The Human Emperor Chapter 687
Chapter 687: Du Zhiqi
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong instantly fell silent, his expression turning grave. He had never expected Li Jingzhong to mention a matter like this.
The Fifth Prince was lustful?
This was impossible!
Li Heng was the future leader of the Great Tang's resurgence! In Wang Chong's memories, Li Heng was a conscientious ruler who did everything he could to return the Great Tang to its prime. How could he be a person who delighted in the company of women?
However, the most shocking thing to Wang Chong was the name that Li Jingzhong had mentioned, Du Zhiqi!
How could it be her?
Wang Chong's eyes narrowed as his mind whirred.
Wang Chong rarely remembered the names of women, especially those that he had never met. But Wang Chong had an unmistakable impression of the name 'Du Zhiqi'.
In truth, very few people in Wang Chong's memories didn't know the name of this woman. This woman had once caused a prince of the palace to be demoted by the Sage Emperor. The reason was that he had abandoned his homework to indulge in leisure with a woman.
And that was not the full extent of it. After further investigation, it was revealed that the woman this prince so deeply adored had been a spy dispatched by another prince.
Although that woman never said a word about it, the entire capital knew that it was one of the First Prince, the Second Prince, and the Third Prince.
That prince's affection had been so great that even until his death, he refused to believe that she was a spy. In the end, his separation from her sent him into depression, and he ended up committing suicide by hanging.
This matter had been the talk of the capital for days.
Her relation to the death of a prince made Wang Chong clearly remember her name: Du Zhiqi.
Although Wang Chong didn't know if these were the same person, there was definitely something suspicious about the matter.
The silence in the room finally made Li Jingzhong gather his courage and raise his head.
He had no idea what had happened. Ever since he had finished speaking, Wang Chong had just stood there, lost in thought.
This was completely different from the impression Wang Chong had always given him. Li Jingzhong was baffled by this scene.
And Wang Chong's reaction was far more serious than he had imagined, so much so that it made him feel a vague unease.
"Li Jingzhong, let me ask you: has the Fifth Prince truly fallen in love with a woman?" Wang Chong sternly said.
It wasn't that he didn't believe Li Jingzhong, but such a thing had never occurred in history, at least not in the one that he was familiar with.
And Li Heng didn't have this kind of personality!
Seeing that Wang Chong had turned serious, Li Jingzhong quickly replied, "Lord Marquis, this matter is beyond doubt. Before the Lord Marquis, even if this lowly person were to borrow the daring of one thousand people, he would never dare to lie.
"This matter is incredibly important and must be resolved, the earlier the better! His Highness has always trusted in you, so I can only depend on Lord Marquis now."
The room was deathly still. Wang Chong's brows were furrowed as he silently thought while Li Jingzhong remained with his head lowered, trying to breathe as little as possible.
Under this invisible pressure, Li Jingzhong began to tremble in fear. Just when he was about to reach his breaking point, he finally heard the voice that he had been waiting for.
"I know," Wang Chong lightly said, slowly raising his eyes, his expression gradually turning sharp.
"Let me handle this matter!"
Li Jingzhong truly didn't have the courage to lie, at least not at a time like this.
Then it could only mean one thing. History had already changed, and now that he thought carefully about it, Li Heng was at the age where he began to awaken to love. He was still far from becoming that dedicated leader of the resurgence admired by multitudes.
At this age, if one encountered a girl that one liked, it wasn't strange for one to slack off on homework and martial arts.
Wang Chong normally wouldn't step in, and as long as Li Heng was disciplined and maintained a certain distance, it really wouldn't be a big problem.
But if that woman was the woman he thought she was, then everything was different. Li Heng's path to the true dragon might come to a sudden end because of her.
Although the Sage Emperor had once grown fond of an entertainer, resulting in his nearly losing his status, it was precisely for this reason that the Sage Emperor was even harsher on his princes, forbidding them from losing themselves in women.
This was an unchanging principle carried out through all imperial clans, and Wang Chong could not change it.
Li Jingzhong quickly left.
Wang Chong spent a few days in Deflecting Blade Manor and then abruptly took his leave. There were some matters that were better handled sooner rather than later if that woman was the one he thought she was!
Time slowly passed. Several days later, at sunset, a golden carriage silently took its leave of the palace, attracting no notice.
"Zhiqi, I've made you suffer! Haven't you always wanted to leave the palace? Today, I'll take you out for a good stroll!"
In the carriage, a young and handsome man dressed in civilian clothes warmly embraced a gentle-natured and beautiful woman.
