Yan Ting felt relieved at seeing his plot succeed. Xu Xiang Rong didn’t seem like he was planning to press further.
The autumn night was a little cold and some servants brought two charcoal basins over to the corners of the tent. They cleared up the table and put out a new round of food and alcohol.
“Come, accompany this heir in a round of drinks.” Xu Xiang Rong beckoned with a smile.
Xu Xiang Rong was a little strange, seeming very happy. Senior Concubine Xu’s faction had suffered a huge loss of face and they had all remained low-key these days. What was worth him being happy about?
Yan Ting was puzzled, but straightforwardly grabbed a cup and poured some alcohol for himself and Xu Xiang Rong. The two toasted and drank.
After three rounds, Yan Ting wasn’t as reserved anymore. He returned to his usual casual self. Xu Xiang Rong leaned against the couch. It was covered in wolf pelt and there was a pillow, making it also suitable for leaning.
“Heir seems to be very happy?”
Xu Xiang Rong chuckled and downed a cup. “Somewhat, somewhat. The second prince’s marriage has been arranged. It’s the Chengguo Duke’s daughter.”
Yan Ting felt an assortment of emotions. He was a little startled at their speed, and also bitter at his unfilial daughter for ruining things.
“His majesty still cherishes the senior concubine and the second prince, and said the second prince suffered a grievance that day. Therefore, he betrothed the Chengguo Duke’s daughter to him.”
Actually, Senior Concubine Xu’s side had first set their eyes on the Chengguo Duke’s daughter. It was Yan Ting who popped out and recommended Yan Yan. In comparison, the Zhenguo Duke was more attractive despite Yan Yan just being his granddaughter. Unexpectedly, they still failed despite having put in a lot of effort. Now that the second prince’s marriage was a pressing matter, they could only go with their original plan. During this time, Senior Concubine Xu had cursed Yan Yan for not appreciating the favor several times.
Emperor Xi seemed to really be unable to do anything about this woman.
Senior Concubine Xu could be called beautiful. Otherwise she would have been a mere palace maid. However, compared to the other concubines, she wasn’t that outstanding. She could at most be called above average.
But such a Senior Concubine Xu was able to occupy Emperor Xi’s favor for over a decade. She was already over thirty, but his favor has yet to fade.
The women in the palace were good at fighting for favor. They naturally studied this tiger in makeup in depth. They concluded that Senior Concubine Xu was good at several things: First of all, she knew how to cry, and looked beautiful while doing so, evoking people’s pity. Even her rival Empress Xiao would involuntarily soften when seeing her pitiful appearance. Secondly, she lowered herself. Despite having dominated the six palaces for over a decade and inspiring fear in others, she was never rude or unreasonable. She was rather kind and considerate, attracting countless compliements. Thirdly, she was good at acting, and was also ruthless enough to herself. For example, that night after Emperor Xi returned with Empress Xiao to her tent, Senior Concubine Xu went to Empress Xiao’s tent bright and early in the morning. She waited pitifully and remorsefully outside. The autumn morning was chilly and filled with dew. Her clothing soon became wet. Senior Concubine Xu was a favored concubine and people naturally didn’t dare to ignore her. They could only report it inside. Empress Xiao gritted her teeth so hard they almost cracked.
Therefore, in a place like the rear palace, you either had to look outstanding enough, or have your own style. If you happened to catch his majesty’s eye, then congratulations. You’d be the second coming of Senior Concubine Xu!
This won’t be mentioned for now. Senior Concubine Xu’s attitude softened Emperor Xi’s heart immediately. She cried as she recounted her and her son’s grievances.
Now that he thought about it, she was right. That royal son of mine is so outstanding, how did he end up being rejected? Fine, he wasn’t rejected. She just felt she truly wasn’t worthy. Without mentioning this for now, the second prince ultimately lost a lot of face. Senior Concubine Xu merely mentioned the Chengguo Duke’s daughter being virtuous and kind for a bit before Emperor Xi agreed, and granted the marriage as compensation.
This was exactly what Senior Concubine Xu’s faction had prepared as a backup plan. If it were out of the blue, it would be a little difficult to marry the Chengguo Duke’s daughter.
After all, Emperor Xi was easy to convince but Empress Xiao’s side would complicate the issue.
Now things were much easier to accomplish. They asked for one thing, and when that failed, they asked for another. It also wasn’t convenient for Empress Xiao’s group to say anything. Even if they wanted to, Emperor Xi wouldn’t permit it.
Senior Concubine Xu got what she wanted.
No matter what it was actually like, at least that’s how it appeared on the surface. Empress Xiao angrily ground her teeth for several days.
Hearing Xu Xiang Rong summarize this matter, Yan Ting suddenly felt very inferior.
He had always thought he was good at scheming, but in comparison to the Xu household siblings, he was clearly lacking quite a bit. Everyone assumed Senior Concubine Xu’s faction had suffered a loss this time. Unexpectedly, they had plans within plans, and victory was already within their grasp.
Xu Xiang Rong lazily waved his hand, indicating that this wasn’t much. Since they had high aspirations, they naturally couldn’t give up due to a little bit of hardship. Every step needed to be considered thoroughly. A single mistake would result in eternal damnation.
These words made Yan Ting ponder deeply, and also made him feel rather depressed.
