As that person had said, Imperial Physician Zhou was truly embroiled in it and was no longer able to get out.
He was walking on a narrow and winding road with a sharp drop on either side. He could only walk carefully and seek stability. He wasn’t even able to ask for stability anymore. He could only ask for his family to be left out of it.
Who would have thought his reliable plan of sending his whole family out of the capital back then, leaving them in the hands of his senior apprentice brother, was actually sending them into the tiger’s den? He didn’t expect someone so silent to also have those intentions. As expected, there were no familial ties within the royal family. Even the most harmless looking person would change when it involved that seat.
But it was already too late to say anything. He could only obey.
Imperial Physician Zhou did as they asked and revealed several tells.
Emperors were all paranoid people. Imperial Physician Zhou knew this before, but only now did he experience it. He could feel the gaze above him slowly become a little different.
Imperial Physician Zhou was actually afraid of Emperor Xi, extremely afraid. When he saw his coworkers get dragged off that time, he had thought he was done for as well. Unexpectedly, he was left alive. He only understood afterwards that he was spared because of his skills and his reclusive nature.
Compared to the imperial physicians who had families and other concerns, he was the one with the least amount of things that could be used against him.
When Imperial Physician Zhou understood this was the reason he was left alive, he felt it was tragic and laughable.
Emperor Xi’s actions were all for the sake of concealing his condition. If he found out that it was known by someone, what sort of expression would he have?
The lofty monarch under the heavens who was in control of countless people’s lives.
Imperial Physician Zhou served the royal family but hated imperial authority from the bottom of his heart. Especially when something that had nothing to do with him ended up implicating himself and his family.
Therefore, despite being manipulated and despite trying to survive, there was also a part of him wanting to watch others make fools of themselves.
What would the lofty emperor do in such a situation?
“You mean to say that you have a family? You even have a grandson!?”
“This servant is guilty. Please convict this servant for his capital offense.” Imperial Physician Zhou was shaking all over, and forced himself to speak: “But at that time I didn’t hide it intentionally. This servant’s personality easily offends others, and it was hard to predict if I would cause any disasters. The Zhou family only has this lowly servant as support, and thus they hid away. It definitely wasn’t meant to deceive your majesty. Please see things clearly.”
After speaking, he started heavily kowtowing.
“This is to say that you revealed Our royal body’s situation to others.” Emperor Xi laughed a couple of times, “Great. All of you are extremely great, extremely great…..” His words were calm but his hand picked up the brush washing basin and brought it smashing down.
The crisp sound rang throughout the hall. The brush washing basin’s shattered pieces scattered in the air. Emperor Xi’s breathing was heavy. Imperial Physician Zhou was startled and frozen on the floor.
“We won’t kill you. Where would we find another Imperial Physician Zhou if We killed you? We will help you find your family. You can keep your head for now….”
The last few words were almost inaudible.
Emperor Xi didn’t help find Imperial Physician Zhou’s family as he said. Instead, the the people he sent to save them were actually sent to kill them.
If Imperial Physician Zhou hadn’t seen it personally, he never would have believed it.
That mysterious person had suddenly appeared and said he wanted to show him a good performance. They came to this wilderness in the middle of the night. Imperial Physician Zhou didn’t expect to truly witness a good performance. It was an extremely good performance.
“The people inside are all dead?” Imperial Physician Zhou couldn’t help but shiver.
Yang Hui gave him an indifferent glance and nodded.
“You people are too cruel…”
“Your whole “family” was present as well.”
These emotionless words made Zhou Jin shiver again.
The whole family was present as well!
At these words, Zhou Jin suddenly grew angry, as though concealing his indecisiveness, “I don’t understand why you guys are doing this. I haven’t said anything to his majesty so do you really think this will work? Don’t you think your master’s thinking is too simplistic? Or are you guys acting on your own, purposefully creating distractions? Don’t you think this is too preposterous?!”
Yang Hui lightly laughed, but his eyes were unamused.
“Imperial Physician Zhou is really overestimating Yang Hui. This was all ordered by his highness, Yang Hui is just responsible for carrying it out. Also, his highness isn’t just my master, but yours as well.”
Seeing him look disdainful, Yang Hui’s voice cooled, “Imperial Physician Zhou shouldn’t forget who else we have in the Jing Province.”
“You lot are the worst kind of scum!”
Yang Hui laughed coldly, “Imperial Physician Zhou, do you truly not understand or are you pretending? This isn’t just for his highness’s sake, this is also to save you.”
“Do you really think that side hasn’t tried to investigate you? They were merely blocked by our people! There is no such thing as an impenetrable wall in this world. Everything will leave a trace. Being able to remove all the traces today, isn’t it helping you completely resolve your problems?”
“Also, we don’t need you to tell him anything for things to work out. What’s the point of speaking? Your words will just be doubted. It’s best to let people come to their own conclusions….heh….”
Zhou Jin’s mind was already a complete mess.
“There might be another good show to watch tomorrow. Once you return, you should properly think about what you should do. Don’t end up harming yourself and your family. Most importantly, don’t end up harming his highness.” Yang Hui sneered and looked at him disdainfully, “I really don’t understand why his highness would spend so much effort on someone like you. It’s a pity you’re completely unable to understand his efforts.”
