“Since Prime Minister Wen would like to speak in private, please give us some space, Prince Qing.” Hua Zirong decided to play along with the prime minister for now, and Hua Ziqing had no choice but to obey.


“He’s gone. You may speak freely.” Hua Zirong’s words were laced with a hint of sarcasm, but Prime Minister Wen didn’t dare to delay as he fell to his knees.


“This old official embezzled disaster relief funds because of my greed.”


Hua Zirong took a huge step forward and said, “What else? You’d better come clean right now.” Even if things seemed calm, he knew there was no way that there weren’t sinister plots happening behind his back.


I have to remove every single rotten scoundrel by the roots this time.


“I’ve taken funds that were allocated to the military,” Prime Minister Wen continued, afraid to lift his head from the ground.


Hua Zirong smiled at this. “The wonderful prime minister of Xiliu has guts of steel indeed.”


“Please forgive me, Your Majesty. This old official is willing to pay back the funds using my salary.” Prime Minister Wen spoke with utmost sincerity, grasping at any opportunity to save himself.


Hua Zirong recognised this, but was angered nevertheless. Prime Minister Wen’s only fate would have been death if this had been in the past, but Hua Zirong had no choice but to keep the former alive for now.


“Anything else?” Hua Zirong asked calmly.


“There’s nothing else; this old official wouldn’t dare lie.” Upon hearing Hua Zirong’s question, Prime Minister Wen knew that he was safe for now.


Hua Zirong clenched his fist and asked again, “Really? Prime Minister Wen, I’m going to give you another chance. Is there really nothing else?”


His tone was cold and imposing, bringing the overwhelming presence of a monarch to bear as he stood over the older man.


Though internally conflicted, Prime Minister Wen shook his head vehemently.


“You said Prince Qing threatened you? Did he threaten you with these two things?” Hua Zirong did not let his anger show, keeping his tone deadly silent despite the raging inferno inside of him.


Prime Minister Wen nodded at this, fists clenched in slight fear. I can never talk about that.


“Fine. You may leave. Go to Meng County tomorrow to rebuild the stone bridge and return all the funds you’ve embezzled.” Hua Zirong instructed.


Prime Minister Wen quickly thanked him for being merciful and left as quickly as he could before Hua Ziqing was brought in.


“Prince Qing, how would you like me to punish you?” Hua Zirong asked casually, as if he was talking about the weather.


“Wouldn’t Your Majesty have already decided upon that?” Hua Ziqing smirked.


Before Hua Zirong could respond, he continued, “Seems like Prime Minister Wen has been let off the hook. I wonder what the commoners would think about their Monarch if they knew about this?”


“No need to threaten me, because I won’t do anything to you. I want to let you witness your dreams crumbling before your eyes.” Hua Zirong responded.


Hua Ziqing suddenly realised that Hua Zirong’s previously cowardly disposition had been nothing more than an elaborate facade. However, that only made things more interesting now.


“We’ll see about that,” Hua Ziqing said with a smile.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Hilda

Editor: Lunarlark

Proofreader: Rakumon