Realms In The Firmament - Chapter 24
You just wouldn't stop getting in trouble, huh?
’’What Mu Cheng-Bai? Who is Mu Cheng-Bai?’’ Ye Xiao had opened his eyes really wide and they were filled with curiosity as he looked at the steward.
It was only reasonable that Ye Xiao would play innocent. After all, the man he had killed was not only the brother-in-law of the crown prince, but was also from the Mu clan - one of the eight noble clans! There were things that could be done in the shadows, but one should never openly talk about it.
’’Mu Cheng-Bai, the young master of the Mu clan, the older brother of the crown princess, and brother-in-law of the crown prince.’’ The steward spoke slowly and stared deeply into Ye Xiao's eyes, ’’Three days ago, you got into a disagreement with him, which turned violent, young master... Eventually you ran away and he quickly chased after you... What happened after that... Nobody knows.’’
He stopped for a second trying to spot some kind of change in Ye Xiao's behavior, but shortly after, he continued, ’’What everybody knows is that you came back safely and Mu Cheng-Bai died.’’
Ye Xiao smiled deviously, ’’Well if no one knows what happens, then it certainly doesn't have to be me who killed him, right? If I were to be blamed for the deaths of everyone who got killed secretly, then I would be a mass murderer! Besides... Do you really think I actually have the capabilities to kill anyone?’’
The steward stood calmly with a straight back and said in an almost inaudible whisper, ’’A perfect defense, young master... However, I know that it was you.’’
Hearing these words Ye Xiao couldn't help but frown.
This steward was acting too calmly and seemed too certain of his words.
Before Ye Xiao could clearly think it over, the steward continued, ’’Let's put aside the topic of who made the killing blows, you're definitely going to be investigated, so we should make proper preparations for when this investigation happens. If something unexpected happens, you'll only be able to feel regret in your afterlife.
’’Even though your defense is perfect, you're still the prime suspect in this case. Mu Cheng-Bai isn't just some random farmer's son, he's the young master from the Mu clan and the older brother of the crown princess. And at the end of the day, they'll have to catch someone. If they fail to find a scapegoat, that someone might just as well be you.’’
Ye Xiao was collecting his thoughts and could only reply with an, ’’Oh?’’
’’That's why I wish to discuss this with you, young master. I suggest that we order the 36 blood-robe guards to send you to your father in the north.’’ The steward spoke calmly, ’’You are the only son of the general! You are the heir! You can't die!’’
Ye Xiao smiled and asked, ’’To the north? To hide from trouble by using my father's might?’’
’’Yes.’’ The steward answered humbly, ’’It is currently too dangerous to linger around here any longer. I am afraid that everyone in this house might meet an early demise if we stay.’’ The steward sighed.
He felt completely speechless and inconsolable about this situation. This brat had promised him not even two days ago that he would definitely 'never make any trouble'. But almost before this sentence had left Ye Xiao's mouth, he had already gone ahead and slaughtered the brother-in-law of the crown prince... If this couldn't be considered 'making trouble', then what could?
Even in a scenario where Ye Xiao didn't kill anybody, he'd still be the most obvious suspect. This fact alone was unbearable for his family. If the crown prince actually wanted to kill him, he would only have to lift a finger and there'd be nothing anyone could do about it.
Besides, there was also an extremely powerful force behind all this - the Mu clan!
The steward really didn't know what to say and thought, ’’What is there I can say... For god's sake... Was it that hard to behave well for a couple of days? And here I actually believed that you had reformed yourself and that you had prepared to be a good lad for once... I even proudly send a letter to the general about this, but even before this letter will reach him, you've brought such a calamity upon yourself!’’
’’Nah...’’ Said Ye Xiao.
As these words reached the steward he kept himself composed on the outside, but in his mind, he was actually seriously complaining,’’This whole thing is already a huge trouble for us and if that wasn't enough, you actually dare to speak these words without a care in the world’’ He almost fell over, completely gobsmacked, ’’No?!’’
’’Nope, not going...’’ Ye Xiao spoke peacefully, ’’If I were to run off to my father every time a little problem came my way, then how could I possible call myself a man?’’
The steward's eyes lit up, as he stared incredulously at Ye Xiao.
’’What is going on?! Is this really my young master? At what point in time did he grow a pair?’’ He thought.
