Thank you EmpressYue for your support once again. Thank you also to anonymous who loves this translation <3
With that, along with some overflow from last week, this week’s first sponsored chapter threshold has been reached. Normally I release the extra chapters on the weekend, but today was a holiday, I had some spare time, and there was a little bit of a cliff. Enjoy!
Ever since the time she tried and failed to increase her presence using the lord uncle’s family, Xiao-Shi and Qiao-Shi had resumed their indifference towards each other, as though the previous warmth they displayed was just a flash in the pan.
Since coming to the eastern palace, Xiao-Shi had wanted to show off her newfound status. Unfortunately, her request had been rejected by the crown prince. Xiao-Shi was clear on why she was rejected. Those who were involved in what happened during the last paying of respects to her were all clear why she was refused. Xiao-Shi didn’t dare to make too big of a fuss in case her past deeds were brought to light again.
When Virtuous Wife Qiao arrived, she only sat there awkwardly without drinking tea. She didn’t show it on her face but her eyes were vigilant.
Things were different now. In the past, she was just the prince’s senior concubine who wasn’t favored. Now she had become the crown prince’s virtuous wife, and would soon become the emperor’s imperial concubine. Based on her status, she was sure to be at least a fourth-ranked imperial concubine. This woman Xiao-Shi had always been insane and Virtuous Wife Qiao treasured herself. She would naturally not dare take any risks.
Xiao-Shi had planned on bringing up the matter naturally, but her brows furrowed upon seeing Qiao-Shi’s restlessness. Only after a while did she say gently with a smile: “This crown prince’s consort didn’t ask little sis virtuous wife over for any important matter. Just wanted to ask little sis if she had any news about Virtuous Wife Tao. It’s been quite some time, why haven’t we seen her around?”
Virtuous Wife Qiao wasn’t surprised at the crown prince consort’s words. She was the only reason that could make the two of them interact with each other.
So what if she hated her to the bone?
That person had someone protecting her!
A madam who wasn’t even in the rankings back at prince’s estate now had now leapt to the same virtuous wife status as her once they got to the eastern palace. She was merely one rank lower than the crown prince consort. If it weren’t for her lowly background, perhaps even the current consort would have to make way for her.
What was most annoying was that after getting conferred the title and a pavilion within the eastern palace, she had never appeared. Her pavilion was closest to where the crown prince lived within the eastern palace. All sorts of decorations had been arranged and the palace maids were all prepared, but she never moved in. She was clearly somewhere nearby since the crown prince would often be gone. She must have been arranged some distance away instead.
But it was impossible not to give up. Virtuous Wife Qiao had never wanted to give up, but all her charms were cast upon a blind man. After a while, her hopes had also faded.
Seeing the crown prince consort’s obvious meaning, Virtuous Wife Qiao chose not to go along with it.
“This servant concubine is just a low-ranked virtuous wife. It’s normal for me not to know anything about it. Perhaps crown prince consort should go ask the crown prince?”
The crown prince consort’s expression was a little ugly. She knew Virtuous Wife Qiao was ridiculing her.
She put her teacup down and looked at her provocatively, saying faintly: “It’s not possible for him to have left her behind. There is only one conclusion, and that is that he is keeping her hidden. Why would he keep her hidden? Virtuous Wife Qiao wouldn’t have forgotten that she was solely favored for these two years, right? Even if she was a hen who wouldn’t lay eggs, she should still have one by now.”
Have what? It goes without saying.
Virtuous Wife Qiao’s fine fingers curled tightly, and subconsciously broke off her painted nails.
Her heart had been clearly at peace, but any woman would be unwilling after hearing this.
Virtuous Wife Qiao had said these words to herself countless times in her empty room, but she never had an answer.
But Virtuous Wife Qiao wasn’t a fool. This crown prince consort loved instigating others to be her cannon fodder. In the past it was Yu Jiao and Yu Rong. Now that the two couldn’t be used anymore, it was her turn. She’d be a fool to go along with it. She didn’t believe the consort wasn’t worried either!
“Crown prince consort should discuss this matter with the crown prince. After all, he currently doesn’t have any offspring, and this matter will be raised sooner or later. This servant concubine is just a low-ranked virtuous wife, and doesn’t have the right to get involved.”
At this moment, a eunuch walked in.
“Reporting to the consort, Virtuous Wife Tao’s carriage has arrived in front of the eastern palace gates. His highness has personally gone to greet them.”
