Not only did Empress Xiao invite the imperial medical center’s Chief Bai and several of the elders, she also invited the court’s two senior ministers.
The left minister Lin Jian had been an official for several decades. The prestigious Lin family behind him had been officials generation after generation ever since the founding of the court. The right minister Xu Cheng was the pillar of the commoner faction. He was upright and plainspoken, an honest official who loathed immorality, and was deeply respected by those in court. These two basically represented the two factions within the court. One represented the noble households and the other represented the commoners.
It goes without saying why Empress Xiao invited them.
Emperor Xi lay upon the enormous royal bed in the inner hall. His breathing was even, and if it weren’t for his pale face they would have thought he was merely sleeping.
Empress Xiao stood by the royal bed and said: “Imperial Physician Zhou is a physician who is admired by his majesty himself, and had always been responsible for his treatments. This seat felt that his majesty had to have a reason for his trust, and thus never thought about bringing in other imperial physicians. Who would have thought some vile people would dare to spread rumors harming this seat and the crown prince. In order to prove our innocence and remove the source of rumors, Chief Bai and the other two imperial physicians have been invited to examine his majesty along with Imperial Physician Zhou. May the two ministers please serve as witnesses.”
Minister Lin cupped his hands, “Empress’s considerations are thorough.”
Minister Xu said: “Empress is wise. This is the proper way of doing things.”
They spoke at the same time, and their character was apparent from their words. Minister Lin was from an aristocratic family, and his words were always a little restrained. Minister Xu on the other hand spoke much more clearly.
Empress Xiao nodded with a smile, and indicated for the physicians to go ahead with their examination.
After they finished, they went and discussed on the side for a bit. Chief Bai then stepped forward to report: “Imperial Physician Zhou’s diagnosis was correct. His majesty truly suffered from a flare up of medicinal impurities. In fact, his majesty’s royal body had already shown such signs in his earlier years. At that time, his majesty heeded our warnings and stopped taking pills. Unfortunately there were already too many impurities accumulated within his body. It isn’t apparent if they remain dormant, but the moment they flare up it would cause immediate collapse. This time he’s unconscious because his royal body is overly frail. By nursing him slowly, he can still wake up. It’s just the timing isn’t easy to grasp. It could be three days, but it could also be three months.”
“Then his majesty’s health has some major issues?” Minister Xu asked.
Everyone naturally understood what he meant by major issues. He was asking if Emperor Xi would pass away.
But this sort of thing couldn’t be directly stated. Chief Bai could only smile bitterly and say: “Superior Xu, it’s not that this lowly official isn’t willing to say it clearly. It’s that this thing isn’t clear to begin with. In theory, his majesty shouldn’t have reached such a stage, but as of now no one dares to speculate the outcome.”
Minister Xu nodded, and didn’t continue to make things difficult. However, his snow white brows were furrowed.
“Imperial Physician Zhou has been responsible for his majesty’s health all this time. Can we continue to leave it up to him?”
Everyone knew why they were all gathered here today. It was to see if Emperor Xi’s condition had anything to do with the crown prince and the empress. Since so many imperial physicians had verified it, there clearly wasn’t much anyone else could say about it.
“Imperial Physician Zhou’s medical skills have always been excellent. There are few within the hospital who can match him. Since he had been responsible for it all this time, then we won’t have anyone else interfere. This subordinate has no objections.” Chief Bai said.
Everyone present was intelligent, and naturally understood Chief Bai’s style of doing things. Such a situation would result in countless of heads rolling and families being exterminated at the slightest mistake. No wonder Chief Bai was quick to pass on the responsibility.
Poor Imperial Physician Zhou…..
The two ministers looked at Zhou Jin, their gazes containing a few shades of pity.
“Since this affair is concluded, this old servant will take his leave.”
Minister Xu was always a busy man. Now that things were done, he naturally wasn’t willing to waste his time here. Minister Lin also took his leave.
