Chapter 96: Who Kidnapped the Little Girl?
Translator: OnGoingWhy Editor: OnGoingWhy
Within the Xiao manor, Xiao Meng blankly stared at the secret letter in his hand without saying anything.
After a long while, Xiao Meng let out a deep sigh. He raised his head and looked toward the direction of the imperial palace's Great Hall. His eyes were filled with sorrow and indescribable grief.
"Father, what happened?" Xiao Yanyu worriedly asked with a frown as she looked at her father's sorrowful appearance.
Xiao Xiaolong puzzledly looked at his powerful father as well. Since earlier on in the morning, Xiao Meng forbade them from leaving the manor. The two siblings who were planning to head to Fang Fang's Little Store to enjoy delicious food were extremely bewildered.
Xiao Yanyu had an astute mind and she was more perceptive than the carefree Ouyang Xiaoyi. She could guess that the reason their father forbade them from leaving the Xiao manor was probably for their own safety.
If they needed protection even while they were inside the imperial city, it could only mean one thing. The imperial city was no longer safe, or... it was no longer safe for those with important statuses like the children of court officials.
"Has the imperial city descended into chaos?" Xiao Yanyu's voice that was like the singing of birds rang out as she asked Xiao Meng.
Xiao Meng glanced at Xiao Yanyu. The muscles on his face slightly trembled before he slowly opened his mouth.
"His Majesty... passed away."
When Xiao Yanyu and Xiao Xiaolong heard those words, their bodies shuddered and then their eyes suddenly widened...
The Xiao family was not the only one who received the news. The various rich and influential families living within the imperial city were informed as well. The news of the emperor's death was like a tsunami that instantly engulfed the imperial city.
The ruler of a generation, Emperor Changfeng... had passed away.
This was like a tumultuous earthquake for the entire Light Wind Empire.
The situation within the imperial city was already quite uncertain. With the death of the emperor, the city immediately became turbulent. The fight over the throne between the crown prince and the second prince was also completely moved into the open.
This could be seen from the fact that all of the rich and influential were making their children obediently stay within their manors.
Once the fight over the throne began, the princes would need to rope in helpers. They needed the support of the court officials and they had to win this support on their own. In order to gain the allegiance of the court officials, they would make use of unscrupulous methods like blackmail, kidnapping... They would use any method available to achieve their goal.
On this day, the news of Emperor Changfeng's passing spread. The crown prince, Ji Chengan, as well as King Yu hurriedly entered the imperial palace and headed for the Great Hall.
After approximately an hour or so, the crown prince and King Yu left the imperial palace. After preparing horses and carriages, they begun visiting the manors of each court official in order to enlist their support.
The fight between the crown prince and King Yu had finally turned into a showdown.
Zhao manor, the official residence of the Minister of the Left, Zhao Musheng.
As the Light Wind Empire's Minister of the Left, Zhao Musheng's position was so great that even the princes had to treat him courteously. It was to the point where his rank within the Light Wind Empire could be said to be second only to its guardian, Xiao Meng.
Zhao Musheng's was not considered old. He looked rather healthy from his overall appearance. However, his hair color that alternated between black and white gave him the feeling of vicissitude.
He was sitting in a wooden armchair with his eyes slightly narrowed and slapping his belly with one hand.
Suddenly, the sound of footsteps came from beyond the door and a figure stepped into the room..
"Father! Your child has returned," Zhao Ruge stepped into the room in a brocade robe and respectfully greeted Zhao Musheng, who was seated in the armchair.
"Has the matter been settled?" Zhao Musheng narrowed his eyes and simply asked.
"The matter was completed without a hitch. However... Why did father send someone to abduct Ouyang Xiaoyi? Are you not afraid of angering that madman, Ouyang Qi?" Zhao Ruge looked at Zhao Musheng in puzzlement. He could not understand why they participated in this messy situation under this sort of circumstances.
"Ji Changfeng is dead. Now that he's dead, the pot of soup called the imperial city is finally going to boil. In order to make this pot of soup even tastier, we'll need to add some condiments..." Zhao Musheng opened his eyes. His eyes were profoundly harmonious and seemed to possess a calming aura.
