“Rong Xiao, are you crazy!?” Situ Yan widened his eyes in shock. The Empress is the mother of the country. There should be a national funeral after she dies! As her son, Rong Jin should’ve refrained from marrying for three years! Even if there are pressing issues, he should’ve waited a year at least!
A month?! Isn’t that akin to holding the wedding at the Empress’s funeral? Do they still want their face and reputation?! If they really do this, the entire royal family of Country Yao Chen will get flak for it, not to mention Situ Xingchen and Rong Jin—who would be branded as unfilial!
“You’re shameless, but I’m not!”
How could he continue to follow through with the marriage agreement now that he knew that Rong Jin wasn’t the true Heaven’s Chosen Son?
Situ Xingchen was the apple of his eyes, his most beloved daughter! How could she marry a Crown Prince who had been stripped of his title?! She would be done for the rest of her life!
Emperor Jiawen found Situ Yan’s exasperation amusing. Despite all his calculations, this old fool has shot himself in the foot! No matter what, I have to gain the upper hand!
“You initiated the marriage alliance in the first place. Are you going back on your word now?”
Situ Yan felt like he was about to explode. “So what if I am?”
They would definitely attract criticism if they annulled the marriage agreement the instant something happened to Rong Jin. Even so, it was much better than sacrificing the rest of Situ Xingchen’s life!
Emperor Jiawen leaned back in his chair. The recent events had him exhausted, but Situ Yan’s reaction alleviated some of his exhaustion. “There’s no negotiating this matter; the marriage agreement stays! Situ Xingchen will get married in Imperial City in a month! Don’t worry, Rong Jin is my son after all. I’ll make sure that the wedding is a grand affair!”
“Rong Xiao! You! You…” Situ Yan felt his vision disappear as he staggered. He’s dead set on keeping Situ Xingchen here until she’s married to Rong Jin!
“Rong Xiao, don’t push it! Don’t think that Country Xing Luo is scared of you!” Situ Yan took a deep breath to calm himself down and said gloomily, “Elder Zong Ye is still in Xing Luo. If he knows you are doing this…”
“Who do you think you’re threatening?” A mocking expression appeared on Emperor Jiawen’s face. “Elder Zong Ye is formidable, but you think he’s your solution?”
“Don’t forget—Elder Zong Ye represents Mingyue Tianshan!” Situ Yan’s eyes were red.
“You think you’re the only one who can get people from Mingyue Tianshan?”
Situ Yan paused. It was only then that he recalled that Rong Xiu had spent many years at Mingyue Tianshan. Even though everyone believes that Rong Xiu is a sick person, I have heard Situ Xingchen say that Rong Xiu isn’t like the rumors. Most importantly, Rong Xiu will naturally be able to get ahold of people from Mingyue Tianshan after spending so much time there! They might even be more formidable than Elder Zong Ye!
Using that as a threat clearly has no effect. Situ Yan felt his head throb; he had never been so belittled and insulted before.
“Rong Xiao, do you want the two countries to go to war?!” Situ Yan said sternly!
Emperor Jiawen looked up with a smile, his hands crossed before him. “Situ Yan, do you dare?”
“Your Highness, your tea.”
The door was pushed open, and a pageboy dressed in gray walked in with the tea and carefully set it down on the side.
Rong Jiu was wiping his knife. He was focused, taking each step very seriously.
This was just a regular knife, but he valued it very much. This was the knife he used the first time he killed someone in battle.
That was the first time he removed someone’s head personally. The blade instantly ended the person’s life.
Sticky, gooey blood sprayed all over him.
People reacted differently after they killed for the first time. Some threw up, and some had nightmares. But not him. Conversely, he found it exhilarating!
After so many years, the knife was still shiny.
“Your Highness, the tea will not taste good if it’s cold.” The pageboy reminded him politely.
Rong Jiu paused and glanced at him.
“Please take your time with it. I’ll take my leave first.” With that, the pageboy left quietly, closing the door behind him.
Rong Jiu’s gaze landed on the teacup.
He set his knife aside and picked up the teacup. He then walked over to a potted plant and poured all the tea into it.
After that, he reached for the bottom of the cup and dug.
A thin layer popped out, and a piece of paper fell out.
There was a hidden mechanism at the base of the cup!
Even if that piece of paper was small, the words on the paper were clear: “Everything is prepared!”
Rong Jiu steadied himself as he moved his fingers. The paper turned into fragments before it turned into powder.
He lifted his hand, and the powder disappeared in the wind.
Chu Ning was so busy that he didn’t even have time to return home.
Chu Liuyue stayed home instead of returning to the academy. She had an inkling when she received news of the Empress’s death and the deposing of the Crown Prince.
Situ Yan’s arrival confirmed her suspicion.
Emperor Jiawen knew that Rong Jin and Situ Xingchen had secretly followed him into the imperial mausoleum that day. That became the last straw that pushed Emperor Jiawen to act.
The Si family seemed to have been implicated. Many were removed from their positions, and some were even thrown into jail.
Anyone could see that the Empress had something to do with this.
The Si family didn’t fight back. They accepted everything quietly, staying low-profile.
The Si family’s position as the leader of the four families was hanging in the balance, but this wasn’t what Chu Liuyue was concerned about.
She just found one thing strange—Since Emperor Jiawen knows that Rong Jin and Situ Xingchen had been to the imperial mausoleum, he would’ve found something by tracing that line of thought. It’s highly likely that Situ Xingchen had something to do with the Empress’s death, but there hasn’t been any news till now.
Instead, Rong Jiu—the Third Prince—was implicated, and the rumors seemed to be growing in fervor.
Everyone seemed convinced that he played the biggest role.
Emperor Jiawen wasn’t stupid. If he really wanted to look into it, he would’ve found something. However, he actually let things develop…
It was also rumored that Rong Jiu had been grounded.
Chu Liuyue found everything to be very strange.
And that golden pyramid… Even though it was on her right now, she didn’t know what it was. She had no clue at all.
In the end, Chu Liuyue decided to take another trip to Heptagon Alley herself.
The Empress had to have known something. She was dead, and there was no way of asking Situ Xingchen and Rong Jin. It was easier for her to look into it herself.
However, she saw a floor full of corpses when she arrived at Heptagon Alley.
Those were the imperial guards charged with guarding the place!
Chu Liuyue’s heart sank as she pushed the door open!
The red-bronze cauldron that had been in the middle of the courtyard was gone!