Upon seeing that someone was nullifying her son’s right to inherit the throne, the senior consort lost control and shrieked, “Impossible! You bitch! Why should we believe whatever you say! Is the Prince of Xiyue whoever you say it is? Why should we believe you?! You’re just a witch who’s come to do evil! The one who killed the prince must be you!”
The second consort’s heart skipped a beat when she heard the senior consort’s screeching. She secretly cursed her peer’s stupidity as she hastily peeled herself and her two sons away from the palace walls.
Sure enough, the senior consort cursing the goddess as a witch and even a bitch attracted everyone’s ire. An undercurrent of dissatisfaction and rebellious murmuring ran through the crowd. There were also some who exclaimed in surprise, “The prince is dead?”
The senior consort didn’t care about anything else at the moment. Her ears buzzed loudly and she couldn’t hear what people beneath the walls were saying. All she knew was that her husband was dead and her son naturally to inherit the throne, but some random goddess here was saying that the prince had been an imposter!
If Zhou Meng was a fake, wouldn’t that mean her child wouldn’t be able to inherit the throne either?
She knew that Zhou Meng’s affection for her had faded away long ago, but she didn’t feel all that deeply about him either. Even though the prince was dead, she didn’t find too much grief pooling in her heart.
However, she would never stand for someone stealing her son’s throne and robbing her of the riches and glories that should’ve been hers for the rest of her life!
“You witch, you didn’t come here with good intentions to begin with! I can see through your plans to steal the throne! Everyone, don’t believe this witch! She already killed our prince! You’re out of your mind if you think you can make some random stranger our prince by spewing this kind of drivel!”
The senior consort’s words drew much support, especially from Zhou Meng’s concubines and some of the princes old enough to be eligible for the throne. Fingers wagged indignantly at Qin Yining as sentiments in accordance with the senior consort took an uglier turn.
Pang Xiao listened to everything with a frown, but didn’t react so as to avoid ruining what his beloved had planned.
Qin Yining looked down expressionlessly at the people. Ignoring all of the malicious denouncements, she raised her voice to ask them instead, “Do you truly believe that I am a fake goddess?”
The crowd was greatly flustered by all the chaos, particularly those standing in the back since they could barely hear what was going on in the front. As such, everyone kept silent.
“Alright then.” Qin Yining nodded. “If the people of Xiyue do not believe the guidance from the heavens, I can only leave with my tribespeople and provisions. But I must warn everyone that he who pretends to be Xiyue’s prince will be punished. The previous one has already been summoned by the gods for his sentencing.
“As for who is to rule Xiyue, since you have decided to follow the fake prince, there is nothing further that I can do. You are on your own from henceforth.” She turned around, preparing to leave. Pang Xiao and the troops behind them also shifted formation to echo Qin Yining’s departure.
This shook the dazed commoners out of their spell and they hurriedly begged her to stay. “Goddess, please quell your anger! We don’t have such ideas at all. Of course we believe you!”
“That’s right, Goddess! Please don’t be mad!”
“The ones who bullied you were all related to that false prince! They have a guilty conscience, that’s why they say this nasty stuff to you!”
The commoners were in a complete panic. The wagons filled with bundles of tightly-wrapped grains were a magnificent sight for their sore eyes. For the commoners of Xiyue, friends with the constant companion of hunger, there was nothing more important than filling their stomachs.
The adults could bear it. In any case, that was how they’d lived their entire lives. But what of the children? The adults could settle for life as it was now, but if things continued like this, there would come a day in which their offspring didn’t even know what rice or noodles tasted like.
The people hadn’t been well-off under Zhou Meng’s rule. Although their population was small, it had also been heavily exploited. They could only put up with it as they had no choice. Furthermore, their religion stated that the prince was selected by the heavens, imparting a mysterious air to the Zhous. Their faith had made tolerable everything they’d suffered before.
However, all was different now.
That the goddess had fulfilled the prophecy in the Xiyue sacred texts went without saying, and now she was clearly pointing out that fake prince Zhou Meng had been summoned by the heavens for questioning.
The senior consort had already said Zhou Meng was dead, which was an even greater confirmation of the people’s conjecture—the heavens had punished Zhou Meng for pretending to be Xiyue’s prince! The senior consort and the rest were panicked only because they’d no longer be able to enjoy the riches and glories of the past, so they’d decided to paint the goddess as a witch!
Emotions ran high and the people grew fervent. They didn’t dare to block the goddess’ entourage and could only crowd the road, kneeling and begging for her to stay.
A few of the more hot-tempered raised their heads and jabbed fingers at the senior consort and the rest, raining down insults and curses. They seemed ready to charge through the palace gates at any second and tear them to shreds.
Fear prickled at those on the palace walls as they noted the growing tide of condemnation. Somebody whispered softly, “It’s true—the prince didn’t die from injury or poison. It was like he was summoned by the heavens. I think the goddess is right!”
“I think so too. Think about it: the goddess is plainly from another world and brought these provisions to us. The prince also really did die suddenly, mysteriously. Will the heavens punish us if we continue to protest their arrangements?”
Lol, the senior consort was actually right, but she'll never know that now, will she?