Chapter 277 - Can You Take Responsibility?
Edited by Aruthea
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Sparks flew onto the cloth, bursting into raging flames in the blink of an eye. Thick and dark fumes spiraled upward. The birthday venue was filled with screams which reverberated throughout the hall.
Ji Yunshu’s pupils shrunk. She could feel endless panic overtaking her. She shook her head to snap out of it. She retreated back in weakness, but with determination, she turned around and wanted to go back to Chengqing hall. However, Old General Li pulled her back.
“The place is already a sea of flames. You can’t do anything even if you go there now.”
Ji Yunshu felt her eyes sting with tears. She berated him in despair. “Old General Li is a senior who had experienced three generations of emperors. You have campaigned many wars for the peace of the common people. Yet now, you wanted to kill Great Lin’s Emperor in the name of stopping history from repeating itself. You should know what will happen if the Emperor and the princes died. Qujiang and Huyi will definitely launch a military campaign. At that time, Great Lin will turn into a sea of flames just like Chengqing Hall today. The common people will suffer and blood spilled will turn into rivers. Can you take responsibility for that?”
Shortly after, Ji Yunshu used all her strength and was able to shake off his hand. Then, she ran toward Chengqing hall. Behind her, Old General Li was lost in thought for a long time. It seemed as if her words was his wake-up call. He raised his strong hand, grabbed the fence near the gate and tightened his grip on it.
Ji Yunshu ran as though she was mad. It looked like it was only several hundred meters, but it took her more time to reach her destination than she would like.
At that time in Chengqing Hall, the scene was chaotic. The fire was raging and visibility was low. The iron wire where 40 to 50 lanterns were hanging from had been smeared with explosive powder. This powder on the wire caused the flames to combust even more and set the lanterns aflame. The burning lanterns continued to fall down like meteors. Despite efforts to extinguish the spreading flames, the conflagration didn’t recede. The fire spat out more sparks which fell madly on not just the ground, but also the floor, tables and even humans… Everyone was running around like headless chickens. Finally, someone fell down, exhausted. It didn’t take long for the flames to completely engulf their body, leaving behind a charred corpse.
When the burning lanterns started to fall, the imperial guards outside, like a cloud of bees, wanted to rush inside to save people. Unfortunately, the entrance of Chengqing Hall was sealed by debris due to an explosion. What’s even more worse was that the hall didn’t have a second exit for emergency. Even if the people inside wanted to escape, they had no way. The guards wanted to clear the entrance, but they couldn’t remove the big boulder which was obstructing their way.
Several eunuchs have lost their lives when protecting Qi Zhen from a fallen burning iron wire. Their bodies were now buried in the fire. A wooden pillar near the Emperor had caught on fire. Consumed by the flames, the pillar was threatening to collapse at any time. Unfortunately, Qi Zhen was forced to the side as it crumbled to the ground. Within their group, the closest to him was the Crown Prince Jing Hua. When the pillar was falling down, he did nothing to help his father out of this predicament. Instead, he scrammed far away, cherishing his life more than others.
It was quite a funny sight.
Qi Zhen was hit by disappointment when he saw his son abandoned him. When his life was in danger, he had wanted to say something to his son, but what did his treasured son do? He escaped by himself!
Bastard! Damn bastard!
When the pillar was about to crush Qi Zhen, Jing Rong and Jing Yi sprang out, braving the fire and obstacles to rescue him. Jing Rong kicked out the wooden pillar while Jing Yi protected Qi Zhen and his mother, Concubine Xiao. The smoke churned. Concubine Xiao, whose body was fragile from all those years of pampering, couldn’t endure much longer. Her breathing became laborious, choking from the smoke. She fainted shortly after. Jing Yi didn’t hesitate to carry her and rushed out of the room they were hiding in.
Qi Zhen’s body was equally not good due to his age, but he had covered his nose with his sleeve. He coughed like no tomorrow while trying to find a way to escape the sea of flames. Yet, how could he have known, misfortune befell him - his shoulder was hit by a splinter of the broken pillar. The momentum of the wooden projectile was enough to floor him. As he hit the floor, he lost consciousness, oblivious to the fire ravaging on his back.
“Imperial Father!” Jing Yi shouted. His eyes stung from the thick and hot smoke. He could vaguely see the figure of his father on the floor.
