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The crown prince listened in on Emperor Xi holding court ever since he came of age. He had listened for several decades, yet was still limited to only listening.
Having sat in the crown prince position for so long, he inevitably wanted to advance a step. Currently, that step seemed to be within reach. Even though the crown prince was trained not to reveal any emotions whether in joy or anger, he couldn’t help but reveal a few hints of happiness recently. Especially since the news from the court had only been positive, so his joy was even more apparent.
Within the imperial study, Emperor Xi sat behind the desk after holding court and cried “great” several times. It wasn’t clear if he was praising the news he just obtained in court regarding major victories in the west, or if he was praising something else.
Zheng Hai Quan’s head sank lower and lower. He had served Emperor Xi for several decades, and no one understood his majesty’s thoughts better than him.
There wasn’t anything “great”. Furious was more like. The crown prince was the same way, his emotions were too obvious. But Zheng Hai Quan knew things couldn’t be blamed on the crown prince. He was a little unjustly blamed.
It was like the saying goes: If I think you’re suspicious, everything you do becomes suspicious.
As for who was suspicious and who wasn’t, he was just a eunuch and it was better to observe without commenting.
“Zheng Hai Quan. We haven’t gone to the Chunluan Palace in a while. Let’s go see the senior concubine.”
At the Chunluan Palace.
Senior Concubine Xu laughed and spoke in all the right places, flattering skillfully. Zheng Hai Quan repeatedly praised her in his mind. No wonder the senior concubine could be favored for several decades. Just her skills in improving his majesty’s mood meant she couldn’t be underestimated.
“It’s the Mid-Autumn Festival soon.” Emperor Xi suddenly said emotionally.
People reunite under the full moon.
Senior Concubine Xu didn’t speak, and cuddled up to Emperor Xi: “That’s right.”
“Senior concubine definitely misses Jin’er.”
Senior Concubine Xu’s expression turned rigid and she said angrily: “Your majesty seems to enjoy poking at one’s sore spot, clearly knowing what this servant wants yet still saying it out loud.”
“Don’t you want him to come to the capital to visit you?”
“Of course.” Senior Concubine Xu’s eyes sparkled, giving off a considerate yet pitiful appearance, “But this servant still knows propriety. Recently this servant already forgot herself once, making things difficult for your majesty. It’s not appropriate to become prideful due to favor.”
These words made Emperor Xi feel quite at ease, “Alright, don’t put on such an aggrieved appearance. We will summon Jin’er to the capital for the festival.”
“Thank you majesty for your grace.”
After Emperor Xi left, Senior Concubine Xu was still a little dazed. What she wanted was delivered to her door without having to beg and cry for it? Wonderful! Wonderful!
Zhuo’er and Yi Yi were already over four months old. Their bodies grew, but they still remained tiny, pocket-sized babies.
After they grew a little, it was possible to see who resembled whom. Zhuo’er had a pair of phoenix eyes, a high nose-bridge, and looked like a miniature Jing Prince. Yi Yi looked like Xiao Hua with her pair of peach blossom eyes and sharp chin.
Normally infants were chubby, yet these two were the opposite. Their arms and legs were slender and their faces delicate, the baby fat not apparent at all. They were white and tender. Apart from being slightly thin and small, their lotus root shaped little bodies made them seem like dolls crafted from superior white jade.
Xiao Hua loved both her children. They were both her darlings. During this period of time, only the Jing Prince got a share of her attention. The rest was placed upon the two children. Luckily everyone was extremely careful with them. As of today, the two of them had never gotten sick.
As for the Jing Prince, he was clearly a little biased towards Yi Yi. The saying that men held their grandsons but not their sons didn’t apply to the Jing Prince. He did hold Zhuo’er, but he still held Yi Yi more.
Little Yi Yi was well behaved, and didn’t cry when she was held by her father. Even though her father’s holding posture was a complete mess at first, she remained obediently still. After she was able to move her hands and feet, she started pulling at the Jing Prince’s fingers and playing with him.
