Chapter 82.1: Principles

Fu Rou was amending documents and could not sit still. She walked out of the room and looked at the sky.

The Crown Prince had attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself. Although he was saved, he had left a blood letter saying that Prince Han had killed his wife and was bullying his child. Prince Han had pushed him to the edge. The Emperor was extremely shocked. The Emperor also found out that there were people queuing up in front of the Han Mansion and there was a never-ending stream of guests delivering gifts. This caused the Emperor to become furious. He issued an Imperial Decree admonishing him. He scolded Prince Han for being arrogant and disappointing the Emperor. Prince Han was then punished to self-reflection. Everything that he was in charge of was to be handed over to Prince Zhou. The Literature School was instructed to close as well. As soon as this decree was issued, there was a commotion in court. Hundreds of ministers could not understand the Emperor’s unpredictable changes.

Fu Rou recalled what happened earlier on when she met the Emperor. Concubine Yan and Yu He had been pressuring her. Ever since Consort Han’s incident, she had changed her opinion of Concubine Yan. 

Everyone in the palace knew that Concubine Yan was highly favoured. She always handled things according to Buddhist teachings. Yet, the Empress was always wary of her and this made the Empress seem ungenerous. Today, Fu Rou thought that the Empress’ intuition was right. Concubine Yan was just very good at tolerating and looked as if she did not fight for anything. She could remain silent for three years, but as soon as she made a move, she would achieve the world overnight. 

Today, Concubine Yan had wanted to tie her up with Prince Han. It seemed like she no longer wanted to hide. If she had not been well-prepared, wouldn’t she have ended up like Prince Han?

She did not understand why everything could not simply be handled by rules and decrees. In the morning, Prince Han had been praised for being kind and filial. But as soon as night fell, he became arrogant. Why was the Emperor in charge of ruling the world yet his own family matters were a mess? Right and wrong was becoming muddled. However, she understood that if she always stood up for everything, very soon, she would not be able to stand. 

Deep within her, she was still selfish. She wanted to leave this dog-eat-dog place. Hence, sticking to her principles was her limit and she was not going to knock her head into the wall. 

 Boom, boom, boom. The sound of footsteps neared. 

“Your Highness.” Fu Rou did not turn to know that it was Xinnan.

Perhaps, the person she admired most would be this princess. She could truly be herself, love whoever she wanted and fight for what she wanted. She operated on the most basic right or wrong and moved according to the kindness of her heart.

“What did you say to Imperial Father?” Xinnan was fuming.

“The truth.” She was protecting herself and protecting others. Even if she can’t see the benefit now.

“Truth, truth. Do you think you are Great Tang’s justice turned into a person? Sanctimonious! Imperial Father declared that the Literature School was to be closed and took away all of Fourth Brother’s power. Fourth Brother is now under house arrest and Han Mansion has turned into a prison. This is all because of you!” In Xinnan’s eyes, Fu Rou was supposed to be on their side. 

I caused it?” It was rare that Fu Rou got angry.

No one understood her! Sheng Chumu thought that she was hungry for power and did not allow him to kill the Crown Princess. Now Xinnan is blaming her for harming Prince Han. No one ever thought that if they listened to her from the beginning, things would not have turned out like this!

“Yes! You!” Xinnan was not thinking, she only wanted someone to take responsibility.

“Was I the one that instigated Prince Han to kill the Crown Princess?” Fu Rou had to argue back.

“...No.” Xinnan stammered.

“Was I the one that gave Prince Han the white silk?” 

“...” Xinnan swallowed, “No.”

“Then how is it that I am the one that harmed him and not that he harmed himself?” Did they think they could bully her?

Xinnan got scared by her interrogation. “You...you knew that Fourth Brother killed the Crown Princess because the Crown Princess killed Consort Han. Fourth Brother could not stand seeing the person that killed his wife continue living and was feeling pain. That was why he lost control and killed her. He had no choice.”

“The Crown Princess’ sister, Sun Lingwei, had been killed personally by the Crown Princess. The Crown Princess poisoned her jujube cakes with arsenic. What do you think the Crown Princess was thinking when she killed her own sister?”

“How...how would I know?” Xinnan could not hold her off.

“She must have been thinking that Consort Han was her enemy. Seeing Consort Han continue living must have caused her immense pain. She could not control herself and had to think of a way to get rid of Consort Han. Even if the price she had to pay was her sister’s life, it would not be a pity. The Crown Princess also felt helpless. Everyone that kills will have their own reason to kill.”

“You are being unreasonable.” Xinnan did not for a moment think that she was the unreasonable one. “I finally see through you! You are together with Concubine Yan!”

“Concubine Yan says that I am with Prince Han and now you are saying that I am with Concubine Yan. Your Highness, with the Empress’ soul watching from heaven, I will never be on anyone’s side. It is because of this fighting and scheming that people are divided. Not caring whether anything is right or wrong, they attack each other, causing even biological brothers to attempt to kill each other. Both sides are suffering. I only hope that both the Crown Prince and Prince Han have learnt a lesson and go back on the right path. They should not let the Empress down anymore.” And she only wished to leave this place forever.

“You only know how to talk about principles. Hypocritical!” Xinnan knew that she was right but she was biased towards kindness. 

“What is wrong with principles? When did staying as a proper person, not lying to the Emperor, not helping people cover up their crimes become a hypocritical act? One lie requires ten other lies to cover. Ten lies would then need a never-ending number of lies to cover up. After killing the first person, you have to kill a second person to cover up. Then the third. The number of crimes will multiply to the point where there is no way to make up for it. Initially, the Crown Princess was kind as well. How did she turn into a cruel murderer that would kill even her own sister? It is because she took the wrong first step and did not know how to repent. She kept on doing one wrong deed after the other! Prince Han killed the Crown Princess and took the first wrong step. If I help him cover up, he will continue to do wrong. Will he follow the Crown Princess’ disastrous path? You are not helping him, you are harming him!” Only by facing the truth can one find the cure.

Xinnan was completely intimidated by her, “Why...why are you so fierce for? What happened to the rules? I am the princess.”

“Prince Han made a mistake. His Majesty knows it and has punished him. Things will end here and it should be a good thing. At least it is better than covering it up with paper and having the paper catch fire later on. It is better than getting punished for deceiving the Emperor.” She was not born as a noble. No matter how much reason she spoke, she was just like a gust of wind. She could not control the ending. 

“You are good. I cannot argue against you. I just don’t understand. If you like someone, why can’t you do everything for him?” Xinnan shook her head and turned to leave. “If it were for Chuling, I would throw caution to the wind.”

Fu Rou was finally silent. She already knew Sheng Chumu would hate her even more after this.

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