The Emperor suddenly fell seriously ill and everyone in the harem was worried. All the concubines wanted to visit him. However, Concubine Yan naturally did not allow them to meet the Emperor. She instructed the internal attendants to prevent anyone from entering. However, not everyone listened obediently. A newly promoted concubine had just received the Emperor’s favour and she had a huge character. She made noise about wanting to see the Emperor and raged at the internal attendants. Concubine Yan was notified.
Concubine Yan walked out and got everyone to leave in a few sentences. Li Baolin had always had a clear view and was adaptable to things. She was the last one to go and the first one to leave. She was about to hurry back to her Huayin Palace when she heard Concubine Yan ask the concubine to stay behind. Similar to others, she stopped to watch the show.
Concubine Yan ordered for the new concubine to be slapped forty times. The concubine got slapped so hard that she even lost a few teeth. It was a pitiful sight.
Everyone was panic-stricken.
Concubine Yan, however, smiled and said that she has always been kind. But now that the Emperor has handed the harem over to her to manage, she had to be accountable to the Emperor. She was going to control all those that did not follow the rules and hoped that everyone would be able to understand and help her out. She made it sound good but she was actually even more cruel than the Empress. Although the concubine’s status was low, she was still the Emperor’s woman. Even though the late Empress was strict, she would never easily punish people.
Everyone forced a smile and only after Concubine Yan left did everyone dare to leave.
Li Baolin had vaguely heard from others that Concubine Yan was extremely scary when she was fierce and she seemed like an entirely different person from before. However, she did not think that Concubine Yan was like a different person. Most likely, Concubine Yan had suppressed and hid her real personality deeply and now she could finally show her true self.
When Li Baolin returned to Huayin Palace, Guihua, who had gone to find out more, returned as well. Guihua told her astonishing and hair-raising news -- Concubine Xi was dead!
The people from the Internal Attendant Department said that she had committed suicide. However, no matter how Li Baolin thought about it, something was not right. During morning court today, the Emperor had been perfectly fine. Guihua found out that Concubine Xi had gone to meet the Emperor thereafter. Now, the Emperor was extremely ill while Concubine Xi was dead. Li Baolin also heard that when the Emperor’s sickness acted up, Concubine Yan was present.
Li Baolin could not help the cold shiver that went down her spine. She asked Guihua to find someone she trusted to send a verbal message to the Duke Lu Residence. Fu Rou had to stay in Daci’en Temple no matter what. She could not return to the palace.
Prince Zhou rushed back to the palace to visit his unconscious Imperial Father. When he heard that his mother had been present, he could not help but become suspicious. When he arrived at his mother’s palace, he saw that the door was tightly shut and there were people guarding the door. He changed his mind and snuck beneath a side window.
“We have to give it to the Emperor, he always plans far ahead. Before he summoned me and Yu He to Ganlou Palace, he had already written several secret imperial decrees to make changes to the imperial guards around Chang’an. He made Prince Zhou powerless. All that is left is for Prince Qin to return from Daci’en Temple and he will be crowned as the Crown Prince. Prince Zhou will then have no choice but to leave Chang’an and return to his feudal land.”
“Amongst the imperial decrees, there is one for the governor of Zhou Land. As soon as Prince Zhou returns to his feudal land, he would take away all military and executive power from Prince Zhou. Prince Zhou is to become a rich but helpless noble.”
“Thankfully, Chief Cao withheld these secret imperial decrees. If not, there would be trouble. “
Prince Zhou never expected that Chief Cao, whom his Imperial Father trusted greatly, would actually help his mother.
“This time, it is all thanks to Chief Cao that we were able to avert disaster.” Concubine Yan’s voice was full of gratitude.
“The Emperor of Great Sui was my benefactor. All these years that I have been in the palace, I worked hard to serve in the day but at night, I secretly mourn towards heaven. I always thought that my wish was just like a fleeting cloud. Heaven has eyes. I am actually able to see the day where Great Sui has hopes of being restored.” Although his body was physically here, his heart was elsewhere.
“Chief Cao, why didn’t you say earlier that you are loyal to Great Sui? The situation at Ganlou Palace scared me to death.” Yu He felt extremely lucky.
“Who would dare to say something like that so casually? A single wrong sentence would cause me to lose my life. When both Prince Han and the Crown Prince suffered badly and Prince Qin almost died at Fu An Palace, I realised that something was amiss. I guessed that there were people on the same side as me in the palace. The biggest possibility was Your Highness, who shares the same bloodline as Great Sui’s Emperor. However, I did not dare to act rashly. But I have already helped Chief Yu greatly when it came to inserting your own people in the Internal Attendant Department. After all, I am not a muddled fool. How could I have let you continuously bring people into the Internal Attendant Department?”
“Who said that Great Sui has no one's hearts? This is Great Sui’s heart.” Concubine Yan could not help but sigh.
Prince Zhou could not stand to listen anymore as he took big strides through the main entrance. The internal attendants were hesitant whether to stop him and he took the chance to push open the door.
Chief Cao and Yu He automatically left and closed the door behind them.
Prince Zhou looked at his mother, who was drinking tea, like he was staring at a stranger. “For the kingdom and for the throne, you can even hurt your own husband. How can you be so brutal as to use any means to achieve your goals?”
Concubine Yan replied, “That’s right. For Great Sui’s kingdom and for Great Sui’s bloodline to retake the throne, I can do anything. I can be heartless. But I swear on my name and to our ancestors that I have never thought of hurting the Emperor. He is your father and my husband. He is the person I have shared a pillow with for over ten years. Did you think that your mother is a beast with no ounce of human emotions? My heart felt like it was being cut up when I saw him struggling to breathe!”
“Weren’t you the one that instructed Chief Cao?” She did not look like she was lying.
“I only recently found out about the relationship between Chief Cao and my Imperial Father. However, if not for his quick actions, you would have been chased out of Chang’an by your Imperial Father.”
At this point, there was no need to hide things from her son anymore.
Prince Zhou sighed, “Mother, even if Imperial Father did not intend to give me the throne, he adores me more than anyone else. If the price to pay to rule the world is to become a murderer that kills his own father, I would rather have nothing.”
Concubine Yan was stubborn. “Isn’t the precedence right in front of you? In the Xuanwu gate coup, your Imperial Father was also not the ideal inheritor to your Imperial Grandfather. However, your Imperial Father became the Emperor in the end and made your Imperial Grandfather the Grand Emperor. Your Imperial Grandfather was still able to live in splendor into his old age and be with his children and grandchildren. Moreover, Prince Qin is not his oldest son. Ge’er, you have the right to fight. Why do you have to endure and give in to others to take the throne?”
Prince Zhou finally wavered. He understood his mother’s last sentence clearly. If he were to always give in, only death awaited him. Look at the Crown Prince and Prince Han. Neither of them looked at him as a brother. He was afraid that Prince Qin may very well share the same sentiments.Previous Chapter Next Chapter