Chapter 86.2: Hope

Prince Zhou was reading in his study room. He had been feeling agitated and only reading could bring him peace. 

An internal attendant reported that Fu Shui was seeking an audience. Prince Zhou was not in a good mood. “I don’t want to see him.”

Fu Shui entered as if there was no one around. “Greetings, Your Highness.”

Prince Zhou mocked, “I am feeling healthy and don’t need an Imperial Physician. Or do you want to give another good idea on how to rise in the ranks and need me to be unconscious for a few days so that you can give me acupuncture?”

Fu Shui looked to the left and right of the door before closing it. “Aunty knows that you have not been feeling great…”

“You know that she is your…” Prince Zhou lowered his voice, “You know she is your aunt. All the more you should not take a risk with her life!”

“It is not that I want to push the blame. However, although the idea was mine, the entire plan was approved by Aunty. She knew the risk.” Fu Shui’s expression did not change. “In order to help you inherit the kingdom, Aunty was willing to take any risks.”

“Kingdom, kingdom…” Prince Zhou snorted, “In all of your eyes, all you all see is the kingdom. There is no kinship.”

Fu Shui was stern, “Your Highness is wrong. For Your Highness, Aunty was willing to take the risk. This is kinship. We, the descendants of the surname Yang [1] , have to take back the kingdom that belongs to Great Sui. This is the greatest kinship to our ancestors. If Your Highness does not even know this, how can you live up to the humiliation that Aunty has suffered over the past years?”

Prince Zhou chuckled coldly, “Do you really understand?”

Fu Shui sighed, “Yes! I understand! Ever since my father named me Fu Shui, I existed only to do one thing - to restore Great Sui’s glory. Nothing and no one will be able to move me.”

Prince Zhou looked at Fu Shui for a moment before speaking slowly, “Chang’an is in chaos. Prince Han managed to escape assassination and turned back to catch the Crown Prince. After you heard the news, the first thing that you chose to do was to tell Prince Han the truth that the Crown Princess was the one that killed Consort Han.”

Fu Shui froze as his expression shifted slightly.

“Mother and Yu He both think that you are very smart. As soon as you realised that Prince Han was still alive, you thought of such a brilliant plan to ruin Prince Han.” Prince Zhou’s gaze was sharp. “On that day, I was by your side and saw your expression. That expression was not your usual fierce look but it was you trying your best to cover the concern that you felt. You were worried about the Crown Prince. You were worried that if he landed in Prince Han’s hands, he would be tortured by Prince Han out of revenge for Consort Han. You pushed the Crown Princess out in order for her to bear the rage that Prince Han had for the Crown Prince. You succeeded. In the end, the Crown Princess was the one that got strangled to death by Prince Han and not the Crown Prince. You protected the Crown Prince.”

Fu Shui tried his best to explain, “Your Highness is wrong again. The Crown Prince started the rebellion and is no longer a threat to use. It is the same whether he is alive or dead. I made that decision to deal with Prince Han and the result proves that I was right.”

Prince Zhou looked at him pitifully. “If I were you, I would take the chance to visit him while he is still alive. You have met many people in this life but there is only one that cares about you and you care about.”

They were all very pitiful. They could not get what they loved.

Fu Shui lowered his eyes, not letting any of his emotions show as he left. He was not as lucky as Prince Zhou to be born as a prince. As a prince, Prince Zhou did not need to have blood on his hands but had people like him to get rid of the obstacles and paved the way. He still had important things to do. An internal attendant named Zhi He had disappeared. He had gone missing in Imperial Concubine Wang’s Fu An Palace. Zhi He was someone that his father always used to do things in the dark and he knew quite a bit. He did not think that a low-ranked internal attendant could create much of a wave but Imperial Concubine Wang was starting to be a problem. 

A flash of lightning split the sky. An idea popped into Fu Shui’s mind!

 

Fu Rou arrived at Liancui Palace and heard the sound of a wooden fish being knocked. Ever since Prince Zhao passed on, Concubine Xi had been chanting daily and was not bothered by worldly affairs. What a pity that even though that was the case, she was still seen by Concubine Yan as a nail that had to be gotten rid of.

