“Even if Mother does not care about me, can it be that one can also be reckless with Younger Brother’s life?”
With those calm words, Ren Wan Yun’s curses abruptly stopped. She looked at Shen Yuan blankly, “What did you say?”
“Now that the entire Shen residence is implicated in, the first to bear the brunt would be our Second household. Younger Sister’s matter implicate us entirely, even if Father and me were to lose our official position Mother would not care, but if it involved Younger Brother would Mother not care?” Shen Yuan said.
Ren Wan Yun looked at him and in a swift moment there was some panic in her expression, “What does this got to do with Bo-er? Bo-er is still so young, how would he be related to this matter? No one is more innocent than Bo-er.”
“Mother, everyone is innocent in this matter.” Shen Yuan laughed grimly, “Do not tell me I am not innocent?” He tolerated and continued, “Mother, the rumours has spread out more intense and if the Shen family provoke matters now, one fear that the entire residence would suffer.” He looked at Ren Wan Yun and said in a serious tone, “Even if Mother have the same feelings of ending in mutual destruction, could it be to also include Younger Brother?”
Ren Wan Yun’s body shook and was unable to suppress the trembling. One knew that she indeed had that mindset. It was admittedly true that the hate she had for Shen Miao was unusual but the entire Shen residence’s indifference, Shen Gui’s heartlessness, Old Shen Furen’s pragmatic acts and the Third household’s detached eyes of a bystander made Ren Wan Yun felt a great anger towards the Shen residence. She even thought that even if Shen Qing implicated the entire Shen residence, it would not matter if the Eldest household could be pulled into it and die together. As such it can be considered revenge.
But Shen Yuan happened to point out one thing, which is that if the Shen residence really suffered a calamity, even Shen Yuan Bo would not avoid it. Since the ancient times the Emperors loved the eldest sons and the commoners doted on the youngest son. Shen Yuan was intelligent since young and Ren Wan Yun did not really worry over him, but Shen Yuan Bo was young and naughty so Ren Wan Yun doted him to the core. If Shen Yuan Bo were to also lose his life, it was be something that she was not willing to see.
“Then… Yuan-er, what should we do?” Ren Wan Yun looked at Shen Yuan, as if the state of madness she was in had left without trace, and as if Shen Yuan was her life-saving straw, her backbone.
“Mother, one cannot be greedy.” Shen Yuan looked at her as his eyes were filled with brutal cruelty, “You can only choose one, Younger Sister or Younger Brother.”
Outside the Ding capital’s Government Office’s prison, there stood a guard outside.
In the case of the extermination of the entire Prince Yu’s household, Shen Qing was indeed in a very awkward position. On the surface, she was also a pitiful person as she only just married when the massacre happened and fortunately manage to escape with her life. But in the depths of the investigation, there were many areas of doubts in the case and perhaps it was possible that Shen Qing was involved. Even if she was not involved, with all the different guesses and rumours, it was enough for her name to become the topic of conversation in the entire street. As such, it would have been cleaner if she had died in the massacre case.
Emperor Wen Hui’s attitude towards the case was also intriguing. Even though it was said to have been immediately investigated, but the matter was given directly to the Administer of the Capital and the Government Office, and the Emperor had not even ask about it at all. With Emperor Wen Hui’s kinship feelings with Prince Yu, it would absolutely not be easily pass off. Since it had always been difficult to guess the Monarch’s mind, the officials below were unable to guess what the Emperor wanted to do and could only sent Shen Qing to prison, pending for trial.
This was actually somewhat ridiculous, the only surviving female from a massacre case who was unarmed, was regarded as the culprit. Sometimes the matter of the world could be so strange.
When Shen Miao reached the doors of the prison, the warden was surprised for a moment when he saw her and went forward to speak, “Who is it?”
“My Young Lady is the Fifth Young Lady of the General’s residence’s Shen family.” Jing Zhe stepped forward and placed a sachet stuffed with silver onto the hands of the warden and said, “Here deliberately to visit Eldest Young Lady.”
