Chapter 1255: [YeXi] Going to court

Baili Yuanlong was dead?

Hearing Xu Donglin’s words made Long Feiye speak. In fact, he had lost all self-control.

“Xu Donglin, tell Gu Beiyue to go over immediately!” 

Long Feiye tugged on his outer robes and pushed open the doors. Han Yunxi knew the Baili Clan was important to Long Feiye, but she never realized they were this monumental. The retainers who had protected him since youth, the old face who had shielded him since childhood--how could he be taken lightly in his heart? Although Long Feiye neither expressed nor said it, he hid such things in the bottom of his heart! 

Han Yunxi picked up the dragon robes and chased after him, stopping Long Feiye at the palace gates.

“It’s going to be morning court soon! Emperor!” Han Yunxi emphasized the last two words. After cheating the Xiao Clan out of such much last night and making Xiao An Junwang, their efforts would be wasted if Long Feiye was absent at court because of Baili Yuanlong! 

Long Feiye didn’t speak, but he waved at Han Yunxi to dismiss her. Instead, she tossed the robes at him and said, “Emperor, you should know better than chenqie. No matter what, you must go to court today!”

Long Feiye pulled at her hand and intoned, “Yunxi, be good and wait in the palace until I return.”

So speaking, he suddenly tugged Han Yunxi behind him before stepping into the air with lightness techniques. Of course Han Yunxi gave chase, but he was far too fast for her. 

Right before Long Feiye left the palace grounds, a white shadow flew in front of him and stopped him at the walls. It was Gu Beiyue. As the imperial physician, he had full right to reside within the palace but returned to the Grand Tutor’s estate last night. He had rushed over as soon as he caught wind of Baili Yuanlong’s passing. 

Seeing Gu Beiyue’s white-robed form, Han Yunxi calmed down. She could convince Long Feiye with words, but there was no way she could catch up to him. With Gu Beiyue here, she had no qualms at all. Now she simply watched them from a distance. It was unclear what the two men talked about, but Gu Beiyue refused to back down and raised an arm to block Long Feiye with an unyielding expression. Long Feiye had never missed a court session since ascending the throne besides his New Year’s holiday. It wouldn’t be long before news of Baili Yuanlong’s death spread throughout the capital. 

According to last night’s events, the Baili Clan had committed grave crimes. They were even at risk of facing the nine familial exterminations. The case had been submitted to the justice courts last night, so if Long Feiye expressed his concern for the family now, what would the Xiao Clan think? They were still on guard and looking for all sorts of chances to throw rocks down the well to worsen the Baili Clan’s plight.

Moreover, Long Feiye had yet to mete judgment on the rioting mobs or nobles. If he skipped morning court for the sake of a criminal, how could he possibly deter his subjects in the future? Since last night, everyone in the palace had been watching the justice courts for their judgment against Baili Yuanlong. In other words, they were waiting to see Long Feiye’s true attitude towards the man. 

Under these circumstances, the only path for Long Feiye to walk was to take no action! 

Long Feiye and Gu Beiyue talked for a long time while Han Yunxi waited in silence. Although she was certain Gu Beiyue could persuade him, she almost wanted to cry when she saw Long Feiye turn around. She was overjoyed for his sake, yet her heart ached for him. 

Long Feiye returned to the courtyard, where Han Yunxi handed him his dragon robes after he landed. His eyes were hooded in absolute silence as he stretched out his arms for Han Yunxi to dress him. Her heart seized at the sight, but she didn’t dare ask him any questions or even talk. Still, once he was dressed, he resumed his normal self and stroked her hair with a doting smile.

“Will you come to court too, Zhen’s Supreme Commander of the Armies?”

Han Yunxi gave a start before she loudly proclaimed, “Yes!”

The empress had no place in politics, but she was more than that. She was the head of Cloud Realm Continent’s military! That gave her full right to be present. 

--

In the Violet Hall, all the courtiers were present except for Baili Yuanlong. His spot was right behind Han Yunxi’s position as Supreme Commander. If she hadn’t come to court, then he would be standing at the head. Today, it was Junwang Xiao An who replaced him. 

Before Han Yunxi thoroughly understood the southern generals, she had once considered it a good thing to maintain the divisions between East and West Qin’s military factions. At the very least, that would balance out their powers so that imperial might would be stable no matter which side claimed the upper hand, thus leaving her and Long Feiye united. But she never expected Ning Cheng to disappear without so much as a by your leave. There was no news of him even now.

