“You’re not even embarrassed…” said the prisoners. They all felt embarrassed for Ye Lang, but Ye Lang was oblivious to it all, rather enjoying himself. 

“Great, I can see you are all kind, reasonable people. You all know each other, right?” asked Ye Lang.

“No, we have never met before!” The thirteen people denied it immediately.

Bam! Ye Lang tapped the gavel, jolting everyone awake.

“How dare you! If you haven’t, why were you all arrested together? Working together to flatter me too! You’re all obviously a team!” Ye Lang had to insist they knew each other, casually looking for a reason to blame them, “You all are conspiring to betray your nation, guilty as charged!!”

“No! There’s absolutely no such thing, we wouldn’t dare!” The thirteen people were frightened. It looked like the Ye family’s thirteenth prince was not their saviour, but their destroyer, they were doomed!

Any observant person would notice something was wrong...

“Look at you, you all basically have ‘I dare. I’m a traitor!’ written all over your foreheads. Alright, it’s obvious, take them outside and chop their heads off!” said Ye Lang casually.

“…” This kid was ridiculous, if it ended just like that, what was the point of this entire thing?

The emperor and the rest wanted to stop Ye Lang, but now that the situation had escalated so suddenly, they didn’t dare expose themselves.

“Thirteenth prince, what you are doing now is a total disregard for our lives. We are not people of the Soaring Sky Empire. If we plan to cause trouble to betray our kingdom, we wouldn’t do it here!” One of them quickly replied.

“Oh, is that so? So you all plan to overthrow the emperor at your own place? Then it’s none of our business. But didn’t you just say you don’t know each other? How would you know they aren’t from Soaring Sky Empire?” Ye Lang smiled and looked at him.

“That’s...”

“That’s… because we met each other here,” lied another.

“That’s still considered knowing each other, you lied to me. Now since I represent the emperor, and lying to the emperor gets you the death penalty, you all still need to die!” pronounced Ye Lang with a grin.

“…”

“If you all don’t want to die, speak the truth. I don’t have time for your games!” Ye Lang snapped.

“What do you want us to say?”

“It’s very simple, tell me why you're here. You’re all from different kingdoms, but you gathered here together. There’s no way you came to travel!” said Ye Lang.

“We have no idea what you are talking about. There are so many people from different kingdoms in the Soaring Sky Empire,” said one of them.

“True. But not every foreigner is tough like you are! None of you have exposed your own identity yet, but you all have forgotten something. If an innocent person was arrested and tortured, they would have given in and confessed even if they were claimed to be traitors!” said Ye Lang.

“If it’s just one person that might be a coincidence, but all thirteen of you? That’s no coincidence!”

“…”

“Alright, so we all know you are all spies, but being a spy doesn’t lead to the death penalty. I need to know how many secrets you’re keeping from me. If there are many, then I’m sorry but I’ll have to keep you here!” said Ye Lang calmly.

“We don’t know anything! No matter how many times you ask us, it will be the same answer!” said one of them.

“Oh, really? Then let me ask you another question, what is one plus one?” Ye Lang asked one of them, still with his smile.

“…” Everyone was stunned for a while, confused. Was it a test? Was this to lower their guard?

“You don’t know?” Ye Lang’s face sunk.

“No...” That person was extremely cautious. He felt that even if Ye Lang asked if he was a boy or a girl, he could not answer Ye Lang.

Who knew what Ye Lang would do!

Ye Lang looked at that person, then said, “You don’t even know what one plus one is, you must be joking! Guards, take him out and chop his head off!”  

“…” Everyone was in a trance.

At this point, the emperor and others already knew Ye Lang was trying to find an excuse. Although this was a lousy excuse, this would have to do. This was what they had to do to get the results they wanted. So, they understood.

However, the thirteen people did not understand. If Ye Lang chopped off his head just like that, was it not considered disregard of lives?

[Translator’s note: Disregard of Lives/ treating human lives as grass- when an official sentences a person to death penalty for no reason. Frowned upon by people, considered a crime] 

“What are you waiting for? Drag him out, bring back his head and show them too! Don’t you dare think I was joking!” he snapped coldly. 

