Lian Qiao didn’t expect that the first thing she would see when entering the Imperial Prison wouldn’t be the bleak walls of a prison cell, but Prince Hao dressed in purple robes. He was sitting on a wooden stool and gently swaying an ordinary teacup.


An imperial guard flung Lian Qiao to the ground, causing her hairpin to clatter against the ground with a crisp ‘ding’ sound.


She stood up in panic and bowed. “This servant pays her respects to Prince Hao.”


However, the only reply that she heard was the deafening silence of the Imperial Prison. The ominous atmosphere was matched only by the sound of her shallow breathing, instilling terror in her heart.


Thus, the sound of a teacup being set down on the table was practically magnified, bringing all of her attention to the question that followed. “What medicines have you made?”


Pei Qianhao didn’t ask her how she had killed Old Maidservant Liu, but what medicines she had made. He already knows that I didn’t just make one type of medicine, but as soon as I confess anything, the Empress Dowager won’t protect me anymore.


Lian Qiao didn’t answer, but simply pretended to be baffled.


“This Prince doesn’t have much patience.” Right afterwards, rows of multifarious torture instruments were brought out by the imperial guards. The desolate Imperial Prison only served to make the sight even more terrifying.


Lian Qiao knelt down with a plop. “This servant doesn’t understand what you are saying. This servant didn’t make any medicine.”


“Did you think that the Empress Dowager will protect you? The person she dispatched to kill you has already been intercepted by this Prince’s subordinate.” Pei Qianhao calmly crushed any hope that she had held onto.


Lian Qiao shivered. The Empress Dowager has not only refused to protect me, but even went as far as to dispatch someone to end my life. If this matter is exposed, it'll only be disadvantageous to the Empress Dowager.


Looking at Pei Qianhao’s well-defined side profile, Lian Qiao pursed her lips, not making a sound as she tightly clenched her fists.


“This Prince will give you a choice.” Pei Qianhao stood up from the wooden stool and waved his hand to signal to the imperial guard.


The guard took out a red plate from behind him. There were countless worms wriggling on the plate in an extremely gruesome manner.


Lian Qiao felt a chill run down her spine as her whole body trembled, past memories rushing back in a flood. My parents died from worms attacking their hearts. The dark night was endless and it was raining every single night. The scenes of those harrowing experiences were like fetters shackling her heart, causing her to vehemently shake her head.


“No, no! Prince Hao!” Lian Qiao shrieked in a quivering voice. Finally, she caved in. “There’s still another type of medicine. It’s philtre fragrance that is concentrated, but is not harmful to men.”


Pei Qianhao’s pupils instantly turned dark. To think that Pei Yaran resorted to using philtre fragrance! What a wonderful daughter the Pei Residence has raised!


“Prince Hao, this servant had no choice. I was forced against my will. Please spare this servant’s life!” Fear was written across Lian Qiao’s face, her body violently trembling as she knelt on the ground.


“A strip of white silk.[1] Send her on her way.” Pei Qianhao expressionlessly gave the command before leaving the Imperial Prison.


It wasn’t long before the blood-curdling screams of a woman came from the Imperial Prison, cutting short with an eerie suddenness.


Later that night, Pei Yaran was relieved when she learned that Lian Qiao had died, but the news that came after that kept her on the edge of her seat.


“She wasn’t killed by the person sent by this Empress Dowager, but by Prince Hao’s order?”


The imperial guard lowered his head and replied, “Empress Dowager, the guard you dispatched was kept out by Prince Hao’s orders.”


Pei Yaran knitted her brows. She stood up from the chair and dashed into the inner hall. She further divided the remaining philtre fragrance into two bottles, filling one to the brim while leaving the other half full.


After she was done, she stowed away the half-filled bottle in her wardrobe while putting the other one into her sleeve and returning to the main hall.


The moment she walked out of the inner chamber, a palace maid came up to her and reported, “Empress Dowager, Prince Hao is waiting for you in the main hall.”

1. Death by strangling or hanging. It’s one of the common ways to sentence a person to death in private. You might have heard of the other two methods: poisoned wine, and a dagger. Public executions are another thing.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translation: Rakumon

Edit: Lunarlark


Rakumon's Corner: 

Anyone feels sad for Lian Qiao? Or do you guys feel that she's simply getting her just desserts? ><