He had always assumed the Chengen Marquis and the Xu household merely relied on a woman to climb to their heights. Now he realized that wasn’t the case. Within a decade, the Xu household had gone from being a butcher to the peak of the Grand Xi’s power. He himself had spent a lot of effort but had nothing to show for it…..
Yan Ting sank into self-doubt and couldn’t help but down one cup after the other.
“Great, bro Pengyuan what great alcohol tolerance!” Xu Xiang Rong praised.
He was already wasted and couldn’t sit steadily. He intended to lean back against the couch, but seemed to have gone in the wrong direction and leaned towards Yan Ting instead.
Xu Xiang Rong’s preference for men disgusted Yan Ting. Although he interacted quite closely with him normally, he never had physical contact. At this special occasion in this special place with their special emotions, he didn’t feel like it was a big deal. The two continued drinking with their arms around each other’s shoulders. The happier they became, the more they drank.
Soon, the alcohol on the table was almost exhausted. Some servants brought over some more.
Those who served Xu Xiang Rong all knew his tendencies. Therefore, after serving the alcohol they left. There were only these two drunken men inside the tent.
Under the lamplight, Yan Ting was startlingly handsome. Especially now that he was drunk and his bronzed skin was flushed. Xu Xiang Rong’s mouth suddenly grew parched.
His preference for men was discovered back when he was still on the streets. It was just that his situation back then didn’t permit him to reveal it. After getting to the capital, there were quite a few noble descendents who had similar tastes, and he was no longer abnormal. However, Xu Xiang Rong was always cautious, so those who knew he had this inclination were extremely few. He would never fool around outside, and would always bring the people back to his private residence.
The first time he saw Yan Ting, Xu Xiang Rong’s eyes were caught by this handsome and ambitious man. Otherwise, with his current influence, he had no need for a fallen noble as his lackey, and no need to give him so much face.
People like Liu Xi all assumed Xu Xiang Rong was after the Zhenguo Duke who was behind Yan Ting. This was part of it, but he also had some ulterior motives. Xu Xiang Rong wasn’t quite the same as others who preferred men. He didn’t really like those young male prostitutes who had tender skin and feminine appearances. Instead, he preferred masculine men with heroic appearances. Yan Ting happened to suit his weird taste.
The first time he saw Yan Ting, Xu Xiang Rong knew they were similar people. Those eyes had been filled with ambition and thirst for power. Having ambition was fine. There were countless people with ambition in this world. Only with such desire was it easy for him to set the bait and lure him in.
This bait had been set for several years. During this time, Xu Xiang Rong had concerned himself with many of Yan Ting’s matters. At first, he was a little cautious about the Zhenguo Duke behind him and didn’t dare make a move on his son-in-law. Now, he no longer had these misgivings.
Thinking about how he could finally reap the fruits of his labor after many years, Xu Xiang Rong’s eyes shone and he imperceptibly shook all over.
“Bro pengyuan, again.”
He lifted the jug and poured Yan Ting another cup. He imperceptibly sniffed as a faint and weird sweet aroma that permeated the air.
Seeing Yan Ting drain the cup, he smiled.
Yan Ting felt his head become fuzzy and his body was burning.
Suddenly, he saw a graceful figure sitting in front of him. He mumbled as he cursed, “Why are you here? Didn’t you tell me to scram?!”
That figure merely smiled gently at him and didn’t speak. Under the faint lamplight, she was beautiful like a painting.
“Shen Yi Yao….let me tell you…this daddy, can do without you. This daddy, this daddy married you back then….because of your dad’s influence, this daddy doesn’t love you at all! All my loving words early on…they were, they were all fake, all fake, you know?”
“This daddy….hic, in front of your Shen household…has acted, acted over a decade as a grandson. Over a decade you know? That cheap dad of yours always looks down on this daddy….why is this daddy worth…worth…your Shen household’s disdain? Didn’t I carry you, this phoenix egg, away? You are a golden phoenix, you are a fairy….heh…but didn’t you still end up in my hands….”
“Let me tell you, this daddy will never act like a grandson again. Screw your Zhenguo Duke Estate….what are you laughing about? Hic, why aren’t you crying? Don’t you love to cry?”
That figure looked gently at him and said softly: “Alright, no need to act like a little grandson in the future.”
He felt warm and cozy all over. That burning feeling earlier faded due to a sudden cooling sensation. Before his eyes, a multitude of colors suddenly flashed. Those colors were very, very beautiful, making him involuntarily stretch his hand out to touch them.
He continuously ran and ran, until he finally reached the destination.
There, he saw a scene….
That year under the magnolia tree, she had looked back and smiled, as though she were a celestial.
“Shen Yi Yao, I’ve never, ever liked you….”
Feel like this short chapter is better by itself.
Wanted to go to forceful route at first, but it doesn’t suit Xu Xiang Rong’s attitude. After all, having reeled this fish in for several years, how could he swallow it up all at once? This author feels mental bullying is better than physical bullying. Scared of being censored if it’s physical….
Those who aren’t satisfied with this method of popping the chrysanthemum, this author will have some forceful scenes. After all, this author has promised to definitely bully Yan Ting countless times. Don’t be anxious, take it slowly. This author feels she’s too softhearted. Accidentally shed some tears when writing the last part. Please tell me it’s just me. I’ll steer myself on the right path moving forward….