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Chapter Ninety Six
The news that the Empress was pregnant quickly travelled from the hougong to the court. On the second day, many officials’ wives sent congratulatory messages to the rear hall of Tian Qi Palace, expressing the joy the entire court felt towards the pregnancy of the Empress.
Qu Qing Ju carelessly flipped open a note. The main idea was that the entire court heard that the Empress was pregnant and couldn’t contain their joy, couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep and had to write of their joy, and wrote a whole pile of good wishes before finishing with greetings to the Empress Dowager, Emperor, Empress etc etc
The content of the messages weren’t different, but what they expressed was the same. It was, us common people, we’re happy today.
Qu Qing Ju knew that the people had been keeping watch over her belly. If she gave birth to a son, it was the di eldest son. In the future, even if the other feipin had children, they couldn’t shake the eldest son’s position.
Thinking of her body now which was only sixteen, and was raising another little life, she felt complicated. And then she couldn’t help but have another bowl of rice.
The Empress Dowagers of the two palaces had already let the servants deliver a whole pile of useful and useless things over. Especially Empress Dowager Wei. She seemed to want to stuff the rear hall of Tian Qi Palace full, sending over pile after pile of stuff. Qu Qing Ju started to wonder if Empress Dowager Wei still had anything left in her personal stores.
“Empress, Jin An Princess had someone send congratulatory gifts into the palace,” Huang Yang held a list as he entered which he gave into Qu Qing Ju’s hand. “Her Highness Princess Royal also said to wait until the flower banquet tomorrow to have a good chat with you.”
Qu Qing Ju flipped the list. The things listed avoided stuff that might cause trouble. It could be seen that Jin An Princess Royal had the intentions to become closer but was worried of getting into trouble. Putting the list to one side, Qu Qing Ju smiled, “Go tell the messenger, say that ben gong will remember and to let Jin An Princess come early tomorrow.”
Jin An Princess Royal and her, originally it had been half friendship, half beneficial. The way they interacted now, it was the best. Jin An Princess Royal might be female, but Qu Qing Ju felt that she was very decisive in her conduct. When she had separated from the Count of Bei Lu, she was unhesitating and didn’t show any weakness. In the end, she had protected the reputations of the princess of the Imperial House, and captured titles for her children. In reality, if the Princess Royal and the Count of Bei Lu hadn’t separated, her children might not have the same rank as they did now.
After that, Jin An Princess expressed goodwill to He Heng and clearly distanced herself from lao da and lao san’s family. The action seemed reckless, but it was much easier to obtain the good opinion of He Heng that way. No one liked people who backstabbed. In the very end, Jin An Princess’ step was right. Now, she was the most free, most important princess, the Princess Royal, of all of xiandi’s daughters. Even if she didn’t have a fuma now, who in Jing would underestimate her?
A woman as skilled as her, it was no wonder that an emperor as unjust as Qing De Emperor was soothed by her to not care about traditions and make her the Princess Royal. Even Qu Qing Ju herself didn’t think she could do as well.
“Empress, Cheng Wang Fu sent gifts.”
“Empress, the Duchess of Zhong Yi sent gifts.”
Qu Qing Ju spent the whole morning looking at different lists. She sighed. It wasn’t an insignificant number of officials’ wives that were qualified to send gifts to her. She didn’t know how much had been just placed into the stores without a word.
“Empress, Rui Wang Fu sent gifts.”
The presents from Rui Wang Fu came relatively late. Qu Qing Ju had been preparing to use the noon meal when the people delivered it. She casually flipped open the list and was slightly shocked. Did Qin Bai Lu really prepare this for her? Thousand year ginseng, Tian Shan snow lotus, hundred year knotweed and so on. Things like cultivating bangles, and other valuable objects had been stuffed in. When she finished reading the list, Qu Qing Ju felt that Qin Bai Lu wouldn’t be this good to her. Something along the line wasn’t right.
“Who sent this list?” Qu Qing Ju folded up the list in her hand, her brow furrowing as she asked, “Ben gong has always been at odds with Qin Bai Lu, when has she been so good to me?”
“Empress, you are the Empress now. How can Rui wang fei compete against you now?” Huang Yang responded, “This list was personally sent by the steward of Rui wang Fu, He Fu Er. It shouldn’t be wrong.”
“Right now, the Emperor is investigating the old case of Jiang Nan. Rui Wang sending so much over, he must have other intentions,” Qu Qing Ju just remembered that the court was in the middle of the case of Jiang Nan. Rui Wang Fu sending so much over, were they thinking for her to have some pillow talk?
That was funny. She, an Empress that the Emperor put importance on, would be stupid enough, for just this paltry amount of stuff, to go beg for mercy for Rui Wang, wasn’t that was seeking suicide, being tired of living?
The matter was overlapping with the court so the servants attending Qu Qing Ju cleverly didn’t follow up. This was a quality that Qu Qing Ju was satisfied with. In this world, no one liked other people saying things they shouldn’t by their ear.
In the Imperial Study of Tian Qi Palace, He Heng finished reading the memorandum on the case of Jiang Nan, his face grave as he drummed his fingers. A long time later, he ordered: “Summon the Duke of Zhong Yi for an audience.”
