Hearing his words, Senior Concubine Xu’s heart leapt and she said in astonishment: “She was really the culprit in Cheng’er’s case?”
Recently, something had happened in the Jin Prince Estate. The Jin Prince’s eldest son Luo Cheng who was concubine born had died prematurely. It had happened in Lu Xiu Ling’s pavilion and the cause was a poisoned cake. That poison had been too strong and there was no saving him. The Jin Prince was furious.
Although Luo Cheng wasn’t birthed by the principal wife, he was innately bright, studious and ambitious. Senior Concubine Xu was quite fond of this grandson. After finding out about this tragedy, she shed plenty of tears in heartache. Emperor Xi was also furious and ordered the Jin Prince to investigate things thoroughly. In the end, two of his rear court’s concubines were implicated but the main perpetrator was never found.
In theory, since it happened in Lu Xiu Ling’s pavilion she should have been the main suspect. However, she cried mournfully and argued that she couldn’t have done something as stupid as poisoning someone in her own pavilion. It must have been someone framing her. This was truly reasonable and the matter was thus left unresolved.
Lu Xiu Ling had thought she had done things perfectly, but nothing was perfect. To put it plainly, she had merely taken advantage of the blindspot in everyone’s assumptions. Everyone felt that no one would be dumb enough to make a move on their own turf. She used precisely this point to get rid of future problems for her own son. Actually, many things didn’t require any evidence. Looking at who stood to benefit the most was sufficient to make things clear.
The Jin Prince truly didn’t find any evidence. Those two concubines were innocent but he needed to find some scapegoats for Emperor Xi. However, he was already certain in his mind that it was done by Lu Xiu Ling.
Her schemes were too shallow in front of the Jin Prince and he could tell at a glance. The Jin Prince was vexed that as the hunter, he ended up being pecked blind by a wild goose. No one had expected the timid Lu Xiu Ling to do such a thing.
The Jin Prince laughed coldly, “If it weren’t for this prince giving the Chengguo Duke some face, she’d definitely be done for!”
When Senior Concubine Xu heard this, she knew that Lu Xiu Ling was definitely involved.
But this matter was already over and it was no use in bringing it up. Lu Xiu Ling still had her uses. Otherwise, the Jin Prince who was always cold towards her wouldn’t have brought her back to the capital this time.
Both mother and son understood this reasoning. Sacrifices were necessary to accomplish great things. They could only say that child wasn’t fated to be with them.
“Enough. It’s sufficient that you are aware of this matter. You should still treat her well enough on the surface. This is the capital after all.”
“Your son is naturally aware of this.”
The two spoke a little more. In the end, the Jin Prince said quietly: “Mother concubine, is the information accurate? No matter how I look, royal father doesn’t appear to be….”
“That mole was placed by your mother over twenty years ago. He delivered the information right before he died, it cannot be wrong. Your father, at most….” She held up three of her jade fingers.
It turned out that Senior Concubine Xu was also aware of this inside information. Otherwise, she wouldn’t make so many moves and have the Jin Prince return to the capital so frequently.
The Jin Prince looked at his mother’s hand and his heart was startled. He was both nervous and restless.
He couldn’t help but mutter: “Then we must speed things up.”
“Don’t let that side catch wind of anything.”
“Mother concubine can be at ease. Your son isn’t that stupid.”
Senior Concubine Xu nodded her head in approval.
The crown prince naturally couldn’t be compared to her son. Apart from slightly lacking in status, what part of him was worse?! But the victor wasn’t clear yet. They definitely had to let the empress that bitch and her bastard son die without a proper burial!
A large banquet was laid out for the mid-Autumn Festival. The monarch and his officials dined together and admired the full moon.
The Jin Prince was once again in the limelight during the banquet. Not only did he present unrivaled gifts in a show of filial piety to Emperor Xi which astonished everyone and pleased the emperor, he also received many toasts from the emperor who made his favor clear.
In comparison, the crown prince sitting to the left of the seat of honor was clearly less outstanding.
Emperor Xi’s actions were also rather thought-provoking. In the past, no matter how much he favored the Jin Prince, he would still leave the crown prince some face. Whenever he toasted the Jin Prince, the crown prince would receive one too. Whenever the Jin Prince was complimented, the crown prince would be mentioned as well. But this time the crown prince seemed to have been completely forgotten.
