The Throne Belongs to the Xuan Family, And Not One Person
For the execution of Liu Shi, the party supervising the execution would be the Justice Department. Xu Jingyuan was able to vent his anger after receiving this task but was rather worried at the same time. One day before the execution, he even made a trip to Chun Palace, asking Xuan Tianhua if any incidents would occur this time? The last time, the blade was already placed on the Eighth Prince’s neck and yet he was still able to wriggle his way out of it. This matter almost caused a trauma in Xu Jingyuan’s heart, he was truly afraid that if this ex-Imperial Concubine Yuan Gui also came out like that, then his Justice Department would completely lose face.
Xuan Tianhua told him very solemnly that it would not happen this time, and this was when Xu Jingyuan felt reassured.
The day of the execution, Liu Shi was stripped naked and her limbs were tied to the execution platform. The aide next to Xu Jingyuan told him: “Sir, look, an imperial concubine has already been shown in front of everyone like this, no matter what the Emperor says, it will be impossible for him to want her back. This time is different from the last time, only that Eighth Prince was punished the last time and Liu Shi was still living well in the imperial palace, that’s why she had the chance to cause trouble. However, this time, the two of them are in dire straits at the same time, no one is able to help the other. This Lowly One heard that mother and son have already fallen out with each another, so there is no need to consider them helping each other. What happened last time will not happen again.”
Xu Jingyuan nodded, and internally breathed a sigh of relief. He was really afraid that they would get away again. The Eighth Prince and Liu Shi made a mess in the court and fouled up the atmosphere, he did not even know how he managed to survive through the past few months. Many times, he almost fell to the schemes of the Eighth Prince, if not for the Seventh Prince and Ninth Prince helping him secretly, not only would his position as Justice Department Official be unstable, he might not be able to keep his life! After all, he had presided over two cases related to the Eighth Prince before and there was already animosity sowed between them.
The time of the execution was 45 minutes after noon, and that was one hour from now. The reason why they tied her up there so early was to allow everyone in the capital to take a look at this evil woman. At the same time, the Sixth Prince also sent out a palace staff who announced decrees in the palace. He was currently holding an imperial decree, listing out all the sins of Liu Shi and the Eighth Prince, allowing everyone who listened to gain a clear picture of the situation.
Compared to the citizens who lived in other provinces, the people in the capital were more concerned about the political situation. After all, they lived in the political center and there were many major and minor officials in the capital, so they would inadvertently hear about some matters related to the happenings in the imperial palace. Ever since the Eighth Prince was sent to the execution grounds and was about to be beheaded, but was stopped by an imperial decree, the wind in the court changed direction. The Emperor favoured Liu Shi in the palace and even the common citizens in the capital could feel the difference. In addition, with the glorious rise of the Eighth Prince, for the people who had frequently opposed him, they spent the last few months anxiously.
No matter how they thought about it, they did not understand why the Emperor would suddenly not like the Ninth Prince anymore, and it was only until now did they understand that the Emperor was inflicted by Gu techniques. No wonder the Emperor would suddenly open up after more than twenty years of not entering the imperial harem and not touching women, no wonder the Eighth Prince would suddenly get such a high position and authority, they actually used such underhanded methods.
The citizens felt a strong sense of hatred, and seeing Liu Shi who was naked and tied to the pillar, they really wanted to rush forward and tear her apart with their bare hands! However, the court already expected that the emotions of the citizens would run high and sent a lot of guards to stop them, so no one was able to rush up. But that did not stop the people from throwing whatever they could throw towards Liu Shi. In a short while, Liu Shi’s head and face was covered in eggs and vegetables.
She watched these people in a daze, her mental state was already unclear, the fear of the thousand cuts execution by dismemberment had already broken down her spirit. She only remembered that her dream of being Empress Dowager had shattered, then, this life was finally going to reach its end.
However, the citizens might be angry, but they felt happy. Because the Emperor had already came to his senses and have punished these two people. This showed that he did not like the Eighth Prince and still thought about the Ninth Prince.
Someone said: “The Ninth Prince should be the future ruler of Da Shun, he has many military achievements and is the undefeatable legend of Da Shun.”
Someone also said: “Not just that, he even married Princess Ji An, with Princess Ji An around, we have a pillar. Not only is she a divine doctor, she can craft steel, half of the Ninth Prince’s military achievements are due to the work of Princess Ji An!”
Once this topic was mentioned, people started to remember the good things about Xuan Tianming and Feng Yuheng and they started to praise their merits and virtues one after another, hoping for the day that the person sitting on the dragon throne would be Xuan Tianming, then with Feng Yuheng by his side, the two being Emperor and Empress, that would be most ideal state for Da Shun’s future.
These words reached the ears of the palace staff who came to read the imperial decree and list out the crimes committed by Liu Shi. He felt rather unhappy and took his leave, returning to the palace immediately after he finished reading the decree, then passed on the words of the citizens to the Sixth Prince who was shouldering the heavy role of regent.
At this moment, Xuan Tianfeng was in Heavenly Hall approving reports and just instructed the servants to visit Jing Ci Palace. He was worried that with Liu Shi’s execution, Noble Lady Li would throw some emotional temper again. Hearing the report from this palace staff, he asked in confusion: “Telling all of this to This Prince, what is the intention?”
That Eunuch quickly answered: “Your Highness, you need to be wary! Currently you are regent prince, that is the same as crown prince and also the future ruler of the nation. But these citizens are only thinking about Ninth Prince and Princess Ji An, this clearly means that they do not value you at all. I do not know what medicine the Ninth Prince gave them, but if their words continue to spread widely, it is possible that even if you inherit the position in the future, the hearts of the people will be difficult to rein in!” That Eunuch had a worried expression and took the effort to lay out the truth and his reasoning for the Sixth Prince, hoping to use this to close the distance between him and this regent prince.
