Terror at Night at Winter Moon Palace
Imperial concubine Jing stared at imperial concubine Yuan Shu while thinking to herself; however, no matter what, she could not figure out what exactly imperial concubine Yuan Shu would tell her?
She did indeed have an elder brother that coordinated things in the palace. In truth, feelings of remorse toward the imperial concubines did exist in the Emperor’s heart. But that’s just how people were. In the past, it was within his rights as the Emperor to take all kinds of concubines and imperial concubines. Visiting the inner palace as he pleased was perfectly normal. But once he met Yun Pian Pian, he felt that meeting with other women was a sin. That was why the Emperor took great care of the families of the imperial concubines. Even a lowly concubine was able to have her elder brother become a deputy commander of the imperial guards.
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu did not have any family members with this ability. That was why she turned her gaze on imperial concubine Jing.
The two looked at each other for a long time. Just as imperial concubine Yuan Shu was running out of patience, imperial concubine Jing asked: “Since you want to use me, you should let me know what this is about. What benefit is there for me.”
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu curled her lips into a faint smile, “If we’re talking about benefits, then a life similar to how it was 20 years ago will reappear. Does younger sister feel that this is not enticing enough?”
Imperial concubine Jing was shocked: “Return to a life from 20 years ago? Elder sister Shu, you haven’t gone senile, right? How could that be possible?”
“If this One says it’s possible, it’s possible.” Imperial concubine Yuan Shu leaned forward, “As long as imperial concubine Yun is gotten rid of, all of this will be possible.”
Concubine Jing felt that imperial concubine Yuan Shu had lost her mind. As for herself, she actually spoke with this madwoman for such a long time. She immediately stood up and coldly said to her palace maid: “Send imperial concubine Yuan Shu out. If imperial concubine Shu is feeling unwell, have an imperial physician take a look. Over the past 20 years, there haven’t just been one or two imperial concubines that have gone crazy. Thinking about it, imperial concubine Yuan Shu is following in their footsteps.”
Seeing that concubine Jing viewed her as a lunatic, imperial concubine Yuan Shu did not know whether to laugh or cry. Yue Xiu, who was with her, interjected, telling concubine Jing: “Our imperial concubine has not gone crazy. The crazy one is that imperial concubine Yun. This time, there is no need for us to take care of her. She herself has gone out. Concubine Jing might not know, but imperial concubine Yun is currently not in the palace. She fled, and Winter Moon Palace is currently empty.”
“Empty?” Concubine Jing was stunned once more. Although they had all become accustomed to imperial concubine Yun’s usual brash and carefree attitude, she actually had the daring to flee the palace. This was too stunning.
“Younger sister, what do you think his Majesty will feel upon hearing of this matter?” An imperial concubine that escaped the palace on her own, even if the Emperor wanted to protect her, there would be a number of eyes watching him. That woman actually tarnished the reputation of Da Shun’s ruler. Do you think that those old officials would be lenient over this matter? This is a good chance to trip up imperial concubine Yun. As long as imperial concubine Yun is removed, this palace will be like it was in the past. Younger sister will also have a chance to take care of the ruler. Like that, you will no longer just be a concubine.”
It had to be said that imperial concubine Yuan Shu’s words had touched concubine Jing’s heart. Imperial concubine Yun fleeing the palace was an opportunity that only came around once every thousand years! Unfortunately… “What is the relation between this and my elder brother?”
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu laughed then waved to concubine Jing: “Younger sister, come closer.”
At this time, Feng Yu Heng, who had gone to bed, suddenly sat up in bed. For no apparent reason, she began to feel flustered. This made it impossible for her to continue sleeping.
Rolling out of bed, she put on her shoes and a cloak. Even after opening the door and standing in the middle of the yard, with the night wind blowing against her, she still did not feel relieved from that feeling of irritation.
Wang Chuan was sleeping next door. Upon hearing this movement, she quickly followed out. She saw Feng Yu Heng standing alone in the middle of the yard, and she could not help but ask: “Young miss, what’s wrong?”
