302. They Should All be Executed
Li Chengru suddenly smiled, “State Preceptor, you are really unaware of your blessings. You have lived a life too well in the capital city that you don’t know the world outside. Here’s an example. With your identity as state preceptor, it’s easy to eat a dish of roast meat, right? Perhaps you will even be tired of eating roast meat as it is too greasy. But outside the capital, commoners can only afford to eat a dish of roast meat once a year. This is the same as meeting a beautiful woman. What kind of woman could be raised in a small and common family? No matter how beautiful the woman is, she could not compare with a yound palace girl here. When I entered the palace, I felt that everything in the palace looked better than that at the border. How could I remember a random woman living at the border?”
State preceptor smiled and said, “So, the Seventh King means you haven’t seen the boy nor the woman before?”
“Of course not,” Li Chengru said with certainty.
State Preceptor added, “But according to my reliable information, they are indeed in that tribe. We summoned the Seventh King into the palace because we wanted to know your opinion. If the Seventh King had nothing to do with this matter, then it was the tribe’s fault. They hid the criminals, so they should all be executed. Don’t you think so?”
All of them?
Li Chengru was shocked when he heard this.
Now it is time for him to make a choice. First, completely remove his responsibility in this matter. Even if they find out that Little Xun is in the tribe, it has nothing to do with him and Li Chengyi.
Secondly, take all the responsibilities and admit that Little Xun is hiding in the tribe.
The consequences of the first choice would definitely be that Little Xun and Jin Xiaoyu would die, and it might involve Little Ye and Squire Liu as well.
The consequence of the second choice was that if they died, Little Xun and Squire Liu would also get involved.
Li Chengru quickly thought about it and finally returned to State Preceptor’s question, “If it is as what State Preceptor said, the grandson of the old Prime Minister is in the tribe and the people in the tribe are hiding him, then they definitely should be executed. There is nothing else to say.”
State Preceptor burst into laughter, “The Seventh King is so decisive. You must have nothing to do with that little bastard.”
Li Chengru looked dissatisfied. “State Preceptor and the Emperor called me and the Sixth King back to the capital just because of this? Isn’t this overreacting? If you find out that Little Xun is in the tribe, just write to me and the Sixth Brother. We would just go and wipe out the tribesmen.”
State Preceptor stopped laughing and stared at Li Chengru. “Of course, we didn’t summon you back just because of that little bastard. It was also because his Majesty missed you. You are brothers after all. However, even though his Majesty took you as a brother, you might not think of him as a brother. What you said just now was just a superficial excuse. We still want to hear what your Sixth Brother said and see if his statement is the same as yours.”
Li Chengru smirked. “What kind of brotherhood is this? Isn’t this separate interrogation?”
State Preceptor was also cunning, “How can the Seventh King say that to his Majesty? There is also a precondition for brotherhood. No deception is the prerequisite.”
On Li Chengkun’s side.
Li Chengyi held up the teacup and took a sip of tea. During that sip of tea, his mind had already spinned countless times.
Did Little Xun join him?
How should he understand this sentence?
The emperor must have got them by the balls, or he wouldn’t have summoned them back.
They were summoned back and interrogated separately; it was obviously a trap to them.
After Li Chengyi finished his tea, he had an answer in his mind, “Brother, is this betrayal the former Prime Minister? I remembered that someone had come to me and said that Prime Minister Xun had escaped with his grandson and arrived in Baoning City. At that time, I had helped search the city, but did not find them. As for them seeking help from us, it is nonsense. How could a criminal’s grandson seek support from me?”
Li Chengkun put a letter in front of Li Chengyi and said, “Look at this. The Tianshan tribe is under your control, right? Someone saw Little Xun walking around the tribe and the Seventh Prince coming to the tribe from time to time. If you don’t know about this, then I’m confused. Give me an explanation.”
After reading the letter carefully, Li Chengyi couldn’t help but smile and said, “Brother, this is clearly a slander. As far as I know, the people in Tianshan tribe were refugees from the Zhongyuan Area. They had lived there from two years ago. Since the Seventh Prince had interactions with them, he would assist them in trading so that they could stabilize their living situation. This was something that had been running for two years. It was obviously inappropriate to say that the Seventh Prince had colluded with them because of Little Xun.
Also, Little Xun escaped last year. Since last year, the Seventh Prince only went to the Tianshan tribe once, and it was at the tribe’s Festival of Animals. At that time, everyone in the tribe came out and the Seventh Prince didn’t even know Little Xun. Even if he saw him, he wouldn’t recognize him, so how could he hide him?
