This chapter has been brought to you by me and Adnana.
It had been almost a month since Gu Ru Jiu fainted, and she almost forgot about it. But Jin Yang and the people serving her were all careful, as though she was a fragile item. Jin Yang, who usually let her do as she pleased, even started to control her food.
“Ignore me.” Gu Ru Jiu fanned herself hard. She did not want to fight Jin Yang, but there was a ball of fire burning inside her. So she sat in the corner and did not want to see Jin Yang.
Seeing her angry, Jin Yang urged, “Do not be angry; it is not good for you to eat so much ice.”
“It was fine last month, so why is it not good this month?” Gu Ru Jiu did not know what was going on with her. Something that she would smile over and let pass before was now something that she cared about very much. Even her temper was very hot. “Do not speak to me; I feel irritated just seeing you.”
After saying this, Gu Ru Jiu sensed something was wrong. She covered her face, her voice tired. “I am sorry, I do not know what is going on. Recently…”
“I know that you are not in a good mood.” Jin Yang saw that she was pale and did not care about what she had just said. He pulled her into his arms to pat her back, and eased her emotions.
“Your Majesties, the imperial physician has come to take Your Majesty’s pulse.” Qiu Luo came into the room, and found the air between His Majesty and Her Majesty was not right. She did not dare to say more.
“Have him come in.” Jin Yang released Gu Ru Jiu, and bent down to look at Gu Ru Jiu who was seated on the couch. “Okay, do not be angry—what if the imperial physician sees your angry ugly state?”
“You are ugly!” Gu Ru Jiu gave a small smile. Then she held Jin Yang’s hand, slightly apologetic. Inside, she was worried. What was going on with her? She was in such a bad temper recently.
A while ago when Jin Yang was also managing her food, she was not like this.
The imperial physician came in and bowed to the pair, trying to not look at the clasped hands of the emperor and empress.
Imperial Physician Zhao had been recently promoted. In the past, he was specialized in gynecology. He had wondered before, why did His Majesty need a physician in gynecology?
Today, the eunuch in charge of Qiankun Palace came to find him to take the empress’ pulse. Then he understood. He could become an imperial physician not because of the emperor’s needs, but the empress’.
The first time he saw the empress, the other was not as beautiful as he had imagined, but was very sweet. The dimples on her cheeks made her look pure and young, like a girl that should be held in the palm of the hand and protected. If she was sad at all, people would feel guilty.
The empress, the first one to live in Qiankun Palace in history, was a person that people could not dislike after seeing her.
“You are new?” Gu Ru Jiu saw that this imperial physician was in his thirties. He was much younger than the other imperial physicians. “I have not seen you before.”
“Your Majesty, this subject was transferred a few days ago,” Imperial Physician Zhao said respectfully, his head bowed. “Please stretch out your right hand.”
When the empress stretched out her hand, he saw a white wrist with a jade bangle that had an interwoven pattern. He did not know how much effort it would take to make a jade bangle into a twisted vine style, so thin and delicate. The empress wore it beautifully.
Gu Ru Jiu saw Imperial Physician Zhao staring at her bangle, and then realized that the bangle was on her wrist and would affect him taking her pulse, so she moved the bangle up.
Imperial Physician Zhao bowed to her, and then placed a handkerchief over the empress’ wrist, carefully taking her pulse.
The pulse was slippery, like beads rolling off a jade plate.
Imperial Physician Zhao used both hands to take the pulse before putting away the handkerchief. “Your Majesty, may I ask if you have had a lack of appetite or phlegm?”
Gu Ru Jiu shook her head. “No.”
Imperial Physician Zhao showed a hint of a smile. He bowed to Jin Yang and Gu Ru Jiu. “Congratulations, Your Majesties—the empress is nearly two months pregnant.”
“What did you say?” Gu Ru Jiu was slightly stunned, and could not react.
“Your Majesty, you are pregnant.” Imperial Physician Zhao thought the empress was overjoyed and repeated.
Gu Ru Jiu dazedly touched her belly, and thought blankly, no wonder her period did not come this month. No wonder she recently felt hot and irate. So it was because she had a life in her belly.
Jin Yang saw Jiu Jiu was still in a daze and rewarded Imperial Physician Zhao. After the other left, he turned and said to her, “Jiu Jiu, what is it?”
“Recently you have been watching what I eat. Was it because of this?” Gu Ru Jiu turned to look at Jin Yang, her expression still stunned.
“The imperial physicians were not sure, and I feared that if I told you and you were not pregnant, it would affect your mood. So I kept it secret from you.” Jin Yang crouched in front of her, his gaze on her abdomen. “I did not consider this well, and made you feel bad for a few days.”
Gu Ru Jiu blankly shook her head. She was going to be a mother?
She still could not react.
