At the center of the hall stood the chubby Liu Qingping, who wore an oily, obsequious smile on his face. Jing Rong remained on his seat as he studied Liu Qingping before he shifted his icy gaze to the large pile of gifts on the table. People had always talked about Liu Qingping's miserly ways - his generosity today was certainly unexpected.
“Liu Qingping, are you trying to bribe this prince?”
“This one doesn't have that intention. This is just a simple gift… a simple gift…”
“That's enough. No more of these insincere, fawning words. No one visits without a motive. Tell me frankly, what do you want?”
Liu Qingping felt intimidated and immediately replied, “Ah! Your Highness must have misunderstood this one's intention. This one merely wishes to send my regards. This one carries no other motive and does not have the guts to ask for Your Highness's favor.”
Isn’t he just seeking trouble?
Jing Rong chuckled as he looked at Liu Qingping's nervous face. He acted along and asked teasingly, “Liu Qingping, do you still wish to put on your official uniform?”
Eh? I beg you to stop toying with my feelings!
“Prince, please stop mocking this one.”
“When did this prince mock you? I was only asking if you wish to put on the uniform again. How was that mocking you?”
Liu Qingping became awkward and heaved a hopeless sigh. “Your Highness knows clearly that my official position was removed directly by the Ministry of Personnel. Moreover, Lord Liu is holding the position at the moment. I’m now but a common person. How dare I desire to wear the uniform again? That thought might even cost me my life!”
This must be a comedy!
Jing Rong could not hold back his laughter anymore. He walked towards Liu Qingping and patted his shoulder. “Can’t you be more ambitious? One has to always have a dream and ambition. You had been working as an official for tens of years but your position was taken away for no legitimate reason. Are you really fine with that?”
“To be honest, this one… loathes the removal of my position.” He flashed a rather bitter and unconvincing smile. “However, the magistrate of Jinjiang is now Lord Liu. How dare this one… yearn for his position.”
“You absolutely can.” Jing Rong patted his shoulder once again. “As long as you still have the will to serve the people. After Liu Qian is removed from his official position, this prince will send a letter to the Ministry of Personnel to personally recommend you. The Ministry of Personnel must take responsibility for removing you from your position without a firm reason. Therefore, they will definitely return you your official position with this prince’s intervention.”
Liu Qingping was sure he did not misunderstand Jing Rong’s words. ‘Returning to my official position! That means I don't have to play with the birds or quarrel with my wife every day!’ He thought with his eyes shining with excitement.
Jing Rong gave him a stare. “When has this prince ever broken his promise? If I say it, I mean it.”
“Ah! That's great! I've always disliked that Liu Qian. When I return to my official position, I'll make sure I…” He realized that Jing Rong was glaring at him before he could finish his sentence. He promptly recalled his words and flashed an awkward smile.
Jing Rong shook his head. “Liu Qingping, ah, Liu Qingping, you're so adorable.”
Seeing that smile directed at him almost made Liu Qingping question his sexuality for a minute and he could only maintain his awkward smile. He briefly shifted his gaze to scan around the room before he changed the topic abruptly. “How come I don’t see Yunshu?”
The face of Jing Rong, who was only praising Liu Qingping a moment ago, changed abruptly. “Are you allowed to address her as Yunshu?”
Liu Qingping was dumbfounded! ‘You just said that I was adorable. How can you change your attitude so quickly?’ Eventually, Jing Rong kicked him out of that place. Fortunately, Liu Qingping's gifts were not wasted, he would return to his official position very soon!
At night, Jing Rong invited Mo Ruo to play chess after supper. Mo Ruo was initially savouring his wine blissfully in the room and had absolutely no interest in chess. However, he was compelled to play five matches with Jing Rong. He lost all five games and tossed the white stone in his hand. “I'm not playing anymore.”
On the other hand, Jing Rong picked up his black stones nonchalantly and put them back into the container. A gentle grin flashed across his lips, while his eyes shone from the moonlight and the flickering lamplight.
He said with disdain, “Look at you, so little patience.”
Mo Ruo replied, “Why can't you let me win for once?”
“A game of chess is like a battlefield. If I give you a handicap, that will be akin to putting my generals into a dangerous situation on purpose. You will not be able to feel proud even if you won that match. Moreover, one should always play chess by instinct. The stones are placed anywhere the heart suggests. How can one play chess against their instinct?”
“You can make up so many life lessons from a simple chess game. How boring are you?” Mo Ruo threw Jing Rong a contemptuous glimpse as he swirled the wine bottle in his hand. “I prefer drinking wine. It's simpler and makes me happier.”
He took another gulp before he said grudgingly, “How about another match?”
Jing Rong teased him, “At least your determination is admirable!” Then, Jing Rong set up another match.
Mo Ruo played with the white stone in his hand. After much contemplation, he placed the white stone on the board. Then, he flaunted a triumphant look, “Let's see how you're going to deal with this.”
Jing Rong, who was sitting opposite, smiled faintly before he lifted a black stone and firmly placed it on the board. The white stone was trapped! “Do you admit defeat now?”
Mo Ruo gave him another despising glance, “You know that I'm not good with chess. Yet, you act mercilessly against me.”
Jing Rong shrugged his shoulders. “Undeniably, you have lost the game. How can you blame it on me?”
They bickered while they put the stones away.
Suddenly, Jing Rong focused his gaze and his hand paused in mid-air. He exchanged a glance with Mo Ruo and was immediately understood!
They heard a slight disturbance from their surroundings, as if someone were stepping on the roof tiles. The next moment, Jing Rong threw the black stone in his hand in the direction of the noise. It was so fast it looked like a ray of light!
A silhouette leapt down from the roof and caught the black stone effortlessly. It was Shi Ziran!
Shouldn’t he be on his way to send the men in black to the Capital?
From his outfit, it seemed like he rushed here from the Capital. He walked to the hut and returned the black stone politely.
Mo Ruo spoke, “Brat, did you have to enter from the roof? You're fortunate that your prince threw a stone instead of a dagger. Otherwise, you would have died.”
“I was in a hurry.”
Jing Rong asked in a serious tone, “Have you gotten any news?”
“This one rushed back after sending those people to the Supreme Court.”
Jing Rong nodded as he analyzed, “Based on your schedule, I reckon the people in the Supreme Court have just woken up. They might possibly be dead too! Now, we await Lord Yu from the Supreme Court to lead the next scene of the drama.”
Mo Ruo asked worriedly, “Are you not afraid of getting into any trouble?”
“This was always a trap set for Jing Yi. We need some trouble to make it work.”
Mo Ruo laughed, actually feeling a slight pang of sympathy towards Jing Yi. He said, “Prince Yi will never foresee that he will be defeated by his own meticulous plan. He will die of anger if he eventually finds out about your scheme. Nevertheless, I anticipate the show.” He leaned forward. “However, do you think the Emperor will summon you back to the Capital if he finds out the truth about the ambush of the Crown Prince?”
Jing Rong shook his head. “I've no clue.”
He asked Shi Ziran again, “Is there anything else happening in the Capital?”
Shi Ziran said with a solemn expression, “Not only did Prince Yi place his own guards at the gate of the Capital, he even replaced the guards at the South gate of the palace with his people. Besides, Prince Yi has been secretly interacting very frequently with a lot of officials of the Royal Court. Almost everyone in the Royal Court is on his side now. Lu Jiang asked me to bring a message to Prince to ask if Prince wants to act quickly, as a safety measurement.”
Jing Rong gestured. “That's not necessary.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Lol JR's sparks are so potent even LQP is swooning for him!
Translator: YY, Editor: Dray