This chapter has been brought to you by me, Adnana, and Vivie.
Chapter Sixty: Benevolence
It might have been that Hua Xi Wan was too suspicious, or that she had acted in all kinds of dramas in the past life, but she remembered, that time when she had gone into the palace, the gaze with which Qilong Emperor had looked at her, Xu Wang Shizi Fei and the Crown Princess. At the time, she had felt the stare was too strange. Now that she thought back to it, she felt that the gaze had a different meaning.
Once she started thinking this, Hua Xi Wan was shocked by her thoughts. She took a deep breath and forced this unreliable thought out of her head because this was taboo in society. Hua Xi Wan felt that she was thinking too much.
In the palace, after the Empress finished listening to Zhao Dong’s report, she had a strange expression. After she waved away the servants present, she lowered her voice and said, “Did the grand doctor confirm the diagnosis?”
“Niangniang, the babe inside the Crown Princess definitely has more than two months.” Zhao Dong darted a look at the Empress and then quickly lowered his head. “The Emperor places great important on the child of the Crown Prince, so he has sent an experienced mama from the palace, as well as female officials. He even sent two grand doctors to stay in the Crown Prince’s Fu.”
The Empress’ expression was uncertain. She had been thinking of the Crown Prince all this time because he was in prison. She was extremely thin, a layer of skin supported by bones, and looked much older. She even gave people a harsh and cold feeling. “It is rare for the Emperor to spend effort on these things.”
Zhao Dong’s heart jumped. He felt that the Empress’ words were not quite right, but he did not dare to think more. Instead, he said with a smile, “It can be seen that the Emperor thinks highly of you and the Crown Princess. Otherwise, he would not spend so much effort for the young highness.” When he said this, a trace of anger came onto his face. “This one had not expected Zhang Hou of the Judicial Office to be so unperceptive. He actually caused His Highness to have to stay longer in prison.”
The Empress had a dazed expression as though she had not heard Zhao Dong’s words. After a moment, she said tiredly, “Has the matter of the two prostitutes been taken care of?”
“Niangniang, do not worry. The matter has been pushed onto the Zhou Fu. No one will suspect His Highness.” Zhao Dong had a smile on his face that seemed slightly strange. “It is a pity that we were unable to relate it to Sheng Junwang Fu.”
“Yan Bo Yi is not someone you can scheme against.” The Empress snorted. “Pushing this matter onto the Zhou Family is just the result of a compromise between us and him. He knows that if the matter is dragged out, even if it is investigated, it will be harmful for his reputation. Whereas we do not want to make things worse for the Crown Prince. Only that Zhang Hou is really hateful…”
The Empress rubbed her forehead in restlessness. Every time she planned one step, something unexpected would happen. These recent years, it had been extremely choppy. She speculated that Yan Bo Yi was involved in this, so she felt murderous towards Yan Bo Yi.
Zhao Dong did not dare to speak more. He had already caused the Empress to feel discontent because he had not taken care of the matter properly. If he was careless in his speech, the Empress might take the chance to lecture him. The Empress had not been in a good mood recently. Many people in the palace had been punished, and he did not want to be punished.
“All right, you can go.” After the Empress said this, she stilled for a few moment and then said with a sigh, “Have the servants be careful of the Crown Princess’ child. Nothing is allowed to happen to the child.”
While she knew that the truth behind some matters was disgusting and hard to hear, for her son and her glory in the future, she could ignore it.
The world of the Great Zhao was fated to be in her son’s hands. No one could steal it from him.
After Zhao Dong walked out of the main hall, a young taijian hurried in. Then the tajian went next to his ear and said, “Just now the Emperor sent another troop to guard the Crown Prince Fu.”
The Crown Prince’s fu will really become impenetrable with the Emperor sending so many people over. Even flies would not be able to get in.
He sighed. There was no solution about this. The Emperor and the Crown Prince both had great difficulty in producing children. If the Crown Prince had a child, then his position would be more secure. Even if the officials were discontent with the Crown Prince, with the crown grandson present, these experienced and old officials would not go to support someone else of the Imperial Family.