This woman was around nineteen, her skin like white jade. Her beauty was enchanting and made one want to cherish her.
But this woman's head was slightly drooped, a frown on her face.
"But, Your Fifth Highness, the First Prince and Second Prince are currently watching Your Highness. If they learn that Your Highness privately took me out of the palace, they might report the matter to the Sage Emperor. This would be unfavorable to Your Highness."
"Hmph, what are you afraid of? I'm not marrying a wife or taking a concubine, and I'm certainly not indulging in women. Even if Imperial Father knows, he'll only say that I'm focusing my affections, not being fickle. What would there be to criticize?"
Li Heng was unconcerned.
Men and women getting married was the most natural thing in the world, and he had no wife previously, so how could he be accused of being fickle?
"But I still feel like this is inappropriate."
The beauty gripped a silk scarf in her right hand, worry still evident on her brow.
"I know that Your Highness likes me, but Zhiqi is not willing to drag down Your Highness for my personal gain. We should just go back!"
"Haha, my foolish Qi-er, did you really think that I just carelessly left the palace without doing a single thing? The master got furious after the last few incidents and punished me by having me copy out works six hundred times, but I've already taken care of it. I had someone change into my clothes and act as my substitute in the palace. Even First Imperial Brother and Second Imperial Brother would never think that I had already changed into civilian clothes and left the Imperial Palace with the other students."
Li Heng faintly smiled.
All the princes had students to accompany them in their studies. These students were all scions of noble clans. They would enter the palace in the day to study but had to leave when night fell.
Li Heng had borrowed this opportunity to sneak out of the Imperial Palace.
"Moreover, as long as we promptly return to the Imperial Palace tomorrow, no one will discover anything."
Li Heng extended two fingers and lightly brushed away the hair by the woman's ear. As she blushed, he felt his heart growing warm.
He was rarely moved to affection, but this girl before him was different. She was gentle, generous, well-learned and courteous, understanding of others. She didn't very much like life in the palace, but for his sake, she was willing to accompany him.
It was just like now. He had finally managed to find an opportunity to take her out of the palace, but all she could think of was having him go back so as to not be burdened by her.
This thought immediately caused the expression in Li Heng's eyes to soften.
In life, it was very difficult to find one's soul mate, and now that he had, what did a little risk matter?
"Oh, that's right. Zhiqi, I've wanted to give you something this entire time, but the things in the palace are too tacky and aren't a match for you, so I haven't been able to get you anything. But this time is different. The Young Marquis sent me something that I believe is a perfect match for you."
As if suddenly thinking of something, Li Heng began to search his right sleeve for something. From it he extracted a phoenix hairpin of white jade, simple and elegant.
This hairpin was different from any of the hairpins that could be found in the palace. The design was simple, yet the whole pin itself was not. A gorgeous phoenix had been carved out of the white jade.
"Ah! What a beautiful jade hairpin!"
She was still a woman, so when she saw the hairpin in Li Heng's hand, her eyes brightened and she let out a small shout of glee. Which girl didn't like head ornaments, especially one so interesting and refined as this?
"No, Your Highness, this object must be extremely expensive. I can't take it. If I do use it, other people will definitely start to wonder where it came from, and you might end up being censured."
The girl quickly lowered her head and firmly shook it.
The Fifth Prince did not have that much power in the palace. Although he could live a comfortable life, he didn't have much of an allowance. In addition, the Sage Emperor was very strict to the princes of the palace.
The princes were forbidden from extravagant expenditures and competing in displays of wealth.
Thus, even though Li Heng was a prince, he would never be able to buy anything as priceless as this jade hairpin. If she were to suddenly wear it, it would definitely give rise to a great deal of gossip.
"Haha, Zhiqi, you don't need to worry about that. I'm friends with the Young Marquis, and it's no big deal for friends to give gifts to each other. In addition, once I start collecting an official salary and make enough money, I'll give the money to him and can just treat it like I had bought it from him."
Li Heng smiled.
The beautiful woman's eyes flashed with surprise. After a few moments of hesitation, she finally gave up any resistance.
"Come, Zhiqi, I'll put it on for you."
Li Heng looked at the woman in front of him, his expression growing softer and softer. Although the world was vast, he only had eyes for her. No one else existed.
"Zhiqi, you're truly beautiful!"
Li Heng couldn't but sigh in praise at this beauty wearing a hairpin of white jade. The women grew even more bashful, lowering her head even further.
For a moment, Li Heng's eyes turned hazy. Inexplicably, he began to think about his mother. This beauty before him was so similar to the mother from his memories!