Two years ago, after the upheaval in the south, many refugees fled to Baoning City. Every tribe took in many refugees. The Seventh Prince came to assist me in dealing with them. Not only the Tianshan tribe, but also other tribes. If the Seventh Prince is suspected simply because of this, how should we continue our work?”
Li Chengkun listened and asked, “You mean, none of you know that Little Xun is in Tianshan tribe?”
Li Chengyi said with certainty, “Of course we don’t. If we do, I would certainly catch him and send him to the capital for you.”
Li Chengkun took a sip of tea and continued, “Then, hiding the criminals is only done by the people from the Tianshan tribe. I should order that everyone there be killed.”
Li Chengyi’s expression changed when he heard about this.
Li Chengkun saw it and asked, “What’s wrong with my brother? Can’t you bear to part with a small tribe, or is there someone you care about in the tribe?”
“No, it’s just that I have been far away from the court for the past few years. I rarely come into contact with the matter of killing. When I hear that everyone should be executed, I feel a little bit against it.”
Li Chengkun smiled and said, “My brother is indeed suitable to stay away from the court and live some leisure life. However, since you and the Seventh Prince are back now, you should stay in the capital for a few more days and discuss about the imperial matters with me, and give me some advice and suggestions.”
“I am incompetent for this; how dare I talk about imperial affairs?”
“Brother, don’t be too humble. Even if you don’t want to talk about imperial affairs, you can stay in the capital and have more fun. Life in the west is very rough. You won’t feel the prosperity here as long as you go back.”
After Li Chengyi and Li Chengru left the palace, Li Chengkun called State Preceptor over.
The two of them compared their conversation and found that their statement was pretty much the same.
State Preceptor asked, “Your Majesty, do you believe that they really don’t know? Because after I mentioned that I am going to kill all the people from the tribe, the Seventh King was confused but he agreed anyways.”
Li Chengkun’s face darkened. “If it wasn’t for the deaths of the tribe, then it was the deaths of them. They would definitely be able to distinguish which is more important. But their confession was the same, which was a bit beyond my imagination.”
“The key is that neither of them would protect the people of the tribe, which shows that they don’t care about Little Xun. Even if they had protected Little Xun before, now they have given up, which means that in their hearts, their status was above everything else. They were afraid of you.”
Li Chengkun asked, “In your opinion, how should we deal with them?”
“From my perspective, first keep the Sixth King and the Seventh King in the capital city for some time, then I will order the people there to slaughter the tribe. We could kill the little bastard and give the two brothers a warning to let them know that even if they are far away, they can’t ignore your orders. If something like this happens again, they should know how to make a decision.”
Li Chengkun nodded and added, “Alright, I will leave this matter to you.”
Li Chengyi and Li Chengru left the palace, followed by secret guards.
Perhaps they don’t want Li Chengyi and Li Chengru to secretly inform the tribe, so they trapped the brothers in the capital city.
The brothers found a restaurant to eat.
This restaurant was the best in the capital city with the best chefs. Every day, young men from the aristocratic families came here to eat.
Since Li Chengyi had not been in the capital city for a long time, not many people in the city could recognize him.
However, Li Chengru still surprised many people, including some of the heiresses of the aristocratic families.
For example, the heiress of the Minister of the Revenue had set up a banquet with a group of poetry friends. When she saw Li Chengru come over, she looked very surprised and wanted to come over to greet him. However, Li Chengru’s face was very serious and she didn’t dare to disturb him.
The heiress returned to her private room and said that she saw Li Chengru but he was in a bad mood.
Her poetry friends started to talk about it in all sorts of gossip.
“The Seventh King is still as unruly as before. He doesn’t pay attention to anyone.”
“He has been at the border for the past two years. I was confused that a prince actually likes to stay at a place like the border. He doesn’t care about his future at all. He only cares about his own life.”
“He doesn’t have a principal concubine yet. He has a few side concubines in his residence. But he even doesn’t come back to take a look and he still has no children.”
“It means that he doesn’t care about his position.”
“Alas, don’t care about him, just let him do whatever he wants. It’s just a pity that he is so handsome.”
Li Chengyi and Li Chengru also asked for a private room.
After they sat down, the two of them immediately talked about the situation in the palace. When they learned that their thoughts were the same, they temporarily sighed in relief.
But as soon as they thought about the people in the tribe and the crowning calamity they might face, their hearts tightened.
Li Chengru analyzed, “I guess someone must have reported Little Xun but they didn’t report Xiao Baoshan. I guess the person who reported this doesn’t know that Xiao Baoshan is still alive.”
“That’s right, it was because of Xiao Baoshan that I dared to completely distance myself away from this matter. I wonder if Xiao Baoshan can protect the people in the tribe,” Li Chengkun frowned.
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