Chapter 170

The slander case against the senior concubine had finally been wrapped up. Although the details were not announced to the public, the Jing Emperor’s string of edicts that followed made the situation clear.

Out of the three estates which were involved, the Jinyang Estate was declared the originator. For slandering the senior concubine and infringing upon the dignity of the royal family, the Jinyang madam was ordered to commit suicide and the Jinyang Marquis was stripped of his noble title. The servants who committed egregious perjury were beheaded, and those who were accessories to the crime were sent to the border as slave labor. The Chengyang madam was guilty of spreading rumors and sentenced to writing a hundred copies of scripture. Due to her mother’s mistakes, the virtuous concubine was also implicated for failing to keep her in check. She was stripped of her virtuous concubine title and demoted to common concubine. The Xiao clan’s eldest madam was guilty of immoral conduct and offending her superiors. She should have been ordered to commit suicide, but avoided it due to her husband’s contributions to the nation. Instead, the clan was punished for her conduct. They were stripped of all official positions and confined in their estate to ponder over their mistakes.

Thus, everything was wrapped up.

Of course, some curious people tried asking those in the know about it, but they were all tight-lipped. Even the punished estates showed no objections at the Jing Emperor’s edicts.

At this point, everyone understood that the prime senior concubine had truly been slandered!

There were still a few who wanted to take the opportunity to speak up, but were rebuked by the three joint departments.

This case had been handled by the three of them in what they felt was a fair manner. They naturally couldn’t tolerate any doubt. If they allowed it to continue, schemers would take the opportunity to make a fuss, accusing the three of them of protecting the senior concubine out of fear of the emperor.

Of course, the details of the hearing were spread afterwards, and many people found out about the process. This included how Tian-Shi clung on to her claims to the bitter end, but was refuted by an old servant within her estate. Even the Xiao clan’s eldest madam had ended up being overturned, and made a big fuss in court after the case was over.

Serves them right! No wonder the Jinyang Estate was punished so heavily, and the Xiao clan’s eldest madam ended up losing her husband’s official position. Turns out it was their own doing! Those who knew the situation all come to this conclusion.

But of course, this was all beside the point.

…..

Within the Chenxi Palace.

Chun Cao was recounting to Xiao Hua, Ding Lan and Ding Xiang how she rebuked the Jinyang Madam for her shamelessness and falsehood in court.

“…..concubine, you have no idea how ugly Tian-Shi’s expression was when she saw Granny Wang. It was like her dad had passed away….that Granny Wang’s final few words not only dazed the justices, it almost made this servant burst out laughing. Luckily this servant was behind the screen, so no one saw me smothering my laughter….”

Ding Xiang said with a smile: “Enough, enough. You’ve been saying the same things for so many days. Our concubine is getting tired of it even if you aren’t.”

Chun Cao blinked her eyes and looked a little aggrieved, “Concubine, are you getting tired of it?”

Xiao Hua laughed in spite of herself, “I’m not, I’m not. Alright, go see if the second prince is awake. If he is, have the wet nurse bring him over.”

After Chun Cao left, the three in the room looked at each other and laughed.

Ding Lan said: “This Chun Cao is getting more and more fussy. Didn’t realize back then that she had a “mother-in-law’s mouth”.

Ding Lan’s expression was extremely wacky, making Xiao Hua laugh once again. She cleared her throat, “Careful not to let Chun Cao hear you or she’ll harp at you every day.”

Ding Xiang laughed a couple times and said: “This servant had been worried she would get stage fright. Luckily this lass is pretty good, and was able to handle the situation. Right, concubine, what should we do about Granny Wang?”

Xiao Hua muttered, “It’s not possible to bring her into the palace for now. Let’s arrange a residence for her first. Tell her it’s not easy for this seat to leave the palace, but I’ll find a chance to go see her. Have her take care of herself properly. She should think of it as me taking care of her retirement. Have Zhao Da take care of this, keep it a little low-key.”

“Yes.”

***

The Jinyang Estate was currently a toppled tree, where the monkeys had all scattered. The lord marquis had his title stripped, and could no longer remain in the estate. They had to choose another place to live.

After arranging a perfunctory funeral for Tian-Shi, the Yuan family started relocating.

Their new residence was naturally not as big as the marquis’s estate, and many of their previous servants needed to be sold off or dismissed.

At this time, Grandma Wang’s nephew Da Tian reappeared, and took her away without spending a single tael of silver.

