The Yang family’s reputation quickly deteriorated in just a few days. Now, even the pedestrian on the street dared to spit on the Yang Manor’s gate and cursed the family loudly. Ten days later, the Judicial Court finally announced the result of the investigation. Yang Xiaoyu, the grandson of Grand Senior Secretary Yang, kidnapped a civilian girl, beat her brother to death in the street, and sullied the girl afterward. Seeking revenge, the girl bid her time and finally strangled Yang Xiaoyu to death with her belt while he was sleeping.
Dying on a woman’s bed could be regarded as the fruit of the evil seed Yang Xiaoyu planted by himself, and the cause and effect of this case were very clear.
Seeing this result, the Emperor was extremely disappointed with the Yang family. His Majesty publicly rebuked Senior Grand Secretary Yang during the morning court session, citing his ineffectiveness in disciplining his family. Yang Fucheng’s suspension of duty was initially only temporary, with the Emperor expressing that his duty would be resumed once the Judicial Court finished investigating Yang Xiaoyu’s case. But now, the period of the suspension had become indefinite, and it was hard to say if he would ever be reinstated again.
At the same time, the case brought up by the woman who claimed to be a former palace maid was also handed over to the Judicial Court, and the Crown Prince was once again appointed to lead the investigation.
After learning that her father’s duty was now suspended indefinitely, Empress Yang immediately went to Qianqing Palace to plead with the Emperor, who refused to see her. Empress Yang knelt at the gate for two hours, but received not a single word from the person she had called ‘husband’ for so many years.
Empress Yang knelt on the hard white marble floor for two hours. When she finally gave up and returned to her palace, her knees hurt so badly that she couldn’t even walk. It was then that the Emperor finally sent a messenger, asking Empress Yang to stay in Kunning Palace to recuperate and refrain from going out unless necessary. On the surface, it sounded like the Emperor took pity on Empress Yang, but in fact, he was keeping her under house arrest in disguise.
The Empress’ knees were hurting and she had to recuperate, so she couldn’t go attend to the Empress Dowager, who had fallen gravely ill again. Therefore, Cheng Yujin, as the Crown Princess, took over this duty as a matter of course and pompously went to fulfill her filial duty as a granddaughter-in-law.
Some time ago, Empress Dowager Yang received shocking news about the tragic death of Yang Xiaoyu. As the only child of the Yang family, Yang Xiaoyu’s death meant that the Yang family’s lineage was about to end. This news devastated Empress Dowager Yang so much that she coughed blood in shock. Following that, her condition deteriorated sharply, and now she was totally bedridden.
Especially because Yang Xiaoyu’s death was not the end. Disaster came striking the Yang family one after another — Yang Fucheng’s suspension of duty, Madam Yang’s involvement in a murder case — each news that came was worse than the other, and it was no wonder that Empress Dowager Yang’s condition never improved.
The usually very solemn and tranquil Cining Palace was now almost as noisy as the folk market — all with bad news about the Yang family came in one after another. The imperial physicians actually gave strict instructions for Empress Dowager to recuperate quietly, claiming that she needed to be free of worry and stress to recover. The Crown Princess nodded in response and took the instruction very seriously, but the moment she turned her eyes away, the servants seemed to forget her orders and let every single news about the Yang family reach the Empress Dowager’s ears.
Thus, Empress Dowager Yang’s condition had never improved and even steadily worsened. The imperial physicians were producing countless prescription one after another in a desperate attempt to make Her Majesty better. The Crown Princess was also very worried and anxiously ordered all kinds of precious medicinal materials to be sent to Cining Palace, sparing no expense in the process.
The whole Cining Palace was shrouded in a bitter medicinal smell day in and day out. When Empress Dowager Yang awoke from her shallow, uneasy slumber, the first thing she caught was the smell of medicine, which seemed to have penetrated every inch of the palace.
The entire chamber was very quiet, as if no one was there. Empress Dowager Yang had to make a lot of noises and waited for a long time before the bed curtain finally lifted aside, revealing the figure of Cheng Yujin smiling softly. “Have you awoken, Your Majesty? How is your feeling?”
Empress Dowager Yang struggled hard on the bed, seemingly wanting to get up. However, Cheng Yujin just stood still and blinked, until a palace maid came forward and helped Empress Dowager Yang up. The so-called attending to a patient was just coming with a large group of servants and letting them do every single thing for their mistress. Needless to say, Cheng Yujin had zero intention to really give Empress Dowager Yang a helping hand.
Another palace maid quickly brought a stool. Cheng Yujin sat beside Empress Dowager Yang’s bed and began to ask with a smile, “Your Majesty, your medicine has been ready. Do you want to drink it now or later?”
Another medicine. Even if Empress Dowager Yang had long past the childish age of being afraid of medicine, tasting yet another batch of overwhelmingly bitter concoctions right after waking up was not a pleasant experience. Empress Dowager Yang thus responded with a gloomy face, “Keep it for later.”
“Alright.” Cheng Yujin nodded obediently. She then turned around and ordered, “Watch the fire on the stove carefully. Make sure that the medicine stays warm all the time and never let it get cold. If the time was too long and the medicine went stale, throw it away and prepare a fresh batch.”
“Yes, Your Highness.” The palace maid who received the order promptly took her leave. Seeing this, Empress Dowager Yang sneered coldly.
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