She shook her head, “I don’t know. I just feel flustered. I keep feeling… that something is about to happen.”
At this time next to the imperial bed of Zhao He Hall, Zhang Yuan was sitting on the ground with a blanket wrapped around himself. Leaning back against the imperial bed, he listened to the incredibly familiar sounds of the Emperor’s snores.
Suddenly, he felt the area before his eyes darken. Looking again, he found that it was a hidden guard that had appeared before him. The hidden guard raised his index finger in front of his lips to gesture to keep silent. At the same time, he motioned for Zhang Yuan to follow him outside.
Zhang Yuan was puzzled, but he still followed. The two arrived in the middle of the yard, but he just saw the hidden guard raise his hand and point in a direction. He spoke in a voice that could not have been any quieter: “Winter Moon Palace caught fire.”
“Wh…” Zhang Yuan nearly screamed “what” out loud. Fortunately, he managed to use his hand to cover his mouth. Only then was he able to stop himself from waking the sleeping Emperor. He asked the hidden guard: “Is this true?”
The hidden guard was helpless, “Could it be false at a time like this? The imperial guards and servants have begun working to put out the fire. Thinking about it, the news will arrive here very quickly. Eunuch Zhang, think of something quickly.”
What idea could eunuch Zhang come up with. This news left him on the verge of collapse. “I feared that something would happen in the palace, yet it had to happen to Winter Moon Palace. Say… huh?” Zhang Yuan’s mind spun, “Hold on, hold on, there is something wrong with this situation. Winter Moon Palace’s defenses have always been the most secure. Nothing has happened for so many years. Why is it that it would suddenly catch fire at this time?” He said to the hidden guard: “I fear that there is some sort of hidden circumstance to this. Think of a way to investigate and see exactly how this fire began.”
The hidden guard nodded and disappeared in an instant.
Zhang Yuan stood in place and waited for a bit. He was thinking that if it was just a small fire, it would be put out after just a bit. Winter Moon Palace had always been an important place in the palace. The imperial guards were also very careful in the security to the area. At the same time, once something happened to Winter Moon Palace, it would be resolved very quickly. He prayed quietly in his heart that this fire would be put out quickly. He just hoped that this fire was not the result of someone’s plans. He just hoped that this fire would not awaken the sleeping Emperor.
However, the heavens never acted as people desired. Seeing that a red glow was coming from the direction of Winter Moon Palace, Zhang Yuan’s face turned pale.
“It’s over, it’s over.” He took a few steps back and sighed bitterly, “Now, it’s all over.”
At this time, the servants of Zhao He Hall began running over. Upon seeing eunuch Zhang in the yard, they quickly said: “Eunuch Zhang, it’s bad. Winter Moon Palace caught fire. The fire is getting bigger and bigger. It’s going to be out of control soon!”
Zhang Yuan angrily gritted his teeth. He knew that he could no longer hide the matter and simply said in a loud voice: “Then what are you still standing around for? Quickly go and call everyone. Bring them to put out the fire at Winter Moon Palace! Go quickly!”
He kicked the eunuch in the butt, causing the eunuch to run off. While running, he shouted: “Winter Moon Palace caught fire! Quickly get up!”
Zhang Yuan let out a long sigh. At this time, he heard the Emperor suddenly shout from inside the hall: “Zhang Yuan! Get your ass in here!”
Zhang Yuan really did roll back inside.* When he got inside, he did not accurately judge the height of the doorsill and fell to the ground. Like a ball, he rolled further inside.
The Emperor watched the ball roll over to his side. He had a few impulses to raise his foot and kick him, but he was able to hold back. Leaning over, he reached over to pick him up. He then asked: “What is with the ruckus outside? Why did We hear that someone mention Winter Moon Palace?” While he spoke, he looked outside. After a while, he asked in confusion: “What time is it? Why is there a red glow coming from outside?”
Zhang Yuan grabbed a hold of the Emperor and helped him up from the imperial bed. He then went to fetch his clothes and helped him put on his socks and shoes. This left the Emperor in a daze: “What is it? Did We oversleep? Is it time for morning court?”
