“What? Is Prince Qing going to murder me now that the discussion has gone south?” Yun Ruofeng mocked.
Hua Ziqing remained calm and said, “I’ve heard others sing praises of Prince Yun’s skills. It seems like that praise has some truth behind it.”
He then instructed his man with a rather imposing tone, “Aren’t you going to retreat yet?”
The masked man returned to where he originally was, with Yun Ling retreating back into position as well.
With that, Yun Ruofeng was unable to comment further on the matter.
“Prince Yun, how about we compromise? The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and others only stand to gain if we waste our resources in fighting each other.”
“What does Prince Qing suggest?” Yun Ruofeng’s tone was calm, as if he hadn’t just tried to threaten Hu Ziqing.
Hua Ziqing smiled. “Prince Yun, since our enemies are Prince Hao and the Western Region King, shall we take the opportunity to get rid of them at the fireworks banquet?”
“You make it sound so easy, Prince Qing. Are you going to blame the Western Region King for Wen Wanzhi’s death?” Yun Ruofeng asked sarcastically.
Nothing seemed to be able to break Hua Ziqing’s composure as he said, “That was just a mistake from one of my subordinates. It’s nothing to be worried about.”
“Oh no, how could that be nothing at all? It was a meticulous plan. I believe that a bigger show is being staged for the banquet?” Yun Ruofeng asked.
Although Hua Ziqing was irked, his expression did not waver. “What do you mean, Prince Yun?”
“This Prince believes that the ends justify the means. Since Prince Qing is sincere about our partnership, I’ll spread the news and point a finger at the Western Region King as well.” Yun Ruofeng tried to reel Hua Ziqing in with some juicy bait.
Hua Ziqing smiled at this. “This Prince has some men I can trust to do things in the palace. When the time comes, Princess Consort Hao’s real identity will be revealed. I’ll have to congratulate her as Princess Consort Yun when that happens!”
The two men laughed and took to sipping their tea after their agreement was made. It wasn’t long after that Yun Ruofeng left with Yun Ling.
The masked man smirked as he watched them leave. “Your Highness, Yun Ruofeng is too cunning. We’ll have to be very careful.”
“We don’t work with people we don’t trust. It’s just that he’s the best chess piece to use for now.” Hua Ziqing responded as he shattered the tea cup in his grasp, blood dripping to the floorboard as the fine white porcelain became stained red.
Shocked at Hua Ziqing’s sudden outburst, the masked man could only watch as the former used a handkerchief as a makeshift bandage.
“Look for a powerful daoshi. I’d like to find out whether that woman Prince Yun treasures is a human, or a spirit.” Hua Ziqing instructed with creased brows.
The masked man nodded and left immediately after.
“In the end, it doesn’t really matter though. As long as I can manipulate them into being my chess piece, they can be whatever they want.” Hua Ziqing mumbled to himself.
Yun Ruofeng took a seat when he was back in his room.
“Do you have something to say, Yun Ling?”
“Your Highness, Prince Qing seems to be looking for something which he can use for leverage against us. Won’t you be at a disadvantage after revealing your weakness?”
“Yun Ling, we sometimes need to take a step back.” Yun Ruofeng said.
“Your Highness, what do you mean?” Yun Ling wasn’t sure, but he already had a suspicion in the back of his mind.
Yun Ruofeng said, “There are some things which do not need to be said out loud. Sometimes explanations do not help, while sometimes there is simply no need for an explanation at all.”
Yun Ling seemed to be both enlightened and confused after what Yun Ruofeng said.
All he knew was that it was best for him to keep quiet right now.
Tonight, there were several unusual souls: One frightened, one calm, and one pondering.