In Guihua Courtyard.


Li Zikang knelt on the ground with a guilty look as the man with the douli stood beside him.


Hua Ziqing looked over as he tapped a finger on the table, asking, “Who can explain this?”


“Master, everything was going according to plan, but Wen Wanzhi didn’t realise when the Western Region King swapped places with the guard, and ended up doing that thing.” Li Zikang’s tone carried a hint of anger in it.


The man with the douli looked unimpressed, but he remained silent.


Seeing how the two men had rather different reactions, Hua Ziqing asked them coldly, “You’re saying that no one caught the Western Region King’s tricks when you were both there?”


Li Zikang wanted to defend himself initially, but thought better of it a moment later.


“What, am I wrong?” Hua Ziqing continued with a steady voice, his imposing aura bearing down..


Li Zikang’s head drooped as he said, “This subordinate is useless. Master is wise.”


“General Li, now that the plan has failed and we’ve alerted the Western Region King, how do you suggest we proceed?” Hua Ziqing’s brows creased as he took a sip of his tea.


Li Zikang knew very well that he would be abandoned if Hua Ziqing had no use for him.


“Master, do not worry. This subordinate will do everything in my power to make sure that the Western Region King doesn’t cause any trouble.” Li Zikang swore with the most sincere expression he could manage.


Hua Ziqing turned gentle as he said, “En, I’ll believe you this time. Do not disappoint me.”


“Thank you for giving me a chance. This subordinate will not disappoint; please excuse me.” Li Zikang responded.


He then left after Hua Ziqing gave him a nod.


The man with the douli scoffed after Li Zikang left. “Master, are you sure he’s up to it?”


“Don’t belittle him; besides, it’s better if he handles this. However, I want you to do something else just in case.” Hua Ziqing poured the tea away as he spoke.


His gaze turned cold as he said, “Send a message to Madame Wen to have Wen Wanzhi commit suicide if she wants to protect Prime Minister Wen. I trust I don’t have to go into further detail.”


“Master, would Madame Wen believe that? Prime Minister Wen is the de-facto leader of many of the civil (wen) officials[1], and doing this may cause him to rebel.” The man with the douli spoke up, concerned.


There was a hint of danger in Hua Ziqing’s seemingly gentle gaze. “Do you know why Prime Minister Wen’s position is so stable?”


“This subordinate had heard rumours that Prime Minister Wen’s ancestors saved someone from the imperial family in the past.” The man with the douli sounded unsure as he spoke.


“Haha!” Hua Ziqing smirked. “No. The late Emperor had no children, so he agreed on a deal with Prime Minister Wen. It’s funny to see that the imperial family is actually populated by those of the Wen Family’s bloodline now.”


“Master, this…” The man with the douli was visibly shocked at the news.


Hua Ziqing regained his calm facade and said, “The condition the late Emperor gave to the Wen Family was that even if the throne changed hands and the dynasty fell, the Wen Family’s position as the leader of the court would still exist. The confidential documents for this deal were sealed in the imperial records, and the late Emperor was the only one who could access them. However, the current Prime Minister Wen is no longer satisfied with that.”

“Your Highness, you mean to say that Prime Minister Wen already had…” Realisation suddenly hit the man with the douli.

1. There are civil (wen) and military (wu) court officials.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon