TCPCHW Chapter 44 Part 1
The Crown Prince Chases His Wife
Chapter 44 Withhold (1/2)
The Ningshou Palace in the northeast corner of the imperial palace of the Imperial City used to be a palace for the Empress Dowager and the highest imperial concubines to retire. There were originally only a few dilapidated halls in the palace.
Since the Taizi returned to the capital to supervise the country, the Emperor had no intention of governing the country and ordered the Ministry of Works to spend three years rebuilding the Ningshou Palace into a residence for the emperor to spend his old age after he abdicated in the future.
In the imperial study at the north end of the garden of the Ningshou Palace.
There were only three men in the hall, and ambergris was burning in the beast incense burner in the corner. The room was quiet, and the atmosphere was somewhat depressing.
Emperor Hui was sipping tea behind the imperial table, Taizi Feng Zhan sat on the big chair in front of the imperial table, and Xie Changyuan, the Commander of the Northern Yamen Imperial Army, stood in the hall.
“Changyuan, how’s the trial going for the assassination case of autumn hunting?” Emperor Hui put down the teacup in his hand and looked at Xie Changyuan.
Xie Changyuan held his fists in both hands, knelt on one knee, lowered his eyes slightly, and said: “Judging from the clothes, weapons, and behavior of the killer in the forest yesterday, there should be four groups of killers. However, it’s not confirmed whether they come from different behind-the-scenes masterminds.”
“There were no survivors, and those who were captured killed themselves on the spot by crushing the poison pills that have already been held in their mouths.”
“There were no marks on the bodies of all the killers, and the weapons were also ordinary weapons without special marks.”
“Therefore, no useful information was obtained from the killers.”
“Everyone who participated in the autumn hunt has been questioned and found nothing abnormal.”
“However, only seventeen soldiers of the Northern Yamen Imperial Army who participated in the paddock defense died suddenly in the camp last night before being interrogated.”
“I suspect that these seventeen people were bribed by the assassins and were silenced last night.”
Xie Changyuan bowed to the ground, kowtowed, and said: “As the Commander of the Northern Yamen Imperial Army and also the Commander-In-Chief of the Autumn Hunting, I have gravely neglected my duties. I ask Your Majesty to punish me.”
Emperor Hui picked up the delicate yellow-dark dragon teacup on the imperial table again and drank it slowly.
Taizi Feng Zhan remained calm, only resting his well-defined hands on the big chair, knocking on the armrest again and again.
The three people in the hall all knew very well that the masterminds behind the assassination in the paddock might have ties to the imperial family.
The paddock in the western suburbs was so large that it was difficult to defend it, but ordinary people won’t have the courage to break into the paddock without authorization.
The power of the people behind the scene could infiltrate the Northern Yamen Imperial Army defending the inner court, bypass the defense line of the paddock, and dispatch several waves of killers. Their power couldn’t be underestimated with such a large number of assassins in the imperial paddock.
The targets of this assassination were His Majesty, Taizi, and Qin Yan.
The purpose of assassinating His Majesty and Taizi must be related to the throne.
As for the killer targeting Qin Yan, it was not known whether it was related to His Majesty’s matchmaking of Qin Yan and the Taizi in recent days.
If the assassination was successful, there were only a few behind-the-scene people who would benefit from it.
But if it was those few people, how could the limited forces of Xie Changyuan, a commander of the imperial army, really be able to guard against them?
And at the moment he needed people, Emperor Hui didn’t have many people he could trust, thus he couldn’t punish Xie Changyuan severely.
Emperor Hui looked at Taizi Feng Zhan and said: “Changyuan fail to prevent it this time, but he had done a good job of saving me. His merits and demerits will be offset. He’ll be fine one year of salary, a small punishment so that he’ll not make a big mistake later. What does Taizi think?”
Xie Changyuan was originally on Emperor Hui’s side, so how to punish him was a matter for Emperor Hui, and it was not easy for Taizi to interfere.
However, Feng Zhan always managed his own army with strict discipline, and clear rewards and punishments.
How could such a big mistake be overlooked so easily?
Feng Zhan looked at Xie Changyuan who was still kneeling on the ground and said in a cold tone: “Commander Xie, you should good memory. Go back to the Northern Yamen Camp and receive twenty army sticks.”