The most important matter at this time was for the Crown Princess to give birth to the crown grandson.
“All right, this one knows.” Zhao Dong turned to look at the gates to the main hall. The large black doorway was like the large maw of a beast and caused him to feel slightly afraid. “The Empress is not in a good mood. Be quieter when you go in to report, and do not disturb niangniang.”
The young taijian had not thought that he could show his face in front of the Empress, and went in with a joyous expression. He completely forgot the fact that the Empress was not in a good mood.
Other than being loyal and having a closed mouth, Zhao Dong was able to serve the Empress for so many years because he had a sensitive intuition. Even though he did not know the reason, he felt that the Empress would not be happy after hearing the news, so he did not want to be present.
Time flowed by like water. A month passed, but the case of Lin Ping Junma’s assassination had still not been solved. Even the people in Jing started to forget this unfortunate junma and joyfully welcomed the first snow of Jing. After their meals, what they discussed was the crown grandson who was still in his mother’s belly, as well as the unworthy Crown Prince, or where Xian Wang Ye and Wang Fei had appeared and how pleasing they were to look at.
People were always forgetful. They were always willing to pay attention to what was immediate and forget the past as well as the people. In their eyes, this matter was just something to discuss. When it became boring, no one was willing to mention it again.
“Ah, it is snowing.” A young servant girl woke up in the morning. Pushing open the window, she saw the snowflakes floating in the air. She said happily to the other people in the room, “It seems that there will be a great harvest next year as well.”
“You should not pay so much attention to this kind of worldly affair. Quick, go to the kitchen and help. I heard that Wang Fei is going back to the marquis fu today, so breakfast needs to be prepared early.” Her fellow servant was hurriedly arranging her clothing. “If you are late, Aunty Wang will punish you.”
Hearing this, the young servant girl did not dare to slack off and hurriedly sprinted towards the kitchen. Before she entered the door, she heard a loud voice. She felt slight disdain inside. Liu Xiao San was just a distant relative of a servant woman who guarded the gates to the inner compound. It wasn’t as though he was serving in the inner compound, yet he dared to be so arrogant.
She thought like this, but she did not dare to show too much emotion on her face. Young servant girls like her did not dare to offend anyone from the inner compound. After greeting the other people in the kitchen, she started to work.
More than one hour later, a servant girl in blue robes came in with a smile on her face. She looked extremely friendly, but no one in the kitchen dared to slight her. Even Liu Xiao San was bowing and fawning, as he kept on calling her “Cheng Qiu Jiejie.”
Cheng Qiu had been one of the servants originally serving in the main yard of the wang fu, someone who everyone needed to respect. A few days ago, she had been promoted by Wang Fei to a first-rank servant girl. This was a great honor. Everyone in the fu was more polite when they met her. She had heard that even Chief Steward Mu was polite to the four personal servant girls of Wang Fei.
The young servant girl had seen Cheng Qiu for the first time not long after she came to the kitchen to work. She saw everyone in the kitchens acting with Cheng Qiu as the center. She looked with admiration at the blue dress that Cheng Qiu was wearing. She had heard that the servants of the wang fei were all dressed like goddesses, and it really did seem so when she saw the other today.
Originally, one of her neighbors had heard that she was working in the wang fu, which caused the other to be more respectful to her parents. Yet now when she saw Cheng Qiu, she felt that her status was just to fool the people outside.
“Am I disrupting your work?” Because Cheng Qiu smiled as she talked, there was a dimple on her cheeks. “I do not have any work and came to take a look. I might take the food for Wang Fei as well.”
The people naturally agreed and quickly packed the things for Wang Fei. They really did not dare to have Cheng Qiu carry the dishes and chose a few pretty servant girls to hold the food boxes and follow behind Cheng Qiu.
“This young girl seems to look very auspicious.” Cheng Qiu suddenly pointed at the young servant girl in the corner and said, “She looks unfamiliar to me—is she new?”
Liu Xiao San looked at the young servant girl. “Cheng Qiu Jiejie, you have good eyes. Her roommate Shuang Lu has been sent to serve in the gardens, so she took over the role.” Not willing to let the young servant girl be known, he didn’t even mention her name to Cheng Qiu.
