On the day of Consort Han’s funeral, those who knew the truth did not dare to come and send her off. Those who did not know the truth did not come for some unknown reason as well. However, there were also some who came to send her off, unafraid of offending those in power. One of them was Ma Hainiu.
Ma Hainiu had not imagined that the third brother of the Sheng family would openly offend Prince Han in front of Consort Han’s coffin. Sheng Chumu and Sheng Chuling held Sheng Chujun back while he raged.
Sheng Chuling yelled, “Chujun, have you gone mad? This is our Brother-in-law!”
Sheng Chujun also yelled, “No, he is not my Brother-in-law! He is a greed filled bastard! If he didn’t want to become the Crown Prince, he would not have offended the Eastern Palace. Would Lingwei still have become an innocent pond fish dragged into the mess? The jujube cake that poisoned Lingwei to death was sent by the Han Mansion. My sister would never have poisoned others so it can only be him. To poison the Crown Prince, he placed poison in the jujube cake. Then he shifted the responsibility and made Sister become his scapegoat! Let me go, I will kill him!”
Sheng Chuling held on to his brother. “Brother-in-law is not that kind of person. Calm down!”
With reddened eyes, Sheng Chujun said, “Second Brother, you are calm because you are about to marry the Princess. What about me? Lingwei has died, Elder Sister…Elder Sister has also died. Why hasn’t he sought out the Empress who forced Sister to her death? It is also his scheme! I will take revenge for Elder Sister! I will take revenge for Lingwei!”
Sheng Chumu took big steps as he walked over and kicked Sheng Chujun down. Even Ma Hainiu could feel the pain with that blow.
Sheng Chumu bellowed, “Get lost!”
Sheng Chujun laughed in sorrow on the floor. “Elder Brother, you and Prince Han are in cahoots. From the beginning, you two were trying to go against the Crown Prince. I did not believe the rumour from the Eastern Palace that the Crown Prince’s leg was injured by you. When you were struck by a hundred strokes of the cane, I felt the injustice for you too. I am so dumb, so dumb! It is alright if you want to fight for power, it is fine if you want to go against the Crown Prince. Why did you have to use such a cruel method of poison and make Lingwei a sacrificial piece? Why must you pin the blame on Sister when things fell through? I hate you all, I hate you all!”
Sheng Chumu stepped forward and kicked Sheng Chujun again. This time, Sheng Chujun flew out of the door and rolled down the steps. He spat blood from his mouth.
Sheng Chumu coldly ordered, “Chase him out. He is not allowed to enter the Han Mansion again.”
Sheng Chujun burst into laughter. “Sister! Sister! This is the brother you have always doted on! This is the elder brother whom I have always looked up to! Sister, where is your soul with a vengeance?”
The guards ran forward and pulled Sheng Chujun away. Sheng Chumu expressionlessly watched this scene and heard the uproarious laughter slowly fade away.
Ma Hainiu forgot her sadness and only felt the cruelty behind what had unfolded.
“Sheng Chujun made a scene at the Mourning Hall and accused Prince Han of making his sister a scapegoat. He wanted to kill Prince Han but was beaten up by Chumu. When he returned to the Duke Lu Residence, he went into Sheng Chumu’s room and made a mess out of it. Then, he disappeared after taking the letter that the Crown Prince wrote to Prince Zhao. Consort Han’s death has driven a wedge in the Duke Lu Residence.” Lian Yan’er said.
“Ma Hainiu has already informed me about Sheng Chujun’s scene at the Mourning Hall.” This voice came from Yan Zifang. He was seated opposite of Lian Yan’er.
They were at a quiet corner of the streets, an ideal place for them to talk.
“I have one question.” Fang Ziyan asked, “How did Sheng Chujun know that the letter that the Crown Prince wrote to Prince Zhao was in Sheng Chumu’s room?”
Lian Yan’er smiled lightly. “What do you think?” She was a person who could enter Sheng Chumu’s room whenever she wanted.
“You are smart indeed. Sheng Chujun is also very emotional. I never expected that he would love the Crown Princess’ sister so much.”
“In Sheng Chujun’s heart, Prince Han was the person who poisoned the jujube cakes. Prince Han was greedy and wanted to take the Crown Prince position for himself. As such, he ended up killing Sheng Chujun’s beloved Sun Lingwei although he wanted to poison the Crown Prince to death. When the Crown Prince investigated the crime, Prince Han pushed the blame onto his consort and sacrificed her. His brother, Sheng Chumu, is Prince Han’s accomplice.” Lian Yan’er had not imagined that things would turn out this way. She sighed. “Sheng Chumu also said that he must be informed once Sheng Chujun returns to Duke Lu Residence. However, I do not think that Sheng Chujun will ever return.”
“Do you feel sorry for Sheng Chumu?”
