The Jing Prince’s hands were still trembling after he left the western pavilion.
Only after balling up his fists did it get a little better.
The western pavilion now had two doors instead of one. After leaving the western pavilion doors, there was another set of doors after around ten zhang. Someone was always standing at these outer doors, and apart from a few people, no one was allowed entry. Those entering and exiting were strictly examined, and the security wasn’t any less than the Hall of Splendor.
The servants within the Jing Prince Estate all thought that the western pavilion’s Madam Hua was really favored. Such a large pavilion wasn’t enough for her, and the surrounding area had to be walled off as well. This was larger than the Jing Consort’s Changchun Pavilion by many times.
Someone with insight would think that this Madam Hua was becoming more and more arrogant. It was even hard to get through the doors now.
This someone was Senior Concubine Qiao.
After her body recovered, her thoughts had started stirring once again. She still had some knowledge regarding the rear court’s current situation. That person was still the only thriving branch on the tree, and the Jing Prince had basically moved into the western pavilion.
Her jealousy and resentment naturally didn’t need to be mentioned. But after her bout of jealousy she still needed to come up with a plan. Senior Concubine Qiao couldn’t think of anything, and wanted try her old method. However, she was stopped at the door every time.
“Senior concubine, please go back. This lowly one has announced your presence already, but Madam Hua isn’t willing to see you.”
It was the same words every time. At first Senior Concubine Qiao had felt a little embarrassed, but after a few times the embarrassment had faded.
“Hey you servant, senior concubine’s relationship with Madam Hua is so good, how could she not be willing to see us? Are you just giving an excuse because you’re too lazy to go report it?” Die’er scolded on the side.
That eunuch only showed a blank face and didn’t have any other expressions. “This lowly one has truly reported it. Senior concubine, please go back.”
After speaking, he no longer paid any attention to them.
At this time, the Jing Prince walked over. Everyone knelt in salute. Senior Concubine Qiao was ecstatically hopeful, and even before she was asked to rise she had already started complaining. She didn’t say anything bad about Xiao Hua. She knew that much. Instead, she said that the eunuch wouldn’t let her see little sis Hua.
The Jing Prince gave her a glance and didn’t stop walking.
“Don’t come again in the future.”
His voice fell, and his person also left.
Senior Concubine Qiao was stunned, and then was sad and heartbroken. The eunuch guarding the door stood there with a mocking expression.
“Senior concubine, let’s head back.” Die’er said quietly.
Senior Concubine Qiao didn’t say anything else, and let Die’er support her as they stumbled away.
Eunuch Fu was following behind the Jing Prince and said quietly: “This old servant personally picked out the people guarding this door. Those who shouldn’t enter will directly be blocked. They wouldn’t even report it inside.”
The Jing Prince didn’t speak and merely nodded.
As the capital entered a deadlock, the Jing Prince felt his heart burning with anxiety.
There was definitely something fishy going on, but what was it?
In his helplessness, Huang Qin finally suggested using retroactive reasoning.
Retroactive reasoning was, as the name implied, using the outcome of a situation to deduce its cause. It was mainly used to analyze cause and effect.
Senior Concubine Xu’s goals had always been obvious: the emperor’s throne. The current emperor was old, but not to the extent that he was preparing to abdicate and pass away. According to tradition, the crown prince would inherit the throne. If the Jin Prince wanted it, the first one he had to surpass was the crown prince.
In that case, how was the senior concubine planning on accomplishing her goals?
Apart from the emperor’s favor overcoming the crown prince’s status, the only other way was if the crown prince was impeached based on his moral conduct. Yet Crown Prince Luo Zhao had already been the crown prince for over twenty years without any issues regarding his moral conduct. Although it was said his personality was a little unsteady, with Empress Xiao and her governmental estate’s grandfather behind him, his position was as stable as Mt. Tai.
The remaining option was to raise an army and rebel.
But with the current emperor still present, a rebellion was out of the question. Even if he rebelled he would be committing the greatest crime under the heavens.
The Jing Prince thought back to his past life. The Jin Prince’s rebellion had happened after the death of their royal father.
At that time, he had received news about his father’s passing, and was preparing to return for the funeral. Halfway through the journey, he received news from the capital that things weren’t stable, and every vassal prince was ordered to return to their vassal states. News of the Jin Prince’s ascension came shortly after.
Only then did he realize the Jin Prince had revolted as he returned to the capital for the funeral. The crown prince had died, though no one knew how it had happened. The empress died shortly after.
According to the Jing Prince’s memories, the emperor would pass away four years later. In his past life, the Jin Prince had always been very “content with his place”, and only in the final years before the emperor’s death did he often get summoned back to the capital.
In his past life, the Jing Prince was merely someone who wasn’t remembered by Emperor Xi. Due to his two royal brothers being favored and often summoned back to the capital, the Jing Prince had even secretly been envious before. This was why he had such a deep impression of it.
Thinking to this point, the Jing Prince was shocked. Could some problem have occurred with his majesty’s body?
According to his intelligence reports, his majesty didn’t have any major illnesses. That time he fainted in court was also due to his age and from being overworked. But putting the evidence together, the Jing Prince concluded that something was wrong with his royal father. Otherwise the Jin Prince wouldn’t act so abnormally.
The Jing Prince had been caught up in the tiny details of his past memories and felt that the senior concubine had been acting strangely. He hadn’t able to figure it out, but if something was wrong with his majesty and he might not make it past a couple of years, then everything could be explained.
Huang Qin was still trying to come up with various conspiracy theories when the Jing Prince said: “Mister Huang. This humble prince is thinking. What if the emperor’s health isn’t good?”
