After a few days later, the Emperor’s illness was under control. However, his condition was still poor. Imperial physicians could be seen running around the Emperor’s residence with worried looks on their faces. It was as if the whole department had moved in.
During this sensitive moment, Lin Shan knew to keep her place. She rarely left her own residence. If she wanted something done, she would sent Xiao Lu to do it for her. She wanted Xiao Lu to find out more insider information, and being the quick witted girl that she was, Xiao Lu actually found out some juicy details.
“Prince Consort. Apparently, the Emperor’s illness is very strange!” Xiao Lu whispered to Lin Shan.
“Bullshit. Of course it is strange! Or else how would he have gotten so ill so quickly!? Get to the main point!” Lin Shan rushed.
“Prince Consort. Calm down! No need to rush. Allow your servant to slowly tell you. According to many, yesterday the Sun was bright, and there was moderate wind. There was a gentle breeze…and on the tree, there was a bird chirping…”
“Get to the main point!”
“No rush! I will eventually get to it. Hmmm? Where did I stopped? Umm.. I’ll just start over. Yesterday, the Sun was bright and there was moderate wind. There was a gentle breeze…”
Lin Shan wanted to spit out blood.
Eventually, Xiao Lu got to the main point. On her way to the Imperial physician department, she overheard two physicians discussing about the Emperor’s illness. One of the Imperial physicians mentioned that the Emperor’s illness was very odd; his body was covered in yellow spots.
Yellow spots? How come this illness sounds like the disease the wandering doctors were talking about? Could the Emperor’s illness be related to that? If that was the case, they have a cure now!?
Just as Lin Shan was deep in thought, Xiao Lu continued: “Also, I overheard a eunuch saying that the Crown Prince has been suffering from a lack of appetite due to the Emperor’s illness. In addition, the Crown Prince has sent out an order stating that anyone who can cure the Emperor will be rewarded with a thousand golden taels. No wonder those old doctors are so proactive…”
Lin Shan was still thinking about the disease from the black forest when her ears twitched. Her eyes shone as she beamed at Xiao Lu: “What did you say? How much is the reward?”
“A thousand golden taels, plus land and a mansion. Oh, and a promotion… aii! Prince Consort, where are you going?”
With a blink of an eye, Lin Shan had already disappeared.
Lin Shan ran out of her residence. She wanted to find Lian Feng to discuss with him about the illness. However, instead of finding Lian Feng, she ended up crashing into Du Hao.
“Why are you running into things? What are you doing!?” Du Hao looked extremely stressed and withered.
“Your Highness, I know my wrongs!” Lin Shan quickly said her famous line and apologized. Right after, she pulled on his sleeves and murmured: “Your Highness, how’s the Emperor’s illness?”
Du Hao shook his head. His expression became more sullen.
Lin Shan continued: “I heard from the Imperial physicians that the Emperor has yellow spots all over his body. Is this true?”
“How dare you!?” Du Hao turned pale as he bellowed. “Who told you this? Who allowed you to discuss about this?”
Lin Shan didn’t expect Du Hao to react so dramatically. She was astonished. However, since she had spent enough time with Du Hao, she knew he was the “harsh mouth soft heart” type. Therefore, she wasn’t afraid like she used to be. Instead, she got even closer to Du Hao as she whispered: “Don’t panic. Let me see the Emperor. Perhaps I can cure this odd illness….”
“You?” Du Hao was in disbelief. He narrowed his eyes as he examined Lin Shan. He was filled with doubt.
“Just let me see. It won’t kill you. Plus, you know that saying…treat a dead horse as if it’s alive… ah! No! I mean, pretend the dead person is alive… oops no! Aaaiii whatever. Just let me take a look!”
Lin Shan made a pledge to Heaven. Currently, her mind was only thinking of the thousand golden taels, but while she was making her vow, her eyes looked extra sincere. Du Hao felt a little touched.
“Alright. But you better not cause trouble, understand?” Du Hao warned.
“No problem!” Lin Shan nodded as she quickly followed Du Hao.
