The late emperor’s harem had many concubines. The empress was the late emperor’s wife and the woman he loved the most.
Both Concubine Shu and Concubine Ming were from powerful families. Concubine Shu was the daughter of a general while Concubine Ming had a group of ministers behind her. Relatively speaking, the mother of the eighth prince had a terrible low presence in the harem and was almost like an invisible person.
The two of them didn’t even know her name or title.
Yu Hanjiang’s voice was low. “The eighth prince’s mother… I remember my grandfather mentioning that his mother wasn’t involved in the harem battle and seemed to be a woman who stood aloof from worldly affairs.
Stood aloof from worldly affairs?
In the ever changing harem, could she really ‘stand aloof from worldly affairs’?
Xiao Lou frowned. “If our reasoning is correct, the mother of the eighth prince shouldn’t be a woman who stands aloof from worldly affairs. Rather, she is a deep-hearted, strategically superior woman. She used one stone to kill four people. The crown prince and third prince died one after another and the fifth prince and sixth prince fell out of favour. Only the eighth prince could rise to the throne. This scheme is really cruel and poisonous!”
Yu Hanjiang thought about it. “Tomorrow morning, we will go and see the Ninth Princess. She should know what type of person the eighth prince’s mother is!”
Xiao Lou nodded. “Okay, we need to hurry up.”
Early the next morning, Long Sen returned to Jiangzhou and secretly came to the backyard of the prefectural magistrate’s house.
Long Sen looked very tired. There were thick dark circles under his eyelids. He had rushed nonstop without a break for two days and two nights.
Xiao Lou saw that he was about to be paralyzed and poured him a glass of water, speaking warmly, “It was hard on you.”
Long Sen drank the water and wiped his mouth before speaking. “I changed between three fast horses ion the way, not daring to rest, and I finally arrived in time. It was really dangerous because there were two days until the emperor’s selection! If we hadn’t delivered the letter in time then the emperor might’ve been assassinated!”
Xiao Lou was amazed. “It seems that if our reasoning speed is too slow and we didn’t find out about the origin of the Yan assassins in time, the emperor in the capital might’ve already died.”
It was a false alarm.
Fortunately, Xiao Lou remembered his younger brother was on the front lines in time and led his brother out to investigate. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have known the emperor would be assassinated and would’ve kept on investigating the prince’s mansion case. In the event of the emperor’s death, the entire secret room would’ve failed!
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou with appreciation. “Fortunately, it wasn’t too late.”
Xiao Lou nodded. “What was the reaction of the emperor after reading the secret letter?”
Long Sen was the shadow guard arranged by the emperor and could contact the shadow guards in the capital for a direct meeting. This was the reason why Yu Hanjiang asked Long Sen to deliver the letter personally.
The emperor might be young but he was very strategic. Before gaining the throne, he secretly trained a large number of shadow guards.
Long Sen explained, “His Majesty had me go by a secret path. I was blindfolded and brought to a strange place. Once I saw His Majesty, I gave him the secret letter. He read it and frowned. He hadn’t expected the assassins to be so arrogant that they would dare come to the palace to assassinate him!”
Long Sen imitated the emperor’s manner of speaking. “Go back and tell Yu daren that I will handle the matter of the selection carefully. The selection is two days later and everything will proceed as usual. I will pull out the assassins in the capital as well as all the traitors in the court!”
Yu Hanjiang frowned. “He wants to risk himself to lead the snake out of the hole?”
“His Majesty really means this. The selection has been planned for a long time and there are many age-appropriate women already in the capital. It won’t be easy to explain if he rashly cancels it and it might cause civil speculation. His Majesty said that he will make advancements in advance to observe all the girls who are beautiful and find the assassins mixed in among them. He said that you shouldn’t worry.”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “Since His Majesty has made the arrangements, I believe he won’t be afraid of a few assassins. The plotline of the Yan assassins should be finished perfectly.”
The emperor would be responsible for the matter of catching the assassins. Yu Hanjiang had to clear up the plotline of the poisoning case.
At present, the poisonous case plotline still had some secrets to be uncovered.
Yu Hanjiang thought up to here and brought Xiao Lou and Old Mo to the prince’s mansion.
