Chapter 190: Face Off (Part 1)
On this day, there was an uninvited guest that came to the residence of Prince Ding.
The oncoming person brought a long spear and looked martial and heroic. From one look, one could that it was a person who had been though arduous training in the battlefield. The brows were resulted and as the person stood firmly at the doors of the residence of Prince Ding, one felt that the visit was ill-intended.
The guards at the gate stopped this burly big man but this big man said, “Take me to see Prince Rui.”
This person have an unfriendly tone of voice but the people of the residence of Prince Rui were used to it and even the servants was somewhat arrogant. As if one did not take this, they still respectfully said, “Without any invitation, His Highness will not see outsiders.”
Just the big man about to get angry, a shocked voice was heard from inside, “General Shen.” When one look up, it was Tie Yi who strode over. After walking over, he glared at that guard and respectfully said, “General Shen, the servant is not sensible and hope that you are magnanimous enough to forgive. This subordinate will bring you now to see His Highness.”
That guard’s eyes widen. Most likely he only now understood who ‘General Shen’ was and looked at the other person with suspicion as it seemed that he did not expect that the other person would come at this time.
Shen Xin had a stomachfuls of anger. These days he toss and turn restlessly in bed and every time he thought about the suspicion he made a few days back, he was unable to sleep well. One had thought that as time went by, this matter would gradually fade away but did not expect that as time went on, one’s heart was unable to let it go.
Shen Xin was one that did not like to stir matters up thus whenever he had any doubts, he must clear it up, not to motion that this was a matter relating to Shen Miao’s lifelong event. Thus he finally decided to make a trip to the residence of Prince Rui. No matter what was the result, he must understand everything.
Who knew that when he arrived, there was a guard that did not have eyes and made his already uneasy heart become unhappy.
Fortunately Tie Yi could see the situation and saw that Shen Xing seemed to be somewhat unhappy and thought of ways to open up his mind. He said that lately everyone in the residence of Prince Rui was busy about the matter of the marriage so that Shen Miao would be married grandly and Ming Qi would not lose face.
As Shen Xin followed Tie Yi, it was indeed like what Tie Yi had said. Everyone in the residence of Prince Rui was putting up decorations and making it very festive. No matter what, the people in the residence of Prince Rui had valued this marriage heavily and it was something that made one comfortable and thus Shen Xin’s heart was better.
After arriving at the door of a room, Tie Yi stopped and said, “This subordinate cannot enter His Highness’s study room. One had already reported so General Shen can go on in directly.”
Shen Xin was thinking that in a while, the conversation he would have with Prince Rui was very private and could not be heard by outsiders. If the servants were unable to enter the study room then it would be much more convenient. At the same time there were some doubts in his heart. Prince Rui did not allow servants to enter and only let him enter alone, could it be that he would be taking care of him later? However in a turn of a moment, he changed his mind. With Prince Rui’s abilities that he should with Shen Qiu, it would not become a situation that he would be in a position that he had his hands bound and unable to do anything.
Although he thought of so many things, Shen Xin’s face was still calm as he lifted his foot to enter. However he saw a white furry thing dashing out the door and upon a clearer look, it was a white tiger. It was just that its body was still small and was whining as it rushed over.
Shen Xin almost unconsciously slashed his spear at it.
It was Tie Yi that immediately carried the white tiger away then Shen Xin took a deep breath and pushed the door to enter.
In the room, Prince Rui was sitting on the chair reading. His sitting posture was not straight and instead lazy as he flip the pages casually as if he was only taking a casual look at it and not reading it seriously.
Shen Xin frowned, “Prince Rui.”
Unlike Luo Xue Yan, even though Prince Rui had warmly let the Shen family call him ‘Jing Xing’ and Luo Xue Yan indeed did so, Shen Xin was unable to do so. Males were different from females. Female could use their intuition to judge whether a person was friendly or malicious but males could not rely on intuition. Especially Shen Xin, he preferred to do things based on evidence.
Prince Rui looked up and placed the book by the table side. Shen Xin saw that it was a military book and it was a military book that was difficult to understand that was usually understood by older Generals. Prince Rui was currently twenty two and to read this kind of books, it was either he was putting up an act or hiding his real knowledge.
Before he personally visited Prince Rui, in Shen Xin’s eyes, Prince Rui had the name of being Emperor Yong Le’s blooded younger brother and thus was an idle Prince that acted loosely and rudely. However after that day when he sparred with Shen Qiu, Shen Xin always felt that Prince Rui was not that simple.
Perhaps this was a male’s intuition.
“May General Shen accompany me to play a game of chess.” He did not call out ‘Master Shen’ or other more intimate address and it felt that there are different meanings to it.
Shen Xin said, “I do not know how to play chess.”
“War chess.” Prince Rui raised his hand and place the chess board on the table and passed a jar of white pieces to Shen Xin and kept the jar of black pieces to himself before saying, “General Shen and I use this board as a country, chess moves as boundaries, chess pieces as soldiers and battle in a game. How of it?”
When Shen Xin heard about it, he was filled with energy and seeing that the other party was young, he felt dissatisfied at being taken lightly and said, “Play then play.”
Two of them set the chess pieces up and started to play.
Unlike the appearance of Prince Rui, the chess style of Prince Rui surprised Shen Xin as the other party was young but had a shrewd and ruthless air of someone older. It was very troublesome for one’s mind when paying war chess as every moved needs to be thought about seriously before it is made. But when Prince Rui played, he seemed not to use much time to think and just place it as he wished. Seeing the seemingly easily placed pieces, if one were to look at it seriously, one would have discovered that it was placed very cleverly.
Shen Xin’s war chess was not bad but comparing to Prince Rui, it actually became disadvantageous. Shen Xin seemed to have a wrong illusion, as if Prince Rui had already played this chess before, else how would Prince Rui knew where he would be placing his next piece at?
