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Chapter Eight-Four: Catching Fish in Muddy Waters
After the Empress had gone to Zhu Que Palace, the Crown Princess had seen red. Thankfully, the grand doctors had arrived in time and the baby was kept. However, the Crown Princess had to go on bedrest for a few days to prevent bleeding again.
The rumors about the Empress were already wild in Jing, and with this incident of the Crown Princess bleeding, everyone’s discussions became even more heated. How could there be such a coincidence in this world? The Empress just went to visit the Crown Princess, and the Crown Princess started bleeding?
Who knew if maybe the Empress had done something to cause the Crown Princess to start bleeding?
Someone said that the Crown Princess’ child was the only child of the Crown Prince, so the Empress would treat her with the greatest of care. How could she bully the Crown Princess?
Once someone said this, many women came out to speak their opinion. The relationship between daughter and mother-in-law was the biggest problem. Some mothers-in-law treated their daughters-in-law as their own daughters, yet others were harmonious on the surface but at odds in private. Just a few extra looks could cause conflict.
Also, it wasn’t much of a secret that the Empress had been discontent with the Crown Princess in the past. Many noblewomen had seen the Empress slight the Crown Princess in public. This showed that the Empress, the mother-in-law, was very harsh towards the Crown Princess. Now that the Crown Prince was gone, it might be that she did not feel happy and took it out on the Crown Princess.
The rumors outside were so detailed it was as though they were true. The Empress became the archetype of the evil mother-in-law, and the Crown Princess was the pitiful, innocent white lotus that had been treated badly.
When Hua Xi Wan heard the versions of these rumors, she gaped. She had finally experienced what the power of speech was. She might not have a high opinion of the Empress, but the Empress was not someone so brainless. Even if she disliked the Crown Princess’ child very much, she would not be in such a rush to kill the child that she would do it just after she left. The Empress was not that stupid.
But people were always beings who liked to think the worst of people. They would only be interested when they were talking badly of others. Who was interested in discussing the good qualities of others?
The reason that gossip was welcomed was because it would satisfy people’s curiosity. Bad news was usually more welcome than good news. So regardless of the truth of the matter, the Empress’ decades-long good reputation was finally ruined among the people.
“Since this matter is so popular, why don’t we add some more fuel to fire?” Yan Jin Qiu slowly drank tea and said to Hua Xi Wan, “This Crown Princess is really skilled.” There were many people who were targeting the Crown Princess from inside and outside the palace, but even now, she was able to protect the child. Just this was proof that she was not as innocent and kind as the rumors said.
“What do you want to do?” Hua Xi Wan looked suspiciously at Yan Jin Qiu. She kept on feeling that if Yan Jin Qiu participated in the matter, the effects would multiply.
Two days later, the content of the gossip had changed. That was, no matter how evil of a mother-in-law the Empress was, and even if she wanted to bully her daughter-in-law, she would not want to even kill her grandson. Then why was the Empress so impolite to the Crown Princess?
Was it because the Crown Princess’ child wasn’t the Crown Prince’s, so that was why the Empress was acting so?
Then people said that before the Crown Princess had married, she had been in love with Sheng Junwang. She had even gone to pray in a monastery for Sheng Junwang. But fate was a tease, and so one of the pair married the daughter of the Hou Family and one married the Crown Prince. The love had been there, but it had been forced to end.
What, Sheng Junwang and the Crown Princess had been secretly in love and had almost become a couple?
At first, everyone felt this was only a rumor, but the more they thought, the more they found it suspicious. It seemed that in the past, Sheng Junwang’s mother and He Wen Furen had been very good friends from childhood. After the wang fei had passed away, He Wen Furen had been so sad that she had gotten ill.
It was also possible that they had privately engaged the children together. Who could expect that the Sheng Wang husband and wife would pass away so early and that His Majesty liked playing matchmaker for his nephews?
Everyone quickly fantasized a tale of love and hate, with sadness at separation, and in the end, they concluded, the Crown Princess’ child was possibly Sheng Junwang’s. Otherwise, the Empress would not treat her so.
As to why no one thought it could be Yan Jin Qiu’s, the reason was very clear. That was because everyone in the world knew that Xian Wang and Xian Wang Fei were deeply in love. How could Xian Wang have gotten it down with the Crown Princess? But Sheng Junwang was different. His relationship with Hou shi was neither intense nor indifferent, and he did not seem to have any preferences towards the concubines. Why was he so indifferent—was it because he did not have desires?
If a man was not lusty, that was because there was someone in his heart. In this case, that other person was the Crown Princess.
From this, it could be seen just how important the first impression was. Sheng Junwang and the Crown Princess were immediately labeled a pair.
Hua Xi Wan who had been astounded by the drama of the rumors was interested. She pulled on Yan Jin Qiu’s sleeve and asked, “The Crown Princess and Sheng Junwang… really had a secret relationship?”
