Book 5, Chapter 31: Framed

Chapter 31: Framed

Zhu Xianling was already kneeling on the ground and being interrogated by the Zhu Clan by the time Su Chen arrived.

It was impossible for her not to kneel. The crime of selling out a clan was incredibly serious.

However, to Su Chen, the scene before his very eyes was what was noteworthy - it was identical to the scene he had seen on the altar.

So the cost was low because the outcome had not been changed?

Su Chen had considered stopping Zhu Xianyao when she was heading for the main hall, because he still had some suspicions in his heart.

However, a question about the cost of the sacrifice surfaced in his heart at that moment.

He had made a prediction within the rules, so he didn’t attempt to stop Zhu Xianyao, causing the situation to unfold exactly as the Origin Bone Scepter had predicted.

The prediction was unchanged and became reality, which was the reason why the cost was so low.

What if he had tried to stop her?

If he had stopped Zhu Xianyao, the prediction would have changed.

But the prediction had already been made at that point, and the resources had been taken, so the cost would have been low either way. If he had forcibly tried to change the outcome, then it would be at odds with the sacrifice he had been required to make in order to obtain this prediction.

The cost of the prediction was made under the assumption that it would not be changed. What would have happened if he had tried to change the prediction on a whim?

In other words, did the Origin Bone Scepter know from the beginning that he wouldn’t try to change the outcome? And was that why it had chosen a low cost?

Or was it secretly influencing him?

Was it fated to be by some higher power? Or were the powers of time meddling with the situation?

Su Chen didn’t know. After all, his previous experiments with the Origin Bone Scepters were all quite meticulously performed. This was his first time coming into contact with this aspect of the scepter.

The interrogation of Zhu Xianling was continuing within the main hall.

Zhu Xianyao had finished explaining the situation, and Zhu Yunyan was totally stunned when she heard.

Zhu Yunyan asked, “Little Yao, are you sure that’s the truth?”

Zhu Xianyao replied, “Mother, Xianyao’s every word is true.”

“Since that’s the case, would you be able to tell me what secret technique Su Chen used?”

“This……” Zhu Xianyao turned around to glance at Su Chen. Without his permission, she would not divulge that information.

“A kind of time technique which requires Sands of Time to use,” Su Chen said as he pulled out a handful of sand.

The Origin Bone Scepter was an incredibly important item. There was no way that he would reveal its existence. Otherwise, the person being interrogated wouldn’t be Zhu Xianling but himself.

In comparison, even though the Sands of Time were a precious treasure, their value was far lower than the Origin Bone Scepter because of the fact that they were consumable. As such, they served as a perfect cover-up for the Origin Bone Scepter.

The principles behind the Dao of Time were incredibly profound, and no one really knew whether or not the Sands of Time could be used in this way. Since Su Chen said that he could, then they accepted it.

Zhu Xianling harrumphed. “So you don’t have any evidence at all? You used an imaginary prediction to try and pin this crime on me?”

Zhu Xianyao said angrily, “Who else could it be if it wasn’t you? Back then……”

“Xianyao!” Su Chen interrupted her.

He knew that Zhu Xianyao wanted to punish Zhu Xianling for trying to kill her, but now was not the right time to bring up that matter. Bringing it up now would only make it seem like Zhu Xianyao was trying to get revenge. Even though Zhu Xianling’s crime of attempting to assassinate her older sister was despicable, the crime of selling out the clan was an entirely different matter.

Zhu Xianyao also realized this, so she quickly closed her mouth upon Su Chen’s reminder. However, she continued to glare at Zhu Xianling, breathing hard with anger.

Zhu Xianling said, “Mother, are you really going to allow an outsider to humiliate your daughter like this?”

Zhu Yunyan’s eyebrows were firmly knit together in a frown. “Su Chen, do you have any evidence to suggest that Zhu Xianling sold out the Zhu Clan?”

Unexpectedly, Su Chen replied, “I never believed that Second Young Miss sold out the Zhu Clan.”

What?

Everyone stared at Su Chen.

Su Chen said, “I only saw from the prediction that Second Young Miss was going to be interrogated.”

“Is there a difference?”

“Of course. Predictions are not omniscient, and they cannot be used as question-answer machines. All it can do is present me with some representation of a certain situation that occurs in time. As for whether or not this representation is true or not, or what the importance of the representation is, neither of those things are what they need to be concerned about.”

Everyone understood what Su Chen meant now.

The prediction was that Zhu Xianling was going to be interrogated, but it did not predict what the outcome of the interrogation was going to be.

In other words, it was quite likely that Zhu Xianling was being wronged, and that the outcome of this investigation would find that she was blameless. However, none of this was presented in the prediction, so no one was able to know which was true.

Believing that Zhu Xianling had sold out the clan simply because she was being interrogated would be totally wrong.

Zhu Xianyao was equally surprised. “Su Chen, you……”

“Xianyao, I understand how you feel, but I must tell the truth,” Su Chen said. “I came here to marry you, not to harm anyone else. Whether or not Second Young Miss has sold out the clan, I cannot say, as the prediction hsa not told me. As such, I must clarify the situation.”

Zhu Xianyao felt her heart tremble when he said this. Even though she was upset that Su Chen wasn’t speaking on her behalf, she had to admit that his words were logical. The frustration in her heart had no outlet, so she could only glare at Zhu Xianling. In her heart, Zhu Xianling was without question the individual who had sold out the clan.

Zhu Xianling, on the other hand, chuckled coldly. “Oh, I never would have expected Prince Su to be such a righteous man. If that’s the case, then would Prince Su also agree that I am innocent?”