When the game ended, the outcome was naturally not unexpected that Shen Xin lost.
Shen Xin waved his hands, “Another round.”
“It would still be the same.” Prince Rui said.
“What is the meaning of it?” Shen Xin frowned.
“You will lose.” He said.
Shen Xin had lived for so long, Emperor Wen Hui had to give him enough face and other than Luo Xue Yan, no one else dared to speak to him like this. He became angry immediately and was just about to detonate when he saw Prince Rui saying lightly, “One feared that for General Shen to come to the residence of Prince Rui today, it would not because of chess.” He asked with his lips hooked, “What is the matter?”
Shen Xin’s angry words were stuck at his throat.
Prince Rui always seemed to have a kind of ability that after making one very furious, he would divert the topic without a trace, as if nothing was said before. This ability was just like one person and that was the Marquis of Lin An, Xie Ding, when he was young. Every time when Xie Ding and Shen Xin quarrelled, he would always be this frivolous. Shen Xin had an honest temperament, and would be serious every time but would be played like a fool by Xie Ding.
Thinking about Xie Ding, he remembered of the purpose of coming to the residence of Prince Ding. Once Shen Xin thought about this, he did not have any thoughts of being furious with Prince Rui. He looked at Prince Rui’s eyes and did not let the smallest of change in Prince Rui’s smile go as he asked slowly, “Previously when you are sparring with Shen Qiu in the Shen mansion, where did you learn the locking the dagger to the throat move from?”
Hearing that, Prince Rui smiled, “General Shen is referring to the locking the dagger to the throat move? I have deployed it slowly and thought that General Shen had saw it clearly. Could it be that there is a need to show it to General Shen again?”
Shen Xin was startled and his heart was tossed around. Prince Rui indeed deliberately did it.
Like he said, that day that locking the dagger to the throat seemed to have deliberately slowed down, like it was deliberately letting him see what it was. At this moment when he heard Prince Rui admitting to it, Shen Xin was unable to speak about what kind of feeling he had but he became more suspicious as he asked, “You know that it is called locking the dagger to the throat. How did you learn it?”
“Have long know about it.” Prince Rui said lazily, “Didn’t General Shen saw it before?”
Didn’t General Shen saw it before?
Shen Xin’s brain crashed and it seemed like a lighting had blasted his heart and he could not help but tremble.
In many years before, on the streets of Ming Qi, he had accidentally saw the heir of the residence of the Marquis of Lin An. Xie Ding’s Son had used this move against others and he was thinking at that moment that this move of Xie Jing Xing’s was much more powerful than that of his father’s.
Now Prince Rui said, “Didn’t General Shen saw it before?”
Prince Rui had never been to Ming Qi before and Shen Xin had never seen anyone else using this move.
A storm burst in Shen Xin’s heart and at this time, he was so overwhelmed for a moment that he did not know if he should portray an expression of shock or appalled but his heart was instead calm. During these days he had been sleepless but at this moment when everything was confirmed, his suspicions were correct.
He asked, “Are you Xie Jing Xing or not?”
Prince Rui took off his mask.
Shen Xin suck in a mouthful of cold air.
The relations between the Shen family and the residence of the Marquis of Lin An had never been good but because of that, Shen Xin had the best understanding of the residence of the Marquis of Lin An. Xie Ding had son that was born to restrain him and even though Shen Xin appeared very pleased, he secretly admired Xie Jing Xing and felt that even though this youth was a bit stubborn, he had the kind of truthfulness and freedom that many noble gentlemen did not have.
Thus Shen Xin clearly remembered Xie Jing Xing’s appearance.
The person in front was even more mature and handsome but there was still a shadow of his former self between his brows and Shen Xin understood in that moment. All the things that were bothering him seemed to have an answer.
He said, “What is going on here? Should you not explain it?”
His tone was like an older generation disciplining a younger generation. So much so that Shen Xin felt a ridiculous illusion that this was like he was helping Xie Ding to discipline his son.
Xie Jing Xing smile gently and poured a cup of tea for Shen Xin, “May Father-in-law drink some tea and slowly listen.”
In the next half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) Shen Xin had heard a shocking secretly that he had never thought of from Xie Jing Xing’s mouth.
Shen Xin had never thought that Xie Jing Xing actually turned out to be Great Liang’s Prince of the First Rank and his life experience was so bizarre and rough. He even did not think that Xie Jing Xing would have such guts that after being Prince Rui of Great Liang, he actually dared to strut to Ming Qi that openly and not fear that once his identity was exposed, what kind of troubles he would bring to himself.
After hearing Xie Jing Xing’s words, Shen Xin’s heart was filled with anger, resentment, remorse, hesitation and all the various complex emotions were mixed together. However he quickly understood what decision he should make at this moment. He said, “Since you have this identity, Jiao Jiao cannot marry you.”
“Why?” Xie Jing Xing asked.
“Your objective is not just to come to the Ming Qi tribute.” Shen Xin’s words were unrelenting and merciless as he continued, “Great Liang’s ambitions would not stop here and there would be a day where Great Liang would take action against Ming Qi. At that time, you will meet us with troops. If Jiao Jiao marry to you, what kind of difficult position are you putting her in? Could it be that she have to make a decision between you and Ming Qi? Even if I defy the Imperial decree, I will not let Jiao Jiao be such difficulty.”
“Father-in-law is too worried.” Xie Jing Xing smiled without a care, “She know of my identity and knew clearer than yourself of the situation she is facing. Perhaps you should think about the relationship between the Shen family and Ming Qi.”
Shen Xin heard that there was hidden meanings to his words and his brows tightened as he asked, “What do you mean?”