Chapter 59.1: Undercurrent

Concubine Yan woke up from her afternoon nap. Yu He presented a letter to her.

After reading the letter, she spoke plainly. “Prince Zhao despised Qian Wenjing for his strict teaching method and collaborated with others to kill Qian Wenjing. Qian Wenjing found out about the plan and captured the person who instigated Prince Zhao. However, he helped Prince Zhao to hide it and did not report it to the Emperor.”

Yu He replied, “Tutor Qian’s personality is upright and fiery but his heart is soft.”

“He is a compassionate teacher, that is why Ge’er respects him so much.” Concubine Yan smiled. “It is Prince Zhao’s good fortune to receive Qian Wenjing’s assistance. My relationship with Concubine Xi is pretty good, I cannot use her son as a weakness. Hopefully, Prince Zhao knows what is best for him.” She returned the letter to Yu He.

An internal attendant came in to report that Concubine Xi had come to visit. Yu He frowned as he heard this and Concubine Yan saw his reaction. 

At this moment, Concubine Xi walked in smiling brightly. Concubine Yan smiled as well. “Sister, how come you are free to visit me today?” 

“My elder cousin, Wang Zuozhong, has arrived in Chang’an to report for duty. He has received the Emperor’s grace and was allowed to enter the palace to meet me.” Concubine Xi took a gift box from her personal maid. “In the past, I had Prince Zhao to talk to, to relieve my boredom. Ever since he has gone to Zhao County, it is much quieter at my place. It was rare to have a family member visit and I was naturally excited. My elder cousin brought a few boxes of almond biscuits for me. Sister, you might have seen a lot of these and don’t care for them. But these still carry the flavour of being brought from afar. Hence, I brought some for you to try.”

“This is such a rare item. You should present them to the Empress first.” 

“I already sent two sets to Her Majesty. This box is for you.” 

“Thank you.” It was only then did Concubine Yan nod and accept the biscuits. 

Yu He stepped forward to receive the almond biscuits. Concubine Xi looked at Yu He.

“Is there something wrong?” Concubine Yan asked. 

Concubine Xi replied, “My elder cousin saw Chief Yu when he visited the palace and said that Chief Yu looked like someone he had met before. I have never thought so but now that I hear him say it, I do think that Chief Yu does look familiar.”

Concubine Yan’s expression changed slightly as she put on a smile. “Sister, you are really funny. He is always moving about in the harem. Of course you would find him familiar after seeing him so many times. It would be weird if you did not recognise him.”

Concubine Xi thought about it. “You are right.”

Concubine Yan picked up a piece of almond biscuit and placed it in her mouth. She commented that it was very sweet. Concubine Xi sat for a while more before taking her leave. After she left, Concubine Yan stopped smiling. 

Yu He was worried. “Your Highness, I am afraid that Concubine Xi has found out where I am from.”

“That may not be. The fact that she could say it in front of me means that she has yet to remember.” A cold look flashed through Concubine Yan’s eyes. “However, when it comes to things like this, once there is a slight suspicion, it will turn into a disaster. Where is the letter that I passed you just now?”

Yu He gave it to her. 

Concubine Yan pondered for a while as she held the letter. She then spoke coldly. “Go and find an Imperial Censor. Order him to tell the Emperor about what Prince Zhao did.”

A mother can flourish because of her child but she could also be worn out by them. With Prince Zhao down, Concubine Xi’s life would also be difficult. 

 

Prince Zhao rebelled!

The Imperial Censor reported that Prince Zhao and his fellow officials had plotted to kill Qian Wenjing. Although the plot had been stopped in time by Qian Wenjing, the Emperor was still furious. He immediately ordered Prince Zhao and Qian Wenjing to return to Chang’an to explain what had happened. When Prince Zhao received the decree, he wanted to pretend to be sick so that he would not need to go. He did not expect Qian Wenjing to believe that he was truly sick and go ahead to Chang’an by himself. Prince Zhao thought that Qian Wenjing was rushing to Chang’an before him to complain about him and he chased after Qian Wenjing and killed him. He knew that the Emperor would not forgive him. Hence, he decided to just go all out as he brought troops with him to rebel. 

In a fit of anguish, Prince Zhou requested for an army to suppress the rebel troops. The Crown Prince sang the same tune and recommended Lu Qi to lead the troops. The Emperor could not decide who to grant permission and said that they shall discuss it during the following morning’s court session.

When Prince Zhou left the morning court session, he started to drink to drown his sorrows. He would not listen to Concubine Yan’s advice. To him, Qian Wenjing was a teacher as well as a father. He was the person that was the second closest to Prince Zhou after Prince Zhou’s own parents. 

