Edited By: Sab
In the thirty-ninth year of the Fengxing era, the emperor passed away.
The city was covered in heavy snow, and the whole country was in grief.
In the middle of the night, the long imperial corridor south of the Chengan Palace Gate was filled with mourning banners that danced in the chaotic snow. Against the backdrop of flickering lights, it resembled the road that led to the Yellow Springs.
Towards the west, after crossing two long, vacant streets, was a dark, dismal abode. This was the residence of the only prince without the imperial surname. Above the entryway, the plaque read Prince Jings Manor.
A clear set of footprints were left on the snow-covered limestone path, and a man robed in black court dress walked slowly, his clothing dragging behind him in the snow.
In such heavy snow, he didnt carry an umbrella, so a heap of snow rested on his shoulders. He held a small sandalwood tray and on top of it was a jade bottle, full of wine. A thin layer of frost had formed on the bottle because of the freezing weather.
It was already midnight. The gates of the residence were wide open, and from the outside, Prince Jings Manor appeared to be grand and majestic. However, the inside was very desolate, full of wilted grass, and it was not much better than the famous haunted houses in the capital.
As the heavy snow fell from the sky, Song Xian walked through the vestibule, passed through a veranda, and arrived at the residence of the Jing Prince.
The courtyard of the Jing Prince Sui Yan was small. It had been left untouched for a long time, and wilted grass covered the entire area. There were only a few small kerosene lanterns burning quietly on the promenade.
Song Xian was expressionless. He stepped in steadily without spilling a drop of the wine from the bottle in his hand. Just as he entered the courtyard, the door on the side suddenly opened.
Song Xian looked over to see Sui Yan stepping out of the room.
According to rumors, even though the incompetent, good-for-nothing prince Sui Yan had been confined for a year, he was still incomparably beautiful.
He was dressed in a purple robe embroidered with begonia flowers. He was extremely gorgeous. Standing in the corridor, he looked as if he had just stepped out of a painting.
The two had not seen each other for ten years, but Sui Yan still looked like that calm and graceful youth from before.
Sui Yans peach blossom eyes narrowed, and he sauntered towards the bench in the corridor, lazily lying on it as if he was the only person in the room. He stared at the small lantern by his feet and seemed to be in a good mood.
Song Xian stepped forward and placed the small sandalwood tray on the stone table nearby. He lightly said, “Wanggui, its been a long time.”
Sui Yan seemed to be stunned for a moment. He squinted at the person in front of him and finally smiled, saying, “Its been a long time. Who are you again?”
Song Xian, “…..”
“Song Xian, I used to study with Your Highness and the Third Prince,” Song Xian lightly replied, “Your Highness is really forgetful. But thinking about it, in the seven years that His Majesty and I were confined to Canglin Temple, how could Prince Jing, the true master of the court, remember a nobody like me?”
Sui Yan blinked, but he couldnt remember who this was. However, he heard the resentment in the other persons voice, and he hurriedly replied, “Ohhh, now I remember, Song Xian. Lord Song must be very busy. How would he have the time to come visit me?”
Song Xian didnt expose him. He glanced indifferently at Sui Yans vibrant clothing and the lantern by his feet, and he warned, “The whole nation is in mourning. Im afraid acting so ostentatiously is inappropriate.”
During the national mourning period, whether it was high-ranking officials or the common people, they had to dress in plain white silk, and all forms of entertainment were forbidden.
Sui Yan replied, “Isnt today the Lantern Festival? Whats inappropriate? Oh, did the emperor pass away?”
Song Xian furrowed his brows.
“Ive been in this damn place for over a year. Except for the housekeeper who delivers my meals, I havent seen a single person. Surprisingly, nobody informed me about such a major event.” Sui Yan stood up and untied the purple robe he wore, revealing a thin plain garment inside.
Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be an exquisite mourning robe.
Song Xian furrowed his brow, “You already knew that the emperor passed away?”
Under such heavy snow, Sui Yan, who was just wearing a thin robe, was already shivering from the cold, but still he smiled, “Thats not true. I have been longing for his death. After so many years, these mourning robes can finally be of use——So, Lord Song, why have you come to find me so late at night? Is it to inform me of the will of the new emperor?”
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Song Xian took a deep breath and said, “The late emperors last words were to let His Majesty grant Your Highness this glass of wine.”
In the royal family, the meaning of granting wine was crystal clear.
Sui Yans eyes flickered.
He glanced at the exquisite wine bottle, and thought, I plotted so hard for Duan Zhisu for so many years only to die at his hands? Damn it all to hell.
All these years, Sui Yan did many things to vindicate Duan Zhisu both openly and covertly, yet nobody knew. Even the late emperor thought Sui Yan had been so calculating just to benefit himself.
No, Sui Yan thought, I have done so much. I cant hide it anymore, or else I wont be able to die peacefully.
Sui Yan held an attitude of “not letting everyone live in peace even after dying.” He turned slightly, his blue silk shawl hanging like a waterfall. The corner of his lips curled, and he whispered softly, “Lord Song, do you want to know why the late emperor still fears me even after his death?”
A trace of disgust flashed in Song Xians eyes. He clearly knew of Sui Yans sins, and he recited, “On the surface, youre arrogant and willful, and you show indifference for the happenings in court. However, you rallied many court officials in secret. In the three years that you were in court, if any virtuous and loyal ministers political views differed from yours, they would not escape from tragedy and death. Even the people were furious, and their complaints about you can be piled into a mountain.”
Sui Yans eyes curled. He looked like a wealthy young master without a care for the world. An outsider wouldnt be able to imagine that he had done all of these cruel and ridiculous things.
This man was beautiful, but deep down, he was very cold-hearted and cruel.
Sui Yan smiled, “If someone like you, who just returned to the capital, can see everything clearly, then the late emperor must have known of all the things that I have done. But do you know why he only kept me in confinement after everything Ive done?”
Song Xian was silent.
Sui Yan didnt feel like he was performing a one-man show, and he said to himself, “He didnt kill me or free me. He feared me and doted upon me, yet he let Duan Zhisu grant me a glass of Stigma before he died. Doesnt he want me to accompany him in death?”
As he spoke, he felt ridiculous and laughed.
“But what am I to him, that he wants me to accompany him to die?” Sui Yans imagination ran wild, “Does my Imperial Uncle also have that kind of dirty thoughts about me?”
Song Xian furrowed his brows. He couldnt understand what Sui Yan meant by “also,” but he didnt think more about it, directly asking, “Why?”
Sui Yan stopped his provocation, and said indifferently, “Because the Second and Fifth Princes, who were doted upon, were all def
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