CR: Chapter 183
Yu Hanjiang brought back both Concubine Xian and Qi Fenghua.
The concubine was suspected of murdering the crown prince, empress and two concubines 13 years ago. Perhaps she was also related to the serial poisoning murders in the capital. There were too many cases she was involved in. In addition, QI Fenghua joined with the second prince of Zhao to rebel. In ancient times, the crime of rebellion was to behead the entire family!
Yu Hanjiang couldn’t decide on his own how to deal with the two people. He had to send a letter to the emperor to seek the emperor’s opinion.
In order to avoid having a group rescue the two people, Yu Hanjiang specifically empties a back room and secretly imprisoned Imperial Concubine Xian and Qi Fenghua. He personally guarded them while he asked Long Sen to go to the capital to meet the emperor.
However, before Long Sen had set off, Old Mo came to find Yu Hanjiang with a gloomy expression. “Concubine Xian committed suicide.”
Yu Hanjiang’s pupils shrank. “What? I just checked and her teeth didn’t hide any poison. I also had Liu Qiao personally watch her. How did she kill herself?
Mo Xuemin held his head like he had a headache. “She took advantage of the time Liu Qiao went out to get food to smash her bracelet. I didn’t expect her bracelet to have a compartment inside that contained a highly toxic substance… alas, it’s really unpredictable.”
Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other and immediately followed Old Mo to the scene.
The concubine was lying on the bed with her eyes closed, hands lightly placed on her abdomen and face calm. It was as if she was only sleeping.
She should’ve been dejected in her heart. From the moment she was caught by Yu Hanjiang, she planned to commit suicide so she died peacefully.
There was a letter on the table that she had written.
Yu Hanjiang immediately picked up this suicide note and read it carefully.
In the letter, the concubine confessed everything.
Her real name was Zhao Qingyan and she was the daughter of a noble of the Zhao state. Her father raised her as a boy and let her read books from an early age. Her mother was heir to a famous doctor and taught her medical skills, wanting to train her to be the empress of Zhao.
The power of their family was huge and they had a close relationship with the Zhao family. The Zhao emperor was also interested in her and wanted to make her the empress.
At the age of 18, she was young and playful. She secretly ran to the neighbouring country of Daqi, wanting to see the legendary scenery of Jiangzhou. Then she accidentally got separated from her guards and maids on the road and was taken into captivity by bandits. The bandits wanted to make her into the camp’s madam and she managed to escape on the knight she was supposed to do the ritual kneeling to heaven and earth. At that time, the late emperor had come to Jiangzhou for a private visit. He saw her when she was running away from the mountain and covered in bruises. He was fascinated by her beauty and rescued her.
She woke up in Daqi.
The emperor had people heal her wounds and took the opportunity to possess her. She didn’t know martial arts and was alone in a foreign country. She naturally didn’t dare to fight rashly against the emperor. Although she was reluctant in her heart, she could only like that both her parents had died and she had no relatives. She was brought into the harem by the late emperor and became one of his concubines.
By the time she entered the palace, the emperor had four sons. The oldest was five years old and the youngest was just born.
The emperor’s favourite was the empress and the eldest son of the empress was naturally established as the crown prince. She could see that the other concubines were actually not convinced but didn’t dare do anything. In the harem, the group of women had their own thoughts. In order to protect herself, she had to find the most secluded place, pretending to be aloof from the world, praying to Buddha and making tea every day.
The emperor didn’t love her but when he was upset, he liked to sit with her and drink tea. Compared to a husband and wife, she was more like a friend he drank tea with and chatted with.
One year after entering the harem, an envoy of Zhao came to visit. She heard from the envoy that the daughter of the Zhao family went missing and the family couldn’t find her. They thought she had died in the hands of a bandit so the emperor of Zhao married her younger sister!
She had been secretly drinking a medicinal soup after entering the harem to avoid giving the emperor a child. She was still holding onto hope that she could return to Zhao one day but the news brought by the envoy made her completely desperate. Her younger sister was the crown princess and would become the empress of Zhao one day. Her younger sister had never found her pleasing to the eye. What if she returned to the Zhao state?
She had become the woman of Qi’s emperor. Could she return home and marry someone else?
Zhao Qingyan was disheartened.
On that night, the emperor warmly welcomed the envoys of Zhao and there was singing and dancing in the palace. Zhao Qingyan sat alone in a remote courtyard in the harem and raised three glasses of wine in the direction of her home. The first cup was to honor her parents, the second was to her country and the third was to herself.
The noblewoman called Zhao Qingyan completely died on this day, leaving on the woman of the emperor of Qi.
She couldn’t go back to Zhao at all and needed to make a plan for herself.
Thus, she stopped using the medicinal soup and tried to seduce the emperor. She was soon pregnant and gave birth to the eighth prince. The emperor was very happy. After the child was born, she was officially named Imperial Concubine Xian and she was on equal status with Imperial Concubine Shu and Ming.
However, there was the empress above her. Every time she saw the empress, she had to kneel.
On the Zhao state’s side, the crown prince soon ascended to the throne and her sister changed from the crown princess to the empress respected by thousands of people—the position that should’ve been hers!
How could she remain a concubine here?
Thus, she started to plan carefully.
As the crown prince grew older, the forces in the harem started to move. Over the years, she had gradually raised some of her own confidants in Qi. The eunuch and maids in the harem were all her confidants. There was a royal doctor who listened to her, some martial artists and members of the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Rites were controlled by her through various means.
The opportunity finally arrived.
She learned from spies in the palace that the third prince and crown prince had a dispute a few days ago and next month was the time for spring hunting. The crown prince liked hunting the most and often went to the royal hunting grounds at this time of year.
She immediately handed her self-made poison to a eunuch to take out of the palace. Then it was handed to a guard she trained in advance, so that the other person would dress up as the guard of the third prince.
Once the culprit was captured, he refused to confess at first. Finally, under severe torture, he said he was sent by the third prince. The dispute between the third prince and crown prince was discovered and poison found in the third prince’s home.
The moment the poison was discovered, it was said that the third prince was so scared he almost pissed his pants.
The witnesses and material evidence was complete. The emperor was full of anger and immediately gave the third prince a glass of poisonous wine.
On the day the third prince died, Imperial Concubine Xian was in her residence, writing down the names of the crown prince and third prince. Then as she made tea, she burned the names of the two men to ashes.
One arrow killed two birds. The success of this strategy gave her confidence.
After killing the crown prince and third prince, she aimed at the women in the harem.
She bought out a lady in Imperial Concubine Shu’s palace. Once Imperial Concubine Shu went to deliver food to the empress, she secretly sprinkled a layer of the colourless and odourless poison onto the empress’ favourite fruit.
The empress ate the grapes and died on the spot.
The emperor found Imperial Concubine Shu and she pleaded that she wasn’t guilty. She kneeled on the ground and slammed her head into it until she was bleeding. She said that she was innocent. No matter how courageous, she would never dare to poison the empress.
The palace girl had already been released from the palace by Imperial Concubine Xian in private. She deliberately kept Imperial Concubine Shu in order to drag Imperial Concubine Ming into the water.
Since there was no proof, the emperor doubted Imperial Concubine Shu but couldn’t convict her. Still, he gradually became suspicious of Imperial Concubine Shu and the fifth prince.
The same strategy was particularly easy to use. It didn’t take long for Imperial Concubine Shu to be poisoned by her and all signs and evidence pointed to Imperial Concubine Ming.
The emperor was furious and wanted to directly have Imperial Concubine Ming take her own life with white silk. However, Imperial Concubine Xian pretended to be kind and persuaded the emperor. “The crown prince and third prince have already suffered misfortune due to their brother. After all, the fifth prince and sixth prince are your blood. For Your majesty’s sake, will you spare them? Otherwise, what will the fifth prince and sixth prince do when this matter is spread? The fifth prince’s mother poisoned the empress while the sixth prince’s mother poisoned Imperial Concubine Shu. Once they know the truth, they might act cruelly against each other. Your Majesty, do you want to see brothers turn against each other?”
The emperor thought about it and felt she was justified. He declared to the outside world that the empress and Imperial Concubine Shu died from illness.
Then the emperor hugged her emotionally. “Imperial Concubine Xian, in the harem, you understand the best. If all the concubines were as gentle and kind as you, there wouldn’t be so many messes in the harem!”
Imperial Concubine Xian smiled coldly in her heart but on the surface, she pretended to be pure as she made tea for the emperor. “This concubine has no relatives and no reason to act. Your Majesty took me in and I am thankful I can serve your Majesty. I don’t dare think about…”
The emperor was moved to tears. “The position of empress is vacant. I have long felt that you are gentle and virtuous, a model for all concubines in the harem. It is better to make you the empress and the eighth prince the crown prince. After that, you will rule the harem.”
Imperial Concubine Xian was worried that the emperor was trying to test her and immediately kneeled in front of the emperor in a panic. “This concubine is too afraid! Your Majesty and the empress were deeply in love and it has been less than three months since the empress died. It is really inappropriate to stand up at this time. This concubine has no virtue and is incompetent. I’m willing to pray for the empress but I don’t dare take the empress position…”
She thought that people might be skeptical if she was too eager to be the empress. It would be better to wait for two years. Her son would be the crown prince and once the empress’ mourning period ended, she would logically take the empress’ seat. Then she would find a way to kill the old emperor and let her son directly ascend to the throne.
What was good about being the empress? The concubines in the harem and the ministers in the court would all stare at her. Perhaps the ministers would analyze and reason things out and discover she was the one behind it all. Then the emperor would be unhappy and abolish her as empress.
After all, this was the safest position.
No emperor would get rid of his mother.
The crown prince and third prince were dead. The fifth prince and sixth prince were dragged down by their mothers and disappointed the emperor. Only her handsome and talented son was worthy of being the crown prince.
She had planned for so many years and would naturally be able to wait more years. As long as the eighth prince smoothly became the crown prince, she would take care of the emperor and promote herself to emperor dowager.
She never imagined that the eighth prince had no intention of participating in political affairs and preempted the emperor.
