Consort Zhao’s bedroom had never been as quiet as it had been these few days. She lay alone in the large bedroom, listening to the wind blow, the birds chirping. Her heart was cold now. If it wasn’t that she didn’t see any hope in herself, why would she let her father take the risk to send the pair of sisters that her family was raising into the palace?
“A sovereign’s love,” Consort Zhao mumbled softly, then smiled. She was still foolish, wholeheartedly wishing for a sovereign’s love, wanting to be the most favoured in the Six Palaces, letting all the beauties in the Six Palaces lose their colours because of her. Yet, she was in this state now.
“Your Highness,” A servant’s voice travelled from outside the bedroom, “The medicine is ready, Your…”
“Scram!” Consort Zhao only said one word.
There were no other sounds outside; even the servant’s footsteps didn’t travel into the room.
After Consort Zhao was done mocking the sovereign’s love and the fool she was, she gritted her teeth as she muttered the three words, “Yu Ling Long”. This bitch had caused her son to become Zhuri’s hostage, and caused her to be barren. If this bitch wanted to make her suffer in the palace, then why should she spare this bitch? Yu Linglong was a married princess, and in future, she could only rely on the Seventh Prince Yu Ziyi. Without Yu Ziyi, would Yu Linglong still be this scheming and tyrannical?
Shortly after, Cuiyu hobbled back from Lanshu Pavillion and reported softly to Consort Zhao, “Head Eunuch Jing said that Your Highness can rest assured that he’ll know what to do. However, whether His Majesty will punish the Gu family for Gu Xingyan’s absence in thanking His Majesty is something that Head Eunuch is unable to guarantee.”
“Make a trip out of the palace,” instructed Consort Zhao, “And head to Ruyun Mountain.”
The moment Consort Zhao said the words “Ruyun Mountain”, Cuiyi’s face instantly paled. “What does Your Highness want from those people in Ruyun Mountain?”
“Tell them, I don’t want those people anymore. Kill them.” Consort Zhao said, “You have to act quickly. Before the palace gates close, you have to return to the palace.”
“Yes, this servant will go immediately.” Cuiyu said to Consort Zhao.
“About this matter - forget about it after you’ve completed it.” Consort Zhao looked at Cuiyu, “My situation is difficult right now, if you…”
“Your Highness,” Cuiyu hastily knelt before Consort Zhao and said, “This servant’s life belongs to Your Highness. This servant doesn’t dare to harbour other intentions.”
“Go ahead,” Consort Zhao’s face was icy as she added, “No matter what, I won’t treat you unfairly.”
Cuiyu got up on her feet, but didn’t dare to raise her head to look at Consort Zhao before leaving the room.
This time, Consort Zhao watched as Cuiyu limped out of the bedroom, while her mind was still on Yu Linglong, this Eldest Princess. Since she had guessed that the Gu family would arrange for someone to escape with Yu Ziyi, why wouldn’t she arrange for people to deal with this move? Her father had said that it was too dangerous to act in the capital, and they could only wait for Yu Ziyi to be brought out of the capital before they could act. Consort Zhao was sure that her father must have arranged for some men outside the capital. Yet, wasn’t there a saying that it was safest being close to the Son of Heaven? The capital, and even the area outside the capital, were areas where the people protecting Yu Ziyi would be the least guarded. Acting now was the best bet, the best chance to hit the mark in one strike.
Back then, the bunch of pirates had been forced to a corner by the Li family’s father and son. They were saved by Zhao Qiuming, and later on, they were placed under Consort Zhao’s command. These few years, Consort Zhao housed them in Ruyun Mountain; after all, training troops for a thousand days was in preparation for the one time when they were going to be used. Consort Zhao raised her hands up with much difficulty; these hands were stained with too much blood. Hence, she didn’t mind getting them stained with a prince’s blood, and also with the blood of Second Young Master Gu.