Hearing this, Huang Qin was shocked. He was intelligent to begin with, and soon understood his meaning.
“According to highness’s words, this seems quite possible.”
“This humble prince will send someone to investigate.”
Theories were theories. They needed to know the truth.
Imperial Physician Zhou was a court appointed major sixth grade official within the imperial hospital. His medical skills were extremely high and he was deeply trusted by Emperor Xi.
There were no problems with his medical skills, but his character and how he handled things was a little problematic.
He was extremely rigid and inflexible, and didn’t get along with others. There was no one in the entire imperial hospital that he got along with, and he always came and went by himself. As time passed, everyone started viewing him as a blight. They respected him, but that was it.
“This Imperial Physician Zhou has thoroughly offended the hospital’s director.”
“That’s right. No idea how he managed to catch his majesty’s eye.”
“Who knows? In the past he didn’t stand out at all. Who knew he would be so trusted by his majesty within this half a year.”
Imperial Physician Zhou had suddenly sprung up from the imperial hospital. Although he had always been responsible for his majesty’s health, there were several other more prestigious imperial physicians doing the same thing, and he naturally didn’t stand out.
When his majesty fainted in court half a year ago, all the imperial physicians were in danger themselves. Many of those who went to take his majesty’s pulse that time had been chopped up. In the end, only Imperial Physician Zhou remained.
After the fact, the emperor was furious. He cursed those in the imperial hospital for being a bunch of quacks, and that Imperial Physician Zhou was the only decent one.
As expected, after Imperial Physician Zhou’s treatments, the emperor immediately recovered. Ever since then, he received the emperor’s respect, and became responsible for doing his checkups.
The emperor’s health had always been of vital importance. In the past, those who performed checkups on him were all famous physicians with outstanding skills who would collaborate, jointly discussing before prescribing medicine. The prescriptions all had to be carefully recorded, the dregs carefully preserved for future investigation.
Ever since that event, this Imperial Physician Zhou had created a new precedent. He was extremely favored and no one dared to raise any doubts. Since his majesty had entrusted his body to Imperial Physician Zhou, who would dare to meddle?
While they didn’t dare talk about it in the open, there were many remarks made behind his back.
Imperial Physician Zhou had never cared about those idle rumors, and went inside his office. After entering, he sat down behind his desk.
His hair was grizzled, the lines on his face extremely cold and stern. There were three clear furrows between his brows, as though he was often deep in thought. He was extremely difficult to get along with.
Recalling how someone had just tried to ask him about the emperor’s health, Imperial Physician Zhou furrowed his brows.
Actually he didn’t need to guess to know who it was. There were only a few who would care so much about the emperor’s health. On the surface they pretended to be concerned about his majesty, but everyone knew the truth.
Would anyone else come investigating? Imperial Physician Zhou truly didn’t know, but no matter what he only had one path left before him. That was to keep his mouth tightly shut without telling anyone anything.
He could still drag it out for a while if he didn’t speak. If he spoke, he would immediately die.
Dying earlier or later was still dying. A decision that would easily lead one to the yellow springs either way was an extremely hard decision.
The Fengqi Palace.
The crown prince reported the situation to Empress Xiao during the paying of respects.
“Mother Empress, we couldn’t get anything out of Imperial Physician Zhou. Your son has sent many waves of people to investigate, but he would always act astonished and then furious, saying that they were cursing the emperor and threatening to bring them before him.” The Crown Prince hesitantly said: “Perhaps we were overthinking things?”
Empress Xiao frowned: “Imperial Physician Zhou is strict and inflexible, and doesn’t seem like someone who would lie.”
After a long silence, she spoke again: “But this situation really doesn’t make any sense. Ever since that time, everything concerning your royal father’s health had all been handed over to him. If there truly weren’t any problems, why would it remain so exclusive?”
“Perhaps the people in the hospital offended my royal father. Otherwise he wouldn’t chop up so many at once.”
“The people in the hospital are extremely professional, and their skills are pretty good. They just like to push around the blame when something occurs, and are eager to take credit for the smallest thing. Your royal father had long since been furious about this. This Imperial Physician Zhou is inflexible, but has always been very direct and upright. Perhaps this was what caught your royal father’s eye.”
Empress Xiao sounded uncertain, and the crown prince was also able to tell. He sighed in disappointment, “Since he is someone who my royal father holds in regard, this son doesn’t dare to overdo things.”
“Has your grandfather found anything?”
At the mention of this, the crown prince’s expression turned even uglier, “This person truly is the leper of the imperial hospital. He comes and goes by himself and never interacts with anyone. Not only does he not have any friends, it’s said that he’s never been married before. He’s also an only child. There’s only an old servant in his residence outside.”
“Forget it, forget it. Perhaps we’re overthinking things. This person has been like this for several decades. You should just focus your attention on the Jin Prince’s side. Has there been any developments in the Jin Province?”
“We haven’t found where they’ve hidden the secret militia. Every time our spies get close we lose contact.”
“Intensify the efforts.”
I noticed some confusion regarding the random old women in the Jing Prince Estate last chapter. I was also a little confused but after translating this chapter I think it’s a little clearer. My interpretation is that Imperial Physician Zhou’s older sister should be ex-Imperial Physician Doctor Hu’s wife. In order to keep his family safe, Imperial Physician Zhou sent his wife, son and grandson to live at the Jing Prince Estate with their in-laws. As for why she addressed Dr. Hu’s wife as “sister-in-law Hu”, it’s because in Chinese the husband’s surname is used in the term, similar to how we would say Mrs. Hu in English.