Seeing her like this, Jin Yang said with a smile, “Don’t worry. I will be with you.” Jiu Jiu was pregnant for the first time, and she was young. It was normal for her to be stunned and feel afraid.
Not just Jiu Jiu, even he felt worried inside. He had secretly read many books on pregnancy, and then found when women were giving birth, it was like being at death’s door. So… he became more nervous.
Gu Ru Jiu nodded blankly. She felt she had no more anger at all, just astonishment.
The attendants of Purple Imperial Hall were very happy. The empress was pregnant. This was a happy matter. They did not just get rewards from the emperor and empress. Even Bai Gonggong, He Gonggong, Miss Qiu Luo and the others who were in favor had more smiles for the servants.
The empress being pregnant was a matter for the imperial family, but also the country. The officials who had been saying that the empress was dominating the emperor but there was no happy news were all silent now.
Some of the prettier palace maids in the palace could not help but have other thoughts. The empress was pregnant, and His Majesty would not have intercourse with the empress anymore. Did this mean that they would have a chance?
The reality proved they thought too much.
The empress was pregnant, and the matters of the inner palace were given to the empress dowager. Anyone with eyes could see how good the empress dowager was to the empress. Before anyone could have thoughts, the empress dowager said that any palace attendant who angered the empress would be driven out of the palace if minor, and beaten to death if major.
Empress Dowager Zhou was relieved upon seeing that Gu Ru Jiu’s appetite did not worsen when pregnant, and instead got better. Women who were pregnant suffered the most. Some people could not eat, some would vomit even when smelling food, and some could not sleep. After all the suffering, people would age a few years.
Jiu Jiu was fortunate. She was not suffering. This was good.
“When pregnant, it is most important to be happy.” Empress Dowager Zhou patted Gu Ru Jiu’s hand. “Do not exercise too much in the first three months. If you are bored, just move around Qiankun Palace.”
There was only one empress in the palace, and the dowager consorts had been sent away, but it was hard to see people’s hearts, and best to be careful. If the child was miscarried, it would be sad, and the mother may be damaged for a lifetime, with nothing being able to help.
Gu Ru Jiu nodded. A few days after learning that she was pregnant, she had gradually accepted the reality. So when the empress dowager spoke, she listened.
“Try not to eat cold foods; they are not good for you.” Empress Dowager Zhou saw Jiu Jiu look like a little girl, but already pregnant, and could not help but sigh.
It seemed just a moment ago that the news Jiu Jiu was a month old came to the palace. In the blink of an eye, sixteen years had passed.
“Prince, it’s done.” A man of unremarkable appearance stood next to Prince Rui with his head bowed. “The news has not yet reached the capital, but it should soon.”
“Why did this take so long to complete?” Prince Rui frowned in displeasure.
“This subordinate suspects that Dowager Consort Sun was on guard. She avoided the medicines that this subordinate arranged to be added to her food. Later, this subordinate had no other way except to arrange for some archers outside Linan Palace, and shoot Dowager Consort Sun when she came out of the carriage.”
Prince Rui frowned and then calmed down. “This is also very good. The women of the previous emperor were driven out to Linan Palace, but then a dowager consort was assassinated. The present emperor likely cannot keep his reputation as a kind emperor.”
Sun shi did not have much value left in living, but some use in death.
“Prince.” An attendant hurried into the room. “Prince, the palace has news. The empress is pregnant.”
“What?” Prince Rui changed expression. “Did they not say that Jin Yang was weak and could not easily impregnate the empress? How is the empress pregnant?”
The attendant did not dare to speak, because there was no answer to the question.
He was not the emperor. How would he know why the empress was pregnant?
“Spread the news that Dowager Consort Sun was assassinated, and make as much of a big fuss as possible.” Prince Rui sneered. Since he was unhappy, how could he not make the son of that whore Sima shi unhappy as well.
Thinking of how Sima shi had refused his marriage proposal and then married the weak Prince Cheng, Prince Rui had a joyful but twisted expression.
He wondered, had Sima shi regretted it when she passed away of illness? Prince Cheng was incapable and lusty, listening and believing everything he wanted to hear. He could not count as a man. He just had someone say a few words that Jin Yang looked like him, and Prince Cheng started to suspect that Sima shi had an affair with him, and even allowed his second wife to torment Jin Yang.
Stupid to such a degree. No wonder he lived his life muddle-headed, and was not clear-minded even until death.
When the news that Gu Ru Jiu was pregnant reached the Gu Family, Yang shi turned in circles in the room. She and Gu Chang Ling could not sleep. Their first thought was that their daughter was pregnant, and this would close the mouths of the court officials. Then they thought that their daughter would have a hard time now that she was pregnant. Thinking of those who died in labor, Yang shi and Gu Chang Ling could not sleep.
