Chapter 26.2: Evil Intentions

The Emperor was completely oblivious to the chaos at the Empress’ place. All he knew was that his head hurt.

He looked at the two people kneeling in front of him. One was Sheng Xiaojing’s son while the other was Lu Yunji’s son. After becoming generals, if they were to work together, they would be the future of Great Tang. Unfortunately, they simply could not get along.

What happened was, Lu Qi had returned to the city after a hunt. However, he had reached back too late and the city gates were already closed. Eventually, Sheng Chumu opened the city gates for him but requested to search his body. Sheng Chumu then tied him up and left him for the mosquitoes for the entire night. 

“One of you is General Xuanwei and one of you is General Zhenyong. You are both generals and officials of the country but you fought in front of the city guards. Aren’t you guys embarrassed? I feel embarrassed on your behalf!”

Sheng Chumu spoke with conviction, “Your Majesty, I was appointed by you to guard the Xuanwu Gate. I am also concurrently guarding the West Gate and do not dare to make any mistakes. Lu Qi made trouble at the gates and I had no choice but to capture him.”

Lu Qi fumed, “Sheng Chumu, don’t push the blame on others! Your Majesty, Sheng Chumu is abusing his position and purposely made things difficult for me. He also intentionally humiliated my younger sister and triggered me, causing me to fall into his trap. Sheng Chumu is creating something out of nothing.”

Sheng Chumu wanted to put his face right in front of the Emperor. “Your Majesty, this whip scar is not something out of nothing.”

Lu Qi replied, “I merely hit once.”

Sheng Chumu exaggerated and shouted, “You still want to hit some more? Thankfully it was me and I am strong. If it were others, you would have killed them.”

Lu Qi brandished his fist. “You…”

The Emperor massaged his temples. “Both of you shut up!” Were they children squabbling?

Sheng Chumu and Lu Qi lowered their heads.

“Sheng Chumu, Lu Qi mentioned that you humiliated her sister. What does he mean?” The Emperor identified the root of the problem immediately.

“I was merely stating facts. I said that his sister did not become the Crown Princess. She was then engaged with Duke Cheng’s son but he fell sick. I asked Lu Qi to help me send my greetings to his sister.” Sheng Chumu smartly changed the tone that he had used and made it sound like there was no problem. 

Lu Qi glared at him from the corners of his eyes. “Did you say it like that? You said that my sister was a jinx and whoever that she is associated with will be unlucky!”

“Enough.” The Emperor changed the topic. “Lu Qi, how is Duke Cheng's son now?”

Lu Qi immediately became respectful. “I heard that it is getting worse.”

The Emperor was smart and immediately presented medicine, asking Lu Qi to retrieve it from the Imperial Physicians. He managed to send one away.

Thereafter, the Emperor faced the indignant Sheng Chumu. “Sheng Chumu, although you got hit once, you talked about his sister’s issue and even tied him up overnight. You two are now even. Both you and Lu Qi are court officials and should both know when to take a step back to preserve your reputations. I promoted you so that you can help me guard Chang’an, not for you to create trouble and vent your anger.”

Sheng Chumu answered monotonously. “Yes…”

“Lu Yunji had indeed gone overboard in Sheng Country and I understand that you are angry. However, for my sake, please do not find trouble with the Duke Chen Residence. In the future, I will find an opportunity to reward you as a way to compensate you.” The Emperor started off kindly.

“I do not dare to ask Your Majesty for compensation…” Sheng Chumu suddenly thought of something. Wasn’t this the opportunity that he was looking for? “If Your Majesty wants to reward me, I wish for a wife.”

The Emperor assumed, “Now that you have made something out of yourself, I will consider the issue with Princess Xinnan.”

“Your Majesty, that is not what I…” Sheng Chumu was startled. He did not want to fight his younger brother for his sister-in-law. Unfortunately, an internal attendant ran in to report that the Crown Prince had returned from serving the Grand Emperor.

Sheng Chumu saw that the Emperor’s expression turned for the worse and felt that it was no longer appropriate to bring up his own marriage issue. He then left obediently.

The Crown Prince entered and proceeded to report to the Emperor. “Imperial Grandfather is feeling much better now. He said that it is not good for me to be away from the Eastern Palace for too long. Since he is feeling much better, he does not need me to accompany him and asks me to return.”

The Emperor huffed, “Your Imperial Grandfather is really thoughtful of you and is afraid that you will be away from the Eastern Palace for too long. What is so bad about leaving the Eastern Palace for a while?” The Emperor would hear about whatever happens at Da An Palace between the Grand Emperor and the Crown Prince.

