The Crown Prince really wasn’t poisoned. While everyone was worshiping and giving offerings to the Seventh Prince in Xuande Palace, he was very merrily drinking and having fun with several palace maids in his arms. When he heard the sounds of conversation between the palace servants and the guards from outside the door, it would not be good if he made an appearance now no matter how irritated he was. So he had to hurriedly tidy himself up and lie back on the couch.
Several eunuchs followed after the guards, hurling abuse at them, saying that Concubine Cheng really was simply audacious to have the impertinence to take the Crown Prince to the mourning hall without authorization. If the Crown Prince got infected by bad luck and his condition worsened, then she couldn't make up for it even if she had ten heads. However, a group of slaves such as these who dared to humiliate even the dignified concubines clearly showed how arrogant the Crown Prince usually was.
However, these guards did not hesitate to lift the Crown Prince who was in a "coma" onto the crude simple stretcher and said, "What are you all making a racket for? How many times have we said it, it’s not Concubine Cheng who wants to see the Crown Prince, it’s the Seventh Prince! If you delay the Seventh Prince’s matter, you will all bear capital punishment!"
What ‘Seventh Prince’? Wasn’t he already dead? How could these eunuchs believe such nonsense? So they followed after them and cursed the whole way. Furthermore, they thought that the Emperor was in Yangxin Palace and was in the dark about it, so they ran over to complain. The Crown Prince lying on the bed was also full of suspicion, but he was mostly angry. He inwardly thought that Concubine Cheng was so bold and reckless. Does she think that after Gu has fallen into a coma, Gu will never wake up again?
Blu: Gu - I; me [used by feudal princes]
He immediately decided to wake up at night and clean up all those rebels!
The group of people walked quickly to the Xuande Palace and the heavy door automatically opened, bringing with it a gloomy and cold breeze. The guards collectively shuddered, but did not dare to hesitate at all and hurried in. The cursing and swearing eunuchs and palace maids who followed behind also filed in. Seeing the Emperor surrounded by people in the corner and seeing the faint blue-green candle flames, they finally felt that something was wrong.
Where, where did candle flames of such colour come from? The illumination from the candles made everyone appear as if they were terrifying ghosts! What's going on? At this moment, the white banners with bloody words slowly fluttered in the gloomy wind, which made them finally understand that what the guards said before was actually true and it was indeed the Seventh Prince who wanted to see the Crown Prince.
The palace maids were terrified, screaming and crying. The eunuchs didn't fare any better and were already softly kneeling on the floor.
The Crown Prince’s eyes were tightly shut and didn't know what was going on. He only felt that the sky seemed to darken and the temperature suddenly dropped. Then, there was a burst of shrieking and howling in his ears. He was taken by surprise and almost jumped up, but he managed to hold back the impulse in time.
The guards put down the stretcher and cupped their hands with insincere solemnity towards the platform the coffin was placed on, "Reporting to the Seventh Prince, reporting to Imperial Concubine niangniang, the person has been brought."
The toppled tablet stand suddenly stood up with a soft thud. However, such subtle movements still struck everyone's hearts like thunder. Everyone was so frightened that they collapsed, but they couldn't help but look up towards the platform. They saw the writing on the tablet suddenly ooze a lot of blood then tipped off the edge of the table and fell onto the floor, stained in red. This scene - don’t mention seeing it with your own eyes - even just imagining it would make one feel terrified. His grievances were so strong that they cried tears of blood. It can be seen just how much hatred he brought when he returned from the grave this time.
The ministers in the front were still okay. They had already adapted to the fear. The eunuchs and palace maids who followed the Crown Prince were completely unprepared, screaming and fainting as smelly liquid slowly flowed from their crotch.
The Crown Prince became more and more bewildered when he heard the activity, but he did not dare to "wake up" immediately.
Concubine Xiao didn't faint, but she was almost there. She felt her heart swell to the extreme, even a slight tremor would break it. She clutched at her chest, wanting to scream, wanting to beg for mercy, even wanting to kneel and kowtow, but because her blood had already been frozen, she couldn't do anything.
She could only helplessly watch as Imperial Concubine Cheng held up the tablet and walked to her son step-by-step.
In the end, the Emperor overcame the fear and spoke in a trembling voice, "Imperial Concubine Cheng, what are you doing? Zhen orders you to quickly throw it away."
Imperial Concubine Cheng responded to him with a sneer. At the same time, a dense black mist poured out from the tablet, slowly converging into a figure. Everyone intently watched and they were frightened. The figure turned out to be the Seventh Prince, he appeared! He, he was walking towards the Crown Prince!
The guards standing on both sides of the stretcher immediately stepped away, but the Crown Prince - who still didn’t understand the situation - was still lying peacefully.
The ministers, regardless of whether they usually have a good impression of the Crown Prince or not, were feeling a little pity for him now. At this time, he still pretended to be unconscious, not knowing how to write the word "death".
Only the Emperor thought that his son’s life was really hanging by a thread and hurriedly shouted, "Huang Er, let your brother off! He was also deeply poisoned. He really, really has no-nothing to do with your death!"
"You are willing to be a muddled ghost, but Benwang is not. Benwang is still not as stupid as you are till Benwang doesn't even know the murderer who killed me is." The Seventh Prince gave a gloomy smile.
Hearing the familiar voice, the Crown Prince couldn't pretend any longer and suddenly opened his eyes, coming face to face with the Seventh Prince - who had been dead for many days - staring at him with red eyes. He fell in fright, then rolled off the stretcher and hurriedly crawled towards the Emperor and Imperial Concubine Xiao before standing up, his speed even faster than if he ran.
"Were, weren't you dead?" he collapsed and shouted.
"Weren't you deeply poisoned and in a coma? Benwang sees that you are still very well and you even had time to seek pleasure and make merry!" The Seventh Prince sneered.
The ministers followed his gaze and saw that the Crown Prince’s clothes opened when he scurried in a panic earlier, revealing the red marks on his collarbone, showing how intense the affairs he experienced earlier was. Was this what a comatose person should look like?
The Empress Dowager had an expression that said ‘Sure enough, it’s like this’. Imperial Concubine Cheng's wide eyes were about to split open at the corners, wishing that she could directly stab the Crown Prince to death with a knife. The Emperor's eyes held a complicated look and he was speechless for a long while. He wasn't really stupid, he just didn't want to look deeply into it. However, even though the Crown Prince was not poisoned, he still refused to believe that the poison was the Crown Prince's plot. This boy had always been filial ever since he was a child, unlike Ji Changye, who was treacherous by nature.
The Crown Prince saw the bloody white banner and memorial tablet, and then saw the cyan candlelight, he already knew that he had run into a ghost. He was originally a straw bag that was strong in appearance but weak in reality, so how could he maintain his bearing at this moment? He frantically ran to the doors of the palace, screaming hoarsely, "Don't come over, it was not Gu who harmed you, it was Ji Changye! If you want revenge, just look for him, don't look for Gu! Gu did not do it!"
"These lies, not even ghosts will believe you. Benwang has all the evidence in my hand. I won't talk nonsense with you today, just give me your life!" The Seventh Prince hardly finished speaking when many ghosts appeared in the palace, piling on layer after layer. The palace maids and eunuchs who were executed by the Emperor due to the poisoning incident, including the Chief Steward of the Inner Palace.
They didn't say a word as they were condensed into a black fog together with the Seventh Prince, that wrapped around the Crown Prince. Others could only see the black mist surging and hear the Crown Prince howling miserably, but they didn't know what was happening to him, but a lot of blood leaked out of the black mist, slowly staining a large part of the floor red. The Xuande Palace, which was already gloomy, was now full of the strong smell of blood, looking more and more like the eighteenth layer of hell.
Blu: Eighteenth layer of hell is the lowest layer of hell.
This scene finally defeated Imperial Concubine Xiao. She rushed out from behind the Emperor and screamed, "Seventh Prince, please let Huang Er go! The poison was carried out under my orders, it has nothing to do with Huang Er!"
The Empress Dowager had always wanted to kill Imperial Concubine Xiao. Upon hearing this, she immediately scolded, "Wow, you not only dared to poison Aijia’s beloved grandson to death, but also wanted to poison Aijia’s son to death as well! You scheming traitor! "
The words "scheming traitor" struck the Emperor's heart hard, causing him to suddenly stagger a few times. It, it can’t be, his cherished Concubine and Huang Er will not treat Zhen like this! He comforted himself in this way, but he also gradually wondered who would benefit if the Third Prince, the Seventh Prince and him died one after another. What's more, the Crown Prince was obviously not poisoned, but had pretended to faint. He, Imperial Concubine Xiao, the Imperial Physician, and even many civil and military ministers joined hands to deceive him!
The Emperor really was muddle-headed. When he adored someone, he couldn't wait to spoil them to the skies, but once he has doubts in his heart, he will very quickly reject them. The Emperor was passionate, but even more ruthless. It has always been like this since ancient times.
After figuring it out a bit, many of the following key points were obvious and the Emperor couldn't stand the blow and spat blood again. The Empress Dowager hurriedly supported him, comforting him with a trembling voice, but Imperial Concubine Cheng spat at him, then grabbed the guard's sword and hacked at Imperial Concubine Xiao’s back.
Imperial Concubine Xiao wanted to drag her son out of the black mist, but she dared not do anything. At the moment of her hesitation, she felt a pain in her back and was already paralyzed. She turned around and gaped as blood bubbled out of her throat. In the end, she couldn’t even say her last words before dying on the spot. At the same time, the black mist dissipated and the corpse of the Crown Prince who had been skinned and his belly cut open fell to the ground with a thump.
Imperial Concubine Cheng lifted the sword, first she softly chuckled, then madly laughed, seemingly gone crazy. A wisp of black qi circled her a few times and then slowly dispersed.
All this had happened so quickly that the ministers could not recover for a long time. Only Ji Changye managed to cover You Shu's eyes in time and warned him not to look. Ah Da and Ah Er secretly shook their heads. It was this little demon star who caused this whole fiasco in the first place, so how could he be afraid?
As the saying goes, a man dies the way a lamp goes out. As soon as the pair of mother and son were demonised, they died in front of his eyes. The Emperor suddenly remembered their good points and pointed at Concubine Cheng, ordering the guards to arrest the guilty woman. The guards were still hesitating, they saw another dark figure slowly appearing in the air. When the candlelight illuminated her pale face, it turned out to be Imperial Concubine Lan who had been dead for more than ten years.
Blu: a man dies the way a lamp goes out - everything is gone after death
The hearts of the ministers barely settled before they were strung up again. They collectively sighed in their hearts: Why did one come right after one left? Is it not over yet? Who are you looking for revenge this time? Remembering that Concubine Lan died on the bed of the Third Prince, they all looked towards the corner where the other side stood.
But the Emperor's heart was clear. Back then, he personally erased the traces of the Crown Prince raping and murdering Imperial Concubine Lan and shifted the blame onto the Third Prince. Since she appeared at this time, she must have come to seek revenge on him. As the saying goes, he who never does bad things need not be afraid of ghosts knocking on the door at night. When the Seventh Prince appeared before, he was still able to endure even though he was terrified. When he saw Imperial Concubine Lan, he finally understood why Imperial Concubine Xiao was so scared till she was incontinent.
Death was so close to him, so close that it would only take a gust of wind to take him to hell.
Before Imperial Concubine Lan could speak, the Emperor pleaded with tears and mucus profusely flowing down his face, "Lan'er, Zhen was wrong! Back then, Zhen shouldn't have helped the Crown Prince to cover up his crime and cause you to die with injustice. Zhen will invite the Living Buddha Wu Sicang to come and help your soul find peace. Zhen will hold a 7-7 49 day memorial ceremony. Forgive Zhen this time! Zhen has let you down and is willing to do everything to compensate you in my next life!"
Blu: 7-7 49 day memorial ceremony - best my dumb brain could come up with. It’s a 49-day mourning period which is supposed to be held after a person’s death. A memorial ceremony is held every 7th day until the 49th day which is the end of the mourning period
"Knowing that Ji Yongchang raped and killed Bengong, but still blamed it on the Third Prince. You not only did not help right the injustice done onto Bengong, but also wiped out all the evidence for him. In your eyes, is only Ji Yongchang a human being and the rest of us livestock? When Bengong died, there was a dragon seed in my belly, so ask him if he would agree to it!" Before the words fell, a dark shadow appeared in Concubine Lan’s belly and rushed towards the Emperor's left chest.
The Emperor raised his hand to cover it, but it was futile, and then Concubine Lan turned into a black shadow and drilled in. Severe pain followed, causing the Emperor to groan and fall to the ground, rolling around in pain.
The Empress Dowager suppressed her fear with difficulty and tore away his dragon robe and looked, and she was immediately froze. She saw that the skin on his chest actually had two pustules bulging out of it, one large and one small. The pustules festered into the shape of faces, exuding a pungent stench and even throbbed like a heart. Every beat pulled at the Emperor’s nerves, making him howl in bone-deep pain.
"How is it Ghost Face Sores again?" A certain minister who stood closer couldn't help exclaiming.
There was a sudden tumult in the palace hall. It was already clear that the Emperor was incurable. They never expected for the life of them that that tragedy more than ten years ago was actually also the doing of the Crown Prince. He also ordered the Third Prince to be the scapegoat. To think that the Emperor was so bone-headed to that extent. He was fully aware that it was the Crown Prince who raped and killed his concubine - simply worse than a beast - and still praised him for noble-bearing and conferred him the title of Crown Prince. It’s no wonder that Concubine Lan couldn’t close her eyes when she died. Even after more than ten years, she still came back for revenge and even used such a method where both sides suffered.
