The next day, the Yun Prince’s family and Yan Mo went to the Zhenguo Duke Estate.
At this time, the estate was extremely lively. Shen Dong and his family had returned from the border. Shen Xuan, Shen He and Shen Qi had all returned from the Fu Province as well.
The entire estate was filled with laughter. This was the first time in many years the entire family had gathered.
Only when Shen He brought back his wife and children did Second Madam Shen know that her travelling son already started a family. She even had two grandchildren.
What else could she say about it?
Having wished for it until it became her nightmare, Second Madam Shen couldn’t say anything. She only held her grandchildren and cherished them. Even her daughter-in-law’s background wasn’t a big deal anymore.
Actually, the Shen household’s men usually married late. Most noble descendants married around seventeen or eighteen. The Shen household also didn’t put too much emphasis on the women’s backgrounds. From those of Shen Xuan’s generation, Shen Xuan had married the daughter of a high-ranking officer in the Chaohu prefecture’s navy. His two younger brothers, Shen Qian and Shen Kun, had both married daughters of high-ranking officers at the border.
They only cared about the person’s character, and not the status. This was the most important thing the Shen household looked for in their daughters-in-law.
Actually, based on the Shen household’s influence, there was no need for them seek power through marriage. The Shen household had always been faithful and independent officials. They were only loyal to the emperor. Alliances of marriage would only bring many troubles, and wouldn’t be of much use.
Shen He’s family had arrived in December. He had already told them about his various experiences one by one. This also included his wife Luo Qiong’s identity, which he didn’t conceal.
Initially, Second Madam Shen had felt a little dissatisfied. No matter how little they cared for background, the Shen household’s men married women with pure backgrounds. Her son marrying the daughter of a pirate lord made her feel complicated. However, for the sake of her grandchildren, Second Madam Shen didn’t make things difficult for Luo Qiong.
After getting to know her, she realized this woman was well-educated, warm, kind and sincere. Second Madam Shen ended up liking her and their relationship grew closer and closer. Now, she viewed her as her own daughter, and even her son was brushed aside.
On this day, Qi Ran had brought Shen Yi Yao and the twins to the Zhenguo Duke Estate as well. Along with Luo Huai Yuan’s family and Yan Mo, there were four tables set up just for lunch.
The Zhenguo Madam was all smiles. Seeing the house filled with the younger generation, she felt unprecedentedly happy. The Zhenguo Duke was the same way. The Shen household’s people had always shouldered heavier burdens compared to others, and it was rare for them to gather like this. Now that the entire family was together, it was naturally a wonderful matter.
The Zhenguo Duke wasn’t able to show that he was moved like his wife, but from his large smile it was clear his mood was pretty good.
After the banquet, the men gathered together and chatted about everything and anything. They spoke of the current circumstances and also the outlook for the future. The women gathered together and talked about matters women usually talked about. The younger generation played together. Jian’er was one of the youngest present. Normally he tagged along behind his sister and muddled about. Seeing several older brothers today, he was very excited.
During this time, the matter of Shen Qi’s marriage was brought up. Shen Qi blushed and kept saying “no rush, no rush”, but Shen Xuan revealed he had someone he was interested in back at the Fu Province.
When questioned about it, Shen Xuan said he didn’t know anything, and only knew that there was such a person. When asked, Shen Qi refused to say anything, and upon further interrogation he ran off. He only revealed himself when it was dinner time.
After dinner, Luo Huai Yuan took his family back to the Yun Prince Estate.
This day had truly been lively. The adults and children were all a little tired.
In the following days, Luo Huai Yuan’s family spent most of their time at the Zhenguo Duke Estate enjoying their time with the family. Yan Yan had also entered the palace several times. It was required due to etiquette, but also for her to get to know someone. The Jing Emperor and the Yun Prince had an extraordinary relationship. He had once mentioned to the Yun Prince that the prime senior concubine was lonely, and he should have the Yun Consort come chat with her in the palace when she was free.
The Yun Prince’s family naturally understood the person above was givingthem face. Yan Yan took the two little ones and visited the prime senior concubine several times.
After a while, the two women started forming a friendship.
The prime senior concubine’s birth was lowly and she spent her life in the rear court. After the Jing Prince was conferred as the crown prince and then ascended, she then spent all her time in the rear palace. Normally she only encountered servants or other concubines. How could women sharing a man form friendship? It was already good if they didn’t harm you. Therefore, it wasn’t wrong when the Jing Emperor said she was lonely. The prime senior concubine didn’t really have friends.
As for Yan Yan, due to her personality when she was younger, she also had no friends apart from Liu Shu Yi. After she went to the Yun Province, she didn’t really make any friends there either.
The two women were also in-laws and their men had an extraordinary raltionship. Their personalities matched quite well so their friendship grew by the day. The two were even a little reluctant to part by the time the Yun Prince’s family was to return to their vassal state.
The Jing Emperor arranged a banquet for them prior to their departure.
“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.”
Yan Yan pulled the prime senior concubine’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.”
Luo Huai Yuan 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.”
The prime senior concubine 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.
Yan Yan gave him a glare and said to her, “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.”
