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This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog
Regardless of whether it was beggars or poor folk, they were all citizens of Da Shun. The capital also was not a place covered in gold, nor was everyone living in it someone with wealth or had an official post. There were also common folk and homeless people. The northern part of the city was where the poor gathered. Although this place was not well-liked by others, they were still a part of the capital.
In just one night, a large number of citizens had died. This was definitely something that would shake the capital. Once this bad news was spread, someone immediately reported it during morning court. The number of dead was so high that even the Emperor was shocked.
The officials related to the female family members who had been working with Zhu Kongshan in the northern part of the city were all quite joyous that they had pulled out sooner. If they had not, with this sort of thing happening, it was inevitable that they would be dragged in.
As for the eighth prince, Xuan Tianmo, he was extremely puzzled by this. Everything was still perfectly fine when he had gone the previous day. How was it that so many people died in a single night? And even froze to death? This was not possible?
While he was feeling shocked, the Emperor asked his questions from the throne, saying: “Old eighth, I heard that you went to the northern part of the city yesterday?”
Xuan Tianmo quickly stepped forward to reply, reporting everything that had happened the previous day. After he finished speaking, he added: “Son left before it got dark. At that time, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. As for why so many wound up freezing to death this morning… This is something that must be investigated.”
The seventh prince, Xuan Tianhua, spoke up and recounted some information that he had gotten a hold of: “Apparently, all of the citizens who froze to death were wearing the new winter clothes given by His Highness Prince Sheng.”
“What?” The eighth prince was extremely shocked and subconsciously said: “That’s not possible! You’re lying!”
“Hm?” Xuan Tianhua looked at him in confusion, “This prince is lying?”
All of the officials lost it, saying: “How could His Highness the seventh prince lie? No matter what sort of person in this world is lying, His Highness the seventh prince would not lie!” In everyone’s eyes, Xuan Tianhua was a very unique existence. It was such that regardless of which faction someone was a part of, when faced with someone who accused Xuan Tianhua, they would all stand on Xuan Tianhua’s side and protect him.
At the same time, the ninth prince, Xuan Tianming, also spoke up, adding: “It’s more than just people freezing to death. There are also quite a few who fell ill. Oh, it would be more accurate to say that they were poisoned.” After he said this, he looked toward the Emperor and said: “Right now, pursuing blame is not important. Either way, the criminal cannot escape. The most pressing matters at the moment are taking care of the corpses and saving the injured. Hundred Herb Hall has already deployed all of its doctors to the northern part of the city. Son requests that Father Emperor sends out the palace’s imperial physicians. First, it will reduce the pressure on the doctors in the northern part of the city. Second, they will be able to provide testimony to see how exactly those people died and how they got poisoned.”
These words were met with approval from everyone, and even the eighth prince could not disagree. He really wanted to know what was going on, but he vaguely felt that it could not be unrelated to Noble Lady Yuan.
Thus, after court was dismissed, he did not rush over to the northern part of the city with the others. Instead, he hastily went to Cun Shan Palace to visit Noble Lady Yuan.
Information from court spread very quickly. Before Xuan Tianmo arrived, Noble Lady Yuan had already heard. When Xuan Tianmo entered the side hall, she took the initiative to ask before saluting: “What happened? Why did so many people suddenly die? Did you do something?”
Xuan Tianmo was stunned, “Me?” He then forcefully shook his head, “Imperial concubine mother, where is this coming from? I’m all too eager for those lowly people to help repair my reputation. How could I have them die? On the contrary, I want to ask imperial concubine mother, what exactly happened with those winter clothes? Apparently, the people who died had worn the new winter clothes through the night and froze to death!”
Noble Lady Yuan was startled and was unable to react, “How is that related to me?”
Xuan Tianmo simply stated it directly: “Were there any problems with those clothes? What sort of cotton did you use for those clothes? How much did you use? Were there any corners that were cut?”
It was only then that Noble Lady Yuan managed to react. It turned out that her son was suspecting that she had done something with the materials for the clothes, and this was the cause of those lowly people freezing to death, but she did not do it! Noble Lady Yuan felt very saddened: “If it was something else, I might be negligent, but when it is something related to your reputation, how could I do that sort of thing? Not only did I not cut any corners, I used the best cotton available, and twice as much was used. They were thick and warm. They’re even better than what I’m wearing. Not only was the cotton good, but even the outside was made using brocade. How could they freeze to death while wearing clothes like that? Even if they slept outside, it would be impossible for them to just die like that!”
Hearing Noble Lady Yuan say this, Xuan Tianmo knew that the problem did not come from his imperial concubine mother. He felt irritated and did not stay long. He just consoled Noble Lady Yuan a bit and said that he needed to go and investigate this situation, thus he quickly left the palace.
At this time, Zhu Kongshan had already gone to the northern part of the city. While crying, she took part in the funeral procession for those who had frozen to death. Her servant, Xiao Yu, was no longer at her side. Overnight, she had pushed Xiao Yu down a well in the Sheng Palace. In her mind, aside from herself, nobody else knew about it.
At present, she had already made preparations for tearing apart the eighth prince’s image. She had already burned every bridge and was fully committed. The plan had already begun to unfold. While bowing, she said: “It was all my fault for not going to inspect those clothes. It’s all my fault for trusting that His Highness the eighth prince really wanted to perform kind deeds for the people. It was this that harmed all of you.” As she spoke, she tore apart a jacket that she held, as dark and worn cotton was exposed. There were even many bugs mixed with the cotton inside. Zhu Kongshan said: “I really never thought that Noble Lady Yuan and the eighth prince would actually do something to the clothes! How can these worthless things be considered jackets? How can they possibly keep people warm? Yet I trusted them and treated these like good things to have them put them on! Who knew that so many people would freeze to death in a single night. It’s all my fault!”
