I made it! First sponsored chapter of the week. Thanks again to all the sponsors.
The father son pair only returned in the afternoon.
Zhuo’er had long since been unable to maintain the appearance of a crown prince. At this moment, he was carried off the carriage and into the Chenxi Palace by the Jing Emperor.
Right before they got to the main hall, he struggled and wanted to get down but the Jing Emperor didn’t let go.
Xiao Hua took him into her arms and gave his blushing little face a kiss.
“Zhuo’er is tired. It’s fine to let father carry you. No need to be shy in front of mom and little sis.”
Zhuo’er mumbled and didn’t respond, his face still red.
Yi Yi went up to her brother and played around with the beads on his headdress. She then asked Zhuo’er to take it off and let her try it on. Zhuo’er was very tired and couldn’t be bothered to respond.
A group of palace maids and eunuchs came in to help the Jing Emperor and Zhuo’er take off their imperial outfits. Yi Yi took Zhuo’er’s headdress and put it on her head crookedly, asking Xiao Hua if it looked good.
Xiao Hua looked at her daughter and burst out laughing, repeatedly saying that it looked good. Yi Yi then went to ask the Jing Emperor, who said the same thing.
A few minutes later, Yi Yi took the hat off and complained: “This hat isn’t easy to wear. Can’t see properly from the sides. Brother, how did you walk like this?”
Xiao Hua smiled and took the miniature headdress over and handed it to Ding Lan, “Eldest Princess Yi Yi, just because you can’t see clearly doesn’t mean your brother can’t.”
Zhuo’er didn’t say anything. He didn’t want to admit that he actually couldn’t see clearly either, and had almost tripped a few times. Luckily his father had been holding onto his hand, and his father’s large sleeves had shielded him from view, preserving his etiquette.
Thinking to this point, he looked at the Jing Emperor. The father and son exchanged a glance of tacit understanding.
On the first day of the New Year, the concubines in the rear palace had to pay respects to the empress. This could be counted as giving New Year’s greetings.
Because the empress was ill, this was cancelled.
On the second day, Concubine Qiao and the Serene and Tranquil Concubines came to pay respects to the senior concubine.
Concubine Qiao had fallen from the skies back to the ground in a single night. She had been the third highest in status within the rear palace, but was now even lower than the Serene and Tranquil Concubines. They at least had titles, whereas she was now just addressed by her surname. She previously had her own palace, but was now relocated to a side hall according to the rules. Luckily, the Serene and Tranquil Concubines who lived with her in the Longcui Palace wanted to keep things simple now and didn’t kick her while she was down.
Of course, the two of them weren’t fools. They naturally knew the reason Concubine Qiao was demoted was due to the senior concubine’s matters. She was currently the only favored one within the palace, and the two of them naturally wouldn’t try to get closer to Concubine Qiao. They didn’t step on her, but they didn’t interact with her either. Everyone passed their own days in peace.
After the three of them paid their respects, Xiao Hua had them take a seat. After some superficial conversation, the people took their leave.
Xiao Hua didn’t know what to say to them, and they were the same way. As women who shared the same man, she had occupied all the rainwater while the rest of them didn’t even get a single drop. How could they chat freely with each other?
After leaving the Chenxi Palace, the three got on their own carriages. Before getting on, the Serene Concubine spoke to Concubine Qiao. This was the first time they spoke after she was demoted.
“You should put aside any notions and give up. It’s not worth trying to get some intimacy at the expense of your life. She’s a magnanimous one. If you’re smart, you should know what to do. Why make things difficult for yourself?”
Having known the senior concubine for so long, the Serene and Tranquil Concubines could be said to have understood a few things.
The senior concubine had a good personality, and was also magnanimous. Just based on what the two of them had done in the past, anyone else would have secretly killed them off countless times. But she did not do so. Although their days were dull, they still received everything they should. Their allowance had never been embezzled before either. The palace maids and eunuchs were respectful to the two of them as well.
Concubine Qiao could be said to have become enemies with the senior concubine this time, almost to the extent of bitterly fighting to the end. However, the senior concubine didn’t do anything. Apart from losing her status and being relocated, Concubine Qiao’s days still passed the same way.
The Serene and Tranquil Concubines both noticed this.
As people with bitter fates, they had all experienced times when they weren’t resigned. However, some things didn’t work out just because you refused to accept it.
His majesty’s personality was apathetic, and he wasn’t easily stirred. But once he was stirred, it would be to the end. From the looks of it, she would be his only one, and it would be the same way in the future. The others should just honestly go do their own thing.
Regardless, this was how the Serene Concubine saw it. Whether Concubine Qiao could see things the same way was up to her. She only spoke up since they were in similar circumstances.
After the Serene Concubine finished speaking, she got on her carriage. The Serene and Virtuous Concubines left, leaving Concubine Qiao frozen in place for a while before slowly getting on her own carriage.
On the fifth day, the brush was unsealed. On the first court session of the new year, the Jing Emperor official named the period of his reign as the “Splendid” era,1 starting the chapter of a new era.
Once the Jing Emperor started back up with official affairs, Xiao Hua became idle in the Chenxi Palace.