Blu: couldn’t close her eyes when she died - to die with a remaining grievance
MISERABLE Miserable Miserable! INJUSTICE Injustice Injustice! When the evil, chilly wind dissipated completely, the doors and windows all opened and the ministers filed out to meet the gorgeous sunset, but only these six bloody characters were left in their minds.
The Empress Dowager did not dare to move the Emperor, so she had to summon the imperial physician to Xuande Palace immediately. Ji Changye hugged You Shu and looked over in silence for a bit and then walked away slowly under the sympathetic eyes of the ministers.
He once thought about exonerating himself and making his father regret it, but now that all his expectations have become reality, he was not happy.
There were many empty wine pots on the table. He pulled the boy into his arms while he was drinking and asked as he was intoxicated, "Younger Seventh Imperial Brother can come back, and Imperial Concubine Lan, who has been dead for more than ten years, can also come back. Why can't the Mother Empress? Where did she go, does she know that I have always been thinking of her?"
You Shu has no experience in taking care of drunkards, but has taken over the job of raising children. He hugged the young man's head, repeatedly stroked the back of the other person’s head and coaxed, "It is good that she did not come to see you. This means that she has no obsession and has been reincarnated."
"Really? Are you saying that she lives in another place now?" Ji Changye grabbed the boy's shoulders.
"Yes, death is not the end, but another beginning. Do you know the circle of reincarnation? She will have a new life, so you don't have to worry about her. Instead of always worrying about it, you have to look forward." You Shu poured chicken soup to soothe his Master’s soul while carrying him back to the bedroom with the help of Ah Da and Ah Er.
Ji Changye repeated these few words and the gloom in his heart dissipated a lot. Yes, he wanted to look forward. Mother Empress was gone, but You Shu was still here. Whether it is on death row or the forbidden palace, You Shu was always willing to make trouble for him. This friendship was not lower than maternal love. Thinking of this, Ji Changye curled his lips into a smile.
You Shu drove away Ah Da and Ah Er, saying that he would stay to take care of the drunk Master. He was about to bend down to help his Master change his clothes, but was fascinated by the gentle smile on the other party’s face. He stared blankly for a while, then he covered his flushed cheeks and thought: That's weird, I only just sucked in the Dragon's Qi, so why do I want to take another mouthful now? Yes, I must have lost too much blood. I have to eat something good to make up for it.”
He quickly wiped the half-awake Master clean, then went outside to wash his face, and then he carried a box of red dates and went in. It was said that red dates are good for enriching blood. He placed the red dates on his legs and stuffed them one by one into his mouth, but his eyes were staring at the Master's cheeks that were particularly flushed because of drinking, as if eating like this would make the dates more delicious. This was what was called a feast for the eyes.
When he accidentally ate a rotten red date, he quickly spit out the bitter pulp and went to the sideroom next door after slipping in his shoes to find some tea to rinse his mouth. The tea was bitter and after a few large cups, his mouth became more bland. He couldn't help but think of the sweet and fragrant Dragon Qi of his Master’s and immediately gulped down a large mouthful of saliva.
"I’ll just dip in a little bit, just like dipping a dumpling in dipping sauce. Besides, Dragon Qi is a good thing, so no matter how much I eat, I won’t dislike it, not to mention that it can even save my life." He returned to the room. While comforting himself, he picked out a large and plump red date, touched the Master’s lips, and threw it into his mouth.
Maybe it was a psychological factor, but the jujube that had been coated with Dragon Qi was more delicious than before, and they were even more nourishing, which was not harmful at all to him. You Shu couldn’t stop. He kept picking one, coated it and ate it, waking up Ji Changye who had fallen asleep.
You Shu was greedy. He forgets himself when he eats and simply continues eating. He never noticed that the other person's eyes have opened.
Although Ji Changye slept like he was dead to the world, he had no choice but to wake up now, not to mention that he was in a moment of emotional turmoil, so he hugged the young man before he could think about it, and turned from a guest into a host.
Blu: turn from a guest into a host - gain the initiative; turn the tables
When he woke up the next day, seeing the boy in his arms and the red dates scattered all over below the bed, Ji Changye didn’t return to his senses for a long time. When he heard a knock on the door, he immediately covered the young man's ears and whispered, "Wait a moment."
