Lin Haihai sighed. “A parent’s devotion to their children is precious, Minister Chen. You shouldn’t be blamed for her mistake, but you are partly responsible for not having raised her right. I’ll follow you to the prison tomorrow, and I’ll show her mercy if she truly regrets what she’s done!”
She merely wanted Yang Hanlun to feel better. At the end of the day, Chen Birou was the woman he once loved, and she had ended up where she was because of her love for him.
Yang Hanlun stared at Lin Haihai with widened eyes, touched.
Minister Chen was stunned as well. He knew how serious his daughter’s crime was. It was a humiliation to bring to the grave for a woman to be sold to a brothel, and yet the princess consort had forgiven the crime so easily. Her magnanimity won her the respect of even him, a cunning man who had seen everything under the sun.
“You have my gratitude, Consort Lin!” Minister Chen looked as if he had aged ten years overnight. The creases on his forehead deepened, and his tired eyes shone with tears. Fate hadn’t granted him any children but Chen Birou, and yet she had grown into a vicious woman with a malicious streak while he blindly pursued power rather than spent time raising her right. Perhaps his ambition itself had been a mistake, but what else could he do? He was now completely in others’ mercy, and there was no way out for him.
“You may go, Minister Chen!” Lin Haihai said coolly.
“This lowly official will take my leave!” Minister Chen bowed and walked out of the room. Noting the helplessness weighing him down, Lin Haihai said, “Wait, Minister Chen!”
Minister Chen paused and turned to look at Lin Haihai. Has she regretted her decision?
Lin Haihai quietly approached him and stared at him for a long while before slowly saying, “How has His Majesty been treating you over the years?”
Minister Chen tensed, his head jerking up to meet Lin Haihai’s gaze, his eyes flickering with a myriad of emotions. Lin Haihai gave him a faint smile. “You should sleep on it. Tell me your answer tomorrow!”
Minister Chen sighed. “This lowly official understands, Consort Lin!”
Face ashen, he slowly walked out of the room. He owed the world to the emperor. An official should serve the nation and her people. That was what he wanted to do when he first became an official. Everything had changed, however, and he had his options taken away from him.
“Why did you ask him that?” Yang Hanlun looked at Lin Haihai bemusedly.
“He’s a follower of Prince Pingnan,” Lin Haihai explained calmly. “It was his people who ambushed General Chen!”
“What?” Yang Hanlun was shocked. He had identified most of Prince Pingnan’s followers, but he never paid any attention to Minister Chen. Perhaps he had refused to see him as a suspect subconsciously.
“There are many more things for you to learn!” Lin Haihai turned to walk back into the room. She had to stay in the palace from now on. Prince Pingnan had now utilized even living corpses. He wouldn’t shy away from sending assassins. After a moment of consideration, she decided that Keqing should stay in the palace as well. They couldn’t risk letting Prince Pingnan’s people find her. Otherwise an alliance would be formed between the prince and Rong, and Daxing would end up falling under Prince Pingnan’s control.
Watching her pack up, Yang Hanlun said ruefully, “I’ll write another divorce paper to return you your freedom!”
Lin Haihai gave him a heartbroken smile. “That’s no longer important to me. You’ve always held a special place in my heart, Hanlun, and I don’t want to hurt you. Divorce or not, it truly doesn’t matter to me now. I’m running out of time in this era. My mission is to stop the war from breaking out. You have to help me, or your brother will die!”
Yang Hanlun was stunned. With what had happened over the past few days, he felt as if the rug had been pulled from under his feet again and again. Every revelation was more ludicrous and shocking than the one before. “Do you mean Prince Pingnan will succeed in his schemes?”
Lin Haihai stopped what she was doing and stared at Yang Hanlun. “That’s how the history is written, but we’re changing its trajectory and stopping the war!”
“How should we do it?” Yang Hanlun didn’t need the details. He only needed to know how he should act.
Lin Haihai hummed. “Chen Luoqing’s people have been following Prince Pingnan. He must know who Prince Pingnan has been interacting with. To my knowledge, Prince Pingnan has brought many important officials under his control. He poisoned those people, who would then need regular doses of antidotes to survive. Whoever showed signs of betraying him would lose their supply of antidotes. Please look up for me the officials who have died a sudden death!”
“It was my people who had been following Prince Pingnan,” Yang Hanlun said. He had suspected her of colluding with Prince Pingnan, but it turned out that he was mistaken.
“You?” Lin Haihai was confused. “Then you must have seen me talking to Prince Pingnan. Why didn’t you ask me about that?”
Yang Hanlun couldn’t answer. How was he going to ask her about that? He had been so convinced of her guilt that he further emboldened Chen Birou!
Realization dawned on Lin Haihai. So that’s the reason why he’d been alternating between caring and resenting me! He suspected me of being one of Prince Pingnan’s! She smiled with relief and said, “You thought I was a spy, didn’t you?”
Yang Hanlun didn’t dare say anything. Perhaps that was the difference between him and his brother. Imperial Elder Brother must have been informed of her unusual behavior as well, but Imperial Elder Brother chose to trust her, while he never did. He never even gave her a chance to explain herself.
“You should stop keeping things to yourself,” Lin Haihai said while gazing sympathetically at him. “It’s bad for you and other people!”