Ruan Siyi and his brother both knew that their situation had been messed up by Grandma Wang this sly old fox. The thought of venting their anger and having her beaten to death crossed their minds countless of times. However, they were helpless since Grandma Wang was currently being treated better than they were. Before leaving, Eunuch Fu had said that since this old woman had spoken the truth, her masters wouldn’t let her off after going back.

Allowing this to happen would result in bad karma, so he had sent two eunuchs to wait with Grandma Wang for her relative to bring her back home. He also said that whoever tried to retaliate against her would be challenging himself, as well as the senior concubine.

Afterwards, they returned to the Jinyang Estate.

The Jinyang marquis put her in her own pavilion, and sent people over with good food and drink. By the time Da Tian arrived, he sent them off as though shooing away a demon. Most people would be devastated and terrified if their husband’s family met calamity. However, the fourth young madam Qiao-Shi’s reaction wasn’t the same.

When she heard Tian-Shi had been ordered to commit suicide and the lord marquis was stripped of his title, she had burst out laughing on the spot in the Jinxiu Pavilion. She had laughed until she was bent over, and cursed several times that it served them right. Only when her personal maids stopped her did she close her mouth.

Qiao-Shi wiped the tears from her eyes and said mockingly: “To think the Ruan family would also have such a day. Looks like you’ll be treating me like your ancestor in the future.”

This was truly fortunes rising and falling. Looks like it was her turn to be blessed!

***

The Jing Emperor seemed to be extremely happy today.

He pulled Xiao Hua along for several rounds in bed before stopping.

Xiao Hua was so tired she couldn’t even lift a finger, but the Jing Emperor didn’t seem tired at all. He was still extremely spirited.

As though remembering something, he spoke, “It’s said that the Jing Duke’s face turned green. Eunuch Fu said the royal concubine smashed an entire tea set.”

Was this laughing at others’ misfortune? Was it?

Fine, this was truly laughing at others’ misfortune. Ever since ruthlessly screwing the Jing Duke’s Estate over, the Jing Emperor learned the meaning of schadenfreude. Although he didn’t understand what it meant in his heart, he still expressed it in his attitude. Others might not be able to tell, but Xiao Hua who shared his bed naturally understood extremely well.

As the favored concubine, she naturally had to laugh along with him at their misfortune. This wasn’t being malicious. This was a sort of shared privilege.

“Serves them right!” Xiao Hua agreed.

Because of this event, Xiao Hua now had a better understanding of the court’s affairs. She naturally understood the Jing Emperor’s goal this time. Her man wanted control of the capital’s militia, so she naturally cooperated.

Of course, Xiao Hua was also extremely astonished and impressed with the Jing Emperor.

She had always known this man was intelligent. Unintelligent people wouldn’t be able to reach this step. But this event made her realize just how smart he was, and how supernaturally wise. It was supposed to be an extremely thorny and headache inducing problem, but he beat them at their own game and arranged this outcome.

Xiao Hua even had the illusion that everything had gone according to his plan from the moment Tian-Shi jumped out. But Xiao Hua knew that this wasn’t the case. The Jing Emperor only started moving from the moment she first mentioned the Jinyang Estate’s matter.

Such precision, hitting the target in one shot. Especially in understanding people’s nature, in which he was so accurate that it made one speechless. It was as though they were all puppets following his designs, finally falling into the pit.

After the fact, people would only think they had sought their own downfall, and wouldn’t suspect him at all.

“Majesty, how did you grow this royal brain of yours? Why are you so smart?!” Every time she thought of this, Xiao Hua would lament over it.

At the same time, the Jing Emperor would look embarrassed and not know how to respond.

“We also don’t know.” After thinking seriously for a few minutes, the Jing Emperor could only respond this way.

This answer was what Xiao Hua expected, because he would say the same thing every time. Comparing oneself to others only leads to anger.

Luckily this person was her man, and not her enemy. Luckily she was the person who shared his bed, and he wouldn’t use his wits against her. Otherwise, she wouldn’t even know how she died.

“But you were dragged into it.” Every time the Jing Emperor got to this topic, he would say the same thing.

In contrast of Xiao Hua’s feeling of sharing the privilege, the Jing Emperor more or less had some heavy feelings. Although he had discussed this with Xiao Hua beforehand and obtained her approval, the Jing Emperor still felt guilty while implementing his plan.