Once the two ministers left, Senior Concubine Xu and the Jin Prince also left. Although their eyes were full of doubt and unwillingness, the two old ministers had been present as witnesses so they couldn’t say anything about it. The remaining imperial physicians didn’t need to be mentioned as they all left as well.
Empress Xiao gave Zheng Hai Quan a glance and said: “Eunuch Zheng, keep an eye on things here. This seat is making a trip to the Fengqi Palace.”
Once they entered the Fengqi Palace, the crown prince suddenly let out a breath.
“Mother empress, your son had no idea Chief Bai was one of ours.”
Empress Xiao smiled, “Trump cards should naturally only be used in key moments. Your mother has been running the rear palace for several decades. How could I not put any of our people into an important place like the hospital?”
“Then what about the other two physicians?”
“Those two aren’t, but your grandfather has some blackmail on them.”
Hearing this, the crown prince revealed a relieved smile.
“Now it’s the Jin Prince’s turn to be worried.”
“Only when they’re desperate can we find some evidence. Once we have the evidence in hand, he won’t have any excuse to remain in the capital. Even if he doesn’t return to his vassal state, he has to shed a layer of skin.”
Mother empress, how long do you think we still have to wait—-” the crown prince couldn’t help but ask.
Emrpess Xiao looked at her son’s poorly concealed excitement and frowned.
“This matter can’t be rushed. There are no fools here. If we make it too obvious, not only will the Jin Prince denounce us in the chaos, even the court officials will criticize us.”
“Your son understands.” The crown prince knew the reasoning. “Zheng Hai Quan isn’t suspicious? He’s with father every day. Should we?” The crown prince made a hand gesture.
When Zheng Hai Quan was mentioned, even Empress Xiao had a headache. She thought about it and said: “We can’t. Zheng Hai Quan’s profile is too high. If something happens to him right after your father fell ill, it will provoke more speculation. It’s not appropriate to rush things at this stage. Luckily Imperial Physician Zhou’s skills are pretty good, and the medicine he prescribed is brilliant. As long as he cooperates, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
The two of them discussed a little further before the crown prince left the Fengqi Palace. Empress Xiao changed her clothes before returning to the Violet Imperial Hall.
While the empress was in discussion with the crown prince, Senior Concubine Xu and the Jin Prince were also having a debate in the Chunluan Palace.
“How can there not be anything suspicious? This prince doesn’t believe it, absolutely not!”
“Your mother also doesn’t believe it.” Senior Concubine Xu frowned deeply and said: “But so many people have examined him. The empress also resorted to drastic measures and invited the two ministers over as witnesses. Now no one is able to bring up any doubts. This empress is too crafty. She appeared to be flustered by us but had been scheming secretly. The situation developed too fast, and this seat couldn’t ask for more physicians to come in front of the ministers. After all, Chief Bai and the other two physicians are all elders of the imperial hospital.”
The Jin Prince clearly understood that Empress Xiao had tricked them, but some things could only be done once. They couldn’t spread rumors anymore. Firstly, the empress would be justified in punishing everyone and the court couldn’t say anything about it. Secondly, they would be going against the two respected ministers. Therefore, the Jin Prince and Senior Concubine Xu could only swallow this grievance.
“Lin Jian that old fogey is really useless. Couldn’t he have spoken up for this prince?”
Senior Concubine Xu smiled bitterly. “Not even you or I could have spoken up in that situation, let alone Minister Lin. The empress’s actions were too overt, and they were clear and reasonable. No one would dare object. Furthermore, with Minister Xu next to him, how could Minister Lin speak up?”
The Jin Prince’s words were also just venting his anger. As of now, he was in a difficult situation.
“It’s better to be careful in the coming days. Don’t let them catch any hints. Let’s plan things out slowly.”
“Your son understands.”
Once everyone had left the inner hall, Emperor Xi who was unconscious on the royal bed suddenly opened his eyes.
