Execution By Dismemberment
Zhang Yuan breathed a sigh of relief, if the old Emperor was in this state, he was reassured. At least he did not feel emotional after seeing this mother and son pair or felt pity towards his son and softened his heart. If it was like that, the work put in by the Ninth Prince was going to be wasted.
The good thing was the hatred the Emperor felt for these two people surpassed everything else, what kinship, what love, under this huge amount of hatred, there was no need to talk about these. He heard the Emperor say: “With them being locked in here and suffering, they must be very lonely as well. Xiao Yuan Zhi, tell Our other sons and those concubines in the harem, ask them to line up here and visit. If this grand scene is not shown to others, then the effort of Ming-er and Ah-Heng will go to waste.” After saying this, he glanced at Liu Shi, speaking with loathing: “When everyone has visited, send this woman to the execution grounds, We bestow her with execution by dismemberment.”
With this sentence delivering the execution order, Liu Shi was almost frightened to death. Death by dismemberment! In the past, regardless of how grave a sin the concubines and noble ladies committed, they would only be given a death by hanging or a cup of poisonous wine, or for those who were not obedient at all, strong Eunuchs would strangle them to death directly, no one had ever been given death by dismemberment. In reality, not just the concubines, even in the law of Da Shun, though execution of dismemberment did exist, not many people were given this punishment.
Execution by dismemberment was also known as cutting the meat away from the bone. It was said to be a specific process, a living person would be tightly tied up completely, then the executioner would use a brightly polished blade to cut off their flesh piece by piece until they die. The ones who were executed by dismemberment have already committed very serious crimes, and the law-executor felt that dying was not enough to pay for their crimes, so they would use this method to punish them. This was still not the point, the scariest part about execution by dismemberment was that during the process of the execution, the convict could not die. From the first cut, they needed to experience all one thousand cuts and could only die after the last cut.
Once Liu Shi thought about these, she wanted to hit herself against the wall, but the wardens stopped her. The Emperor commanded: “If she dies before that, none of you will be allowed to live.”
Finally, after seeing everything he came to see, the palace staff carried the Emperor out from the death row prison. On the way to Zhao He Hall, the Emperor told Zhang Yuan: “They said that kinship does not exist in the imperial family, We did not believe this in the past, and always thought to treat these sons well so they will not be disappointed. But We know now, the imperial family really does not have any kinship! You treat them well, but that does not meant that they will treat you well, you treat them as a son, but they do not treat you as a father. For the sake of a throne, they can harm Us to this extent. For this kind of son, what is the use of Us keeping them?”
Zhang Yuan quickly advised him: “Your Majesty, please calm your anger, not all the princes are like this! That third son in the past did not count.”
“Yeah.” The Emperor nodded, “It’s still alright to think like this, as least the other brats are still good.” He might have said this, but he was still unhappy and listless. He even felt irritated at the sun shining over his head. Even if there were palace staff holding an umbrella over him, he also felt that the sunlight could shine on him through the umbrella, making him raise his hand to cover his forehead, rushing the servants: “Walk faster, We do not wish to bask under the sunlight.”
Because the Emperor gave his orders, the princes and the concubines in the harem had no choice but to queue up and go to the death row prison to see the pitiful state of the Eighth Prince and Liu Shi. The princes were still alright, at most sighing for a long time after looking at this. But the concubines were not so lucky, each of them throwing up in disgust and practically had to be carried out from the prison. They were afraid. In the past, they only focused on currying favour with Liu Shi, but unexpectedly, in the blink of an eye, Liu Shi and the Eighth Prince have fallen to this state.
Someone smart said: “Has anyone opposing the Ninth Prince gotten a good ending before?”
The Sixth Prince Xuan Tianfeng had the important task of regent, so he was the last of the princes to enter the death row prison. He did not go there alone and took the effort to take out Noble Lady Li from Jing Ci Palace, heading to the death row prison together.
Noble Lady Li was a very neurotic person, her thoughts were extreme and she would overthink problems easily. Being imprisoned in Jing Ci Palace these days, she would cry sometimes, laugh sometimes, sometimes feeling hatred when she thought about her older sister who was sent to the death row prison, and sometimes when she thought about her son sitting on the dragon seat and taking up the position of regent, she would feel that her life was filled with hope. When the Sixth Prince came to get her, she was currently telling her maid Zuo Er what she would do after becoming Empress Dowager, and when she heard that her son came to bring her to see the Eighth Prince, she became unhappy.
But so what if she was unhappy? This was a decree given by the Emperor, she was not given the choice to sit out of this.
Noble Lady Li followed behind the Sixth Prince and thinking that she was going to see those two people, she momentarily became clueless on how she should face this. That was her older sister and nephew, and at the same time, they were the two people she hated the most. With these two identities, when she saw them again, what would she think about it?
Noble Lady Li’s mind continued to run wild, and until she arrived in front of the death row prison, she noticed that there were still many concubines and noble ladies waiting at the prison gates. And those people who came out, all of them were pale and throwing up. Some people even turned a little crazy, shouting in a crazed manner, “It’s too scary! Too scary! The Eighth Prince is a monster, he is going to rot to death!”
She felt afraid and paused in her steps, unwilling to walk forward anymore. Around her, she could still hear the whispers from the concubines and noble ladies who were waiting, with people saying: “Yesterday, I heard Concubine Hua say that Liu Shi has already gone mad, seeking her death every day, but the wardens have kept her under watch, so she cannot die even if she wanted to.”