“Oh! Speak of the devil.” Virtuous Wife Qiao said in ridicule and gave the crown prince consort a side glance.
Hearing that the crown prince had personally gone to welcome her, the crown prince consort’s expression immediately turned ugly. She used her handkerchief to cover her mouth as she coughed a couple of times, and gave the eunuch who was still standing there without leaving a glance, “Is there something else?”
“It wasn’t just Virtuous Wife Tao who had come out of the carriage. There were also two young children. This servant heard them call his highness father…..”
With a crisp crash, the teacup in the crown prince consort’s hands fell to the floor and shattered.
Virtuous Wife Qiao’s expression also froze.
Previously, the clan’s estate had received the Jing Prince Estate’s ancestral records from the Jing Province.
According to precedence, when a prince is sent out of the capital to his vassal state, the ancestral records would be updated if anyone needed to be added or subtracted. Now that the Jing Prince had been conferred the crown prince, the previous records were naturally scrapped and he was now listed within the emperor’s jade slip records.
Along with the previous records received from the Jing Prince Estate, the existence of an eldest son by concubine and eldest daughter by concubine were also received for entry into the jade slip records.
In theory, whenever offspring were born within a prince’s estate, they would be reported for registration after they were a month old, and when they were a year old they would be conferred status. The eldest son would be conferred as heir and any sons after that would be equally conferred as young prince. The daughters were all young princesses regardless of seniority.
Of course, there were times when the registration and conferral happened later. But this case where they were only reported when they were almost three years old was really rare.
Rare, but not without precedence. It wasn’t easy to raise an infant to maturity, and there were indeed cases where the parents were more cautious. Since the crown prince had personally brought the people over, the people at the clan’s estate didn’t ask too much about it.
Therefore, only now did people know Crown Prince Luo Jing had an heir.
When they proposed to confer the Jing Prince Luo Jing as the crown prince, people had raised the question of the Jing Prince’s heir. But since the situation was urgent, and since Emperor Xi and many officials had decided on the Jing Prince, they intentionally overlooked this situation to avoid causing more problems.
Thinking about it now, how could the Jing Prince not have any offspring? He was quite old after all. Although one son and one daughter was not a lot, it was better than having none.
At the same time, the crown prince’s other virtuous wife Tao-Shi entered the people’s eyes.
Having given birth to a son and a daughter for the crown prince, she was now three months pregnant once again. Everyone had heard how the crown prince Luo Jing was apathetic towards feminine charms. There was only one madam who could be said to be favored. Based on the current situation, it would appear that madam was this Virtuous Wife Tao.
This news only came out a short while ago, and didn’t have time to fully circulate. Only when VIrtuous Wife Tao entered the eastern palace did everyone truly find out about it.
Having lived in the city outskirts for less than a month, they received a message from the Jing Prince for them to move into the palace.
The Jing Prince’s status had changed too fast. Despite having been mentally prepared, Xiao Hua was still a little flabbergasted. Eunuch Chang had always been meticulous in carrying out his orders, and he explained the various affairs of the palace to Xiao Hua. This included how her status was no longer that of a madam, but the crown prince’s virtuous wife instead.
Virtuous wife was a genuine crown prince’s concubine. This status was only one level lower than his consort, and would be entered into the jade slip records.
Compared to her status as a madam who couldn’t even be listed, Xiao Hua had advanced by leaps and bounds, becoming a recognized member of the imperial harem. Furthermore, her two children also had official identities now. Zhuo’er and Yi Yi were now listed in the jade slip records as the emperor’s grandson and granddaughter.
The two children hadn’t been formally conferred their titles yet, but this was because everyone knew the crown prince wouldn’t be the crown prince for long. Before long, the two of them would be a prince and princess instead.
All the palace maids within the house knelt to Xiao Hua and offered their congratulations.
Ding Xiang and Chun Cao cried tears of joy, and were even more excited than Xiao Hua herself. It wasn’t that Xiao Hua wasn’t excited. She was merely dazed.
The carriages were waiting outside the door bright and early the next day.
Xiao Hua took the two children and Ding Xiang and entered the first carriage. The few cars behind them brought along Ding Lan, Nana He and the others, as well as their luggage.
Once they arrived in front of the palace gates, Nana He and the rest got off along with the luggage and Eunuch Chang led them away. Xiao Hua and the two children got into a smaller carriage and continued onwards. Ding Xiang couldn’t sit with them, and could only walk along beside them temporarily.
After another while, the carriage stopped.
