Xiao He was dragged in. Her face was deathly pale as she knelt, shivering.
“You are Xiao He?” De-gonggong asked in his high-pitched voice.
“Yes I am.” Xiao He touched the ground with her forehead, fear in her voice.
De-gonggong continued asking, “Did you go to Lin’An Academy?”
Xiao He shook as she replied, “No.”
De-gonggong looked at Ming Jin.
“At three quarters past noon today, you carried a box of food into the academy and went over to the young prince, who was alone beside the training yard. At the time, I merely thought you had orders to deliver some snacks to him, so I took no note of it.”
Ming Jin clarified the timing and place, but made sure he wasn’t implicated.
Xiao He’s body trembled even harder.
The chamber fell silent.
Finally, Xiao He could no longer take the pressure and sobbed as she pleaded for mercy, “Your Majesty, spare me! I didn’t know! I didn’t know the snacks were poisoned! Please spare me…”
Yuwen Xun’s eyes turned red around the edges as he roared, “Who ordered you to harm Jing’er?!?
“It… It was…” Xiao He didn’t lift her head. After stuttering for a while where she seemed to be undergoing some internal struggle, she finally grit her teeth and spoke, “It was An Zhao Yi. An Zhao Yi gave me silver and bade me to deliver the snacks to the young prince. I thought An Zhao Yi was trying to please the young prince—I really didn’t know they contained poison! Please spare me, Your Majesty!”
‘Since An Zhao Yi was instructed to care for the young prince, it makes sense that she would try to please him.’
“What are you saying?!” Lu Ruo’s eyes widened, disbelief on her face. “I’ve never even seen you before!”
“Your Majesty, please spare me! I shouldn’t have coveted the silver, but I had no choice! My younger brother is very ill and needs the money to get it treated! I truly never expected An Zhao Yi to make me poison the young prince!” It was as if Xiao He hadn’t heard Lu Ruo as she knocked her head on the floor and sobbed.
Lu Ruo had evidently underestimated the abilities of these harem women. The boulder that had just left her chest came back with full force, making it hard for her to breathe.
“Since you say I ordered you, why did the poison appear in Yun Jie Yu’s chambers?” Lu Ruo forced herself to calm down. ‘If I make a wrong move here, I might be done for. I won’t be able to go back…
Damn, ancient times were scary, but these women are even scarier.’
“It’s because…because you ordered me to place the poison in Yun Jie Yu’s palace, Zhao Yi.”
Shi Sheng lifted her head to look at Lu Ruo before turning back to eye Xiao He with pity. ‘Aren’t you just seeking death by framing the FL?’
Lu Ruo seemed to let out a sigh of relief. “Your Majesty, from what I know, it’s forbidden to enter and exit Yun Jie Yu’s palace freely, so how did this maid get in? She insists that I gave her orders, but her account is full of holes. Please investigate thoroughly, Your Majesty.”
Ever since Shi Sheng acted so impudently the other day, there were many guards stationed outside, and anyone entering or exiting had to be searched thoroughly.
How could it be easy to sneak poison in there?
‘Hey wait up, how come the ball’s back to me?’
Yuwen Xun’s face was dark. “You have one more chance. If you dare to talk nonsense again, your whole family is getting executed.”
Hearing the last part, Xiao He’s body tensed up and she subconsciously looked in Shu Fei’s direction.
Shu Fei acted as if she didn’t notice, but the maid standing beside Shu Fei gave Xiao He a warning look.
Xiao He clenched her teeth. “I’m telling the truth.”
De-gonggong screeched at her for a bit but didn’t get any results. Under Yuwen Xun’s direction, he then got people to start using torture.
Xiao He’s tormented cries echoed throughout the chamber. All of the people with more timid dispositions didn’t dare to look.
Probably having reached her limit, Xiao He cried as she pleaded for mercy, “Your Majesty, spare me! I’ll speak! I’ll tell you everything!”
De-gonggon lifted his hand and the torturers immediately retreated to the side.
Shi Sheng had a bad feeling that she was the one about to get screwed over here.
Xiao He bore with the pain as she spoke as if reciting off a script, “It’s Yun Jie Yu. She instructed me to give the young prince snacks and that if I was discovered, to pin this on An Zhao Yi. My younger brother works at the Zhuang Manor. Yun Jie Yu used him to threaten me. If you don’t believe me, Your Majesty, you can investigate what I said. This time, I’m really telling the truth!”
Shi Sheng facepalmed and sighed.
The battle between women was always much more complicated than that between men. And much more dramatic to boot.
Ming Jin’s gentle gaze landed on Shi Sheng, who took the opportunity while she was facepalming to glare at him.
‘If Milady wants it, you can come get it. You’re welcome anytime.’
‘Just you wait!’
‘I’ll be waiting.’
The two communicated silently with their eyes, as if this whole debacle had nothing to do with them.
Xiao He really did have a younger brother, and it was true he was working in the Zhuang Manor.
Xiao He’s testimony was proof enough that Shi Sheng had placed the poison there herself. After all, who would be so dumb as to place the poison they used in their own palace? It was the best way of making others think they were being framed.
“Yun Jie Yu, what do you have to say now?” Yuwen Xun probably wanted to have Shi Sheng dragged out and beheaded right about now.
Shi Sheng walked towards Xiao He and leaned closer slightly. “You said I threatened you?”
Xiao He didn’t dare to meet Shi Sheng’s eyes, only nodding in reply.
Shi Sheng looked at her hand before suddenly reaching it out to grasp Xiao He’s neck.
“Yun Jie Yu! How bold of you!” De-gonggong immediately screeched. “Do you intend to silence the witness in front of so many people?!”
Shi Sheng pulled out a sword and pointed it at Yuwen Xun. “Has Your Majesty forgotten what I told you? Oh right, you have. Then let me refresh your memory: I have plenty of ways to kill you if I wanted, so you’d best not act rashly.”
Shi Sheng’s words were like the key that unlocked his memory, as the events of that day came flooding back. Yuwen Xun’s face was as black as the bottom of a pot right now.
“Yun Jie Yu, are you planning on rebelling?! Protect the Emperor! Protect the Emperor! Quickly!” De-gonggong screeched in his male duck-like tone.
The surrounding onlookers had never expected the sudden twist. They all huddled closer to Yuwen Xun, leaving only Ming Jin standing by Shi Sheng.
The imperial guards streamed in from outside, completely surrounding Shi Sheng and Ming Jin.
Lu Ruo’s face was a bit pale as she retreated and mentally communicated with her system.
“Where did her sword come from? Does she have one of those spaces you were telling me about?”
That sword had appeared from thin air. Like how weapons could materialise instantly in people’s hands in TV shows.
“No spatial fluctuations detected.” Her system had the voice of a child. “But there’s a possibility it’s too high level for me to detect right now. I’m too low-level to detect high-level spaces.”
Lu Ruo clutched at the hem of her sleeves. “You mean she might have a space?”
“Then…is it possible she’s from another world too?!” Lu Ruo’s gaze suddenly turned excited. She wanted someone she could relate to in this foreign world.
But her system soon poured cold water on her. “Impossible. Her soul is extremely compatible with her body.”
Lu Ruo was crestfallen. Due to the fact that her soul wasn’t this body’s original one, there’d be times when it would react awkwardly. Her system called it a “rejection phenomenon.”
Her system said that even if a soul was extremely compatible with someone else’s body, it was impossible for compatibility to reach 100%; and that as long as it was less than 100%, it would be able to detect it.