Fu Shui walked out of the gate, looking slightly tipsy. Concubine Yan had awoken and the Emperor had bestowed the title of Imperial Physician on him. From now on, he could enter the palace freely. All the other Imperial Physicians then tried to take advantage of the situation and specially invited him to banquets to celebrate. All of a sudden, a shadow flashed in front of him. He was surrounded.
Sheng Chumu pointed his sword at him. “Everyone said that there was a miracle physician in the royal palace called Fu Shui. I thought I had misheard. I could not find you anywhere but you actually delivered yourself in front of me. Men, tie him up!”
Fu Shui did not struggle as the corners of his mouth turned up in a smile. “This is a misunderstanding.”
Sheng Chumu was cold. “Whether it is a mistake or not shall be decided by His Majesty.”
Sheng Chumu delivered Fu Shui to the Emperor and presented the investigation he had done on the Crown Prince. He found out that Fu Shui was a fugitive and mentioned that when Sheng Chujun infiltrated the Eastern Palace, he had witnessed Fu Shui instigating the Crown Prince numerous times. Fu Shui admitted that he had come from the Eastern Palace but said that he was only there to treat the Crown Prince’s leg and had nothing to do with the rebellion.
As both sides were singing different tunes, the Emperor had to ask for evidence.
Sheng Chumu had already prepared and summoned Grand Prince Liang and Du He. Grand Prince Liang and Du He admitted that Fu Shui was the mastermind behind the plot. They also said that he was the one that came up with the idea of killing Prince Han.
The Emperor was starting to believe them when Yan Zifang asked for an audience.
As soon as Grand Prince Liang saw Yan Zifang, he momentarily lost his cool. “Yan Zifang, you despicable man. Where did you hide my consort?”
After Grand Prince Liang saw that the Crown Prince’s plan had failed, he escaped out of the palace and returned to his residence, wanting to run away with Yingying. Unexpectedly, he was informed that Yingying had left with Yan Zifang. He then wanted to escape but his eagle king flew to the sky gave a warning call and exposed his location. He then understood the real reason why Yan Zifang had given him the eagle king.
Yan Zifang’s expression did not change. “Grand Prince Liang, when did you see me hiding your consort? I don’t know where the consort is but I heard that you abused your consort frequently. Your consort has already harboured hatred towards you. In the past, she had to put up with your abuse and could only pretend to comply and make you happy. Now that she has the chance to escape your devil claws, I can only imagine how far she has run.”
Grand Prince Liang was in disbelief. “That cannot be. She treated me genuinely! She is different from the other women who try to suck up to me. She will not leave me behind!”
Yan Zifang chuckled coldly, “The truth is right in front of you, there is no use deceiving yourself and others.” This morning, he went to the small hut and found out that Lu Yingying was missing. He had always thought that Lu Yingying still had feelings for him, but he was the one that was deceiving himself.
Grand Prince Liang glared at Yan Zifang and suddenly realised, “It is you! You are the man that she refused to talk about! You adulterer. I will kill you!”
Two guards held Grand Prince Liang back.
“Yan Zifang, no wonder you always created trouble for me. Since the beginning, you have meant me harm. You were the one that caused me to end up like this! You will die a horrible death!”
The Emperor thought that Grand Prince Liang’s lecherous side had started again. “That’s enough! You are the one that brought yourself to this state! Today, I am asking about the Crown Prince’s case. Not about the embarrassing things from your Liang Residence!”
“I cannot accept this! I cannot!” Grand Prince Liang shouted. They both helped the Crown Prince rebel but Yan Zifang had simply turned into an official with contributions.
The Emperor ordered for him to be slapped.
Grand Prince Liang was being slapped and thought he might as well die. “Hit me! Hit me till I die! Great Tang’s Emperor is benevolent! Back then, during the Xuanwu Gate Coup, he killed Elder Brother, Jiancheng, and Fourth Brother, Yuanji. Now that Grand Emperor is no longer around, he can no longer stand his brothers! I finally understand. Even if the incident with the Crown Prince did not happen, you would not tolerate me! Today, you cannot tolerate your brother, tomorrow you will no longer be able to tolerate your children and grandchildren. One day, you will see your children and grandchildren die before you…!”
The Emperor was so angry that he could not say anything.
Chief Cao could read his expression and quickly instructed guards to drag Grand Prince Liang out.
The Emperor took the tea that Chief Cao handed over to him. After drinking a cup, his expression relaxed. “Yan Zifang, you still haven’t explained why you have come.”
“I rushed here to request for Your Majesty to reward a minister that has contributed greatly.” Yan Zifang kneeled and pointed at Fu Shui. “With regard to the Crown Prince incident, Fu Shui is the true contributor.”
Sheng Chumu raised his eyebrows.
Yan Zifang continued, “On the day that the Crown Prince started to have thoughts of rebelling, his actions were suspicious. I pretended to pledge my loyalty to the Crown Prince and complied with him. Finally, I managed to obtain the information the night before and quickly reported to Your Majesty. It goes without saying how dangerous it is to infiltrate the Eastern Palace to obtain information. Like what happened to Sheng Chujun, a small mistake would result in a brutal death. The only reason why I could safely send a message to Your Majesty is because of Fu Shui’s help. Because he was there to treat the Crown Prince’s leg, he gained the Crown Prince’s trust and helped me cover up many times, allowing me to escape death.”
