Outside Fu Bo’s room, a maid was holding a bowl of medicine and was about to enter. However, she was stopped by Ji Yunshu. Ji Yunshu placed her lantern by the side and took the bowl of medicine. She told the maid, “Go ahead and rest. I’ll send this to Fu Bo. Do not enter the room if there’s nothing important.”
“Yes!” The maid bowed and left.
After the maid exited the courtyard, Ji Yunshu stepped into the room with the bowl in her hands. No particular emotion could be detected on her placid face. She closed the door behind her after she entered the room.
Coincidentally, Fu Bo was getting out of his bed. He was merely wearing a thin shirt as he left the side of his bed and walked wearily towards Ji Yunshu. He was puzzled and wondered why Teacher Ji had closed the door. He asked, “Teacher Ji, why are you here?”
Ji Yunshu sat down quietly and changed the topic, “Fu Bo, drink this medicine while it’s still warm.” She put the bowl on the table together with the portrait.
Looking at the portrait, Fu Bo’s gaze dimmed significantly and a hint of sorrow flashed across his face. Those changes barely lasted a second. Nonetheless, Ji Yunshu took careful note of each minute change in Fu Bo’s expression.
Fu Bo walked towards Ji Yunshu. With his hand pressing against his chest, he let out a few coughs. Finally, he reached out with his hands that were covered in wrinkles and calluses, lifted the bowl of medicine and drank it.
Meanwhile, Ji Yunshu, who was sitting before him, continued talking, “Wei Yi grew up in Jinjiang. Although he doesn’t have a mind as sharp as most people, he was fortunate that Uncle Wei and Aunt Wei took very good care of him. They brought him up to be a person who has a kinder heart than anyone else. He’s also a very considerate and humble boy. Despite growing up in a wealthy family, he is never arrogant. The other kids who are smart but conceited are nothing like him. Wei Yi treated you, whom he barely knew, sincerely as he ordered everyone in the residence to take good care of you. He even offered for you to stay in his residence so that he can take care of you for the rest of your life. It’s very rare to see someone who is as caring and genuine like Wei Yi.”
Fu Bo put down the empty bowl in his hand as he flashed a smile of relief. He acknowledged, “Yes, Young Master Wei is indeed a very kind boy. He takes such good care of an old man like me that I must have done something good during my past life. I believe that a good soul will always be rewarded. Young Master Wei will definitely have a bright future.”
Ji Yunshu smiled faintly. “When you met Wei Yi at the memorial hall the other day, it was obvious that you treated him differently. There was a hint of fatherly love in your gaze. Strangers would have thought you and Wei Yi were related by blood!”
“Young Master Wei was born noble, and I’m only a man of a lower class who looks after the memorial hall. How can I be related to Young Master Wei in any way? Teacher Ji, quit making fun of me.”
“What do you mean when you said Wei Yi was born noble?”
“He has a special status.”
Ji Yunshu’s heart skipped a beat when she heard Fu Bo’s words. Her index finger repeatedly tapped on the table. Then, she slowly stood up and walked towards the window to push it open. A cool breeze accompanied with fine drizzle hit her cold cheeks as her expression turned colder. The shadow of a big tree outside the window scattered on the ground, the windowsill, then on Ji Yunshu.
After a long while, she turned her back at Fu Bo and asked, “Fu Bo, have you been to the Capital?”
Sighing, Fu Bo shook his head. “I visited the Capital once, twenty years ago. I can’t remember that trip clearly anymore.”
“Hmm?” Ji Yunshu tilted her head a little and threw a brief glimpse at Fu Bo before she shifted her gaze back to the tree outside the window. “Let me help you recall what happened during the trip. Twenty years ago, the late emperor passed away and a new emperor was crowned, the Qi Zhen Emperor, who is also Da Lin’s current emperor. People say that he was just an inconspicuous Eighth Prince before his coronation. The late emperor’s preferred candidate was the King of Peace. However, the King of Peace did not like to be involved in politics and had no intention to fight for the throne. Hence, he gave up his Crown Prince title to the Eighth Prince. After the coronation of the Qi Zhen Emperor, the King of Peace was granted the title of the Imperial Duke.”
“Ah. Commoners like us are not bothered by the issues of the royal family. The Eight Prince and the Imperial Duke? We commoners are not concerned about it. The story was merely gossip to us. Moreover, I have spent all my years in the memorial hall and there is hardly anyone I can talk to - how would I know about what happened to the royalty?”
“If that is the case, let me tell you a story as a pastime since both of us have nothing to do right now. However, it was hearsay as well. You should not take it personally if there’s any mistake in the story.”
Fu Bo listened to Ji Yunshu. He vaguely figured out what Ji Yunshu was going to say and his wrinkled hands had balled into fists.
After a long while of not getting Fu Bo’s reply, Ji Yunshu commenced her story, “I have to begin the story with the late emperor. Rumor said that the late emperor feared the betrayal of Marquis Chao after his coronation. Hence, Marquis Chao was charged with a crime he did not commit and sentenced to death. Sometimes, history repeats itself with startling frequency. For the past twenty years under the Qi Zhen Emperor’s reign, many of the officials in the royal court were either sent to prison, removed from their official position, or sentenced to death. All of the officials who were suspected of rebellion were charged with crimes. Meanwhile, the King of Peace, who carried the title of Imperial Duke, was like a chained tiger kept by the side of the Qi Zhen Emperor. Imperial Duke was afraid that he would share the fate of Marquis Chao, murdered by his biological brother. Hence, he had his plans laid out since the day the Qi Zhen Emperor was crowned. He discreetly sent his heir and Third Madam out of Capital through a distant relative. Unexpectedly, the Third Madam passed away on their journey not long after they left the Capital. His relative had no choice but to continue the journey with Imperial Duke’s youngest son, who was barely a month old. Coincidentally, the son of a prestigious family passed away. The madam of the family favored the son of the Imperial Duke very much. To ensure the boy’s safety, the relative kept the secret from everyone, including the Imperial Duke, and left the boy with the family. He never kept in touch with the boy as well. However, he has never left the boy’s side. He visits from time to time to make sure of the well being of the boy. He only felt at ease as he saw the boy grew up healthily. Unexpectedly, six years after the incident, the residence of the Imperial Duke caught on fire. All of the seventy-two people died in the fire. No one could answer to what happened that night. No one could tell… if the Qi Zhen Emperor was following in the late emperor’s footsteps.”
What? Following in the late emperor’s footsteps?
That was a very severe accusation Ji Yunshu was talking about.
The late emperor murdered his brother, Marquis Chao, to secure his throne. Did the Qi Zhen Emperor kill the Imperial Duke to secure his throne as well?
No one knew the answer. Ji Yunshu did not look at Fu Bo at all as she told the story. Besides the wind that was swirling by the side of her ears, she could almost hear soft sniffles from behind…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hmm... everything linking back to the Lin Capital case yeah?
Translator: YY, Editor: Dray
P.S. Thanks for your patience the past week! I haven't been able to release chapters due to near 16h days the whole week. I'll be releasing chapters every couple of hours, counting down to the big 500th chapterversary today! Look out for the chapterversary graphic by Yuuko and Barbara too!