Su Chen shook his head. “All I’m saying is that the prediction alone was not enough to determine whether or not you are guilty. I did not, however, say that there were no problems on your end.”

Zhu Xianling’s expression changed. “What are you trying to say?”

Su Chen indifferently said, “Xianyao was in too much of a hurry to tell on you, so she missed the second half of the prediction.”

“What?” Zhu Xianyao was stunned.

Su Chen said to Zhu Xianling. “There should be an emergency transmission talisman on you that will immediately send word to the Rong Clan as soon as it is burned. That was probably what you used to send word to the Rong Clan that I had gone to Behind Heaven Mountain, right?”

Zhu Xianling immediately stood. “What nonsense are you spouting now?”

Zhu Yunyan jabbed her finger out at Zhu Xianling, forcing her to kneel yet again.

Next, Zhu Yunyan waved her arms. Zhu Xianling’s Origin Ring flew over to Zhu Yunyan’s hand. Zhu Yunyan glanced inside and found nothing, so she then proceeded to search Zhu Xianling herself. Suddenly, a talisman came floating out from Zhu Xianling’s clothes and landed in Zhu Yunyan’s hands. It was indeed an emergency transmission talisman.

Zhu Yunyan merely infused a small strand of perception inside before immediately saying, “It’s one of the Rong Clan’s emergency transmission talismans! Xianling, you really have guts!”

She was so infuriated that her entire body was trembling violently.

Zhu Xianling was shocked. “Mother, I didn’t.”

“Still trying to quibble?” Zhu Yunyan gestured. An invisible hand grabbed Zhu Xianling by the throat, picking her up into the air.

Even so, Zhu Xianling continued to shriek, “I…… really didn’t…… this is…… they are…... framing…… me……”

“Shut your mouth! Xianyao and Su Chen have never even touched you once, so how could they frame you? Do they have the ability to pull something off right under my nose? You just couldn’t get over your jealousy of your sister and even sold out the clan. You have really disappointed me this time!”

Zhu Yunyan continued to tighten her grip, causing Zhu Xianling’s eyes to roll into the back of her head.

It seemed as if she was planning on choking Zhu Xianling to death right then and there.

At that moment, Su Chen suddenly said, “Please, wait just a moment.”

Zhu Yunyan released her grip, causing Zhu Xianling to collapse onto the floor.

Zhu Yunyan stared at Su Chen intently. “Is there something else?”

“Can I take a look at that talisman?” Su Chen asked as he walked over.

Zhu Yunyan tossed the talisman over to Su Chen. Su Chen picked it up and inspected it a few times, then sniffed it and stared intently at Zhu Xianling.

Zhu Xianyao was totally mystified by his actions. She asked him quietly, “What are you doing?”

Su Chen sighed. “I’m afraid that I am going to say something you’re not going to like.”

Zhu Xianyao was stunned. “You……”

Su Chen said, “It seems to me that Second Young Miss was really framed.”

Everyone was completely caught off-guard yet again.

Zhu Yunyan asked, “Su Chen, what do you mean?”

Su Chen pointed at the talisman and said, “Even though I haven’t known Second Young Miss for a long time, I can smell the unique perfume that she uses. This fragrant perfume smells quite nice, but it is also incredibly sticky and gets everywhere. The talisman in my hand, however, has no such smell. Obviously, Second Young Miss has not been carrying it around for a long time.”

Everyone glanced at each other when they heard Su Chen’s words.

Zhu Xianyao was dissatisfied with that answer. “Perhaps she just changed her clothes?”

Su Chen sighed. “That’s another problem. Don’t you think it’s strange? Second Young Miss obviously has an Origin Ring, but instead of keeping it in the Origin Ring, she kept it in her clothes instead. What does that mean?”

Zhu Xianyao was taken aback and couldn’t come up with an answer.

If she had an Origin Ring, yet insisted on keeping the talisman on her, was she not afraid of accidentally dropping it and exposing herself?

The Zhu Clan’s members turned to look at each other yet again.

Zhu Yunyan said, “Prince Su means……”

“Someone secretly planted this talisman on Second Young Miss. Only this can explain why the talisman was not found in Second Young Miss’s Origin Ring, and why the talisman does not smell of the same perfume that Second Young Miss normally wears,” Su Chen said.

Upon hearing these words, Zhu Yunyan sighed with relief. Obviously, she was also unwilling to accept that her daughter was selling out the clan.

“Who would dare frame my daughter like that?” Zhu Yunyan’s expression was filled with anger.

“We must ask Second Young Miss that question. Before you came, did you come in contact with anyone? I mean the physical kind,” Su Chen asked.

Zhu Xianling was obviously quite badly shaken by the rollercoaster ride that had just taken place.

She thought for a moment, then shook her head resolutely and said, “No one.”

What?

Everyone was taken aback.

Zhu Xianling replied very confidently, “Before I came, I was chatting with Fourth Junior Sister and Sixth Junior Brother, but I never came in physical contact with them.”

Zhu Yunyan stood. “Are you sure? Xianling, this is related to your innocence.”

“It’s precisely because this is related to my innocence that I cannot speak carelessly. Otherwise, wouldn’t I be harming my own brothers and sisters?” Zhu Xianling didn’t forget to jab at Zhu Xianyao as she shot Zhu Xianyao a glare.

Everyone was totally dumbfounded by Zhu Xianling’s answer. How were they to investigate the situation now?

Su Chen suddenly said, “No, there is someone who came in contact with you. I saw it firsthand when I used the clones to trick you guys.”

Zhu Xianling was stunned. “How is that possible? How would I not have known if someone did that to me?”

“Because you never saw them as a person in the first place.”

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