Ch 12: The Unfathomable Crown Prince
“Hehehehe…” A beautiful and unrestrained laughter erupted from inside the carriage. When it finally ended, that same voice went on to say, “Minister Bai, you’re in charge of the country’s etiquette. What do you think of this?”
Minister Bai? Shock went through everyone. Minister Bai was deeply respected by the emperor. Moreover, he was an honest official who never participated in struggles for power. Most importantly, he had been in charge of the country’s etiquette for a long time now. All the princes and princesses weren’t taught etiquette by a grand tutor, but precisely by him, Minister Bai.
At that moment, everyone noticed a mature man rising from his seat in a small and crude tea stand by the side of the street. Although he wore an ordinary grey jacket, it couldn’t hide his vigor and grace. He was more than fifty, but still full of life. Even his hair didn’t have a trace of grey.
Minister Bai dutifully approached the Crown Prince’s carriage and performed the standard courtesy ritual, “This official greets the Crown Prince.”
Seeing that venerated official making his salutations so respectfully, everyone quickly knelt down, their voices also turning more deferential, “Greeting the Crown Prince!” Even though so many people were kneeling outside, including one court official, the crown prince inside the carriage still didn’t come out, disappointing the ones who wished to see his charming appearance.
“Rise!” The clear voice brought a feeling of oppression. Minister Bai saw the tightly closed carriage as he got up. He had also previously met the crown prince, but the crown prince had always had a timid character. But that didn’t seem to be the case now. Would someone timid have such an overbearing presence. Someone timid would have immediately come out of the carriage to greet him. Apparently, the Crown Prince was profound character who hid his abilities. Their country was in for some stormy changes.
As the only one who hadn’t saluted, the eldest prince stood out a lot. But standing out this way made him feel rather anxious, especially since Minister Bai was looking at him with eyes full of disapproval. Even if he was a prince, he still held some apprehension towards that minister. His mother had repeatedly urged him to curry favor with Minister Bai, but now…
“Minister Bai is an experienced official who has worked for two dynasties. Imperial father has praised Minister Bai as the paragon of etiquette in this country. This Prince as well as the other Imperial brothers and sisters have been lucky enough to receive guidance from you. I wonder what Minister Bai thinks of today’s display?” The crown prince’s voice was tranquil, without anger or discontent, yet it chilled people to the bones.
Shang Chenzhao really wished to further ridicule and sneer at the crown prince, but he found Minister Bai looking at him with a dissatisfied expression. Then the minister’s voice resounded in the bustling street, “This official has shamed both the Emperor and Your Highness. Though the eldest prince is the oldest among the princes, he still doesn’t know propriety. This official will report to His Majesty and make sure to correct this wrong behavior.”
Shang Chenzhao panicked a little. If Imperial father learned of his actions today, it would be highly unlikely he would ever be placed in an important position. Moreover, who knew how those other princes breathing down his neck would stab him in the back.
“Minister Bai!” Shang Chenzhao rushed into the conversation with a smile on his face. “This Prince was merely jesting with Imperial younger brother. Imperial younger brother is too narrow-m
inded. How can you be a country’s Crown Prince this way!”
Good! Very good! Even at the present situation, Shang Chenzhao still found a way to throw in a word against her. But was he aware that those type of words would make Minister Bai even more dissatisfied with him? Even the numerous commoners starting looking down on the eldest prince. On the other hand, they felt that the crown prince, who hadn’t shown himself once, had an excellent upbringing.
“Jesting?” The voice from inside the carriage seemed to hold back laughter. “Imperial elder brother is so fond of jesting, but I wonder whether You’ll still enjoy joking around when You meet Imperial father next time. Or perhaps You’ve never been concerned with This Prince, nor with Imperial father.”
That scornful voice almost made Shang Chenzhao lose his balance. But before he could open his mouth to justify himself, the voice from the carriage went on to say, “Minister Bai, This Prince will leave first.”
“Seeing off the Crown Prince.” Minister Bai bent his waist slightly. He could tell that the crown prince was making use of him just now. But even so, it was more important to note his overwhelming aura. Even His Majesty couldn’t compare. Not to mention, the crown prince was only in his teens. Sure enough, he wouldn’t turn out useless, given his origins.
The guards were about to move the eldest prince’s carriage out of the way, but instead they saw Wu Wei driving straight through. With a loud crash, the eldest prince’s carriage got knocked over. Even the horses scattered away, leaving behind a carriage laying damaged on the ground, as if to mock the eldest prince.
Shang Chenzhao would much rather curse up a storm to make his bodyguards drag the crown prince off the carriage, but recalling that Minister Bai was standing beside him, he had to swallow down his resentment. As for the commoners, when they saw the crown prince’s maid unexpectedly exhibit such courage, they cheered even louder. And starting today, everyone would know that the crown prince wasn’t the same pushover as before. The gathered crowd even started thinking that the previous reputation of the crown prince was most likely spread around by the eldest prince’s cronies. Shang Wuxin herself didn’t anticipate that without doing anything much, she would end up reversing the commoners’ opinion of the crown prince.
At that moment, a man who was sitting in a private room of a two-story restaurant glanced at the crown prince’s departing carriage. Amusement flashed through his expression. The crown prince could really be an interesting person… However, when he took a look, he saw that the window’s curtain was up and a pair of bright lustrous eyes were looking back at him. The distance was too far for him to make out their expression, but those two eyes were too intense. It was the first time he found himself in daze just from looking at someone.
The opposite party simply took a glance at his eyes, then quickly put down the curtain. He didn’t know why he felt somewhat disappointed, but he just had to admire the crown prince’s vigilance for catching him while he was sizing him up.
Inside the carriage, Shang Wuxin’s eyes were bursting with rage and deep loathing right then. Because she saw that the man who was just appraising her had a pair of extremely beautiful peach blossom eyes. Hehe, peach blossom eyes*, huh?