Phoenix Ascending

Chapter 29

Chapter 29: Setting Up the Pieces

He had grown up with Qi Chen and they had shared the same teachers, thanks to the emperor. Although he knew from young that the other was an enemy and not a brother, how would he possibly not become familiar with Qi Chen’s habit and personality after spending every day together? In Qi Yin’s heart, he felt that there was no way that Qi Chen would go to someplace like the border.

An old butler off to the side couldn’t withstand the situation any longer and sighed. “Your Highness, this really is the case. The second prince had a sudden change in personality for some reason and actually requested to go to the border. The emperor was quite delighted, and since Your Highness has recently spent the majority of recent time at home, the emperor is naturally biased towards the second prince,” he said hoarsely. This old butler had been with Qi Yin since young, and that along made the crown prince half believe his words. He frowned and thought deeply on this.

“Qi Chen, do you really think that my position will become yours just because you’re made father happy? Hmph! Your current glory will become your future pain. I won’t let you live easy with this!” Qi Yin spoke coldly.

Qi Yin’s confidante walked over at this time and whispered lowly into his ear, “Your Highness, a woman’s been spotted around Feng Baiyu lately, should we kill her as well?”

“Leave Feng Baiyu be for now. You just keep an eye on Qi Chen for me at the moment.” Qi Yin shook his head after a moment of thought.

“Understood.” The man who’d spoken possessed quite a high level of martial arts. Even though Qi Yin had purposefully lowered his voice, the man had still heard everything. He smiled and spoke again after a short while, “Your Highness, this servant has also heard that the second prince didn’t have the… cleanest of hands when he went to the border. Everyone knows that he embezzled the relief funds, but due to his highly favored status at the moment, no one dares tell the emperor.”

“Oh?” Qi Yin arched a brow and snorted inwardly. I knew it. How would someone like Qi Chen do something so selfless? He’d likely made out like a bandit from the disaster relief this time.

The old butler nodded and took control  the conversation, “Rumors are rampant outside right now, but no one dares tell the emperor. Add to that the fact that the second prince isn’t someone to provoke lightly… the officials can only seek self preservation. No one wants to be dragged into this matter. Please forgive this old servant’s nosiness, Your Highness, but you must not mention this to the emperor either.”

“Hmph! What am I, afraid of Qi Chen?”

“This old servant didn’t mean that at all! It’s just that the situation is very disadvantageous towards Your Highness at the moment. Things will backfire if you are in a rush for results. Besides, why do all the officials know of this matter, but refrain from reporting it to the emperor? They all understand that the second prince enjoys great imperial favor at the moment. There’s no telling what the emperor might think if they brashly broach the subject. The current plan of action should be to take each step with care and caution.” The old butler gave his opinion solemnly, offering sound advice with every word.

As headstrong as Qi Yin might be, he understood that the old butler meant well. But that didn’t mean he wanted to leave Qi Chen to enjoy the limelight! Sadly, there was nothing he could do at the moment, so he waved his hand and dismissed the servants in a fit of dejection. Qi Yin sat in the hall by himself, sulking.

The man in the corner looked at Qi Yin, and a sly light flashed through his eyes. He went straight for the main doors after leaving the hall, giving out a prepared excuse and making directly for the most famous tavern in town. Nan Xun had been waiting for a long while.

“My lord, it’s done.” The man said respectfully over cupped fists.

Nan Xun turned to look at the man and nodded. “You have no need to return to the crown prince’s manor. You only need to keep Feng Baiyu safe from now on.”

The man left swiftly after receiving his orders, leaving Nan Xun staring off into the distance outside the window. He reflected with great emotion that Jun Huang was indeed a wise strategist. This plan for brother to turn on brother had been her creation, and the sad thing was was that both had fallen into her trap.

Qi Yin greatly disliked Qi Chen to begin with, and who would’ve thought that his second brother would come calling at lunch time? The crown prince smashed the porcelain bowl he was holding when he heard the servant’s report. “He wants to enter my manor? Have him wait outside!”

The servant could only leave and relay apprehensively to Qi Chen, “His Highness is not able to receive guests at the moment. Please wait here a moment, Your Highness.”

How would Qi Chen not understand Qi Yin’s thoughts? He nodded and really just stood there beneath the blazing sun. His confidante was holding an umbrella, but the shade didn’t protect him from the glare overhead. His back was soaked with sweat, but it was as if he didn’t feel any of that at all.

Qi Yun finally came strolling out after roughly forty five minutes. He adopted a lofty stature and looked down at Qi Chen, inwardly sniffing coldly but not showing any of it on his face. He walked down with a smile. “I’ve kept you waiting, second brother.”

“It’s no matter, no matter at all.” Qi Chen smiled, as if it really didn’t matter.

“What might second brother need from me?” Qi Yin didn’t have the slightest intention of inviting Qi Chen inside. He stood at his doors with his arms crossed.

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