Yu Hanjiang came near the vicinity of the Twin Palaces and took advantage of the lack of people to take off the mask on his face. He changed back to the appearance of the captain of the royal guards and walked calmly toward the Twin Palaces.
According to Qu Wanyue, the guards at the door had been knocked out by someone. Yet when Yu Hanjiang arrived in front of the Twin Palaces, he found the two guards on duty standing there properly.
Yu Hanjiang asked, “What about His Highness?”
The two of them saluted respectfully while answering, “His Highness is resting in the bedroom.”
Yu Hanjiang stared into their eyes and questioned in a deep voice, “Did anyone go in during the time I was away?”
The two people exchanged looks and answered with certainty. “No!”
Based on the reaction of these two men, they seemed to have no idea of what just happened.
Yu Hanjiang frowned, opened the door and quickly entered Xiao Lou’s residence. He entered the bedroom and released Xiao Lou from the pocket of his military uniform. Xiao Lou changed back to his normal size and exhaled gently before he looked at Yu Hanjiang. “What do we do now? Continue to pretend we don’t know or go to the emperor to ask for the reason?”
Yu Hanjiang answered, “Just pretend you don’t know anything and continue to cooperate with His Majesty’s script. Otherwise, once they realize that you know you are a clone and have a sense of resistance, the emperor and crown prince might just get rid of you.”
Cards couldn’t be used in the palace so it wouldn’t be easy for him and Yu Hanjiang alone to deal with the wily emperor.
The best way was to pretend they didn’t know anything.
Yu Hanjiang added, “Previously, the emperor asked you to prepare to attend tonight’s birthday banquet but when it actually came, he didn’t let you attend. He will definitely give you a reasonable explanation so that you continue to believe you are the true crown prince.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Yes. Then I’ll wait for his explanation.”
As they were talking, guards suddenly came to the corridor. “Your Highness, Major General Yu, His Majesty has asked you to see him at the White Dew Palace.”
Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou glanced at each other. Xiao Lou quickly took off the military uniform and changed his clothes. Then he and Yu Hanjiang went out together toward the White Dew Palace.
The emperor asked Yu Hanjiang to stay at the entrance of White Dew Palace and summoned Xiao Lou alone.
The White Dew Palace was the place where the birthday banquet had been held tonight. At this time, all the guests had left and the place had been cleaned very thoroughly. The emperor sat in the meeting room with his hand against his forehead in a tired manner. It wasn’t known what he was thinking.
Xiao Lou stepped forward and bowed. “Father.”
The emperor looked up and stared at him with deep eyes.
Xiao Lou looked as usual as a trace of concern filled his eyes. “Are you feeling unwell?”
The emperor rubbed his temples. “I’m just a bit tired. Come and sit down.”
Xiao Lou walked over and sat on the chair to his right hand side. The emperor, Xiao Qin took a sip of tea. “Major General Yu should’ve told you about the clone?”
Two days ago when Yu Hanjiang had gone to see the emperor with Xiao Lou, the emperor had asked to talk to Yu Hanjiang alone and mentioned the matter of the clone. Based on the relationship between the two, it was normal for Yu Hanjiang to tell Xiao Lou.
Xiao Lou answered honestly, “Yes.”
“Isn’t there anything you want to ask?” Xiao Qin put down his teacup and fixed his eyes on Xiao Lou.
Xiao Lou was silent for a few seconds before asking softly, “Father, you had him attend the birthday banquet for me. Is it because you were afraid someone would do something to me?”
Xiao Qin smiled and nodded. “You’re smart.”
Was this lying to a three year old child? Xiao Lou ignored the displeasure in his heart and continued his words, “Father is really thoughtful. Can you tell me who wants to kill me?”
Xiao Qin replied, “If the crown prince dies then according to the regulations, the next successor will be elected through Parliament. At present, the speaker, the marshal and the three generals are all highly respected and might benefit from it. There might even be more than one person who wants to get rid of you. I have to be extremely cautious before you take the throne.”
Xiao Lou said, “In other words, if I die and you have no more heirs, the inheritance of the imperial throne will definitely be broken by me. I might rarely show up in public but the concept of ‘the imperial crown prince inherits the throne’ is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. They need me to die before they can implement the next plan?”
