord Yu was a conniving creature; he rose to the position of Supreme Court Vice-chancellor in just half a year, one could tell that he had some tricks up his sleeves! It was for this reason that Jing Rong had avoided meeting with him, “Prince Rong, this official has prepared some dishes, how about you have a taste?”
“There’s no need.”
Lord Yu had thick skin, and smiled, “The fire at Chengqing Hall had caused such a ruckus, with some members of the court even losing their lives in the commotion. Now that the Supreme Court has taken over this case, we really do have a hot potato in our hands.”
Why didn’t the fire burn you to death too? Jing Rong did not answer.
Lord Yu sighed, “Although this official has not spent much time with your Highness. I am sure that your Highness has nothing to do with it. There must be some kind of misunderstanding, so I will do to the best of his abilities to prove your innocence, and–”
“Lord Yu,” Jing Rong interrupted him.
“Didn’t Imperial Father order that this case be investigated by Prince Yi? Why has the Supreme Court taken over?”
Lord Yu pondered for a while, “This case should have originally been handled by the Supreme Court, but Prince Yi suddenly took over.”
Jing Rong was surprised, “What do you mean? Wasn’t Prince Yi ordered by His Majesty to investigate this case?”
“The Supreme Court had not received any such order, and Prince Rong should have been sent to the Supreme Court on the night of the fire. However, Prince Yi didn’t approve, only mentioning that His Majesty had ordered him to investigate this case first, only escorting this Prince here today, along with the file.”
Then, Jing Yi put him in the Imperial Prison based on His Majesty’s one word, to make sure that he confesses, keeping the Supreme Court from ruining his plan. He should have figured this out sooner – even if His Majesty was confused, he would not have left Jing Yi fully in-charge of this case, especially since he was well aware of the strife between the Princes. What a failure! But, why was he willing to hand him over to the Supreme Court without a confession? Wouldn’t he be unable to torture him further? Unless… unless he decided to release himself, and if so, he needed a scapegoat.
Jing Rong had a revelation! He finally understood why Jing Yi would put him into solitary confinement, have the imperial physician see him, and even hand him over to the Supreme Court – all these happened only after Jing Yi met with Ji Yunshu.
Lord Yu carefully asked, “What is it, your Highness?”
Jing Rong asked urgently, “Lord Yu, this Prince asks you, were there any oddities at the Crown Prince’s wedding held in East Palace today?”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
We’re getting into the actions. There are many things happenings at the same time with lots of twists and turns to come.