“Yes, sir!” Once the guards received orders, they dragged the person out as he screamed for help, and then…

The screaming stopped. The guards brought back the head. Ye Lang did not check, maybe he pitied him, or maybe he did not need to!

When reality sunk in, the rest of them grew terrified. They thought Ye Lang was only joking. They had never heard of Ye Lang being so reckless with human lives.

“Now, let me ask you again. What did you all come here to do? This is your last chance. I will not ask again!” said Ye Lang.

“We…” Some still hesitated.

“We won’t tell you, you should give up!” Some did not fear death, they were professionally trained.

“Oh, how about you answer the previous question? What is one plus one?” asked Ye Lang while he smiled at the person.

“It’s two, don’t ask something so immature,” said that person.

“You know too much! Guards, chop his head off too!” Ye Lang waved.

“…” Silence again…

Damn, what was that? Who wouldn’t know the answer…?

“Hmph…” That person acted cold and proud.

“Uh, don’t bring his head back. And before you go take this head with you too, it’s gross,” said Ye Lang.

“Do you all… know what one plus one is equal to?” asked Ye Lang while he smiled.

“Ah…” Some of them gripped onto their heads, going mad. Ye Lang’s smile, the questions… They were all enough to make anyone go mad.

Even the people in the darkroom realise they never wanted Ye Lang to ask them this question, ever! 

“I’ll talk, I’ll talk! I received orders to come here. But they only want me to observe, the higher-ups informed me someone will tell me what to do, and that someone will use a code signal,” One of them started to confess, but his information was not very valuable.

“How about the rest of you?” asked Ye Lang.

“Us too!” said some of them.

“Ugh, cowards, are you all even worthy of being spies?” scoffed some of them proudly.

“Good, I admire your integrity, you guys can go!” Ye Lang said to the bunch who scoffed, then surprisingly allowed them to leave.

“You’re letting us go?” asked the bunch, astonished.

“Yeah, just leave, don’t make me change my mind!” said Ye Lang. Ye Lang frowned like he’d just made a hard decision.

They left immediately without a second thought. Everyone knew this thirteenth prince was abnormal. As long as they got to live, they did not need to find out the reason.

“What about us?” asked the bunch who had confessed.

“Since you all admitted to being spies, I obviously cannot let you go. Our empire’s prison isn’t too bad, don’t worry!” said Ye Lang, then he imprisoned the spies.

“Ah…” Everyone did not understand what Ye Lang was doing, he wasn’t playing by the rules.

He released the ones who should be imprisoned, and imprisoned the ones who should be released!

“Alright, take them away!” Ye Lang knocked on the desk, hurried the guards to take the bunch of pitiful spies away. Now he was left alone.

However, he did not leave, he leaned and sat on the chair.

“What is this kid doing? Why is he still there?” The emperor and others wanted to leave; they thought the case was settled. He was acting weird again. 

Usually, after a matter, Ye Lang would be the first to leave the place, he would never stay. Unless this matter wasn’t over yet!

Not yet??

Yep, it wasn’t over. Soon enough, the guards brought two people in.

These two people weren’t the ones who were arrogant, but the ones who were supposed to be dead. The ones who were supposed to be headless by now, especially the spy whose chopped head everyone witnessed.

These two were the ones Ye Lang ordered for their heads to be chopped off!

“How could this be? That person’s head, I saw it clearly, it was his! How could he be in one piece now?” The emperor and the rest had their jaws on the floor. The head they saw wasn’t blurry or covered, everyone had taken a good look. 

“Take these two and lock them away, do not let anyone near them!” said Ye Lang, “I don’t like killing people, I’ll let other people deal with you both!”

In the end, Ye Lang felt even if he was given the power to, it did not feel good to kill someone. So, he used some sneaky tricks to convince everyone he had killed the two spies and achieved his objectives.

He’d obviously planned this with the guards beforehand.

“This kid must’ve used some kind of alchemy to create a fake head… It looked so realistic though!” laughed Ye Chengtian, who was filled with pride.

“Yeah, that must be it!” said the others.

Everyone thought the case must be over by now. There was an interesting twist though. 

Once the two were taken away, after a short while, the guards took one of them back in. This person was the first person to object Ye Lang in the beginning, the second person Ye Lang ordered to be ‘chopped’.