The emperor was silent for a moment before declaring, “In fact, you once had a brother.”
Xiao Lou was taken aback. “A brother? Why don’t I remember?”
“He was one year older than you and he was assassinated before you were born.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
There was a trace of pain in the emperor’s eyes. Due to sorrow, his voice was hoarser than usual. “He was so young. He couldn’t even speak but he was secretly poisoned in the palace. I could only watch him die in front of me… his body slowly became cold and stiff. He couldn’t even call me Father once before he died.”
Xiao Lou didn’t know what to say. When speaking of the past, the emperor’s sad emotions really didn’t seem to be an act…
Could he believe this ‘father’?
The emperor paused before continuing, “Your mother was in poor health. She had just fallen pregnant again and the death of your brother hit her too hard. She was stimulated to give birth to you prematurely. The doctor said she wouldn’t be able to give birth again in the future and you became our only child. I named the place of your residence the Twin Palaces to commemorate your brother.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
Did the Twin Palaces mean this?
The emperor spoke up to here and suddenly grabbed Xiao Lou’s hand, his eyes filled with a father’s love. “I have experienced the pain of losing a son so I want to protect you well. Over the years, it isn’t that I don’t want you to go out. It is just too dangerous outside. Even in the palace, there is a possibility of an assassin sneaking in. Today was your birthday party and your first public appearance. I was worried that someone would take advantage of it to enter the palace. This is why the clone attended the banquet for you.”
“You mean, you wanted to use the clone to lead the snake out of the hole?”
The emperor sighed. “Yes.”
“What is the result?”
The emperor smiled bitterly and shook his head. “They were very cautious. Instead of coming to the banquet, they went to the Twin Palaces. Fortunately, you and Major General Yu weren’t there at the time. Otherwise, the consequences would be really unimaginable.”
Xiao Lou watched the gray-haired emperor in front of him and his mood was really mixed.
The emperor’s sincere attitude and sad expression today really looked like a father who was worried about his son’s safety. However, Xiao Lou’s sense of reason told him that things couldn’t be as simple as the emperor stated.
Xiao Lou lowered his eyes. “Father, rest assured. I will protect myself and listen to your arrangements.”
The emperor patted the back of Xiao Lou’s hand with relief. “Go now. Major General Yu is by your side and I can rest assured that he is indeed the most loyal guard.”
Xiao Lou turned to leave the White Dew Palace and saw Yu Hanjiang at the door.
The two people were connected with Heart has a Tacit Exchange of Romantic Feelings and Xiao Lou had passed on the emperor’s words to Yu Hanjiang.
Yu Hanjiang didn’t say much. He turned and returned to the Twin Palaces with Xiao Lou.
Once there was no one around, Yu Hanjiang wondered, “Do you believe it?”
Xiao Lou shook his head. “I don’t believe it.” Then he inquired, “Still, something he said does make sense. Do we know if there are any records about my dead brother?”
Yu Hanjiang suggested, “Let Mr Tang check it out.”
He sent a message to Tang Ci and the other party soon responded with the result of the inquiry. “The emperor and the empress did have a child but he unfortunately died at the age of one. It was said to be due to illness. Since the emperor and the empress were very sad, the media didn’t dare report about it indiscriminately. There was only a brief obituary by the official media about this matter.”
Xiao Lou looked at the black and white image in the obituary. The young prince didn’t even have a portrait. This was probably the unspeakable pain of the imperial family and he was never mentioned again after his death.
Today, officials and the public agreed that Xiao Lou was the only prince and heir to the throne.
Xiao Lou thought carefully about the emperor’s words. “We don’t know which of the emperor’s words is the truth or a lie but at the very least, it should be true that the young prince was poisoned. Perhaps this is why he took his second son’s cells to participate in the genetic experiment? He had already lost a son and didn’t want to lose a second one.”
“So he made countless copies of his child? In any case, all the clones have the same genes and are considered his sons. As long as one of his sons survives, he won’t lose.”
Xiao Lou, “……”
Ye Qi’s guess might be correct. There were more than two Xiao Lous in this world.
Semi proofread by Paranoid Kitten