Mysteries in the Imperial Harem: Chapter 80
Chapter 80: Offering Advice
For the recent days, because of the unpleased mood of the Empress, everyone was cautious in the entire Yi Lan Palace. Even though it was already time for dinner, the palace maids outside the house was glancing around at one another. Older sister Shui Xin was not around and no one dared to go in to experience bad luck. At this time Yi Yu walked over with a look anxiety and a few palace maids quickly opened a path and quietly pleaded, “Older sister Yi Yue, when you go in please also ask Mistress if she will be taking dinner now.”
Yi Yue glared at them harshly and carefully walked into the house but dare not enter the inner chambers. She stood behind the parting screen and softly said, “Your Ladyship, Imperial Concubine Qing returned to the Palace today and the Empress Dowager invites you to go together after dinner…”
“Not going! Get lost!”
Yi Yue’s words were not finished when she heard a crashing sound from the inner chambers and Xin Yue Ning also started to scold. Yi Yue was so scared that her shoulders started the tremble and she quickly withdraw out the house.
Listening to Xin Yue Ning’s scolding, the palace maids that were waiting outside the house had ran far away. Yi Yue walked out in a poor condition and just saw Shui Xin carrying a bowl of sweet soup (like dessert) walking over slowly. Yi Yue looked at her with a pitiful and distressed look and Shui Xin smiled before saying, “Reply back to say that her Ladyship has gotten a cold and when her body is feeling better in a while, she will head there.”
“Yes.” Listening to Shui Xin’s instruction, Yi Yue gave a sigh of relief and smiled at Shui Xin gratefully before walking out to the courtyard without stopping.
Shui Xin entered the inner chambers and saw Xin Yue Ning sitting alone in front of the vanity mirror in a daze and the jade hairpins that were originally on the vanity had already been swiped to the floor. The ten slender fingers were gripping the wooden table legs so hard that there were some scratching sound like she was in a full on rage. Shui Xin place the sweet soup on the table and said like she was not affected by the anger, “Have some lily and white fungus soup.”
Xin Yue Ning turn her head to the side and snorted, “Not eating. There is no taste to whatever food now.” Thinking of the message that the Empress Dowager just passed, the anger that was accumulated for the past few days finally erupted, “Truly anger Bengong to death. Is Su Ling’s working or not, just because of an ugly thing, he would publicly oppose Bengong! From the beginning Bengong did not see anything incorrectly, the females in the Qing family are all evil bewitching demons. If they are not evil bewitching demons then how do they bewitch the Emperor, Lou Xi Yan and Su Ling to do their bidding!”
“That so call Qing Mo was truly not simple.”
Shui Xin’s eyes and words had a faint of a praise and Xin Yue Ning natural did not discover it as she was filled with anger, “Which one of the females in the Qing family are simple characters! All because of you. Previously you said that there is blood in Qing Feng’s sedan and she might have miscarriage. At the end the child was delivered safely and it is even a son! Since someone took action last time, then her and her child should be killed. Rather than like now where the Emperor favours her more. Su Ling and Lou Xi Yan must have thought highly that she would give birth to a son and thought that she was entitled to fight with Bengong, that is why they dared to look down at Bengong like this!”
“It is this servant that did not comprehensively considered everything but mistress should not be this angry. It is nothing wrong for the child to be born.”
“Nothing wrong?” Xin Yue Ning suddenly stood up from her chair and stared at Shui Xin with her eyes on fire, “That is a Prince. Su Ling and Lou Xi Yan keep protecting him and in the future they would definitely support him to be the Crown Prince! Bengong cannot accommodate him!”
“May your Ladyship be appeased, the position of the Crown Prince would only be Prince Jing’s. Moreover…” Shui Xin’s voice got lower and that originally gentle and beautiful voice was much colder, “When one loses something that one never gained, the loss would not be antagonising. But if happiness is already in one’s hand but was then seized by another, that would be so painful that one would wish they are dead.”
Xin Yue Ning pursed her lips and was a little exasperated, “What you said was justified but that child does not make Bengong have a peace of mind!” Shui Xin’s familiar cold gaze made Xin Yue Ning happy for a moment and she lowered her voice to ask, “You… Already thought of a solution?”
Her eyes sharpen and that cold gaze was collected as she smiled. Shui Xin frankly replied, “Rest assured Mistress, this time this servant will think of a sure-fire plan and there will not be any slip-up.”
There was truly a solution?! Pulling Shui Xin’s arm, Xin Yue Ning asked urgently with full of hope in her eyes, “What is the plan? Quickly speak!”
“Move the tiger from the mountain (indicating to lure an opponent out of their stronghold).”
“Move the tiger from the mountain?” Xin Yue Ning’s brows slightly furrowed. How to move? Who was the tiger?
Gently turning to her side and removing Xin Yue Ning clutch on her hands without a trace, Shui Xi slightly lowered her head and whispered to Xin Yue Ning’s ears, “In another twenty over days, it would be the Little Prince full month, at that time…”
“Mistress, dinner is ready.” Fu Ling was instructing the eunuch to arrange the dishes as she called to the inner chambers softly.
After the bumpy travel in the morning and a little rest in the afternoon, the little fellow was crying for milk. When he was just fed, he made some rumblings before turning around and his small little eyes were half closed like he was really sleepy. Qing Feng was unable to help laughing, “Why does he want to sleep again?”
Shen Yao came forward and softly said, “May your Ladyship have the meal first. This servant will coax the Little Prince to sleep.”
“Also good.” Placing the child in her arms to Shen Yao, Qing Feng walked to the dining hall to eat.