Yu Hanjiang personally reported the results of the assassin organization to the eighth prince. He said that this was a force from the Yan state and it was established by the crown prince of the Yan state. He also said that the Yan state was preparing to send assassins to the emperor and he had sent a letter to inform the emperor.
The prince suddenly realized. “It turned out to be people from Yan and they dared to act against His Majesty!” The prince struck the table and almost flipped it over.
Yu Hanjiang calmly asked, “The assassins have all been captured. How do you want to deal with this group of assassins?”
The prince thought about it carefully. “Assassination of His Majesty is a capital crime. You don’t need to be merciful and can directly execute them. In addition, since the Fragrant Sky House is the stronghold of the intelligence organization, it can’t be left alone.”
Yu Hanjiang told him, “There are four girls left in the Fragrant Sky House. I carefully checked and these four are really innocent. They have no idea about the actions of Aunt Qing and the others. It isn’t good to kill innocent people. How about letting these four go their own way?”
The prince frowned. “Are you sure these four are okay?”
Yu Hanjiang nodded. “I have found the list of organization members from Aunt Qing and these four aren’t on it. Moreover, I’ve personally investigated and questioned them. They are indeed unaware.”
He couldn’t allow all the Fragrant Sky House girls to be put to death. After all, Ye Qi was also in the Fragrant Sky House.
The prince told him, “Okay, you are the prefectural magistrate of Jiangzhou and it is up to you how to deal with these four people.” The prince touched his chin. “By the way, the two murders in my residence were related to these assassins?”
Yu Hanjiang naturally couldn’t say ‘it is likely your daughter was killed by your son’ so he casually made up an excuse. “The assassins haven’t admitted to killing the eldest young lady. The case of the eldest young lady and Young Master Lin is still under investigation and some clues have been found. If you allow me a few more days then I will catch the murderer as soon as possible.”
The prince nodded. “Then I will leave it to you.”
Yu Hanjiang requested, “There are still some details I want to ask the Ninth Princess. Is the Ninth Princess still here?”
The prince couldn’t help smiling. “Of course. My sister has always been wayward but she was almost killed by the assassin on that day. She is so frightened that she doesn’t dare go out and has been staying in the prince’s mansion.”
He waved to a maid. “Go to the backyard to call the Ninth Princess. Yu daren has something to ask her.”
Moments later, the Ninth Princess along with Qu Wanyue came to the front yard.
The two of them had changed back into female clothing.
Qu Wanyue in female clothing was simply a gentle and beautiful ancient Jiangnan woman and Long Sen’s eyes couldn’t help brightening at the sight.
Yu Hanjiang first used some palace gossip to confirm the old things that the Ninth Princess had told Qu Wanyue about. “In the past, I served as the companion of the crown prince in the royal palace for a period of time. “I heard some rumours… Imperial Concubine Shu poisoned the empress and Imperial Concubine Ming poisoned Imperial Concubine Shu. Ninth Princess, you grew up in the harem. Is this true?”
The Ninth Princess answered, “It is all rumours and there is no real evidence. My father, the later emperor, didn’t send Imperial Concubine Ming to the cold palace. Instead, he made a decree that all the concubines in the harem will be buried with him.”
Yu Hanjiang asked, “What about the eighth prince’s mother? Do you know her?”
The Ninth Princess thought about it for a moment. “The eighth prince’s mother is Imperial Concubine Xian. It is said that Imperial Concubine Xian was a folk girl rescued by my father when he went to Jiangzhou. She had no relatives and was one of the most beautiful ones among the concubines in the harem. Her temperament is pure and beautiful. After my father brought her into the harem, she chose the most secluded Qingxin Park to live in and stood aloof from worldly affairs. She had no contact with other concubines. She spent every day making tea and studying Buddhism.”
Yu Hanjiang questioned, “How did the late emperor treat Imperial Concubine Xian?”
“My father really loved her. Her personality was particularly quiet and gentle. My father often went to her to drink tea, saying that he can calm down and refresh the mind when drinking her tea. As a child, I often went to play with Imperial Concubine Xian. There were so many concubines in the harem but my favourite was Imperial Concubine Xian. She was really gentle and always had the fragrance of tea. By the way, she also had some medical skills. When I was a child, she would give me some herbal teas to recuperate whenever she saw I was sick.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other.