Initially, Consort Zhao wanted to use Yu Ziyi and Gu Xingyan as the final bargaining chip, and she schemed about how to use these two people to bring the largest benefit to herself. However, she didn’t want to use them anymore. The corners of Consort Zhao’s mouth curved up into a sinister smile. Once Yu Ziyi was dead, would the Gu family still wholeheartedly help Yu Linglong? If Gu Xingyan was to die for Yu Ziyi, wouldn’t the Gu family hate Yu Linglong?
I am suffering day by day, so you’ll have to live your life like this too! Consort Zhao looked at her hands, as she repeated these words within her heart.
At this moment, Old Marshal Gu was at Lanshu Pavilion with Gu Xingnuo, as the grandfather and grandson knelt before Xianzong, thanking His Majesty for his imperial grace.
Xianzong yawned. He was asking for a beating when he played chess with the Grand Advisor. He couldn’t even win a round, and still had to watch as the Grand Advisor wrecked his brains trying not to let him lose too badly. He felt that the pained expression on the Grand Advisor’s face was truly an insult to his intelligence.
“Your Majesty?” The Old Master had already paid his respects and thanked His Majesty, but His Majesty simply sat there without any reaction, so he had to call out to Xianzong again.
“You may rise.” It was only then that Xianzong pulled himself back from his thoughts about chess, and spoke to the Gu family’s grandfather and grandson. As he thought about how his daughter really didn’t come this time, Xianzong’s mood immediately brightened, “This time, Zhen has let your Gu family suffer. This Zhao Beicheng, Zhen will definitely not let him off lightly.”
The Old Master bowed, “This subject thanks Your Majesty.”
“Take a seat, have some tea and chat with Zhen for a while.” Xianzong got the Gu family grandfather and grandson to sit. Actually, he didn’t have much to say to these two men, but since his subjects entered the palace to thank him, he at least had to say some encouraging words.
The Old Master and Gu Xingnuo thanked him again, and took a seat by Xianzong’s right.
A young eunuch carried a tray of tea into the reception hall. After serving it to the Old Master and Gu Xingnuo, there was still another teacup on the serving tray. Seeing that he had prepared another cup, the young eunuch immediately stood helplessly in front of Gu Xingnuo.
“How insolent!” Jing Zhong immediately reprimanded the young eunuch.
Xianzong looked at the kneeling eunuch, then looked at the Gu family members, not understanding what was wrong. “What is this about? Jing Zhong?”
Jing Zhong hastily knelt on the ground and said, “This servant deserves death.”
The young eunuch said in a shaky voice, “Your Majesty, this servant thought that the Second Young Master Gu would come too, so, so…”
Gu Xingnuo glared at the two eunuchs who were acting,
It was only then at Xianzong realised something was wrong. He asked the Old Master, “That Gu Xing-what’s-his name? That second brother of Gu Xinglang, where is he?”
Gu Xingnuo knelt on the floor and said, “This subject reports to Your Majesty, Gu Xingyan is not feeling well, hence he couldn’t come to the palace to thank Your Majesty for your grace. Please forgive him, Your Majesty.”
The Eldest Young Master Gu wasn’t stressed at all when lying to the emperor. However, the Old Master’s expression appeared unnatural, as he lowered his head and didn’t dare to look at Xianzong.
Jing Zhong asked, “Is the Second Young Master’s illness serious?”
Xianzong heard Jing Zhong’s words and added, “Let the Imperial Physician take a look at him.”
Gu Xingnuo said, “This subject thanks Your Majesty for your grace, but Her Highness the Princess has said that she could cure Second Brother’s illness, hence,” Eldest Young Master Gu paused at this point, his expression helpless as he continued, “Hence, this subject thinks that, with regard to the Imperial Physician, there might not be a need, this subject is afraid that Her Highness…”
“The Imperial Physician needn’t go then.” Xianzong would very well understand Gu Xingnuo’s helplessness. Right now, who would dare to make his daughter unhappy? “If Gu Xingyan’s illness becomes too severe,” Xianzong told the Gu grandfather and grandson, “Come and tell Zhen again, and Zhen will send the Imperial Physicians then.”
“This subject obeys Your Majesty’s decree, and thanks Your Majesty for your grace.” Gu Xingnuo thanked Xianzong. With the Princess around, things were really this simple.