The Devious First-Daughter - Chapter 641
Once the Emperor made sure that his face was free from the powder, he became enraged that a mere woman had tossed powder on him in front of so many people . He opened his eyes the second that he could and screamed at Honored Consort Xia . “Servants! Servants! Take this wench away and turn her…”
Knowing that the Emperor wanted to turn her into mincemeat, Honored Consort Xia interrupted him with a slight sneer . “Your Majesty, if the powder is poisonous, you would have already swallowed some from all that talking . Are you sure you’re okay?”
Her words prompted the Emperor to shut his mouth . Even now, he felt the powder was poisonous . The sudden incident caught him off guard, and he was also aware that he had given Honored Consort Xia poison . That was why he lost his composure so badly .
“Your Majesty, please explain why the second lady of the Hua family, Prince Yi’s fiancee, is in your harem . ” Several old ministers and their wives knelt together .
A few of the married women didn’t enter the palace . After all, not even a titled lady could meet the Emperor so easily . The ones that remained, however, were the first wives of the ministers and could follow their husbands to the palace . On the one hand, they were worried about their husbands . On the other hand, they could also stand witness .
“Your Majesty, Second Young Lady Hua was Prince Yi’s fiancee . How did she fake her death and enter the palace to become Honored Consort Xia?”
“Your Majesty, is Honored Consort Xia telling the truth? Did you force Hua Yueying to serve you around the time when the three princes of Annan sent their women to the capital?”
“Your Majesty, Honored Consort Xia said that she tried to meet Prince Yi because you stole her from him, forcing her to yearn for him for so many years without being able to meet him . She said that she had to make use of this rare opportunity to leave the palace and meet Prince Yi despite the risks . Is this true?”
The ministers spoke up one after another, their accusations sharp and direct . No matter which of their accusations that the Emperor admitted to, he would forever be remembered poorly in history .
Which Emperor would be willing to be remembered for infamy? And for such an immoral act, too .
The Emperor’s face, clean from powder, turned green and white .
“Is… this ordinary face powder?” Taking several moments to compose himself, he finally returned to his senses . He turned around and questioned Honored Consort Ya with some difficulty . He remembered hearing such an explanation from her .
“It’s… women’s face powder . The letters were ordinary letters written by Honored Consort Xia to express her longing . ” A faint mocking smile appeared on Honored Consort Ya’s face, though no one knew it was contempt for herself or the Emperor .
Was there anything more ironic than this? The Emperor thought he had her under control and all his plan fully in line . Little did he know that he didn’t have full control over things, not even this palace . How could Honored Consort Xia’s powder become face powder otherwise? And those letters wouldn’t just be sad love letters full of longing .
Perhaps, the other imperial consorts would believe that a rendezvous with Prince Yi was a crime and a crime that could destroy both him and Honored Consort Xia . Nobody expected them to be an engaged pair, though one that was forcefully torn apart . Worst of all, the perpetrator was the Emperor before everyone .
Thus, the crime became the Emperor’s burden to bear, as was the scandal .
Hearing Honored Consort Ya’s reply, the Emperor felt as if something metallic was creeping up his throat . He tried his best to suppress the urge to cough up blood .
He finally understood that his plan to frame Ao Chenyi had failed . Worse, this incident even exposed an old scandal . It was a failure through and through .
It was just as if he had been building a house and was so close to completing it, only to have it collapse and turn into dust . Not only did the house collapse, but its foundation was destroyed as well . How could the Emperor not be furious and frustrated? He pointed his finger at Ao Chenyi but couldn’t say anything . His face was so pale that it was void of color .
“Your Majesty, please appoint Prince Yi as the Crown Prince,” the old ministers said in unison .
They had said these words before, but at that time, the Emperor rejected the suggestion on the basis that he was brimming with vitality and it wouldn’t be suitable to appoint a Crown Prince early . However, they had the Emperor’s weakness now . There wasn’t anything that he could say now that they were bringing it up again .
He raised his head and looked at Ao Chenyi . Ao Chenyi looked icy and his eyes were unfathomable . Sensing him raising his head and staring at him, Ao Chenyi flashed him a sly smile that made him feel as if he was plunged into a pool of icy water . Ao Chenyi then turned his attention on Honored Consort Xia, the smile on his thin lips turning malevolent . “Your Majesty, please allow me to take Honored Consort Xia . I’d like to question her in front of everyone as to why she pretended to die from an illness . ”
Question Honored Consort Xia in front of everyone? Ao Chenyi wanted this woman to say that he stole his brother’s wife in front of everyone? The Emperor’s fingers convulsed as he fell weakly on the bed . “I hereby appoint Prince Yi as the Crown Prince!”
Hearing his words, Honored Consort Ya couldn’t even stand still anymore . She staggered a couple of steps and had to rely on a palace maid to regain footing .
It was all over . Her many years of hope was over… He… He was forced to appoint Ao Chenyi as the Crown Prince . What about her Yu’er! Both she and her father had spared no effort in trying to make her son the Emperor, and yet their plan was foiled in Honored Consort Xia’s hands . How could she feel resentful?
Had she known earlier that Honored Consort Xia would ruin her plan, she would have tried every way possible to kill her . She thought it didn’t matter that Honored Consort Xia was favored because the latter didn’t have children, and thus left her alone . She never imagined that Honored Consort Xia would have such an identity and become the trump card that would crush the Emperor at the most critical point .
