Song Qingshu brought out a bronze mirror and put it on the table, then he moved a stool and sat down. After that, he opened the grocery bag he was carrying, and started to fiddle with the things inside.
It didn’t take long for the handsome young man in the bronze mirror to disappear, and be replaced by a wrinkled, haggard middle-aged man, who looked exactly like the old man beside him. Song Qingshu nodded to himself, it would be hard for outsiders to tell them apart.
Putting the two unconscious people under the bed, Song Qingshu sat cross-legged on the bed and began to circulate his Qi. After an unknown time had passed, there was a hurried knock at the door. Song Qingshu opened his eyes, and a smug smile appeared on the corner of his mouth, ‘They really came.’
“Who is it?” Song Qingshu pretended to be unsteady, staggered and ran to open the door, where he saw a group of officials and soldiers with bright armor.
“Masters, who is this?” Song Qingshu put on a humble smile.
“Have you gone blind!” A soldier on the side ran forward, pointed to the leader, and said, “Old man Liu, this is Director Sai, a first ranked officer of Prince Bao’s Palace.”
“Forget it, he is just a civilian, how can he know who is what..” The one called Director Sai casually waved his hand, “Old man Liu, Your Highness has summoned you to the palace.”
“Master, what does the Lord want me to do?” Song Qingshu said with a look of fear on his face.
“You’ll know when you go there. Don’t talk any nonsense! By the way, bring all your usual tools with you.” Director Sai waved his hand impatiently.
“Okay, okay!” The two soldiers escorted Song Qingshu back to the house, where he picked up a box on the side cabinet, and left with them.
Song Qingshu remained silent along the way, as he continued to act timid and meek, and finally, he entered the palace of Prince Bao.
After entering the palace, Song Qingshu was taken to a hidden courtyard, where Hongli had been waiting for them already.
After giving Song Qingshu a glance, Hongli pointed to the table beside him, “Old man Liu, I heard that your forgery skills are the best in the city. Look at the scripture over there, can you forge it?”
Song Qingshu tremblingly came to the table which had a delicate brocade box on it, and inside the brocade box, on a satin cloth lay a white Buddhist scripture—- the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters!
Holding it up carefully, and flipping a few pages at random, Song Qingshu’s eyes narrowed, ‘It really is the original Sutra of Forty-two Chapters!’ Turning around, he replied respectfully, “It can be forged.”
“That’s good…” Hongli stood up and motioned to the guard beside him to bring the gold ingots on the plate to him, “You have to forge this Buddhist scripture as soon as possible. If you can do a good job, then these two pieces of gold are yours. But, if you do a bad job, then hehe…” Hongli didn’t finish his sentence, but the threat in his tone was self-evident.
“I have been doing this since I was young, there’s absolutely no problem.” Song Qingshu bowes and humbly answered.
“Okay, Director Sai, I’ll leave the things here to you. You keep your eyes on him, don’t even let him take half a step away, you understand?” Hongli instructed Manager Sai before going out.
“This subordinate understands!” All the people in the room hurriedly bowed to Hongli. Song Qingshu took this opportunity to take out a forged copy he had prepared beforehand from his sleeves and replaced it with the real Sutra of Forty-two Chapters.
Song Qingshu couldn’t hide how proud he felt in his heart when Director Sai came to him and monitored him copying the fake scripture the whole time.
In the past, when Song Qingshu negotiated with Su Quan, he knew that she would choose to double-cross him, but he too had other plans.
From the very beginning, Song Qingshu never planned to split the spoils with Su Quan. Firstly, he didn’t think that the cunning Mystic Dragon Cult would obediently give half of the spoil to him. Secondly, he didn’t really believe that the Mystic Dragon Cult had the ability to help him.
Song Qingshu simulated the situation in his mind— what he would do if he was in Hongli’s position and had to exchange his precious grandsons for the equally precious Sutra of Forty-two Chapters.
Prince Bao’s Palace was huge and had many masters. Although he had the ability to catch all the members of the Mystic Dragon Cult in Shengjing City, it was still impossible to guarantee that one or two fish would not get out. It was too much of a risk, so he had to exchange the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters.
After thinking about it, Song Qingshu felt that the most likely choice for Hongli was to directly replace the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters with a fake one. After he exchanged the fake Sutra of Forty-two Chapters and got his grandsons, Hongli could easily hunt down and kill the people of the Mystic Dragon Cult.
Although there was a chance that Hongli might make other simple and crude choices, Song Qingshu would never underestimate the ingenuity of the powerful people in this world. Since Hongli could achieve his current position, the man could think of any strategies he could.
Therefore, Song Qingshu resolutely put all his chips on this possibility. On the surface, he haggled with the members of the Mystic Dragon Cult on how to distribute the spoils afterwards. In fact, he quietly inquired about the most famous forger in Shengjing City, Liu Laohan. After that, Song Qingshu spent most of the day observing his behavior and working procedures, and when he received the news that the Mystic Dragon Cult had snatched the twins, he immediately replaced Liu Laohan and waited for the palace’s summons.
Now that he had the real scripture in his possession, Song Qingshu would naturally imitate the fake one with a peace of mind. ‘As far as I know, in addition to Emperor Shunzhi and Wei Xiaobao, the only other person who knows the entire secret of the Sutra of Forty-two Chapters is Shuang’er. As for Kangxi, Hongli and the others, even if they know that there is a big treasure hidden in it, they don’t know anything about the map. It’s actually on the sheepskin cover!’