Someone also said: “The Eighth Prince is in an even worse state, his bottom is fully rotten, he’s even worse than a Eunuch now.”
“I heard that the conditions in the death row prison are especially bad, the convicts will eat and excrete in the same jail cell, the smell is so bad that people can throw up on the spot.”
“His Majesty sentenced Liu Shi with execution by dismemberment, she does not want to experience that punishment and is always planning to die, but unfortunately, she cannot die. Even starving herself does not work, because Princess Yu will enter the imperial palace every day to inject her with something, and after the injection, even if she does not eat, she will not die.”
Noble Lady Li started to tremble and her teeth were chattering, she wanted to tell Xuan Tianfeng that she did not want to go in, but the person walking in front did not show any signs of stopping. The palace staff following her even occasionally reminded her: “Your Highness, follow quickly, His Highness the Sixth Prince is quite some distance ahead.”
Currently, the Sixth Prince had the task of being regent and his position was basically equivalent to crown prince. These few concubines still felt some reverence when they saw him. They even became careful around Noble Lady Li who was brought with him. Regardless of whether she was Imperial Concubine Li or Noble Lady Li, she was still the Sixth Prince’s birth mother, and this Sixth Prince was different from the Eighth Prince, he was a refined scholar, the idol of all scholars in the nation, a reliable prince. During this period, he received the task of regent and cleaned up most of the foul atmosphere in the court which had built up over the last few months, his results were admirable. Therefore, no one dared to underestimate this Sixth Prince. Seeing that he came, the crowd backed up a few steps, clearing a path for him.
Xuan Tianfeng still had the aura of a scholar, this characteristic was innate, just like the deity aura from Xuan Tianhua, he could not remove it. Even if he looked stern and serious at all times and was wearing the pale yellow robes of a regent prince, creating a strong noble aura, it was unable to suppress the bookish aura.
Bringing Noble Lady Li along, he entered the death row prison. Seeing that the Sixth Prince had come, the guards had common sense and passed a scented pouch which they prepared beforehand to Noble Lady Li. They even picked the strongest smelling one, letting her hold it against her nose and mouth, completely blocking off the smell of the death row prison.
Noble Lady Li had mentally prepared herself to some extent, and when she heard the people outside the prison describe the situation inside, she also adjusted her mental state. She thought that she could not face this normally, but not to the point where she would cry and throw up in fright like those people. But when she finally saw the Eighth Prince and Liu Shi, the mental line of defence which she built up earlier collapsed completely in an instant. It was to the point where her knees became weak, if not for two strong Enunchs holding her up, she would have sat down on the floor.
The Sixth Prince turned around, personally holding up his mother with his hand, then pointed at the Eighth Prince and told her: “Mother, do you think his state is bad? Is it scary?”
Noble Lady Li nodded in terror, speaking while trembling: “Feng-er, I saw, I saw, let’s leave quickly!”
But Xuan Tianfeng shook his head and said: “Mother needs to look closely, and think while you look. This Son will not hide this from you, his pathetic state was caused by Princess Yu, because he sent a private mentor to barge into Feng Zirui’s bedroom at night, planning to make a child who was not even ten years old lose his virginity at a young age. Princess Yu was angered and pushed this sin back onto him. Look, this is the consequence of opposing them, Mother does not wish for the person locked in here one day to be me, right?”
“How can it possibly be you? How can it be you?” Noble Lady Li said loudly: “Isn’t your relationship very good? You even helped her before, how can she harm you?”
“I helped her because of affection, but anyone has their bottom line, and Feng Yuheng’s bottom line is Ninth Brother, if you keep provoking her again and again, she might push the debt onto me. Mother, if you really love me, then live your days well and do not think about those occult things anymore.” As he spoke, he pointed at Liu Shi in the jail cell on the other side, saying again: “Look at her, both of you are sisters, the Liu family have close relations with a Gu poison family in Gu Shu, this matter has been revealed. If This Son did not act first and demote your concubine position and sent you to Jing Ci Palace, Mother might not be able to escape a pitiful end. After all…… that Gu Master entered the imperial palace through your actions.”
Noble Lady Li trembled, so her son knew everything, so whatever she did was unable to escape the detection of the people beside her! She thought that it was undetectable, could it be…… that she would really harm her son?
“You are already a regent prince, there’s no need…….no need to be afraid of them, right?” Noble Lady Li put up her last struggle.
“It is only regent, and not crown prince. Moreover, even if I am crown prince, they are my brothers, I can only protect them and will definitely not harm them. Mother, this is This Son’s morals as a person, please do not wreck them as you please.”
After saying this, he signaled to the palace staff to send Noble Lady Li out and continued to stay in the prison for a while. Looking at Old Eighth, looking at Liu Shi, his heart could not bear it, but he had to acknowledge that for all of this, they had brought it upon themselves. Just now, he had also intimidated Noble Lady Li, he did not believe that regardless of what Noble Lady Li did, Feng Yuheng and Xuan Tianming would not pass him the debt to him. But if such a day really came, even if they did not blame him, how could he still face them?
For a regent prince, if he could not manage his own mother, how could he manage this nation?
Ten days later, they ushered in the day when ex-Imperial Concubine Gui Liu Shi would receive her execution by dismemberment with one thousand cuts……
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