Du He was agitated. “Nonsense! Your Majesty, I can swear to heaven that Fu Shui was the one that came up with the idea of harming others. He is the true mastermind!”
Yan Zifang’s expression did not change. “If I made contributions by sending the letter, half of it should belong to Fu Shui. Your Majesty, Fu Shui should not be punished. He should be rewarded.”
“Yan Zifang, I was blind to not have seen through you as the bastard that was helping others…” Du He realised that the Emperor was looking coldly at him and changed his tone. “It is okay if you are helping others and telling His Majesty about the secret. I have no opinions if you are loyal to His Majesty, but Fu Shui was obviously the one that sabotaged the Eastern Palace and us. Why are you speaking up for him?”
Yan Zifang spoke completely unrighteously, “Consort, you are dragging an innocent person down with you. If he was the mastermind of the plot, will it reduce your punishment? Will you be able to escape being punished?”
Sheng Chumu spoke, “Even if he wanted to drag someone down, Consort Du He would choose a high-ranking minister to frame. Fu Shui is just a small and quiet physician in the Eastern Palace. If Fu Shui did not instigate the Crown Prince and take part in the plot, how would the Consort even have thought of him? Even if the Consort’s words cannot be trusted, my younger brother lost his life in the Eastern Palace. Could his last words also not be trusted?”
Yan Zifang chuckled coldly, “Other than you, no one else knows what Sheng Chujun said before he died. You can say whatever you want.”
Sheng Chumu’s frown deepened. “Yan Zifang, I know very well what Chujun told me. Just to protect Fu Shui, you are targeting me instead…” Initially, he had thought that Yan Zifang was looking to gain contributions and chose to take the risk to get close to the Crown Prince. He had not thought otherwise. But now, it was obvious that Yan Zifang and Fu Shui were from the same side.
Yan Zifang’s expression changed slightly.
Sheng Chumu pleaded with the Emperor, “Your Majesty, Yan Zifang’s words are suspicious. Please hand him over to me, I will find out the truth.”
The Emperor thought about it. “Sheng Chujun was killed by the Eastern Palace. It is obvious that he was not colluding with the Eastern Palace. Just now, you hinted that Sheng Chumu is lying and that he is using Sheng Chujun’s last words to frame Fu Shui? But what resentment does Sheng Chumu have with a physician that he would need to frame Fu Shui? Your intentions are suspicious.”
“Your Majesty, I formed a relationship with Fu Shui as we both escaped from the Eastern Palace. I was extremely frustrated to see Fu Shui being framed and in my agitation, I spoke out at Sheng Chumu. Actually, Duke Lu is extremely loyal and Sheng Chujun lost his life trying to expose the Crown Prince’s ploy. I respect them deeply. But these things are different, even if Sheng Chujun says that Fu Shui is guilty, we can’t punish Fu Shui just because of what he said.”
After mingling in the palace for so long, lying was as easy as eating a meal. Yan Zifang had adapted accordingly. “Sheng Chujun pretended to be loyal to the Crown Prince and no one knew that he was sending information back to Sheng Chumu. Aren’t I and Fu Shui the same? We are loyal to the country and loyal to Your Majesty. But only we know it. We did not know about Sheng Chujun’s loyalty and thought that Sheng Chujun was a traitor helping the Crown Prince set up the conspiracy. Sheng Chujun did not know that Fu Shui and I had agreed to find out information and inform Your Majesty, so of course he would look at Fu Shui as a traitor. Maybe in Sheng Chujun’s eyes, not only is Fu Shui guilty, I am guilty as well.”
Sheng Chumu was not affected. “Your Majesty, Yan Zifang’s words do not match and are extremely dubious…”
Fu Shui suddenly cut him off. “Your Majesty! I am just a physician and it was fate that I entered the Eastern Palace. I know that my status is low and I am bound to die if I am involved in something like this. However, at that time, I could not pull myself out. I had no choice but to discuss with General Yan on how to inform Your Majesty. Even if someone found out and killed me, I would have served the country with my life. Now that General Yan’s secret letter was effective, the Eastern Palace’s ploy has been exposed and Your Majesty has returned safely, everything is worth it. As for me, General Sheng is correct. Because of circumstances, I did participate in the Eastern Palace’s plot. In order not to be silenced, I had to force myself to give the Crown Prince’s ideas. These are all my crimes. Please punish me, Your Majesty, I will have no regrets giving up my life!”
Yan Zifang added, “If Your Majesty is going to execute Fu Shui, please execute me as well. In order to obtain accurate information, I have also participated in the Eastern Palace’s plot and given the Crown Prince ideas as well. Fu Shui’s crime is mine as well!”
Du He shouted, “Your Majesty, don’t be fooled by them! Fu Shui was more proactive than anyone when it came to giving the Crown Prince ideas. He was the one that instigated the Crown Prince to make a move on Prince Han! He was also the one that urged the Crown Prince to take ahold of Chang’an and while Your Majesty was unprepared. He wanted to make you a mere figurehead and force you to become the Grand Emperor!”
Sheng Chumu spoke, “Your Majesty…”
“That’s enough!” The Emperor waved dismissively. “There is someone that knows everything that happened better than you!”
Whether Fu Shui was the mastermind or conspirator, he would know just by asking the Crown Prince.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Why is Yan Zifang on Fu Shui's side?