It was true that member’s of the Mystic Dragon Cult had no way to distinguish between true and false scriptures, but would he be able to fool Hongli? Of course not!
So, in order to make sure, Song Qingshu not only added the sheepskin cover in the fake scriptures, but he had already discovered the secret marks in the scripture when he was flipping through the scriptures in front of Hongli just now. These marks he found were really subtle, for example—certain pages were creased and some words had slight scratches.
“Let’s see how you like it when you you find out that I scre*wed you over!” Because of Xia Qingqing’s affairs, Song Qingshu didn’t have a good impression of Hongli. So, he cursed in his heart, as he replicated the secret marks on the forged scripture.
A few hours later, Hongli returned to the room. He looked at the two identical scriptures, and nodded with satisfaction. Then he suddenly frowned, “Which one is the real one?”
Director Sai and Song Qingshu pointed to the scripture on his right hand at the same time.
Hongli threw the fake scripture aside, and flipped through the scripture on his right hand. When he found the secret marks he had left on it, he felt relieved and showed a smile, “Take him away.”
“Yes!” Director Sai led Song Qingshu out of the room, and Song Qingshu thought in his heart, ‘Hongli won’t kill this guy, right?’
This was also one of the things he was worried about. If the other party really wanted to silence the witness, how could he escape without disturbing Hongli?
Fortunately, the other party didn’t seem to have that plan. Director Sai led Song Qingshu to a room and said, “You can’t leave the house during this time, so stay here temporarily.”
“Dare to ask the Director, how long do I have to stay here?” Song Qingshu behaved like a frightened commoner, and quietly put a piece of gold that Hongli rewarded him into the hands of Director Sai.
Director Sai’s expression turned for the better, “I didn’t expect you to be quite so eloquent. Don’t worry, you will be released after this matter is over. The specific time is not very clear, anyway, I will inform you when it’s the right time.”
“Thank you, Director Sai, thank you!” Song Qingshu sent him away gratefully.
Not long after, Song Qingshu opened the door and was about to go out when a soldier stopped him, “What are you doing?”
“I want to go to the toilet.” Song Qingshu said with a flattering smile.
“Come with me.” The soldier glanced at him with disgust, and led him out, while murmuring to himself, “What kind of errand is this?”
Song Qingshu followed behind the soldiers. Although he had his head bowed, he still glanced around out of the corner of his eyes.
Suddenly, Song Qingshu noticed that there were several soldiers standing beside a rockery, and there seemed to be a dark hole behind it.
“What are you doing?” When Song Qingshu got close, several soldiers drew their sabers and looked at him vigilantly.
“I…I’m looking for a toilet.” Song Qingshu said timidly, and couldn’t help glancing inside.
“Are you blind! Can’t you see where this place is? Do you think this is a toilet?” Several soldiers yelled.
“Several brothers, I’m sorry, I was asked to take care of this old man by Director Sai. I didn’t pay attention just now, so he got lost.” The soldiers who had led the way hurried over and apologized to the guards.
“I won’t hold you accountable considering Director Sai’s face this time. Next time, be careful and keep him under observation!” The guard scolded, and waved his hands to signal the two of them to leave quickly.
“What nonsense, they are just a few gatekeepers, yet they act so arrogant!” As soon as the two left the guard’s line of sight, the soldier yelled.
“Master, I apologize, you’ve had to offend several important people because of me.” Song Qingshu quickly apologized.
“Bah!” The soldier scolded, “Just a few prison guards, they are far from someone important”
“Yes yes yes…” Song Qingshu nodded and thoughtfully looked back at the rockery. And memorized the terrain firmly in his heart.
After returning to the room, Song Qingshu brought out a few things from his box, thought for a moment, then got up and walked out of the room.
“Weren’t you done! Why are you coming out again?” Seeing him come out again, the soldier guarding the door became immediately angry.
“Please calm down, it’s just that when I helped Your Highness forge Buddhist scriptures just now, I seemed to have found something strange in the scriptures. I didn’t dare to say it at the time. Looking back now, I think it is necessary to report it.” Song Qingshu quickly explained.
The soldier’s eyes lit up, and he hesitated for a moment, “You stay here, I’ll go to the Director of Sai.”
Song Qingshu nodded, and thought as he watched the figure of the soldier disappearing at the end of the corridor, ‘In this era, the subordinates will inform their bosses only when they’re very sure of the source of the news. Otherwise, if they disturb their bosses with some false news, they might lose their lives. At first glance, the director Sai seems to be the meticulous type. I just hope he is not so stupid and directly report this to Hongli.’
It didn’t take long for the sound of footsteps to be heard in the corridor, accompanied by the voice of Director Sai reprimanding his subordinates, “Why are you so careless and let him stay in the room alone, what if that old man Liu took the opportunity to run away?”
When Director Sai saw Song Qingshu, the reprimanding stopped. He ordered his subordinates to go out first with a wave of his hand, then his eyes glowed as he looked at Song Qingshu, “I heard that you’ve discovered some secrets in the scriptures?”
As Hongli’s trusted aid, he naturally knew how much Hongli valued this scripture. If he found out the secret of this scripture and reported it, it would be counted as a great achievement!
“Yes, when this lowly one was forging the scriptures just now, I found that…” Song Qingshu lowered his head, and his voice became lower and lower.
“What did you find?” Director Sai frowned, stepped forward, and moved his ear closer to Song Qingshu’s mouth.
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