- Phoenix Reborn: the Prime Minister's Scheming Daughter
- Chapter 324 - I Have the Backing of Someone Powerful
Chapter 324 I Have the Backing of Someone Powerful
Zhou Jingshu laughed, “Princess, Although you have a noble status, you can’t just attack an innocent person like me for no reason, right?”
Shen Ninghua lowered her eyes and smiled faintly, “You are right. I can’t do anything to you. At least you are innocent.”
“Are you admitting that you are in the wrong?”
“You are innocent, but that does not mean that your family is innocent. Based on what your family has done, you can’t repent for your sins even if your entire family is executed.”
Zhou Jingshu’s pupils suddenly trembled. “Princess, what makes you say that?”
Baby Girl, who was in the bed, woke up. She rubbed her eyes with her little fist and softly exclaimed. Shen Ninghua turned around, picked her up, and cradled her gently. After she fell asleep again, Shen Ninghua asked, “Is she cute?”
Zhou Jingshu looked at Baby Girl. Her puffy cheeks were pinkish in color, her skin was fair, and her hands were adorably chubby. “Yes, she is cute…” Even if she didn’t like Shen Ninghua, she couldn’t go against her heart and criticize a child.
Shen Ninghua sneered coldly, a faint killing intent hidden in her eyes. “Your brother almost killed this adorable child using heinous methods.”
Zhou Jingshu was shocked. “Impossible! My brother is so gentle. How could he harm such a young child?”
“If you don’t believe me, let’s talk about something else. Do you know the people who entered Zhou City?”
“What’s wrong with them?”
Shen Ninghua glanced at her. “Do you think that with your family’s spies in Zhou City, they wouldn’t know about the disaster victims who were trying to seek refuge in the city? It was your brother who shut them out!”
“Impossible! Although we have prestige in Zhou City, my brother is not an official. How can he control Zhou City’s affairs? Those disaster victims were clearly forbidden to enter the city because someone deliberately kept the information from the Prefecture Magistrate.”
“Prefecture Magistrate? Do you mean Zhou Da? Isn’t Zhou Da a member of your clan? For so many years, in order to repay the favor of Patriarch Zhou for helping him become the magistrate, Zhou Da asked your brother’s opinions in everything. After such a long time, and you’re not aware of it?”
Shen Ninghua’s eyes were full of scrutiny, and her clear gaze made Zhou Jingshu involuntarily feel sheepish.
Zhou Jingshu slightly turned her gaze away. “Impossible! This is your side of the story!”
Shen Ninghua sneered. “If you still pretend to be asleep, I can’t wake you up. Let’s not talk about the disaster victims. So many things have happened at Zhou City. Can you tell me which of them are not related to your family? The imperial court spent millions of taels of silver to fund the rescue mission, but more than half of the silver tales disappeared after they arrived at Zhou City. Where did the money go? For so many years, every winter, there would be some conflicts at the border. Those bandits claimed that they had robbed a lot of money, but in the end, where did the money go?”
“Do you think my family has anything to do to any of that?” Zhou Jingshu was in disbelief. “Don’t forget that our family provided food and medicine when the disaster victims entered the city. Every year, during the bandits’ attacks, our family will resist the bandits and save the people who are robbed. Don’t slander us!”
There was a sound of footsteps coming from the door. Shen Ninghua looked up at Hong Ling who came in.
“Miss, there is news from His Highness. The raid at the Zhou Family has finished.”
“What?” Zhou Jingshu turned to look at Shen Ninghua in disbelief. “Not only did you arrest my brother, but you also raid the Zhou Family?”
As soon as she finished speaking, there was a commotion at the door.
Qing Que walked in quickly. “Miss, some people have gathered at the door. They are very angry and claim that they want to help the Zhou Family get justice. Now, they are already in a mess and are being blocked by the guards.”
Shen Ninghua’s expression turned cold. “Got it. Guard the courtyard. Don’t worry about the rest. Let them be.”
The commoners had surrounded Shen Ninghua’s courtyard. Meanwhile, the citizens in the disaster camp were confronting the guards. “Release Patriarch Zhou!”
“Yes, release him! How can you bully our city’s great benefactor!”
“Yes! Release Patriarch Zhou and return their property!”
“A benevolent person is imprisoned! Where is the justice?”
Zhou Da, who was beside Baili Junyi, grimaced indignantly.
“Your Highness, what did Patriarch Zhou do? Why did you suddenly arrest him? Patriarch Zhou has a very high reputation in Zhou City. He has always been known for being benevolent and kind. The citizens will certainly be provoked when you arrested him for no reason and even raided his house…”
Baili Junyi looked at him calmly. “Lord Zhou, do you think that I’ve done something wrong?”
“Uh… These days, the Zhou Family has been providing food and medicine for the disaster victims. Based on this, Your Highness should deal with the matter leniently.” Zhou Da did not admit it, but the meaning in his words was very obvious.
“I know what I’m doing. You can stay out of it.”
Zhou Da was anxious in his heart. He opened his mouth but did not know what to say. Originally, Zhou Ziqing had already discussed countermeasures with him, but none of them had thought that Prefectural Prince Yi would not play by the book!
