Chapter 73.1: Grand Prince Liang

Amidst Chang’an’s intensely cold atmosphere, Yan Zifang arrived at Liang Residence to deliver a gift.

Grand Prince Liang had just woken up as he yawned. “Isn’t this such an unlucky year? The Crown Princess’ sister died and Prince Han lost his wife as well. Soon, the Empress also passed away. Why are all the royal relatives going to heaven one after the other? So unlucky.”

Yan Zifang’s expression did not change. “They may be unlucky but it doesn’t matter as long as it doesn’t affect you.”

“That is true.” Grand Prince Liang thought about it and sighed, “Sigh, Sister-in-law is too serious. Even as an Empress, she doesn’t know how to enjoy and always worry about things. How can she live a long life? However, after Grand Emperor passed away, she took care of me pretty well. It is just that…”

Grand Prince Liang paused at this point, and looked unhappy once more. “Because of her, we have to mourn again. All princes and ministers are not allowed to celebrate and we can’t even drink. I am so bored.”

“If you can’t drink alcohol, then you should drink soup.” Yan Zifang waved to Ma Haihu and a pot was placed on the table. “Today, I came especially to give you this delicious chicken soup. Please kindly accept it, Your Highness…”

Grand Prince Liang opened the pot and took a sniff. “Good lad, where did you get this Weichuan Mulberry…”

Yan Zifang maintained a serious look and reminded him. “Weichuan Chicken Soup.”

“Right, chicken soup, chicken soup.” As he spoke, Grand Prince Liang lifted the pot and drank a huge mouth. He savoured it. “The previous two pots...two pots of chicken soup that you gave me! I could not forget the taste after I had finished them. My craving for them has already been growing. Yan Zifang, you know me best.”

Yan Zifang saw that Grand Prince Liang was in a good mood and asked, “Your Highness, now the Crown Prince and Prince Han are fighting against each other, I wonder if Your Highness has thought of who to side with?”

“Is there a need to think? Of course I am on the Crown Prince’s side. Prince Han is a sage and extremely virtuous. He doesn’t like me and I don’t like him.” Grand Prince Liang did not even need to consider.

“Your Highness, do you really think you have stood on the Crown Prince’s side?” Yan Zifang saw how Grand Prince Liang started to glare at him and continued, “Forgive me for being direct. From what I see, the Crown Prince at most treats you as someone to have fun with. In the Crown Prince’s heart, it seems like he does not treat you as a confidante.”

Grand Prince Liang was not surprised. “The Crown Prince rarely shares the Eastern Palace’s thinking and plans with me, much less asks for my opinion. I want to grab onto the opportunity but I can’t. It is not like I can just go up to the Crown Prince and tell him to not only think of me as a drinking buddy but to also call me when he is discussing important things.”

“I came here this time to give you two gifts. The first was the chicken soup. The second gift is a person.” This was Yan Zifang’s real motive.

“A person?” Grand Prince Liang thought cunningly. “A beauty? That’s right! Why didn’t I think of it? As long as he is a man, beauties will always work. The Crown Prince is a man. I should have sent a few beauties to him. If the Crown Prince is happy and the beauties that I send speak well of me, then won’t he look highly upon me?”

A flash of annoyance appeared in Yan Zifang’s eyes. However, he maintained a patient tone. “Not a beauty. I have already brought the person. Why don’t Your Highness take a look?”

Grand Prince Liang looked out curiously, only to see Sheng Chujun standing outside the door.

His face immediately changed. “Bastard! Why did you bring someone from the Duke Lu Residence?”

Yan Zifang smiled. “Your Highness, this is a rare chance. The Sheng brothers are fighting internally and now, Sheng Chumu’s third brother hates Prince Han and Sheng Chumu to the core. There is a military saying. To know yourself is to know your enemy and emerge victorious every time. He is familiar with both the Duke Lu Residence and Han Mansion. If you can bring him over to the Crown Prince’s side, you will be providing the Crown Prince with the best weapon against Prince Han. You will have a plan and have contributed. How can the Crown Prince not regard you highly?”

Grand Prince Liang understood. “Sheng Chujun siding with the Eastern Palace is like a knife to Prince Han. Two of Duke Lu’s sons, one is siding with Prince Han while one is siding with Eastern Palace. The biological brothers have become enemies. Just this fact itself will pissed Sheng Xiaojing off.”

