Green Prince’s Green
Despite Yi Wangyou wobbling and breathing heavily for a while before he could converse again, he deserved to be credited for that long recount without any breaks in his condition.
“His Highness… did not mean to implicate Luo Clan.” Yi Wangyou ran from my gaze and quietly added, “His Highness personally went to Jiangnan for the sake of keeping his promise. He told Patriarch Luo about the hostility between him and his five brothers, his parents’ depriving him of chances and that they sent him to Nanjiang as a form of disavowing him. The only way he would have a better life if he could establish himself among the sovereigns of Nanjiang.”
“Sounds like he knows he needs to tell nine truths to tell one lie to deceive the likes of Luo Ming.”
“Convincing Patriarch Luo is even harder. Perhaps he only agreed to help in consideration of Luo Sword Manor’s future, but his main reason for helping was because he is His Highness’ adopted father. What happened was an unexpected, unwanted outcome. His Highness is not as useless as he may appear.”
“I know. He gives the impression of a lecher who doesn’t do anything but live as a sloth. In reality, he’s quite brave and even more cognisant of his surroundings than I gave him credit for.”
“He doesn’t only have a good head,” Shen Yiren interjected. “He always memorised what he read without needing to read it a second time and pays attention to details contrary to what his appearance may suggest. In saying that, his brothers all excelled themselves, were born with more affluent backgrounds, while he only has extra weight. Plus, his mother didn’t like him. All of those compounding factors whittled away at his confidence over time.”
I cracked an amused smile: “The fact that he had the balls to enter Nanjiang with Yan Shisan and convince all their leaders on his own is a testament to his competence. And, like I said, convincing Luo Ming isn’t an easy task.”
Yi Wangyou recounted, “In lieu of digging deeper into Nieyao City, Yan Shisan warned all of his constables and His Highness not to go anywhere near there. His Highness should never have involved himself in it; he never had what it took to. His Highness would never have predicted the subsequent events in his wildest imagination. All of this is what His Highness told me afterwards. Even now, he cries and gets drunk for days whenever he recalls what happens. We can’t do anything but leave him to his own devices.”
Shen Yiren: “In recent years, people have complained His Highness has been running amok and swimming in luxuries ever since moving to Nanjiang. Some claim he has kidnapped women for his own pleasure, inciting anger from his family. My scouts, to the contrary, reported that, although he didn’t do well, he didn’t abandon his duties, so people under his jurisdiction have enjoyed stable lives. While people in the imperial court do speak of his misdemeanours, few ever blast his performance.”
“Ever since the tragedy, His Highness has just been going through the motions. He spends his nights indulging in entertainment, eating and drinking so frequently that he continues to put on weight. It’s rare for him to be sober for even two days in every ten days, which are only because he has to go out for business meetings.
“His Highness has things he excels at; he merely has qualms about showing what he can do. He believes he doesn’t deserve happiness of fame after what he put Patriarch Luo through. He, therefore, maintains an average standard just to get by. His slovenly days gradually bored him, leading to his abject behaviours worsening, ultimately culminating in the kidnappings.”
Shen Yiren reproached, “And you just let him?”
“I was furious at first. His Majesty paid me handsomely and gave me a status to protect Kunlun Sect. I loathed myself for failing to guide His Highness properly and letting His Majesty down. I had every intention of reprimanding him, but I soon noticed that he never did anything to the maidens. After he sent them to his room, he didn’t lock the doors, windows or assign guards. He drank until he passed out, instead. I once planned to go after a dancer who ran away with a guard; however, His Highness stopped me. As a result of that, everyone under his administrative sector called him a cuck.
“Even though he was being slated, His Highness kept kidnapping women and letting them get away until everybody knew about the events. His Majesty sent letters criticising him, but it didn’t deter him. It took a while for me to understand that His Highness was punishing himself to abate his guilt.”
Damn, so he wasn’t born green and rolled around on lush grass all his life.
“Patriarch Luo sequestered, and leadership of the clan was passed on. Though His Highness visited several times, Patriarch Luo didn’t come out. We had heard a weapon hunter was on the loose for the last few years, but we had no guess as to who it could be prior to the big challenge from Luo Sword Manor this year. I, like His Highness, came here with our most elite group to check if our suspicions that Luo Sword Manor is involved with the weapon theft are warranted.
“His Highness genuinely loves his fourth adopted brother. That’s why he hid his history with Patriarch Luo. He wanted to pinch a weapon in Canhu Town and agreed to your challenge so that he could speak to Patriarch Luo in private. Upon learning of Patriarch Luo’s emergence, His Highness asked me to smuggle him onto the island. I didn’t have a safe plan until I heard Lotus Root Grounds’ formations were gone.”
“Uh… maybe they haven’t been keeping up with maintenance.”
Now I know why I couldn’t make any sense of His Highness’ behaviours or predict his end goal.
“I must ask: what happened at Nieyao City?” I inquired.
Yi Wangyou heaved a heavy breath: “Luo Ming went into Nieyao City to scout on his own and confirmed the existence of the beast His Highness mentioned. He then spent three months drawing up a plan and recruiting local warriors from Yi Clan to march into the city. He was a terrific commander and swordsman, as were his brave sons. Still, he broke Siming Sword before they could slay the beast.”
“They slew it? His sons were…”
“Yes, they slew one. That was what His Highness promised. His Highness told Luo Ming there was only one beast occupying Nieyao City, so that was what Luo Ming believed. In reality, there wasn’t only one.”