Ding Xiang came and lifted the curtains. A low-ranked eunuch ran over and placed the carriage steps in position.
Under Ding Xiang’s support, Xiao Hua got off the carriage and saw the towering, majestic eastern palace gates in front of her.
A large group of people stood in front of the gates, including him.
Luo Jing wore a set of crown prince’s robes. He stood tall and straight, and looked extremely imposing. In that moment, Xiao Hua was a little afraid to recognize him.
Zhuo’er and Yi Yi were carried down after her. The two children weren’t afraid of strangers, and having recognized their father they ran over.
Yi Yi was still the liveliest, running over and hugging onto the crown prince’s leg. She pulled at him with her little hand, indicating for her father to hurry and hold her.
Zhuo’er followed closely behind, saying “sister must observe etiquette” while his little hand also pulled at the Jing Prince’s robes. It was clear that Zhuo’er was saying one thing while thinking another. He was so young, yet already seemed to resemble his repressed father.
Those who served the crown prince were all open-mouthed in astonishment. Only Eunuch Fu didn’t feel surprised.
The crown prince rubbed their little heads and saw that she was standing a few steps away. He didn’t wait for her to walk forward, and instead went over to greet her.
Yi Yi looked at Eunuch Fu on the side, and pondered with a furrowed brow for a while. She looked uncertainly at her brother. Zhuo’er glanced at Eunuch Fu a couple of times and told his sister: “He is Fu Fu.”
The words “Fu Fu” made Eunuch Fu’s miserable face immediately bloom in a smile. He let out an “ai” as he half knelt and said to the two: “Greetings to the little young master and mistress.”
When Zhuo’er and Yi Yi first learned to speak, their first word was mom, second was father and third was Fu. Because Eunuch Fu would always play with them, they had quite a deep impression of this “Fu Fu”.
Yi Yi furrowed her brows and stroked Eunuch Fu’s old face. She said very maturely: “Fu Fu where did you go? Yi Yi almost forgot you.”
Eunuch Fu immediately felt his nose sour. He blinked away his tears and said with a smile: “This old servant had work to do. Didn’t I immediately come over to fetch the young master and mistress the moment I was free?”
“Then you must remember to come play with Yi Yi and brother more in the future.”
It was clear how much this usually unemotional crown prince favored this Virtuous Wife Tao. He had put aside the countless of things he had to do just to welcome her into the eastern palace. Just the eastern palace’s general manager’s attitude towards the little emperor’s grandson and granddaughter meant the others didn’t dare underestimate this unfamiliar Virtuous Wife Tao.
The crown prince consort really didn’t want to lower herself and come to the palace doors, but hearing that there were “two children calling out father”, the shock was too much to bear and she hurried over with a rigid face. The first thing she saw was the two fair skinned children.
Without mentioning the daughter for now, just that boy with his eyes and face looked exactly like a miniature version of his highness.
The crown prince consort’s hand gripped her handkerchief tightly under her sleeves. She wanted to reveal an appropriate smile but unfortunately wasn’t able to succeed. Her mouth revealed a weird twitch instead.
“The welcoming party for Virtuous Wife Tao is truly grand. Highness even dropped everything and hurried over. And these two little children are—-“
Within the span of a few words, the crown prince’s brows furrowed as he looked at his consort. Xiao Hua’s pleasant surprise in her heart, which hadn’t faded yet, turned into astonishment. Of course she also felt a little unnatural. After all, due to Xiao Hua and Luo Jing’s current relationship, she would still feel a hint of enmity when faced with his principal wife.
Eunuch Fu was standing closest to the crown prince consort. Seeing that her expression didn’t look good, he stepped forward and stood in front of the two children. He first gave his greetings and then said: “This is mistress Tao’s two little children, his highness’s oldest son and daughter.”
The crown prince nodded his head, confirming Eunuch Fu’s words.
This was the first time Luo Jing brought his children out in front of others and acknowledged their existence. In theory, this was worth remembering. When Xiao Hua saw the crown prince nod, she felt inexplicably moved. But there was still the crown prince consort present—-
The crown prince consort laughed a couple of times. She glanced at Xiao Hua, and then at Zhuo’er and Yi Yi. Her rigid expression became benevolent and she beckoned with her hand.
“These two children are really cute. Come over to mother. What are your names?”
The words Fu Fu, when paired with Eunuch Fu’s old face, is inexplicably amusing.
Cough cough, this is just this author’s little mischief. Everyone can just ignore it.