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Chapter One Hundred and Four This Was Good
The temperature of winter mornings were especially cold. The Imperial Guards guarding the palace doors drew in a cold breath but didn’t dare stomp their feet to warm themselves. Watching the officials who usually preferred to ride a horse, sit on the sedan, the guards whose faces were paralyzed from the cold felt envious.
“Hey brother, did you hear that Ning Wang is coming back to court?” The two Imperial Guardsmen that were changing shifts walked out of the palace gates, one of the brawny men said in a low voice as he looked at the surroundings, “I heard yesterday many people had sent up a memorandum to the Emperor about such a matter.”
The slightly thinner and taller one gave a superior expression: “It is certain that Ning Wang would return to court. Xiandi was partial to Rui Wang so he locked Ning Wang on the outside. Now that it’s cold, the Emperor is kind and honest, it’s natural that he would summon Ning Wang back. Just watch, in three days, Ning Wang will be summoned back to court by the Emperor.”
The brawnier one rubbed his head, laughing honestly: “You’re right. Rui Wang did such large mistakes, but the Emperor didn’t take his life due to fraternal love. So it should be the same for His Highness Ning Wang.” If he had a say, Ning Wang was really mistakenly accused and locked up. Maybe the assassination had been done by Rui Wang. It was just that xiandi was partial and used Ning Wang as a shield.
The thinner and taller one saw his mentality and didn’t speak further, sighing inside. The twists and turns of the thoughts of those in the Imperial Family, whether it was fraternal friendship or anything else, it had nothing to do with them guards. Now that Ning Wang was returning to court, Rui Wang had become a powerless jun wang. These two had been at odds from the beginning. Rui Wang had been arrogant and offended countless people. One of those victims had been Ning Wang. There would be a reckoning for Rui Wang now.
On the court, all the officials were discussing the matter of Ning Wang’s return to the court. Some said since that Ning Wang had been locked under xiandi’s orders, the Emperor shouldn’t change it. Some said that Ning Wang now knew his mistake and was brothers with the Emperor, it was right for him to return to court to help shoulder the burden for the Emperor, and that was all the reason to summon him to court.
In reality, everyone knew that it was suspicious that Ning Wang had been locked up by xiandi. Some suspected that Ning Wang had been a scapegoat pushed out by xiandi for Rui Wang. But now, no one dared to mention that thought, and only fought over whether Ning Wang should return to court or not.
Those that were at odds with Ning Wang naturally didn’t want Ning Wang to return but there were people who supported Ning Wang’s return. Those of keen eyes found that among those that supported Ning Wang’s return were many of the conservative faction. So these people started to think about the Emperor’s intentions.
By now, Ning Wang’s power base had been swept clean. Those officials that had been close to Ning Wang were suppressed completely by the officials that the Emperor favored, and some became part of the conservative faction. Was the Emperor trying to show the world he had fraternal love?
The Duke of Zhong Yi who had once proved Ning Wang’s guilt in front of xiandi suddenly changed his stance. The main idea was that Ning Wang had repented and changed for the better, he could make up for his offenses by returning to the court and working for the Emperor etc etc.
The Duke of Zhong Yi and Luo Chang Qing, a pair of sly father and son-in-law, always followed the Emperor. Now that the two of them expressed their outlook, everyone understood the Emperor’s position. As morning court progressed, no one dared to oppose this matter.
“Since all the daren have asked for zhen’s da ge to return to court, zhen is very comforted. In the past, da ge as the eldest had been very attentive to zhen and siblings. Now that zhen is Emperor, thinking of da ge living in the bitter cold mountain cold, it is difficult to sleep. For da ge to return to court to help lessen the burden for zhen, it is a good thing.” He Heng exclaimed: “Duke of Zhong Yi, why don’t you personally go and bring Ning Wang back to Jing.”
The Emperor saying that Ning Wang was attentive of his brothers, wasn’t that telling everyone he didn’t believe Ning Wang ordered the assassinations?
“Chen will obey,” Tian Jin Ke knew that the Emperor wanted Ning Wang to owe him a favor. He was very grateful inside for the goodwill that the Emperor held towards the Tian Family. After he made a deep bow to the Emperor on the dragon chair, he retreated to one side.
At this time, many people’s hearts were sour. Thinking about the four months pregnant Empress in the palace, they admired the other’s good life.
Deep in the palace, Qu Qing Ju was reading through a pile of cards. Seeing that it was close to the new year, even though they couldn’t celebrate extravagantly because of the passing of xiandi, they still had to hold celebrations. Those who sent in messages were noblewomen of significant status, such as Cheng Wang Fei, Rui Wang Fei, and the duchesses and marquesses. She randomly flipped open one. The beginning was wishing good fortune for Emperor and Empress, and a gift list was inserted behind.
As to what was to be bestowed down to them, naturally there were people serving Qu Qing Ju who would spend the time to organize it. All Qu Qing Ju needed to do was listen to them recite the list.
“Niangniang, how about resting a while,” Mu Jin saw the Empress give a yawn and suggested, “Nubi will sort the list before reciting it to you later.”
“There’s no need,” Qu Qing Ju waved her hand. Looking at the sky outside, “It’s almost noon, the Emperor is coming to eat later. Get the kitchen to prepare.”
“Yes,” Mu Jin indicated for Yin Liu to order the kitchen and gathered the cards that Qu Qing Ju read to one side.
“I heard that Rui Wang and Rui Wang Fei’s relationship is extremely terrible and has made an uproar in Jing,” Qu Qing Ju held the card from Rui Wang Fu, “Rui Wang Fei is still an imperial wife, how could she fuss like that?”
