The emperor and soldiers resented Pei Zhang’s wolf cry.
‘Imperial father, don’t let him fool you,’ Pei Zhang said. ‘Imperial father, let me check inside.’
‘Alright,’ the emperor said coldly.
Pei Zhang led his guards inside. He checked every nook of Pei Jin’s manor and didn’t find anyone or anything suspicious.
‘Where are they?’ Pei Zhang asked. ‘Where are the weapons?’
‘Seventh prince, we didn’t see anyone leave ninth prince’s manor,’ the guard said.
‘Useless!’ Pei Zhang said. ‘How can people and weapons disappear?’
Pei Zhang knew his guards wouldn’t dare deceive him. It was Pei Jin who built a trap for him!
‘Imperial father, are you searching my manor because you suspect I’m hiding rebels?’ Pei Jin asked sadly.
The emperor’s complex eyes looked at Pei Jin.
‘Ninth brother, where are you hiding your people?’ Pei Zhang asked.
‘Seventh brother, what people are you referring to?’ Pei Jin asked confusedly.
‘Assassins!’ Pei Zhang said. ‘Weapons! Ninth brother, don’t pretend you don’t know where they are!’
Pei Jin laughed coldly. ‘Seventh brother, you searched everywhere and you know clearly there are no assassins and weapons here.’
Pei Zhang fisted his hands, Pei Jin turned him into a paranoid fool in front of everyone!
‘Ninth brother, you framed me!’ Pei Zhang said.
‘Seventh brother, why would I frame you?’ Pei Jin asked.
Everyone understood it was impossible for Pei Jin to frame Pei Zhang. It was Pei Zhang who requested the emperor’s army to search Pei Jin’s manor. Also Pei Jin cooperated without resistance and didn’t hide any assassins or weapons.
‘Seventh brother, between us who is framing who?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘What are you saying?’ Pei Zhang asked.
‘Seventh brother, it’s not hard to see imperial father wouldn’t bring an army here unless you convinced imperial father I wanted to commit treason,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Seventh brother, tell me where am I hiding assassins and weapons?’
Pei Zhang couldn’t refute Pei Jin’s accusations.
‘Seventh brother, why did you deceive imperial father?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘Ninth brother, are you saying I deceived imperial father to frame you?’ Pei Zhang asked.
‘Seventh brother, your heart’s intentions are too deep for me to see,’ Pei Jin said.
Pei Zhang wanted to vomit blood.
The emperor assessed his strong son and his weak son. He believed Pei Zhang wouldn’t deceive him because Pei Zhang wouldn’t gain anything by deceiving him. But he believed Pei Jin wasn’t a fool and wouldn’t do something reckless to frame Pei Zhang. He didn’t know between Pei Zhang and Pei Jin who was innocent.
‘Your majesty, a troop of soldiers are invading the army camp and another troop of soldiers are approaching here!’ a soldier reported.
The emperor glared daggers at Pei Zhang. He knew Pei Zhang had his guards positioned around the imperial city. Also Pei Zhang was the one who requested him to take his army here.
‘Everyone protect the emperor and kill the traitors!’ the general ordered.
‘Seventh son, confess!’ the emperor said.
‘Imperial father, I don’t know what’s happening either,’ Pei Zhang said.
‘Seventh brother, your chess manoeuvre is too deadly!’ Pei Jin said.
‘Ninth son, what are you implying?’ the emperor asked.
‘Imperial father, earlier I wondered why seventh brother would deceive you and request you to bring an army here,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Seventh brother wants to use the strategy of making a sound in the east and striking in the west.’
Pei Jin knew he didn’t need to say anymore. Pei Zhang’s request to bring their father’s army here was the best evidence to prove Pei Jin’s innocence.
The emperor grabbed an imperial guard’s sword and the sword tip pointed at Pei Zhang’s throat.
Pei Zhang knelt in front of his father. ‘Imperial father, I was framed!’ He glared at Pei Jin. ‘Ninth brother, you framed me!’
‘Who framed who?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘Seventh brother, I considered our brotherly bond and endured your vicious slander against me and my family! On the day of imperial father’s birthday banquet, you accused my wife of killing your second wife’s son. But I didn’t begrudge you because I believed the heavens would reward me and my family justice. But I can’t let you continually frame me and my family anymore. Seventh brother, you accused me of treason. Look around you, it’s your people that are attacking! How can I control your people?’
Pei Jin acted like he was deeply hurt by Pei Zhang’s betrayal.
‘Seventh brother, imperial father hasn’t declared who he wants to give the throne to,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Are you scared in the future if you sit on throne, it won’t be stable? Is that why you planned this?’
‘Nonsense!’ Pei Zhang said. ‘You know imperial father wants to give the throne to me that’s why you framed me! Imperial father, don’t listen to his lies, he has ulterior motives-’
The emperor’s sword nipped Pei Zhang’s throat.
‘Seventh son, how do you know I want to give you the throne?’ the emperor asked suspiciously.
Pei Zhang’s whole body turned cold, he realised he recklessly said too much.
End of Chapter Seventy-Seven