He had been successful, and it was a complete success. But she had also been gossiped about, and this made the Jing Emperor involuntarily furrow his brows. His happy mood suddenly vanished and he became sullen.

Thus it was Xiao Hua’s turn to come out and comfort him. This situation had happened several times, and Xiao Hua was naturally a veteran.

“Sir Jing, I don’t mind at all. You have to realize that this would have happened sooner or later. It’s my fault for having such a past. Things worked out and we took care of everything in one go. Furthermore everything has been cleared, and no one will ever bring it up in the future. It saved us a lot of effort.”

“Could have dealt with it secretly.”

Xiao Hua understood the Jing Emperor’s meaning.

“But this servant concubine wouldn’t be able to get over it in her heart. No matter how we put it, Tian-Shi had spared my life back then. I wouldn’t go as far as to say she deserved my gratitude, but I also couldn’t just repay her with vengeance. I gave her a chance and the freedom of choice. She was the one who chose her own path.”

This sort of thinking would seem like complete nonsense to many people. However, in Xiao Hua’s mind, whether one called her soft-hearted or indecisive, she still remembered Tian-Shi’s mercy back when she had thought herself dead for sure.

Perhaps the reason Tian-Shi had been merciful was because she had her own considerations. But Xiao Hua still remembered that her happiness and fortune today was all due to her mercy. Otherwise, how could she have such a good man, such a good life, and three such cute children?

After reincarnating, Xiao Hua always felt that destiny was preordained. Normally, if she wasn’t forced, she would always allow for some leeway. After all, she wasn’t just by herself anymore. She had him, her children, and her happiness. Just treat it as giving herself some good karma.

The Jing Emperor stroked her hair and kissed her forehead tenderly, “My Xiao Hua’er is a kind one.”

Xiao Hua laughed and rubbed her own nose, “Sir Jing is too good at giving compliments. I’m not that kind, just looking for peace of mind.”

Peace of mind…..

How many people in this world could understand this?

Tian-Shi didn’t understand that Xiao Hua had let her off over and over, and had even left her a path to survival in the end. Unfortunately she hadn’t understood this reasoning. People like them only thought in terms of retaliation, and would never give up after seizing an opportunity. They didn’t understand the saying: Forgive when possible!

The two of them lay about a little longer before calling the palace maids to prepare a bath.

After bathing, they lay down for bed. The Jing Prince suddenly spoke: “We cannot strip the empress of her position for now. Give me a little more time.”

Xiao Hua let out an “en” and rubbed her face against his chest before falling heavily asleep.

The Jing Emperor planted a kiss on her forehead, and fell asleep as well.

Author’s notes:

I kept Qiao-Shi in mind this whole time. Hehe, gave her an opportunity to turn her fortune around.

Saw some readers get caught up in Xiao Hua’s lowly birth. Actually low and high birth wasn’t a requirement within the royal family. There are several cases in history where the royal concubine, senior concubine or favored concubine was of lowly birth. Only the subordinate households care about birth. They didn’t care about the “people, but more about what value they could bring. It’s still that old saying: The emperor decides whether one is low or high born. If the emperor declares you are high born, who would dare say otherwise?

This rumor wasn’t about whether the senior concubine was low born or not, but rather whether she had any illicit affairs, slandering her pure reputation. These people wanted the Jing Emperor to fall out with the senior concubine over the rumors, or become estranged. They knew that men wouldn’t be able to endure such things. Even if the Jing Emperor knew the truth, with the extent of the rumors they felt he would be forced to punish the senior concubine to maintain his dignity.

The Jing Emperor’s actions ruined their carefully laid plans. Rumors were based on falsehoods and relied on keeping things vague. Most people faced with this situation will try to bury it, make a fuss, or be helpless and make things worse. Then the rumors would become fact. Unfortunately, the Jing Emperor is different from others. He chose to be upright and frank, exposing everything about the situation. There wasn’t anything that couldn’t be said to others. There was no need to be afraid if one’s conduct is just.

5 thoughts on “Chapter 170

  1. For an Emperor, having a consort of lower birth be the mother of his heir would be more beneficial than a consort of high birth. Because a powerful maternal family could use the fact that the mother of the heir is from their family to grab more power for themselves.

    1. This is soo true. Often more than not, maids/lower concubines are plotted against due to affection and then if their sons survive they take revenge on these affluent clans.

      Or atleast how it goes in c-novels. It does make sense though & hence is quite a common trope, though the prince might be kind/cruel etc.

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