Chapter 1297: Pressured More and More
Just then, the recording mirror shone, leaving the people in the room startled.
They knew that the call from the imperial court had arrived.
Sang Hong glanced outside the room and didnt see Zu An anywhere.
Zu An had said that he would definitely hurry back in time, so he had actually carried that unrealistic hope.
If he thought about it, though, it was obvious that there was no way Zu An could return to Cloudcenter Commandery from the fiend race territory in under half a year.
He gathered his composure to prevent others from sensing anything.
Then, he walked over to the dark mirror and began controlling the runes.
Soon afterward, the surface of the mirror rippled like water, and an image of the throne room appeared.
Two rows of subjects were lined up within, all dressed in official robes.
Even though the people on this side were all the most powerful individuals in Cloudcenter Commandery, in terms of importance, they were nothing compared to the big shots from the capital.
Most Cloudcenter residents would never even have a chance to witness what the morning court session looked like.
Even through the recording mirror, they could feel the pressure coming from those court big shots.
However, those courtiers werent the main characters today.
The onlookers attention was drawn to the yellow-robed man seated on the dragon throne.
He was like a sun; no matter how splendid the civil and military officials were, they were merely stars.
Once the sun appeared, not even a glimpse of them would remain.
“We greet the emperor; long live, long live, long long live!” The officials in the room didnt dare to stare directly at the emperor.
They trembled all over, unable to do anything but kneel down respectfully.
Sang Hong felt a hint of superiority.
These people had all acted incredibly arrogant for some time, and yet in front of his majesty, they were all so unsightly.
Still, he knew it wasnt their fault.
He had had a similar reaction the first time he met the emperor.
The emperor didnt speak.
It was instead a eunuch who shouted, “All of you may rise!”
Judging from his court eunuch attire, those who were well-informed quickly realized who he was.
He was Eunuch Wen, his majestys trusted aide, someone with tremendous authority!
Sang Hong watched what was happening in secret.
He saw many officials from King Qis faction, and grew more and more nervous by the moment.
Zu Ans work in Cloudcenter Commandery had screwed up the plans King Qi had been laying for many, many years.
It would be strange if King Qis group let him go.
Still, even though Zu An had clearly done so for his majestys sake, the emperor had chosen to hold the trial instead of helping Ah Zu.
From the looks of it, he was already going to abandon Zu An.
Based on Sang Hongs understanding of the emperor, he knew that was something the emperor did often.
He only cared about his own reputation.
As for anyone else, he was willing to use them as a scapegoat.
That was why his subjects all privately thought of him as cold-hearted.
Sang Hong still hadn\'t expected him to abandon Zu An so quickly, however.
He felt a lot of dissatisfaction, and even resentment, but he didnt dare to express any of it.
He glanced toward the top seats of the court, but he didnt see Yu Xuanchong anywhere.
As the Imperial Secretariats Left Confidential Assistant, Yu Xuanchong was almost always among the highest seats.
It seemed that after his son-in-law Yu Nan had had that jealous love affair, damaging the royal familys reputation and being forced to leave office, and with the matter of Yu Yanluo on top of everything, Yu Xuanchong had been placed in quite a difficult situation.
The only thing Sang Hong was grateful for was that the crown princess had actually appeared in the morning court session for the very first time.
From the looks of it, she planned to protect Zu An.
Zu An had already grown into a central figure in the Eastern Palace; thus, the crown princess obviously wouldnt let him go that easily.
Furthermore, Sang Hong had long since heard that Ah Zu seemed to be highly regarded by the crown princess.
In the Royal Academys secret dungeon, he had even saved the crown prince and princess.
Comparatively speaking, the crown princess was much more loyal and true than his majesty.
Even though he had always been on the royal familys side, when he saw the crown princess grace and bearing, he still sighed in regret.
For someone like her to be with the crown prince, it really was as if a bunch of flowers had been poked into a pile of manure.
The emperor spoke up just then, asking, “How has the disaster relief work in the mines progressed”
All the officials shivered.
His majesty hadnt even called them the Yu clans mines! From the looks of it, the emperor had already made the decision to completely pull the Yu clan up by the roots.
There were some officials who had still been hesitant, worried that the Yu clan might make a comeback.
After all, the Yu clan was one of the most powerful clans! The courts Yu Xuanchong occupied the Imperial Secretariats Left Confidential Assistant position, while his son Yu Nan had been the Secretariat Assistant Director, and his son-in-law Lian Yu was the Secretariat Director.
Several intermarriages had even happened between the Yu clan and other top clans such as the Pei clan and the Jiang clan.
Yu Yanluos fiend race blood was something tied to her alone.
If those higher up hadnt pursued the matter, they could easily have used another Yu clan elder to take the blame as the clan leader.
Furthermore, Yu Yanluos prestige had once been so great, it was rumored that even his majesty had confessed his feelings in the past.
As such, there had been rumors going around, stating that it was possible for Yu Yanluo to be let off lightly.
However, when they heard his majestys statement, those present sensed the implications behind the way he deemphasized the Yu clan.
All of them began to scheme about how they could get a good slice of the cake that was the Yu clan.
Xu Yu quickly replied, “Over the past few days, we have kept in mind your majestys instructions…”
He knew that the emperor cared about his reputation, so he added extravagant embellishments to praise the way the emperor loved the common people as his own children.
