The man in the cyan changshan stowed away his nonchalant manner and adopted a serious tone. “There is no trace of them within Xiliu’s borders.”


Lanshan didn’t comment, getting lost in her thoughts instead.




In Liushui Xiaozhu.


Hua Ziqing sat leisurely in a chair while clad in a changshan. Despite his supposed captivity, he was making himself right at home with a freshly brewed cup of tea. Next to it on the table was a book about tea ceremonies.


“Your Highness, Hua Zirong will be holding the Disaster Relief Banquet tomorrow.” The man with the mask relayed the information he had received from the outside world.


A faint smile graced Hua Ziqing’s mouth. “It looks like the matter with Prime Minister Wen has caused him to be on high alert; he plans to grasp this opportunity to make the officials cough up silvers.”


“Your Highness, how should we deal with this?” The masked man asked.


A contemplative look flashed past Hua Ziqing’s eyes. “How can it be so easy to cough up what has already been swallowed? What he’s doing is the same as using a cup of water to save a burning cart of firewood.”


“This subordinate is only afraid that Prime Minister Wen would take the lead in donating; if that happens, which official would dare not follow?” The masked man remarked coldly.


Hua Zirong did not pay much heed to it. “Even if Prime Minister Wen wants to offer his wealth in exchange for his life, he has already set out on a journey of no return.”


“What does Your Highness mean?” Despite his question, the masked man seemed to already comprehend Hua Zirong’s words.


Hua Ziqing poured the tea into a teapot in a practised manner. “Just wait and see; the Disaster Relief Banquet will become a total farce.”


“Is Your Highness saying that Hua Zirong won’t be able to achieve his goals?” The man inquired.


What he got in return was a shake of Hua Ziqing’s head as the latter stopped what he was doing with the tea set. “No, there are two objectives for this Disaster Relief Banquet, the first is to get a sense of the officials’ wealth, and the second is to give a wake up call to establish his authority as the Monarch.”


“That is to say, Hua Zirong’s actions can still be considered to be wise.” The masked man gave a brief statement.


Hua Ziqing’s sneer deepened. “They are indeed wise, but I’m afraid that he has a strategist behind him.”


“Prince Hao and the Western Region King?” The masked man was getting a clearer picture.


Hua Ziqing then smiled mysteriously. “Attack the snake at its weakness seven inches below its head; Hua Zirong just wants to make it clear that the position would never belong to this Prince, no matter what.”


"Your Highness, Prince Yun has been active lately, and that woman also seems…" The masked man didn't go further, but the implication was already clear.


Coldness flickered in Hua Ziqing's eyes. "The two of them are simply taking what they need from each other."


“But wouldn’t Your Highness be helping others obtain what they desire?” The masked man was perplexed.


“Your view is too shallow; she will only help me. After all, there is a dead person involved in all this.” Hua Ziqing’s eyes became bottomless pits as a sarcastic smile hung from his mouth.


Despite not understanding what Hua Ziqing was implying, it was sufficient for the masked man to understand that the plans were already mature.


“Are our people still unable to enter the posthouse?” Hua Ziqing smiled faintly.


The masked man shook his head. “Your Highness, there are experts situated all over the posthouse; we received a warning right as soon as we tried to get close.”


“With Pei Qianhao’s security being so stringent, there must be something happening in the posthouse, something he doesn’t want us to know about.” Hua Ziqing gave a knowing smirk.


The masked man pondered for a while. “Your Highness, now that you mention it, I have seen an imperial physician going in and out of the posthouse many times. Prince Hao’s confidante was also shuffling in and out with medicine.”

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Rakumon

Editor: Lunarlark