The Crown Prince became awkward as he did not know what to say.

The Emperor smiled. “The Grand Emperor talked to you about the Xuanwu gate coup. What is your opinion on it?”

The Crown Prince’s expression changed as he immediately kneeled down. He never thought that his Imperial Father would know about the things that happen between him and the Grand Emperor. The Grand Emperor talked to him about the Xuanwu gate coup. He did not dare to judge and had no choice but to listen. He kneeled for half a day because of it. He had finally managed to return to the palace and did not want to be on his toes because of it.

“Imperial Grandfather casually mentioned it but I did not dare to listen.”

“Why not?”

The Crown Prince lowered his head. “A son should not hear his father’s past. I…”

“A son should not hear his father’s past.” The Emperor’s tone turned sharp. “So does that mean that you think the Xuanwu gate coup is my fault?”

The Crown Prince rushed to reply, “I did not mean that.”

“If that is not what you meant, then why did you not dare to listen? I put my life on the line for my country and amongst my brothers, I achieved the most outstanding war achievements. However, the Crown Prince Li Jiancheng and Prince Li Yuanji, were jealous of my achievements. They worried that my influence and power would surpass them and pushed me to my wits end. I always hoped that my siblings and I could get along harmoniously. However, Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji went against me in every way possible and even tried to kill me. In order to protect myself, I had no choice but to stage the coup at Xuanwu gate. Now, the country is peaceful and the citizens are happy. This goes to show that my decision was right. I never thought that my eldest son would think that my past decisions were wrong!” 

His only regret was forcing his father to give up the royal throne. However, if he did not force him at that time, with the attitude that the previous Emperor had towards him, he would not have been able to escape death.

The Crown Prince was terrified. “Imperial Father, please calm down! I did not mean that!”

“Li Chengqian ah Li Chengqian, you are my eldest son. During the Xuanwu gate coup, in order to not leak any information, I only brought about eighty people initially. In the Qin Residence, when your mother heard that people from the Eastern Palace were about to attack me, she immediately asked your uncle to lead the troops from the Qin Residence to back me up. Before they set off, your mother made an effort to personally console the troops. All the troops were filled with gratitude and were willing to sacrifice their lives. After going through multiple hardships, I am finally where I am today and that is how you are where you are today. Have I not doted on you enough? Could it be that all these years of my affection, investment and teachings in you is not even worth a few sentences from the Grand Emperor? How can a few simple sentences from the Grand Emperor make you harbour suspicions and become uneasy?” 

What could make him feel worse than being rejected by his own son?

The Crown Prince bowed. “Imperial Father! I was wrong! From now on, I will not dare to listen to the Grand Emperor!”

“The Grand Emperor is my father and your Imperial Grandfather. You have to listen to him. What makes my heart break is that after putting in so much effort to raise you, you do not have a firm and determined heart. You are so easily persuaded by others and do not know how to stand on my side to form a world that is ours.” 

The Emperor sighed, “I am tired. Please leave.” At the same time, he ordered his men to call for Prince Zhou to read to him <<The Book of Change>>.

The Crown Prince’s face was solemn as he left Ganlu Palace. He was subsequently called to Lizheng Palace. He was thinking that the timing was just right and he could tell his Imperial Mother about what happened. His Imperial Mother would definitely stand up for him in front of his Imperial Father. He never would have thought that his Imperial Mother would slap him as soon as he arrived. It was only then that he knew that Sun Lingshu had complained to his Imperial Mother and said that he had been seduced by an actor. He even shared a bed with the actor and frolicked, conducting himself inappropriately. Official Situ had also been implicated as a result.

As the Crown Prince returned to the Eastern Palace after suffering two setbacks, he could not help but grind his teeth in frustration as he saw Sun Lingshu welcoming him. The best memory that this woman gave him would always be the first time they met in the Han Mansion. From then on, every day was worse than the previous.

“Aiyo, why do you have blood at the corners of your lips?” Sun Lingshu retrieved a handkerchief as she tried to help the Crown Prince wipe his lips.

The Crown Prince slapped her. “Despicable!”

Sun Lingshu fell to the ground as she was slapped. She held the side of her face as tears rolled down. She knew that the Crown Prince would be in a bad mood but never thought that he would hit her.

The Crown Prince looked at her cry, not feeling the slightest bit of emotion because she only knew how to look wronged. Without considering others, she ran her mouth and hurt him, Chen Ji and Official Situ. Yet, she acted as if she had done anything wrong and still dared to look like a victim.

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Coca's Thoughts

The next chapter will be released on Thursday! What do you think will happen next?

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