Chapter 416: Meeting the Crown Prince again; the Imperial Struggle for Power!
Following a little eunuch, Bai Xiaofei arrived at the crown prince’s palace where the person in question was pacing back and forth. The moment he saw Bai Xiaofei, delight lit up his face.
“You are here, Brother Bai!” The crown prince walked up in a warm welcome, as enthusiastic as the procuress of Red Sleeve Building, looking like he just wanted to pull Bai Xiaofei into an embrace.
“Your Highness, you’re scaring me like this.” Bai Xiaofei interrupted his action with a polite smile. It was important to get down to business.
“Don’t be scared, don’t be scared, it’s fine. I heard that the Thunderstorm Bandits attacked the Bright Road Merchant House. Are you okay?” The crown prince looked worried when he said this. Although it was just an act, it already wasn’t easy for the crown prince of a kingdom to lower himself to this level.
“Your Highness is joking. How can I come here if I’m not?” replied Bai Xiaofei, causing a hint of embarrassment to appear on the prince’s face.
“Erm, that’s true…”
“Your Highness, if you have something to say, just say it. I just have a question for you as well, so let us be direct,” Bai Xiaofei stopped the meaningless chit-chat and got straight to the point, stunning the crown prince.
“You’re very straightforward, Brother Bai. My bad with the pleasantries.” Giving up on the idea of building up affection, the prince grew serious. “Brother Bai, you really didn’t handle the fire at Qingxue Palace cleanly enough.”
This shocked Bai Xiaofei for a moment. After frowning, he quickly calmed down. He must be laying the foundation for the conversation. He wouldn’t have used this method to meet me if he just wanted to cause trouble for me.
Arriving at this understanding, Bai Xiaofei smiled slightly.
“What do you mean?” he asked back, neither admitting nor denying.
“Even though Imperial Concubine Qing planned everything well, some people still saw you enter. Her attending maid as well as the entrance guard might not talk for fear of their own safety, but they would still confess if the means is cruel enough.” The crown prince paused a little before taking a turn, “But don’t worry, Brother Bai, I have made it so that they can never open their mouths again. Only I know about it, no one has any real evidence.”
Sincerity! The crown prince presented absolute sincerity!
However, whether or not his words were credible was another matter. He said that he didn’t hold any evidence, but the reality would depend on Bai Xiaofei’s answer to his following questions. Moreover, his phrasing of ‘never open their mouths again’ made him uneasy. There was only one kind of person in this world who could never open their mouth again…
‘I didn’t kill them, but they died because of me.’
However, Bai Xiaofei soon let go of this struggle. Everyone had their own fate. Even if they survived this fatal ordeal, they would still encounter another in the palace. This time it was directly related to Bai Xiaofei, but he wasn’t going to make any changes just because of it. The struggle for imperial power was no different from a war. If he could go on a killing spree on the battlefield, he could also accept this kind of death.
Winners be kings, losers be bandits. As long as his own people were safe, who cared about the rest?
“You’ve shown your sincerity, Your Highness. You must have something very important to tell me.” Having digested the matter, it was time for Bai Xiaofei to reciprocate.
“Brother Bai, what do you think of the situation in the royal clan now?”
There it was. This was not one bit off from what Bai Xiaofei had imagined. The crown prince was worried about the throne!
“His Majesty has aged, and Nabu City is in turmoil. It’s only a matter of time before Your Highness is enthroned. Seeing as His Majesty appointed you as the crown prince, he is biased towards you,” Bai Xiaofei told the truth, but this wasn’t what the crown prince wanted to hear.
“But Father’s bias may not be useful sometimes!” The crown prince cast Bai Xiaofei a meaningful look. “Brother Bai, can you understand me when I say this?” The crown prince kicked the ball back to Bai Xiaofei with a serious expression. Obviously, he was pressuring Bai Xiaofei to show his sincerity.
“While I have an understanding of the general situation, I don’t know who you think can threaten your position,” said Bai Xiaofei honestly.
The crown prince finally revealed a smile. I was waiting for these words!
“I have many younger brothers, but the ones really interested in the throne are only my Second Brother and Third Brother. The former is the queen’s own while the latter is often out. His force remains unclear and it’s difficult to investigate the full extent of his influence.”
Alright, now that’s really a problem!
“What kind of help is available to you at the moment, Your Highness?” His brows creased, Bai Xiaofei began collecting information.
“The commander of the Royal Guards – Commander Kang. I can’t guarantee that anyone else is absolutely loyal to me except him.”
Hearing this, Bai Xiaofei heaved a long sigh of relief from the bottom of his heart. Although there was only one, the quality was nothing to complain about. In case something went wrong, the help that the Royal Guards could offer would absolutely be the biggest!
“What about Vice Commander Li?” Bai Xiaofei suddenly thought of another person. This question had the crown prince dumbfounded.
“I hadn’t considered him, but with Commander Kang at the top, his significance…”
“Commander Kang is merely a Master Rank puppet master. What if, by a one in a thousand chance, something happens to him? Who would have the final say over the Royal Guards then?” Bai Xiaofei interrupted. “Anyway, it’s already late to win him over now. Even if you offer him the best benefits, it will only serve to expose your own hand. But I believe Your Highness can handle this very well.”
Bai Xiaofei gave the crown prince a meaningful expression. The latter immediately understood the message.
“I got it. I will assure the absolute leadership of Commander Kang in the Royal Guards!” The crown prince’s eyes flashed with a ruthless glint as killing intent rose in his heart.
“As for your two younger brothers, I would like to know your attitude towards them,” said Bai Xiaofei indifferently, but there was a hint of examination in his eyes. Old Man Illusionary had taught him about disputes and fratricides in royal families, but he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes. Now, there was an opportunity right in front of him.
“If they are unkind, then I can only return the favor. But before that, I’m willing to maintain a little brotherly affection towards them.” With a solemn face, the crown prince looked like he had great determination to stand by this decision.
Indeed, he put himself in a passive position by doing so. If his two younger brothers were cruel enough, he probably wouldn’t even have a chance to ‘return the favor.’
“Alright, I understand. Your Highness can just do everything as usual, and also assure Commander Kang’s complete safety. As for the rest, just leave it to me,” Bai Xiaofei finally showed his stand.
The crown prince was a little overwhelmed by sudden happiness.
“My brother, you really mean it?!” exclaimed the crown prince who looked like he was ready to pounce, but Bai Xiaofei revealed a smile that ran a chill down his spine.
“Of course I mean it. After all, I need a favor from Your Royal Highness as well.”
How the tables had turned…Previous Chapter Next Chapter