The Emperor’s residence was nearby. As Lin Shan followed Du Hao, she noticed many worried looking Imperial counsellors pacing back and forth outside. All of them wanted to meet with the Emperor but were driven away. It wasn’t surprising though. Now that the Emperor was critically ill, all government affairs were at a standstill. The likelihood of a new Monarch was looming around everyone’s head.
A new power could alter the entire Imperial court. Those who were once favoured could end up a couple ranks lower, while those who were at the bottom could suddenly rise rapidly. In order to ensure the stability of their positions, the Imperial counsellors must go where the wind blows and have the most accurate details at all times.
Once Lin Shan entered the Emperor’s residence, the Imperial counsellors were no longer seen. Instead, there were many servants and eunuchs running about. There were also many Imperial physicians that looked distressed.
“Sun Physician!” Du Hao called after an old physician. He was definitely a senior figure in the department. “How is my father?”
The old physician shook his head: “Your Highness, please forgive me. I have already tried my best…..”
“Tried your best? What best? Why is the Imperial court raising you group of useless people? Get out of my sight!” Du Hao shrieked. Lin Shan had never seen him act like this before. Although Du Hao had a nasty temper, he would never lose self control in public. Undoubtedly, he was very anxious.
Lin Shan was behind Du Hao, and she didn’t know what to say. She felt a little sympathy for Du Hao though. After all, his dad was critically ill. How could he not be anxious? Was Lian Feng feeling like this as well?
As the thought flashed through Lin Shan’s mind, she suddenly noticed a familiar black figure standing behind the screen. Seriously? Wow. I thought about him and here he is! Speak of the devil! But why would Lian Feng be here? Could the Emperor have summoned him because he is ill?
By now, Du Hao and Lin Shan had walked pass the screen and stood in front of the Emperor’s bed: “Father, your son is here to see you.”
The Emperor was lying behind a thin cotton veil. From the sound of his voice, it was clear that his condition was severe. He coughed for a long period of time before he was able to murmur: “Hao-er, I’m glad you are here. Come to father’s side.”
“Yes, father!” Du Hao walked over.
As Du Hao walked over, the cotton veil was lifted momentarily from his movement. Lin Shan got to see the Emperor’s face for a second. As expected, he looked very yellow. However, it was a very strange kind of yellow. Could it be the same disease? Lin Shan wasn’t sure. She turned her head to look at Lian Feng. She wanted to see some sort of confirmation from him. At that moment, suddenly, the eunuch guarding the entrance’s trembling voice could be heard.
“To….to report to the Emperor….the e-eldest Prince has r-returned to the Capital!!”
Du Ye? Du Hao was on guard. Shouldn’t he be at the borders fighting a war? Why did he suddenly return?
Du Hao looked at his father. The illness had already worn him out so badly that he could no longer read his mood. The Emperor only waved his hand and weakly whispered: “Send someone to the gate… to welcome him in…”
“To…to respond back to the Emperor, the e-eldest Prince is n-not outside of the city gate… H-he is right outside in the Palace hall!”
What? Not only has Du Ye returned, but he was out waiting in the Palace Hall? Du Hao’s heart was hanging by a thread. The storm he had predicted has finally arrived!
Lin Shan had never met Du Ye, but she had heard of his name many times. He was ranked as the second hottest man in the Capital. In addition, Du Ye’s mother was actually a commoner; as a result, although Du Ye was the eldest, he could not be the Crown Prince. However, that did not affect Du Ye’s position in many Imperial counsellors’ hearts. Some secretly dared to compare Du Ye with Du Hao. They pointed out that regardless of talent or behaviour, Du Ye was superior; the Crown Prince position should have been his.
Although these words were not said openly, deep down, it gradually became the thoughts of many Imperial counsellors. Hence, the Emperor decided to send both his sons to war. He wanted to cultivate one and alienate the other.
Surprisingly, now that the Emperor was critically ill, Du Ye suddenly arrived back from the borders. He was sure “on time”.
No one said it upfront, but even Lin Shan could see an issue with this. Clearly, Du Ye purposely returned to “rob during a fire”*. However, based on the speed he had returned, he was probably not only here for the “robbery”. Most likely, he was the one who started the fire!
*There is no actual “fire”. This is an idiom. Basically, the situation is vulnerable, making it easier for intruders/thieves.