Cang Lan received an urgent summons to enter the palace that very night.
Shi Sheng was seated on a chair the Emperor had bestowed her; her face slightly pale. Bi Xi was standing behind her and glaring angrily at the girl kneeling in the middle of the throne room.
The girl’s wounds had already been treated, though she still trembled slightly. She had to bite her lip hard to keep herself from whimpering.
A man garbed in the robes of the Prime Minister knelt beside her. He was Yue Yao’s father.
This was the scene that greeted Cang Lan the moment he entered.
This was the first time he had seen Qing Guan. She was wrapped in a snowy-white fox-fur coat. Her face was the size of a palm and had exquisite features that appeared to have been meticulously sculpted. Her eyelashes were lowered and trembling slightly, and her face was pale; she appeared to have received quite a fright.
Cang Lan merely cast her a passing glance before turning to look at the kneeling Yue Yao.
She looked even more pitiful. In this chilly weather, she was only wearing a single layer of clothing and was even kneeling on the cold ground.
‘She must be freezing!’
Cang Lan felt the stirrings of an inexplicable worry in his heart. But in front of the Emperor, he couldn’t display his emotions too much. He could only suppress this concern that he couldn’t quite understand.
He took steady steps forward and saluted. “Your Majesty.”
There was still fury on the Chen Emperor’s face as he spoke, “Beloved official, this matter arose because of you. How do you think it should be resolved?”
Cang Lan’s expression didn’t change as he spoke in a calm voice, “I(wc) entered as soon as I(wc) received the summons. I(wc) have not yet had the opportunity to understand the current situation.”
Hearing Cang Lan’s words, Yue Yao immediately spoke out, “I didn’t try to assassinate Princess Qing Guan! She’s framed me!”
“Insolence!” The Chen Emperor snapped, his expression becoming even more furious.
The Prime Minister, who was kneeling beside his daughter, hurriedly indicated to Yue Yao to stop speaking with a sharp look before kowtowing as he cried out, “Please forgive me(wc), Your Majesty! I(wc) was too lenient in her upbringing!”
The Chen Emperor flung a teacup that was resting on the desk before him at the Prime Minister. “You call this a lenient upbringing?! If anything had happened to Princess Qing Guan, the lives of the entire An Clan wouldn’t be enough to compensate!”
The teacup—which had been filled—spilled its boiling hot contents on the Prime Minister’s back. Fortunately the weather was cool, so the liquid’s heat soon faded.
“Yes, yes! I(wc) know my wrongs! Please be appeased, Your Majesty!” The Prime Minister continued kowtowing loudly.
Shi Sheng lowered her head, turning a blind eye to the act that the Chen Emperor and Prime Minister were putting on.
Cang Lan was briefed on what happened during this exchange.
“Your Majesty, might I(wc) be permitted to ask Princess Qing Guan a few questions?”
The Chen Emperor looked towards Shi Sheng, who raised her head slightly to meet Cang Lan’s gaze.
Her eyes were different from what Cang Lan expected—he saw no panic, only a calm akin to the surface of a lake on a windless winter day: without ripples, yet exceptionally cold.
He heard her reply in a calm voice, “And what do you want to ask me(bg), General Cang Lan?”
Her melodious voice did not detract from the majesty one could hear in her tone.
“Princess Qing Guan, you said that Miss An entered the embassy to assassinate you. However, from what I know, Miss An’s health has been poor from a young age and she should not have the strength to even lift a weapon. The embassy is also heavily guarded. Hence the question I have is: how did she enter the embassy?”
Shi Sheng raised her brow. “You mean to say that I’ve wrongly accused her?”
“That was not my intention. I merely wished to clarify the situation.”
Shi Sheng’s gaze swept across the people gathered in the room. The Emperor and Prime Minister were merely acting; though the Emperor appeared furious, it was nothing more than a show that they were putting on for her.
‘Cang Lan’s planning on acting with the FL?’
“You’re trying to say that I(bg) invited her to the embassy to frame her, right?”
Cang Lan frowned. It was clear he hadn’t expected Shi Sheng to be so frank.
She harrumphed coldly. “I(bg) have no enmity with her; why would I(bg) frame her? It is a simple matter for me(bg) to kill someone, so why would I(bg) use such a troublesome method?”