“You are one to talk. Aren’t you the same?” His tone turned earnest. “I really think you should tell Imperial Elder Brother the truth. He should be allowed to choose between you and the child!”
“I would’ve told him if there were a choice, but there isn’t. Whether I keep the child or not, I’ll return to my original world. I’ll tell him once the child is born. I don’t want him to see me undergo such pain. I don’t think he’ll be able to take it!”
Lin Haihai’s eyes stung. She knew he would feel her pain keenly like it was his own.
Yang Hanlun sighed inwardly. She worried that Imperial Elder Brother wouldn’t be able to take it, but he had trouble seeing her in pain as well. He wanted so much to poison her child immediately to stop the pain. She had always been strong. How great the pain must be for her to knock herself against the wall? It was enough for her to undergo the torture once, and yet she would experience it every day. How was he going to live with the knowledge?
“Should we go now?” Yu Qing had heard everything she said from the door. Although her heart ached for Lin Haihai, she had to stand by her. No one had ever been able to change Lin Haihai’s mind once she made a decision. If there was no changing her dearest friend’s mind, she would give Lin Haihai her full support.
“I’ll take you to the palace,” Yang Hanlun said instead of trying to convince her. Something was out of anyone’s control. All they could do was to try their best!
“It’s fine, Hanlun. Please go to the Linhai Hospital to escort Keqing to the palace. Remember to be careful and avoid unwanted eyes!”
“Alright, I’ll do that now. You should be careful as well!”
Yang Hanlun summoned Guihua and his guards to accompany Lin Haihai to the palace.
Meanwhile, Minister Chen had headed straight to the Court of Judicial Review after leaving the Prince Residence. He knew his daughter. She wouldn’t have shown any regret when the princess consort visited the next day.
Chen Birou had been locked up in the Court of Judicial Review for a few days. She had remained stubbornly silent since her imprisonment, her mind blank. She couldn’t believe Yang Hanlun would have the heart to do this to her.
Luo Kuangyuan hadn’t made things difficult for her on purpose. He hated Chen Birou for the atrocities she had committed and wanted nothing but to have her executed then and there, but he knew it was best to leave the matter to Lin Haihai, and he had always believed that she would return safely.
Minister Chen’s heart ached when he saw the silent Chen Birou. A child was a parent’s greatest weakness. It pained him to see his daughter going through such torture. She had made a mistake, and there was no turning back. He only hoped for the princess consort to have mercy on her. Then he would turn over a new leaf in his life in gratitude!
“You’re here, Father!” Chen Birou looked up at him with deep shadows under her eyes. She had lost a lot of weight in the past few days.
“Look how thin you are now, Birou!” Minister Chen said, heartbroken by how hollowed her face looked.
“I want to see him, Father!” Chen Birou stared at her father with determination. “Tell him to visit me tomorrow. If he doesn’t, I’ll kill myself!”
Madness glinted in her eyes. She had no other options.
“The princess consort will visit you tomorrow,” Minister Chen said with a sigh. “As long as you show some regret, she will let you off the hook!”
Chen Birou looked up suddenly and glared at her father. “What did you say? That bitch has returned? Wasn’t she sold to a brothel?”
Minister Chen covered her mouth and snapped, “Did you not recognize your mistake even now? Apologize to Consort Lin when she arrives tomorrow, and she’ll show you mercy!”
Chen Birou levelled her father with an icy look and said, “When did you become so cowardly, Father? What are you afraid of? The prince will take our side. He’s always loved me the most. Don’t you know that?”
“Father isn’t cowardly, Birou. I simply worry for you. I’ve enjoyed a good life of abundance without regrets. The only thing I cannot let go is you. How am I going to stop worrying about you when you’re so stubborn and obsessive?”
He would surely die once he betrayed Prince Pingnan, but what would happen to his daughter when left to her own devices? Was this payback for all the atrocities he had brought about? Was this his day of reckoning?
“Don’t worry, Father. Tell him to come to me tomorrow. I have things to tell him!” Chen Birou remained stubbornly icy. Her father’s words failed to sway her even by a little.
“Listen to me, my child, and apologize to Consort Lin tomorrow, alright?” Minister Chen begged. He had only one daughter. When she was safe and sound, he hadn’t been paying much attention to her. It was only when she was in trouble that he realized no riches and glory were more important than she was. What would he be fighting for if he lost his daughter? It was clear that the princess consort wanted him to exchange his loyalty for Birou’s life.
“Apologize? Only in her dream!” Chen Birou spat, her delicate features twisted and her eyes blazing with resentment.
Luo Kuangyuan walked up to them slowly and shook his head at the feral looking Chen Birou. You may want to let her live, Physician Lin, but she won’t accept the olive branch with gratitude!
“Why do you resent Physician Lin so much, Chen Birou?” Luo Kuangyuan pushed aside his fury and asked. “Is jealousy really enough to make you do something this insidious?”
“Resent her?” Chen Birou bit out with bloodshot eyes, painting a terrifying picture. “Oh, my resentment for her runs as deeply as the ocean. I want nothing but to drink her blood, eat her flesh, and tear away her tendons!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Talk about delusional :/