Real Empress from a Noble Family - Chapter 304
Chapter 304 A Must-have Poison for Every Situation!
Seeing that she woke up, Jiang Yashuang simply bent down and hugged her. After a while, he whispered, “Fortunately you are OK.”
Qiu Yelan noticed that his voice was a little hoa.r.s.e, and she knew that he must have been very anxious and was shut out of the palace that night. She immediately moved and let him sit down on the bed. “It’s OK. Don’t worry about it!” She said softly, leaning on his shoulder.
The couple hugged each other for a while, and their emotions finally calmed down. Then Qiu Yelan asked, “What did Dai Cong mean about the witness?”
“I arranged the witness.” Jiang Yashuang sighed wearily, “I wanted to frame Empress Dowager Gu and prove my innocence by the way. As a result, such a big thing happened last night. Who could take care of such twists and turns?”
That was true. Compared with the incident that the Emperor was almost poisoned to death in front of the civil and military officials and concubines of Imperial Harem, it was no big deal that a Hanlin Academy was slandered.
Qiu Yelan breathed out, “Even if other people don’t care, the first branch and the Dou Family will keep thinking about it. Just make it clear. Otherwise, even if we are not afraid of them, it will be difficult for grandfather to do it.”
Jiang Yashuang kissed her on the face and said, “Yes.”
After a while, Qiu Yelan asked in a low voice, “Is there no one outside now?”
“What?” Jiang Yashuang was stunned.
“I have something very important to tell you! This can not be heard by anyone, even Su He,” Qiu Yelan said. Even Su He couldn’t know it. Jiang Yashuang knew that it must be something important. He ordered people outside the house to go away and let Su He and others stay far away and not allow anyone to stay near the inner room.
Several maids were not nervous when they heard it. Instead, they covered their mouths and snickered. Obviously, they thought too much.
Jiang Yashuang didn’t care how they speculated about his order. After returning to the house, he listened carefully for a moment and confirmed that there was no one around. Then he sat back beside the bed and said, “You can say it!”
Qiu Yelan whispered, “Before the banquet, Cousin Xin and I were talking near a railing outside the Hall. We heard someone throwing things under the nearest flower tree in the wind and snow. Looking back, I found that someone left in a hurry at the corner of the corridor in front of the Hall. Then I just said one word to Cousin Xin, but a little servant came to urge us to enter the Hall to welcome the Emperor…” Jiang Yashuang became serious and said, “You mean what happened at the banquet?”
Qiu Yelan sighed in distress, “I don’t know! In the middle of the banquet, the Empress Dowager and my aunt asked me when Cousin Xin and I came out of the Hall and which section of the railing we were leaning on. And then they called the servants to check. It suddenly occurred to me what happened. I was really scared at that time! I thought that I had been trapped. As a result, the servants sent by the Empress Dowager went to see it and said they didn’t find anything, but I definitely heard that sound!”
Jiang Yashuang frowned and thought for a while, and then he asked in detail about the sound she heard at that time, the place where the things fell, and the height of the corner of her clothes. Finally, he pondered, “This is really an important clue, but now I’m afraid that Empress Jiang and the Empress Dowager are still checking the palace people together. Wait until the evening to report the news and ask Empress Jiang to arrange someone to check it.”
“Be careful! I wonder if it has anything to do with His Majesty’s poisoning. If it was the Empress Dowager’s people who did it, why didn’t they find anything last night? Is it because Cousin Xin and I took a large group of servants with us last night? If we said that we didn’t throw anything, we couldn’t be convicted by force. But if now my aunt’s people were caught quietly looking for things, there would be no way to make it clear.” Jiang Yashuang said. Qiu Yelan understood from his tone that the Emperor’s poisoning had nothing to do with the Empress’ party. She was very afraid and said, “Fortunately, His Majesty was saved this time. Otherwise, the consequences would be unimaginable. Although my brother hasn’t arrived in the city of Shazhou, he must have entered the realm of Shazhou.”
If the Emperor died at the critical moment, Kuang Shihan would probably kill Qiu Jinglan first to ensure the stability of the Western Army. After all, the country couldn’t exist without a monarch for a day. If the Emperor died, it would mean that the Crown Prince had to be decided in the shortest time. If it were the Prince of Zhou, then there would be no need to worry about Kuang Shihan’s problem. If it were the Seventh Prince, then Kuang Shihan would be desperate anyway and do anything possible!
