Book 5: Chapter 81: Innocence
Prince Narinaga’s sedan chair was carried by four black-clothed palace attendants. Even while walking in the rain, they still maintained the integrity of the imperial family and took four steps at a time in a stately manner.
The sedan chair was raised to the same level as the platform.
Princes couldn’t freely interact with the outside world. In the eyes of the people of the Heian Dynasty, they were the descendants of G.o.d.
Those attendants later came with some helpers to unload the sedan chair from the lifting pole and carried it into the hall.
Ayaka patted Lily on the back and gestured for her to get up. She took Lily to the side of the platform and kneeled with courtesy.
The prince’s sedan chair was placed directly on the platform overseeing the lobby. The exterior bamboo curtain was pulled up, revealing a white gauze curtain inside. Through this curtain, one could see the figure of a beautiful young man who was wearing a s.e.xy purple kimono.
The prince’s habit of dressing in female clothing was ridiculed by many n.o.bles and warriors for being shameless and some even spread vulgar stories that the prince didn’t like women. However, an indecent rumor also existed that there was a man who liked to treat the prince as a woman.
Regardless, everyone acted respectfully and kneeled when they saw the prince coming.
“Greetings to Prince Narinaga.” Everyone saluted.
Ayaka said, “His Royal Highness the Prince is here today to clarify the truth of what happened last night, even if he has to show his face among you and the secular world.”
“Lily, why haven’t you thanked His Royal Highness yet?” Ayaka reminded.
“Yes,” Lily bowed respectfully towards the prince’s sedan chair, “Lily thanks Your Royal Highness the Prince.”
The prince used his small white hand to secretly lift a corner of the curtain and looked at the two women who seemed to s.h.i.+ne brightly.
“Ahem—” The old palace attendant next to the prince prodded him and he quickly lowered the curtain.
The prince spoke with an immature voice that sounded like a girl’s, “Today, I made a special trip to testify for this samurai sister. Secretary of Justice, please don’t mind my presence too much. If you have any questions, just ask me as if I were an ordinary witness.”
“This, I dare not.” Although these warriors secretly scolded the prince when they drank and ate meat, they were scared when meeting him face to face and feared breaking the rules.
“Secretary of Justice, since I am here, I have naturally come with the truth. My actions are risking a great taboo so I hope you can hurry the pace and don’t make things difficult for me. If you have any questions, just ask.” The prince spoke mildly like a woman.
“Yes, I understand,” Kimura bowed again and asked, “Your Royal Highness the Prince, these three imperial guards accused Kagami Lily of breaking into the palace and trying to kidnap you. Is that true?”
The prince looked through the curtain at the three men whose faces were pale with fear before looking at Lily and Ayaka. He slowly said, “That is not true.”
The whole room was in an uproar.
“Silence!” Minamoto no Yos.h.i.+tada reprimanded, “How can you make a ruckus in front of His Highness the Prince?”
Everyone immediately quieted down, leaving only the sound of the still pattering rain.
The prince continued, “Last night, I was walking in the courtyard when I heard a commotion so I quietly went over and saw this samurai sister, Kagami Lily, not far away. She was surrounded by a group of Imperial samurai guards and onmyoji. From the beginning to the end, the samurai sister did not notice me and didn’t take any actions to resist. After arguing without any success, she handed over her weapon and they took it away.”
Everyone looked at each other in disbelief and the three guards trembled as they knelt. Cold sweat ran down their foreheads as if they were outside in the rain.
The prince continued, “I’m not afraid to let you know about this incident now. More than half a month ago, when I went to visit a temple outside and returned to Heian-kyō in the middle of the night, I encountered the Night Parade of One Hundred Demons. It was Lily, this samurai sister, who killed all the demons and saved my life. If she really wanted to resist, how could those ordinary guards in the palace catch her? Furthermore, how could such a kind, brave, and beautiful elder sister do something like holding me hostage. Although I do not know the whole truth surrounding this matter, I believe that the samurai sister is definitely not the murderer of Madam Yoruko1!”
“That night, I was really worried about the arrest of the samurai sister so I sent someone to urgently report to Lord Chief Advisor. If not for this, I am afraid that the samurai sister would have been tortured and humilated for no reason. It is really shocking and heartbreaking.”
The prince’s voice was beautiful yet sorrowful.
“You daring madmen, why did you make up such a treacherous lie that the mirror girl tried to kidnap the prince?!” Kimura was also enraged and rebuked them in front of the prince.
Several imperial guards kowtowed, “We were also instructed by others. We wouldn’t dare to fabricate such a huge lie.”
“Who was it?! Who ordered you to say so?”
“We cannot say. Not to mention getting beheaded, our whole family will die if we say anything!”
“This…who dares to openly threaten the witnesses of the Bureau of Justice?!” Kimura’s handsome face was full of anger.
“Lord Kimura, today we are interrogating Kagami Lily. It’s better to take these people into custody for now and then slowly interrogate them afterwards! Don’t get too involved with others in front of the prince.” The Middle Counselor advised.
Kimura looked at Ayaka. Right now, the Middle Counselor’s words were no longer relevant.
“Take them and this old witch away, and keep them under strict watch!” Kimura ordered.
“Ayaka thanks Your Highness for going out of his way to come down to this dirty and b.l.o.o.d.y heavenly prison and testifying for my female va.s.sal.” Ayaka knelt down and thanked the prince.
“Wherever I can help Lord Chief Advisor and the samurai sister, I…”
“Ahem!” The palace attendant interrupted again.
“Ayaka respectfully wishes for His Highness’ safe return back to the palace.”
“We will safely escort the prince back to the palace.”
The group of attendants carried the prince’s sedan chair away. In fact, the prince was still reluctant to leave and hoped to stay a little longer so he could interact more with women like Lily and Ayaka.