Zheng Hai Quan shrunk his neck back. He bent his waist and leaned in.
The person on the royal bed remained unmoving. He first laughed coldly a few times before suddenly saying: “We want food.”
Zheng Hai Quan said “yes” before going off to arrange it.
Emperor Xi arranged this plan to beat them at their own game. There weren’t many who were in on it: Imperial Physician Zhou and Zheng Hai Quan, as well as some of the eunuchs in the hall and two of Emperor Xi’s trusted aides.
Of course, this act came at a price. Just the meals alone were rather difficult. Empress Xiao remained the entire day and only left at night. While she was present, Emperor Xi could only endure his hunger. Zheng Hai Quan secretly sighed and wondered why this was necessary. However, a servant had no right to comment on his master’s decision.
Zheng Hai Quan quickly returned with a tray of food. Once Emperor Xi ate his fill and rinsed his mouth with Zheng Hai Quan’s help, he called for Imperial Physician Zhou who was in the side hall.
“You’ve done very well.”
Imperial Physician Zhou knelt on the floor, “Thank you, majesty, for your praise.”
“Rumor has it that people are often coming to you and asking about Our health. Is it the Jin Prince’s people?”
As for where he heard this, Emperor Xi naturally had his own channels. His plan this time was precisely for fishing out the people in the dark. Emperor Xi hadn’t believed Imperial Physician Zhou’s words and the crown prince’s slander.
It wasn’t clear if he would still stubbornly refuse to believe it this time.
“This—-” Imperial Physician Zhou looked anxiously at Emperor Xi and lowered his head again: “Yes. This subordinate ignored them.”
Emperor Xi’s face turned purple and then pale. He let out a couple of humphs before saying sternly: “We believe we’ve never mistreated them. We haven’t even died yet and they’re already thinking about Our position—-cough cough…..” Before he finished speaking, he started coughing.
“Majesty, calm your anger.”
Emperor Xi coughed for a long while before finally calming down.
“This performance is truly marvelous. How did We not realize in the past that everyone was so good at acting….Zhou Jin, did the empress not tell you when to take Our life?”
Imperial Physician Zhou was shocked, “No.”
“Ha, she naturally wouldn’t tell you. In any event, you’re just a subordinate following orders. She probably won’t be able to endure much longer. She’s only afraid of being criticized for it….even Chief Bai is one of hers. What else have We been unaware of….the Jin Prince as well…..”
Emperor Xi sat on the royal bed muttering to himself. His voice was extremely low, but it clearly sounded within Imperial Physician Zhou and Zheng Hai Quan’s ears. The two of them wanted nothing more than to block their ears and not listen to this. There more they knew, the more tragic their outcomes. Once his majesty was done with this performance, it would probably be their turn…..
Even the usually steady Zheng Hai Quan couldn’t help but start shivering.
Luo Huai Yuan was naturally aware of everything that had happened in the capital.
The heavens were collapsing in the capital but the Jing Prince still showed no signs of movement. Luo Huai Yuan couldn’t help but make a trip to the Jing Province.
After meeting the Jing Prince, he chattered on a whole bunch. He even gave him a few dumb ideas such as taking drastic measures and planning assassinaitons. He even hinted at the use of the “expert bro” within the estate.
Actually, he had falsely accused the Jing Prince. The Jing Prince wasn’t staying still. He had doing all that needed to be done, and was watching the movement in the capital to plan his next move. The Jing Prince just wasn’t good at convincing people. No matter what he said, Luo Huai Yuan didn’t believe him. He even stated that if things weren’t successful, he was planning to run off. Only with the Jing Prince’s repeated guarantees did he feel a little reassured.
On the other side, the capital became more and more chaotic.
Because Emperor Xi was unconscious, the palace was especially silent during the thirty-fifth New Year’s celebration of the Xi calendar.
The moment the festivities were over, the capital became tense.
