Chapter 307: Untitled
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Meng Fuyao: “…”
Lord Yuan Bao became very interested in the game, and he pestered Meng Fuyao to continue. However, Meng Fuyao felt that it was too inhumane for her to play such a complicated mind game with a guinea pig of low IQ. She refused profusely, but when she could no longer fend off the guinea pig’s pestering, she asked another question.
“There is one male chicken and one female chicken. Guess two words?”
Lord Yuan Bao fell into deep thought, but he didn’t know the answer.
Lord Yuan Bao, “…”
“There is one male chicken and one female chicken. Guess three words this time round.”
After hearing that, Lord Yuan Bao scratched his ears and cheeks. He still did not know how to answer.
“Still two chickens!”
Lord Yuan Bao, “…!”
“There is still one male chicken and one female chicken. This time, guess six words. It’s really easy.”
Lord Yuan Bao bit on his paws. He thought very hard, but he still had no answer.
“What a fool! Still two chickens!”
Lord Yuan Bao, “!”
After making a certain low-intelligence guinea pig flip with just a few sentences, Meng Fuyao shifted over to Zhangsun Wuji with bright, sparkly eyes. She smiled. “Your Highness the Crown Prince, your intelligence is unrivaled, and your abilities are unsurpassable. May you answer a very minor question of mine?”
Zhangsun Wuji looked up and glanced at her sideways. He read her expression as cunning, sly, provoking him and baiting him to fall into her trap… However, he maintained his expression and smiled. “Oh?”
“Behind every successful man stands a woman. So what is behind a man who has failed?”
After a moment of silence, Zhangsun Wuji answered, “Meng Fuyao.”
Meng Fuyao: “…”
Seconds later, she said in a frustrated tone, “You can’t do this to me!”
“Is the answer inaccurate?” Zhangsun Wuji looked at her innocently. “Am I wrong?”
“The answer I wanted to say was…” Meng Fuyao spoke through gritted teeth. “Behind every failed man, stands too many women…”
Zhangsun Wuji grinned. Looking down, he said with much sincerity, “Luckily, I only have you. Seems like I’m destined to succeed.”
Meng Fuyao, who was set to taunt Zhangsun Wuji, had been taunted instead. Before the mighty Crown Prince, she had once again failed miserably…
After a while, Meng Fuyao asked in a resentful tone, “The last question… what kind of person lies to others and himself?”
Zhangsun Wuji smiled again, but he did not answer, and he slowly drank his tea. Meng Fuyao seemed to not expect an answer from him as well. With a gleam in her eyes, she glanced towards the door.
Someone walked in with a bitter smile. “That’s me you’re talking about.”
Both looked at him with an expression of “you’re finally being honest”. He wasn’t embarrassed at all, and he sat comfortably on a seat. After brushing his robes, he poured himself a cup of tea. As his eyes darted back and forth, he revealed an expression that was the combination of an eagle and a fox.
“Tang Yizhong, Little Master Tang.” Meng Fuyao smiled. “My answer to this is ‘liar’. You finally admit to it.”
Zhong Yi still wore that pretty smile on his pretty face. Innocently, he said, “Actually, it’s not considered lying. I have never spoken any lies to you.”
“I fought a match with you during the True Martial Arts Meet.” Meng Fuyao scrutinized his face. “Tang Yizhong, Master Tang, which face is your true face?”
“How could I have let those ordinary men observe my legendary appearance during the True Martial Arts Meet?” Tang Yizhong said in a calm voice. “My appearance right now is obviously real.”
“Your real aim of appearing beside us is this, right?” Meng Fuyao pointed at the Jade Seal on the table. “You thought that after Hua Yan pleaded me, the Jade Seal would definitely be with me, right?”
“Honestly, I was confused when he didn’t pass you the Jade Seal at first. You’re willing to help others and bear those troubles without the temptation of the Jade Seal? Prince Meng, you are indeed a weirdo.”
“Do you think that everyone is as selfish and utilitarian as you?” Meng Fuyao smirked. “Do you not know that I have a noble and benevolent character, my personality is top quality, my appearance is unrivaled, and I’m admired by all…”
As she continued on, Zhangsun Wuji turned his head away while Lord Yuan Bao covered his face. Both were too ashamed to be known as her companions…
Yet Tang Yizhong listened intently with an expression of admiration. His eyes were shining, and he kept sighing, and he looked as though he was utterly fascinated. After she finished, he said, “Ah… so that’s why!”
Meng Fuyao stopped talking and looked at this man who gave her a strong impression, even though they had only met each other for a short while. Having no other alternative, she gave his head a forceful pat. “Talk about serious things!”
“This is how it is.” Tang Yizhong said slightly closer, and he added with a solemn expression, “I have no ill intentions, and I only want to recover the Jade Seal. I resorted to locking my own martial arts skills and appearing alone to gain the trust of both of you, and I have also used my actions to prove that I have never harmed any of you.”
“Do you even dare to?” Meng Fuyao gave him a sideways glance. “If you did, I would have smashed you into ash.”
“Actually, even though I planned to get close with the two of you, I also can’t be sure if what I want to find is the Jade Seal,” Tang Yizhong suddenly said.
“What does that mean?”
“His Majesty has not seen any officials in a long while, and no one can enter his palace.” Tang Yizhong revealed a worried expression, which was a rare sight. “This is highly abnormal, and because of this, I activated the spy I have in the palace. He told me that the number of attendants in the Emperor’s palace has been decreasing and even he can’t enter. I have a hunch that His Majesty seems to be restricted in his movements.”
“Restricted?” Meng Fuyao was very confused. “He is the ruler of a nation. Who can restrict him?”
