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Chapter Ninety Seven Overestimating Oneself
At Court, as the speaker recited the contents of the investigation, the officials listened with wide eyes and gaping mouths. They didn’t think Rui Wang would have committed so many crimes.
“Rui Wang, do you have anything to say?” He Heng calmly looked at He Yuan standing below, “When fuhuang was alive, he was extremely good to you. Why did you have to commit such major crimes?”
“If Emperor wants to kill subject-di, then do as you wish. There’s no need to talk so much,” He Yuan did not beg for mercy. His face was full of scorn as though He Heng, sitting at the top, was just a joke, “If fuhuang really cared for me, then I wouldn’t be standing here today. By saying this much, you just want to proclaim me disloyal and unfilial.”
“Zhen has never thought that way,” He Heng sighed, “We were almost born at the same time, and had played together as children. Zhen doesn’t bear to kill you. Even more so, many of the acts were committed by your subordinates, and aren’t seriously connected to you.”
He Yuan furrowed his brows and then sneered. He wanted to see how He Heng would deal with him.
The officials looked at the expressions of the two brothers. On one hand, they were moved by the feelings of the Emperor, on the other, they felt helpless at Rui Wang’s arrogance. Rui Wang had been arrogant and despotic in Jing for many years. Even now, with such undeniable evidence, he was still so unmanageable.
“Pass zhen’s decree. Rui Wang exhibited unruly behavior, and forfeits his salary for five years. He allowed his subordinates to smuggle salt, and buy and sell official posts and titles. Zhen hurts at heart but as xiandi once told zhen to hold fraternal affection, zhen doesn’t bear to but still has to punish. From this day forth, Rui Wang cannot enter court, is demoted from Qin Wang to Jun Wang, deprived of his salary for five years, and will write a list of his own crimes to be posted on the city gates of all the regional capitals of Jiang Nan. The wealth that was seized from the Jiang Nan case will not be taken into the Treasury. Zhen will personally send it to Jiang Nan so it can be used to fix roads and construct bridges in order to benefit the people of Jiang Nan.” He Heng had a disappointed face as he stood, “Qing can all leave.”
“The Emperor is wise, this subject asks to be excused,” Everyone knelt to send the Emperor off, becoming even more respectful of the new Emperor.
The Emperor did not take Rui Wang’s life, did not erase him from the Imperial House’s lineage. That was due to fraternal love. The Emperor punished Rui Wang, used the wealth seized to construct infrastructure for Jiang Nan, and asked for him to write his own apology letter to post on the gates of Jiang Nan’s cities, it was so the Emperor didn’t want to fail the people. It really was a win all around, with no flaws.
This move seemed to look as though it was protecting Rui Wang, but on reflection, it was actually stomping Rui Wang to the ground. A wang ye who couldn’t attend court, a wang ye who wrote his own crimes to present to the world. He wasn’t a risk, and would become a blemish in history. In the future, people would most likely praise the Emperor for being loyal and righteous.
A ruler with such cunning, as subjects, they naturally had to be more cautious in their work. If they made the Emperor angry, even in death, they may not have a good name.
He Yuan quietly stood in the empty Grand Hall. The Emperor on the dragon chair had left, the officials beside him had also left. He looked calmly at the surroundings. A long time later, he smiled lightly: “To kill without a trace, as expected of my good brother.”
“Your Highness,” The little taijian who guarded the Great Hall carefully walked in front of him and informed in a small voice, “It’s closing time.”
Looking at the taijian whose legs were quivering, He Yuan smiled, “What, ben wang is very frightening?”
The young taijian knelt with a bang and started to kowtow, pleading: “Forgive me, forgive me, wang ye.”
“Alright, stand up,” He Yuan didn’t look at the taijian as he walked to the doorway leading into the hall. When he turned back, he saw the taijian was still kowtowing, and laughed out loud, “Don’t be afraid, ben wang won’t ever stand here again.”
The taijian froze. A beat later when he dared to look towards the doorway, he only saw the shining sun outside. Rui Wang had disappeared.
He patted his knees as he stood, mumbling to himself: “Still thinks he’s the same Rui Wang, such arrogance.”
The hougong was very busy at the moment because Qu Qing Ju had invited the wives of officials third-grade and up into the palace. Those who couldn’t get out of the bed were the only ones in Jing who couldn’t come.
This was the first time the Empress had invited the titled women into the palace. No matter what the Empress was intent on doing, the people under didn’t dare to slight her. Some thought that since the Empress was pregnant, she wanted to pick di daughters from the families of officials to enter the palace as fei to serve the Emperor. However, those who wanted to seize the opportunity took along the unmarried di daughters of their family, and smart people came alone, unwilling to even mention their daughters.
Which woman in this world wanted to find other women to share their husband? Disregarding the fact that the Empress hadn’t known she was pregnant when she had sent out the decree, even if she had known, based on the affection between Emperor and Empress, they wouldn’t benefit if they sent their daughters in, and would offend the Empress instead.
They also should think about where the Empress was living now. It was rumored that the Emperor had disliked the smell due to the new renovation of Kui Yuan Palace and specially made a decree that, until a month after the Empress has given birth, she was not to move out of the rear hall of Tian Qi Palace.
The wife and the husband were living together. For a qie to blindly interfere, wasn’t that just begging for punishment?