’’Urgh... It is good to have a strong sense of responsibility...’’ This was the first time that the steward had seen this young lord act like a man, so he wanted to give him a word or two of praise. However, he then quickly turned solemn, ’’But you have to know which battles to pick and this one right now, is not the right fight. We should start by preparing countermeasures for all possible situations which may occur.’’
He looked at Ye Xiao wishfully and thought, ’’Well... If you've actually grown up just a little bit... Then please figure out a plan as perfect as your defense and share it with me.’’
The steward still kept himself composed on the outside, but there was a raging storm of worry brewing in his heart. However, he had already made his decision long ago: To sacrifice the lives of the 36 blood robe guards alongside his own to safely escort his young master to his father in the north!
’’Hmm... There isn't anything special that should be prepared. Just let things run their own course...’’ Ye Xiao humphed and continued, ’’It really isn't all that big of a deal really... Firstly, there is no evidence whatsoever. Secondly, I am nothing more than an unlikely suspect at the moment. Thirdly, the crown prince can't afford to start a brawl with one of the great generals of the kingdom if he wishes to become king one day. And lastly...’’
The steward's eyes immediately lit up as he felt Ye Xiao was really growing up to the point where he even started to speak wisely, so he eagerly asked, ’’What is this last reason?’’
’’Lastly...’’ Ye Xiao humphed and rolled his eyes, ’’If they are really going to mess around with me and manage to piss me off, I'll just kill the crown prince too. One kill will then bring peace and everything will then be solved as well!’’
As the last few words left Ye Xiao's mouth the steward felt like he was going to faint.
’’What is wrong with this guy???!!!!’’
The first three reasons had made sense and made Ye Xiao seem like he had actually grown up, but when the last reason finally left his the mouth, all the steward wanted to do was to curse loudly at this foppish lord!
’’What a bastard! If this can be called a plan, then jumping off a hill completely naked would be a good plan to learn to fly. If these words of yours were to be spread to the public, it wouldn't even matter if you actually killed Mu Cheng-Ba... You'd have your head chopped off and sliced in eight hundred pieces anyway! You fxxking little shit! Fxxk! Fxxk! Fxxk!’’ The steward's mind at the moment was in complete panic and disarray.
’’Ohh... Noo... Ohhhhh...’’ The usual calm and composed steward now felt extremely depressed and was actually stomping his feet on the floor. After hearing the last few words of Ye Xiao, he had quickly cast aside the idea that this young master would actually come up with a good plan, so he depressingly said, ’’Just forget it... I'll go arrange the guards to escort you right away!’’
’’No. I don't need that. Really.’’ Ye Xiao looked very confident as he said these words, ’’Three days of protection from some guards will be enough to ensure our safety...’’
He paced around a bit and eventually said, ’’Arrange for some people to spread around some gossip. Just let them say... That I actually killed the crown prince's brother-in-law and that the crown prince has gone crazy, looking to chop me into a million pieces! ...That should do the trick. Do make sure that this will be the leading story in the capital within the shortest possible time!’’
Shock filled the steward's face, before he quickly praised his young master, ’’Nice! Good plan...’’ But as these words left his mouth he frowned, ’’If we do it like this, then the crown prince will not dare to act boldly in bright daylight, but the possible stealthy attacks will be hard to defend against... Besides... even if we survive the actions taken by the crown prince, the Mu clan is also looking for the murderer and they're much more ferocious and dangerous than the crown prince.’’
Ye Xiao looked at the steward and said carelessly, ’’Well, nothing that can be done about that right now... People will do their best to slaughter us, we either move our heads forward and face them like men, or we move our heads back and hide in the shadows, like little chickens... Why are you still so anxious? Who could have possibly predicted Mu Cheng-Bai would have this kind of luck and died just like that? Misfortune loves me!’’
The steward was completely gobsmacked and thought, ’’Oh... You're trying to say that Mu Cheng-Bai is actually luckier than you are? His body has been partly eaten by wild animals before it was found and who knows how much it has rotten by now... At the very least, you are still alive...’’
A while ago the steward had looked completely confident that his young master was the killer of Mu Cheng-Bai. This was, however, only a show, as he truly couldn't believe that his young 'foppish' master actually had the capabilities to kill Mu Cheng-Bai.
Mu Cheng-Bai might not be anything special, but for the steward, the strength of Mu Cheng-Bai couldn't be mentioned in the same sentence as Ye Xiao's strength - Ye Xiao was just a foppish black sheep who enjoyed women more than he enjoyed cultivation, his strength was absolutely rubbish!
