Back in the Northern Courtyard, Yi Yin’s unease deepened. Although the matter of Farida’s fall had nothing to do with Wei Zhao, the Great Yan-zhi had asked them to attend the New Year’s Eve banquet. Was there really no other purpose? Yi Yin was very suspicious.
Wei Zhao also looked pensive, and it was clear that he was worried. It was a pity that they were on the chopping block and had no power to fight back, so they could only be at the mercy of others.
Seeing Yi Yin staring at him without blinking, Wei Zhao hugged him and whispered, “Ah Yin, give me a little more time, it will be fine soon.” His voice was very low, not so much for Yi Yin to listen to, but as if talking to himself.
But Yi Yin was still stunned when he heard these words. What did Wei Zhao mean? Could it be that he already had a good escape plan? Yi Yin was very curious, but he didn’t dare to ask; this was not something he could say at his age.
In addition to curiosity, he was even more worried about whether the reason why Wei Zhao angered Helian Zhuo and caused him to cut his tendons was the failed escape.
Yi Yin wanted to warn Wei Zhao very much, but he couldn’t remember what happened at this time in his previous life, and he didn’t know how to tell Wei Zhao that he was reborn. Would Wei Zhao believe it? Would he think he was possessed?
Wei Zhao didn’t expect Yi Yin to respond to his previous words and continued: “Ah Yin, there is something going on in the palace tonight, so we won’t set off firecrackers. Will you go to bed early? Daddy will tell you a story.”
Yi Yin nodded without any objection. Besides, it was New Year’s Eve. If Farida’s child couldn’t be saved and they set off firecrackers here, it would be playing into Helian Zhuo’s hands. The fact that Wei Zhao could remember to comfort him already made Yi Yin very satisfied.
Since the last time Wei Zhao was sick, Yi Yin used to climb up his kang to stay with him. Unless Helian Zhuo came to stay overnight, the father and son would always go to sleep together, just telling stories or something.
After washing and lying down on the kang, Wei Zhao really told Yi Yin a story, and then Yi Yin had to sigh. Fortunately, he was reborn, otherwise he would be bored to death by listening to Wei Zhao’s stories.
What Wei Zhao told Yi Yin was the history of the founding of the Great Yan’s dynasty, from the wise and powerful Emperor Taizu, to the Empress Xiaolie Gao, who was admired by the whole country, to the invincible four founding wangs, Wang Ping Wei Shang, Wang Jing Wei Wei, Wang Yong’an Jiang Buyi, and Wang Changning Ji Yuan(1).
Yi Yin knew all of what Wei Zhao said. After all, he had lived in the Great Yan longer than in Fuyu.
But he had no special feelings about the people in the story; they were too distant for him.
For Wei Zhao, it was different. For him, those people were not only his ancestors, but also the goals that he strived for and the role models of what he longed to become. Yi Yin didn’t miss that when Wei Zhao mentioned Ji Yuan, his eyes were unusually bright.
Yi Yin suddenly realised that the Great Yan had completely different meanings for him and for Wei Zhao.
In his heart, the Great Yan was just a country he had stayed in, not his homeland. It was the same as Fuyu. He had no homeland and no home.
As for his joining the army, it was just for Wei Yang, for the little warmth Wei Yang gave him.
However, in Wei Zhao’s mind, the Great Yan was supreme, worthy to die nine times without regret and to give everything for.
When Wei Zhao talked about Hou Zhaoyang’s six attacks on Tiele, Yi Yin finally couldn’t bear it and fell asleep.
After a dreamless night, Yi Yin woke up refreshed and saw the sky was bright outside the window. He thought he had overslept. But when he looked at the hourglass, he realised that it was not too late, but it had snowed again last night, so it was white everywhere.
Yi Yin rolled over and sat up. As soon as he put on his coat, he found a red pouch next to the pillow. He was stunned before he realised that it was the red envelope Wei Zhao had given him. He took it in surprise and immediately opened it.
