Seeing the man from earlier, he knew that if this continued, he would definitely get replaced. When that time came, death would be his only option.


I have to find a way to seek help from Prince Hao during the fireworks banquet.


How pathetic! How could a monarch of the nation end up like this?!


Sorrow filled Hua Zirong, wondering how he had fallen to the point where he would be insulted like this. His fists clenched, his frustration was almost palpable.


In the meantime, Li Zikang had exited the palace and arrived at another compound. Bathed in sunlight, the courtyard was filled with blooming osmanthus (guihua) flowers, giving it a lively atmosphere.


He knocked on the door and waited for a moment before the man wearing the douli opened it.


“Master has been waiting for quite a while now. Come on in.”


Li Zikang followed behind the man respectfully until they arrived at a room where Hua Ziqing was dressed in white brocaded fabric while brewing a pot of tea.


His gaze was gentle and warm as he used a tea ladle to pour the water on the teapot, as if he was looking at a lover while he did so. His actions were enough to mesmerise those watching, and even his expression was captivating.


“Master, Hua Zirong has agreed to participate in the palace banquet tomorrow.” Li Zikang reported.


Hua Ziqing only gave a tiny smile as he said, “He’s trying to seek help during the banquet.”


“Do not worry, Master. This subordinate will make sure he doesn’t play any tricks.” Li Zikang was quick to guarantee that nothing would go wrong.


Hua Ziqing then said, “This Prince trusts in your abilities.”


“Thank you, Master, for believing in me. This subordinate will take my leave.”


Hua Ziqing nodded as Li Zikang retreated from the room, leaving the former to continue brewing his tea.


After he left, the man in the douli smirked and said, “Master, he seems to be getting a little out of hand.”


“He’ll work harder if we give him some benefits, so why not?” Hua Ziqing answered calmly.


The man in the douli looked impressed with Hua Ziqing. He then asked, “Master, do we send more men to the palace banquet tomorrow? I’m afraid that Prince Hao…”


“Prince Hao is intelligent, and won’t act in the open, and we don’t have anything to pin him down anyways.  Regardless, how’s the Western Region King?” Hua Ziqing asked.


“As per Master’s instructions, we’ve separated the Western Region King and his guard. However, the guard was rather disobedient, so I’ve locked him up alone in the Lantern Pavilion.” the man in the douli answered respectfully.


Hua Ziqing laughed. “Take good care of the Western Region King. Make sure we serve him nice wine and good food.”


“This subordinate understands. We’ve sent a woman to him as well. She’s Minister Wen’s younger daughter,” the man in the douli said.


“Haha!” Hua Ziqing laughed again. “Men are never able to resist beautiful ladies. Wouldn’t it be nice if a Xiliu beauty can give birth to a Western Region prince?”


“Your Highness, this subordinate is worried that the Western Region King might not be controlled by us that easily,” the man in the douli said with concern.


Hua Ziqing’s expression turned cold at this. “He will. Because there are some things that aren’t under his control.”


“Your Highness, do you mean…”


“This is not to be spoken of openly. Just do it.”


The man in the douli nodded and left the room.


Hua Ziqing then poured the tea away and mumbled to himself, “What a waste of nice tea.”

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon