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19 Aftermath

    "Your majesty, the source of the explosion came from former head imperial physician Shen, Shen Congan's manor." Eunuch Hong reported to the Emperor of Jin.

    "Oh? Bring him to see Zhen." The emperor ordered.

    Eunuch Hong bowed to the emperor and passed down his order.

    The imperial guards made their way to the prisons where Shen Congan was being held.

    When they got there, they found that the old man was sitting peacefully in a cross-legged position. He had slit his wrist with a shard from a broken bowl that delivered his meal the night before.

    Upon his face was undoubtedly a smile.

    It felt as if he had left the world, mocking everyone that was still in the world.

    They only had one purpose and that was to make sure Shen Congan would be delivered to his majesty for questioning.

    But they had failed.

    When the emperor got news of this, he was unfazed. He ordered for Shen Congan to be buried properly.

    Afterall, head imperial physician Shen had served two generations of emperors in the Great Jin Dynasty, saving countless people.

    Deep within his heart, he knew that what Shen Congan said was true. His father and consort Ning could have been saved if he had been more open-minded.

    The fire continued to burn on for another two days in the imperial city because it had not been taken care of in a timely manner.

    The flames had only burnt down an entire street into ashes, due to Shen manor being in an isolated part of the city, and the winds had died down that day, the fire did not spread to other parts of the city.

    During that time, the emperor announced that consort Ning's funeral would proceed with its planned time.

    No one objected or tried to persuade the emperor to postpone the grand funeral, in fear they may incur the emperor's wrath.

    After all, he had lost a lover and his child.

    Any man would go mad.

    Not to mention the ruler of a kingdom.

    Consort Ning's funeral was carried out on its planned date, on the day the fire stopped burning and an entire street was lay wasted to ashes. Her body went into the imperial mausoleum without a hitch.

    No one was willing to anger the emperor at a time when his mind was at such a fragile state.

    It could be said that at this point, the emperor was unpredictable.

    Or that he was capable of doing anything.

    Both the bodies of consort Ning and Prince Shu Ping were entered officially into the imperial mausoleum, solidifying their statuses as true members of the imperial family.

    It was truly an honor for consort Ning to be laid to rest within the imperial mausoleum, after all, only core imperial family members or those who had contributed a great lot to the Kingdom would be allowed to be buried there. Even the children of princes did not get such privileges, not to mention the mere daughter of an insignificant fourth-ranking official.

    No, third-ranking official now, as the emperor had promoted consort Ning's father to the status of a third-ranking official. Now he was eligible to attend morning court held by the emperor. The Ning clan's status had been elevated, but they had lost their most powerful backer within the palace, who would be able to soothe the emperor under the influence of pillow talk.

    After consort Ning's funeral came more bloodshed.

    An official loyal to the emperor's faction had brought up the accusation of the imperial physicians colluding with officials who did not want consort Ning to give birth to a prince, so they murdered her, disguising the event as a natural will of the divine.

    The imperial physicians and midwives present during consort Ning's birth were interrogated and from their lips spilled confessions of colluding with the emperor's opposing faction and the death of consort Ning and Prince Shu Ping.

    It was not like they had a choice but to agree.

    They knew that death for them was imminent and with the promise from the emperor to spare their families who were captured. Confessing would save them pain from torture and their families from having the same fate.

    It was a decent deal.

    But only the most high ranking officials of the opposing faction could be taken down, after all, the emperor could not have an imbalance of power within the court.

    As the officials of the emperor's faction watched the most high ranking officials of their enemy faction getting dragged out and stripped of their titles and statuses. They couldn't help but feel pity for them.

    Consort Ning's father, who was standing at the back of the morning court, along with the other third ranking officials had an expression on his face that remained unchanged as he watched the men who plotted his daughter's death get dragged away, they were screaming to proclaim their innocence.

    The men who they had butted heads against were in such a sorry state. After decades of collision with each other, perhaps they have developed some sort of relationship in competition. It would be strange to no longer argue with them over tooth and nail over the matters of the state.

    They knew that these old officials who have served many generations of the imperial family truly did not have anything to do with the death of consort Ning.

    Within the emperor's supporting faction, no one could comprehend the ruthlessness of an emperor.

    [Your lover and child just died, presumably in the hands of your other consorts, but you use this opportunity to frame your enemies and fail to get rid of the root of your opposing faction.]

    [How will you even face your beloved consort Ning and Prince Shu Ping who you haven't even seen?]

    On that same day, there were many executions within the vegetable market of the imperial city. Blood flowed like rivers within the street and many decapitated heads with fresh blood still dripping from them hung from almost all of the city walls. It looked more like a city from hell, made up of decapitated heads and congealed together by blood.

    Visitors coming to the imperial city would be greeted by severed heads and blood raining down upon them upon entry into the glorious capital.

    Within the next few days, it could be foreseen that that the families of the execute officials would end up as commoners or slaves, some even being exiled to a faraway place, never to step foot within the imperial city again.

    They would leave their luxurious life behind and step into an entirely new world, where no one would adhere to their every whim or wish.

    After the fire had passed through and consort Ning's funeral had proceeded, the imperial city became quieter than ever. The people woke went out after the sun rose, and returned home before the sun set. With many people opting to move away from the what was bustling city and also the core center of politics.

    After all, so much bloodshed had occurred in the imperial city.
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