Chapter 14: The Crown Prince Grounded
“Get out! All of you! Have your best lady come see me!” Jun Huang could hear Qi Yin’s wounded roars of wrath as soon as she approached the door.
Clang! The door suddenly opened as a prostitute hurriedly scrambled out. She was tripped by the doorstep and almost fell down.
“Is it done?” Jun Huang raised the girl up and asked noncommittally.
The girl hurriedly snuck a peak at Jun Huang and responded lowly, “In response to the gentleman, it’s done.”
Jun Huang nodded. “Go on. I’ll buy your freedom on the morrow.”
“Thank you, sir!” Gratitude flashed through the girl’s eyes.
The door was still open, so Jun Huang could see clear into the room. Apart from Crown Prince Qi Yin, there were also a dozen cowering prostitutes within. All of them were indecent. “What a coincidence, Crown Prince. Fancy bumping into you here.” Jun Huang affected an expression of surprise and tsk’ed at the crown prince. “It looks like the crown prince has high standards indeed. None of the dozen catches your eye?”
“Feng Baiyu!” Qi Yin was bloodshot with rage when he took a clear look at who was at the doorstep. Qi Chen had risked his life to save the emperor a few days ago and won deep imperial favor as a result. Qi Yin’s status as crown prince in the palace had taken a deep plunge because of this, and even his own royal mother had laid a blistering lecture into him this morning. Qi Yin was harboring a belly of barely suppressed rage and had wanted to forget it in the arms of pleasure, but he’d called for a dozen women and none of them had stirred his interest! He wouldn’t harden, even when the women stripped themselves naked and laid on the bed! Whether it was the oppressive feelings he’d suffered in the palace or the irritation at Ladies of the Lake, he was firmly placing it all on Prince Chen’s doorstep. And now that he saw Qi Chen’s only strategist, his rage soared to new heights.
“Why does the crown prince not make good use of the night with such beauties in his arms, and spend his time raging instead?” Jun Huang knew full well what was going on, but continued to purposefully poke the tiger. She’d bought out the maid at Qi Yin’s side a while ago and had secretly given Qi Yin a powder for flaccidity before he did his business with the prostitutes. It would seem that the powder was far more effective than she thought.
“When was it your turn to remark on this seat’s business! Get out!” Qi Yin’s face flushed red and white in his rage, and he was huffing heavily from the exertion of his emotions.
“The crown prince still thinks of the leading lady of the Lake even with so many beautiful girls in your arms… can it be…” Jun Huang looked at the crown prince with a supercilious smile. “The crown prince… isn’t man enough?”
“Feng Baiyu, I’m going to kill you!” Steam was almost erupting from Qi Yin’s orifices when Jun Huang identified the heart of his concern. He grabbed the teapot on the table and threw it viciously at Feng Baiyu.
Feng Baiyu dodged adroitly, the smile on his lips depending with further mockery. “Is the crown prince so incensed because of a guilty conscience? Has this commoner hit upon it?”
“Feng Baiyu, I will see you dead today!” Rationality instantly evaporated from the crown prince’s mind after all this provocation. He drew the sword by his waist without another thought and hacked towards Feng Baiyu.
Jun Huang smirked coldly and didn’t make another move, her look at the crown prince completely filled with disdain. This was a dandy that would bully the weak and fear the strong, and had nary a thought in his head! How did I ever possibly think before that the crown prince had some ability to him?
“Stop!” A group of people suddenly surged through the door before the prince’s sword could slash down, their eyes all fixing unfriendly stares at the crown prince. Lord Li swiftly strode in, seizing the crown prince’s sword with one hand and surveilling the room with a quick turn. His expression was particularly ugly. “Your Highness, you are, you are simply ludicrous!”
Their room had just been next door with a thin wall as a partition. They had all heard the disturbance when the crown prince had thrown the teapot earlier, and everyone had clearly heard him later on when he wanted to kill Feng Baiyu. They had all come over and immediately taken in the situation in the room. There were a dozen indecently clad women, the crown prince waving his sword and declaring his desire to kill the second prince’s strategist… They’d seen and heard all of this for themselves, and so now everyone believed that the crown was lewd and ludicrous without parallel!
Color instantly drained from the crown prince’s face when he saw the dozen or so great officials who’d rushed into the room. “Lord Li, I… I…” He tried to stammer out an explanation.
“Your Highness.” Jun Huang didn’t feel that the flames were burning hot enough and decided to add a dash of oil to the fire. “As the noble crown prince of our Northern Qi, you should be leading by example. It’s truly inappropriate to act in such a lascivious manner.”
It wasn’t uncommon for noble scions to come out and make merry, but the act of demanding ten girls in one go wasn’t something that could be only encompassed as lewd. The officials’ expressions all darkened as they looked at the crown prince with mirrored expressions of disappointment and disgust. “Your Highness, how can you do this as the successor to Northern Qi!”
“I…” Qi Yin was at a loss at how to respond to the condemnation. Did he say that he hadn’t been hard enough to do the deed? How could he possibly do that?! No man would ever admit that!
Jun Huang knew with a single glance what the crown prince was thinking of. She looked at his lower body with sudden enlightenment. “Your Highness summons so many girls but doesn’t take it further. Can it be… Your Highness is unable to do so?”
“Feng Baiyu, just you wait!” Qi Yin flushed hot and cold as he viciously spat out these words and left without another glance. This Feng Baiyu’s wrecked my plans before even arriving in the capital. I’ll get him for this if it’s the last thing I do!
The next day, the Prince Chen Manor.
Feng Baiyu had just set out tea when Qi Chen came striding in with great fanfare. “Wonderful plot, what a simply marvelous plot!” Glee was written all over Qi Chen’s face as he looked at Jun Huang with utter admiration.
“Please have some tea, Your Highness.” Jun Huang smiled faintly and handed over the prepared tea to Qi Chen.
Qi Chen quaffed it in one go and continued with high emotion. “All of the officials in morning court today gathered behind Lord Li to present a singular petition denouncing the crown prince’s ludicrous actions and character. The crown prince has been grounded! This is all thanks to you!”
“It’s too early for Your Highness to be happy.” Jun Huang shook her head with a slight smile.
“Why do you say this?” Qi Chen blinked, taken aback. He was in the throes of royal favor at the moment. Wasn’t it a great timing for advancement now that this had befallen the crown prince?
“Your Highness forgets that the Northern Qi crown prince is still Qi Yin.” Jun Huang spoke slowly, “Even with a dozen officials uniting behind a petition, the emperor has merely grounded him. Does this commoner need to point out the crown prince’s importance in the emperor’s heart then?”
Qi Chen finally came back to himself as wryness surged in his heart. He’d finally won his father’s favor after risking his life, but the crown prince hadn’t done anything to be met with such deep-seated protection. He’d only been grounded after such a large hubbub. Father is truly biased.
“Your Highness has no need to worry, do you know what rumors are flying around in the capital now?” Jun Huang was well aware of the need to offer something sweet after a stinging rebuke. She’d slapped the prince some, so it was time to give a reward.