Zhao Ruge's reverence toward his father became even stronger.
"Leave now, and make sure that girl isn't mistreated. We only brought her here to bring things to a head. If she gets hurt, Ouyang Qi will really try to kill us. That old fogey really cherishes this granddaughter of his," Zhao Musheng said with a chuckle.
"We'll have him cause trouble with the crown prince and King Yu first. Let him stir up this pot of soup..."
Zhao Ruge was startled for a moment and then seemed to have understood something. A hint of a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he nodded and left.
As Zhao Musheng watched Zhao Ruge's disappearing figure, he chuckled once more.
After Zhao Ruge left the room Zhao Musheng was in, he walked for a while inside of the Zhao manor and soon arrived before a room guarded by two Battle-Kings.
"Watch after that girl properly. She's very clever. Don't give her a chance to escape," Zhao Ruge solemnly said.
The two Battle-Kings gravely nodded.
As Zhao Ruge gazed at the quiet room, the corners of his mouth widened into a smile. "I am really curious. If Owner Bu found out that this girl was kidnapped... What would he do? Would he immediately rush over while bringing along that iron lump? That would be interesting."
Within the crown prince's palace, the crown prince had a forced smile plastered on his face as he looked at the menacing elderly Ouyang. This doyen level figure was not someone he could afford to anger.
"Elder, I can vouch with my life that I've never touched a single hair on Ouyang Xiaoyi!" Ji Chengan's expression was solemn as he took an oath-taking pose while facing the elderly Ouyang.
"Motherfucker! Who else could it be other than you? If my precious Xiaoyi is missing even a single strand of hair, I am going to fucking demolish this crown prince palace of yours!" The elderly Ouyang's temper was not good. He was cursing and swearing while pointing at the crown prince's nose. He was scolding the crown prince to the point where the crown prince almost lost his composure.
However, the crown prince had no other choice. He could only maintain a forced smile as he watched the elderly Ouyang leave with a strut.
Similarly, after the elderly Ouyang left the crown prince's palace, he immediately headed toward King Yu's manor. He chewed out King Yu as well, but he still could not obtain any information on Ouyang Xiaoyi.
However, after the two princes were scolded by the elderly Ouyang, they kept in check their overt actions and their confrontations became less brazen.
After returning to the Ouyang manor, the elderly Ouyang had already lost the dominance he had when scolding the crown prince and King Yu. His expression became rather unpleasant.
If King Yu and the crown prince were not responsible for abducting Xiaoyi, then who was the culprit?
Within the imperial city, who would have the nerve to capture Ouyang Qi's granddaughter?
The elderly Ouyang pondered for a while. Finally, a name surfaced in his mind... Zhao Musheng?!
For the past three days, the amount of customers that visited Fang Fang Little Store's became very small. It reached a point where Bu Fang was bored to death everyday. He could not sense the stormy situation within the imperial city. The only thing he could sense was that his customers had decreased in number.
Ouyang Xiaoyi did not come to the store during the three days either. Bu Fang found out that the situation within the imperial city was extremely grim from Fatty Jin, who came on time everyday to eat. Every single influential family was carefully choosing a faction to side with.
With the passing of the emperor, the crown prince and King Yu began fighting over the throne.
Bu Fang was perplexed after hearing all of this information. He was completely clueless about the so-called fight over the throne. After listening for a short while, he walked away in bewilderment. However, the news about the emperor passing away still made him lament.
However, he was extremely concerned about the news regarding Ouyang Xiaoyi's abduction. After all, the girl was still his waitress, someone who belonged to Fang Fang's Little Store. Since she was Bu Fang's employee, he would not allow her to be easily bullied.
Bu Fang was curled up on his chair, watching the heavy snow that continuously descended. The pure white snow had already begun covering the entire imperial city with a layer of silver coating, giving the city an exquisite appearance.
"Owner Bu, you seem to be free. Looks like I came at the right time." A familiar voice-that was mild but contained a bit of arrogance-rang out.
Zhao Ruge was standing at the entrance of the store, looking at Bu Fang with a smile on his face.