The civil and military officials, the aristocracy and the nobility present were all intelligent people, and could naturally infer some clues. They pondered over things a long time after the banquet. The crown prince on the other hand returned to the eastern palace and smashed the things in his study.
Empress Xiao was also full of worry. Her smile which she had kept up the entire night finally cracked after returning to the Fengqi Palace.
When exiting the palace gates, the Jingguo Duke happened to run into the Chengguo Duke. Everyone around immediately kept their distance.
“Chengguo Duke, please go ahead.”
The Chengguo Duke glanced at the Jingguo Duke who was yielding the right of way and smiled, “Jingguo Duke, it’s better if you go ahead.”
Did this old thing think he didn’t know what he was up to? Tonight his majesty gave the crown prince a hard time. If the Jin Prince’s father-in-law forced the Jingguo Duke out of the way afterwards, it would definitely reach his majesty’s ears the next day. Both he and the Jin Prince would get the reputation of being overbearing.
“How about you go ahead?”
“Aiya, the two of you are so slow. What’s the point of yielding back and forth? Such a wide path, if you don’t go, I’m going to go first.” The Chengen Marquis yelled from behind.
The Jingguo Duke yielded and he passed through them. After walking a few steps, he looked back at the Chengguo Duke, “Together, together.”
The Chengguo Duke cursed this stupid pig in his heart, but could only leave together with the Chengen Marquis.
The Jingguo Duke revealed a profound smile behind them.
You may be sly and cunning, but that can’t make up for your idiot teammate.
Senior Concubine Xu was of negligible birth, and only after being conferred senior concubine did her household get conferred the Chengen Marquis title. Her father, the Chengen Marquis, had always been a clueless master. Although he didn’t bully people with his status, his brain was a little simple, and he had dragged the Jin Prince down quite a bit.
But since he was family, he couldn’t be thrown aside. Therefore, the Jin Prince had cleaned up quite a few messes behind him.
“You are really a pig!”
Only after getting to his horse carriage and seeing no one around did the Chengguo Duke curse.
“What is it this time? Don’t think you can insult me just because your daughter is my grandson’s wife!”
The Chengguo Duke saw the Chengen Marquis’s confused appearance and hated that iron couldn’t become steel, “His majesty just treated the Jin Prince favorably. What would he think if the two of us stopped giving the Jingguo Duke any face!?”
The Chengen Marquis looked doubtful, “Aren’t you overcomplicating things? It’s fine, it’s fine. This one’s daughter is the senior concubine. His majesty has always favored her, no harm done.”
The Chengguo Duke almost fell over in anger, “I can’t be bothered with you!”
After speaking, he got on his carriage and left.
The Chengen Marquis stood for a long while, but still couldn’t figure out what the big deal was with walking on the road. He got on his carriage and left.
There had been quite a few people around the palace gates, and word of the event soon spread. Emperor Xi heard the rumors, and of course Empress Xiao and Senior Concubine Xu heard it as well.
Empress Xiao’s expression finally turned a little better while Senior Concubine Xu smashed the teacup by her hand.
But her father was her father. What could she do about it?
Senior Concubine Xu sent word to the Jin Prince in exasperation, explaining that the Chengen Marquis didn’t think things through enough. She also sent word to her younger brother, telling him to restrain their dad a little.
The Jin Prince’s expression darkened however. He felt that things had finally started looking up due to his schemes when he was dragged down again.
But since things had happened already, there wasn’t anything he could say about it. He could only observe the situation.
Outside of everyone’s expectations, Emperor Xi didn’t show any reaction after the event.
He didn’t express any dissatisfaction towards the Jin Prince, nor did he turn around and give the crown prince face. He was extremely calm, as though nothing had happened.
He still summoned the Jin Prince to the palace every day, and occasionally went to speak with him in the imperial study. Otherwise he would have the Jin Prince take his family to accompany the senior concubine. He had even praised the Jin Prince in front of officials for his intelligence and hard work, saying his vassal state was extremely well managed.
All this caused great waves.
This blew over when one day in the Chunluan Palace, Emperor Xi suddenly said that the senior concubine was lonely, and ordered the Jin Prince’s children to stay behind and accompany the senior concubine. This by itself wasn’t a big deal, but combined with everything else, the entire palace, and even the entire court felt some changes.
That was to say, the wind was blowing in a different direction.