After very carefully pulling his arm out, he then looked under the quilt to look at the young man’s condition. Wave-after-wave of emotion churned in Ji Changye's heart and it was difficult for him to calm down. He wanted to ruthlessly punch himself but was afraid of disturbing the sleeping teenager, so he could only gently dress him and open the door for Ah Da.
"Shh, You Shu is still asleep, go to the study and speak." He raised his index finger to stop Ah Da who wanted to speak.
After standing far away, Ah Da reported, "Master, Duke Wei and the senior Wangyes all wanted to meet you. Do you think it should be arranged as soon as possible?" This was to prepare for the final fight, after all, there were still two princes who survived. Although the Sixth Prince was as incompetent as his father, he had a cowardly personality and it was easy to manipulate him. He had already been controlled by the Empress Dowager. For the benefit of her maternal family and in order to control the court for a long time, the Empress Dowager joined hands with many ministers, wanting to push the Sixth Prince to the top.
Ji Changye naturally had arrangements for this, but one slight move may affect the whole situation. He stopped and looked back in the direction of his sleeping quarters, his expression showed reluctance and self-blame. How could he treat You Shu as a catamite? How could he make him lie under his body covered in blood.
Blu: Catamite - a boy kept for homosexual practices
If he woke up, how would he see him? A vile, impetuous person who lost his morals after drinking?
Ji Changye shook his head, somewhat afraid to face him. He took a deep breath and said, "Immediately arrange for them to come to see Benwang. Furthermore, please invite an imperial physician to have a look at You Shu and keep your lips sealed. After having a look at him, send You Shu back to his house and don't let him get involved before things calm down."
Invite the doctor? What for? Did the Master find out about You Shu bloodletting? Ah Da did not dare to ask more and hurriedly accepted the order, only to find out why he had to keep his mouth shut when he returned to the room. One look and he knew that this injury was caused by that!
Ah Da and the first doctor felt extremely embarrassed, but You Shu calmly let them have a look at him. In the apocalypse, there were people in the lowest rung of society who didn’t have enough to eat and couldn't afford to wear clothes. People's sense of shame had long been wiped out by the disaster and he was naturally the same. If he really yelled because a piece of flesh was exposed, then he should lift up his body and wait to get eaten by the zombies.
There was no shame, but the sense of guilt was increasing. He was treated with the best medicine and put on his clothes. Only then did he remember: It seemed that he had forcibly taken the Master's dragon essence last night? This time, it's the real dragon essence! Although it was a good thing, the Master was drunk and was not willing.
Thinking of his shameless behavior, You Shu can't help barring his teeth. But his dimples loved to make trouble and they will be exposed as long as his lips are slightly curled. It didn’t seem like he was conflicted and instead looked sweet and proud.
Ah Da looked at him with new eyes. This kid was a really dangerous person. He not only had intentions towards the Master, but also put it into action! He must do as the Master said and send him away as soon as possible!
Ah Da quickly prepared the carriage to send the boy away and You Shu, who also felt guilty, quickly agreed. The Dragon Essence was in his hands and his life-saving talisman was safe. He would no longer have to stick to his Master all the time in the future.
After moving into the new house, he recuperated for a few days. After his body had completely recovered, You Shu brought back Song Shi’s group who had been hiding in Quanzhou. Because they had the Jingzhou Wang’s token in their hands, they were well received and respected. Now, there were only two princes remaining—— the Third Prince and the Sixth Prince, and each has a 50% chance of ascending the throne. Naturally, the guards in the Capital didn’t dare to offend either of them.
The subordinates thought so, but the nobles of the court secretly started a game of chess. The Empress Dowager originally thought that the Third Prince did not have stable foundations, but who knew that seven of the eight states were willing to support him as their Master. Several old Imperial Uncles also supported him, and within a few days, a large number of courtiers were won over.
The Empress Dowager was very anxious, but she also knew that Duke Xiao’s power alone was not enough to contend with him. After thinking about it, she could only put her idea into the word "true descendant". What was a true descendant? In the imperial family, the previous Empress's son was not called the true descendant and the Crown Prince was also not the true descendant. Only when the Emperor died, the name mentioned in the succession edict was truly legitimate.
Watching on as the Emperor became weaker day by day, the Empress Dowager hurried to find her son with a blank edict.
All the bad things that the Emperor had done in this life were related to the previous Empress and her son and the sins and karma he had suffered should also be on them. Just think, how could he be willing to let the Third Prince ascend the throne? After listening to the Empress Dowager's appeal, he ordered the imperial physician to feed him a bowl of strong medicine. After the effect of the medicine came into play, he sat up and started writing.
He only just wrote a line when Ji Changye slowly entered, leading a group of ministers in, with an hard-to-read expression on his face.