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102 Living Corpse

 After Mua Kong still refused to explain, the King gave up. He turned around and signaled for Mua Kong to leave. "I'll send another search party and tried to investigate from another angle."

Mua Kong remained silent. He turned around and proceeded to leave. The King knew that it was a futile effort to get Mua Kong to speak again. This was the first time his second son had talked this much with him in one setting.

After Mua Kong left, the King sat back down onto his chair and sighed. He thought of his late wife and knew how his son must've felt. He's the only King ever written in history that didn't have a harem. He never had to worry about women persuading him, or getting close to him with the intention to harm and overthrow him.

The King got up and walked behind the partition of his study chamber and a rest bed to look at the picture of his late wife.

The picture hung onto the wall next to the bed. He gazed at her photo with warm and longing eyes. Whether people call him a weak, greedy man who only loves himself and the throne, he had seen too many dramas, chaos, assassination attempts in all the King's harems before him.

As the youngest child and the weakest one, if it wasn't for his wife's skill and ability, he wouldn't have the throne today. The King gently touched the picture of his wife who never seemed to age.

She helped him take down his enemies and nourished his kingdoms. He promised her, he would never let his children live like him and she would be his only wife. Although he had two sons, neither was interested in being king.

His oldest son used illness to get away from the throne but would work in the shadows while his second son wanted to give the throne away to his first son. The King had never missed his wife so much. She helped him become the man he was today, gave him two children but sadly, she wasn't around to walk the journey with him.

Mua Kong walked away feeling dazed, a glint of helplessness reflected through his eyes, wondering where Hli Ja was. He eliminated the first suspect. Next would be the Prime Minister of Law, Da Neng, the one Chue Yi mentioned in one report.

Mua Kong thought being discreet about her would keep her away from danger. He planned to wait until he accomplished the goals set by the King, and then he would show her to the world.

But right now, he felt at a lost and angry at himself. Mua Kong failed to protect his wife. He thought if he kept her inside his home, kept his work problems away from her, would keep her safe.

To him, it was a method of protecting her from the eyes of others, but now he wasn't sure if what he did was the right thing. Maybe keeping her in the dark probably caused her more harm than good.

Back at Mua Kong's palace, he instructed one of his guards to infiltrate Da Neng's house. Since he didn't have solid proof but just speculation, the only thing he could do right now was to send someone to spy for suspicious activity.

At the crime scene, the investigators were able to identify some corpses. Based on evidence, these corpses were not burned in the fire.

Yee Len had fetched a coroner to screen the corpses for other causes. What Mua Kong suspected was all the people in the inn must've ingested sleeping drugs to not have woken up to the fire. He needed the coroner to rule out the cause.

Night time approached, at Prince Mua Kong's palace, he sat in his study chamber dazed and helpless. Time was of the essence in this case, and he had yet to pinpoint a clue to help him track down the enemy. He ran around the vicinity searching for clues of her but it was futile.

Mua Kong could not sleep nor eat to keep his body healthy.

Sitting in the study, with all curtains down, dark shadows loomed over Mua Kong's figure. The room was dark and gloomy, leaving no space for light to peek through as if the room itself could feel its master's depressed state.

A week has gone by, and the spy failed to gather anything suspicious of Minister Da Neng's house. Mua Kong agreed to give his spy another week to thoroughly search every family member without being obvious.

Some corpses who had family members that cared enough to track them down came and took the corpses away for proper burials. Those that remain, Yee Len, and the guards buried them ―gave them a proper burial.

After Yee Len expanded the search area and dispatched more guards, they still couldn't find Hli Ja's whereabouts. They had no lead to who had taken her, whether they may be from the palace or the neighboring country. Without leads, all Mua Kong could do was dispatch a few guards to infiltrate the Northern and Southern country.

The time in Mua Kong's heart had frozen at when he held her hairpin to his chest at the crime scene. There was no evidence of her body so he refused to believe that she was truly gone. He had a hunch that she was probably taken somewhere by someone and hoped that he would find her someday.

Weeks turned to a month, months turned to year and before long, over two years had gone by. Mua Kong still did not get any leads. He went to the border by the southern country for months to defend the territory and then take time to travel the country looking for Hli Ja every chance he got.

Since then, Mua Kong didn't look the same anymore. He seemed to lose the will to live on, but he had to force himself to live in case Hli Ja might be alive somewhere in the world. He became thinner, his eyes always looked so empty.