The position of clan head was Tang Zijin’s biggest counter to preserve Aunt Ru’s life. He gave it up easily, but his heart was completely against it! This was only because he was left with no other choice but to find a solution on the fly. At most, he’d lose his title, but he was determined to keep his power and authority. After all, there were plenty of branch family members in the Tang Clan hungering for that spot!
Once the truth came out, he feared that he wouldn’t be able to control the ending. Thus, even after giving the position up, he wanted an inheritor that he could control.
“Why not use Tang Li’s wedding to yield the position of clan head to him? This way, no one will feel suspicious,” Tang Zijin probed. He had guessed that Long Feiye hadn’t brought along Han Yunxi this time because it was both inadvisable to let her know the inner matters of the Tang Clan and as a final show of mercy to them both. Aunt Ru would be dead for sure if that woman had shown up! Thus, Long Feiye wouldn’t publicize today’s affair once it was done.
Long Feiye looked at him coldly without a word.
Tang Zijin was an old fox but he had also fallen into Long Feiye’s trap. It wasn’t consideration for Aunt Ru that had him leaving Han Yunxi behind, but the fact that he was still hiding his identity as the East Qin heir. It would be hard to speak freely with her here. Tang Zijin had offered Tang Li as the clan heir, but didn’t know his son had long ago defected to Long Feiye’s side ever since escaping from his first marriage.
Seeing Long Feiye keep silent disturbed Tang Zijin. He said, “Your Highness, Tang Li is marrying the president of the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium. His status as the young clan head really is a bit low when compared to hers. If he becomes the clan head, he’d at least be on par with her. Withdrawing from my position before the wedding will be completely reasonable without eliciting any doubt.”
Hearing this, Aunt Ru finally realized that Tang Zijin was trying to protect her. She fell silent, not daring to say a word.
“Your Highness, Aunt Ru’s status is quite particular. It wouldn’t be convenient for news of this to spread. As this subordinate sees it, this is one solution,” Chu Xifeng looked like he was coaxing Long Feiye, but in reality he was just putting on another show.
Long Feiye had already accomplished his goal, but he still needed Aunt Ru to pay back her debts. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to explain himself to Han Yunxi. Aunt Ru found the courage to speak up once she saw Chu Xifeng talk. “Better to hide it from sister-in-law too. Tang Li’s about to get married, it wouldn’t do to have her worry.”
Long Feiye was on good terms with Lady Tang, so Aunt Ru was appealing to his emotions. Finally, he exhaled and said, “The death penalty can be waived, but punishment still stands!”
Aunt Ru’s heart finally sank back into her chest, while Tang Zijin silently expelled a breath. “Many thanks to Your Highness for your mercy!”
Aunt Ru was only depressed. They’d already given up the position of clan head, but she still needed to be punished! Her resentment was obvious, but Tang Zijin’s glare forced her to accede. “Please mete out my punishment, Your Highness.”
“Confine yourself to for 10 years,” Long Feiye said coldly.
Aunt Ru was so stunned that she nearly sprang to her feet, but Tang Zijin pressed her back down. She glared at him, but he only glared back. In the end, it was still the older brother who suppressed his younger sibling. Aunt Ru hung her head in despair. What else could she do besides being thankful for preserving her life? She’d have to put her final hopes on Tang Zijin now. Returning was a solitary mountain in the , the location of the Tang Clan’s cemetery. Long Feiye wanted her to look after their graves!
“Chu Xifeng, bring the old Kong woman to as well and protect her with a few shadow guards,” Long Feiye glanced at Tang Zijin. “Having Tang Yiru fulfill her filial duty is one way of paying back for the unjust death of a Tang Clan disciple, wouldn’t you say?”
Tang Zijin had no words to retort with, so he only nodded. Aunt Ru was on the verge of tears. She wanted to cry injustice, but Long Feiye had no time to waste on her. “Someone come, imprison Tang Yiru on . Without this crown prince’s orders, anyone who tries to rescue her will face death!”
There was nobody else here but Tang Zijin, so the message was clearly meant for him. He simply pulled Aunt Ru to her feet and led her away. Like her, he too was still reeling from the recent turn of events.
As soon as they left the room, Aunt Ru shook herself free and cried like a madwoman, “Big brother, I don’t accept this! I won’t!”
Tang Zijin’s expression was dark. He grabbed her by the arm, but Aunt Ru shook herself free again. “Big brother, why has Feiye turned into this? He’s simply...it’s an outrage!”
“Don’t forget your own status! If you really want to die, I can help you with that!” Tang Zijin warned in a low tone. He had enough of this matter and his dunce of a little sister. He should’ve sent her on her way long ago. “This old man has already given up the position of Tang Clan Head for your sake, so what else do you want? Will you only be satisfied if I give up my life for you too?” He was furious.
“Big brother, it’s fine if I die! But Han Yunxi’s origins must be investigated thoroughly!” Aunt Ru’s gaze was steady, but Tang Zijin only lectured her again.
“Still talking? I have my own thoughts about that, I don’t need you to worry.” After some hesitation, he added, “Go apologize to your sister-in-law and say that you’re going to the Northern Li’s snow mountains and won’t be sure when you’ll return. Be careful when you speak. If you leak a trace of what happened here today and make her sad, hmph! Then you can shoulder the consequences alone!”
