Aerial Rain
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GNU Ch 139 Part 1 – Collapse (I)

In the Ciqing Palace, Du Ruo stood nervously next to Cheng Yujin’s seat. Seeing they were currently alone at the moment, she finally couldn’t hold back, “Your Highness, did that former palace maid… tell the truth?”

The Yang family was currently in the middle of a vortex. The murder case of Yang Fucheng’s only grandson and the scandal it caused had yet been concluded, and now his wife was also dragged into the mud. Murdering an empress, if true, was a crime totally on a different level from the blatant killing of a civilian.

Especially when it came to the late Empress Zhong’s labor. The pregnancy itself had a rough start, and the premature delivery and subsequent complications caused the Crown Prince to be born weak and sickly. Empress Zhong was also left with a damaged body and passed away after two years of lingering sickness. According to the former palace maid, Empress Zhong should be able to carry her pregnancy to full term, but suddenly had labor pain after consuming a porridge. The birth itself went smoothly at first, but the midwife’s deliberate delay caused Empress Zhong’s condition to turn for the worse and severely damaged her health.

It was equal to murdering a woman while she was giving birth to a new life. If the former palace maid told the truth, Madam Yang would face much more than just a prison sentence.

Cheng Yujin moved her fingers across the brocade fabric and continued turning the needle in and out. “She dares to openly accuse the current empress’ mother of murdering the previous empress, so it must be true. However, too long time has passed, and the case won’t be easy to investigate even if she holds some evidence. Everything will depend on the Emperor’s attitude.”

Needless to say, Du Ruo was completely on the Eastern Palace’s side. Even if the mistress she served was not the Crown Princess, knowing Madam Yang’s actions when Empress Zhong was about to give birth was enough to make Du Ruo feel disgusted with the Yang family. When a woman went into labor, she was stepping one foot into the gate of the underworld. The excruciating pain she experienced throughout the whole ordeal deprived her of the ability of self-protection. Therefore, harming someone at such a period, let alone bribing the midwife to delay the assistance deliberately, was truly vicious beyond anything. As a fellow woman, Du Ruo felt greatly repulsive.

If the former palace maid’s testimony was true, then there was no reason for Madam Yang not to pay the price for her evil deeds after the truth was exposed. Du Ruo knew this, but found herself still feeling uneasy, “Your Highness, do you think that His Majesty will give the late Empress justice and avenge her by punishing Madam Yang?”

Would he? Cheng Yujin didn’t think so. If the Emperor had the intention, he should have been suspicious when Empress Zhong had difficult childbirth and pursued the matter long ago. But the Emperor chose to be silent for years, and now Empress Yang had been his wife for more than ten years, longer than Empress Zhong.

Back then, he just passively watched even as Empress Zhong was still alive, so would he do anything twenty years after her death? Cheng Yujin made another stitch, then deftly turned her fingers and made a knot for the last stitch. “The justice that belongs to the late Empress Zhong will definitely come, but not in the hands of His Majesty.”

Du Ruo understood what Cheng Yujin silently implied.

Justice will come, but in the hands of the Crown Prince.

Empress Zhong’s case suddenly re-emerged after more than twenty years. The evidence came from multiple sources and is still preserved until now. A witness also came out in public to make the accusation.

Only one person had both the motive and ability to accomplish this.

Moreover, the timing of the former palace maid’s appearance couldn’t be more coincidental. It happened on the fifth day of the investigation of Yang Xiaoyu’s case. The investigation part was easy, but the real difficulty lay in the intricate power relationship between the related parties. The Emperor, the Crown Prince’s faction, and the Yang family’s faction were in a stalemate, with a fourth, neutral faction standing by in vigilance. Needless to say, it was a very tricky situation to handle.

As the stalemate continued, the matter of Empress Zhong’s murder suddenly broke out on the tenth day. The entire Yang family, who was already on the cusp of the storm, received another major blow by the sudden accusation behind the death of the previous empress. Needless to say, the entire capital put their eyes on the Yang family. Once the accusation was proven true, Madam Yang wouldn’t be able to escape punishment. The Yang family was greatly weakened by this case, reversing the deadlocked situation in an instant. At this point, the final result of Yang Xiaoyu’s case could already be expected.

Cheng Yujin was certain that the former palace maid and the evidence she brought out must have been arranged by Li Chengjing. However, the originally planned timing was probably different. Yang Xiaoyu’s death came too suddenly and abruptly, catching everyone, including Li Chengjing, off guard. Still, the golden opportunity was here, so Li Chengjing quickly made a decision to play his trump card: Empress Zhong’s murder.

The political struggle currently shrouding the country was a dangerous warfield with many lives at stake, but the Eastern Palace continued its tranquil and peaceful days as before. Cheng Yujin stayed quietly in her palace, slowly recuperating her body while accustoming herself to a life as a mother. When Li Chengjing returned at night, he would join her and their children to spend a relaxing time as a family. Very rarely did he mention the turmoil at the court.

Cheng Yujin knew that Li Chengjing wanted her to recuperate in peace and was afraid to worry her about the affairs of the court, so she didn’t ask anything. But not getting involved didn’t mean that she was left ignorant. During the days, Cheng Yujin would receive reports from the Eastern Palace’s servants whom she dispatched to be her eyes and ears outside.

Cheng Yujin finished the coats she was making for the twins. Du Ruo took the coats from Cheng Yujin’s hands and carefully folded them on the table. Cheng Yujin then rubbed her wrist and sighed: “This is a battle between His Highness and Senior Grand Secretary Yang. What we can do is just wait.”

This was indeed a war, a war between Li Chengjing and Yang Fucheng, between the Crown Prince and the Senior Grand Secretary, and between the Eastern Palace and the second prince’s supporters. Two behemoths were confronting each other head-on, making smaller people tremble in fright. When immortals fought, it was always the mortals who suffered the most. For the first ten days, most people had been watching on the side, not daring to take a side. But the murder accusation against Yang Fucheng’s wife turned the tide to Li Chengjing’s side. One by one, people began to express their stances. Although the danger was real, the gains they ought to get were equally numerous.

Moreover, the Yang family was already finished. Yang Fucheng and Empress Dowager Yang had indeed been standing high for decades, and old habits die hard. Still, the Crown Prince was on the rise, which made it easy for people to pick a side. One was waning, and the other was rising. One had the support of the public, and the other was increasingly becoming unpopular. Li Chengjing’s reveal about the late Empress Zhong’s murder was the final nail that hit the Yang family’s coffin.


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