Shen Miao took the token that Shen Qiu gave her from her sleeves and showed it to the warden. When that person took a look, he immediately greeted respectfully, “So it is Fifth Shen Young Lady.” Shen Xin’s prestigious reputation was well known in Ding capital, let alone a warden, even officials would also give him leeway.
“I want to take a look at Eldest Sister. Would trouble Daren to show the way.” Shen Miao said.
That warden said with a smile, “Originally one cannot come to visit these few days, but since Fifth Shen Young Lady had spoken then do come with this lowly one.” Finishing, he instructed the guards who were guarding and brought Shen Miao in, leaving Jing Zhe and Gu Yu outside.
Now Shen Qing’s identity was awkward and no one could predict if there was an opportunity to remove the crime off but even if the crime was removed, saddled with that kind of reputation, Shen Qing would have to live on distressful.
“In fact Fifth Young Lady need not have to worry too much.” The warden said with a smile, “Even though Eldest Shen Young Lady is still in prison, once the truth is uncovered, the Eldest Shen Young Lady would not be implicated.” He thought that since Shen Miao came to visit Shen Qing, the relationship between the two sisters would be very close. No matter what, as long as Shen Miao felt better, it was considered as selling a favour to Shen Xin.
Shen Miao nodded her head, “Thanking Daren’s guidance.”
When a stone ladder appeared in front, the warden stopped his steps and said, “Eldest Shen Young Lady is held below there, Fifth Young Lady can head down to talk to her. My subordinates and I will be waiting outside, so do not be too long.”
Shen Miao thanked him again and after the warden and the few guards stepped aside, then she slowly took the steps down.
Walking down the long steps, there was a cell right at the end which had iron railings all around. There was only a fist sized window in the cell and seemed to be where important criminals were located. There was a row of torches against the stone wall but the torches were faltering, making the silhouette look strange.
The cell was covered with straw and there was a dirty quilt bed inside. Most likely the quilt was infested with lice as one could vaguely see some small black material on it. And the person who had the quilt around was sitting on the straw with the head buried in the knees, unsure if the person was asleep or not.
Shen Miao looked quietly for a long time before walking in and reaching her hands out to tap the iron railings a few times.
The person who had their head in their knees suddenly raised her head and showed a slightly frightened expression. When one saw clearly that it was Shen Miao, the frightened look turned into anger as she shouted out with gritted teeth, “Shen Miao!”
“It is me.” Shen Miao gently took a step back and avoided Shen Qing’s scratches when she rushed up. Her guesses were indeed correct as in the next moment, Shen Qing rushed up and reached out her hands past the iron railing, she wanted to grab onto Shen Miao but her action was futile as the railings restrained her.
“It seem that you have not learn to be smart.” Shen Miao laughed out and looked at her calmly and unruffled, “Do not waste the effort, it is useless.”
Shen Qing put her hands down resentfully and suddenly burst into laughter, “Shen Miao, are you here to put a demonstration in front of me? Are you here to see how miserable I am? Let me tell you, there will be a day where you will be a hundred times more miserable than me!”
“What a pity.” Shen Miao looked at her with pity, “Even if there is really such a day, you will not be able to see it.”
Shen Qing was surprised for a moment and there was fear in her eyes. She had been locked in this cell for a few days and she was unclear what was going on. She had all the while been spoiled and thought that that night with Prince Yu in Wo Long Temple was the most painful thing in life, but did not think that subsequent events would be even more frightening, pregnancy, returning banquet, marriage and then the night of the bloody massacre, and now she was reduce to a criminal in prison. She suppressed the uneasiness in her heart and said, “Do not think of lying to me. This matter had nothing to do with me at all, so how can it implicate me?”
“How could you not understand?” Shen Miao squatted down and looked at Shen Qing in the cell. It was like she was the adult who was looking at a disobedient child as she shook her head lightly, “The entire Prince Yu household was exterminated and only you survived. No matter if there was a conspiracy, no matter if you have anything to do with the perpetrator, as long as you are alive, you have become the greatest sinner on earth.”
