Chapter 998 - 998: No Trust
"I've done nothing like that. So stop maligning me," Long Chen retorted to the accusations as he also stood up, not willing to sit back and watch.
"Alright. Then prove your innocence. Why should I believe you? What do you even have to prove yourself except the clearly love-filled biased statement of my sister who is trying to protect you?" Lu Wang interrogated Long Chen, trying to make him show any evidence.
"What proof do you have that it was me? It's my first time in this city, and I don't know anyone. I have no influence here, but it's not the same for you. One word from you, and that woman would just as easily have lied about this? I'm sure now that you're behind this," Long Chen replied, graveness filling his face.
"Can you two calm down? I'm sure none of you are in the wrong. There's just some misunderstanding here," Mingyu tried to chime in to calm the situation down.
"Mingyu, you stay out of it! Even if you don't stand on the side of justice, please don't support injustice. Please see his reality! He is not the person you think he is. Even I can't believe that he would have done this, but that's the reality, neither you nor I can change it," Lu Wang calmly told his sister as if he was worried for her.
Right after talking to his sister, he changed his attention to Long Chen, who was standing on the side.
"As for you, you still dare to accuse me? The girl named you right before everyone's rules. You were there, and so was I. Moreover, she repeated that statement even after she died. How can you be so shameless to still not accept your wrongs?" he asked Long Chen.
"So what you're saying is that I'm in the wrong based on the statement of the girl," Long Chen inquired, laughing in disbelief.
"That's right. If it was just her statement, I should have thought that she was paid to lie or something by our enemies, but no one can be paid enough to die. She named you even after knowing she was dying. At that point, it's not an accusation but a statement," Lu Wang responded.
As Lu Wang and Long Chen kept talking, the Emperor only listened and didn't intervene.
"Her dying statement? Alright. Let me ask one question then. I hope I'll get a true answer." Long Chen nodded.
"Alright, ask," Lu Wang agreed.
"My question is for general Lun," Long Chen said, gazing towards General Lun.
"So General, when you met the girl, was she alone in the room, or did she have someone else accompanying her who could have influenced her?" he asked the General.
"She was alone. No one was there," General Lun answered.
" So you are the only one who heard her dying words or knew what happened there?" Long Chen inquired, to which the General nodded his head, not understanding what he was pointing at.
"So, General. Please entertain this thought for a moment," Long Chen said calmly. "A prince and the future Emperor of this Empire tells the General to bring a woman here."
"But in reality, he told the General to kill that woman not to leave any risky element behind. That General entered the girl's room. Fed her the poison and killed her. After that, he made up the story about her last words to do the Prince's bidding. How's that story?" he asked with an amused smile on his face.
"Do you really not feel any shame for doing this? As a General, your loyalty should be towards the Emperor, but the Prince, yet you did this?" he further inquired.
This whole story sounded so same. The general was obviously lying, and he had most probably killed the girl himself. The enemy empires could influence commoners to lie with money but to influence a general, that could only be Lu Wang.
He was now sure that it was Lu Wang's scheme with how hard he was trying to prove him wrong.
"What nonsense are you spouting? First, you accuse the girl of lying. Then you accuse me of lying, and now you accuse General Lun of lying? So only you're righteous, and everyone else is wrong? It's so stupid that it's funny at this point," Lu Wang scoffed at Long Chen even though inside his heart, he was surprised that Long Chen had managed to guess everything so swiftly.
"I've said all I wanted to say. Those who want to believe me can do so, and those who want to doubt me can't do so as well. I'm not here to listen to you and be falsely accused,"Long Chen said, feeling tired to explain. At this point, he was actually angry and decided not to explain anymore. He had said all he could.
He shifted his gaze towards the Emperor, who was sitting silently.
"Emperor Lu, tell me your decision. If you think I'm wrong, then tell me now. Let's see if truth has and value in this Empire or not," Long Chen asked the Emperor. His tone was filled with anger.
Emperor Lu Junwei was surprised. After all this time of addressing him as Father-in-law, Long Chen had called him Emperor Lu? Was he creating distance with him? Was he disappointed at his response and the treatment he received?
In any case, this was too complicated. He trusted Long Chen, but the evidence was against him. All Long Chen had for himself was his words, whereas the accusations had the word of the words of the victim, of his son, of his General, and the workers of Flower Pavillion. From what he heard, many nobles had also seen this.
What could he do? As a Father-in-law, he wanted to help Long Chen and trust him. But as an Emperor, he had to look objectively. He couldn't stay impartial in this situation because it involved his son-in-law as well as the reputation of the Royal family.
"Ministers, tell us what you think. I want to hear your opinions," Emperor Junwei asked his ministers. Since he couldn't decide because of his partiality, he had to ask others.
Long Chen couldn't help but lower his head in disappointment. Here he stood, in front of strangers, left alone by the ones he thought to be part of his family. Now the ministers were going to decide if he was wrong?
He was accused of forcing a girl. This was such a blasphemous accusation that it made him even angrier.
"It's fine. You don't need to ask. I've seen enough. You diverting this question to your ministers instead of answering my question," Long Chen said.