Zhang Yuan shook his head, “That’s not it. It’s just past midnight.”
The Emperor became furious: “Are you crazy! What are you putting clothes on Us for just past midnight?”
Zhang Yuan told him: “Don’t keep sleeping. Winter Moon Palace caught fire. At this moment, the flames have already filled the skies. We need to go over and take a look, but your Majesty must not get too emotional. You cannot go and help put out the fire. You can only watch. You must leave it to the servants. We… huh?” Before he could even finish speaking, he felt someone push his shoulder forcefully. When he looked up, the Emperor had already disappeared.
Zhang Yuan stomped his foot and quickly gave chase. The two rushed in the direction of Winter Moon Palace.
At the same time, news of Winter Moon Palace catching fire reached every corner of the palace. This included the Empress’ side, as someone sent the news.
It had to be said that the other imperial concubines did not dare go and watch this spectacle, but the Empress was able to go. While ordering people to prepare her clothes, she began thinking to herself. It had to be said that she could not believe that Winter Moon Palace would catch fire for no reason. Winter Moon Palace had always been the most protected area of the palace. Any other place could catch fire, but it would be impossible there. Unless… unless someone deliberately started one.
Her mind immediately recalled imperial concubine Yuan Shu; however, she truly could not think of how imperial concubine Yuan Shu would have the ability to set Winter Moon Palace on fire. The more she thought about it, the more anxious she felt. She could not help but hurry Fang Yi: “Faster.”
The Empress’ side rushed in the direction of Winter Moon Palace. The imperial concubines of the other palaces also got up. Imperial concubine Yuan Shu stood up in her courtyard and looked in the direction of Winter Moon Palace with a smile on her face. Concubine Jing also looked at her own yard with an emotional look, waiting for more news. These emotions were not out of respect to imperial concubine Yuan Shu, nor were they in regards to whether or not her actions would be found out. This situation was already outside of her expectations. Her mind was filled with thoughts about that beautiful scene that imperial concubine Yuan Shu had described to her. Her mind was filled with the beautiful life that she would have after imperial concubine Yun’s fall. She did not worry at all about what might happen if the situation was exposed.
After a while, the Emperor and the Empress arrived in front of Winter Moon Palace’s entrance. Because the fire was truly too strong, there were some imperial concubines that could no longer endure and came out to watch. Because many people came out, although the Emperor was furious, he did not punish them. This was the so-called idea of the law not punishing the majority. That was why even imperial concubine Yuan Shu and concubine Jing rushed over.
Zhang Yuan firmly held the Emperor’s arm and hated that he could not have him sit on the ground. No matter what, he would not allow the Emperor to rush into the sea of flames. The Emperor looked at the sea of flames before him, and a look of despair appeared. He blankly asked Zhang Yuan: “Where’s old ninth? Is he in the palace? Where are the hidden guards? Quickly have them rush inside to save them!”
Zhang Yuan told him: “The hidden guards have already gone inside. Your Majesty, don’t worry. They will definitely save the imperial concubine.”
“Then eunuch Zhang should move faster!” Imperial concubine Yuan Shu had come over to the Emperor’s side at some point and helplessly exclaimed to Zhang Yuan: “With the fire burning so hot, if you don’t hurry up, I fear that the bodies won’t even be distinguishable.”
“Shut your mouth!” The Emperor slapped imperial concubine Yuan Shu across the face, saying angrily: “If you continue speaking, We will have someone throw you in!” Although he said this, imperial concubine Yuan Shu’s words acted as a reminder, thus he urgently shouted: “Quickly! Everyone, rush inside to save them! You must move quickly!”
At this time, a soldier dressed up as an imperial guard rushed out of the fire. There were still some flames on his body, which were put out by the people outside. That person ran over to the Emperor and loudly said: “Reporting your Majesty. Inside this Winter Moon Palace, there is no imperial concubine Yun?”
*TN: The word for “roll” can be used to tell someone to scram or move somewhere quickly. It’s not the most polite way of speaking.