“I’m not sure.” Tang Yizhong fell silent and answered only after a while. There was a slight hesitation in his tone when he spoke. “My spy once snuck into the palace when no one noticed. He heard His Majesty mumbling in his sleep, repeatedly asking Ah Liu to come back…
“The Ah Liu that HIs Majesty mentioned refers to his sixth child, who is Hua Yan’s wife.” Tang Yizhong continued to explain. “It was obvious that something was taken away by his sixth child, and he was anxious to recover it. After recalling that she was being attacked, and the Eleventh Prince had anxiously dispatched assassins towards the borders of the nation, I made the links and derived that something very important must have been lost, such as the Jade Seal. Furthermore, very little people must have known, and the Eleventh Prince probably unintentionally learned about it. Hence, only he tried the most extreme method and attempted to kill you two. If not, your journey would have been even more bustling.”
“I think it’s not just this.” Meng Fuyao smirked. “Have you not seen that bastard imposter?”
“That person…” Tang Yizhong frowned. “He doesn’t seem like someone that the Princes or Princesses can hire. I still know one or two things about these people. His Majesty had many children, and his defense was always up, so he never stopped balancing the power amongst his children. They don’t seem like people who have such an ability.”
“Epsilon.” Meng Fuyao bit her white teeth into her lower lips. When she mentioned him, her cheeky expression completely disappeared. If there was one person in the universe that she wanted to kill and must kill, it would be him. If it wasn’t for him, how would she have nearly been raped? How would she have distanced with Zhangsun Wuji? How would Zhangsun Wuji have almost gone into psychosis, which indirectly had led to the killing of the Li family and the subsequent dilemma, which had almost resulted in her death?”
“If it really is him, it would be a troublesome matter then.” Tang Yizhong seemed to be deep in thought. “The Xuanji royals used to have a saying that was secretive… maybe I can look into that.”
Meng Fuyao looked at him from the corner of her eye and did not further question. Moments later, she asked, “Even if your Emperor lost something, why are you being nosy, even resorting to locking your own skills and taking the risk of finding us?”
“In his later years of ruling, His Majesty did not attend much to state affairs and the state was in a mess. The army and the economy are not doing well, his children are busy with scheming for the throne, while the court officials are busy taking sides. The flaws in our nations have piled up over a long while.” Tang Yizhong was very serious this time round. “His Majesty has indeed been bed-ridden for long and will not live much longer. In such a messy situation, how is it only His Majesty’s affair as to who is the new ruler? It actually concerns the millions of citizens in Xuanji, the entire court proceedings, and the fate of our nation. How can I back down from such a responsibility?”
“The rise and fall of the Land under the Heavens is everyone’s responsibility.” Meng Fuyao had a sense of respect towards him, but before she could continue praising him, he giggled and added, “It is also because, what if the next ruler is not wise and he kills all his dissidents after taking the throne? Where will officials like us find our prosperity and wealth then?”
Meng Fuyao spat and could not bring herself to bother with him. But Tang Yizhong glanced at her and said, “I had some doubts before this journey. Right now, however, I think I have some clues… haha.” He stood up and added, “I will go back. If you have anything in the future, just call me straight away. As for the Jade Seal… return it whenever you feel that it is the appropriate time.”
With that, he brushed off his robes, and he walked away casually and confidently. From the time he stepped in, he had not looked at the Jade Seal at all.
Meng Fuyao watched this Little Master walk away with her wide eyes and agape jaw. Moments later, she asked in a stunned voice, “Didn’t he follow me for the Jade Seal? Why is he not caring anymore right now?”
Zhangsun Wuji took a glance at the golden yellow fabric. With a slight frown, he sighed. “Some things… cannot be avoided…”
The next day, the Emperor and Empress met with the Wuji Crown Prince and Dahan’s King Meng in their palace.
Under Meng Fuyao’s strong request, Xuanji’s Emperor, who had not seen anyone in the past few months, finally made an exception and welcomed the two important guests. The closed doors of his palace opened up one by one after many days, and the thick and heavy layers of curtains, which blocked out sunlight, were raised as well. The eunuchs and attendants; who had been chased out, once again appeared by the sides in silence to create a grander spectacle. They would wait to be called to serve the guests, and after that, they would be chased out again.
The only barrier left was the light layer of silk in front of the imperial throne. There were silhouettes moving around, which caused the figures to be hazy.
Accompanied by the prolonged reporting of names on the jade steps, Zhangsun Wuji and Meng Fuyao, along with their respective subordinates, were led inside the door by a eunuch.
The thick and exquisite carpet drowned out the sounds of footsteps. The princes, princesses, and officials, who had originally been waiting in the palace, stood up in unison. The Head Eunuch of the palace came up respectfully and did a low bow. “Your Highness and King Meng, kindly wait for a while. His Majesty will be here shortly.”
Zhangsun Wuji and Meng Fuyao nodded. It was not suitable for them to be seated together in such a setting, so they sat on one side each, and they smiled when they made eye contact.
This smile caused the hearts of the accompanying officials to skip a beat. They were afraid that the both of them might create some drama in such an event.
In the huge palace, all the officials waited in silence, and there wasn’t even the sound of anyone coughing. After a while, there was a series of muffled coughs from behind the thin curtain, along with the sounds of feet that dragged across the floor. It was the heavy and hoarse panting unique to someone of age, and there were the noises of waist ornaments clashing against each other. One could vaguely see two figures coming out from the inner palace, and one was male, while the other was female. The female walked on the exterior, and she wore a majestic crown and beautiful robes. The 12 layers of robes embroidered with phoenixes created light rustling sounds as they dragged across the floor. As the sunlight shone through the thin curtain, it reflected her raised chin, her straightened back and the man she was holding on to. He wore dragon robes, hunched his back, and seemed weak. As he walked, he continued to cough non-stop.