Chapter 23.2: Dismantling

Fu Rou did not know that she had become a problem for the Crown Princess and the Princess as she left the embroideries and headed out of the Eastern Palace. She coincidentally bumped into the Crown Prince and Chen Ji on her way back. This caused her to be momentarily surprised. Every time she saw them together, she could not help but feel strangely worried.

Chen Ji was limping as he called out to her first. “Fu Rou.”

Fu Rou replied, “Chen Ji.”

The Crown Prince remembered that Fu Rou also came from the Han Mansion.

Fu Rou asked Chen Ji, “What happened to your leg?”

The Crown Prince wanted to say that they had gone hunting recently and met with a tiger. Chen Ji helped block him from the tiger and ended up injuring his leg.

Chen Ji, however, spoke first, “Nothing, I fell off a horse and accidentally injured myself. Eh, I wanted to ask you. Where are my clothes?” He saw how Fu Rou was struggling to remember. “I tore my shirt previously and you said that you would help me mend it and even promised to return it to me. Alas, it is like Liubei borrowing Jingzhou, once borrowed, never returned.”

“That shirt…” When Fu Rou left the Han Mansion, she had left in a rush. “I am sorry, I forgot.”

Chen Ji waved his hand, “I am kidding.”

“Hurry up and get better.” Fu Rou then bowed towards the Crown Prince and took her leave.

After Fu Rou left, the Crown Prince teased Chen Ji. “You asked someone to help you mend your clothes. Do you like her? Head Seamstress Fu is pretty good. She is capable and beautiful.”

Chen Ji laughed, “What are you thinking about? We happened to bump into each other that time and she saw that my shirt was torn and said that she would help me mend it. Oh, the first time we met was when I helped you take the eagle from the tree. Didn’t you say that that golden arrow was bestowed on you by your Imperial Father and you could not lose it? It was that time. I tore my shirt because of you.”

The Crown Prince laughed as well. “It was all thanks to that eagle. If not, we would not be friends.”

Chen Ji became serious as he thought about it. “Mmhm, we should thank him. You should bestow the title of General Eagle upon it.”

“I will bestow the title of General Eagle on it and bestow the title of General Eagle Picker on you. Then the entire world will be filled with generals.” The Crown Prince replied in a serious tone, “Do you think that the title of general can be granted anyhow? Gullible!”

They exchanged glances and burst into laughter, wiping away the coldness of the Eastern Palace.

 

Empress Zhangsun’s attendant, Wei Song, sent over nourishing products to Concubine Yan. Recently, the Emperor often rested at Concubine Yan’s place. As she heard that Concubine Yan was not feeling well, as the Empress, she ought to show care and concern.

Wei Song returned and reported that Concubine Yan was listening to Master Faya’s Buddhist teachings. She was looking perfectly healthy.

As Empress Zhangsun heard this, she coughed.

Wei Song quickly placed a blanket around her. “Your Majesty, you must take care of your body.”

“Concubine Yan is so healthy. Even if I have to endure, I have to last a few more years. I can only relax after I personally see the Crown Prince ascend the throne.” Empress Zhangsun gripped onto the edges of the blanket.

“Imperial Mother.” Princess Xinnan’s voice floated in.

Empress Zhangsun sighed, “I also have this daughter that makes me worry.”

However, after Princess Xinnan told her that Fu Rou snuck out of the palace with Prince Zhou, Empress Zhangsun no longer blamed her daughter. She immediately called for a sedan to carry her to Concubine Yan’s palace. Fu Rou had to be punished for going against the palace rules but Prince Zhou would not be spared either. A mother cannot be spared from her child’s actions. She worried all day and had insomnia. How could she just let Concubine Yan enjoy carefree days?

Concubine Yan greeted her with trepidation. Prince Zhou was coincidentally present as well.

“Concubine Yan, I initially did not want to trouble you as you have just recovered. However, I can no longer bear this. I came over to ask Prince Zhou if in your eyes, you still have me as an Empress?” Empress Zhangsun saw that Concubine Yan was indeed looking well and charming. It was no wonder that the Emperor favoured her.

Concubine Yan feared having her son in trouble the most and panicked. “Your Majesty, why do you say that? What has Prince Zhou done wrong?”

“He took the liberty to bring Head Seamstress Fu out of the palace. Prince Zhou, you are disregarding the palace rules. Is it because you are certain that I won’t be able to punish you?” Although Empress Zhangsun was talking about Prince Zhou, she was staring at Concubine Yan.

Concubine Yan saw that her son was silently admitting to his faults, and immediately knelt. “Prince Zhou made a mistake. Please be benevolent, Your Majesty. It is my fault for not teaching him well and allowing him to do whatever he wants. If Your Majesty wishes to punish someone, please punish me.”

Prince Zhou kneeled as well. “Your Majesty, if you wish to punish, please punish me. Please do not hold it against my mother.”

“Prince Zhou, your mother has just recovered, quick help her up. Don’t let her kneel.” Since she has already kneeled, she will remember just who the master of the six palaces is.

Prince Zhou quickly helped Concubine Yan up.

“You all don’t know how difficult it is to manage the harem. As the Empress, I am only one person and rely on palace rules to manage so many people. If everyone does not abide by the palace rules, the six palaces will be in chaos. Prince Zhou, your actions have really put me in a difficult position.” Empress Zhangsun’s tone changed, “Concubine Yan, the Emperor favours you and the Emperor also adores Prince Zhou. I can help you cover up the matter this time.”

Concubine Yan bowed. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

“However, the palace has its rules and Prince Zhou cannot go against them anymore.” Empress Zhangsun stared at Prince Zhou. Prince Zhou initially refused to reply. However, as Concubine Yan secretly tugged on his sleeve, he finally answered with a “Yes.”

“The Emperor has many heirs to begin with and tens of thousands of palace maids have joined us this year. The harem has also expanded and became more difficult to manage. I was intending to reorganise the palace records. Concubine Yan, would you be able to help me?” Empress Zhangsun suddenly asked.

Prince Zhou immediately replied, “Mother’s health…”

Concubine Yan cut him off, “Of course, I will be willing to help. I have nothing to do everyday and would love to help Your Majesty.”

Empress Zhangsun pretended to be delighted. “Great. Then the first thing I need you to do is to manage the movement in and out of the palace. The number of people that can enter the harem is currently extremely complicated. The Emperor’s harem currently allows anyone to enter. How can this be? From tomorrow onwards, any monks or priests have to get the Emperor or my permission before they are allowed to enter the harem.”

Prince Zhou opened his mouth to speak but Concubine Yan tugged on his sleeve once more.

“Your Majesty is right. Entry to the harem should be more restricted. If the movement into the palace is stricter, Prince Zhou would also not be able to make a mistake anymore.” Concubine Yan knew from the start that the Empress came to make her life difficult.

Empress Zhangsun nodded. “It is exactly as you said.” This world belonged to her son and no one was going to steal it away.

 

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Coca's Thoughts

Aaaiiii so much drama. Life in the palace is tough. Drama between concubines, princes, dukes, servants...

If you could get a role in the palace, who would you want to be? And why?