Situ Rong waved a hand. “Perhaps you think that only fools would believe them, but those who are observant will as well. I’ve looked into Su Xi-er’s background, and she was quite the character even when she was still working in the Palace Side Quarters. Old Maidservant Liu used to be the Emperor’s wet nurse, and was only there because her old master got in trouble. Nevertheless, she still treated Su Xi-er well. She then took care of Old Maidservant Zhao with Prince Hao’s borrowed knife. Speaking of Prince Hao, even he fell victim to Su Xi-er once upon a time. He drunkenly wandered into the woods beside the Palace Side Quarters, but how many people would dare to knock him out, much less a lowly maidservant at the time?”
Mu Qingyu frowned slightly. “An ordinary palace maid wouldn’t dare, but Princess Consort Hao is extremely intelligent. Do you mean to say that the rumours are true?” Her eyes widened as she spoke, but Mu Qingyu quickly recovered and added, “No matter who she is though, she is a good person.”
“I tried to test her because I have my doubts. I’d be on her side no matter what.” Situ Rong smiled as he took Mu Qingyu’s hand.
Mu Qingyu looked around and shook his hand away. “It’s not easy for me to leave the residence, and you shouldn’t touch me in public. It won’t be good if people see us.”
“What’s wrong? Haven’t you seen how Prince Hao holds Princess Consort Hao’s hand everywhere they go? You’ve carried a torch for me for such a long time, so I...”
Mu Qingyu cut him off and said, “Stop it. It’s embarrassing if others find out.”
“We’ll fix a date once matters are settled; you’re mine anyway. You can wait until we’re in the dongfang to be shy.” Situ Rong grabbed her in a tight embrace, ignoring her protests.
Su Xi-er and Pei Qianhao were already on the horse carriage on their way out of the palace when she suddenly spoke up. “A-Jing, the Second Imperial Prince was testing me.”
“Those with royal blood are usually not fools. Regardless, it doesn’t matter if they suspect you; those who are intelligent will make the right choice.” Pei Qianhao said confidently.
Su Xi-er understood what he meant. The ‘right choice’ meant standing on her side. Even if the court officials were unhappy with Pei Qianhao, there was nothing much they could do anyway.
“It’s time for fresh blood in the court.” Pei Qianhao’s gaze deepened as he lifted the curtains and looked towards the streets. He then said, “Xi-er, your men from Nanzhao are pretty skilled. I’d like to borrow them.”
“A-Jing, I’m the only one they obey. Even if I told them to listen to your commands, it wouldn’t do any good.”
Pei Qianhao raised his brows and said, “Your subordinates are all brave and intelligent, yet they’re unhesitatingly willing to give their lives for you.”
“I know what to do, A-Jing. We’ll work together and trap him. No matter how skilled Yun Ruofeng has become, he still possesses a hint of arrogance. He’d definitely teeter if we drive him into a corner.”
“You know him that well?” Pei Qianhao’s tone seemed to carry a tiny tinge of jealousy.
“It pays to know one’s enemies well.” Su Xi-er smiled as she answered.
On arrival at the Prince Hao Residence, Su Xi-er alighted before Pei Qianhao continued on to the Commandery Prince’s compound to meet with the monks and priests who were housed there.
Shortly after, an imperial edict was handed down: Princess Consort Hao’s identity was a subject of concern for all the countries. The Western Region King was already on his way while Nanzhao’s Emperor did not make clear his opinions. On the other hand, the monks and daoshi who were hoodwinked by others were stringently guarded by the Imperial Army guards in the compound.
This sparked many discussions among the people who were wondering if those who continued to rashly discuss and spread rumours about the Princess Consort’s identity would be executed! Even they themselves who participated in the gossip might be punished too.
This meant that the King of the Western Region was unhappy about these rumours about his younger sister that were flying around! He had expended so much effort to finally reunite with her, only to see her being called an evil spirit by those with bad intentions!!!
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