This person has to be Emperor Xiankang of Country Xing Luo—Situ Yan. Judging from his expression, his conversation with Emperor Jiawen hasn’t been particularly pleasant. There’s a high chance that he was at a disadvantage. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have revealed such an expression before so many people. No matter what, he is an emperor. He wouldn’t have reacted in such a way unless he had encountered something unbearable. Chu Liuyue was rather curious what the matter was. She wondered what Emperor Jiawen could’ve said or done to make Situ Yan this mad.
Situ Yan walked past them, but he suddenly paused and turned toward Chu Liuyue. “You’re Chu Liuyue?”
Chu Liuyue’s eyes sparkled slightly. That’s strange. He knows me?
She looked down slightly and bowed.
Situ Yan’s sharp eyes scanned her body like they were knives.
Chu Liuyue froze. It seems like Situ Yan doesn’t have a very good impression of me.
Chu Ning stepped forward and shielded Chu Liuyue from Situ Yan’s gaze.
Situ Yan scoffed before he turned and left.
It was only when Situ Yan’s shadow had completely disappeared that Chu Ning turned to look at her and asked worriedly, “Yue’er, when did you offend him?”
Chu Liuyue chuckled but shrugged. “This is my first time meeting him. How would I have the chance to offend him? However… I did offend his beloved daughter.”
Situ Xingchen? Chu Ning nodded.
Chu Liuyue looked at his relaxed expression and asked curiously, “You’re not worried?”
“What’s there to be worried about?” Chu Ning laughed. “How can his daughter compare to mine?”
He was vaguely aware that Situ Xingchen was interested in Rong Xiu, but Rong Xiu was engaged to Yue’er. It was rather clear why Situ Xingchen treated his daughter that way then, was it not?
In Chu Ning’s eyes, all of the girls in the world combined could not compare to his precious Yue’er. If nothing, Rong Xiu had good taste.
Chu Liuyue: “…”
Why am I feeling a sense of pride from him…
“Chu Ning’s here? Let him in!” Emperor Jiawen’s voice came from inside Zhaoyang Palace.
Eunuch Min hurriedly added on: “Your Majesty, Ms. Liuyue is here as well. She said that she has something important to report.”
It was silent for an instant.
“Then, ask her to come in too!”
Chu Liuyue and Chu Ning looked at each other as their expressions turned serious before they headed into Zhaoyang Palace.
Once she was inside, Chu Liuyue saw Emperor Jiawen seated at the end of the palace.
Emperor Jiawen looked much better than he did a few days ago. Clearly, he had found some comfort from his confrontation with Situ Yan.
“Liuyue, you don’t come to the palace often. What brings you here today?” His tone was casual; he clearly didn’t place much importance on Chu Liuyue’s arrival.
Chu Liuyue exchanged glances with her father before she stepped forward. “Your Majesty, I’m here because of Heptagon Alley.”
Emperor Jiawen’s expression froze when he heard the words ‘Heptagon Alley.’ He subconsciously sat up straight and stared straight at Chu Liuyue. “What did you say?”
Chu Liuyue paused before she told him everything. However, she told him that she had passed by Heptagon Alley instead of telling him that she headed there intentionally.
She didn’t want Emperor Jiawen to know that she was investigating this matter.
Emperor Jiawen was stunned from the very first sentence. It took him an immense amount of energy to refrain from flipping the table, but his hand that was gripping his chain had veins popping out.
Also, his face was a mix of green and white.
Chu Liuyue had expected him to react this way. She ignored it and explained everything slowly. “…Because of the importance of the matter, I dared not hesitate and rushed over here immediately.”
Chu Ning knelt down. “This happened because of my negligence. I’ll accept any punishment!”
Emperor Jiawen moved his hands to prop up his forehead as he remained silent for a while.
Chu Ning and Chu Liuyue waited quietly.
Emperor Jiawen was experiencing a tidal wave of emotions, and his thoughts were in chaos. He thought that everything would be figured out after the Empress died and Rong Jin was removed from his position as Crown Prince.
But something like this happened now!
His first reaction was to suspect Situ Xingchen. After all, he was sure that Situ Xingchen had met the Empress and found out a number of things from her in secret. She had even managed to get the Golden Inheritance Peak key that the Empress had secretly replicated, which allowed her to help Rong Jin sneak in.
She was ambitious, and it wasn’t strange for her to do something like this, but the key was that Situ Xingchen was trapped somewhere! Hence, she was clearly not the one behind the theft of the bronze cauldron.
And Situ Yan… That did not seem likely either.
This matter happened quickly, and Situ Yan rushed here at the first instance. He only brought a few bodyguards with him.
“The other party is strong, and they came prepared, so it’s not entirely your fault…” said Emperor Jiawen slowly after he suppressed his emotions. “Bring someone to Heptagon Alley right away and see if you can find any clues. Report back immediately after.”
“As for Liuyue… Since you’re the first one to see it, I’m afraid you’ll have to take another trip there again.”
Chu Liuyue said, “Don’t worry, Your Majesty. I’ll do everything I can.”
Emperor Jiawen nodded and then suddenly asked, “This won’t take up too much of your time and energy, right? Lieutenant Mu’s side… He takes priority, okay?”
Chu Liuyue nodded, but she was laughing to herself. Even if they are swarmed right now, they dare not offend Mu Qinghe.
She wondered whether Emperor Jiawen knew that the two people who entered the imperial mausoleum were Mu Qinghe and her.
“I’m a little tired; you all can leave now.” Emperor Jiawen dismissed them with a wave, and Chu Ning left with Chu Liuyue.
After they left Zhaoyang Palace, Chu Liuyue suddenly asked him, “Father, can I take a look at the Empress’s quarters?”
Chu Ning was very surprised. “What are you going to do there?”
Chu Liuyue pondered for a moment and smiled. “I might be able to find a useful clue that would be of help to you, Father.”
Chu Ning shook his head solemnly. “The Empress’s funeral is tomorrow. It’s not appropriate for you to go now.”
He still wanted Chu Liuyue to steer clear of this.
Chu Liuyue didn’t insist since he seemed certain. She then changed the subject.
The group left the palace and headed straight for Heptagon Alley.
Prince Li Mansion.
“Master, part of the Northwest Army has set off for Imperial City,” reported Yu Mo in a low voice. “They’ll reach here within three days. You see…”
Rong Xiu turned a page calmly. “How many are coming?”
“Not many, just 5,000. However, these are the elite soldiers of the Northwest Army. They’ve been tested in battle, and one of them is as good as ten regular soldiers. Even though Imperial City has more imperial guards, I’m not sure which side will win in a fight. Besides, there are reinforcements…”
Rong Xiu curled his lips into a half-smile. “Rong Jiu doesn’t start a battle that he’s not prepared for. Besides… I want him to win.”