“How about you guess?” Yan Jin Qiu curved his lips in a smile, reached with an arm around her waist, and stole a kills from the corner of her mouth.
“How about you guess if, for the next month, you are sleeping in the study or sleeping in the main yard?” Hua Xi Wan raised an eyebrow at Yan Jin Qiu. “Wang Ye is so smart, you can definitely guess correctly, right?”
Yan Jin Qiu: “…”
“Their mothers did mention the matter, but because of the elder wang fei’s passing, this matter was put down.” Yan Jin Qiu unhesitatingly chose to sleep in the main yard. “As to whether they had a secret relationship or not, I am not sure. However, I am suspicious that the Crown Princess also had a hand in the Crown Prince’s difficulties in getting a child.”
“I thought…” Hua Xi Wan looked at Yan Jin Qiu, and the meaning did not have to be said.
“I wasn’t the only one who acted. From the court to the inner palace, there are so many people who wanted the Crown Prince to remain childless that it can’t be counted on the fingers. The Crown Prince was also careless and arrogant in his conduct. Who knows when he started to be unfortunate?” Yan Jin Qiu raised an eyebrow. He had just helped the mastermind act.
After saying this, husband and wife smiled innocently at each other.
“You mean that it really is possible that the Crown Princess had something with Sheng Junwang?” Hua Xi Wan thought back and really couldn’t think of when the two would interact. However, she did detect that the Crown Princess did not treat Hou shi warmly. But she had thought at the time that it was because of the different sides they were on, and not because of emotional matters.
“They are the only ones who know. What does it have to do with me?” Yan Jin Qiu said, unconcerned. “It is not important if we believe or not; what is important is if that one believes it.”
Hua Xi Wan thought the same. Qilong Emperor was probably the person most concerned about this matter. Actually, even if the child was his, he would probably still feel some kind of repellence.
Yan Jin Qiu’s move was really vicious. His ability to control the gossip was not something that normal people could do. If it was in her previous life, someone like Yan Jin Qiu would definitely be spectacular at propaganda.
Thinking about the night pearl decoration that the Crown Princess had given to Hou shi, and the cold gaze with which Hou shi had looked at the Crown Princess at the beginning, Hua Xi Wan felt that many things were starting to come together when she thought of the Crown Prince’s inability to have a child.
She had originally felt that it was strange that the Crown Princess had given that decoration, because from the Crown Princess’ usual personality, it seemed that she was a woman who hoped to have a child. Her personality had also seemed very gentle. Adding on how the Empress and the Crown Prince treated her, how could she unhesitatingly act against Hou shi?
This was like a normally gentle person suddenly killing someone who was an acquaintance. It looked as though it was for power, but in reality, upon closer inspection, that reason was full of holes.
But if the Crown Princess liked Yan Bo YI? For Yan Bo Yi, she dosed the Crown Prince with medicine to make it hard for him to have a child, and then it would be hard for her to ever have a child. But Hou shi managed to get pregnant at this time with the child of the person she loved. At the edge of a breakdown, the Crown Princess followed what the Empress wanted and schemed against Hou shi’s child.
She wondered what Yan Bo Yi thought after the matter occurred. Conflict, sadness, or fury? It seemed that every person in the inner palace was a very skilled actor. The Empress Dowager was so, the Empress was so, and even the Crown Princess was not an exception.
Qilong Emperor looked with a dark expression at the young woman crying in front of him, crying until she couldn’t breathe before his expression eased slightly and he said, “You really didn’t have a secret relationship with Sheng Junwang?”
“Emperor, when Sheng Wang Fei passed away, I was only twelve. I did not understand anything. Not long after, you decreed my matter. Then I stayed inside to prepare and never took a step outside the gates. How could I see an outsider like Sheng Junwang?”
Qilong Emperor looked at the Crown Princess and lingered on her swollen belly. In the end, a hint of a smile came onto his face. “Zhen knows that the rumors outside are the slander of others. Take care of the child and do not worry.”
After Qilong Emperor left, the Crown Princess said with a dark face, “Empress!” Other than the Empress, who would spread such rumors? Only by doing this would those people discussing the Empress’ lack of virtue turn their attention to her and Sheng Junwang, and release the Empress from the gossip.
“Go investigate who spread these rumors.” When Qilong Emperor returned to his residential palace, he gave this order. After a moment of hesitation, he said, “Also, go investigate if the Crown Princess and Sheng Junwang had a relationship in the past.”
He wanted to believe the Crown Princess, but there were some things that he could only be reassured about after they were proven. Also, was this matter related to the Empress?
No matter if these rumors were true or false, he could not keep his ambitious nephew any longer. If Yan Bo Yi was not taken care of, he would become a calamity.
Translator Ramblings: If only the empress had thought of this move … …