There was an ice doll in the bag, with a round head, a round body and a naive expression. Yi Yin was embarrassed to admit that the doll Wei Zhao had carved was apparently him; but he really liked this New Year’s gift.
Yi Yin played with the doll for a long time, until he saw that it was melting, so he hurriedly put it outside the house and let it freeze solid again.
Compared with Yi Yin’s pleasant surprise, Helian Zhuo’s New Year was very bitter.
The first day of the first month was the day when the Fuyu people sacrificed to the heavens to pray for good weather and rain in the coming year, but Helian Zhuo was doing great, he had lost a son on the first day of the new year!
Last night, Farida accidentally fell on the way back to her palace and she was pregnant. Helian Zhuo didn’t dare to delay, so he immediately called the shaman doctor to see her, regardless of whether it was auspicious or not.
It was a pity that after working hard in the middle of the night, the shaman doctor still had not saved the child. The shaman doctor told Helian Zhuo that it was a male foetus that had already taken shape.
Farida woke up to learn that her son was gone. Heartbroken, she tugged at Helian Zhuo’s sleeve and cried: “Your Majesty, you will definitely get justice for your concubine, right? Your Majesty, Your Majesty…”
Helian Zhuo immediately squeezed Farida’s wrist and said softly: “Ah Ri, don’t cry. The shaman doctor said that you are weak and need a lot of recuperation. Don’t get excited.”
When Farida heard this, she threw herself into Helian Zhuo’s arms and cried even more severely: “Ever since I was with a child, I was so careful, never eating what I shouldn’t eat, never touching what I shouldn’t touch, but last night… Someone spilled water on this concubine’s way back to the palace…”
The north was cold; if water was spilled on the ground, even ordinary people would be unstable walking on the ice, let alone a pregnant woman. The sinister intentions of the one who spilled water were obvious.
Of course there were maids following Farida, but they were all walking by her side, and no one could walk in front of her. Therefore, when she slipped and fell, everyone was in a hurry, but no one could help her and could only watch her fall.
Helian Zhuo had originally thought that it was an accident and he had to punish the people who were serving Farida. But hearing her words, his eyes suddenly became cruel. The harem was fighting for favour, it was nothing more than that. To dare to hurt the king’s heir was simply looking for death.
Seeing Helian Zhuo’s silence, Farida kept crying relentlessly: “If Your Majesty can’t find out the culprit and give justice to this concubine and Your Majesty’s son, what’s the point of this concubine staying in the palace? It’s better to go home and take refuge with my father and brothers…”
If other people, including the Great Yan-zhi, dared to threaten Helian Zhuo with going back to their parental home, they would be looking for death, but Farida had the confidence to do so; she was Vaziri’s most beloved youngest daughter, after all.
How could Helian Zhuo dare to let Farida go back to her parents with her resentment? Even though Tiele was crippled by the Great Yan, the thin camel was bigger than a horse. It was not a problem for Tiele to deal with Fuyu, and if Fuyu and Tiele faced each other, it would be an absolute loss for both of them.
Besides, the Wusu Steppes were still in Tiele’s hands. Helian Zhuo hurriedly promised: “Ah Ri, don’t worry, I will definitely investigate this matter. When I find out the truth, I will definitely give you and the little prince justice.”
Seeing that her purpose had been achieved, Farida softened her tone and said gently: “Since Your Majesty said this, this concubine believes in Your Majesty…” Before she finished speaking, she collapsed softly and lost consciousness.
Helian Zhuo hurriedly summoned the shaman doctor again. After the diagnosis, the shaman doctor shook his head and said, “Lady Zuo has just slipped and her body is extremely weak. She needs to rest at ease, otherwise…”
“Otherwise what? Make it clear!” Helian Zhuo shouted coldly with a chilling expression.
The shaman doctor raised his eyes to look at Helian Zhuo and said slowly: “Lady Zuo’s body must recuperate carefully, otherwise it is very likely that the roots of the disease will be left behind and it will be difficult to give birth in the future.”
