“Mistress, just now chief steward came to announce that his Highness had been urgently summoned to the East Palace by the crown prince.
He asks you to go back to the parental house first.
His Highness will come later.” The chief maidservant Gui Li replied carefully.
“Tell people to make preparation.
We’ll set off immediately.” He Lian Min Min straightened the dangling hairpin on her head while ordering with a low voice.
His Highness had three days off after the grand wedding.
Yet, the crown prince specially picked this day to call the person
“What do you think, sixth brother” The crown prince was attired in the bright-yellow brocade gown, an unconcealed smugness engaged his face.
Zhong Zheng Lin looked at the content of the memorial before him, his expression serious.
The crown prince actually wanted to meddle in this matter!
“Second brother, this would be inappropriate.
The war in Movie is within sight.
It’s not sensible to push waves at such time1..”
The crown prince was in high spirit right now.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s remarks made his face turn cold.
“This matter concerns the foundation of Great Wei’s ruling.
How can it be put off and concealed Could it be the sixth brother thinks civil officials are inferior to military officials”
Zhong Zheng Lin frowned, “This matter can be postponed.”
The crown prince’s complexion became completely gloomy.
They, indeed, weren’t of one mind.
Previously, he still could use him as his tool.
Now, he had the impertinence to openly go against his orders, “That being the case, I won’t bother sixth brother with this matter.”
He ordered people to send Zhong Zheng Lin out of the estate.
However, he suddenly smiled and patted him on the shoulder, “The second brother hasn’t yet properly congratulated you on your grand wedding.
When you get free time, second brother will visit you and have a few drinks with you.”
“This subject brother is greatly honored.”
Zhong Zheng Lin softly shut his eyes inside the prince’s carriage.
His lips curled up into a smile.
This move of the crown prince was really unexpected.
He had saved him a lot of works.
Since someone was rushing to take this job, he should get out as early as possible.
“Ye Kai, head to the He Lian House.”
“Yes, your Highness.”
Inside the He Lian House, lady He Lian looked at her daughter’s glowing face filled with smiles.
At last, she could be at ease.
“Since his Highness is considerate toward you, be sure to remember that heirs come first.
You mustn’t act on a moment of anger and spoil the overall situation.”
“Madam, princess consort, his sixth Highness arrived.
Sir asks you to go over and greet him.” Outside the door, a manservant hastily came to report.
Lady He Lian was quite gratified that Zhong Zheng Lin came on time in spite of being called away by the crown prince.
At least, it’s apparent his Highness was satisfied with He Lian Min Min.
Inside the carriage that was heading back, Liu Qing hesitated for quite a while before speaking out, “Mistress, why didn’t you tell madam about your hardship in the residence Since madam is able to govern He Lian House neatly, she will surely be able to help you out.”
A complicated expression appeared on He Lian Min Min’s face.
After a long time, she sighed, “He Lian House is a century-old nobility.
What they valued the most was never any particular daughter.
It was the one who was most useful to them.
Don’t forget, there’s far more than one miss of He Lian House.”
Although mother was the legal wife, there were still two secondary wives eying her position covetously.
Both of the two wives of the previous Marquis of Jing An came from the main branch of He Lian clan.
As for why the first why had a sudden outburst of an old illness and was substituted by the second wife, He Lian Min Min was very clear about it.
The cruelty of a big clan was no less frightening than the struggle in the inner yard.
Compared to her mother’s sincere love, to grandfather and father clan always came first.
At the moment, her position in the prince’s residence wasn’t stable yet.
Thus, how could she expose her own shortcoming
“You absolutely mustn’t send in private the inside information of the prince’s residence back home.
Otherwise, don’t blame me for disregarding our decade long master and servant affections.” He Lian Min Min gloomily looked at her two chief-maidservants inside the carriage and warned them.
A few days later, the crown prince personally presented Yuancheng Emperor a memorial which brought to light the fraud of metropolitan civil service examination during the thirteenth year of Zhanghe.
The whole court was astonished.
This matter had implications of huge proportions.
The number of the exam candidates and proctors involved in the case was as many as one hundred and thirty-seven.
