Under the plea of Fang Xuanling and other important ministers, Concubine Yan had no choice but to allow Imperial Physician He to give acupuncture to the Emperor. After the acupuncture, the Emperor’s finger twitched. Concubine Yan immediately sat beside the bed. She looked as if she wanted to grab his hand in excitement but actually she was frantic.
“Your Majesty!” Fang Xuanling and Linghu Deguan called urgently.
Imperial Physician He reminded, “Although His Majesty is awake, he is still weak. Please slow down the things you want to say.”
Concubine Yan heard him but her expression did not change. Her gaze remained fixed on the Emperor.
The Emperor’s eyes opened and his slackened gaze slowly focused. When he saw Chief Cao standing behind Concubine Yan, he opened his mouth. His voice was weak and trembling. “Cao...Cao Yangde…”
Fang Xuanling frowned as he looked at Chief Cao.
Chief Cao froze before he walked and leaned on the bedside. He pretended to be moved. “Your Majesty! Your Majesty is finally awake. There is hope for Prince Qin!”
The Emperor’s mouth gaped open and he looked shocked.
Chief Cao continued to whine and cry. “Prince Qin has gone missing and Concubine Yan has searched the entire palace but failed to find him. All is well as long as you are awake. What do you want to do?”
“Chief Cao, His Majesty has just awoke, you…” Fang Xuanling did not know what was going on and turned to comfort the Emperor. “Your Majesty, please rest assured. I will definitely find Prince Qin.”
When the Emperor saw Concubine Yan, he wanted to lift his hand. Concubine Yan gritted her teeth and held the Emperor’s hand down. She cried, “Your Majesty, please do not be agitated, your health is the most important!”
The Emperor’s shoulder twitched but no one noticed.
The Emperor looked at Fang Xuanling and struggled, “Enact...enact Prince Qin…” His eyes rolled backwards.
Concubine Yan finished his sentence. “Prince Qin will be safe! General Linghu has already sent people to look for him. Your Majesty, please do not worry. Prince Zhou will manage the country according to your decree. Everything is under control.”
The Emperor looked at Concubine Yan with pain and disappointment in his eyes. His head tilted and he fainted. Concubine Yan cried out, “Your Majesty! Your Majesty!”
Imperial Physician He hurried to check. It was only then did Concubine Yan let go of the Emperor’s hand and moved away from the bed. She was expressionless.
Imperial Physician He sighed, “It’s okay, it's okay. He has just fainted.”
Fang Xuanling looked at Chief Cao. He was extremely displeased.
Seeing this, Concubine Yan immediately spoke, “Cao Yangde, how can you bring up Prince Qin’s situation and agitate His Majesty? His Majesty has fainted again as soon as he woke up. What shall we do now?”
Chief Cao kneeled down. “I deserve to die. When I saw His Majesty open his eyes today, I was too excited...I deserve to die! Please punish me, Your Highness!”
Concubine Yan snorted, “I won’t take it out on you for now. When His Majesty wakes up, we will let His Majesty decide.” She looked worried as she turned to face Fang Xuanling. “As you all can see, His Majesty needs a lot of undisturbed rest. More haste, less speed.”
Fang Xuanling and Linghu Deguan glanced at each other and had no choice but to leave.
After they left, Concubine Yan fell in a daze as she subconsciously touched the ring on her finger. However, Yu He caught her hand.
“Your Highness, be careful!” It was rare that he was forceful as he flipped Concubine Yan’s hand over.
Inside he ring, there was a small glint. Thankfully, there was medicine on this small thorn that could make the Emperor faint once again.
Concubine Yan suddenly refocused and allowed Yu He to take off the ring. “This medicine won’t hurt the Emperor too badly, right?”
Yu He did not seem to care as he answered, “The amount of medicine given was just enough to make him faint. The ending has yet to be set, so he has to continue living.”
Concubine Yan could hear the murderous intent in his voice and was startled. However, she did not show it as she instructed calmly, “When Prince Zhou inherits the throne as the Crown Prince and makes him the Grand Emperor, he has to wake up. Understood?”
Chief Cao could not help but say, “Your Highness, situations in the palace changes very quickly. There are a lot of things that cannot be confirmed.”
Concubine Yan’s eyes turned sharp. “My son will be the most powerful and perfect Emperor in history, how can I let the history books record him as someone who had stolen the throne from his father! His Majesty has to continue living after he gives up the throne. Moreover, he has to live comfortably, enjoy the riches and his grandchildren. Do you all understand?”
Yu He and Chief Cao kneeled at the same time. “Yes.”