However, in the end, their ident.i.ties were different and he could only be carried away by the sedan chair and escorted back to the palace. The prince had already done his part by providing his testimony and improving Lily’s chances of being proven innocent.
People thought that the t.i.tle of prince was extremely prestigious, but in fact, it was like a bird cage. Although he gained respect and status, he had to give up his youth and freedom.
After the prince left, the interrogation hall fell into silence.
“That, Lord Chief Advisor, the follow-up interrogation…” Kimura asked cautiously.
Ayaka’s white clothes fluttered as she stood up directly, looking elegant and determined.
She helped Lily up and put her arm around Lily’s waist2 before saying, “What are you still interrogating? The facts are already so clear. Some of the perpetrators have already been taken away. As for the rest of the rats who framed my va.s.sal, you can go and investigate it yourself. Investigate thoroughly and make sure to give me an explanation when I see you again!”
“This…” The Middle Counselor said, “Although there were some problems with the witnesses, this can only overturn the accusations that Kagami Lily held the prince hostage. It does not prove that Lily did not murder Madam Fayumi no Yoruko. Although her suspicion is greatly reduced, she still needs to be detained for further interrogation…”
The snow lotus made of white silk directly entangled the Middle Counselor and slammed him against the pillar.
“I was the one who asked Lily to visit Madam Fayumi no Yoruko! Do you want to detain and interrogate me too?” Ayaka said coldly.
“I dare not!” Kimura and Minamoto no Yos.h.i.+tada could only kneel down as well.
“Cough…” The Middle Counselor was pinned to the pillar and couldn’t speak.
“It’s just that, Lord Chief Advisor, although you are the head of the world’s ministers and I wouldn’t dare to stop you from taking anyone away, this is court law…” Minamoto no Yos.h.i.+tada risked his life and honestly said.
“Hmph… Since you are talking about the law— Hos.h.i.+ Murasaki!” Ayaka shouted. Hos.h.i.+ Murasaki appeared in front of the platform in a drenched female ninja tank top and short skirt.
“Tell these guys the results of your investigation at Madam Yoruko’s residence!”
Raindrops kept falling from the tips of Hos.h.i.+ Murasaki’s hair as she raised her head and said, “Madam Yoruko’s house was in a mess and there were signs of a battle between very powerful experts. Madam Yoruko was left in the rain and ignored by them, and she had several stab wounds. I wanted to carry Madam Yoruko into the house with the help of my subordinate, but I was stopped by some samurai from the Bureau of Justice who said that further investigation was needed and the body mustn’t be moved easily.”
Ayaka looked at everyone coldly, “You incompetent officials, which one of you went to the crime scene before the interrogation?”
Everyone’s faces changed, looking dumbfounded.
“We all received the report from my subordinates… I am guilty!” Kimura began to sweat.
“If Yoruko was really murdered by a sneak attack according to what was tesified, how can there be any signs of a fierce battle? Moreover, if it was a head-on battle, how could it be possible for someone in the Spirit Jade stage to kill Yoruko?” Ayaka questioned again.
“This…” Even Minamoto no Yos.h.i.+tada had nothing to say.
“Do you still want to talk about the law with me? You are not worthy. Yoruko’s murder case will be taken over by the Chief Advisor House from now on. The Bureau of Justice and the Right Imperial Division will immediately withdraw from this case! Listen carefully, if I find out that any of you are involved in Yoruko’s murder…even if you are Genji, I will definitely bury you along with Yoruko!”
Boom— A powerful airflow rocked the entire hall to the point where it seemed it would collapse, but no one could utter a word of reb.u.t.tal.
“Let’s go!” Ayaka pulled Lily closer and slid one arm behind her legs3, lifting her up.
“Eh?” Lily felt like the world was spinning as Ayaka hugged her to her chest. This time she was hugged in front of so many outsiders and her face quickly turned red in embarra.s.sment.
However, at this time, Ayaka’s strength did not allow her to squirm out of shame.
She could only rely on Ayaka to take her safely out of this prison.
Since she was too embarra.s.sed to face the crowd, she had no choice but to bury her face into Ayaka’s fragrant chest. She closed her eyes, allowing Ayaka to hold and carry her wherever she wanted to go, without looking at anything; without caring.
Ayaka walked out of the interrogation hall with Lily in her arms and said when she reached the exit, “Umbrella.”
An attendant hurriedly came over to hold a parasol for Ayaka and Lily who were about to walk in the rain.
Hos.h.i.+ Murasai followed behind them, but was continuously soaked in the rain and felt sour in her heart. They were both the female retainers of Big Sister Ayaka, but one was held so tenderly and powerfully, sheltered from wind and rain, while the other was neglected alone in the rain. Lady Ayaka didn’t even spare a glance at her.
Why is it that since the appearance of this woman, Lily, I have been repeatedly neglected like any other ordinary servant who serves drinks and tea… Hos.h.i.+ Murasaki’s eyes glittered with water, but she didn’t know if it was rain or tears.
Ayaka carried Lily into the s.p.a.cious sedan chair and the two left together.
The people in the interrogation hall dared not to breathe loudly.
Cough— cough… The white lotus dispersed and the Middle Counselor slid down the pillar until his b.u.t.t hit the ground, “Ouch!”
He looked angrily at the door to confirm that the chief advisor had left and scolded, “Yuck! Two women hugging each other in public, where is their decency?! She’s the dynasty’s number one minister, yet she knows no shame!”
In the hall, dissatisfaction with Ayaka was further brewing because of this matter4…
- Robinxen: You tell em dude!
- Robinxen: Spare me author
- Robinxen: This woman.
- Robinxen: The rebellion festers.