Now that Taizi was in charge of the country, Taizi also had the authority to deal with the dereliction of duty of Xie Changyuan. Although Emperor Hui intended to side with his nephew whom he valued, it was not easy to refute Taizi’s decision and he let it be.
“I accept the punishment. Thank you, Your Majesty, and Your Highness Taizi.” Xie Changyuan knelt down.
Xie Changyuan, who kowtowed on the ground, thought to himself, Taizi probably doing this to avenge his personal revenge for stopping Qin Yan in the paddock in the western suburbs yesterday. Ah, but Taizi was so powerful, and he could only bear it. After all, he did make a mistake this time.
Taizi Feng Zhan continued: “The whole city is under martial law. A curfew will be implemented from now on and foreigners who enter the capital within six months will be strictly checked. New and old staff in the palace will be re-screened. If there are any doubts, they will be thoroughly investigated.”
But it was extremely difficult to actually put it into operation, and the time required would not be short.
How could the infiltration of personnel be detected so easily? Otherwise, there would not be so many controversies and unjust cases in the world.
Xie Changyuan straightened up, cupped his fists, and said: “There will be many people on Your Majesty’s birthday, the Longevity Festival, and it is difficult to guard against it. I am worried that some people will look for opportunities to make trouble. I think it is better to simplify the Longevity Festival or cancel it?”
Emperor Hui suddenly laughed out loud: “Whoever wants my life, must have the ability to take it.”
“Not only will my Longevity Festival not be canceled, but I will also have a big banquet for guests. It just so happens that the celebration banquet for hunting in the western suburbs has also been put on hold due to the assassination, so let’s reward the meritorious officials together on the Longevity Festival and reward them for their meritorious deeds.”
“What does Taizi think?” Emperor Hui asked Taizi Feng Zhan.
Both Feng Zhan and Emperor Hui had a list of suspects in their minds. Feng Zhan understood that what Emperor Hui meant was to let the people on the list hide and make movements in secret, instead of pulling them all out for a clear look.
At this point, Feng Zhan also had the same idea.
Feng Zhan said in a deep voice: “In the name of the Taizi Mansion, invite Youzhou Wang, Yizhou Wang, Marquis of Guannei, Count of Pingnan, and their families to the capital to celebrate His Majesty’s longevity.”
“Is Taizi missing one more person, Ning Wang of Wangning Temple?” Emperor Hui added.
Hearing this, Feng Zhan’s eyes narrowed slightly, and he didn’t say a word.
Xie Changyuan was shocked.
Ning Wang had been imprisoned in Wanning Temple since the late emperor’s funeral, and it had been more than twenty years now.
He was only allowed to go out of the temple only once a year to pay homage to the late emperor and Ning Wang’s Imperial Mother, Imperial Concubine Li.
Did His Majesty want to let Ning Wang out at this critical time?
“Is Taizi worried about the Empress Dowager?” Emperor Hui asked again when he saw the Taizi’s brows were slightly furrowed without saying a word.
“Just say it’s what I wanted.”
“Then arrange for the princes and princesses, together with the ministers of Minister of Rites, to go to Dajue Temple to invite the Empress back to the palace.
“Without the Empress to oversee the harem, even if Imperial Concubine Xian receives the families of princes, it will be unseemly.”
Feng Zhan thought to himself, the reason why his imperial mother left the palace was for the sake of purity.
Moreover, there was no conclusion about that matter back then, and there would be more disputes when his imperial mother returned to the palace at this time.
In order to lure the snake out of the hole, Emperor Hui wouldn’t take into account his imperial mother’s position.
“It still depends on what Imperial Mother wants.” Feng Zhan said.
After leaving the imperial study, Feng Zhan got into the carriage and went to the south study to discuss politics with the Hanlin scholars as planned.
When Xie Changyuan came out later, he saw the Taizi getting on the carriage in front of him.
But this carriage…
Xie Changyuan recognized the carriage, which was all black and without any emblem on the carriage, and it used four similar-looking Dawan horses to pull the carriage.
After Qin Yan was appointed the title princess, the number of horses in the carriage increased from two to four, while the carriage of Taizi Feng Zhan had six horses. The carriage used by the Taizi didn’t comply with the regulations at all.
Needless to say, this carriage came from the Princess of Zhaoren Mansion, and it was the carriage that Qin Yan used to travel.
Xie Changyuan watched Taizi’s carriage leave and stood there for a long time.
Taizi and Qin Yan…