“Because you’re jealous of me!” Yue Yao suddenly spoke up. She couldn’t afford to bear the false crime of being an assassin, so these words had escaped her mouth in a moment of panic.
She regretted it immediately, but there was no way to take back her words. She could only bite the bullet and remain firm in her argument.
“Why would I be jealous of you?” Shi Sheng narrowed her eyes.
“General Cang Lan and I may be close, but we’re just normal friends! You don’t have to target me for such a small matter!” Yue Yao praised herself inwardly for being able to come up with this. ‘This should be fine, right?’
“Oh, but why would I target you because of General Cang Lan?” Shi Sheng’s tone remained calm.
Yue Yao was stupefied. ‘Why is this woman saying such unexpected things?’
“Y-you’re going to marry General Cang Lan, wouldn’t you—”
“But I(bg) don’t even know you, so how would I(bg) have known to target you?”
“Our Highness has only just reached Chang’An today—she hadn’t met Miss An yet, so why would she target her? On the other hand, Miss An made an attempt on our Highness’ life in the middle of the night! Fortunately, our Highness is somewhat trained in the art of fighting, otherwise…”
Bi Xi started crying.
Shi Sheng gave her a look of praise. ‘Now this is what I call a godly ally!’
She then turned to stare at Yue Yao coldly as she spoke, “Imperial Father did not send me(bg) to Chen to be treated this way. Since it has come to this, consider the marriage alliance void. I(bg) believe Imperial Father won’t blame me(bg) for this.”
Shi Sheng managed to link this matter to the marriage alliance in just a few sentences.
The Chen Emperor’s expression immediately changed. “Qing Guan, we(z) will definitely give you a satisfactory explanation for this incident!”
“No need. I’ve(bg) never experienced such a stain upon my honour.” Shi Sheng stood up, her gaze moving over to Cang Lan.
“Since General Cang Lan and Miss An both like each other so much, I(bg) shan’t be the villain here and get between the two of you, lest others say I(bg) know no shame.”
“I don’t…” Yue Yao shook her head. However, the facts were against her no matter what she said.
“Miss An, since you like him, you ought to bravely court him! Why resort to these sorts of methods?” Shi Sheng looked at Yue Yao. Her tone was calm, but there was malice in her eyes. “If you don’t take matters into your own hands, what you want will soon belong to someone else.”
Yue Yao felt like strangling Shi Sheng. ‘She’s doing this on purpose, right?’
Shi Sheng turned to curtsey towards the Chen Emperor. “Seeing as how Miss An is truly smitten, I do hope you can allow General Cang Lan and Miss An to be together, Emperor of Chen.”
“Little girl Qing Guan…”
“Don’t worry, I’ll persuade my Imperial Father,” she paused before continuing, “I didn’t agree with to this marriage in the first place. Since it can be resolved this way, it counts as a win for everyone. A forcefully plucked melon is not sweet, after all.”
The Chen Emperor stared at Shi Sheng. But in the end, he could only sigh. His biggest concern had been that Nanjin and Chuyang would team up.
But since this Princess had promised that relations between Chen and Nanjin would not sour due to this dissolved marriage, he had nothing to worry about.
“It is truly a blessing that you’re so magnanimous, Qing Guan…” The Chen Emperor praised her in gratification, as if she were his own daughter.
Shi Sheng’s expression didn’t change as she accepted the praise—though she didn’t plan on letting off the two leads, of course.
“I do hope you’ll allow them to be together, Emperor of Chen. After all, even I am impressed by the lengths Miss An would go to for General Cang Lan.”
“This…” The Chen Emperor looked towards Cang Lan hesitantly. The latter looked indifferent, his expression unreadable.
Yue Yao seemed like she wanted to explain, but she didn’t utter a single sound despite her lips moving.
Shi Sheng’s attitude was firm: If you don’t write the edict, this matter will not be settled!
The Chen Emperor didn’t know what this girl was planning.
They all had some reservations about whether or not An Yue Yao had really attempted to assassinate her. Regardless, why was she now insisting the Emperor write an edict to pair up Cang Lan and Yue Yao?
 This is an idiom that means forced relationships will not experience bliss.
Update when recommendations reach 3,500.