He didn’t wait for Zhou Jin’s reply, and ordered: “Take Imperial Physician Zhou back.”
To put it plainly, this was all just a setup.
Emperor Xi didn’t want Imperial Physician Zhou to have anything that could be used against him. After all, he needed him for his health. If he switched him out, he would have to worry about the new person messing up. Might as well keep using the old one. It’s just that someone with a weakness wasn’t reliable. Might as well cut things off cleanly. This would also cut of any other thoughts Imperial Physician Zhou might have and thoroughly make him his.
As for Yang Hui’s group, they took advantage of such thoughts for their plan. This allowed Imperial Physician Zhou to truly become a “recluse” and also used Emperor Xi to help him clean up potential future “problems”. At the same time, Emperor Xi’s people would find some planted evidence in that residence. Although it wouldn’t clearly indicate who it was that threatened Imperial Physician Zhou with his “family”, it was sufficient to stir the thoughts.
Of course, the crown prince’s side had no idea this had happened. They assumed they had managed to seize an absolute advantage. They scarcely realized they had been completely manipulated by others.
As for a minor character like Imperial Physician Zhou, no one cared about his feelings. Emperor Xi ordered someone to say things like “we wanted to save your family but the other party resisted, and ended up killing your whole family”. The matter thus seemed to pass without any aftermath.
However, the suspicions had been planted.
The emperor’s thoughts were always hard to read. Especially since he was someone who didn’t have long to live. The people who coveted what was his, and couldn’t wait for him to die, were all extremely disgusting in his eyes!
The crown prince had listened in on Emperor Xi holding court since he was young. Decades had passed but he was still only listening in.
Having remained as the crown prince for a while, he inevitably wanted to progress. With his younger brothers holding a blade to his back and with Emperor Xi’s ambiguous attitude, this sort of desire became even fiercer.
Now that the day was getting close, even though the crown prince had always been taught not to show his emotions, he inevitably revealed some hints of happiness.
Thinking about what he knew, the crown prince couldn’t help but sneak glances at Emperor Xi. He knew clearly this wasn’t acceptable but he couldn’t calm his surging emotions.
The moment court ended, the crown prince hurriedly took his leave. He didn’t notice Emperor Xi’s expression behind him.
Zheng Hai Quan who was next to him lowered his head, wishing he could burrow into the ground.
This crown prince really revealed all his emotions, and his methods were too immature. He didn’t realize his majesty was suspicious of him. Wasn’t he seeking death with his actions?
“Zheng Hai Quan. We haven’t gone to the Chunluan Palace in several days. Let’s go see the senior concubine.”
After seeing Senior Concubine Xu, the Jin Prince was allowed back to the capital once again.
Zheng Hai Quan who had seen this play out several times was already speechless.
August arrived and the Jin Prince received the edict summoning him back to the capital.
It wasn’t just him this time, but also his consort and his three children. These years the Jin Prince Estate got quite a few descendents. Just the consort Lu Xiu Ling had given birth to two daughters and a son for him. The Jin Prince’s little heir was only four years old.
The Jin Prince went to pay respects to Emperor Xi while his consort took the children to greet the empress in the Fengqi Palace. Afterwards, they went to the Chunluan Palace to see Senior Concubine Xu.
After so many years, Senior Concubine Xu was still as graceful as ever.
That oval face, willow brows, eyes filled with passion and a delicate figure that seemed like it couldn’t withstand the wind. No matter how one looked, she didn’t seem like someone in her forties. Time seemed to have stopped for her
Mother and daughter-in-law spoke a little before Lu Xiu Ling took the three children and left. Senior Concubine Xu spoke to the Jin Prince.
“Really, you should show her a nicer expression. She is your consort after all, and has raised three children for you. Even if you don’t care about her face, you should consider the Chengguo Duke’s.”
The Jin Prince’s face looked noncommittal as he said pointedly: “Why would she have such a big reaction in the Fengqi Hall? The Empress merely held Xu’er but she was so panicked? Isn’t it because she has a guilty conscience? Using a petty person’s mind to judge someone noble. She herself is crooked, but assumes everyone is as foolish as her!”
When Lu Xiu Ling came to the Chunluan Palace earlier, she complained tearfully to Senior Concubine Xu about what the empress did in the Fengqi Palace.
Actually, Empress Xiao didn’t do anything. She merely held the Jin Prince’s little heir and offered him some cakes. Lu Xiu Ling had been extremely frightened, terrified her child would suffer from an underhanded scheme by the empress. After all, their factions were at odds. Everyone was aware of this. Especially since the Jin Prince was more and more in the limelight. It was even hard for them to keep up a harmonious appearance.
Senior Concubine Xu had comforted her. She and the empress were truly enemies but her opponent wasn’t a fool. She naturally wouldn’t make a move on her own turf. However, Lu Xiu Ling was ultimately not reassured. What if she managed to do it somehow?
The Jin Prince’s words about a petty person judging someone noble seemed to reveal many conflicts and hidden things.