The Bulwark Duke Residence had been waiting for news of the old master ever since he left the mansion.

Even past noon, there was still no news from outside.

Madam Li patiently accompanied Song Jinghao and Song Jinghuan for lunch, then coaxed them to sleep.

She was about to go out and take a look when a maidservant stumbled in.
Her eyes were red and she had obviously rushed back while crying.

Madam Li’s heart skipped a beat.
“Is there any news? What exactly happened?” she asked anxiously.

The young maid fell to her knees.
“The… the old master… he’s gone.”

Madam Li felt her head buzz.
She stepped forward and grabbed the maidservant’s hand anxiously.
“What did you say? Tell me clearly, what happened to the old master? Where are the old master and the crown prince? Are they back?”

The young maid was frightened by Madam Li’s behavior.
She had never lost her composure like this before.

Wiping away her tears, she lowered her head even further and said with a choked voice, “The officers and soldiers outside the residence have all retreated, and the rumors outside are spreading like wildfire.
I heard from the door that… that His Highness the Crown Prince and our master were plotting a rebellion.
They found a privately created dragon robe in the Eastern Palace, and letters of correspondence with our master.
Grand Tutor Zhao reported it, and the Minister of Revenue, Lord Hong, came out to testify.”

At this point, the little servant girl was so frightened that her voice started to tremble.
She stammered, “His Majesty was so angry that he banished the empress to the Cold Palace and deposed the crown prince.
The old master entered the palace with the Absolution Token given by the late emperor, the one which could absolve him of a crime punishable by death.
Then, to prove his innocence, he… he committed suicide in the throne room.”

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1

By the time she finished speaking, the maidservant was already sobbing uncontrollably.

She was the daughter of a family in the residence.
If misfortune befell the masters, the servants would be even worse off.

The other maidservants also turned pale when they heard this.
Some of them were worried about the master, while others were worried about their future.

Madam Li’s vision turned dark.
She secretly bit the tip of her tongue until it bled to prevent herself from fainting.

She muttered to herself, “How… How can this be? Grand Tutor Zhao is the crown prince’s mentor, and Lord Hong is also a member of the crown prince’s faction…”

Without questioning the servant girl further, she walked past her and headed for the front courtyard.

At this moment, the main doors of the Bulwark Duke Residence opened.

Emperor Chong’an’s personal eunuch, Eunuch Li, entered first and gestured to someone behind him.

Immediately, a few officers carried in two corpses.

Following closely behind was the crown prince, Song Jingchen.
His eyes were tightly shut, and one couldn’t be certain if he was still alive.
Song Jingchen was still wearing the same red clothes as the day before.

2

His red clothes were dyed dark red with blood, and his face was pallid.
He was being carried into the residence like a rag doll.

When Madam Li arrived at the front yard and witnessed this scene, she burst into tears and fell to the ground.

“Ahem.” Eunuch Li cleared his throat to regain Madam Li’s attention before saying, “Duchess, my condolences.
I’m here on His Majesty’s orders to announce the imperial edict.
Please get everyone in the residence to come out and receive it!”

Madam Lee blinked to clear her vision and tried to say something.

However, when she opened her mouth, she did not utter a sound.
Uncle Yang, the loyal servant who had returned with the corpses, could only endure his grief and instruct someone to make the arrangements.

Shen Yijia swallowed the last pastry and burped.

She looked at the remaining dried fruits with pity.
She was thinking about using something to pack them up.

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An anxious voice came from outside.
“Come quickly, a eunuch from the imperial palace is here to announce the imperial edict.
Everyone, go to the front hall and wait!”

This was followed by the sound of people moving.

Shen Yijia paused and smacked her forehead.
She was so focused on eating, she almost forgot that her husband had been caught.

2

“There’s also the Shen family.
Hmph.” she thought.

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