All of the citizens from the northern part of the city gathered around Zhu Kongshan. Seeing the jacket that she held in her hands, it had clearly been made of new fabric; however, the inside was filled with trash and bugs. There was not much in terms of actual cotton. Wearing this sort of clothing to get through the night, how could they have avoided freezing to death?
In an instant, public sentiment became filled with indignation, as the survivors began to curse the eighth prince as the worst kind of scum in Da Shun and that he was the same as his birth mother, Noble Lady Yuan. They were both terrible people. There were also people who pointed at Zhu Kongshan and loudly questioned: “Why did you not remind us sooner about what sort of person the eighth prince is? Why did you speak up for him?”
Zhu Kongshan broke down and began to wail. Kneeling on the ground, she wailed and denounced: “It’s not that I didn’t say it. It’s that I didn’t dare to say it! The eighth prince beats me every day, and he even… he even… he even defiled my body! Everyone calls me a Bodhisattva every day, but only I know that I am unworthy of the title of Bodhisattva. I am someone who is unclean. He forces me to do work for him and forces me to work to improve his reputation. If I don’t comply in the slightest, he will beat and curse at me. I am just a weak girl and one who is no longer pure. I really don’t have the power to fight back!”
Zhu Kongshan’s words caused the crowd to erupt once more. The fortunate beggars who had survived came forward at this time to speak up for Zhu Kongshan: “It’s not that the Zhu family’s young miss never spoke about how this is completely unrelated to the eighth prince. We all knew about it before, and we secretly told you. But the eighth prince would beat young miss Zhu, thus we did not dare say it openly. Everyone, don’t blame the Zhu family’s young miss. She has been treated so harshly by the eighth prince. We should seek to get revenge for her!”
“Right! Get revenge for young miss Zhu!” The people cheered loudly.
But Zhu Kongshan repeatedly waved her hands, “No, no, I don’t need anyone to get revenge for me. I just could not bear to continue watching the eighth prince act as he pleases. I just want to speak about the truth and make sure that nobody is deceived. As for me, I have already been defiled. I have never thought of continuing to live, nor am I worthy of continuing to live.”
While tears stream down her face, her pitiful appearance caused the citizens to begin tearing up. There was even one who said: “Young miss Zhu, you are such a good person. You’ve just been harmed by the eighth prince. You must live on. You must not take things too hard because of this!”
On this side, Zhu Kongshan caused a scene with a group of people, describing the eighth prince and Noble Lady Yuan with all kinds of negative words. As for the Sheng Palace’s servant, she stood to the side and watched this scene in a daze. She could not understand what sort of evil had possessed Zhu Kongshan. Why did she suddenly begin spouting this sort of thing?
On the other side, because a large number of people in the northern part of the city had died, and a large number of people had fallen ill, Hundred Herb Hall had sent out all of its doctors to save the situation. At this time, they had discovered that those who were sick had also been poisoned in addition to freezing. They also examined the corpses and found that not everyone had died simply from freezing. There were also some who had died from being poisoned.
The people could not understand why they would be poisoned. At this time, Zhu Kongshan suddenly said: “Oh no! It must be the grains that were brought over yesterday! The grains that the eighth prince had brought over!” After saying this, she stood up from the ground and ran toward the congee stall as if she had gone crazy.
Behind her, a large number of citizens followed. When Zhu Kongshan arrived at the Sheng Palace’s congee stall, she ladled some of the congee leftover from the previous day and brought it to a doctor from Hundred Herb Hall. When the doctor determined that there was poison in the congee, ZhuKongshan suddenly dropped to her knees and shouted to the sky: “Eighth prince! Why must you be like this! Just causing harm to me alone is enough! Killing my mother was enough! Why must you harm these poor citizens! Why?”
She shouted this accusation through tears, causing the emotions of the citizens to be provoked. Everyone began to shout: “The eighth prince brought harm to the citizens! The prince broke the laws and should be punished like a commoner! The eighth prince should die! The eighth prince deserves to die!”
The shouts of the citizens in the northern part of the city reached every part of the capital, and a large number of people surged out into the streets. Cries from the commoners in all corners of the city could be heard, and they all called for the eighth prince to repay with his life. They demanded an impartial trial.
Feng Yuheng sat in the Yu Palace, and the sounds from the outside could be heard. Huang Quan was a bit anxious: “How about we go out and take a look! Young miss, do you think His Majesty will believe it? This should have been done by Zhu Kongshan, right? The eighth prince is usually able to avoid implication for most of his deeds; moreover, this time, he really is being framed? In the end, will he be able to avoid being dragged in, and this will be blamed entirely on Zhu Kongshan alone?”
Feng Yuheng shrugged, “That Zhu Kongshan can only have herself to blame. To actually use this sort of method to harm the citizens, even if she does not die, I will need to send her off. Either way, it’s their business. Regardless of what the outcome is, it’s not favorable for old eighth. Moreover, Zhu Kongshan is not stupid. She knows how best to make it difficult for the eighth prince to recover. We just need to sit back and watch. It’s just pitiful for the victims of this event. It’s also my fault for being negligent. If I knew that she would be so cruel, I would not have watched those citizens die.” She helplessly sighed and said to Huang Quan: “Go to the northern part of the city and tell the people from Hundred Herb Hall to do everything possible to save them. Regardless of how great the cost, as long as there is a chance to save a life, they must not give up!”
At this time, a servant hastily came to report: “Princess, there are a large number of citizens kneeling outside. They’re begging princess to step in and save them!”
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