Fan Tianxing was kneeling below and saying, "Your Majesty, this official thinks that Marquis Moyu's influence has grown to big, and he's a threat to imperial authority. It would be for the best if his power was reduced. Zhangjun Prince has also shown that he has ambitious desires during his visit. The dowager empress will inevitably be influence by her parent-child relationship. Your Majesty, you would be put into an extremely disadvantage position if Marquis Moyu had traitorous intentions in the future."
The new emperor was currently sitting in his wheelchair inside Qinzhen Hall. His expression looked rather impatient as he said, "Marquis Moyu has displayed his absolutely loyalty to this country, and you want this emperor to abandon him?"
"It's not as serious as having to abandon him." Fan Tianxing sighed and said, "It's fine as long as Your Majesty can have absolute grasp of his loyalty."
If this wasn't possible, then that knife could turn around at anytime and be directed at him. That wouldn't be good.
Zhao Li made a light sound of agreement. Since Ning Yuxuan had been responsible for the success of the ancestor veneration ceremony, he had originally been thinking about bestowing a reward. However, Fan Tianxing and the other trusted officials had all put forth the suggestion that he should be more guarded against Ning Yuxuan.
Ning Yuxuan hadn't even shown any signs of being upset when the entire Nie Clan had been executed in front of him. On the contrary, he had been assisting him with managing the country so that everything was going smoothly. Consequently, Zhao Li had already gradually lowered his vigilance towards him. As for his oldest imperial brother, by the time that Zhao Zhe could raise a powerful army, his hold on the throne would already be too strong to break. What was there to worry about?
These were his initial thoughts, but his personal servant suddenly announced, "Your Majesty, Kangyuan Junzhu is requesting an audience."
Kangyuan Junzhu was his most beloved younger maternal cousin. She was also the person that had always been silently supporting him. This was the reason why he had given her hand in marriage to Ning Mingjie. As the current Zhenyuan General that had control over the military, Ning Mingjie was naturally someone that he needed to win over to his side.
"Junzhu, please come in."
Kangyuan Junzhu had brought the painting with her. She didn't bother saying anything and just handed over the painting to the new emperor.
It was a painting of familial domestic bliss. Based on how little the ink had faded and the coloring on the paper, this was painted recently.
"This painting was unexpectedly acquired in Marquis Moyu's estate," Kangyuan Junzhu said, "Kangyuan met the woman in this painting in Jing Province."
Zhao Li slightly straightened his posture.
Since Marquis Moyu had divorced Qi Siling, Zhao Li hadn't tried interfering in the marquis's household again, so he was bit absent-minded when he first glanced at the people in the painting.
Kangyuan looked at Zhao Li as she said, "Zhenyuan General has been frequently murmuring this name in his sleep recently. This woman had been in Jing Province, and there were many interactions between her and the general. If I hadn't impeded them back then, he probably would have brought her back to the capital as an honored concubine."
Zhao Li seriously looked at that painting for a long time. "Are you sure that you're not mistaking her for someone else?"
"Yes." Kangyuan earnestly shook her head.
Zhao Li touched the child in the painting and lightly said, "Go home first."
"Understood." When Kangyuan Junzhu looked at Zhao Li one more time, there was a hint of unwillingness to part from him in her gaze. But, there was a court official in the hall, so she could only withdraw.
Zhao Li looked at Fan Tianxing and asked, "What happened to the child that Qian Lianxue took?"
Fan Tianxing respectfully placed one hand in front of the other and said, "It was originally going to be sent to the first prince, but something happened in the middle and the child was lost. The first prince's side doesn't have any further news of this matter either."
Marquis Moyu shouldn't have had children. People that have children will inevitably be pinned down by their enemy. Zhao Li sighed. It was unfortunate that Qian Lianxue had lost to Nie Sangyu, and he had to give up his most useful chess piece. Otherwise, there would have never been a child in the marquis's household in the first place.
Zhao Li looked at Fan Tianxing and ordered, "Investigate this matter. That child has to be found."
"Understood," Fan Tianxing assented.
As Zhao Li looked at that painting again, he slightly pursed his lips. He hoped that he was just overthinking things. Otherwise, Ning Yuxuan was really too horrifying.
Ji Man felt a bit ill-at-ease today. She was teaching Haohao idioms today, and Haohao was being very studious, but she had gotten distracted herself.
Haohao was moving his head back and forth as he recited, "A promise must be kept. A promise is worthy of a thousand gold." He was wearing a hat today that the embroideress had recently finished embroidering with symbols of happiness and longevity. The hat really brought out his liveliness.
After he finished reciting the idiom, he turned his head to see that his teacher was lost in thought. Unhappy, Haohao stuck his little butt out and started to climb up Ji Man's leg. "Teacher, teacher!"
"Hmm?" When Ji Man returned to her senses, she saw a small child on her lap.
With a utmost earnest expression, Haohao asked, "Teacher, are you having daytime thoughts?"
Ji Man chuckled. "That's not how you use that idiom. Teacher was just thinking about how cute you are and what I should reward you with later."
* (T/N: Haohao only remembered part of the idiom. The full idiom's figurative meaning is that you dream at night about your daytime thoughts.)
Haohao happily and excitedly shook her leg and said, "I want to hear a story told by you."
"Alright, teacher will tell you a story called The Emperor's New Clothes." Ji Man stroked his head.
Just as Ji Man was about to pick him up so that she could stand up to get a drink of water, she heard a servant girl call out, "Teacher Ji, Madam has asked for you to go over to her courtyard."
Liu Hanyun? What did she want now? Ji Man slightly furrowed her brow. She really want to respond with, "I'm busy teaching right now." Still, remembering that Marquis Moyu had been called into the palace today and even the mightiest of dragons couldn't crush a snake in its own territory, she decided to obediently hand Haohao to a servant girl to watch over and go to Linghan Courtyard by herself.
When she got there, Liu Hanyun had put out tea. Without much expression on her face, she asked Ji Man to sit down.
"Xi-er is about the age when he should start taking classes too," Liu Hanyun said, "The reason that I asked Teacher Ji to come over today was to ask if you could teach Xi-er along with the heir."
Xi-er was hiding behind a wall partition and silently looking at the outer part of the room.
Ji Man smiled and said, “If Young Master Xi is going to attend classes, the matter will have to be discussed with the marquis. This one can't make that decision."
"Isn't the marquis absent today? That's why I want to discuss the matter with you." Liu Hanyun unhurriedly asked, "Teacher Ji, do you not want to teach him?"