Chapter 18

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Lady Jin's Plan

Noticing that Yun Shang was staring at her, Lady Jin chuckled, "Fear not, I heard from others that Shang'er had fallen into a coma after catching a cold. I was quite worried. That's why I came by." As she spoke, she turned to the person behind her, "Madam Zheng, come here and check if Shang'er is alright."

The person who followed Lady Jin lifted her cape and approached the bed. Yun Shang recognized her as the old lady who had opened the gate for her when she visited Lady Jin at the Cold Palace.

Lady Jin noticed the curious look on Yun Shang's face and said, "Shang'er, do not underestimate Madam Zheng. Her medical skills could rival that of any Imperial Physician in the Palace. I've been healthy all these years all because of Madam Zheng. Shang'er, show her your hand. Let Madam Zheng feel your pulse."

Yun Shang nodded. Of all the people in the Palace, she knew the one person she didn't have to doubt was her mother. Lady Jin had learned of Yun Shang's sickness and had come to check on her despite all the danger. Yun Shang lamented having hurt Lady Jin so much in her previous life. The young Princess felt comfort in the knowledge that Lady Jin had informers around the Palace. How else could she have known that Yun Shang had fallen ill so quickly? While others planted spies for malicious reasons, Lady Jin had done so because she cared about her daughter. Along with the comfort, this conclusion brought a tinge of sadness. In Yun Shang's previous life, she had spoken poorly of her mother openly. Lady Jin must have known all the heartless words uttered by her. Yun Shang now thought herself despicable.

Madam Zheng gently put her hand on Yun Shang's wrist. After a while, she exclaimed in surprise, "Your Highness, the Princess was poisoned."

"What, poisoned?" The three other people in the room were startled by this revelation.

Lady Jin's expression changed to worry. Looking at Madam Zheng, she said, "How could it be poison? I thought she caught a cold and that her body was hot because of the fever. Madam, do you know what poison was used? Do you have a cure?"

Madam Zheng frowned as she spoke, "The Princess was probably poisoned by oleander. Her poisoning was not serious, so it will be easy to cure. Take two maces of ginseng and mondo grass, one mace of magnolivine, boil twice with water, mix them up, and take it in two separate doses. Although the poisoning looks like a cold or a fever, anyone with above average medical knowledge would be able to tell the difference by feeling her pulse. This shouldn't have been treated as a fever. Perhaps the Imperial Physician was bribed to say it was. If the Princess asks for the herbs herself, they will be suspicious..."

The magnitude of the situation finally dawned on Qin Yi. Feeling shocked, she said, "But how was the Princess poisoned? I have always been careful with the Princess' utensils and tableware. How did people find the opportunity?"

Upon hearing this, Madam Zheng checked Yun Shang's body again thoroughly and said, "I suppose the poison was mixed in the bathwater the Princess used. I examined the Princess thoroughly just now. Although she was wiped over with antiseptic alcohol which covered up the smell of oleander completely, I was able to smell traces of oleander in the Princess' hair, behind her ears, and on her neck."

"Bathwater?" Qin Yi quickly thought back to the previous night and exclaimed in surprise, "It's Qin Meng!"

Qin Yi quickly narrated the events before Yun Shang's illness. "Yesterday, it was Qin Meng who prepared the bathwater. After the Princess told me that Qin Meng seemed suspicious, I paid extra attention to her actions. This morning, it was Qin Meng who reminded me that once the Princess received her title, many concubines would come by to congratulate her. She asked me to serve the Princess. That Imperial Physician was sent for by Qin Meng as well. He had instructed me to wipe the Princess's body with alcohol. It must have been Qin Meng's scheme to add oleander in the bathwater and then bribe a Physician and trick me to cover the evidence with alcohol..."

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