How could the Emperor be so foolish as to keep this woman by his side, and even thought of using her to frame Ao Chenyi? Did he think that nobody would know about this?
To think that he had repeatedly told her that he would pass the throne to Yu’er! Time and again, he had persuaded her father to send men to kill Ao Chenyi . For this, her father had offended a great many people…
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” The old ministers were overjoyed that their long-time wish had been granted . They wouldn’t feel ashamed to meet the late Emperor even if they were to die now . They were over the moon, but the Emperor and Honored Consort Ya looked the complete opposite .
The rest of the matters were much easier to handle . Now that the Emperor had said as much, it was only natural for him to write his decree lest he should change his mind . It was best to get this settled as quickly as possible . Thus, in front of the old ministers, the Emperor issued an imperial decree with trembling hands, appointing Ao Chenyi as the Crown Prince . It went without saying that Ao Chenyi had to leave the palace and accept the decree in his manor .
“Your Majesty, Honored Consort Ya accused His Highness of colluding with Honored Consort Xia to murder you before she even saw what was in Honored Consort Xia’s hands . Is this true? How does Honored Consort Ya know about the things in Honored Consort Xia’s hands? Or is she already aware of what they are in the first place?”
Everyone was ready to leave at this stage . After all, the appointment of the Crown Prince was a major event and captured all of the ministers’ attention . They thought it was an excellent deal to sacrifice Honored Consort Xia in exchange for forcing the Emperor into making the appointment . She was still the Emperor’s consort after all . He had the final say in dealing with her .
Since the Emperor had agreed to appoint Prince Yi as the Crown Prince, they were ready to take a step back as well . They were faithful servants at the end of the day, not traitors trying to force the Emperor to abdicate .
Thus, none of them bothered mentioning Honored Consort Ya’s accusation against Honored Consort Xia .
Upon hearing Princess Yi bring up the matter, several ministers looked unhappily at her . They thought that she was overdoing it . No matter what mistakes the Emperor had made, he was still the monarch . Moreover, the issue was between Honored Consorts Ya and Xia, so it was the Emperor’s business . It was his freedom to deal with it as he saw fit .
They might be unhappy but another person wasn’t . Those words excited Hua Yueying so much that she grabbed the robe of the minister nearest to her . “Honored Consort Ya conspired to kill the Emperor,” she cried . “She tried to frame me for it . Please save me, my lord . If I stay here, I’ll be silenced . ”
She had been kneeling on the floor with a pale face since venting her anger, looking out of it . She didn’t even hear the rest of the conversation . Offending the Emperor in front of everyone, and in such a blatant way too, meant that there was no way out for her but death .
Ning Xueyan’s words reminded her that she couldn’t let these people leave . The Emperor would never let her off otherwise . No one was on her side in this palace . She had no choice but to grasp the minister’s robe tightly and wail . “Conspiring to murder the Emperor is a serious event! Please hurry up and save the Emperor, my lord!”
A murder conspiracy was different from a harem battle . It was a matter of politics .
“Nonsense!” Honored Consort Ya cried, gritting her teeth .
“If I’m speaking nonsense, then tell me . How did you immediately recognize that the powder is poisonous, and they’re the same kind that poisoned the Emperor at that? Doesn’t this show that you’ve long known about it? Or maybe, it’s you who poisoned the Emperor and then planted the poison on me . It’s just that something went wrong in between and I ended up with face powder . Honored Consort Ya, are you trying to murder the Emperor and seize the throne?”
Hua Yueying said, refusing to let Honored Consort Ya argue her way out of this .
Honored Consort Ya was so agitated that she almost coughed up blood . Her face was dark and malevolent . There was no way for her to explain this . She couldn’t very well say that she had heard it from the Emperor, that the Emperor instructed her to do so, or that the Emperor told her to frame Honored Consort Xia and Prince Yi .
“Honored Consort Ya, you can’t explain yourself, can you? I’m right, am I not?” Honored Consort Xia said righteously . She turned toward the Emperor . “Your Majesty, please sentence Honored Consort Ya . Not only did she frame me, but she also tried to harm Prince Yi . Prince Yi is the Crown Prince that you have just newly appointed . Honored Consort Ya is trying to seize the throne!”
“Servants, put Honored Consorts Ya and Xia in the prison of the Ministry of Justice . I’ll personally interrogate them once I recover . ” This time, the Emperor’s fingers weren’t the only thing shaking . He was so angry that his entire body was shuddering . Honored Consort Xia had charged at him like a madwoman earlier, and now she was referring to herself so intimately? She sounded as if she truly cared for him .
However, the issue had evolved into a murder conspiracy against the monarch . He could no longer treat this as two palace consorts fighting over his favor . He gritted his teeth and said the words above .
That was the end of it . Honored Consort Xia and Honored Consort Xia were hauled away . Ao Chenyi and Ning Xueyan returned to their manor to accept the imperial decree . The old ministers started preparing for Prince Yi’s move into the Eastern Palace . The handful of married women under the leadership of the Madam Dowager of the Lord Guardian’s Manor returned to the manor and continued with the banquet .
Soon after they left, the imperial physicians in the palace began to panic . The Emperor was dizzy, the Emperor coughed up blood, the Emperor…
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