163 Chapter 163 Returned
In the restored Phoenix Palace, inside the separated courtyard that was used as Lin Xulian's clinic, Feng Jun Yi sat behind a desk while looking at a pile of books sadly and full of guilt. They are the books that Lin Xulian and the Lin clan gathered during the five months of her false pregnancy.
And he couldn't help the pain in his heart thinking that during those times that he left her to fend for herself, she is finding all means to prove her innocence and cure for her unknown condition. If only he believed her, he should be able to help in her search. But unfortunately he chose to listen to his doubts and refused to listen to her explanation.
Feeling the incoming wave of depression hitting him, Feng Jun Yi circulated his internal energy towards the black stone ring on his right middle finger then throughout his entire body to make himself feel better. The ring is made from the same material as that of the bracelet given by the Qiangdu country's envoy. So he is using it in place of the bracelet he returned to Feng Jun Ying.
A few weeks ago, he found a small wooden box in the desk of his imperial study. He was startled to see a black stone ring inside it and a short letter accompanying it stating that he should wear it at all times for protection. And what surprised him more is that the letter came from the Qiangdu country's King himself.
He has no idea why would the King give him the ring. But knowing that it is an almost magical item, he is more than gratified to accept it. He is just curious about his motive. Nevertheless, he still thanked him through a letter and asked him about his reasons. But there is still no reply.
While he is in deep thought, Xu Yichen entered the clinic. Xu Yichen knows that if he could not find him in his imperial study, he would stay in Lin Xulian's clinic. And as expected, the emperor is reminiscing his time with the empress in her most favorite part of the Phoenix castle, again. He can't help but pity his master and friend.
Feng Jun Yi suddenly said that Lin Xulian wasn't actually pregnant but was sick or poisoned. And he blamed himself for doubting her. Xu Yichen thought at first that Feng Jun Yi is just in denial. That he wants to at least think that Lin Xulian remained faithful until her last breath. That way he would feel better even after her death.
But after seeing the pile of books inside her clinic that are mainly about false pregnancy and body manipulating poisons, he can't find any excuse to doubt her. He could also tell that these books were bought during her last five months alive. That is because he oversees the canvassing and locations of all the things she asked from Feng Jun Yi. And these books are not among them.
"Your majesty, the fifth expedition finally returned. In fact, everyone from the first group up to the latest returned. Fortunately, they are all unharmed." Xu Yichen immediately reported.
This instantly caught Feng Jun Yi's attention. He's been waiting for this news since Lin Xulian's death half a year ago. "Did they find what Zhen asked them?""They did, your majesty." He answered. But before Feng Jun Yi could express his anticipation, Xu Yichen dampened his mood. "But they said the Lin clan already left the An Valley.""They left? Where did they go? And why are they giving their reports this late?! It's been half a year!" Feng Jun Yi exclaimed furiously in annoyance and disappointment.
"Unfortunately, they were held captive by the Jianghu. They were only released after the Lin clan left the An Valley. And they have no means to know where they went." Xu Yichen continued nervously.
"Those worthless bunch!" Feng Jun Yi exclaimed while pressing his head between his both hands to calm himself. He has no clue who assassinated Lin Xulian but he assumed that the Lin clan has a way. He knows they would find a way to avenge her, but he wants to be a part of it. Not only to atone for his mistakes but also to express that he truly loves her.
"Calm your anger your majesty. It is the Lin clan we are referring to. They are obviously hiding on purpose. And our imperial guards can't do anything against them. As to why, I can only guess that whoever the assassin who killed the empress was, even the Lin clan finds it hard to deal with them." Xu Yichen explained clamly.
"Are you saying that Zhen can't do anything? That Zhen should just stay and do nothing? That I should just wait in the comfort of the palace? Zhen's empress, my beloved wife died!" Feng Jun Yi exclaimed while slapping the table furiously.
"N-no, your majesty. Forgive this subject. I-I just want to imply that we should not blame the imperial guards that much. Please be calm, your majesty." Xu Yichen respond nervously.
Inhaling a deep breath, Feng Jun Yi tried to calm himself. "How about Xiao Tian? Is she willing to cooperate?""She insisted that she had no idea. She is even genuinely upset and worried because of the empress's death. Even her sister never appeared before her since then. We also cannot force her to speak since she is pregnant. But she solemnly swore she has no idea where the Lin clan could hide aside from the An Valley."
Sighing dejectedly, Feng Jun Yi kneaded the bridge of his tall nose. "Tell those imperial guards to scatter and search the entire continent. The Lin clan is a large group. Zhen is certain that some witnesses could be found."
Xu Yichen acknowledged Feng Jun Yi's command but he didn't leave just yet. "This subject has another matter to report, your majesty." He started anxiously. "The Ministers are asking about your new empress. Apparently, Imperial Noble Concubine Xing is gaining popularity ever since she hosted a tea gathering among noble women not long ago.
Those women were able to convince their husbands and relatives in the court to support her saying that she is fit for the throne and they can assure that she has a great character. Some officer even submitted a recommendation report. She has more than half of the court in her favor."
Hearing this, Feng Jun Yi knitted his brows. "Zhen has no plans in having an empress. Zhen can lead the country alone. Zhen can't hand over the throne especially to her. Zhen still cannot fully trust the Zhixiang country. Recently, I have a bad feeling whenever I see Imperial Noble Concubine Xing. And I will trust my gutfeel.""Then how about your heir, your majesty? The Ministers would surely complain.""Zhen still have Jun Ying. And if he refuses, Zhen also has a nephew. Jun Yan and Zhen already talked about this possibility." Feng Jun Yi stated seriously. Xu Yichen didn't find his decision surprising. He knows that his friend is completely entrapped in love. But he is still a bit skeptical whether the Ministers will accept it.
"Does your majesty think that Imperial Noble Concubine Xing has a vile plan? Was she aiming for the throne of the empress now that Empress Lin is dead?""Zhen can't be fully certain. But it is better to take precautions so we won't have any regrets in the future." Feng Jun Yi said solemnly.
"Understood, your majesty." Xu Yichen said before leaving the clinic.
Finally alone again, Feng Jun Yi slumped back in his seat. He concentrated in his surroundings again. Another reason why he stays in Lin Xulian's clinic is because he is hoping that Lin Xulian's soul is still there. He hopes he could still be able to feel her presence.
Not long later, a familiar screech of a bird broke the silence startling Feng Jun Yi. And as expected a dirty and battered Fei entered the clinic through the window. His heart almost leaped seeing him not only because he was startled but also because of excitement. Fei also disappeared during the fire incident. But after half a year he actually returned?!