In other words, as soon as the Emperor died, Kuang Shihan would be desperate and even lead a part of the Western Army to kill Qiu Jinglan. At that time, unless Qiu Jinglan could withdraw from Shazhou and rush back to Jing City in time, he would die.
Jiang Yashuang patted his wife on the shoulder and said, “His Majesty’s body is not good, but it should be OK. You can rest a.s.sured. Last night, I sent someone out of the city to inform my elder brother. After knowing the reason this morning, I wrote another letter in my handwriting. He knows what to do.”
“But all the people in the Hall didn’t carry poison last night. All the utensils in the Hall, including the porch pillars and floor tiles, were examined by imperial doctors and the Imperial Army in full view of the public. I don’t know how His Majesty got poisoned.” Qiu Yelan said. She put her finger around her long hair and said with confusion, “What is the poison in His Majesty? I was thinking about what the man had thrown under the flower tree, and I missed your words.”
Jiang Yashuang pondered, “It’s Hedinghong Poison. Strangely, no poison can be found everywhere.”
Qiu Yelan knew Hedinghong Poison was a good name for a.r.s.enic. As the most famous poison in ancient times, it had always been a must-have to kill meritorious officials, to eliminate dissidents, to make plots among wives, to murder for money, to murder one’s husband, to revenge, and to solve suspect cases. However, it was not difficult to find out the trace because it was used too often. People could find it through a silver needle.
However, when the two empresses ordered a thorough investigation of the whole Hall and the people in it, all the people and objects in the Hall were thoroughly tested by countless silver needles. No one found any needle turned black, except the white wine which the Emperor drank.
“In a word, no matter who did it, since he dared to do such a thing, there must be a plot.” Jiang Yashuang said. Jiang Yashuang thought for a while, and a sense of obliteration flashed in his eyes. He said slowly, “If the Empress Dowager Gu had done such rebellious things, our family would have prepared for this.” He looked at his wife and said, “But in case of accidents, don’t go out these days. Send some servants to greet Prince’s Mansion of Xihe, the Ruan Family, and the Li Family. It’s no big deal to be rude at a special moment.”
Qiu Yelan agreed.
Prince’s Mansion of Xihe, the Ruan Family, and the Li Family could either neglect or explain the situation without going there in person. But the Zhuang Family was different. At this time, the rule was that the uncle on the mother’s side was important. Therefore, Jiang Yadan and his brothers must go to pay New Year’s greetings together to the Zhuang Family every year. Especially it was the first lunar month Qiu Yelan stayed in her husband’s home. It was important to greet their uncle.
Even if something serious happened in the Palace, since it was not the worst, they had to greet their relatives.
In fact, the only daughter-in-law of the Jiang Family who could really stay at home this year was Tao Qianbin, because Madame Tao refused all relatives to make her concentrate on the pregnancy.
Therefore, on the third day of the first lunar month, after a night’s rest, Qiu Yelan and Jiang Yashuang got up early and dressed up. They went to the room to kowtow to Marquess Qin and Madame Tao, explaining where they were going. Then they went to the Zhuang’s Mansion to pay a New Year’s visit with Jiang Yadan and Jiang Yazhu couples.
The Jiang Family and the Zhuang Family were both in Jing City. They usually had a lot of contacts. So they were not very serious today. However, it was Zhuang Man’s elder brother Zhuang Rong who led his eldest son Zhuang Nanfeng to meet them outside the gate. Entering the second gate, Zhuang Man and her sister-in-law, Feng, welcomed Sheng Shishui and Qiu Yelan.
After a friendly exchange, Zhuang Mo’s wife, Wen, dropped her daughter-in-law, Feng, a hint. Feng understood and proposed to take her two cousins to her yard. She said, “The pots of plum blossoms I bought the other day are now open. Would you like to have a look at them?”
This was obviously to get the women to avoid. Sheng Shishui and Qiu Yelan both knew that, and they went out after hearing the words.
Wen made an excuse that she took Zhuang Man to the kitchen to have a look at the preparations for the lunch so that her husband and nephews could talk in the Ming Hall.
As soon as the mother and daughter left, Zhuang Mo lost the mood of chatting and immediately asked Jiang Yashuang, “What happened after Dai Cong took you out of the Palace on New Year’s Eve?”