He was someone who was retained to work in the Heavenly Hall. To be able to remain within this series of changes was not easy, he also thought of many methods so he would not end up in the same state as those people who were close to the Eighth Prince in the past. He was not part of the Eighth Prince’s faction and was naturally not in the Ninth Prince’s faction, because whether it was the Eighth Prince or the Ninth Prince, he felt that both their schemes were too deep and their foundations were too deep, these were not people whom a Eunuch could just get involved with just like that, so he had been observing the whole time. When the Sixth Prince obtained the task of regent, he felt that his light had come! Because this Sixth Prince was considered too weak in comparison, he was so weak that it seemed like other people could handle him easily, did not have any close aides and did not create any factions in his Heavenly Hall at all. So if he wanted to get promoted, it should be very easy.
Harbouring such thoughts, he heard the discussions of the citizens at the execution grounds today and felt that he should take this chance to close the distance between him and this prince. Regardless of what the other party thought, he needed to make the Sixth Prince understand that he was thinking of his well-being.
When he finished staying these words, this Eunuch thought that he had acted very intelligently and was waiting to be praised! But unexpectedly, the words he heard the Sixth Prince say when the Sixth Prince spoke again were: “This Prince is only helping Father Emperor manage the nation, and all of you are already thinking of me as the future ruler? His Highness Prince Yu and Princess Yu have contributed much to the country over the years, bring fortune to the citizens of the capital. What, you feel that This Prince has to get rid of all of this after getting promoted? You wish to instigate This Prince into opposing Prince Yu and take this throne in one go? Hilarious!”
The last word “Hilarious” was shouted out in anger, Xuan Tianfeng pointed at this Eunuch and said loudly: “Because the imperial palace has you scheming people with unjust thoughts, this has caused every master to lose their common sense and fight with each other to accomplish the ideal result all of you want. Wanting who to ascend the throne, wanting who to fall over, using this kind of thinking and methods to cause trouble in the shadows. In the past, everyone says that Eunuchs have an unstable mind and most of them are twisted. This Prince still sympathised with all of you having an incomplete body and believed that more effort was needed in terms of your mental state, but This Prince was wrong, all of you brought this upon yourselves by living against your conscience. Servants enter the imperial palace for the sake of serving their masters, but you start to harbour thoughts of influencing your masters, how different is this from the ex-Imperial Concubine Gui Liu Shi? This Prince will not ask your name today, and will only tell you, having harboured such thoughts, you deserve to die!”
These words from Xuan Tianfeng bestowed a death sentence on this Eunuch directly, and people immediately appeared to drag him out, sending him to a palace specialising in punishing palace staffs to carry out the punishment. Until his death, that Eunuch did not expect that with him trying to suck up to the Sixth Prince, he harmed himself instead, and actually lost his life because of this. This Sixth Prince looked gentle, but unexpectedly, he was this fiery.
When that Eunuch was dragged away, the Heavenly Hall regained its peace. But many palace staff still stood within the hall and did not leave, they sensed that Xuan Tianfeng seemed to have something to say, so they quietly knelt in front of Xuan Tianfeng and waited. Half a beat later, they finally heard this regent prince speak: “This Prince is only managing the country on behalf of the Emperor, this mighty nation, This Prince does not desire it. If all of you start harbouring thoughts of sowing discord, then do not blame This Prince for being heartless.”
When all the palace staff promised not to do so, he waved his hand and dismissed them, and when he was the only one left in the main hall, he put down the brush in his hand, massaging his temples and sighed deeply.
He only thought that the burden of this throne falling on his shoulders, it did ease the burden on Old Ninth and that girl, but they did not know, he did not want to rule this country as well! Someone who did not desire to rule the nation, how could they care about where the hearts of the citizens lay? Moreover, that was his younger brother and sister-in-law! He, Xuan Tianfeng, had always lived life fairly, if he really had no choice but to bear the burden of this nation in the future, he did not believe that his Ninth Brother and Ninth Sister-in-law would use the hearts of the citizens to confine him. In the end, this country belonged to the Xuan family, it belonged to everyone in the Xuan family, and not just him, the one sitting on the dragon throne.
Liu Shi’s execution by dismemberment lasted for four hours and the brutality could easily be imagined. The one who got punished would start bleeding once the first piece of flesh was cut off, and when the last piece of flesh was cut off and she died, she had bled out completely. This was only then did people know, even though this execution by dismemberment was rare, the court still trained masters in this craft to prepare for when they would be needed.
Liu Shi died, and the Eighth Prince continued to rot day after day. No one knew what the people in the imperial palace were thinking, reporting the Eighth Prince’s condition to everyone in the capital every day. Every single day, there would be official workers sticking up notices which contained the detailed changes in the Eighth Prince. Gradually, the storytellers in the tea houses started to use this as a topic and started to talk about the Eighth Prince and Liu Shi plotting to kill the Emperor.
This day, Xuan Tiange invited Feng Yuheng to tea. The two specially chose a tea house in town, chatting while listening to the stories. When the storyteller started to talk about the rot on Eighth Prince reaching his knees, Xuan Tiange asked Feng Yuheng: “Based on this rotting, how long can he live?”
Feng Yuheng moved her fingers and counted, saying: “At least one hundred days! He will not die that easily. It is just the flesh rotting, his bones are still connected. When the rot has finished progressing downwards, it will progress upwards, until his mouth, nose and brow. In the end, he will rot until he doesn’t have a face and be just like a skeletal frame, but he will still live.”
Xuan Tiange shuddered, “That’s too scary, can that still be called a person?”
But Feng Yuheng said: “I don’t care if he can still be called a human or not, I just know, this is the consequence of him planning to harm Zirui.”
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