“Empress, even you heard?” Jin Zhan sighed, “Even before the Emperor ascended, there was already news that the two were frequently fighting. It’s gotten worse. Nubi has even heard that Rui Wang has said he was going to divorce Rui Wang Fu which made the Qin Family very angry.”
‘The Qin Family’ wasn’t a good phrase to Qu Qing Ju. She suddenly thought of Wei Qin shi, inquiring: “I remember that Wei Ran Shuang’s mother is one of the Qin Family, how is Wei Ran Shuang right now?”
Jin Zhan revealed a devious smile: “She doesn’t count as one of the Qin Family, just a distant cadet branch of the Qin Family. After Shengmu Empress Dowager sent someone to reproach Wei Qin shi, Qin daren made a match for Qin guniang on his own, but because of xiandi’s passing, the marriage has been delayed.”
“At the very least, she’s the Emperor’s cousin. If she married, her husband’s family wouldn’t dare to treat her unwell,” Thinking about Wei Ran Shuang’s fragile act, Qu Qing Ju raised an eyebrow. Hopefully, after Wei Ran Shuang married, she wouldn’t keep acting so pettily.
“Who knows what her family is thinking, she’s not a good person anyway.” Jin Zhan scornfully twisted her mouth. She still remembered that Wei Ran Shuang had wanted to be the Emperor’s qieshi.
“That was said well,” He Heng had a smile on his face as he strode in. He glanced at Jin Zhan before proclaiming, “A woman like that, she really isn’t a good person.”
“Emperor!” Jin Zhan and the others were so frightened their faces were pale, legs soft as they knelt down. She hadn’t thought that the Emperor would hear her words. What would happen if the Emperor thought the Empress was jealous, why did she act like Yin Liu and couldn’t control her mouth now?
“Stand up, zhen knows you all protect Empress,” He Heng waved his hand, evidently not caring what Jin Zhan said. He walked in front of Qu Qing Ju and bent down. Seeing a cup of red date tea in front of her, he said, “I read some medicine books a few days ago. They said that a pregnant woman who drinks too much red date tea would increase blood circulation and it isn’t good for the body.” Finishing, he pushed the red date tea to one side.
When did he start studying that area? Qu Qing Ju looked at him, smiled and asked, “Then what should I drink?”。
“Drink a small amount of Long Jing and Bi Luo Chun every day. Slightly seeped is good for the heart. I have flipped through many books, they all say the same,” Finishing, he made Qian Chang Xin go find the Imperial Tribute tea from his stores.”
Qu Qing Ju didn’t have much interest towards tea, but since the other put so much effort in, she wouldn’t waste the other’s goodwill. Complying with He Heng, she didn’t touch the cup of red date tea, “Emperor is so busy lately, how was there time to look at all this?”
“I don’t feel secure in putting you and child into another’s hands. Occasionally looking through medical books in my free time helps pass the time,” His gaze moved to the teacup and dryly coughed once before informing, “I just heard you mention the Wei Family biaomei. You don’t have to waste effort on her. Zhen heard that the person she is engaged to isn’t in Jing city. Wei Qin shi’s card has been blocked by muhou.”
“She’s Emperor’s relative, I won’t waste effort on her,” Qu Qing Ju smiled with a tilted head, “Today, I had the kitchen make a pearl pigeon soup. Emperor has to have a taste.”
Knowing that his Empress was changing the topic, He Heng saw the even brighter smile on her face, and could only smile and shake his head, ordering the servants to serve the meal.
The food in the palace on the surface was set down, but the raw materials differed within the standards set down. The little kitchen Qu Qing Ju had almost equalled the Imperial Kitchen in terms of product. This was disregarding He Heng who frequently got the Department of Household Affairs to send things over to Qu Qing Ju.
After the noon meal, He Heng leaned on the recliner as he read, Qu Qing Ju leaning on him as she played with a jade nine ring chain. A short while later, she untangled the chain in her hand, yawning as she threw it to one side. She twisted her body to place her head on He Heng’s thigh, “So boring.”
He Heng looked at her slightly swelling belly, cautiously putting his hand on top. Occasionally, he could feel the small movements of the little life within. He smiled, asking: “What do you want to play, I’ll have them prepare.”
“Nothing I really want,” Qu Qing Ju’s hand moved back and forth on his leg, “Why don’t you talk about what you thought when you first saw me.”
“At that time, you were wearing heavy makeup and didn’t dare to look at me. I really thought I had married a weak and timid wife,” He Heng rested his hand on her back, allowing Qu Qing Ju to mess around on his leg, “I’m very happy you managed to overcome the poison Feng shi fed you. Otherwise, I would never know that a man and woman can be together like this.”
Qu Qing Ju’s hand stilled. She didn’t know what to say. A beat later, she asked: “If I hadn’t made it through?”
He Heng gripped her hand tightly that she felt some pain: “There isn’t anymore ‘if’. The result is that you are here, zhen is here.”
“This is very good,” He Heng placed her hand on his face, sighing, “To have Qing Ju accompany zhen, it’s zhen’s greatest luck.”
There was nothing in being alone at the top, so each dynasty, each generation of emperor would have women that they favored. It was only because they couldn’t find what they wanted with the bodies of the woman they favored, so they would continue to look for the next one.
He knew that the woman lying in his lap was the one he wanted.
But, he also knew that in this woman’s heart, he wasn’t that important.
However, they still had a long time, and time would slowly change everything.
Therefore, this was very good.