T/N: Happy Chinese New Year's Eve! Thank you so much for this year's likes, comments, white-listing this website, and clicking on ads.
Also, thank you everyone for replying to my question in the previous chapter =). It was really interesting to read the different opinions and interpretations of Ah Luo’s opinion of her relationship with Song Hui.
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 087.1 out of 171
This time, Zhao Jie had come here to see Duke Ying because of the engagement between Wei Luo and Count Zhong Yi's grandson.
An hour ago, he and Duke Ying were sitting inside a room and seemingly playing xiangqi (T/N: Chinese chess). In actuality, they were discussing business matters.
Zhao Jie took out a black chess piece from the chess box and put it in the center of the chessboard. His phoenix eyes were controlled and his bearing was calm. He slowly said, "Not long ago, this prince received some news. Presumably, Duke Ying also already knows."
Duke Ying Wei Zhang Chun nodded, then he closely followed behind by placing down a white chess piece. "Yes, I heard the news before Your Highness came back to the capital. How are Your Highness’s injuries? Are they a significance hindrance?"
For Prince Jing to be wounded, it wasn't a trifling matter. In addition, since Zhao Jie didn't try to conceal this news, everyone in the capital knew that Zhao Jie had been seriously injured on the way back to the capital by the next day. Duke Ying had originally intended to go to Prince Jing's residence to see how he was doing. However, if Emperor Chong Zhen learned about this visit, he would become suspicious. So after thinking about it, he didn't have any alternatives and could only drop the idea of visiting.
The two of them didn't meet until today. Zhao Jie paid a visit to Duke Ying under the excuse of "coincidentally passing by and comparing notes on chess skills".
Zhao Jie wasn't hampered or anxious. He played around with a black chess piece by twisting it in his hand. A long time later, he finally said, "Does Duke Ying know who wanted to take this prince's life."
Wei Zhang Chun had previously thought about this question. Now that Zhao Jie was asking him, he pondered for a moment and said, "Could it be related to the sixth prince?"
At this juncture, the only person that would attack Zhao Jie was sixth prince Zhao Zhang. This time, when Zhao Jie went to Shanxi for the disaster relief, he had performed this assignment wonderfully. Emperor Chong Zhen would definitely praise him and bestow a reward. This result was undoubtedly dangerous to Zhao Zhang. Zhao Zhang harbored bad thoughts, so it wasn’t impossible that he would take this opportunity to move against Zhao Jie.
Zhao Jie chuckled and didn't express an opinion. He put down the chess piece and said, "It is indeed related to him. Although old sixth's name was used, other people were behind this attack.”
Zhao Jie understood Zhao Zhang too well. Zhao Zhang was small-minded. Unless, he was forced to a path of no retreat, he wouldn't be this impulsive and do something that would be easily found out. Mostly likely, he didn’t order this and was only a spectator.
Wei Zhang Chun took off the cover on the teacup with a blue chrysanthemum petal design, drank a mouthful of tea, and asked, "Who is the prince referring to?"
He smiled and calmly said, "Prince Ru Yang Li Zhi Liang."
Prince Ru Yang was an impulsive person with a straightforward mind. To say it more harshly, he was a person that only had a matured body. His mind was simple. He must have heard that Li Song's broken wrist was related to Zhao Jie. Harboring resentment, he looked for an opportunity to avenge his son. Unfortunately, he didn't succeed. There were too many gaps in his plan. Zhao Jie had sent people to secretly investigate him and knew that he was definitely involved with this matter.
He had thought thirty to fifty people would be able to take Zhao Jie's life. He had underestimated Zhao Jie too much.
Hearing this, Wei Zhang Chun suddenly realized the truth. Instead of showing panic and fear, he bluntly asked, "How will the prince deal with him?"
Zhao Jie supported his chin with one hand and the other hand unhurriedly whirled around the teacup with a blue chrysanthemum petal design. His phoenix eyes were deep and his lips curved up into a smile, "I already executed the overall plan. To help this prince, Duke Ying only needs to step forward when the time comes..." He picked up a black chess piece and put it down to block off the white pieces' escape route. "And old sixth's chess piece will become useless."
Duke Ying's countenance was solemn, "On the basis of the prince's orders, this official will definitely do my best to help."
After finishing their discussion of official business, Zhao Jie played a game of chess with Duke Ying. When the final chess piece was placed down, he casually asked, "If this prince didn't remember incorrectly, your family’s fourth miss has an engagement with someone from Count Zhong Yi's family?"
Duke Ying nodded. He didn't conceal anything. "My granddaughter Ah Luo was engaged to Song Hui when her mother was pregnant. Now, they've both grown up. Presumably, they'll be getting married soon."
Zhao Jie's emotions couldn't be seen on his face. He didn't reply for a moment.
Wei Zhang Chun thought he was only casually asking and was about to move onto another topic. Unexpectedly, in an icy tone, Zhao Jie said, "Duke Ying is probably clearer about the relationship between Count Zhong Yi and Zhao Zhang than this prince. If the skin is gone, where will the hair attach?* Has Duke Ying thought about what would happen to Fourth Miss after she gets married to Song Hui?"
* (T/N: Idiom that means if something's basis for survival is gone, then it can't continue to exist.)
Wei Zhang Chun showed a startled expression.
Zhao Jie looked down and coincidentally saw the faint scar on his wrist. Too much time had passed. It had long faded from the original vivid mark, but it still didn't completely disappear. "Ah Luo is an intelligent and clever girl. On behalf of her close relationship with my younger sister, this prince had said a few extra words and hopes that Duke Ying will carefully reconsider this marriage."
Wei Zhang Chun's expression froze. He had to admit there was a logic to Zhao Jie's words, especially the words "If the skin is gone, where will the hair attach?”.
Duke Ying loved Wei Luo dearly. He naturally didn't want to put her in a difficult position between the two families and have to live in an abyss of suffering. But, if he really wanted to cancel the engagement, it wasn't easy. Duke Ying said, "The prince's words are logical, but this engagement has already existed for so long. If we suddenly break our promise, other people will think this family doesn't keep their words..."
Zhao Jie's finger touched the chess box and his lips slowly showed a trace of a smile, "Duke Ying has misunderstood this prince's intentions. This prince has only asked you to reconsider and hasn't asked you to cancel the engagement. It wouldn't be impossible to have Count Zhong Yi's family break the promise."
Count Zhong Yi's family was gradually declining. Each day was worse than the day before. If they didn't have Noble Consort Ning and Zhao Zhang supporting them, no one would care enough to ask about them. Fortunately, in this generation they had Song Hui who had scored second place in the court examination. If his official career went smoothly, it wouldn't be difficult for him to bring honor to his family. Song Hui had feelings for Wei Luo. To have him willingly cancel the engagement, it wouldn't be easy... Then, he could only take an alternative route by targeting his parents.
Zhao Jie already had a plan for canceling the engagement, but he didn't mention this to Duke Ying. He stood up, pushed open the doors, walked outside, and said, "Before this prince left the palace, Liuli asked this prince to pass on a message to Fourth Miss. Where would she usually be at this time?"
Wei Zhang Chun followed him out and said, "Prince, wait here. I'll have the servants bring Ah Luo here."
Zhao Jie paused, then he said, "No need. I'll personally go over there."