The second day, Zhao Fu once again went to the palace, where Wu Zetian gave him a Seventh-Ranked Petty Official position so that he could formally appear at the center of Great Tang's power. There was no hurry, as seizing the throne would take quite some time.
After returning to the palace that she rested in, Wu Zetian had all of the palace maids leave and summoned Zhao Fu in. When Zhao Fu walked in, he found a graceful and heroic-looking woman with tanned skin next to Wu Zetian.
Zhao Fu walked in and paid his respects, saying, "I humbly greet the Empress!"
Seeing this, Wu Zetian lightly laughed and said, "There are no outsiders here, so you don't have to make appearances. This is my daughter, Princess Taiping. Her name is Li Lingyue, and she is now your woman!"
Zhao Fu felt quite surprised – this woman in front of him was the famed Princess Taiping. Zhao Fu felt that it was quite unnecessary for Wu Zetian to give her daughter to him.
Li Lingyue stood beside Wu Zetian and looked at Zhao Fu. When her mother suddenly said that she was choosing a man for her, she had felt quite surprised and had not been too happy. After all, she was going to be married to someone she had never met before.
However, as someone in the imperial family, she had no control over something like this. Li Lingyue could understand her mother's secret intentions, or else she would not marry her to him.
Wu Zetian could tell what Zhao Fu was thinking, and she looked at him as she said, "You'll know why in the future. Hurry and accept. Don't make my daughter feel awkward!"
Hearing this, Zhao Fu lightly laughed. Even though he did not know what Wu Zetian's goal was, Zhao Fu still walked up. Looking at the heroic and beautiful Li Lingyue, he hugged her and brought her towards a bed by the side.
Li Lingyue had never thought that things would happen so quickly, and seeing Zhao Fu's handsome and slightly devilish-looking face, Li Lingyue's face went red as she said in a small voice, "Please be gentle!"
Zhao Fu nodded and placed her on the bed before lying down on her body and kissing her lips. In front of Wu Zetian, Li Lingyue held herself back, but after seeing her mother entangle with that man, she no longer restricted herself and sank in the pleasure.
Because it was Li Lingyue's first time and they had gone on for so long, she fell into a deep sleep afterward as she lay on Zhao Fu's left side. On Zhao Fu's right side, Wu Zetian powerlessly lay on his chest and told him about her plan, and she told him what he needed to be aware of.
Half a month later, Li Zhi's illness became critical, and Wu Zetian began her plan. In order to seize the throne, she had to first gain the important powers, and the central one was the military. With military power, one would have speaking rights, and without military power, becoming Emperor would just be a dream.
By now, Zhao Fu had been promoted into a First-Ranked Great General, and he controlled 70% of Great Tang's military. His position had advanced incredibly quickly to the point that it was shocking.
Next, they had to force to death those who were still loyal to Li Zhi. Those who had made great contributions with Li Shimin had mostly died of old age, but there were still a few like Zhangsun Wuji and Chu Suiliang, who held a lot of power.
As such, they had to die. Even though they were loyal, they were loyal only to Great Tang and not to Zhao Fu and Wu Zetian. Letting them go would be like letting a tiger back to its mountain, giving them the opportunity to come back and kill them. When it came to such things, they could not be weak or merciful.
Some of the important Ministers were accused of treason and conspiracy, and they were executed. Some people related to them were sent to penal servitude at the borders. At the same time, they also promoted some people to maintain popular support.
Everyone in Great Tang could feel some dark undercurrents, and some intelligent people started to choose sides.
Zhao Fu was, without a doubt, the most important person by Wu Zetian's side, and countless Ministers came to give him gifts. Of course, Zhao Fu did not reject any of them and accepted them all. After all, they needed support to seize the throne.
As Li Zhi's illness worsened, the entire Great Tang was sent into unrest. Zhao Fu also gathered his military power so as to prevent any chance of a rebellion.
Another week later, a shocking piece of news passed through Great Tang: Li Zhi had died, and the entirety of Great Tang sank into mourning.
Right now, no one dared to suggest for the Crown Prince to ascend to the throne. Such people were already either dead or sent to penal servitude at the borders. Everyone decided to see what sort of decision Wu Zetian would make, while she currently had not made any decisions.
This was because Li Zhi had just died, and if they did anything, they could lose popular support. As such, they had to wait for an opportunity for Zhao Fu to ascend to the throne.
Zhao Fu understood this, so he was not in a hurry. He sat in a room and looked through the military reports sent to him. If he suspected any rebellions, he would immediately quash them.
Moreover, the eunuchs and guards, who had beaten Zhao Fu before, were all casually killed at his command. In actuality, Zhao Fu wanted to thank them, as they made Zhao Fu understand the importance of power.
"Sir, the Empress wanted us to bring these people to you," a palace maid said from outside, and Zhao Fu allowed them to enter.
After the door opened, a few women walked in.
The first woman was roughly 30 years old, and she looked quite beautiful. Her figure was quite mature and alluring, and her skin was as white as snow. She was an incredibly beautiful middle-aged woman.
The second was 16 or 17 years old and had decent looks, as well as an elegant figure. She wore a white dress and gave off airs like a celestial.
The third was around 15 or 16 years old, and she looked quite pretty as well. Her figure was slim, and she wore a purple dress, giving off a noble aura.
The fourth was around 14 or 15 years old and extremely beautiful. Her figure was quite slim, and her skin was as smooth as jade. She seemed to be the crafty and unruly type, and her looks were not inferior to Wu Zetian's at all. However, her aura was lacking.
The fifth was also around 15 years old, and she looked quite sweet. Her figure was also slim, and she had snow-white skin, making her look quite touching.
The sixth was a girl around 14 or 15 years old, and her looks were also extremely beautiful. She had an elegant figure, as well as a pair of large breasts. Her eyes seemed quite watery, and she seemed to be a weak beauty who could bring down nations.
Zhao Fu could not help but smile – Wu Zetian had said that she had prepared a small present for him, and he had never thought that it would be them.
The first was the famous Empress Wei, named Wei Xiang'Er, who was Li Xian's Empress. The second was her daughter, Princess Yongtai, named Li Xianhui. The third was Princess Changning, named Li Rushi. The fourth was Princess Anle, named Li Guo'Er. The fifth was Princess Yongshou, named Li Tian'Er.
The final one was the renowned Yang Yuhuan, the future Consort Yang.
Zhao Fu had told Wu Zetian about the things that had happened later in history. After Wu Zetian had died, Li Xian had ascended to the throne. Li Xian was Wu Zetian's third son, and he was the fourth Emperor of the Tang Dynasty. He had suddenly died of illness, and the Empress – Wei Xiang'Er – had wanted to take control like Wu Zetian.
It was said that Wei Xiang'Er and Wu Sansi had a secret relationship, and they had helped Princess Anle, Li Guo'Er, to poison Li Xian. However, those were only rumors.
Not long after Wei Xiang'Er took control, she was defeated by Li Longji and Princess Taiping and then killed. Li Longji and Princess Taiping engaged in a struggle for power, after which Li Longji emerged victorious, becoming the fifth Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, bringing the Tang Dynasty to its peak as Tang Xuanzong.