The crown prince and Jin Prince’s factions were struggling more and more clearly. Imperial censors impeached the Jin Prince for remaining in the capital too long and not returning to his vassal state. The Jin Prince’s side weren’t pushovers and counterattacked by saying his majesty’s edict was for the Jin Prince to recuperate in the capital. Forcing him to go back required his majesty’s edict. Furthermore, with his majesty having remained unconscious, how could his son leave at this time?
The two sides quarreled fiercely and almost came to blows in court.
As for the struggles in the dark, things were at an impasse. The crown prince was currently at a slight advantage but the Jin Prince wasn’t without means to counterattack.
As time passed, the crown prince’s advantage grew more obvious and it was clear the Jin Prince was falling behind.
The reasoning was extremely simple. The crown prince was the principal son and also the eldest. He was currently in charge of the nation. The Jin Prince’s only backer was now out of the picture. Although he had accumulated a decent amount of influence, the emperor remained unconscious and people inevitably wondered if he was really done for. The moment his majesty passed away, the crown prince would become the rightful successor. At that time, the Jin Prince who had deeply offended the crown prince would really die without a proper burial. It wasn’t just the Jin Prince who was worried. Many officials backing him had also started wavering.
Knowing that they couldn’t let this go on, the Jin Prince, Xu Xiang Rong and some advisors had several discussions. They had no choice but to consider a military move. The Jin Province and Qi Province started secretly moving.
At the same time, the Yun Province and Jing Province also started moving.
The Jing Prince didn’t sleep for several days, throwing out all of his and the Yun Prince’s forces. News came in every few hours or half a day at most. Luckily, their subordinates had special means of communication that was very fast. Otherwise, it really wouldn’t have worked.
The Jing Prince and Luo Huai Yuan had an honest exchange, telling each other everything they had. Only then did Luo Huai Yuan find out that the repressed old fifth had done so much. Thinking of the things that had happened in the capital, he felt that the person in front of him was a freak. Was it really as he thought? Was this what a male lead’s aura should look like?
Luo Huai Yuan felt inferior.
Towards Luo Huai Yuan’s admiring yet slightly aggrieved glance, the Jing Prince said with a rigid face: “You also contributed a lot to this. If it weren’t for your spies in the Jin Province and Qi Province, this prince’s moves wouldn’t have gone so smoothly.”
Instigating conflict sounded easy but actually took a lot of effort and resources. The Jing Prince’s own forces were somewhat lacking, and only with their combined strength did things proceed smoothly.
This won’t be mentioned for now. The two of them had cooperated for a while and understood each other pretty well. If he hadn’t been completely confident, the Jing Prince wouldn’t have told Luo Huai Yuan everything.
Since things were laid out, there were naturally things for Luo Huai Yuan to do. The two discussed a little further before each busying themselves.
Things were tense. After some consideration, the Jing Prince and Luo Huai Yuan took their own men and secretly headed to the capital.
Luo Huai Yuan brought his wife and children with him.
The Jing Prince was completely unable to comprehend this. Luckily the two of them weren’t travelling together. They each went their own way after planning to meet up near the capital.
Niu Niu and Jian’er were still young and naturally weren’t aware of where they were going. They assumed their parents were taking them out to play. Yan Yan understood some of it. Actually her man wanted to bring her alone, but was afraid something would happen to the children back at the estate so they were brought along as well.
They didn’t dare rest on the road and hurried over to the capital.
They first stopped at one of the manors that was part of Yan Yan’s dowry. Then, Luo Huai Yuan became so busy they rarely saw him. The next time he appeared, he secretly took Yan Yan and the children into the city. They first visited the Qi Estate and left the two little ones to their grandma Shen Yi Yao to look after. He and Yan Yan went to stay at a private residence near the Qi Estate.
The capital had been very peaceful recently.