Imperial Concubine Xian had hated him so much at the time. She wanted to kill the newly established crown prince so that the eighth prince could no longer push off the position. However, as she was about to start, the old emperor finally had a clear mind.
Due to all the things that happened in the capital that year, the emperor was worried that someone would also act against the newly-established crown prince. He thought of letting Yu Hanjiang, the grandson of Yu Yuxiang, go to the palace to be the little prince’s companion. They studied together, ate together and lived together while dozens of shadow guards secretly protected the little prince.
At the same time, in order to avoid the eighth prince from changing his mind and starting a dispute, the emperor established the eighth prince as the Zhenjiang King and transferred the eighth prince to Jiangzhou. Her unpromising son was actually happy. He ran to Jiangzhou with his wife and concubines to enjoy the mountains and rivers!
Imperial Concubine Xian almost died of anger.
It wasn’t until this moment that she realized she had overlooked a key thing in her many years of planning.
She ignored her son’s thoughts!
As a mother, she neglected her son. The eighth prince left her side when he was 10 years old and only returned to visit her during the holidays. Every time the other and son met, there was nothing to talk about. She had thought that what prince wouldn’t love being emperor?
However, her son didn’t like being the emperor.
The mother and son were different and her plan failed.
A failure to act meant she would be caught. All the maidens and eunuchs who were released from the palace… all the people who knew about it were killed by her, including Xiao Lou’s father who found some clues. They were all neatly disposed of.
She used an excuse to go back to Jiangzhou because Jiangzhou was located at the border of Qi and Zhao. She wasn’t reconciled and wanted to contact Zhao for another plan. At present, the eldest son of the Zhao emperor was the crown prince. The other princes and their concubines naturally wouldn’t be satisfied.
She hid in the temple, waiting for the right opportunity.
It wasn’t until she heard that Zhao and Qi were going to be joined by a marriage. Princess Sukan and Zhao’s second prince had a marriage contract.
She took advantage of this and contacted the second prince, promising to join forces to seize the throne.
She asked Qi Fenghua to bring the colourless and odourless poison to the front lines. He would first gain some combat achievements and then find a way to poison the general before blaming it on the lieutenant general. The emperor would remember his friendship with the eighth prince and how the eighth prince helped calm the rebellion. After the death of the general, Qi Fenghua had military achievements and would naturally take over the post of general. As long as Qi Fenghua held the military power in his hands, he could join forces with Zhao to rebel.
It was a pity that Qi Fenghua was spoiled by Madan Yun and was careless when doing things. At that time, he was too young. On the day he went to the military camp, Madam Yun was personally packing his thoughts. He was worried that the poison would be found by his mother and hid in a drawer in his room, locked away.
In the evening, the prince hosted a banquet for him. He was excited and drank some wine, causing him to be drunk and wait up late the next day. He was rushed off by the army people and actually forgot this bottle at home.
Once he got to the front lines, he remembered this matter and regretted it. He wanted to go back and get it, but he had no chance. Thinking of Imperial Concubine Xian’s words, he decided to spend a few years in the army and gain some combat achievements before retrieving it…
Unfortunately, he was spoiled and didn’t know how to hide his arrogance in the army. Forget three years of success. Rather, he added chaos to the front lines.
It just happened that the Zhao envoy’s were attending the prince’s banquet to wish him a happy life. Qi Fenghua sneaked back to Jiangzhou, wanting to bring the poison back to the front lines to poison the general. Then he would directly launch a mutiny to grab the general’s position, killing all the way to the capital and capturing the emperor. Wasn’t it treason? Wouldn’t it be more straightforward to hit the capital directly?
Qi Fenghua’s brain was ridiculously simple and his abilities weren’t enough when he returned to the prince’s mansion. In a panic, he killed his sister and Lin Shaobo. Then he returned to Qingshan Temple and knelt in front of Imperial Concubine Xian to explain all of this.
This was when Imperial Concubine Xian knew that her grandson was a failure!
She ordered Qi Fenghua to immediately return to the front lines and to be careful not to be caught by the investigating office. She would make another plan. However, Qi Fenghua was suddenly whimsical and asked to meet the second prince of Zhao in the middle of the night. He wanted to confirm if the other party really wanted to join forces with him, only to be caught by Yu Hanjiang.
She planned carefully twice but in the end, it was all useless.
At the end of the letter, the concubine left these final words:
“I’ve been calculating all my life.”
“However, I forgot that the hardest thing in the world to predict is actually the hearts of people.”
So…if not for the lustful Emperor that forcefully drag this poor lady back this won’t happen.
Sorry not sorry for saying this but seriously though, I read way too many books with lustful Emperor that just won’t stop drag innocent women back to their ‘collection’ and then making things messy.
So yeah, f you late Emperor.
It’s a pity that we just read an entire sequence of how a woman took control, plotted, was able to successfully manipulate powerful people including the emporer, and still a comment easily takes away her agency.
She chose to do this. She deliberately chose to plot, murder and kill. She was a villain and a damned good one.
Oh yeah it’s true. Not only in china, even in our country India, kings would establish harem, conquer innocent women too