Yan ZIfang lowered his eyes. “Your Highness is brilliant.” He suddenly raised his voice. “Chujun, come in.”

Sheng Chujun entered, wearing a serious expression. “Greetings, Your Highness.”

Grand Prince Liang smiled enthusiastically. “We are all together, there is no need to be so polite. Sheng Chujun, trust me. I will not treat you unfairly. I had long ago seen Prince Han’s true side. He pretends to be loyal, amiable and virtuous. Your sister was beautiful and died for him. What a pity.” Every few sentences, he had to talk about women.

“Prince Han used unscrupulous means for power and killed so many innocent people. I have already sworn in front of my sister’s coffin that from now on, I will not side with Han Mansion.” Sheng Chujun retrieved a letter from his embrace. “This was what I took from his room.”

Grand Prince Liang looked at the letter. “Is this...the letter the Crown Prince wrote to Prince Zhao?”

Sheng Chujun replied, “Sheng Chumu holding on to the letter is like holding onto the Crown Prince’s weakness. The Crown Prince is the future ruler of Great Tang. Secretly creating trouble and causing the position of Crown Prince to waver is betrayal to Great Tang. For their own selfish desire, they killed Sun Lingwei and my sister. I cannot stand it anymore. In the past, people could kill their family for justice. Can’t I do the same? I have to kill Prince Han to avenge my sister and Sun Lingwei. I must make Sheng Chumu kneel in front of their tombs and repent. This is the punishment he deserves!”

“Very good! Killing your family for justice. May your noble spirit last forever! However, you alone are not enough to deal with Han Mansion. We have to cooperate with Eastern Palace. I will bring you both to meet the Crown Prince right now.” Grand Prince Liang turned back to shout, “Yan Zifang...Yan Zifang?”

Yan Zifang pulled himself back to reality.

On the opposite side of the garden, Lu Yingying had just turned the corner, holding a wash basin in her hands.

 

When the Crown Prince got a hold of the letter, he was overjoyed. “This is truly the letter that I sent Prince Zhao. So it had landed in Sheng Chumu’s hands. If Sheng Chujun did not steal the letter back, they would definitely present this letter to Imperial Father to create trouble for me. They will conspire to link me up with Prince Zhao’s rebellion and I would have suffered. Chujun, luckily you have principles.”

Grand Prince Liang fought to have a part. “As soon as I knew Chujun had fallen out with Prince Han and Sheng Chumu and left the Duke Lu Residence, I immediately sent people to look for him. I brought him here as soon as I found him. I knew that he would be useful to you.”

The Crown Prince smiled. “Uncle, you have done well. In the past, I only thought that you were good at hunting eagles. I never thought you would have such a thoughtful side.”

“I don’t like to boast and you will only know after knowing me for a while. Oh right. Your Highness, Yan Zifang also helped quite a bit.”

Yan Zifang stepped forward. “Greetings, Your Highness.”

The Crown Prince assessed Yan Zifang. He knew that Yan Zifang used to be a pirate and was slightly suspicious.

Fu Shui said, “I heard that General Yan has managed the West City extremely well and helped the citizens. He brought Zhang Li and Xu Liangping to justice. Xu Liangping is the brother-in-law of You Jianming, the one who spoke in court about giving your Crown Prince position to Prince Han.”

The Crown Prince looked at Yan Zifang once more with a satisfied expression. “If You Jianming’s brother-in-law has been committing outrages, You Jianming will also not be able to escape. How dare he make trouble for me. Yan Zifang, you are not afraid of punishing your fellow officials and seeking justice for the citizens. You have good personal integrity.”

Yan Zifang replied politely, “Zhang Li and Xu Liangping were corrupted and they bullied the citizens. Since the Emperor trusts me, I cannot let them continue their misdeeds.”

The Crown Prince invited them to the garden to eat. Grand Prince Liang and Sheng Chujun walked out first. Yan Zifang was shoulder to shoulder with Fu Shui as they followed behind. 

Fu Shui looked forward and maintained a natural expression. “You have already made an impression with the Crown Prince. Congratulations.”

Yan Zifang remained indifferent as well. However, his tone was polite. “Thank you for coming up with this idea.”

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