As for little Zhuo’er, he seemed to be waiting anxiously as he watched his father play with his sister. He didn’t cry, but merely watched silently. Xiao Hua would feel bad for him and scoop him into her arms, murmuring comfortingly that mom will hug big bro while dad hugs little sis.
The eastern side room’s kiln had now become the two children’s territory. Xiao Hua would carry them over and watch them during the day. First of all it was convenient to breastfeed there, and secondly she felt that raising her kids herself would help them grow closer to their mom in the future. She also didn’t have much to do, so raising her kids helped pass the time.
The wet nurses would always hold the children before, and were unwilling to let them go the entire time. Xiao Hua knew but didn’t say anything about it. She was aware that the wet nurses all loved the two kids and did their best. But after a while, the drawback became apparent. The two children became clingy and weren’t willing to be apart from people. They started crying the moment one let go of them.
In theory, due to the Jing Prince Estate’s circumstances, there would always be someone available to hold them. It wouldn’t even be a problem to have someone new holding them every hour. But Matron Xu said this wouldn’t do. If they were constantly held, their bones would grow soft, which was bad for their spine and would also make them slower in learning to walk.
After asking Doctor Hu who made the same assessment, things were naturally changed. After enduring their crying for a day, they managed to change this habit.
Luckily the two children didn’t continue making a fuss and no problems came up afterwards. Xiao Hua secretly watched them a couple of times after putting the two in bed. They would sometimes wake up but wouldn’t make any noise. The two of them lay together in a row, occasionally prodding each other and amusing themselves.
Ever since then, unless they were being fed, the two children would be placed on the bed. When Xiao Hua was present during the day, they would be put on the kiln.
A thick padded mattress was placed on the kiln. It wasn’t too soft, but also wasn’t too hard. The two were placed side by side, and they would occasionally tilt their heads to look at each other.
This day, Zhuo’er looked at the person across from him but realized she wasn’t looking back. He grew anxious and tried to pull at her, but wasn’t able to reach.
He started huffing and puffing from anxiousness, turning on his side to reach his arm further. He overexerted himself and flipped over, ending up face down.
“Aiya, our little master has learned to flip over.” Chun Cao said loudly on the side.
Xiao Hua who had just come out of the bathroom heard her from far away and hurried over.
After leaning in close, she realized her son’s posture was extremely pitiful. His butt was in the air and his face was down, seeming a little uncomfortable. His neck wasn’t firm enough, and he wriggled about like a little worm.
“Aiya, my darling, hahahaha…..”
Xiao Hua couldn’t help but laugh out loud before hurrying over to flip him back over.
“Madam, don’t help him. Matron Xu said kids at this age need to learn how to flip over by themselves.”
Xiao Hua thought about it and remembered her saying those words and no longer helped him. Instead, she sat by the side and used a toy to try and lure him into flipping over.
Yi Yi was initially sleeping, but opened her eyes after hearing the sounds. She habitually turned her neck to look at her brother, but she couldn’t see his face. She made exclamations of anxiety with her mouth. Zhuo’er heard his sister’s voice and grew even more anxious but was still unable to turn over.
Yi Yi seemed as if she wanted to help her brother, or perhaps was also anxious, turning on her side and reaching out to him. She reached and stretched but came just short of reaching him. She overexerted herself and ended up in the same state as Zhuo’er.
Xiao Hua laughed even harder.
The Jing Prince came in and saw Xiao Hua standing in front of the kiln with a radiant smile, his son and daughter both prone on the kiln, wriggling like worms. It looked extremely strange.
“What’s going on?”
Xiao Hua turned her head and saw the Jing Prince had come. She pulled his arm and pointed at the two children while smiling, “They are learning to flip over, I’m going to laugh to death.”
“Don’t bully daughter,” The heart of a biased father seemed to have already taken root. Both were clearly prone but he only saw his daughter.
“I’m not.” Xiao Hua’s face was extremely innocent. “Matron Xu said they have to practice often. Being able to flip over means they can soon sit and crawl, and then walk.”
“Really?” The Jing Prince asked as he looked at the two little ones on the kiln with a frown.
“Yes.” Xiao Hua seriously nodded her head.
Then, both mom and dad sat by the kiln and watched, neither willing to lend a hand.
