Fu Rou entered and greeted the Emperor. She knew that the Emperor was bound to summon her and hence she was calm.
However, under instigation by Concubine Yan, the Emperor was suspicious whether Fu Rou had bent the law for her personal relationships. Before she arrived, he had called for several witnesses from the Internal Attendant Department. He wanted to see if her answer was consistent.
The Emperor asked, “Court Lady Fu, the Crown Princess died in the Internal Attendant Department that you were managing. Do you know about it?”
“Yes.” Fu Rou was honest.
The Emperor then asked, “How did she die?”
“The Crown Princess was killed by Prince Han.” Fu Rou did not hesitate.
The Emperor asked again, “Prince Han is kind and has always respected the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Did he intentionally kill the Crown Princess?”
Fu Rou was composed. “Prince Han did it intentionally. He used a white silk to strangle the Crown Princess to take revenge for Consort Han. After investigating, I found out that the weapon used to kill the Crown Princess was brought into the palace by Prince Han. From this, we know that Prince Han had the intention to kill when he went to look for the Crown Princess.”
Concubine Yan blurted out, “At that time, why did you give the order to not let anyone know about this. Were you trying to help Prince Han cover up? Are you trying to hide something from His Majesty?”
“Your Highness must be joking.” Fu Rou looked at Concubine Yan before turning back to the Emperor. “I was instructed by Empress Zhangsun to manage the Six Offices and serve His Majesty and the various nobility. I only want to do my duties conscientiously. The truth is whatever it is. I will not try to help Prince Han cover up nor hide anything from Your Majesty. As for the order, I did not want others to know that the Crown Prince’s younger brother killed his sister-in-law. If this news were to spread, it would ruin the royal family’s reputation and hurt Your Majesty’s character.”
Concubine Yan opened her mouth but did not say anything.
Fu Rou retrieved a document. “Your Majesty, before you returned to the capital, I have written down whatever I saw and heard on the ninth. I have also written in detail about the Crown Princess’ death and the written confessions of various palace personnel. I have brought this document with me, and from this, it can prove that I did not have any intention to hide anything.”
Yu He laughed, “You could have written it at the last minute, how can it count for anything? Court Lady Fu, how can you prove that this was written before His Majesty returned to the capital?”
Fu Rou abided, “I wonder if Chief Yu would then believe Imperial Concubine Wang’s testimony?”
Yu He was silent.
“Your Majesty, I have made two copies of this document. One copy was left in the Six Offices for Your Majesty to investigate at any time. The other copy had been sent to Imperial Concubine Wang a long time ago. If you still suspect that I have the intention to hide things from you or change the content at the last minute, we can retrieve the other copy from Imperial Concubine Wang and compare the two. If there is a single word that does not match, I am willing to accept death as my punishment.”
Wei Song entered carrying a document in his hands. “Your Majesty, Imperial Concubine Wang heard that you were investigating the Crown Princess’ death and recalled a document sent from the Six Offices. This document detailed whatever happened and instructed me to send this over. Additionally, Imperial Concubine Wang said that the Crown Princess had initially been locked up elsewhere. However, Court Lady Fu was worried that someone would harm the Crown Princess and requested Imperial Concubine Wang to permit the Crown Princess to be detained in the Internal Attendant Department. Imperial Concubine Wang gave permission and the Crown Princess was transferred. Unfortunately, things didn't go as one wished. However, Court Lady Fu already tried her best for the Crown Princess.”
The Emperor compared both documents; every single word matched.
“Court Lady Fu, it is written here that you had gone to the Eastern Palace and was almost killed by the Crown Princess. Why are you still protecting the Crown Princess then?” The Emperor could not understand.
Fu Rou reported, “I want her to live to be punished according to Great Tang’s laws. Criminals should not be killed in the dark. They should outrightly receive their punishment to warn everyone else. This was the ending that I wished for the Crown Princess.”
The Emperor had a sudden realisation. “After so long, you did not side with Prince Han even when he was in power but still continued to do your duty and protect the Crown Princess.”
“It is my duty and also what the Empress would have wanted me to do.”
The Emperor was heartened. “The Empress did not judge you wrongly. You can go.”
Fu Rou left.
Concubine Yan’s expression darkened as she gave Yu He a look. Yu He silently took his leave. He called for his trusted internal attendant, Zhi He, and whispered to him. Zhi He rushed off.
Zhi He arrived at the side room the Crown Prince was in and greeted the Crown Prince from the window.
Zhi He spoke, “In the past, I broke a rule and had to be caned twenty times. You happened to walk past and spoke up for me. It was only then that Chief Cao let me go.”
The Crown Prince did not remember and only laughed bitterly. “What are you here for? Things are very different now. In the past when you were down, I could speak up for you. But now that I am down, who can speak up for me? Leave.”
Zhi He sighed, “Your Highness, even though the Crown Princess is dead you cannot…”
The Crown Prince was shocked. “What did you say? What happened to the Crown Princess?”
“Your Highness does not know? On the second day that the Crown Princess was locked in the Internal Attendant Department, Prince Han strangled her to death.” Zhi He did as Yu He instructed and came to instigate the Crown Prince.
It was as if the Crown Prince had been struck by lightning as he gritted his teeth. “Prince Han! You are insane and will die a horrible death!”
Zhi He then sighed again. “I wanted to go and see the Imperial Grandson but they were watching him closely and I could not see him. However, I heard that the Imperial Grandson has been crying nonstop and his nannies are threatening him. I am afraid…”
The Crown Prince paced around anxiously. “No matter what, Xiang’er is Prince Han’s nephew, how can he be so heartless! What must I do to make him let my son go?”
“Prince Han’s subordinates said that Your Highness wanted to kill your own brother and usurp the throne. You were heinous. Now that your crime has been exposed, you should have died. However, you continue to live without a sense of honour. Therefore, Prince Han wants you to watch helplessly as your wife and son are maltreated. He wants you to feel pain that is worse than death...Your Highness, no matter what, you have to protect yourself.” Zhi He left.
The Crown Prince fell onto a chair as he cried out in sorrow and frustration. “Prince Han, Imperial Father said that you were kind for not killing me. How are you kind? You are more vicious than a poisonous snake! Since you are known to be kind, you can grandly become the new Crown Prince. Why must you use such despicable means to kill my wife, torture my son and force me to die? Fine. My death will not be a pity. Today, your brother, I, will give my life to you!”
The Crown Prince bit onto his finger and wrote three lines on the wall using his blood -- Prince Han killed his sister-in-law. Prince Han oppresses my child. Prince Han forces his own brother to die. He then looked at the roof above him.
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The Crown Prince is so =_=. He easily believes random people and doesn't use his brain. Sigh.