When Tian Jin Ke came to Tian Qi Palace, He Heng had finished all of the memorandums on the desk. Seeing him come in, he called: “Beloved Official Tian doesn’t have to be courteous. Zhen has called you today to discuss the matter of Rui Wang.”
Tian Jin Ke hesitated before replying: “The evidence has been conclusive for the case of Jiang Nan. This subject doesn’t know what the Emperor means.”
“In his life xiandi liked zhen’s sandi the most, so zhen doesn’t want his life. But the case is truly frightening. Zhen, as a ruler, cannot tolerate such things to happen,” he sighed, “It’s hard to fulfill both righteousness and loyalty.”
Hearing that the Emperor had spoken to such lengths, Tian Jin Ke couldn’t even pretend to not understand. He immediately responded: “Rui Wang’s crimes are serious, but these cases were committed mostly by his subordinates who couldn’t not moderate themselves and are not directly linked with Rui Wang. Wei chen thinks that Rui Wang is guilty but not guilty of death.”
“Then you say, how should zhen determine Rui Wang’s crimes?” He Heng looked at Tian Jin Ke below, mocking, “At the very least, he is zhen’s brother. Zhen doesn’t bear for him to live too bleakly for the rest of his life.”
Tian Jin Ke’s heart jumped, fine sweat dotting his forehead. The Emperor, at such an age, had such a manner, it was truly shocking: “This subject doesn’t know.”
“Fine, zhen won’t bother you,” He Heng didn’t keep going at the question. His tone suddenly became light, “Now Empress is pregnant. She had always been close to your furen. In the future, if your furen doesn’t have any major matter, then come to the palace to keep the Empress company.”
Hearing the Emperor mention such a matter, Tian Jin Ke naturally happily complied. His niece was still very young. As an elder, he was happy she was pregnant and could steady her position as Empress but was worried she would be inexperienced and become worried, and frightened due to pregnancy.
“Zhen doesn’t have anything else. You are excused.” He Heng said with a faint smile.
Tian Jin Ke saw the relaxed expression on the Emperor’s face as though he wasn’t affected by the case of Jiang Nan and left unworried. When he passed through the gates of Tian Qi Palace, he thought in puzzlement, did the Emperor only summon his to ask about the matter of Rui Wang?
But why did he feel that it wasn’t right?
In Rui Wang Fu, He Yuan raised a wine cup to take a sip. He looked lazily at Gao Duo on his side whose face was full of worry. He smiled, asking, “What, ben wang isn’t worried, but why are you even more uneasy than ben wang?”
“Wang ye, now that the evidence for the Jiang Nan case has all been presented to the Emperor, if the Emperor would try to take your life, you have no way out,” Gao Duo sighed, suggesting, “Why don’t we think of another way?”
“Think of what?” He Yuan snorted, “If he wants to kill, then kill. The winner as king, the loser as outlaw. Now that he is the Emperor, even if he didn’t have the evidence of the Jiang Nan Case, he could still easily sort me out.”
“But has wang ye thought of the people on the fu, and Shu gui taifei still waiting for you to receive her out of the palace? If you get in trouble, what about them?” Gao Duo sighed.
“Don’t worry, He Heng wants to settle accounts with me, but the hypocrite he is, definitely won’t leave behind a bad name. The lives of everyone in this fu will remain,” He Yuan lowered his face, throwing his head back to drink to the bottom of the cup, “Even more, the Empress is now pregnant, he wouldn’t bear to start killing.”
How did the matter relate to the Empress? Gao Duo looked in puzzlement at He Yuan. Seeing that his face wasn’t pleasant, he didn’t dare to use the Emperor’s name and responded: “If that’s the case, wang ye, why don’t you take advantage of the chance and save yourself?”
“I can’t hide forever,” He Yuan careless threw away the cup in his hand, “don’t waste any more attention for ben wang. Ben wang knows, you can leave.”
Gao Duo looked at the wine cup rolling on the floor and left in helplessness. When he came out of the gate, he saw Rui Wang Fei standing at the door, and lowered his head, making a greeting.
Qin Bai Lu didn’t pay attention to him. She only stared at the gate of the building, as though the person inside was an enemy of hers.
“Wang fei?” Ru Hua saw that wang fei’s expression wasn’t good and carefully urged, “It’s cold in autumn, let’s go back to the room.”
“Now he doesn’t even want me to meddle in the matters of houyuan,” Qin Bai Lu grimaced as she spoke. Then her expression became malevolent, “The congratulatory presents for the Empress’ pregnancy, he didn’t even ask me, the wang fei, before sending it off. This wang fei that I am, what’s the meaning?”
“Zhuzi, don’t be angry, let’s return.” Ru Hua reached to pull Qin Bai Lu. This was the doorway to the main building. What would happen if wang ye heard?
“Humph,” Qin Bai Lu snorted, holding Ru Hua’s hand as she left in discontent. It wouldn’t matter if she didn’t leave. By now, wang ye practically didn’t go to her rooms, and didn’t let her enter his.