“Quick! Hurry! Come on!”
At that moment, the imperial guards timely arrived. They quickly rushed to save the Emperor. They kicked away the wooden debris that had fallen on Qi Zhen. Then, they extinguished the fire cooking Qi Zhen’s back and escorted him out of Chengqing hall.
Ji Yunshu finally arrived in running. She saw Jing Yi carrying Concubine Xiao and the imperial guard protecting Qi Zhen. She swept a glance to see some officials and Crown Princess candidates, but there was no shadow of Jing Rong or Jing Xian.
She hurriedly grabbed an imperial guard. “Where is Prince Rong?” she asked in panic.
The imperial guard looked around. “He should still be inside.” As soon he finished talking, he realized the urgency of it. He waved his hand to recruit his comrades. “Quick, Prince Rong hasn’t come out yet.”
Ji Yunshu rushed inside without waiting for him. On the way, she stopped any survivors. “Have you seen Prince Rong?”
However, they all ignored her and continued to escape from the fire.
The conflagration was fierce. She had to cover her nose if she wanted to go on. Everywhere was covered in black smoke. She couldn’t see anything in front or around her.
“Jing Rong! Jing Rong!” she screamed.
She was about to go deeper into the fire, but an imperial guard pulled her back and dragged her outside.
“Teacher Ji, the fire is too fierce. You can’t go inside.”
“Let me go!”
“You can’t go in-”
She continued to struggle madly. Tears pooled in her eyes and fell out with plip-plop sounds. Her strength was too weak and she couldn’t stop the imperial guard from dragging her out of the hall.
Suddenly, she could vaguely see two forms emerging from the entrance. She closely watched. The form gradually became clearer. Her heart finally could calm down.
Jing Rong came out while supporting Jing Xian. Due to his body being wrecked by years of illness, the fire ordeal had left him on his dying breath. He coughed constantly. His complexion was paler than ever.
The imperial guards immediately came forward to help Jing Rong.
Ji Yunshu sniffled in grievance. She quickly wiped her tears and wanted to run to Jing Rong, but...
“People, capture Prince Rong.” Jing Yi ordered.
The imperial guards didn’t move. They looked at each other, surprise at that sudden turn of events. Jing Rong also didn’t show any reaction.
Jing Yi berated Jing Rong. “The source of the fire is due to the combination of the lanterns and iron wire. This Prince knows that two days ago you stealthily replaced all the lanterns from Fangshui. This thing must be your doing!”
Jing Rong was speechless.
The Commander-in-chief of the imperial guards probed, “Prince Yi, this matter…”
Jing Yi cut him. “Zhang Bo!”
From the crowd of survivors, Zhang Bo stepped forward, trembling in fear. His clothes were riddled with holes and burns. He kneeled on the ground.
Lanterns materials came from the Dispatch Bureau, so he couldn’t escape from the responsibility.
Jing Yi interrogated him. “This Prince asks you. Two days ago, did Prince Rong go to the Dispatch Bureau and demand all the lanterns to be replaced?”
Zhang Bo raised his head to look at Jing Rong, but he quickly evaded. He mumbled, “Y-yes… Prince Rong did go. He said there was a problem with the lanterns from Fangshui. He also ordered the news to be sealed.”
With Zhang Bo’s testimony, Jing Yi was in complete confidence. He questioned Jing Rong impatiently. “Do you still have anything else to say?”
Jing Rong coldly stared at Zhang Bo. “Indeed, I did ask the lanterns to be replaced. However, the cause of the fire today is not the lanterns, but the iron wire.”
“Stop denying it! If something happened to Imperial Father, your life would not be enough to redeem it!” Jing Rong ordered the imperial guards once again. “What are you waiting for? Capture him.”
The imperial guards immediately complied.
Jing Yi spoke once again. “Send Prince Rong to the prison. We will wait until Imperial Father awakes, before deciding on his judgement.”
Ji Yunshu stepped forward anxiously, but Jing Rong signaled her with a shake of his head.
He didn’t want her to get implicated in this matter.
Jing Rong was detained. Ji Yunshu was unwilling. She took two steps forward but was pulled back by someone. She looked back and saw Jing Xian.
Grenn's Rants Corner
Damn Jing Yi! Even at this time, he wouldn't a chance to eliminate his rivals to the throne.
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