Chapter 31: The Sorrowful Brothers

The morning sun peeked out of the horizon; it was yet another fine sunny day!

 

Imperial Physician Shangguan carefully helped Yang Shaolun to change the dressing for his wound. The palace maids and eunuchs were all on their knees. No one knew why the emperor threw such a huge temper the moment he woke up. Xiao Yuan knelt before the bed and in a trembled voice, "Your Majesty, please calm down! Your health is of the utmost importance!"

 

"Summon the Sixth Prince into the Imperial Palace right now!" Yang Shaolun commanded icily.

 

"Yes! This servant will get to it right away!" Xiao Yuan immediately left the room.

 

"Why are you so slow? Why are you taking so long just to change the dressing? All of you, get out!" 

 

Fear struck Imperial Physician Shangguan as he hurriedly dropped onto his knees, "This humble official is lacking and isn't as skillful as Physician Lin. Please forgive me, Your Majesty!"

 

"Where is Physician Lin now?" A tinge of warmth returned to Yang Shaolun's face when he heard Imperial Physician Shangguan addressing Lin Haihai as Physician Lin instead of the Sixth Princess Consort.

 

"Answering to Your Majesty, Physician Lin left the Imperial Palace after changing the dressing for Your Majesty. She is probably worried about General Chen's injuries."

 

"Oh, how is General Chen doing?" Yang Shaolun sized Imperial Physician Shangguan up and down before he furrowed his brows together and said, "Why are you on your knees? Get up, all of you get up!" Everyone expressed their gratitude before they got off their knees and immediately retreated to stand by the side.

 

Imperial Physician Shangguan stood upright and wiped the cold sweat beading on his forehead as he replied, "Physician Lin said that General Chen's condition has currently stabilized. She originally planned to do the surgery yesterday to remove the blood clot in his brain but the skies were gloomy with inadequate lighting so she wasn't able to. She had to wait for a bright day. If there are no barring incidents, she would be able to do it today.”

 

Yang Shaolun didn't respond. He had full confidence in Lin Haihai's medical skills. When he woke up, Xiao Yuan told him about Lin Haihai's methodology in treating him. Her unorthodox way was almost unheard of but yet miraculously saved him! Never in his life had he seen a woman with such intelligence and medical skills. When he first saw her at the restaurant, he found her to be like a breath of fresh air. After that, she disregarded her identity and status and removed the clothes off a man so as to save him - an embodiment of her noble temperament. Ever since the day he met her, she had taken roots in his heart. But when they met again, she had become a princess consort and with her husband, his younger brother, addressed him as Imperial Elder Brother. Fate sure loved to play tricks on him! A trace of bitterness rose in Yang Shaolun's heart.

 

"Imperial Elder Brother, I'm so glad you are awake, I was so worried!" Yang Hanlun rushed in with sweat trickling down his forehead but a smile on his face. 

 

"Thanks for your concern, this Emperor is fine. Where's your Princess Consort? Why didn't she enter the palace with you?" Yang Shaolun wasn't too overjoyed. In fact, it appeared as though his heart was elsewhere.

 

"She's gone!" Yang Hanlun scratched his head. He had no idea where that woman had disappeared to.

 

"What?" Yang Shaolun sat up abruptly, tugging his wound in the process and letting out a shout. Imperial Physician Shangguan immediately advised, "Your Majesty, please don't move casually, be wary of your wound." Yang Shaolun ignored him and questioned anxiously, "How did she go missing? What happened?"

 

"I have no idea either. Yesterday, after she left the palace, she went missing. I asked Qing Feng and Ming Yue but they had no idea either! I have searched many places including her maiden's residence but she was nowhere to be found!" Yang Hanlun worriedly exclaimed.

 

"Could she be having suicidal thoughts?" The more Yang Shaolun thought about it, the more fearful he was.

 

"Why would she be suicidal?" Yang Hanlun asked perplexedly. 

 

"Your Majesty! This servant deserves death! This servant spoke and acted on hearsay that day and only realized that the Sixth Princess Consort wasn't abducted by bandits. This servant heard the Sixth Prince's speculations and mistook it to be real." Xiao Yuan had just entered the door when he heard Yang Shaolun's questions. In fear, he promptly fell on his knees and explained.

