Good mothers are very important.
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Chapter Seventy Seven
When He Heng brought Qu Qing Ju to Tian Qi Palace, the children of the Emperor along with their mothers were all present. Qu Qing Ju even saw some unfamiliar princesses and their fuma, but these people were evidently not valued by Qing De Emperor and silently stood to one side.
The person sitting next to the dragon bed was none other than Jing guifei. She saw her son and erxi come in but didn’t pay any attention to them and persisted in her efforts to feed Qing De Emperor his entire medicine before announcing: “Emperor, Heng’er and erxi have arrived.”
Qing De Emperor’s mental state was much better compared to when he had first woke up yesterday. He watched as his son and erxi bowed in greeting before waving his hand, “Stand up, no need for such protocol.” He indicated for a taijian to bring a bench for the two to sit.
Qu Qing Ju detected that the smile Qing De Emperor directed towards Jing guifei was especially warm and his eyes, as he looked at He Heng, was kinder than in the past. She strangely felt her back turning cold. He was only sick for a few days, but why did Qing De Emperor seem strange?
She looked at the still standing feipin and princesses, and saw He Heng pulling his stool closer to sit next to the bed. She followed to sit next to He Heng and watched obediently as Jing guifei warmly placed a cushion for Qing De Emperor and gently put a blanket over Qing De Emperor as though, in the eyes of Jing guifei, Qing De Emperor was a more important existence than her own son.
Her eyebrow slightly twitched. Qu Qing Ju felt that she thought something she shouldn’t have. She silently moved her gaze to He Heng and saw He Heng appeared to be deeply worried as he looked at Qing De Emperor. She also adjusted her expression and tried not to get left behind.
“Has fuhuang gotten better? A few days ago, er chen heard fuhuang’s body wasn’t well and felt so worried. Er chen waited at Tian Qi Palace many times but didn’t see you awaken. Today, your state looks much better and this son can finally be at ease,” He Heng’s expression slightly relaxed as he examined Qing De Emperor’s complexion before saying, “This son was unfilial for not being in attendance the entire time that fuhuang was ill.”
“You are an adult now, and there are many affairs at court. You can’t keep watch over zhen all the time,” Qing De Emperor smiled and glanced at Jing guifei, “Your mufei has taken very good care of zhen, zhen understands your filial piety.”
Qu Qing Ju raised her eyelids to look at Jing guifei but only saw a faint smile on the other’s face.
“These last few days, Jing guifei didn’t have it easy,” The Empress who had been silent all this time spoke. She came forward and stood next to the bed. He Heng and Qu Qing Ju stood to move to one side. There wasn’t any reason for them to be remain seated when the Empress was standing.
“Emperor, after you recover, you have to greatly reward Jing guifei. The last two days, qie tried many times to get her to rest, but she couldn’t bear to part from you,” When the Empress spoke to there, she gave a helpless sigh at Jing guifei. “After just a few short days, she’s thinned a whole circle. Not just you, Emperor. Even I feel pain looking at her.”
Qing De Emperor nodded: “Her regard, zhen knows.”
The Empress smiled, not a hint of jealousy on her face. From what Qu Qing Ju saw, the Empress was very satisfied with the present situation. That made her suspect that the Empress might be on the same side as her popo.
“Emperor, Shu guifei and His Highness Rui Wang are asking for an audience,” The chief taijian came in and after seeing the relaxed mood inside the room, he informed in a small voice, “His Highness Cheng Wang and Chang Wang Fei are also waiting outside the hall to be summoned.”
She didn’t know what Qing De Emperor seemed to be thinking given his brow had slightly furrowed, “Let them all come in.”
Looking at his true love and his most favored son come in, what was Qing De Emperor’s expression? Why was Jing guifei smiling so warmly and the Empress’s smile so cold? This situation seemed fishy.
Shu guifei took her son and erxi with her as she walked in the front and He Ming and Luo Wen Yao walking behind them. After the five performed their greetings, Qing De Emperor didn’t bestow any of them a seat and only asked Shu guifei: “Zhen heard you became ill from attending on zhen, are you better?”
The rims of Shu guifei’s eyes were slightly red as she walked to the bed, sobbing as she choked out: “Qie is fine. Everything became fine when Emperor woke up. It is qie’s body that’s useless. Otherwise, qie would have kept constant guard and served Emperor.”
“Jing guifei has taken very good care of zhen, it wasn’t a hindrance when you weren’t present,” Qing De Emperor faintly returned. He looked at his favored son and the He Ming couple, coughing a few times before stating, “Zhen isn’t in any serious danger, you don’t have to worry.”
He Yuan was reminded of what mufei had said to him and saw fuhuang looked very close to Jing guifei. He felt discontented inside but on the surface, he had to smile as he replied: “Seeing fuhuang is well, er chen can rest the heart.”
“En,” Qing De Emperor nodded. Seeing the room was full of people, he let the other feipin, princesses, and fuma all leave. When only a few were left, he said, “This illness of zhen this time, it made you all worry.”
Everyone replied that as long as nothing was wrong with the Emperor, that was the best, and now the Emperor had to take care of his body and so on.
“Now that you have all grown up and settled down, zhen is very content,” Qing De Emperor sighed, his gaze sweeping across his three sons and their wang fei behind them. He gave a few more harsh coughs, “Zhen is growing old. You all have to put more effort into state matters and help lighten the load for zhen.”