Yuancheng Emperor was furious.
He issued an imperial order where the Ministry of Justice was in charge of the investigation and the Department of Investigation was responsible for collecting evidence.
Afterward, for the majority of the month, Shengjing was raging with dark tides2..
High officials of the third rank were successively dismissed.
“What else have you to say!” In the imperial study, Yuacheng Emperor used his leg to kick Zhong Zheng Chun’s left shoulder, knocking the person to the ground.
“Imperial father, it has nothing to do with subject-son.
This subject son is being accused unjustly.
The crown prince has never been in good terms with this subject-son.
Everyone knows this! It’s surely his set-up.
He won’t be satisfied with nothing less than this subject-son’s destruction!” Zhong Zheng Chun’s liver and gall both seemed to be torn from within3.
He was so terror-stricken tears streamed down his face.
He hugged Yuancheng Emperor’s left leg tenaciously and loudly complained against injustice.
“What do you mean, first brother Can it be possible that you want to frame and make false charges against me, the crown prince Imperial father, the first brother’s advisors who are imprisoned in the prison of the Ministry of Justice have confessed.
They all told the same story.
How can we brook him to deny” The crown prince pointed at Zhong Zheng Chun on the ground who lacked human appearance, chiding him sternly.
He kept enumerating his several major offenses.
He was in a mood where he wished to kick Zhong Zheng Chun into the death row.
Zhong Zheng Lin watched the two’s dispute grew in intensity while preserving the cool eye of a bystander.
“Imperial father, the crown prince wishes to cut weeds and eliminate the roots4 because this subject son grasps in the hand the proof of him accepting bribes and conferring official ranks for money.
The fact that no one else had noticed anything and that only he managed to expose such a shocking case says it all.
Clearly, there is something rather strange about it.
He must be harboring unfathomable motives! Since this case implicates so many people, the crown prince certainly must have hidden forces in hands conspiring for already a long time.
His motives are execrable!”
Seeing the two sons wishing to deliver a vital blow to each other, Yauncheng Emperor was so enraged he lifted his hand and smashed the paperweights on the table toward the two.
“You two disgraceful things that fail to comprehend benevolence and righteousness, courtesy and filial piety!”
When everyone saw Yuancheng Emperor break into wrath, they promptly kneeled down and pleaded for forgiveness, not daring to rush indiscriminately into action.
“Imperial father, this subject son wasn’t the only one to detect this matter.
The sixth imperial brother was already aware of it.
However, he secretly hid it.
He knew the facts yet didn’t report them.” As soon as the crown prince seized the opportunity, he immediately pulled Zhong Zheng Lin into the water5.
and made false countercharges against him.
Yuancheng Emperor’s gaze was penetrating.
He looked straight into Zhong Zheng Lin’s eyes.
The sovereign’s mighty air was fully out.
Zhong Zheng Lin knelt straight as a ramrod, not cowering at all.
He turned a blind eye to the clamoring crown prince at the side.
“On the day when this subject son was supposed to visit the bride’s parental home after the grand marriage, the crown prince had called this subject son to his estate.
We’ve been discussing submitting the memorial about the fraud case.
Prior to this, this subject son had no knowledge of this matter.
After reading the memorial, the crown prince wished to present it.
This subject son merely said to put the interests of the war in Mobei above everything else.
We may as well submit it later.
This subject son had no intention to deceive others.”
“How can be this huge fraudulent case be put off Could it be the sixth brother wishes to help someone clear the discharges” The crown prince’s gaze swept back and forth between Zhong Zheng Chun and Zhong Zheng Lin as if pointing at something.
“Moreover, the fifth brother’s in-laws are also among the involved and investigated officials.
Could it be this subject son is capable of framing imperial brothers all by myself”
Yuancheng Emperor looked at his sons who were kneeling underneath.
Except for the fourth who had an ear condition and hence couldn’t be drawn in, the rest of them were all involved.
Yuancheng Emperor swept over everyone an extremely complicated gaze, his expression unreadable.
“Gu Chang De!”
“This servant is here.”
“Confine everyone into An Yuan Hall.
