Though the blood on the floor was cleaned up quickly, it did little to make Hua Zirong feel any better about his situation.


A guard knelt before him and said, “Please forgive this subordinate for being unable to capture the assassin, Your Majesty.”


“You may leave.” Hua Zirong only gave a few words before he waved his hand, prompting the guard to quickly retreat.


Unfurling a scroll in his hands, Hua Zirong gave a brief smirk before rolling it back up and mumbling to himself, “You won’t allow me to do anything to her, but she isn’t upholding her side of the agreement.”


A eunuch walked up to him and said, “Your Majesty, Consort Duan has gone mad.”


“Kill her and give her a grand burial.” Hua Zirong instructed with the disposition of a monarch.


Li Zikang’s underlings had laid their hands on Consort Duan previously, and even though it was no fault of hers, she had to be executed to preserve the imperial family’s honour.


The eunuch simply nodded at Hua Zirong’s instructions. Others might think that the title of Monarch means a life of easy riches, but only after sitting on that throne will one know the harsh loneliness of that position.


“Also, summon Prime Minister Wen to the palace,” Hua Zirong added. Even if there was an agreement, he wasn’t about to let the prime minister off the hook for colluding with others.


Prime Minister Wen entered shortly after and knelt before Hua Zirong as he spoke respectfully, “This old official knows I have done wrong. Please forgive me, Your Majesty.”


“Prime Minister Wen, what have you done wrong? Explain it to me.” Hua Zirong smirked. Cunning old fox, trying to ask for forgiveness just like this.


“This old official should not have listened to unfounded rumors. The relationships Xiliu has with Beimin and the Western Region were almost destroyed.” Prime Minister Wen looked remorseful when he answered.


“Oh? Prime Minister Wen, I think I’ve treated you pretty well. Why did you do that?” Hua Zirong’s fists clenched as he spoke.


Tears began pouring from Prime Minister Wen’s face. “Your Majesty, this old official thought that my child was dead, but Prince Qing said that my child was still alive somewhere. As a parent, I couldn’t help but be swayed. Please forgive me, Your Majesty.”


One would expect nothing less from an experienced court official like Prime Minister Wen. Though he could not read the mind of the monarch, he was capable of spinning his words to obtain a favourable result.


Hua Zirong was reminded of that woman in white muslin on the day of the banquet, and put two and two together very quickly. Even if that was the case, Hua Zirong knew very well that Prime Minister Wen was no doting father, or else he would not have used his daughter as a bargaining chip in the first place.


However, if he were to execute the prime minister after just getting rid of a general, it would only be a matter of time before Xiliu collapsed.


More importantly, the Prime Minister had close ties with the imperial family and knew many of its secrets. What Hua Zirong did now might have unforeseeable consequences.


Hua Zirong was thus left with no better option but to leave Prime Minister Wen alone for now.


He was hoping to keep Xiliu stable for now, but by doing so, he would be unable to fulfill Princess Consort Hao’s request.


Seems like it’s time to barter a deal with Princess Consort Hao. Hua Zirong already had a bargaining chip in mind.


Observing Hua Zirong’s expression, Prime Minister Wen saw that the former had decided on a course of action. Of course, Prime Minister Wen had also made preparations before coming to see Hua Zirong.


He knew that given Hua Zirong’s precarious position, the latter wouldn’t get rid of him so lightly. Not only did Hua Zirong have to grapple with Lanshan, but the Wen family also held the other half of the secret imperial scroll.


Considering all factors, Hua Zirong was highly unlikely to pit himself against Prime Minister Wen at this point.


To Prime Minister Wen, he had everything to gain and nothing to lose in this fight.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon