When Huang Taiwu laid his eyes on his old friend who was in such a dire situation, in the prison cell, he nearly became emotional.
Shen Congan was dressed in prisoner's clothing, his hair was in disarray, sitting in his cell, in a crossed legged in a meditative position. It seemed that he was free of worries and not at all fearful of what may happen to him.
The cell was not as terrible as one would imagine, it was clean with fresh straw laid on the ground for warmth, with an elevated platform where he would sleep.
Huang Taiwu could not hold it in, when he saw this once proud man end up like this, he knew Shen Congan well, this was a man that was full of pride. His medical skills were as boundless as the endless oceans and heavens, perhaps having past the realms of mortal knowledge.
With him present, how could consort Ning possibly die? There had to be something larger, something that could not be seen.
"Hello, old friend." Shen Congan said with a sad smile, he was the first one to say a word to the silent Huang Taiwu.
"Old friend." Was the only two words Huang Taiwu could manage.
They stared at each other for a while, in a silence so quiet, even their heartbeats could be heard.
Both men knew the ending of this. As with the many problems that arise within the court. In the end, there would always be a scapegoat to put the blame on. With any mistakes that had occurred, there would always be punishment given, even if a person was innocent, it didn't matter. Once the emperor got angry, there would always people that died for it.
Because Shen Congan held the position as the head imperial physician, he would be the one to receive the punishment. With his death alone, he could save countless others, he couldn't find a reason deny his oncoming death.
They knew that it would be difficult to escape death, after all, the emperor could care less. He would always pit corrupt officials against the good officials, maintaining a good balance of power, so one side would not get too powerful, or too weak. Always maintaining order between the factions of his ministers.
The emperor would allow his ministers to accuse each other of treasonous crimes that could get families executed or exiled and he would allow the sentencing to occur.
He could care less about whether or not someone was truly guilty.
Deep within the forest lands, where the trees were like endless shelter, covering up the moon, and preventing its luminous rays from getting to the forest grounds. The vegetation on the ground was thick, it seemed that these plants have adapted really well to the environment around them, thriving in a place where plants may fail to survive, living off the other fallen plants. There was also other organic materials such as the rotting flesh of corpses that allow the plants to grow wonderfully without a drop of sunlight.
There were creatures of the night, animals that were like scavengers, prowling in the night, searching for food to survive into the next day.
This particular night was quiet, with a dense miasma hanging at the ground level of the forest. The miasma was said to be from the corpses that were buried in the forest and would cause the living to join the dead, so no one dared to enter the forest when it was dark.
The night was cold, the autumn season was just beginning, with the leaves turning different warm shades, but the temperatures had plummeted severely like it was the middle of winter.
It was like mother nature getting wind of the injustices happening in the imperial capital.
A small figure of a little girl was wandering around the miasma infested forest, it was like she had never heard of such rumors of the dead returning back to life with the present miasma floating around.
It seemed that she had followed her decision to go into the forest.
Her amber gray eyes scanned the surrounding areas, they were like binoculars that could catch anything within her sight, even the tiniest insect blended into a tree trunk in the gleam less light.
Those who saw her eyes would maybe think they have come across a ghost or a zombie. The color of her eyes was indeed never seen or heard of to be natural. Even the color of her skin, that was as white as snow, she would be mistaken for the dead.
Her eyes scanned past several herbs that were growing among the vegetation. Before she stopped at a five petal purple tinted flower growing on a vine. The dew drops from the flower glistened in the night.
The girl's little dainty fingers, with pale skin that was white as snow, reached out for the purple five petal flower, gently plucking it from its stem.
She held the flower up to her eyes and allowed the dew drops to gently drop into her amber gray eyes. Upon contact to the eyes, she closed her eyes, the only thing one could her long thick eyelashes.
A few minutes later, she opens her eyes which had changed to a black obsidian color. Her eyes were now like black glistening stars, absorbing what little light there was in the forest, allowing a path to be seen along the way.
The let go of the flower in her hand and it fluttered down to the forest vegetation, as it was no longer useful to her. It laid there peacefully, undisturbed on the ground, waiting to be eaten by a creature in the forest.
The little girl continued on in her journey, grasping and climbing her way up a steep hill in the middle of the forest.
The terrain of the forest was indeed rough, it had never been shaped by humans since the beginning of time. There had never been a town or a city that was confident enough to make it into a habitable place for humans to live, because of the rocky and hilly landscape of this forest.
There may never be anyone who could make this wasted land into a bustling town.
Even the imperial capital city was only built next to it, because they knew that the land was utterly useless, stretching upon miles of barren lands.
Atop a high hill, the little girl stood, her eyes closed. She was enjoying the beauty of nature. Her ears could hear the countless sounds of animals, carried far by the strong winds.
Her eyes opened in the flash of the moment, as she heard an unbelievably strong wind, with almost the strength of a hurricane that was about to crash into the hillside.
It was too late.
The strong winds slammed into her thin body, causing her to topple and roll down the high hillside.
It was a thick-trunked tree that stopped her light body from going further. Still, she had fallen down a long way from the top of the hill.
She laid there with her eyes closed, almost like a sleeping doll. Her thick eyelashes fluttered as the icy winds blew over her adorable face.
The leaves fluttered violently and the waves of the river laughed.