She also never expected the Jiangnan faction to grow so powerful while Cloud Realm was embroiled in conflict. While Long Feiye was busy in the north, they formed factions to take over much of the south and even profited off the wars! With Baili Yuanlong absent and Xiao An standing behind her, Han Yunxi felt like there was a blade pointing at her back!

Once all the officials gathered, it was time to begin the morning court. Long Feiye entered from the side in his dragon robes like a god. His icy face made it impossible for anyone except Han Yunxi to read his feelings. After everyone paid their respects, the officials began to talk about the current affairs. Lord Lin, secretary of the justice courts, brought up the matter of Baili Lixiang first.

“To report to Your Majesty, Baili Lixiang has already been locked up in the imperial prisons. Last night this official subjected her to interrogation. She refused to say much and implored Your Majesty to question her personally.”

As soon as he finished, Long Feiye slammed the table. “What right does she have to make Zhen conduct a personal interrogation? Rescind her title of first-rank lady and remove Baili Yuanlong’s rank of Guogong! The justice courts will be in charge of investigating this case. Those who interfere shall be shown no mercy!”

Xiao An’s eyes flashed sinisterly as he bowed his head. His thoughts were inscrutable, but nearby Xiao Dong was wearing a smug expression. Baili Yuanlong’s death had been reported to the emperor this morning, but he was still stripping the man of his title. It looked like the emperor had completely lost his faith in the Baili Clan. As things stood, he didn’t need to waste time casting more stones down the well. Compared to any pressure he exerted on the justice courts, the emperor’s attitude was proof enough that the Baili Clan would never rise again.

Originally, the Ministers of Personnel and Rites wanted to announce Baili Yuanlong’s death, but seeing the emperor’s reaction made them exchange looks and stay silent. The Minister of Personnel wanted to have the emperor and empress quickly replace the head general for the central regions, while the Minister of Rites simply wanted to ask whether Baili Yuanlong would be buried with the honors of a Guogong. 

Judging from today’s events, the Baili Clan’s case was still ongoing. As officials, they would ask nothing more. The rest of the ministers fell into silence while Long Feiye continued as if nothing had happened. “Is there anything else to discuss?” he asked coldly.

Han Yunxi stood below and watched him looking severe up high, feeling heartache with admiration. Besides being lost in the early hours of the morning when cooking her noodles, this man would always be a high and mighty sovereign no matter his title, position, or situation. He too, was forever her high and lofty king.

The Minister of Revenue brought up Northern Li’s disasters while Junwang Xiao An promised to pay up the auction fees from the birthday banquet within five days for the sake of the victims. Then the Minister of Personnel announced that the imperial examinations would take place in the spring while the Minister of War reminded all of the Tang Clan and their weapons manufacturing. 

Although only ministers of fourth rank or above had the right to speak to Long Feiye, there were still many items to discuss. Han Yunxi didn’t say a word but stood amongst them while watching Long Feiye the entire time. If this could count as companionship, it was definitely a form of long-lasting love. 

After morning court was over, Long Feiye retired to his study as always to meet with individual officials. Han Yunxi went back to the palace to stay with Rui’er and wait for him. She knew that once he was finished, he would make a private visit to the Baili Estate. Gu Beiyue had gone on ahead to investigate Baili Yuanlong’s cause of death. 

While she was waiting, something big happened at the Ministry of Revenue. After Mu Linger handed in her red envelope for the disaster victims last night, the noble madams of Yunning City all turned in their red envelopes as well. However, once they reached the ministry, it was discovered that eight of the sealed envelopes were completelyl empty. Moreover, these envelopes had never been opened before. 

Why were these eight the only ones left empty?

Lord Chen, who was in charge of disaster relief funds at the ministry, was thrown into panic. He couldn’t report the loss, but he couldn’t ignore it either. After repeated hesitation, he finally went to find Eunuch Li from the palace. 

“Lord Chen, as this old servant sees it, you cannot report such news! Although those envelopes are still sealed, it’s...still possible to check if they’re empty by feeling them up!” Eunuch Li muttered.

“Sir Eunuch means to say…” Lord Chen grew alarmed.

“Those eight madams aren’t ordinary figures. They must have discovered the envelopes were empty long ago but still sent them up for donation. What are their intentions?” Eunuch Li murmured.

“This, this…” Lord Chen grew anxious as he realized the madams had pushed the thorny issue into his hands.

Since Mu Linger donated her red envelopes, others naturally followed in her wake. Although these madams knew their envelopes were empty, they never opened them up or talked about it. It was obvious they wanted the Ministry of Revenue to contact Esteemed Empress directly!

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Ruyi's Thoughts

what are those dastardly madams up to now tsk tsk