Chapter 307 - A Toothless Tiger Still Bites
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Neither of them were idiots like Jing Hua! The Provincial Imperial Government was relatively far from the Capital; if one of them were to take up this position, it was as good as being exiled! If they could not solve the case of the missing silvers, they could never return to the Capital.
The one who remained in the Capital would take reign over the city, since Jing Hua was already dead, Jing Xian was sickly, and the other was exiled to the Provincial Imperial Government - naturally, the throne would belong to the Prince left in the Capital. Of course, Jing Yi would not volunteer! As for Jing Rong, he had not made his intentions clear.
Qi Zhen Emperor did not reveal his motives directly, nor did he explicitly order one of them to go; if either Jing Yi and Jing Rong left the Capital, the future throne could be easily decided - firstly, the princes’ rivalry would end, and secondly, Qi Zhen Emperor need not contemplate which of them to crown. This cunning dragon was an outstanding strategist even in sickness.
Jing Yi stole a glance at Jing Rong - wasn’t he so eager to handle the Crown Prince’s funeral processions, why not this time? Come on, speak up!
Jing Rong returned his gaze. Jing Yi quickly averted his eyes, as if he were caught in an indecent act.
Seeing as neither Jing Yi nor Jing Rong replied, Qi Zhen waved his hand dismissively, “That’s enough, leave for the night. Don’t forget what this Emperor just told you; if you have a plan, submit and present it.”
“Yes, Son understands!” The two of them bowed their heads and exited the hall. Had this been any other day, Jing Rong would definitely be scurrying off, lest Jing Yi catch up to him and engage in weird conversations, but this time, he was walking at a much slower pace. The two of them left in the guard of eunuchs who led the way out of Fuyang Hall to the palace gates, guided by the lanterns they held. Neither of them spoke until they arrived at the gates.
Jing Yi gestured for the four eunuchs to move away, “Jing Rong, there is no need for secrets between the two of us, there are some things that I’ll be frank with you about.”
Jing Rong was uncharacteristically patient as he listened to Jing Yi’s bragging.
“With Jing Hua’s death, the Crown Prince’s title would belong to either you or me - you’ve always said that you didn’t want to compete with me. If so, why didn’t you listen to Imperial Father earlier and investigate the missing relief silvers?” He smirked, “The Provincial Imperial Government is at the westernmost corner of the Great Lin, situated next to large, rolling plains, surrounded by mountains and oceans. It would be the best thing for you if you were there.”
Jing Rong scoffed, “If it’s that great a place, why don’t you go?”
“Such a fantastic opportunity must of course be given to you. If you really can solve this case, you can stand much taller in front of Imperial Father.”
“And if I don’t solve it?”
“Even better - you can be your Carefree King in the Provincial Imperial Government.” Jing Yi sneered cruelly.
Despite the darkness, Jing Rong could clearly make out his foul scowl. Jing Rong narrowed his eyes as a smile crept up his face, “Jing Yi, since you wanted to be frank, why beat around the bush now?”
“Oh? Looks like you know everything.” Jing Yi was not flustered, and he continued, “What do you think? Has that Teacher Ji’s choice disappointed and upset you?”
Jing Yi paused, realization dawning upon him, “Oh, no, that’s not it - why should you be upset? Teacher Ji made that deal because of you; if not for her decision, I wouldn’t have saved you - you must thank her with utmost gratitude.”
Goddammit, how convincing! You almost had this Prince fooled! Jing Rong was not bothered by his words, but if there were a table by his side, he would not have winced from flinging it in Jing Yi’s face.
“Jing Yi,” he called out gruffly, leaving no time for Jing Yi to butt in, “The deal between the two of you is called off. This is not a request, but a notice!”
“Called off?” You wish! Jing Yi replied, “Do you know of the repercussions if Teacher Ji forfeits this deal? That Lord Zhang can also change his witness statement, stating that you were the one who ordered for the Crown Prince to be set up, and you’ll eventually still end up in jail!”
“Is this a threat?”
“That depends on Teacher Ji’s decision!”
Jing Rong raised an eyebrow, “You know Imperial Father’s suspicious nature; Jing Yi, even if your plan were flawless, Imperial Father can believe you the first time, but never the second. Even if he were to believe Lord Zhang again, did you think that Imperial Father would have my head? With the Crown Prince just passing away, he cannot afford to lose another son.”
Jing Yi was shaken, as if he was stabbed sharply in the ribs and had his skin peeled off, his gaze wavering.
Jing Rong finished coldly, “If you want to take this gamble with me, I wouldn’t mind at all. But, I can tell you definitively that the deal between you and Yunshu could never succeed. Also, you promised to save the Crown Prince’s life, but he still died in the end.”
“You…” Jing Yi choked on his words.
“Since you did not deliver on your promise, don’t blame someone else for doing the same to you. Jing Yi, the heavens are fair and would never let someone carry on with their crazy ways. I will never let anyone be unfairly oppressed; even a toothless tiger can still bite and slaughter.”
Ugh! Jing Yi was utterly defeated as he took two steps backwards.
As Jing Rong had finished what he wanted to say, he left with a flourish of his sleeves, leaving a ghastly Jing Yi behind, “ From today onwards, if you want to fight for the throne, then put your soul into it. You will pay for what you have done, and if you lay a single finger on Yunshu, I will kill you.”
A eunuch scurried forwards to the unmoving Jing Yi, “Prince Yi, did you want to return to your estate?”
Bang - Jing Yi kicked the lantern away, its flame dying out as it rolled across the floor. The eunuchs were startled, and they quickly dropped to their knees, pleading, “Please forgive us, Prince Yi, these servants have realized our mistakes.”
Jing Yi stared at him angrily, his fists tightly clenched into balls as he stared in the direction that Jing Rong left in. His carefully planned scheme was foiled by a few words from Jing Rong - how could he not be angry? He had to admit, however, that Jing Rong was right. Qi Zhen Emperor had always been suspicious; if Zhang Bo were to change his statement twice, Qi Zhen Emperor would never believe him again, and it might even implicate himself if he were unlucky. Jing Yi left the palace, a suffocating tightness gripping his chest.
Grenn's Rants Corner
*Throws some ativan at Jing Yi* Calm down and stop scheming.
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