“At Swallow House, he was once the person I looked forward to seeing the most. It was also because of him that I decided to leave Swallow House. When he returned from Guangzhou City and appeared before me again, I understood. No matter how well a guest treated you, no matter how sweet his words are, he can always take back his heart anytime. A girl from the brothel will always be a girl from the brothel. When a guy is bored, he can play with you. But when he doesn't like you, he can ignore you. This logic is acceptable and the lack of guilt and feelings are non-existent.” Lian Yan’er raised her eyebrows lightly. “For a guy who does not like me, why must I place him in my heart?”
Yan Zifang came to a realization. “So you chose Haihu.”
“Ma Haihu is not the best but he is the one who is most sincere to me. I have seen many men in this lifetime and I know clearly who I should treasure.” She, Lian Yan’er, was willing to give her all to Mai Haihu.
“A foolish person will have foolish happiness. Ma Haihu is a person who does not even know how to use a fishing rod but has actually managed to fish a mermaid like you. You are even willing to take the risk and enter the Duke Lu Residence.” In the beginning, Yan Zifang did not have much expectations of her.
“Not for him, I did it for myself.” Lian Yan’er could teach Mai Hainiu three golden rules because she was an example herself. “I told you, I like him but I do not want to become a laughing joke. I want him to become a court official so that he can hold his head high and I can proudly marry him.”
Lian Yan’er stood up and walked off.
Lizheng Palace had never been so silent before. Empress Zhangsun sat defeatedly on chair, it has already been a few days since she could stand up. Today, Prince Qin asked about Fu Rou when he came to visit her. Empress Zhangsun did not reply. Actually, when the news of Consort Han’s death reached her, she had calmed down. She knew that Fu Rou had not spoken out of selfishness and Fu Rou was only trying to prevent an innocent person from being accused. However, Empress Zhangsun was also helpless.
The guards outside her palace reported that Prince Han had arrived.
Empress Zhangsun sighed. Prince Han had not visited her ever since he returned from Chang’an so she could only instruct someone to call him to her. Some words had to be spoken face to face.
Prince Han entered the room and bowed. He did not speak further.
“She was my daughter-in-law and I pitied her. However, it is a severe crime to send poisonous jujube cake to the Eastern Palace and no one could save her. Even if she was interrogated by the Justice Office, she would be humiliated and in the end, it was also hard for her to escape death. It is better that she left this way with her dignity. Her family would also not be harmed.” Although she knew that Fu Rou was right, she could not admit it for the Crown Prince and Prince Han. “Prince Han, do not blame me, I also do not feel good.”
Prince Han remained emotionless and his tone was calm. “I do not dare to.”
Empress Zhangsun grew more worried. “Prince Han……”
Prince Han remained respectful. “Like Imperial Mother said, blood brothers are like hands and feet and wives are like clothes. Consort Han was only a piece....I got used to. A comfortable piece of clothing I liked to wear. Now that she is gone, what else can I say? I have already mourned for many days and I cannot continue to be sad.”
The one before him was his mother who raised him but he was so angry on the inside that he was about to blow up. Just because of a few words from the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, his consort was killed! Did the Empress only have the Crown Prince as her son? He was always the one who gave into the Crown Prince. He always had to think of the Eastern Palace. Who would think of him?
Empress Zhangsun was slightly rest assured. “Right, this is the way. You must hold yourself up again. After some time has passed, I will pick a lady who is perfect for you.”
Prince Han suddenly burst into laughter. “Let’s talk about that in the future. Otherwise, I will be hated by the Crown Prince again. Imperial Mother, you can’t possibly ask me to change clothes all the time. When will I finally have clothes that I am comfortable in?”
Empress Zhangsun could sense his displeasure and she grew anxious.
“In the past, I absorbed myself in poetry and music and did not have much ambition. I am unfilial for not understanding Imperial Father’s sacrifice in building this country. But after learning from pain, I want to turn over a new leaf now. As a prince of Great Tang, I cannot indulge myself in luxuries and not give back. In the future, I will take part in court matters and voice my opinions to contribute to Great Tang’s future. I will share Imperial Father’s worries with him.” He had given in all the time. Since the Crown Prince could not see it, he would no longer hold it in!
Empress Zhangsun stared at Prince Han in shock.
Prince Han continued, “Please rest assured, Imperial Mother. In the future, the Crown Prince and I will be brothers in court and cooperate wholeheartedly. Imperial Mother, please take care of yourself. I will leave now.”
Empress Zhangsun was blank for a moment. She suddenly came to a realisation. She was wrong, horribly wrong. She had personally pushed Prince Han to stand on the opposite side of the Crown Prince. Without Consort Han, his hate could no longer be resolved. A sudden pain went through her head and she spurted out blood. With shivering hands, she tried to reach for the medicine bottle but knocked it over instead. However, there was no one before her to help her pick it up anymore.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
The Empress is so selfish. Honestly, most of the characters in the novel are selfish. They only care about themselves or rising in the ranks/maintaining their power.