“How could I have any relation with the perpetrator!” Shen Qing retorted, “Why would I want to exterminate the entire household of Prince Yu. I have no animosity and grievance with him, even if there is, it is you…” She suddenly stopped halfway as she was speaking and looked at Shen Miao incredulous, “You did it?”
Shen Miao’s lips slightly raised up.
“It is you who did it?” Shen Qing grabbed the iron railings in a moment and looked at Shen Miao. “It is you. You have a deep grudge against Prince Yu and it is you who sent people to exterminate his entire household. You deliberately kept me alive so that I will be the scapegoat. Shen Miao, your schemes are very good!” She looked at Shen Miao and felt shocked and angered. Shock, because Shen Miao was actually insidious to this point, and anger, because her fall was all attributed to Shen Miao!
“Eldest Sister, evidence is everything.” Shen Miao slightly smiled, “But from the words that you just said, it seems that being imprisoned for the past few days had made one smarter.” Although she had denied Shen Qing’s words, but in Shen Qing’s eyes, Shen Miao had already admitted to the crimes she had committed.
Shen Qing raged, “What are you thinking of doing? Shen Miao, you will not succeed. My Father and Older Brother will definitely come to save me, they will find the evidence and the person that would finally sit in this prison is you, not me! And at that time, I will definitely think of ways to make a mincemeat out of you!”
“You are still hoping for Second Shu and Shen Yuan?” Shen Miao ridiculed, “Second Shu is so afraid of being implicated that he did not even bother to come and take a look at you. As for Shen Yuan…” Shen Miao smiled, “He could have good career prospects and have a boundless future but because of you, troubles kept lining up. You really think that he will want to save you?”
Shen Qing glared at Shen Miao in anger but she knew in her heart that what Shen Miao said was not wrong at all. She was very clear of what kind of character Shen Gui had. Earlier on when Shen Gui marry her off to Prince Yu, Shen Qing saw it clearly that Shen Gui was like Old Shen Furen to the bones and new how to draw on the advantages and avoid disadvantages. As for this Second Older Brother that was inscrutable since young, even though he had helped to solve a lot of trouble for her, this time it affected Shen Yuan’s career prospects. Would Shen Yuan really help her?
“Shen Miao, stop with your nonsense!” Despite an uneasy heart, Shen Qing still spoke forcefully, “My Mother will not watch me with folded arms! My Mother would definitely think of ways to rescue me. As long as my Mother step in, with my Second Older Brother’s ability, it is not difficult for the truth to be unveiled and at that time, the unlucky ones would be you guys!”
“Second Shen?” Shen Miao sighed, “I know that Second Shen treat you very well and you are the pearl in Second Shen’s eyes and if you suffer anything bad, Second Shen would definitely protect you with her life, just like in the beginning with me…”
Shen Qing’s unsettled emotions were a little alleviated and was a little complacent. Ren Wan Yun had always been indulgent to her and among the three Di daughters, Chen Rou Qiu was slightly strict with Shen Yue and Luo Xue Yan was seldom together with Shen Miao from the beginning. It was only Ren Wan Yun who was a hundred times indulgent to Shen Qing. This was because when Shen Qing was born, Ren Wan Yun had a difficult birth and it was not easy for both mother and daughter to be safe and sound, so Ren Wan Yun was very meticulous with this daughter. Even when Shen Qing initially wanted to fight for Prince Ding, Fu Xiu Yi, Ren Wan Yin did not say half a word of opposition.
Even if other treat her indifferently now, as long as Ren Wan Yun was present, she would not let her be wronged. Shen Qing’s smile had yet to raise when she heard Shen Miao’s laughing voice, “But Eldest Sister, do guess that between you and Seventh Younger Brother, who has a higher position in Second Shen’s heart?”
Shen Qing was stumped for words and stared at Shen Miao without speaking.
Shen Miao looked at her gently, “Everyone in our residence know how much Second Shen doted on Seventh Younger Brother. If because of you, Seventh Younger Brother need to be compensated, why do not you guess if Second Shen is willing to take this risk? In fact, I also look forward to knowing the answer. Not sure if Eldest Sister is able to answer it for me?”