Jing Rong did not know the details behind Jing Xuan's marriage but to him, Jing Xuan's wedding was definitely something worth celebrating!
It's high time that the girl wed a man and tamed her temper.
Shi Ziran spoke boldly, "Your Highness, since all evidence is pointing at Prince Y, why don't you take this opportunity to take him down?" This is the best time to kill Jing Yi.
Jing Rong gently shook his head, "It's not the right time yet."
"It's not the first time Your Highness has said this, but this is clearly the best time for us to act! The Emperor is also starting to get suspicious of Prince Yi. Your Highness should seize this opportunity to remove Prince Yi!" As the saying went, the eunuch is frantic before the Emperor is even concerned! Jing Rong was in no hurry to remove Jing Yi and had other considerations in mind.
"Actions cannot be taken in haste. Although the situation doesn't seem to be in Jing Yi's favour, my Imperial Father has ordered us to stop the investigation, which means that he already has his own plans. If I take this opportunity to attack Jing Yi, how do you think my Imperial Father would react?" My Imperial Father will surely think that I'm sabotaging him!
Shi Ziran finally started to understand the situation, but he was still troubled. "Then, Your Highness, when will be the best time for us to act?"
Jing Rong reopened the document and started flipping through it again. As the pages turned, Jing Rong's expression grew increasingly solemn. "We will wait for… the day when the case of the missing relief funds is solved." When that day came, he would blaze back to the Capital with all his men.
Done speaking, he rose to his feet and left the room. It was noon and the sun was shining brightly. The blazing sun made the ground shine like the underbelly of an upturned fish. Anyone who had to stand under this sun for a few hours would definitely be burnt to a crisp.
Out of nowhere, he called out, "Lang Po."
Lang Po, who had been standing by in the courtyard, came forward. "Is there anything I can help you with, Your Highness?"
"What is Teacher Ji doing?"
"She sat in the doorway basking in the sun for a while after she woke up, playing with the cat and chatting casually with the two servants. Then, Magistrate Zuo visited, and finally gave her the relevant documents."
"Teacher Ji is now reading the case documents."
He nodded. After being idle for so many days, that girl is finally going to start the investigation.
When he was about to head for the other end of the corridor, a yamen runner hurried over and sent him a message, "Your Highness, the Magistrate needs Teacher Ji to visit the public court now."
"Someone is wreaking havoc at the yamen."
He furrowed his brow, displeased. "Magistrate Zuo should take care of this on his own. Why is he asking for Teacher Ji? Should I make his magistrate position redundant?"
The yamen runner trembled a little at the questioning. "Your Highness, it's about… the case that happened three years ago."
"It's about Aunt Xie's daughter?"
"The Qiao family is here." As expected, they've come knocking.
He gave the situation a brief thought before he waved his hand and dismissed the yamen runner. "Alright. You can go ahead first."
"Yes, Your Highness." The yamen runner left.
Shi Ziran recalled something and immediately approached Jing Rong. "Your Highness, this humble one overheard a conversation regarding the case between Lord Zuo and Constable Zhou. It seems like they are afraid of the case being solved. Besides, they have also sent someone to watch us."
"I'm afraid so."
A hint of ruthlessness flashed across Jing Rong's eyes. He scoffed, "Inform Teacher Ji and tell her that there's a fierce tiger at the public court of yamen. Ask if she's interested in watching this show."
What? Shi Ziran did not question further before he left to fetch Ji Yunshu.
"Let's go. This prince is excited to watch a good show."
This is going to be great gossip. He headed for the public court with Lang Po in tow.
At the center of the public court stood the domineering Qiao Family. There were three men and three women, namely Old Master Qiao — Qiao Yi, Madam Qiao, First Young Master Qiao, two maids and one butler.
"Lord Zuo, for the past few years, this woman from the Xie family has disturbed our household far too many times. We never charged her on compassionate grounds, for the loss of her daughter. However, she now went to the capital and accused my son for the murder of her daughter. The case was closed three years ago with evidence concluding that her daughter committed suicide. And now, even the officials from the capital have arrived in our county, insisting on reopening the case. Are you going to drag this case on until my son is proven guilty?" Old Master Qiao questioned furiously, extremely upset.
As the magistrate, Zuo Yao was obligated to look after the welfare of the people. He couldn't refuse to handle complaints from anyone who turned up in court, let alone the well-connected Qiao family. The second master of the Qiao Family used to be the Minister of Personnel, a first-ranked official. Although he had retired from his position, he still carried considerable influence and was not a man whom the low-ranked county magistrate could trifle with.
Naturally, Zuo Yao panicked. He explained solicitously, "Old Master Qiao, this case is now under the Supreme Court's care. They have sent their representatives here and this case has to be investigated again. If Young Master Qiao is innocent, we will make sure the justice is served in his case."
"Since the Supreme Court has sent their people to reopen this case, outsiders will surely believe the groundless accusation of the Xie woman. They will suspect the Qiao family of bribing the coroner and altering the facts. How do you expect my Qiao family to endure this humiliation?" He was obviously trying to scare the magistrate with his power and reputation!
Meanwhile, Madam Qiao seemed to be a more sensible person. She pulled Old Master Qiao by his sleeve as she persuaded, "Old master, you don't have to be angry. It's impossible that Zihua killed anyone. So what if the Supreme Court sent their people here? How could they investigate when that lady has already been dead for three years? Even if they reopened the investigation, it would merely prove our Zihua's innocence and the woman from the Xie Family will never disturb us again."
Zuo Yao added, "Madam Qiao is right. Old Master Qiao, please do go home and wait for news."
"No, I will not." He waved his sleeve as he spoke. "Lord Zuo, I also heard that a certain Teacher Ji has been assigned with this case. Can you please summon him? This humble one wants to know why the Supreme Court took over this case that had long been closed."
"This…" Zuo Yao was put in a very difficult situation.
Qiao Zihua, who had remained quiet the entire time, also pleaded, "Father, let's go home!"
"Wastrel!" Old Master Qiao yelled as he glared at his son, who had never lived up to his expectations. "If you weren't such a disappointment, our Qiao family wouldn't have to endure people talking behind our backs. All you do is spend your days drowning in alcohol. Then you had to get entangled in this case! You have completely ruined the Qiao family's reputation."
Feeling intimidated and scared, Qiao Zihua dropped his head and hunched his shoulders, cowering at the scolding.
As timid as a mouse! Looking at his son, Old Master Qiao's rage continued to snowball. When he drinks, he's almighty and untouchable, but aside from that? As timid as a newborn kitten! If Qiao Zihua were not his son, Old Master Qiao would have already strangled him to death by now. He would rather have no descendants to continue the bloodline than have such a useless son who continually brings trouble to his family.
Zuo Yao was caught in this awkward atmosphere as he repeatedly studied the father-and-son duo. "Old Master Qiao, please go home for now. We will investigate the case accordingly. Fret not, If your young master did not kill anyone, we would never wrong him."
Qiao Yi replied with menacingly, "Lord Zuo, this humble one only wants to meet Teacher Ji. Is he a man too great to meet with commoners like us?"
At that instant, someone spoke from the door. "Teacher Ji is getting some rest amidst his busy schedule. Can this prince do anything to help Old Master Qiao?"
Everyone in the court turned to look at Jing Rong.
Jing Rong strode into the hall elegantly.
Qiao Yi's gaze flickered in fear. He heard that Prince Rong arrived in Yufu to investigate the case of the missing relief silvers. Is this man...Prince Rong?