During this time, the Yun Consort had come to visit Xiao Hua several times. After a couple of interactions, the two became somewhat familiar with each other.
After getting to know the Yun Consort, Xiao Hua realized that she was an outspoken person, and wasn’t as arrogant as she appeared on the surface.
The Yun Consort also knew this prime senior concubine was someone who occupied the Jing Emperor’s heart, and intended to form a good relationship to begin with. Coupled with the fact that the prime senior concubine was a good person, the two women chatted about children, about their own men and become more and more intimate.
On the fifteenth, the Yun Prince and the Qi Prince returned to their vassal states.
Whether the Jing Emperor saw the Qi Prince off, Xiao Hua didn’t know. However, when the Yun Prince left, the Jing Emperor especially held a farewell banquet for him.
The banquet this time didn’t have many people, only the Yun Prince and his wife, the Jing Emperor, Xiao Hua, Zhuo’er and Yi Yi. It could be counted as a gathering of two families.
Xiao Hua sat with the Yun Consort on one side of the table, the Jing Emperor and the Yun Prince each took a side and the two children sat together on the fourth side. The group of them filled out the square table perfectly. Sitting at the same table was more intimate, and it wasn’t as distant compared to sitting at separate tables.
“Who knows when you can come to the capital again after leaving? I don’t have many friends to begin with, and now that I finally have one, you have to leave.”
The Yun Consort gave a dazzling smile. She pulled Xiao Hua’s hand and said: “This is nothing. I’ll just have my highness bring me to the capital more often in the future.”
“Then you have to keep your word. Don’t forget it.”
“That’s for sure.”
The Yun Prince listened to the women’s conversation and interrupted with a smile: “Little sister-in-law, perhaps in the near future, this prince will be bringing the consort along to live in the capital.”
Xiao Hua gave the Jing Emperor a glance. His expression was mysterious. She then looked at the Yun Prince, whose chubby face was filled with teasing laughter.
The Yun Consort gave him a glare and said to Xiao Hua, “Ignore him. He’s always talking nonsense. However, I’ll send you a letter when we’re free. Just have your majesty summon us to the capital and we’ll come.”
“Alright, that sounds good.”
The Yun Prince exchanged a glance with the Jing Emperor and raised his glass, leaning close to him, “Ai, if things end up working out, big bro will depend on you in the future for his meals.”
The Jing Emperor gave him a glance, raised his own glass and said faintly: “You have more money than Us.”
The Yun Prince winked, “All the land under the heavens belongs to you. Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m just a small vassal prince who needs to rely on majesty for my meals. How can I be compared to you in terms of wealth?”
The Jing Emperor’s gaze was dull and he couldn’t be bothered to respond to his comments, “You don’t need to do this. We always keep Our word.”
“Ai——fine, fine. I’ll put it bluntly. I feel that governing a vassal state is a lot of trouble. There’s so much to deal with, not only do the taxes not cover my expenses, I even have to put my own money into it. I’d rather be an idle prince and live a carefree life. The troublesome things can be left to you to handle.” Speaking up to here, the Yun Prince gave a look of complaint to the Jing Emperor, “You just force others to put things so plainly. You’re too mean.”
The Jing Emperor automatically ignored the word “others”, and said: “Then what are your plans for the future? Don’t tell me you’re going to freeload and wait for death. We won’t believe that.”
“Well, I—-” The Yun Prince rubbed his chin, “Naturally I want to take my wife and children on a trip across this nation to play. I can finally relax. I’ve promised to take her out for a while now.”
The Jing Emperor silently nodded.
The Yun Prince had a cocky expression, “What? Jealous? Muahaha. I told you being the emperor was the hardest thing in the world. This sort of thing should be left to someone born in the year of the bull.”
“We aren’t born in the year of the bull.”
The Yun Prince choked and took a sip of his alcohol.
“You seem to have lost weight.” Don’t think that the Jing Emperor couldn’t tell the Yun Prince was making fun of him. Although he didn’t understand what being the emperor had to do with being born in the year of the bull, he still knew how to retaliate.
The Yun Prince felt his own stomach and put on an aggrieved appearance.
This was a tragic story. Ever since he bragged to his consort that he could lose weight if he wanted to, but was too lazy to do so, his days had become tragic. The consort would chase him throughout the estate with a whip, forcing him to run.
The Jing Emperor spoke some irritating words with a straight face, “The Yun Consort is doing this for your own good. We are skinny, so Our royal body is very healthy.”
The Yun Prince gave the Jing Emperor a jealous glance, and tried to figure out if his slender figure actually had some muscle under his robes.
Definitely not, definitely not. He’s so pale, he’s definitely a little twig. The Yun Prince was different. He would definitely become a bronzed macho man with a six pack!
Thinking this way, the Yun Prince felt better in his heart. He viciously took another sip of alcohol, “Next time you see this prince, you’ll be in for a huge surprise.”
The Jing Emperor laughed in his heart while his expression remained apathetic, “We will look forward to it.”
This chapter is a little short, currently trying to polish up the ending. Please forgive me.