 

"Audacious servant! How dare you spread rumors and smear Consort Lin's reputation. Guards, take him down and beat him with the cudgel fifty times!" Yang Shaolun was infuriated. Women placed the utmost importance on their chastity, and how daring was Xiao Yuan to spout unverified rumors.

 

Two guards entered the hall and dragged the kneeling Xiao Yuan away.

 

"Imperial Elder Brother, did you wipe out Heavenly Wolf Clan because you thought that they had abducted Yuguan?" Yang Hanlun stared at Yang Shaolun, his heart sinking slowly while an inexplicable feeling started to breed within.

 

Yang Shaolun closed his eyes and said, "Imperial Brother, you are overthinking. This Emperor is only eradicating the bandits for the people. This Emperor is tired, you may leave." Don't think about it anymore. Let her go! Yang Shaolun could feel his hopeless feelings weighing down on his heart, so much so that he couldn't breathe. 

 

Yang Hanlun stood rooted to the ground. Imperial Elder Brother is acting strange. At the hospital, he deliberately hid his identity and his face was painted with disappointment when he found out that she is my princess consort. He didn't need to personally go eradicate the bandits at Heavenly Wolf Mountain, yet he led his elite troops and wiped out the entire bandit clan. Could it be that he… Yang Hanlun didn't dare to imagine further.

 

"Could it be because of what happened yesterday?" Imperial Physician Shangguan had been thinking of the possible reasons which could explain Lin Haihai's disappearance. She had mentioned that she would be able to perform surgery on General Chen if the weather was bright and sunny and would never disappear without reason or rhyme. Could it be that she was still seething from being slapped by Imperial Consort Li and went out for a stroll alone? But she isn't such a calculating person… 

 

Hearing Imperial Physician Shangguan muttering his thoughts under his breath, Yang Shaolun's eyes narrowed into slits and glared at the former. "What happened yesterday?"

 

Imperial Physician Shangguan jolted back into reality and hurriedly knelt down. "Nothing. This humble official was spouting nonsense. May Your Majesty please pardon me!"

 

"Speak, what happened yesterday when Sixth Princess Consort came over?" Yang Hanlun turned his piercing gaze onto the palace maids and eunuchs.

 

An eunuch fell on his knees and replied in a stutter, "Replying to Your Majesty, and your Highness… this servant hadn't seen Sixth Princess Consort here yesterday!"  

 

"Courting death! I personally sent Sixth Princess Consort to the door. How dare you say that Sixth Princess Consort was never here!" Yang Hanlun's face was as dark as a brewing storm.

 

"Your Highness brought in a physician… What? Is the physician Sixth Princess Consort?" The eunuch exclaimed alarmingly and the others swiftly landed onto their knees, panic stricken.

 

Judging from their expressions, Yang Shaolun knew for sure something must have happened. He took in a deep breath and said in an icy tone, "Recount everything that happened yesterday. If there's a single falsification or concealment, this Emperor will have his or her head!"

 

The eunuch sobbed and replied, "Your Majesty, please pardon us. These servants didn't know that Physician Lin is Sixth Princess Consort. Yesterday, when she was helping Your Majesty to change the dressing, Her Majesty and Imperial Consort Li came here. Imperial Consort Li mistook Consort Lin as a palace maid trying to seduce Your Majesty and slapped her once. Fortunately, Sir Xiao arrived in time for Sixth Princess Consort to be spared from the cudgel."

 

Yang Shaolun could feel his heartbeat quickening and his blood rushing up into his brain. He hurriedly circulated his internal energy to regulate the qi in his body. Yang Hanlun stamped his foot in frustration and hollered, "That foolish woman, doesn't she know how to retaliate when someone hits her? Previously, she even had someone beat me black and blue. Yet, she doesn’t dare speak a single word when someone else hits her now?!" Imperial Physician Shangguan remained silent with his arms by his side. In his mind, he was postulating the possible whereabouts of Lin Haihai. 