Zhuo’er struggled for a long time before managing to get on his side. His fair little face was thoroughly red, and with a cry he managed to flip himself over.
His view was much broader in this position. He saw his sister facedown by his side, and made a seemingly mocking sound, prodding her with his hand.
It wasn’t clear if she borrowed his strength or was provoked, but Yi Yi soon flipped over as well.
After flipping over, she saw daddy on the side. Her pouted mouth looked a little aggrieved as she raised her arms out, wanting to be held.
The Jing Prince’s expression didn’t change, and his gaze didn’t waver but it was extremely focused. Seeing his daughter wanting him, he bent over and picked her up.
One hand was behind her neck and the other under her small butt. The current Jing Prince was very familiar with holding them.
Zhuo’er saw his sister disappear and was a little dazed. His gaze turned towards his daddy and silently watched.
The Jing Prince saw him looking and silently looked back while playing with his daughter.
One big one small, one large version one miniature version, both with the same expression. This made Xiao Hua start laughing. Seeing her son’s pitiful appearance, she went and picked him up, saying: “Mom will hold Zhuo’er, don’t be jealous of her.”
Zhuo’er glanced at his sister and then turned his head, nudging into her chest a couple of times.
Seeing his posture, Xiao Hua knew that he wanted to feed. She undid her clothes, pulled up her inner layer and started breastfeeding her son.
Little Yi Yi heard the familiar suckling noise and stopped playing with daddy’s fingers, turning her head to see what her brother was doing. With a glance, her little eyes widened, and after a while she started drooling.
Seeing his daughter’s gluttonous appearance, the Jing Prince looked at Xiao Hua a little reproachfully. He didn’t say anything, grabbing a handkerchief and wiping his daughter’s mouth. Little Zhuo’er suckled on the left, and then the right. This was taught to Xiao Hua by Matron Xu so that one side wouldn’t grow bigger than the other. Hearing Matron Xu speaking so ominously, Xiao Hua kept it in mind, deeply afraid she would become uneven.
After little Zhuo’er finished feeding, the Jing Prince immediately handed their daughter over and used his gaze to signal Xiao Hua.
Xiao Hua could only put their son to the side, stroke his stomach and receive their daughter.
“Matron Xu’s idea looks to be working. The children don’t seem weak to me, just a little small. However, she said they’ll be fine after a few months.”
“It’s been hard on you.”
“What’s highness saying?” Xiao Hua glared at the Jing Prince. She put her daughter down after she ate her fill, and adjusted her clothes. “I’m also happy if our children are healthy. Furthermore, I just look after them during the day, and have Ding Xiang and the rest to help. The wet nurses take care of them during the night.”
As for the drawbacks to her body that Nana He mentioned initially, those were all temporary. Nana He also said afterwards that since she was young, it wouldn’t affect her much. With Nana He’s nourishment, it wouldn’t be a problem at all.
Currently, Xiao Hua’s body had already recovered to the way it was before. The only difference was that her breasts had grown quite a bit.
The two children obediently fell asleep after eating. Seeing this, Xiao Hua covered them with a thin blanket.
“Does highness want to take a rest as well?”
“Have to go to the front court in a bit.”
Nowadays the Jing Prince would make several trips between the front and rear court. He always came back to see the children, often making Xiao Hua incessantly jealous.
“Oh, highness coming for a bit was just to see our son and daughter.”
Her ordinary tone made the Jing Prince feel something was up. He answered honestly with a rigid face: “To see you and the children.”
Hearing this, Xiao Hua beamed with happiness and leaned in. She didn’t say anything, merely leaning against his body.
She wrapped her arms around his waist and sighed. He stroked her hair and suddenly felt his weariness vanish.
The two silently shared a tender moment before the Jing Prince stood up and left for the front court.
Some readers are saying they’re completely confused, so a quick explanation.
Actually it’s clear if you think about it this way. Imperial Physician Zhou belongs to the Jing Prince. Chen Qi as well. They teamed up to dig a pit for others, and buried a bunch of people. Furthermore, they already got some results…..for example the unfortunate person above.