The Jin Prince had already stayed in the capital for over half a month. He was normally cautious, and would never stay in the capital too long. He would stay at most half a month before requesting to return to his vassal state. This time however, he didn’t show any movement.
The court was very calm, and all the aristocrats and nobility also kept their silence. Everyone had the same question—-
Would the Jin Prince still ask to return to his vassal state this time?
“Would the Jin Prince still ask to return to his vassal state this time?” The crown prince asked.
Empress Xiao sat there and the restlessness between her brows was hard to conceal.
“Since when did we have to place all our hopes on someone else? Mother empress, you are the grand and majestic empress. This humble one is the crown prince. But instead, we have to hope for a small vassal prince to hurry and return to his vassal state, and not cause trouble for us?!”
The crown prince’s words were very sharp. At least, Empress Xiao had been stabbed by them. She leaned weakly against her throne, her face pale. At some point, traces of wrinkles had appeared on her carefully maintained face, making her seem a little older. She wasn’t young anymore and suffered a lot of pressure daily. How could she not age?!
“Mother empress, your son is unconvinced. Where is your son lacking in comparison? Why does royal father treat your son this way!?”
The crown prince was irritable to begin with, and he was a little hysterical at the moment. He paced back and forth in front of Empress Xiao, his face twisted. Not everyone was good at enduring. He had just been happy for several days before being subjected to something so hard to endure. It was no wonder he was so irritable.
Empress Xiao saw this and hurriedly said: “You shouldn’t panic, everything will be fine. Vassal princes aren’t allowed to remain in the capital for too long. If nothing happens in a few days, the court councilors will naturally present a memorandum.”
“Waiting, waiting, waiting, it’s always waiting. We can only passively take a beating. Your son is completely fed up with this.”
“Zhao’er, things are sensitive at the moment. You must endure.”
The crown prince understood this reasoning, but what could he do if he felt annoyed?!
Why did the grand and majestic crown prince have to suffer such grievance? He could endure looking at his royal father’s expression the whole day, but he still had to endure a concubine’s cheap son!
“Zhao’er, if you can’t endure at this moment, then all the efforts your grandfather and I put in will be in vain, as well as your own efforts. Would you be willing?”
Willing? No, he was not willing! He still longed for the day he could completely trample the Jin Prince underfoot….
No need to long for it, the time was almost here.
There were still two more years….
The crown prince recovered his calm, and his face returned to its normal dignified appearance.
“Mother empress, your son understands. I definitely won’t disappoint you.”
Huang Qin was the Jing Prince’s advisor. He held an instructor’s position within the Jing Prince Estate.
An instructor was a ninth rank minor official under the Adjutant’s Office. There could be any number of them, and they were responsible for the upbringing of the vassal prince’s sons and daughters. Although this was their role on the surface, most vassal prince estates had the instructors serve as an advisor to the vassal prince and help him come up with plans and ideas.
Huang Qin was over fifty years old. In the first half of his life he was an unrecognized talent. Despite being a scholar he hadn’t even passed the imperial exam. He spent several years as a freelancer before finally understanding that he wasn’t good at standard literature despite being highly intelligent. He was however very good at putting together plans and schemes. Thus he found his path, becoming a teacher or advisor to others.
Unfortunately becoming a teacher needed its own qualifications. Someone that didn’t even pass the county-level exam would never be sought after as a teacher. Even when he found a household to serve, it would be as a low ranking minor official.
Huang Qin had ambition, and was naturally not resigned to a life of mediocrity. Due to a stroke of fate and coincidence, he was snapped up by the Jing Prince into the Jing Prince Estate.
At that time the prince had just arrived in the Jing Province, and although he had been enlightened he still had several things dragging him down from his past life, and didn’t know how to start fixing them. Meeting Huang Qin, he at first hadn’t really viewed him with much importance and merely wanted to learn how to handle common affairs from him.
It had to be said that the Jing Prince learned a lot from Huang Qin. Although he wasn’t good at other things, the prince still had a good eye for people. Many of the Jing Prince’s initial policies were enacted under Huang Qin’s advice.
After spending several years with him, the Jing Prince also understood that Huang Qin was someone of great wisdom, and naturally lamented that others were blind to this treasure he picked up by the side of the road.
This won’t be mentioned for now. After so many years, Huang Qin had also become the Jing Prince’s trusted aide. He knew many of the Jing Prince’s matters, and had even been involved in planning some of them.