Even though the cooks in the other residences have put in all their effort to prepare her diet, it was after all not the Imperial Kitchen, thus there are limitation to the food they were able to make and Qing Feng was also used to those simple dishes. When she walked into the dining room, she saw the large table was filled with different delicacies. Just the soup alone, there were already five or six types and each one was filled with different ingredients and very particular. Qing Feng curiously said, “What is there so many soups?
Fu Ling looked at the door and a slightly plump figure was kneeling on the ground and shouted, “This servant greets Imperial Concubine Qing. Long live your Ladyship.”
Xu Ji? She only came back in the afternoon and he was now here to display his attentiveness, his news was sure fast and accurate. Glancing at him and not calling him to raise, Qing Feng faintly replied, “Why have you come?”
Xu Ji raised his head and there was still a humble yet fawning smile on his face, “This servant had heard that your Ladyship had returned to the Palace today and specially prepared nourishing and restoring soups but was unsure of what your Ladyship’s taste is, so a few more are prepared.”
“You are indeed considerate.”
Hearing the cold and sickly tone of Qing Feng’s voice, Xu Ji did not dare to get up and moved forward on his knees and smiled, “That is natural, your Ladyship’s heal its worth ten thousand of gold. This servant must be dedicated. Moreover in a while, the Empress Dowager and Empress would be coming over to visit you and the Little Prince with other concubines so you need to eat more, to have more energy.”
The Empress and the Empress Dowager were coming over? Qing Feng was stunned. She was not afraid of the Empress Dowager, not for the monk’s sake but for the Buddha’s (Chinese phrase that means doing out of the consideration for someone else), the little guy was here so the Empress Dowager would not do anything much to her. But the Empress… Is she looking for trouble this time?
Qing Feng’s face slightly changed and Xu Ji was secretly pleased and softly said, “The Empress Dowager is now taking her meal and would only come over later. Your Ladyship can dine with a piece of mind.”
Xu Shu Ping had been by the Empress Dowager’s side for so many years and it was not possible for her to be of use to her only. But if this brother and sister could slightly bend towards her, it would be a good thing. Qing Feng smiled slightly and slightly raised her hand to motion him to get up, “Alright, Bengong has picked up your intentions. Withdraw.”
“Yes.” After ensuring that Qing Feng knew of his usefulness, Xu Ji did not stay any longer and greeted before he immediately withdrew.
“You can all withdraw.” After sending away the eunuchs, Qing Feng immediately called Ru Yi who was standing behind her, “Ru Yi.”
“Go to Xiao Yu’s to retrieve Ji Pin Liu Yue and go see what the Emperor is doing in passing. If there were no ministers discussing state affairs then go in to give your greetings.”
Giving the Emperor greetings? Ru Yi was somewhat taken aback. Mistress wants her to go get reinforcements? Understanding the Mistress’s intention, Ru Yi cleverly replied, “This servant will go now.”
Xin Yue Ning was a narrow-minded person and she and Chen Zhen should not have huge animosity or hatred but all these time she still thought of harming others. This time Su Ling and Mo-er got her maternal uncle’s family involved in such a large issue, she would definitely not let it slide. Qing Feng worriedly look at the little fellow sleeping soundly in the room and her heart tighten, worried that she was unable to protect him.
A bowl of hot soup was placed in front of Qing Feng, “Drink a little soup first.” Fu Ling gentle voice rang at the side of her ears which made Qing Feng smile pleasantly, fortunately Fu Ling was still here accompanying her.
Qing Feng usually did not eat much and with the additional thoughts on other things, she only hastily drank a bowl of soup and nothing else. It was fortunate that the child was well-behaved and kept on sleeping, which did not require Qing Feng be troubled but Ru Yi had gone to Zheng Yang Palace for over one Shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) and was still not back. Qing Feng started to feel increasingly ill-at-ease.
“Empress Dowager has arrived.”
“Long live the Empress Dowager.”
When three quarters of Xu Shi (modern timing: 7 – 9 pm) came, a voice reported and the servants’ greeting sounded inside Qing Feng Hall.
Qing Feng half laid on the bed and did not get of the bed to receive but her heart was curious: Xin Yue Ning actually did not come?
“All raise.” The Empress Dowager’s pace was very quick and soon entered the house.
Qing Feng pretended to be weak as she leaned against Fu Ling and quickly got up, “Empress Dowager, why did you come over, it should be Chenqie who should go over to greet.”
“Alright, you are still in your confinement period and should rest well. Aijia is here to see the little obedient grandchild.” Waving her hands to Qing Feng, Lou Su Xin did not criticize her harshly. Xu Shu Ping who was standing behind Lou Su Xin walk to Qing Feng’s side and greeted before gently carrying the Little Prince from the bed back to Lou Su Xin’s side. When Lou Su Xin saw that fair and plump little obedient grandchild, she was so happy that she only cared about playing and cherishing the grandchild and totally forgot about the few concubines that were following behind.
The few of them looked at one another and felt a little awkward. They took a step forward and greeted, “Greeting Imperial Concubine Qing.”
Qing Feng squinted her eyes as she look and recognised a few of them, one was Concubine Ru, who gave birth to a princess, and the other was Chen Zhen’s younger cousin, Beauty Yu. As long as the Empress was not here, Qing Feng did not mind the rest of them as she smile, “All raise. Fu Ling, serve the tea up.”
Lou Su Xin was wholeheartedly playing with her little obedient grandchild and Qing Feng normally had no dealings with the few concubines and they had some restrained fear of her in their heart, thus other than words of congratulations, they only sat at the side blankly.
Qing Feng sat half leaning the bed and her heart which was hanging the entire evening was about to be place down when a voice came from outside the courtyard reported, “The Emperor has arrived. The Empress has arrived.”
Qing Feng suddenly sat up, why would they… Come over together?