Chapter 81.1: Protect

Sheng Chumu barged into the Internal Attendant Department and demanded to know where Sun Lingshu was. He held a long sword in his hand aggressively and no one dared to block him.

As soon as Fu Rou heard the news, she rushed over. Sheng Chumu glared at her. “Court Lady Fu, hand over the Crown Princess.”

He was always the dumb one, always thinking of being with her and passing their days simply and happily. He never cared about whether he offended others. She was the smart one, always assessing the situation. She talked about pompous rules, handed things smoothly and made everyone like her. How could she always stand on the opposite side of him, siding with his enemy?

“The Crown Princess is part of the Royal family. Imperial Concubine Wang and the Emperor will be the ones punishing her. Neither the Ministry of War nor the Ministry of Justice is allowed to interfere. These are the rules.” She understood his anger but she could not let him make a mistake. She had to protect him!

“The palace rules can go to hell! That vicious woman poisoned her own sister and made my sister the scapegoat, causing her death. To cover up her crimes, she killed my younger brother. Why are you still protecting her?” He had fallen in love with a heartless woman, maybe it was time he woke up. “Move aside, she must pay with her life!”

“Even if we ignore palace rules, there is still <<Great Tang’s laws>>. You can’t punish someone for your own personal reasons. The Crown Princess has committed crimes of murder. But if you kill her, you are committing a crime as well. Even though it is understandable, the law will not permit it. I don’t want you to make a mistake in a moment of rashness.” She wished that he could understand her.

“You talk all about the laws and rules as if you were thinking for me. It is actually because you want to continue being the Court Lady of the Six Offices. You want to protect the power that you spent so much effort to achieve. You want everyone to know that what you say goes!” Anger filled his head as he spoke irresponsibly. “Fu Rou, tell me the truth. We have known each other for so long. Have you ever treated me wholeheartedly? Do you care about how I feel? If you care even a little bit, then you should know how I am feeling and let me through.”

“I can’t allow you to enter.” Because this was a path of no return.

“Are you going to move?” He pulled out his sword. 

“No!” She was going to use her life to protect him. 

Sheng Chumu gritted his teeth, he was about to strike out when the door to the Internal Attendant Department opened. 

Prince Han walked out of the room in a daze. The white silk that he was holding fell to the ground. He smiled through the tears streaming down his face. “Consort, this time, I did not let you down…” He muttered to himself as he walked past Sheng Chumu and Fu Rou.

A female official peered her head in and shrieked, “The Crown Princess is dead!”

Sheng Chumu snorted as he followed Prince Han out. Fu Rou was stunned for a moment before she let out a long sigh. With Prince Han’s move, it will cause trouble to never end. 

 

When the Emperor rushed back to Chang’an, he saw that everything had been sorted. At the same time, he was heartened that Prince Han did not hurt the Crown Prince on account of their brotherhood. However, he hated his oldest son. In the end, the Crown Prince had disappointed him again. 

The Crown Prince was locked in a side room. When he saw the Emperor arrive, he remained in a daze.

The Emperor was furious. “Not only are you so foolish you cannot recognise your own brother, now you can’t recognise your father as well?”

It was only then did the Crown Prince limp over to kneel. His vision looked delayed. “Greetings, Imperial Father.”

“I came because I want to understand. Out of everyone, you are the one person that should not have thought of rebelling! You are already the Crown Prince, why did you have to do it? Did you really want to push me to the edge and kill me before you are satisfied? Or tell me. Did someone frame you or wronged you again this time? I promise that I will investigate thoroughly!”

“There is no need.” The Crown Prince chuckled bitterly, “I just could not stand Prince Han and wanted to kill my own younger brother. I am getting rid of the thorn in my eye and Chang’an is within my control. After all, I am the Crown Prince. Shouldn’t I just go all the way to take the country? If I killed Prince Han, you would not have forgiven me. I might as well continue and take the next step to become the ruler of the world.”

“You!” The Emperor was in disbelief. “You really wanted to commit regicide?”

“No matter how cruel I am, I will not kill my own father. I just wanted to control the state. When Imperial Father returns, I would have bestowed the position of Grand Emperor on you. You would have lived the rest of your days in luxury. Didn’t I learn this from you?” Such a father will have such a son. 

The Emperor was burning with anger as he slapped the Crown Prince.

