Chapter 295 - A Big Mistake
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Qi Zhen Emperor’s arms shook as he held the sword in his hands, slowly raising it towards Jing Hua’s neck. Jing Hua realized what was happening, and cried out tearily, “Imperial Father, this son recognizes his mistakes. Please spare this son, your son! The Chengqing Hall fire, assassinating Jing Rong - none of these were this son’s doing; please Imperial Father, you must trust your son.”
The guards pinning Jing Hua down loosened their grip, and Jing Hua headed for Qi Zhen Emperor, holding on tightly to his leg, calling out ‘Imperial Father’ over, and over again.
Qi Zhen Emperor wavered, sword hovering in mid-air. How could he not? This imbecile before him was brought up by his side. How could he bear to kill him just like this? He finally regained his composure, kicking Jing Hua aside and pointing his sword at him once more. “You still have no remorse! You can ambush the palace to assassinate this Emperor; what else are you incapable of? If this Emperor were to let you off today, how will the masses be appeased?” He had to die! Otherwise, where would his face go?
Jing Hua shuddered as he stared at the sharp blade before him, pupils pinpoint in instinctive fear, stuttering, “No, it wasn’t Son. I was wronged…”
Qi Zhen Emperor was disappointed, and he readied himself for the killing blow.
Jing Yi hurriedly came forth, raising his hands in respect. “Imperial Father, although the Crown Prince has been unfilial in rebellion, he was also strung along by Yan Weiyi. What’s more, for a man of his position, Son pleads for Imperial Father to have mercy on him, to please spare his life!” Of course, stripping him of his title would be the most ideal solution!
The Crown Prince was shocked. Why in the world would Jing Yi help him? He pointed an angry finger at Jing Yi. “This Crown Prince doesn’t buy or need your fake act; you incriminated and sabotaged me, how despicable.”
“Crown Prince, there is irrefutable evidence; even if you had thought that what you did would escape even the heavens, Yan Weiyi and Lord Zhang have already exposed your crimes. I have not wronged you.”
“Nonsense, I don’t know any Yan Weiyi, nor have I ever thought about harming Jing Rong. The Chengqing Hall fire had absolutely nothing to do with me! Jing Yi, I’m not that dumb; you obviously want to take this opportunity to push all the blame onto me,” Jing Hua was fuming. He turned once more to Qi Zhen Emperor, explaining as he held on tightly to his leg, “Imperial Father, this son has never done any of these things. You know me best.”
Know you best? Qi Zhen Emperor replied, “Yes, it’s precisely because we know you, understands you, that we believe you would be egged on by someone else to assassinate Jing Rong, plan a rebellion, and even plot to murder us for the throne!”
“Imperial Father, Son really -” Before Jing Hua could finish, he was kicked aside again by Qi Zhen Emperor.
Qi Zhen emperor exclaimed, “If you don’t die today, then we have failed our people.” He raised his sword but hesitated before swinging it down.
Jing Yi fell onto his knees, pleading, “Imperial Father, even though the Crown Prince has committed a grave sin, he was bewitched by devious bastards. On account that the Crown Prince has grown up by your side, please spare him.”
“Jing Yi, you dare to plead on his behalf?”
“The Crown Prince is still Son’s elder brother; I cannot forsake this kinship. This son understands that Imperial Father is extremely disappointed with the Crown Prince, but can Imperial Father really bear to do this?”
Of course not! Qi Zhen Emperor hesitated, lowering his sword with uncertainty.
Jing Yi quickly continued, “Imperial Father, the Crown Prince has not committed a fatal crime. Please have mercy on him, and spare his life.” He kowtowed as he finished.
The Crown Prince was splayed on the floor; what else could he say, and what else did he have left to offer? He was screwed!
Qi Zhen Emperor looked at the kneeling Jing Yi, then at Jing Hua, his anger slowly dissipating. His gaze fell on his sword, and he directed a bitter laugh at Jing Hua, “When we followed the previous Emperor on his battle north, the Pingman barbarians, the savages of Dingkang Mountain, and the bordering countries all deferred to the Great Lin. We claimed this sword, named the Zhichi Sword, from the King of Li over thirty years ago. When we entrusted this sword to you, it was to have you remember how the Li Empire fell, to use this sword to claim victories for the Great Lin, and not for you to use it to kill us.”
Jing Hua was stunned speechless.
“All these years, we have given you opportunity after opportunity, to have you handle state affairs alongside us. Back then, we had hoped that you would be able to solve the problems arising from the Jiangnan floods and Weibei droughts, but you only cared about living your own carefree life. Even though we were very disappointed, seeing that you were not bad by nature, we named and protected you as Crown Prince even though you were much less capable. But now, you have plotted to take us down based on your own insecurities that the position of Crown Prince would be given to someone else? Your actions have greatly hurt us. How do you want us to see you as the future ruler of the Great Lin Empire which such behavior? You’re not fit!” Qi Zhen Emperor clutched his chest, coughing. He then threw his sword to the ground.
Candlelight reflected off the fallen sword lighted up Jing Hua’s ashen grey face, the clanging of the sword continuously ringing in his ears as he lay trembling on the ground. He could, however, hear every word Qi Zhen Emperor said. “Today, the Crown Prince has been immoral, leading a rebellion and plotting to assassinate us without any remorse. The Crown Prince will be stripped of his title and imprisoned in the East Palace. Without our decree, the Crown Prince shall not set one foot out of the East Palace.”
Strip him of his title? The sole purpose of his scheme was so that he could ascend to the throne, but how wrong he was, what a big mistake! The one person he should not have crossed, was his own father!
Qi Zhen Emperor stumbled backwards after making the royal decree. Zhang Quan stepped forwards to hold him up, followed by Jing Yi and the royal guards, surrounding Qi Zhen Emperor in a second.
Jing Hua’s vision grew foggier and foggier as his eyes lost focus, and he fainted. As he lost his senses he saw above him hung a golden mural which blended into a giant whirlpool, until he was picked up by several guards from the ground and dragged out of Fuyang Hall like a limp ragdoll!
The East Palace, Inner Chambers.
Jing Hua had no idea how he ended up back in East Palace where he was thrown to the ground. The guards made no further unnecessary actions, as they exited the inner chambers and prepared to close the doors. Jing Hua began to stir as the cold wind blew. He picked himself up from the ground and ran towards the gates but was held back by the guards. “Move aside. This Crown Prince wants to see Teacher Pan. Bring him back; summon him!”
Grenn's Rants Corner
Jing Yi's scheme ran too deep.
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