The man in red sighed loudly before showing a mild smile. “Everything has its cause and effect; when it’s time for you to know, you will naturally know about it.”


“Why did Prime Minister Wen die?” Hua Zirong asked with contempt.


Frost formed in the red changshan man’s eyes. “Even death is insufficient to pay for his sins; don’t ask.”


“You didn’t come here today to play riddles with me, right?” Hua Zirong sneered.


The man in red held a placid expression. “Not only did the late Monarch leave you Yingzi (shadow), he also left behind the Lianjin Guards.”


“That is to say, you are here to tell me where Xiliu’s most mysterious Lianjin Guards are?” Hua Zirong asked coldly.


The man in red nodded. “Mmm, something like that. It’s also about time you need to use them.”


He softly blew on a secret whistle in his hand, causing a massive group of people to surge in. All of them were dressed in black, and they wore golden Lianpu masks [1].


“Ying (eagle) pays respects to Your Majesty.”


The Lianjin Guards moved aside, giving way to a short man who wore a silver mask while carrying an eagle on his shoulder.


“This subordinate, Ying, the commander of the Lianjin Guards, pays respects to Your Majesty.”


Hua Zirong’s eyes glimmered coldly. He had never expected that Xiliu’s most mysterious Lianjin Guards were hiding right in Liu Hall. Not only that, but he had never noticed their presence.


“All of you have been hiding here all this time?” Hua Zirong asked cooly.


A trace of a smile rose in Ying’s eyes as he made a hand gesture. The other Lianjin guards immediately dispersed, concealing themselves in Liu Hall once again.


“The Lianjin Guards are summoned by the secret whistle. Without it, none of them will move.” Ying explained indifferently.


Hua Zirong understood what he was getting at. Without the secret whistle, they are like lifeless wooden puppets; they can’t show themselves even if they are hiding here.


“You want me to meet them now? Is that to say that the crisis in Xiliu has already reached the most critical juncture?” Hua Zirong sneered.


The man in the red changshan smiled. “Hua Ziqing’s forces are hidden deeply, while you only have the Yingzi. This match isn’t fair to you.”


As an observer of the Imperial Family, I can’t interfere unless it is strictly necessary; this is just how the rules are.


A tiny smile hung on the corners of Hua Zirong’s mouth. “It looks like you, as an observer, know much more than me.”


“Zirong, you don’t have to be like this. Get to know them better. I’ll leave first.”


The man in red then left Liu Hall, but not without placing the secret whistle on the table.


Watching him leave, the cold smile spread further across his visage. You probably have also long determined who would win in the end, right?”


“This Monarch likes loyalty, and doesn’t like betrayal.” Hua Zirong warned Ying.


Ying nodded. “The one who possesses the secret whistle can only be Xiliu’s Monarch, or an observer of Xiliu’s Imperial Family. If the two are on opposite sides, the Lianjin Guards will listen to the former.”


He made his stance clear that although the Lianjin Guards listened to the owner of the secret whistle, there could only be one owner. If there was a conflict of interest between the parties, the Lianjin Guards would show their utmost loyalty to the Monarch.


Hua Zirong’s mouth formed a smile. “Then let this Monarch see if your abilities truly live up to the rumours.”


“This subordinate understands.”


“Alright, this Monarch wants to know what exactly has happened in Liujing over the past few days, as well as who the mastermind behind these events is.” Hua Zirong showed no qualms in directly hurling out a tough question.

1. Painted masks that are often used for performances. The link features a few examples.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translator: Rakumon

Editor: Lunarlark