The Crown Prince laughed bitterly. “I am neither loyal nor filial. I am wicked beyond redemption, you did not have to hit me yourself. You can just end me by granting me poison wine. I, Li Chengqian, was born in Chengqian Palace by Empress Zhangsun. When I was an infant, I was already given the title Prince Hengshan. When I was eight, I became the Crown Prince. I was tutored by the best scholar, nurtured in <<Poetry>> and <<Etiquette>>. How did I end up like this? I am already the Crown Prince, why did I have to rebel? Who was the one that forced me to this point?”

He suddenly hugged the Emperor’s leg and wept bitter tears, “I have committed an unforgivable crime and can only be punished by death. Imperial Father, please forgive the Crown Princess and Xiang’er on account of our father and son relationship. Prince Han hates me to the core. After I die, he will definitely hurt my wife. However, they are your daughter-in-law and grandson. Imperial Father, please protect them!”

The Emperor’s eyes were filled with unexplainable sorrow. “Do you know what hurts me the most? Up till this point, you have never truly repented. You are still suspecting and plotting against your younger brother. Prince Han is kind and tolerant but he almost died in your hands. However, even after he took control of Chang’an, he has not hurt a single strand of your hair. How can someone like that hurt your wife just because you lost power? Li Chengqian, your suspicious nature was the one that made you overly fearful and treat everyone as your enemy. It is how you ended up like this!”

The Crown Prince muttered, “Was I the one that always suspected and wronged him? I hope so. I hope he is not as evil and heartless as I thought. If he lets my wife live, I am willing to cut open my heart to apologise to him. Imperial Father, I have no future. Before I die, I would like to see the Crown Princess and Xiang’er one last time. Please have mercy, Imperial Father. Please have mercy.”

The Emperor looked at the Crown Prince begging him piteously. He could not stand it. The pain in his heart was incomparable. He never expected that his clever and quick-witted child would end up like this. He was now fickle and pathetic, going on wild goose chases. He really wished that he could know the reason and do everything over again. 

 

After leaving the Crown Prince, the Emperor was feeling vexed as he went to find Concubine Yan. Concubine Yan’s considerate side could always cure him. He was heartened to see Prince Zhou emerging from this disturbance, still as a kind soul focused on writing farming articles.

The Emperor sighed, “Chengqian used to be so smart and filial. He used to cherish his brothers and received support from the ministers. They all said that he would become a brilliant ruler in the future. The Empress and I had so many expectations for him but they have all turned to nothing now.”

“Everyone is sad by the fact that the Crown Prince turned out like this. However, please do not be too upset, Your Majesty. You are a wise ruler and a kind father. Everyone knows your love for the Crown Prince and your sincere teachings to him.” Concubine Yan’s encouragement was like a poison seed covered in honey. Now, the seed had sprouted. “He is the one that did not live up to your expectations and let you down.”

“While I was recuperating, I thought hard about this. Ever since the death of that actor, Chen Ji, the Crown Prince seemed to have changed into a different person. The Crown Prince has his faults, but did I make a mistake too? If I did not force him to kill Chen Ji, would he not have harboured so much resentment in his heart? To the point where he became more and more prejudiced and ended up to where he is today?”

At this moment, a palace maid came up to serve tea. The Emperor saw the scar on her wrist. 

The Emperor was startled. “Why do you have a scar on your hand?”

The palace maid was hesitant. When she finally wanted to speak, Concubine Yan stopped her, “Jin’er, watch your mouth. Leave us.”

The Emperor was unhappy. “Can’t I ask her things?”

Concubine Yan sought his forgiveness. “I was disrespectful. Please forgive me, Your Majesty. However, I saw that you had a lot of troubles on your mind. I am afraid that you would become even more unhappy if you have to hear trivial matters.”

The Emperor muttered to himself, “Seeing how you would speak up to stop her, it must not be a trivial matter.” He asked the palace maid once more, “Tell me, where did you get that scar?”

The palace maid kneeled. “Your Majesty, I was caned by the Crown Prince’s subordinate. That day, the Crown Prince brought a lot of people with him and he barged in aggressively, asking where Her Highness and Prince Zhou were. He thought that I was hiding something from him and ordered his man to cane me to force me to speak.”

An angry look immediately appeared on the Emperor’s face. “Forcing you to tell him where Concubine Yan and Prince Zhou were? What did he want to do? Could he not even tolerate someone like Concubine Yan, who has nothing to do with anything, and Prince Zhou, his younger brother that fully knows his own place?” He then answered his own question, “That’s right, he can’t even tolerate his own biological brother.”

