OMF V1C104 A Woman Scorned

The heavenly emperor slammed his hand down on the armrest of his throne. “Audacious! Seeing your sovereign and still not greeting him? But what manner did I expect from a woman who would even try to kill an innocent child!”
Hong Bao flinched. Leng Jin Yu used the opportunity to grab her wrist and pull her to the ground. “Hold your head down. Don’t look at him”, he whispered to her and hoped she would listen to his advice this once.
Shun Tao shot her an uneasy glance. He was sure she had never learned how to behave in front of the nine heavens’ royalties. Why would she? She was just a lowly servant that should never even see one of them if nothing unexpected happened. Unfortunately, this unexpected thing had happened now. If she behaved the wrong way and angered the heavenly emperor, this could get even uglier.
The heavenly emperor couldn’t see Hong Bao’s face and assumed she was scared. Very well! You should be scared! Attempting to take my son’s life, I’ll show you what I’m capable of!
“Now, servant, you will tell us how you conspired to kill the crown prince. If you dare to leave out even one detail … We don’t mind getting the justice court’s Li Yin to loosen your tongue a bit.”
Hong Bao turned her head to the side and looked at Leng Jin Yu. Was she supposed to talk now? He nodded and Hong Bao sat up and looked at the heavenly emperor next. “I didn’t plot anything! I only wanted to help the fate’s scribe.”
“You still dare lie to us!”
Hong Bao pouted. That man must be the crown prince’s father if he was the sovereign. No wonder he was like that. “I didn’t lie! You can ask the goddess of love!”
Rong Su furrowed his brow. “Goddess of love? Who are you even talking about? There is no goddess of love!”
“Hah? But isn’t she standing right here?” Hong Bao pointed at Yin Lin Lin. “She said I could help Shun Tao if I —”
“How dare you slander me!” Yin Lin Lin turned around and leveled a freezing stare at Hong Bao to shut her up.
Hong Bao indeed faltered. What had happened to the elegant woman who wanted to help her? Why was she pretending not to know her? It couldn’t be that this woman was her twin, right? But no, that wasn’t possible either. Her twin should know of the goddess of love, too.
This once, Hong Bao was indeed right. Yes, this woman was the goddess of love that had offered her help to Hong Bao if one wanted to call it such. She had some history with Shun Tao and though it seemed like she had blurted out the truth of the matter regarding the crown prince in the heat of the moment, in fact, every one of her words was placed with deliberation.
She had planned for this situation from the very moment she heard the rumor about Shun Tao and Hong Bao. It had just been outside her expectations that there would be someone like Leng Jin Yu who would plead with the heavenly emperor to at least hear Hong Bao out.
Normally, a servant girl who was rumored to have tried to assassinate the crown prince should be killed by the heavenly emperor’s command given in a fit of rage. But somehow, this one had managed to be escorted into the hall and of course, she blurted the truth right out! What if the heavenly emperor believed her?
Yin Lin Lin hadn’t known that the god Hong Bao spoke of was the crown prince. She had thought Hong Bao was exaggerating and that it was just some unimportant person nobody would care about. So even if someone questioned Hong Bao and her involvement became known it wouldn’t matter. Considering her identity, the heavenly emperor wouldn’t make it difficult for her.
But it just had to be the crown prince! The heavenly emperor doted on him even more than on his own wife! Harming even one hair of his’ was asking to have your fingers broken one at a time! And now she had lend advice that nearly led to him being killed!
Oh, this damned servant girl! She’d make her pay for this!
While Yin Lin Lin was seeking bloody revenge, Hong Bao had recovered from her speechlessness. She wasn’t one to stay quiet anyway. Thus, Hong Bao pursed her lips and looked at Yin Lin Lin accusingly. “What are you talking about? You said yourself that you’re the goddess of love! And you also told me where to find that dagger and that it would be enough to injure him so that I wouldn’t have to kill him!”
Yin Lin Lin slapped her. “Shut up! What nonsense are you talking? Everyone knows that the soul-devouring dagger is a deadly weapon. What does it matter how much you injure someone with it? The soul will be lost anyway!”
Hong Bao held her cheek, tears glittering in her eyes. “I never wanted to kill him! I only wanted to stop his trial so that he could attempt it another time and Shun Tao wouldn’t be punished!. You said that wouldn’t be a problem!”
“You —!”
“That’s enough!”, roared the heavenly emperor. “We don’t care who said what to whom! We only care about the fact that someone tried to assassinate our son! If not for that dragon thwarting the assassin’s plans, he would have already died!”
Hong Bao’s face fell. She looked at Shun Tao but the fate’s scribe ignored her. Then she looked at Leng Jin Yu who only sighed. What was there to say? She had attempted to do that! Even if she was talked into it by someone, you couldn’t resolve her of all blame, could you?
Hong Bao bit onto her lower lip and looked up at the heavenly emperor. She had a bad feeling. “I … I don’t understand. The goddess of love just —”
“There is no goddess of love!”
Hong Bao winced and nodded. “She just said as long as one was cut by that weapon the soul will be lost. Is that true?”
The heavenly emperor snorted, not bothering to answer her. Qiang Yan sighed and took up that role. “That’s right. The soul-devouring dagger is a weapon we managed to wrest out of the demons’ hands. It is highly dangerous. However light an injury is, it’ll obliterate the soul of that person, even though a small injury will take more time than a large one.”
“But … I did cut the crown prince with that dagger. So … he … he is dead?”
All eyes went to Hong Bao.
“You … What … did you say?” Rong Su only narrowly managed to press these words out. His hands trembled and his heart beat faster, cold sweat forming on his brow. He felt faint. He wouldn’t be able to take it if that woman nodded.
Seeing his brother-in-law going pale, Qiang Yan ran over. Though, he himself didn’t know how he stayed afoot.
In a rare show of perception, Hong Bao felt that answering wasn’t a good idea and stayed quiet. The tension in the hall climbed higher and higher until it seemed possible to cut it in two parts with a blade.
Finally, the rattling of wooden slips broke the deadly silence. Shun Tao was fumbling to open Jing He’s scroll of fate. His eyes scanned the words slowly forming. Finally, he looked up at the heavenly emperor with a pale face. He himself couldn’t believe what he had read.

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