Nobody is allowed to visit without the imperial order.” Once his words fell, he left with flung of his sleeves.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s eyes narrowed.
He immediately comprehended the meaning behind this order.
This time, Yuancheng Emperor will, without doubt, investigate thoroughly each residence.
Within a short time, he won’t be able to leave An Yuan Hall.
Since he was being isolated, the forces secretly planted in the residence will inevitably get restless.
He wondered if it was possible for He Lian Min Min to handle it.
The imperial prince’s inner yard mustn’t fall into disarray.
“What did you say” He Lian Min Min rose up in fright.
“Replying to the principal consort, his Highness is being confined in Yu An Hall by his Majesty.
He won’t be able to return for few days.
Nobody in the estate is allowed to visit without the imperial order.” Tian Fu Shan was so anxious his forehead perspired with sweat.
Immediately after he received the news, he rushed to Chanruo Courtyard to ask for ideas.
Consort Shu has already sent a message.
Yuancheng Emperor strictly prohibited the inner palace to plead for leniency.
Whoever violated the order will be punished severely.
No matter how good education He Lian Min Min had at home, she was still a mere woman.
When has she run into such a big matter For a moment, she was struck with a panic, being out of her wits.
The prohibition came from Yuancheng Emperor.
Even her father dared not to disobey it.
It wasn’t something she could handle.
“This…..This…” He Lian Min Min clenched her hands tightly.
Her face turned pale, “What do we do”
Seeing that principal consort He Lian was distraught, her mind thrown into disarray, Tian Fu Shan’s heart became even more anxious.
It will take mister another day to return to Shengjing.
Could it be they could only wait drily at the moment Unfortunately, the princess consort has entered the estate for a short period of time and they were left powerless.
The chief steward came out of Chanruo Courtyard with an anxious appearance.
Halfway the journey, he suddenly called to mind about that too lazy to look after the affairs’ Mu cefei! Mistress Yao was usually unreliable.
However, since she was regarded highly by his Highness, she must have some capabilities, right With no better option left, Tian Fu Shan could only make a detour and head to Danruo Courtyard.
Mu Xi Yao looked at Tian Fun Shan with furrowed brows.
The movement of the circular fan in her hand stopped.
Zhong Zheng Lin was put into house arrest by his old man Don’t tell her, his subordinates slacked in their works and gave themselves away
“Since his Highness is confined in An Yuan Hall, where is the first prince”
“Apart from his fourth Highness, all the princes who have been summoned to the imperial study today are confined in one place.”
Mu Xi Yao’s heart relaxed.
Since they were all imprisoned, what was there for her to worry It seems that Yuancheng Emperor wanted to fully investigate this matter.
The reason he has detained everyone was to prevent them from coordinating with forces outside and leak out the information.
Did Yuancheng Emperor wish to catch them unprepared Or did he wanted to use this as bait to lure more of fish to the hook Mu Xi Yao wasn’t fond of a sovereign’s art of politics.
Always coming up with such a peculiar behavior, it was too annoying.
“His Majesty wants to fish.
We mustn’t foolishly hop on the bait.” Mu Xi Yao spoke leisurely while remaining poised.
“From today onward, the sixth prince’s residence denies any visitors.
Whoever in the estate dares to go out or in without permission and smuggle out a message will be — caned to death!”
Tian Fu Shan looked at Mu Xi Yao sitting quietly on the daybed.
Upon a glance, she was like a person from an ink painting, peaceful and beautiful.
Yet, her words were firm and resolute, bloody and ruthless.
The chief steward quivered out of scare and subsequently broke into a sweat.
Was this the real mistress Yao She actually resembled his Highness to some degree.
When she spoke of taking another person’s life, her brows didn’t even frown.
She was indeed scary.
 Push waves mean to cause/trigger a disturbance
 Raging with dark tide means a dangerous situation/critical circumstances were lurking
 One’s liver and gall both seemed torn from within is a Chinese idiom meaning overwhelmed by grief or terror
 To cut weeds and eliminate the roots is a Chinese idiom meaning to eliminate someone completely
 To pull sb into the water is a Chinese idiom meaning to involve sb in a messy business