Aunt Ru nodded. She was still holding out hope for her brother to save her one day, so she’d never do anything to hurt sister-in-law’s feelings. Once she was gone, Tang Zijin returned to his study and sat heavily into his chair. He kneaded his forehead to calm down. Aunt Ru had spoken a pile of rubbish, but she was right about one thing: death was nothing when they still needed to figure out Han Yunxi’s past. To put it bluntly, the entire Tang Clan could be destroyed, but they still needed to untangle Han Yunxi’s origins! Aunt Ru had overheard about the Shadow Clan in secret, but found no traces after two years of investigating. This only made him uneasy.
Suppose Han Yunxi was really involved with the West Qin Dynasty? Then how would Feiye withdraw his heart from her then? Tang Zijin didn’t dare to imagine the results. Aunt Ru had given him a sound wake-up call today. He had to be even more prudent and cautious. Han Yunxi’s origins were one of the biggest reasons he’d given up his position as clan head so easily. By retreating to advance, he could minimize Feiye’s suspicions while plotting against Han Yunxi. If I can push Tang Li to deal with the trivial details of managing the Tang Clan, then I’ll have more time to scheme.
After Long Feiye gave Chu Xifeng instructions to take care of Aunt Ru, he went to find Han Yunxi and met her on her way to find him.
“Long Feiye, we were wrong. We should’ve made our move from Kong Xi’s side!” Han Yunxi declared. Although he’d told them to lay low, she came to this realization as soon as she awoke. “We were too impulsive. We still need to slowly investigate Kong Xi and see what kind of clues he might have against Aunt Ru! We’ll definitely find something!”
Long Feiye looked at Han Yunxi with a helpless, doting gaze before breaking into a faint smile.
“What are you smiling about?” Han Yunxi asked.
“Han Yunxi,” Long Feiye leaned in close. “How about I tell you something?”
Han Yunxi grew puzzled. “What is it?”
“Will you listen?” Long Feiye asked steadily.
Han Yunxi could only put her idea aside for now. “Speak.”
“Your lordship…” Long Feiye spoke very slowly as he observed Han Yunxi’s expressions with a grin. “You’re rather beautiful when you’re spacing out, too. Mm, your lordship will allow you to play the fool once in a while.”
Now Han Yunxi was even more confused. “What are you talking about?”
Long Feiye drew even closer and held her gently before telling her the whole story about Aunt Ru by her ear. Aside from the fact that he’d suppressed her and Tang Zijin using his role as the crown prince, he revealed everything. Han Yunxi was shocked to hear the tale before she finally understood.
“Well! So that’s what you meant by luring the snake out of its hole?”
“Mm,” Long Feiye replied as he nodded.
“But you still let me make a mistake?” Han Yunxi huffed. She suddenly realized she’d been too smart for her own good and became a joke. She disliked it when she looked like an idiot in front of Long Feiye.
“At most it was a passing moment of foolishness, not a mistake.” Long Feiye smiled. “If you hadn’t been such a fool, Aunt Ru wouldn’t have trusted Chu Xifeng so quickly.”
Han Yunxi didn’t know what to say as she stared at him. Fine, I’ll accept it! This man was so elegant even when he was scheming and tricking others! Doing everything at his own pace until he finished it brilliantly.
“How do you feel about trapping Aunt Ru at to take care of Grandmother Kong for the rest of her life?” Long Feiye asked.
Han Yunxi nodded immediately. “That’s a must!”
“Spare her the death sentence and give Tang Li a grand gift, how’s that?” Long Feiye asked next.
“Excellent!” Han Yunxi couldn’t imagine a better solution than this. Aunt Ru’s life for the position of Tang Clan head was a real profit! After all, the woman’s life wasn’t worth much. She knew that Long Feiye’s gift to Tang Li wouldn’t be cheap, but she never thought it’d be this generous! If Tang Li knew the truth, he’d probably worship Long Feiye even more.
“Will you tell Tang Li about what really happened?” Han Yunxi asked.
“Of course.” Long Feiye was certain. How else would he get Tang Li to vie for power against Tang Zijin? Han Yunxi understood the logic at a glance.
“This...it’ll be difficult for Tang Li. With his personality, doing things like this will make him very uncomfortable.”
“He’ll have to succeed to the position sooner or later. If he can take the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium’s arms trade after that, he won’t have to enter the tiger’s den,” Long Feiye remarked. His heart was vast enough to fit the entire world, but it was also petty enough to keep everyone except a select few out. Tang Li counted as one of his exceptions. If possible, he didn’t want this cousin of his to suffer too much. It’d be much safer for him to be Tang Clan Head than some planted agent in the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium.
“I never considered that. If he manages to bring Ning Jing under control, he really won’t have to risk his life in the Cloud Realm Trade Consortium.” Han Yunxi smiled.
In front of Tang Zijin and the rest, Han Yunxi feigned ignorance of Aunt Ru’s affairs. A few days later, Tang Zijin found a death row inmate to be the scapegoat and officially ended the case of the traitor amongst their ranks. Han Yunxi didn’t pry, but acted her part and thus, the case was closed. Meanwhile, Lady Tang was truly oblivious to the truth and was only sorry that Aunt Ru had to leave so soon before Tang Li’s wedding.
By the third day of Aunt Ru’s imprisonment atop , Tang Li’s wedding procession started setting out in advance. It would take five days total for the full trip, which would land him at the bride’s house perfectly on the 28th! This time, Long Feiye and Han Yunxi simply followed the procession from behind without slipping into their ranks.
It was time to put Han Yunxi’s tampered gold ingot to use!Previous Chapter Next Chapter