Of course, that was just on the surface. In reality, the Jing Prince and Luo Huai Yuan knew that the Qi Province had already started gathering troops. On the surface, the Jin Prince’s faction was engaged in tai-chi with the crown prince’s faction, arguing about trivial matters.
On this day, nothing seemed to be differnet. The palace operated as before.
Emperor Xi even had a tantrum, cursing about unfilial things before falling asleep out of weariness. He slept very well and dreamt a beautiful dream. In his dream, he was filled with vitality and no longer about to die. Suddenly, he was startled awake and realized the palace was in chaos.
The cries of “attack” and “kill” sounded far from the Violet Imperial Hall, but it was still faintly audible. In front of him was Zheng Hai Quan’s startled face. It turned out Zheng Hai Quan had woken him up.
Emperor Xi sensed something was wrong and asked what was going on.
Zheng Hai Quan didn’t know either. He had sensed that there seemed to be disturbances in the palace and ordered people to investigate. However, no one returned to report. Seeing that something was wrong, he braced himself and woke Emperor Xi.
The palace was truly in chaos. The previously quiet night was disturbed by the sound of footsteps and the light of flames, startling people awake from their dreams.
The eastern palace was in the midst of things. The guards had just reacted when they were mercilessly slaughtered. None of them were prepared and soon, the group of people dressed in the attire of the Jinwu Guard had rushed into the eastern palace.
The crown prince was startled awake. For the sake of safety, he had people protect him as he went to hide himself.
The hiding place was extremely secret. It was within an artificial mountain in the garden. From the outside it looked like a normal artificial mountain but it was actually specially made. No one in the world knew about this place. Chen Qi had been with the crown prince prior to coming here, so he was brought over as well.
Tragic crying and screaming sounded everywhere. The crown prince would have lived his decades in vain if he still didn’t realize what was going on.
It was a rebellion!
There was no doubt that the treacherous Jin Prince was responsible. The crown prince gritted his teeth in rage. They had been prepared for the Jin Prince’s desperate moves and had sent many people to keep an eye on him. The movements in the Qi Province were known to the crown prince, and he had sent people to stop them. He didn’t expect the Qi Province to be a distraction. The assault on the palace was the real move. The Jin Prince had actually faked them out!
The crown prince was anxious and scared. He was anxious that something might happen at the Fengqi Palace and scared for his own life. However, he had some confidence in this hiding place of his. He was even imagining how he would have the Jin Prince die without a burial once he escaped.
The sound of people searching for the crown prince rang out. The footsteps came and went, making the heart tremble. The air was filled with the scent of blood. It wasn’t clear how many people had died in the eastern palace. Chen Qi leaned against the wall of the artificial mountain and motionlessly listened to the movements outside. He occasionally reported things to the crown prince.
On the other side, Emperor Xi had established contact with the outside.
Of his two trusted imperial guard commanders, one wasn’t on duty but the other was present. However, there was little he could do by himself. The situation outside was truly too chaotic. Many of the Jinwu Guards who were on duty today had revolted. Now, even Commander Zhang wasn’t sure how many of his subordinates weren’t traitors.
Having received Emperor Xi’s orders, Commander Zhang ordered his troops to battle the traitors. Many brothers who had drank, gambled and whored together were now crossing blades.
When Commander Zhang went to meet Emperor Xi, his bright armor was stained with fresh blood. It was clear the situation outside was tragic. Luckily, prior to coming, he had already regained control over part of the situation and gathered some subrodinates that could be used.
Commander Zhang reported the general situation. The Jin Prince was confirmed to have rebelled. Because many of the troops had also rebelled, including many high-ranking officers from the Jinwu Guard and Huben Guard, the situation wasn’t clear at the moment.
Emperor Xi’s anger and worry struck at his heart and he almost passed out. Only with Imperial Physician Zhou’s acupuncture was he able to regain some clarity. Then, he threw a golden medallion to Commander Zhang, giving him full authority to suppress the traitors and release the news that Emperor Xi had awoken.