Concubine Yan pretended to rebuke. “Jin’er, you spoke too much.”

The palace maid kowtowed. “I have made a mistake. Your Majesty, although the situation was dangerous then, Her Highness and Prince Zhou were coincidentally not in the palace and managed to escape. This is all because of Your Majesty’s blessing. Oh right, Your Majesty’s blessing also protected Princess Xinnan, that’s how Princess Xinnan could also be blessed. Your Majesty is the most fortunate person on earth…”

“Enough, His Majesty is naturally the most blessed person.” Concubine Yan then came to the main point. “Princess Xinnan managed to escape misfortune all because of Prince Han. Prince Han had long ago placed guards around the Princess to protect her. He also rushed back in time to prevent the Crown Prince from harming the Princess. This is all Prince Han’s love for his younger sister.”

The palace maid had been instructed by Concubine Yan. “But since Prince Han knew that the Crown Prince was going to barge into the palace and could arrange for guards to protect the princess, why couldn’t he arrange for people to protect Your Highness and Prince Zhou? Princess Xinnan is Prince Han’s younger sister but isn’t Prince Zhou his brother as well?”

True enough, the Emperor’s face changed.

Concubine Yan reprimanded, “Keep quiet! How dare a palace maid like you criticise a prince? If you dare to say anything more, I will slap your mouth. Aren’t you going to leave!”

The palace maid left. 

Concubine Yan kneeled down. “Your Majesty, the palace maid’s words were inappropriate and it is my fault for not teaching her well. Please punish me, Your Majesty.”

Li Shimin helped Concubine Yan to stand. “I never thought that my trip to the Hot Spring Palace made me almost lose the Crown Prince and Prince Han.  More than that, it almost made bystanders like you and Prince Zhou suffer. I had been touched by Prince Han’s kindness. He showed concern to the Crown Prince and Xinnan... but why did he ignore Prince Zhou when he knew there was danger?”

“Your Majesty, you are too harsh on Prince Han. Prince Han and the Crown Prince were both born by the Empress. The Empress has also raised Xinnan from young. Their relationship is naturally different. Prince Zhou is my son and he is not more important than anyone else. In such a precarious situation, it is understandable that Prince Han did not care about Prince Zhou.”

“Ridiculous!” The Emperor fumed, “Prince Zhou is my beloved son, who said that he is not important? When Prince Han enters the palace, I have to question him.”

“You must not!” Concubine Yan silently celebrated her success. “Aren’t I and Prince Zhou safe? Moreover, the Crown Prince created such a big mess in Chang’an, it is all thanks to Prince Han that everything is fine. Prince Han had made such a huge contribution, Your Majesty should be rewarding him. You should not make Prince Han unhappy just because of Prince Zhou.”

At this moment, Chief Cao came to receive the Emperor. The Emperor expressed that he wanted to eat with Concubine Yan. However, he recalled the Crown Prince’s request and ordered that no one was to make things difficult for the Crown Princess and the Imperial Grandson.

In a flash, everyone’s expression had a subtle change.

The Emperor did not miss it and asked Chief Cao what was going on. Chief Cao bowed and reported, “Your Majesty, the Crown Princess is dead.”

The Emperor was shocked. “Dead? How?”

Chief Cao replied, “From what I heard, Prince Han barged into the Internal Attendant Department before Your Majesty returned to the capital and personally...strangled the Crown Princess.”

A wave of dizziness overcame the Emperor. In a fit of anger, he could not distinguish between right and wrong. He blamed Chief Cao, “How did you manage the Internal Attendant Department? How could you let Prince Han enter and commit such a huge crime?”

Concubine Yan rushed to help speak up for him. “Chief Cao was waiting upon you in the Hot Spring Palace. The Internal Attendant Department was managed by Court Lady Fu. The Crown Princess’ death cannot be blamed on Chief Cao. I heard that when Prince Han killed the Crown Princess, Court Lady Fu was present. I heard that after the incident, not only did she let Prince Han go, she even ordered the female officials to not tell anyone about what happened.”

The Emperor became slightly more composed. “Summon Court Lady Fu, I want to question her.”

Chief Cao went to carry out his orders.

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Coca's Thoughts

In the drama, the Crown Princess supposedly committed suicide. It doesn't make sense to me though. Why would she commit suicide when she's so prideful and despicable? 

The drama was initially supposed to be 69 episodes but they shortened it to 55. I noticed many, many scenes have been cut. It's good that you guys are reading instead!! <3