Ye Yi lifted the curtain and walked in. “Your Highness, the county magistrates of the surrounding twelve counties are kneeling outside and pleading for mercy. The disaster victims in the camp are also dissatisfied and kneeling outside.”
The expression on Baili Junyi’s face became a little cold. “Got it.” After that, he ignored Zhou Da and got up to walk to Zhou Ziqing. “Patriarch Zhou, you should be very comforted. There are so many people pleading for you. I’m afraid that even I can’t keep up with this prestige.”
Zhou Ziqing chuckled. The expression on his face was as calm and refined as usual. There was no trace of panic on his face. “True blue will never stain. I believe that Your Highness will definitely give me justice.”
“It seems that you are sure that I cannot find anything.”
“Your Highness has already raided my home. Now, you only asked questions but did not punish me. Didn’t that say something?”
If there was a problem, Baili Junyi would have dragged him out to the public to punish him long ago. Moreover, Zhou Ziqing was extremely confident in his heart. He had worked hard to manage the Zhou Family for so many years and had already reached the peak of hypocrisy. If he could be unmasked so easily, he would have long been unable to stay in Zhou City.
The corners of Baili Junyi’s lips curled up. “You actually saw through it. You are right. I haven’t found anything in your house. Not only is it clean, but it also looks very poor. Presumably, for so many years, in order to support the villagers, you have spent a lot of resources.”
“It’s out of our kindness to help the people, so I won’t hesitate even if I have to give up my wealth.”
Baili Junyi sighed, “Patriarch Zhou, you’re really generous.”
Zhou Ziqing moved his tied hands slightly, and his wrists were red due to the rope. “Your Highness, you must be in a difficult position right now. You arrested me for no reason, but you couldn’t find any problems. The people outside are also in a mess. If you release me, your reputation will be tarnished, but if you don’t, you won’t be able to face today’s situation.”
“Yes, you are right. I am indeed in a difficult situation,” Baili Junyi admitted frankly.
Zhou Ziqing smiled and informed, “How about I give you a suggestion?”
“I’m all ears.”
“Let me go, and I’ll explain to the people. It won’t hurt your dignity at all.”
Baili Junyi’s eyes darkened. “Oh? Are you so confident?”
Zhou Ziqing asserted lightly, “The Zhou Family is a symbol of credibility in the hearts of Zhou City’s people. The people will believe whatever I promise. As long as I come out to explain that everything is a misunderstanding, and the raid is because we’ve been robbed and you sent guards there to catch the thief… Everything is logical.”
“Hehe, it is indeed a good idea. But I have to think about it.” After listening to him, Baili Junyi slowly walked to the side and picked up a book to read.
Zhou Ziqing’s heart sank. He felt suffocated as if something was pressing against his chest. He was confident that Baili Junyi could not find any problems and would release him sooner or later. However, he was so calm and composed even when the people were protesting so aggressively outside. Was there something that he had missed?
He thought carefully, afraid that he had left some loopholes.
After about a quarter of an hour, Ye Yi came in again and reported, “Master, a lot of people brought farm tools, sickles, hoes, and other things over. They clashed with our guards and injured one of them.”
Baili Junyi’s eyes darkened. “Get someone to treat the injured guard. The rest of you, stay guard. Do not move without my orders.”
“Yes, Your Highness. Just now, the Princess sent someone to say that the courtyard you lived in was also surrounded by people.”
“Send some people over to ensure the safety of the Princess and Little Masters.”
After Ye Yi left, Baili Junyi smiled slightly, as if he was in a good mood.
Zhou Ziqing was a little impatient. “Your Highness, why do you have such an expression?”
Baili Junyi looked over. “Are you asking me why I am so happy?”
“Yes, Your Highness. Can you please enlighten me?”
“Why not? Now that we have found the evidence to deal with you and your family, I am naturally happy.”
Zhou Ziqing furrowed in confusion. “Your Highness, you must be joking, right?”
“Heh, do you think I’m joking? Are you curious?”
“Yes, I’m really a little curious.”
“A patriarch in a small family who doesn’t have an official position has caused the people of the city to besiege Prefectural Prince and Princess. What do you think His Majesty will deal with this if I write this in my report and hand it over?”
Zhou Ziqing gritted his teeth slightly. “Don’t you think that this excuse is too far-fetched?”
“Who cares, as long as I can achieve my goal,” Baili Junyi jeered with great indifference.
Zhou Ziqing’s heart sank. If Baili Junyi wrote the report in this way, His Majesty would probably attack the Zhou Family because of his misgivings. Now, it seemed that he could only hope that his master had a plan.
A commotion came from outside, and Baili Junyi suddenly frowned. “What’s going on?”
Ye Yi lifted the curtain and walked in. He did not have time to put away the astonishment on his face. “Master, the Second Prince is here.”
“What?” Baili Junyi suddenly stood up. Baili Jinchuan was here? Why was he here? Was it possible that he was involved in this matter with the Zhou Family?
Baili Junyi was shocked, but Zhou Ziqing was greatly relieved. The table had turned.