The three He brothers instantly agreed, and said they would be willing to die for fuhuang and so forth.
Shu guifei’s heart became more and more insecure. Why was the Emperor saying these things? Didn’t he favor Yuan’er the most? why did it seem he was treating them equally?
“Alright, zhen is tired, you can all leave,” Qing De Emperor thought for a second, “Jing guifei stays.”
Shu guifei’s expression changed slightly. Seeing the Emperor had already closed his eyes to rest, she could only close her mouth. She looked at the mirth on Jing guifei’s face and felt that her smile seemed to be mocking her.
Coming out of Tian Qi Palace, the smile that Shu guifei had pasted on disappeared and her face darkened. She glared icily at He Heng and Qu Qing Ju before taking He Yuan and Qin Bai Lu with her as she left.
Qu Qing Ju turned and saw the smile on He Heng’s face. As she stepped on the white jade steps, she asked: “What is wang ye smiling about?”
“Fuhuang’s body is recovering, naturally I’m happy,” He Heng smiled as he glanced at her, “Don’t you think so?”
“This kind of event is naturally worthy of joy,” Qu Qing Ju smiled as she nodded. She turned her head to look at He Ming and Luo Wen Yao walking behind them, “The fu hired a Shu-cuisine chief a few days ago. How about si shu and si dimei come for the noon meal?”
Luo Wen Yao turned to look at He Ming. Seeing him nod, she then answered: “To taste the gourmet food at er bo and er sao’s fu, it is our good fortune.”
Qu Qing Ju smiled, “Eating is a type of good fortune. You don’t have to say these things to me.”
Luo Wen Yao gave a bashful smile, evidently embarrassed. Seeing the situation, He Ming bowed in apology to Qu Qing Ju.
Seeing him protect Luo Wen Yao, Qu Qing Ju smiled, “Alright, alright, if one didn’t know, they would think that I, as your saosao, is bullying you two. Spare me.”
He Heng smiled as he saw the intimacy between Qu Qing Ju and Luo Wen Yao. Holding her hand, he interrupted: “I think you should pay attention to walking. Otherwise, a trip and fall would damage your looks.”
“I’m not a child,” Qu Qing Ju sniffed, but docilely allowed He Heng to pull her along.
Luo Wen Yao followed behind them. Seeing the clasped hands of the two, a smile appeared on her face.
When Shu guifei returned to her palace, she let all the servants in the room leave. She looked at her son who also didn’t have a good expression, and asked in a lowered voice: “Yuan’er, I’m afraid that the Emperor might want to pass the throne to He Heng.”
He Yuan’s brows furrowed: “How come?”
Shu guifei carefully narrated the chain of events before concluding: “The Emperor’s heart has changed.” She really found it hard to accept that the Emperor would one day choose Wei shi and slight her. But just now in Tian Qi Palace, the Emperor treated that whore Wei shi much more intimately than her.
After just two short days, why was it this way? Was it that the Emperor was angry that she didn’t serve him? But her body had become uncomfortable so she had to leave. Or was it that Wei shi said some words disadvantageous to her in front of the Emperor?
“Are you sure that fuhuang said that lao er seemed similar to xiandi?” He Yuan thought deeply for a long time, and shook his head to refute: “It can’t be so, fuhuang has never treated lao er better than me. Why would he suddenly change his opinion. Maybe it’s Jing guifei who’s purposefully spreading false information?”
“I got suspicious as well, but you also saw the attitude the Emperor had towards Wei shi today,” Shu guifei coldly argued, “The Emperor’s heart has definitely changed. We cannot wait to be defeated. Yuan’er, I won’t let what belongs to you be taken away by others!”
He Yuan ranted: “Fuhuang really feels that Wei shi and her son is better than us, is he blind?”
When Qin Bai Lu who was in the corner heard these words, her heart jumped and she couldn’t resist pushing deeper into the corner. She sneaked a look at the ugly visage of He Yuan and couldn’t seem to remember what the Rui Wang she fell in love with two years ago looked like.
“Yuan’er!” Shu guifei heard He Yuan’s words, her expression instantly changing and disapprovingly said in a small voice, “How can you even say such things?”
“But previously, fuhuang clearly said the only one of importance in the hougong was you, and the most loved imperial son was me, but what is the reality?” He Yuan became more and more furious, “Wei shi just cared for him during his illness, and his attitude completely changed. Is that how he would act if he’d really cared for us?”
“But he’s the Emperor,” Shu guifei’s eyes reddened and she used her handkerchief to wipe the corner of her eyes. She cried, “If his heart changes, what can we do?”
“There’s always a way,” He Heng looked at Shu guifei, his face gradually calming, “Wei shi can try to compete for favor. Mufei, you have so many years of feelings with fuhuang, how can you lose to her?”
Shu guifei thought about the coldness in the Emperor’s eyes as he looked at her and nodded.
“As for He Heng,” He Yuan gave a cold smile, “No matter who he resembles, only the person who laughs to the end is the winner. Before, I was more favored than him. In the future, I won’t lose to him.”
In Tian Qi Palace, Jing guifei looked at the sleeping Emperor. She slowly drew her hand out of the Emperor’s hand. She looked calmly at the old man on the bed, the corners of her lips rising.
What was “having missed these years”?
The Emperor was becoming fonder of making jokes, but it was a pity that after these many years, this kind of joke wasn’t funny anymore.