After Zhi He had been restrained in Fu An Palace, Wei Song had interrogated him and found out that he received orders from Concubine Yan. Even the secret letter that caused Prince Zhao’s death had been done according to Concubine Yan and Yu He’s instructions.

Initially, Fu Rou thought that Concubine Yan was doing it on behalf of Prince Zhou because Prince Zhao had killed Qian Wenjing. But this could not explain why Concubine Yan kept on targeting Concubine Xi even after Prince Zhao’s death.

“Greetings, Your Highness, I am here to see if you need anything.” Hence, Fu Rou specially made a trip here to find out if Concubine Xi had any animosity with Concubine Yan.

Concubine Xi was grateful. “I don’t lack anything. You arranged for me to stay in Liancui Palace and prepared everything well. The palace maids that you sent over are all hard working and obedient. You have already done well, thank you.”

Fu Rou smiled, “Please do not mention it, Your Highness. I am responsible for the Six Offices. When Your Highness was suffering, I did not realise it and this was my mistake. Thankfully, His Majesty is brilliant and personally issued an Imperial Decree such that Your Highness no longer has to suffer.”

“Thank you to His Majesty’s grace. However, you don’t have to blame yourself. It is not your fault. There are so many people in the harem, even if you have three heads and six arms, you will not be able to take care of everything. Concubine Yan cannot stand me and she will always have the chance to strike.” 

There was no movement in Concubine Xi’s eyes, she now took everything in stride.

“Actually, I would like to ask. Does Your Highness have any unresolved animosity with Concubine Yan? What does she have against you?”

Concubine Xi looked puzzled. “In the past, my relationship with Concubine Yan has been good. Even though we were slightly hostile, it was because I was loyal to the Empress. There was no huge animosity. I thought about it greatly but still cannot understand why she suddenly changed and wants to push me to the edge.”

Something shifted in Fu Rou. “Suddenly changed? When did she change?”

Concubine Xi replied, “There was once when I went over to her residence for a while. After that, she became much colder to me.”

Fu Rou pressed on, “What did you do at her residence?”

“Nothing special.” Concubine Xi recalled clearly. “My cousin was an official with duties outside the country. He returned to the capital to meet the Emperor and the Emperor allowed him to enter the palace to meet me. He brought several baskets of almond biscuits in and I brought some over to Concubine Yan. We just chatted a little and reminisced about our hometowns.”

Fu Rou wondered if the key to all these was here. “Did you accidentally say something crucial?”

“Unless the Empress asks me to say it, I don’t speak about any official business. What crucial thing could I have said? All I talk to Concubine Yan about are things that are not important… Oh right, when my cousin entered, he coincidentally saw Chief Yu and said that he looked very familiar. When I went over to Concubine Yan’s place, I looked at Chief Yu a bit more. It was a little strange. As soon as my cousin said it, I found Chief Yu familiar as well.”

Fu Rou seemed to catch onto something. “Did Concubine Yan notice?”

Concubine Xi nodded, “I told her the truth but she just smiled as said that Chief Yu has been serving in the palace for a while now and it is not like I have never seen him before. It is natural for me to find him familiar. I agreed with her. However, after I returned, I found something strange.”

Fu Rou guessed, “Maybe Your Highness met Chief Yu before you entered the palace?”

Concubine Xi shook her head. “Those that are willing to enter the palace to become an internal attendant all come from poor backgrounds. Although my status was not as high as Concubine Yan, I came from a family of officials and was a noble lady before I married. How could I have seen Chief Yu before?”

Fu Rou pondered, “Maybe I am thinking too much. May I ask Your Highness who is the cousin that you talked to?”

A sad look appeared on Concubine Xi’s face. “He died during Prince Zhao’s rebellion.”

Fu Rou thought it was all too coincidental.

 


1. In the novel, Concubine Yan was known as Concubine Yang, but we changed it because the names in the dramas were changed. Sorry for the confusion

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Coca's Thoughts

I think the drama cut all of Prince Zhou and Fu Shui's scenes -_-"