However, as time passed and the Jing Prince grew, Huang Qin gradually became more of a helper than the planner. Often times, he no longer came up with the strategy and merely served as the assistant that patched up the gaps.
The Jing Prince had grown too fast, gradually giving Huang Qin the feeling he was looking at his back.
The Jing Prince was a very complicated person. He was simple yet complicated.
He was simple because the Jing Prince’s thoughts were simple, unlike others whose hearts were filled with suspicion and would always keep things hidden. This included when he first chose to make use of Huang Qin. His first words had been “teach me” and he handed over all the authority thereafter, trusting and relying on him.
He was complicated because after receiving his teachings, the prince had casually started handling things himself. Although his methods were often strange, these different methods ended up producing the intended results. This often made others stare speechlessly, and they couldn’t help acknowledging the Jing Prince as someone wise on the inside but foolish on the outside.
Just like this time. Initially they were just trying to ascertain Emperor Xi’s health which was how they ended up coercing Imperial Physician Zhou. However, the Jing Prince considered many things. Although they were coercing Imperial Physician Zhou, he ordered his subordinates to help the imperial physician deal with future dangers. It was just an escape plan to begin with, but ended up developing to its current state. This made Huang Qin exclaim in admirataion, but also feel a trace of fear at the Jing Prince’s ability to understand people’s natures.
Would any of the major figures in the capital imagine that the current waves were caused by a tiny and obscure vassal prince?
For some reason, Huang Qin suddenly held unprecedented expectations for the Jing Prince’s grand designs.
Perhaps it was similar to the Jing Prince’s attitude of…
As long as I go for it, and do things seriously, there will be a day when I obtain what should belong to me!
The Yun Prince Estate was naturally aware of the things happening in the capital.
Luo Huai Yuan seemed cunning but was actually someone quite simpleminded. He had plenty of intelligence but not enough patience. Therefore, he loved to take shortcuts when doing things. He liked to wrap things up quickly and didn’t like prolonged battles. Winning Yan Yan over was the most patient thing he had done in both his lifetimes.
Therefore, he was fated to be a little worse than the Jing Prince. This wasn’t to say he was bad. His nature was just this way.
After handing everything over that he could, Luo Huai Yuan put all his thoughts into raising his children. Niu Niu and Jian’er were currently at their cutest and there were too many joys in raising them to speak of.
Luo Huai Yuan naturally knew everything that had happened in the capital. However, since he wasn’t involved, he could only tell that something was going on but didn’t know the details. However, he was happy to see this situation. The crown prince and the Jin Prince was struggling fiercely while they could fish in troubled waters. For the sake of making sure he hadn’t put his trust in the wrong person, Luo Huai Yuan sent a letter to the Jing Prince pointing out the key points and telling him to pay attention.
The Jing Prince sent back one word: patience.
This fellow was always so stingy with his words. Luo Huai Yuan scoffed at the Jing Province’s Jing Prince. Would he die if he said a little more?
He even vulgarly imagined what the wooden-faced old fifth was like when he was with a woman. Others might not know, but Luo Huai Yuan knew that extremely repressed old fifth had a little darling.
His subordinates had found out that the Jing Prince Estate had a forbidden area. Outsiders were all barred from entering. The estate’s people all said that it was a golden house the Jing Prince had especially constructed for his favored little concubine. Luo Huai Yuan didn’t know if this was the mistress’s golden house, but he was truly astonished. This man seemed to be a block of wood, but it looks like he had fallen head over heels for a woman. Even tempered steel could be bent around the finger. Who knows if old fifth’s face was still the same when he was tossing in bed?
Thinking of old fifth’s rigid and emotionless face while he was doing inappropriate things, Luo Huai Yuan laughed vulgarly again. It was extremely unsightly.
“What are you thinking about? Why are you laughing so vulgarly!?”
The only person who dared to speak to him like this within the entire Yun Prince Estate was probably his precious wife Yan Yan.
Luo Huai Yuan raised his eyebrows and waved her over, pulling her onto his lap. He leaned in next to her ear and started gossiping.
His highness and his consort had always been close. The servants around them were already able to completely ignore scenes like this. Lan’er and Liu’er even spread out in the area in case outsiders suddenly intruded in the garden.
Yan Yan knew her man’s personality clearly. To say he had no bottom line was giving him face. He essentially made one speechless.