“No matter the gender, they have to be healthy.” Yang shi sat on the bed in the candlelight and could not help but say, “Do not be like Prince Rui.”
“Right, right, right.” Gu Chang Ling nodded as well. “It will be best if they do not torment their mother during labor.”
“Didn’t Spiritual Master Chu Yun say that our daughter has good fortune?” Yang shi looked at Gu Chang Ling with burning eyes. “If she has good fortune, she will not suffer.”
Gu Chang Ling nodded.
Right now, he did not care if such myths were reliable or not. If they said that his daughter would be well, he would accept all of them.
The parents loved their children so much they did not even consider that if a son was born, he would likely be the crown prince.
They were first concerned with their daughter, and could only think of their grandson after their daughter was well.
A joyful matter like the empress being pregnant was enough for the people of the capital to discuss for a fortnight. Some people even started bets on whether it would be a girl or boy.
Only when the news that Dowager Consort Sun had been assassinated came did the news of the empress’ pregnancy become less popular.
Dowager Consort Sun had been assassinated?
Right outside of Linan Palace?
The culprit was so arrogant and vicious. But what did they mean in killing a dowager consort?
Soon, it spread among the people that Dowager Consort Sun and the present empress were not on good terms and even had troubles. This time, the dowager consorts were moved to Linan Palace also because the emperor could not tolerate these dowager consorts.
For the people who liked to watch spectacles, the truth was usually not important, but if there was something for them to see.
When the rumors spread, many people started to gossip on how the empress and dowager consort were at odds, and how they argued.
The rumormongers made the conflict and words between the dowager consort and the empress come alive, as though they had been present. Even more importantly, the dowager consort and empress were no different from women who fought at a village entrance.
In reality, these stories about the conflicts in the inner palace that passed among the common people were laughable in the ears of those with some knowledge. But there were many common people, and they had wild thoughts. So the death of Dowager Consort Sun became the new topic of the people’s gossip after their meals.
Maybe because everyone knew the empress had a high status and was pregnant, they did not dare to harm the empress too much, much less say that the empress was the one behind the dowager consort’s death. But even so, the rumors still affected the emperor and empress.
Jin Yang wanted to keep this a secret from Gu Ru Jiu, but Gu Ru Jiu was not stupid, and quickly learned of Dowager Consort Sun’s assassination.
The first person she suspected was Prince Rui, not because she was biased, but because he was the most suspicious out of everyone. As for those dowager consorts that had fought with Dowager Consort Sun in the palace, they were not as suspicious.
“Chenjun, if the culprit is Prince Rui, you have to be careful that he will harm you or me behind our backs.” Gu Ru Jiu’s eyes moved. “If you do not mind discrediting the previous emperor, I have a good idea.”
Jin Yang did not expect Jiu Jiu to have such a good guess. Seeing Jiu Jiu’s mysterious expression, he made an expression of listening intently.
“As far as the common people are concerned, they are most interested in romantic entanglements. You like him, he likes her, and those grudges and hatreds,” Gu Ru Jiu said emotionally. “Love is the eternal topic of stories.
“For example, Prince Rui deeply loved Dowager Consort Sun in the past, and the previous emperor also had feelings. Dowager Consort Sun, as a daughter of an aristocratic family, had to be very reserved in matters of love. But while Prince Rui liked Dowager Consort Sun, he disdained her for being concubine-born, and was not willing to propose marriage. So in sadness, Dowager Consort Sun went into the palace to be the previous emperor’s consort. Prince Rui, because he is crippled, thought that Dowager Consort Sun looked down on him and so she went to be the previous emperor’s consort. Out of love, came hate. In the end, he sent someone to assassinate Dowager Consort Sun.” Gu Ru Jiu outlined a story and then said, “When the story spreads, it will attract people’s attention.”
The previous emperor was never really popular with the people. When he was alive, he did not do many beneficial things. In death, he could be the topic of the common people’s gossip, and do something at least.
The past between Prince Rui and Dowager Consort Sun was not completely unknown. If the rumors spread, someone would uncover the past and add more to them, creating a love story that was full of dog blood and scheming, and which abused the heart and mind.
Jin Yang listened to Gu Ru Jiu make up a love triangle, and felt a sense of awe. This story seemed to be very romantic, but in reality, it made Prince Rui as black as coal.
As for the reputation of the previous emperor…
What did an incapable emperor need a reputation for?
The next morning at court, Jin Yang expressed anger at the Dowager Consort Sun’s assassination. He summoned the captain of the guard and Dowager Consort Qian, who had been closest to Dowager Consort Sun at her time of death, back to the capital for investigation, and then sent officials from the Court of Judicial Review and the Ministry of Justice to Linan to investigate the scene.