Luo Huai Yuan exchanged a glance between men 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 for you to handle.” Speaking up to here, Luo Huai Yuan 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—-” Luo Huai Yuan 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.
Luo Huai Yuan 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.”
Luo Huai Yuan 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.
Luo Huai Yuan touched his own stomach and put on an aggrieved appearance.
He naturally recalled his hellish weightloss regimen. However, how could he tell this repressed fellow about it? He would probably laugh at him secretly.
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.”
Luo Huai Yuan 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. Luo Huai Yuan was different. He would definitely become a bronzed macho man with a six pack!
He suddenly recalled this grand promise to his wife long ago. Looks like he couldn’t blame her for supervising him daily to lose weight. His own cheap mouth had made that promise.
Thinking of this, he suddenly felt like losing weight.
“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.”
After the family banquet, Luo Huai Yuan’s group left the palace.
On the carriage, Yan Yan asked: “What were you and his majesty plotting?”
During the banquet, Yan Yan naturally heard their words and was now asking about it.
Luo Huai Yuan stroked his chin and acted profound: “Important matters of the nation.”
Yan Yan couldn’t be bothered with his posturing and rolled her eyes. Luo Huai Yuan laughed mischievsouly and leaned over, “Actually it isn’t much. I’m just doing him a favor and making him keep it in mind for a long time. Only then can I live my days smoothly as an idle prince.”
This “him” naturally referred to the Jing Emperor. The life of an idle prince was something Luo Huai Yuan had set as a goal for himself long ago.
“The Yun Province is so far and cold. Having a vassal state means having a lot to do, and it may even stir up trouble. Might as well straightforwardly hand it over. Then, we can stay in the capital if we want, and travel around when we don’t. Mom and Ah Mo and grandfather are all in the capital. Weren’t you unwilling to part? In the future, we won’t leave after coming back.”
“Is that allowed?” Yan Yan was a little alarmed.
Vassal princes and their families had to live in their vassal states. This was a long held view. Yan Yan had felt gloomy before, but having married this person, she had to share his burden. Luo Huai Yuan’s scenario had sounded too wonderful, making her afraid to belive him.
He pulled his wife into his arms and gave her a kiss on the cheek before patting his chest.
“Don’t worry, leave it to your husband!”
Yan Yan softened her body and curled up in his arms, saying quietly: “Ok.”
Since Luo Huai Yuan had spoken, he naturally wasn’t just mouthing off.
The ancestral emperor had set up the vassal system back then to maintain harmony for the good of the nation. The thought was good but he had miscalculated the minds of people.
In his mind, he was naturally hoping for his descendants to stand united and guard the Grand Xi’s power. But just because he had such thoughts didn’t mean his descendants would think the same. To put it plainly, despite all being surnamed Luo, there were several different branches. They were all descendents of greatness, but all had to kneel before one amongst them as subjects. Anyone would feel dissatisfied.
Luckily there weren’t many descendants surnamed Luo and the emperor usually kept things under control. There wasn’t really much chaos. However, after three generations, during Emperor Xi’s reign, chaos had erupted. The vassal princes had too much authority in their vassal state. With money and troops, there would inevitably be errant thoughts. In the past life, the Jin and Qi Princes were the best example. The crown prince fought against these two because they were threats. If vassal princes didn’t have so much power, would the crown prince bother with the Jin Prince? He probably wouldn’t bat an eye.
Therefore, after a lot of consideration, Luo Huai Yuan had the thought to ask for his vassal state to be abolished.
He trusted the Jing Emperor’s character, but believed even more that a prince without power would be able to live a long life. The Jing Emperor not making a move might just be because he had no reason to do so for the moment. Sitting on that seat, for the sake of imperial authority or perhaps to get rid of obstacles for his descendants, changes in thought was inevitable.
They had both come from the same circumstances and naturally understood the root cause of the issues.
This was why the Jin Emperor had gotten rid of all vassal princes after he ascended in the past life. The Yun Prince and Jing Prince who died by his hand might have resented his vicious means, but didn’t feel his actions were wrong. At most, they felt this person was too sinister, not even letting his own brother off. However, they were only against the person, and not his deeds.
This was because no matter who was on the thone, they would probably end up doing such things. However, because people had different natures, the way they did it would differ.
Soon after returning to his vassal state, the Yun Prince submitted a petition asking for his vassal state to be abolished.
In the eyes of everyone, the Yun Prince wasn’t someone ambitious to begin with. Therefore, Luo Huai Yuan didn’t care about his image. His petition was written in a rather rascally manner. His overall meaning was that there was too much to do in the vassal state, the taxes didn’t cover expenses and he really couldn’t keep it going. He begged his majesty to pity him and rid him of this burden. He said he wanted to be an idle prince and live unfettered.
Of course, he spoke some rather righteous words at the end. He said that vassal princes with too much authority was detrimental to the nation’s peace. For the sake of the Grand Xi, fro the sake of the Luo surnamed royal family, he decided to sacrifice himself for the good of all.
The little fatty is overestimating his important. Sacrificing himself for the good of all. (damn shameless)