The steward was confident in his knowledge concerning Ye Xiao. He was of the opinion that if Ye Xiao could actually kill Mu Cheng-Bai, with a single attack - the heir of the Mu clan... then the Mu clan should just disband already...
He was trying to collect his thoughts as he heard his young master murmur a few words, ’’If the Mu clan dares to piss me off, then watch me annihilate them...’’
If the earlier dialogues weren't reason enough for the steward to faint, then the line spoken right now it definitely was! In his long life, he had met all kinds of people, but never had he met someone who could gloat like his young master was doing right now.
’’Do you even know how powerful the Mu clan is? If you did... You wouldn't dare to murmur those words, or even think about them for that matter?! You won't die if you stop boasting...’’ The steward was thinking.
Sadly, the steward would never come to know, that Ye Xiao would not hesitate to deal with the Mu Clan if they came looking for trouble.
As the plan was pretty straightforward, the steward immediately went into action. He quickly formed a team to spread the rumor that Ye Xiao had killed Mu Cheng-Bai. The story they were to spread was purposely exaggerated and consisted about eighty percent truth, with some lies hidden in between. Whoever heard this rumor dismissed it quickly with words like, ’’Ye Xiao? The foppish lord Ye Xiao? The crown prince believes that guy can actually kill Mu Cheng Bai, like really... is he stupid?’’
’’What the fxxk! Can't you come up with better jokes?!’’
’’Ha ha, that dude? Really? How is that even possible?’’
’’Pah hah ha. How highly can some people think of that foppish lord?!’’
’’I'd already find it hard to believe if you told me that he killed a chicken, but you are actually claiming that he somehow managed to kill an expert cultivator... Seriously dude.... Go home. Even if a donkey would've hit my head and knocked all sense out of it, even then I wouldn't believe you...’’
With these reactions, the public was actually defending Ye Xiao from the crown prince. If the crown prince would still make a move on him, then he would become the laughingstock of the capital!
Once he'd become the laughingstock of the capital... his authority would be questioned: 'how could such a dumb lad become our king?' 'If he couldn't even spot the vivid truth in front of him, then how many people would find an unjust end by his hands?' 'Today the crown prince can't see the simple truth that is right in front of him and actually killed the son of one of our great generals... When he becomes king one day.... Is he going to kill a minister if he farts?'
Even though the rumors were doing their job, the steward still went ahead and secretly arranged for the 36 blood robe guards to protect his young master - having them ready to defend Ye Xiao at a moment's notice. And if all else failed, he could also use these guards to lead Ye Xiao out of the capital and towards General Ye's army in the north!
The sun hadn't even reached its highest point, yet the rumor was spreading like wildfire. People were discussing it throughout the entire capital!
’’Hey, have you heard? The Lord Ye, one of the 'three lords', has really outdone himself this time!’’
’’What did he do this time?...’’
’’It is said that he slaughtered the crown prince's brother-in-law...’’
’’Wait... Seriously?! What exactly happened? Quickly! Tell me everything!’’
’’It is said that...’’
’’Aha... Hmm? Wait a minute... No... You just said that Ye Xiao has killed the crown prince's brother-in-law... Isn't that fellow from the Mu clan?? Isn't he even their heir? An expert cultivator?’’
’’You bloody fool! Even a donkey isn't as stupid as you are... Don't you know what Ye Xiao is like? I might believe you if you told me Ye Xiao killed a beggar, but you actually claim he killed an expert cultivator from a noble clan... I will never believe this. Not even if lightning would kill you right now...’’
’’Hey dude! Seriously? Mind your language! Why do I have to die...’’
’’You bloody deserve it, you fool! Someone tells you something impossible happened... And you just believe it like that... Not only that... You're actually spreading it! If I ever feel the need to punch someone, I will definitely look for you... You really leave me speechless dude... Did you get your brain kicked in by a donkey or something?’’
’’Yeahh... It is odd...’’
’’This is most likely the worst scam in history...’’
’’Ye Xiao is pure garbage. Perhaps if the claim was that he raped Mu Cheng-Bai I would believe it... But this... Hehehehehe...’’ The man let out a disdainful laughter.
’’Hey, perhaps the crown prince is looking to mess around with our northern military forces? So he's just finding some excuse to do so...’’
’’Hm! Well... That'd really be something. Heh heh...’’