Over at the eastern palace, the Jin Prince had long since arrived. He wore a set of black armor and had an austere expression.
They had searched the entire eastern palace but the crown prince was nowhere to be found. The Jin Prince ordered for the surroundings to be dug up until they found him.
Within the artificial mountain, it was possible to see the movements outside. The crown prince had long since lost his patience and pushed Chen Qi aside, sticking against the wall himself.
The Jin Prince could be seen through the small crack. The crown prince gritted his teeth in hatred but he had to hold his breath, deeply afraid of being discovered. His hatred surged inside him.
Suddenly, the crown prince felt a chill against his back. A wave of pain made him want to cry out but he was pressed against the wall and his mouth was blocked.
He turned his head and glared viciously at Chen Qi, his eyes bloodshot and almost bulging out.
He wanted to speak but wasn’t able to. He felt him exerting more strength and an indescribable pain stabbed into his heart. He felt his vision darken.
Chen Qi was one of the Jin Prince’s people?
This was the crown prince’s last thought prior to his death.
Chen Qi carefully looked outside. He took off his eunuch’s outfit and pressed it against the crown prince’s wound tightly. He could feel the corpse gradually turn rigid as he observed the movements outside.
A large ruckus sounded out. The traitors rushed away like flowing water. Before long, there was no one outside anymore. Only then did Chen Qi open the artificial mountain’s mechanism and step out.
He swiftly dragged the crown prince’s body to the middle of the courtyard, picked up his bloodied clothing and disappeared into the night.
First of all, an apologies to all my readers. The plot overlapped with the chambermaid novel in the last few chapters. This wasn’t what I expected to happen and I had said that it wouldn’t overlap. However, after racking my brains, I realized that if things didn’t overlap, somethings wouldn’t be clear.
In the chambermaid novel, this part had already been abbreviated because for repressed Jing, Emperor Xi, the crown prince and the Jin Prince weren’t really his enemies. Even though he had died once, it could only be said the Jin Prince’s schemes were vicious. Based on repressed Jing’s personality, revenge doesn’t seem to be a strong motivation. He just wants to survive. Therefore, things were kept concise and it was merely summarized.
The Yun Prince is the opposite. He wishes nothing more for those who bullied and harmed him to die. Of course, this was just due to his personality. Also, due to Xu Xiang Rong and Yan Ting’s final outcome, this part cannot be simplified. Therefore, it inevitably overlaps with the chambermaid novel.
Some readers say that this author is merely copy and pasting parts of the overlap. This is truly the case, but I’ve also considered things and removed and simplified everything I could. Even the diction was edited in some cases, as well as some details and plot points. Of course it isn’t very obvious. If it isn’t compared side by side, those who read both novels will certainly feel like it’s a repeat. In reality, there are many differences. This author won’t go into detail on the efforts I put in. This is because I have to answer not only to myself, but also to my readers after writing something. Actually, this author is also rather vexed at this sort of situation.
The situation above is for those who have read both novels. Another concern is that for readers who have only read this one, if the situation isn’t clarified enough, they would be completely confused. This inevitably needs to be taken into account.
This author has estimated the overlap to be around several thousand words. I definitely won’t let everyone suffer a loss. Therefore, these words are gifted for free. I had planned to do this already but I didn’t know exactly how many words there would be, and also the site doesn’t allow part of the story to be added to the author’s notes. This author has been warned about it by the editor in the chambermaid novel. Therefore, I had to be more cautious. These two chapters only require one chapter’s worth of points to purchase. Treat it as an apology from thie author.
Hopefully everyone canempathize. Those who read both novels can naturally understand how old fifth ended up on the throne and what the fatty did during that time. But some readers have only read this book. We have to take responsibility for those readers and make sure this story is complete. Apologies for the inconveniences caused by these two chapters. Hopefully everyone doesn’t mind it.