“Give me more wine.” The wine jar was empty and daylight had changed to moonlight. Prince Zhou continued to drink.

Someone brought him a bottle of wine and helped him to pour a drink. He smelt a familiar scent as he lifted his eyes to look. It was Fu Rou. 

“Mother has already sent many people to tell me to stop drinking. You should give up telling me. Let me get drunk tonight.” He wanted to get drunk to forget all his sorrows. 

“I am not here to ask you to stop drinking. I am here to accompany you.” Fu Rou sat down and poured herself a drink. She finished it in one gulp. “Although I did not formally become his apprentice, in my heart, I had already acknowledged him as my teacher after that night of teachings. Women are benevolent but they also have their own conduct. In the past, I had a lot of questions but Tutor was able to answer them all and enlightened me. I was thinking of getting him to advise me if I ever had the chance in the future. I never expected…”

She poured herself another cup and raised her cup to the moon. She poured the wine on the ground. “A drink for Tutor in heaven.”

Prince Zhou followed her, pouring the drink on the ground to offer the spirits. He then drank another cup for himself. “When we drank that night, Tutor was drunk. When he left, he was still singing Cao Zhi’s <<White Horse>>. To sacrifice one’s life to visit another country in distress, to regard death as if to return...what an ominous song. It was as if he was hinting at today’s end. If I knew this was going to happen, I would have tried all I can to make Tutor stay, even if it means falling out with the Crown Prince.”

Fu Rou shook her head. “Your Highness, this is not an ominous song. This is Tutor’s true feelings.”

Prince Zhou had a sudden realisation. “Living for one’s country and dying for one’s country.”

“He was teaching Your Highness and he had done what he preached. This is what makes him a true teacher.” Therefore, this was also what made her admire him greatly.

“I am a weak student!” Prince Zhou was agitated. “I want to attack Qi City to avenge my tutor but I can’t do anything about the Crown Prince’s fear and Imperial Father also does not allow it.”

Fu Rou was calm. “His Majesty must have his own considerations. No matter who leads the troops, they will seek justice for Tutor.”

“I don’t trust Lu Qi. I trust the Crown Prince even less. If the Crown Prince did not always try to go against me, Tutor would not have been sent to Prince Zhao and would not have died under Prince Zhao’s hands. The Crown Prince has always been in contact with Prince Zhao through letters. Moreover, Lu Qi only knows how to fawn over the Crown Prince. If Lu Qi were to lead the troops, he would just be helping the Crown Prince. He will not care about avenging Tutor. Tomorrow morning, I want to ask Imperial Father for permission once more. Even if I cannot take command, I have to find someone that can avenge Tutor.”

Fu Rou fell silent for a while. “If I may be so bold as to recommend someone.”

Prince Zhou asked. “Who?”

“Sheng Chumu.” She always only had one person in mind. 

Prince Zhou slammed the table and stood up. He looked down coldly at her from up above. “You really disappoint me.”

Fu Rou looked at him quietly.

“Aren’t you here to get drunk with me? Aren’t you here to reminisce your teacher? Fu Rou, you can use me at any time to help you and your lover except tonight!”

“Sheng Chumu and I are estranged.” She missed that person and her heart would always belong to him. However, she knew that his departure signalled his desire to break up with her. Hence, she was not going to force him.

“Then why did you still bring him up?” He did not believe her.

“Because amongst everyone I know, he is the best at fighting.” If she was selfish, she would not want Sheng Chumu to go to battle. However, the truth was the truth. “Your Highness, do you remember Sheng Chumu going out to war with Lu Yunji and wiping out all the enemy troops? However, Lu Yunji was the one that claimed credit. Lu Yunji even plotted against him and sent him to that death ground, believing that he would not survive. In the end, he made it back and even exposed the truth of Lu Yunji plundering the citizens. I have even personally witnessed him fighting against pirates, he pursued them relentlessly and will not give up until he obtains victory. He is this kind of person. Once he has taken on responsibility, he will carry it out to the end.”

Hearing Fu Rou mention this, Prince Zhou recalled everything. At least Sheng Chumu also hated Lu Yunji and Lu Qi. 

Fu Rou then added, “Sheng Chumu may have many flaws, but during the most critical juncture, he never disappoints anyone.”

 

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Coca's Thoughts

If you watch episode 34, the drama goes in more details over what happened regarding Prince Zhao and Qian Wenjing. Prince Zhao is one of the Emperor's sons and the son of Concubine Xi. Qian Wenjing, Prince Zhou's tutor, was sent to give him advice/help him become a better person (similar to how the Crown Prince has Zhan Xuanzhi as an advisor).