Of course, he knew that the emperor didnt really care about the people.
What he cared about more was whether the mines could be restored, and if they would be able to continue offering the court a sea of cultivation resources.
As such, he implicitly pointed out how long it would take for production to return, and so on.
The emperor continued to nod as he listened.
Sang Hong had to admit that this guys way with words was quite formidable.
It had clearly been a complete catastrophe, and yet he managed to change the narrative of a mine that had been completely destroyed into one that could be restored in a few years.
The emperor asked a few more questions, which all received satisfactory answers.
Then, Eunuch Wen stepped forward to declare loudly, “Those who have important matters are to submit a report.
Those who do not, withdraw from the court.”
An official from the court stepped forward and said, “This official presents a memorial to the emperor.
Recently, there have been many secret reports that accuse Green Hat Viscount, Eastern Palace Chamberlain Zu An of rescuing Yu Yanluo and colluding with the Fiend races.
He has betrayed the court!”
The expressions of those present changed.
The main act had finally begun.
Sang Hong recognized the official as the Censor-in-Chief Yi Chong.
Those who accused officials of misconduct were usually his subordinates, and yet he had actually personally done the deed today.
That Xu Yu really did have some influence.
“Sir Yis words are wrong!” a young official protested, stepping forward.
“After arriving in Cloudcenter Commandery, Sir Zu has spared no effort to solve many cases.
People all know that he has restored justice to Cloudcenter Commandery, even solving a case involving smuggling to the fiend races.
How could he have colluded with the fiend races and betrayed our country”
“Who is that person” many Cloudcenter officials whispered.
They were initially amazed by how handsome the young man was, but the words he spoke seemed to have slapped all of Cloudcenter Commanderys officials in the face.
Expressions of anger spread among them.
Those who were well-informed recognized him.
“Thats Jiang Boyangs grandson Jiang Gui, known for his handsomeness in the capital.
Hes currently the herald to the crown prince, an official from the Eastern Palace.
It makes sense for him to speak out for Zu An.”
Sang Hong also knew that, apart from being spurred on by the crown princess, Jiang Guis mother was Yu Xuanchongs daughter.
Whether it was for public or private reasons, he had to help Zu An.
“Contributions are contributions; crimes are crimes.
Sir Zu indeed established great merit previously in Cloudcenter Commandery, but his rescue of the witch Yu Yanluo is also a fact.
Furthermore, according to a tip, Yu Yanluo has already returned to the Snake race territory, and one person was seen accompanying her.
Judging from the description, that person resembles Zu An strongly,” another noble dressed in official robes stepped forward and said.
“If we connect all of these things together, the uncovering of the fiend races smuggling affair in Cloudcenter Commandery might have just been a ploy to deceive us.”
Sang Hongs expression changed.
This persons identity was special.
He was the Thornsun Duke, the Lone Rider Attendant Zhao Shu.
More importantly, his father was King Fufeng, the Great Western General Zhao Cang.
Zhao Cang was the emperors uncle! It seemed that this time, King Qis faction had suffered too much in Cloudcenter Commandery.
Even the core members of the faction couldn\'t sit still anymore.
Sang Hong naturally couldn\'t just watch without doing anything anymore.
He loudly said, “Sir Zhaos claims are flawed.
This official was this missions Imperial Envoy.
I take full responsibility for the investigation of the fiend races smuggling, and the officials of the Imperial Envoy can all serve as witnesses.
If Sir Zhao claims that all of this was just a ploy, then could it be that our entire Imperial Envoy fleet has betrayed the nation Or perhaps, are you claiming that his majesty had poor judgment in choosing who to send”
Zhao Shu broke out into a cold sweat.
He replied, “Of course that is not what I mean.
Do not try to frame me.”
The crown princess couldn\'t step up herself, so her older brother Bi Ziang obviously had to help his little sister out.
He retorted, “Just who is trying to frame whom The fiend race territory and Cloudcenter Commandery are far apart.
The shortest time it would take to travel between the two places would be over half a year.
However, Sir Zhao said that you received information that Yu Yanluo had already returned to the fiend race territory, and you even baselessly claimed that the one at her side was Zu An.
Dare I ask where this information came from”
Zhao Shus face turned completely red.
He replied, “This matter touches upon military secrets, so I am afraid that it is inappropriate to release it to the public.
If young master Bi wishes to press the issue, you can follow me to the imperial study to seek his majestys ruling.”
Sang Hong jumped in fright when he heard that.
Dont tell me the empire really has spies in the fiend race territory
Bi Ziang frowned, but he was a quick thinker.
He quickly deduced that even if there were spies, it wasnt possible for there to be such precise information so quickly.
As such, he said loudly, “If there really is reliable evidence, why would there be a need to hold this kind of general assembly”
Zhao Shu was momentarily stumped.
The intelligence was indeed a bit vague and not enough to condemn Zu An to death.
Xu Yu spoke up just then, saying, “A spys report alone is, of course, not enough.
However, when you account for Yu Yanluos escape and Zu Ans mysterious disappearance, that is already enough to answer many questions.”
He faced Sang Hong and said, “If I recall correctly, Sir Sang said that Zu An disappeared because he was carrying out an Embroidered Envoys secret mission.
Now that Chief Commander Zhuxie is here, we can ask him if such a secret mission exists or not, yes”
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