 

"Imperial Brother, go and look for your princess consort first. When you have found her, please thank her for saving this Emperor in my stead!" Yang Shaolun maintained a peaceful visage as though nothing had happened. However, in his heart, it was as though thousands of pebbles had rained down, resulting in ferocious waves that couldn't be calmed.

 

Yang Hanlun silently turned and left with a tinge of bitterness in his heart. Only he knew that Yuguan was not his princess consort. Not long after their marriage, he had given her a marriage annulment letter! Does Imperial Elder Brother like Yuguan? When they met that day, the outpouring of joy on his face ascertained that that wasn't the first time they had met. Could they have already known each other way before that? Yang Hanlun was dejected and lost but yet he didn't know what he could do! The two brothers hid their own thoughts separately but yet felt the same helplessness.

-----

 

The reverberating waves of the lotus pond glimmered under the sun rays. The subtle fragrance of the lotus flowers put one's heart at ease. Who would have thought that there would be such a paradise in the mountainous wild? Lin Haihai followed the floral scents and arrived here. Stretching her hands out, she flew across the sea of flowers before landing steadily on a single bamboo. Looking ahead, it was a vast green sea; the mountain was covered with bamboo. From the flat ground to the higher terrains, from the foot of the mountain to the peak, it was all bamboo. One could neither single out an individual bamboo plant nor identify other plants in the forest. The vast sea of green had devoured everything.

 

Something in her heart guided her here. She knew that the power within her was great and impactful, but she hadn't mastered the means to harness the power yet. Since Baizi had mentioned that she was the key to space and time, that meant that she had the power to open the door of space and time. Moreover, it wasn't hard to control this power. Three days, I believe I only need three days to open the door of space and time!

 

Lin Haihai flew into the bamboo forest, the vast sea of green swiftly consuming her. The slight quivering of the bamboo branches was the only indication of her passing presence.

 

-----

 

In Qian'kun Palace

 

"Your Majesty, you are finally awake. This Concubine was so worried!" The coquettish voice coupled with a peerless face was the embodiment of every man's dream goddess.

 

Yang Shaolun looked impassively at the woman before him; he remained calm and collected.

 

"It's great that Your Majesty has come around, this Empress can now be at ease," the empress said calmly, her tone as placid as though she was commenting about the weather.

 

"Thanks Empress for your concern, this Emperor is fine." Yang Shaolun held his empress with great regards. She was the princess of Chen. Even since she married him, she had been standing behind him quietly and handling the affairs of the imperial harem. No matter the number of women he took in, she had never shown a single trace of unhappiness on her face. She always wore a faint smile on her calm visage as though everything had nothing to do with her. It was as though she had no feelings. But as the emperor, he needed a woman like her, one who didn't fight for his favor, had no jealousy and didn't stir trouble. And his empress was the best candidate.

 

"Your Majesty, you…" Imperial Consort Li turned a shade darker when she saw Yang Shaolun looking at the empress. She wanted to express her disgruntlement but before she could even complete her sentence, Yang Shaolun interrupted her icily, "Imperial Consort Li, this Emperor has things to discuss with the empress. If you have nothing else important, you may leave."

 

Imperial Consort Li was stunned as she looked at Yang Shaolun in disbelief. She then turned her gaze onto the empress and a trace of anger flickered across her eyes. She then greeted Yang Shaolun, "This Concubine will return to her boudoir now." Placing her hand on the back of her personal maid's hand, she turned gently and delicately, her face painted with pained sorrow.

 

"Stand right there!" Yang Shaolun commanded coldly, "Didn't you see that the Empress is here? Do you still hold any respect for the Empress? You really have no regards for the hierarchy. It seems like this Emperor has been overly permissive of you! From today onwards, stay in your Rong'hua Palace and nurture your health and pregnancy. Without the empress' permission, you are not to step out of your palace."

 

Tears flowed from Imperial Consort Li's eyes. How did it come to this? His Majesty has always doted on me! Usually, no matter how disrespectful I am to the empress, His Majesty would feign ignorance. What's going on today? Did someone utter calumnies against me before His Majesty? Was it the empress?

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gchan7127's Thoughts

Imperial Consort Li is so annoying...-_-