When ZiLi heard this, he was immediately scared silly!

Several Imperial Bodyguards, pushed open the door and entered, they took hold of ZiLi left and right, ready to drag him to execution.
ZiLi hastily shouted in panic, “Wait a minute, even if you want me to be punished, you have to tell me exactly what crime I have committed, right? You are acting solely on your personal feelings and not considering whether it is a crime under the law.
I cannot accept this!!”

Hong Xu snorted coldly and said, “This punishment is fair according to the law! Lin De!”

“Your servant is here.” The steward, who had a fierce look on his face, immediately stepped forward and bowed.

“You will explain to the Third Prince of Bei Ling what crime he has committed so that he will have to accept it.”

“As you command!” Steward Lin turned around and looked at ZiLi with a sour face and said, “The Third Prince of Bei Ling, An JinYu, has given the order to assassinate our Emperor.
The evidence is conclusive, and he should be beheaded for this crime.
However, given his special status, he will be sent to the Imperial Prison and punished later.”


“Me? Order the assassin? To kill?” ZiLi froze in disbelief, then exclaimed indignantly, “Ridiculous! Impossible! I am just speaking rudely at best, nothing more.
Since when am I the man behind the assassination attempt? I don't even know if the assassin is a man or a woman, tall or short, fat or thin.
How could I have ordered the assassination? You are just spitting blood 1 ! What evidence is conclusive? You just want a reason to punish 2 me!”

“Outrageous!” Before the Emperor could speak, Steward Lin, who was furious, said in a sharp voice, “How dare you, as a lowly Hostage Prince, make a racket in front of His Majesty and contradict him? Guards, shut his mouth!”

“And you say it's not because of your personal feelings? This punishment is unfair and inappropriate.
I have to keep my mouth shut if I talk any louder and that so-called ordering of assassination must also be a charge you all made up.”

“Such impudence!” Hong Xu suddenly slammed on his writing desk and said coldly.

“This servant deserves to die.
Please, Your Majesty, calm your anger!” Steward Lin and the Imperial Bodyguards all immediately fell to their knees in fear.
Only ZiLi stood there with a stubborn expression on his face, fuming with rage, throwing caution to the wind 3 .
ZiLi was someone who was amenable to coaxing but not coercion 4 .
Once he was provoked to anger by people, he would definitely challenge them to the end.
He did not care if it was the Emperor or some other important person!

ZiLi straightened his back and proudly met Hong Xu's icy gaze.
The two men stood silently facing each other for a while, until Hong Xu suddenly withdrew his gaze and said, “If the Third Prince wants to see the evidence, he can.
Guards, bring up last night’s assassin.”


“As you wish!”

A few guards left and soon a dying man was carried inside and thrown on the floor.
His clothes were ragged and could not cover his skin, which was covered with bloody whip and scorch marks.
His limbs were distorted and twisted, and his face was also badly mutilated.
He must have been subjected to a lot of torture last night! At this moment his mouth was still foaming with blood and along the way his dripping blood had left a trail.

ZiLi, who had never seen such a bloody scene before, could not help but take a step back.

“How― How is this evidence? Besides, I don’t know him!”


“Hm, you do not know him, but he knows you.”


“No―nonsense!” The fishy smell that filled ZiLi’s nose made him extremely uncomfortable.


One of the Imperial Bodyguards grabbed the man by his hair and turned his face to ZiLi.
When the man saw who the person in front of him was, his gray and dim eyes suddenly flashed with hunger and thirst for survival.

“Your― Your Highness, sa― save me!”

ZiLi could not help but feel panic and fear in his heart.
The crime of ordering an assassin to kill the Emperor was certainly a death sentence in ancient times, and the death sentence would be a cruel one. This assassin looks as if he really does know the original owner of this body.
Could it really be An JinYu who did it? But that does not seem right. From the words of Ming Yue and the other palace attendants, ZiLi had roughly understood what kind of person the Third Prince of Bei Ling really was. Would he really do this? Would he dare to do this?

But no matter who did it, the most important thing right now is how to get rid of this accusation 5 ! He did not want to be An JinYu's scapegoat!


Translator Notes
First chapter of a new year \(*^▽^*)/
Fortunately, I've managed to release a chapter every week so far.
Hopefully that will continue this year as well (・∀ ・;)

Translation Notes 

 血口喷人 – Xuè kǒu pēn rén.
– Venomously slander/make unfounded and malicious attacks.   欲加之罪,何患无辞 – Yù jiāzhī zuì, hé huàn wúcí.
– Give a dog a bad name, then hang him.   豁出去 – Huō chuqu.
– To press one's luck/To go for broke.   吃软不吃硬 – Chī ruǎn bù chī yìng.
– Eats soft food, but refuses hard food.   撇清 – PiěQīng – To say a matter has no relationship with the individual referred to, to emphasize one is innocent or in the clear. 


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