Helian Zhuo’s expression became colder, and he said in a deep voice: “Take good care of Lady Zuo. Be sure to cure her and tell her what you said.” Farida was not a capricious person, she was just too sad today, she would not joke with her future.
The shaman doctor retreated in response, prescribing medicine for Farida. Helian Zhuo sat on the edge of the kang, his eyes dark. He remembered that when Yi Yin was born, the shaman doctor said the same thing to him.
All he wanted was a son who looked like Wei Zhao and whom he could trust. Why was it so difficult?
Before sending his men to investigate, Helian Zhuo had taken it for granted that the matter must have been the work of the Great Yan-zhi; only she would be so jealous of Farida’s son.
But the results of the investigation showed otherwise. There were two reasons why Farida had fallen: the water that had been spilled on the ground was one, and the soles of her shoes had been tampered with.
The person who did it was also found. It was an old woman who worked in the kitchen. Although she could have poured the water at the door, she didn’t. Instead she went far away and poured it on Farida’s way back to the palace, which didn’t make any sense.
Before she could be interrogated, the old woman cut her neck and died, making it impossible to find out who the real culprit behind the scenes was.
What was even more surprising was that the person who tampered with the soles of Farida’s shoes was the maid who followed Wei Zhao to the banquet that day. But the problem was that, including Yi Yin’s nanny, no one in the Northern Courtyard could be ordered by anyone but Wei Zhao.
With the old woman’s lesson, Helian Zhuo took it seriously and the maid didn’t have the courage to commit suicide, so she confessed honestly that she acted on Wei Zhao’s orders.
In winter, when the snow was deep, in order to prevent the boots from getting wet, the Fuyu people had the habit of wearing wooden clogs outside.The bottoms of the clogs were square and stable to step on the ground, but Farida’s clogs were rounded and smooth, and it would be strange that they didn’t slip when they stepped on the ice.
Helian Zhuo was instantly furious. He knew that Wei Zhao didn’t do this thing. He didn’t need to. Even if he had a son, Yi Yin, the position of the king could not be his.
He didn’t understand until now why the Great Yan-zhi would suggest to him that day that Wei Zhao should also come to the New Year’s Eve banquet. It was originally to frame him.
What Helian Zhuo thought of, Farida naturally thought of, too. But the Great Yan-zhi came from the second largest Herong clan in Fuyu. Her brother Herong Ling held half of Fuyu’s troops. Without conclusive evidence, Helian Zhuo couldn’t do anything to her.
The woman who spilled the water killed herself, and everyone knew that she was instructed by someone, but unfortunately there was no proof; the other maid identified Wei Zhao, and she herself was also from the Northern Courtyard, and there was no chance of her retracting her confession.
Instead of forcibly accusing the Great Yan-zhi, it was better to go along with her idea and put the blame on Wei Zhao.
Farida could see that Helian Zhuo’s attitude towards Wei Zhao was different from that towards others, even though he himself might not have noticed it. She also knew that she looked a lot like Wei Zhao.
If the Great Yan-zhi really killed Wei Zhao, Helian Zhuo would hate her for the rest of his life. Farida could just add fuel to the fire, and Helian Zhuo would help her get rid of the Great Yan-zhi without her having to do anything herself.
Only then would her son have a chance to rise to the throne, Farida thought, pursing her lips and making up her mind.
- Sounds a bit like a tongue-twister, right? Anyway, those wang titles are hereditary, meaning that they pass in the family from generation to generation. Wang Ping and Wang Jing are the titles of the Wei family, but if you remember, Wang Jing died at some point without leaving heirs, so the title doesn’t exist anymore, forget it 🙂 What happened to the title of Wang Ping will be mentioned later. Wang Changning is the title of the Ji family (there were mentioned Ji Qing, who died, and Ji Yu, who died, and Empress Ji, who is alive and is Wei Zhao’s mother). Wang Yong’an is the title of the Jiang family, you will meet an important character from this family in the future.