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Chapter 18 Imprisoned (1)

Like this, she was imprisoned in Lintian’s Ministry of Justice!

“Zhuzi!” Right as she stepped into the cell, Ling’er hurriedly jumped to her, worriedly asking, “Where did you go, what did you do exactly last night? Why were there so many corpses in the tea garden? Did you get injured? Let me look!”

Man Yao gently patted her hands, smiling, “I’m alright.” Ling’er only let out a sigh of relief after hearing that.

The surrounding cells were filled with the other personnel of the tea garden, all of them frantically yelling out “Gongzi“, Man Yao gave a faint smile to reassure them, “Don’t worry, everything will be alright.” Her face was calm and her clear eyes gave others a calming feeling, letting everyone quiet down. Man Yao’s eyes landed on the person in the opposite cell who was the only one who didn’t have any panic showing on her face, Chen Yu. After staring at her for a few seconds, she saw Chen Yu return her gaze, and when she gave a light laugh, Chen Yu was dazed and then started to laugh as well. Man Yao gazed at her surroundings and found that Xiao Yu wasn’t present and asked Ling’er in a low voice, “Xiao Yu didn’t come in?”

Ling’er nodded her head, replying back in a low voice as well, “When zhuzi didn’t return back to the residence for the whole night, we thought that zhuzi rested in the garden, so I went a little earlier to the garden to give zhuzi breakfast. But just as I walked in, I was suddenly grabbed. Xiao Yu must have seen those guards and escaped. Aye! This Xiao Yu, why didn’t he stay near the garden so that he could block zhuzi from going in?”

Man Yao furrowed her eyebrows. Regarding yesterday night’s events, other than her, Zongzheng Wuyou, and Leng Yan, there were no other survivors. Why were the imperial guards already at the gates of garden so early in the morning waiting to enter and see the corpses? Who spread the news about the assassination attempt on Prince Li? Could there have been someone else present other than them? She shook her head, “It’s not Xiao Yu’s fault! I rode a carriage over so even if he were near the garden and saw me, it would have been already too late to stop me. I hope…he sees the message I left him.”

Ling’er asked, “What message?”

Man Yao: “I told him to go find someone. As long as this person is willing to come, then at the very least we’ll receive a light punishment.”

Ling’er: “If this person is unwilling?”

Man Yao’s eyes flickered as she curved her lips into a smile, “He’ll come!”

Seeing how her zhuzi was absolutely confident, Ling’er was reassured, “Zhuzi, what should we do now then?”

Man Yao lightly sighed, “As long as they’re following the proper investigation procedures, I will not be worried. I’m just afraid that…they’ll use tortures and beatings to force a confession so that we can be someone else’s scapegoat for this assassination case.”

Ling’er was shocked, “How dare they! Even if I fight until my last breath, I will definitely not let anyone hurt zhuzi! Plus, with zhuzi‘s identity…wu…”

Before she could finish, Man Yao hurriedly covered her mouth, whispering into her ear, “Remember this. No matter what happenes, my identity cannot be revealed.”

Ling’er was confused, “Why not?”

With a heavy gaze, Man Yao lightly furrowed her eyebrows, “If my identity is exposed at this time and is used unscrupulously by someone else, it may cause a war between the two countries.” Ling’er blinked indicating she didn’t understand. Man Yao explained further, “Prince Li is a brilliant strategist whose intelligence has no peer. This time he was the one behind Beiyi’s defeat. The rulers of other countries must be wracking their heads as their hearts tremble, afraid that he’ll come to invade their country next. Those who are greedy and ambitious also have to consider once more. For the marriage alliance this time, Imperial Brother chose Prince Li. If anyone spreads rumors saying that we proposed this marriage alliance so that we could secretly eliminate Prince Li, then with the Emperor’s paranoia as well as his extreme doting of Prince Li, even if we can come out safely from this case, our future days won’t be easy anyways.”

“How complicated!” Ling’er was shocked as she gazed at Man Yao with admiration, “As expected, zhuzi considers everything! But who would want to ruin the marriage alliance between the two countries?”

