I am the crown prince? - Chapter 20
The news spread in the empire. Some of the people who got showered by the young prince’s grace felt hopeful, and some others detested the idea and started to gossip around, trying to build the fear into the common folk’s heart. That day the empire was in chaos, people kept talking about the topic, some in support, and others against the young prince. But what can common folk do in front of the emperor’s decision? They can only swallow their thoughts and talk about it in secret as any objection can lead to their death.
In all of this chaos, an old man wearing a robe made by the finest material sat comfortably in a secured room inside the Yiji house, drinking a cup of wine in the daylight. In his side, a Yiji by the name of Lin was serving him wine, smiling gracefully.
“Where is Gin?” he asked her after a moment of silence.
“My lord, Gin was sent to the new Yiji house,” she replied elegantly, trying to hide her real feelings. Gin was known for being the most beautiful woman in the empire. She was in high demand from royals, nobles, and scholars.
The lord ignored her and kept drinking his wine, waiting for who knows what.
A man in his thirties wearing a dirty robe came in and sat under the Lord’s watchful eyes.
“My lord!” he greeted, bowing slightly.
The lord didn’t reply and just threw a bag of gold his way.
“Your influence on the commoners is getting better day by day,” the lord stated when the man measured the bag of gold with his hand.
“This slave works to please,” the man smiled, showing his yellowish teeth. He couldn’t help but stare at Lin with hungry eyes from time to time, making her shudder in disgust.
“Leave!” the Lord dismissed him.
The man turned around and left in a hurry. He lost a finger once because he lingered there even after he got dismissed by him. He didn’t want to experience the pain again. He hated that lord with passion, but he couldn’t act on his feelings because the lord was important. He was the Prime Minister himself. Besides that, he must earn money, and that lord pays generously.
“What do you think of him?” the Lord asked Lin after the man left.
“He is a wicked person, my lord!” Lin announced her dislike openly.
Hearing her answer, the lord couldn’t stop himself from blurting out, “For the money, they can do anything! It’s the same for you.”
Lin felt offended, and her smile turned into a frown. After all, she was just a girl who seeks freedom and not money.
“Don’t frown too much. Do you know why I always ask for you when there is an important meeting?” the Lord asked her.
“No my lord,” she told him, looking at her lap.
“You are young, smart and sharp too. You will be my spy here, you will get paid well too,” he told her, and waited for a reaction.
Lin tried to collect her thoughts; she took a sharp breath and asked him,” Who would ask for this young girl’s service my lord?”
“Some people like small meals. But no! Not that kind of service, you will only serve wine, and entertain important guests with Gin,” he replied thoughtfully.
The prime minister owned that Yiji house and used it for political purpose.
Back to the palace, in the bottom of the stairs that lead to the throne room, some of the ministers knocked their head on the ground, their voices echoing around repeating the same words again and again, “Your Highness, reconsider your decision.”
The emperor was annoyed that they are trying to defy his decision.
“What’s your highness going to do?” the minister of merchandise asked.
“Let them yell and starve, they can die for all I care,” the emperor stated, massaging his head in frustration.
“Why are you the minister of merchandise again?” he asked sharply looking at the minister.
“Because I exceed in that field, your majesty,” the minister replied.
“I offered you the chance to be my right hand! But you let fools take your place,” the emperor’s voice was full of annoyance.
“I don’t have the qualification to be one, your grace,” the minister pointed out in a bored tone. They always had the same conversation since the prince became an emperor. The minister didn’t take his friend’s rage seriously.
In another room inside the palace, a raging ox known by Prince Zheng Wei was yelling inside his room. He couldn’t get rid of his anger by yelling. So, he rushed around the room and threw everything he saw in his way until he spotted a mirror.
He stared at his reflection for a long time, and smashed his fist into the mirror, making his hand bleed.
“That feels better,” he stated when he saw the blood pouring out.
“Why? Why?” he asked himself, the tears falling from his eyes like a waterfall. He sat on the ground, staring at nothing.
“Am I not good enough?” he kept asking, feeling helpless.
“That damned prophecy!” he cursed aloud, remembering the time he eavesdropped and discovered the prophecy.
When the Royalty crumbles
And the eldest fails
The freshest seed shall rise
To reign the heavens
He remembered that prophecy too well. He didn’t understand it at first as he was young and foolish. But he understood the meaning by time. And if the young prince couldn’t die, he will try to look for another one.
“I will take what’s mine! But if I want that to happen, I must be smart, trying to kill him isn’t the right path,” he concluded when he calmed down.
*Yiji: A yiji is a high-class courtesan.
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