“I have explained clearly with my elder brother.” Jiang Yashuang smiled and said. Then he said, “The witness he arranged was stubborn. I made him unable to justify himself. He just insisted that it was I who had instructed him to give the Dou Family’s criminal evidence to Qiu Dian. Although I’m not smart, I still have a few obedient people around me. I can make money to buy other people to do things, and I’m not that stupid to hand over the evidence to a strange roadside beggar. I’m afraid he’ll spend his money and throw the evidence into the ditch.”
The people he arranged, of course, would leave a clear flaw so that he could clear the suspicion.
Dai Cong later came to realize that he was framed. But the “beggar witness” was the Men of Sacrifice Jiang Yashuang arranged. As Dai Cong said, he could not survive that night. On the first day of the first lunar month, the man died. And there was no proof. Dai Cong would have no one to turn to. However, he just fortunately met the time when the Emperor was poisoned. No one would punish him for framing a Hanlin Academy. Even if it was raked up in the future, he would be temporarily hidden and safe for now.
Zhuang Mo was relieved to hear that he had explained clearly that he had not killed Uncle Mengmin’s relatives by marriage. He cautioned, “Over the years, the Dou Family has gone too far by relying on your Uncle Mengmin’s unusual position in front of your grandfather. But no matter how bad they are, they are still your elder’s family in law. No matter how unhappy you are, the worst you can do is to be silent when others do that. But there is no way that you do it by yourself. Even if we bring them down, we will get the reputation of disrespect for our elders! It’s not worth it!”
Jiang Yadan and his brothers all nodded to say yes, but none of them put these words seriously. Jiang Yadan and Jiang Yazhu had not known the meaning of reputation for a long time, while Jiang Yashuang smiled and said, “Those who achieve great things do not pay attention to trivial matters. Uncle Mengmin is getting more and more aggressive. If we are still afraid of mere words and do nothing, we will see the fall of our family soon. And we may even live under Uncle Mengmin’s power. Although uncle’s words are out of love for us, they are not suitable for the current situation of the fourth branch!”
The three brothers didn’t want to spoil Zhuang Mo’s good mood at the Spring Festival, so they were very nice about what he said. Seeing this, Zhuang Mo knew that the three nephews had no intention and didn’t listen to him at all.
It was just something that their grandfather, Marquess Qin, could not do. Zhuang Mo didn’t expect to coax them into obedience and sighed in secret. And Zhuang Mo stopped the words of exhortation. He brought up today’s hottest topic, “Is there any clue to the murderer of the Emperor?”
Now it was the period of closing the Yamen. Although the poisoning of the Emperor led to the emergency work of criminal investigation and military departments, Zhuang Mo, an official of the education department, continued to be on the vocation at the Spring Festival. When people were at home, the news was relatively closed. The Zhuang Family had no contacts in the palace, so he could only ask for the latest news through his nephews.
However, to his disappointment, the Jiang brothers did not bring any valuable inside information. They said, “It is said that people in the Palace are still investigating. Many palace servants have been killed in the past two days. But they only have found out a lot about the mess. No clue about the serious business was found.”
In fact, in the past two days, a lot of dirty questions were forced out by the high pressure. Before that, any one of them was enough to cause heated discussion between the government and the public. However, in the face of the terrible incident in which the Emperor almost died, they all became nothing.
Zhuang Mo listened to the nephews, frowned, thought for a while, and became worried. He said, “Affairs like these were found out, but the business of murdering the Emperor has not progressed yet. I’m worried if it can’t be found out all the time, or if it has nothing to do with the Empress Dowager. The Empress Dowager will bring up these dirty things again and make trouble to Her Majesty in the name of incompetence in ruling the palace.”
When Empress Jiang got married to the Emperor, Empress Dowager Gu and the Jiang Family were still very close. Also, Empress Dowager herself was in charge of the government. She was very generous and gave the Empress imperial power on her first day in the Palace after the greeting ceremony.
After that, Empress Jiang was not satisfied with her power and began to intervene in the government. However, her power didn’t increase. So she went close to Maid Lin and trusted her deeply. Therefore, if there was a mess in the Palace, the Empress would have compelling leadership responsibility.
Regardless of hatred or position, Empress Dowager’s party had no reason to let go of this opportunity to bring the Empress down.