Although Yan Yan felt awkward about it, she had been corrupted by Luo Huai Yuan for too long. Although her expression was uncomfortable and she didn’t seem willing to go along with things, she was also enticed into wondering about the fifth prince’s private affairs.
She had seen the fifth prince back then. Would such an aloof person who seemed like a banished immortal really partake in such worldly desires?
Luo Huai Yuan spoke more and more excessively, even mentioning the matters of the bedroom. Yan Yan couldn’t help but turn red.
“Are you done yet? Your words are getting more and more inappropriate!”
She pushed away the large face that was pressing in closer. Unfortunately, she couldn’t do so and he managed to get even closer instead.
“How is it inappropriate? Isn’t that all there is between man and woman? You call me a pervert every day, but that’s just me showing my deep affection for you. When a man has a woman he likes, he can’t control himself. That fallen immortal of an old fifth has unexpectedly gotten himself a woman. Do you think he’s also like me? When I see you, my little darling, I involuntarily want to do this and that….”
As he spoke, this fellow started groping around.
Having been married for many years, they were long since aware of each other’s sensitive areas. Luo Huai Yuan naturally knew where to attack to make Yan Yan immediately break down. His chubby hand familiarly made its way inside her clothes. It was the end of summer and their clothes were extremely thin. He quickly pulled aside her little chest wrap and burrowed inside. Not only that, he didn’t slack off on top either. He blew repeatedly against Yan Yan’s tender and fair earlobes, and even started kissing them.
“Let go, it’s the middle of the day!”
Yan Yan’s face was flushed like a plum blossom and she wished she could give this person a beating.
“I won’t let go! I won’t let go!” He said shamelessly.
He then said quietly by Yan Yan’s ear: “My Yan Yan, my little darling, go along with me this once. We haven’t tried it outside before….”
She spoke very righteously but didn’t put any strength in her struggles.
Although Lan’er’s group was guarding the little pavilion they were in, and their backs were towards them, Yan Yan wasn’t able to accept it.
It was too lewd!
Luo Huai Yuan was also extremely strong with that physique of his. He also kept up his distractions to hide his intentions.
He held Yan Yan as he kissed her ferociously. By the time she snapped out of it, the muslin pants within her skirt was already taken off….
This round scared Yan Yan witless. Not only did she have to make sure she didn’t make any sounds, she also had to make sure that vulgar fellow didn’t make any sounds either. She also had to make sure Lan’er’s group didn’t hear anything. It was truly “thrilling”.
After it was over, Yan Yan recovered and stretched out her hand to give a pinch.
Luo Huai Yuan was extremely tough and didn’t cry out at the pain. His chubby face was just a little twisted.
They frantically tidied themselves up and heard their daughter speaking to a palace maid.
“Hurry and put on your clothes. Help me check if anything is out of place.”
The couple hurriedly cleaned up. One sat in their old spot while the other sat earnestly across, sipping on tea that had long since turned cold.
Niu Niu bounced over into the pavilion. The little meatball Jian’er followed behind her. He ran while calling for his sister to wait for him. Seeing his sister jumping onto their dad, he charged towards Yan Yan.
“What’s the rush? Careful not to fall.”
Seeing her son covered in sweat, Yan Yan was going to use her handkerchief in her sleeve to wipe his sweat but her hand come out empty. She figured that it must have fallen somewhere during the chaos and saw the pale blue handkerchief on the floor.
She inevitably thought of the mess earlier and immediately turned red.
As her mistress’s personal palace maid, Lan’er’s eyes were extremely sharp. She hurriedly went to pick it up. When she got closer, she smelled a strange odor. It wasn’t unpleasant, but as a personal palace maid who took care of the consort’s matters, she often encountered similar situations after her mistress and master were done.
Lan’er’s heart tightened and her little face immediately turned red.
Yan Yan had been sensitive to begin with and was also trained in martial arts. Lan’er’s unusual expression didn’t escape her eyes. Yan Yan’s face immediately turned redder and she fiercely glared at Luo Huai Yuan.
She naturally gave him a beating after returning to the Xianyun Hall.
Earthlings cannot comprehend fatty’s vulgarness.
Some of the plot is repeated from the Chambermaid’s novel. This author struggled for two days but this plot was unavoidable. Otherwise it wouldn’t be clear. However, this sort of thing won’t happen in the future.