“Zhen is very sad at the assassination of the dowager consort and shocked as well. If this case is not thoroughly investigated, how can the people of the world be at ease?” Jin Yang looked at the people at court. “What do Officials think?”
Today, the dowager consort was assassinated; tomorrow, it may be you, or him. Are you afraid?
The court officials thought of this, and became motivated towards this case.
Investigate, must investigate. If this was not investigated, they could not be at ease. No one wanted to be on guard and live in fear when they were out of their homes!
“Crash!” Prince Rui smashed his teacup on the ground. If not for him being unable to stand up, he would kick the person kneeling in front of him.
“Did this prince not say for you to direct the topic to the emperor and empress—why are they all talking about this prince?” Prince Rui was flushed in anger, his handsome face twisted.
They said, because he was crippled, he was only elegant on the surface but twisted inside? He felt hate out of love because Sun shi became the previous emperor’s consort?
He did not even want Sun shi at all! Even if he had some feeling for her, he would not feel hate out of love. What were women—just things to relieve boredom when idle. What kind of man would die for a woman?
This was also why he disliked Jin Yang the most. An emperor, being careful and trying to gain favor with a woman. Did he have any of a man’s spirit and an emperor’s majesty?
How could a man like that qualify to be the emperor? Better for his child to be the emperor.
In reality, six years ago, he did not understand why the empress dowager would choose Jin Yang, who had not been taught by famous teachers from childhood, to be the emperor, and not his children.
It stood to reason, he was crippled in the leg, and his princess consort came from an ordinary aristocratic family, so the empress dowager should have felt more reassured choosing his children.
Gu Ru Jiu had guessed correctly. The people were not most interested in whether the empress and dowager consort were on good terms. In any case, it was the empress dowager who was her real mother-in-law. The love entanglement between men and women was more interesting than a conflict between two women.
So there had been this history between Prince Rui and Dowager Consort Sun back then. This really refreshed people’s minds.
Soon, some heard from friends, my seventh uncle who worked in the Sun Family twenty years ago and others like him swear that Dowager Consort Sun and Prince Rui had feelings back then, and their feelings were very deep.
When the moon came up, they met after dusk. Thinking of him every night, and drinking from a river together. It was so touching and moving.
Who knew that Prince Rui was so hungry for power, and hesitated because Sun shi was concubine-born?
After hearing the story, the women thought that Prince Rui was scum. The men felt that Prince Rui was not decisive. Since you look down on her birth, just don’t marry her. Why, after she married the emperor, you feel that she looks down on you for having crippled legs? You say both the good and the bad, you are so shameless—why do you not ascend to heaven?
If you were a man, could you do something like this?
Prince Rui was slandered over and over to the point that most people in the capital felt that he was great scum. Did Dowager Consort Sun’s death really have nothing to do with Prince Rui?
What, you want people to provide evidence? Sorry, I cannot hear. In any case, the culprit was Prince Rui!
“Ha-ha.” Hearing the rumors, Gu Ru Jiu laughed so hard she almost cried. “The masses are more imaginative.”
Which person thought up that Prince Rui once hugged Dowager Consort Sun’s incense pouch and sobbed? She was not Prince Rui, but she felt that if he heard this version of the rumors, he would be so angry he would die.
After laughing, she felt that it was not worth it on behalf of Dowager Consort Sun. People only lived a few short decades. First, she gave her heart to a cunning man, and then married an even more unreliable man. Then she died in the schemes of the person she loved. It really was…
She could not imagine what kind of feelings Dowager Consort Sun had towards Prince Rui that she was willing to scheme for him, and even jump out to oppose Jin Yang and her.
Dowager Consort Sun was not stupid, and did know that once the emperor changed, so did the court. She also could not have been unaware that as a dowager consort, being low-key was essential for a better life.
But she still came out for Prince Rui, first using the palace maid to test her personality, and then to try to seduce Jin Yang. Then she created the matter of being haunted to lure her onto the old matters of the palace. Seeing that this had failed, she pretended to be ill to delay moving to Linan Palace.
Since the men she encountered were not good ones, why did she not love herself more? She gave up all she had for a man like this, including her life. Was it really worth it?
Gu Ru Jiu did not know if Dowager Consort Sun had regretted it. But she felt suffocated inside, like a breath was stuck in her chest, not moving either up or down.
“What is it?” Jin Yang saw her smile and smile, and then her expression turn bad. He thought that she was not feeling well, and asked in worry, “Are you in discomfort anywhere?”
She shook her head, and saw the undisguised concern in Jin Yang’s eyes. She smiled.
“I just feel that Prince Rui is pretty annoying.”
Jin Yang immediately nodded. “I also feel the same.”
He thought joyfully, next time Prince Rui came to the palace, Jiu Jiu would not stare at him again.