Book 12: Chapter 40
Song Chi performed his salute. “Prior to coming to the capital, your subjects father reminded him to convey gratitude for trusting us all these years. Should the opportunity arise, your subject was to personally express appreciation in the capital.”
Typically, it shouldve been the duty of the eldest son in the family to pass on those words. Emperor Yuansheng wasnt just any acquaintance of Song Clan, though. Plus, he knew what sort of character Song Ou was, so he didnt mind Song Chi delivering the words in his brothers steed. The only emotion he attached with the message was confusion. No matter how he tried, Emperor Yuansheng couldnt derive any information from Song Chis respectful visage.
“Lord Song is too kind. Who in the pugilistic world does not sing the praises of Lord Song for his contributions to the imperial court and nation There is no need to kowtow or anything of the sort. If I could make time, I would like to invite him to the capital to learn from him.”
“Zi Li can only repay your kindness with words of appreciation. Thank you, Your Majesty.” Song Chi completed one more kowtow before he slowly rose to his feet. From beginning to end, every action was executed with unimpeachable decorum. “In addition to showing gratitude, your subject was tasked with one more thing.”
Emperor Yuansheng: Were finally getting to the main course.
“Speak freely,” Emperor Yuansheng responded.
“Yes, Your Majesty.” Song Chi held his hands up in salute whilst lowering his head. “Luo Clans ungrateful decision to repay your kindness with malice is despicable.”
Emperor Yuansheng felt he was starting to understand Song Chis personality from the speed at which the latter broached the topic. “Luo Clan has received the penance they deserve. There is no need to mention this again.”
“That is flawed logic. Traitors are public enemies. Thankfully, you are blessed with immeasurable luck. Zi Lis father loathes himself every time he is reminded of the incident. Even if he is not Luo Mings match, he could have shielded you from harm.”
Her Majesty kept her composure, but Brilliant Consort Huang turned her head away to avoid showing her scowl – though her shaking shoulders mightve led to the misunderstanding that she was trying to hold in laughter.
Fighting his urge to lash out, Emperor Yuansheng nodded with a forced smile. “Please pass on my thanks.”
“You did not execute Luo Ming on the spot because you are lenient. In contrast, stories out there are gradually exaggerating the facts, claiming that we seven are overstepping our boundaries and harbour ill will towards you. Father is most furious with these false rumours. The people are not privy to the details, and people with ulterior motives are fanning the flames. As vassals, however, we must express our feelings to shut down the malignant lies. To that end, Father ordered your subject to contact his four sworn siblings to convene in the capital and meet you. Father stressed that we must serve the imperial court and you.”
Judging from Song Chis tone and gaze, Emperor Yuansheng wouldve believed the five emmisaries aim was to intimidate him had it not been for his agents being misled. At the same time, he inwardly lamented how the discrepancy between Song Ou and Song Chi could be so pronounced; it was easy to convince anyone they werent brothers. He wouldnt have to feel bad for Shen Yiren if her fiancé was Song Chi instead of Song Ou.
“Well said.” Brilliant Consort clapped brightly. “Your Majesty, you always adulate the Seven Champion White Princes for their unyielding loyalty, diligence in protecting the borders and people to maintain the peace, never forcing anyone against their will, oppress people, build militaries for personal use, hoard money to build their wealth, disrespect you, refuse to adhere to orders or anything of the sword. You also mentioned our ancestors friendship with the seven families is absolutely sincere.
“Coming from a family of merchants, I am but an ignorant woman who does not understand politics, but I accused you of trusting the wrong people. Who would have thought that I was right You see Luo Sword Manors insurgence a mere half a year ago has rendered five families stricken with panic. They must be struggling day to day with unease; that must be why they forgot to even writ e a letter. Shielding you from a strike from Yangzhou is the utmost display of loyalty to a monarch and its nation, a deed worthy of reward.
“They were concerned for the nation and its people upon hearing Luo Sword Manor relinquished their special entitlements. See Their emissaries arrived before they could even write a letter. To be concerned about ones rulers concerns is the heart of a vassals service. I am ashamed to admit I would question the loyalty of loyal men.”
Brilliant Consort Huang had never lost an argument prior to her marriage. After her marriage, Emperor Yuansheng was always the loser in their debates. Today, he was the first person to benefit from her weapon.
It was impossible to tell how Jin Zhaoying reacted to the verbal clap from behind her thin face veil. Meanwhile, Venerable Xun Feng shook his head. Song Chi instantly saluted and complimented Brilliant Consort Huang as though it was drilled into him. Bai Yumo, as well as Ling Shaoxuan, lacked the cunningness and ability to hide their emotions, resulting in them going red in the face.
Brilliant Consort Huang smiled at Venerable Xun Feng. “Venerable Xun Feng, monks do not deceive people. What is the reason for your visit Is Venerable Monk planning to shield His Majesty from flying daggers from Suzhou and wanted you to notify His Majesty”
“You speak in jest, Your Highness. This one is a drifter with only the goal of giving speeches. In times of need, how can he not offer his services to the imperial court Although it is not voluntary, he is here.” Venerable Xun Feng shook his head as though he wanted to emphasise he was in the capital against his will.
“Shaoxuan, are they telling the truth” questioned Her Majesty. While she was Ling Shaoxuans aunt, she couldnt address me as if they were at home during court.
“Every word is true, Your Majesty. This one was sent here to offer his services by his proxy sanctuary master.”
Sanctuary master was one way Mount Lu Sword Sanctuarys members referred to their patriarch. At present, their proxy sanctuary master was Her Majestys elder brother, nicknamed Jiangnans General Manager – Ling Yaoshi. Considering their members revered him as the equivalent of a god, Ling Shaoxuans claim held strong credibility.
Her Majesty stopped to think, then queried, “Before you left, what sword did your proxy sanctuary master tell you to take with you”
Ling Shaoxuan felt whirls of fear spin inside his gut.
Her Majesty slammed her table. “I asked you a question. Are you refusing to answer”
While an outsider mightve brushed it off as an impertinent question, Her Majesty knew better than that. Whoever led a group from Mount Lu Sword Sanctuary would carry a special sword that acted as a token of authority to command members. If it was an ordinary sword, they were likely on a training trip, searching for treasure or something of that nature. If it was a special sword, the goal wasnt something so trivial. King Yao was Ling Yaoshis sword.
“Men, detain these five rebels!” Her Majesty ordered.
Zi Li – In case it was missed, Zi li is Song Chis courtesy name.-