Qu Qing Ju didn’t feel any different even though she was now pregnant. When she reached the Imperial Gardens in her phoenix carriage, the people who should have come had arrived. Once she got out, the crowd knelt.
“Furen, don’t be so courteous. Please rise,” Qu Qing Ju looked at the different varieties of chrysanthemums placed in the garden. She smiled, teasing, “Ben gong has met you all before. Furen, don’t be restrained with ben gong just because the location has changed.”
The wives gave their thanks and sat down according to their ranks. Very quickly, taijian started to place rare chrysanthemums onto the pedestal previously constructed in the middle for the women to see. Each pot of chrysanthemums would be brought up for a time, and then the next one would be even more beautiful.
No matter if they were really amazed or just acting, they continuously gave their compliments, as though the chrysanthemums weren’t of mortal hands and had been given down from the gods.
Qu Qing Ju slowly drank a cup of date tea. She wasn’t allowed to drink any other kind, not even ginseng. Red date tea was the only tea that was good for her and the embryo, so she had gradually started to change her diet.
“This one is interesting,” Qu Qing Ju pointed at a pot of flowers where the back was white, and the inside was purple. She had once had such a flower, but she never knew the name. Because of her busy job, she never spent much time caring for it, and the flower, once it bloomed, wasn’t as beautiful.
“Empress, this chrysanthemum is called the “Fragrant Young Phoenix”. Because the petals are as beautiful as a phoenix, so it received this name.” The taijian that had been holding the flower answered with joy. Originally, he had thought that this pot wasn’t eye-catching and thus, wouldn’t receive the favor of the Empress. Who knew that it was the only one the Empress would ask about? It was a blessing from the ancestors.
“‘Fragrant Young Phoenix’?” Qu Qing Ju mused for a second, “That’s a good name. Mu Jin, reward.”
After seeing the Empress admire that flower, the wives followed in complimenting it, making this somewhat commonplace flower become rare.
“This female subject has only seen chrysanthemums in the books, the plum blossoms are jealous of its fragrance. Today, borrowing the good fortune of Empress to view so many chrysanthemums, it is really this female subject’s luck,” A girl wearing a light yellow short dress said in a moderately loud voice, “The ‘Golden Dragon Leaping Clouds’ was also extremely beautiful.”
Qu Qing Ju looked at the person who spoke. It was a girl, about fifteen or sixteen. She had a simple shuang ping ji, but that made her seem even more youthful.
“For zhen, that ‘Jade Phoenix Cloud’ was the most beautiful,” He Heng, followed by a crowd of attendants, walked towards the direction where Qu Qing Ju was standing. He looked at the girl who spoke, “Whose family are you?”
“This female subject is the di granddaughter of Grand Duke Jing, Qin Chao Yun, greets Emperor,” The young girl saw the Emperor inquire and stood with a calm face. She gave a full bow to He Heng, “This female subject spoke nonsense, and let the Emperor hear a joke.”
Qu Qing Ju saw Qin Chao Yun’s elegant posture and gave a small smile. Wasn’t Grand Duke Jin Qin Bai Lu’s grandfather, then wasn’t Qin Chao Yun, Qing Bai Lu’s sister or cousin? But the looks, the conduct, it was more pleasing than Qin Bai Lu.
“En, you spoke too much,” He Heng calmly concluded, “There’s so many elders present, there’s no reason for you, as one of the younger generation, to speak.”
Qin Chao Yun seemed shocked that the Emperor would say such a thing to her. She stilled, then with a normal expression, she responded: “The teachings of Emperor, this female subject will remember in her heart.”
En, this conduct was much better than Qin Bai Lu. If a normal person had been admonished by the Emperor like this, she would have been red all over. But she acted as though the Emperor was teaching for her benefit. Qu Qing Ju sighed. It looked like the Qin Family did have some women with high attack power. Qin Bai Lu and Wei Ran Lu’s mother only counted as the failures of the Qin Family.
He Heng felt a bit surprised. He couldn’t help but look again at Qin Chao Yun. She didn’t seem to have deliberately dressed up, but her appearance gave others a feeling of elegance. It didn’t stain the Qin Family’s reputation. When his gaze fell upon a pair of pearl embroidered slippers, he took away his gaze, his voice even colder: “Zhen isn’t instructing you, but reminding you. At the very least, you were born of an educated and noble family so your conduct cannot stain the reputations of the noble families.”
Everyone could hear that the Emperor didn’t seem to like the Qin Family. They remembered that Rui Wang’s wang fei was a daughter of the Qin Family, and didn’t have a good relationship with the Empress. They instantly understood. This Qin Family had married a daughter to Rui Wang Fu. The result was that Rui Wang fell. So they wanted to shove a daughter into the palace. They really did think everyone else was stupid and couldn’t see what they wanted.
Some of the furen examined Qin Chao Yun’s appearance and thought scornfully, just these looks, and she wanted to seduce the Emperor. Could she even compare to a finger of the Empress?
The Duchess of Zhong Yi, Tian Luo shi took a sip from a teacup, uncaringly commenting: “The reputation of the daughters of the Qin Family is good, but the rare ones who haven’t learned well, it’s of no benefit to their reputation.”
The people beside her, hearing it, instantly agreed, provoking the Duchess Dowager of Jing’s face to pale in anger.
He Heng didn’t look at the women, turning to walk towards Qu Qing Ju. Look at the time, the flower banquet should be finishing now.