Si family residence, study room.
Si Ye looked at the Empress, Si Huijing—who was seated before him—in shock. “You said that Elder Meng is dead and that Rong Zhen is missing? When did this happen?!”
The Empress frowned deeply. “Yesterday.”
“Then, why are you only telling me this now?!”
“It was already evening when I found out about it. How could I leave the palace then? I had to plead with His Majesty for ages just to come here today.” The Empress rubbed her temples frustratedly.
The whole of last night, she had nightmares and didn’t sleep well. She felt like her head was about to explode. She was respected as the Empress, but she was restricted as people were watching her every move.
She only managed to publicly leave the palace after she told His Majesty that she felt exhausted by everything that had happened recently and wanted to return to the Si family.
“Then… did His Majesty say anything?” Si Ye asked worriedly.
The Empress shut her eyes. “His Majesty is mad at Rong Jin and cannot be bothered with me. He wants to take the chance to give us the cold shoulder; naturally, he didn’t say anything.”
Si Ye sighed, his anger visible on his face. “I heard about that matter. Rong Jin was too rash; he actually managed to do something like this! He’s too comfortable in his position as Crown Prince! Doesn’t he know that there are plenty of people who are looking for something to hold against him?!”
The Empress couldn’t be bothered to talk about Rong Jin anymore, but he was still her prized son. Thus, she spoke up for him. “I’ve lectured him about it, and he has promised not to do so in the future.”
But Si Ye scoffed; he clearly did not buy it. “If his promises were effective, he wouldn’t have done something like this!”
Si Ye only felt that Rong Jin was petty in the past, but the problem seemed much worse than he had imagined! Rong Jin is just brainless!
The Empress looked at him disgruntledly. “Big Brother, it’s fine for others to say this, but how could you? You’re his Uncle!”
Si Ye had more to say, but he froze and held his tongue when he saw his sister’s haggard look. “Enough about him! Rong Zhen and Elder Meng’s matter is more pressing! What’s going on? Tell me in detail.”
The Empress’s expression was solemn as she repeated the events that had happened yesterday.
“…So, what we’re sure of is that Elder Meng is dead and that there’s no trace of Rong Zhen?” Si Ye asked dazedly.
The Empress nodded helplessly. “We’re the only two in the Si family that know of Elder Meng’s existence. It would be disastrous if His Majesty found out about it. Therefore, I didn’t dare to take much action; I just sent scouts quietly. We haven’t found any traces of Rong Zhen in the palace after the whole night—we don’t even have any clues.”
Si Ye sank deep into thought. “Since Elder Meng brought her out, they must’ve left the palace. Have you sent people to check on the places that she likes outside the palace?”
“I did, but they didn’t find her.” The Empress sighed. “Thus, I’m here today to ask for your help, Big Brother. Worst-case scenario, we might find her if we send people to search the entire Imperial City covertly.”
“That’s easier said than done.” Si Ye stood up and paced around frustratedly with a hand behind his back. “It would be hard to do this, even for the Si family! Besides, people will catch on if we make a big move. His Majesty will know what we’re doing within half a day!”
“Then, what can we do?” The Empress was a little anxious. “Elder Meng is dead, Rong Zhen is outside, and we don’t even know what the situation is like! And now that her pearl of essence has been destroyed, anyone can kill her easily! If His Majesty finds out… Big Brother, you know that the palace will know every time a prince or princess dies, right?!”
If something happened to Rong Zhen, His Majesty would definitely send people to look into it. If that were the case, they would find out about Elder Meng.
The Si family, her son, and herself would be implicated as well!
“Rong Jin’s situation is bad enough. If all of these matters were out in the open, it would be worse! Rong Zhen is too much; the older she grows, the worse her temper gets. She didn’t even think about what consequences there would be! She’s going to do all of us in!”
Si Ye glanced at the Empress. “Isn’t Rong Zhen’s temper the way it is because you spoiled her? Besides… I’m guessing you’re worried about her whereabouts because she might implicate you and Rong Jin, not because you’re actually worried about her safety, right?”
“What else can I do?!” The Empress flew into a rage after her brother saw right through her. “I had to fight tooth and nail for the position of Crown Prince! If Rong Jin falls, what do I rely on?! Rong Qi? He’s not made for big things!”
Rong Qi was ordinary in every possible way. He couldn’t be relied on! Even though he was titled, he hadn’t achieved much!
They were both titled princes, but look at Rong Xiu! He had been away from Imperial City for years and hardly left his mansion after he returned. Yet, he was able to win His Majesty’s favor!
It was infuriating!
Si Ye waved his hand annoyedly. “That’s enough; it’s useless to say all this now! We have to find Rong Zhen as soon as possible. We just need to keep it from His Majesty. Right, do you know why Rong Zhen would want Elder Meng to bring her out at this time?”
“How would I…” The Empress had a thought mid-sentence! That’s not right! Rong Zhen has asked Elder Meng to bring her out before! That time… it was to go see Chu Liuyue! Rong Zhen would repeatedly look at a map after that.
The Empress had caught a glimpse of it before, and it seemed like a rough map. Rong Zhen has been mumbling that she wanted to go see Chu Liuyue for the last couple of days.
“Chu Liuyue?!” she cried out in shock.
Si Ye froze. “What? What does Chu Liuyue have to do with this?”
“No! Big Brother, you don’t know! I’m almost certain Chu Liuyue has something to do with Rong Zhen’s disappearance!” The Empress put her hands atop one another, upset that she hadn’t thought of it earlier! “It has to be her… It has to be her!”
Who else can kill a stage-five warrior so easily?! Chu Liuyue might not be able to do it alone, but she has many secrets on her and countless tricks up her sleeve!
“Big Brother, hurry! Get someone to go to Chu Liuyue! Bring her here; Rong Zhen has to be in her hands!”
Si Ye frowned when he saw his sister’s reaction. “Calm down! What do you think the Si family is? We’re not the imperial guards, so how can we just bring her here? Besides, Chu Liuyue is not just anybody; who dares to touch her now?!”
If anything happened to Chu Liuyue, not just Chu Liuyue, but Tian Lu Academy wouldn’t take it lying down either.
There was Prince Li Mansion too.
And most importantly… Mu Qinghe!
The Empress bit her lips. “Then, let’s ask her directly!”