This morning, all the officials who had attended the banquet last night were still a bit dizzy, having drank too much the night before.
But when they saw a certain woman slowly stalking into the throne room, they all trembled as one.
‘Why did she come to court today?’
Shi Sheng’s gaze swept over them as a ridiculing smile made its way to her lips.
They felt their scalps grow numb.
But Shi Sheng merely walked to her position without saying a word, having no intent of making things difficult for them.
The Empress walked in with a dark face and reprimanded every single one of them. Not even the Crown Princess was spared.
“We(z) believe all of you must be tired of living if you dared to offend someone from Mt. Wanyuan!”
The various officials wished they could bury their heads in the ground right now. ‘Who told that little priest to be so good-looking…? Is it our fault?’
“All of you, apologise to him at once! If Master Ling Yue doesn’t forgive you, you don’t need to come back to see us(z)!”
The Empress’ temper flared. “What? You have an objection?!”
“Your Majesty, Master Ling Yue is missing.” The person who had spoken just now hardened their scalp and finished their sentence.
The room fell into silence for a moment before the Empress began throwing things around in her anger.
“Who sent the master back last night?” Once felt she had vented enough, the Empress calmed down enough to ask.
“It was the Crown Princess and the Ning Princess.”
The Crown Princess immediately refuted, “I(ec) only escorted him halfway before Imperial Mother sent for me. In the end, the Ning Princess escorted the master alone, so where is she?”
Only now did everyone discover that the Ning Princess actually hadn’t attended court.
Shi Sheng yawned. As she listened to all of them try to shift the blame, the coldness in her eyes deepened.
In the end, the Empress dispatched people to the Ning Princess’ residence to look for Ling Yue.
The Empress felt dizzy from her anger, so she left to an adjacent chamber to rest.
Once the Empress left, Shi Sheng straightened out her clothing and walked to the middle of the room, raising her voice as she asked, “Who was the one that drugged Ling Yue last night?”
“Prime Minister, what do you mean?” ‘What drug?’
The person who spoke was the Lady Lin who had been the first to coerce Ling Yue into drinking wine. Her skin was rather dark, but she wasn’t ugly.
When Shi Sheng looked over and their eyes met, Lady Lin felt a cold shiver run up her spine.
Lady Lin couldn’t identify any emotions in those eyes. It was as if their owner was merely looking at an inanimate object.
“Who. Drugged. Ling. Yue?” Shi Sheng repeated herself.
‘Drugged? Is it what we think it is? The banquet last night was in the palace! No matter how big our guts are, we wouldn’t have dared to drug someone at a banquet held in the palace!’
Lady Lin’s scalp tingled from being the target of Shi Sheng’s menacing gaze. She explained, “Prime Minister, we really wouldn’t have had the guts to drug Master Ling Yue.”
“Then you know who it is?” Shi Sheng’s lips rose.
Lady Lin avoided Shi Sheng’s gaze as she started to say, “How would I know—”.
None of them had made out Shi Sheng’s movements. By the time they heard the sound, Lady Lin was already on the ground and wailing.
Shi Sheng stepped on her chest, a sword having appeared in her hand at some point. She was smiling, but to them, that smile was like that of a devil from hell.
Dark, terrifying, and filled with malice.
Everyone hurriedly knelt. “Prime Minister, please believe us! We really don’t know!”
“Jun Liyou, you actually dare to beat a court official without a valid reason?! You are simply too bold! Do you even place Her Majesty in your eyes?!”
Lady Lin’s temper flared from being stepped on like this.
“Enough with the nonsense. I’ll give you one last chance: who did it?”
“Your Majesty, Jun Liyou wants to murder me! Help!” Lady Lin suddenly raised her voice and yelled.
Shi Sheng pressed down with her leg, causing Lady Lin to be unable to yell any more.
“Really won’t give up, eh?” Shi Sheng’s lips widened into a smile as the sword in her hand plunged into Lady Lin’s chest.
Seeing that Shi Sheng really had stabbed Lady Lin, the rest of the officials paled.
‘Someone’s going to die…
Is the Prime Minister crazy?!’
Lady Lin fainted from the pain. Shi Sheng pulled her sword out calmly. The blade was stained with red, blood trickling down in rivulets that dripped onto Lady Lin’s chest.
Shi Sheng looked at the rest of the officials, causing them to start trembling. Even the officials in her camp were utterly stupefied.
‘Has the Prime Minister gone mad?!
How is she supposed to explain to the Empress why she stabbed Lady Lin in the throne room?!’
The Prime Minister faction secretly exchanged glances as they thought of how they were going to help Shi Sheng come up with an excuse.
‘Oh dear, Lady Lin wouldn’t die from blood loss, would she? If she does, how are we supposed to tweak the witness testimonies?!
Why didn’t the Prime Minister inform us beforehand so we could be prepared?!
Though, now that we think about it… Ever since the Prime Minister stopped coming to court, she hasn’t bothered to interact with us anymore.’
“I’ll speak, I’ll speak! It was Lady He! She put the drug in his wine!” One of the officials broke under Shi Sheng’s gaze.
“Lady He?” Shi Sheng’s tone was very calm so they couldn’t tell what she was feeling right now.
“Lady Qian, what is the meaning of this?! When did you ever see me place the drug?!” A slightly plump woman who was kneeling at the back lifted her head and glared angrily at Lady Qian who had sold her out. “Prime Minister, please investigate this thoroughly! Qian Lin is framing me!”
Qian Lin was rather timid, so her aura weakened after Lady He yelled at her. “I- I was standing beside you back then. I saw you put the drug in with my own eyes.”
“Qian Lin, I have no enmity with you, why are you slandering me?!” The rage on Lady He’s face intensified.
“Enough.” Shi Sheng spoke lightly.
“Who poured the wine?”
One of the officials raised a hand. She had been the one to pour the wine.
Shi Sheng made her step forward.
After a long line of questioning, the suspects were narrowed down to five or six people. One of them even belonged to her side.
“Prime Minister, I swear on my character that I definitely did not place the drug.”
Shi Sheng looked at her and drew the information she had on this person from Jun Liyou’s memories. She was a loyal supporter of the Prime Minister faction. Furthermore, she was a branch member of the Jun Clan, so Shi Sheng figured she wouldn’t dare lie to her.
Shi Sheng didn’t say anything, but her gaze shifted off that person.
The rest of the officials followed the example of the first and swore they had nothing to do with the drugging.
“Well that’s interesting. Did the drug just fall in on its own then?” Shi Sheng scoffed coldly. “If you can’t think of anything, I’ll punish all of you.”
They exchanged glances. The slightly plump Lady He’s eyes turned in their sockets as her mind raced before she spoke out suddenly, “Prime Minister, there was one more person who had contact with the cup.”
“The Crown Princess.” Lady He lowered her voice.
The Crown Princess had left with the Empress, so she was currently absent.
Shi Sheng gave her a frosty look, but Lady He’s expression remained sincere. “They all saw it too! The Crown Princess wanted to drink on Priest Ling Yue’s behalf, but the cup was snatched back by Lady Lin.”
“I can testify to that.”
“I too can testify that the Crown Princess touched that cup!”
All the people who had been standing in the innermost ring expressed that the Crown Princess had touched the winecup.
And it certainly seemed like only the Crown Princess would be so bold as to drug someone during a feast held in the palace. Plus, the Crown Princess was infamous for her lustful nature, so would she have given up on such a looker as Ling Yue?
Please vote! Double monthly votes ah!
Little Fairy: Daring to drug the little priest? They must be tired of living! Shi Sheng, go cut them all up!
Shi Sheng: My hands are tired.
Little Fairy: ……