Imperial Concubine Xian, the birth mother of the eighth prince and the woman brought back to the palace by the emperor.
The woman looked gentle and virtuous on the surface and stood aloof from the world. She lived in the most secluded place, making tea and reading Buddhist scripture. Perhaps she was actually the most terrifying boss in the harm.
She loved to make tea. Perhaps she put poison in the tea leaves and quietly poisoned the empress and Concubine Shu before planting it on others!
Yu Hanjiang followed up with another question. “The late emperor left a decree for all concubines to be buried with him. What about Imperial Concubine Xian? Is she dead?”
Unexpectedly, the Ninth Princess shook her head. “She is still alive!”
Their hairs were about to stand up!
Xiao Lou heard this and it felt like his neck was targeted by a poisonous snake. The hidden boss was still alive?
Yu Hanjiang immediately asked, “How can this be? Didn’t the late emperor order that all concubines be buried with him? Concubine Xian didn’t follow the late emperor’s will?”
The Ninth Princess sighed softly. “More than 10 years ago, my father made the current emperor the crown prince and my Eighth Brother was granted the title of Zhenjiang King. My father built the magnificent Zhenjiang prince’s mansion for him in JIangzhou. My Eighth Brother loves to be an idle prince so he took his wives back to Jiangzhou to settle down. He spent his days playing in the mountains and rivers and was at ease. Once Imperial Concubine Xian knew this, she told my father that she wanted to go to Qingshan Temple to pray for him…”
Qingshan Temple, it was the temple outside Jiangzhou!
The Ninth Princess’s face was full of admiration. “Imperial Concubine Xian truly rejected the world for a monastic life and was at peace with herself. My father saw that she fasts and chants Buddhist scriptures all day and simply let her go. Thus, the virtuous Imperial Concubine Xian fled to Qingshan Temple and became a nun of Qingshan Temple. My father, the late emperor decreed that all concubines in the harem would be buried with him but Concubine Xian is no longer in the harem so there was no need for her to die.”
Last night, Ye Qi and Liu Qiao followed the Zhao state’s envoys to Qingshan Temple and found Qi Fenghua and the second prince of Zhao secretly talking.
Jiangzhou was so big and there were many places in the forest suitable for talking. Why choose Qingshan Temple?
This was the reason!
Imperial Concubine Xian was still at Qingshan Temple!
Yu Hanjiang looked at Xiao Lou with bright eyes.
The case was finally clear.
This concubine who seized the opportunity to take refuge in a religious life was probably furious with her son. She planned for so long and wiped out all the enemies, only to be pitted by her biological son. Who would’ve thought that the eighth prince had no intention of gaining power. Just as the late emperor was about to pass on the throne to him, he took the initiative to push it away?!
From the perspective of the eighth prince, playing in the mountains and rivers with a beautiful woman in his arms was the greatest joy in life.
It was too much trouble to sit in the dragon chair and he would rather be an idle prince.
Imperial Concubine Xian’s plan failed so she had to kill a group of people in the capital to shut their mouths. It was likely that this was the reason for the serial poisoning case in the capital. After all, Concubine Xian couldn’t do so many things alone. She should’ve secretly trained a group of men, even some officials from the court such as those from the Ministry of Justice.
Since the plan failed, these people certainly couldn’t stay so she poisoned a group of people, involving Xiao Lou’s father. Perhaps his father had found out about the empress and prince before he died.
The aftermath was well handled and Imperial Concubine Xian used a pretense to seek refuge in a religious life.
The late emperor was already old and the empress and crown prince had an accident. The old man’s heart must be very tired and she was always gentle and virtuous. He must’ve been worried that she would be murdered if she stayed in the harem. Therefore, the late emperor agreed to let her out of the harem so she could enjoy her old age in a temple.
The late emperor probably never thought that the gentlest and most aloof concubine was actually the real murderer behind the scenes.
She hid too deeply!
Xiao Lou couldn’t help admiring her scheming. If a woman could become an emperor in this world then this concubine might’ve become the emperor. The entire harem of the late emperor was played by her. In the end, all the harem women were killed but she survived.
However, her son wasted everything she set up.
Therefore, she looked at her grandson. She started to help Qi Fenghua to rebel?