Chapter 299 - I have run away for twenty years, it's time to stop
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Jing Rong stood still, listening.
“We want to know - what are your thoughts on this?”
Jing Rong replied, “Son does not dare.”
“What if I order you to?”
“Son only does what is needed of him to the best of his abilities. I don’t dare venture across the line. If it comes, I will not hide; if it doesn’t, I will not steal.” If the throne were his, he would fight for it; if not, he wouldn’t take it even if it were offered before him.
Qi Zhen Emperor nodded, pleased, “We understands your intentions.” He waved his hands, “Return now, make sure to keep our words in mind.”
“Understood!” Jing Rong bowed and left the inner chambers. Throughout the entire conversation, Qi Zhen Emperor had not mentioned Jing Hua nor his rebellion, neither was Jing Rong interested in asking. It was a sore subject given how much affection Qi Zhen Emperor had given to Jing Hua only to get betrayal in return.
His cold and calm demeanor was unreadable as he left the Emperor’s chambers. His fists were tightly clenched within his sleeves. Jing Rong was well-behaved, never rebelling; he was a clawless tiger Qi Zhen Emperor groomed and kept by his side. An undeniable fact within everyone’s mind. However, something had changed - his gaze bore more greed and longing for power and influence now.
He did not want to run away anymore! He had avoided any confrontation for more than twenty years. What was the point if he could not even protect the woman he loved? What else could he be described other than useless? Jing Yi, don’t you love to fight? Alright, this Prince will satisfy you!
Just as he left Fuyang Hall, a piece of news reached his ears: the Crown Prince was dead! He died in the East Palace! This piece of news shook the entire palace to its core.
Rumour had it that he had hung himself on a silk noose, his body suspended in mid-air, his eyes bulging out of his blue face; it was quite a tragic sight. The entire hall was deserted and cheerless. No-one dared to enter, and the remaining eunuchs and palace maids knelt outside East Palace, trembling. Now that the Crown Prince was dead, everyone serving the Crown Prince might have to be buried together with him, how could they not be afraid?
Qi Zhen Emperor fainted upon hearing this news, and the imperial physicians were summoned once again. The court officials and princes hurried to the East Palace, where the Crown Prince was finally removed and placed onto his bed, white drapes sheathing over his body. The court officials quickly dispersed after seeing his body - there was no need to spend extra time on a disgraced Crown Prince!
Jing Yi scrunched up his nose in disgust. Jing Hua’s death was very much welcome; he was a living corpse anyway when he was alive.
Kong Yu was standing outside her own room, gazing at the hall where the Crown Prince’s body was placed to rest. She was still wearing her red wedding gown, her slender figure swaying dangerously in the breeze.
Just two hours before, Kong Yu had sent a messenger to Bamboo Creek Garden to deliver a message to Ji Yunshu. After reading it, Ji Yunshu quickly entered the palace with the token Kong Yu had gifted her. Thankfully the Crown Prince was dead so the East Palace guards had been removed from their posts, and nobody noticed Ji Yunshu’s arrival.
As she approached Kong Yu’s living quarters, she saw her svelte and adorned figure standing beneath the eaves, her pale face sprayed with a tint of sadness. Such a woman did not belong in the palace! Any day she spent in there would bring a day closer to her death.
Kong Yu met Ji Yunshu’s gaze, welcoming her gently, “You’re here!”
Ji Yunshu nodded as she walked to stand beside her, not saying a word. The two of them stood there together for a very long time.
Kong Yu looked at the raindrops falling off the eaves, and asked, “I think this must be the first time we’ve meet face to face.”
“I had actually wanted to speak with you a long time ago, but I had entered the palace before I got the chance.” She spoke in a lonely tone, but there was a twinge of relief mixed in.
Ji Yunshu glanced at her, “Are you happy?”
She nodded, “I am, I truly am.” Ji Yunshu remained silent as she continued listening.
“The happiest days of my life were the days I spent with Ah Rong when we were young. Although I was a year older than he was and looked after him like an older sister, Ah Rong also took great care of me. I was really happy then, we never left each other and lived carefree days. I was sure then that I would marry him when I grew up, be his wife, spend the rest of our lives together and raise our children; I believed so even when I grew up.”
She paused, then continued, “Until I met you - that was when I understood. Some feelings are not determined by the length of time spent together.” Her smile never wavered.
Ji Yunshu did not say anything.
Kong Yu reiterated, “Miss Ji, Ah Rong really does love you, my intuition is hardly wrong.” She was an extremely perceptive person and she was rarely mistaken.
Ji Yunshu finally said, “Those memories must have been extremely beautiful.”
Kong Yu nodded, then heaved a sigh of relief. She turned to smile at Ji Yunshu, “I think, you must already know everything, right? That’s why you entered the palace upon receiving my message.”
Ji Yunshu replied, “That child who was with Teacher Su told me something before, which I did not understand, not until two hours ago.”
“That child was trying to tell me that Yuchi General’s death had nothing to do with Teacher Su, even though the general was well-prepared to take his own life. Your appearance threw all their plans into disarray, but luckily, Yuchi General still died, although by your hands instead, and everything fell into place thereafter. At the very least, Teacher Su’s intentions were achieved then, but he also took all the blame, including yours.” Ji Yunshu was extremely calm, but only two hours ago when she finally realized Lie’er’s words, she had almost fainted from the heartache! It was extremely comforting, however, Su Ziluo had safely returned to Qujiang.
The stone in Kong Yu’s heart lifted. Ji Yunshu’s words had lifted the burden of that heavy secret she buried inside of her. “I shirked my responsibility - Teacher Su is my savior; if not for him keeping my visit to the relay station a secret, I believe I might already be dead.”
“Yes, he is indeed your benefactor, but for me, I have owed him a lifetime.”
Kong Yu did not fully comprehend, but she did not probe further.
Ji Yunshu remained silent for a moment, then asked, “Then why did you kill the Crown Prince this time?”
Grenn's Rants Corner
The part with Kong Yu killing might seem a bit confusing, but it's just clarifying the real order of the relay station's murder case. It was already known there were two wounds on Yuchi Lin's neck - one by Kong Yu and one from decapitation to hide it. Initially, Ji Yunshu advanced that Kong Yu's wound (first one) only injured and Su Ziluo or Lie'er decapitated him to finish him off. It appeared that he died from the dagger wound and decapitated soon after.
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