“En, I feel that she has a happy disposition.” Cheng Qiu nodded. “Let’s have her come along to deliver the food.”
The young servant girl was overjoyed. After taking the food box that the kitchen steward handed over, she followed the servant girls behind this Cheng Qiu Jiejie.
After passing through a beautiful Door of Drooping Flowers, she knew that she was now in the inner compound.
After the door, a servant woman fawningly opened an umbrella to shelter Cheng Qiu from the snow. The young servant girl looked around and felt that this place wasn’t cold at all.
The inner yard was extremely beautiful. It was a season for withered branches and dried yellow leaves, but it was still bright green inside the yard. There were also several beautiful blossoms in the green, which looked exceptionally beautiful against the snow.
The scenery was beautiful, but the little servant girl did not dare to look more. When they walked to the moon door, they heard a heavenly laugher come from inside. Walking in, she saw several servant girls who were finely dressed harvesting flowers from the bushes. She couldn’t help but look at their pale and beautiful hands.
Seeing them come in, these finely dressed servant girls exchanged a few words. They stopped what they were doing, and washed their hands in the copper basin that a young servant girl behind them carried before leading them into the main room.
Entering the door, the young servant girl felt the room was very warm, so warm that her head was dizzy. When she walked into the room, she was not able to see anything. However, even if she had a clear mind, she would not dare to look.
“It is so cold—why did you make the trip? Quick, take this to warm your hands.”
Such a pleasing voice, the young servant girl thought dazedly. She had never heard a more beautiful voice in her life.
“Wang Fei, thank you.” When she heard Cheng Qiu Jiejie’s mirthful voice, she finally realized. No wonder the voice was so beautiful—it was Wang Fei. She sneaked a look and only saw the hem of a silver-embroidered dress. But just the hem caused her to feel it was extremely luxurious.
Listening to the orders of those around, the young servant girl carefully placed the contents of the food boxes. Just as she was preparing to leave, she was gripped by a hand. This hand was beautiful and pale. The moment that her hand was held, she felt that her hand was surrounded by the best silk in the world.
“Such an adorable little girl—she looks just twelve or so?” Hua Xi Wan saw this little servant girl’s cheeks were round, her eyes were large, and she seemed very cute. She said, “Zi Shan, take a look—does she look like your distant relative?”
Zi Shan smiled as she helped Hua Xi Wan wash her hands. “Wang Fei has good eyes. This servants also feels that she looks familiar.”
Everyone was amused by her words. Hua Xi Wan wiped her hands and said, “If that’s the case, then let’s have this distant relative of yours serve in the inner compound. This is taking care of your family’s relatives.”
Zi Shan curtsied with a smile. “Many thanks, Wang Fei. Meimei, quick, thank Wang Fei for her grace.”
Everyone laughed again, which amused Hua Xi Wan into drinking an extra half-bowl of soup. As for the young servant girl, she was kept in the inner compound. Because of her likable face, Wang Fei gave her the name “Qiao Xi,” which caused servants in the inner compound to feel admiration.
After the other people in the room had left, and Zi Shan was making up Hua Xi Wan’s hair, she asked in puzzlement, “Wang Fei, why have you kept this little girl?”
Picking a ruby and gold buyao to give to Zi Shan, Hua Xi Wan said, “Her roommate has some problems. Not far in the future, Mu Tong will probably tie her up and interrogate her. She is just twelve or so, and has nothing to do with the matter. Why should she be affected because of her roommate and lose her life?”
Hearing this, Zi Shan understood. “Mistress is benevolent. This little girl really has good fortune.”
Hua Xi Wan did not speak. At the side, Bai Xia who was arranging the hair ornaments said, “Mistress, no wonder you had Cheng Qiu make a trip today. So it was for this little girl.”
Translator Ramblings: I’m not sure if it’s the Empress’ fault that the Emperor only has one child. Maybe the Emperor’s brothers did something, just like how the crown prince’s cousins have caused his infertility.