Prince Zhou returned to the palace and saw that Fu Rou was arguing with the guards. It was the first time he saw her so agitated.
“What’s the problem?” He walked up to them. Only she could easily make him concerned.
“I want to leave the palace. What right do they have to keep me here!” Not only was Fu Rou agitated, she was furious.
“Prince Qin has gone missing and Mother has increased the security around the palace. No one can enter or leave easily. You need her permission.” He pulled her hand towards the palace. “You should know that there is no point making things difficult for the guards.”
“Let me go!” She wanted to pull her hand back. “I want to see my parents!”
He did not let go nor slow down. “Imperial Father has fainted and Prince Qin is missing. Do you think this is the right time to visit your parents?”
“It is all thanks to your mother!” She blurted out in anger.
At that moment, he stopped and turned to look at her. He knew in his heart that his mother did something to her family.
She did not want to seem weak and stared straight back at him. How she wished that he would not join the struggle for the throne, maintain his noble and pure heart and continue smiling under the sun. Although she had no romantic feelings for him, there was friendship and she cherished the purity of it.
“Answer one question and I will help you.” Prince Zhou could not understand her gaze. “Where is Prince Qin?”
Fu Rou’s eyes darkened. “Out of everyone, I’m most upset you asked me this.” In the end, was he going to step on the path of no return?
Prince Zhou’s eyes were filled with pain. “If I don’t become the Crown Prince and inherit the throne, you should know what will happen to my mother and me.”
Fu Rou froze. “The Emperor fainting, could it...could it be that you…”
Prince Zhou was furious. “Is that how you think of me? After knowing each other for so long, I treat you like one of my own, yet you look at me as if I am cruel? No, I have never hurt my Imperial Father and will never hurt him!” However, his tone changed to one of helplessness. “But things have already turned out this way. I am on a path that I did not choose for myself. At the end of this path, it is Great Tang’s most precious throne. If I cannot sit on it, me and my closest kin will die on this path.”
“You can also brave the torrent and retreat.” He had other choices.
“Retreat where? Tell me. Who would let me and my mother go after becoming the crown prince? Li Chengqian? Prince Han Litai? No matter which of them becomes the crown prince, my mother and I will die.” He had long ago seen this clearly. Those biological brothers had never thought of him as a brother.
Fu Rou was determined. “There is Prince Qin.”
“If Prince Qin did not go missing, maybe there is a chance. But he is missing. If he has been captured by someone or harmed, my mother and I won’t be able to prove our innocence even if we jumped into the yellow river. If he purposely hid…”
Fu Rou spoke, “If he purposely hid himself, he will be able to prove your and Concubine Yan’s innocence when he comes back.”
Prince Zhou suddenly reached out and gently held Fu Rou's face. He laughed bitterly, “Rou’er, you are really not suited for the palace. You are too naïve. If he purposely hid, it means that he is fearful of me and suspects that I would hurt him. With that premonition, the distance between me and Prince Qin will never disappear. When he ascends the throne, he will kill me.”
“No. Prince Qin will not. I will properly guide him.” Fu Rou was confident in Prince Qin.
“He listens to you now because he is still young. When he grows older and has the power to kill and overlook life, do you think he will still listen to your advice? His mother is Empress Zhangsun and his biological brothers are Li Chengqian and Li Tai. Will he forget that we were born on two different sides?” This was their predestined fate.
Fu Rou opened her mouth but could not say anything.
“I have to become the Crown Prince and the next ruler of Great Tang. I promise you that I will treat Imperial Father better than Li Chengqian and I will not kill my brothers. I will be more diligent and lenient than any other ruler.” Prince Zhou pleaded sincerely, “Rou’er, will you tell me where Prince Qin is? He cannot become the Crown Prince but I promise to let him live and at least become a rich noble.”
Fu Rou hesitated, struggling internally. In the end, she shook her head. Although she believed him, she could not trust the ones behind him.
Prince Zhou looked hurt as he let go of Fu Rou’s hand. “I did all of this in order to let my mother live comfortably in the palace. Rou’er, what about you? In order to let your parents live, would you be willing to pay any price?”
“So you planned all of this!” Fu Rou’s eyes were filled with shock.
However, Prince Zhou turned to leave. Whether he knew or not, whether he did it or not, he no longer had energy to dispute. Because he could only choose his mother. Her decision was equivalent to his decision. It was this pathetic!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I don't know why there's a thorn on the ring. It is confusing but that's what it says in the raws... lol
Note: Prince Zhou did not plan this. In case you guys think it was part of his plan. He just doesn't want his mother to die. Sigh.