Man Yao: “We’ll have to see who is the most threatened if the marriage alliance succeeds.” Although Prince Li had already rejected the marriage, she had declared in the great hall that she will make Prince Li marry her of his own will. Furthermore, even if Prince Li still won’t agree to marry her in the end, there’s still the Ninth Prince on the list who is the closest to Prince Li. In the eyes of other people, the Ninth Prince who has neither a wife nor concubines had the greatest chance of being picked.

Ling’er still wanted to ask some more, but seeing Man Yao’s exhausted face, she helped her to sit on the cot.

The cell was dark and muggy as the air had faint traces of poison in it. After some time had passed, Man Yao felt her head become dizzy again and her forehead was beginning to heat up. Her cold which had just gotten a little better became worse again. The dinner provided only consisted of a cold bun, which was both dry and hard like a rock. It had to be at least two days old. She couldn’t help but furrow her eyebrows. If she knew this would happen, she would have eaten at the inn in the eastern suburbs before leaving. At the very least, she would have had some energy to fight, otherwise given her current situation, she might already starve to death before they have the chance to interrogate her.

Ling’er saw that she didn’t eat the bun and her face was also abnormally red. Feeling her forehead, she gave a surprised shout, “Ya! So hot! Someone come, someone quickly come, our zhuzi is sick, please help us invite a doctor.”

The warden angrily strode over, kicking the cell door open with great force before yelling, “What are you yelling for! If you keep yelling, I’ll serve you with a whip! Who do you think you guys are? It’s better if you die from being sick, if you guys all die then I won’t have to keep guard this late at night.” After cursing them, he turned around and left.

Ling’er furiously glared at him, speechless. Man Yao weakly waved her hands, “Forget it, it’s useless. After entering here, they didn’t have the intention of letting us leave alive.”

Ling’er angrily huffed as she spoke towards the warden’s back, “泠儿气呼呼地对着狱卒的背影啐道:”What a bully! Don’t let us see you next time!…Zhuzi, your body is so hot, what should we do?”

When the high official of the Ministry of Justice, Yu daren, arrived, Man Yao was sitting down with her back against the wall as she drifted in and out of consciousness. Suddenly she woke up when she felt a splash of cold water on her face. Ling’er was quick and darted to cover her, blocking half of the cold water. The ice-cold feeling caused her whole body to tremor as streams of water dripped down her hot face. Before she could react, she was forced out of the cell by someone. Ling’er frantically tried to hold her back, not daring to let go. Yu daren didn’t hold back a sneer as his sinister voice sounded out, “Bring them both out.”

Interrogation room. There were tens of different kinds of interrogation tools, and each one of them on their own was enough to make one beg for death. The fire in the firepit was raging, sending out sparks of ember every now and then. She was thrown onto the floor by the guards, her strength drained as she laid there.

On his fat finger, Yu daren wore a large ring. Hold up a paper filled with the words of a confession, he spoke sinisterly, “This is the crime of you purchasing assassins to attempt to murder Prince Li. As long as you behave and sign this confession, you’ll only get a beating.”

Man Yao creased her eyebrows as she sneered, “I thought that Yu daren would at least pretend to adhere to procedures. Who knew that even without interrogating me, you would directly force me to admit a crime!”

Yu daren gave a dark laugh, “This matter does not require an interrogation for it is already very clear.”

Man Yao’s face was full of suspicions, “Clear? May I ask daren, I have no enmity with Prince Li, and he is also my tea garden’s customer, so he can be thought of as a parent that feeds me. Why would I want to kill him and cut off my source of money?” At this time, she could only stall for time, hoping that Xiao Yu would quickly arrive.

Yu daren: “Because you’re a spy from Beiyi.”

They couldn’t find out her true identity so they pinned such a crime on her, these people were quite cruel! Man Yao’s face didn’t change as she slowly said, “Daren said that I am a spy from Beiyi, do you have evidence?”

“Your origins are unknown…” Yu daren just opened his mouth then a low voice sounded from outside the interrogation room, “Yu daren, no need to speak any more nonsense with him! Can you tell that he’s stalling for time?”

The person from outside had already stepped in. Seeing this person, Man Yao was startled as her eyes changed.